AO on Site New York – Art for awareness, Lance Armstrong brings an impressive group of artists together for his Stages exhibition and auction, Art Observed was on site to speak to those involved

November 4th, 2009

Stages Opening Event armstrong
Futura, Jules de Balincourt, Dustin Yellin, Eric White, Tom Sachs, Shepard Fairey, Jeffrey Deitch, Lance Armstrong, Mark Parker, Geoff McFetridge, José Parlá, Dzine posing in front of a painting by Cai Guo Qiang; photo courtesy of Black Frame

A day before seven bicycles with frames designed by contemporary artists, and used by Lance Armstrong in his comeback season for July’s Tour de France, raised $1.3 million, an exhibition of artwork commissioned to benefit the legendary cyclist’s cancer foundation opened at Deitch Projects.  Launched in Paris at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, STAGES- the exhibit comprised of commissioned works created by over twenty established contemporary artists, is currently on view at New York’s Deitch Projects. Artists involved include Cai Guo-Qiang, Rosson Crow, Shepard Fairey, KAWS, Yoshitomo Nara, Catherine Opie, Os Gemeos, Raymond Pettibon, Andreas Gursky, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha and Tom Sachs. STAGES will run through November 21, 2009.  AO interviews some of the artists to find out their personal connection to the cause of STAGES, their view on creating commissioned work and the story of their involvement with the project powered by Lance Armstrong Foundation and Nike and its goal of raising awareness of cancer.

Rosson Crow Deitch Stages
Rosson Crow in front of her piece “Texas Cycle Show”

Works presented in STAGES manifest not merely a vast array of mediums and stylistic approaches, they also speak of a multitude of equally appropriate paths the artists have taken in building the show.

Rosson Crow about STAGES: “This whole thing is incredible and overwhelming, it is a really awesome show with a great cause. Charity work is something that I love doing so this was a really cool opportunity. This painting that I did for the show is called ‘Texas Cycle Show’ and is based on an 1800′ cycle exposition. I made it Texas because both Lance and I are from Texas… kind of bringing the historical Texas vibe… and of course the bicycles I thought were perfect for a Lance Armstrong show [laughs]” When asked about any personal connections that the artist has with the cause, Rosson Crow comments that “it is hard to find anybody whose life has not been affected by cancer, so I think that everybody has a personal relationship to it in some way.”

Yoshitomo Nara Stages
Yoshitomo Nara, “Fire” via STAGES

More text, images and interviews after the jump…

Catherine Opie STAGES
Catherine Opie, “Untitled (Road)” via STAGES

Eric white deitch stages
Eric White posing in front of his work “Foyer”

Indeed, some of the work created for STAGES is tied to highly personal experiences, as Eric White tells AO when asked about his involvement with Lance Armstrong Foundation’s exhibit: “I have a personal connection to it because my mom almost died of oral cancer, so the piece that I did relates to my mother’s experience with oral cancer and the surgery recovery.”
As the collaboration between the artists and the Lance Armstrong Foundation is to not only benefit cancer research with the proceeds from the sales, but also promote awareness of the spreading decease and essentially help promote the foundation itself, artists recruited were asked to use color yellow in their works and bring in work associated with the theme. Eric White comments on the phenomenon of creating a “cause-specific” work: “It was actually great, because I was able to put my mother’s experience into it, I guess generally I prefer to not have anything in mind when I am working and just go in my own direction, but I was able to bring that context into my work […] I don’t think this piece would have come out if I did not have this particular event, for one thing, one of the requirements was to include yellow, but I probably would not have thought to put yellow; but I was able to make it feel like my work, although it is specific to this and it does work with the themes.”
When asked whether his mom likes the piece he donated, Eric White laughs and says: “She is my mom, she has to like it.”

Shepard Fairey STAGES
Shepard Fairey, Jessica via STAGES

KAWS deitch stages
KAWS posing in front of his work “The End”

In an interview with AO, KAWS speaks of the piece he donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and how he got involved with the STAGES exhibit through Jamie O’Shea- editor of Supertouch, who curated the show. “I think I was originally approached by Jamie O’Shea, knowing Mark Parker and Lance, they just invited me to be a part of it, pretty casual I think.”

KAWS speaks of his relationship with Lance Armstrong: “You know it is not like we go play Basketball together, I met him several times. He seems to be a really committed guy, you could tell by what he does… I was shocked to find out that he crashed on the bike after the Tour de France was done, just to see the X-rays and then he is back up doing a race. You know I would be home eating ice-cream for about three years laughing up sympathy from people, so it says a lot about his character. It’s good and inspiring to work with people like that, to work with causes like that.”

