Global contemporary art events and news observed from New York City. Suggestion? Email us.


Archive for December, 2010

Go See – New York: Allora and Calzadilla’s ‘Stop, Repair, Prepare’ at MoMA Through January 10, 2011

Thursday, December 30th, 2010


Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on “Ode to Joy” for a Prepared Piano, 2010. Via Initart Magazine

Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on “Ode to Joy” for a Prepared Piano (2008) is the MoMA’s current installment in their Performance Exhibition Series. The duo prepared a Bechstein baby grand by cutting a hole through the center of the piano, rendering two octaves unusable. The pianist stands in the space and leans over the front of the piano to play the keyboard upside down and backwards. While playing the Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, commonly known as “Ode to Joy,” the pianist walks the wheeled piano around the performance space.

More text and images after the jump…

(more…)

Go See – London: The Unilever Series, Ai Weiwei's "Sunflower Seeds" at Tate Modern through May 2nd 2011

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010


Ai Weiwei and his sunflower seeds in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, via NY Times

Currently on view in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall is Sunflower Seeds (2010) a work by Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei for the 11th commission in the Unilever Series.  The work is made up of a millions of small hand-crafted porcelain works each sculpted and painted uniquely by Chinese specialists working in workshops in the small town of Jingdezhen. Hundreds of skilled hands worked together to produce the 100 million sunflower seeds poured into the Turbine Hall’s vast space.



Sunflower Seeds (2010) by Ai Weiwei , via Tate Modern

More text and images after the jump…

(more…)

AO Book Review: Steve Martin’s ‘An Object of Beauty’

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010


Via SteveMartin.com

Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty is a well-paced, entertaining novel about the inner workings of the blue-chip art world. The main character Lacey viciously climbs the New York art scene’s social ladder, as Martin attempts to criticize the superfluity of such major collectors, dealers, and artists. Sharing his own experience and expertise in the scene, Martin offers an insider’s perspective with real people and places–and the occasional sexual favor–with a spin of wit, informative and accessible.

More text and images after the jump…

(more…)

Go See – New York: Paul Thek “Diver: A Retrospective” at the Whitney Museum through January 9th, 2011

Monday, December 27th, 2010


Paul Thek, Technological Reliquaries, 1964-66. Via Tumblr

The most surprising thing about Thek perhaps, was his age. Of Andy Warhol’s generation, he is more theoretically aligned with the sincere art of David Wojnarowicz, who was twenty odd years his junior. Diver: A Retrospective manages to be a comprehensive overview of his work and his position in art history as well as a heartfelt look at his life and continuing influence, despite the absence of many seminal pieces which are no longer in existence. Thek is certainly a case of an artist before his time and perhaps is one who is altogether difficult to categorize.


Paul Thek, Technological Reliquaries, 1964-66. Via Un Regard Lubrique

more story and images after the jump…

(more…)

Go See – New York: Hanna Liden & Nate Lowman “Come As You Are Again” at Salon 94 through January 12, 2011

Sunday, December 26th, 2010


Hanna Liden, Untitled (Deli Bag Self Portrait), 2010. All images via Salon 94

New York based artists and long-time friends Hanna Liden and Nate Lowman are teaming up for the first time at Salon 94, through January 12.  The pieces made separately, a dialogue is created by the artist-chosen pairings of their work. Both artists leaning toward the morose, Lowman variously depicts gravestones and bodies, while Liden photographs melting candles or masked friends with flames. Lowman’s ongoing investigations of the smiley face–with its hidden layers of meaning and irony–also make an appearance; Liden plays off of it as well, perhaps suffocating beneath the happy (though upside down) iconic plastic bags.

More text and images after the jump…

(more…)

Go See – Rome: Takashi Murakami at Gagosian Gallery through January 15th, 2011

Friday, December 24th, 2010


Takashi Murakami at Gagosian Gallery Rome, Installation View, via Gagosian Gallery

Currently on view at Gagosian Gallery in Rome are two epic paintings by renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Dragon in Clouds- Red Mutation (2010) and Dragon in Clouds- Indigo Blue (2010) each comprise of nine panels, measure eighteen meters in length and depart from the artist’s usual technicolor palette to revert to more traditional Japanese influences.  Cloud and Dragon paintings are known as Unryūzu and were great influences for the 18th century Japanese artist Soga Shōhaku who has been a source of artistic inspiration for Murakami.


