ArtSlant - Contemporary Art Network http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/show en-us 40 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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list The Paris Follies: No. 12 <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="text-align: center;">&ldquo;No theme requires more pure logic than love.&rdquo; &nbsp; &mdash;Alain Badiou, What is Love.</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>At the </em><a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/33747"><em>Georgia Fee Writers Residency</em></a><em style="line-height: 26px;"> this spring in Paris,&nbsp;<em>Himali&nbsp;Singh Soin&nbsp;will utilize the romantic clich&eacute;s of Paris to&nbsp;excavate its less probable, scientific desires.&nbsp;<em>From 18th century follies in Parc Monceau and&nbsp;</em><em>Bois de Vincennes to 20th century follies in&nbsp;</em><em>Le Parc de la&nbsp;Villette&nbsp;to modern buildings like Le Grand Arch to Gargoyles and mere&nbsp;street side ornaments,</em>&nbsp;her lines will be made of hypercubes, topologies, tangles and tautologies.&nbsp;When Haussmann planned Paris, center quadrants giving way to five radiating boulevards, he did not foresee that it would be a city full of stars, lingering long after their time. In Paris, city of light, the particle swerves into the wave, sine-like and full of signifiers. In Paris, city of love,&nbsp;Himali&nbsp;speculates on whether its most magical romance might be found in its most foolish mathematics.</em></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em style="line-height: 26px;"><em>Himali will be leaving a trail of love letters addressed to architectural follies across Paris. Each letter will be Google translated into French and left for a stranger to encounter.&nbsp;You can find the full list of love letters and more about the concept behind her project</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/42519" target="_blank">here</a></em>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421193202-IMG_1650.jpeg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small; line-height: normal;">Letter to Folly No. 12&nbsp;left at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, read and swapped by the rare, observant tourist</span><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="color: #333333;">.</span><span style="color: #333333;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <blockquote> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Dear Folly No. 12, &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 23 April 2015</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Today marks one dozen letters to you. I suppose it does not matter if you do not respond, as long as you&rsquo;re feeling the feels. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Here I am, at the door of modernity, waiting. It feels like everything has passed. It feels like all that&rsquo;s left are&nbsp; names, Mars, the great god of war. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It feels like there is no one here, there is only waiting. And memories of poems, and numbers in no particular order and street signs dented and pointing in obscure directions. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It really matters, how we are, how far we can carry love, now, when the apocalypse is not only a stereotype, a tourist&rsquo;s destination, it is one in which matter is of the utmost importance&mdash;a container, if broken&mdash;releasing the spirit of separation, flailing energy, everywhere.</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&Delta;,</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">|-|.</span></p> </blockquote> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;<img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421194407-IMG_7661.JPG.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <blockquote> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Cher Folly n&deg; 12, &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 23 Avril 2015</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Aujourd'hui marque une douzaine de lettres de vous. Je suppose que ce ne est pas grave si vous ne r&eacute;pondez pas, aussi longtemps que vous vous sentez les ressent.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ici, je suis, &agrave; la porte de la modernit&eacute;, en attendant. Il se sent comme tout a pass&eacute;. Il se sent comme tout ce qui reste sont des noms, Mars, le grand dieu de la guerre.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Il se sent comme il n'y a personne ici, il ne attend. Et les souvenirs de po&egrave;mes, et des num&eacute;ros sans ordre et de la rue des signes particuliers bossel&eacute;s et pointant dans des directions obscures.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ce qui compte vraiment, comment nous sommes, dans quelle mesure nous pouvons mener &agrave; l'amour, maintenant, quand l'apocalypse ne est pas seulement un st&eacute;r&eacute;otype, une destination touristique, ce est celui dans lequel la mati&egrave;re est de l'importance-un r&eacute;cipient plus grand, lib&eacute;rant rompu si le esprit de s&eacute;paration, agitant l'&eacute;nergie, partout.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&Delta;,</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">| - |.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><span style="line-height: 26px;">&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/90633-himali-singh-soin" target="_blank">Himali Singh Soin</a>&nbsp;| Translated by Google</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;">&nbsp; &nbsp;<em><strong>&lt;&lt; <a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/42814">Folly No. 11&nbsp;</a>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Folly No. 13&nbsp;&gt;&gt;</strong></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em></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: small;">(Image at top: The Eiffel Tower)</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 20:08:40 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list The Paris Follies: No. 11 <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="text-align: center;">&ldquo;No theme requires more pure logic than love.&rdquo; &nbsp; &mdash;Alain Badiou, What is Love.</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>At the </em><a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/33747"><em>Georgia Fee Writers Residency</em></a><em style="line-height: 26px;"> this spring in Paris,&nbsp;<em>Himali&nbsp;Singh Soin&nbsp;will utilize the romantic clich&eacute;s of Paris to&nbsp;excavate its less probable, scientific desires.&nbsp;<em>From 18th century follies in Parc Monceau and&nbsp;</em><em>Bois de Vincennes to 20th century follies in&nbsp;</em><em>Le Parc de la&nbsp;Villette&nbsp;to modern buildings like Le Grand Arch to Gargoyles and mere&nbsp;street side ornaments,</em>&nbsp;her lines will be made of hypercubes, topologies, tangles and tautologies.&nbsp;When Haussmann planned Paris, center quadrants giving way to five radiating boulevards, he did not foresee that it would be a city full of stars, lingering long after their time. In Paris, city of light, the particle swerves into the wave, sine-like and full of signifiers. In Paris, city of love,&nbsp;Himali&nbsp;speculates on whether its most magical romance might be found in its most foolish mathematics.</em></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em style="line-height: 26px;"><em>Himali will be leaving a trail of love letters addressed to architectural follies across Paris. Each letter will be Google translated into French and left for a stranger to encounter.&nbsp;You can find the full list of love letters and more about the concept behind her project</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/42519" target="_blank">here</a></em>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150421192732-IMG_1606.jpeg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small; line-height: normal;">Letter to Folly No. 11&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small; line-height: normal; text-align: left;">left at the distance between the Grande Arch and the Arc de Triomphe, <br />picked up by a couple and taken with.