Last Night to Catch Jenny Holzer Projections

November 3, 2008 · Print This Article

On Saturday night Lauren and I went down to the Lyric Opera House to see the fourth installment of Jenny Holzer’s projections. Although I had vowed to see every single one somehow I never made it to the previous three. I have to admit that seeing her truisms, and selected poetry, projected across the river onto the backside of the Opera House was totally worth it. If you have been lazy like me, tonight is your last night to see her projections. At 7pm she will project onto the Merchandise Mart which, according to her press release, is her largest projection thus far. Don’t miss out on this, the weather is great so no excuses. Check the press release below

Via the Merchandise Mart

“CHICAGO (October 29, 2009) — In partnership with the MCA exhibition Jenny Holzer: PROTECT PROTECT, the Merchandise Mart, home to Art Chicago 2009, is proud to host a public projection of a text-based work on Monday, November 3, beginning at 7 p.m. and ending at Midnight.

This extraordinary event- a politically charged public art project on the eve of one of the most important presidential elections in living history—marks the Merchandise Mart as the largest building ever to host a Jenny Holzer projection…

Holzer’s projection will draw from the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. The text will appear on the enormous south face of The Mart, 137,000+ square feet, projected from across the Chicago River.

For more information or for post-event photos on this public art event, please contact Kasey Madden, director of public relations, Art Chicago at 312.527.3357 or kmadden@artchicago.com.”

Nick Cave’s Soundsuits

October 29, 2008 · Print This Article

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photo via Jack Shainman Gallery

Last week I posted a link to Art 21’s blog interview with Jenny Holzer. This week they have a brief interview with Chicago based artist Nick Cave. If you are not reading Art 21’s blog I would highly recommend it. Below is an excerpt from A21 describing Cave’s Soundsuits.

” Nick Cave’s Soundsuits are fabulous creations made of thrift store finds, twigs, plastic bags, discarded thcotchkes, and just about anything else that strikes his fancy. Children loved seeing his work and guessing the materials they were made from, and seeing a video presentation of people inhabiting them. They enjoyed learning about his process, too. Often, Cave’s Soundsuits are assembled by a multigenerational, multicultural group of volunteers in his Chicago neighborhood.”

Check out Nick Cave’s interview here.

C-Monster on The 2008 California Biennial

October 28, 2008 · Print This Article

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I’ve been a little too busy today to update . So instead of reblogging the current art news I am going to redirect you to C Monster’s list of the most “stoneriffic pieces” in The 2008 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art

Check it here

Obituary: Ben Schaafsma

October 27, 2008 · Print This Article

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via New City:
Ben Schaafsma, an independent curator and art activist, passed away on Saturday, October 25. He was 26 years old.

Schaafsma was an exceptionally ambitious and motivated organizer of the arts community, establishing non-profit art institutions at almost every turn. Perhaps his best-known and longest-running effort was the Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and The Everyday (InCUBATE), founded with Abigail Satinsky and Roman Petruniak. The Logan Square storefront houses an artist residency and a grant program, among many other activities, that, at their core, serve to support artistic endeavors.

Schaafsma often sought to solve funding issues using creative and non-traditional means. InCUBATE’s Sunday Soup program awarded a monthly grant to an artist from monies earned through a soup subscription. A local artist or activist cooked soup to be sold, and diners voted on who would win the grant. This type of self-supporting endeavor exemplifies Schaafsma’s efforts to build and sustain community.

In 2007, Schaafsma was the Public Art Curator for Around the Coyote’s Fall Festival. He interpreted “public art” as a way to bring the public together in social spaces, such as spontaneous film screenings in the Polish Triangle, and interactive sculptures in Wicker Park.

Schaafsma earned a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Urban Planning from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was born and raised. There, he co-founded G-RAD and the Division Ave. Arts Cooperative, alternative community outreach centers.

At age 9, Schaafsma cataloged his personal collection of books, magazines and VHS tapes, and built a library in his basement for neighborhood kids to use. “Not until recently did I identify this experience as such a formative one in relation to my current personal interests and practice,” wrote Schaafsma in an essay on founding InCUBATE in “Phonebook,” a directory of alternative artistic spaces. The self-made library “gave us access to a pool of new ideas and things that weren’t available to us individually.” In sum, “we were able to…create our own collective knowledge.”

In 2008 he earned a master’s degree form the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Arts Administration and Policy.

Schaafsma co-curated “Other Options” in 2007, a touring exhibition that explored connections among activism, economics, and art making, and self-referentially questioned the nature of the “Nonprofit Industrial Complex.” The exhibition, recently hosted by New York City’s Eyebeam, intended to better understand the relationships between artists and funding sources. Schaafsma was well-versed in both theoretical and concrete issues of budgeting for the arts—both financially and as a life practice—and he could express his concerns in cogent and thoughtful ways. These issues were clearly his passion.

