The Great White North, as Canada is affectionately known, could be called something altogether different in the heated summer months. Try “Huge Hot Land” or “Expansive Land Mass Connected by Intermittent Places That Matter to Tourists.” The latter statement is definitely a bit crude, but every country is guilty of defining a nation’s arts and culture industries through a few select cities. And tourists help reaffirm the notion as they flock here when temperatures are more tolerable. In my following posts in this column, I will look at exhibitions in Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver and provide an entry point to begin to talk about art in Canada and how it shapes the nation’s identity and cultural landscape. For a country that normally gets treated like the kid sister across the border, the arts are surprisingly vibrant in Canada, with many of its artistic exports doing well internationally. And this deserves some attention. Let’s start things off with Montréal.
One of the great things about summer in Montréal is that the laissez-faire attitude which the French-Canadian city is best known for explodes to its greatest heights. As it stands now, bicycles have taken over the city, café patios (until yesterday) brimmed with boisterous World Cup watchers, and picnic real estate is at a premium in public parks. Background is critical here: Montréal’s financial situation has been on a permanent hiatus since the economically disastrous 1976 Summer Olympics pummeled it into debt. This has inadvertently contributed to a thriving arts scene and a bohemian café culture to support it. Like Berliners, Montréalers appreciate affordable housing and the leisure time to enjoy it.
Summer boasts Montréal’s submission to major international music festivals (International Jazz Festival, MUTEK, Osheaga, Fringe etc.), while major art galleries’ and museums’ stab at summer programming represents something more modest with lower-profile exhibitions.
It is neither a secret nor a surprise to know that, irregardless of broad worldly appeal, the average Louvre visitor views the Mona Lisa for a scarce fifteen seconds before moving on. In comparison to this unmoving matriarch of art history, one almost expects film and video art to defy this short attention span by virtue of its tendency to unfold over a longer period of time. However, in my capacity as both artist and critic, I have all too often witnessed people bring a new flavor of evasiveness to the viewing of time-based works. The darkened gallery space is approached tentatively like the site of an unseemly peep show, where the visitor clings hesitantly to the threshold of the room – inevitably hindering the entrance of braver souls – before slinking off with the visible shame of one who feels he/she has failed to get the point of it all.
Rather than turning a blind eye to this phenomenon, it is more productive to acknowledge the very real and physical challenges presented by film and video art in order to appreciate the transformative potential of a thorough engagement with this temporal, and sometimes spatial, burden. In a cumulative context such as the recent Images Festival (a Toronto-wide exhibition that pushes the time limits of even the most seasoned art viewer — after one day of gallery visits, my pupils had dilated to twice their usual size), these challenges can be rewarded or exacerbated by the intent of the artist, who is increasingly conscious of the viewer’s presence as an indispensable part of the finished work.
At The Power Plant, which contributed to this deluge with four separate installations, the role of the audience is immediately apparent in Peter Campus’s Anamnesis, an early work dating from 1974. From a distance, Anamnesis is a blank projection of the gallery’s empty wall with the sneakiest hint of floor, waiting for the viewer to arrive and fulfill its function as an artwork dependent upon human presence. The viewer’s arrival is captured on a closed-circuit video camera that literally pulls the body into the projected space. Even more insidious is the three-second delay that drags the appropriated likeness out-of-sync with time. These ghostly echoes preserve past movements for several disquieting moments, though even these vanish shortly after the viewer’s withdrawal from the camera’s reach, unrecorded and infinitely unique. Part of the work’s liberating appeal is owed to this lack of enforced duration and accompanying promise of a participatory voice.
A tribute to a great artist, a series of German faces, a big film of tiny things, some drawing restraint, and a bunch more in this week’s roundup:
- The Emilio and Annabianca Vedova Foundation in Venice was preparing an exhibition of works by Season 1 artist Louise Bourgeois when they received news of her death last week. The exhibition — the last in which Bourgeois was actively involved — now serves as a tribute to her life and work. Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works mostly comprises montages, collages and assemblages made of pieces of her own clothes and linen. Some fabrics in the show belonged to members of Bourgeois’s family including her mother. These works are, according to the Foundation, “a reincarnation of the past and of [Bourgeois's] childhood, as well as a testimony to her relationship with memory.” Bourgeois explained what drove her to create these works: “I make drawings to suppress the unspeakable. The unspeakable is not a problem for me. It’s even the beginning of the work. It’s the reason for the work; the motivation of the work is to destroy the unspeakable. Clothing is also an exercise of memory. It makes me explore the past: how did I feel when I wore that? They are like signposts in the search of the past.” The fabric pieces are shown together with Bourgeois’s large steel sculpture Crouching Spider (2003), a recurring motif in her work. Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works is curated by Germano Celant in collaboration with Jerry Gorovoy of the Louise Bourgeois Studio. The exhibition is on view through September 19.