Dragon in Clouds- Red Mutation (2010) by Takashi Murakami, via Gagosian Gallery

More text and images after the jump…

(more…)

Don’t Miss – New York: Lucas Samaras “Poses / Born Actors” at Pace Gallery Through December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010


Lucas Samaras, Pose 0314, 2009-2010. All photos via Pace Gallery

Known for his ‘unrepentent ego,’ Lucas Samaras departs from his usual narcissism in Poses / Born Actors at the Pace Gallery until December 24th. Taking digital photographs of art world luminaries—from artists like Jasper Johns to big-name curators and collectors—Samaras reworks them with Photoshop. The artist aims for drama, using the software not to improve the images, but rather highlight rawness and emotion via shadows and color. Lighting the photo from below, and asking his subjects to wear glasses, Samaras creates mysterious, often demonic renderings of friends and peers. Unsure of the reactions of both the viewers and the photos’ subjects, small bottles of vodka were included with subjects’ invitations—for pre-show consumption.

More story after the jump…

(more…)

Go See – New York: Franz Xaver Messerschmidt “1736-1783: From Neoclassicism to Expressionism” at Neue Galerie Through January 10, 2011

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010


Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, The Yawner, 1771-83. Via DNAinfo

1736-1783: From Neoclassicism to Expressionism focuses on the “character heads” of sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, curated by Guilhem Scherf at the Neue Galerie until January 10th. One of the most relevant details to interpreting the artist during this later period is the curious fact that Messerschmidt made no differentiation between his earlier neoclassical busts (for which he gained initial acclaim) and the so-called character heads.  The latter began after Messerschmidt started to suffer from hallucinations and paranoia, featuring stripped-down, realistic renderings of a myriad of extreme facial expressions.  The artist arrived at such expressions by contorting his face in a mirror—yet it should be noted that though they bear his likeness, the resultant busts are not considered self-portraits.

More story after the jump…

(more…)

Don’t Miss – New York: Ugo Rondinone ‘Nude’ at Gladstone Gallery through December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010


Detail, nude (xxx), 2010. All images courtesy Gladstone Gallery.

Currently on view at Gladstone Gallery is nude, an exhibition of cast wax sculptures by Ugo Rondinone. The seven life-size figures, which occupy the gallery in various moments of repose, are made from a mixture of wax and earth pigments. Rondinone’s work has been described as perverse and grotesque to pretty and breathlessly romantic; this exhibition seems to fit into the final category, reflecting on poignant expressions of the human condition.

More text and images after the jump… (more…)

Don’t Miss – New York: Alexis Rockman “Thunderdome” at Salomon Contemporary through December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010


Alexis Rockman, Bridge 2006, Via Artnet

On view at Salomon Contemporary is Thunderdome, an exhibition of the work of Alexis Rockman running concurrently with the major retrospective of his work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, A Fable for Tomorrow. While a direct comparison isn’t made outright by the Salomon, Thunderdome references George Miller’s 1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, a post apocalyptic action film starring Tina Turner and Mel Gibson. The Thunderdome in the film is “a sanctioned arena, where aggressive human behavior, a basic part of evolutionary history, can be played out without devastating consequences to the planet.” This is a useful reference with which to begin to explain Rockman’s work, which in fantastic detail imagines the world after centuries of human abuse, without the protection Miller’s Thunderdome would offer. The exhibition can also be seen as the gallery becoming Rockman’s Thunderdome, a space where the artist foretells of the dangers of human environmental cruelty, depicting the wreckage using scientific forecasting and hyperrealist painting technique.

More story and images after the jump…

(more…)

Go See – Seoul: Thomas Struth’s ‘Korea 2007-2010′ at Gallery Hyundai Through January 9, 2011

Monday, December 20th, 2010


Thomas Struth, Semi Submersible Rig, DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island, 2007

Capturing scenes from several major Korean cities—including Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea—Thomas Struth‘s exhibition, Korea 2007-2010, draws attention to the dynamic relationship between humans and technological progress.  Highlighting construction sites and production lines, the show is held in the Gallery Hyundai.

More story after the jump…

(more…)

Go See – Milan: John Baldessari at the Prada Foundation through December 26, 2010

Sunday, December 19th, 2010


John Baldessari, Giacometti Variations, 2010. Via Vogue

With his newest show, Giacometti Variations, at the Prada Foundation in Milan, conceptual artist John Baldessari comments on the culture of fashion in a city known for its style. “There is currently a blurring of art and fashion. It is de rigueur that fashion models be extremely tall and thin,” says Baldessari. “Giacometti’s figures are the most emaciated and skinny sculptures that exist. Why not push that further?”


