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Archive for December, 2008

Go See: Artist’s Choice: Vik Muniz’s ‘Rebus’ at the Museum of Modern Art, New York Through February 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

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Untitled (mattress) (1991) by Rachel Whiteread, via The Museum of Modern Art

Brazilian Photographer Vik Muniz has curated an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art featuring approximately 80 works from the museum’s collection, including those by Eugène Atget, John Baldessari, Marcel Duchamp, Nan Goldin, Gordon Matta-Clark, Pablo Picasso, Dieter Rams, and Rachel Whiteread. The exhibit is part of Artist’s Choice, a series of exhibitions where an artist becomes a curator using selected works from the Museum of Modern Art’s Collection.

Muniz often questions the traditions and symbolism of visual representation by contrasting unlikely materials to depict subjects in his photographs. In this exhibition he has similarly brought works together out of their normal museological classification, thus allowing the viewer to create their own visual interpretation of artworks based on various linkages and connections. For the show’s theme, he employs a rebus, a puzzle that uses carefully connected images and symbols to create a phrase or a sentence. Instead of forming a sentence, he organizes the artworks by linking them through similarities in material, subject matter, technique, and form.

Artist’s Choice: Rebus, Vik Muniz
Museum of Modern Art
New York, New York
through February 23, 2009
Exhibition Page: Artist’s Choice: Rebus, Vik Muniz
Press: ‘Art’s Choice + Muniz = Rebus’- Connecting the Dots at the Museum of Modern Art New York [New York Times]
Vik Muniz on Guest-Curating his MoMA Show, ‘Rebus’ [New York Mag]
Vik Muniz Creates Rebus, an Inventive Narrative of Works from MoMA’s Collection [ArtDaily]

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Go See: ‘Sonne, Mond und Sterne,’ by Fischli and Weiss, at Spruth Magers Gallery, Berlin, through January 21st, 2009

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

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Installation view, Sonne, Mond und Sterne (2008) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss, via Wallpaper

Named after a nursery rhyme in German, Sonne, Mond und Sterne (Sun, Moon and Stars) is the most recent installation by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, currently on display at Spruth Magers Gallery in Berlin. Fischli and Weiss, known for installations that are equal parts academic and playful, have been working together for almost 30 years and are arguably the foremost Swiss contemporary artists.  Sonne, Mond und Sterne is the result of media conglomerate Ringier AG commissioning a work of art for their annual report, and is devised from 800 pages of advertisements torn from magazines, arranged to depict a ‘visual encyclopedia of late capitalism,’ a ‘psychogram of a certain moment of society,’ according to Peter Fischli.

The 800 pages originally appeared in Ringier’s annual report in book form, giving them a certain linearity which is not present when the advertisements are presented in installation form: its aesthetic and sociological insight is not overtly normative, and begs interpretation without necessarily explicitly imposing a narrative.

Fischli and Weiss’s oeuvre revolves around examining and revisiting things that would not give most people pause, things that are taken for granted in our daily existence, elevating them to something more beautiful by transforming the way in which they are portrayed, viewed and analyzed. They live and work in Zurich, Switzerland, and have represented their country at the Venice Biennale. Their installations, sculptures and films belong to the most esteemed collections, including the Tate Modern in London and New York’s Guggenheim Museum.

SONNE, MOND UND STERNE
Spruth Mager Gallery
Berlin, Germany
through January 31st, 2009
Exhibition Page: Sonne, Mond und Sterne at Spruth Magers
Press Release: Sonne, Mond und Sterne
Fischli/Weiss exhibition, Berlin [Wallpaper]
Other: Fischli and Weiss at Matthew Marks Gallery
A film by Fischli and Weiss: The Way of Things [MedienKunstNetz]

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Newslinks for Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

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Zhan Wang – Ornamental Rock No. 71, on view at Saatchi Gallery, London – The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art via Saatchi Gallery

When the new Saatchi Gallery’s inaugural show closes it will have drawn over half a million visitors [GuardianUK]
How artists are replacing some aspects of the role of dealers
[TheArtNewspaper]
Christie’s lowers estimates  by more than 10% also stating “It’s not our intention to offer any guarantees until we have a better idea of where the markets are”
[ArtInfo]
MOCA agrees to Eli Broad’s $15 million match contribution [LATimes]

joan-miro-rich-harvest
‘the Farm’ by Joan Miró (1893-1983) via the Wall Street Journal

A detailed look into Joan Miró’s ‘the Farm” [WallStreetJournal]
Boston Lawyer hiding stolen art including a $26 million Cezanne sentenced to 7 years [ArtDaily]
Top ten outstanding moments in the art market for 2008 [TelegraphUK]

Go See: Cy Twombly retrospective, Guggenheim Bilbao, through February 15, 2009

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

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Untitled (Peonias series) by Cy Twombly, on display at the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain

100 of Cy Twombly’s works, including paintings, drawings and sculptures are on display at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, marking the most comprehensive show the artist has had in thus far in Spain and highlighting the tremendous influence Cy Twombly has had on postwar art. Curated by Carmen Gimenez, Guggenheim Bilbao’s curator of 20th Century art, the exhibition is a joint effort between that museum and the Tate Modern, and is arranged in roughly chronological order, featuring some well known Twombly pieces.