- Works by Bourgeois (Season 1), and Jeff Koons (Season 5) are included in the exhibition 200 Artworks 25 Years: Artists’ Editions for Parkett, on view at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI). Organized by STPI with the cooperation of Parkett Publishers and Ikkan Sanada, the show fills five rooms with artists‘ sketches, letters and other material documenting collaborations between artists and Parkett. The rooms have been designed to evoke the feeling of different living spaces: a Studio, a Playroom, a Wardrobe, a City, and a Garden. In addition, a Reading room encourages viewers to browse Parkett‘s recent volumes and its page art projects. 200 Artworks 25 Years closes July 17.
- Friedman Benda Gallery in New York is showing works by Bourgeois, Bruce Nauman (both Season 1), and Janine Antoni (Season 2), among others, in the group exhibition Other Than Beauty. The show focuses on post-war and emerging artists, whose practices have “established new paradigms of art-making” and “disregarded the primacy of formal and aesthetic beauty.” Via the press release, “By pushing the boundaries of meaning and form, these artists have, over time, expanded our ideas of what beauty can be.” The gallery has juxtaposed works from these early artists with those from younger generations including Sterling Ruby, and Chitra Ganesh, who also “challenge our expectations and expand the lexicon of both art and beauty.” The exhibition closes July 30.
- On June 11 and 13, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will host the New York premiere of Tiny Furniture, an award winning film by Lena Dunham, daughter of Season 4 artist Laurie Simmons and painter Carroll Dunham. The film concerns the character Aura, who returns home from her Midwest liberal arts college to her artist family’s Tribeca loft with nothing to show but a film studies degree, a failed relationship, and a total lack of direction. Taking a job as a hostess at a restaurant, she falls into relationships with two self-centered men while struggling to define herself. According to BAM/IFC Films, “Dunham’s razor-sharp dialogue drips with caustic wit, perfectly calibrated to both cut and provoke laughter in this incisive examination of post-college ennui and self-actualization…” Lena Dunham writes, directs, and stars in Tiny Furniture. Simmons also makes an appearance in the film. The first screening will be held inside BAM Rose Cinemas. The second (presented in collaboration with Rooftop Films) will take place outdoors.
- Going to the World Cup or already there? See works by Kara Walker (Season 2), Jenny Holzer (Season 4) and William Kentridge, and Yinka Shonibare MBE (both Season 5) in the exhibition and event series In Context. Organized by Goodman Gallery, the Goethe-Institut, CulturesFrance, the French Institute of South Africa, the City of Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Galleria Continua, the British Council, the Apartheid Museum, the Kirsh Foundation, and Nirox Foundation, In Context brings together works by international and South African artists “who share a rigorous commitment to the dynamics and tensions of place, in reference to the African continent and its varied and complex iterations, and to South Africa in particular.”
- The 13th edition of PHotoEspaña 2010, an international festival for photography in Madrid, includes a show of approximately 60 photographs and 3 videos by Collier Schorr (Season 2) from her series German Faces. This series is described as “a photographic imaginarium that mixes documentary with fiction, where the German landscape is a map of her own story, both imagined and inherited. Combining the roles of photographer, anthropologist and researcher, [Schorr] narrates the tales of a place and time determined by memory, nationalism, war, emigration and family.” German Faces (which has been in progress for the past twenty years) is on view at PHotoEspaña through June 25.
- Through September 10, works by Robert Adams (Season 4), Mary Heilmann, and John Baldessari (both Season 5) are on view in the group exhibition On the Road at ArtPace in San Antonio, Texas. The exhibition takes its title from a book by American poet and novelist Jack Kerouac, which recounts his road trips across the United States in the late 1940s. On the Road investigates the mythology of the American motoring adventure as it began to develop in the early 1920s, with the advent of immense expansions of the highway system, particularly in the West of the country. The first part of the exhibition presents artists whose images and works have long been associated with the exploration of the West by way of the automobile. The second part is the result of a recent two-week excursion through Texas by the curator, during which a number of artifacts and documents were collected for display. Read an interview with the curator in Selectism.
- On June 12, Schaulager in Basel, Switzerland will open Prayer Sheet With the Wound and the Nail, an exhibition related to the Drawing Restraint series by Matthew Barney (Season 2). Curated by Neville Wakefield (MOMA PS1), the show includes 16 sculptures, drawings, videos, and a “Drawing Restraint Archive” of videos recently acquired by the Laurenz Foundation. According to SLAMXHYPE, these artworks will be juxtaposed with 15th and 16th century prints to, says Wakefield, “draw parallels, not only with the trials and tribulations of mark-making, but with Christian iconography and Matthew’s representation of the body in extremes.” Prayer Sheet With the Wound and the Nail will close October 3.
