James N. Wood 1941-2010

June 13, 2010 · Print This Article

Getty Trust President and former Art Institute of Chicago Director James N. Wood died late Friday night of natural causes. Mr. Wood, age 69, was reportedly in good health and his death was unexpected. Board chairman Mark S. Siegel announced Saturday:

James N. Wood

Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

We are deeply saddened to announce that J. Paul Getty Trust President and CEO James N. Wood has passed away suddenly of natural causes.

Jim was internationally recognized as a leader in the arts. His passion for the visual arts and quiet, yet firm leadership were a perfect fit for the Getty. We were able to entice Jim to come to the Getty out of retirement, after 25 years as the head of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in just a little over three years under Jim’s leadership, the Getty moved forward in significant ways toward a renewed and strengthened mission.

Jim valued collaboration, and he reinforced that value at the Getty. Working with the Board, Jim led a strategic planning process that emphasized ways in which the Getty’s four programs could work together to further enhance the institution’s already strong worldwide reputation. He also saw the Getty as a catalyst to encourage Los Angeles’ many outstanding visual arts institutions to collaborate, strengthening our region’s stature as a major cultural center.

He was a private man, who acted with great kindness, strength, and dignity. The Board and the Getty’s entire staff mourn his loss, and we extend our deepest sympathy to Jim’s wife, Emese, their daughters Lenke and Rebecca, and their families.

Wood served as director and president of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1980-2004, after which he retired with his wife Emese to Rhode Island before his appointment as President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust in December 2006. He assumed his position as CEO in February 2007, after an extensive search conducted by the Board of Trustees.

Prior to directing the Art Institute of Chicago, Wood was the director of The St. Louis Art Museum (1975-1980), an adjunct professor of art history at SUNY at Buffalo and associate director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. He also held positions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Wood sat on the boards of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, the Harvard University Art Museums, and the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design. He was also president of the board of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

Wood, 69, received his B.A. with honors in Art History from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. and his M.A. from the Institute for Fine Arts at New York University. He also holds a diploma from the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy. Wood’s areas of specialization included European paintings and sculpture of the 16th to 20th centuries, American painting and sculpture of the 19th to 20th centuries, and photography.

Arrangements are pending.

Episode 250: Nato Thompson

June 13, 2010 · Print This Article

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Nato Thompson
This week: Holy bicenquinquagenary Batman! Brian and Duncan (and guest stars including but not limited to Randall Szott) talk to Creative Time chief curator, author, and all around interesting guest Nato Thompson.

This show is the second in the series of interviews recorded at the Open Engagement conference at which Mr. Thompson was a guest. This series already charts among some of my favorites in the history of the show. Enjoy!

Since January 2007, Nato has organized major projects for Creative Time such as Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), Paul ChanÂ’s acclaimed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007) and Mike Nelson’s A Psychic Vacuum. Previous to Creative Time, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions such as The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004), a survey of political art of the 1990s with a catalogue distributed by MIT Press.

His writings have appeared in numerous publications including BookForum, Art Journal, tema celeste, Parkett, Cabinet and The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. The College Art Association awarded him for distinguished writing in Art Journal in 2004. He recently curated an exhibition for Independent Curators International titled Experimental Geography with a book available by Melville House Publishing. His book on art and activism is due out by Autonomedia in October 2009.

Superclogger: LA Traffic Jam Puppet Theater

June 11, 2010 · Print This Article

superclogger

As of June 1st if you are stuck in LA traffic you have one more option added to your short list of ways to pass the 72 hours a year you spend on the road: music, cell phone, yelling at the drivers around you & now existentialist puppet theater. Yes a theater in the back of a pickup that talks about chaos, control & the role of mankind in this short time we have on earth.

Artist Joel Kyack & Peter Fuller perform from the back of their white nondescript pickup truck and via short range radio broadcasts the spoken/soundtrack performance material is available to nearby drivers to have a relaxed intimate theater of the mind at 5mph.

Every performance of Superclogger except for two special showings will be during evening rush hours on different freeways across LA (The list is below) until September 24th. After that it will appear at the Hammer Museum, September 25th, 1-4pm. The Hammer Museum is located at 10899 Wilshire BoulevardLos Angeles, CA 90024.