When asked about his reaction to the idea of creating a commissioned piece KAWS comments: “It was a really loose thing, I just created a work that had to do with STAGES, as far as imagery, there was no direction, it was pretty open […] It is great to be able to do exhibitions that benefit causes like Livestrong. For me, when there is an opportunity to do a strong show with a good cause and the money going to charity, it is kind of a no-brainer” Regarding the use of yellow, the artist says: “I use yellow so much in my work that it didn’t really matter, I mean that would have been yellow if I made that painting for myself.”
KAWS describes “The End” as a half way point between his experience with abstract painting and his “Sponge Bob” works. Referencing the story of Lance Armstrong in his piece, KAWS says: “He [Lance Armstrong] broke his collar bone on my bike that I designed for him, when he was racing in Spain.”

Andreas Gursky STAGES
Andreas Gursky, “Tour de France 1″ via STAGES

dustin yellin stages lance
Dustin Yellin

STAGES brings under one roof works of legendary street artists who have made their ways into galleries as well as those who have undergone a more conservative path in their gain of fame. The participating artists seem to welcome this blurring of the boundaries describing it as interesting and fruitful. Dustin Yellin says: “When you do put different works together, it is more about the relationships formed between the works, rather than just the individual works themselves; so if all the work was the same, it would be homogenized, monotonous and uninteresting, so I think that it actually breeds a really fertile ground for ideas to be born”; while Rosson Crow comments that “it is a really amazing group of artists” and that “it is great to see the differences and the similarities between everybody.”

Dustin Yellin speaks of his donated work “If Ink Were Blood (Man and Woman)” as his wish to “illustrate the human from the inside out, because it’s such a dynamic machine and we only see the surfaces of things, the facades, I wanted to really get inside.”

Christopher Wool
Christopher Wool, “Untitled” via STAGES

Jose Parla stages deitch
José Parlá posing in front of his work “Untitled (Dedicated to Dr. Alan Berkman)”

José Parlá’s career like that of KAWS and Futura has roots of recognition going back to street art. Hence, the work he dedicated to Dr. Alan Berkman who did not survive cancer, pays homage to names- reminiscent of tagging, and incorporates the textures and colors of the walls that play the role of canvases in the realms of street art. “I pay homage to names” he says, “Using writing as one of using writing as one of the major gestures in my work, when I was invited to do this piece and I started thinking about what I could do, the first thing that came to my mind was my family how my grandmother and grandfather died from cancer one of my aunts and uncles are living now with cancer fighting it. So I start thinking about how to pay homage to the people who have been attacked by this decease, how it really does not discriminate at all and will attack anyone. And then talking with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, I asked them for a list of cancer survivors that they had worked with, as an inspiration. I dedicated this work to Dr. Alan Berkman, who passed away from cancer the week that I was finishing the piece. So it translates as a piece that pays homage to names, all of the webbing of lines that you see, all the white lining that you see, is layered names of cancer survivors and patients that passed away from cancer. The piece in reality is a homage to everyone.”

Dzine stages deitch
The Tipping Point, Dzine

Dzine: “I like to create environments, so for the bike, although it’s a bicycle rotating, I have an audio component on there. If you listen to it, it has this really beautiful aura that floats around.”
dzine ouutside deitch
Dzine in front of the steps of the Deitch Gallery

Dzine tells AO: “To be honest, whether if I did a bike, or actually did a painting that had no reference to his [Lance Armstrong’s] legacy and what he does, you know I think the bigger picture is to just get the word out there about cancer research, and to get the word out you know either via press or financially, if we sold a piece and the money goes to the foundation its great and that’s what we are here for… you know he has been a big supporter of all the artists involved in the show, he has been a big supporter of everyone’s work”
“I thought this is the perfect opportunity and the right chance to do something morally and so I donated 100 percent of my proceeds to the foundation because if it sells it’s great, but also the most important is- the right coverage for this thing.”

Geoff McFetridge deitch stages
Geoff McFetridge standing in front of his piece “Even The Simplest Shapes Wish to Become Logos One Day”

Detail JR Deitch Stages
Detail of JR’s piece. An installation comprised of a collage upon an audio system, it played the recording of a heart beat of a cancer victim.

