ArtSlant - Contemporary Art Network http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/show en-us 40 Bottling Local: Oh, the Smell of Amsterdam in the Spring... <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">First comes a wave of chlorophyll: a fresh and forward odor, the smell of tender green. Then, when the first vapors thin in the air and the nose digs deeper, the wood follows. It&rsquo;s darker, heavier, earthier&mdash;soothing and more serious after the initial playfulness.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The French have Yves Saint-Laurent&rsquo;s eau de toilette, Paris, in its compact&nbsp;pink bottle. New York is well taken care of with Bond 9 having designed a different smell for every borough&mdash;and I&rsquo;m not even mentioning Donna Karan&rsquo;s entire line of perfumes carrying the city&rsquo;s name. But it was probably Gishlain that took the idea of city-themed perfumes to its extreme with its <a href="http://usa.thescentofdeparture.com/about.php" target="_blank">The Scent of Departure</a>&nbsp;line: seventeen perfumes dedicated to cities worldwide, from Munich to Miami. However, none of these olfactory homages to great cities are as literal as <a href="http://eaudamsterdam.com/" target="_blank">Eau d&rsquo;Amsterdam</a>, which was launched in 2014. Most perfumes try to summon up an idea, an abstract notion like romance, energy, or mystery, but Eau d&rsquo;Amsterdam truly duplicates the city&rsquo;s smell. Or at least one of its most dominant ones. During spring.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150506193131-van_iep_tot_parfum_-_illustratie_Monique_Wijbrands.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">From Elm to Perfume. Illustration:&nbsp;Monique Wijbrands</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The most important ingredient of Eau d&rsquo;Amsterdam is the elm. It&rsquo;s not the official city tree, but with over 75,000 specimens within the municipal borders it might as well be. Amsterdam is the city with the highest elm density in the world. In the twentieth century the elm population in Europe and the US was decimated by two waves of the Dutch elm disease, caused by a microfungus dispersed by dark beetles. The disease was first described by two Dutch biologists, Bea Schwarz and Christina Johanna Buisman, hence the name. But the Dutch also took to breeding resistant cultivars and rapidly replacing ailing trees. So, while elsewhere more than ninety percent of elms died, Amsterdam has kept its signature tree.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The history of the elm in Amsterdam dates back to the seventeenth century. The city was flourishing and growing, new canals were being dug that needed landscaping. The elm turned out to be the ideal city tree: a fast grower (a centimeter in diameter every year), sturdy, and quite elegant with its V-shaped branches. The elm is easily the most popular tree in the city center: number two on the list, the plane (<em>Platanus</em>), is outnumbered 894 to 5,271. The Amsterdam canals having been granted the status of Unesco World Heritage Site kind of promotes the elm to a more official status as well.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150506193449-elm_seed_and_leaves.jpg" alt="" width="325" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150506193540-IMG_8117.JPG" alt="" width="325" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This is all really interesting information, but you could be living in Amsterdam your entire life and not be familiar with the elm. As trees go, the elm is a bit plain. It&rsquo;s not as robust as the chestnut, not as eccentric as the oak, not as regal as the beech. But there is one moment during the year when the elm makes itself known to city dwellers. In spring, usually between the second week of April and the third week of May, the elm blossoms and spreads its seeds like fluffy light green snow. It was during one of those spring afternoons in 2011 that artists Lieuwe Martijn Wijnands and Saskia Hoogendoorn found themselves on a terrace, wondering about this wonderful natural confetti. Then and there, they decided that the elm deserved its own festival, comparable with the cherry blossom parades in Tokyo and Washington DC.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This became <a href="http://springsnow.nl/" target="_blank">Springsnow</a> and it&rsquo;s growing every year. Elm-inspired artworks are on display; documentaries are made about the tree; Reinier Sijpkens, who has been floating on the city&rsquo;s canals with his one-man orchestra for 25 years, composed an homage to the elm together with theremin promotor Fay Lovsky; and there are a bunch of pop-up events celebrating spring. Linking everything together is the Elm Walk, starting at the botanical garden next to the EYE Film Museum, home to 32 different species of elm, and winding through the historical center. The city&rsquo;s &ldquo;tree mayor&rdquo; Hans Kaljee talks about the city&rsquo;s eldest elm (at the Nieuwe Herengracht, planted in 1891), the tallest (at the Oudemanhuispoort, measuring 35 meters), and the specimen planted in remembrance of astronaut Wubbo Ockels, who was a great conservationist.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150506192950-10404413_10205552660805859_2478656731674016239_n.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In a city this packed with activities it&rsquo;s difficult to stand out, though. Wijnands and Hoogendoorn needed something more tangible than a website and a map to get their enthusiasm across, not to mention a source of income to pay for their festival. Thus, Eau d&rsquo;Amsterdam was born. That&rsquo;s, of course, more easily said than done. Elm mucilage is used medicinally as a soothing demulcent, and during the great famine in Norway in 1812 the tree&rsquo;s bark proved to be edible after cooking, but never before has it been used as the basis for a perfume. But working collaboratively with perfume designer Tanja Deurloo of Annindriya and the creative department of International Flavors &amp; Fragrances they pulled it off. At the 2014 edition of Meesterlijk, an Amsterdam based fair for design and applied arts, they presented their first tests. The first limited edition, sold in a box decorated with a Hendrik Keun painting from 1773 showing the trees in full bloom, is almost completely sold out. A second edition, this time containing more blossom, is being produced right now.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And more uses of the elm have been discovered. The candy makers of Papabubble have developed a Spingsnow Candy, containing elm seeds. And Stadsplank uses the wood of cleared trees to make artisanal cutting boards, with the origin of the tree engraved. But these will probably never have the same impact as Eau d&rsquo;Amsterdam. The power of scent can hardly be matched. Scientific studies show that pheromones are crucial for falling in love: you stick with the person who smells like home or who you feel at home with. I guess it works that way with cities as well.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/356010-edo-dijksterhuis?tab=REVIEWS">Edo Dijksterhuis</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Photo:&nbsp;Giuseppe de Bruijn)</span></p> Thu, 07 May 2015 00:37:39 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list How Two New Satellites Challenge San Francisco's Art Fair Scene <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Aside from artMRKT, two other art fairs happened in San Francisco this past weekend:&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.startupartfair.com/about/" target="_blank">StARTup Art Fair </a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">and </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://parkinglotartfair.tumblr.com/image/117564619049" target="_blank">Parking Lot Art Fair</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. E</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">ach attempted to unfold controversial aspects of what it means to gather en masse, and to expose the public to a variety of artists in one place for a concentrated amount of time. The venues missed and seized opportunities, respectively, and&nbsp;each presented their own set of risks surrounding the art fair model.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150506190619-15_parking_lot_fair.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Parking Lot Art Fair installation view, held at the artMRKT parking lot, Saturday May 2, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150506190707-2._startup_pool_shot.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">stARTup art fair held at the Hotel Del Sol, May 1 &ndash; 3, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">stARTup, which was held at Hotel Del Sol, came into fruition last fall when co-Founders Ray Beldner&nbsp;and Steve Zavattero wanted to create a space&nbsp;specifically for artists who are not represented by galleries. Following the satellite hotel fair model, such as that of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aquaartmiami.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=10&amp;tabindex=9&amp;dealerid=27487&amp;curidx=3&amp;back=name" target="_blank">Aqua Art Miami</a>, in which hotel rooms are typically occupied by galleries representing artists, stARTup attempted to turn the tables. The vision was that artists could sell their work on their own terms, keeping 100 percent of the sale proceeds. All of this sounds very founded in art advocacy; however, the logic that artists should invest their own money in a fair platform for exhibiting their work is still problematic&mdash;one is tempted to say it is a case of &ldquo;pay to play.&rdquo; Nevertheless, the artists do get a bit more for their money, as the arrangement also includes other perks that fairs offer, such as press coverage and, of course, exposure. The fairs were sponsored by Square, and the organizers held workshops offering tutorials for how to complete a transaction and to follow through with collectors so that the artists could ring their own sales.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150506192907-14_parking_lot_fair_install.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Parking Lot Art Fair installation view, held at the artMRKT parking lot, Saturday May 2, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">However, the business model of these SF fairs was too spontaneous in terms of generating sponsorship to front the cost for artists. A call went out on Facebook and other social media outlets to announce the platform and to entice artists to participate in a juried panel (for a submission fee) to exhibit at the fair. If selected, the artists would invest their own money&mdash;in excess of $2,500 or more&mdash;to participate. The fair founders put up the money up front, and the artist fees were required to cover the cost of operations such as insurance and security staffing. But this rationale seemed to be clouded by the notion that the investors needed to recoup their costs, whereas the participating artists&rsquo; recuperation of funds was dependent on sales. The likelihood of selling at a fair is ambiguous&mdash;as with any kind of venture that doesn&rsquo;t have the history or the substantial support to glean interest from buyers (as the more established fairs do).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Thus, there are positive and negative arguments for the entire venture. Fairs can be an advocate for artists; one of their purposes is to elucidate what art is doing in the world. Yet for the most part the fair was a missed opportunity for artists to do something more controversial or to make a statement in situ, taking the hotel as a conceptual site into consideration. The fair seemed to be too aligned with the baggage that comes with commodification, rather than focusing on the conceptual or intrinsic value of the art being represented. The fairs did, however, feature (at no cost) several non-profit art organizations including <a href="https://www.rootdivision.org/" target="_blank">Root Division,</a> an artist residency and gallery space, and <a href="http://creativegrowth.org/category/news/" target="_blank">Creative Growth</a>, an organization from Oakland that educates artists with developmental, mental, and physical disabilities. Heather Marx also sponsored artists to do site-specific works, including Paul Clipson&rsquo;s sound and film piece installed in an outdoor stairwell.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150506193356-8_creative_growth.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Creative Growth installation view featuring Terri Bowden, John Hiltunen, Gina Damarell, Sherrie Aradanas, stARTup art fair</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150506193610-6_paul_clipson.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Paul Clipson, staircase video projection, stARTup art fair</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Overall, the artists were challenged with respecting the space constraints, but it seems that the long leash given the artists to do whatever they wanted with their rooms (and many had really tasteful and imaginative ways of dealing with this) worked best for those who could wrap their heads around the strangeness of the rooms or whose practices were more site contingent. In short, the rooms needed to be curated; many artists would have benefitted from having their room curated&mdash;had the emphasis been on showing their best and most challenging works. Instead many showed several selections from multiple bodies of work or small works that could easily be sold and taken away. Though a necessary business strategy, it only perpetuated the fair commodification problems that plagued it in the first place. Painters suffered the most in this setting&mdash;though&nbsp;there were some stand out works.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Painter <a href="http://amstohr.com/" target="_blank">am&nbsp;St&ouml;hr,&nbsp;</a>for example, created a bright and inviting site specific work especially for the ceiling of the room, which she encouraged visitors to experience while lying on the bed looking up. Her multi-colored, expressive works on Yupo paper created a dizzying and psychedelic effect on the eye, which St&ouml;hr equates with the crisp and sometimes glaring California light. <a href="http://www.kaufmanarts.com/work/wall-drawings/" target="_blank">Jennifer Kaufman</a> removed the beds and included two large eight-foot canvases resting on cinderblocks, in addition to creating site specific adhesive vinyl wall drawings throughout the space, including on the floor and ceiling. In both of these cases the artists took the opportunity to make bold statements that readily conveyed the meaning of their works as not simply formal commodity, but as bold statements about painting&rsquo;s potential to activate space.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150506193804-3_am_storh_installation.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">am St&ouml;hr, installation view stARTup art fair held at the Hotel Del Sol, May 1 &ndash; 3, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150506194206-5_jennifer_kaufman.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Jennifer Kaufman, installation view stARTup art fair held at the Hotel Del Sol, May 1 &ndash; 3, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Conversely, <a href="http://www.christhorsonstudio.com/" target="_blank">Chris Thorson</a> used the room as an all-encompassing installation that directly commented on the hotel room itself. The bed was mussed&mdash;its pillows and blankets arranged as if someone had slept there&mdash;a carefully folded t-shirt (<em>Frenemy</em>) and crumpled cable knit sweater (<em>Rock</em>), both fabricated out of gypsum Hydrocal were set on the bed. Other trompe-l'&oelig;il Hydrocal accoutrements scattered the room, including a banana (<em>Cavendish III</em>), grape stems (<em>Thompson Seedless I &amp; II</em>) dirty socks (<em>Bro Palace</em> series) and factice remote controls (<em>Chameleon</em> series) for the television; which she later turned on to daytime tacky game shows. The installation was so convincing that many people peeked in and went away, thinking that the room was in disarray and not cleaned up. One visitor came in and stated: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not sure what&rsquo;s the art.&rdquo; This was a good thing.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Thorson was ambivalent about participating in the fair, and chose to use the opportunity as a way to challenge traditional art systems. The entire room was transformed into something that it is not, while still maintaining an estrangement from the fair context through the careful use of the objects that she dressed in the space. The installation was titled <em>The Stranger</em>, after Albert Camus&rsquo; book of the same name. A thoroughly convincing set of cast silver and bronze keys also titled <em>The Stranger</em> are set on the bureau next to the actual hotel stationary notepad and a lone Hydrocal glove from the series <em>Lost</em>. At work in the room was a conceptual <em>double entendre</em> between the concept of the &ldquo;guest&rdquo; as someone who visits a hotel, and the concept of gallery-goers as visitors. The title of the work becomes all the more poignant when considering that gallery-goers are not considered guests at galleries, but rather strangers to the work they view&mdash;always on the outside looking in or at the work.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150506194542-11_chris_thorson.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Chris Thorson, installation view, installation view stARTup art fair held at the Hotel del Sol, May 1 &ndash; 3, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While taking some issue with the business approach and the marketing angles that the fair organizers implemented, the idea of stARTup is an important one worth revisiting because it shook up the fair model and opened up the potential for even more challenging future projects. That said, Parking Lot Art Fair organizers Jenny Sharaf and Emily Reynolds wasted no time (the website went up on March 9) and spent almost no money in putting together a fair that took place on May 2 for only five hours. Located in the parking lot adjacent to the artMRKT fair at Fort Mason Marina, the renegade fair was free to participants, and since it was in a public space with no formal demarcation (other than a big chalk sign drawn on the sidewalk and bright pink name labels for the exhibitors), anyone happening upon the event could also roam it for free.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Cars gingerly circled the spaces looking unsuccessfully for a place to park nearby before making their way into Fort Mason to artMRKT, which cost $26 to attend. In an interview Sharaf stated, &ldquo;The timing and location of Parking Lot Art Fair was incredibly strategic. I wanted collectors and art patrons to find us on their way into artMRKT.&nbsp;The visitors that stumbled upon us ended up also being our marketing team.&nbsp;She pointed out that many satellite fairs often set up around major fairs, &ldquo;so that collectors can hop around to the different openings on fancy van shuttles and check out the different scenes.&rdquo; In fact, stARTup was offering such a service, since they were only about six blocks from artMRKT at the Hotel Del Sol. Sharaf views the clustering strategy as a strengthening one that also offers, &ldquo;a wonderful 'listicle' opportunity for arts writers/bloggers.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Meanwhile, Sharaf and Reynolds&rsquo; &ldquo;all in&rdquo; curating approach included over 100 participants who are all active players in what can be called the most vital pulse of contemporary art in San Francisco right now. The range included galleries such as <a href="http://etaletc.com/" target="_blank">Et al.</a> in Chinatown and a pop-up curated by <a href="http://www.colpapress.com/pages/curated-by" target="_blank">Colpa Press</a>, projects by <a href="http://www.thethingquarterly.com/" target="_blank">The Thing Quarterly</a> and the <a href="http://www.wondermentconsortium.com/" target="_blank">Wonderment Consortium</a> as Sunshine Alliance, to individual artists&mdash;way too many to name. The atmosphere was not only convivial, but also engaging, witty, and spontaneous. Participants employed all manners of making the unusual location site specifically relevant; from U-Hauls to boats to their own cars, blankets on lawns and tailgate pancakes. &ldquo;I think it falls on the artists of the city to create engaging creative moments that bring our community together. We have to create the art scene that we want to live in. No one else will do it for us.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150506194409-17_christian_parking_lot.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;<span style="font-size: x-small;">Christian Davies, Parking Lot Art Fair installation view</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Sharaf has a point, one which was on my mind when speaking with other people about Parking Lot Art Fair. On several occasions it was mentioned that Parking Lot "allowed" artists to take risks because there was no money at stake. However, this is flimsy logic. Risk is part of seizing opportunity and requires a lot of guts. Both fairs did something disruptive for San Francisco's art fair scene with very little time to plan, and hopefully their efforts spark inspiration from others to come forward&mdash;whether it&rsquo;s an additional satellite next year, or the emergence of more artist-led initiatives. The key message is to just take the risk do something different.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/1872-leora-lutz" target="_blank">Leora Lutz</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Image at the top</span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">:&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Chris Thorson, installation view, installation view stARTup art fair held at the Hotel del Sol, May 1 &ndash; 3, 2015</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> Wed, 06 May 2015 22:36:38 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Connecting Commuters: Alejandro Cartagena’s Suburbia in a Toronto Subway Station <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com/public-installations/383"><em>Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities</em></a> is a public installation on view as part of this year&rsquo;s <a href="http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com/">CONTACT Photography Festival</a>&nbsp;</span>in Toronto and &nbsp;is located on the platforms and bus bays of Warden subway station&mdash;a busy stop connecting Toronto&rsquo;s downtown to the city&rsquo;s suburbs. It is a site that sees a large volume of daily commuters, who either work or study in the center, making it a particularly relevant location for showcasing Alejandro Cartagena&rsquo;s photographs from his series <em>Carpoolers</em>&nbsp;(2011-2012) and <em>Suburbia Mexicana</em>&nbsp;(2006-2010). Cartagena will display his images for the duration of the festival, replacing the subway posters that typically advertise local services.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150505195107-_1__cartagena_carpoolers_01_1200pxH.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Carpoolers&nbsp;</em>by Alejandro Cartagena in Toronto's Warden Subway Station, Contacting Toronto, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Carpoolers</em> shows the daily commute of landscapers and construction workers in Monterrey, a city in northeastern Mexico, where the artist currently resides. Men are seen huddled closely in the back of pickup trucks, traveling to wealthy suburbs to build the fast-growing complexes there.&nbsp; The workers are portrayed in the claustrophobic spaces from a birds-eye point of view, shown among a clutter of tools and paraphernalia.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150505195136-_2__cartagena_carpoolers_02_1200pxH.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Carpoolers&nbsp;</em>by Alejandro Cartagena in Toronto's Warden Subway Station, Contacting Toronto, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150505195225-_3__cartagena_carpoolers_03_1200pxH.jpg" alt="" /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>Carpoolers&nbsp;</em>by Alejandro Cartagena in Toronto's Warden Subway S</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">tation, Contacting Toronto, 2015</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Other photographs included in the installation are taken from Cartagena&rsquo;s series <em>Suburbia Mexicana</em>. They present the consequences of the development of Monterrey&rsquo;s poorer suburbs&mdash;we see pictures of uniform homes sprawling into the horizon; lined like soldiers, each house a copy of its neighbor; juxtaposed with these images are portraits of their residents, the human faces of the development. Cartagena is an archivist of this growing suburbia&mdash;documenting the effects of the massive construction of suburban complexes on people&rsquo;s lives, conveying what is a reality for many in contemporary Mexico, but without offering a comment or critique: <em>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to have somebody tell me what these realities are, I just want to document what they are&rdquo;,</em> Cartagena told me.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150505195242-_7__cartagena_fragmented_cities_03_1200pxW.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Suburbia Mexicana</em>&nbsp;by Alejandro Cartagena in Toronto's Warden Subway Station, Contacting Toronto, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150505195258-_8__cartagena_people_of_suburbia_01_1200pxH.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Suburbia Mexicana</em>&nbsp;by Alejandro Cartagena in Toronto's Warden Subway Station, Contacting Toronto, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Yet the realities he captures are both promising and insidious. Extensive construction of suburban housing started approximately fifteen years ago when PAN (<em>Partido Acci&oacute;n Nacional</em>, or National Action Party), a center-right party, displaced the long-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). In a short time, developers constructed thousands of new homes. The fast growth proved to be a hasty and poorly thought-out decision. Cartagena points to several problems that accompanied the suburban sprawl. Firstly, the inadequate public transportation available to suburban dwellers, which led in part to the evolution of a heavily polluting car culture: today, Monterrey is the most polluted city in North America.&nbsp; Another issue with the poorly planned mass development was the absence of infrastructures necessary to support and sustain community life (parks, public squares, community centers). These problems alone resulted in the emergence of a generation who lack a sense of community and are defined by going to and from work.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150505195314-_5__cartagena_fragmented_cities_01_1200pxW.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Suburbia Mexicana</em>&nbsp;by Alejandro Cartagena in Toronto's Warden Subway Station, Contacting Toronto, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150505195326-_9__cartagena_people_of_suburbia_02_1200pxH.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Suburbia Mexicana</em>&nbsp;by Alejandro Cartagena in Toronto's Warden Subway Station, Contacting Toronto, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But the picture is not completely negative&mdash;there are some residents who are content with their new lifestyles. Buying a home in suburbia carries kudos, one associated with success and independence&mdash;the Mexican version of the American dream. Purchasing a house is an accomplishment: <em>&ldquo;people are still in love with home ownership,&rdquo;</em> comments Cartagena. Though there is a sense of cynicism in the developers&rsquo; exploitation of that dream, with their enticing slogan <em>&ldquo;progress is home ownership&rdquo;</em>. The realities of congested and expensive city living in Mexico has made buying a home in the suburbs attractive but the attempt to copy and paste the American module without supplying community infrastructure has resulted in the &ldquo;<em>subtle construction of a generation of voiceless people</em>&rdquo; according to Cartagena.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The subtle social effects of this kind of construction are not worthy of world media attention when urgent social issues such as the drug war, poverty and corruption in contemporary Mexico prevail, often sensationalised by the global press. Cartagena&rsquo;s images do not participate in this spectacle. Rather, they aim to capture the slow development and outcome of new suburban complexes and the way in which their inhabitants react to these civic changes. His images are as a subtle as the implications of suburbia&rsquo;s rapid growth&mdash;they are intimate and humane, unobtrusive evidence of social transition.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The installation&rsquo;s location in Toronto resonates profoundly with their host environment, positioned on the border between the city and its suburbs. Commuting viewers experience the echo of suburbia: the cookie-cutter homes, solitude, the promise of self-made success and security, long and often uncomfortable commutes to and from home. Cartagena&rsquo;s images portray a reality&mdash;though vastly different to Toronto&rsquo;s version of suburbia&mdash;that connects through emotional experience to the lives of the growing number of middle-class citizens all over the world, a document that shows both the pride and the humdrum monotony of suburban life, a place of aspiration, comfort and docile stability.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150505195345-_12__Warden_02_1200.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities</em>&nbsp;in Toronto's Warden Subway Station, Contacting Toronto, 2015. Photo: Jake Fry</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The parallel Toronto suburbs are generally populated with similar peoples, families pursuing a quiet life, and new immigrant populations who cannot afford the city. Toronto&rsquo;s newcomers, contributing to a steadily growing suburbia, come here seeking opportunities for a better life. My family and I immigrated to Canada for the same reason, spending our first years in suburbia; the daily experience of a new immigrant to Canada living in its suburbs is akin to the images seen in Cartagena&rsquo;s photos of new working-class citizens: long commutes to arrive at a blue-collar job, pride in home-ownership as representative of social accomplishment, sprawling landscapes colonized by identical homes, and the promise of self-made success. Cartagena&rsquo;s images will be seen at the Warden Station Subway by the people who inhabit these suburbian spaces, highlighting a salient parallel between two cities and the way in which they experience life at the city&rsquo;s fringes. Yet somehow the connection we feel with the photographs&rsquo; subject matter also destabilizes us: is this 'living the dream'?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&mdash;</em>Yoli Terziyska</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com/public-installations/383">Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities</a></span><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;is a&nbsp;CONTACT Public Installation. Curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters. Artist&nbsp;represented by Toronto's Circuit Gallery.&nbsp;</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities</em>&nbsp;in Toronto's Warden Subway Station, Contacting Toronto, 2015. Photo: Jake Fry.)</span></p> Wed, 06 May 2015 22:40:01 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list A Clown for the Machine: Tony Oursler Takes on Surveillance <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">When Edward Snowden released classified information from the National Security Agency to mainstream media in 2013 he was globally marked as either a traitor or a patriot. The top-secret documents revealed that the NSA has been collecting data from anywhere and everywhere, including 55,000 quality images daily through social media and personal communications to use in facial recognition programs. The revelation confirmed civic anxieties that the dreaded future is here: your face can be used against you. However, as with all emerging sophisticated technologies, facial recognition sails in murky, unchartered waters; its full potential is unknown, as is solid legislation around it and its efficiency (a variety of photos of the Boston Marathon bombers were in the facial recognition database, but failed to matched to any identity). The computer application&rsquo;s hidden omnipresence and its relationship with privacy and identity has inspired Tony Oursler&rsquo;s new body of artwork at his fifth Lehmann Maupin solo show.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150504132425-7N5A5504.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Installation view,&nbsp;photo: Frankie Galland</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The exhibition features several large-scaled panel works of human faces, some coated with reflective or metallic surfaces, with various biometric maps spread across them that analyze certain areas of the face that remain unchanged over time. One freestanding piece highlights spatial relationships on the face with dotted lines, while another uses numbers to point out eye retinas and iris patterns. Computer algorithms are used to extract these features and match them to a person. Oursler, known for projecting his video work onto unlikely surfaces such as smoke, trees, or water, uses flat screens installed behind cut outs for eyes and mouths. However, his new work remains faithful to Ourslerian formality: shifty eyes and mouths whisper &ldquo;now you&rsquo;re a clown for the machine&rdquo; or &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been hacked all inside&rdquo;&mdash;the dialogue of machines trying to process human emotions. Its conflation creates an existential void, anonymity with the art and ultimately a slight nauseating effect on the viewer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150504132445-7N5A5460.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150504132531-7N5A5478.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photos: Frankie Galland&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It seems like a natural pursuit for the artist to be fascinated with new technologies that breach privacy and redefine what it means to be human. Oursler, a pioneer of new media art and expressionistic video theater, constantly pushes the limits of his craft and media, using human actors and dialogue to shape the concept. In 2004 he projected his own made-up face onto a meteor sculpture, the ultimate outsider, telling passersby at the Parrish Art Museum that &ldquo;if you understand me, you understand yourself.&rdquo; The multimedia Ourslerian process is to film the eyes and mouth separately, electronically stitch them with the script into one video and then project it on to a surface or screen it from behind (as in the Lehman Maupin show).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150504132514-7N5A5450.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo:&nbsp;Frankie Galland&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Oursler also points out that the social affairs and conflicts that happen in reality are mirrored in technology. There exists one black sculpture in the entire show, which raises the topic of <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ams/articles/show/42421" target="_blank">racism in technology</a> and the question of who is holding the mirror. At the opening reception of the show, the attendees were scanning and identifying the people around them as much as they were looking at the art, inadvertently participating in the very systems the body of art surrounding them discusses. In a gallery setting Oursler&rsquo;s work inherently investigates how far the apple falls from the tree in a creator/product relationship and if technology is reflecting humans or if humans are beginning to reflect technology.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="Stephanie%20Berzon" target="_blank">Stephanie Berzon</a></span></p> Wed, 06 May 2015 16:15:49 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Made-Up with Danny Volk: S1E13 with Casey Smallwood <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Danny Volk talks to artists in their studios about life and art&mdash;while they do his make-up. This concept was a new one for us, and, unsurprisingly, it produces some unique moments: see artists like Theaster Gates, Pope.L, and Jessica Stockholder working in their studios as you've never seen them before.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Revisit Season 1 as we anticipate the all-new Made-Up Season 2, to be released this Spring on ArtSlant.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This week:&nbsp;Danny sits down with artist and good friend Casey to talk about using friends in your work, transitioning from photo to video, and interacting with a Ronald McDonald statue.<br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8hocNN4itJc" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="float: right;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150129205110-10299099_219201961624218_7214582499433800077_n.jpg" alt="" width="150" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>More About Made-Up With Danny Volk&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Made-Up is created and hosted by Danny Volk.&nbsp;Volk was born in 1979 in Akron, OH and currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. Volk got his MFA in Visual Art from the University of Chicago in 2014, and his BA in Theater Studies at Kent State University in 2006.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Produced by | Danny Volk and Stephanie Anne Harris Trevor</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Cameras | Bryce Peppers,&nbsp;Valia&nbsp;O'Donnell</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Technical consultant | Ben Chandler</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Comic Strip" by Serge&nbsp;Gainsbourg&nbsp;remixed by&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/flashcookie">DJ&nbsp;Flashcookie</a></span></p> Fri, 01 May 2015 14:47:56 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Wanksy: Real Social Change via a Giant Comedy Penis <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Comedy phallus graffiti: a long standing symbol of public indecency, raiser of many an&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">adolescent smirk, and, applied in the right context, an act of deprecating terrorism. Sometimes, it might even be all</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;three: imagine a heroic squadron of schoolboys plotting to pin a felt tip cock&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">illustration on the back of a young David Cameron. Imagine the general gusto, the social pride&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">and the giggles they must have experienced.</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150430175410-11084030_1582493291998851_7051467910816193842_o.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Via <a href="https://www.facebook.com/WanksyRoadArtist">Facebook</a></span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">One Manchester resident, known publicly by the simple tag name of Wansky, has been chalking giant&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">phalluses around the city's many potholes: a cock crusader anonymously chalking into&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">action after seeing friends injured in pothole-related bike accidents. And like some&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">incidental superhero from the Marvel Universe breaking the law for the public good, the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">authorities are actually taking notice. Within 48 hours, according to the Manchester Evening News&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">(MEN), many of the potholes the "artist" had helpfully marked up had been.. ahem... filled in.</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150430175715-1959995_1582493668665480_4179756570331995390_n.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Via&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/WanksyRoadArtist">Facebook</a></span></p> <p class="p3" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"I wanted to attract attention to the pothole and make it memorable," Wanksy told MEN.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Nothing seemed to do this better than a giant comedy phallus.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p3" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Like Anonymous&rsquo; adoption of the V for Vendetta/Guy Fawkes masks, is Wanksy subverting&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">an existing signifier into a socially activated form of branding? A kind of cheeky Batman&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">logo? The idea of demonstrating one public indecency to highlight another&mdash;dangerous road&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">conditions and public welfare&mdash;seems to be, judging by the responses, a successful trade-off for&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">now.</span></p> <p class="p3" style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p3" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Paul Hanford</span></p> <p class="p3" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p3" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Image at the top: Via <a href="https://www.facebook.com/WanksyRoadArtist">Facebook</a></span></p> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 18:04:26 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Artist-Writer-Curator: "Triple Threat" or "Triple Debt"? <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It started with wordplay.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This winter, artist, writer, and curator <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/16357-darren-jones" target="_blank">Darren Jones</a>&nbsp;emailed me musings about the art world equivalent of &ldquo;triple threat.&rdquo; In musical theatre a &ldquo;triple threat&rdquo; is someone equally skilled in singing, acting, and dancing. Are artist-writer-curators, Jones asked, the art world analog to these stars of the stage? Or is this particular combination of professions more accurately described by a turn of phrase: &ldquo;triple debt,&rdquo; or perhaps &ldquo;triple regret&rdquo;? Working across three complimentary, but very different disciplines &ldquo;isn't easy to navigate,&rdquo; he wrote to me. &ldquo;It can be awkward when mismanaged, and yet it affords those that do it a unique position, and insight across all three practices.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This play on words grew into a discussion in which Jones considers the politics, challenges, and perceptions of those who work as artists, curators, and writers. We spoke about his own practice(s) and insights into being a triple debtor: How does he introduce himself? Are the disciplinary lines ever blurred? Is this about money? And when is it okay to curate your own work into an exhibition? &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150501152639-jenkins.jpg" alt="" /><span style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div id="artwork_info"> <div id="artwork_title" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><em>HANGMAN #1,&nbsp;SIKKEMA JENKINS / MERLIN JAMES REHANG</em>, 2015, In this series gallery exhibitions are <br />rehung with suggested improvements to the curation, Top image is original / bottom image is my rehang.</span></div> </div> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: small; line-height: normal; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Andrea Alessi:</strong>&nbsp;<strong>Can you start by telling me a bit about the history of your three practices. What came first?</strong></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Darren Jones:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;I was an artist first, having studied painting in Edinburgh and then at Central Saint Martins in London. After graduation, I set up a studio in Hackney&mdash;which was then the heart of the burgeoning East End art scene&mdash;with two friends, the English painters Jo Wilmot and Coco Hewitt. With so many artists in that area we knew that it was imperative to make connections and promote ourselves rather than hope for a dealer to come knocking (Charles Saatchi&rsquo;s shadow was cast across the art scene at that time due to the success of the YBAs.) In 1997, with Jo and Coco, I formed the Shopfloor Collective. That consolidation of minds, contacts, and resources created energy and attracted collaborators. I loved being a part of it. We discussed our interests, argued, and put together our own shows in our Belsham Street studio. Later we curated bigger events in various London galleries and spaces. We invited our friends and fellow artists to participate and the value of cultural community became apparent.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While words had been a part of my visual art for some time, and I had written poetry since childhood, art writing would come much later. My first published piece was for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.transitiongallery.co.uk/garageland.htm" target="_blank"><em>Garageland Magazine</em></a><em>&nbsp;#6</em>&mdash;an opportunity that came to me through people I had known during our Shopfloor days, so it is all connected.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AA:</strong> <strong>Is there a hierarchy?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>DJ:</strong> I would say that it is a constant rotation, depending upon what project is most pressing or engaging. Words are the thread connecting the three practices. Today I&rsquo;m predominantly a text based artist; I write about art for various publications; and when I'm curating an exhibition I begin with forming the title and introduction.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AA:</strong> <strong>How do the three practices affect your identity? How do you introduce yourself?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>DJ: </strong>They are all natural appetites within me. I am always an artist, always a curator, and always a critic, but reconciling those quite different roles into one resolution is elusive, and I think perhaps not even desirable. Each of them have the capacity to excite me at different times.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There is an odd switching between them verbally. Introducing myself as doing all three is excessive, so I often pick one or two depending on the circumstance, not to diminish the other practices, but for efficiency. How my peers consider me or define me, if they consider me at all, crosses my mind too. All three areas are currently coalescing within my visual art practice so that I am making artwork <em>about</em> curating and writing.