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <blockquote> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Dear Folly No. 11, &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 22 April 2015</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Someone asked me if I&rsquo;d written to you about infidelity yet. Page 18 fell out, I haven&rsquo;t written to anybody else. But if it&rsquo;s because the world is comprised of fractals that we see patterns everywhere, then of course we cannot love only once with one. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">I suppose I havent written about infidelity because i dont quite believe in it&mdash;love triangles have existed since the beginning of time and you&mdash;the epic tower of Eiffel&mdash;ancient Egypt&mdash;are testament to this. Even modernity hasn't altered the shape in which we write stories.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Besides, the world of capital is comprised of pyramids: giant triangles made up of triangles, steel and built to absorb every shock. It is the world without argument, the break in the dialectic, the third man apotheosis postulated&nbsp; by the man of pyramids himself - Aristotle.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But this break in duality also means an infinite recurrence of the &ldquo;third&rdquo;, a world in which two entities do not exist outside the third&mdash;thought&mdash;that activates them. In our identical, reproductive, ego-centric view of the three, the triangle is both a symbol of positivism and balance.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I have been with somebody else, I won&rsquo;t apologize for that. It has built a tension in me - some non-linear integral equation with the ability to channel all counter-balancing wind forces, I stole that from wikipedia. You trust me less, I suspect, (because of wikipedia or because of the cheat?) but here I am, bound by your lattice, promising that the third man we should really worry about is the distance. That taut area between military desire and humanitarianism, between the 19th century and the 21st, between your music and mine.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">How the air passed through your wrought iron arms, how you stand infinitely light and solid, lurid in repetition, beating on and on, with the same measure, knowing better than all of us that it is not a matter of time, but space.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Also, your throat looked beautiful in the postcard with your photograph on it. You looked far away though, like a clich&eacute;.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&Delta;,</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">|-|.</span></p> </blockquote> <p class="Default" 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/20150421192754-IMG_7098.jpeg" alt="" width="600" />&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Cher Folly n&deg; 11, &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 22 Avril 2015</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Quelqu'un m'a demand&eacute; si je avais encore &eacute;crit de vous sur l'infid&eacute;lit&eacute;. Page 18 est tomb&eacute;, je ne ai pas &eacute;crit &agrave; personne d'autre. Mais si ce est parce que le monde est compos&eacute; de fractales que nous voyons partout des motifs, alors bien s&ucirc;r nous ne pouvons pas aimer une seule fois avec un.</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Je suppose que je nai pas &eacute;crit au sujet de l'infid&eacute;lit&eacute; parce que je ne crois assez en elle-triangles amoureux ont exist&eacute; depuis le d&eacute;but des temps et vous-la tour Eiffel-&eacute;pique de l'Egypte ancienne-t&eacute;moignent de cela. M&ecirc;me la modernit&eacute; n'a pas modifi&eacute; la forme dans laquelle nous &eacute;crivons des histoires.</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">En outre, le monde du capital est compos&eacute; de pyramides: triangles g&eacute;ants constitu&eacute;s de triangles, de l'acier et construits pour absorber tous les chocs. Ce est le monde sans argument, la rupture dans la dialectique, le troisi&egrave;me homme apoth&eacute;ose postul&eacute; par l'homme lui-m&ecirc;me de pyramides - Aristotle.</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Mais cette rupture dans la dualit&eacute;, ce est aussi une r&eacute;currence infinie de la &laquo;troisi&egrave;me&raquo;, un monde dans lequel deux entit&eacute;s ne existent pas en dehors de la troisi&egrave;me pens&eacute; que les active. Dans notre vue identique, la reproduction, &eacute;gocentrique des trois, le triangle est &agrave; la fois un symbole de positivisme et de l'&eacute;quilibre.</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Je ai &eacute;t&eacute; avec quelqu'un d'autre, je ne vais pas me en excuse. Il a construit une tension en moi - une certaine &eacute;quation int&eacute;grale non-lin&eacute;aire avec la capacit&eacute; de canaliser toutes les forces du vent de contre-&eacute;quilibrage, je ai vol&eacute; que de wikipedia. Tu me fais confiance moins, je le soup&ccedil;onne, (en raison de wikipedia ou en raison de la triche?), Mais je suis ici, li&eacute; par votre r&eacute;seau, promettant que le troisi&egrave;me homme que nous devrions vraiment inqui&eacute;ter est la distance. Cette zone tendue entre le d&eacute;sir militaire et humanitaire, entre le 19e si&egrave;cle et le 21e, entre votre musique et la mienne.</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Comment l'air travers&eacute; vos bras fer forg&eacute;, la fa&ccedil;on dont vous vous tenez infiniment l&eacute;ger et solide, sinistre dans la r&eacute;p&eacute;tition, battant ainsi de suite, avec la m&ecirc;me mesure, connaissant mieux que nous tous que ce ne est pas une question de temps, mais l'espace.</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">En outre, votre gorge &eacute;tait belle dans la carte postale avec votre photo sur elle. Vous avez cherch&eacute; bien loin, comme un clich&eacute;.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&Delta;,</span></p> <p class="Default" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">| - |.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><span style="line-height: 26px;">&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/90633-himali-singh-soin" target="_blank">Himali Singh Soin</a>&nbsp;| Translated by Google</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;">&nbsp; &nbsp;<em><strong>&lt;&lt; <a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/42802">Folly No. 10&nbsp;</a>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Folly No. 12&nbsp;&gt;&gt;</strong></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em></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: small;">(Image at top: Egyptian Pyramid at Parc Monceau, 1778)</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 20:07:39 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list “San Francisco Is Just Giving Away MFA Degrees Now” <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Do artists need MFAs? Must one obtain a higher degree </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/989814/debating-an-mfa-the-lowdown-on-art-school-risks-and-returns" target="_blank">to make it</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> as an artist? Or are there </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.vulture.com/2013/12/saltz-on-the-trouble-with-the-mfa.html" target="_blank">too many MFAs</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> in the art world already? What if you could get an MFA for </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">free</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, and all in </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">under an hour?</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Bay Area artist Jeremiah Jenkins, the dean, MFA department chair, and sole instructor of the newly minted <a href="http://sfaq.us/event/tenderloin-institute-of-art/" target="_blank">Tenderloin Institute of Art</a>, will be giving out bona fide non-accredited MFA degrees to anyone who wants one over two weekends starting April 17.