This week Art21 artists depict nether regions, play with light and space, bundle and fuse old toys, mirror the dandy, reimagine rooftops, photograph electricity, and display cookie cutters by the thousands:
- Beginning January 19, a new body of work and major installation by Season 3 artist Ida Applebroog will be on view at Hauser & Wirth in New York. Central to the exhibition, titled Monalisa, is a collection of more than 160 drawings of the artist’s crotch based on reflections of herself in a mirror. Applebroog made the drawings in 1969 during her nightly bath ritual. Packed in a basement and forgotten until studio assistants discovered them in early 2009, they are now key in her Hauser & Wirth installation. Applebroog has created a room-sized wooden structure covered with more than 100 new drawings made from her original vagina images, which she has scanned onto handmade Gampi paper, enlarged, digitally manipulated, and enhanced with washes of color. The exhibition will also include a selection of the original drawings. Monalisa will be on view through March 6. Read more about the exhibition here.
- The Visible Vagina, on view concurrently at David Nolan and Francis M. Naumann Fine Art galleries in New York, is inspired by Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. As the exhibition title suggests, “the show is designed to make visible a portion of the female anatomy that is generally considered taboo―too private and intimate for public display.” Works by Art21 artists Jeff Koons (Season 5), Kiki Smith (Season 2), Laurie Simmons, and Nancy Spero (both Season 4) will be included. The Visible Vagina is on view January 28-March 20. A panel discussion with artists in the exhibition, moderated by Anna Chave, will be held at David Nolan Gallery on January 30.
- Through February 6, works by James Turrell (Season 1), Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler, Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Laddie John Dill, Craig Kauffman, John McCracken, Helen Pashgian, and De Wain Valentine are on view at New York’s David Zwirner Gallery. Primary Atmospheres: Works from California 1960-1970 surveys the diverse art practices that flourished in 1960s California and are often placed under the umbrella term “Light and Space.” The selection of works in this show are intended to capture some of the more specific aesthetic qualities of the Los Angeles scene during the 1960s. A guided walk-through of the exhibition with co-curator Tim Nye will take place on January 23 at 11:30am.
- Two sculptures by Season 2 artist Maya Lin made from recycled toys (titled Toy Asteroid: Boy and Toy Asteroid: Girl) are included in Animamix Biennial: Visual Attract and Attack at MoCA Taipei. The exhibition presents the most recent developments and trends in Animamix art, or “contemporary comic aesthetics” from across the world. Featuring works by nearly 300 artists, Animamix Biennial is hosted simultaneously by three other museums in China and Taiwan: MoCA Shanghai, Today Art Museum Beijing, and Guangdong Museum of Art. Visual Attract and Attack, according to the New York Times, only features about 50 artists, not all of whom are from Asia. Other artists hail from Japan, Italy, France, Israel, Russia and the United States, showing “the international spread of the Animamix language.” The exhibition is on view through January 31.
- Shapes from Maine (2009), a project by Season 5 artist Allan McCollum, is included in the exhibition Vertically Integrated Manufacturing at Murray Guy Gallery in New York. Shapes of Maine is an extension of an earlier Shape project, for which McCollum developed a system to generate over 30 billion unique shapes, at least one for each person on the planet. McCollum worked over the internet with Holly and Larry Little, founders of Aunt Holly’s Copper Cookie Cutters, a home business in Trescott, Maine, to create this installation of over 2,200 one-of-a-kind works. Vertically Integrated Manufacturing brings together works by artists who, like McCollum, respond to changing processes of labor. Continues through February 20.
- Since the 1980s, a number of Art21 artists have been commissioned by The Stuart Collection to create permanent works for the grounds of University of California San Diego. Most recently, Season 2 artist Do-Ho Suh proposed Fallen Star — his first major permanent outdoor installation in the United States — for the Collection. At the center of his proposed piece is a small house which has been picked up by some mysterious force (such as a tornado) and has “landed” seven stories up atop the Jacobs School of Engineering. The house is cantilevered out over the edge of the building and can be entered from the roof, or roof garden (also part of the artist’s design). The actual structure might serves as a student/faculty lounge or meeting room. See images of Fallen Star here.
- Sur le dandysme aujourd’hui: From Shop Window Mannequin to Media Star, on view at the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporáneo, reveals concepts and strategies developed by nineteenth-century dandies in the work and attitudes of contemporary artists. The curator considers how iconography and themes of dandyism remain significant. The show takes George Bryan Brummell, Charles Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde (with passing references to Jules Amadée Barbey d’Aurevilly, the Countess of Castiglione and Joris Karl Huysmans) as its point of departure. Season 5 artists Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, and Yinka Shonibare MBE are included in a roster of more than 40 artists. Sur le dandysme aujourd’hui runs January 15-March 21.