Nine Discourses on Commodus (1963), a recent acquisition belonging to the Guggenheim Bilbao’s permanent collection, is a nine piece polyptych that is also a central piece in the exhibition. Meant to be viewed together, the panels are a meditation on Commodus, a Roman Emperor and son of Marcus Aurelius, reflecting Twombly’s career-long interest in antiquity and mythology. Ferragosto (1961), a five piece set which was actually the first series of paintings conceived as such by Twombly. The series, which unlike Commodus can be viewed as separate pieces unto themselves, was previously spread across the collections of several museums and private collections; the display at the Guggenheim is thus a unique opportunity to see them all at once. Quattro Stagioni (1993-5), a series currently housed at the Tate Modern in London which revolves around seasonal themes, symbols and colors, is another important series on display.

Many of the works are on loan from renowned arts institutions, including the Tate Modern in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris as well as from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Menil Collection of Houston and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among others. The exhibit occupies the entire second floor, and a gallery on the first floor of the landmark museum designed by Frank Gehry, a setting which is a work of art itself and can be seen to interact with the works in the exhibit.

CY TWOMBLY
Guggenheim Museum
Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain
through February 15, 2009

Artist Page: Cy Twombly at the Gagosian Gallery
Exhibit page: Cy Twombly at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao Celebrates Cy Twombly’s 80th Birthday with Exhibition [ArtDaily]
Previously on ArtObserved: GO SEE: CY TWOMBLY AT TATE MODERN, UK, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 14

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Demand for Damien Hirst’s artwork may be weak and could be seen to worsen further in 2009

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

LOT 17 - DAMIEN HIRST - Beautiful Artemis Thor Neptune Odin Delusional Sapphic Inspirational Hypnosis Painting, 2007 - UNSOLD - ESTIMATE $3,000,000-4,000,000
DAMIEN HIRST – Beautiful Artemis Thor Neptune Odin Delusional Sapphic Inspirational Hypnosis Painting, 2007 – LOT 17 at Phillips de Pury Nov. 13th auction – UNSOLD – ESTIMATE $3,000,000-4,000,00

Demand for Damien Hirst’s artwork is reportedly drying up a bit after the artist sold almost $200 million worth of art on September 15th (as covered by ArtObserved here,) the same day that Lehman Brothers collapsed and the Dow posted its then-largest single day decline. Christopher van de Weghe, a New York art dealer, recently sold only 2 of 8 lots at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach–with those two lots selling for several thousand dollars, much less than the recent low estimates  of their respective price ranges at auctions.  Even sales of certain Hirst art works with larger more recognizable runs, such as the medicine cabinets and spin paintings, are very slow–so slow in fact that Hirst’s production company, Science Ltd, is laying off up to 20 people (as covered by ArtObserved here.)

Additionally, several art markets experts expect prices for Hirst’s work to remain depressed through most of 2009 due to the significant output of supply that has come online in the last few years. “We will see less of him at auction or we’ll see as many works but with lower estimates,” said Anders Petterson, chief of ArtTactic market research firm, via Bloomberg. Petterson added, on the topic of a survey his firm conducted with 150 art industry respondents regarding Hirst’s works: “the feeling is that the Hirst market has been stretched a bit too far, almost as if it snapped and backfired.” This sentiment is echoed by other dealers and analysts in the same article. “There’s little or no activity at $1 million or higher,” said Chelsea dealer Perry Rubenstein, who has sold various Hirst artworks in the past. “The price level for his market is completely unclear right now,” said David Zwirner, the owner of one of the two largest galleries in Chelsea. However, both of these points could be applied to the broader art market, as there is very little visibility as to when and how the market could eventually recover.

damien-hirst-artist
Damien Hirst. Image via Portfolio.

The consensus now seems to be that “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever,” Hirst’s $200 million show earlier this year, which to some has come to signify much of the effervescence of the better part of the past decade, was most likely the peak of the market not just for Hirst but perhaps for the art market in general.   The success of that sale was notable and controversial not only in its extraordinary payout to the artist but also because the artist took his product directly to market using Sotheby’s, thus circumventing the dealers (primarily Larry Gagosian in New York and Jay Jopling in London).  Much of the success of that show has been attributed to the fact that Sotheby’s linked the work up with new pools of buyers hitherto untapped by Hirst’s dealer network, even taking the artworks on a roadshow to such places as India and the Hamptons vacation market in New York (covered by ArtObserved here).

Despite the historical success of the Sotheby’s sale, the type of art production and sales system that Hirst embodies could be particularly vulnerable in a down market.  Hirst’s work is systematic, ubiquitous, highly marketed through crossovers into fashion and music and backed by a highly extroverted large sized personality.  His works stand in contrast to, for instance, a less frequently produced Peter Doig painting, or for a more recently in the news example, a John Currin work, which, due to its rarity as a singularly produced oil painting, actually outperformed estimates in the recently depressed November New York auctions (his Nice ‘n Easy, 1999, oil on canvas work sold for $5,458,500, above it’s estimate of $3,500,000 to $4,500,000, as covered by Art Observed here.)    Hirst’s artwork can seem to be a sort of luxury product, a metal and formaldehyde accessory.  A Hirst work is in many ways a sort of status symbol that is more easily accepted by non-insider art buyers than another valuable but more esoteric work.  Many of Hirst’s works are  immediately striking or controversial, such as diamond encrusted skulls and massive, bisected animals in glass cases and they are thus very readily absorbed by all facets of media and correspondingly, by popular culture.   Many of the works are produced in large consistent series that are not only recognizable but marketed in such a way that new buyers might acquire them comfortably due to their mass cultural acceptance.