</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/20150408095040-tia2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The new institute (whose logo may be <a href="http://www.streetcarmike.com/sf_jun212011/full/sf_032_jun212011.jpg" target="_blank">rather recognizable</a>) opens its doors at the <a href="http://sfaq.us/2015/03/sfaqprojectspace-grand-opening/" target="_blank">SFAQ[Project]Space</a> on O&rsquo;Farrell Street, where prospective grad students will produce a body of work, learn about art history and theory, and display and defend their work at the MFA thesis show. So if you&rsquo;re wandering around the TL one weekend in April, come on by. Learn painting, sculpture, performance art, theory, art history, critical bullshitting, &hellip;<a href="http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail26.html" target="_blank">or get your degree</a>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Tenderloin Institute of Art will offer all the various things one would learn in a real MFA program in &ldquo;comically consolidated&rdquo; form. &ldquo;Some people will take a long time and put a lot of focus into their work,&rdquo; Jenkins told ArtSlant, &ldquo;but theoretically someone could come in and get an MFA in under an hour.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Jenkins developed this social experiment in response to the increasing professionalization of the art world, the rise of for-profit art schools, and the recent uptick of artists with MFAs or in MFA programs. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a new wave of MFAs every single year,&rdquo; says Jenkins, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of insane how many people have higher art degrees.&rdquo; But the Tenderloin Institute of Art is not necessarily born out of contempt for this trend in the art world, but rather from Jenkins&rsquo; own experiences teaching art and art history. He devised the project out of a certain curiosity to see what people, from everyday folks to other artists, will create when prompted to work on the level of professional art-making.</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 src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UXaef9wKdVM?rel=0" frameborder="0" width="640" height="360"></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;">Jenkins, who grew up in Tennessee, attended a small state school for his undergrad, then moved to San Francisco to attend grad school at San Francisco Art Institute. At SFAI he found a lot of people who were pursuing MFAs &ldquo;because it&rsquo;s just the next logical step.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Does he fear that some people might take offense to the MFA giveaway? &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have any fear,&rdquo; he laughed, &ldquo;but I have some expectations.&rdquo; Jenkins, no stranger to mixed reactions, was heckled by some audience members for chopping wood as performance art at last year&rsquo;s artMRKT San Francisco. His latest solo exhibition at Ever Gold Gallery featured the artist hunting for pre-packaged cuts of meat with a bow and arrow and tooling around a supermarket with a shopping cart made of twigs. &ldquo;People take offense to anything that you do that&rsquo;s a little weird or different,&rdquo; he added.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But as Jenkins explained to me, the project&rsquo;s intention is not to &ldquo;discredit anyone&rsquo;s reasons for going to grad school or getting an MFA or pursuing art at all.&rdquo; It comes rather from a desire to open up the field even further&mdash;to the point of absolute absurdity. There are no prerequisites, no BFA degree requirements; &ldquo;a five-year-old could get an MFA,&rdquo; he says. Jenkins invokes Beuys: &ldquo;If everybody is an artist,&rdquo; he continues, &ldquo;We&rsquo;re just a society of creative people. So everyone should have an MFA.&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/11505-natalie-hegert?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Natalie Hegert&nbsp;</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://sfaq.us/event/tenderloin-institute-of-art/" target="_blank">Tenderloin Institute of Art</a> Opening Reception and meet-and-greet takes place April 17th 6:00-9:00pm at SFAQ[Project]Space,&nbsp;449 O&rsquo;Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. The Institute will be open April 17th-18th and April 24th-25th from 11:30am-5:00pm, with the Vernissage, Commencement and MFA exhibition on April 25th from 6:00-9:00pm.</span></em></p> <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;"><br /></span></p> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:07:30 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list Clean, It Just Looks Dirty: Basquiat's Unknown Notebooks <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Words are all we have.&rdquo;<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &mdash;Samuel Beckett</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;I cross out words so you will see them more.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &mdash;Jean-Michel Basquiat</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There are some painters who are born great (Picasso), some who attained greatness due to circumstances of their time (David), and some whose work grows in importance posthumously (Kahlo); Jean-Michel Basquiat is a rare case of a painter who managed to fall into all three of these categories. He was a prodigious teenager who came out of the gate fast with his graffiti work, which was timely and poetic and achieved meteoric success and celebrity in the 80s. Now, 30 years on, he is an artist whose every sketch, it seems, grows in complexity and meaning through retrospective and deeper readings. Basquiat fused drawing, painting, pop culture, and music with history and poetry to produce an artistic language and content that was entirely his own. Combining the tools of graffiti (Sharpies, spray enamel, and chalk) with those of fine art (oil and acrylic paint, collage, and oil stick), his best paintings maintain a powerful tension between opposing aesthetic forces&mdash;thought and expression; control and spontaneity; wit, urbanity, and primitivism&mdash;while providing acerbic commentary on the harsher realities of race, culture, and society in the early 80s New York social landscape. <em>Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks</em> at the Brooklyn Museum is an excellent opportunity to evaluate fresh material from the collection of Larry Warsh, which has not been seen in any public exhibitions before.</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/20150407152225-Downtown_81_03.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Edo Bertoglio, Jean-Michel Basquiat on the set of Downtown 81, 1980&ndash;81, 35mm slide. &copy; New York Beat Films, LLC. Courtesy Maripol. <br />By permission of the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, all rights reserved</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><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;">Right at the start of the exhibition we see the ease with which Basquiat transitioned from tagging walls in the late 70s with Al Diaz under the pseudonym SAMO to filling small children&rsquo;s composition books with block-lettered phrases, pieces of poetry, and found sayings. Conceptually and visually these books resemble the early concrete poetry of the sculptor Carl Andre, who used words as material, laying them down in careful arrangements on the page, composing, both visually and literarily, snippets of conversations, word snapshots, and diary entries, albeit of an oblique kind. The exhibition contains six notebooks, which have been carefully dissembled to present the work in a more individual format. Although they are displayed non-chronolgically, they show Basquiat creating a format and sticking with it throughout his career.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Basquiat's use of language, in contrast to other artists in the 80s like Barbara Kruger, Mira Schor, or Christopher Wool, was largely poetic. He chose words for their descriptive and lyric qualities, sampling found material and combining it with his own word inventions: &ldquo;leapsickness,&rdquo; &ldquo;pedxing,&rdquo; &ldquo;aspuria.&rdquo; Some pages, like this from a 1992 notebook, border on the cinematic:&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">AN EPELEPTIC SECRETARY ON TELEVISION/THAT MOBSTER STEVE&rsquo;S GIRL/SCAN/I WANT YOUR PURSE/IF YOU SCREAM WITHIN 60 SECONDS ILL BE BACK.