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AA: Quite a few ArtSlant contributors are also artists. Ryan Trecartin just co-curated the New Museum Triennial, and increasingly curating can even be seen as a manifestation of artistic practice: Cindy Sherman&rsquo;s 2013 Venice Biennale contribution, for example, was a mini-show she curated within Massimiliano Gioni&rsquo;s sprawling <em>Encyclopedic Palace</em>. </strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Is the phenomenon of people being artist-writer-curators (or some combination of the three) on the rise, or has it always been this way? Historically, many artists wrote manifestos, or meditated about their work and that of their peers or forebears. And of course, there were (some major!) exhibitions organized by artists: the original Armory Show (1913), the First Impressionist exhibition (1874). Are we revisiting old history here, or do we think more artists are writing and curating today than ever before?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>DJ:</strong> Being an artist <em>and</em> curator is common enough because while they involve different skills, to my mind, they are not so far removed from each other. And as you say there is precedent (although there is a difference between artists who curate, and academic curators who are not artists). But being a critic <em>additionally</em>, is rarer because that is a distinct role; there you are stepping away from the physicality and involvement of making, installing and showing work in order consider it, from an objective position, in a wider art-historical and socio-political context.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The critic has no hand in the production of an artwork or exhibition. Making or curating art is about having an idea and then presenting it to your audience so that they may form their own interpretations. Critiquing art is about being a part of that audience, making an argument, and then drawing together your conclusions to offer specific points. In a sense, artists/curators and critics come at the artwork from opposing directions.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AA:</strong> <strong>"Triple debt" implies three professions in which practitioners are financially struggling&mdash;perhaps even suggesting that the reason one might choose to do all three is because they are unable to make a living doing just one. Getting paid, working for free, and having one's labor valued are huge problems in the art world. How do you think this plays into professional decision-making? </strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>DJ: </strong>Taking on all three practices theoretically widens the scope of income streams. One could make money from selling artwork, writing reviews, and receiving curatorial fees. But that probably remains in principle rather than practice, because being a "triple debtor" doesn't guarantee receiving those monies over someone concentrating on one practice. You are still competing with everyone else, and actually in a less concentrated way than someone who is an artist <em>or</em> curator. In fact having outlay in all three areas could end up being more of a "triple regret."</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150430164128-private_viewing.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <div id="artwork_title" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>THAT GUY'S A KUNT #3</em>,&nbsp;<em>SITE SPECIFIC DRAWING FOR DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART,</em> 2015, Pencil on paper, 8.5" x 11"</span></div> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AA:</strong>&nbsp;<strong>Whether they reconcile or synthesize some of your practices or not, you do suggest some disciplinary crossover. You've been making art&nbsp;<em>about</em>&nbsp;writing and curating, for example. Can you talk a bit about this work?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>DJ:</strong>&nbsp;In the&nbsp;<em>Art World Watch</em>&nbsp;series&mdash;a play on Human Rights Watch&mdash;I make visual commentary on the art world generally.&nbsp;<em>The Hangman</em>&nbsp;pieces are photographs of exhibitions, installations, or individual artworks in galleries that make an impression on me curatorially, for a show being overcrowded perhaps, or because I am appalled at the quality, or ubiquity of the work. &nbsp;I take a photo and rehang the exhibition or amend the artwork in photoshop, so that I have before and after images. The intent is not to insult the original curator or artist, rather it is a natural response to the act of looking at exhibitions as a critic, and then responding through my own art.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Also within the <em>Art World Watch</em> series I engage with museum and gallery spaces. At the Dallas Museum of Art, I made a quick TV show-themed text piece that read &ldquo;private v<strong>ewing</strong>&rdquo; and hung it in the museum. At the New Orleans Museum of Art, I played around with their institutional signage, doing what it asked me not to. I think of these as artistic drive-by gestures, brief responses made while I&rsquo;m in the situation.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Recently I used Photoshop to rearrange the text in a Jenny Holzer piece at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. I also photographed her text reflected in glass moving out across the museum&rsquo;s lake. It seems that the art world has canonized her to the point of being able to walk on water.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In another line of inquiry, those preposterous lists of important/emerging/trending artists, conjured up by critics are nothing but a boon to egos and increasing web traffic. They are often without an ounce of objective reasoning. I like the <a href="http://submergingartistsscheme.blogspot.nl/" target="_blank">Submerging Artist Scheme</a> for artists 45 and older, presented by the Big West Festival in Australia, which is funny, but has pathos. My response to all these hyperbolic lists is the headline &ldquo;List of the most Important Living Artists,&rdquo; on an otherwise blank sheet of paper, or, &ldquo;List of Artists who Have Pledged Never to Exhibit Their Work Again.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s long.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150501152325-holzer.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <div id="artwork_title" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><em>THE HANGMAN #2</em>,&nbsp;Reworked Jenny Holzer at Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth&nbsp;<br />(Top image original presentation), 2015, Photoshopped digital image</span></div> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AA:</strong> <strong>Another thing you brought up to me earlier was a conceptual overlap between your curatorial and artistic practices&mdash;curating as an extension of art making, which is something we see in galleries, but also in biennials and large exhibitions a lot these days: an artist takes their invitation and curates a show within a show. You mentioned wondering how you could frame what others were doing within the context of your interests, "the notion that 10...or 20 artists might disseminate the ideas better than one."</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>I'm curious about this idea, but also about whether there are other instrumental relationships between your practices. Art in service of writing; criticism in service of curating, etc.</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>DJ:</strong> &nbsp;The idea was that multiple artists would offer many angles on any given theme and increase the breadth of an exhibition&mdash;more than I could do alone&mdash;while sharing resources and spreading the word. It&rsquo;s expansive rather than isolationist. A great recent example of this&mdash;which I had nothing to do with and which was organized by artist, Heyd Fontenot&mdash;is a fantastic show at the <a href="http://www.centraltrak.net/" target="_blank">CentralTrak Artist Residency</a> in Dallas, titled <em>Who&rsquo;s Afraid of Chuck and George?</em> Dozens of the artists&rsquo; friends and colleagues contributed work to the show. The opening night was a celebration of the lives and work of the artists Brian K. Jones and Brian K. Scott as well as the contributors. It was a marvelous way for the Dallas scene to coalesce around its practitioners. All three practices relate in that way and supply the initial materials for each other. &nbsp;At this stage they are inextricably linked.</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AA:</strong> <strong>Who are some other triple regretors whose work you admire? Are there some people you think are doing something particularly unique&mdash;be it in a combined way, or separately across several practices?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>DJ: Emmanuel Cooper</strong> was an art critic, a renowned potter, publisher, teacher, editor, broadcaster, author, gay rights activist, and curator. I met him when I was 19 and new to London. His energy, industriousness and commitment to his varied causes was astonishing. I think he instilled in me the idea that one can be accomplished in many areas, if one has the work ethic and interest required.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Phong Bui</strong> is a fascinating practitioner of his crafts. In addition to helming <em>The Brooklyn Rail</em>, he is an artist, a writer, and a curator. He is also a teacher, radio host, and to my ear, a philosopher. He is one of the most dynamic people I know, and his ability to bring people together, as he would say "in solidarity" is unique.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Carlos Rigau's </strong>work as an artist is partially about extreme social idiosyncrasies and peripheries of Miami life. Carlos also runs General Practice, a space that operates between Miami and New York. His interests lie in setting up an experimental platform that is unencumbered by the sleek economics of the Chelsea model. General Practice, currently located in Brooklyn, might be considered an artistic workshop of trial and play, community involvement, and creative industry. Vitally, Carlos has a social intelligence and charisma without which I don't think General Practice could function quite as it does.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Jose Ruiz</strong> is an artist, curator, and teacher. He founded Furthermore in DC, which began as a digital print studio and has now expanded into exhibition/design services and artist publications as well as offering educational programs to support young artists in the area. In addition he is a co-founder&mdash;with Chad Stayrook and Brian Balderston&mdash;of &nbsp;Present Company, an exhibition and performance space in Brooklyn. I met Jose when he was the curator&mdash;with Erin Sickler&mdash;of the 2009 Queens International.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Michael Petry</strong> is an internationally exhibiting artist, a curator, writer, author, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, and co-founder of the Museum of Installation, both in London. I'd like to ask him how keeps pace with all of these projects!</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I'll stop there because I'm starting to feel lazy in comparison to all of these driven individuals.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150501153047-A_Fool_Review1.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em style="font-size: x-small;">BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME: REDACTED ARTNEWS BJORK REPORT LEAVING THE AUTHOR'S COPIOUS SELF-REFERENCES&nbsp;</em></span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: 10px; text-align: center;">"STATE OF EMERGENCY: BIESENBACH&rsquo;S BJ&Ouml;RK SHOW TURNS MOMA INTO PLANET HOLLYWOOD"</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: 10px; text-align: center;">, 2015,&nbsp;8.5 x 44"</span></p> <div style="line-height: 10px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></div> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AA:</strong> <strong>What are some of the occupational hazards of being an artist/curator/writer? When can you include your own work in a show, for example?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>DJ:</strong> There are some frustrating aspects. The artist-friends of mine who I am closest to are such in part because I love their work so much. Naturally I want to write about their exhibitions, but that's is a tough area to navigate. Placing my own work in an exhibition is case by case. I've done it before and felt wretched about it afterwards, and other times it wasn't a problem. One learns. It depends on context. When I curated a large international exhibition of Scottish art at Hunter College Galleries in New York, it was not appropriate to include my own work, whereas the exhibitions I organized at St. George's Church in Queens or Trinity Museum grew out of my own practice and my connection with spiritual spaces, so there it was appropriate to include it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AA:</strong> &nbsp;<strong>You say "triple regret," but can you imagine it any other way?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>DJ:</strong> I'm being droll with the wordplay, but yes, I love it, and while it is a lot of work to manage them all at the same time, it is how I need it to be in order to pursue my creative interests.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/95201-andrea-alessi" target="_blank">Andrea Alessi</a> and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/16357-darren-jones" target="_blank">Darren Jones<span style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><span style="line-height: 26px;">(Image at top: Darren Jones,&nbsp;<em>PETER SCHJELDAHL IS TIRED BUT I'M WIDE AWAKE</em>,&nbsp;Edited digital image from MoMA's exhibition&nbsp;<em>The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World</em>.&nbsp;Original image, left. My removal, right, 2015. All images: Darren Jones. Courtesy of the artist)</span></span></p> Sat, 02 May 2015 15:29:02 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Peel Slowly and See: Bill Jensen's Ego-less Abstraction <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There was a time in modern music when the role of the artist changed from being the custodian of cultural knowledge to something more of an autobiographer. We might choose that moment in the late sixties when Lou Reed abandoned the writing of pop ditties about boys and girls to focus on his own, more personal interests, like boys and girls and heroin. In other art forms this sea change was happening; in comedy, where once jokes were shared, un-authored, between performers in Vegas, the Catskills, and New York City clubs, Lenny Bruce made comedy suddenly personal&mdash;talking about race, politics, cops, censorship, and heroin. It is tempting to suggest that in painting this shift had happened decades earlier, particularly in that sub-category of painting called &ldquo;abstraction.&rdquo; Once artists like Kandinsky, Rodchenko, Dove, and O&rsquo;Keefe had looked for universal symbols&mdash;a folk art, as it were&mdash;of the collective unconscious. Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko, in particular, overturned all that&mdash;with Pollock famously eschewing commonality by stating, &ldquo;I am Nature.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150429163829-SingleChu-LR-1.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Single Ch&rsquo;u</em>, 2014&ndash;2015, Oil on linen,&nbsp;52 x 42 inches</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It is of some importance to note that while all artists probably became aware of these changes, there were some, like Bob Dylan, who sought to give voice to their own stories, while at the same time acknowledging the deep history of their medium. Dylan began as a folk musician, in the tradition of Arlo Guthrie, and transitioned into the premier autobiographical storyteller of his generation, yet he never completely abandoned the idea of a collective musical unconscious. Bill Jensen, whose career has been devoted to maintaining the ideas of abstract painting, may represent, in a period where we have artists who create &ldquo;zombie formalist&rdquo; paintings, a folk tradition in painterly abstraction more akin to Dylan than Reed.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Jensen strives for an ego-less, unpretentious practice devoid of preconceived outcomes, surrendering to the painting process, allowing it to determine the path and destination of his work. His intensive layering and reworking of the canvas results in highly tactile and seductive surfaces: paint is plastered on, scraped off, seeped, dredged, brushed, and smoothed until a certain &ldquo;presence&rdquo; is achieved; he attempts to create paintings which, like self-contained beings, affect the world around them&mdash;a characteristic he refers to as &ldquo;emotional density.&rdquo; In the work shown at Cheim &amp; Read, Jensen riffs on subjects taken from Chinese poetry, Michelangelo&rsquo;s Sistine Chapel, the icons of Andrei Rublev, and contemporaries, like Jasper Johns and Carroll Dunham.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150429163249-StudyLHTransg-LR-1.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Study for Left Hand Panel of Transgressions</em>, 2013, Oil on canvas, 261/8 x 20 inches</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The first room in the exhibition holds a mini-exhibition-within-the-exhibition, containing small, exquisitely painted variations on Michelangelo. <em>Study for Right Hand Panel of Transgressions</em> (2013) and <em>Study for Left Hand Panel of Transgressions</em> (2013) morph Michelangelo&rsquo;s Laoco&ouml;n-like figures into a writing mass of intestinal shapes,&nbsp;&agrave; la Dunham, against a harsh orange ground reminiscent of fifties-era Francis Bacon. The biomorphic shapes twist and turn, seeming to wrestle, fuck, and fight all at the same time. Jensen&rsquo;s use of the triptych also reminds us of Bacon, who used the classic format to create oblique narratives, while heightening the strangeness of the abstract figure.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150429163606-Jensen-4-LR.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Message</em>, 2011&ndash;2014, Oil on linen, 40 x 50 inches&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It is in the second gallery, though, we see Jensen the folk artist. In <em>Double Sorrow +1 (GREY SCALE)</em> (2014&ndash;15), <em>Message</em> (2011&ndash;2014), and <em>Louhan (Violet II)</em>&nbsp;(2013&ndash;2014), Jensen combines elements of Johns&rsquo; stenciled, black-and-white puzzles and handprints; Julian Schnabel&rsquo;s signature purple scratched splatters and biomorphic white blobs; and Basquiat&rsquo;s drop cloths covered in studio detritus, coffee cup stains, and smudges. It is not to say that Jensen&rsquo;s interest in working from the memory of nature, as he has so ably done in the past, is gone entirely&mdash;<em>Single Ch&rsquo;u</em> (2014&ndash;2015) is pure, vintage Jensen&mdash;but rather he has begun to absorb the memory of culture, a shared painterly culture, into his process. In contrast to younger painters like Joe Bradley or Oscar Murillo who merely ape a vapid simulacrum of abstract painting&rsquo;s vocabulary, Jensen incorporates a larger and deeper understanding of the history of his chosen style. If it weren&rsquo;t so seemingly pejorative a term, we might be tempted to say that Jensen performs a generic form of abstraction. If one is tempted to find some reductive form of criticism of these new works, or Jensen&rsquo;s strategy as a whole, and attempt to dismiss it as out of step with the moment, one would do well to go, quickly, and listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn&rsquo;s version of Hendrix&rsquo;s cover of Dylan&rsquo;s &ldquo;All Along the Watchtower.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/216789-bradley-rubenstein?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Bradley Rubenstein</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Bill Jensen,&nbsp;<em>Louhan (Violet II)</em>&nbsp;2013&ndash;2014, Oil on linen, 28 x 23 inches. All images courtesy of the artist and Cheim &amp; Read, New York)</span></p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 17:59:37 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Gallery Weekend Berlin Preview: <em>The Unreliable Narrator</em> at Campagne Première <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Truth is complicated. We live in a world bombarded by coded messages that urge us to perk up, pay attention, take sides, and weed out those that are trustworthy from those that are less so. In film, television, print, and online we are in a constant state of self-definition: this is us, that is them. We define ourselves against a backdrop of trusted leaders, voices, guides, and influencers. But ultimately, how can you tell the truth? How can you </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">tell</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> the truth?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As part of this year&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.gallery-weekend-berlin.de/" target="_blank">Gallery Weekend&nbsp;</a></span><a href="http://www.gallery-weekend-berlin.de/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Berlin</span></a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;and in collaboration with London-based gallery </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/venues/show/11813-waterside-contemporary">waterside contemporary</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, </span><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ber/events/show/378802-the-unreliable-narrator" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Campagne Premi&egrave;re</span></a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> will host an exhibition of British artist duo Karen Mirza &amp; Brad Butler titled </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Unreliable Narrator</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. Taking its namesake from the exhibition&rsquo;s centerpiece video, the show is an examination of the influence of perception, conditioning, power, and privilege. A work whose intent is set on persuading viewers to question the role of a narrator in truth-telling and the ability to find one concise truth in the context of war.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150429161357-MG_3631_Mirza_Butler_-_Unreliable_Narrator_-_waterside_contemporary.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Detail: Act(s)</em>, 2014, Installation</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Located on the third floor in the interior garden at Chausseestrasse 116 and lined with windows overlooking the courtyard, the gallery&rsquo;s main hall is flooded with natural light. Entering the space, one is greeted by a stark demarcation: a red theater curtain bisects the space, setting the stage. Visitors immediately find themselves in what appears to be a school classroom. A neon sign spelling out &ldquo;you are the prime minister&rdquo; buzzes against the crimson curtain and hangs forebodingly over a single row of wooden school desks. Atop each is the first page of an entrance exam to the prestigious Eton College, a British educational institution known to have produced 19 of Britain&rsquo;s prime ministers. Based on a real scholarship examination from 2011, the page has a singular question, a singular scenario. Visitors immediately and unwittingly are assumed as stand-ins for test-taking student candidates. They are asked to picture themselves as heads of state in 2040 in order to write a speech justifying &ldquo;necessary&rdquo; and &ldquo;moral&rdquo; use of military force against civilian protesters. An urge to take a seat and gaze out the window as a student contemplating their future in a classroom suddenly takes hold.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150429160849-MG_3635_Mirza_Butler_-_Unreliable_Narrator_-_waterside_contemporary.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>You Are The Prime Minister</em>, 2014, Installation view</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Behind the curtain, the video work <em>The Unreliable Narrator</em>&nbsp;focuses on the tragic events of the 26 November 2008 led by a group of Pakistani jihadist gunmen, including a three day siege of the Taj Mahal Hotel, that led to 166 deaths and hundreds injured. Playing on two separate screens in a windowless confine, the film braids together multiple narrative strands ultimately producing a sensual all-consuming imminence so often doled out by the media, doses willingly consumed by the contemporary news junkie.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150429161156-Mirza_Butler_-_The_Unreliable_Narrator_-_still_09.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150429161212-Mirza_Butler_-_The_Unreliable_Narrator_-_still_13.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>The Unreliable Narrator</em>, 2014, Video 2-channel installation with audio, 16&rsquo;20&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The accompanying audio is similarly jolting and disorienting, placing the spectator in close proximity to both the events and the bodies of the perpetrators themselves. On the one hand, the feet-on-the-ground first hand accounts of the attacks are taken from intercepted phone calls between the young (and obviously inexperienced) gunmen and their controllers in Pakistan. Carried out on their Blackberries, the conversations shed light on attacks that seem produced and performed by and large for the media and for the benefit of their endless replay on YouTube. Alternately, the dominant&mdash;almost omniscient&mdash;narration, recalling a Western style newscast, is carried our by female writer and activist Rahila Gupta. As the film progresses, jumping from violent scene to violent scene, a once seemingly impartial narrator becomes increasingly sensationalist, subjective, and even mocking, arrogantly dispensing sweeping statements producing the lustful sensation of permanent emergency.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While the artists&rsquo; voices are conspicuously (or apparently) absent from the list of unreliable narrators set before us, the exhibition gestures at a fog of war so often overlooked and echoes the questions set forth by Judith Butler in her 2009 <em>Frames of War</em>. &ldquo;What happens when a frame breaks with itself is that a taken-for-granted reality is called into question, exposing the orchestrating designs of the authority who sought to control the frame.&rdquo; This suggestion signals and warns against multiple coexisting narratives, conditioned dominantly by the winners, the conquerors, the writers of history.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/147418-nicole-rodr%C3%ADguez?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Nicole Rodriguez</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Karen Mirza &amp; Brad Butler, <em>You Are The Prime Minister</em>, 2014, Neon sign, 220 x 12 cm.&nbsp;All images courtesy of the artists, waterside contemporary &amp; Campagne Premi&egrave;re)</span></p> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 13:52:34 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list The Truth Behind the “Judith Beheading Holofernes” Pasta Sauce Label <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A jar of pasta sauce recently came to our attention when it went viral, at least among guffawing art history majors on Facebook, who were compelled by the droves&mdash;likely due to our desperate desire for validation&mdash;to click on this blog post evocatively titled &ldquo;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.11points.com/Food-Drink/Why_This_Company_Desperately_Needed_to_Hire_an_Art_History_Major" target="_blank">Why This Company Desperately Needed to Hire an Art History Major</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">.&rdquo; Oh yes, we collectively clamored, here&rsquo;s a circumstance when our expertise surely would have been of use.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Speculation circulated as to the intent of the label, which features a detail of Caravaggio&rsquo;s 1598 painting <em>Judith Beheading Holofernes.</em> The detail just happens to crop out all the gore of the painting&mdash;the brilliantly bloody, spurting, streaming, juicy gore&mdash;in favor of a close up of Judith&rsquo;s face. Without the context of carnage, she does appear, as the blog post suggests, to be merely &ldquo;looking down at a big pot of organic tomato and porcini mushroom sauce, pondering if she needs to add more tomatoes or porcini mushrooms.&rdquo; (The slight affect of dismay on her face, now that we think of it, is quite out of proportion to the butchery she is performing in the painting.)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150427193243-Judith_Beheading_Holofernes_by_Caravaggio.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Caravaggio,&nbsp;<em>Judith Beheading Holofernes</em>, c.1598</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The blog post purports that this flagrant misuse of Old Master painting could have been avoided, if only the company had an art history major on staff, who would have surely informed the CEO of the context of Judith&rsquo;s nasty undertaking, and steered the company toward a more suitable image for a tomato sauce label. One without all the, you know, homicidal horror. As one Facebook commentator astutely pointed out: at least the sauce doesn&rsquo;t contain meatballs.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But the premise didn&rsquo;t add up&mdash;it couldn&rsquo;t. How could they not know the lovely girl in the painting was actually &ldquo;mid-decapitation&rdquo;? It must have been intentional. Did they just think we wouldn&rsquo;t make the connection? Is it an inside joke?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Being the indomitable scholars that we are, we decided to investigate.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150427193535-Tomato___Porcini_Mushroom_Sauce_-_Nutrition_Facts___Ingredients.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Caravaggio sauce is part of a line of tomato sauces distributed by a company called Middle Earth Organics.<a title="" href="#_ftn1">[1]</a> You can read about their sauces <a href="http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/organic-italian-tomato-sauces-glass-jars.htm" target="_blank">here</a>. Each variety of sauce bears on its label the image of &ldquo;a Renaissance woman,&rdquo; Robert Reiss, who started Middle Earth Organics about 12 years ago, told us. &ldquo;You have your Botticelli, Raphaello, Leonardo,&rdquo; he rattled off the names with a practiced Italian accent, rolling his r&rsquo;s with relish, &ldquo;and well, I&rsquo;m a huge Caravaggio fan.&rdquo; So they had to have a Caravaggio, too. But finding a suitable Caravaggio, one that wasn&rsquo;t too dark or sharply chiaroscuro, was a challenge. Judith was simply the best candidate.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As for the incongruous subject matter? &ldquo;It never even occurred to me!&rdquo; he laughed. Reiss said, in all honesty, he &ldquo;paid no attention to the subject matter&rdquo; of the painting, and in 12 years &ldquo;no one ever said anything about it.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The sauce was even featured in an <em>Art in America </em>article in December 2010, exploring the &ldquo;<a href="http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/magazine/caravaggiomania/" target="_blank">Caravaggiomania</a>&rdquo; phenomenon, noting the &ldquo;label of a blood-red pasta sauce&rdquo; bearing the head of Judith, but not delving into the distasteful connotations of its use.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The question then: did this company desperately need an art history major? Yes, and no. Reiss is, in fact, an art history major, from Princeton no less, and studied German Renaissance sculpture in Germany on a Fulbright scholarship before studying Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. He attributes his use of the Renaissance art-inspired labels with the brand&rsquo;s success in upscale grocery stores like Whole Foods. &ldquo;I know what I&rsquo;m doing when it comes to art history,&rdquo; he said, pointing out the careful attribution to the paintings on each label. But this art history background didn&rsquo;t make him think twice about using a detail from a painting depicting a horrifying and vengeful murder to adorn a food product.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This separation of subject matter from artist is, I think, characteristic of those of us who study art history. We are all too often desensitized to the subject matter of the art we look at. A Caravaggio is a Caravaggio, after all. So, perhaps, what we really need is a comedian to point these things out to us.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/11505-natalie-hegert?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Natalie Hegert&nbsp;</a></span></p> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><br clear="all" /><hr style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" align="left" size="1" width="33%" /> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a title="" href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> For those of you wondering about the Tolkien reference, the name &ldquo;Middle Earth&rdquo; actually refers to the translation of &ldquo;Mediterranean.&rdquo;</span></p> </div> </div> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:43:24 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Made-Up with Danny Volk: S1E12 with Zachary Cahill <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Danny Volk talks to artists in their studios about life and art&mdash;while they do his make-up. This concept was a new one for us, and, unsurprisingly, it produces some unique moments: see artists like Theaster Gates, Pope.L, and Jessica Stockholder working in their studios as you've never seen them before.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Revisit Season 1 as we anticipate the all-new Made-Up Season 2, to be released this Spring on ArtSlant.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This week: Friend of the site <a href="http://www.artslant.com/chi/artists/rackroom/208914-zachary-cahill" target="_blank">Zachary Cahill</a>&nbsp;talks about his fave color (pink!), day jobs, and his major USSA project.<br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/n7c24Ww6mms" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="float: right;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150129205110-10299099_219201961624218_7214582499433800077_n.jpg" alt="" width="150" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>More About Made-Up With Danny Volk&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Made-Up is created and hosted by Danny Volk.&nbsp;Volk was born in 1979 in Akron, OH and currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. Volk got his MFA in Visual Art from the University of Chicago in 2014, and his BA in Theater Studies at Kent State University in 2006.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Produced by | Danny Volk and Stephanie Anne Harris Trevor</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Cameras | Bryce Peppers,&nbsp;Valia&nbsp;O'Donnell</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Technical consultant | Ben Chandler</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Comic Strip" by Serge&nbsp;Gainsbourg&nbsp;remixed by&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/flashcookie">DJ&nbsp;Flashcookie</a></span></p> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 12:52:25 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list If You Build It, They Will Come: The Inauguration of a New Era at the Whitney <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Picture this: on a sunny day, you are walking through the meatpacking district in Downtown Manhattan. You walk down the cobblestone streets, passing the high-end clothing stores; you pass the Standard Hotel and stumble upon the foot of the High Line. &nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">As you approach Gansevoort Street, you notice a new building that doesn&rsquo;t look like the others: bordering the West Side Highway, you walk towards this large, strikingly asymmetrical building and are dumbfounded by the pure magnitude of its structure. This building is the all new Whitney Museum of American Art.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Designed by Renzo Piano, the new building&rsquo;s mission is to &ldquo;create an environment in which visitors will be encouraged to connect deeply with art through an irreplaceable first-hand experience,&rdquo; according to Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney&rsquo;s Alice Pratt Brown Director. Almost twice the size of its former home, the Whitney&rsquo;s gallery spaces have benefitted immensely from their new spatial arrangements. Piano&rsquo;s design was conceived as a &ldquo;laboratory for artists&rdquo; and aims to provide an engaging environment not only for artists, but for critics, scholars, curators, and creatives alike.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Attending the press day with several ArtSlant staff last week, our morning began with addresses by Adam D. Weinberg, Donna de Salvo (Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Programs) and the building&rsquo;s designer Renzo Piano (who referred to the building&rsquo;s lobby as a&nbsp;<em>piazza larga</em>&nbsp;during his speech, causing ripples of laughter throughout the room). During 40 minutes of speeches, the audience&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">saw the dramatic entrance of the fire department and medics who came to attend to</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;woman who collapsed (we hope she is ok); Lightening the afternoon,&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">New York Magazine</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&rsquo;s Senior Art Critic and ham Jerry Saltz did his social waltz around the museum and was sure to converse with everyone in sight; my personal favorite activity was observing every attendee&rsquo;s perfectly structured outfit, as the corridors turned into a temporary runway.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">On Friday, May 1, the new Whitney Museum opens to the public with <em>America Is Hard to See</em>, which examines art in America ranging from 1900 to today. Pulling works from the Whitney&rsquo;s permanent collection, the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">enormous building's&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">galleries illuminate the collection's gems, some of which have never been presented before. W</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">e were blown away by the architecture of the new premises: this is truly how art should be seen. The galleries are f</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">looded with natural light, and none of the internal walls of the exhibition spaces are permanent meaning that each exhibition can take on the space freely and in new ways.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150427140630-31_426_HopperE.jpeg.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Edward Hopper, 1882‑1967,&nbsp;<em>Early Sunday Morning</em>,&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">1930, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from&nbsp;Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney&nbsp;&copy; Whitney Museum of American Art</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Amidst the grand entrance to the museum, the four elevators that take you to the galleries are themselves an art work. Entitled&nbsp;<em>Six in Four</em>, the elevators are tangible imaginative installations by Richard Artschwager, each one different. &ldquo;<a href="http://whitney.org/file_columns/0004/0593/artschwager_elevators.pdf" target="_blank">Employing materials such as plastic laminate, glass, and etched stainless steel, the four elevators are the culmination of a body of work based on six themes that occupied Artschwager&rsquo;s imagination since the mid-1970s: door, window, table, basket, mirror, and rug.&rdquo;</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">The new building features interactive terraces for each floor, allowing for traditional interior art space, while affording movement outside. The terraces and immense windows incorporate a vast amount of natural light within the galleries and grant a mimetic relationship to the outside world. Hosting some exceptional sculptures and communal sanctuary, the Whitney&rsquo;s new terraces interweave the building&rsquo;s incredible geometries. They also provide some of the most breathtaking views of Manhattan&rsquo;s skyline&mdash;a proper scene to remind visitors of the museum's roots.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150427142020-630.019_608.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Photograph by Nic Lehoux</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Organized chronologically, the current exhibition presents works such as Georgia O&rsquo;Keeffe&rsquo;s soft colors, Max Weber&rsquo;s abstract compositions and John Covert&rsquo;s lightly collaged paintings, on the top floor, the smallest floor of galleries, focused on works created between 1910 and 1940. As the exhibition continues, viewers encounter works from 1925-1960 and&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">1950&ndash;1975, where the exhibition advances into the present with the emergence of new technologies and the expanded use of a wider range of materials.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">(While the dating arrangement does not flow consecutively, the movements these works chart allow for the intricate map of American art to speak exuberantly and passionately).&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Between Robert Rauschenberg&rsquo;s <em>Satellite</em> and Thomas Downing&rsquo;s illusionistic painting <em>Five</em>, the mid-century artworks encourage viewers to question what they see. The entire floor flows with the energy of chaos, compulsion and madness. It&rsquo;s brilliant. &nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">The climax of the exhibition comes on the 5th floor (our advice, start from the top and work your way down) hosting works from 1965 to today. Here Jean-Michel Basquiat, Nam June Paik, and Mike Kelley are among the blockbusters. Each floor is a self-contained era in American Art, the marks of the dawn of new artistic expression, a visual representation of contemporary culture, social history, and politics.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Weaving through the galleries with an in-depth historical lens, </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">America Is Hard to See</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> illustrates the formative years of American art&rsquo;s evolution and development.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150427140932-2011.3a_i_LigonG.Tif.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Glenn Ligon (b. 1960),&nbsp;<em>R&uuml;ckenfigur,</em> 2009, Neon and paint, 24 &times; 145 1/2 &times; 5in. (61 &times; 369.6 &times; 12.7 cm).&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Committee&nbsp; 2011.3a‑i.&nbsp; &copy; Glenn Ligon&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A new building is a perfect opportunity to address the blurred lines of American identity and what it means for "American Art" and for a Museum of American Art. Who is represented here? Artists born in the Americas, those who have adopted this as their home, or is this definition unnecessary&mdash;as diverse as America itself?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150427140740-70_16_BechtleR.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;"><br /></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Robert Bechtle (b. 1932).<em>'61 Pontiac</em>, 1968‑1969, Oil on canvas, 59 3/4 &times; 84 1/4in. (151.8 &times; 214 cm).&nbsp;Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Richard and Dorothy Rodgers&nbsp; &copy; Robert Bechtle&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">The Whitney has created a space to embody community. Natives and tourists alike are sure to be in awe of this new home for a fundamental collection of American art, one that scintillates with the cultural production of decades in the beating heart of New York City.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/409890-andrea-zlotowitz?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Andrea Zlotowitz</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;<span style="text-align: left;">View from the Hudson River. Photographed by Karin Jobst, 2014.)</span></span></p> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:50:11 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list A New Definition of Art in the Age of Celebrity <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The last two months have seen two great celebrity-become-artist scandals. </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="https://news.artnet.com/art-world/how-will-momas-bjork-debacle-impact-klaus-biesenbach-279582">Bj&ouml;rk&rsquo;s retrospective</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> and </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/42366">Kanye&rsquo;s doctorate</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. Two years prior, Abramovic's </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://hyperallergic.com/75293/jay-z-raps-at-marina-abramovic-or-the-day-performance-art-died/">The Artist is Present paired with a performance by Jay-Z</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> stoked the same flame that threatens to consume our conceptions of aesthetics and Artist&mdash;with a capital A. Because that exists, still.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art, it seems, may need a new definition. One that fits with current conceptions and usage.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" lang="en"> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;">$$$$$$$$$$ <a href="https://twitter.com/zoeschlanger">@zoeschlanger</a> Can't stop watching this vine of Jay-Z and Marina Abramovic dancing together <a href="https://t.co/imtk7kEPzR">https://t.co/imtk7kEPzR</a></p> &mdash; Azeen Ghorayshi (@azeen_g) <a href="https://twitter.com/azeen_g/status/355071681376694273">July 10, 2013</a></blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art is meme, as it must be reproducible&mdash;which has come to mean apprehension. Apprehension = reproducible. Yet, art must be unique. Art wholly exists within the constructs of time, which makes the quality of 'unique' merely a declaration that something or other came first. It should not have any bearing on the high institution of art. Unique = first-for-now. Unique is a mirage and so will do us no good in defining art now.