However, as the world economy has slowed the deep pools of potential buyers has dried up, leaving the buying activity largely in the hands of serious, experienced, sophisticated buyers who act with precision to acquire significant, quality works not recently nor perpetually produced by an art factory system.   The same mechanism that propelled Hirst to Icarian heights may thus cut him off at the knees.  In a burgeoning economy, relentless art production and marketing can grow an artist’s prominence, yet in a retreating market the high elasticity of art prices reacts quickly and negatively to the disproportionate supply.  Nevertheless, Hirst is a phenomenon not only in the works he produces but certainly in the way in which he operates within the art market, constantly pushing at the edges of the system.  He should in all likelihood continue to be unpredictable, dynamic and innovative in the upcoming years and should as such not be written off.

hirst-love-of-god
For the Love of God (2007) by Damien Hirst, via Wikimedia

Hirst Sale, Lehman Bust Mark End of Frothy Era: Martin Gayford [Bloomberg]
Damien Hirst, of $100 Million Diamond Skull, Sees Prices Slump [Bloomberg]
Has Hirst’s Bubble Burst? [Portfolio]
Hirst Market in Decline, Say Researchers [ArtInfo]
The Retreat [ArtMarket Monitor]
Damien Hirst’s primary-market Sotheby’s auction sets records alongside historic financial market collapse [ArtObserved]

Museum Of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles to potentially accept bailout offer from billionaire Eli Broad

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

museum-of-contemporary-art
Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, via NY Times

The Museum of Contemporary Art has been beset by financial troubles that threaten its sustainability. The museum went through all $20 million of its unrestricted funds several years ago, and its endowment, which stood at around $40 million at the beginning of the decade, is now at $6 million, a number which compromises the covenants upon which it was established. Its financial cushion has been further eroded by the financial crisis and a decrease in donations. MOCA, founded in 1979, is considered to be one of the world’s premier contemporary art museums, and is now on the brink of insolvency.

Los Angeles Museum Agrees to Accept Rescue Deal [NY Times]
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa makes a plea to MOCA [LA Times]
Director Strick said to be latest casualty at MOCA [LA Times]
Los Angeles Museum Proposes to Save Another [NY Times]
Thinking About MOCA [Time, Looking Around]
Making sense of a total mess (or not) [Modern Art Notes via C-Monster]

more story and images after the jump…

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Go See: Raymond Pettibon ‘Cutting Room Floor Show: Part II’ at Regen Projects, Los Angeles Through January 24th, 2009

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

raymond-pettibon-cutting-room-floor-show-ii
Installation view of Raymond Pettibon’s ‘Cutting Room Floor Show: Part II’ via SuperTouch

Raymond Pettibon is well known for his stark black-and-white ink drawings, with rough comic-like images and often ambiguous captions. But Pettibon’s current show at Regen Projects II in Los Angeles is awash with color and full of layers in a reinvention of the artist’s familiar vocabulary of politics, pop culture, nature, and sexuality. This exhibition of new works complements the gallery’s retrospective of Pettibon’s work from the 70s and 80s earlier this fall. The artist’s latest oeuvre stands in stark contrast with those simpler, sparer works. The notoriously prolific artist has plastered the walls with dozens of pieces, as well as painting onto the wall to incorporate the paintings and collages on paper into a larger installation.

Raymond Pettibon – Cutting Room Floor Show: Part II [Regen Projects]
Raymond Pettibon’s ‘Cutting Room Floor Show: Part II’ at Regen Projects [SuperTouch]
Raymond Pettibon at Regen Projects (Part II) [Art21]

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Newslinks for Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

museo-universitario-de-arte-contemporaneo
The Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City via panoramio.com

Mexico City opens a new 3,300 sq. m, $20 million contemporary art museum [TheArtNewspaper]
Sculptor Richard Serra awarded the Order of Arts and Letters of Spain
[ArtDaily]
A Sotheby’s video offers refreshing transparency into its process in the current environment [Sotheby's]
In more video, Takashi Murakami on money and art, New York vs. Tokyo and more [TMagazine - The Moment]
And finally, video of Damien Hirst on his Statuephilia installation in London
[Aarting]

skateboard-wheels-tom-sachs

Tom Sachs opens his online store [tomsachs.org via supertouch]
Gallerist/web presence Edward Winkleman announces his book ‘How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery’ [edwardwinkleman]
The Louvre finds 3 possible Leonardo Da Vinci drawings on the back of his painting [Bloomberg]

melissa-bent-with-artist-hope-atherton-right-artist-georgia-sagri-rivington-arms
Gallerist Mellissa Bent, artist Hope Atherton and artist Georgia Sagri make the scene at Rivington Arms via ArtForum