- A Voyage of Growth and Discovery, a collaborative project by Mike Kelley (Season 3) and Michael Smith, made a splash in Los Angeles with nearly 1,000 people attending the opening. Read the LA Times article.
- The BMW art car created by Jeff Koons (Season 5) has finally been unveiled. Read reports from the New York Times, New York Observer, Wall Street Journal, Nitrobahn, Motor Trend, and Wired.
- Vija Celmins (Season 2) talks to Phong Bui of the Brooklyn Rail about her current exhibition at David McKee Gallery.
- The Warholian has created a video about the Oakland Museum of California installation by Barry McGee (Season 1).
- The Art Newspaper has an update on the legal battle between James Turrell (Season 1) and art dealer Michael Hue-Williams.
- An LA Weekly reviewer calls work by Tim Hawkinson (Season 2) now on view at Blum + Poe “funny funny funny.”
- Variations and Improvisations, a solo exhibition of works by Robert Ryman (Season 4) on view at the Phillips Collection, is reviewed in the Washington Post.
- Design Folio has images of the individual works and installation by Hiroshi Sugimoto (Season 3) for the 17th Bienniale of Sydney.
- Laurie Anderson (Season 1) and Lou Reed presented their highly anticipated “dog concert” at the Sydney Opera House and, according to The Baltimore Sun animal blog, it received “two paws up.”
At one point, I thought that I had an understanding of what my personal practice consisted of, but it wasn’t until the end of my MFA residency that I really started to learn about the concept of ‘adaptation’ and modifying my art practice to meet certain life and educational circumstances. I remember sitting there in my emptied studio, with brown boxes to my right and garbage bags to my left, reminiscing about my two-year relationship with this studio space, coming to terms with the fact that I had now become a free-agent and was entering into my thesis year.
Concordia University in Montreal has one of the longest MFA Studio Arts program in all of Canada (probably in the world), as the typical 60 credit MFA is stretched out to three-years. From the get-go, an elusive grapevine makes it known that the third year is most likely to be the toughest because it marks the transition into this so-called ‘real world’ to become ‘real artists.’ We are without the support of our studio or seminar classes, and expected to generate a new oeuvre of work that will serve as our thesis exhibition, which will then be defended with tons of philosophical and conceptual ideas, of course…
Many of us go our separate ways in our third year. Some of my peers go on to fulfill teaching positions offered by the university, others set up shop in collectives; the choices for a third-year student are both ample and daunting. Unlike most of my peers, I decided that this year I would go an exchange with the anticipation of working on my thesis in a different part of the world and learn about art and the making of it from a different point of view.
In January, I packed my bags and went to the south of France to study arts plastiques at the Université de Provence. When I arrived, I came with certain expectations — well, preconceptions to be exact — on how a university should operate and the facilities that should be indispensable to any art student. I was surprised, to say the least.
My first week of school in France proved to be challenging, as it amplified my insecurities of studying in a foreign language, but that was only un petit défi because the real shock came when I spoke to my professor. I still recall that moment, dumbfounded with a horrified look on my face and trying my best to be composed, not to show any signs of contempt or emotional distress, especially when I sounded like a broken record, repeating the same set of questions and phrases over and over again:
– What do you mean there is no equipment to support a visual art practice?
– I have to work on my thesis.
– What do you mean there is no darkroom?
– There must be a darkroom…
– Do you have a large format printer for students?
– You don’t have that either…
– What about a wood or metal shop?
– Oh…that doesn’t exist.
– What about a digital sound-editing suite that supports Pro Tools?
– Really, there is no such thing…
– This is great news! There is a Final Cut Pro editing suite, but it’s only opened six hours a week.
I had gotten used to my life at Concordia, where I had 24-hour access to equipment and could take new media workshops at a blink of an eye. These rhetorical questions that I asked my professor made me see just how technologically dependent my visual practice had become. I had the luxury of using Hexagram, the institute for research/creation in media arts and technologies, which advocated the integration of new media in design and art. This million-dollar facility supplied: large format Mimaki and Epson inkjet printers, a Chromira LED printer, a computerized Jacquard Loom, a textile printer, a FastScan 3D scanner, a Pro Tools edit station, Final Cut Pro edit suites, and other interesting gadgets like HD video cameras, or field recording devices, and the list can go on and on. If I couldn’t find what I needed at Hexagram, there was CIAM (Centre intermédia et arts médiatique) a center that also supported the use of new media within exhibition spaces, which could satisfy the cravings of any techie artist.
When I look back at my reaction, I realized that shock has a way of putting things into perspective. It made me reflect on the need to modify my practice in order to adapt to these new circumstances, and called into question how I need to re-strategize the making of my thesis. More importantly, it made me see how difference could create opportunities for creative growth.
