In this week’s roundup Cao Fei celebrates abundance, Julie Mehretu has two concurrent solo shows, Raymond Pettibon and Judy Pfaff are honored, several artists’ works help recall the year 1993, and much more.
- Cao Fei installed a giant inflatable pig sculpture on the Promenade at West Kowloon (Hong Kong). House of Treasures is meant to be light-hearted while exploring the roots of its projected aura of fun. The work is on view through June 9.
- Julie Mehretu‘s work will be on view at the Marian Goodman Gallery (NYC). Liminal Squared includes a series of new paintings and a suite of five new etchings. According to the gallery, “The works were created over the past three years in New York in the aftermath of events of the Arab Spring which were the point of departure for the monumentally scaled Mogamma (In Four Parts), 2012, recently presented at Documenta (13), 2012, Kassel.” The exhibition will be open to the public May 11 – June 22.
- Julie Mehretu also has her first major solo exhibition in London, at the White Cube Bermondsey. Liminal Squared will include more new paintings, “some of which will be presented within a specially constructed environment designed by David Adjaye in close collaboration with the artist,” the gallery said in a press release. This will run concurrently with the show at the Marian Goodman Gallery. It is on view through July 7.
- Tim Hawkinson is presenting new work at the Pace Gallery (NYC). The self-titled Tim Hawkinson draws inspiration from the artist’s own garden and its sculptures focus on the interplay of movement, gravity, and environment. The exhibition runs through June 29.
- El Anatsui, among others, will be in Abu Dhabi as part of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s Talking Art Series of discussions and workshops. The events will take place May 6 – 8.
- Janine Antoni, Ida Applebroog, Matthew Barney, Ann Hamilton, Mike Kelley, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Paul McCarthy, Gabriel Orozco, Pepón Osorio, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, and Andrea Zittel, among others are featured in a group show at the New Museum (NYC). NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star is “conceived as a time capsule, an experiment in collective memory that attempts to capture a specific moment at the intersection of art, pop culture, and politics.” The work is on view through May 26.
We’re a couple of weeks into the new year, and so in the interest of getting organized, here’s a preview of what to see in New York in the upcoming months:
New Museum: NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star (February 13–May 26, 2013)
The 1990s, which can still feel very relevant if you associate that time with being twenty, has now become a subject of historical study. Have we really reached this place? The New Museum is mounting a massive five-floor survey, entitled, NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, for those of you who recognize the Sonic Youth album title. The exhibition is focused on that pivotal year in which a decade begins shaking off its predecessor (the tenacious eighties, in this case—its overblown fashions, $$, angular haircuts, and hard-edged living) and establishing its own identity.
The Clinton nineties, what I still think of mistily as the gentle nineties, are refracted through the lens of their emerging artists, who take on global and national events (Waco, Texas; the LGBT March on Washington), and the irreverent dialogue between mainstream and underground. NYC 1993 promises to include reconstructions of exhibitions and installations from that year, and to trace an artistic trajectory reaching forward to the present. As if that isn’t exciting enough, here is just a small sample of the participating artists: Glenn Ligon, Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney, Cindy Sherman (the four of whom are featured on Art21), Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Nari Ward, Coco Fusco, David Hammons, Andrea Fraser, and John Currin.
One of the biggest problems facing teachers today (besides the fanatics who want us to walk around schools with guns) is the fact that many kids just don’t like to read. As excited as I may get about certain books, articles and interviews, it’s the rare occasion when a student goes the distance and actually reads, never mind purchases, a work that is recommended unless it’s assigned and part of a graded project.
Contemporary artists and performers offer pathways into literature for the hard-to-inspire. Artists such as Glenn Ligon, Jenny Holzer, and even performances like the off-Broadway production of My Name is Asher Lev offer students ways to get inspired and involved with literature from different starting points.
Glenn Ligon’s appropriated text-based works ask students to look through (and into) quotes by Walt Whitman, Zora Neal Hurston, Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin and even Richard Pryor in order to examine the connections between what the quotes say, how the artist frames it, and what the sum of these parts produce.