On the closing of Lower East Side Gallery Rivington Arms [ArtForum] more on this here [NYObserver]
Similarly, the International Asian Art Fair is canceled
[ArtInfo] Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin Miami, opened in 2005, will also close [ArtLurker]

moscow-on-the-move
The installation entitled ‘Moscow on the Move’ via the Guardian

Dasha Zhukova and the Moscow Garage organize a 17-artist public video installation which includes work by Doug Aitken, Fischli and Weiss and Pippilotti Rist [GuardianUK]

After 20 years and $225 million in art recovered, top FBI art crimes agent Robert Wittman to retire

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

rembrandt-self-portrait-1630
Self Portrait (1630) by Rembrandt van Rijn; stolen in 2000, recovered in 2005 by a team led by Robert Wittman. Image via Codart

Via the BBC“It’s about saving the cultural property of mankind … Every country has a different cultural heritage and saving these things brings us closer together as human beings. When it comes to art, it’s visceral. It affects us in a deep, emotional way.” – Robert Wittman

20 years after leading his first major art recovery operation,  the FBI’s top agent in art theft investigations and recoveries is set to retire. By often posing as a crooked art dealer working on behalf of wealthy organized criminals, Special Agent Robert Wittman has played a key role in recovering $225 million in stolen art over his career, often going undercover to retrieve very high profile works of art.

His first assignment, in 1988, involved recovering the second largest crystal ball in the world, once owned by the Empress Dowager Cixi of China. The ball was stolen from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in the middle of the night. Within two years, Wittman recovered the crystal ball, as well as “Man with a Broken Nose,” a Rodin from the 1860s that was also stolen that year, impressing the FBI enough to install him as head of art crimes investigations.  Since then, 9 out of 10 cases he has participated in have involved some sort of undercover operation, which draw on what sources describe as Wittman’s considerable charm and his ability to blend into any crowd due to his average build and ‘average Joe’ features.

FBI: Top Ten Art Crimes
FBI: Art Theft Program
The invisible man rescuing art [BBC]
FBI’s Top Investigator Involving Art Theft and Art Fraud, Robert Wittman, Retires [ArtDaily]
Missing A Masterpiece? Call FBI’s Art Crime Team [NPR]
The Heist Meister [Art Market Monitor]
Stolen Rembrandt work recovered [BBC]

more story and images after the jump…

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Go See: Piplotti Rist ‘Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters)’ at the Museum Of Mordern Art New York, through February 2, 2009

Friday, December 19th, 2008

pipilotti-rist-pour-your-body-out
Installation view of Pipilotti Rist’s ‘Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters)’ via Artnet

The Museum of Modern Art in New York commissioned Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist to create a site-specific installation in the museum’s second-floor Marron Atrium. Rist filled the 7345 cubic meter atrium with  seven twenty-five-foot-high video projections with a large circular eye-shaped sofa in the center of the floor available for reposing visitors.  Rist is well-known for her video works that deal with issues of the body, gender, and sexuality.  Many of the images of ‘Pour Your Body Out (7354)’ present a lush amalgamation of femininity: gigantic pink tulips, glistening apples, a pool of menstrual blood seeping from a woman’s crotch.

Pipilotti Rist: Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters) [MoMA]
Pipilotti Rist Turns MoMA Into a Gigantic Vagina Eye [NY Magazine]
Tiptoe by the Tulips (or Stretch by the Apples) [NY Times]
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Go See: ‘Indian Highway’ at the Serpentine Gallery, London Through February 22, 2009

Friday, December 19th, 2008

india_31cl2882_Subodh Gupta, Untitled (detail), 2007-2008 via Serpentine Gallery

The new survey exhibition “Indian Highway” at London’s Serpentine Gallery reveals an inspiring and passionate array of Indian contemporary artists. The show highlights work done by fifteen artists from all over the country working in a variety of media from painting and photography to installation and performance.  Such a rich range of artwork captures the theme of the exhibition reflecting on India’s rapid economic development and the challenges of balancing the traditional, rural, and the religious with a new industrial society.

Indian Highway
Serpentine Gallery, London
Through February 22, 2009
Exhibition Page: Indian Highway

Press: An Eye-popping passage to India [The Guardian]
Serpentine Gallery Presents Major Exhibition: Indian Highway
[Artdaily]

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National Portrait Gallery in London announces future Gerhard Richter portrait exhibition

Friday, December 19th, 2008

gerhard-richter-confrontation-1
Confrontation 1
(1988) by Gerhard Richter, via Tate

Gerhard Richter, 76, one of the most prominent living painters, will have his work shown at the National Portrait Gallery in London, marking the first time the artist has had a single show covering his entire oeuvre.  Gerhard Richter Portraits will feature 35 works by the painter, known for producing photo-realistic paintings, traced from slides, photographic prints, magazine cut outs, and other sources.  Richter has recently had exhibitions at London’s Serpentine (as covered by AO here) and a retrospective in Edinburgh (as covered by AO here.) Richter is also especially known for his portraits, a famous example being his portrayal of the Kennedy assassination and of Jacqueline Kennedy following her husband’s death.  Richter’s work stands in stark contrast to that of Andy Warhol, his contemporary, who often glamorized his portrait subjects–Richter’s work focused on moments of quiet reflection, and his subjects have at times been the recent victim of some sort of tragedy, as with the Kennedys.