In today’s roundup you’ll read about 800 prints in Los Angeles, 100 acres of art in Indianapolis, 12 Polaroids near the Hudson, a 10-year survey in Ohio, two portrait busts in New York, and a one block installation in Toronto:
- The first museum survey devoted to the work of the Season 4 artist Mark Bradford opens May 8 at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio. The exhibition, titled Mark Bradford, features more than 50 works spanning the last ten years. In addition to providing a comprehensive account of Bradford’s career to date, the show will include new works created under the auspices of a Wexner Center Residency Award in Visual Arts. Among these new works is an environmental installation with sound entitled Pinocchio Is On Fire, which examines key moments in the history of the black community in Los Angeles from the early 1980s to the present (with cultural references that include the rise of HIV and crack cocaine during the 1980s, gangster rap, and mega-churches, along with aspects of the artist’s own biography). Bradford has also created two new works related to Mithra, his ark-like public art project for Prospect.1 New Orleans: a major new sculpture titled Detail, which incorporates elements from Mithra, and a film titled Across Canal that examines the conception, production, and reception of that work. Also commissioned for this show are a suite of new paintings and four new “graphite drawings.” After Mark Bradford closes at the Wexner on August 15, the exhibition will travel to four major U.S. venues: the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
- The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) has announced eight inaugural artists selected to create works for 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. The artists are Andrea Zittel (Season 1), Alfredo Jaar (Season 4), Kendall Buster, Los Carpinteros, Jeppe Hein, Tea Mäkipää, Type A, and Atelier Van Lieshout. Adjacent to the Museum and located on 100 acres that includes woodlands, wetlands, meadows and a 35-acre lake, 100 Acres will be one of the largest museum art parks in the country, and the only one to feature the ongoing commission of site-specific artworks. The park is scheduled to open June 2010.
- Art Daily reports that the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at UCLA’s Hammer Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art have jointly acquired the complete archive of prints by Los Angeles publisher Edition Jacob Samuel. The two museums have been collaborating for over two years to realize the acquisition. Since 1988, Jacob Samuel has published 43 portfolios, and his archive comprises more than 800 prints made by a wide range of over 50 international artists, including Art21 artists Andrea Zittel, Barry McGee (both Season 1), Gabriel Orozco (Season 2), and John Baldessari (Season 5). This summer the Hammer Museum will host Outside the Box: Edition Jacob Samuel, 1988-2010, a major exhibition highlighting the work in the archive.
- On May 8, Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York will open Twenty Five, a group exhibition commemorating the gallery’s 25-year history. Works from significant exhibitions at the gallery will be shown alongside new ones. Lick and Lather (1993), a series of two self-portrait busts made of chocolate and soap, created by Janine Antoni (Season 2); and an unidentified piece by Paul McCarthy (Season 5), will be included in the show. Twenty Five closes June 19.
- Through May 30, works by William Wegman (Season 1) are on view at Carrie Haddad Photographs in Hudson, New York. Polaroids features 12 of Wegman’s photographs, plus works by Mark Beard, John Dugdale, Jeri Eisenberg, Melinda McDaniel and Tanya Marcuse. The exhibition celebrates the Polaroid photographic process that once gave artists the ability to “push, pull, squish, squeeze and transfer emulsions to different surfaces.” The gallery states, “No other artist has conveyed the color, beauty and elegance of this format quite like Wegman.”
- In a recent interview with the National Post, Season 1 artist Barbara Kruger discussed her new block-long installation for Toronto’s Contact Festival, as well as Twitter transfers, movies, and her love of Canadian comedy. Read Kruger’s conversation with writer Leah Sandals here.
In today’s roundup, you’ll read about rabbits and cracked eggs, love in the Ole South, community art making in the Twin Cities, an amusement park in Paris, a family of photogenic dogs, artists in avian form, a sliced car on the move, and a few big awards, among other things:
- The short list for the 2010 Hugo Boss Prize has been announced and Season 5 artist Cao Fei is one of this year’s finalists. In a new video about the award, Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and chair of the jury, explains that the prize was created in 1996 to “honor innovation in contemporary art, and to single out artists who were creating truly inventive works of art.” The biennial award is administered by the Guggenheim Foundation and juried by an international panel of museum directors, curators, and critics. The prize sets no restrictions in terms of age, gender, race, nationality, or medium, and the nominations may include established individuals as well as emerging artists. The 2010 prize carries with it an award of $100,000. The prizewinner will be selected and announced in November 2010, and the artist’s work will be presented in a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2011. Previous winners include Art21′s Matthew Barney (Season 2), and Pierre Huyghe (Season 4).
- South African Projections, an exhibition of four short animated films by Season 5 artist William Kentridge, opens at The Jewish Museum, New York on May 2. The films — Johannesburg—2nd Greatest City after Paris; Mine; Monument; and Sobriety, Obesity and Growing Old — all revolve around two fictional Jewish characters, the bloated industrialist Soho Eckstein, and the vulnerable artist Felix Teitelbaum. They begin as alter egos of each other and exchange attributes as the sequence progresses. “The characters,” according to the museum, “metaphorically play out the social, political, and moral legacy of apartheid as they go about their lives.” The films are hand drawn using a process that Kentridge calls “Stone Age.” He creates large-scale charcoal drawings which he then erases and redraws, filming them in the process of transformation. South African Projections will be on view through September 19. (Kentridge’s solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York closes May 17.)
- Slow Fade to Black, a solo exhibition of works by Season 5 artist Carrie Mae Weems is up at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York through May 22. Through paintings, videos, and photographs, Weems presents the “burning saga of Mandingo, love, longing and the relations of power, miscegenation, and masochism simmering in the Ole South.” In this tongue-in-cheek historical drama, Weems aims to open and close the door on the past while imagining the future.
- Sexuality and Transcendence — a major group exhibition featuring works by Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, Cindy Sherman (all Season 5), Jenny Holzer (Season 4), Hiroshi Sugimoto (Season 3), Louise Bourgeois, and Matthew Barney (both Season 1), among others — is on display at the PinchukArtCentrethe in Kiev, Ukraine. The show addresses artistic approaches to and the tension between “raw sexuality and sublime transformation into transcendence.” A total of 150 individual works, many of them never shown publicly until now, are spread across twenty rooms and four floors. A large group of works by Koons form the backbone of the exhibition. Highlights include Koons’ early icon Rabbit (1986); the sculptures Cracked Egg (1994-2006), and Blue Diamond (1994-2005) from the “Celebration” series; and the unveiling of his new sculpture Balloon Rabbit. According to the press materials, “Koons’ contribution acts like a mini-retrospective on the theme that forms the core of his whole oeuvre, namely, the ambivalent relationship between sexuality and transcendence.” The exhibition continues through September 19. Peruse the online photo gallery here.
- Photographs and videos by Season 1 artist William Wegman are on view at the newly refurbished City Art Centre in Edinburgh. This show is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, Scotland’s largest annual festival of visual art. William Wegman: Family Combinations focuses on the artist’s famous family of Weimaraners. Featuring more than 60 works, the exhibition illustrates the family tree of Wegman’s muse Fay and her offspring. The show consists of Polaroids, chromogenic, silver gelatin and digital prints, as well as a selection of video clips from Sesame Street. This is Wegman’s first comprehensive solo show in Scotland.
- On May 1, Season 4 artist Pierre Huyghe will present his performance piece A Live Situation (2009-10) at Le Jardin d’Acclimatation, a children’s amusement park in Paris. At the far end of the park stands an empty building that was once a folk museum. An “identity crisis” led to its closing. Huyghe’s live experiment occupies this building and involves about thirty players. Some take the part of personnel: director, guard, archivist, receptionist, etc. Others, the “interpreters,” play out situations and stories of historical significance or from recent pop culture. Also involved are “authors of culture” and specialists from different fields; they perform in the roles of, for example, actor, model, singer, comedian, magician, mentalist, hypnotist, jurist, or lawyer. This project has unfolded over the course of one year and changes with every presentation. This will be the third and final episode.
- The Museum of Modern Art’s (MOMA) recent exhibition of works by Season 2 artist Gabriel Orozco is now on view at Switzerland’s Kunstmuseum Basel. The retrospective comprises installations, sculptures, photographs, paintings and drawings created by the artist since the early 1990s. To learn more about this show, see these articles on MoMA’s installation: “Slicing a Car, Fusing Bicycles and Turning Ideas Into Art,” New York Times; “A Whale of a Return to MoMA,” New York Times; “Gabriel Meets the Globe,” Artnet; “Don’t Knock the White Box,” Artinfo; “Sightlines: Great Bones,” Wall Street Journal; “Man of the World,” The New Yorker; and “Gabriel Orozco: The Art of the Readymade,” WNYC. Gabriel Orozco is on view in Switzerland through August 8.
- Last week, Season 3 artist Oliver Herring took his community art making party, Task, to the Twin Cities for a collaboration between Bethel University and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). See the MinnPost, and Minnesota Public Radio.org for more on Task. Herring’s work has been on view at both Bethel and MCAD since mid-April. MCAD’s exhibition of the artist’s sculptures closes today. Bethel’s exhibition continues through May 30.