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art is the <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">visual</span> evidence of cultural activity.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The visual requirement for art was erased officially with the acceptance of participatory performance (and sound art) into the canon of contemporary art and with it an understanding that our body&rsquo;s actions can constitute loci of meaning. The fact that we are able to document these performances cements the continued value of performance art as it is now reproducible as object.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Bj&ouml;rk&rsquo;s retrospective at MoMA has arguably attracted the most <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/momas-bjork-disaster.html">ire from the press</a>, both for the selection of Bj&ouml;rk as an artist "deserving" of a MoMA retrospective and for its ill-conceived exhibition plan. Despite the fact that we call musicians artists, they are time and time again rebuffed by contemporary artists and critics who mostly primacy the visual&mdash;even though the audience loves a good performance. Martin Creed&rsquo;s forays into music are never boohooed or spat upon as unnecessary incursions into an artistic practice that he does not ascribe to. But then again, Martin Creed hasn&rsquo;t won a Grammy.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There is evidence that the activity of apperceiving art has a mood boosting effect as well as <a href="http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2015/02/02/anti-inflammatory/">positive bodily implications</a>. That feeling of awe, those goosebumps that electrify hairs to attention, that is the transformative evidence of art. On a personal level, goosebumps were the reason I became interested in art: the high one gets from being got by an artwork. As much as I would love to define art as that which sets one into an awe-filled state, it's a rule that can only be applied subjectively and therefore, I guess, a pretty bad rule.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art is the evidence of cultural activity.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">What is wrong with this definition? Is it too broad? Too forgiving? Do we want to be able to say that this is art and that is not? A piece of bread, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/42686">we've found</a>, is sometimes art, sometimes not.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art is the evidence of purposeful cultural activity.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Purposeful" connotes a communicative value. Does art need to be received by an audience to be art. Yes. Does it need to be understood by an audience to be art? No. Do we have to like it? No. B</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">ad art is still art, whether we like it or not. We are getting bogged down with subjective qualities now.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">What is market art and is it different from art as defined above?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Market art, as a subset of art, is wholly valued and defined according to its reception by a couple hundred individuals and a few institutions. This condition comes with a set of implications that certainly impacts aesthetic production. There is also a chance for unexpected results due to market(ing) forces, see, for example, the image-maker of the highest grossing photograph of all time, Peter Lik. But Mr. Lik has by no means been allowed entrance into the upper echelons of the art world.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150423185421-wg441_ghost_1.jpg" alt="" width="500" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">The most expensive photograph in the world,&nbsp;<em>Ghost</em> by Peter Lik.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Pop</em> has entered into the equation and a distinction emerges between a pop(ulace) market and a rarified market. Rarity does play a role in popular culture but with most sorts of rarity in this context, it is mediated by accessibility. A rarified market, on the other hand, is dependent almost exclusively on the artful evidence being rare&mdash;rare conceptually, emotionally, financially and physically (<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/business/peter-liks-recipe-for-success-sell-prints-print-money.html?_r=1">the first and final qualities will surely be the downfall of the Peter Lik empire</a>).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150423190100-james-franco-new-film-still-2.jpg" alt="" width="500" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">James Franco as Cindy Sherman.&nbsp;James Franco,&nbsp;New Film Still #21&nbsp;(2013).&nbsp;&copy; 2014&nbsp;<a href="http://artnet.com/galleries/the-pace-gallery/">Pace Gallery</a>, All Rights Reserved. &copy; the artist; all images &copy; Pace Gallery.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Since Kanye West, Bj&ouml;rk, Jay Z, Tilda Swinton, James Franco, Jemima Kirke, etc. all &ldquo;belong&rdquo; to the world of pop-culture, there is a steadfast recoil at their attempts in becoming part of the rarified market. They are, after all, personas that belong to us all, the fans. But since when did it become essential for artists to inhabit one persona? Durational performance artist Tehching Hsieh purportedly now owns a <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-market-clinton-hill">coffee shop</a> in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn&mdash;though that too could just be a stealth performance. There are many examples in the last 60 years of Artists-cum-celebrities as well, perhaps best depicted by Salvador Dali&rsquo;s appearance on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXT2E9Ccc8A">What&rsquo;s My Line?</a>&nbsp;(as shown in the image at top.)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Warhol would tackle the bleeding line between pop and fine art in a way that still confounds and gently irks most commentators. At that point in time, the pop image could not be be included into the rarified market due to its proliferation. The image of a pop star belonged to all and therefore could not become a high-value commodity. Then Warhol sprinkled diamond dust on the image and art transformed. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Now, art must be reproducible, sought after and locatable. In the breadth of cultural knowledge, it must connect with not only the individual but with society at large. Art is the evidence of purposeful cultural activity and due to our cultural propensities for openness and sharing, art must leave the rarified market and accept that it is not the property of the few.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/website/joel-kuennen" target="_blank">Joel Kuennen</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Image at top: Screengrab from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXT2E9Ccc8A">a clip</a> of Salvador Dali on the 1950's American game show, What's My Line?</span></p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:54:43 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Branding a Genre: INSA's Gif-iti <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Is it possible to trademark a whole genre of art? UK-based artist INSA has done just that, and gives an insight into the practicalities of defending your art in the digital era. In his most recent project, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXtSnq-Nvro">INSA&rsquo;s Satellite Gif-iti </a>(racking up more than 2.5 million views at the time of writing) the artist puts a behemoth brand stamp on the earth, endorsed in a 3 minute film&mdash;which sees the artist paint a carpark the size of two football pitches in Rio De Janeiro, and create a Gif from images shot from a satellite in space. The BBC, and even, <a href="https://instagram.com/p/1sYnQaRxhm/?taken-by=insa_gram">Lil Wayne</a>, are talking about it.<br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150423033242-INSA-London.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">INSA, London, 2011</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In 2011, INSA created his first Gif-iti piece in Belgium. At the time, his main motivation was to push his practice to the next level, taking graffiti beyond the buff and into cyberspace where it would live better and longer. IRL, INSA had already paid his dues: he started out painting graffiti aged 13, when he would take buses down to London to paint trains (and he spent a stint in prison at age 21) and has gone on to produce exhibitions, products, and large scale installations (including his <em><a href="http://www.insaland.com/blog/the-insa-bubble/">Self Reflection is Greater Than Self Projection</a>,</em> London 2012) as well a short film for <a href="https://vimeo.com/37184040">Channel 4</a>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150423135919-INSAxINKIE.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">INSA x INKIE, Belgium, 2011</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While early Gif-iti works clearly reference graffiti (big, bold tags, with highlights and shines as an in-joke to fellow graffiti writers) later Gif-iti works have developed not only in their technical complexity but in their thematic concerns. Galvinising medium-as-message, INSA's recent Gif-iti pieces (take <em>Cycle of Futility</em>, or <em>C'est La Vie</em>) are a satirical comment on a URL existence, and the paradox of online materialism.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150423140005-INSA-Deptford.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">INSA, London, 2012</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150423135703-TheCycleOfFutility-Animated.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">INSA, <em>The Cycle of Futility</em>, London, 2014</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">INSA&rsquo;s previous "graffiti fetish" style had already been ripped off and reappropriated all over, but he understood his Gif-iti innovation was something he was going to have to protect as closely as his identity. Advertisers soon cottoned on to the visual power of his Gif-iti work and it became the artist&rsquo;s&mdash;who rarely produces conventional physical works&mdash;most desirable asset. Trademarking his brand was about protecting his ability to earn from his creations&mdash;but it wasn't just about the monetary value.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The process of creating these Gif-iti pieces is technically complex and laborious. In each Gif-iti wall, individual layers are painted by hand, some comprised of up to 16 layers. Protecting the Gif-iti brand was also a way to claim that technical innovation and differentiate it from other kinds of digital and gif art where the maniuplation is applied digitally. I</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">n order to fully understand the concept art work, it was fundamental that the Gif-iti brand exist. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150423033206-RoskildeFestival-Animated.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">INSA, Rosekilde Festival, 2014</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">When imitators and fan works did appear, INSA was mirred in that greyish area of intellectual property. Ideas aren&rsquo;t easy to safeguard, and more so with mass exposure across the web. Though regulations are designed to encourage innovators to make new things and be fairly compensated for their work, it&rsquo;s impossible, due to the nebulous nature of the net, to track everyone&mdash;and when someone uses your idea for profit, you're likely to get pissed.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In Norway last year, a group of artists painted what they claimed as &ldquo;the world&rsquo;s largest Gif-iti&rdquo; as an ad for an energy drink. Since there was no mention of his name, INSA considered the project an infringement and in response, he went to Taiwan and painted an even bigger Gif-iti: &ldquo;that piece is fucking huge, 8 stories high. I would never have actually attempted to do a Gif-iti piece this big&hellip; but before I went out to Taipei I saw that some painters in Oslo had taken the Gif-iti idea and done a big advert with it. I couldn&rsquo;t let that be the case.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150423033123-StreetView-1000.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">INSA x Madsteez for Pow! Wow! Taiwan, 2014</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Rather than taking legal action, INSA's way of defending his brand is an example of a head-on approach to enforcing intellectual property rights in an environment in which authorship and originality become murky and soluble. Instead of engaging in a lengthy legal battle INSA's answer seems to be to go bigger and louder to reassert his ownership.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">On a broader level, his take on branding reminds us of the competitive culture of creating now, and the struggle of making a profitable art form that remains the property of the artist. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150423034248-Paradise-INSAxROIDS.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">INSA x Roids, Hawaii, 2014</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Char Jansen</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Char Jansen is an assistant to INSA</em>.&nbsp;</span></p> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:28:43 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list I Was an e-Erotica Editor <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Rape is taboo, says my boss. The heroine cannot be raped during the span of the novel, though having been raped previous to the events of the story is acceptable, as long as it is not described explicitly.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I ask my boss if fingers count. I had a manuscript the other day in which the heroine had fingers inserted inside her without consent, and I am curious, do I tag this as rape, or no?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There is a silence as my boss considers this. That would not need to be tagged, my boss decides. Rape is not rape unless it is with a penis, she decides. Meeting adjourned.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For the last year and a half I spent eight hours a day editing bottom-of-the-barrel tripe from a dark, musty corner of the e-book erotica industry spawned by <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em> and the <em>Twilight</em> series. While my experience may not be representative or even typical of the e-erotica industry as a whole, it was thorough and specific. This is an industry, I had gathered, that was woman-centric, empowering, and sex-positive. This is an industry, I now know, that can be lazy, narrow, prejudiced, and un-self-aware. This is an industry that turned me into a petty, daily arbiter of whether or not fingers counted. This industry&rsquo;s privileged place as an emancipator of kink and fount of sexual empowerment is misconceived and dangerous.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Romance-TWILIGHT-vampire-paranormal-ebook/dp/B00TV81EKW"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150422203050-51ebw002uBL._SL_300___1_.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Our books were obsessed, varyingly but relentlessly, with tropes like hair washing. There is surely nothing wrong with a little erotic bathing, but when coupled with the heroine being spoon-fed, sat upon laps, carried across even the smallest distances, and given post-coital wipe-downs by omnipresent &ldquo;warm wash cloths,&rdquo; the effect is distinctively infantile or geriatric. The heroine uniformly has no financial independence, saved from the horror of having to work for a living by millionaire heroes. How can e-erotica be sex-positive when it promotes such a grotesquely lazy kind of sex? The protagonist is endlessly rewarded with sexual acts and compliments for being a brave, strong woman, when she has spent most of her time weeping and being kidnapped. Is anyone who expects to be thus coddled entitled to sex? Adulterating any sexual act with a sense of entitlement is a recipe for villainy. After eighteen months of parsing the language of entitlement, I came to see these e-erotica heroines as just that: villains.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Teeth-Nails-Tails-Mounted-Alaska-ebook/dp/B008PT2O0M"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150422203117-9781419935657.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Can anything that so roundly denies its own identity as pornography truly be sex-positive? The masturbatory intent of these books is clear. The poor quality of the writing itself is baffling and unquestionable. E-erotica has a great many things in common with mainstream pornography: prolific output, low production costs, democratic zeal. Why, then, does e-erotica look down its nose at pornography, and bristle at being described as such?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">My boss once told me not to refer to the sex scenes directly when giving authors feedback, as it made many authors uncomfortable to be faced with their own creations. E-erotica is full of people who consider themselves avid readers, though many of them exclusively read erotica&mdash;a distinction as absurd as compulsive porn viewers who watch porn to the exclusion of everything else considering themselves film buffs. E-erotica is only okay if it is <em>distinct </em>from porn, if it is <em>better </em>than porn, and right now, it is not empowering to anyone.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For an industry that prides itself on body positivity and acceptance, on embracing women of all physical types, e-erotica can be shockingly cruel. The hypocrisy of lauding their heroines for being curvy in the same breath as slut-shaming their rivals for being stick-thin seems to be lost on the great majority of authors. Pathetic ex-husbands and villainous stalkers are uniformly small-penised and weak, good guys predictably buff and well-hung. Many of our books display a closed-minded contempt for anything that deviates from a narrow norm (usually tired, rote BDSM vocabulary), in direct contradiction with its fa&ccedil;ade of experimentation and open-mindedness.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The e-books published by the company I worked for explore some dark territory without seeming to realize it. Taking a cue from yaoi manga, our manlove authors (gay male erotica written by women for a female audience) had to be repeatedly reminded that we would not publish characters under the age of 18. In order to work around this restriction, the effeminate submissive characters in these books were often made to be sickly, malnourished, sexually and physically tortured by villains, and thus unnaturally small and youthful in appearance. The implications of pedophilia are clear enough, though sometimes authors go as far as to give these submissive boys speech impediments or physical disabilities to enhance their childishness further, so that they are only able to communicate in toddler sentences and need to be carried like babies. It is not my intent to argue for or against the presence of pedophilic themes in fictional erotica. What is disturbing, however, is the ubiquitous denial that fetishes such as pedophilia and bestiality are present in these e-books. The same authors that enjoy writing about werewolf &ldquo;knotting,&rdquo; a phenomenon in which a dog penis enlarges once inside the human vagina to prevent disconnection, would be deeply offended to have their work categorized as bestiality. Similarly, the viral </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Twilight</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> trope of a paranormally immortal man &ldquo;imprinting&rdquo; on a baby girl so that he remains her protector until she reaches the age of sexual consent left many authors aghast at their work being tagged as pedophilia. The erotica world is rife with these denials through codifications. This hypocrisy leads to the feverish cultivation rather than an open examination of fetishes like pedophilia and bestiality. Cutesy euphemisms and slick branding in e-erotica used to protect readers from their perversions seems to fuel and perpetuate the more fucked-up aspects of what gets them off rather than allowing a place for conceptual play and release.&nbsp;Much like my boss&rsquo;s hairsplitting over the definition of rape, it is the reluctance to acknowledge these dark tropes as what they are that is disturbing, rather than the basic fact of their existence.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">By identifying as ubiquitously and uniformly sex-positive and empowering, this particular corner of the e-book erotica industry has sought to protect itself from earnest critique: feminist commentators are often reluctant to wholeheartedly criticize a force that has introduced so many women to their own sexuality&mdash;and rightfully so&mdash;even if that sexuality is wrapped up in a lot of potentially harmful tropes.&nbsp; Simultaneously, any outsiders (vanillas) who understandably recoil from the sheer weirdness and grotesquery of e-erotica&rsquo;s alien yet reactionary ideology ideologies are dismissed as narcs, rubes, or bullies. The result is that the e-erotica industry, or at least this particular brand of it, builds a callus against any criticism and gets darker and darker, unintentionally and increasingly absurdist, even nihilist in its repetition of themes, in the way a word chanted over and over both loses and gains meaning..</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If you are disturbed by this trend, you are: a vanilla who could never possibly understand; a cruel high school bully who hates readers of all kinds; or a pretentious feminist who wants to ruin sex for everyone. Overly defensive erotica advocates find it easier to exist in a world of these three enemy stereotypes than to examine the complicated, upsetting roots of their own subculture. It may be frightening or sad to explore why these tropes are so precious to them. The overwhelming fixation on copious vaginal fluid, for instance, may speak to the average post-menopausal erotica author who is insecure about her body, as might the surprising size of the external clitoris of most heroines, which gets larger as a woman ages. The submissive, childish boys in the manlove genre may be a proxy for women who are uncomfortable, for whatever reason, placing themselves in a sexual scene. There is a widespread dogma in e-erotica that BDSM can cure all ailments, from frigidity to PTSD to past abusive relationships and rape. The insistent prevalence of this unfounded notion may suggest that a great many authors and readers suffer from these traumas, and are actively seeking a way to process it through sexual release. Is e-erotica a cathartic outlet for pain and insecurity, or is it a snake oil cure-all sold to women who, for all we know, don&rsquo;t have adequate access to mental health treatment or literature?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The only way to disabuse e-erotica of its lazy prejudices and insidious dogma is to stop allowing it the security blanket of sex positivity. Imagine if we were to only analyze male-centric internet pornography from an assumption of its being sexually empowering, and how little we would learn from it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Lesley Dixon</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Image at top can be found at this <a href="http://www.twcslibrary.net/viewstory.php?sid=1523">link</a>.&nbsp;</span></p> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:28:22 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Darlings: A New Cult of Youth in Art <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The art world darling. The term&rsquo;s ties to youth are not surprising, ever more now that youth in the art market doubles as a texture, a feature of desirability&mdash;a quality that is not necessarily bound to age, but to attitude. The cult of youth has held strong since the Victorians, and its associations with affection still stand. While the term </span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><em>darling</em> (<em>dear-ling</em>)</span><span style="font-size: medium;"> and its tender definitions may not have evolved over the past few centuries, the idiomatic </span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>media darling&mdash;</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="font-size: medium;">the darling that belongs to the crowds, not to the individual&mdash;certainly has. The contemporary art and art market darlings are young and brilliant, bright and seductive, mysterious and coy&mdash;painted as both coquettish and confrontational. There is often something oppositional within their career objectives (i.e. their persona battles the institution, at the same time their work gains value at auctions and fairs for being housed within certain museums and public collections). In a particularly telling formula, which ran in </span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1054772/uncovering-danh-vos-revelatory-practice" target="_blank">BLOUIN ARTINFO</a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="font-size: medium;"> this past September on Danh Vō, &ldquo;when asked about the practical or conceptual foundations of future projects, his favorite rejoinder is: &lsquo;I have no idea.&rsquo; Today, however, Vō is an institutional darling&hellip;&rdquo;&nbsp;In darlings, the modest is conflated with the inflammatory, just as their implied youth&mdash;a play on inexperience, false or not in the press&mdash;is synthesized with value.</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The contemporary characterization of darlings is all part of the increased viability&mdash;and indeed expectation of&mdash;artists&rsquo; commitment to the social and the public. We see them dressed in tailored couture in their studios, on the spreads of glossy magazines, or backlit on screens (see: <a href="http://purple.fr/diary/entry/kour-pour-samsara-opening-at-depart-foundation-west-hollywood" target="_blank">Kour Pour</a> opening at Depart Foundation in the popular Diary pages of <a href="http://purple.fr/" target="_blank">Purple.fr</a>)&mdash;their washed out skin under the hot light of a camera flash. We recognize them in the aisles of international art fairs, delicately cast in the glow of their distilled personalities, which we have gathered and absently absorbed from news briefs and feeds. We know their biographies in sound bytes: born 1986, lives/works in X. Their names are committed to the lexicon of being <em>in the know</em>; art presses, publication houses, and art fairs have since adapted to allow for this type of coverage to rise to the top, notably Art Basel&rsquo;s <a href="file://localhost/en/Miami-Beach/About-the-Show/Sectors/Nova" target="_blank">Nova</a> Sector, or Taschen&rsquo;s ever-expanding roll <a href="http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/art/all/04460/facts.art_now_vol_4.htm" target="_blank"><em>Art Now</em></a>, branded &ldquo;if it&rsquo;s hot in the art world today,&nbsp;it&rsquo;s in this book.&rdquo; These darlings appear and disappear as invisible celebrities; the proliferation of material that focuses on keeping current allows for their names to operate more as unfixed zeitgeists than as permanent monuments.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><strong style="text-align: left; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150422084713-1-ito_04.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Parker Ito posing in his studio, in front of The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet / Attractive Student / Parked Domain Girl, 2010 - 2013. Image courtesy of Artpulse Magazine.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">How do we define darlings&mdash;this reified cult of youth for our times? Perhaps it is best to start with the speculative nature of these art world reputations, rendered as forward thinking and daring in their approach. We often hear they propose new ways of seeing for the<em> digital age</em>. We hear about Post-Internet artists that have moved beyond the novelty of the web; where the movement&rsquo;s quality of the <em>now </em>is <a href="http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/post_internet_art)" target="_blank">&ldquo;its most distinctive feature."</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The decadence of the term darling is tied to a similarly ever-present youth in media headlines&mdash;<em>ten young artists to watch, up and coming, the &ldquo;on the rise,&rdquo; future greats</em>. To be a darling is to occupy a position within the market. The position is of course desired. Nowhere is the duplicity of the relationship between contemporary art and the art world more prevalent than in its darlings. But where is the line of dissent? When does youth become true progression, and where does it get destroyed under the weight of the market?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150422084805-oscar_rubell.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Oscar Murillo at the Rubell Family Collection. Image courtesy of Paper Mag.</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The answer has to do with how we write about them and their work. Mention a contemporary artist quick on the rise and the name on everyone&rsquo;s lips is Oscar Murillo. His affectation is clear; while he is characterized on the &ldquo;threshold of na&iuml;ve&rdquo; his art world rank is staggering. It is supposed to be staggering. Bright, young, and promising&mdash;Murillo&rsquo;s tenacity is never lost in the press. Descriptions of the artist&mdash;his ambition and seemingly impossible market inflation&mdash;are always tempered with biographical information: his immigrant upbringing, his place within the cannon as a twenty-first century Basquiat. The precedence for failure is weaved into his persona. As Allan Schwartzman has been quoted in almost every instance of Murillo&rsquo;s published features &ldquo;almost any artist who gets that much attention so early on in his career is destined for failure.&rdquo; How dangerous and seductive.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The machine of history moved before Murillo. But how much of his affectation&mdash;as a ruthlessly motivated artist that won the hearts of collectors&mdash;is the texture of words?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As darlings have collapsed youth into a seductive image, the flattening of history is no longer limited to the cannon, but instead pushes against the present. Current artists are frivolously written about as if they were long-established icons&mdash;take a recent description of Petra Cortright in her studio in <em>The</em> <em>New York Times</em>, &ldquo;She looked like a movie star but exuded the aura of a cult member from the &rsquo;70s.<a title="" href="#_ftn4">[4]</a>&rdquo; Cortright&rsquo;s position as a darling in the media is different than that of Murillo&rsquo;s. Whereas descriptions of his rise on the market is perforated with allusions to an unrivaled intensity in the studio, Cortright is painted as lackadaisical flower child, quoted not on her status in the market in the same publication, but on her choice of sunglasses, &ldquo;I always wear the pink ones,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re supposed to make you happy and playful.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150422084932-Petra_Cortright.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">COLLABORATION FOR CAVIAR IZQUIERDA No. 4 RED WEB INTERNET. PHOTOS AND STYLING: FRANKLIN COLLAO&nbsp;<a href="http://franklincollao.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">http://franklincollao.blogspot.com</a>&nbsp;DIGITAL MANIPULATION: PETRA CORTRIGHT&nbsp;<a href="http://petracortright.com/" target="_blank">http://petracortright.com</a>&nbsp;:) :) :) :) Image courtesy www.petracortright.com.</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Within this flattening of time, darlings are embedded into their exhibitions. Beyond media coverage, we read about&nbsp;<em>The Most Infamous Parker Ito in the History of the Internet,</em> at The Hole in 2013, or the better-named <em>Parker Ito Does Parker Ito,</em>&nbsp;on Pyramidd.biz in 2011. The essential egotism in describing darlings serves as a turning point, where we see the young artist and the persona of youth meld seamlessly into one. Youth is no longer illicit; it is expected. Na&iuml;vet&eacute;, false or not, is the norm&mdash;branded and packaged, not as a vehicle for critique, but as validation. In the process, the authentication of youth itself has become a type of acceptable practice in contemporary art all its own. If anything, what is surprising is the sort of conservatism that follows this brand of youthfulness (when did youth become so tame?). The persona becomes the person. Far from fleeting, the affect of youth has been absorbed as a categorical marker.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150422085005-Alicja-Kwade-Installation.jpg" alt="" />&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Alicja Kwade </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Andere Bedingung (Aggregatzustand 4)</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">, 2009. Installation view Boros Collection, 2012.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Sammlung Boros in Berlin, one of Europe&rsquo;s most highly respected private collections of contemporary art, features rotating exhibitions of work acquired by Christian and Karen Boros, housed within an old Nazi bunker. As I was toured through once, the guide was sure to mention multiple times that the Boros&rsquo; do not collect backward. Each piece within the collection was bought the year it was made. Extra contemporary. As we walked through the various chambers, Alicja Kwade&rsquo;s work dominated the strongest spaces. I can still hear the guide&rsquo;s voice echo when I see her pieces, &ldquo;and this is the work of Alicja Kwade, Berlin&rsquo;s little darling.&rdquo; If you can imagine this statement looping over Kwade&rsquo;s installations&mdash;particularly in her treatment of harsh materials, which are forced to bend, seemingly operating on their own sense of gravity&mdash;the irony will become apparent.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Rather than qualify the art itself, the darling belongs to the personification of the market within contemporary work. This existence of youth-personified is part of the contemporary consciousness, and can offer effective criticism if navigated knowingly. Where the cult of youth once pushed the boundaries, now it walks the line. It is a challenging position, but still has much to offer, and deserves to be contextualized as such.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art and the market are inextricably linked. Art and the market are heartbreakingly separate. Both are both. To try and think of them any differently will only lead to more interpretations of surface&mdash;and unfortunately, to more shallow writing on contemporary work.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/183982-stephanie-cristello?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Stephanie Cristello</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Oscar Murillo, Photo by Mark Peckmezian&nbsp;Photo: Chi Lam.)</span></p> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 23:26:26 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list From the Harem to the Revolution: Worn Out Images of Middle Eastern Women in Art <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Two chador-clad figures gesticulate with fully covered arms onscreen at the rear of <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/venues/show/6445-carbon-12-dubai" target="_blank">Carbon 12</a>, a gallery in Dubai. It would be easy to yawn and dismiss Anahita Razmi&rsquo;s video, <em>Middle east coast west coast </em>(above), as yet one more work in which an artist covers Middle Eastern women&rsquo;s faces and bodies to insinuate that they are voiceless. That assumption is turned on its (veiled) head, once one picks up a set of headphones to listen to the work&rsquo;s sound, which reveals that the performers are actually a male and female couple bickering about stereotypes associated with west coast and east coast artists in the United States.&nbsp;It turns out that Razmi set&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson's&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">1969 <a href="http://www.vdb.org/titles/east-coast-west-coast" target="_blank">audio recording</a> to the performance.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421103130-Anahita_Razmi__This_is_not_Iranian._Courtesy_of_the_artist_and_Carbon_12.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Anahita Razmi, <em>This is not Iranian</em>. Courtesy of the artist and Carbon 12</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Razmi&rsquo;s show is titled <em>Sharghzadegi</em>, after a made up Farsi term for "Eastruckness," which plays on "Gharbzadegi," a somewhat derogatory adjective for "Westruckness," used in Iran to describe a person who models her or himself after Western values. The exhibition concerns our predilection for labelling and branding by questioning whether terms like &ldquo;The Middle East&rdquo; are relevant or even mean anything. Razmi, who is half German, half Iranian, photographed a Farsi tattoo on her forearm that translates, &ldquo;This is Not Iranian.&rdquo; She asked in our interview with exasperation, &ldquo;What is <em>not</em>&nbsp;Iranian? Is it the person or is it the sentence?&rdquo; then went on to clarify, &ldquo;I am making a personal statement but a non-statement at the same time. These works are labelling something but at the same time questioning what labelling does.&rdquo; Razmi is suggesting that the Eurocentric notion of &ldquo;The Middle East&rdquo; has become absurdly vague in our globalized times, as have tired gender and cultural typecasts.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421102839-Shirin_Neshat__Speechless_from_the_Women_of_Allah_series__1996__gelatin_silver_print_and_ink._Courtesy_of_the_artist_and_LACMA.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Shirin Neshat,&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Speechless</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;from the&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Women of Allah</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;series, 1996, gelatin silver print and ink. Courtesy of the artist and LACMA</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The tattooing of Middle Eastern women&rsquo;s bodies with text was famously played out in Shirin Neshat&rsquo;s <em>Women of Allah</em>, a series of four photographs from the late 90s, which presented women in chador beside phallic weaponry, with every exposed centimetre of skin inked in classical Persian poetry, as if to imply that women&mdash;even the dangerous revolutionary variety&mdash; are the named possessions of the male religious elite. While this notion was wonderfully controversial back in the 90s, post 9/11, the equation of Middle Eastern women with violence and veils has been so overdone that artists with roots in the region look downright lazy if they self-represent female bodies in this way&mdash;unless, like Razmi, they have a fresh spin.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421103017-Hassan_Hajjaj__Kesh_Angels__2010_1431__Edition_of_7__Metallic_Lambda_Print_on_3mm_White_Dibond__39.8h_x_54.17w_in___101h_x_137.6w_cm._Courtesy_of_the_artist_and_Taymour_Grahne_Gallery.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Hassan Hajjaj, <em>Kesh Angels</em>, 2010/1431, Edition of 7, Metallic Lambda Print on 3mm White Dibond, 39.8h x 54.17w in / 101h x 137.6w cm. <br />Courtesy of the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Interestingly, LACMA seems to believe that Neshat&rsquo;s earlier work is both "contemporary" and an example of Islamic Art. The museum is featuring <em>Speechless</em>&nbsp;from the <em>Women of Allah</em>&nbsp;series as the <a href="http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/islamic-art-now-contemporary-art-middle-east" target="_blank">promotional image</a> for a group exhibition titled <a href="http://www.artslant.com/la/events/show/370386-islamic-art-now-contemporary-art-of-the-middle-east" target="_blank"><em>Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art of The Middle East</em></a> which includes strong work by artists including Hassan Hajjaj (whose <em>Kesh Angels</em>&nbsp;follows and documents a funky group of female bikers in Morocco), Wafaa Bilal, and Mona Hatoum. Regardless of the show&rsquo;s scope, equating women from the region with guns and veils still draws crowds. It is dangerous for a powerful institution like LACMA to play into Western media stereotypes and imply firstly that Islamic contemporary art and "Art of the Middle East" are the same thing, and then to throw in such a pigeon-holed image of a woman from the region as a teaser.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421102637-Jean-August_Dominique_Ingres__La_Grande_Odalisque__1814.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421102651-Lalla_Essaydi__La_Grande_Odalisque__Les_Femmes_Du_Maroc__2008.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">(above)&nbsp;Jean-August Dominique Ingres, <em>La Grande Odalisque</em>, 1814<br />(below)&nbsp;Lalla Essaydi, <em>La Grande Odalisque</em>,<em> Les Femmes Du Maroc</em>, 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Toledo Museum of Art</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the Orientalist era, females did not have license to represent themselves artistically, and were instead objectified by European painters like Delacroix and Ingres, whose work provided a cover for buttoned up Victorian adventurers to explore their own sexual fantasies related to the harem rather than convey a realistic window onto women&rsquo;s lives. In 2008 Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi reclaimed the harem and women&rsquo;s bodies with a riff on Ingres&rsquo; 1814 painting of a nude concubine, <em>La Grande Odalisque</em>, in which a porcelain-skinned woman looks demurely and sensually away from the painter as though she is a decorative object. In Essaydi&rsquo;s photograph by the same title in her <em>Les Femmes du Maroc</em>&nbsp;series, the subject looks fiercely into the camera as if to imply that she controls both her own sexuality and her destiny. Her body is tattooed in henna calligraphy with architectural patterns coordinating with the threshold she dominates. "Odalesque" in Turkish means "to occupy a space" and Essaydi is perhaps calling into question the ways in which Arab people have allowed themselves to be occupied by an Orientalist world view, even decades after colonialism&rsquo;s demise&mdash;how women&rsquo;s bodies provide the ultimate canvas, blank page, and battleground for that struggle.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421102616-7._Shurooq_Amin__A_Man_of_No_Importance_._From_the_Popcornographic_series._Mixed_Media_on_Canvas.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Shurooq Amin, <em>A Man of No Importance</em>. From the Popcornographic series. Mixed Media on Canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Ayyam Gallery</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It is impossible to break down stereotypes related to women from the Middle East and art without simultaneously unpacking complex tropes on patriarchy. Kuwaiti painter Shurooq Amin whose show, <em>It&rsquo;s a Man&rsquo;s World</em> was closed within three hours of opening at a Kuwait City Gallery in 2012, is known for portraits that expose her views on the hypocrisy of her society, but also for self-portraits that portray Arab women as powerful and independent figures in a patriarchal culture. In <em>A Man of No Importance</em>, Amin crowns herself a queen upon a throne, unfolding a chain of tiny paper doll men in traditional dress. Amin fiercely tackles notions of masculinity, one taboo at a time, and there are a handful of other artists from the region, both male and female, who are engaged in the same on going project.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/409513-danna-lorch?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Danna Lorch&nbsp;</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top:&nbsp;Anahita Razmi, <em>Middle east coast west coast</em>, HD video, 23 mins 04 secs, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Carbon 12 Dubai)</span></p> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 08:37:51 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Handmade Digital: Revok's Return to L.A. <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Revok received a hero&rsquo;s welcome upon his return to his hometown of Los Angeles, marked by the April 10th vernissage of his first L.A. solo exhibition, organized by <a href="http://www.lscgallery.com/" target="_blank">Library Street Collective</a> and held at <a href="http://www.artslant.com/la/venues/show/49705-mama-gallery" target="_blank">MAMA Gallery</a> in the Downtown Arts District. In a gallery packed with friends, fellow writers, and fans, he spent most of the night enveloped by a patient congregation of adherents, blackbooks in hand, waiting for a coveted autograph from the famed graffiti writer. The mood that night was celebratory&mdash;and rightly so, for Revok has a lot to celebrate right now.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It was just four years ago that the artist made headlines when he was the subject of a high profile arrest, prompting the widespread circulation of signs and t-shirts bearing the slogan &ldquo;Free Revok.&rdquo; Significantly, this all occurred while his work was on view in one of Los Angeles&rsquo;s most prominent art museums, part of the controversial <em><a href="http://www.moca.org/museum/exhibitiondetail.php?&amp;id=443" target="_blank">Art in the Streets</a></em>&nbsp;exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. After a short stint in prison and nearly $24,000 in fines, Revok, whose given name is Jason Williams, withdrew to Detroit, where he would spend the next two years. This time would prove pivotal in the development of this new body of work, which, at first glance, seems very unrelated to Revok&rsquo;s graffiti past. In Detroit, Revok initiated a studio practice involving the collection and assemblage of discarded wood, which he subsequently paints and fits into intricate abstract geometric patterns.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421085628-1427975162485.