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Other pages from the same folio are lists of phone numbers, shopping lists (&ldquo;1 STICK BUTTER/BACON/1/2 DOZ EGGS&rdquo;), or women&rsquo;s names. In a nine-panel work from 1984 titled </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Melville</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, Basquiat copies the chapter index from </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Moby Dick</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, emphasizing the poetry of Melville, by turning the chapter titles into haikus: </span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">QUEEQUEG IN HIS COFFIN/DOES THE WHALE&rsquo;S MAGNITUDE DIMINISH?/THE WHITENESS OF THE WHALE.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <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/20150407152744-EL135.06.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Jean-Michel Basquiat,&nbsp;</span><em style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Untitled</em><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">, 1986, Acrylic, collage, and oilstick on paper on canvas, 94 1/8 x 136 2/5 in. (239 x 346.5 cm). Collection of Larry Warsh. <br />Copyright &copy; Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, all rights reserved. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo: Gavin Ashworth, Brooklyn Museum</span></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;">In addition to the notebook pages, the exhibition includes larger examples of some of Basquiat's paintings with collaged elements. In these works he does not simply scale up the words to fit the canvas, as Cy Twombly or Julian Schnabel might, but rather fills the space with a cacophony of words both discordant and, sometimes, eerily brilliant. <em>Untitled </em>(1986), for example, a torn canvas that resembles a bearskin rug, riffs on familiar themes of jazz music, luxury items, and Batman logos. In this vividly colored canvas (as well as in the neighboring oil stick on paper, <em>UNTITLED (LEONARDO DA VINCI) </em>from 1982<em>)</em>, words are used like brushstrokes; the frenetic, all-over quality suggests a drive toward a sort of disjunctive mapping, rather than the building of a classically unified composition, where seemingly unrelated marks suddenly coalesce in syncopated rhythms. Comparisons were made of his work to boxing and the cool jazz of Miles Davis.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In retrospect, it might have been a little too easy to place his work in the category of Neo-Expressionism, with its bombast and emphasis on direct, experiential painting. Closer looks reveal that his process (no doubt influenced by his working relationship with Warhol) didn't fit quite so neatly into the same camp as Schnabel and Clemente, but walked a fine line between high and low culture. In his essay "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception," the art theorist and social critic Theodor Adorno attempted to analyze the transformation of the cultural sphere in industrialized capitalist society. Adorno argued that as a result of the increasing rationalization of life in a technological society, the cultural sphere becomes one of the areas through which the dominant economic norms are inserted. He posited that this commodification of culture leads inevitably to the conflation of the avante-garde, or high culture, and those lower forms of popular entertainment or spectacle. For Adorno, the end result of this mash-up is kitsch. Perhaps no artist in the twentieth century since Warhol understood how to commodify kitsch into a believable art form as much as Basquiat.</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/20150407152532-EL135.05.03.jpg" alt="" height="420" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150407152549-EL135.14.04.jpg" alt="" height="420" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(left) Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled Notebook Page, circa 1987. Wax crayon on ruled notebook paper, 9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (24.5 x 19.4 cm)</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(right) Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled Notebook Page, 1981&ndash;84. Wax crayon on ruled notebook paper, 9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (24.5 x 19.4 cm). (both) Collection of Larry Warsh. Copyright &copy; Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, all rights reserved. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum</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;">Basquiat indeed has proven to be a greater, more lasting talent than the bombastic propaganda the 80s promised. One of the most beautiful things about this show of works, which in some ways were probably meant to be personal, is that we get glimpses of the private Basquiat. One diaristic page reads like a confession, or an indictment&mdash;a poem of almost excruciating poignancy, showing us what this effort cost him: </span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">THIS IS NOT IN PRAISE OF POISON/ING MYSELF WAITING FOR IDEAS/TO HAPPEN MYSELF&mdash;THIS NOT/IN PRAIS OF POISON/THE NON POISON NON POISONED/SO SELF RIGHTOUS/NO ONE IS CLEAN/FROM RED MEAT TO WHITE POISON/THIS IS NOT IN PRAISE OF POISON/THE BIGGEST BUSINESS/USGLY, FAT LIKE A PIG/THE CUSTOMER IN NEW YORK/CHICAGO DETROIT/PSALM.</span></p> </blockquote> <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/216789-bradley-rubenstein?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Bradley Rubenstein</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: x-small; line-height: normal;">(Image at top: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled Notebook (inside cover), 1980&ndash;81, Mixed media on board, 9 5/8 x 15 in. (24.5 x 38.1 cm). Collection of Larry Warsh. Copyright &copy; Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, all rights reserved. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum)</span></p> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:28:53 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list Made-Up with Danny Volk: S1E9 with Tucker Rae-Grant <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: Tucker Rae-Grant explains his interest in Mitt Romney-as-subject, tries to be a "difficult" interviewee, and hopes it's possible to make art that affects political change.</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/Sc1LF2BTi84" 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, 03 Apr 2015 08:22:13 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list Kill Your Gallerist! Art for All! <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Joseph Beuys, Sigmar Polke, Rosemarie Trockel, and Christo are just some of the artists included in the exhibition at Berlin&rsquo;s Akademie der K&uuml;nste in under the slogan&nbsp;<em>Kunst F&uuml;r Alle</em>&nbsp;(&ldquo;Art for All&rdquo;). The comprehensive show encompasses over 300 works by more than 150 artists from the Klaus Staeck collection.</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/32120/1dkh/20150402103823-sw.png" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Stefan Wewerka,&nbsp;<em>Homburger</em>, 1970. &copy;VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015. Photo: Roman M&auml;rz</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;">Lawyer, graphic artist, political rabble-rouser, artwork publisher and most recently president of the Akademie der K&uuml;nste in Berlin&mdash;a position he will hold until this coming May 2015 after nearly a decade&mdash;Klaus Staeck is a man of many hats. Probably most known for his political poster art, Staeck got his start in the arts teaching himself graphic design, creating posters, postcards and flyers while pursuing his legal studies in the West German city of Heidelberg. Staeck founded his publishing house Edition Staeck in 1965 and over time the artist and patron came to work with other politically like-minded artists such as Joseph Beuys, Dieter Roth, Nam June Paik, G&uuml;nter Grass, Walter Jens, and Blinky Palermo among many others.</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/20150402103918-njp.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Nam June Paik, <em>TV News</em>, 1991. &copy;Nam June Paik Estate, California / Edition Staeck, Heidelberg 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;">His tongue-in-cheek political slogans reflect the publisher&rsquo;s strong conceptual affiliations:&nbsp;<em>Deutsche Arbeiter &ndash; die SPD will euch eure Villen im Tessin wegnehmen</em>&nbsp;("German workers: the SPD seeks to take away your villas in Tessin from you"), or&nbsp;<em>Die Reichen m&uuml;ssen noch reicher werden &ndash; deshalb CDU</em>&nbsp;("The rich must become richer yet, therefore vote CDU&rdquo;).