Performance Dates & Locations

June 11

110 N & 110 S Fwys (Between Downtown and Hollywood)

July 2

10 E Fwy (Between PCH and Downtown)

July 9

5 S Fwy (Between China Town and Bell Gardens)

July 16

134 W Fwy (Between Glendale and Sherman Oaks)

July 30

60 E Fwy (Between East Los Angeles and South San Gabriel)

August 13

10 E Fwy (Between Monterey Park and El Monte)

September 10

10 E Fwy (Between PCH and Downtown)

September 24

210 E Fwy (Between Pasadena and Duarte)

Tony Tasset To Add A Three Story Eye On State Street

June 9, 2010 · Print This Article

Tony-Tasset-Eye

Wednesday morning July 7th the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) will unveil EYE; a lifelike, three-story (30-foot-tall) blue iris (the same as the artist) eyeball sculpture by internationally-renowned Chicago-based contemporary artist Tony Tasset. Eye will be mounted on the Escalator cover at Pritzker Park on the corner of State Street and Van Buren.

In addition to the steel reinforced fiberglass Eye (currently being fabricated by F.A.S.T. Corp. of Sparta, Wisconsin) Tony Tasset is also installing 156 street banners revealing a bold red cardinal – the state bird – in flight against a bright blue sky which in series animates like a flip book on State Street lamp posts north from Congress Parkway to Wacker Drive. The artworks are the centerpiece of CLA’s inaugural Art Loop 2010. An annual celebration of public art in the Loop the Chicago Loop Alliance hopes to continue in which a new work by an important artist is commissioned each summer, along with free related educational and cultural programs, and promotions and discounts from CLA member partners.

CLA Executive Director Ty Tabing is quoted saying:

“We expect Tony Tasset’s EYE at Pritzker Park will become a destination for those living, working and visiting the Loop, and we hope this temporary art installation encourages the public to tour the area and discover all of the incredible public art on display year round. Tony is an artist who excels in multiple art forms – from the visual art of CARDINAL to the sculptural EYE – and we’re proud to showcase this Chicago talent in our first Art Loopseason.”

According to Tasset,

“I hope both EYE and CARDINAL change the everyday experience for pedestrians and drivers along State Street. The image of the flying bird is quieting and humble in contrast to the commercial bustle surrounding it, while the enormous scale of the EYE serves to miniaturize its surroundings. Although EYE and CARDINAL are unique works and do not depend on each other, the two works are linked formally; by the red, white and blue color pallet as well as the repetition of the eye in the bird close up. The juxtaposition of these two archetypal images with the city of Chicago as a backdrop should create a grand surreal picture, in the spirit of Magritte and Dali.”

Other components of CLA’s Art Loop 2010 include its new Pop-Up Art Loop™ initiative which has transformed empty storefronts in the Loop into a moveable feast of public art galleries, exhibits and studios. Pop-Up Art Loop has created some 12 temporary galleries to date, showcasing professional photography, sculpture, 2-D art, video and new media, installations and more. In addition, a free, downloadable Loop the Loop walking tour of public art, including the Tasset exhibition, the Pop-Up Art Loop Galleries, and permanent installations by Calder, Miro, Chagall, Picasso and Kapoor is available on the Chicago Loop Alliance website. The tour is also available via pre-loaded MP3 players on loan at the ArchiCenter at 224 S. Michigan Avenue.

TUESDAY’S VIDEO PICK | All Black’s Haka

June 8, 2010 · Print This Article

I have always loved anything that mixes the timeless with the now (explains Moby a lot I guess, who had a great show at the Vic last September) and while talking to a archeology friend the other day about their favorite cultural artifacts & activities she brought up the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team’s tradition of performing the Haka before every match.

If you have never seen it, this is one of those bucket list kind of things to see live. As if New Zealand needed more tourism reasons. If it’s too violent for anyone there is a sweeter version to be had as well.

TRANSLATION:

Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora! (I die! I die! I live! I live!)
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora! (I die! I die! I live! I live!)
Tenei te tangata puhuru huru (This is the hairy man)
Nana nei i tiki mai (Who fetched the Sun)
Whakawhiti te ra (And caused it to sine again)

A upa… ne! Ka upa…. ne! (One upward step! Another upward step!)
A upane kaupane whiti te ra! (An upward step, another…. the Sun shines!!)
hī (rise/dawn)