- Season 2 artist Kiki Smith is featured in the new documentary film The Red Birds, in which director Brigitte Cornand imagines fourteen of her female artist friends in avian form. Reviewer Jeanette Catsoulis wrote this in the New York Times: “Matching voices to species — like the whiskey tones of Louise Bourgeois to the distinctive cardinal — [Cornand] layers interview fragments over rustic images of flocking and flying. Casting a playful eye on a serious topic — the relative invisibility of female artists in our culture — Ms. Cornand cannily keeps her subjects off camera and her lens on their feathered representatives. As each woman relives obstacles on her road to success, birds waddle, perch, peck and paddle, their serenity a balm to memories of conflict and self-doubt.” The Red Birds is only showing at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan.
- Barbara Kruger (Season 1) has a new self-titled monograph published by Rizzoli USA. This is the most comprehensive volume on Kruger’s work to date. The book explores the past thirty years of her practice, and includes contributions by Miwon Kwon, Martha Gever, Carol Squiers, and Hal Foster. Designed to embody a manifesto-like aesthetic, the book presents “bold spreads” of the artist’s large-scale works and public projects, and many previously unpublished works.
- Season 3 artist Jessica Stockholder will be honored by the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, BC, Canada at the 2010 convocation to be held on May 1. The artist will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters. Past honorary degree recipients include filmmaker Stan Douglas.
- The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has received a major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to commence work on the Panza Collection Conservation Initiative. The first phase of the Initiative is a three-year project to evaluate Minimalist, Post-Minimalist, and Conceptual works in the collection, focusing on four key American artists: Bruce Nauman (Season 1), Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Lawrence Weiner. You can view the Panza Collection here. Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, the man for whom the collection is named, passed away over the weekend. Read about his life and legacy in the Los Angeles Times.
Art21′s Open Enrollment column is a forum for nine people currently enrolled in some form of art graduate study to take on a variety of topics and to challenge some of the existing conventions concerning the education of artists and art professionals. It will also serve as a document on the current state of advanced study in art.
Over the next several months, we eight will speak from our very different perspectives to cover a variety of topics: the crit, life after graduation, the educational canon, the role of history in art practice, the studio vs. the field, interdisciplinary study, competition, and many others.
So, to introduce you to ourselves and to the Open Enrollment column, Vency Yun and myself, Matthew Newton, have profiled our fellow bloggers and their schools to give you some perspective on who we are and how we are being educated.
First, Vency presents Lily Rossebo, Jeffrey Augustine Songco, Oliver Wunsch, and Daniel Ingroff while I profile Mike Brenner, Corina Reynolds, and Carrie McGath. Please enjoy this peek into our worlds, feel free to comment on this and future posts, and thank you for reading!
Vency Yun: It is 3pm in France and I’m sitting in my apartment with my afternoon café crème in hand, waiting for Lily, who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, to Skype me. In many ways, this feels like the first day of school, where I’m about to meet four of my classmates: Lily (Edinburgh College of Art), Jeffrey (San Francisco Art Institute), Oliver (Williams College), and Daniel (The Mountain School of Arts) for the first time. Except our school is in cyberspace where they, like me, have registered for this Open Enrollment virtual classroom, to share and to write about our graduate school experiences. So this entry will be like a diary, where I note down what I so humbly learned from each person in contrast to the experiences that I’ve had at Concordia University in Montreal — because after all, I am a student who learns from her peers.
One artist in Rome, four artists in San Francisco, three artist talks from the U.S. to the U.K., and more in this week’s roundup:
- On April 9, Gagosian Gallery Rome will open an exhibition of eight new drawings by Season 1 artist Richard Serra. Serra began working on Greenpoint Rounds in late spring of 2009. In these large-scale works, each measuring 80 inches square, a large black circle is embedded in the surface of heavy paper. According to the gallery, “Each drawing exerts a vastly different energy and exudes a singular character.” Using heated paint-stick, gummy or fluid in state, Serra built up the material so that each drawing has its own unique surface. On view through May 15.
- Tonight at 6pm, Season 1 artist Andrea Zittel will speak at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The artist will describe how her studio in the high desert of California serves both as a space for exploration and as a place for crafting and presenting objects, materials, spaces and ideas. Purchase tickets here.
- Don’t Piss on Me and Tell Me it’s Raining – an exhibition curated by the contemporary art news and audio site Bad at Sports – will open at apexart in New York on April 7. The exhibition features over 100 objects, images and ephemera submitted by Bad at Sports contributors and guests of the show. Art21 artists Kerry James Marshall (Season 1), and Raymond Pettibon (Season 2) are two of the many participants. Follow @Bad at Sports and the hashtag #basapex on Twitter to get the deets on exhibition installation and events.
- The Spring 2010 issue of The Georgia Review features ten images by Season 2 artist Kara Walker. Titled Riots and Outrages, the portfolio has been culled from two recent shows: Walker’s 2007 solo exhibition Bureau of Refugees, and a show (with Season 4 artist Mark Bradford) at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. last year. The title of the feature was inspired by a list of “Riots and Outrages” committed by whites that Walker discovered in the archives of the short-lived Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, the federal agency that supervised relief efforts and documented conditions related to Civil War refugees and freedmen.
- On April 9, Season 3 artist Ellen Gallagher will appear at Tate Liverpool in conversation with Romi Crawford, professor of Literature, Africana and Visual Critical Studies in the Liberal Arts Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The event – held in conjunction with the exhibition Afro Modern – begins at 6pm. Purchase tickets here.
- Mapping Identity, a group exhibition in the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College, explores aspects of contemporary cultural identity and the effects of displacement, exile, transnationalism, hybridity, cosmopolitanism, and the state of the “in-between.” Works by Shahzia Sikander (Season 1) and Do-Ho Suh (Season 2) are included. The Philadelphia Inquirer says, “What becomes especially vivid in this display is the extent to which the work underlines the diversity and imaginative energy of artists supposedly on the periphery.” Mapping Identity is on view through April 30.
- Works by Kiki Smith, Raymond Pettibon (both Season 2), Laurie Simmons (Season 4), and Julie Mehretu (Season 5) are currently installed in the gallery of Arion Press, the printer-publishing company located in San Francisco. On view are sixteen images of Smith’s own hair for I Love My Love, a ballad by Scottish-born San Francisco poet Helen Adam; Pettibon’s prints for Arion’s forthcoming edition of South of Heaven by Jim Thompson; Simmons’s photographs for a new limited edition of Mrs. Bridge, a mid-twentieth-century fiction novel by Evan S. Connell; and a print by Mehretu for Arion’s forthcoming edition of poetry by Sappho.
- On April 11, Mehretu will speak at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The artist (a Core Fellow at the museum’s Glassell School of Art in the late 1990s) will discuss her work, including her new suite of paintings in the exhibition Julie Mehretu: Grey Area, now traveling from Berlin to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where it will open in May. The event begins at 2pm and is free and open to the public.
- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has acquired Untitled (Dementia) by Season 4 artist Mark Bradford. Created in 2009, the twelve-panel piece is made from posters advertising services to Alzheimers sufferers. “While invoking the history of collage and its incorporation of the everyday and the readymade into the work of art,” states the press release, “Untitled (Dementia) is also a melancholic reminder of the economy it reflects, the trace of a world that formulates itself below the radar and a metaphor of forgotten histories.” Untitled (Dementia) is on view at PAFA through April 11 in the exhibition Philagrafika 2010: The Graphic Unconscious. The piece will be on view again from June 26-September 12 in an exhibition of selections from PAFA’s permanent collection.
- This is the last week to see work by Cao Fei (Season 5) at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design. The group exhibition The Storyteller looks at contemporary artists who use narrative as a way to understand the social and political events of our time. Closes April 9.
- The New York Times Magazine article Can Animals Be Gay?, about the science of same-sex pairings in animals, features a series of conceptual images by Jeff Koons (Season 5). View the slideshow.
- The Toronto Star blog reports that the Art Gallery of Ontario has commissioned an outdoor installation by Barbara Kruger (Season 1) in conjunction with the Contact Festival next month. The piece will span an entire city block. Read more about it here.
- Laurie Anderson (Season 1) has announced her first studio album in a decade, featuring songs from her Homeland stage project. The LP, to be released this summer, will feature contributions from Four Tet, Antony Hegarty, and Anderson’s husband Lou Reed. The Guardian has the scoop.
Melancholy photographs, bronze truisms, museum interventions, a giant battleship, and more in today’s roundup:
- Tonight at 6pm, Season 5 artist Doris Salcedo will speak at the Americas Society in New York City. The event is part of Vis-à-vis, a series of conversation between artists, curators, and critics from the Western Hemisphere. Salcedo (who created a colossal crack in the floor of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2007) is among the nearly 200 artists, architects, and designers invited to imagine interventions in the Guggenheim’s famed rotunda for the exhibition Contemplating the Void. According to Artistbloc.com, Salcedo’s “mash-up art piece [at the Guggenheim] combines a downward view of the rotunda with a photograph of a New York tenement by the German-born artist Hans Haacke. The tenement photograph, part of his series documenting the holdings of a local real-estate baron, was scheduled to be featured in the 1971 Haacke show at the Guggenheim that was canceled for what were widely believed at the time to be political concerns by the museum’s director.” At the Americas Society Salcedo, and artist Javier Téllez, will discuss their work, artistic visions, and related issues in contemporary art. Click here to register for the event.