&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/20150402104002-ksx2.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">(left) Klaus Staeck, <em>For wider streets vote conservative</em>, Lithograph, 84.1 x 59.4 cm<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">(right) Klaus Staeck,<em>Deutsche Arbeiter &ndash; die SPD will euch eure Villen im Tessin wegnehmen German workers: the SPD seeks to take away your villas in Tessin from you)</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">, Lithograph, 84.1 x 59.4 cm</span></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><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; text-align: left;">Posters with like sentiments line the walls of the Akademie der K&uuml;nste&rsquo;s halls floor to celling, piled on one another like workers charging the gates of a factory about to topple. Staeck was not just an activist in the German political sphere but also in the art world. He called for the democratization of art by way of collaborative production, had a tendency towards process versus object based production, placed emphasis on temporality and post-hierarchical environments and had a preference towards multi-disciplinary approaches.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150402104209-jb.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Joseph Beuys, <em>Demokratie ist lustig (Democracy is Merry)</em>, 1983. &copy;The Estate of Joseph Beuys / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 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;">At its core,&nbsp;<em>Kunst F&uuml;r Alle</em>&nbsp;evokes the common language of democracy. While the works compiled may not always belong to the same school, movement, or even decade, they march together towards a similar ideal: one that champions affordable prices, autonomy and&mdash;of course&mdash;humor. German artist Dieter Hacker&rsquo;s call to action &ldquo;Kill your gallerist. Colleagues! Found your own gallery!&rdquo; is splashed across his poster for 7th Producer&rsquo;s Gallery in Berlin in 1971, perfectly illustrating the desire to establish a new way of maneuvering in the art world&mdash;one that would exclude the mechanisms so prevalent in the regular running of the art business and, instead, promote a more grassroots, democratically run art association.</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/20150402104246-christo.png" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Christo, <em>Cologne Cathedral packed</em>, 1969. &copy;Christo, New York / Edition Staeck, Heidelberg 2015 Photo: Nick Ash</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 exhibition is steeped in nostalgia for idealism now seemingly lost, a sense of hopefulness hardened over. While Staeck and his collection are a loud proponent of satire as a condition of social freedom, a fundamental element in the concept of freedom of expression, <em>Kunst F&uuml;r Alle</em> begs the question of whether there is any trace of this 60s and 70s optimism left today. Do we feel as compelled to satire? Are the consequences of such stances more dire than they have been in the past? Has fear planted its grip firmly on our throats?</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;"><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: <em>Klaus Staeck und Joseph Beuys</em>, Rome 1972. &copy;Archive Staeck)</span></p> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 10:46:33 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list FIFTY24MX MANIFESTO: Mexico City's Murals for Action <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Mexico has been in the global political headlines in recent months, due to the negligence and corruption of government officials&mdash;forcing people to act on their own to raise their voices and generate awareness of the serious issues currently affecting the country. One of the most valuable responses I've observed in Mexico City towards this dire situation has been generated by the local art scene. Liliana Carpinteyro, director of <a href="http://www.fifty24mx.com/" target="_blank">FIFTY24MX gallery</a>, one of the key exponents of the street art scene in the capital, gave me a few insights into</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;their biggest social project to date:&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.fifty24mx.com/news/2015/manifesto/exhibition.html" target="_blank">MANIFESTO</a>.&nbsp;</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The project unites a group of international artists&mdash;including Jaz, Retna, Blu, and Swoon&mdash;inviting them to create murals and works (displayed in a gallery exhibition that runs through April 12) that respond directly to the current socio-political situation in Mexico.&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/20150401175027-bastardilla-ejecentral-web__1_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Bastardilla,&nbsp;FIFTY24MX 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;"><em><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Rodrigo Campuzano: Art in Mexico has a long-standing tradition of portraying subjects that people otherwise prefer to avoid confronting. Which element do you consider to be the most powerful when it comes to addressing a social or political subject through art?</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></strong></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Liliana Carpinteyro:</strong>&nbsp;Honesty. I think that art should not try to fit into any mold. Every expression is important as long as it is honest and doesn't attempt to please anyone. I like to think of art as a potential cure for personal or collective illnesses. Some treatments attack the symptoms, some try to find the hidden origin.</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/20150401175210-blu-web-1.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Blu, courtesy FIFTY24MX gallery</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;"><em><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">RC: Was it difficult to put together a project of this kind, whose aim is to forge a dialogue with sensitive subjects such as the murder of the 43 students in Mexico?</span></strong></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LC:</strong> To our surprise it was quite the opposite, it became a topic that permeated every conversation in our country because it involved everyone: our responsibility as a &ldquo;modern society&rdquo; to such a savage violation of human rights. It questioned our part in allowing these things to happen: How did we get to this? How can we change our course? And that's the same topic that the artists where excited to express.</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/20150401175348-ciler-web__1_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;&nbsp;Ciler, courtesy FIFTY24MX gallery</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;"><em><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">RC: Did you come across any kind of censorship or negative response on behalf of the government or media while undertaking this project?</span></strong></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LC:</strong> Neither the government nor the media censored the project. But we encountered self-censorship in some of the wall owners who were afraid of possible reprisals. Again, to our surprise, the government did not interfere but actually helped us with permits and resources. The media was very supportive too.</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/20150401175607-ericailcane-isabel-web-2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="font-size: x-small;">Ericailcane,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: x-small;">courtesy&nbsp;FIFTY24MX gallery</span></span></p> <p class="ListParagraph" 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 class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><em><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">RC: This is not the first time that FIFTY24MX put together an art project of social nature. What keeps you motivated to raise awareness on these subjects through art&mdash;and more specifically murals?