Jenny Holzer’s Truisms, created by distilling an extensive reading list featuring both Eastern and Western literature and philosophy, allow students to visualize and make sense of the larger meaning behind so many of her “summaries”.
Next week, I am fortunate enough to be attending a performance of Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev at the Westside Theater in New York City with one of my classes. It’s before, during and after this play that I am looking forward to sharing the story about Asher in order to inspire great work and great works of art with them. We will soon be working with quotes from both the book and performance in order to instigate not just works of art, but also debates and discussions around what it means to be an artist today.
When works of literature make the leap to places like canvas, articles of clothing, electronic signs, billboards, subway cards and stages, options for teaching with (not necessarily instead of) the printed page become more attractive.
For more information about teaching with works by Glenn Ligon, download our season 6 educator guide here. Jenny Holzer and artists from the season 4 educator guide can be found here. And for information about current performances of My Name is Asher Lev, please visit asherlevtheplay.com.
Students came to class yesterday with works in progress that were inspired by our recent visit to see Visual Conversations at the Fisher Landau Center for Art. In my previous post two weeks ago I said that I was interested in encouraging students to draw relationships between works of art and to think about how context affects what we see. Can works of art “speak” to the viewer or have “conversations” with other works? If so, how? Today was the day, after a long Thanksgiving weekend, for the group to share works in progress and get some feedback from one another.
What initially impressed me as we took a look at the works was that students were inspired by a variety of pieces in the show, rather than choosing a popular few, and many began with both ideas and techniques featured in the exhibition. Mark Tansey’s monochromatic works inspired a very different approach to rendering forms with one student while Andy Warhol’s self portraits gave way to new considerations around what can be a “portrait”. I saw students who chose Ed Ruscha’s billboard-like paintings and created works of delicate beauty in response to the large, imposing pieces featured in Visual Conversations.
As students spoke about their work and got feedback from each other, I began to realize that the “conversation” was not so much about what they created after seeing the show, it was about the kind of conversation these works inspired within the students themselves. For example, one student was enamored with a portrait of Emily Fisher Landau and spent almost a full hour with the work sketching and making notes. As she reflected on the painting, she was able to begin articulating an interest in both beauty and power, which may or may not become her focus for a series of works this year.
One of the biggest reasons to get students to see Visual Conversations with me was simply to see works of art in person. Teaching about particular forms and approaches to art making without the actual experience of seeing the work firsthand is extremely difficult and it’s why, whenever I can, that I encourage colleagues to take students OUT of the building to engage directly with works of art. You don’t always need a big museum, either. Sometimes the best works to teach with are within our own communities. It’s amazing, really, that we spend so much time with our students making things and not nearly enough time looking at and discussing art in order to create work that is more meaningful, informed, driven by big ideas, and of course, well designed.
In this week’s roundup Cai Guo-Qiang is a 2012 prize laureate, Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman are honored, Laurie Anderson performs in Albuquerque, several artist celebrate Warhol, Walton Ford designs the Stones’ album cover and more.
- Cai Guo-Qiang won the Praemium Imperiale, an international arts prize patronized by Japan’s ruling dynasty, worth 15 million yen ($192,600). This is a global arts prize awarded annually by the Japan Art Association.
- Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman will be honored at the Hammer Museum’s 10th anniversary Gala in the Garden, which will include a performance by singer Katy Perry. Actor Steve Martin will present the tribute to Sherman and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow will make the presentation for Kruger. This year’s Gala is set for October 6.
- Carrie Mae Weems is having her first comprehensive retrospective, which opened at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville, TN). Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video includes some 225 photographs, videos and installations, from her earliest, never-before-published ’70s documentary photographs to brand-new pieces. It will travel to the Portland Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts and the Guggenheim Museum. The Frist show is on view through January 13.
- Kalup Linzy celebrated Andy Warhol at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC). Linzy performed as Kaye (who the artist refers to as the “Romantic Loner”) in a video and live performance that comprised this weekend’s Warhol Cabaret. The event was part of the kickoff for the museum’s new exhibition Regarding Warhol which also features work by Ai Weiwei, John Baldessari, Matthew Barney, Vija Celmins, Alfredo Jaar, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Glenn Ligon, Allan McCollum, Bruce Nauman, Catherine Opie, Cindy Sherman, Hiroshi Sugimoto and many more. The exhibition runs through December 31.
- Walton Ford joins a list that has included Andy Warhol, Guy Peellaert and Peter Corriston by designing the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary album. For the cover of The Rolling Stones, GRRR!, the compilation album due out in November, Ford recontextualised John Pasche’s iconic lips-and-lolling-tongue logo.
- Laurie Anderson is a featured speaker at the Inter-society for Electronic Arts (ISEA2012) conference in Albuquerque, NM. For A Conversation with Laurie Anderson & Tom Leeser Anderson will speak with Leeser, co-leader for The Cosmos: Radical Cosmologies theme. This event takes place on September 24.
One of my students read last week’s post and was interested in playing devil’s advocate by asking a few more questions about the recent New York Close Up segment, David Brooks Tears the Roof Off. Since some of the questions he brought up were similar to others discussed in the high school and graduate classes I teach, I asked if it was ok to share the questions with all of you and answer them as best I could in this week’s column. If you have anything to add, please feel free! Here goes….
Joe, couldn’t a creative roofer have completed the same project? Was an artist really necessary for a work like this?
First, very few roofers, even fancy ones, are being approached or directly involved with the Art Production Fund, who arranged for David Brooks to complete the project at this particular site- the last piece of empty, undeveloped space in Times Square. Works installed here, including a recent installation by Kiki Smith, have a connection to the surrounding area or make a connection in the work to the context itself. A “creative roofer” could not simply propose a similar project out of nowhere, and even if they did they wouldn’t be telling the same story or making the same associations, so it would be a completely different work even it looked exactly the same.
Wouldn’t a video feature like the one presented on New York Close Up have helped viewers enjoy the piece more? Why is so little information presented in spaces, especially galleries, featuring contemporary art?
More and more venues, particularly some of the larger museums such as Mass MoCA, offer plenty when it comes to giving viewers a narrative about what they are looking at. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it actually interferes by trying to dress up an otherwise lackluster work or exhibition. But the bottom line is that the artist and curator have to work out how much is going to be said (told?) up front and how much will be left for the viewer to surmise. I am sure David Brooks could have told his story from start to finish in a variety of ways for those passing by on the street, but that would be David telling viewers what the piece means to him and the associations he makes when he sees the completed work in context (because, as you know, David never saw the work complete until it was, well, complete. This is not a sculpture that was moved from another location. Rather, it was site-specific). David is interested in the connections and associations that viewers themselves make when seeing this installation. As an artist I too am more interested in what viewers bring to the work than whether I can tell the entire story for them. Continue reading »
Printeresting.org came on the scene in 2008 as a breath of sorely needed fresh air for printmaking enthusiasts. Its motto: “The thinking person’s favorite online resource for interesting printmaking miscellany.” Indeed, any and everything to do with this medium is covered in frequent posts to the website, a majority of which are written by its three founders, Amze Emmons, R.L. Tillman, and Jason Urban, who are also artists, curators, critics, and professors. The three of them recently agreed to answer a few questions on what makes them – and the website – tick.
Sarah Kirk Hanley: The three of you met at the famed University of Iowa Printmaking program, from which you each received your MFA in 2002. What is it about the place that inspires such devotion to the medium? Do you think it’s an egg or a chicken thing?
Iowa has a long print tradition going back to Mauricio Lasansky. At the time we chanced into one of its largest classes of graduate printmakers in decades. Along with all of our peers, we were crammed together into a ramshackle rabbit warren of studio spaces. This made for a lively environment that was competitive but also supportive. As for why the joint continues to generate such interest, at this point the relationship is cyclical, and probably somewhat self-sustaining. There are a lot of chickens willing to go to Iowa, and they’re probably looking for the egg – or an omelet.
