Wednesday Clips 3/3/10

March 3, 2010 · Print This Article

Matt Saunders, Interview (Hertha Thiele 1975) #2, 2010. From Parallel Plot, February 28-April 11 at The Renaissance Society

I’m bringing this weekly links post back from the dead. There’s too much good stuff out there not to share. So, let us begin:

****Piss Wars: First-person accounts of a performance art kerfluffle involving Ann Liv Young that took place at PS1 Contemporary Art Center last week, over at Art Fag City. Dirty looks, upraised middle fingers, and spilled urine…yup, classic performance art. Follow up reports here and here.

****On the other hand, Wafaa Bilal makes the kind of performance art I can stand behind. Or support. Or whatever. His “….and Counting” will take place at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York on March 8th. In it, Bilal’s back will be tattooed with a borderless map of Iraq–one dot for each Iraqi and American casualty near the cities where they fell. “The 5,000 dead American soldiers are represented by red dots (permanent visible ink), and the 100,000 Iraqi casualties are represented by dots of green UV ink, seemingly invisible unless under black light.” (via we make money not art).

****A really good think-piece on the questionable status of Outsider Art, by Monica Westin, over at New City this week.

****Anaba profiles artist Margo Mensing, who “studies the work and life of an individual who died at her current age… and spends the year creating artwork responding to and inspired by that person.” Fascinating. She’s done Elizabeth Bishop, Donald Judd–and just check out her fantastic, Joan Mitchell-inspired knitted socks!! I am DYING over here.

****Wanna peek inside The Art Institute’s fashion archives?

****Photographer Luisa Lambri, whose work is consistently amazing, has a solo show titled “Being There” that just opened at the Hammer Museum. The Los Angeles Times profiles Lambri here and here.

****This is from way back in October, but still relevant: F Magazine, itself a student-run art journal, has a nice rundown of other local student-run art journals, including where to find them.

****Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy, a new book on the art and history of taxidermy by Melissa Milgrom. (Via Morbid Anatomy).

****A really interesting piece (which includes videos and links) on Manshiyat Nasser (Garbage City), a suburb of Cairo, at Provisions Library.  Garbage City is home to more than 20,000 people, many of whom are Zabaleen (Arabic for “Garbage Collectors”). The Zabaleen gather one-third of Cairo’s trash every day, bringing it back to Manshiyat Nasser where it is systematically sorted and recycled into raw materials or manufactured goods before being resold or reused worldwide.

****In Defense of Anonymity. Joanne MacNeill of Tomorrow Museum says, “Anonymity is a good thing. Don’t conflate it with online trolling, it’s good to have a secret life online.” She elaborates why in her podcast, linked above.

Exhibition Opportunity for Student Curators

March 3, 2010 · Print This Article

This announcement landed in my inbox this week and I thought I’d pass it along. It sounds like a fantastic opportunity for aspiring curators who are still in school (and in fact, it’s aimed at student curators only). The Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), as part of their “Around Town” program and in partnership with Merchandise Mart and Art Chicago, is launching its Merchandise Mart/CAC Pop Up Gallery, a new six-month exhibition opportunity for student curators and student artists (undergraduate or graduate students are eligible). THE DEADLINE FOR THIS IS MARCH 12TH, so if you are interested, apply soon! Details follow:

“CAC Around Town creates alternative exhibition opportunities for CAC Artist Members including pop up galleries, restaurants, office lobbies, cafes and more. By joining CAC, artists are eligible to participate in Around Town where they can attract new and diverse audiences.

Beginning in March, 2010, CAC will manage a new gallery space in the Merchandise Mart, a location that welcomes more than three million visitors each year. With 150 showrooms and over 4,000 professional designers, Merchandise Mart offers an unparalleled opportunity for artists to be discovered and commissioned.

Curators select the artists for their proposed exhibition. Both selected curators and artists must be currently enrolled students.
EXHIBITION INFORMATION:
• Three curators will be selected to develop shows that will be up for approximately 6 weeks
• The gallery measures 1900 square feet, with 4,200 square feet of possible exhibition space
• Shows will be promoted city wide to over 60,000 Chicago residents
• CAC will host a reception for each show
APPLICATION GUIDELINES:
Email to pepper@caconline.org by 5:00pm, March 12.
Application must include:
• Curatorial Statement (200 words or less describing their vision for the show)
• Resume
• Two References

Curators must be CAC members to apply.
There is no application fee.
Curators may only exhibit student artist work.
Selected exhibiting artists must also be CAC members.
The cost of a student one-year membership is $45

(for more information on CAC membership benefits, visit www.caconline.org/services). Following the application, runners-up will be interviewed in the gallery space.