Via Very Cool

More story after the jump…

(more…)

Go See – New York: Picasso – Paintings and Sculpture at Gagosian Gallery Through December 23, 2010

Saturday, December 18th, 2010


Pablo Picasso, Portrait d’enfant: Paloma, 1952. Via Gagosian Gallery

Titled Important Paintings and Sculpture, Pablo Picasso‘s latest solo exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue is a diverse collection spanning roughly 20 years of his work.  Though without a professed exhibition theme, like the landmark Mosqueteros, the works mainly hail from his years spent in the south of France, sharing pieces with his recent London exhibition The Mediterranean Years (1945-1962).


Installation view

More story after the jump…

(more…)

AO On Site – Doha, Qatar: Inauguration of Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art

Saturday, December 18th, 2010


Inauguration of Mathaf, view from outside – All photos by Art Observed unless otherwise noted

Art Observed was on site for the inauguration of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar. Under the presence of His Highness, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, art world luminaries, cultural dignitaries, and around 80 artists gathered together for the opening ceremony this past week.  Mathaf—Arabic for “museum”—is the first institution of its kind in the region focusing entirely on Arab art and creativity. The museum has been one of the most highly anticipated museums of the year and will open to the general public on December 30th, 2010.


Mathaf inauguration, view of the museum from outside

More text and images after the jump…
(more…)

Don’t Miss – Los Angeles: Doug Aitken “House” at Regen Projects Through December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17th, 2010


Doug Aitken, House, 2010. Via Regen Projects

Regen Projects is currently exhibiting Doug Aitken’s recent work: House.  The work is both fiction and narrative—a duality that exists in much of his work.  The video of his parents sitting calmly face to face as their home is demolished around them and its surrounding installation of debris provides a dramatized element to an event that actually occurred in Aitken’s life.


Sex, 2010. Via NYT Magazine.

In addition to the central installation of House, the exhibition has several wall hangings, titled living words, that incorporate whole internal ecosystems. The piece SEX ruminates on a central fixture of human life and connects it to the natural world.

More story after the jump…

(more…)

Don’t Miss – New York: Jasper Johns “Drawing Over” at Leo Castelli Gallery through December 18th, 2010

Friday, December 17th, 2010


Jasper Johns, Land’s End, 1979/1989. Via The Leo Castelli Gallery

Drawing Over, an exhibition of Jasper Johns drawings from the last four decades at the Castelli Gallery – of which many pieces have never been exhibited – closes on Saturday.  Chosen by the artist from across his lengthy career, the works are drawings over Johns’ own prints. For example, Land’s End, a monochromatic intaglio print from 1979 is drawn over in pastel, creating the work Land’s End, 1979/1989.  The collection sees the artist change the composition of the original while wrestling with his own iconography, sometimes decades later. Johns has drawn over a group of six of his renowned Flag prints, 1972/1994, illustrating the process of reinvention central to this exhibition.

More story after the jump…

(more…)

Don't Miss – New York: Francesco Clemente, A Private Geography at Mary Boone Gallery Through December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Francesco Clemente, Irons and Rainbows, 2010. © Francesco Clemente via Mary Boone Gallery

Francesco Clemente’s A Private Geography has entered it’s final week at the Fifth Avenue location of the Mary Boone Gallery.  The show consists of the artist’s most recent works on paper and is presented as a sampling of Clemente’s haunting meditations.

More story after the jump

(more…)

AO News Summary – London: Tacita Dean awarded Unilever Commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010


Turbine Hall, Tate Modern. Via ArtInfo

Tacita Dean will take over Tate Modern‘s Turbine Hall on October 11, 2011. As the 12th artist in the Unilever-sponsored series, she will replace Ai Weiwei‘s floor of Sunflower Seeds. Though she is best known for her work with 16mm film, she uses other mediums as well, including found objects, photography, drawing, and sound. Tate Modern’s chief curator, Sheena Wagstaff, has expressed excitement over the commissioned work’s outcome; in regards to Dean, “Her interest in light, space and history, as well as her keen sense of the cinematic and the sublime, make her a perfect choice.”