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Revok, <em>_Untitled_3.B_</em> (2015) Courtesy Library Street Collective</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But firstly, let&rsquo;s identify what it is we&rsquo;re seeing, because this is important. You and I and everyone reading this article right now are looking at a series of jpegs, which were registered on a digital camera, processed in Photoshop, sent to me via WeTransfer, uploaded to the ArtSlant server, resized and formatted for this article. They now appear on your computer monitor or mobile phone or tablet, viewed under whatever slight variations of color cast your individual screen holds. As jpegs Revok&rsquo;s compositions pop and vibrate, resonating in their digital disembodiment. Crisscrossing lines hover over vivid patterns like Photoshop layers incarnate. Some works resemble mosaics of rudimentary pixels, others confound the eye with an impossible ouroboros of overlapping layers, and yet others convey dizzying contradictory levels of depth, verging on the architectural.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421085547-1427975346752.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Revok _D.3.A_</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"> (2015) Courtesy Library Street Collective</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">These pieces were born to live online, and Revok acknowledges this in their titles as well as in their colors and compositions. Each piece bears a file name as a title, such as <em>_01.A_2x3_MAGENTA_</em>, an assemblage that features two grey gradient bars, a device familiar to any user of Photoshop, overlaying a serape-like pattern of pink, yellow and white. The use of the gradient&mdash;a recurring motif here&mdash;is a clear signifier of the prevalence of our increasingly digital apprehension of artwork. So this begs the question: does it matter that they are, in fact, physical artifacts? Does it matter that they are laboriously constructed by hand, when they could be entirely constructed out of the digital ether, so to speak?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421104234-20150421085510-_AKE4218_copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Revok, <em>_01.A_2x3_MAGENTA</em> (2015) Courtesy Library Street Collective</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Interestingly, all references to Revok&rsquo;s current work make very clear this work&rsquo;s handmade origins: writing in the KCET Artbound blog, G. James Daichendt references Revok&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.kcet.org/arts/artbound/counties/los-angeles/revok-jason-williams-artist.html" target="_blank">&ldquo;love of handicraft,&rdquo;</a> while Hypebeast makes the connection even more evident in this passage, accompanying a revealing <a href="http://hypebeast.com/2015/4/revok-talks-getting-arrested-artistic-development-ahead-of-exhibition-known-gallery" target="_blank">interview</a> with the artist:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">REVOK&rsquo;s paint-stained hands are surely amongst the most coveted in graffiti, with the Los Angeles-based artist&rsquo;s handstyle setting the standard for generations. After those hands were placed in the harsh metal cuffs of the law, the resilient creative has focused his energies into gallery work, specifically: large, wondrous mixed media woodwork&mdash;an offshoot from his past endeavors.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This focus on the hand of the artist is critical in these pieces, and I&rsquo;d contend that this focus is a logical or natural extension of Revok&rsquo;s street practice, which, under duress of the law he has been forced to relinquish. In this new practice&mdash;a challenging new realm for an artist who has more than mastered the medium of spray paint&mdash;Revok experiments with a new handstyle of sorts, one of geometric abstraction. His long-held mastery over color serves him well here, as well as the fluid ease by which he uses sprayed pigments to achieve those perfect gradients, but the emphasis on symmetry seems to be a new direction.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421085442-1427976937843.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Revok,<em> _-8.A_SHOCKVIOLET_</em> (2015) Courtesy Library Street Collective</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">New directions always pose new challenges, and this much is admitted by Revok himself: the graffiti world provided a very comfortable and known environment for the artist, while the world of contemporary art constitutes &ldquo;a new place to prove myself.&rdquo; The gallery is essentially a brave new world for Revok, and geometric abstraction comes with its own long history, which he&rsquo;ll need to contend with. Many strains of contemporary art (for instance Sol LeWitt, to whose wall drawings Revok&rsquo;s new work bears a strong aesthetic resemblance) try to dissolve or destabilize the notion of authorship, whereas Revok&rsquo;s work tenaciously insists on it (in the works of artists who come from a graffiti background the notion of authorship is a complicated and consuming construct), but ultimately in a rather oblique way. Revok rejects the sleek finish that these geometries and angles seem to beg for, revealing their handmade origins not by gesture, but through the introduction of flaws in the finish, a state of futuristic ruin and decay implied by the flecked paint. This tendency falls apart, however, in other details only observable on close inspection, but offering no meaningful implications&mdash;the numerous tiny wood nails holding together each wooden segment, for instance, become quaint and distracting.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Revok&rsquo;s work is in fertile territory right now: it lives in the very potent tension between the immaterial and the physical, between the digital and the handmade. I look forward to how his work will progress and change, as he becomes more comfortable and experimental with the space of the gallery, going beyond two-dimensional pieces hung on walls. The impressive powder-coated steel bench indicates some thinking in this direction, and I think some of the works that were hung on the wall could be invested with radical new meanings if they interacted with the architecture of the space in other ways&mdash;for instance placing some works on the floor, or spreading the abstract patterns over an entire wall. And hopefully next time his works are on display it will be for a longer period of time. Until then, we can continue to pass them around in their digital forms.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/11505-natalie-hegert?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Natalie Hegert</a>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Revok, <em>_Metadata_</em>2 (2015) Courtesy Library Street Collective)</span></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 23:53:00 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Brand as Museum: Patronizing or Patronage? <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The title of this piece made me wonder why the art world so much enjoys the conjunction "as." It seems a funny construct, one thing as another thing. It contains within it both the idea of transformation, and also deception, and fails to decide or state which side of the fence the utterance wants to come down on. There&rsquo;s also a strange utility within the phrase, the using of one thing as another as though there were a lack or necessity for makeshift solutions.</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums."</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>&mdash;</strong>Andy Warhol</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <div style="float: left; width: 250px; font-size: small; text-align: center; margin-right: 30px;"><img style="padding-bottom: 10px;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421092848-Andrea_del_Verrocchio__Lorenzo_de_Medici__1480._Painted_terracotta__Washington__National_Gallery_of_Art.jpg" alt="James Baldwin in 1971" width="250" /> <p style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; color: #525552;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino; color: #000000;">Andrea del Verrocchio, Lorenzo de Medici, 1480, Painted terracotta, Washington, National Gallery of Art</span></p> </div> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Uffizi</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The idea for this article grew from a discussion between the editors of Artslant and myself about how to approach the relatively newly opened Fondation Vuitton. I was slightly obsessed with the idea that this was the Uffizi of our time and interested in exploring what came out of the comparison between the two&mdash;even if this was perhaps an exercise in saturnalian critique, because, let&rsquo;s be honest, while perhaps interesting the comparison between the two is not favorable.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Lorenzo di Medici had the tag "the magnificent" attached to his name as he indirectly ruled over a period of unprecendented peace and stability for the state of Florence. Bernard Arnault is the head of the luxury brand conglomerate LVMH. Anyway, this desire to compare slowly waned as my research continued; nostalgia seems too cheap, and the observations one can draw from this kind of comparison seemed contrived. However, I will observe that Lorenzo was once stabbed in an assassination attempt, and looks like a tough old bastard, while Bernard Arnault is a slight man with a narrow mouth and the type of eyes that look as though he is wearing eyeliner, one almost perpetually more open than the other. His look is neither open, honest, brave, nor courageous. He is the head of a luxury brand; in my book this qualifies him for judgment on appearance.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;My relationship to luxury goods is really very rational. It is the only area in which it is possible to make luxury profit margins.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Bernard Arnault</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Wealth</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Bernard Arnault is, in case you didn&rsquo;t know, the richest man in Europe and personally worth an estimated 35 billion dollars. (I don&rsquo;t like this kind of statistic but it&rsquo;s almost irresistible.) This makes him wealthier than Jordan, Tanzania, and Bahrain individually, or Malta, Laos, and Macedonia collectively. He sought citizenship in Belgium when the 75 percent top rate tax was mooted in France, what&rsquo;s now known as &ldquo;doing a Depardieu,&rdquo; but strenuously denied that this was for the purpose of tax evasion. The obvious question then being why?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">(I wonder if he is really just a fan of chips, beer, and cyclo-cross.)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Fondations</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Paris isn&rsquo;t a one-luxury-Fondation town however, and, Fondation Vuitton, which opened at the end of last year, is kind of the new kid on the block in comparison to Fondation Hermes and Fondation Cartier. Fondation Hermes has been around since 2008 and is a different kind of thing&mdash;it offers &ldquo;the promotion of traditional craft skills, support for the creative arts, a commitment to education and training, and environmental concerns.&rdquo; It doesn&rsquo;t have its own dedicated space. Fondation Cartier is the originary Fondation established in 1984. It was originally housed in Jouy-en-Josas, near Versailles, moving to its dedicated Jean Nouvel designed building in the 14th&nbsp;arrondissement in 1994. It doesn&rsquo;t house a permanent collection and considers itself an "Art&rsquo;s Centre."</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Of course I believe imaginative architecture can make a difference to people's lives, but I wish it was possible to divert some of the effort we put into ambitious museums and galleries into the basic architectural building blocks of society.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Zaha Hadid</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421093849-Jean_Nouvel__Batiment_de_la_Fondation_Cartier_pour_l_art_contemporain__Paris__1994___Jean_Nouvel___Adagp__Paris__2011._Photo___Luc_Boegly_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Jean Nouvel, Batiment de la Fondation Cartier pour l&rsquo;art contemporain, Paris, 1994 &copy; Jean Nouvel. Adagp, Paris, 2011. Photo &copy; Luc Boegly</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The comparison. Or, proof that architecture influences thinking</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The comparison between Fondation Vuitton and Fondation Cartier is irresistible. Cartier's Jean Nouvel building sits quite discretely opposite Montparnasse Cemetery (home to an amazing bunch of artists including Tristan Tzara&mdash;yes, he is the one I chose) in the unprepossing 14th&nbsp;arrondissement. It is a harmonious building and another iteration of Nouvel&rsquo;s tricky glass walls. As with the architect's Quai Branley, at Fondation Cartier the glass frontage delineates a garden space that is integral to one&rsquo;s experience of the modernist building within. It at once offers sanctuary, yet is not closed off from the city. One has the sense that the movement between inside and outside is somehow free. I visited on an early spring day and was amazed at how beautiful a space it was and how easy it was to pass time there.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421094423-16350035159_efabbcb713_z.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Fondation Louis Vuitton. Photo via Flickr user <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbury/16350035159" target="_blank">Howard Stanbury</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Fondation Vuitton is sited in the Bois de Boulogne between the most exclusive arrondissement of Paris, the 16th, and the most exclusive suburb of Paris, Neuilly-sur-Seine. The residents of Neuilly sur Seine have an average income of &euro;55,786 per person. The building was designed by Frank Gehry at the expense of $143 million and rises from the Bois in huge sweeping, fractured sails of glass. It is very Gehry. It is most often compared to a huge ship but my first impression was of a whale. The building is awe inspiring not only because of its scale, but also because it appears to defy the conventional rectilinear form of a building. There is quite simply absolutely nothing like it in Paris. It widens from the ground up, reinforcing the sense that it looms over you. Do you see where this is going?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness."</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Frank Gehry</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Meet the Press</span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This comparison between the buildings was reinforced, or perhaps grew out of my dealings with their respective press offices.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A striking thing about Fondation Cartier is how open they are: you can, right now if you want, go on their website and find an email address for the director Herv&eacute; Chand&egrave;s. You can send him an email. I didn&rsquo;t do this, but contacted their press officer Mathieu Simonet who was remarkably helpful offering an interview with M. Chand&egrave;s, and, when he had to cancel due to an unforeseen emergency, replaced him with Grazia Quaroni, senior curator. We had a very interesting phone conversation, as you can imagine, as someone who has held this post for almost 20 years, she&rsquo;s a smart, interesting lady. I emailed the press office of Fondation LV five times with requests ranging from a press pass, to a statement, to an interview, to just someone replying to me so I knew that I wasn&rsquo;t hopelessly throwing electronic mail into the cybersphere. In the end I cajoled a response by emailing the general information address and asking them to pass on a message to the press office. This prompted a response. Here is the email chain in full.</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><strong>From: James Loks</strong><strong>&nbsp;&lt;loks.james@gmail.com&gt; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</strong></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; text-align: -webkit-right; white-space: nowrap;">7 Apr (11 days ago)<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; text-align: -webkit-right; white-space: nowrap;">To: contact</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Bonjour,</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">My name is James Loks, I'm the paris correspondent for ArtSlant and I'm currently working on a features piece for the upcoming edition themed on the idea of 'Brand as Museum'.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">My editor and I have been trying to contact your press office for over a week and have received no response, I am therefore sending this email here in the hope that we can get some kind of meaningful answer.</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">I'm certainly going to include the fondation Vuitton in the piece, but wanted to organise someone on the curatorial team to answer a few questions about the connection between the brand Vuitton and role fondation Vuitton plays in the art world, or rather perhaps what the goals are for the fondation Vuitton. If someone in the press office could make this happen would be great as I think it's important that all of the brands who are involved in the contemporary art world have a voice within this piece, i.e. it would be a shame to hear from Hermes and Cartier and not Vuitton.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">I'm not sure what you know about ArtSlant but you can check out our website. If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to get in contact.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">best regards</span></p> <hr /> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">From: Fondation LOUIS VUITTON</strong><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;&lt;contact@fondationlouisvuitton.fr&gt; &nbsp;&nbsp;</strong><span style="text-align: -webkit-right; white-space: nowrap;">7 Apr (11 days ago)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><span style="text-align: -webkit-right; white-space: nowrap;">To: me</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Thank you for your message.&nbsp;Dear Sir,</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"> We forwarded it to the appropriate service.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"> Kind regards,</span></p> <hr /> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">From: &lt;******************@fondationlouisvuitton.fr&gt; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; text-align: -webkit-right; white-space: nowrap;">8 Apr (10 days ago)<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; text-align: -webkit-right; white-space: nowrap;">To: me</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Dear Lokd James,</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"> Thanks for your interest.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"> I am afraid the artistic team of the foundation won't answer a question regarding the link between the Foundation LV and LV, as there are two differents things.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"> All the best,<br />*******</span></p> <hr /> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><strong>James Loks</strong><strong>&nbsp;&lt;loks.james@gmail.com&gt; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</strong></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; text-align: -webkit-right; white-space: nowrap;">9 Apr (9 days ago)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; white-space: nowrap;">To: *******</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Thank you for your reply to this, and your denial is very interesting. I fear you may have misunderstood however, the questions I want to ask refer solely to the Fondation LV, I have absolutely no interest in LV as a brand, solely what it is as a museum, I am, after all, an arts journalist. I would however like to ask some follow up questions on this statement, as you claim that Fondation LV and LV are different things, I think we can agree on this, however do you state that they have no connection? I mean they are owned by Bernard Arnault, and they share the name LV? Why do this if you are going to be so defensive about their connection?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">M. *******,&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">It seems a shame again for LV to present itself like this when both Hermes and Cartier are proving very helpful, Cartier even going so far as to offer an interview with the Director.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">best</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I am still awaiting a response to this email. Yes, the observant among you will note both my pettty attempt at manipulation and the little wiggle I did as regards the subject matter of the interview. I&rsquo;m not ashamed to admit that by this point I was pretty desperate to get something from them and willing to compromise just get a response. There is also the curiously uncomfortable point that when rejected by a press office in this manner&mdash;and you know, I&rsquo;m not a features writer on a massive international publication&mdash;there is some need for validation going on.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Corporate Patronage. Or, &ldquo;Why does no one want to talk about the brand?&rdquo;</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This is question that comes to mind: WHY? Why call it Fondation LV if you deny there is any connection. It&rsquo;s owned by the same man, it&rsquo;s called the same thing! WHY? And the truth is that it isn&rsquo;t just Vuitton who have this attitude, Cartier also mentioned that they didn&rsquo;t really want to speak about the relationship between the brand and the Fondation, although, while in conversation with Grazia Quaroni, she did open up on this point honestly admitting that corporate patronage is never a purely philanthropic relationship: the brand is always looking for something. In respect of Fondation Cartier she mentioned that they were quite a traditional brand and benefited from association with very contemporary, very modern art and artists. In response to my question of&nbsp;<em>Why art?</em> she made the point that there was a connection between the two worlds with ideas of &ldquo;the well done, the beautifully done, and excellence.&rdquo; She also, quite rightly, pointed out that artists do really benefit from this relationship, that Fondation Cartier were responsible for things like William Eggleston&rsquo;s first European show, introducing Rinko Kawauchi, Daido Mariyama, and Nobuyoshi Araki to France, and supporting the early work of the likes of Ron Mueck, and also that Fondation Cartier were notable for their ongoing relationship with artists as they develop throughout their career, particularly through their extensive program of commissions.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421094840-William_Eggleston__D_serts_de_Californie__de_l_Arizona_et_de_l_Utah__2000__acq._2000_.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">William Eggleston, <em>Déserts de Californie, de l&rsquo;Arizona et de l&rsquo;Utah</em>, 2000 (acq. 2000); Curtesy of Fondation Cartier</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ultimately I don&rsquo;t think anyone who has any contact with the arts can argue against corporate patronage; it has always been an integral part of what has both put food on the artist's table and brought great works to light. What&rsquo;s interesting is to consider what it is the patron is getting out of the relationship, and historically this has been many things, sometimes as simple as wanting to be remembered. One prevalent trend and perhaps what lies behind this reticence to discuss the "other" side of these fondations&rsquo; businesses is that, in a sense, art is a pretty simple thing: it&rsquo;s something people like to look at, it something that provokes a range of human emotions and experiences, and also, importantly, it most often either looks away from the world, or back towards it from a space outside; it doesn&rsquo;t get caught up in the dirty business of life, or the even more dirty business of business that most of these patrons are involved in. They want to keep this separation and not tarnish their appearance in one with the realities of the other (while of course continuing to allow the philanthropic glow to pass in the other direction).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Museums are managers of consciousness. They give us an interpretation of history, of how to view the world and locate ourselves in it. They are, if you want to put it in positive terms, great educational institutions. If you want to put it in negative terms, they are propaganda machines.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>&mdash;</strong>Hans Haacke</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Vuitton</span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The day arrived when it was time to go and be impressed with Vuitton. It was a Tuesday and I&rsquo;d managed to find time between meetings to pedal my bike out to Bois de Boulogne. I won&rsquo;t lie: I was excited. I do, after all, really like looking at art and an afternoon walking around a collection as impressive as M. Arnault&rsquo;s is little other than a pleasure. I&rsquo;d been meaning to visit for about a week and had, for various reasons, had to cancel or change my plans. It is important to mention here that this Tuesday was between back-to-back weekends in London and Washington with other work commitments. The weekend after the return from Washington my wife and I are leaving Paris and moving back to London. It was a busy time. And therefore understandable, particularly if you know me, that I&rsquo;d overlooked a detail: the Fondation LV is closed on Tuesday.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I did get to ride my bike through the woods, admire the building, and also experience one of those art-meets-life moments. As I was walking to the entrance of FLV I stopped to admire the amazing movement of water over the black stone-stepped undercut that reinforces the sense of one end of the building being the prow of a ship. The light was very clear and the shadow line very precise. At the base of the steps and water, some way below me, stood a lone security guard, stood in that hands behind back, ear piece in, security guard way, like a dour figurehead for this magnificent building. <em>What was he guarding?</em>&nbsp;I asked myself. The image was, for that moment, perfect.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">(I don&rsquo;t have a picture. I don&rsquo;t have a smartphone. Normally I&rsquo;m quite smug about this&mdash;now is not one of those moments.)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This was the only art I saw that day.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Art should be created for life, not for the museum."</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Jean Nouvel</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Kind of conclusion</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Where&rsquo;s the surprise? Anyone who accumulates $35 billion has a point to prove, and what better way to prove something than build a collection of the world&rsquo;s best art and house it in a huge architectural showpiece? Foolish naivety to imagine that this was going to point in any direction other than a totemic statement of "greatness." And should we really complain? It is, after all, open to the public (ticket price &euro;14), in an amazing space (from the outside), and a great collection of work (although I didn&rsquo;t see any).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The only question I&rsquo;d ask is if the world really needs another monument to the modern day ultra-rich? When researching this article I came across the figure of Andrew W. Mellon. He was a financier who went on to serve as US secretary of the treasury. He donated his art collection to the United States in 1936 and this went on to become the American National Gallery of Art. Mellon is just one figure in a long list who donated their private collection to the state so it might be seen by the people. The practice still continues today, Anthony D&rsquo;Offay being an example. It&rsquo;s a boring clich&eacute; to say that art reflects life, but often I get the sense that today this is more true when looking at the mechanisms that take place around art. This is where life and the state of the world are laid bare&mdash;and isn&rsquo;t this the case with FLV? The museum as ultimate luxury item, sending a message not dissimilar to the LV monogram, albeit multiplied by powers of magnitude. I&rsquo;m not sure I was expecting anything else.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421094909-View_of_the_exhibition_Bruce_Nauman__Pencil_Lift_Mr._Rogers__Fondation_Cartier_pour_l_art_contemporain__2015._Visuel___Luc_Boegly_____Adagp__Paris_2015.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">View of the exhibition Bruce Nauman, Pencil Lift Mr. Rogers, Fondation Cartier pour l&rsquo;art contemporain, 2015. Visuel &copy; Luc Boegly &copy; Adagp, Paris 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The surprise came with Fondation Cartier, as Mme Quaroni explained their approach is designed to be various, to appeal to the specialist and the public, to be an "open" space where they privilege the work of art. It isn&rsquo;t didactic, it isn&rsquo;t patronizing, and it&rsquo;s all about relationships. And, when I visited their current Bruce Nauman I couldn&rsquo;t fault them. The pieces worked really well with the space, it was just art, and the sound installation in the garden (<em>For beginners (instructed piano)</em>) wonderfully contextualized a piece that might become bland in a white cube. We need more art that actually engages with people in every sense, with both the artist and the public, keeps things on a human scale, that fosters relationships, and the Fondation Cartier pour l&rsquo;Art contemporain should be commended for this. I&rsquo;ve been referred to as acerbic by my editor&mdash;I&rsquo;m not a cheap date, put it that way&mdash;and here I was seduced, sitting in the sunny garden, listening to fragile beauty of stumbling, delicate piano notes, watching the flirtations and experimentations of a teenage art class busy with sketchbooks. It&rsquo;s hard to imagine who wouldn&rsquo;t be.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Integral to the museum is the public, integral to art is the viewer, and, if a brand is going to mediate in these relationships it should be aware that its attitude, and its perceptions of these groups will be reflected in that mediation. That &ldquo;the jeweller to king&rdquo; should be so humble is surprising, and most pleasantly so.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/273879-james-loks?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">James Loks</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Courtesy Fondation Cartier)</span></p> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:28:55 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list The Changing Treasons: It's Time for New York's Leading Critics to Surrender Their Crowns <p class="FreeFormA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It is an astonishing peculiarity that in New York there is just one newspaper setting the tone of cultural opinion: </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The New York Times</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. There are others, of course, but they haven&rsquo;t a fraction of its influence. There is no audible counter-argument. Conversations on the street rarely begin, &ldquo;Did you see that thing in the&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">New York Observer</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">?&rdquo; Even national papers such as the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>&nbsp;and <em>USA Today</em>&nbsp;are unable to penetrate the shield that the <em>New York Times</em>&nbsp;has formed over the city, despite those papers outselling it.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The extraordinary absence of an alternative equal has positioned the </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Times</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;as a cultural dictatorship, placing it at odds with the vibrant multi-facets that constitute one of the greatest cities on Earth.</span></p> <p class="FreeFormA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In stark contrast, Londoners consume no fewer than five major newspapers,&nbsp;currently or formerly in broadsheet format&mdash;though these <em>are</em> national publications as opposed to the ostensibly regional&nbsp;<em>New York Times&mdash;</em>and for the purposes of this article it is worth noting how many of them have art critics.&nbsp;The <em>Times </em>(the 1785 original) employs Rachel Campbell Johnston, with Waldemar Januszczak at the <em>Sunday Times</em>; the <em>Guardian/Observer</em> has Adrian Searle and Jonathan Jones; Richard Dorment and Alastair Sooke are at the <em>Telegraph</em>, with Andrew Graham Dixon writing for the Sunday edition; the <em>Financial Times</em> has critic Jackie Wullschlager;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">and until a recent monstrous cull of its arts section the&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Independent</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;had Charles Darwent, though the paper does still cover contemporary art.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Additionally, the&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">London Evening Standard&mdash;</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">which will always be identified with outspoken critic Brian Sewell&mdash;currently&nbsp;retains Ben Luke, while i</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">n Scotland, the </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Scotsman</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;relies on Duncan MacMillan and Moira Jeffrey.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="FreeFormA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">UK newspapers are increasingly moving writers from staff to freelance positions&mdash;an important distinction&mdash;but the larger point is that there remains a democratized journalistic field of national art critics producing varied discourse&mdash;between rival newspapers and readerships&mdash;healthy competition, and choice. While the </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Telegraph</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> enjoys the highest circulation, the perception is that no newspaper vastly outsells the others in terms of cultural real estate. The benefit to artists is the breadth and depth of intelligent coverage, the expanded possibilities of being reputably reviewed, and a certain liberation from any one of these papers bestowing its critical largess as a defining gold star of approval.</span></p> <p class="FreeFormA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In New York, the city&rsquo;s hallowed conclave of top art critics who are read by <em>and</em> beyond the art world, are restricted to the <em>New York Times</em> and one or two revered magazines. The <em>Times</em>&rsquo; current murder of critical crows is headed by co-chiefs Roberta Smith and Holland Cotter. Smith has presided over New York&rsquo;s artistic kingdom by covering the subject for almost three decades at that newspaper. In terms of monarchic rule, hers would be the 14th longest reign by a living sovereign just ahead of Mswati III of Swaziland and just behind Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid al-Nuaimi of Ajman (United Arab Emirates). Smith has steered her critical barge with a reliable hand as standards have sunk around her due to marauding online opinionators (as everyone is now a photographer, so too is everyone a critic) and her writing remains insightful. Holland Cotter and Ken Johnson are by virtue of their writing and their positions at the <em>Times</em>, held in esteem, although Johnson has recently been the subject of <a href="http://hyperallergic.com/160698/on-ken-johnson-and-the-question-of-sexism/" target="_blank">some controversy</a>.</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At the <em>New Yorker</em>, Peter Schjeldahl was installed in 1998, and his cartridge appears to be running low on ink. In a <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/05/take-time" target="_blank">recent review</a> of the exhibition <em>The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World</em>, he declared it understandable but &ldquo;too tiring&rdquo; to resist some of the most appalling sewage to stain MoMA&rsquo;s walls in years. If ever there was a time for him to do his job and repel such effluence, it was then.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And mention ought to be made of the seemingly terminal literary decline of Jerry Saltz, critic at <em>New York Magazine</em>, whose infantile rantings include a fanatical <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2013/10/saltz-ranking-banksys-nyc-pieces.html" target="_blank">expletive-laced diatribe</a> against British artist, Banksy, and a disgusting <a href="https://twitter.com/jerrysaltz/status/576039568719409152" target="_blank">Twitter tantrum</a> about a fellow Acela passenger who displeased him. As the Pied Piper of self-promotional idiocy his antics are an arrant disgrace to New York&rsquo;s critical field, displaying utter disrespect to the artists and art writers of later generations who work so hard to remain here and whom he, by his regrettably high profile, indirectly represents. With his recent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/facebook-ban-art.html?_ga=1.25676605.1044288821.1402946686" target="_blank">suspension from Facebook</a>, Saltz&rsquo;s readership must see the deteriorating writing on the wall&mdash;and Banksy isn&rsquo;t the culprit.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But quality is not the issue. The insufficient number of influential critical positions in New York renders those few extant jobs more important than they ought to be. It is the excruciating longevity that these people have clung to in their current and previous roles that sets such a dangerous lock-down on cultural privilege. Perhaps some of the British newspaper critics have been in their positions overlong, but their quantity lessens the issue.</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It cannot be for one person, or a knighted few, to be exalted into such positions for decades. Remaining in place with such disproportionate sway for so long conveys breathtaking egotism on their parts and total complacency by their employers. There are many younger voices capable of taking up these rare and mighty quills.</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As a reflection of the constant evolutionary brilliance of this city&rsquo;s art scene&mdash;and as it is the most widely regarded arts section&mdash;all of the <em>Times</em> art critics ought be rotated every five years or so, and perhaps also at the <em>New Yorker</em>. The suffocating presence of Smith, Cotter, Schjeldahl, et al. represents a sepulchral blockade to new ideas. In addition to Smith&rsquo;s stunning duration, Cotter has been at the <em>Times</em> nearly 25 years,&nbsp;Johnson is coming up on&nbsp;two decades, and Schjeldahl is approaching his 20th year at the <em>New Yorker</em>. Add to that their time at other publications and collectively these life members of the cultural one percent have been writing for over a century with generations of artists required to parade beneath their calcifying watches. (A <a href="http://museumofnonvisibleart.com/interviews/robert-storr-2/" target="_blank">note of criticism</a> regarding his well established peers came recently from Yale School of Art dean, Robert Storr, but considering that he sits within that advantaged authority himself, his tone sounds dated, and his words lack urgency for the present or future, reading as a mere storrm in a teacup over a pinch of saltz.)</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The art world today is one barely recognizable to the one these writers entered so long ago. Now the largest private galleries possess <a href="http://hyperallergic.com/196217/as-pace-expands-new-york-galleries-start-dwarfing-museums/" target="_blank">greater floor space</a> than major museums, whose exhibition programming apparently<a href="http://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/museums/17199/" target="_blank">&nbsp;follows&nbsp;in these galleries' outsized footsteps</a>; money trumps all to a towering and damaging degree; internet transactions and social media disseminate new art and discourse&mdash;of varying relevance&mdash;at breakneck speed as artists, exhibitions, and trends rise and fall on daily tides of relentless information. Experience can ultimately be no match for the vigor and stridency of such change, especially in a city built upon it.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">These critics now are as stubborn caps on the wells of artistic roil, keeping geysers of enlivening commentary under the rigid containment of their own preferences. The monopolistic taste-making dominance of the <em>New York Times</em> is hardly these contributors&rsquo; responsibility, but the wellbeing of the art scene they preside over is; the incumbents have more than earned their retirements. If there is ever to be a healthy injection of alternative commentary into these, the city&rsquo;s most revered critical houses, then this cannot continue. New York&rsquo;s artists deserve far more diversity at the highest levels than they have thus far received. Such positions are the great bridges of the art world, conveying criticism to the general public. New critics adept and accustomed to the machinations of today&rsquo;s artistic landscape must be offered the task of driving the constancy, flexibility, and integrity of those choicest highways.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In Scotland&mdash;as a reminder of their proximity to the people and to remind them of humility&rsquo;s merit&mdash;monarchs are not referred to as &ldquo;Your Royal Highness,&rdquo; but as &ldquo;Your Grace.&rdquo; It is time for the crowned heads of New York&rsquo;s critical court to show some now, and abdicate their thrones.</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/16357-darren-jones" target="_blank">Darren Jones</a></span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top:&nbsp;New York Times Building. Via Flickr user <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/samchills/5970392182" target="_blank">samchills</a>)</span></p> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:29:21 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list The Talismanic Adventure of Nicholas Roerich <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Culture is the accumulation of highest Bliss, highest Beauty, highest Knowledge."<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&mdash;Nicholas Roerich,&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Realm of Light</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, Book II, 1931</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Three solid red circles, pyramid-set, and surrounded by the thick line of a red circle. </span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The ancient symbol of the</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> Pax Cultura</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;represents the interconnectivity of Art, Science, and Religion&mdash;the protection of which formed the basis of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roerich_Pact" target="_blank">Roerich Pact</a>, signed in 1935, which agrees that "historic monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions" should be protected both in times of peace and war. Such monuments would be identified by flying a distinctive flag, the Banner of Peace, bearing the </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Pax Cultura </em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">emblem.</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417123243-pax_cultura.png" alt="" width="500" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Pax Cultura Emblem</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">That was 80 years ago and the pact has since been trampled and transgressed by countless murky political dawns and yet it remains the best-known achievement of Nicholas Roerich in Western society today. The Russian painter's faith in a triune reality which could protect the cultural assets of assenting nations catapulted Roerich to public consciousness during the 1920s and 30s.&nbsp;But the Roerich Pact<em>&nbsp;</em>is just one of many idealistic goals and achievements the painter and spititualist had throughout his life and career. Many of his ideals&mdash;manifested in artworks, writing, and eastern expeditions&mdash;would be co-opted by governments and individuals seeking to imprint their own political agendas onto his multivocal brand of spiritualism and soul searching. Some stood to gain from association with his visions of geopolitical utopia, while others sought to capitalize strategically on his travels in politically valuable&nbsp;Tibetan, Afghan, and Northern Indian regions.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Roerich was born into a prominent family in St Petersburg in 1874. He was, substantially, an artist, creating some 7,000 paintings in his lifetime (in 2013 his once lost&nbsp;<em>Madonna Laboris</em>&nbsp;became the <a href="https://www.bonhams.com/press_release/13835/" target="_blank">most valuable piece of art</a> ever sold at Russian auction). Yet his versatile and visionary output soars across the realms of Eastern philosophy, architecture, poetry, botany, and archeology.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421090600-Tibet.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Tibet&nbsp;</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Disturbed by the acts of cultural iconoclasm his family witnessed during Lenin&rsquo;s regime, the Roerichs fled Russia to England in 1919. Once in London, Roerich ingratiated himself in Theosophists circle&mdash;as kooky a crew as you could find in the city at the time. Inspired by the esoteric minds he encountered, he committed himself to a fresh brand of occultism known as <em><a href="http://agniyoga.org/ay_info.html" target="_blank">Agni Yoga</a>&nbsp;</em>(he and his wife Helena founded the Agni Yoga Society in 1920)&nbsp;and prepared for his passage to India, which he financed by working as a stage designer at the Covent Garden Theatre.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Before this first mission, however, the Roerichs traveled to America where, in 1920, a major and celebrated exhibition of his early paintings toured the country. It was during this time that Roerich befriended key figures in U.S. politics, namely, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry Wallace&mdash;two individuals who would later influence the unique representation of the mythical territory of Shambhala Roerich presented in his paintings, poetry, and philosophy.