- Hiroshi Sugimoto (Season 3) is featured by Wired Magazine Online for his new series of electricity volt photographs, while his seascape photograph on the cover of U2′s album, No Line on the Horizon, has ranked #48 in Art Vinyl’s annual album cover awards.
Looking back before moving forward is such an endearing habit—like brushing your teeth before breakfast—that it’s hard to resent the sweeping, often grandiloquent judgments that accompany the end of each year (last year, when Daniel Birnbaum called a documentary by Alexander Kluge “a labyrinth as absorbing as any great cultural work of the past century,” I was more than willing to embrace the hyperbolic praise as truth). But now, at the close of a decade in which art often moonlighted as a history project and calculated reticence often seemed more provocative than raw expression, looking back seems especially difficult because looking back is what much of the decade’s art tried to do.
Charged with the thorny task of reviewing ten years’ worth of art, critic Jerry Saltz came up with a strange combination of showmanship and doom. Writing in New York Magazine, he pinpointed Jeff Koons‘s towering, endearingly overstuffed Puppy (the version that debuted at Rockefeller Center in June 2000) as the decade’s turning point, “an artifact from the last days of ‘the end of history.’” Appearing a year before 9/11, Koons’s sculpture was an over-ambitious attempt to make guilelessness monumental. It embodied a lighthearted moment of spectacle that would begin to lose its footing (even though as it continued to hold its own in art markets). Puppy, according to Saltz, “laid a beautiful, ghastly laurel wreath at our doorstep. If it could speak, it would say, ‘After me, the deluge.’”
But if Koons’s flower-coated monster represented the end of a certain kind of spectacle (and I think Saltz is right in suggesting that it did, though misguided, perhaps, in the esteem he awards it), then it’s the art that came after Puppy that deserves attention. The decade should belong to artists who saw the supposed deluge as a reason to stop trying to make history and start rephrasing, breaking apart, and rearranging their cultural heritage, freeing repressed fragments of meaning in hopes of informing an unknown future.
Collier Schorr’s Jens F. project still stands out to me as an eloquent example of this sort of rephrasing. Schorr (Season 2) restaged Andrew Wyeth’s portraits of his muse Helga, placing an adolescent boy in feminine poses, subtly turning his body in ways that seemed difficult and unnatural. She treated appropriation, not as something transgressive, but as something tenderly introspective and revealing. Another example, Elad Lassry’s self-described post-picture generation work, is fugitive in that it liberally borrows from commercial iconography. But it’s professional in its sleek, minimal distillation of the ideologies latent in each image. For Lassry and for Schorr, wading through our lineage of cultural imagery isn’t just a prerequisite to moving forward; it’s actually a way of interacting with present and future.
Fittingly enough, Los Angeles has ended the decade with its galleries and museums brimming with art that looks back. At LACMA, a whole exhibition of landscape photography from 1975—New Topographics—has been rephrased. The motivation: simply acknowledging art’s “ongoing concern for man’s use of the land.” On the second floor of Steve Turner Contemporary, Amir Zaki collected antique images, spanning from 1870-1950, of Southern California’s evolution, curating a mini-visual history. At Blum & Poe, Drew Heitzler has remixed films from the ‘60s, removing the narrative arc in order to emphasize strange movements and interactions that plot once repressed.
In this week’s roundup, Art21 artists play with fire, sign new books, design stained glass, collage basketballs, create new films, and pop up in Miami Beach exhibitions:
- Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati is paying homage to installation art with their exhibition Walls, Ceiling & Floors, which focuses on the transformation of space through large-scale works by 15 different artists. Among them is Ohio native Ann Hamilton (Season 1) who has delicately burned walls of the space (pictured above) to “create a dense environment.” Walls, Ceiling & Floors continues through December 23.
- The Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio has announced that Mark Bradford (Season 4) is one of three recipients of their 2009-10 Residency Award. Bradford will develop new work for his survey exhibition Mark Bradford: You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You), on view at the Wexner beginning May 8, 2010. His projects will include a new sculpture entitled Lazarus, comprised of more than 1,000 collaged basketballs; Pinocchio, a sound-based sculptural environment that explores the social experiences of a young black man growing up in L.A. in the early 1980s; and the film Mithra, which documents and reflects on his mammoth public sculpture created for Prospect.1 in New Orleans.