Schaafsma helped artists realize their creative projects without having to rely on traditional means—the mysteriously bureaucratic systems of museums and granting agencies. Instead, Schaafsma envisioned realistic ways to assist artists and connect their practices to everyday existence. Schaafsma was especially interested in promoting artists who likewise used the public and social spaces as their medium.

Schaafsma recently moved to New York to work as the Program Director at the Elizabeth Foundation. He was injured in a car accident on October 22, and passed three days later. Schaafsma will be buried in his hometown in Ada, Michigan. (Jason Foumberg)

Jerry Saltz on Frieze

October 27, 2008 · Print This Article

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via New York Magazine:

Two weeks ago, the Death Star that has hovered over the art world for the last two years finally fired its lasers. It was October 15, the day the stock market fell more than 700 points—again—and a month after Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch collapsed and Damien Hirst pawned off $200 million worth of crapola on clueless rubes at Sotheby’s. Against this backdrop, at 11 a.m., the gates of London’s Frieze Art Fair opened, and in streamed the international traveling circus of bigwigs, collectors, curators, advisers, museum directors, trustees, models, movie stars, and critics like moi.

Talk of financial doom filled the air. Karl Schweizer, UBS’s head of art banking, told one reporter, “We are in a liquidity crisis.” Money manager Randy Slifka added, “There is blood on the streets on Wall Street.” Collectors talked about “sewing up our pockets.” Yet much of the art world was playing on as if nothing had happened. A German dealer told Artforum.com, “This economic mess will all be over by January.” Christie’s Amy Cappellazzo spun her house’s recent sales: “If you bought something, you bought something real.” In truth, most of the speculators are buying something real bad or badly overpriced.

In fact, though, things were different. Those of us who have frequented Frieze could see that something was off. Dealers and assistants who in recent years were always busy with clients now stood or sat quietly. Sales were happening, but slowly, one at a time. The claim of “It’s sold” was replaced by “I have it on several holds.” Although the megagalleries like Gagosian and White Cube teemed with moneyed types and very tall women in very high heels, many younger dealers looked perplexed. A gallerist who entered the field in the go-go aughts and who had sold only two pieces by 5 p.m. that first day asked, “What’s going on?”

As I made my way through the 152 booths, I thought about the moment in Titanic when the designer of the doomed luxury liner warns Kate Winslet to find a lifeboat because “all this will be at the bottom of the Atlantic.” When I tried this idea out on attendees, several said I was “a buzzkill.” I asked, “Isn’t the buzz already beginning to disappear?”

If the art economy is as bad as it looks—if worse comes to worst—40 to 50 New York galleries will close. Around the same number of European galleries will, too. An art magazine will cease publishing. A major fair will call it quits—possibly the Armory Show, because so many dealers hate the conditions on the piers, or maybe Art Basel Miami Beach, because although it’s fun, it’s also ridiculous. Museums will cancel shows because they can’t raise funds. Art advisers will be out of work. Alternative spaces will become more important for shaping the discourse, although they’ll have a hard time making ends meet.

As for artists, too many have been getting away with murder, making questionable or derivative work and selling it for inflated prices. They will either lower their prices or stop selling. Many younger artists who made a killing will be forgotten quickly. Others will be seen mainly as relics of a time when marketability equaled likability. Many of the hot Chinese artists, most of whom are only nth-generation photo-realists, will fall by the wayside, having stuck collectors with a lot of junk.

Much good art got made while money ruled; I like a lot of it, and hardship and poverty aren’t virtues. The good news is that, since almost no one will be selling art, artists—especially emerging ones—won’t have to think about turning out a consistent style or creating a brand. They’ll be able to experiment as much as they want.

But my Schadenfreude side wishes a pox on the auction houses, those shrines to the disconnect between the inner life of art and the outer life of commerce. If they don’t go belly up or return to dealing mainly with dead artists, they need to stop pretending that they have any interest in art beyond the financial. Additionally, I hope many of the speculators who never really cared about art will go away. Either way, money will no longer be the measure of success. It hasn’t made art better. It made some artists—notably Hirst, Murakami, Prince, and maybe Piotr Ukla´nski—shallower.

Recessions are hard on people, but they are not hard on art. The forties, seventies, and the nineties, when money was scarce, were great periods, when the art world retracted but it was also reborn. New generations took the stage; new communities spawned energy; things opened up; deadwood washed away. With luck, New Museum curator Laura Hoptman’s wish will come true: “Art will flower and triumph not as a hobby, an investment, or a career, but as what it is and was—a life.”