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For a number of years the Roerichs settled in New York, where they founded an array of institutions aiming to unite artists around the globe in the name of disseminating civic and cultural ideas.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But in 1925 the longed-for quest for Shambhala beckoned and the Roerichs departed on their first five-year expedition which saw the creation of many works such as <em>Roerich&rsquo;s Treasure</em>&nbsp;and <em>The Red Rider</em>.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A crucial part of our understanding of Roerich&rsquo;s painting&mdash;and the political tensions which surrounded it&mdash;depend on an understanding of what this mythical region really signifies.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Think of the deep purple dreadlocks of your crustiest friend at school, or the plucky truisms you thought you encountered when you first read <em>Howl</em>; consider that time you took mushrooms in the woods and entered the fourth dimension. And, if you can, reconsider.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421091500-Issa.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Issa and His Giant Skull</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Shambhala is a kingdom alluded to in ancient Tibetan texts; it is at once inaccessible, ineffably peaceful and yet rooted in every living being. It lies somewhere between the icy mountain ranges of Eurasia but at the same time, it is, by definition, hidden. For Roerich it was, "the indispensable site where the spiritual world unites with the material one."&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Roerich&rsquo;s Himalayan landscapes seek to produce an image of a world on the edge of physical reality. They are sublime panoramas, dazzling in their jagged beauty, as luminous and visionary as Blake&rsquo;s prophetic etchings. They are observed from on top of the world, overlooking craggy paths, staring into the heart of Fauvist, euphoric light.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It was the ultimate sabbatical&mdash;but someone had to pay for all this, and Roerich was crafty in the way he branded himself as an emissary of Western Buddhism to unknown and potentially paradisiacal landscapes.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421090637-He-who-hastens.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;<span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>He Who Hastens</em></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It has been contended that Roerich accepted funding from both British and Bolshevik intelligence to finance his first expedition, that his journeys were not simply artistic and philosophical endeavors but driven by a unique form of espionage arising from lingering territorial disputes within the region known today as "The Great Game."</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For Soviet armies and British Raj-defenders, Shambhala signified political territory, not spiritual freedom&mdash;and sponsorship of the first Roerich expedition was a strategic policy of surveillance over regions we know today as Mongolia, Tibet, India and Afghanistan.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Perhaps the perceptible sense of menace, the angular strain we witness in the jewels, the cliff tops, and human faces of Roerich&rsquo;s paintings belies the political tensions which enabled his Himalayan missions.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421090715-Range.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Himalayas,</span></em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;1933</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Roerich&rsquo;s second Himalayan expedition to Manchuria in 1933-34 was sponsored after a long correspondence with Henry Wallace, then Secretary of Agriculture for America who became a Roerich-disciple, deeply attracted to the idea of Sacred Union of the East, a spiritual and geopolitical utopia the Roerichs were hoping to establish in the heart of Asia. Like Shambhala, this utopia was to show humankind as a blueprint of ideal society. Wallace comissioned Roerich&rsquo;s journey under the pretence of finding a hardy seed which could withstand the ravages of the recent Dust Bowl.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Once again, political pressures encroached on Roerich&rsquo;s vision. Through the painting and writing from this controversial trip we witness Roerich branding America as a paradigm of Shambhala&mdash;the point at which the new and ancient world emerge as congruent ideals. He writes:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the remote yurtas of Asia&rsquo;s deserts, President Hoover is the giant Savior of starving peoples. Ford is considered as a symbol of motive power. The Mongols consider American Indians their lost relatives. All our latest discoveries are regarded by the East as signs of the era of Shambhala. Milliken&rsquo;s cosmic ray, Einstein&rsquo;s relativity, Theremin&rsquo;s music from the ether, are regarded in Asia as signs of the evolution of human consciousness, confirmed by Vedic and Buddhist traditions and the teachings of Shambhala.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We are told that "many reproductions of the towers of New York have remained in the desert! And they are kept in the sacred corners, where the most revered objects are collected."&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Reading this, my starry belief in Roerich&rsquo;s visions begins to wither: weren&rsquo;t the mountain folk just excited to have something unfamiliar to look at? Undoubtedly, Roerich loved America&mdash;but how much was his journey hijacked by state-led propaganda designed to promote Uncle Sam&rsquo;s supremacy over ancient Eastern traditions?</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It&rsquo;s at this point that the U.S. sponsorship of Roerich&rsquo;s mission to find rare forms of moss in the name of a Buddhist Kingdom seems, aptly, dank and murky. Perhaps this was something Roerich himself also recognized and rejected; after the first year he is reported to have abandoned botanical research and dedicated himself to painting and poetry.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Soon enough, the U.S. authorities were pursuing him for tax evasion. Wallace&rsquo;s "Dear Guru" letters were later used to humiliate him in 1948 as he stood for office. Roerich died in India a year before, too early to witness the bloody iconoclasm as India and Pakistan were divided.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421090758-Path-to-Shambhala.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Path to Shambhala</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Today, we can immerse ourselves in Roerich&rsquo;s vision in eponymous museums in Moscow and New York as well as at the residence in which he spent his last days, in Kulu, Himachal Pradesh. Though the quest for Shambhala was abandoned, he is revered today as an artist-explorer whose bold gait straddled wildly divergent cultural and political forces in the name of locating or creating an unending happy and tranquil kingdom.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Nicholas Roerich never did receive the Nobel Peace Prize, despite multiple nominations. The most apt tribute could be the Roerich star 446, which was named after him, his brand too lofty to pinpoint, his geopolitical Utopian like the star itself&mdash;already dead.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/415325-philly-malicka?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Philly Malicka</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: <em>Portrait of Nicholas&nbsp;Roerich</em>, All images courtesy <a href="http://www.roerich.org/" target="_blank">Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York</a>)</span></p> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 09:41:14 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Brand America <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In March, <a href="http://artforum.com/news/id=50507" target="_blank"><em>Artforum</em></a> announced that both Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman would be creating new series of work for placement in various international American Embassies; in corporate terms, this is like being asked to make a contribution to the d&eacute;cor of the global headquarters of Brand America, and the announcement is of note to me personally because a) I genuinely enjoy the work of Cindy Sherman, b) I enjoy the aesthetics of Brand America from a largely kitsch perspective, and c) I am now committed to reading about and over-thinking everything <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/artists/rackroom/91-jeff-koons" target="_blank">Jeff Koons</a> does, whenever and wherever he happens to be doing it, and whether it is actually interesting. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417131035-koons2.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Jeff Koons, via Page Six</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">My passion for Koons is a little like my passion for, say, Kim Kardashian, not least because I have seen both of their bare asses in the pages of a fashion glossy within the last financial year; his cachet as a representative of something-or-other&mdash;really, it depends upon who you ask, and how charitable they are feeling&mdash;allows the viewer to project a certain kind of postmodern symbolism onto everything he does. Like Kim, he can stand in for America's cultural ruin; for the celebration of the mass-made and oversold over the individual; for the bastardization of popular culture and the worship of the dumb and banal, but also for a further-than-Warholian merging of everyday life with the gallery&mdash;a new kind of ARTPOP, as his awful collaborator Lady Gaga might say. By the end of this month, both Koons and Kardashian <a href="http://www.rizzoliusa.com/book.php?isbn=9780847845651" target="_blank">will have published</a> <a href="http://www.rizzoliusa.com/book.php?isbn=9780789329202" target="_blank">coffee-table</a> books with Rizzoli. Both are also the manufacturers of lovely, curvaceous, prohibitively expensive and increasingly meaningless <em>objet d'art</em>, too, though Kim&mdash;in her wisdom&mdash;has chosen to work in an edition of only one. Koons may have sold a single balloon dog for $58 million, but the sum rather pales in comparison to Kim Kardashian's continued returns of $30 thirty million&nbsp;<em>per year</em> on her own bombastic sculpture. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417121137-JeffKim.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Via Instagram <a href="https://instagram.com/kimkardashian/" target="_blank">@kimkardashian</a></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The <a href="http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/sep/25/cult-jeff-koons/" target="_blank"><em>New York Review of Books</em></a> called Koon's retrospective at the Whitney &ldquo;a succession of pop culture trophies so emotionally dead that museumgoers appear a little dazed as they dutifully take out their iPhones and produce their selfies.&rdquo; Comparison with the Kardashian Clan here seems almost too easy (&ldquo;pop culture trophies...emotionally dead...they dutifully take out their iPhones and produce their selfies&rdquo;) but also too cruel. Kim, after all, has never shot for "conceptual." &nbsp;Koons embodies the best and worst of Brand America effortlessly, and so his contribution to this project is more inevitable than merely logical. Beverley Hills' United Talent Agency&mdash;former and current clients: Miley Cyrus, Kirsten Dunst, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie&mdash;announced the launch of a UTA arts arm in February. Though their roster has not been formally announced, almost every item about the agency in the art world press came accompanied by a photo of Koons (<a href="https://news.artnet.com/art-world/hollywood-agency-announces-plans-to-represent-visual-artists-guess-who-251056" target="_blank">&ldquo;Guess Who?&rdquo;</a> asked ArtNet's headline, wryly). &ldquo;With popular recognition of contemporary art at an all-time high,&rdquo; <a href="http://observer.com/2015/02/hollywood-talent-agency-opens-fine-arts-sector-to-manage-visual-artists/" target="_blank">said one of the agency's lawyers</a>,&nbsp; &ldquo;a myriad of new opportunities&mdash;and new complexities&mdash;have materialized for studio artists.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417121204-kimmarina.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Via Instagram <a href="https://instagram.com/kimkardashian/" target="_blank">@kimkardashian</a></span><a href="https://instagram.com/kimkardashian/" target="_blank"><br /></a></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Which is, of course, a fair observation, and also an indisputable truth. The artist as a popular figure is a fairly modern invention, but one whose development has accelerated considerably within the last few years: who can forget <a href="http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/20788/1/watch-marina-abramovics-short-film-for-adidas" target="_blank">Marina Abramovic for Adidas</a>, or Vanessa Beecroft for Kanye West? Who among us can say that they didn't at least catch a Vine video of <a href="http://www.pacegallery.com/news/1912/jay-z-s-picasso-baby-video-shoot-at-pace-gallery-organized-by-jeanne-greenberg-rohatyn-directed-by-mark-romanek-hosted-by-andrea-glimcher" target="_blank">Jay-Z at Pace</a>? &ldquo;ART IS FAMOUSNESS IS AMERICAN IS THE BRAND,&rdquo; I had written here as a placeholder. But what more is there, really, to say? Branding is what makes Jeff Koons the ideal art ambassador for his country. Branding, too, is <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/42776" target="_blank">what makes him famous</a>. Actually, in the midst of some fleeting attack of art-history amnesia, I had <em>also</em> considered writing something here about <a href="https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/brooke-shields-by-gary-gross/" target="_blank"><em>Spiritual America</em></a>, the notorious underage nudie photograph of 13-year-old Brooke Shields which was <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/6248384/Brooke-Shields-picture-withdrawn-from-Tate-exhibition-after-police-visit.html?mobile=basic" target="_blank">withdrawn from the Tate Modern </a>by the Obscene Publications Unit during a 2009 show, and which is, in fact, a work by the country's other great art titan, Richard Prince.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A schoolgirl's error, but one with a certain logic&mdash;<em>Spiritual America</em> has the same cross-breeding of innocence and perversity which is present in, say, a number of Koons' earlier <em>Banalities</em> sculptures; his sexually-explicit but often candy-colored utopian pornography work with his ex-wife, La Cicciolina. It's easy to see why I thought of it: this is where the real sweet-spot for the corporate branding of America is&mdash;in this mixture of sting and sugar, where the puritanical and the corrupt converge&mdash;though I doubt it will be the direction of the artworks unveiled on April the 20th. &ldquo;Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman are two of the most internationally renowned and influential American artists of our time,&rdquo; says the press-release for the Embassy artworks. &ldquo;Both artists have pushed the boundaries of their work. Their creativity embodies the innovative spirit of America.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Almost as a postscript: in my haste to talk about Jeff Koons, I admit that I've sorely neglected Cindy Sherman, whose work I am a fan of, and whose inclusion in this exercise in All-American interior d&eacute;cor is, I admit, a little more surprising to me. While certain factors make her a likely candidate for the project&mdash;the value of her work, historically and financially; the figurative style of her work; the fact that she is female, and that, if nothing else, we females are occasionally able to claw our way into institutions through tokenism&mdash;she does not, at first glance, wear her American-ness on her sleeve with the open alacrity of Koons. I'm not certain which Sherman to expect in these unknown works which she produces for the Embassy, either. A <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/jan/15/cindy-sherman-interview" target="_blank"><em>Guardian</em> profile</a> describes her as, variously, &ldquo;a Hitchcock heroine, a busty Monroe, an abuse victim, a terrified centrefold, a corpse, a Caravaggio, a Botticelli, a mutilated hermaphrodite sex doll, a man in a balaclava, a surgically-enhanced Hamptons type, a cowgirl, [and] a desperate clown&rdquo;&mdash;an ever-shifting mode of personal presentation which is entirely at odds with the very concept of &ldquo;branding.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">How, I wonder, would we know to buy Coke if they didn't always print the Coca Cola logo on the can? And how would we recognize the stars and stripes if they disguised themselves as quirkier shapes?</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/265136-philippa-snow?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Philippa Snow</a></span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Cindy Sherman, <em>Woman in Sun Dress</em>, 2003, Lambda C-Print.&nbsp;&copy; Cindy Sherman 20015,&nbsp;Courtesy Spruth Magers)&nbsp;</span></p> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 10:05:36 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list You Can’t Ape It: Art Outsiders Can Tell the Difference Between Abstract Art and Finger Paintings <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This article was originally published on <a href="http://thepsychreport.com/" target="_blank">The Psych Report</a>.</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Anyone who&rsquo;s stood before one of Cy Twombly&rsquo;s gigantic scribbles or Jackson Pollock&rsquo;s chaotic drip paintings knows it doesn&rsquo;t take an expert to be a critic. One of the&nbsp;most common critiques, &ldquo;my kid could have done that," is a claim that&rsquo;s inspired <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Your-Five-Year-Old-Could-Have-Done/dp/3791347357" target="_blank">books</a> and editorials and more than a few <a href="http://hyperallergic.com/69997/some-of-the-best-reponses-to-my-kid-could-do-that/" target="_blank">threatening tweets</a> from art aficionados defending the genius of abstract expressionism against the harsh judgements of the unconvinced. Despite some of their scoffing, new psychology research published this month in <em>Cognition </em>suggests the uncredentialed public can not only discern Twombly&rsquo;s skill from a two-year-olds&rsquo; play, they tend to like the works of master artists better, too.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In a<a href="http://www.ellenwinner.com/uploads/7/0/0/0/7000655/snapper_et_al_2015_your_kid_could_not_have_done_that_cognition.pdf" target="_blank"> series of experiments</a>, psychologists Angelina Hawley-Dolan and Ellen Winner along with their colleagues at Boston College&mdash;Leslie Snapper, Cansu Oran&ccedil;, and Jenny Nissel&mdash;asked hundreds of art outsiders to evaluate works by famous abstract expressionists such as Hans Hofmann and Willem de Kooning along with works by lesser-known children, chimpanzees, monkeys, gorillas, and elephants. They wanted to find out if people without much, or any, exposure to abstract art might still be able to detect the intentionality and skill in the abstract paintings of masters over those created by animals and children. While such a study might offer more fodder for skeptics than put a point in the win column for the art world, people did rate the works of professional artists better.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150417100103-cognition_study_comparison.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Sample pair used in Study 1. (left) <em>Laburnum</em>&nbsp;by Hans Hofmann, &copy; 2015 The Renate, Hans &amp;&nbsp;Maria&nbsp;Hofmann Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York <br />(right) Painting by Jack Pezanosky, age 4, reprinted with permission of the parents of Jack Pezanosky</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In their first experiment, they showed participants 30 pairs of images&mdash;one by a famous artist and the other by either a child or animal. The images were paired together with the help of art experts to be similar in color, line quality, brush stroke, and medium. After seeing each pair, participants were asked to choose which work they thought was done by the artist. The task isn&rsquo;t easy. If you want to give it a try yourself there is a somewhat similar<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/jenlewis/quiz-can-you-tell-the-difference-between-modern-art-and-art#.kol5oPELXO" target="_blank"> BuzzFeed test </a>for that. On average, participants identified the professional artwork about 64 percent of the time. In other words, they got a D. While this would only barely count as a passing grade in an Art History class, their answers were not random. It shows most people were picking up on a more sophisticated style in the works of famous painters.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Winner and her colleagues then ran a second experiment. In case seeing the two images side by side gave viewers an edge at picking out the artist&rsquo;s work, they showed another group all 60 images, but this time one at a time. In this experiment, participants again identified the professional artwork at a rate better than chance. Not all works were equally easy to spot, however. While the majority&mdash;94 percent&mdash;of participants could identify Charles Seliger&rsquo;s <em>Forest Echoes</em> (1961) as the work of a professional artist, the painterly touch of <a href="http://www.artslant.com/website/joan-mitchell/ARTWORKS?site=la">Joan Mitchell</a>&rsquo;s 1990 <em>Pastel </em>proved more difficult to discern. Only 12 percent of participants said they thought it was done by an artist, let alone the highest selling female artist&mdash;Mitchell broke auction sales records last year when one of her untitled pieces <a href="http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/joan-mitchell-untitled-5792530-details.aspx?from=salesummary&amp;&amp;pos=2&amp;intObjectID=5792530&amp;sid=b4369e0f-8d10-4417-9e4a-bb7863e1815d&amp;page=4" target="_blank">sold for more than $11.9 million</a>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Winner, an expert on child prodigies and gifted children, has also <a href="http://www.ellenwinner.com/research.html" target="_blank">spent a good deal of time</a> investigating how the general public experiences art. She&rsquo;s run a number of studies on detecting forgeries (even laypeople can do it), what people like about art (it&rsquo;s not just about beauty), and how what we think about an artist influences how we evaluate his or her work. Back in 2011, Hawley-Dolan and Winner conducted their first experiment testing if people could tell the difference between works by famous artists and those by children and animals. Then, they recruited a few dozen Boston College undergraduates, half of whom were art students, to evaluate each of these 30 pairs asking them two questions: Which image do you like more and why? and Which image do you think is the better work of art and why?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150417100904-sam_francis.jpg" alt="" width="300" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Image used in Study: Sam Francis, <em>Untitled</em>, 1989, &copy; 2015 Sam Francis Foundation, California Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Some of the images were correctly labeled artist, child, or animal. Others were mislabeled, and still others were not labeled at all. Across all conditions, both the art students and the non-art students thought the professional work of art was better about 65 percent of the time. In one condition, the non-art students even did a little better at spotting the real artwork. But what the art students lacked in judgement, they made up for in taste. According to their findings, the art students were more likely to like the professional work of art.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Winner and her colleagues wanted to find out what people saw in the works by famous artists that helped them discern its artistic value. In a third experiment published in their present study, Winner and her colleagues asked yet another group of more than 150 participants to evaluate all 60 images across a range of dimensions such as intentionality, structure, inspiration, negative space, and metaphorical meaning. However, this time the participants had no idea they were looking at works by both famous artists as well as children and animals. Winner and her colleagues found two qualities stood out in particular that people ascribed to professional artworks: intentionality and visual structure. On the whole, participants described the works by famous artists as having a greater level of intentionality and more sophisticated structure. Similarly, participants said many of the works by children and animals appeared to be less intentional and structured.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Winner and her colleagues then looked at the participants&rsquo; responses for the easiest to identify artworks, like Seliger&rsquo;s <em>Forest Echoes</em>. They found participants rated these paintings the highest in intentionality in comparison with the more difficult to identify works like Mitchell&rsquo;s<em> Pastel</em>. This lead them to conclude that intentionality is one of the main criteria people use to judge the value of an artwork, a claim supported <a href="http://www.ryu-uch.net/uploads/2/1/6/7/21676900/bloom.pdf" target="_blank">by other studies</a> on how people ascribe value to artifacts.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While Winner and her colleagues&rsquo; studies suggest most people are able to discern skill in a variety of contexts, their findings are at odds with a number of other studies. As the authors note, previous studies have found that context does matter. For example, another group of researchers at University College London <a href="http://www.hyooom.com/manuscripts/Kirk_2009.pdf">found</a> that people liked an artwork more when they thought it came from a famous gallery rather than when they were told it was generated by a computer.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Even the art world&rsquo;s taste doesn&rsquo;t always (or even often) reflect a keen judgement of skill. Some might remember <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-499240/Toddler-fools-art-world-buying-tomato-ketchup-paintings.html" target="_blank">two-year-old Freddie Linksy</a>, whose mediums included ketchup as well as acrylics. His work was sought after by one Berlin gallery who stumbled upon the misleading Saatchi Online profile his mom made for him as a joke. One collector purchased a painting for &pound;20, saying he liked its &ldquo;flow and energy.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150417100130-Chimpanzee_congo_painting.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Image used in study: Untitled painting by Congo the chimpanzee&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Then there&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dead-chimps-art-sells-big/" target="_blank">Congo, the chimpanzee</a>, whose works outsold Renoir and Warhol at auction, fetching more than $25,000. He did most of his painting between the ages of two and four, way before most painters reach their artistic peak. Granted, his work is pretty good; Picasso reportedly hung one of the chimp&rsquo;s works in his home. He was also an intentional painter. Congo reportedly threw tantrums if a painting was taken away before he was done working and refused to paint more on a piece once he decided it was finished.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But, for obvious reasons, such cases are exceptions. On the whole, Winner and her colleagues&rsquo; work suggest something important about non-representational art and the important role intentionality plays in how we ascribe value to artworks. For the parents of kids who could have done that, science suggests they can&rsquo;t, at least not without a bit more practice.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/280566-max-nesterak?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Max Nesterak</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">(Image at top:&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Hans Hofmann, <em>Laburnum</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">,1954, Oil on linen, 40 x 50 inches (101.6 x 127 cm)</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span>&copy; 2015 The Renate, Hans &amp;&nbsp;Maria&nbsp;Hofmann Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)</span></span></p> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 01:07:18 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list The World's Best-Branded Contemporary Artists <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>This week we're publishing a series of teaser articles on the theme of "Brand" l</em><em>eading up to our "Brand" themed second issue of Editions, our new inbox magazine&mdash;which will be sent to ArtSlant subscribers this Thursday. Here, Nadja Sayej considers the world's best-branded artists.</em><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In a&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://dismagazine.com/dystopia/67039/constant-dullaart-100000-followers-for-everyone/" target="_blank">recent essay</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;published by Berlin-based artist&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://constantdullaart.com/" target="_blank">Constant Dullaart</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, the artist who shelled out 2.5 million free Instagram followers to art world accounts writes, &ldquo;Audience is a commodity.&rdquo; He continues: &ldquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Building a signature presence where the branding of the artist&rsquo;s name is more important than an individual work or series. The more social relevance, the more expensive the art work&hellip; not the presence at local gallery openings, but international social presence online. It&rsquo;s not who you know, but who follows you that will increase your chances in making it big.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">On the flipside, marketing lecturer at University of Tasmania,&nbsp;<a href="http://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-lehman-109083" target="_blank">Kim Lehman</a>, who has done extensive research on art world marketing, says, &ldquo;Marketing involves selling your soul in some way, or at the very least, making compromises that can threaten the integrity of your art. My opinion is that marketing can offer artists certain tools that can be useful in furthering their practice. However, I also strongly believe that it is not &lsquo;the answer&rsquo; handed down from a sacred mount.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I've collected the current crop of artists whose names have become household brands (beyond the obvious self-promotes such as Andy Warhol and Richard Prince). Their websites and logos&mdash;the stuff that surrounds their art&mdash;raises the question: who are the brand-makers behind the art world's biggest contemporary artists? </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Here are five of the biggest artist brands around. Comment below on who you would add to your own list.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417085203-MARI_TESTINO_BY_NADJA_SAYEJ.JPG" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Mario Testino. Photo:&nbsp;Nadja Sayej</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Mario Testino</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">When I met the London-based Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino, I asked him why it was important to be a good self-promoter as an artist. After all, he has released over a dozen books of his photos, mounts museum-scale exhibitions and is often in the spotlight himself as an artist. He said: &ldquo;Even when they don&rsquo;t want you, pretend they want you.&rdquo; It seems to have worked. Testino has hired a videographer to follow him around at press conferences, documenting his entire life. He has a team of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessoffashion.com/community/companies/mario-testino-1" target="_blank">35 people</a>&nbsp;working behind him. With solo show titles like <em>In Your Face</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;filled with celebrity pictures of the Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga&mdash;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">his branding screams for attention. As a by-product of shooting for fashion glossies, Testino&rsquo;s branding has made him a celebrity. In interviews, he uses the words&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/03/fashion/03iht-rmario03.html?_r=0" target="_blank">&ldquo;amazing&rdquo; and &ldquo;incredible,&rdquo;</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;reinforcing his aesthetic&mdash;and his brand. His managing director is Jan Olesen of&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://higherandhigher.com/" target="_blank">Higher + Higher</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, who handle the brands that Testino shoots.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="text-align: center; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417091457-The_Future_of_Art_-_Damien_Hirst.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Damien Hirst. Photo: Christian G&ouml;rmer via&nbsp;</span><a style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;" href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Future_of_Art_-_Damien_Hirst.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Damien Hirst</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We&rsquo;re no stranger to the fact that the Young British Artist superstar has become a luxury brand. He has ventured in art collecting, fashion design, and is a one-time restaurant owner. Cashing in on his notoriety, he&rsquo;s like the Pharell Williams of the art world&mdash;albeit a less fashionable counterpart. Who can forget when Hirst launched a line at New York Fashion Week with Levi&rsquo;s in 2008? Or maybe this past Valentine&rsquo;s Day when he exhibited a solo show of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2015/feb/10/damien-hirst-love-valentines-day-hearts-exhibition" target="_blank">candy hearts</a>&nbsp;(which critics called lazy and predictable). News hooks are his key to drawing the media&rsquo;s attention. Managed by business mogul&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Dunphy" target="_blank">Frank Dunphy</a>, a significant amount of Hirst&rsquo;s commercial success depends on his business partnership. As<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2007/jul/01/art1" target="_blank">&nbsp;the artist said</a>,&nbsp;&ldquo;Before he came along, I was like a punk, really. I didn't care about money. Or I pretended not to care. But when the figures start to get high, it's hard to pretend you don't care. It scares the shit out of you. He got me over the fear. I'd still be drinking and I'd probably would have found some way to fuck it all up if Frank hadn't come along.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417090446-Jeff_Koons_01.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Jeff Koons. Photo: Bengt Oberger via <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jeff_Koons_01.JPG" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Jeff Koons</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: medium; text-align: left;">Probably the most branded artist in recent history, Koons broke the purity of the art world in many ways. His work personifies commercialism; he repackages products with a sense of nostalgia and creates large-scale items that inflate art market sales. His studio manager&nbsp;</span><a style="font-size: medium; text-align: left;" href="http://www.complex.com/style/2013/10/10-behind-the-scenes-art-world-insiders-you-should-know/" target="_blank">Gary McCraw</a><span style="font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;helped manage a team of 87 assistants. While Koons has kept much of his branding team under wraps,&nbsp;</span><a style="font-size: medium; text-align: left;" href="https://www.linkedin.com/pub/mathieu-victor/5/b85/787" target="_blank">Mathieu Victor's LinkedIn account</a><span style="font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;shows he was Koons' project manager and art director for 12 years before going independent in 2014, assisting with a &ldquo;direction of projects ranging from high-end jewellery to monumental sculpture.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s just the tip of the iceberg.</span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417090335-BLAB_Parfum_Ad_200x150_05_140702__2000x1502_.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Bruce LaBruce. Courtesy of the artist</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Bruce LaBruce</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In contrast to Koons and Hirst, a lo-fi punk approach marks the work of this filmmaker, who made his name by creating queercore gay porn features shot through with sarcastic, arty tales. Launching a <a href="https://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/films/1566" target="_blank">film retrospective</a> at MoMA later this month, LaBruce started out making films in the 1980s, alongside a queer punk fanzine called&nbsp;<em>J.D.s</em>&nbsp;(Juvenile Delinquents). Promoting his work and branding fake blood&mdash;as well as gay zombie porn&mdash;became his trademark. &ldquo;It was very homemade and because of the fanzine, which was D.I.Y. desktop publishing, and so is Super 8 film, and because it was pre-internet, I learned how to treat and promote the films as part of the whole creative process, which is what I still do to this day,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;To me, it&rsquo;s all a part of the same process.&rdquo; LaBruce doesn&rsquo;t have some magical brand maker behind the scenes&mdash;he does all the work himself&mdash;though his choice of collaborators helps. His recent jewellery and perfume line collaboration with German artist&nbsp;<a href="https://jonathanjohnson.de/en/collaborations/bruce-labruce" target="_blank">Jonathan Johnson</a>&nbsp;shows the LaBruce name as a brand that carries well into merchandise&mdash;from &ldquo;L.A. Zombie&rdquo; gold rings to the &ldquo;Obscenity&rdquo; perfume.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417090648-YAYOI-KUSAMA.2014_Gagosian.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy Gagosian</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Yayoi Kusama</strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Polka-dots fill the work of this Japanese artist who e</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">mbracing the consistent artist-as-brand model early on in her career and&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">shows at Gagosian this month&mdash;and was named <a href="http://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/museums/17584/" target="_blank">the most popular artist in 2014</a>, based on museum attendance.&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.dezeen.com/2012/08/30/louis-vuitton-kusama-concept-store-at-selfridges/" target="_blank">Her Louis Vuitton brand sponsorship</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;is just one example of how her dots have paved the way for purse sales and clothing that follows the same pattern of her artwork. She&rsquo;s even done a "</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.recreativeuk.com/opportunity/win-trip-japan-visit-yayoi-kusamas-studio" target="_blank">win a trip to visit Kusama&rsquo;s studio</a>"<span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;ad campaign. All we need now are art world air miles...</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/241816-nadja-sayej" target="_blank">Nadja Sayej</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Jeff Koons by&nbsp;Sebastian Kim)</span></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:16:15 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Is "Selling Out" Still Relevant in a Post-Digital World? <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>This week we're publishing a series of teaser articles on the theme of "Brand" l</em><em>eading up to our "Brand" themed second issue of Editions, our new inbox magazine&mdash;which will be sent to ArtSlant subscribers this Thursday. Today, Paul Hanford asks whether selling out is outdated.</em><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Selling out. To some, it appears as a pious and fiery Martin Luther-style preacher, spitting&nbsp;out commandments into the bohemian mind, who, while scraping together enough bronze to buy milk&nbsp;and cigarettes, is comforted by the fact that although they may be starving, at least they haven&rsquo;t&nbsp;sold out. For others, it&rsquo;s more ambiguous: after all, Michelangelo put away his&nbsp;pride and accepted the Pope&rsquo;s commission money to paint the Sistine Chapel. Fear of selling out taunts the&nbsp;artist, reminding them of compromises that begin the day you fill out a college&nbsp;application.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But in the&nbsp;post-digital&nbsp;age, what does "selling out" mean? Can we assume the same principles we&nbsp;would have accepted prior the arrival of the web? For example, is it unfair to snub the&nbsp;eBay artist just because they&rsquo;re not prepared to wait for an elusive patron to hoister their&nbsp;work into the public sphere?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421093531-6051975446_17f331ebc0_b.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Anton Bielousov, Source: Flickr Creative Commons</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I&rsquo;m 41, and it is certain that an entirely new trajectory has arisen over my lifetime. I started&nbsp;out as a musician during the Brit Pop wars. A major label paid me to make up songs in a&nbsp;studio; they paid to release them and for a PR company to get us in NME and Mixmag; and we&nbsp;had a publishing house that got one of our songs on a deodorant advert. We had a live&nbsp;agent who planned big tours. It seems crazy now to think that we got paid at all when all we&nbsp;had to do was make up songs. And then bother to turn up to play them. That was it. We&nbsp;didn&rsquo;t have to persuade our mates to share YouTube links or pull all-nighters initiating&nbsp;Facebook campaigns. We stayed in hotels on tour rather than on people&rsquo;s floors, and yet,&nbsp;we sold less than 10,000 units. Just imagine all this support being given to a band&nbsp;these days with a mere 10,000 downloads/reposts/streams. We had total creative&nbsp;freedom&nbsp;<em>and&nbsp;</em>money&mdash;and weren&rsquo;t expected to sell out.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421093548-15865541886_ca3b77bd9e_o.jpg" alt="" /><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">1966 Famous Artist Schools with Norman Rockwell, Source: Flickr Creative Commons</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Fast forward 15 years, and we are all now multi-taskers. Many of us operate as if we ourselves are&nbsp;entire micro-corporations, splitting our time between creativity, marketing, networking, and&nbsp;doing whatever else we have to do to make ends meet. We are having to learn how to&nbsp;quickly switch between entire different disciplines that would have previously been the roles&nbsp;of separate departments. Often, as a result, we may find ourselves stuck in loops of&nbsp;checking social media, checking, and rechecking. We are expected to behave in the social&nbsp;media world with savvy and grace&mdash;even though our training might have been in ceramics. With opportunists at every corner,&nbsp;Jeff Koons&rsquo; era of making art about business now seems as quaint and innocent as stock&nbsp;footage of a monorail at a 1950s world trade fair. For guidance for&nbsp;being this one person corporation and keeping your integrity, I suggest reading,&nbsp;if you&rsquo;ve not already, Austin Kleon&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://austinkleon.com/steal/" target="_blank"><em>Steal Like An Artist</em></a>, and the&nbsp;follow up&nbsp;<em><a href="http://austinkleon.com/show-your-work/" target="_blank">Show Your Work!</a></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150421093419-6784175368_fd199844f7_b.jpg" alt="" /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">from&nbsp;<em>Steal Like An Artist</em>&nbsp;by Austin Kleon,&nbsp;Source: Flickr Creative Commons</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There are benefits to this new structure of selling out. We accept our involvement in the bigger picture. In the future, we could finally&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/42680" target="_blank">tear down</a>, for example, the hierarchical structures of intrinsic in academic Fine Art that have dominated and&nbsp;controlled the artist for far too long.&nbsp;Being accepted as a Fine Artist is possibly the least rebellious of all creative disciplines: it begins, when you fill out your application for university and make a decision that is,&nbsp;at least partly, based on prestige.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">What the digital age offers the artist is a potential web of routes outside of these conventions. Although to some, methods of online commercial enterprise might elicit a sniff, these routes develop into a credible alternative for the artist.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The digital age, for me, is about the&nbsp;opportunity to challenge the accepted hierarchies. Now that at least part of our role is to&nbsp;act as our own PR team, we have all taken a worthwhile step&mdash;and the prospect of agitating&nbsp;the occasional old school purist is of little consequence.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/408013-paul-hanford" target="_blank">Paul Hanford</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;from <em>Steal Like An Artist</em> by Austin Kleon,&nbsp;Source: Flickr Creative Commons)</span></p> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 08:32:18 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Made-Up with Danny Volk: S1E11 with Catherine Sullivan <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Danny Volk talks to artists in their studios about life and art&mdash;while they do his make-up. This concept was a new one for us, and, unsurprisingly, it produces some unique moments: see artists like Theaster Gates, Pope.L, and Jessica Stockholder working in their studios as you've never seen them before.