Administrative Contact is Pepper Coates;
Email application to pepper@caconline.org by 5:00pm, March 12.

Photos from the Battleship Conversation at Winkleman Gallery, NYC

March 2, 2010 · Print This Article

Amanda Browder Plays Battleship to Win!

Amanda & everyone involved with the Battleship conversation at Winkleman Gallery in NYC would like to thank everyone for turning out to the show and for helping to make it a great time. Here are some photos of the event as well as the link to the blog by William Powhida and Jennifer Dalton that streamed live video of the event and posts about it plus future events like it.

Again thanks for coming out and look forward to audio from the event in a future episode of Bad at Sports.

Tuesday’s Video Pick | Andy Bruntel

March 2, 2010 · Print This Article

This week’s pick is a video by Andy Bruntel for the band Liars. Something about this video reminds me of Charlie White’s work. Stylistically it looks nothing like his video for adicolor but the creepy factor is there.

Jeff Koons Has a Bad Case of ‘Radical Scopophilia’

March 1, 2010 · Print This Article

“Just what the hell does ‘radical scopophilia’ mean anyway?”, you might have wondered, if you happened to have read the New York Times article on Jeff Koons’ private collection that ran in last Sunday’s Arts & Leisure section. I chuckled a bit when I read the phrase, which New Museum curator Massimiliano Gioni used to describe Koons’ visual approach to art as well as, I gather, the intense visual pleasure Koons derives from his own personal collection. Here’s the key excerpt:

“I like this type work,” [Koons] said simply about the Courbet, then pointed to a brown patch on the bull’s fur vaguely shaped like the state of New Jersey and explained that he stares at the patch often and wonders whether it might represent “some form of, you know, soul or really a personal part” of Courbet’s own being. His main fascination with Knüpfer’s “Venus and Cupid” seems to be the spilled chamber pot at Venus’s side. Looking at a Manet nude, he talks about his appreciation for the “lack of violence” in Manet’s work and refers on separate occasions to a crease in the nude’s stomach, which he believes resembles a long-tailed sperm.

Lisa Phillips, the New Museum’s director, said in an interview that one reason she and the museum’s curators made the unusual decision to hand the Joannou show over to Mr. Koons was precisely because of his unconventional and compulsive way of looking at art, what the New Museum curator Massimiliano Gioni calls his “radical scopophilia.”

In work sessions as the show came together, Ms. Phillips said, he would use examples of work, new and old, “pointing to things that often would be the peripheral things in them, things that you might not see that were actually the things that were the most interesting to him — a monkey under someone’s foot, something like that.”

It’s interesting, to say the least, that Gioni chose this particular phrase to describe Koons’ eye (as it were), given that Koons’ approach to art is idiosyncratically a-historical in its embrace of visual pleasure. Gioni uses the term ‘scopophilia’ to describe a gaze that is voracious in its viewing habits, that takes what it wants from each work of art it encounters. But what Gioni doesn’t seem to get (or at least wants to skirt, by way of his pointless and uber-pretentious insertion of the term ‘radical’ in front of it), is the fact that, although scopophilia is a psychoanalytic term employed by Freud to describe a ‘love of watching,’  the term was also taken up in the 1970s and thereafter by feminist film theorists to account for the predominance of a specifically ‘male gaze’ in classic Hollywood cinema. (Think Hitchcock’s Psycho, then go read Laura Mulvey’s classic essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ to see what I mean). Scopophilia implies an active male gaze and a passive female subject. It’s a type of gaze that has, of course, occasionally been reflected in the history of Koons’ own work, most notably Koons’ “Made in Heaven” collaboration with his ex-wife Ilona Staller.

I’m all for voracious looking, and I don’t mind a little a-historicity in the name of visual pleasure, either.  But I don’t at all care for the way that Massimiliano Gioni’s stray quote, and its placement in this article, serves to whitewash the history of important work done by feminist film theorists in this area. Gioni’s blithe attachment of the term “radical” to his use of the term scopophilia only makes it worse. Please. There’s nothing ‘radical’ about the fetishistic power dynamic at play in the scopophilic gaze–or at least, in a straight man’s version of it. It’s the opposite, in fact.

The question is whether it is accurate or not to describe Koons’ curatorial eye as ‘scopophilic’ in nature. That I don’t know. One would have to actually see the show he curates, and the bulk of his collection in person, and, you know, brush up on your feminist theory a bit before you throw around terms that have a fair amount of history behind them, before hazarding a worthwhile opinion on that matter.

Jeff Koons in his Upper East Side Home, via New York Times

Tony Perkins in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho"