This week the blogosphere unites! Duncan checks in with Paddy Johnson the author of the wildly popular New York art blog, Art Fag City.
Art Fag City is as relevant as Eric Fischl. New York art news, reviews and gossip.
Trivia of note. This week Duncan asks a question that shatters all prior records for length clocking in at a breathtaking 2:51!
Guinness will be sending people to confirm the record.
Two weeks have passed and the news piles up ever higher. Switzerland returns 4,400 stolen antiquities to Italy the swiss then give a sigh of relief that they now have more room in their closets. Australian Paintings Keep Turning up in Texas in response Texas schools now add Australia to the geography curriculum (Sorry it’s low hanging fruit and I only hit those I love) & we elected a new President (which if you were outside of the country during you would have thought it was for World Emperor) but overall a slow week that was covered well by Meg.
So this week you get a two’fer of Art News Roundup “German Style” Yehaaa! Hündinnen. Last week the Lennie Small to Richard & Duncan’s George Milton checked out Preview Berlin, Art Forum Berlin, Berliner Liste & Bridge Art Fair: Berlin.
Erste up Preview Berlin:
Great location, excellent execution of booths, usage of space, and everything that goes into making a fair. The art was hit and miss but still better then the rest in many ways. There was a growing foam tower with bottle peice that was eye catching by Dieter Lutsch but faded quickly for me. The Gallery Realace from Berlin was the least interesting for me and little did I know would set the tone for the rest of the shows when it came to Berlin art. Their works were largely splashes of dynamic black and white shapes or red color fields with artworld fortune cookie thoughts.
They stood out but were really out of time and place for me. Oddly enough or fitting the UK/US galleries had more interesting works that we lower in contrast both visually and conceptually. Mixed Greens in NYC had works by Joan Linder that were large parchments with well know artists CV’s hand written. People from Mary Kelly, Lee Bontecou to Suzanne McClelland and Louise Bourgeois. Priska C. Juschka Fine Art had the most interesting work for me in the show with Jade Townsend’s “Gathering Loose Ends in a Bucket” which was a stark western town with gravestones and shops after an attack complete with black and white fire on both building and man alike. Old hat for some people and rightfully so but was a nice work for me.
artMbassy Berlin was quite interesting and their artist Dora Tass with her work with US currency imagery on lead has a lot of potential. With commentary on US military war profiteering it would be interesting to have her in a show with Burtonwood & Holmes.
Sandro Porcu’s beating live heart that reacts to a microphone was interesting but as with much of the work in Preview little beyond the obvious.
Zweite Comes Berliner Liste:
Berliner Liste was the everything and the kitchen sink show. How do you protect for a soft economy? Let everyone in who is willing to pay and alot of people were willing to pay for Liste. Easily over 112 galleries and multiple floors where for the first time ever I can agree with the “Too much art” mafia in their complaints of having a visual overload. There was not a theme, focus or anything to Liste it was just an avalanche of art with many galleries working in souvenir art to the works. Low cost versions of the art they are selling that echo the original in one way or another. Like it or hate it this could very well be the future of art by diversifying the collectors, distributing the income over a larger spread and decreasing the risk. On paper it’s smart, in art I don’t know.
Liste was about the money though, from multiples of black and gold pugs by Maisenbacher Art Gallery who brought Black Angels to Art Amsterdam last year. Buy a copy for yourself for 100 EUR if you want. The same went for Stefan Strumbel who had German Pop Cookoo Clocks befit with guns, dead rabbits & skulls in a Avril Lavigne album cover sort of “punk” way. Again you can get smaller versions for a lower cost. The best version of this for me was the work of Gerard Mas who I have seen many times and the more I do the more i like. He works with a very low contrast, fragile and human figurines with porcelain blushed skin. Very exciting work and in the larger context of this show some of the best for me. Lino Lago had some of the best executed work for me in the show with his works that comment on the intersection of art and commercial support which was pretty blunt but very well done. I would like to follow his work more in the years to come. The only other theme in Liste and Berlin in general was the undying love of Andy Warhol who was echoed in countless works in almost every show which was cute at first and quickly became “Where’s Waldo” with each show. Heiner Meyer did it this time for Liste.
Dritte is Art Forum Berlin:
Art Forum Berlin which is the anchor of the Berlin art fairs was also it’s weakest link for me. The work was largely the same, very bleak, very black and white, very depressing, very………. German? At least that is what I was told by many Germans I spoke to in regards to the show. Many liked it, many didn’t but all agreed this is how it works here. In fact the consensus was that Art Forum was large, powerful, stark and cold while Bridge Art Fair: Berlin was colorful, playful, young and fun. I had many conversations to this effect. Art Forum was also rather small since one wing was established art, one huge wing was young and independent art and the back was magazines, books and cafe. All in all alot of pomp but nothing really solid. The independent artist area also was quite disappointing. It was very lean on physical work with white walls, big pillows to sit on and florescent lights being largely the only visual that sticks in your mind when you leave. The work was exceedingly minimal and many were just one installation shows or videos of flash animation. Overall not one of the best uses of independent space. All in all the show was easily missed and not anticipated in 2009. Oh and Warhol was alive and well here as well.
Last but not least is Bridge Art Fair Berlin:
It needs to be said that I will have to be limited on my praise or crituque of Bridge since I am associated with them but can express that for a first showing in Berlin the work was strong and a great contrast in location, style, attitude & execution to the other shows. Based in East Berlin where the true up and coming art world is strong and growing Bridge put on a colorful, exciting and fresh show that for a first year was well reviewed. With performances by Momus which brought people from everywhere and Galleries with work unseen in Berlin it was a show not to be missed.