Fans of contemporary paper-based art are indulged with an especially fine and varied dining experience this spring and summer in New York. Groups shows at The Museum of Modern Art, The International Print Center New York, The Lower East Side Printshop, Susan Inglett Gallery, Larissa Goldston Gallery, and Christopher Henry Gallery, among others, offer opportunities to relish a wide range of outstanding examples of both editioned and unique works on paper (both of-the-moment and historical), while solo exhibitions for Richard Diebenkorn, Nicole Eisenman, Shepard Fairey, and Diane Victor showcase the exceptional talents of these four artists in the realm of prints. As Ink goes to press, three of these exhibitions have closed (Diebenkorn, Eisenman, Victor), but there is still time to experience the others (though one must move at lightning speed to catch a few of them, closing today or over the weekend).
Richard Diebenkorn: Prints 1961-1992 at Greenberg Van Doren Gallery (closed June 29), was an exceedingly rare treat of the highest order. Organized to complement a traveling exhibition of his Ocean Park series that is currently on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art through September 23 (its final venue), this carefully curated exhibition showcased a selection of pristine impressions from the artist’s estate. The visitor was greeted with a small group of rarely-exhibited lithographs from the artist’s figurative period of the sixties (many can be seen here). Seated Woman, 1968, is among the most stunning and elegant figurative images of the Twentieth Century. The larger space of the gallery was a selection of Ocean Park Series prints, most of which were printed at Crown Point Press. In her essay for the exhibition catalogue, CPP founder and master printer Kathan Brown, who had a long and fruitful relationship with the artist, states these prints are “the most complex and subtle use of color aquaint that I know of by any artist at any time in history” – a profound statement from one who has dedicated her life to that medium. (If you missed it, a handful of the same prints are on view in the exhibition at the Corcoran.)
Our latest Exclusive video is now live! Watch Glenn Ligon: Installing “Warm Broad Glow II” on Art21.org.
Filmed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in early 2011, this Exclusive video shows artist Glenn Ligon as he installs his twenty-foot neon artwork Warm Broad Glow II (2011) in the museum’s front window before the opening of his mid-career retrospective “Glenn Ligon: AMERICA.” With assistance from curator Scott Rothkopf and neon fabricator Matt Dilling, Ligon works to determine the best placement on the neon while battling against wind, rain, window mullions, and a view-obscuring hotdog vendor. Ligon selected the text “Negro Sunshine” from the Gertrude Stein novella ”Melanctha” (1909) and has used the phrase in projects of varying media.
Glenn Ligon is featured in the Season 6 (2012) episode History of the Art in the Twenty-First Century series on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes, or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.
The new Season 6 educators’ guide is now available as a quick and easy downloadable PDF. As we celebrate the broadcast of our new season, I thought this week might be a good time to highlight some of what the new guide has to offer educators interested in teaching with contemporary art.
First, the new guide has a lot of the same great introductory features from previous seasons. You get to learn about Art21 and the philosophy behind the organization of the guide in the first three pages. Simple, straight up and to the point.
Also within the introduction, on pages 4 and 5, there is a short description titled “What Is Contemporary Art?” and ideas for utilizing contemporary art in the classroom and community.
Each of the Season 6 programs is organized around a theme and all four themes, along with the artists featured, are described in the thematic introductions. A broad overview of the theme is presented in addition to introducing the artists with some foundational discussion questions.
Then, beginning with Marina Abramović’s page, each artist is given the star treatment complete with information about the artist, questions to share before, while, and after viewing, along with suggestions for creating different kinds of work in response to the segment.
It’s hard for me to have “favorites” because I wrote our new educator guide with the blessed help of my colleagues Jessica Hamlin and Flossie Chua. But when I reflect on the artists featured this season I just know I’ll be using artists like Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui, David Altmejd, Glenn Ligon, Catherine Opie, Rackstraw Downes, Tabaimo and Sarah Sze in the classroom… probably sooner than later. I think about how artists like Ai Weiwei and Tabaimo can broaden student understanding of what an artist does. I think about sharing the passion David Altmejd and Rackstraw Downes have for their work. I think about the way Catherine Opie and Sarah Sze speak to what students already know about their world.
I sincerely hope you get the chance to spend some time with the new guide and episodes from our new season. Once you have, please let me know your thoughts here on the blog or e-mail me at email@example.com
Many thanks! See you next week.