- On March 26, Guggenheim New York will open Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance, a two-part exhibition that surveys photographic imagery since the 1960s that “seems to view history with melancholy or mourning.” Drawn primarily from the Guggenheim Museum collection, Haunted will feature recent acquisitions, many of which will be exhibited by the museum for the first time. Included in the show are works by Art21 artists Sally Mann (Season 1), Roni Horn, Hiroshi Sugimoto (both Season 3), An-My Lê (Season 4), and Cindy Sherman (Season 5). Haunted, part one, runs through September 6. Part two opens June 4.
- On March 24 at 4pm, Season 4 artist Alfredo Jaar will lecture at the University of Connecticut about his work around the Rwandan genocide. His six-year investigative piece, The Rwanda Project, 1994-2000, was created in response to “the criminal indifference of the world community in the face of a genocide that claimed one million lives.” Eight years after Jaar completed The Rwanda Project, he was invited to create a monument to victims of the genocide. As part of his design process, he visited existing memorials and accumulated new visual materials that are at the center of his new work, We wish to inform you that we didn’t know, a three-channel video, on view at the University of Connecticut’s Contemporary Arts Gallery through April 22.
- Season 5 artist Yinka Shonibare MBE is making history with a new commission for the Fourth Plinth of London’s Trafalgar Square. According to Sun News, his installation will be the first commission to reflect specifically on the historical symbolism of the Square, which commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar. It is also the first of such commissions by a black artist. Scheduled to be unveiled on May 24, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle is a 16 x 8 foot replica of the battleship HMS Victory set in a giant bottle. Listen to the artist discuss the project here.
- Season 4 artist Jenny Holzer is recipient of the 6th Award to Distinguished Women in the Arts, presented by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA). Established in 1994 to recognize “the many gifted women providing leadership and innovation in the visual arts, dance, music, and literature,” the bronze plaque given to each recipient was designed by Holzer and features one of her truisms: “It is in your self-interest to find a way to be very tender.” An award luncheon will be held in Holzer’s honor on April 28.
- About Jenny Holzer (2009), a documentary film about the artist, will screen at Montreal’s Festival International of Films on Art (FIFA). Directed by Claudia Müller, who followed Holzer over a ten-year period, the film traces the artist’s career from the late 1970s to her LED installations of today. FIFA continues through March 28. (Also screening at FIFA is “Transformations,” the Season 5 episode of Art:21 – Art in the Twenty-First Century featuring Cindy Sherman, Paul McCarthy and Yinka Shonibare MBE.)
- How to Appear Invisible (2009), a film by Allora & Calzadilla (Season 4) that documents the demolition of a prominent landmark of the former German Democratic Republic, is showing at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver through April 25. The piece is part of the group exhibition After the Gold Rush, which explores post-event “afterness.” The show is meant to call attention to Vancouver’s own experience post-Olympic Games.
Though it’s been a particularly busy past few weeks here at Art21 production HQ – creating new exclusive videos, shooting the preparation and rehearsals for William Kentridge’s Nose production at the Metropolitan Opera, and in general getting ready for our next season – this has also been quite a fertile time for documentary screenings. So I thought I’d extend my last post and talk about some more hard-to-resist documentary offerings in New York City and beyond.
But first, in my last post, I mentioned the passing of the acclaimed documentary editor Karen Schmeer. One of the very hopeful things to come out of this very, very sad event is the establishment of the Karen Schmeer Editing Fellowship. Here’s the description in the words of the website:
“The Karen Schmeer Editing Fellowship has been established to honor the memory and spirit of Karen. The yearlong experience encourages and champions the talent of an emerging editor. The fellowship provides opportunities to help cultivate an editor’s artistry and craft and to expand his or her professional and creative community.”
Now, on to the screenings. This programming can’t really be defined as art-related, though; the films are a little too important and interesting to pass up for editorial niceties. First, I really need to mention the yearlong screening series of the films of legendary and still active documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman at the Modern Museum of Art in New York. MoMA is showing all his films to date – a remarkable 39 works, including his latest project, Boxing Gym (2009) – through the end of the year. If you’re anywhere in the area, it behooves you to at least catch one. And if you’re interested in an almost encyclopedic depiction of the world on film, then take this probably once in a lifetime chance and see all of them (and if you do, I’d love to hear from you). Though I’m sad to report that classics like Titicut Follies (1967) – once banned by the Massachusetts Supreme Court – and High School (1968) have already shown, there’s still a lot of great screenings left. Next up is Juvenile Court (1973) on March 18. Go here for the schedule. And if you’re looking for a little help in navigating an admittedly intimidating body of work, check out filmmaker and avowed Wiseman fan Errol Morris’s amusingly alternative guide here.