- Kiki Smith (Season 2) has been commissioned (along with architect Deborah Gans) to design a stained glass window for the Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Founded in 1887, the original window has been missing since the mid 1940s, when the congregation had it removed due to high maintenance costs. The new window is scheduled for completion in the spring. The New York Times is one of many media outlets to report on this commission; read more about the project on their Arts Beat blog.
- On Wed., December 2, Walton Ford (Season 2) will lecture and sign copies of his new book, Pancha Tantra, at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The program begins at 6:30pm and is free and open to the public. (New paintings by Ford are on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York through December 23.)
- Paste Up, a survey of early work by Barbara Kruger (Season 1), is on view at Sprueth Magers London through January 23. The title of the exhibition reflects the professional term for the works on view and underscores the influence Kruger’s experience as a magazine editorial designer had on her career.
- Spazialismo, a group exhibition at Bitforms Gallery in New York City, takes the writings of Argentinian artist Lucio Fontana as its point of departure. Through works by Matthew Ritchie (Season 3), Mel Bochner, R. Luke DuBois, Michael Joaquin Grey, and Yael Kanarek, Fontana’s mid-twentieth century concepts of space in the modern yet natural world are explored. Spazialismo closes December 30.
If you’re in Florida this week for Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), here’s a few things to check out:
- The annual Rubell Family Collection exhibition is this year inspired by Picasso’s saying, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” Beg, Borrow, and Steal highlights the works of 74 late and living artists who “embrace their influences even as they reinvent them.” Works by Mike Kelley, Barbara Kruger (both Season 1), Jenny Holzer (Season 4), Cindy Sherman, John Baldessari, Allan McCollum, Jeff Koons, and Paul McCarthy (all Season 5) are included in this display. The Collection opens at 9am on Wed., December 2. Admission is free during ABMB.
- On Thurs., December 3 at noon, the Bass Museum of Art will debut Latin America’s largest private collection of contemporary art; the collection has never before been shown in the United States. Where Do We Go From Here? Selections from La Coleccion Jumex brings together familiar names on the international art circuit, such as Mike Kelley (Season 1) and Urs Fisher, with Mexican conceptualists Damian Ortega, Inaki Bonillas and Stephan Bruggeman. Visitors with a Bass Museum invitation, VIP card, exhibitor’s pass, press pass, or Bass Museum membership card can attend the opening reception on Wed., December 2, 8-10pm.
- The Swiss Institute has published a calendar of New York artists photographed on their bicycles. Collier Schorr (Season 2), Pierre Huyghe (Season 4), and Cindy Sherman (Season 5) are pictured. This limited-edition piece will be unveiled later this week at ABMB, however, it can be immediately ordered online or downloaded as a PDF.
- On Fri., December 4, catch up with Schorr at the book launch for Forest and Fields. Volume 2. Blumen. Forest and Fields is an ongoing suite of artist’s books; each volume is part diary, photo annual, palimpsest, and scrapbook. In the latest release, Schorr focuses on arrangements in landscapes and domestic and commercial settings. This program is part of ABMB Salon, an open platform for discussion with an emphasis on current themes in contemporary art. The event begins at 5pm.
- Currently showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, There Goes the Neighborhood explores the many aspects of community, focusing on the evolution of architecture and landscape as it is embodied within a neighborhood’s past, present, and future. The exhibition features Willie Birch, Amy Casey, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Eva Struble, Dionsio Gonzàlez, Leslie Grant, Nina Pessin-Whedbee, Catherine Yass, Kristin Bly, Matthew Kolodziej, and Season 5 artist Cao Fei. Through August 16.
- The International Center of Photography released the list of artists for the third edition of their upcoming triennial on photography and video art, thematically titled Dress Codes. Centering on fashion, the mix of 34 includes Art21 artists Cao Fei, Kimsooja, Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons. The show opens October 2.
- The Female Gaze: Women Look at Women is on view at Cheim and Read. The show brushes aside the traditional “male gaze” and includes sculpture, painting, photography, installation and video by the likes of Ghada Amer, Vanessa Beecroft, Marilyn Minter, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Shirin Neshat, and Art21 artists Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Sally Mann, Collier Schorr, Cindy Sherman, and Kara Walker. Through September 19.
- Send in the clowns! Send in the critics! Send in the clown critics! Ever wondered what a bunch of real clowns talk about while watching Bruce Nauman‘s (Season 1) 1978 video installation Clown Torture? Your prayers have been answered.