</span></strong></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LC:</strong> Murals are &ldquo;in your face&rdquo; art: you can't avoid them, as long as you're passing by, walking or in a car, you will be exposed to them and you'll love them or hate them&mdash;but they will be part of the environment for some time. Their message is delivered and it can contact a massive audience in a direct way. Street murals don't treat you like you're an idiot, like a lot of the conceptual art in galleries or museums, they deliver a message and you don't need to know about the artist or the discourse behind it to be touched by them.</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/20150401175813-curiot-cholula-web.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Curiot, courtesy FIFTY24MX gallery&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 class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><em><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">RC: Apart from the outdoors side of the project you also put together an exhibition featuring works of the participating artists that are being sold to donate a part of the revenue to the families of the missing students. Has this premise helped you raise funds for this particular cause?</span></strong></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LC:</strong> There has been some support, we hope for a lot more...&nbsp;</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/101642/4cut/20150401175919-swoon-web.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;&nbsp;Swoon, courtesy FIFTY24MX gallery</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 class="ListParagraph" style="line-height: 26px;"><em><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">RC: What do you hope to achieve with the MANIFESTO&nbsp;project apart from creating awareness of the political issues that Mexico is facing and raising funds for a good cause?</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></strong></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LC:</strong> We hope to &ldquo;shake the tree&rdquo; a little bit in the art and social scene. The most important thing for us is to raise awareness of the issues that are haunting our society and open up a dialogue. As we have witnessed with the proposal of each artist, there are many ways to address these issues. We hope for each person who comes in contact with the project to become inspired to change their own surroundings and themselves to become inspiration for others. Like this, slowly, the world transforms.&nbsp;&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/385949-rodrigo-campuzano?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Rodrigo Campuzano</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&nbsp;Liliana Carpinteyro for her assistance in making this interview possible.</em><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><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: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Blu, courtesy FIFTY24MX gallery)</span></p> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 11:07:59 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list Newly Uncovered Secret Notes Reveal Thomas Kinkade Was Actually Genius Conceptual Artist <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A startling discovery has been made concerning one of contemporary art&rsquo;s most polarizing artists.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A new narrative has come to light concerning the Painter of Light&trade;, Thomas Kinkade, after the artist&rsquo;s private notes, previously hidden, have been made public for the first time. Kinkade&rsquo;s illegitimate status in the contemporary art world had always vexed him, but, apparently, he intended to have the last laugh after all. Judging from his recently uncovered notes, which will be put on public display in a major exhibition next year, he planned to reveal the nature of his lifelong conceptual art project in a grand fashion, plans that were ultimately cut short by his untimely death in 2012.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Suzzanne McAffrey, a Ph.D. student in art history at California State University, Fullerton, made the discovery last month while archiving Kinkade&rsquo;s personal journals, books, magazines, and other items from the artist&rsquo;s studio, which were part of a large bequest to the college on the part of the Kinkade Foundation in 2013. The Foundation had retained a close relationship with CSUF ever since the exhibition <em>Thomas Kinkade: Heaven on Earth</em> at the CSUF Grand Central Art Center, curated by artist Jeffrey Vallance in 2004.</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: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150401153615-sv-ask-a-librarian-520x360.jpg" alt="" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Suzzanne McAffrey at CSUF Library</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</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: medium;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While cataloguing Kinkade&rsquo;s library of books, McAffrey found several slips of paper inserted between the pages of his collection of Clive Cussler &ldquo;Dirk Pitt&rdquo; novels. These notes, apparently hidden by Kinkade&mdash;and perhaps squirreled away in case of posthumous discovery&mdash;indicate in no uncertain terms Kinkade&rsquo;s true motive for creating his multi-million dollar art empire: to &ldquo;sabotage the art world&rdquo; as &ldquo;the ultimate conceptual work, undermining all the art establishment holds dear.&rdquo;</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;">One of Kinkade&rsquo;s more coherent notes outlines his master plan:</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 60px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Phase 1: promote myself as the most successful artist in the culture<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Phase 2: build a highly successful corporation around myself<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Phase 3: create a viable alternative to a contemporary art world<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Phase 4: reveal the Trojan Horse! (just in time for my Whitney retro HAHAHA) [sic]</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;">Kinkade had made reference to phases one through three in a 2000 article published in <em>Christianity Today</em>, outlining his plan to &ldquo;restore dignity to the arts,&rdquo; but had never publicly made mention of phase four. This was probably due to the belief that he espoused in a long, tightly written tract discovered between the pages of the 1999 novel <em>Atlantis Found</em>, that &ldquo;you have to make sure they think you&rsquo;re earnest. [sic] Otherwise it won&rsquo;t work.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Notes scribbled by Kinkade profess his indebtedness to Warhol and admiration of Takashi Murakami, while triumphantly asserting that he was &ldquo;beating them at their own game&rdquo; and &ldquo;going for the ultimate long con.&rdquo; An essay-length note, folded between the hardback cover of Cussler&rsquo;s 1996 novel <em>Shock Wave</em>, went into great detail about Kinkade&rsquo;s project in relation to the work of Marcel Duchamp. The most revealing and detailed treatise, found in a copy of Cussler&rsquo;s first Dirk Pitt adventure, <em>The Mediterranean Caper</em>, summarizes the artist&rsquo;s plans in developing &ldquo;the mythology of the artist,&rdquo; including references to Kinkade&rsquo;s oft-repeated origin story, the catalyzing &ldquo;vision of Jesus&rdquo; he claimed to have experienced as an art student at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and his subsequent appeal to the evangelical Christian contingent.</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/20150401111651-clive_cussler_haul.jpg" alt="" width="500" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">The Clive Cussler collection from the Kinkade archive at CSUF</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;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">G. Eric Kuskey, author of the 2014 biography&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1602862443/hyperallergic-20" target="_blank"><em>Billion Dollar Painter: The Triumph and Tragedy of Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light</em> </a>expressed dismay about the timing of this new revelation. Though his biography touches upon Kinkade's art world aspirations&mdash;"Warhol is my hero," the artist is quoted as saying&mdash;it falls short of relaying the complete picture. "I never even thought to look in the Clive Cussler novels," Kuskey confessed.