Jenny Holzer is Not on Twitter – Kathryn Born Does Actual Investigative Journalism

October 24, 2008 · Print This Article


I went to the Jenny Holzer media event and I’ll be editing down the audio for Bad at Sports (some of it is too hard to hear). But I talked to her in the cafe, and just so everyone hears it here first, for those 2,839 people who subscribe to Jenny Holzer’s Twitter page… it’s fake. She has no idea who that is. She’s really cool about it, she’s not angry or anything, she just described it as ‘one of those anyonmous internet things.

NY Art Book Fair Starts Tomorrow

October 23, 2008 · Print This Article


Printed Matter’s annual fair of contemporary art books, art catalogs, artists’ books, art periodicals, and ‘zines offered for sale by over 140 international publishers, booksellers, and antiquarian dealers. Admission to the fair is FREE.

Phillips de Pury & Company
450 West 15th Street at 10th Avenue, 3rd floor, NYC (map)

Friday/Saturday, October 24 & 25, 2008, 11am – 7pm
Sunday, October 26, 2008, 11am – 5pm

Admission to the NY Art Book Fair is free.

6 – 9 pm, Thursday, October 23, 2008
$20 – general admission plus
ticket edition by Jonathan Monk

$150 – general admission plus
“I Married an Artist,” by Anne Collier and Matthew Higgs, edition of 150

For more information please visit their website.


October 22, 2008 · Print This Article


This Friday the MCA will Open Jenny Holzer’s latest showPROTECT PROTECT. The show will be up from October 25th to February 1st. Art 21’s blog currently has a video of Holzer discussing some of her latest work.Holzer will also be projecting on several buildings around Chicago.

via the MCA:

Projection works by Jenny Holzer
For the first time in Chicago, artist Jenny Holzer presents a series of temporary outdoor projection works in conjunction with the exhibition Jenny Holzer: PROTECT PROTECT. Texts selected by Holzer, who is renowned for her compelling use of language in public space, will be projected on the facade of the MCA on three nights: Wednesday – Friday, October 29-31. Projections will begin after dark and will conclude before midnight. There will also be three projections on public buildings around Chicago:
Saturday, Nov 1: Lyric Opera and Riverside Plaza
Sunday, Nov 2: Tribune Tower
Monday, Nov 3: Merchandise Mart

Art Fag City on Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton

October 22, 2008 · Print This Article


Last week I posted Roberta Smith’s review of Elizabeth Peyton’s retrospective at the New Museum, Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton. I had to follow it up with Paddy Johnson’s review in The L Magazine. Johnson sums up my general feelings on the Peyton phenom.

Peyton’s Place?
By Paddy Johnson

Nobody’s sure why Elizabeth Peyton is so famous. Traditional figurative painting and drawing finds uneasy acceptance in the contemporary art world, and her frequent depiction of superstars only confuses the matter. These famous figures either demonstrate the work’s contemporary vitality or its contrived emptiness – the critical response varies depending on the time of day. Indeed, Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton, a survey curated by Laura Hoptman at the New Museum (on view for five days as of this writing), has already had evaluations ranging from Art on Paper’s Larry Qualls’ unhesitating assertion that her celebrity portraits, historical figures and landscapes are “grad student work” to Roberta Smith at the New York Times declaring the show “visually alive,” informed by “the painterly and the Conceptual.”

Of course, disagreement within the art world is neither uncommon nor unhealthy, but one thing comprehensive exhibitions like this often do is prompt the kind of art world discussion that leads to greater consensus in the community. Unfortunately, while the show contains enough indisputably good painting to make this happen, I can’t see any agreement coming soon, for two reasons: the best works don’t look right on the museum walls, and there’s far too much mediocre work in the show.

Speaking to the first point: though arranged roughly chronologically, it’s hard to get a sense of the progress and success of the work given its hanging. Dwarfed by the museum’s towering walls, Peyton’s already small works blend together, one almost indistinguishable from another. It doesn’t help that the changes in Peyton’s work over the last 15 years have by in large been subtle: the difference for example, between her early work drawn from photographs and some of her life-based pieces in later years is often only faintly apparent.

The larger issue within the work itself, however, is the number of pedestrian paintings the artist has produced. Peyton has of course had some high points. Arguably a work of genius, Live To Ride (2003), a self-portrait evoking, in palette, pattern and composition, Gerhard Richter’s famous painting of his daughter Betty (1988), demonstrates incredible skill and emotional depth. Also stunning, Liam Gallagher’s blackened eyes, in Blue Liam (1996), reveal the elegant grace of Peyton’s hand, as does Savoy (Tony) (1999). But for every good painting and drawing Peyton produces, two or three average works accompany them. Her landscapes are consistently poorly executed, and she has yet to resolve the backgrounds in her later portraits. In Orient (2003), a poorly executed rubbery-branched tree near the water still leaves me wondering why it was included.

And curator Laura Hoptman doesn’t offer much in the way of clues. Given that there’s not much subject matter to discuss in Peyton’s work, beyond paint and the tradition of portraiture, perhaps it was felt that wall text (which hardly appears) wouldn’t add to the understanding of the show. The rationale makes sense, but given the exhibition’s larger organizational problems, Live Forever also won’t answer the concerns of her critics. Those who wonder why she’s at the New Museum at all will remain confused, and those who don’t will have to hunt through poorly presented material to support their opinions.