- The Whitney Museum of American Art announced that it will open a retrospective of Roni Horn‘s works on November 6, integrating three decades of the Season 3 artist’s sculpture, photography, installations, drawings, and books.
- A retrospective of John Baldessari’s prints are on view now until Novermber 8th at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor. Over 100 prints are included in the exhibition that spans the four decades of the Season 5 artist’s post-painting period, 1970s to the present. Through November 8.
New media tools are a rich addition to an art teacher’s toolbox and the Web is overflowing with opportunities to discover new artists and art forms. Here in San Francisco, we are fortunate to be surrounded by a myriad of creative folks. Our public media station, KQED produces two artist documentary series, Spark and Gallery Crawl which, like Art:21 Web Exclusive content, are available for free download as video podcasts from iTunes, where you can edit video podcast clips and compile them into playlists. As you start planning innovative, new curriculum for fall 2009, spend some time exploring the endless possibilities of podcasting.
Invite students to practice self-directed art study and become curators, creating thematic playlists highlighting artwork that speaks to their sensibilities. As they discover new artists on iTunes or ArtBabble.org, students should practice critical viewing skills and consider how they might create their own podcast highlighting an emerging artist from their school or community. What further questions do students have for the artists they “meet” in the videos? How would they conduct an interview? Would they include music or graphics? There are endless new media production tools available to our students today, and it’s entirely possible that they’ll be interested in starting their own artist documentary series.
For a specific example of a thematic playlist, take a look at Melanie Pullen’s interview and soldier-focused photographs in her exhibition Violent Times on Gallery Crawl and compare it with Art:21 Season 2 photographer, Collier Schorr’s series of German youth in uniform. How are Pullen and Schorr’s photographs fundamentally similar, and how do the artists’ intentions differ? How does each artist’s treatment of her subjects differ? Do the photographs seem feminine, masculine, or both? Are there other portraitists or photographers who come to mind when viewing these artists’ work? Who are they? Students might choose to create a playlist of video podcasts based on a theme or genre, and close the playlist with their own piece of media such as a video response or short film that ties in with the selected topic.
As Joe Fusaro and Olivia Gude mentioned in their panel discussion at this year’s NAEA conference, teachers should try making less art with their students and focus on thematic study of contemporary artists, considering their relation to artists throughout history. By exploring renowned and emerging artists online and learning about artists’ intentions straight from the source, students will begin to intuitively make connections with their own art-making practices, and be inspired to experiment with fresh ideas and new media tools.
- Matthew Barney (Season 2) and Elizabeth Peyton have collaborated on a site-specific installation for the Deste Foundation in Hydra, Greece. Blood of Two is on view through September 30 in the foundation’s new project space, which used to be the local slaughterhouse. Read The Moment to learn more.
- Sally Mann (Season 1), Kara Walker, Collier Schorr, Louise Bourgeois (all Season 2), Ellen Gallagher, Roni Horn (both Season 3), and Jenny Holzer (Season 4) are included in a mega display of works by women artists at Cheim & Read. The Female Gaze: Women Looking at Women opens June 25.
- Works by Gabriel Orozco (Season 2) and Josiah McElheny (Season 3) are on view in the exhibition Universal Code at The Power Plant in Toronto. Timed to coincide with the International Year of Astronomy, the exhibition presents artists responses to cosmology and ideas of the universal in the current age of information. Continues through August 30, 2009.
- The Art Newspaper reports that nearly twenty bronze sculptures in the Tasting Garden (1998), a public art project by Season 4 artist Mark Dion, have been stolen. The garden was created for the inaugural Artranspennine exhibition organized by Tate Liverpool and the Henry Moore Institute.
- Art critic Christopher Knight of the LA Times has reviewed Hipnostasis, a collaborative video and multi-screen installation by Raymond Pettibon (Season 2) and Yoshua Okon at Armory Center for Arts in Southern California.
- Read Deborah Sontag’s extensive New York Times article about Yinka Shonibare (Season 5), poetically titled Headless Bodies From a Bottomless Imagination.
Weird Beauty: Fashion Photography Now is on view at the International Center for Photography (ICP) from January 16 through May 3, 2009. Organized by Vince Aletti and Carol Squiers, the exhibition is made up of images created by more than forty photographers working in the fashion industry today. The exhibition features tear sheets, original photographic prints, and online media to highlight the original context of the photographs, as well as to illustrate the diversity that is characteristic of current fashion imagery.
Weird Beauty presents photographs derived from both widely recognized and lesser known magazines, and includes photographers not commonly associated with fashion like Collier Schorr (Season 2), who shoots for fashion publications such as Doingbird, and Nan Goldin who contributes regularly to the German children’s fashion magazine Kid’s Wear.
The concurrent exhibition, This is Not a Fashion Photograph, similarly questions perceived notions of what fashion photography is by including works by artists who are not traditionally associated with fashion. Drawn primarily from ICP’s permanent collection, This is Not a Fashion Photograph is also organized by Aletti.
Visit the events page for a full schedule of artists that will present their work in the lecture series “The Photographers.”
On October 10, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will host a public conversation between Collier Schorr (Season 2) and curator Christopher Bedford in conjunction with the exhibition Contemporary Projects 11: Hard Targets-Masculinity and Sport. The public program begins at 7pm.
The premise of the exhibition, which opens on October 9, is artists who revise the archetype of the male athlete as an aggressive, overtly heterosexual, hyper-competitive, and emotionally remote subject. Hard Targets includes works by Schorr, Mark Bradford (Season 4), Harun Farocki, Brian Jungen, Shaun Leonardo, and Joe Sola. ”Each examines the way masculinity is characterized and performed in a sporting context, and each suggests the existence of complex systems of desire and identification that accompany the way we view and consume athletes and sporting events.”
Bradford’s 2003 video Practice is included in the exhibition. In 2006, an article in LA Times Magazine quoted Bradford:
“Practice was a personal piece. At its core it was about negotiation and desire. I set up a proposition, a metaphor, in which I really simply wanted to play basketball. That’s it. But I had constructed this huge structure that was going to encumber me. I couldn’t control it, and doing what I wanted to do was a struggle. In some ways, that’s sort of how my life can be. I also knew that by taking the Lakers uniform and making it into a dress, that’s iconoclastic. I’m always interested in dismantling or questioning our icons. I want to make them problematic, awkward and uncomfortable.”
Watch a clip from Bradford’s Art:21 segment in which he discusses Practice:
Hard Targets is on view through January 18, 2009.
Plan to be in Berlin anytime soon? If so, you are in luck – the exhibition Freeway Balconies, at the Deutsche Guggenheim has been extended and will not close until October 10th. This group exhibition curated by photographer Collier Schorr (Season 2) features 19 emerging and established artists, including Art21-featured artist Raymond Pettibon (also Season 2).
This exhibition may be considered close to a particular kind of self-portrait as the works are arranged among a selection of Schorr’s own photographs. As such, Schorr sets up antagonistic relationships: spectacle vs. voyeurism, identity vs. identification, performance art vs. Hollywood cult and alternative culture vs. popular. Such relationships, often seemingly contradictory, have the ability to ignite a conversation, get the mind juicing and sometimes even the body heated. There is no certain outcome of such matches and in the name of art, who would want a finite answer? It all depends on what else of hers you’ve seen.
Schorr writes, “After reading Allen Ginsberg’s poem I had a fantasy…Ginsberg is at a gas station in the south and picks up a stranded traveler who he thinks is part of the Black Panther movement, but actually he is a Hollywood actor hoping to get into Hollywood. I guess that the conflation of identity is at the heart of this exhibition.”
Meanwhile, if you are unable to make it to Berlin anytime soon, don’t fret; there’s something for you as well. The book that accompanies the exhibition is a way to visually continue the round-table discussion that drives Schorr’s artmaking and curating.
On a closing note, here is a photograph (included in this exhibition) of and by Collier Schorr in a pose reminiscent of Hollywood favorite Marlon Brando:
For the last fifteen years Schorr (Season 2) has been documenting the life and landscapes of Schwäbisch-Gmünd, a small town in Southern Germany. Merging the identities of her subjects with her own idea of what it is to be “German,” Blumen is a play on the idea of floral arrangements. Gathering flowers from neighboring gardens and then transporting them to the higher mountaintops and slopes of the town, she then ties them together with strings which are held up by sticks. “By removing the flowers from their place of cultivation and positioning them on public land, Schorr suggests a migration or re-patriation.”
Blumen is on view through summer and also includes small black and white portraits of “the Germans” in a loose installation of pinned up images that play with scale, whereby people are dominated by the natural world. Close-ups of chairs, pears, and faucets dwarf the townspeople, “who exist in their ever changing world as almost nostalgic personages.”