Curated by Paul Moorhouse, the exhibit covers the period from the 1960s to the present, and includes a work that has not been previously exhibited. Additionally, a special installation of Richter’s acclaimed 48 Portraits, a series of portraits of important historical figures which increased the artist’s fame after it was displayed at the 1972 Venice Biennale.

Artist page: Gerhard Richter
Exhibit page: Gerhard Richter Portraits at National Portrait Gallery
Gallery hosts first Richter portrait show [Guardian]
National Portrait Gallery in London Announces Gerhard Richter Portrait Exhibition [ArtDaily]
Richter Paintings of Kennedy’s Killing to Be Reunited in London [Bloomberg]

Go See: Alberto Giacometti Retrospective, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands, through February 8th, 2009

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

giacometti-bust-of-diego-1955
Bust of Diego (1955) by Alberto Giacometti, via the Tate Museum

Alberto Giacometti left an indelible mark on 20th century sculpture, influencing two generations of artists since his death in 1966.  The Swiss sculptor and painter is so influential, in fact, that his likeness appears next to ‘Three Men Walking,’ one of his most famous works, on the Swiss 100 Franc bill.  Giacometti’s work is the focus of an extensive, large-scale retrospective at Kunstal Rotterdam, marking the first time the artist’s work is displayed in the Netherlands in over 20 years.  The exhibition, organized exclusively for the Kunsthal by the artist’s estate, covers his entire oeuvre of paintings, drawings, and sculptures, and is the latest installment in a series of retrospectives of major 20th century sculptors such as Hnery Moore, Isamu Noguchi, and Jean Tinguely.

Giacometti, whose father was also a painter, studied art in Paris with Antoine Bourdelle, where he also later was inspired by his discovery of Cubism as well as art from Africa and the Pacific Islands, whose forms and aesthetic were a crucial influence for many of his contemporaries.  Later, Giacometti became an influential sculptor in the Surrealist movement, before melding his classical training and more modern experimentation to create groundbreaking representations of the human body and its fragility, the subject he has become best known for and which he continued to explore for the rest of his life and career.

ALBERTO GIACOMETTI RETROSPECTIVE
through February 8th, 2009
Kunsthal Rotterdam
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Exhibition Page: Alberto Giacometti

more story and images after the jump…

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Go See: Jake and Dinos Chapman ‘Memento Moronika’ at Kesterngessellschaft, Hanover, Germany, through January 3rd, 2009

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Flogging a Dead Horse: The Life and Works of Jake and Dinos Chapman Insult to Injury Jake & Dinos Chapman: Bedtime Tales for Sleepless Nights
Click Here For Jake And Dinos Chapman Books
Jake and Dinos Chapman - Hell Sixty-Five Million Years BC

Jake and Dinos Chapman – Hell Sixty-Five Million Years BC via Artdaily.

Now at Hanover’s Kestnergesellschaft is an exhibition of the British brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman, two of the most prominent Young British Artists brought to fame by collector Charles Saatchi.  The Chapmans’ often provocative art engages with the themes of humanity’s darker side of violence, war, and immorality.  “Memento Moronika” is a collection of several different groups of works, some of which are rather comical and seemingly naïve.  The sculptures “Hell Sixty-Five Million Years BC” (2004-2005) or “Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Good” (2007), dinosaurs composed of toilet paper rolls, cardboard, and poster paint, conjure up a child’s vision of prehistoric warfare, fall square within the thematics of the artists’ overall oeuvre. The title “Hell Sixty-Five Million Years BC” refers to the Chapman’s earlier work, “Hell,” an installation featuring thousands of miniature Nazi soldiers carrying various atrocities, (“Hell” was, fittingly, destroyed in a fire in 2004). Though the newer work treats the topic more lightly, the Chapmans’ nonetheless are still dealing with issues of humanity’s monstrous capacities.

Jake and Dinos Chapman Press Release [Kestner gesellschaft]
Jake and Dinos Chapman – Memento Moronika [Artdaily]

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Go See: Marlene Dumas at the Museum of Modern Art New York, through February 16, 2009

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Moshekwa, 2006 via The New York Times

Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave captures three decades of the South African artist’s expressionistic paintings and drawings at her first ever retrospective in the United States at the Museum of Modern Art. Featuring around 70 paintings and 35 drawings, the artist merges painterly aesthetics with political and social themes telling of the complexities of human existence. With often jarringly morbid colors, stained brush stroked canvases, Marlene Dumas depicts lurid yet melancholic scenes of pregnant women, murdered children, and victims of suicide and executions often with personal references.

Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave
The Museum of Modern Art
December 14, 2008- February 16, 2003

Museum Website: The Museum of Modern Art
Exhibition Page: Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own GraveThe Body Politic: Gorgeous and Grotesque [New York Times]
Unpretty Pictures
[New Yorker]
Opening: Marlene Dumas Measuring Your Grave
[The Art Newspaper]
Mid-career Survey of Painter Marlene Dumas is the first to be Presented in the United States
[Artdaily]

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Newslinks for Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

caravaggio-judas-kiss-taking-of-christ
Caravaggio’s ‘Kiss of Judas’  or the ‘Taking of Christ’ via ArtDaily

Caravaggio’s ‘Kiss of Judas’ aka ‘Taking of Christ’, stolen from Odessa, is recovered; theft previously reported by AO in July here [ArtDaily]
The Moment interviews the Vogels, a New York couple who built a formidable contemporary art collection on a postman’s and librarian’s salary
[NYTimes the Moment]
The New Yorker’s 10 best art exhibits of 2008 [NewYorker]

julian-schnabel
Reactive moments from Julian Schnabel on 60 Minutes
[CBS]

damein-hirst-copyright
The collage in question via the Independent

Damien Hirst cites 16 year old artist for copyright infringement regarding £65 collage works bearing Hirst’s imagery [IndependentUK]
Lehman Brothers to sell $8M collection
[GuardianUK]

raft-of-the-medusa-gericault
The Raft of the Medusa via rhett.biz

A new novel is based on Gericault’s painting, The Raft of the Medusa [holartbooks via C-Monster]
Italian curator Francesco Bonami will curate the 2010 Whitney Biennial
[NYMag]

Don’t Miss: JG Reads, a film by Rirkrit Tiravanija, at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, through December 20, 2008

Monday, December 15th, 2008

jg-reads-rikrit-tiravanija-3
Still from JG Reads, a film by Rirkrit Tiravanija, via Gavin Brown’s  enterprise

John Giorno–poet, musician, performance artist, and collaborator with William S. Burroughs and Andy Warhol–is the protagonist of a film by Rirkrit Tiravanija, currently showing at Gavin Brown’s enterprise.  Giorno, who was the subject of Warhol’s first film (Sleep, 1963), is considered a fixture of the New York creative community.  His studio was an experimentation hub for the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, John Cage, and other groundbreaking postwar artists.  The film, which runs for 10 hours, incorporates five decades of John Giorno’s music, poetry, and memoirs from a very interesting life, aiming to capture what the gallery’s press release refers to as a “New York that now exists only as an idea.”

JG READS by Rirkrit Tiravanija
through December 20, 2008
Gavin Brown’s enterprise
620 Greenwich St, New York, NY
Open Tues – Sat, 10am through 6pm

Gallery: Gavin Brown’s enterprise
Exhibit site: JG Reads
JG Reads Press Release
Video: JG Reads

Go See: Anish Kapoor at the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, November 30, 2008 – February 1, 2009

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

anish-kapoor-2
Memory
by Anish Kappor on display now at the Deutsche Guggenheim via Deutsche Guggenheim

Anish Kapoor – Memory
Deutsche Guggenheim Museum
, Unter den Linden 13/15 10117 Berlin
November 30, 2008 – February 1, 2009

Considered one of the most talented and influential sculptors of his generation, Anish Kapoor recently unveiled his new installation Memory (2008) at the Deutsche Guggenheim.  Born in Bombay, India in 1954, Anish Kapoor lived and worked in London through the 1970’s and quickly rose to prominence as a sculptor during that time.  Since then, Kapoor has gained international acclaim and has exhibited extensively worldwide at venues such as the Tate Gallery and the Hayward Gallery in London, Haus der Kunst in Munich, Reina Sofia in Madrid and Kunsthale Basel and more.  Memory is part of a program established by the Deutsche Guggenheim in 1998, which consists of a series of projects committed to prominent and innovative contemporary artists such as John Baldessari, Hanne Darboven, William Kentridge, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Bill Viola, and Phoebe Washburn.

Anish Kapoor Memory [Deutsche Guggenheim]
Anish Kapoor: Memory
[Guggenheim]
Anish Kapoor Memory
[ Press Release]
Video: Anish Kapoor: Memory / Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin / Interview [vernissage.tv]
Kapoor Installation Pictures
[Flikr]

more images and story after the jump…

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Go See: ‘Absolute. Abstract.’ Major Kandinsky Retrospective at Lenbachhaus, Munich, through February 22, 2009

Friday, December 12th, 2008

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Improvisation 19 (1910) by Wassily Kandinsky, on display at Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany

The Lenbachhaus in Munich drawing on support from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York which have pooled their collectively large collections of works by Wassily Kandinsky to mount a major retrospective of the oft-overlooked artist’s oeuvre, re-examining his influence on subsequent generations of artists and aesthetic schools.  The retrospective features a total of 95 works from all periods of Kandinsky’s five decade career, focusing on the major, large scale pieces that were instrumental in Kandinsky’s own evolution as an artist.  Kandinsky was a founding pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, through his works as well as his theoretical treatises and writings.   His methodical approach to conveying abstraction through color, line and form demonstrates a very sharp intellect that also has the ability to create accessible works of art, an ability which has been successfully replicated by very few abstract painters since his death in 1944.

Those unable to make it to Munich before the end of the exhibition will be able to view it April 8th to August 10th, 2009 at the Pompidou in Paris, and from September 18th to January 10th, 2009 at the Guggenheim in New York.  Each leg of the exhibit will emphasize works in that particular museum’s Kandinsky collection: the artist’s Blue Rider period is strongly represented at the Lenbachhaus, while the Pompidou will exhibit numerous pieces from his time in Weimar Germany (heavily influenced by the Bauhaus movement of the time). The Guggenheim’s collection, in turn, heavily features pieces from Kandinsky’s Parisian sojourn. The three museums, which individually have the three largest Kandinsky collections, have pooled their resources to create an retrospective of unprecedented scale. Pieces from private collections and other museums in Russia, Switzerland, the United States and other countries were also added to the pool, offering spectators a unique opportunity to view multiple seminal works of art in one viewing.