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Revisit Season 1 as we anticipate the all-new Made-Up Season 2, to be released this Spring on ArtSlant.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This week: Catherine Sullivan says something she shouldn't while turning Danny... orange.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/2ahUZEAPqOE" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="float: right;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150129205110-10299099_219201961624218_7214582499433800077_n.jpg" alt="" width="150" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>More About Made-Up With Danny Volk&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Made-Up is created and hosted by Danny Volk.&nbsp;Volk was born in 1979 in Akron, OH and currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. Volk got his MFA in Visual Art from the University of Chicago in 2014, and his BA in Theater Studies at Kent State University in 2006.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Produced by | Danny Volk and Stephanie Anne Harris Trevor</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Cameras | Bryce Peppers,&nbsp;Valia&nbsp;O'Donnell</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Technical consultant | Ben Chandler</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Comic Strip" by Serge&nbsp;Gainsbourg&nbsp;remixed by&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/flashcookie">DJ&nbsp;Flashcookie</a></span></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:53:58 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Record Store Day Special: Top Album Sleeve Artwork <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Only in its eighth year, <a href="http://recordstoreday.com/" target="_blank">Record Store Day</a> is already starting to feel as traditional as a Morris dancer&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">at a folk festival. For me, the biggest attraction here is rooting through the limited edition&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">vinyl released especially for the event. That sensory chemical nirvana triggered when thumbs flick&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">through the racks, the way eyes dilate when they make contact with that sleeve... the one you&rsquo;re going&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">to take home with you. And as you lay on your bed, vinyl crackling away, you gaze across the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">design as if it were a new lover. Or is that just me?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I&rsquo;ve been lucky enough to get a glimpse of all 466 limited edition sleeves. Whittling it down to my top&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">designs wasn&rsquo;t easy...&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150416135209-418456374003.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">THE BEE GEES: <em>EXTENDED</em> 12&rdquo;</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Continuing the theme, there is a Bee Gees joke revolving around folk festivals being the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">only place you get to see Maurice dancing these days. But cruelty aside, here, promo-</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">sleeve simplicity coupled with an atypical (for the band&rsquo;s image) font conveys this: The Bee&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Gees are far more than the novelty pop-disco act history sometimes taints them as being.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Bee Gees were serious, credible artists making music aimed for the discerning&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">dancefloor.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417155142-418456382153.jpeg" alt="" width="600" />&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>BRENTON WOOD: <em>OOGUM BOOGUM</em></strong></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Soul and Jazz sleeves from around the period this record was first released (1967) were something else. Sexy, steely, and cool, the pinnacle was Miles Davis&rsquo; <em>ESG</em>. It&rsquo;s the look and sound of a club the Mad Men have just been refused entry to for being a bunch of stiffs.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150416135814-a0409414087_10.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">JEHST X STRANGE: <em>DOLPH LUNGDREN</em></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span>The four white male '70s bouffants coupled with cut-and-paste are classic Post Punk aesthetics. Think Wire.&nbsp;</span><span>Think Led Zep&rsquo;s foray into the angular with&nbsp;<em>Presence</em>. However, put the record on and&nbsp;</span><span>you have an almighty slab of British Hip Hop that proudly displays its music-literate cultural&nbsp;</span><span>prowess: &ldquo;Yeyah, peace to Ivan Drago!&rdquo;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417155244-418456373941.jpeg" alt="" /></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">DWARVES</strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This sleeve reminds you that rock music should be provocative. But, like Dwarves&rsquo; hardcore punk sound, the sexualized image has a patina of the post-modern. Unlike a million and one busty babes on old Van Halen sleeves, the girl&rsquo;s head on stare is a direct challenge to any wandering gaze.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150416135904-dont_stand_me_f.jpg" alt="" /><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">DEXYS MIDNIGHT RUNNERS: <em>DON&rsquo;T STAND ME DOWN</em></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span>The key to understanding this sleeve is the release date: 1985. Yuppie boom. Mobiles the&nbsp;</span><span>size of Wellington boots. Old footage of people shouting at the stock exchange. Dexys&nbsp;</span><span>were fresh to making money. They had dressed like chimney sweeps during the previous couple of years.&nbsp;</span><span>Here, for this radical reinvention, the portrait photographer quality, slick suits, and charcoal&nbsp;</span><span>background is pretty damn satirical.</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150417155439-418456381839.jpeg" alt="" width="600" /></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">THE EVERYMEN: <em>SPACESHIP OPENING</em></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Collage has always been a great sleeve option. Think The Beatles&rsquo; <em>Revolver</em>. Its DIY fanzine aesthetic fits punk perfectly, and now more than ever, collage sleeves can denote a rejection of digital manipulation in favour of raw physicality.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150416135643-FaintlyBlowing.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">KALEIDESCOPE: <em>FAINTLY BLOWING</em></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There are a million Acid Folk records made post-1967 featuring sleeves&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">involving pixie looking people looking amazing by a tree. And every single one of these&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">sleeves is absolutely fantastic. Rebooted far from angry men in Newcastle pubs singing&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">about Unions, Folk becomes about Britt Eckland scampering through trees and thin&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">cheeked pre-Raphelites battling sad, noble dragons.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150416135542-418456384767__1_.jpeg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">THAI POP COMPILATION</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This says Charity shop like a cardigan smelling slightly of wee. In this world, your local&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Oxfam is a museum of exotica, where any number of releases like this hold their own next&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">to tupperware cocktail shakers and old Green Lady prints.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150416135318-418456374026.jpeg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">RAINBOW FFOLLY: <em>SALLIES FFORTH</em></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I&rsquo;ve always found something deeply soothing, and not just a little sad, about&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">the childlike euphoria of psychedelic art. Collectively it becomes a monument to a great&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">lost era, just on the cusp of where we are now. The hippies were like the Rebel Alliance in&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Star Wars, except Luke joined the dark side and the Empire won.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150416135358-Go_Weird.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">THE WIBBLEY BROTHERS:&nbsp;<em>GO WEIRD</em></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">That corner of kitsch, free of exotica, reserved for delicate young darlings, Farfisa Organ&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">enthusiasts, library card montagists, Glaswegian pacifists, people who own Harmony&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Korine movies on VHS and only really eat because they have to.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/408013-paul-hanford" target="_blank">Paul Hanford&nbsp;</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Dwarves. All images courtesy:&nbsp;<a href="http://recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases" target="_blank">http://recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases</a>)</span></p> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:32:28 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list How to Exhibit and Collect Design <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">With the scope of art continually expanding to include everything from film to fashion wear, the design world is finding itself on the up and up. More art collectors are including works by iconic designers into their collections, and many major art institutions&mdash;MoMA for instance&mdash;either have departments dedicated to architecture and design, or they&rsquo;ve presented major exhibitions of prominent design figures and movements (David Adjaye, for example, is currently having a <a href="http://www.hausderkunst.de/agenda/detail/david-adjaye-form-gewicht-material-50/" target="_blank">huge retrospective</a> at Haus der Kunst in Munich). And yet, in the grand scheme of things, design is generally undervalued&mdash;in art scholarship, in the press, and in the market&mdash;compared to what we traditionally consider art: paintings and sculptures. We talked to Zesty Meyers of <a href="https://www.r-and-company.com/" target="_blank">R &amp; Company</a>, the Tribeca-based design gallery known for their innovative exhibition programming, about why we should be taking a sustained, more focused look at design, and why we should be collecting it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150415102730-Bo_Bardi_Burle_Marx_1.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Lina Bo Bardi + Roberto Burle Marx</em>,&nbsp;Installation view at R &amp; Company</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>Natalie Hegert: I&rsquo;d like to talk a bit about your current exhibitions, </em>Grains of Paradise<em>, an exhibition of contemporary African design, and</em> Lina Bo Bardi + Roberto Burle Marx<em>, an exhibition showcasing two of Brazil&rsquo;s most significant modern designers. </em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Zesty Meyers: </strong>We currently have a historic show of works by Lina Bo Bardi and Roberto Burle Marx, two exceptional leaders of architecture, design, and landscape architecture of the 20th century. They were masters at what they did. Roberto Burle Marx&rsquo;s work has been internationally recognized and exhibited for many years. But Lina&mdash;one of the many great women in design and architecture whose works were somewhat forgotten until about 15 years ago&mdash;is just now having a major renaissance with exhibitions taking place all over the world.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Upstairs, concurrently, we have a show about contemporary African design, where three of the designers are from South Africa and one, Babacar Niang, is from Senegal.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The juxtaposition of these two major exhibitions embodies R &amp; Company&rsquo;s mission&mdash;to discover new and exciting contemporary design while remaining devoted to the promotion and preservation of the historic.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: What&rsquo;s striking to me about these two shows is the focus that R &amp; Company places on locating these works in their respective historical and geographic contexts. How did this approach to exhibition-making evolve with the gallery? </em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM:</strong> Africa and Brazil are actually very connected. Just as the work of Burle Marx and Bo Bardi draws from the indigenous native cultures of Brazil, the contemporary African designers are similarly taking inspiration from their indigenous tribal cultures. Both <em>Lina Bo Bardi + Roberto Burle Marx</em> and <em>Grains of Paradise</em> take on a social message about how to bring better things to people. The works on view by the younger Africans come from simpler or basic ideas, with many looking at the past or to animal behavior. Take Porky Hefer&rsquo;s nests, which are inspired by questions like how does a bird make its nests, and how could it protect me, or how could I use it? Dokter and Misses are very influenced by the Kassena tribe, who create beautiful symbolic paintings on their homes, but they&rsquo;ve made it more contemporary.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150415111413-Grains_Of_Paradise_13.jpg" alt="" /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Dokter and Misses, <em>Grains of Paradise</em>, Installation view at R &amp; Company</span><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: When you generally go to a design gallery, most of the time you&rsquo;ll find a showroom, but R &amp; Company is unique in that you&rsquo;re putting together these focused exhibitions. What prompted the idea to show design in an exhibition format, in the way you&rsquo;d experience contemporary or modern art?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM:</strong> We think design <em>deserves</em> to be shown in a focused exhibition format. I would start there. We believe perception and presentation are everything. It&rsquo;s great that I have chairs made by Lina Bo Bardi 50 or so years ago, but it&rsquo;s more important that I share them with the public through a curated, thoughtful, gallery presentation. Plenty of chairs from the 1950s are cool or trendy, but that&rsquo;s really not R &amp; Company&rsquo;s interest. We are interested in masterworks from their time. The people that we show are historical leaders of their generations or countries, designers who exerted global influence even back then. Often we look for designers who may not yet be globally recognized, compared to the super famous names&mdash;Charles Eames, Jean Prouve or Charlotte Perriand. There are many designers that are just as good, if not better, just for different reasons.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">R &amp; Company wants to show the works of the world together as a global format. We demonstrate that the design world was already global starting after WWII, as our collection dates from about 1940 to the present. Young designers need to observe the past, so they can grow into the future. There are some amazing stories that are being forgotten, either unwritten stories or archives that are being thrown away. We are working to preserve these histories, and to present them in a meaningful way as part of thoughtful exhibitions.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We could have just had a shop, you&rsquo;re right, and we did have a shop when we opened in 1997 in Williamsburg. It was easy and fun. But the real pleasure comes from presenting the passion and knowledge that we&rsquo;ve acquired, not focusing on making money. Through R &amp; Company&rsquo;s exhibitions, we become storytellers, representing the gallery&rsquo;s idea of what is good design, something that is continually changing and growing.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The more that R &amp; Company grows, the more I learn personally and that pushes me forward in how to showcase global perspectives of design. Why shouldn&rsquo;t our exhibitions be as good as anything in the best museum in the world? Why should I lessen myself if we have this power of presentation?</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150415113332-SC684_p1.jpg" alt="" /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Ardmore, Nighttime Owl Tureen in White, Designed and made by Ardmore, South Africa, 2013. 12.6" L x 12.6" W x 22.44" H / 32cm L x 32cm W x 57cm H.&nbsp;<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo Joe Kramm, Courtesy R &amp; Company</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: Yes, I think it&rsquo;s important that audiences are challenged with the information, history, and what you&rsquo;re engaging with at the gallery. This is sort of a related but more general question&mdash;you kind of talked about it a little bit before&mdash;I&rsquo;m curious about how geography relates to design. We often talk about Scandinavian design, Japanese design, and now you&rsquo;re working on a book about Brazilian design. What do you think contributes to geographical grouping and design sensibilities? What is it about</em> place <em>that makes us think about design?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM:</strong> It depends. The most interesting thing about Scandinavian design today is that it&rsquo;s in danger of being forgotten, considering what the younger designers are doing today. Their national governments are sponsoring projects outside of the country and not helping the people on the interior. It&rsquo;s puzzling that they built reputations on this national pride and now it&rsquo;s pretty much disappearing for the future. Unless you&rsquo;re going to buy into the &ldquo;classic&rdquo; Scandinavia.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Finland, being a very young country, still not even a hundred years old, decided to base its reputation on design. You can see this in things like the &rsquo;39 World&rsquo;s Fair from them.&nbsp; We are interested in why these design movements happen. We go and seek what else happened, and why, in these countries. In Finland, there couldn&rsquo;t have just been Alvar Aalto, for instance, and there couldn&rsquo;t have just been Arne Jacobsen or Hans Wegner in Denmark. There would have had to be more. In Brazil, they wouldn&rsquo;t have imported all the design to sit on if the architecture wasn&rsquo;t already so radical on the interior.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: Let&rsquo;s shift gears and talk about how to build a design collection. What is the difference between collecting art and collecting design? Do you think there is a difference?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM: </strong>No I don&rsquo;t. When you look at the 20th century design sales at Christie&rsquo;s, Sotheby&rsquo;s, etc, and compare it to their contemporary art sales, and how many hundreds of millions of dollars those sales are doing, why wouldn&rsquo;t one of those art collectors try to buy the entire 20th century design sale for 5 million dollars? And buy 150 lots of the most amazing design works out there in the world?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: I don&rsquo;t know, why? </em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM:</strong> Good question, right? For collectors, we&rsquo;re like the penny candy store. Here&rsquo;s the thing: institutions doing two different sales, in the same week sometimes, one does hundreds of millions and the other, if we&rsquo;re lucky, does 5 to 7 million. It&rsquo;s not even a 1 percent ratio.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I think most people don&rsquo;t look at design as being something conceptual, they look at design as something you can sit on. But there&rsquo;s so much more to it: why a chair works for different heights, sizes and shapes of people; why these things are aesthetically pleasing to some and grossly ugly to others. It&rsquo;s the same thing as looking at a painting or a sculpture. You get the same basic reaction that starts a discourse. It is no different with design, it&rsquo;s just the way that we present it to get people to try to start thinking and talking about it. All of the designers that we represent had ideas. They didn&rsquo;t make a chair because they needed something to sit on. They made a chair because they wanted to make it better for some reason.</span><img style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150415112646-075Q4442.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Chairs by Lina Bo Bardi, Photo: Joe Kramm, Courtesy R &amp; Company</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: Sometimes people collect works of art because of how historically important the artist is, rather than how they feel about that particular work of art. Is there an equivalent to this in collecting design? Like, do you find collectors that feel they&rsquo;re collecting the designer rather than the object?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM:</strong> Both. There are certain icons already, the same way there&rsquo;s certain blue chip art. And that could lead to some people bidding on something that they normally wouldn&rsquo;t, if it&rsquo;s an icon or blue chip, in either market. Sometimes these markets are really sustainable. Sometimes they&rsquo;re not.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: What&rsquo;s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone interested in building a design collection?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM:</strong> Create something that has a definition. Don&rsquo;t collect just what&rsquo;s popular, but rather create something that will give you the most pleasure. Historically, if you look at art collections that are sold at auction, the blue chip collections don&rsquo;t do as well once they come back out on the secondary market as the ones from people who collected with an idea. It would be no different for a design collection.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150415104509-David_Wiseman_s_studio__Los_Angeles_Photo_by_Joe_Kramm_R___Company_3.jpg" alt="David Wiseman" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">David Wiseman's Studio, L.A. Photo: Joe Kramm, Courtesy R &amp; Company. Upcoming exhibition&nbsp;<em>David Wiseman: Wilderness and Ornament</em><em>&nbsp;</em>at R &amp; Company</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: What would you suggest for collectors with smaller budgets? In other words, how do you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to design?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM: </strong>Just keep searching. R &amp; Company has amazing offerings that any level collector can afford to buy from us. From time to time, we release editions for a couple thousand dollars that sell quite quickly, although those can become more expensive towards the end of selling out. Be aware and be involved with us as a gallery. Figure out what we do and what our programming is and which designers you really like. Get on the mailing list so you&rsquo;re notified when something new comes, particularly from the younger designers that we take on whose works are often less expensive compared to the masters that we have.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: You&rsquo;re based in New York, but do you have any suggestions for our readers who are not in New York looking for other galleries doing similar things in other parts of the world?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM: </strong>A good place to get references or resources is the website of <a href="http://www.designmiami.com/" target="_blank">DesignMiami/</a>. Look at the fair&rsquo;s current list of exhibitors. Go to the major fairs in New York like the <a href="http://collectivedesignfair.com/" target="_blank">Collective Design Fair</a>, which has 30 or so galleries from 5 different countries, or <a href="http://thesalonny.com/" target="_blank">The Salon: Art + Design</a>. You can also look at websites with great design sections, like Artsy.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150415104211-SP439_p2.jpg" alt="David Wiseman" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Unique Collage fireplace screen in bronze and porcelain. Designed and made by David Wiseman, USA, 2014. 58.5" L x 18" W x 33.5" H / 148.6cm L x 45.7cm W x 85.1cm H. From the upcoming exhibition&nbsp;<em>David Wiseman: Wilderness and Ornament</em><em>&nbsp;</em>at R &amp; Company</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: How do you feel about what&rsquo;s happening in the field of design today? Any emerging trends or proclivities we should be watching out for?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM:</strong> I think it&rsquo;s bigger than a trend now, I think it&rsquo;s actually a movement. And I think it&rsquo;s just picking up steam.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If you took the timeline of Design Miami/, which is now ten years old, or Design Miami/Basel, which will be in its 10th year this June, today&rsquo;s sales are off the charts. But the public doesn&rsquo;t realize this yet. This is not something that&rsquo;s going away, this is something that's growing into a huge, sustainable marketplace.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While I don&rsquo;t want the design world to be the art world, it&rsquo;s the only template that I can look at. But I think there is a lot of crossover between design and art happening in the 21st century given the access of young people now entering the creative design and art markets, who don&rsquo;t feel confined to just one or two mediums. There are works shown at R &amp; Company that could easily be shown in a fine arts gallery as fine art, and there are some designers that we represent that purely want to be the best decorative artists in the world.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I think the design market is just going to grow insanely&mdash;by volume, by dollar amounts, and by the interest of people. When Evan and I first opened the gallery here in Tribeca, I thought people from Tribeca and Soho would come in occasionally, and maybe people from Uptown would come Downtown. Now there seems to be a different language spoken in my gallery at any day. We&rsquo;re a destination. It has nothing to do with trends. I don&rsquo;t pay attention to trends. We build markets, and I want to be here in another 30 years telling you the same story of why we kept growing. That&rsquo;s my goal.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><em>NH: Anything else you&rsquo;d like to add about collecting? </em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ZM:</strong> Buy now. Prices that are here today will be gone in five or ten years. If you compare what stuff was selling for at auction ten years ago versus today, the price difference is amazing.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/11505-natalie-hegert?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Natalie Hegert</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>ArtSlant would like to thank Zesty Meyers,&nbsp;Jennifer Isakowitz, and Helen Cowdrey&nbsp;for their assistance in making this interview possible.&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Porky Hefer, <em>Grains of Paradise</em>, Installation view at&nbsp;R &amp; Company; All images courtesy of R &amp; Company)</span></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 08:12:44 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list San Francisco Collecting Taps into Intrinsic Value of Art <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Collecting art as a narcissist hobby is the most virulent kind of collecting, whereas collecting as a means of humble support seems to be the approved model&mdash;at least in San Francisco. A recent art panel in the city attempted to discern a difference between San Francisco and Los Angeles collectors. Moderated by LA gallerist Mieke Marple (<a href="http://nightgallery.ca/" target="_blank">Night Gallery</a>), the panelists were Sofya Polyakov of <a href="https://thenounproject.com/" target="_blank">Noun Project</a> (LA), Sabrina Buell of <a href="http://www.artadvisors.org/zlot/" target="_blank">Zlot Buell</a> art advisors (SF), Jessica Silverman of <a href="http://jessicasilvermangallery.com/" target="_blank">Jessica Silverman Gallery</a> (SF) and Greg Isenberg, tech entrepreneur of <a href="http://www.5by.com/" target="_blank">5by</a> amongst others. Since San Francisco has a reputation as being an innovative place, one that attracts thinkers and makers, its collectors tend to be non-conformist too. Some might stereotype collectors as following trends or gathering trophies as status symbols, but SF buyers appear to be driven by personal connections with artwork.&nbsp;In addition to considering regional differences, t</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">he conversation also turned toward the intrinsic value of art and other issues facing local collectors and even those further afield.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150416040938-NG_MiraDancy-2015-web.jpg" alt="" width="600" />&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Mira Dancy,&nbsp;<em>Is She Is She Psychic.&nbsp;</em>Installation view at Night Gallery, LA, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In SF, questions about the tech industry&rsquo;s interest in and support of the arts are on everyone&rsquo;s mind. In fact, the topic has even begun to lose a bit of momentum because the questions don&rsquo;t seem to be specific enough; the divide between &ldquo;us&rdquo; and &ldquo;them&rdquo; pervades. For instance, there are a lot of generalizations and stereotypes about who "tech" people are, ranging from frantic outcries about giant buses flooding the streets to a somewhat arrogant and desperate view that all people with gobs of money should support the arts. Seeing dollar signs has the potential for uninspired attempts at seducing a market and audience. The 2014 <a href="http://www.artsvfair.com/" target="_blank">Art Silicon Valley</a>, for example, hosted a slew of galleries whose primary curatorial objectives lean toward beautifully-made and expertly constructed works by emerging and mid-career artists or works by deceased modern masters.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If we are to assume that the new tech audiences are intelligent, driven, and very curious people&mdash;rather than simply deep pockets in need of Art History 101&mdash;then it seems short-sighted to offer them this traditional art fair model. Fairs are a big shopping opportunity&mdash;and they do bring in buyers who might not go to galleries or develop intimate relationships with dealers. Indeed, the fair as a trade show environment is recognizable business model for many industries&mdash;from tech to fashion to cars to food. But they offer just one marketplace for artwork, leaving plenty of room for other models of collecting. Both Buell and Silverman agreed that a good collector exposes themselves to a lot of art, does research and waits to buy. &ldquo;Good collecting means going to galleries and museums, seeing lots of art, reading about art and buying with your eyes, not your ears,&rdquo; Silverman shared in an email correspondence.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150416041314-Event-Structure-III-2015-80x60in-web.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Ian Wallace, <em>Event Structure III</em>, 2015. Photolaminate with acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 inches, Courtesy of the <a href="http://jessicasilvermangallery.com/" target="_blank">Jessica Silverman Gallery</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">According to Isenberg, stories play a huge role in the appeal of art, not necessarily art history. &ldquo;Storytelling and how the work is made&mdash;the process,&rdquo; added Polyakov. Indeed, talk of "stories" seems pervasive, recalling something you'd hear in a marketing or elevator pitch: a generalized statement that encompasses a humble beginning, a journey or struggle, followed by a moral climax, ending with a product that makes everything easier, faster, or more fun. With art however, the final product won't make life easier or faster (although fun is debatable). Isenberg didn&rsquo;t divulge what kind of art he collects, but he did explain that since tech people deal with digital media as a livelihood, they seek more tangible and physical things for pleasure. The last thing they want is tech-based art and more flat screens like those they look at all day at work. &ldquo;I want the opposite,&rdquo; Isenberg pointed out. Many tech people who view themselves as creative have an appreciation for the way the mind works to create objects outside of ourselves for a greater good. &ldquo;Tech is fulfilling, but it&rsquo;s also empty,&rdquo; he explained. Connecting with other people is where the real interest in art stems from.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;The art world is a social space,&rdquo; Silverman noted. &ldquo;It is natural for collectors to form relationships not only with the dealers but with artists as well. It builds an intimate space that allows for collectors to feel even closer to the works they end up acquiring because they have met and made friends with the artist who conceived it. Collectors like to invest in something that they feel connected to whether it be because they relate to it or want to try and understand it better.&rdquo; One SF collector, who I will refer to as GB, is a regular presence at numerous art openings, artists&rsquo; talks and special events. He did not speak on the panel, but he and I frequently chat about art. When he started getting more involved in buying SF art, &ldquo;I did all the things collectors do; I joined <a href="http://www.sfmoma.org/get_involved/participate/participate_art_interest/interest_seca">SECA</a>,&nbsp;went to art fairs,&rdquo; he shared. GB spends most of his time on self-directed study and discovery fueled by a curiosity and a personal relationship with art making. As a child growing up on Long Island, GB found summer camp a vital and enthralling reprise from the stress of unhappy family life. Fast forward to his time at RISD in the 1970s where he fell in love with European Pop, such as Peter Blake, David Hockney, and US born, Jewish expressionistic, pop mystic artist <a href="http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/rb-kitaj-1416">RB Kitaj</a>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150415083340-kitaj-killer-critic-001.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">RB Kitaj, <em>The Killer-Critic Assassinated by His Widower, Even</em>, 1997, displayed at the Royal Academy&rsquo;s 1997 Summer Exhibition. Photograph: Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo, Norway/RB Kitaj Estate</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">His experience as a fellow maker has given him an edge to understanding artistic temperament and intention. &ldquo;I'm a very shy person and I don't like to call attention to myself. I'm also very sarcastic and I can be obnoxious,&rdquo; he confessed. "But because I've had the blessing of crafts (and before crafts it was building electronic kits), I can have a conversation about looking and making with just about anyone. I'm also very honest in speaking about work.&rdquo; In 1999 GB started collecting and bought his first Kitaj print from an online source after doing research at Marlborough in London. Since that time, his collecting has been a slow, careful path. &ldquo;The first time I bought "emerging" work, it was by Kyle Ranson at a solo show at Adobe Books (circa 2005).&rdquo; In 2014 GB sold several lesser favorite Kitaj works so that he could focus on buying more work by local and emerging artists. &ldquo;The rite of passage of being part of this Bay Area community of artists happened with me showing up, looking, and being genuinely interested. I see 5-10 shows a week and I love artist lectures at SFAI and CCA. I go to Kadist, apartment shows, and 1-night pop-ups. That says a lot about the scene here; it's vibrant and supportive.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150415000749-3.Lutz_Hengst.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: 26px;">Cliff Hengst, <em>God Bless the Space Lady, </em>Ink on paper, 2014; (R) Hannah Kirby,<em> Is Ourz , </em>Swavorki crystal, acrylic rhinestone, acetate, 2014.&nbsp; Image courtesy of the artists and the collector</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">GB points out that the work he buys is important to him and is representative of a region that he fully respects as a resident of the city and a member of the community. &ldquo;I'm an embedded collector in a community that very few people outside are looking at,&rdquo; he attests, referring to the European and New York stronghold on the art world&mdash;again another story we perpetuate, which does bear some truth. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Near the end of the panel, consensus acknowledged that California is one of the most affluent states in the nation, with some 40 percent of the state's creative workers residing in the <a href="http://www.otis.edu/otis-report-creative-economy" target="_blank">LA region alone</a>.&nbsp;<a href="#otis">[1]</a>&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Perhaps SF and LA could join to become a West Coast art super power?&rdquo; Marple queried. It&rsquo;s a good idea, but first SF needs to flip the art world mystique on its head&mdash;and take stronger ownership of&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">what it has right under its nose.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/1872-leora-lutz?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Leora Lutz</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">[1]<a name="#Otis"></a>This real number was found on the Otis Report on the Creative Economy, 2014. The author was unable to find a similar report for San Francisco, except for several visual maps. The San Francisco Center for Economic Development acknowledges only the big ticket SF culture offerings, such as the SF Symphony, SF Opera and other city run venues nestled under the Lifestyle category as incentive for further business investment. No data has been located for SF that is similar to the Otis report.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Installation view of Dashiell Manley's&nbsp;<em>Time seems sometimes to stop,</em>&nbsp;Courtesy of the Jessica Silverman Gallery)</span></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 19:59:33 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Artist Profile: Andrew Norman Wilson Therapizes the Corporate World <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It was once common to assume that artists avoid participating in the corporate world&mdash;presuming that the art world is separated from the rest, with utopian and improbable ideals. However, the dividing line between an artist and a businessperson has never been that clear, and it's only becoming more complicated. Creativity used to be seen as something unique to artists and designers, but recently&shy;&shy;&mdash;with the &ldquo;new economy&rdquo; and a restructured labor market&mdash;creativity is considered necessary, an essential attribute for survival in the capitalist world. In other words, creativity became a &ldquo;must-have&rdquo; for almost everyone. New York-based artist Andrew Norman Wilson explores precisely the blurriness of boundaries between artistic and corporate production. He says: &ldquo;Corporate bodies are infiltrating our personal, professional, and civil lives to the point where it&rsquo;s difficult to discern what isn&rsquo;t &lsquo;corporate&rsquo; today.&rdquo;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" title="" href="#_ftn1">[1]</a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150414121659-Image_2_Chair1_wide.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></strong></span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><em>When I think of those coal miners trapped in a mine, there may be empathy. But my empathy would probably be towards the flashlight batteries of the coal miners if there happens to be a selection on my part. Or my empathy would perhaps be towards the trapped air around those coal miners. There would be me watching through the eyes of the flashlight cell the utter hopelessness of those unfortunate miners as my last chemicals struggled to glow the faint bulb so that I didn't leave them dying in darkness. As the air around them, I would try to find a way to let myself squeeze every bit of oxygen I have to allow the doomed lungs to breathe, for I am responsible for their doom. And while I found myself trapped, I would smell the burning rice being cooked with neglect in an earthen pot.</em>&nbsp;industrial heat shrink wrap, vinyl, Herman Miller office chair, Starcom MediaVest Group, 2015</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Wilson&rsquo;s works consider issues of labor as both their subject and their medium. One of his earliest projects, made during his MFA studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is <a href="http://www.andrewnormanwilson.com/VirtualAssistance.html"><em>Virtual Assistance</em></a> (2009-11), which documents his use of a personal assistant outsourcing service in India. However, instead of asking his assistant to do work for him, he reversed the situation asking the assistant to assign <em>him</em> with tasks. During that same time, a video-production company contracted Wilson to work at Google where he created a video titled <a href="http://www.andrewnormanwilson.com/WorkersGoogleplex.html"><em>Workers Leaving the Googleplex</em></a> (2009-11). There he documented the different hierarchy of workers entering and exiting a variety of buildings at the Googleplex in California.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/15852288?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" frameborder="0" width="600" height="338"></iframe></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/15852288" target="_blank">Workers Leaving the Googleplex</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user389069" target="_blank">Andrew Norman Wilson</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com" target="_blank">Vimeo</a>.</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150414122008-GuidedMeditation_rear.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Guided Meditation</em>, van, video, Starcom MediaVest Group, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Most recently, Wilson was the first artist-in-residence at <em>In Real Life</em> (IRL)&ndash;a surprising endeavor hosted at <a href="http://www.smvgroup.com/#home" target="_blank">Starcom MediaVest Group</a> (SMG) in the Leo Burnett Building in Chicago, Illinois.<a title="" href="#_ftn2">[2]</a> Starcom MediaVest Group is large media specialist agency headquartered in Chicago with additional offices all over the world. In Chicago, SMG created a large contemporary art program, now in its second year, curated by Ben Foch and Chelsea Culp of <a href="http://newcapitalprojects.com/" target="_blank">New Capital</a> in collaboration with SMG's employee led #nextARTnow initiative. Thirty company employees volunteer to help organize the art program and give tours to anyone interested in seeing the exhibitions on display. Rotating exhibitions exploring SMG culture happen three times a year on the building&rsquo;s 11th floor, where the current two-part exhibition, <em>Belonging &amp; The New Tribalism</em>, opened last month. Artists-in-residency will develop the focus of their project with employee partnerships, culminating in installations and interventions throughout the building</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Wilson was the first invited artist for this residence initiative. He worked during six weeks, in his office/studio on the 32nd floor where he created in situ installations. Wilson also used other spaces of the building such as waiting areas, phone rooms, hallways, cubicle offices, parking garage, etc. His main installation is located on the 9th floor reception area where he collaborated with Brussels-based artist <a href="http://www.nickbastis.com/" target="_blank">Nick Bastis</a>. Some of the works in this room where previously exhibited at a show in Fluxia, Milan titled <a href="http://www.fluxiagallery.com/current/material-uncertainty/" target="_blank"><em>Material Uncertainty</em></a>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150414122143-MotivationalPosters_wide.jpg" alt="" height="300" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150414122312-Image_8__Motivational_Posters_Norm-StarComm-460.jpg" alt="" height="300" /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><em>Motivational Posters</em>, raw steel, iron fitting, 3-d printed hardware, video, rubber crutch tips, vinyl blinds with typewriter ink, acrylic corporate award, rare earth magnets, Starcom MediaVest Group, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In earlier projects Wilson experimented with an &ldquo;an institutional critique&rdquo; strategy, a more journalistic point of view; his recent works, however, employ a more therapeutical approach. In his own words: &ldquo;I wanted to produce a space for <em>feelings</em> instead of a space for information or transactions.&rdquo; With an interest on the viewer&rsquo;s experience, exploring the reception of light and sound, Wilson addresses the uncertainty we sometimes feel when it comes to technology. He recalls the first thing that caught his attention about the SMG office building: collective statements about the company, printed on big vinyl with bold fonts and displayed on the hallways and offices walls. The signs read, &ldquo;Create,&rdquo; &ldquo;Inspire,&rdquo; &ldquo;Team Work,&rdquo; shown together with images of people high-fiving, for example. According to Wilson this design-trend in corporate architecture is also therapeutic art.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150414122650-GroupTherapy_side.