Tacita Dean. Via Bloomberg

More story after the jump…

(more…)

AO On Site – NYC: “Salad days” at The Journal Gallery Through December 15th, 2010 (with Video Interview and Editorial by Patrick Meagher)

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Salad Days at The Journal Gallery, courtesy the journal

Michael Nevin‘s the journal is akin to an unfolding art project, a published collaborative diary of art, photography, fashion, music, zines and pop culture that converge and merge in a mix of commercial, art, and DIY creatives. While a range of art-historical precedents—of multi-disciplinary explorations by artists working in print, fashion, music, and collaborating with photographers and contemporary dance—are increasingly visible today, the journal stands out with its 10+ year history, adding to New York City’s fine tradition of artist-run projects of magazines, printed matter, and periodicals: Interview, Index, Zing, et al.


AO on site: Interview with Michael Nevin

More story after the jump…

(more…)

Go See – Berlin: Carsten Höller “Soma” at Hamburger Bahnhof through February 6, 2011

Monday, December 13th, 2010


Carsten Höller, Soma, 2010. Courtesy Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart

Twelve reindeer, twenty-four canaries, eight mice, and two flies currently reside in Carsten Höller‘s new installation, Soma, in the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin.  Höller’s fantasy land can also be your home for one night – for the price of 1,000 euros (stay includes a nighttime tour of the museum with a guard, as well as breakfast).


Carsten Höller, Soma, 2010. Courtesy Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart

More story and images after the jump…

(more…)

Go See: Mark Wallinger’s ‘Sinema Amnesia’ in Canakkale, Turkey

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Mark Wallinger’s Sinema Amnesia, via the Financial Times

Sinema Amnesia, Mark Wallinger’s most recent work, was unveiled in October in the seaport town of Canakkale on the eastern coast of Turkey. Inside a rusted shipping container, footage constantly streams of the strait and its many ships, from exactly 24 hours prior. Titled Ulysses, the film brings attention to the commerce and history of millennia, while contemplating the period of a single day – a theme from Wallinger’s favorite novel of the same title by James Joyce.


Canakkale Strait, via Pbase

The piece is part of My City, a project which invites five artists from five European countries to produce installations in different Turkish cities. Intended to strengthen cultural ties between Turkey and the EU, Istanbul has been appointed a European Capital of Culture – a small gesture toward Turkey’s accession to the EU.

More story after the jump…

(more…)

Don’t Miss: Bruce Nauman, For Children / For Beginners at Sperone Westwater through December 18th, 2010

Sunday, December 12th, 2010


Bruce Nauman For Beginners (all the combinations of the thumb and fingers), 2010. All images courtesy of Sperone Westwater.

Currently on view at Sperone Westwater‘s new Bowery location are new video and sound pieces by artist Bruce Nauman. According to a statement given by Assistant Director Maryse Brand to The Huffington Post, the inspiration for the new works on display arose when the artist read the words ‘for children’ in a book, which made Nauman consider piano pieces written specifically for children learning to play the piano. This in turn, led to the piece For Beginners (all the combinations of the thumb and fingers), two large video projections of the Nauman’s hands in all 31 different possible combinations of each finger and thumbs. Each video is accompanied by an audio feed of the artist reading instructions for each combination. The two videos are the same except for the background color, but are not synchronized, making a layering of sound.


Bruce Nauman For Children/For Beginners, 2010.

More text and images after the jump…

(more…)

AO News Summary: First Ever Homecoming Exhibition for London-based Indian Artist Anish Kapoor Occupies Galleries in Mumbai and New Delhi until February 27th, 2011

Saturday, December 11th, 2010


Anish Kapoor, Shooting Into the Corner, via The Telegraph

Last week brought the grand opening of Anish Kapoor‘s latest exhibition, his first ever in his native India. Kapoor claims to embrace his Indian heritage but believes that an artist’s identity should be based on their creativity, not nationality. He has in fact been looking for a suitable exhibition space in India for nearly a decade, finally deciding on the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Mehboob Film Studios.


National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, via Flickr

More story after the jump…

(more…)

Breaking: Jay Jopling's London-based White Cube Announces Plans to Convert Massive Warehouse to New Gallery on Bermondsey Street, Southeast London

Friday, December 10th, 2010


Inside the Bermondsey Street warehouse, via NovaLoca

London art dealer Jay Jopling has just announced that the former Recall warehouse in Bermondsey Street will soon be converted to a gallery under his White Cube umbrella.  Jopling, through White Cube, represents such artists as Jake & Dinos Chapman, Tracey EminDamien Hirst, Gary Hume, Marc Quinn and his former wife Sam Taylor-Wood, among others.


Jay Jopling, via The Rich Life

More story after the jump…

(more…)