KANDINSKY: ABSOLUTE. ABSTRACT.
Stadtische Museum, Lenbachhaus,
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
through February 22nd, 2009

Museum Website: Lenbachhaus
Exhibition Page: Kandinsky: Absolute. Abstract.
Treatise by Artist: ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’
Kandinsky Gallery at the Guggenheim Musem
The overlooked great in the history of modern art: an artist who found new levels of meaning [GuardianUK]

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AO On Site Photoset/Video/News Wrapup: Art Basel Miami Beach Survives in 2008

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

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Lucian Freud “Sally Clarke” “David, Pluto and Eli” and “Woman Sleeping” at Acquavella Gallery


Spectacle ensues as Pamela Anderson and David LaChapelle visit 303 Gallery at Art Basel Miami Beach

This year’s Art Basel Miami Beach began with a great deal of trepidation over where the level of sales would be in comparison to that of last year.  While volume was undeniably less this year, there was still a minimum level of sales completed which seemed to determine the event’s eventual success.   The art fair seemed to normalize to a level where the high quality of art that was brought down could be viewed, and in some cases purchased, at more measured, civilized pace.  Similarly, the corresponding events had a tone that was neither frantic nor somber; in some cases they were anticlimactic, elsewhere they were just fun.  The art market players are resting for a bit now after so much work and festivities in one short set of days, and few regretted the trip.

Eli Broad, Jay-Z Tour Slower Miami Art Fair, Collectors Haggle [Bloomberg]
Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 Roundup [Artinfo]
Miami Memories 2008 [Artnet]
Exceptionally High Quality at Art Basel Miami Beach 2008
[ArtDaily]
Feeling the pinch in the Miami vice
[TimesUK]
Fair Enough
[ArtForum]
The art market: Strong voting for the art party
[FinancialTimes]
Slowdown In The Art Market [Forbes]
Art Basel Miami Beach 2008
[Vernissage.tv]
At Fairs by the Beach, the Sands of Creativity
[NYTimes]
Art Basel Miami Beach | Under Construction [NYTimes]
Soft landings in hard times [ArtNewspaper]
Loyal buyers secure a positive start
[ArtNewspaper]
David Lynch’s diamond dome
[ArtNewspaper]
Basel sees a bright side
[MiamiHerald]
Art Basel sales show slowdown in tough economic year [MiamiHerald]
Kmart Special Time at Art Basel Miami
[NYMag]
Terence Koh Dazzles Art Basel Miami With Thrilling Nonperformance [NYMag]
Seven Things We Learned at Art Basel Miami [NYMag]
Miami ///The Recap: Art Basel’s Amazing “It Ain’t Fair”
[SuperTouch]
Miami ///WTF?!? Files ///Takashi Murakami Gets Loose at Art Basel [Supertouch]
Art Basel: Cartier Dreams, Forbes Yacht Party, Caviar & Grace Jones
[BlackBook]
Art Basel: Actually, It Was Awesome
[BlackBook]

more AO original photos after the jump…

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AO OnSite: Making Intellectual Conversation Possible at ‘The Impossible Collection’ Dinner Hosted By Assouline, Accompanied Literary Society at The Mondrian Hotel

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
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Left to Right: Nate Lowman, Rachel Feinstein, Glenn O'Brien, Sarah Thornton, Mary Boone, and Adam Lindemann.

Often times, Art Basel Miami is pigeonholed as the tropical mai-tai of the art world, all decoration and pizzazz…..and not much substance. Thus, it was refreshing when, on a quiet Friday evening December 5th, on the rooftop of the newly opened Mondrian hotel, Assouline, Accompanied Literary Society, and Intermix hosted an intimate and intellectual dinner discussion with an enviably high-caliber panel. Curated by Neville Wakefield and moderated by Glenn O’Brien, the panel included legendary art maven Mary Boone, a pregnant and radiant Rachel Feinstein, acclaimed writer Sarah Thornton (who trooped through the discussion despite having a dismal case of laryngitis), collector Adam Lindemann, and young man-about-town, artist, and significant other of Mary Kate Olson, Nate Lowman.

Words By Faith-Ann Young
Photos Courtesy of Nick Hunt / Patrick McMullen

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[Update] AO Onsite: The Art of War: Andrew Cramer’s Art War paintball tournament hosted by Accompanied Literary Society and CreateThe Group, Raleigh Hotel Art Basel Miami Beach, Saturday, December 6th, 200

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

andrew-cramers-art-war-accompanied-literary-society-raleigh-hotel-art-basel-miami-beach-2008-13

Artist Ryan McGinley on left; Cory Kennedy in middle, and Milk Gallery’s Jenn Wirtz on end.

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THE WAR IS ON!! Paintball players dashing around the sand pit.