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>Group Therapy</em>, melted patio lounge chairs, raw steel, iron fitting, 3-d printed hardware, carpet, video, lamp, rubber crutch tips, Starcom MediaVest Group, 2015</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The works in the 9th floor installation address a certain mental instability and personal subjectivity. One of the pieces, <em>Group Therapy </em>(2014), consists of pool lounge chairs conjoined at the armrests so that when two people lounge on them, they face each other. Steel pipes, rusted from exposure to months of winter, demarcate the area. Next to the chairs there is a vertical monitor playing an episode of <a href="http://www.andrewnormanwilson.com/UncertaintySeminars.html" target="_blank"><em>The Uncertainty Seminars</em></a>, featuring two chow dogs that claim to have started a schizo-analytic group. By giving the dogs that role, Wilson and Bastis tell us there shouldn&rsquo;t be a hierarchical role between dog and human subjectivity: we are all on the same plane. Other videos from <em>The Uncertainty Seminars</em> series are also on display here. They imitate guided meditations that one can find online, combining self-help seminar aesthetics with corporate PowerPoint presentation stylings.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150414122910-TableOfContents_side.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><em>Table of Contents</em>, reception desk, industrial heat shrink wrap, video, computer, raw steel, iron fitting, 3-d printed hardware, projector, <br />Helix Aspera Snails, rubber crutch tips, Starcom MediaVest Group, 2015</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150414123001-Image_6_Snail_Scott_copy.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>Scott</em> (collaboration with Nick Bastis). Helix Aspersa snail, work station, Starcom MediaVest Group, 2015</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In <em>Table of Contents</em>, Wilson in fact presents contents on the table. He wrapped a reception desk with white industrial heat shrink wrap (the same one that is used to cover boats in Chicago during the winter) and projected a &ldquo;Table of Contents&rdquo; presentation on it. He placed an employee computer, a &ldquo;Spot the Dog&rdquo; book, and multiple <em>Helix Aspersa</em> snails on the table. Especially with the snails, Wilson desired to bring attention to different relationships we (humans) may have with time and consciousness. Snails do not need to perform in order to survive; they just survive with smallest amount of sustenance and material. Snails shut down for months, they hibernate, they are asexual&mdash;and they signify for Wilson and Bastis a form of &ldquo;radically different consciousness.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414155412-TableOfContents_image.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Table of Contents,</em> Starcom MediaVest Group, 2015</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150414123254-MobileMosquitoCity_3.jpg" alt="" height="400" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150414123351-Image_7_MobileMosquitoCity_wide.jpg" alt="" height="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><em>Mobile Mosquito City</em>, utility cart, mosquito netting, mosquito larvae, mosquitos, water, lambskin condom, pig blood, orchid plant, Salerno &nbsp;butter cookies, glass, industrial heat shrink wrap, vinyl, CGI print outs, Starcom MediaVest Group, 2015</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">During his residency Wilson rented an apartment right across the river from the offices in the <a href="http://bertrandgoldberg.org/projects/marina-city/" target="_blank">Marina City</a>. Besides the convenience factor, Wilson wanted to live a fiction, a different life where he would live in a tower and work in a tower. He wanted to be in the Loop (downtown Chicago) 24/7, imagining the business world and spending his time in a sterile environment. It was a way to get in the mindset, adopting unusual routines and rituals. Although not considered a performance, his stay at the Marina was an essential part of his work.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Andrew Norman Wilson was an ideal inaugural candidate for </span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">this r</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">esidency. In creating spaces for Starcom MediaVest&rsquo;s employees that feel slightly off, exploring the ambiguous corporate entity in a science fictional manner, Wilson shifted his practice to make art that is more &ldquo;therapeutic.&rdquo; Corporate workers are hungry for that &ldquo;something else&rdquo;&mdash;Wilson&rsquo;s psychological perspective desires to bring that &ldquo;something&rdquo; to their world.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/171869-ionit-behar?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Ionit Behar</a></span></p> <div style="line-height: 26px;"><br clear="all" /><hr style="line-height: 26px;" align="left" size="1" width="33%" /> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a title="" href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> Nick Irvin, &ldquo;Corporate Aesthetics: An Interview with Andrew Norman Wilson,&rdquo; in <a href="http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/interviews/corporate-identity-an-interview-with-andrew-norman-wilson/" target="_blank"><em>Art in America</em></a> (May 21, 2014)<a href="http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/interviews/corporate-identity-an-interview-with-andrew-norman-wilson/"><br /></a></span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a title="" href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a> Starcom MediaVest Group is large global brand communications groups that encompasses an integrated network of human experience strategists, investment specialists, content creators and digital experts.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">(Image at top: Andrew Norman Wilson,&nbsp;<em>Cubicle</em>,</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;Starcom MediaVest Group, 2015. All images: Courtesy of the artist)</span></span></p> </div> </div> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 18:49:05 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list What Do Artists Collect? <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Somewhere in this huge warehouse a noise starts up. Between the rows of crates that recede as far as the eye can see in all directions lies a carpet of dust, as thick and undisturbed as night-fallen snow. The shelves bow with the weight of their load, disappearing up, beyond the soft penumbra of the sodium glow that punctuates the darkness at regular intervals. Somewhere in this maze of gargantuan blocks, pine-smelling and at rest&mdash;somewhere in this vast repository of knowledge, this uncared-for library of terminal junk&mdash;somewhere here a box is ticking.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414094804-6._DANH_VO._I_M_U_U_R_2__artifacts_and_tchotkes_that_belonged_to_Martin_Wong___2013.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Danh Vo,&nbsp;<em>I M U U R 2</em> (artifacts and tchotkes that belonged to Martin Wong), 2013</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Some crates are uncovered, and some spill their contents to the floor, split with age and impatience.&nbsp; Here are chipped ceramics, shells, oversized cobra lamps from Palm Springs mansions, degrading taxidermy, Indian carpets, street scenes. Here warmongering Gods devour men. Here are masks, the thin paper skins of a Punch and Judy show, mermaids, jack-a-lopes. Books, boots, plates, and samurai armor. A snail on a bamboo branch. Falling chimneys. Two dinosaurs fighting.</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Here&mdash;in this imagined space&mdash;are the things we keep the closest, held at bay in the sad static purgatory of permanent and inevitable storage. In this above-ground landfill-of-the-mind are all the objects for the conception of symbols: the materialization, the actualization, and the cold, hard, shop-worn reality of all our signifiers. The pages of Genesis are curling, greasy and stained by faded rings suggesting wine. The building blocks of life are in a drawer of dirty Lego. You may not be able to take them with you&mdash;but be sure to pile them on in the meantime.</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414093634-29._PETER_BLAKE._Elephants_from_the_collection_of_Sir_Peter_Blake__photo_Hugo_Glendinning.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Elephants from the collection of Sir Peter Blake, Photo: Hugo Glendinning</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">A cavern of planks warped open like the skin of an ancient pomegranate. In the sloping scree beneath are, in fact, thousands of ancient pomegranates, their hard rinds peeling, as hollow and sexless as bone. From beneath them, half-fossilized, juts a children&rsquo;s book. Still bright, still something human in the dust motes. The pages show a mass of people hard to number and, deeper in, the throng reveals itself to be a cartoonish crowd at the opening of an exhibition. Underneath are written questions. Where in this roomful of white-haired and bearded, bespectacled men is Peter Blake? Which of these 175 cookie jars did Andy Warhol get most pleasure from? How can we gauge the mind that orders from the objects in the cabinet? Which one of these arseholes is Damien Hirst?</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414100024-12._EDMUND_DE_WAAL._from_the_collection_of_a_private_man__2011._Photo_Iain_Skelton.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;Edmund De Waal, From the collection of a private man, 2011. Photo: Iain Skelton</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414093832-8._DAMIEN_HIRST._Skulls_display._Murderme_collection.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;<span style="font-size: x-small;">Damien Hirst, Skulls display. Murderme Collection</span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">At the Barbican, London, where these questions really are being asked, the fleeting spatiality of the world is revealed to us through the eyes of 14 artists via their collections. They are presented not as individual pieces, but as necessarily messy, tangled, and at some points disordered maximalism. A walk around the exhibition&mdash;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">replete with carpets to lend the gallery a suggestion of the homely&mdash;r</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">eveals a tight curatorial structure which opens, like some junkshop Pandora&rsquo;s box, into an ever-expanding plethora of further questions.</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">The path through the collections is a path through the intimate and not-so-intimate "real lives" of the artists&mdash;a glimpse behind the work, maybe even behind the person themselves&mdash;and as such should be treated, one assumes, with a mix of awe, genuine human interest, and the strange, joyful boredom of being confronted by the everyday. Beneath the sweet nothings and expensive playthings that Warhol, Hodgkin, Wong, and co. hoard, position, order, covet, trade, and exult in stir the same roots, and the fascination of this show is in their (partial) revealing.</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414094437-14._HANNE_DARBOVEN._The_desk_room_of_the_Hamburg_home_and_studio_of_Darboven._Photo_Felix_Krebs.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;The desk room of the Hamburg home and studio of Hanne Darboven. Photo: Felix Krebs</span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">In the dim coolness of the gallery, we transform our desires: the tawdry, the disposable, even commodity transmogrifies. It&rsquo;s possible to look at Hirst&rsquo;s stuffed animals and see past the relationship between them and his art, past the joy of the hoarder at attaining fine specimens, past even the Ouroboran conceit of the collector, collecting the collections of collectors (which, presumably, collect dust) through to the simple, primitive, and inexplicable joy of possession. And not far behind that, the wonder that the objects on display&mdash;and by extension, really <em>any</em> object&mdash;can speak infinitely with the faint voice of long-forgotten, discarded narratives.</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414094616-30._PETER_BLAKE._Masks_from_the_collection_of_Sir_Peter_Blake__photo_Hugo_Glendinning.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;Masks from the collection of Sir Peter Blake. Photo: Hugo Glendinning</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">A room at the rear of the show contains nothing but crates. Blake&rsquo;s cabinet of curiosities from the Walter Potter museum features what are at first glance perfectly rounded stones, barley bigger than a fingernail. These are actually musket balls fired during the Siege of Arundel in 1643, but they may as well be porcelain beads from ancient China, or petrified spores from a Cretaceous fern forest, or marbles which fell only yesterday into a mossy sewer as the drain above them still rang. Somewhere in this physical manifestation of our ghostly desires and fleeting fancies the sealed crate ticks on. Inside, surely a clock. Surely a clock... or the steady chew of Deathwatch beetle.</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/387041-thogdin-ripley" target="_blank">Thogdin Ripley</a>&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="FreeForm" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Image at the top:&nbsp;DANH VO. I M U U R 2 (artifacts and tchotkes that belonged to Martin Wong), 2013</span></p> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:09:49 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Innocence to Power: Shifting Depictions of Women over Five Centuries of Art <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The venerable New Orleans fine art and antiques specialists </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.rauantiques.com/" target="_blank">M.S. Rau Antiques</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> have taken on a vast and complex subject for their latest exhibition. </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Innocence. Temptation. Power. The Evolution of Women in Art</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> aims to chart the representation of women in art from the 15th century through the Modern era. The exhibition comprises over 50 works dating from c. 1420 to the 1960s, which we are invited to appraise as products of their time and place, and to peel back the layers of conditioning that attend each portrayal.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A year in the making, the exhibit showcases works from M.S. Rau Antiques&rsquo; own collection alongside handpicked loans from partner galleries and collectors. In approaching the extensive subject of the current exhibition, co-curator Amanda Wallich describes how &ldquo;there were a lot of stories that we wanted to tell around the representation of women, and in each instance we had to find the very best work to do that.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>The Evolution of Women in Art</em> is orchestrated in three movements, defined as &ldquo;The Dawn of Discovery,&rdquo; &ldquo;The Age of Transformation.&rdquo; and &ldquo;Liberation and the Modern Era.&rdquo; The narrative moves from the representation of women as allegories of religious virtue and as idealized symbols of perfection, through to dreamy, docile objects of desire and currencies of wealth, and culminates with powerful, nuanced representations of women as subjects in their own right.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150413142808-Madonna_with_Child_Enthroned_by_Giovanni_dal_Ponte__di_Marco__1.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Giovanni&nbsp;dal Ponte (di Marco),&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em>Madonna with Child Enthroned</em>,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Circa 1420-1425,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Tempera on gold ground panel,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">41 1/4" high x 23 1/4" wide</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;The Dawn of Discovery&rdquo; opens with a representation of woman as mother and paragon of religious virtue at a time when the Church was the most powerful patron of the arts. <em>Madonna and Child Enthroned</em> by Giovanni&nbsp;dal Ponte (di Marco) (c. 1420-1425) is notable of its time for its humanism, featuring tender communication between mother and child, and is a blueprint for images of maternal virtue that have endured for centuries.</span></p> <h1 style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150413143130-The_Alchemist_by_Pieter_Brueghel_the_Younger.jpg" alt="" /><br /></span></strong></h1> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Pieter Brueghel the Younger,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em>The Alchemist</em>,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Circa 1600,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Oil on oak panel,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">27 x 37 3/4 inches</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Other images are driven by story and allegory. <em>The Feast of Esther</em> (c. 1644) A recently rediscovered masterwork by Johannes Spilberg the Younger depicts Queen Esther as modest and unassuming at the dramatic moment when she accuses the king&rsquo;s court favorite. Pieter Brueghel the Younger&rsquo;s <em>The Alchemist</em> (circa 1600) presents us with an allegory of godly virtue: a woman searches in vain for money before turning to the church for salvation, while her husband commits to a fruitless pursuit of alchemy.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Examples of 18th century society portraits render their subjects with a serene and beatific&mdash;yet inscrutable and characterless&mdash;beauty. The sitter of Sir Joshua Reynolds&rsquo; <em>Portrait of Mary Townshend</em> (c. 1757), for example, was born into a well-connected and politically influential family and this portrait reads more as a celebration of familial wealth and material opulence than as a representation of the individual in question.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150413144643-Cleopatre_et_Cesar_by_Jean-Leon_Gerome.jpg" alt="" width="400" /><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Jean-L&eacute;on G&eacute;rome, <em>Cleopatre et Cesar</em>,&nbsp;Painted in 1866; Signed "J.L. G&eacute;r&ocirc;me", Oil on canvas, Canvas: 73 1/8 x 50 3/4 inches</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;The Age of Transformation&rdquo; presents women playing historical and mythological roles&mdash;both powerful and vulnerable&mdash;in famed French academic painter Jean L&eacute;on G&eacute;rome&rsquo;s <em>Cleopatre et Cesar</em> (1866) and <em>Leda and the Swan</em> (1895). We also see women reduced to the decorative by the British Neoclassicist Revivalist John William Godward. The seemingly inevitable theme of voyeurism, firmly characterizing women in the sexual frame, is represented here by <em>Through the Keyhole</em> (no date given) by Maurice Stiffer, and <em>Peeping Roofers &amp; the Woman&rsquo;s Bath</em> (1880) by Jehan Georges Vebert, where workers peer through the roof down into a harem.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150413144434-Le_Renouveau_by_George_Morren.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;">George Morren,&nbsp;<em>Le Renouveau</em>,&nbsp;Signed and dated 1892 (lower right); signed, titled and dated en verso,&nbsp;Oil on canvas,&nbsp;Canvas: 31 7/8 x 36 1/4 inches</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The work of an emergent group of radical young artists, such as Toulouse Lautrec, who were committed to a new ideal of modernity, here herald a turning point. George Morren&rsquo;s Pointillist/Luminist piece <em>Le Renouveau</em> (1892) is a startling example of how the Impressionists captured the rapidly revolutionizing world around them, including the changing landscape for women and their roles within it. The subject, whom at first glance we may assume to be the mother of the child she feeds, is in fact a wet nurse. Her disengaged face implies impatience. This is a scene of a worker, not a nurturing mother.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Significantly, at this point onwards the work of female artists begin to feature, including Louise Abbema, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, and Claire Colinet. While the exhibition does not directly address the subject of women-as-artists, the question of who is viewing these women and who is crafting these representations is unavoidable. Undoubtedly the distinct majority of artists represented are male&mdash;in large part due to the comparatively low proportion of female artists practicing at the time, especially at a commercial level. Gratifyingly the balance begins to be redressed in the later selection of works.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150413143501-Sarah_Bernhardt_Hunting_with_Hounds_by_Louise_Abbema.jpg" alt="" height="450" />&nbsp;<img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150413143527-Girl_in_a_Green_Coat_by_Berthe_Morisot.jpg" alt="" height="450" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="text-align: left;">(left) Louise Abbema,&nbsp;<em>Sarah Bernhardt Hunting with Hounds</em>, Circa 1897,&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: left;">Oil on canvas, Signed "Louise Abbema" (upper left),&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: left;">Canvas: 33 1/2 x 24 inches</span></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><span style="text-align: left;">(right) Berthe Morisot, <em>Jeune fille au manteau vert</em>&nbsp;(<em>Girl in a Green Coat)</em>, 1894,&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: left;">Oil on canvas,&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: left;">Canvas 45 7/8 x 32 1/8 inches</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Louise Abbema&rsquo;s Belle &Eacute;poque work <em>Sarah Bernhardt</em><em> Hunting with Hounds </em>(circa 1897) depicts the legendary actress imagined in the role of Diana of the hunt, wearing stately hunting gear and commanding a group of dogs. Famed for her portraits of the leading ladies of the high society, we here see Abbema continue the tradition of mythological representation to empowering effect. Berthe Morisot's work from just a few years earlier provides an enriching contrast, allowing us access to the <a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/42403" target="_blank">private domestic world of women</a>. Executed on a grand in scale<em>, Jeune fille au manteau vert</em><em>&nbsp;</em>(1894) depicts an anonymous young woman of the Parisian elite. The woman herself is beautifully and vividly rendered, while the background is only loosely finished. That an unidentified woman dressed in her own contemporary fashion should be the clear subject of the painting and allowed to command our attention without distraction or costume is a powerful statement and fitting point of departure for the next phase of the exhibition.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150413144028-Employment_Station_New_York_by_Martha_Walter.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Martha Walter,&nbsp;<em>Employment Station New York</em>,&nbsp;Signed lower right; Circa 1915,&nbsp;Oil on canvas,&nbsp;Canvas: 32 x 40 inches</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Liberation and the Modern Era,&rdquo; the final chapter, is triumphant and self-assertive, and characterized for the most part by images in which women are represented confidently and with character in the context of their own lives: women as subjects in their own right. <em>Employment Station </em>(1915) by Martha Walter is a remarkable work of social realism depicting a young woman waiting to be seen by an employment officer, that is imbued with of strength and confidence. Claire Colinet&rsquo;s <em>Joan of Arc</em>, an exquisite bronze sculpture of the historical figure, conjures both dignity and honor. Norman Rockwell&rsquo;s <em>Excuse Me</em> (no date given) depicts a young woman defiantly snubbing a wealthy beau in favor of an officer&mdash;a choice that might not have been celebrated or even hers to make even one generation earlier. In addition, self-assured portraits&mdash;both of named individuals and anonymous women&mdash;such as those of Mrs. C. Burton by Winold Reiss and <em>La Danseuse du Lido</em> (c.1950) by Jean Gabriel Domergue show women meeting the gaze of the viewer with pride and poise.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150413152709-Portrait_of_Mrs._C._Burton_by_Winold_Reiss.jpg" alt="" height="400" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150413152725-La_Danseuse_du_Lido_by_Jean_Gabriel_Domergue.jpg" alt="" height="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">(left) Winold Reiss,&nbsp;<em>Portrait of Mrs. C. Burton</em>, Circa 1930, Pastel on Whitman board, Board: 39 x 26 inches<br />(right) Jean Gabriel Domergue,&nbsp;<em>La Danseuse du Lido</em>, Circa 1950, Oil on canvas,&nbsp;Canvas: 25 5/8 x 21 1/4 inches</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The exhibition undoubtedly shines a spotlight on a wide range of works of outstanding quality, and although not all the contentious questions about evolving representations of women in art are openly articulated, it creates an interesting overview and framework for appreciation of the subject. In building the exhibition the time frame was fluid, and as such rationale for the launch point and conclusion date is not immediately evident. However, the three phases of the exhibition work well to relax the expectation of a clear linear chronological development and to allow for the thematic shifts to become evident. It is an ambitious and extremely interesting curatorial mission that Rau has set, which is enjoyable to view and prompts much consideration.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/414240-antonia-ward?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Antonia Ward</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Innocence. Temptation. Power. The Evolution of Women in Art </em>at <a href="http://www.rauantiques.com/" target="_blank">M.S. Rau Antiques</a> runs through May 4, 2015.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top:&nbsp;Norman Rockwell, <em>Excuse Me</em>,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">This painting was the cover of Judge magazine in July 1917, Oil on canvas,&nbsp;Canvas: 28 x 25&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">inches.&nbsp;All images courtesy of M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans)</span></p> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 04:42:33 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Hotel Juárez: Francis Alÿs Lights Up a Ghost Town <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It&rsquo;s hard to describe a setting as disturbing as Ciudad Ju&aacute;rez, a city that lies on the border of Chihuahua and Texas that has gained notoriety for its alarming number of deaths and disappearances, linked to drug cartels and corrupt government officials. It goes without saying that Ju&aacute;rez is no place for the faint-hearted. Its streets are now deserted, while most of the historic landmarks that once attracted a tourist or two have been closed down for good. It is one of these landmarks&mdash;one of Ciudad Ju&aacute;rez's&nbsp;oldest and most popular hotels&mdash;that gives its name to <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/5116-francis-al%C3%BFs?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Francis Al&yuml;s</a>&rsquo; latest <a href="http://www.saps-latallera.org/saps/hotel-juarez/?lang=en" target="_blank">Mexico City exhibition</a> that takes as its subject the very core of this ghost town known as Ju&aacute;rez.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It is no surprise that Al&yuml;s has developed a project in a setting of this nature. After all, most of his performative actions</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;take place in locations that face severe sociopolitical issues. In this small but carefully thought out exhibition, Al&yuml;s plays two prominent roles&mdash;which could be evoked by American novelist Edith Wharton: &ldquo;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.&rdquo;</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;In this case, the artist acts as both light and mirror, reflecting on literal and metaphorical decay.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><img style="line-height: 26px;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414235245-2_casas_infonavit-villas_de_Allende__C_Juarez_sept_2013.photo_FA_JPG.JPG" alt="" /></p> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em>Children's Game #15</em>, Video still,<em style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</em>In collaboration with Julien Devaux, Felix Blume and Alejandro Morales,&nbsp;Ciud</span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">ad Ju&aacute;rez, 2013. </span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Photo<span style="text-align: left;">: Francis Al&yuml;s</span></span></span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Duality is a prevailing element in Al&yuml;s&rsquo; oeuvre; he is both the spectator and the performer of his actions as he lays out the rules and plays along to the sequence that unfolds&nbsp;unpredictably,&nbsp;thanks to his hidden ulterior motive(s). The opposing parts here are the light that he traces through his actions and the darkness that prevails in the forsaken city.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The first thing that one notices upon arrival is a disconcerting &ldquo;FOR SALE&rdquo; sign that later on transpires as a satire questioning the context of the museum. Facing the ceiling of the eponymous venue, surrounded by Siqueiros&rsquo; sketches and murals, is the original light box sign belonging to the &ldquo;<em>HOTEL JU&Aacute;REZ</em>&rdquo;&mdash;a sort of city jewel, recently shut down and put up for sale. Hanging on the wall facing the entrance are cans of pink and blue paint, which leave trails dripped on the ground. In a gesture resembling the artist's well-known performative strolls in cities like S&atilde;o Paolo, <a href="http://www.francisalys.com/public/leak.html" target="_blank">Paris</a>, and <a href="http://francisalys.com/greenline/" target="_blank">Jerusalem</a>,&nbsp;the blue line leads out to the&nbsp;street, ending at the Tamayo Museum, where the Al&yuml;s presents <a href="http://museotamayo.org/exhibitions/vista/P0" target="_blank">another exhibition </a>(a further example of the artist&rsquo;s proclivity for duality).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the video work&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.francisalys.com/public/espejos.html" target="_blank">Children&rsquo;s Game #15</a>&nbsp;</em>Al&yuml;s develops what he likes to call &ldquo;strategies of resistance&rdquo; by arming a group of children with broken shards of mirrors and sending them out to play a game of hide and seek using the reflecting light on each other to claim victory. The game takes place in an abandoned residential complex, presenting&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">as child's play</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;the daily fight for survival for the few remaining residents of Ju&aacute;rez.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414235047-6_Espejos__CJ_2013_Foto_Alejandro_Morales.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Children's Game #15</em>, Video still,&nbsp;In collaboration with Julien Devaux, Felix Blume and Alejandro Morales,&nbsp;Ciudad Ju&aacute;rez, 2013.&nbsp;Photo:Francis Alys</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the adjacent space there is a set of postcards of Ju&aacute;rez&rsquo;s tourist attractions; Al&yuml;s has blacked out all of the content except for the traces of light in motion. Here too hangs an exquisitely detailed oil painting depicting a mob surrounding a burning car.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Deeper in the exhibition, the audience walks into a pitch black room and is greeted by the audio &ldquo;Sometimes we dream as we live, sometimes we live as we dream,&rdquo; introducing a video in which the artist is captured kicking a football that has been set on fire through the streets of Juarez&mdash;once again leaving traces of light behind, as he continues to roam the lonely streets at night.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414234835-video_still_2-_Paradox_of_Praxis_5__CJ__2013_.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Francis Al&yuml;s,&nbsp;<em>Paradox of the Praxis 5</em>,<em style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</em>In collaboration with Alejandro Morales, Rafael Ortega, Julien Devaux and Felix Blume, Video documentation of an action,&nbsp;Ciudad Ju&aacute;rez, 2013 Photo:&nbsp;Alejandro Morales</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The trace of light acquires many forms and meanings through the exhibited works, glimmering in the shadows as a distant ray of hope that not all is lost. But it is up to the viewer to follow the light within the exhibition and to trace their own reflection.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="http://www.saps-latallera.org">HOTEL JU&Aacute;REZ</a>&nbsp;is open through July 26 at the Sala de Arte P&uacute;blico Siqueiros, M&eacute;xico City</span></em><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/385949-rodrigo-campuzano?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Rodrigo Campuzano</a></span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: 26px;">(Photo at the top: Rodrigo Campuzano)</span></div> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:35:08 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list 5 New Media Installations to See at the Images Festival <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">rup&middot;ture</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">ˈrəpCHər/</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><em>verb</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">To breach or disturb (a harmonious feeling or situation).</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><em>synonyms:</em>&nbsp;sever, break off, breach, disrupt</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The <a href="http://www.imagesfestival.com/" target="_blank">2015 Images Festival</a>, North America&rsquo;s largest festival for contemporary and experimental media, opened in Toronto on April 9.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art and film enthusiasts in the city have the chance to attend a variety of events taking place across the city&mdash;from artist-run centers and art galleries, to the Chinatown Centre Mall. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The annual event was started in 1987 and has since presented film screenings, installations, live performances and lectures by renowned international and Canadian artists. Although the festival closes this weekend (the last new release date is scheduled on April 18</span><span style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">), a selection of new media installations will continue being shown at several locations until mid-June. So for anyone who has not had the chance to attend the events, there is still time&mdash;and to help narrow things down, here are five new media installations really worth considering. These five selections share a common thread we identified at this year's edition: the theme of rupture. Each artist addresses the term differently, some in a more obvious manner, others more subtly. The forms of disruption also vary from political and cultural, to intimate and personal:</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150413091100-282.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><a href="http://www.imagesfestival.com/forcedownload.php?file=presskit/282.jpg" target="_blank">A Non-Place in a Space</a>,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Postcommodity</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A Non-Place in A Space</em></strong></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">March 31&mdash;May 16, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/trn/venues/show/9737-a-space-gallery" target="_blank">A Space Gallery</a><br /></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Postcommodity, a New Mexico-based art collective, brings together two multi-channel video installations at A Space Gallery: <em>Gallup Motel Butchering</em>&nbsp;(2011) and&nbsp;<em>It&rsquo;s My Second Home, But I Have a Very Spiritual Connection With This Place</em>&nbsp;(2010). The works seek to challenge narratives associated with belonging by emphasizing and questioning the viewer&rsquo;s understanding of indigenous communities. They aim to disturb the parallel existence of several contrasting notions. For example, the theme of "what is home?" through the perspective of a settler or a colonizer. Is home a cultural and political occurrence or is it a physical location?&nbsp; The installation ultimately poses the question: is home a place, or a non-place?</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150413091735-277.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Steffi Linder, <em>And then nothing turned itself inside-out&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And then nothing turned itself inside-out</em></strong></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">April 9&mdash;30, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/trn/venues/show/11080-yyz-artists-outlet" target="_blank">YYZ Artists&rsquo; Outlet</a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Berlin-based Steffi Lindner&rsquo;s multi-channel installation <em>And then nothing turned itself inside-out</em> (2012) presents its audience with a break from the mundane interaction with the everyday. We are confronted with the way in which certain actions can become incredibly complex, frustrating, and destined for failure according to the laws of chance, by way of 60 displayed experiments conducted by Lindner. The artist approaches the trials with two opposing forces: an intentional, choreographed action and its interruption by chance. The resulting experience leaves the audience yearning for a result&mdash;or for resolution. None is offered, leading one to face the tense relationship between expectation and outcome.</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Drones Over Gaza</em></strong></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">April 9&mdash;May 2, <a href="http://www.401richmond.net/tenants/prefix.cfm" target="_blank">Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art</a></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This audio work, created by Rehab Nazzal is difficult to experience&mdash;it is entirely based on field recordings of Israeli military drones in airspace over Palestinian Territories. This disquieting work was recorded with the assistance of Palestinian journalists and activists, capturing sounds that present us with an expectation for violence&mdash;a sensation more consuming than actual destruction. <em>Drones Over Gaza</em>&nbsp;(2014) presents both everyday noises and the viscerally disturbing sounds of potentially deadly drones in flight. Encountering the work, we are engulfed in the event, allowed to imagine what it would be to experience that environment.</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150413090440-Ball_Spielen_Schnitt_still.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Corinna Schnitt,&nbsp;<em>Ball Spielen </em>(2013)</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ball Spielen (Playing Ball)</em></strong></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">April 10&mdash;May 15,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vtape.org/" target="_blank">VTape</a></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Corinna Schnitt's video installation presents the theme of rupture in an overt manner: the viewer is confronted with the setting of a decaying post-industrial urban environment. The stark setting acts as the backdrop to an odd juxtaposition: a man and a woman playing with a ball. Their actions seem strange and misplaced in the post-apocalyptic space that reveals the ruins of, what was suggested to be, once a grand location. The installation acquires an aesthetic dimension due to the man and the woman&rsquo;s attire&mdash;they are dressed in business outfits that clearly define the traditional gendered wardrobe of the 21st&nbsp;century workplace: pencil skirt, blazer, neutral colors, heels. The video, with irony and whimsy, represents the rupture of industry, thus revealing an environment in an evolving state of decay. In the meantime, the actors in it play, oblivious to their dreary surroundings.</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150413091403-303.jpg" alt="" /><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Rashaad Newsome, <em>Silence Please, the Show is About to Begin</em></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Silence Please, the Show is About to Begin</em></strong></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">April 8&mdash;June 14, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/trn/venues/show/35840-art-gallery-of-york-university-agyu" target="_blank">AGYU &ndash; Art Gallery of York University</a></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/artists/rackroom/7148-rashaad-newsome" target="_blank">Rashaad Newsome</a>&rsquo;s installation targets questions concerning race, contemporary urban culture, and queer identity. The works consist of video, performance and collage&mdash;all specifically attempting to bring forth what it means to be black and queer. The artist's loud mashups appropriate a rich variety of signifiers from black urban culture: bright and bold colors, diamonds, jewels, chains, and hip-hop. In his work, Newsome disturbs notions of traditional masculinity and cultural status&mdash;and does so by simultaneously providing his audience with a stimulating spectacle.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/396844-yoli-yoanna-terziyska?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Yoanna Terziyska</a></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Steffi Linder, <em>And Then Nothing Turned Itself Out. </em>All images courtesy <a href="http://www.imagesfestival.com/" target="_blank">Images Festival</a>)</span></p> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 10:06:24 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Artists' Desks <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"> <blockquote> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"<br />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&mdash;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Albert Einstein</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The art voyeur has often fawned over the luxury artist's studio, and even seen the artist's bed&mdash;but the superior furniture item to any working person is surely their desk.</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Desks are a synechdoche for 9 to&nbsp;5 imprisonment and paperwork drudgery, a statement of power and efficiency in the office regime, a dumping ground of daily deitritus&mdash;but what does a desk mean to an artist?</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">From toxic paint mixes to disordered pornographic clippings, the items on an artists' desk reveal the work in progress, the method in motion. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We asked three emerging artists from very different disciplines to send us a picture of their personal working desk and tell us about its contents.&nbsp;</span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://howardgriffingallery.com/artists/mehdi-ghadyanloo">Mehdi Ghadyanloo</a>&nbsp;</span></strong></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Street Artist,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Tehran&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150414171106-final.JPG" alt="" /></span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This is my always messy studio. I use acrylic for basement and shading in my works by airgun. My studio is similar to my real life, it's getting more and more messy every day and will eventually explode someday. From the window in my studio you can see one of most crowded squares of Tehran&mdash;very different to the people who feature in my paintings. Sometimes when something is lost in my studio I prefer to buy new one instead of searching...<br /></span></span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.faithholland.com/"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Faith Holland</span></strong></a></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Digital Artist, New York</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150413072754-unnamed.png" alt="" /></span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Thankfully, the social stigma about messy [digital] desktops is still significantly less than the incarnated version. My partner never scolds me for the mounds of files on my screen unlike the coffee mugs that pile up on my desk. And frankly, with no less than five programs open on my computer at any given time, I rarely have to look at its disaster-level status.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It is not impossible that the amount of screenshots I take is approaching the number of photographs I take. As a digital artist and freelance worker, my day every day is on the desktop. Screenshots are part of my practice; I am currently collecting cum shots from RedTube that I then cut out, color, and collage into what I'm calling an Ookie Canvas. Like painters before me, I screencap the canvas in progress, marking what has been accomplished as well as a breadcrumb trail should anything go wrong. Like photographs, screencaps are also personal and snaps of when my mother added me as her daughter on Facebook, a particularly delicious spam email, and so on add to my clutter.</span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.theagencygallery.co.uk/doris_n.html">Doris&nbsp; A. Day</a></span></strong></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Painter, London</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150413073224-studiodesk.jpg" alt="" /></span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 60px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I don't sit down much when I'm painting. My desk is an operating table. I have a fairly dysfunctional idea of order but my desk is a kind of visual thought process. The red figure on it was carefully transported from a market in China and immediately dropped as soon as he came out of my bag, decapitating him in the process. I have bags full of odd socks that I have used as a replacement head for him and that is also used for cleaning my brushes. I have my lucky plasters trowel that I use to apply paint onto the canvas that has been broken for about a year now. My desk is surrounded with images of cartoon stills that are my primary references for my paintings. I keep most of the old palettes I use as inspiration when searching for a color to use. A lot of the time the old paint will be scrapped off and reapplied on another painting unifying the paintings in a series.&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 60px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/162742-char-jansen?