JR Stages
JR, Heart Beats

JR writes: “Linda lives in Morro da Providencia, the oldest favela in Rio, Brazil. In this place, houses are made of plastic, and kid’s guns are made of steel. Nothing runs: no schools, no hospitals, no social services. Linda has throat cancer and she might be dead by the end the STAGES exhibition tour. She used to be a choral teacher. She lost her voice, but her heart is still beating…”

Installation view Deitch Stages
Installation view of STAGES at Deitch Projects

Fairey Shepard Deitch Stages
Jamie O’Shea and Shepard Fairey at STAGES

Installation view livestrong deitch
Installation view STAGES

artists deitch livestrong stages
José Parlá, Jamie O’Shea, Jules de Balincourt, Dustin Yellin, Eric White at STAGES

tom sachs installation
An installation view of Tom Sachs’ “Lance’s Tequila Bike for Girls”

Tom Sachs Deitch Stages
Detail of “Lance’s Tequila Bike for Girls”

Related Links:
STAGES [Official Website]
STAGES at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin [ArtObserved]
Sir Lancelot []
Armstrong’s Tour de France Bikes Fetch $1.3 Million at Auction [Bloomberg]
Lance Armstrong’s “STAGES” exhibition Rides into New York City [Vanity Fair]

Rev. rul. 2003-34

United States. Internal Revenue Bulletin April 28, 2003 | Anonymous ISSUE If an insurance company takes a deduction under sec 847 of the Internal Revenue Code in a taxable year, must the company request the permission of the Secretary of the Treasury (Secretary) or his delegate in order to discontinue using 847 in a subsequent year?

FACTS IC is an insurance company subject to tax under sec 831 or a life insurance company subject to tax under sec 801. IC discounts its unpaid losses under sec 846. IC files its federal income tax returns on a calendar year basis. For the 2002 calender tax year, IC claimed a deduction for special estimated tax payments pursuant to sec 847(1) and made the special estimated tax payments described in sec 847(2).

For the 2003 tax year, IC decided not to take the deduction described in sec 847(1) for the 2003 accident year and, accordingly, did not make the special estimated tax payments for that year. IC continued to account for adjustments due to its 2002 deduction with respect to the 2002 accident year and its 2002 special estimated tax payments on its 2003 return and later returns.

LAW AND ANALYSIS For taxable years beginning after December 31, 1987, sec 847(1) allows an insurance company that is required to discount unpaid losses (as defined in 846) a deduction for the taxable year if special estimated tax payments are made as required by sec 847(2). This deduction cannot exceed (i) the excess of – (A) the undiscounted, unpaid losses (as defined in sec 846(b)) attributable to losses incurred in taxable years beginning after December 31, 1986, over (B) the discounted unpaid losses determined under sec 846(b) less (ii) any amounts deducted under this paragraph in a preceding tax year. estimated tax payments estimated tax payments

Section 847(2) provides, in part, that the deduction under sec 847(1) shall be allowed only to the extent that such a deduction would result in a tax benefit for the taxable year for which such deduction is allowed or any carryback year. In addition, the deduction is allowable only if special estimated tax payments are made in an amount equal to the tax benefit attributable to such a deduction on or before the due date (determined without regard to extensions) for filing the return for the taxable year for which the deduction is allowed.

Section 847(3) provides that each company that is allowed a deduction under sec 847(1) shall, for purposes of this part, establish and maintain a special loss discount account.

Section 847 imposes no requirement upon an insurance company that is required to discount its unpaid losses under sec 846 to continue to avail itself of the sec 847 deduction on an annual basis. Further, the legislative history of sec 847 does not suggest that an insurance company having once used sec 847 is obligated to continue to do so in subsequent tax years. See H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 1104 (Vol. II), 100th Cong., 2nd Sess. 172 (1988), 1988-3 C.B. 662. Even though IC had used sec 847 in 2002, IC may chose not to utilize the sec 847 deduction in 2003 for accident year 2003 without securing the approval of the Secretary or his delegate.

HOLDING If an insurance company takes a deduction under sec 847 in a taxable year, the company is not required to request the permission of the Secretary or his delegate in order to discontinue using sec 847 in a subsequent year.

DRAFTING INFORMATION The principal author of this revenue ruling is William T. Sullivan of the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Financial Institutions & Products). For further information regarding this revenue ruling, contact Mr. Sullivan at (202) 622-3970 (not a tollfree call).