Nadav Kander on Sophie Calle

October 21, 2008 · Print This Article


Via Nadav Kander for The New York Times:

Who is Sophie Calle and why is tout chic Paris so intrigued by her weird comings and goings, her obsessively documented and annotated voyages into the interior? Is she a sphinx without a riddle, as Truman Capote said of Andy Warhol, selling solipsism as social commentary? Or a genuine original who has converted the stasis of visual art into the ongoing drama of literary narrative, creating a kind of three-dimensional writing? Or is she perhaps simply an inspired exhibitionist who has been mining her life over the past 25 years as material for loosely conceptualized, viewer-friendly installations that are subsequently published between covers and sold for anywhere from $39.95 to $125?

Her books – the form in which her art is most widely known – are, to be fair, beautifully produced, small works of art unto themselves. One example is the gorgeous catalog of her 2003 retrospective at the Pompidou Center, “M’as Tu Vue” (“Did You See Me?”); it boasts an ingeniously designed cover in which the artist hides one eye with her hand as though she were trying to make out the spelling of her own name on an eye chart. But the installations that inspire the books are, at first glance, easy to dismiss as slickly packaged songs of the self, shot through with an uninhibited, even violating voyeurism. They have featured everything from glass cabinets stocked with a collection of the artist’s unopened birthday presents garnered from her annual birthday parties to a gentrified phone booth on the corner of Greenwich and Harrison Streets that Calle, at the suggestion of Paul Auster (who, in turn, based aspects of his character Maria in his 1992 novel, “Leviathan,” on Calle), decorated with a bouquet of red rosnovel, “Leviathan,” on Calle), decorated with a bouquet of red roses, a folding chair, an ashtray, a mirror, writing pads and pencils. For a 1998 show called “Appointment With Sigmund Freud,” in which Calle was invited to create an installation at Freud’s house in London, she included photos of her picture-perfect breasts (which, she insists in the accompanying text, were originally “nothing to write home about” but came into their own in 1992), her imperfect nose (which, we learn, her grandparents wanted her to fix) and her wedding dress, laid across the über-analyst’s couch. (Calle was briefly married to a good-looking depressive named Greg Shephard, whom she lassoed into a drive-through Las Vegas wedding and who was her collaborator on a film called “No Sex Last Night.”) Many of her exhibits are organized around videos of her seemingly random albeit carefully calculated encounters with the world. One such is “Twenty Years Later,” in which Calle asked her mother to hire a detective to trail her and report on her daily activities, an arrangement that was followed up 20 years later to the day with Calle being tracked, again at her own request, by a sleuth hired by her gallery owner.

What kind of woman, one wonders, responds to being dumped by e-mail not with private turmoil but with a public orchestration of counterrejection? Calle enlisted a throng of women – ranging from police officers, philologists and cartoonists to well-known actresses like Miranda Richardson and Jeanne Moreau – to analyze her Dear Jane message according to their area of expertise and then displayed the results to great success in an exhibit at the 2007 Venice Biennale curated by Daniel Buren and titled, with mocking reference to the last line of her ex-lover’s communiqué, “Take Care of Yourself.” The exhibit’s thick catalog, jacketed in glossy pink covers, includes four DVDs, an erudite essay titled “The Exacerbation of Heterosexual Love in the West,”poems, drawings, musical notations, a crossword puzzle, a piece of origami handiwork, an encrypted version of the e-mail message, a handwritten letter from her mother that assures her daughter that “Beautiful, famous and intelligent as you are, you’ll soon find someone better” and lush double-page photographs. It opens with some crisp words from the mistress of ceremonies, typed out in a large font on a page with lots of white space: “I received an e-mail telling me it was over. / I didn’t know how to respond. / It was almost as if it hadn’t been meant for me. / It ended with the words, ‘Take care of yourself.’ / And so I did. / I asked 107 women (as well as 2 hand puppets / and a parrot), chosen for their profession or skills, / to interpret this letter: / To analyze it, comment on it, dance it, sing it. / Dissect it. Exhaust it. Understand it for me. / Answer for me. / It was a way of taking the time to break up. / A way of taking care of myself.”

Among the many possible responses to Calle’s work, what emergesmost clearly is that hers is a very contemporary instance of personal mythologizing, of using the material of her own life as paradigmatic. Her art bears the traces of other influences (Vito Acconci, Cindy Sherman, Orlan and Christian Boltanksi, to name a few) yet manages in its deliberate and singular accessibility to resound with the inner performative self in all of us. At the same time, she is as an embodiment of the postmodern instinct to de-authenticate and expose, showing up her own – and, by implication, our – reality as no more than a simulacrum. She dedicates “Take Care of Yourself,” which opened a little over a year after her mother’s death, to “Monique Sindler, who plays the role of the mother in this book, a role she recently left behind.” Monique Sindler, needless to say, was Sophie’s actual mother. It’s the kind of macabre joke, or a grim jeu d’esprit that Calle specializes in, shattering the comfortable division between life and art, real and unreal – all in search of the transposable nugget of experience.

Continue reading the article here.