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Jeffrey Vallance, the contemporary artist and curator who worked with Kinkade on his first and&mdash;so far&mdash;only museum exhibition, expressed a great deal of shock at the news. &ldquo;Thom had thought out loud to me about wanting to be a &lsquo;performance artist&rsquo; but I never imagined the act was, well, a real &lsquo;act.&rsquo; I always said he was a kind of repressed trickster, but this is unbelievable,&rdquo; Vallance laughed. &ldquo;But maybe it does help explain the public urination,&rdquo; he said, referring to an incident in which the artist, intoxicated, relieved himself on a statue of Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland while reportedly muttering to himself, &ldquo;This one&rsquo;s for you, Walt.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Other members of the art establishment have expressed similar attitudes of bemusement at this turn of events. We reached out to art historian Anna Brzyski, who had written the concluding remark of the book <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Kinkade-Alexis-L-Boylan/dp/0822348527">Thomas Kinkade: the Artist in the Mall</a> </em>(edited by Alexis L. Boylan, 2011):</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If Kinkade winked, if he gave us an indication of ironic detachment, criticality (on however minimal a level), or even campy complicity, which would create a possibility that his practice functioned as representation and not the thing itself, and that he was, in fact, one of <em>us</em>, instead of one of <em>them</em>, he could be celebrated as one of the most significant artists working today.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Well I guess he&rsquo;s one of <em>us</em> after all!&rdquo; she exclaimed at the news, throwing her hands in the air with an exasperated, slightly perturbed sigh.</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/20150401110741-klauskinkade.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Via Klaus Biesenbach's Instagram @klausbiesenbach</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;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The shock wave continues to permeate the art world, and many art world figures have emerged from the woodwork, relieved to finally be able to publicly appreciate Kinkade&rsquo;s work without fear of retribution. Mega collector and hedge fund manager Steve Cohen tweeted images of Kinkade paintings <em>The Garden of Prayer</em> and <em>Abundant Harvest</em> with the message: &ldquo;Vindicated at last! so glad I went for it and bought Kinkade originals. #KinkadeOutoftheCloset.&rdquo; MoMA curator Klaus Biesenbach preemptively Instagrammed, &ldquo;We already had a MoMA exhibition underway when this news came out. #Kinkade #redemption&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Many art world stalwarts, however, still refuse to accept Kinkade within their ranks. &ldquo;No matter the intention, it is still kitsch,&rdquo; frowned MOCA director Philippe Vergne, &ldquo;But despite my personal distaste for his work, his achievement in art history is undoubtedly quite significant.&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;Avril Tromper</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 03:42:59 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list Kicking Against the Pricks <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 60px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.'&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &mdash;Acts 26:14 (King James Version)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 60px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"We have art in order not to die from the truth." &nbsp;<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &mdash;Nietzsche</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The paintings of Peter Williams have, for a long time, addressed the nature of the body, specifically addressing how one might inhabit such a fragile space in such an arbitrary world. Naturalistic figures inhabited landscapes populated with cartoon imagery, combinations rendered plausible through Williams&rsquo;s skilled, and constantly striving, paint handling. With this background in mind, his latest paintings, all untitled, and all from 2015, come as something of a jolt&mdash;or, to paraphrase Bruce Nauman, a baseball bat to the back of the head. Here we find Williams stepping out of the atelier and onto the street, so to speak, with works that speak to political and social issues that he seeks to address.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans, 'Trebuchet MS', Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150331143458-_PETER_WILLIAMS_NOVELLA_3.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;">Peter Williams,&nbsp;</span><em style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Untitled</em><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">, 2015, Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Novella Gallery</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; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">To say that Williams has focused on the figure in the past is not to say that this current work is divergent from that course&mdash;there was a time when we spoke of &ldquo;the body politic,&rdquo; when our social structure was comprised of bodies, and when we looked at it as a living organism. Similarly, when speaking of painters, we talk of their bodies of work. When encountering these new works of Williams we see painting stripped bare. Gone is the lushness found in his early masterpiece <em><a href="http://www.dia.org/object-info/fb5059a3-5ef3-4f3a-99fd-b747c2a33c4d.aspx?position=1" target="_blank">PORTRAIT OF CHRISTOPHER D. FISHER, FOURTH REICH SKINHEAD</a></em> (1996), itself a &ldquo;political&rdquo; work of sorts, depicting Fisher, a 20-year-old Long Beach skinhead in blackface; Fisher was involved in a 1994 plot to blow up churches and synagogues in Orange County in an attempt to ignite a race war.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In Williams&rsquo; new works we see the triumphs and tragedies of a cypher figure, a superhero called The N-Word, against a porcine police force, piggy cops with Cyclops eyes&mdash;they lack the ability to see things in perspective&mdash;who brutalize The N-Word, but he manages to rise time and again from picture to picture. As paintings, these works occupy a space somewhere between history painting and protest placard, at roughly 24 x 36 inches, in primary colors. In one painting Williams references Eric Garner, who lies prone, being choked out by a cop as The N-Word flies in to either rescue or merely bear witness with the camera in his hands. A text running around the sides of the image reads, &ldquo;it&rsquo;s ok if they die &ndash; they&rsquo;r&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">[sic]&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">animals.&rdquo; Williams clarifies this reading of the work: &ldquo;I slowly have come to realize that some of the police in this country think they have permission to kill minorities. They already incarcerate millions and they are, simply put, exterminating the rest. It&rsquo;s shocking that this continues even though there is documentation and videos of these acts of violence. So I feel free to expose this ignorance and make art that bears witness to these events.&rdquo; Williams emphasizes the narrative of the artist (in the form of his alter-ego/protagonist, The N-Word) as participant, not mere victim or spectator in one painting in which the Harlequin vampire figure, the cop (who now has two eyes), and the N-Word embrace. &ldquo;I cannot be separate,&rdquo; Williams explains, &ldquo;we are all culpable.