All in all an interesting series of shows in Berlin but not some of the worlds best sadly.
This week Pamela Fraser of He Said She Said joins Duncan in interrogating Meg Cranston about being cool, getting punched, smashing sculptures and the substance of air.
Meg Cranston (born 1960) is an artist who works in sculpture and painting as well as a writer. She has exhibited internationally since 1988. She received and M.F.A in Studio from California Institute of the Arts in 1986 and a B.A. in Anthropology/Sociology in 1982. She also attended the Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht, The Netherlands in 1988. She is on the Faculty at Otis College of Art and Design.
She has been the recipient of numerous awards including a New School of Social Research Faculty Development Grant, an artist grant from the Penny McCall Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship,a faculty research grant from the Center for Asian American Studies at UCLA, Architectural Foundation of America, Art in Public Places Award, and a C.O.L.A. Individual Artist’s Grant from Los Angeles Cultural Affairs.
The Department of Cultural Affairs just opened a permanent venue at the Cultural Center, the Chicago Publishers Gallery. Kathryn Born attended the opening event and interviewed the who’s-who of the Chicago Publishing Scene. This week’s episode contains a staggering eight interviews in just one hour!
The show starts with Lois Weisberg revealing that she loves publishing more than visual arts. Then peppy interviews follow, including:
* Audrey Niffenegger, author of the national bestseller The Time Traveler’s Wife and publisher of Little Bang
* Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks
* Marc Smith, Green Mill Poetry Slam
* Haki Madhubuti, Third World Press
* Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago (books) and Featherproof Books
* Donna Seaman, Booklist
* Annie Heckman, StepSister Press
The Chicago Publishers Gallery aims to be a comprehensive resource for anyone trying to get a grasp on the local publishing scene. The permanent collection showcases publications from over 100 Chicago-area publishers, which means you will find everything that falls under the category of locally distributed bound paper. The gallery presents zines, newspapers, comic books, literary and scholarly journals, children’s books, artists’ books and other experimental forms -–– plus a computer with exquisitely organized bookmarks for every worthy local blog, online publication and publisher website.
This is the latest branch to sprout from the mighty Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs “Creative Industries Initiative.” Their fashion initiative begat Fashion Focus Chicago, a week-long Midwestern version of New York’s Fashion Week, and their culinary arts initiative spurred the creation of a professional training kitchen used in the “World Kitchen” series of cooking classes. Now all eyes are on publishing, and a city-sponsored equivalent to CAR (Chicago Artists Resource) is expected to follow.
Sorry for so much ambient noise! It got very loud, the place was packed.
A week has already gone by and it’s time again for the Art News Roundup, Yeeehaw! This week many great things happened that we would have loved to cover but Duncan died on the Oregon Trail from a snakebite and Richard got dysentery. Christopher and Amanda made it only to open a saloon in a local mining town where Amanda sings twice nightly and Christopher rigs the roulette wheel to never fall red cause you always bet on black.
What can a bankrupt art investor do after he/she looses their home? Sleep in the Guggenheim!
Called “theanyspacewhatever,” the Guggenheim’s latest offering includes a hotel room, created by Carsten Holler — one of 10 artists who make up the exhibition in which artists mix visual arts with other disciplines such as literature, architecture, design and theatre.
The Swedish-based Holler asked if the museum would consider the concept of a sleepover for his Revolving Hotel Room.
“We were very interested in it, because it does in many ways encapsulate the concerns of these artists to really stretch the parameters of what a museum can be,” chief curator Nancy Spector said.
“At night our guests will be able to stay in the museum and enjoy the exhibition by themselves.”
London council votes to paint over Banksy, then installs a camera to watch the camera that didn’t catch him”
Westminster city council in London decided Friday to paint over guerilla-artist Banksy’s largest work in the city.
The council ordered the removal to send a message to graffiti artists.
Robert Davis, deputy leader of the council and chair, told BBC News, “If you condone this then you condone graffiti all over London.” To that I say your right but damn if it isn’t better then any graffiti I have seen in a long while.
Sotheby’s Lost $15 Million Paying Guarantees
Sotherby undersold artworks in auction or failed to sell whatsoever to the tune of $15 million US on guarantees of a minimum price the auction house had with sellers, Sotheby’s said in a filing late yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Good news? with the US dollar at it’s current rate it isn’t that much.
Bilbao’s Guggenheim overpays for art
Director Thomas Krens travels the world living like a playboy and overpaying (for no ulterior motive beyond he’s just a good guy I am sure) with no regard to the bottom line or profitability of the larger company? That is unheard of in the art world! I am [mock] shocked, surprised and amazed that someone can be that irresponsible?
Russians Turning To Art Market As Recession Looms
Russia decides now is the time to get into the Art Market and fair activities. It’s so crazy it brilliant! Now is the time to buy, when no one has the liquid cash. I guess sitting on the worlds diamonds makes that easier to do then most?
Christo and Jeanne-Claude fight to drape a 40 mile stretch of the Arkansas River in Colorado
[artist name] fights [city name] council to enable [cloth type] to be publicly displayed [fill with large dramatic environmental scenario] but some say it’s a stunt that has run it’s course and only props museums needs for tent pole events to get attention. Yet others say it’s an epic event that is shocking and helps elevate the cultural awareness of artistic institutions that glow in the presence of such temporary one of a kind installations over permanent collection additions.