For collectors, artists, gallerists, curators, and socialites alike, tensions were high during this year’s Art Basel. Whether attempting to turn profits, counting every Obama or Mao representation between Wynwood and Convention Center, hotel party-hopping in SoBe (from NY Times to Visionaire, Le Baron in Florida room, to Pamela Anderson at Fountainbleu), and/or ignoring the pesky word “recession,” everyone was visibly fatigued by Saturday night in Miami.  Hence, it was sheer brilliance on the behalf of Accompanied Literary Society, Create The Group, and Moet to host an “Art War” paintball fight at the Raleigh Hotel on Saturday night, letting a select group of artistas, collectors and art aficionados get down and dirty in the sandy oasis. While providing artists with paintguns and an open bar may sound as risky as endorsing kids to play baseball with rocks, the event proceeded flawlessly, as well as safely. Hotelier Andre Balazs showed off his executive prowess by skillfully organizing and managing his team, artists Aaron Young and Ryan McGinley seemed particularly boisterous high-fiving and jumping around, while Glenn O’Brien opted to watch from the sidelines. “In an atmosphere in which artists are losing galleries, [the event] was really about pride and supporting other artists,” said Brooke Geahan. (In particular, the event was officially feting artist Andrew Cramer.)

Better yet, each team’s outfit was personalized, The Raleigh Stags wore their own trademark brand attached to their appendages, while others personalized theirs DIY-style with permanent marker; better yet, several female contestants decided to creatively hack off the legs of their baggy jumpers and convert their outfits into tiny short-shorts. This being the art world, most decided the best accessory to paint guns was cigarettes (well, alcohol and cigarettes).

What ensued? Paint slinging, merriment, shouting, drinking, champagne shaking, and laughing. After the “war” concluded and the crowd dissipated slowly, a select few including Brooke Geahan, Horatio Silva, Todd Eberle, Aaron Young, Paul Sevigny, and Rebecca Guinness sat back in the oasis, watching the fire and sipping champagne. Post-war, Geahan stated, “it felt really, truly like a community.” At least in the attendees’ memories, while many of last week’s soirees blurred together in one, this event closed Basel with a delightful yet innocuous bang.

Words By Faith-Ann Young
Pictures By Ilhan Kim and Faith-Ann Young / Patrick McMullen

andrew-cramers-art-war-accompanied-literary-society-raleigh-hotel-art-basel-miami-beach-2008-2
Aaron Young getting his back signed by Javier Peres

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Go See: Hiroshi Sugimoto '7 Days / 7 Nights,' at Gagosian Gallery, New York and Retrospective at Lucerne Museum of Art, Switzerland

Monday, December 8th, 2008

boden-sea-uttwill-hiroshi-sugimoto
Boden Sea, Uttwill by Hiroshi Sugimoto on display now at the Gagosian Gallery via Artnet.

Fourteen photographs from the Seascapes series by Hiroshi Sugimoto are on display at the Gagosian Gallery through March 7, 2009.  The exhibition entitled 7 Days / 7 Nights is comprised of photographs of the sea and its horizon taken at various locations around the globe.  The photos, like all of Sugimoto’s work, were taken using a late 19th century large-format camera with extremely long exposures.  The results are works that display the unchanging nature of the sea while still revealing its subtle idiosyncrasies.  The artist is also the subject of a traveling retrospective now on display at the Lucerne Museum of Art. Included are several of the artist’s famed works including several photos from the 1976 Dioramas series. The series Dioramas consists of photographs taken of natural history museum displays, the subjects appear as real animals until examined further. Like much of Sugimoto’s work Dioramas is an attempt to intrigue the viewer into taking a more methodical approach at viewing the photo and its subjects. These works along with several others will be on display at the Lucerne Museum of Art through January 25, 2009.

Sugimoto at Four Venues [Art: 21]
7 Days / 7 Nights Press Release
[Gagosian Gallery]
Hiroshi Sugimoto “Seven Days / Seven Nights”
[NY Art Beat]
Hiroshi Sugimoto Press Release
[Lucerne Museum of Art]
Hiroshi Sugimoto Retrospective at the Lucerne Museum of Art [Raw Art] (more…)

Go See: Eric Fischl ‘Ten Breaths’ at Mary Boone Gallery, Chelsea, New York, through December 20, 2008

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

eric-fischl-mary-boone
Ten Breaths: Tumbling Woman
and Ten Breaths: Falling Angel by Eric Fischl as part of his exhibition Ten Breaths via Eric Fischl.

On display now at the Chelsea location of Mary Boone Gallery is a series of recent sculptures by Eric Fischl. The collection of figurative works consist of three life size figural groups and two diametric single figures. The three life size bronze casts are based off of photographs the artist took of Brazilian dance troops and is is typical of Fischl’s work which aims to subtly express the frailness and internal conflict which characterizes humans. Pictured above is Ten Breaths: Tumbling Woman a variation of the artist’s 2001 work Tumbling Woman, a similar bronze sculpture made to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11. The sculpture was displayed at Rockfeller Center for one week in September 2002 before it was removed after public outcry. Many viewers found the piece to be in poor taste as it was a graphic reminder of people falling from the World Trade Center. The variation is on display now at Mary Boone below the figural sculpture Ten Breaths: Falling Angel, a glass cast of an angel mounted on the ceiling of the gallery.

Eric Fischl Press Release [Mary Boone Gallery]

more images and info after the jump… (more…)