The Battle of Trafalgar Square Continues

July 23, 2010 · Print This Article

Yinka Shonibare Nelson Trafalgar PlinthThe fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar square has been on our radar for a while and I am sure will continue to be so since the British government plans on using it as a compliment to the Turner prize or so by using it as a soapbox to debate and showcase contemporary art.

The current work  that is on display at the plinth, Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle is slotted to be taken down in 2012 and the fight to see who gets the spot in time for the Olympics has begun. Here is a quick rundown of the shortlist via UK’s The Independent (my money is on Katharina Fritsch) :

Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset A sombre wit underpins the serious nature of work by the Scandanavian couple who have collaborated since they met in 1995. They have made work in memory of gay victims of the Nazi regime and, in 2005, they built a Prada boutique in the middle of the Texan desert. Whatever their proposal for Trafalgar Square, we hope they don’t lose their sense of humour.

Mariele Neudecker German born, 45-year-old Neudecker made her name with sculptures of landscapes, placed inside glass vitrines. Self-contained worlds, that come out of the Romantic tradition in art – although her work is anything but traditional. She used the cry of seagulls on London’s Millenium bridge in 2008. And she sank a boat and a house underwater that question our relationship with the environment.

Allora & Calzadilla Allora and Calzadilla are an artist couple who live in Puerto Rico. Their work is usually political and they have a strong reputation in the UK. At the Serpentine gallery in 2007 they made a large chamber, like a war bunker, and inside musicians played military music. They work in many mediums, using film, sound, sculpture, performance and photography.

Hew Locke Locke’s work explores colonial themes in an exuberant kind of pop art. He has played with ideas about the British royal family. Princess Diana became a voodoo doll and he covered a figure of the Queen Mother with skulls. He critiques the past, looking at how our world interrelates: from African wars to empire, pop culture to Shakespeare.

Katharina Fritsch Like the Surrealists, Fritsch is known for artwork that makes the familiar appear strange and uncanny. Born in Germany, Fritsch has represented her country at the Venice Biennale and had major exhibitions at London museums. Giant rats and monochrome men wearing suits appear in her work, which have popular as well as critical appeal. She is a mature artist and her proposal will be polished and spectacular.

Brian Griffiths An eccentric sense of adventure runs through sculptures by Griffiths. A graduate of Goldsmiths college, the British artist has used old furniture to construct an elaborate wooden gyspy caravan. His work plays with myth as well as history and his sculpture comes from an imaginary world as fantastical as a child’s. No doubt, his proposal for the Fourth Plinth will be made from old junk but his idea, we hope, will contain a touch of magic.

  • Also Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) has been greenlit to start construction on it’s $150-plus million development project in University Circle later this year and be completed in 2012. Read More Here
  • We talked a while back about the Guggenheim’s Youtube partnership entitled “Play” where artists were invited to submit their videos to possibly be part of a juried exhibition later this year in every one of their museums. Well that jury list has been announced: Takashi Murakami, Ryan McGinley, Douglas Gordon, Marilyn Minter and Shirin Neshat, artists known for their work in a variety of mediums; Stefan Sagmeister, a graphic designer; Laurie Anderson, the performance artist, musician and filmmaker; the music group Animal Collective; and the filmmakers Darren Aronofsky and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Read More Here
  • Sorry but I have a hard time calling something revolutionary or defying categorization when it’s been done for over two decades in general and over a decade by Michigan Avenue Ad houses. Its akin to saying an artist doing Matrix style bullet time video leaves you speechless if it was done in 2040. Film is sequential still frames that create motion, find something to write about NPR that is actually Art if you want to be breathless NPR not a music video esque work done in After Effects. It’s only slightly annoying when Artists speak of their work as revolutionary, interdisciplinary or an exciting hybrid that redefines a genre since it’s hard to promote as a artist but it is greatly annoying when a publication ruberstamps such hyperbole as true. I know it’s the NPR blog but….. still. Don’t Read More Here

Episode 255: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

July 18, 2010 · Print This Article

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Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

This week: Philip von Zweck (Bad mofo, artist, and storied, long running host of Something Else on WLUW) and Simon Anderson (Associate Professor Department of Art History, Theory + Criticismm SAIC) interview a living legend, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Breyer P-Orridge was in town for an exhibition S/he is having at Western Exhibitions.