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150331144246-_PETER_WILLIAMS_NOVELLA_10.JPG" alt="" width="500" /><br /></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/20150331144322-Screen_Shot_2015-03-31_at_4.39.25_PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Peter Williams, (both) <em>Untitled</em>, 2015, Oil on canvas, (above) 16 x 16 inches (below) 30 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Novella 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; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Williams may have seemingly left his usual attention to <em>facture</em> at the studio door with these works, but to see these paintings less as Painting and more as Propaganda would be an egregious case of boat-missing. Indeed, there is a sense of passion and immediacy to them that at first look dominates. It is this immediacy, though, that is their strength, and it doesn&rsquo;t come at the expense of the painter&rsquo;s interest in painterly painting. In an era of television&rsquo;s &ldquo;live footage&rdquo; and &ldquo;breaking news&rdquo; and endless iPhone shots, it is probably more valuable than ever for a painter to document his moment using the medium of his trade. One might be tempted to compare these works with Jacques-Louis David&rsquo;s pen and ink sketch Marie-Antoinette on Her Way to the Scaffold (1793), that tiny last document of the Queen and the Terror&mdash;&ldquo;that sinister jotting,&rdquo; as Jean Louis Soulavie called it. Like David, Williams has tried to turn art to more noble ends through minimalist means; judging from these works, he succeeds. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Williams has grown, both as a painter and as an activist, and seems to have taken to heart Gil Scott-Heron&rsquo;s edict: &ldquo;You will not be able to stay home, brother / You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out / You will not be able to lose yourself on skag / And skip out for beer during commercials.&rdquo; You will also not be able to stay home, Williams seems to add, or in the studio, crafting careful compositions. You must be in the public eye, the eye of the body politic, bearing witness. Because the revolution will not only be televised; it, by needs, must also be painted.</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;">&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; 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: Peter Williams,&nbsp;<em>Untitled</em>, 2015, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Novella Gallery)</span></p> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 08:51:11 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list Melting Machismo: Nadia Kaabi-Linke's <em>Fahrenheit 311</em> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Medically speaking, at precisely 311 degrees Fahrenheit, testosterone, the male sex hormone, begins to melt. With her second solo show at </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.lawrieshabibi.com" target="_blank">Lawrie Shabibi</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> in Dubai, </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Fahrenheit 311: Seven Legends of Machismo,&nbsp;</em><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.nadiakaabilinke.com" target="_blank">Nadia Kaabi-Linke</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> presents eight place-centred works that each conduct an autopsy on masculine qualities and myths&mdash;from war and glory to violence and heroism. The seven deadly sins run in parallel. In case you need a </span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">re-cap of&nbsp;<em>Dante&rsquo;s Inferno</em>, these are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.</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/20150330105344-Nadia_Kaabi-Linke._FAHRENHEIT_311_Installation_view._From_left_-_right._Hardballs__Bangballs__Grindballs__A_Short_Story_of_Salt_and_Sun___Perspecive_Bank_Junction._Courtesy_Lawrie_Shabibi.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Nadia Kaabi-Linke,&nbsp;<em>FAHRENHEIT 311</em> Installation view. From left - right. <em>Hardballs, Bangballs, Grindballs, A Short Story of Salt</em> and <em>Sun &amp; Perspecive Bank Junction</em>. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi&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;">Kaabi-Linke has a practiced knack for making the ugly shamefully beautiful, and this has never been more evident then with <em>Impunities London Originals</em>&mdash;a series of pretty smudges and creases on paper quietly installed along the gallery&rsquo;s rear wall. As there is no accompanying wall text, it&rsquo;s possible to casually view these without understanding that they are actually prints documenting the male-inflicted injuries that sent women to a domestic abuse shelter. With knowledge comes the guilty shock at what one is actually admiring.</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/20150330082842-Nadia_Kaabi-Linke._Impunities_London_Originals._2012._Black_powder_on_transparent_film_on_paper._19_x_25_cm._Courtesy_Lawrie_Shabibi_and_the_artist..jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Nadia Kaabi-Linke. <em>Impunities London Originals,</em> 2012, Black powder on transparent film on paper. 19 x 25 cm. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist&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;">In <em>Tunisian Americans</em>, 400 tiny glass bottles intended to contain <em>kohl</em> (the ground mineral stibnite traditionally used to outline women&rsquo;s eyes in the Middle East), have been clinically numbered and filled with soil from the graves of fallen American soldiers buried in a U.S. military graveyard in Kaabi-Linke&rsquo;s native Tunisia. The soldiers&rsquo; dog tag numbers correspond to the identifications on their actual graves, which have each been compartmentalized here in an antique typesetting tray. Beyond the number, each life, battle, and loss are ultimately equal and indistinguishable.</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/20150330083511-Nadia_Kaabi-Linke._Tunisian_Americans._Detail._2012._Wood__cork_and_soil_in_four_panels._137_x_157_cm._Courtesy_Lawrie_Shabibi_and_the_artist..jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Nadia Kaabi-Linke. <em>Tunisian Americans</em>&nbsp;(detail), 2012, Wood, cork and soil in four panels, 137 x 157 cm. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist&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&rsquo;s impossible to visit the show without being drawn like a believer on a pilgrimage towards <em>Altarpiece</em>, a gold leaf triptych that references a church&rsquo;s iconography. The surface of the work is in the form of three imprints that have been taken from a Berlin bunker that still bears the battle scars of World War II, has survived various incarnations, and presently houses the <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ber/articles/show/40400" target="_blank">Boros Collection</a>. The doors to the icon can be closed with a creak and seem to question whether history and man&rsquo;s errors can ever be fully concealed.</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/20150330084945-Nadia_Kaabi-Linke._Altarpiece.2015._Transfer_print_and_acrylic_on_paper_on_canvas__wood_and_24_k_gold_leaf._250_x_450.4_x_6.3_cm._Courtesy_Lawrie_Shabibi_and_the_artist..jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Nadia Kaabi-Linke,&nbsp;<em>Altarpiece,&nbsp;</em>2015,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Transfer print and acrylic on paper on canvas, wood and 24 k gold leaf. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&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&rsquo;s not entirely clear exactly who Kaabi-Linke considers to be in power. In a show that focuses so wholly on male behavior and vice, it is thinkable to charge her with presenting a counter-myth of females as passive, sexual objects manipulated by male aggressors and structures. On the other hand, as <em>Grindballs, Hardballs, and Bangballs</em>&nbsp;bluntly suggests, it is also possible to view the show as the artist&rsquo;s commentary on the ways society&rsquo;s boxes and expectations crush and dominate male potency.</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</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><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: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Nadia Kaabi-Linke,&nbsp;<em>Altarpiece,&nbsp;</em>2015. Transfer prints on paper on canvas, wood and gold. 250 x 450 cm. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist)</span></p> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:11:41 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/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/chi/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/chi/Articles/list