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Char Jansen</a></span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:11:54 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list <b>Typing Syria: Whatsapp as Performance Art or Awareness Campaign?</b> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://typingsyria.com">Typing Syria</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> is a social experiment and performance piece running in a Whatsapp group through the month of April. Subscribers are not allowed to engage with the characters, and are encouraged to eavesdrop but not act. This voyeuristic relationship echoes the international community&rsquo;s attitude to the Syrian situation four years on, which can be likened to the screen saver that comes onto the iPhone after 30 seconds of inattention.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150410122715-Typing_Syria_Screenshot_1.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Throughout the performance, two old friends, fictional characters named Khalid and Sa&rsquo;eed, separated by borders and time zones, type onto Whatsapp, trying to connect through limited words and an increasing divergence of daily lives. Just like any other young, unmarried guys, there is light discussion of beers and girls (perhaps in subtle reference to the largely secular nature of urban Syria before the conflict began). However, it becomes evident very quickly that Sa&rsquo;eed is in Syria and Khalid is pursuing asylum in Holland. There are moments of universal relatable humanity, such as when Sa&rsquo;eed&rsquo;s female relatives bake pastries. These vignettes are interrupted by reality&mdash;the power goes out and the pastries cannot be cooked.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150410122731-Typing_Syria_Screenshot_2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It&rsquo;s oddly (and perhaps deliberately) unclear on which &ldquo;side&rdquo; of the conflict the characters sit. Khalid is rejected for an asylum visa in Holland. He wonders aloud, &ldquo;its weird that weve come to this. Now I just wait. Syrians begging other countries for their rights.&rdquo;&nbsp; Sa&rsquo;eed tries to connect Khalid with friends in Italy, but refuses to leave Syria because he is in love with a girl whose &ldquo;brain is a real machine&rdquo; who used to wear the veil but recently removed it but has a brother who is &ldquo;2/3 ISIS.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150410122744-Typing_Syria_Screenshot_3.jpg" alt="" /><span style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">When Sa&rsquo;eed types that he wants to secretly live with this woman&mdash;a scenario that is implausible for a Syrian context before or after the conflict&mdash;the &ldquo;performance&rdquo; began to feel like an awareness campaign geared towards a Western audience that should have been titled, &ldquo;Syrians: They&rsquo;re Just Like Us.&rdquo;&nbsp;The reality is that Syrians are diverse in belief and culture, as well as stories of survival, and by trying too hard to demonstrate that the characters are educated, secular, and hip, the artists risk viewers generalizing about an entire population. At a time when many people inside (and even outside) Syria do not even have access to basic food, water, and power, it is dangerous to focus exclusively on two relatively affluent, English-speaking characters. Perhaps this will be un-packed in further texts throughout the month.&nbsp;Nonetheless, the performance does a decent job of weighing the tensions between disconnection and connection, exile and domesticity, while probing the ways that today&rsquo;s conflicts are mediated by social media.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150410122758-Typing_Syria_Screenshot_5.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It is unclear why the artist or artists&rsquo; names associated with Typing Syria have not been mentioned, although a press release did mention support from NYU Abu Dhabi, and as the characters&rsquo; numbers are a +971 country code, it seems the project originates in the United Arab Emirates. &nbsp;Unless screenshots go viral later this month, it is doubtful that&nbsp;this performance will change the international community&rsquo;s lack of response to the situation in Syria in any significant way. Will we all continue to look on with passive interest before scrolling through our social media feeds?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/409513-danna-lorch?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Danna Lorch&nbsp;</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(All images: screenshots from Typing Syria)</span></p> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 15:42:36 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Made-Up with Danny Volk: S1E10 with Jessica Stockholder <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Danny Volk talks to artists in their studios about life and art&mdash;while they do his make-up. This concept was a new one for us, and, unsurprisingly, it produces some unique moments: see artists like Theaster Gates, Pope.L, and Jessica Stockholder working in their studios as you've never seen them before.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Revisit Season 1 as we anticipate the all-new Made-Up Season 2, to be released this Spring on ArtSlant.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This week: Danny offers to edit Jessica Stockholder's Wikipedia page (which&mdash;ahem&mdash;is currently back to its original state) and we learn about the artist's pet lobster (who is conspicuously absent from said Wikipedia entry).</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ivwcdvXDzVU" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="float: right;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150129205110-10299099_219201961624218_7214582499433800077_n.jpg" alt="" width="150" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>More About Made-Up With Danny Volk&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Made-Up is created and hosted by Danny Volk.&nbsp;Volk was born in 1979 in Akron, OH and currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. Volk got his MFA in Visual Art from the University of Chicago in 2014, and his BA in Theater Studies at Kent State University in 2006.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Produced by | Danny Volk and Stephanie Anne Harris Trevor</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Cameras | Bryce Peppers,&nbsp;Valia&nbsp;O'Donnell</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Technical consultant | Ben Chandler</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Comic Strip" by Serge&nbsp;Gainsbourg&nbsp;remixed by&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/flashcookie">DJ&nbsp;Flashcookie</a></span></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:47:31 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list How to Make <em>Twin Peaks</em> Lynchian Without David Lynch <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;<em>Twin Peaks</em> without David Lynch is like a girl without a secret.&rdquo; </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Sheryl Lee a.k.a Laura Palmer, begins the roll call of cast members from this most mythical of shows, voicing support for the return of their <em>auteur</em>. Lynch, who quit work on the returning show had this to say on <a href="https://twitter.com/david_lynch" target="_blank">Twitter</a>:</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>After 1 year and 4 months of negotiations, I left because not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done.</p> &mdash; David Lynch (@DAVID_LYNCH) <a href="https://twitter.com/DAVID_LYNCH/status/584855237946552320">April 5, 2015</a></blockquote> <script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And so we face the prospect of what is commonly known (by me anyway) as a "Doug Yule." <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Yule" target="_blank">Doug Yule</a> was the hapless guitarist handed the reigns of the Velvet Underground upon Lou Reed&rsquo;s departure. The band released one Yule-fronted album. Nobody remembers this. Because The Velvet Underground without Lou Reed is like <em>Twin Peaks</em> without David Lynch. And right now you can imagine the scene in the Showtime offices: clam-faced execs fast-forward watching <em>The Machinist</em> for the nineteenth time, pausing to ask an intern if they reckon Brad Anderson can genuinely cut those high Lynchian notes. Or how about maybe whoever did the <em>Fargo</em> series? Could they muster a bit of that old Log Lady magic? After all, it&rsquo;s just backwards talking dwarfs and a few red curtains, isn&rsquo;t it?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BO934i9uO1c" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Lynch has been bestowed the highest of all cultural accolades. Bigger than a Pulitzer, a Turner, a Booker, and an Oscar all strapped together and spanked by the Dalai Llama. He has an Ian. Ians (that memorializing suffix) are the most important cultural achievement obtainable because they are only awarded by one thing: the collective cultural consciousness. Being awarded an Ian is the closest an artist can reach to guaranteed immortality. Lynch<em>-ian</em> is something we all understand. It is a feeling each one of us may have encountered at a sleep-deprived work meeting, or possibly in a garden center. We have seen other films and TV shows emulate Lynchian. But can&nbsp;<em>Twin Peaks</em> truly be Lynchian without the great man himself?</span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Here are a few suggestions for the hack who handed the show to consider:</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150409123622-Screen_Shot_2015-04-09_at_2.35.40_PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Screengrab via <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12QQV3lyYj0" target="_blank">YouTube</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Pie (and Coffee)</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Often an overlooked facet of many a director's repertoire: you will find no banqueting motif in the work of Michael Bay for instance. Lynch, however, loves a good meal: that roast chicken in <em>Eraserhead</em>, its leg moving like a baby... Lynch subverts the wholesome American obsession with diners, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PcoMrwEa5o" target="_blank">coffee</a>, and pie and this crescendoed in <em>Twin Peaks</em> to the point that pie feels like an actual character in his script.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe class="giphy-embed" style="max-width: 100%;" src="//giphy.com/embed/vjRYjQTjUvsf6" frameborder="0" width="480" height="359"></iframe></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Femme Fatale</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Audrey Horne. Audrey Horne a.k.a Sherlyn Fenn. If you started growing pubes in the &lsquo;50s you had Marilyn Monroe, but if you were born sometime between 1971 and 1981 the chances are, male or female, straight or gay, you had Audrey Horne. Horne was part Monroe, part member of The Bangles, she was devious and innocent simultaneously, a heroine and a siren, a victim and a victor. Lynch&rsquo;s depiction of women, most of whom he dresses with '50s hair, seems to swing between the voyeuristic (the controversial sexual violence against Isabella Rossellini&rsquo;s character in <em>Blue Velvet</em> is one thing film critics, including Roger Ebert, took particular issue with) and empathetic: think of his collaborative way of working with Laura Dern.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Stuff Your Slightly Confused Stoner Mate Thinks "Means Something&rdquo;</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The soap opera populated by people dressed as rabbits in <em>Inland Empire</em>. The backwards talking dwarf. Who knows what it means? We&rsquo;ve all been stuck at a party listening to the theories of some pseud convinced <em>Lost Highway</em> was a metaphor for the O.J. Simpson trial. To these people I say this: Analyzing Lynch is like analyzing a dream, because ultimately you can arrive at whatever conclusion you wish and whoever takes over <em>Twin Peaks</em>, I hope they are able to disengage their intellectual thought with the same clarity of vision.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150409114932-321747955_a4d777b488_z.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Creative commons via&nbsp;<a class="owner-name truncate" title="Go to amoebafinger's photostream" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/amoebafinger/" data-track="attributionNameClick" data-rapid_p="47">amoebafinger</a></span><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Really, Really Scary Shit</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">That man in <em>Mulholland Drive</em>. Yeah, you know the one. I don&rsquo;t even need to say any more than that because if you&rsquo;ve seen <em>Mullholand Drive</em>, you definitely know who I mean. Well, even on repeat viewings, it&rsquo;s not just the guy that sees him whose heart practically stops. Or the shaved eyebrow gentleman with the phone in the party scene in <em>Lost Highway</em>. Or Bob. Yes, Bob, we&rsquo;ve all heard the anecdote about how he was just the electrician more times than we&rsquo;ve heard someone call <em>Twin Peaks</em> &ldquo;a bit weird.&rdquo; But again, what makes these moments so terrifying, I feel, is this lack of definite meaning or clear answer. That Lynch sculpts purely from the imagination makes these moments scary, no matter how often you watch them.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe class="giphy-embed" style="max-width: 100%;" src="//giphy.com/embed/YwC2zafiL0cTe" frameborder="0" width="480" height="202"></iframe></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Jimmy Stewart Stuff</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Americanness at the heart of Lynch. Those lawns at the beginning of <em>Blue Velvet</em>. The diners. Nic Cage clad in snakeskin suit pulling Elvis moves. Mel Brook&rsquo;s called Lynch Jimmy Stewart from Mars. With Lynch, I really feel the sense that no matter how dark he subverts these American staples, no matter how many severed ears he litters the peaceful green lawns of Americana with, he does it without scorn, with an absence of critique. He is not Oliver Stone. He is Jimmy Stewart. But from Mars. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe class="giphy-embed" style="max-width: 100%;" src="//giphy.com/embed/11BFjIeFy8hx28" frameborder="0" width="480" height="312"></iframe></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Stuff That Seems Pretty Normal For a While</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ok, ignoring the scary man and the scary smiling old couple in the taxi, the first half of <em>Mulholland Drive</em> is pretty linear, like you&rsquo;re watching some post-Tarantino exercise in Hollywood Noir. Then there&rsquo;s <em>The Straight Story.</em> <em>The Elephant Man</em> too. Not everything Lynch touches is out there. Sometimes the most affecting stuff he&rsquo;s put on screen is when his subconscious is just letting something, well, regular happen. Who didn&rsquo;t feel a moment of euphoric happiness at the girls just having a party at the end of <em>Inland Empire</em>? Lynch can do normal&mdash;it's&nbsp;his secret weapon. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe class="giphy-embed" style="max-width: 100%;" src="//giphy.com/embed/7PwOZJLNYUkU" frameborder="0" width="480" height="360"></iframe></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Agent Cooper</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And then there&rsquo;s Cooper. Agent Cooper. Part zen master, part Sherlock Holmes. Like Bogart, like Lebowski, Agent Cooper is a Noir hero with the unmistakeable swing of a beat poet. Lynch&rsquo;s longstanding devotion to meditation shines through in Cooper: the way of approaching problems by focusing elsewhere, the appreciation for the surrounding environment. It&rsquo;s easy to view Kyle McLachlan&rsquo;s Cooper as Lynch&rsquo;s alter-ego. But like Jazz, those light notes take dedication to get right. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">These are few of the staples in Lynch&rsquo;s larder. Obviously, the magic isn&rsquo;t in the ingredients but in the way the chef assembles them: I wonder if Lynch has compiled a handing-over document himself to give to whoever takes over the reigns. They will certainly need it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/408013-paul-hanford" target="_blank">Paul Hanford&nbsp;</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Screengrab from <em>Twin Peaks</em> logo opening credits)</span></p> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:17:28 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Vikings and Panthers: A Parisian Subculture in Photographs <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There&rsquo;s a weed smokin&rsquo; bass thrumming pill poppin&rsquo; party ashin&rsquo; whiskey drinkin&rsquo; boy in the back. P&rsquo;tit Jean lights a spliff and takes a swig and says, &ldquo;get me into trouble now.&rdquo; A hard won laughter heats the door knobbin&rsquo; dance floor as skirts swirl with sex, limbs long and longing, and spit stings songs. For a hot sec there is no silence and no fight.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This is a document of Paris in the 80s&mdash;but it could be New York or London or even Bombay or Cairo&mdash;tracking life from the center of the bittersweet borderless periphery. Kitten heels and bouffants, Members Only jackets and mullets styled back, tweeds and anti-gravity hairdos extend beyond the rectangles of the photos, full of identity, but de-centered.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150409173800-V_P_Presse_1_WEB.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <div class="page" title="Page 13"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Bas résille, Paris 81-82</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Evocative of Nan Goldin&mdash;at times I could hear the Velvet Underground in the background&mdash;the scenes caught on camera are arguably even more powerful when placed in the contemporary. French Tunisian, Gilles Elie Cohen does not pretend to be part of the subculture he documents, yet the photographs capture&mdash;but not capture, rather release into movement&mdash;the spirit of the rockabilly gangs, Del Vikings and Les Panthers, with discretion. The groups, with varied backgrounds, stood for 50s inspired fashion, love for vintage cars, martial arts, and rock &lsquo;n&rsquo; roll music sensibilities. In their defense against Neo-Nazism, nativism, and racism, they often receded into spontaneous brawls, which grimly killed a number of them over the years.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150409173934-V_P_Presse_5_WEB.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <div class="page" title="Page 27"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Lucky lips are always kissing, Paris 81-82&nbsp;</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The grit and grime of the concrete realities of their lives is in the grain of the prints, which could have spanned, in formal technique, from anywhere between the 50s right till the 80s, just before digital began to overtake film, just before rap swept away dance and new wave. This historicity is precisely what makes the work contemporary: P&rsquo;tit Jean, a young boy in the photos, would have been an older man now, still a rebel to some, still a cause to others. The man wearing lipstick is the drag queen down the road. The drunken girl dancing, boots in the air, is still dancing. But these are the same people that are still often refused at the door of nightclubs, the same people that are still different because they are colored. Their fashion and the forms of photography too are returning to where these photographs ended. In a way, the photographs, in their youthful idealism, dream of a future in which the inter-racial friendships portrayed might become ordinary and the loyalties between bands of boisterous life-loving, obsessive, explosive hearts full of drama and desolation might be understood.&nbsp;They're moving portraits of the eponymous explorers, having voyaged across great seas and crossed the fluid borders of&nbsp;<em>being</em>&nbsp;itself.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150409174044-GEC_Jack_Daniel_s_Copyright.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <div class="page" title="Page 7"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Jack Daniel&rsquo;s, Gare du Nord, Paris 81-82&nbsp;</span></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150409174229-GEC_Oinj_copyright.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <div class="page" title="Page 38"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Oinj, Paris 81-82&nbsp;</span></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150409174249-GEC_She_copyright.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans, 'Trebuchet MS', Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <div class="page" title="Page 29"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>She, Paris 81-82&nbsp;</em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150409174307-GEC_Go_Cats__Go__copyright.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans, 'Trebuchet MS', Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <div class="page" title="Page 35"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Go Cats, Go!, Paris 81-82&nbsp;</em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/117808392" frameborder="0" width="600" height="450"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/117808392" target="_blank">Rock Contre la montre</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user4084183" target="_blank">Gilles Elie Cohen</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com" target="_blank">Vimeo</a>.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/90633-himali-singh-soin?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Himali Singh Soin</a></span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">(Image at top: Gilles Elie Cohen,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em>Méli-mélo, Paris 81-82</em>, 1982. All images courtesy of Addict Galerie.&nbsp;&copy; Gilles Elie Cohen)</span></span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 23:21:32 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list Exposing Visual Rhymes: An Interview with Mario Ybarra Jr. <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em><strong>This interview was <a href="http://www.artslant.com/chi/artists/rackroom/450" target="_blank">originally published</a> way back on ArtSlant Chicago, in May, 2008, on the occasion of&nbsp; Mario Ybarra Jr.'s exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. The LA-based artist is known for his installations drawing from pop and street culture, including a recent solo show examining the mythos of Scarface at LA's Honor Fraser Gallery. Right now his work can be found <a href="http://nomadicdivision.org/exhibition/mario-ybarra-jr/" target="_blank">on a billboard in Mobile, AL</a>, part of Los Angeles Nomadic Division's Manifest Destiny Project.</strong></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"> Mario Ybarra, Jr. is a LA-based visual and performance artist who has created room-sized installations all over the world and most recently right here in Chicago for the Art Institute of Chicago. This year Ybarra was also selected to participate in the Whitney Biennial. Beneath Ybarra's friendly demeanor lies a keen observer who is quick to expose visual rhymes in seemingly unrelated sources and to expand and build upon those connections until a cohesion is reached, or as he might say, a story. Ybarra graciously met with ArtSlant's Abraham Ritchie while putting the finishing touches on his installation at the Art Institute. Ever the raconteur, Ybarra talked about his native LA, baseball and King Arthur. Below is an excerpt of our conversation.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img style="margin: 10px auto; vertical-align: middle; display: block;" src="/userimages/3151/PICT0018.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <hr style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;" /> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>Abraham Richie: I think a lot of Chicagoans, and everyone, might want to know what the connection is between Southern Los Angeles, Catalina Island and Wrigley Field? It&rsquo;s kind of funny to think that Wrigley Field had a &ldquo;secret brother&rdquo; or something like that on the West Coast, because I am not sure that many people remember or know about this other Wrigley Field.</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>Mario Ybarra, Jr.:</strong> Well that&rsquo;s where this whole project started for me. About a year ago Lisa Dorin, the Assistant Curator in the Contemporary Art Department, asked me if I wanted to come up with a proposal to do a Focus project here at the Art Institute of Chicago, and I said I would think about it a little bit. The way that I try to work is that I try to make some kind of relationship between a personal experience, or my personal understanding or knowledge and the place that I show. I don&rsquo;t like the idea of coming in and claiming an expertise on a place that I know nothing about. I&rsquo;ve found that doing something that starts in the realm of the personal and then taking it out to another place and trying to make relationships between those two places is the most successful tactic for me. . . I try to make bridges, so to speak.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">As a kid we would take trips out to Catalina Island, which is part of the Channel Islands, about 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. I remember part of the tour was the local history. They&rsquo;d always tell us that William Wrigley, Jr. owned Catalina Island and he had famous movie stars of the time going out there, like Clark Gable. His Chicago Cubs would go out and have their spring training there. The main town there is called Avalon and it gets its name from [Wrigley&rsquo;s] niece, who told [Wrigley] to name it that after the Avalon of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and those stories. So it has this mythological side of it too. It has real histories, the local histories, of it being owned by Wrigley, and it has this mythological history through the King Arthur association. My studio back in LA is on Avalon Boulevard and they named [the street] that because that&rsquo;s where the boats used to take people out to Avalon Harbor on the island. I started doing research about that, I&rsquo;m like a de facto historian, and I found that Wrigley, along with owning the island, owned this other Wrigley Field that was in South Central Los Angeles on Avalon and 66th street. So we had the Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island, my studio on Avalon, this field that Wrigley owned was also on Avalon, I just kept following the line. I thought I could take this story from Avalon, to Avalon Boulevard, to my studio, to Avalon were the stadium was, to all the way down Highway 66 to Chicago and the Art Institute.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I&rsquo;m figuring out ways to make these relationships between historical figures like William Wrigley, who was important to historical cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, and bring these stories together somehow, make bridges between the stories. Between what I know and my experiences and the places that I go.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>AR: Sports are the site of an obvious physical conflict and throughout the exhibit are interesting juxtapositions: the Mexican flag and the U.S. flag, the sword and the baseball bat, the fist of the Revolution and an image of a capitalist&rsquo;s private island. The history of the island reflects conflict as well, in the seventies it was occupied by the Brown Berets. How are sports, especially baseball, viewed both literally and metaphorically for this project, and the issues it raises?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>MY:</strong> Well I have always thought of the history of baseball as particularly related to the United States. It&rsquo;s billed as &ldquo;the American Game;&rdquo; it&rsquo;s not really played around the world at all other than some Latin American countries, like the Dominican Republic where all these new players are coming from and where young people are specifically groomed to be ball players. But in relation to the United States, and this comes from the different things that I have watched or read, the developments of social movements in the United States almost always came ten years later than in the ball game itself. Baseball has been very slow to change, and it hasn&rsquo;t changed really over the few centuries its been played here. But it still has these kind of leading edges. Let&rsquo;s take for example the story of integration and civil rights. Jackie Robinson starts playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950's and certain places, like schools, weren&rsquo;t integrated until the early sixties or late sixties. Baseball reflects a little bit in advance the kind of social movements that will happen in the United States.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Another thing that I think is very interesting in terms of conflict and it being a spectator sport, even though there are rival teams and most big cities have their own team, [there is a sense of unity]. Before professional baseball, each little town would have a team, even though there was a sense of rivalry or competition, the people were brought together as spectators to cheer on their team. So even though there was a site of conflict, it wasn&rsquo;t like it was Rome and gladiators were getting fed to lions [laughter]. There is a sense of sportsmanship [. . .]</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Related to issues of capitalism and revolution, or acts of civil disobedience, there is a sense of teams. I play off that with the posters, we have here a baseball with two bats crossed, but instead of a regular team you have the Brown Beret guys who tried to occupy the island in 1972 so they&rsquo;re like &ldquo;the team.&rdquo; The idea of &ldquo;the team&rdquo; is important too and the metaphor of a team. The idea that everyone has their positions but also act as a unit is very important and is a metaphor for myself.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="/userimages/3151/PICT0019.JPG" alt="" width="338" height="443" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><br /><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>AR: The idea of teams is also apparent in this wall of flags you have installed. What are the flags we have here?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>MY:</strong> This is the state of Illinois&rsquo; flag. The flags are also stadium-esque, they always have them. The other thing, again about making relationships, is this is the state of Illinois&rsquo; flag, which has an eagle perched on a rock holding a shield and in his mouth is a banner. I thought that is very interesting, because over here is the Mexican flag, and again we have the eagle, this time perched on the cactus, and the snake in his mouth pretty much mimics the banner in the Illinois flag. Those kinds of aesthetic relationships and symbolic choices are very interesting.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img style="margin: 10px; vertical-align: middle;" src="/userimages/3151/PICT0015.JPG" alt="" width="430" height="328" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><br /><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>AR: Even looking at the Illinois flag, that&rsquo;s more of an Aztec style eagle than a typical American-style eagle.</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>MY:</strong> Yeah. Those are the kinds of things I noticed in my visits to Chicago to prepare for this show, last year and earlier this year. I started seeing these kinds of relationships, like the Illinois flag&rsquo;s similarity to the flag of Mexico.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">This row of flags will start off with the U.S. flag, the state of Illinois flag, Chicago flag, Los Angeles flag, state of California flag, and the Mexican flag. We have these different relationships between these two places starting with the cities and then going to the states. We have the state of Mexico flag, even though California is not part of Mexico, it used to be part of Mexico, but it&rsquo;s related to the histories that we have here. Catalina Island was occupied by the Brown Berets because in the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which separated the Southwest from Mexico after the Mexican-American War, the island wasn&rsquo;t specifically mentioned. This is why the Brown Berets tried to occupy it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">There are interrelationships between the two places [Chicago and LA]. I thought that was another kind of metaphor for the show, in terms of Wrigley being this character and starting with him, saying no man is an island, or no city, or no country or land is an island. They&rsquo;re all in relationship, in context, to their neighbors. Imagine if we thought that we could do everything, under our own power, we&rsquo;d get ourselves in trouble. We can talk about it in relationship to land, in relationship to people. Or no island is a man, we could even switch it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I wanted to draw these kinds of relationships together, one between Los Angeles and Chicago, two between Mexico and the States, three between baseball and mythology. Different symbolic orders, things like ships or bubble gum.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>ArtSlant would like to thank Mario Ybarra, Jr., Jenny Gheith and Lisa Dorin for their assistance in making this interview possible. Additional thanks to the Anna Helwing Gallery and the Art Institute of Chicago</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">-<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/16747-abraham-ritchie?tab=REVIEWS"><span style="color: #000000;"> Abraham Ritchie</span></a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;">(Top image: <strong>Mario Ybarra Jr</strong>, Manifest Destiny Project billboard, 2014; Courtesy of LAND. All other images are installation views of <em>Take Me Out. . . No Man Is an Island</em>, 2008; Courtesy of the Artist)</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 21:52:42 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list F.A.T. Lab, F.A.T. GOLD Europe: Five Years of Free Art & Technology <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I crouched down, picked up a marker, and tried to remember the illegible scribble that used to be my &ldquo;tag&rdquo;: a gesture of sharp points and steady curves punctuated by a strategic line slashed through the whole inscription. In high school I would trace it onto book covers and notepads and think I was cool. It came to me eventually, the first delivery unsteady as I carefully considered which shapes fit where; in a second, more successful attempt, I let my arm do the work, confidently forging my mark in muscle memory.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140558-me_tagging.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Yours truly, tagging the graffiti wall, <em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>; Photo: Ben Harvey.</span></p> <div><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"> <br /></span></div> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I was in Eindhoven attending the Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab&rsquo;s exhibition <em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>&nbsp;at <a href="http://www.mu.nl/" target="_blank">MU</a>, which ended in January. The show, which also took place in April last year at <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/venues/show/335-eyebeam?tab=VENUE" target="_blank">Eyebeam</a> in New York, was a sort of five-year anniversary round up of the Internet collective&rsquo;s practice. (F.A.T. Lab has now entered its seventh year, but the originally scheduled retrospective was put on hiatus in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.) But back to the incident at hand. Why, at an exhibition dedicated to a network ostensibly operating online, was I contributing my meager tag to a sanctioned graffiti wall?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140845-installation_view1.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi.</span></div> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">The connection isn&rsquo;t so far fetched. Some of F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s twenty-five <a href="http://fffff.at/people/" target="_blank">members</a>&mdash;an international network of artists, engineers, scientists, lawyers, and musicians&mdash;are themselves graffiti artists. Their core values, which include &ldquo;spreading open source and free ideals into popular culture&rdquo; through DIY entrepreneurship, open source, and activism, have more than a few intersections with street art. On the one hand, art on the Internet can be viewed through a street lens: it can bypass normal distribution channels, appealing directly to viewers. Turning the comparison on its head, street art can be seen as a form of &ldquo;hack&rdquo;&mdash;an unendorsed appropriation of space, medium, or idea.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302135918-ideas_worth_spreading.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Evan Roth</strong><em>, <em><a href="http://fffff.at/ideas-worth-spreading/" target="_blank">Ideas Worth Spreading</a> (TED Talks)</em></em>, at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">In his recent book, <a href="http://viralart.vandalog.com/read/" target="_blank"><em>Viral Art</em></a>, <a href="http://blog.vandalog.com/" target="_blank">Vandalog</a> blogger RJ Rushmore looks at how the future of street art, with its focus on &ldquo;unmediated distribution,&rdquo; might find a natural home in the digital domain. He uses the term &ldquo;Viral Art&rdquo; to describe both shareable and invasive online practices that have an affinity, if not a direct evolutionary line, to street art (n.b. &ldquo;Viral&rdquo; here implies a level of approachability that excludes some older forms of Internet Art. The pioneering duo JODI, for example, have a great exhibition at <a href="http://www.showroommama.nl/nl/" target="_blank">Showroom MAMA</a> in Rotterdam right now that isn&rsquo;t particularly accessible or viral). F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s <a href="http://fffff.at/category/projects/" target="_blank">projects</a> don&rsquo;t always fall within the categories Rushmore outlines either&mdash;viewers may seek out content rather than encounter it serendipitously&mdash;yet they do open onto notions of self-dissemination, egalitarianism, activism, and anonymity. In fact, there are examples at MU of some of the <a href="http://viralart.vandalog.com/read/chapter/google-bombs/" target="_blank">very</a> <a href="http://viralart.vandalog.com/read/chapter/katsu-getting-up-in-digital-space/" target="_blank">works</a> discussed in Rushmore&rsquo;s text&mdash;namely, <a href="http://fffff.at/ideas-worth-spreading/" target="_blank"><em>Ideas Worth Spreading</em></a>, a mock-up TED Talk stage where visitors can record images of their own &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to share online, and <em>40,000 GML Tags</em>, a massive screen showcasing graffiti gestures in <a href="http://fffff.at/tag/gml/" target="_blank">GML</a>, or Graffiti Markup Language, &ldquo;a file format designed to be a universal structure for storing digitized graffiti motion data.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140719-kopyfamo.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Geraldine Juarez, <a style="font-style: italic;" href="http://fffff.at/kopyfamo-free-copyright/" target="_blank">Kopyfamo'</a>, watermark on mirror, at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span><em> <br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Some F.A.T. Lab projects exist in the real world, others are strictly manifest online, and many straddle the two&mdash;that is, projects shaped in the real world and shared online. The MU exhibition, curated by <a href="http://www.lindsayhoward.net/" target="_blank">Lindsay Howard</a>, highlighted them all, offering documentation, online viewing stations, and even physical objects and artworks. Where <em>F.A.T. GOLD</em> differed from the typical exhibition was that most works were not autonomous objects, but rather reproducible examples of a wider practice. Motivated viewers could (and can) recreate many of these works on the web or at home*, and the materials for some projects, like an <a href="http://fffff.at/obama-google-glass-prism-mask/" target="_blank">Obama PRISM mask</a>, were even available at the exhibition.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140049-free_universal_construction_kit.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;"><em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view with&nbsp;<a href="http://fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit/" target="_blank"><em>Free Universal Construction Kit</em></a>, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Good fun is always on the menu: in <em>F.A.T. GOLD</em> there was a sub-genre of works touting the douchiness of Google Glass and its adopters, and a presentation of Greg Leuch&rsquo;s viral Add-on <a href="http://fffff.at/shaved-bieber/" target="_blank"><em>Shaved Bieber</em></a>, which censors all mentions of Justin Bieber online (earning Leuch more than a little hate mail from teenage fans). But some of the best and most shareable projects are greater than their capacity for the lulz. The <a href="http://fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit/" target="_blank">Free Universal Construction Kit</a> is a set of adapters that makes ten brands of children&rsquo;s construction sets, like Lego and K&rsquo;Nex, interoperable. It&rsquo;s eminently cool/novel/clever, but it also visualizes the ways in which childhood playthings ostensibly meant to spark creativity are limited by proprietary measures. The F.U.C.K. undermines these protective implements, removing barriers to cross-trademark creativity. The exhibition featured a complete set of adapters, a construction/play station, and a 3D printer that staff members kindly set to printing new pieces whenever visitors turned up. (3D models of the adapters in .STL format are available online for <a href="http://www.thingiverse.com/uck/designs" target="_blank">free download</a>.)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140151-facebook_id_card.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Tobias Leingruber</strong>, <em><a href="http://fffff.at/tag/fb-bureau/" target="_blank">Facebook Identity Card</a></em>, video presentation of ARTE Creative, <em><a href="http://fbbureau.com/" target="_blank">Social ID Bureau</a></em>, 2012,&nbsp;portrait of Mark Zuckerberg,&nbsp;at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span><em> <br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s perspective seems carefully poised between an irreverent techno-optimism (&ldquo;look at these cool things we can do!&rdquo;) and deep skepticism at the ways in which technologies can be regulated, marketed, and used for power and control. Given these positions, in which use of certain technologies seems self-evident, it&rsquo;s easy to forget that not everyone has access to the distributional paradigm shift that is the digital domain. Rushmore&rsquo;s account also overstates viral art&rsquo;s present accessibility: an encounter with this type of work is more likely to be spread within specific enclaves of Internet activity, with limiting factors being not geography, but usage. The case for &ldquo;unmediated&rdquo; distribution is further undermined by the cryptic algorithms used by Facebook and Google for post placement and search results&mdash;the very systems F.A.T. Lab exploits when images of their fake TED Talks turn up in search results. In a destabilizing twist, F.A.T. Lab often coopts the very technologies and systems it protests (or defends).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140313-skatekeyboard.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Tobias Leingruber</strong>, <em><a href="http://fffff.at/skatekeyboard/" target="_blank">Skatekeyboard</a></em>, keyboard attached to skateboard deck,&nbsp;at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span><em> <br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">In a way, that&rsquo;s why it was such a treat to see some of F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s works in physical form, Away From Keyboard as it were. <em>F.A.T. GOLD</em> did a great job of making works and ideas accessible to people who might not be tech-savvy or know what terms like &ldquo;net neutrality&rdquo; and &ldquo;Open Web&rdquo; mean. Or those who aren&rsquo;t necessarily ready to accept or understand this sort of practice as &ldquo;art.&rdquo; The exhibition was forward looking, but also rooted in the past and present&mdash;a thought-provoking bridge between time, technologies, and disciplines. Be it in a subway tunnel or on a homepage, a mark on the wall is a sign of presence; it can be a declaration of ego, of resistance. Or like my clumsy signature, it can be an affirmation, a &ldquo;Like&rdquo; or an &ldquo;upvote&rdquo;: I was here, with so many others, and I want to be counted.</span></p> <p><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/1538/2dh/20140303002936-compubody_interface.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Becky Stern</strong>,&nbsp;<em><em><a href="http://fffff.at/knitted-compubody-interface/" target="_blank">Knitted Compubody Interface</a>&nbsp;</em>(<a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Laptop-Compubody-Sock/" target="_blank">knit one</a> yourself!), at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; </em>&copy; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">*The MU exhibition ended on January 26th, but interested readers can see the projects <a href="http://fffff.at/category/projects/" target="_blank">online</a> or in the new <a href="http://fffff.at/the-fat-manual/" target="_blank"><em>F.A.T. Manual</em></a> (available for purchase or <a href="http://www.lulu.com/shop/domenico-quaranta-and-geraldine-ju%C3%A1rez/the-fat-manual/ebook/product-21251172.html" target="_blank">free download</a>), released on the occasion of the exhibition and the collective&rsquo;s five-year anniversary.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&mdash;Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302141000-installation_view3.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <div>&nbsp;<span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small;">Image on top: <em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi.<span style="color: #000000;">]</span></span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:40:07 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ams/Articles/list