Genesis P-Orridge and performance artist Lady Jaye Breyer began a collaborative effort begun in 1993  that focused on a single, central concern: deconstructing the fiction of self.  Frustrated by what they felt to be culturally enforced limits on identity but emboldened by the radical power of love, P-Orridge and Lady Jaye applied collage and cut-up techniques to their own bodies in an effort to merge their respective selves.  Through plastic surgery, hormone therapy, cross-dressing and altered behavior, they fashioned a single, pandrogynous being, Breyer P-Orridge. The work is an experiment in identity, a test of how fully two people can integrate their lives, and, ultimately, a symbolic gesture of evolution and the alchemical union of the male and female halves of the human.  Although Lady Jaye passed away in 2007, Genesis has continued Breyer P-Orridge, putting into question not only the limits between self and other but also life and death.

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge was born in Manchester, England in 1950. S/he was a member of the Kinetic action group Exploding Galaxy/Transmedia Exploration from 1969-1970. S/he conceived of and founded the seminal British performance art group Coum Transmissions in 1969 and was the co-founder of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, and the spoken word/ambient music performance group Thee Majesty. Throughout Genesis’ long career, s/he has worked and collaborated with William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Derek Jarman and Dr. Timothy Leary, among others. H/er art has been exhibited internationally, including recent exhibitions at Deitch Projects, Mass MOCA, Centre Pompidou, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Barbican Museum, the Swiss Institute and White Columns, amongst others. Upcoming exhibitions will include a solo exhibition at Rupert Goldsworthy in Berlin, a keynote address at the Erotic Screens Conference, Centre for Public Culture and Ideas at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia and a lecture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in March. H/er archive was recently acquired for the permanent collection of the Tate Britain Museum.

Hooked On Vuvuzela Or Vuvuzela Takes On The Classics Of Cinema

July 16, 2010 · Print This Article

The Vuvuzela, a little know horn to Americans before the latest world cup and I would not hesitate to say little loved does it’s best to add to the rich tapestry that is cinema scores.

Will Hans Zimmer add it to his repertoire? Will it go the way of the kazoo and bird whistle or like the theremin will it find a place in our hearts?

Only time will tell, time and a Costco sized bottle of aspirin.

Detroit Banksy Mural In Court Now Since Factory Landowner Claims Ownership

July 16, 2010 · Print This Article

Back in May & June we wrote about Banksy’s trip to Detroit and his mural that was created in the old derilict Packard plant there. That mural of a boy with a paint can saying “I remember when all this was trees” was quickly excavated from the cinder block wall it was painted on by the local art group 555 Nonprofit Gallery & Studios, they moved it to their gallery space and quickly came under threats and negative attention. Well now they are in court.

Bioresource Inc., the company owned by land speculator Romel Casab, filed suit this week in Wayne County Circuit Court to regain possession of the mural. The suit which names 555 Gallery and it’s executive director Carl Goines as defendants says the 1,500 pounds mural, which may be worth $100,000 or more, was removed without authority and that 555 Gallery did not respond to a letter dated June 7th demanding it’s return.

The 555 artists have attested from the beginning in May that they took the work to prevent its destruction and have no interest in selling it. Gallery attorney Don Lewis said  his clients were given permission to take the mural by a scrap metal removal crew foreman named Butch.

“That’s a key issue,” Lewis said. “Would a jury think it was reasonable to assume that he had the authority he said he did — that he was speaking on behalf of the owner?”

I keep saying this isn’t over and that eventually Bansky might make a statement since it serves his interests to be the final voice but he does have a history of disavowing works once they are removed or altered from their original state. This may be no different, but there will be more to come I am sure.

Ox-Bow Art School Gets $1 Million From LeRoy Neiman

July 14, 2010 · Print This Article

LeRoy NeimanLeRoy and Janet Neiman’s have contributed $1 Million to create the LeRoy Neiman Scholarship that will provide student scholarships and support Ox-Bow’s Fellowship Program.

A gift which provides studio space and funding for 12 to 14 students from art schools across the country to spend their summer at Ox-Bow.

Both LeRoy and Janet are alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago & Ox-Bow.

Tony Jones, SAIC chancellor had this to say about the gift:
“LeRoy Neiman has been intimately involved with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Ox-Bow for many years—as a student, then a faculty member, and now as a wonderful benefactor with his wife Janet, herself an alumna of SAIC, LeRoy is particularly sensitive to what Ox-Bow offers to the working artist, and comments often on the productive time he spent there and how the bucolic serenity of that special place was crucial to his development as a painter. These generous scholarships are especially significant as they are a gift from one remarkable artist to many young artists. Because of the Neimans’ gift they’ll be able to study at this unique open-air studio for many years to come.”
More can be read at the official press release here