Happy Belated Birthday to our visionary leader! She is off somewhere at the last-ever Burning Man gettin’ cray.
BE SAFE HAVE FUN KEEP AGING FANTASTICALLY
Happy Belated Birthday to our visionary leader! She is off somewhere at the last-ever Burning Man gettin’ cray.
BE SAFE HAVE FUN KEEP AGING FANTASTICALLY
Viral art humor…
The Basque district spans over the South-West France into Spain and roads and shops bear both French and Basque names. It is less crowded and flashy than the Côte d’Azur yet it has many super chic pockets - a local artist told me that Vito and Lola Schnabel learned how to surf here.
Zako’s studio in Bidart
I spent a week exploring the art scene with ex-pro snowboarder now artist and sculptor Zako (who is thanks to my surfer uncle part of my family- Yeah!!!). She mainly works in metal and embroidery with large-scale sculpture of the human body, skulls and design objects with a recent foray into conceptual work around religion.
After being denied her spot in the Spanish Olympic team (because she recently had mothered a son-WTF?!!) she decided to, after putting up a fight, finally leave competitive snowboarding to work on her art. Her recent series reflects the identity-crisis she went through during this shift, “losing my religion.” Like the large-scale rosaries with ovaries hanging in her studio and the crucified bunny rabbit “Jesus Crabbit” looking out over the garden.
Guggenheim Bilbao & a spider by Louise Bourgeois
Guggenheim Bilbao, that unfortunately does little to support local art practice apart from having a Spanish wing, is the regions main cultural attraction. The building designed by Frank Gehry is impressive in it’s own right but the stainless steel walkways, asymmetrical space and large sheets of metal seem to compete with the art exhibited. The Yoko Ono retrospective was fantastic - Fly(1970), a video following flies on Ono’s body was great to see IRL.
Another incredible building, reminiscent of a wave is the The Cité de l’Océan et du Surf in Biarritz designed by Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with Solange Fabião. The museum’s content seems to be a disappointment but the photography show on view on the lawn outside was cool. Magnificent photos of waves by Sylvain Cazenove and the underwater creatures Francoise Latour caught my eye.
The launch party of the International Surf Film Festival of Anglet was a great venue to meet the creative crowd, each town has atleast one gallery and in the summer there is a new show opening every week! One of the cooler spaces is Space Junk, with an impressive output of publications, founded by Jérome Catz in 2003. Representing “low brow” artists including an array of ex pro-snowboarders, and skaters they have launched many artists careers, including Zako’s. When we visited the Bayonne location art historical and political reference heavy work by French street and stencil artist Goin was on view, her work is awesome, poignant and if you’re looking to decorate your home - very affordable!
PS —- I helped Zako with the piece below - in protest to the war on Palestine, Guerilla Art!
A few days ago I visited the studio of Santina Amato… I was in for a treat. While Amato’s past work has included performative installations, such as repeatedly attempting to cast the perfect pair of ice stilettos in Frozen Volatility, 2013 (pictured above), her more recent work is more of an skewed study of the body through video, installation, and sculpture. One of the strongest pieces I found in this studio was a slow motion video that rolled past stuffed stockings, which appear to be unrecognizable flesh on camera. A relationship guru gives advice in the audio background as the video rolls over the intimately intertwined sculptures.
"Voyeuristic in it’s approach and adopting a deceptively childlike charm, logic and aesthetic, my work instantly transports the viewer into a feminine surrealist wonderland, a fairytale-esque environment that explores the "in-between", the tension that lies both within the physical and psychological space of the female identity." — Santina Amato
This is not feminist work, but it is decidedly female work. In today’s art world that alone is still a striking public declaration. Let’s hope this artist finds museum programming in more than just “feminist” art shows. Her mass exposure is recommended.
Amato’s next exhibition “Erroneously Predisposed” will open September 6th, 2014 at the Governor’s Island Art Fair.
There is also an an amazing photo journal of her work available for $100 USD + $10 shipping. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more purchase information.
Alex is flying across the U.S. with a dashing beau in a small Cessna plane, Ayana is on her way to Chicago after hosting major birthday celebrations with NYC’s performance art clique and I am recovering after a tumultuous night of crossing wheat fields with a couple of young tattooed townie-boys trying to sneak into a music festival on the English country-side…
We will report back again shortly! IN THE MEANTIME just SCROLL DOWN.
(David LaChapelle, underwear ad)
So I discovered the @TheRealHennessy Twitter paintings today by Greg Allen (@gregorg on Twitter). At first I thought the paintings were made by Jayson Musson. Then after a brief twitter exchange (which was of course quite funny, so I’m posting it here) I realized, I was wrong. These paintings are the work of Greg, who has simply appropriated his buddy’s tweets.
I find this work brilliant on many levels. And I expect others to have the critique that it’s not real painting, it’s not really his work, it’s feeding off his friend’s art cred, blah blah blah. Whatever. This work is funny and abstract. I’m sold.
More formal musing on the art from greg.org here:
"The series of monochrome tweet paintings, of which @TheRealHennessy Tweets, Moby is an outstanding example, presents the viewer with a strangely puzzling juxtaposition of a minimalist canvas and painted words. Although this can be interpreted as a reference to postmodern linguistic theory, the work also points to two quintessentially American features: hard-edge abstraction and popular humor. Cleverly subverting the clean and serious language of abstract painting, the tweets’ amalgamation of low and high culture characterizes @TheRealHennessy Tweet’s most iconic work. This intelligent fusion of conceptual strategies with popular cultural references, which has been the driving force throughout @TheRealHennessy Tweet’s influential practice, is perfectly merged in @TheRealHennessy Tweets, Moby. Wittingly parodying the uncomplicated jokes from vernacular literature, the artist has found a way of incorporating a difficult subject-matter - humor - into a deeply serious artistic practice.
AND THIS IS MY FAVORITE PART OF IT ALL: “The first painting is available for $1,800. Please tweet, DM, or email for further information. —www.greg.org)
Ayana Evans @yana_handbags on Twitter
I hope everyone is having a lovely summer. We know Mikaela is, now that her magnificent Swedish Wooden Toy project has come to fruition. In my life, I just went to the beautiful wedding of Zoe and Bear. Zoe is a curator and blogger, not to mention the designer of one the prettiest weddings I’ve been to (I’ll get to her later), and Bear is a pretty cool artist in his own right.
I did my best to give them an appropriate wedding gift, but in the meantime, let’s take a sneak peak of an art critical look at the groom, shall we?
Bear works with portraiture, using digital programming to super-impose and reimagine imagery from ranging from the historic to the fantastical. In addition the imagery, there are also printed books available.
The subject of this image, from the Early Settlers series, is actually this weekend’s bride!
That’s her brother, in Portraits Praelium. The bird theme is recurrent throughout his work as well, having been featured in the earlier Human Diaorama series, as was active in 2012.
Bear has been well-received in various galleries, having shown in New York on numerous occasions. His glorious website, from which all these images are ruthlessly stolen, has a cohesive list.
Then there was the time they covered me in poppy seeds, Photoshopped me into a pregnancy, and then the picture got picked up by Le Monde. Stay tuned for an updated version of this post with that image in a little while!
Many congratulations to the bride and groom!
SWEDISH WOODEN TOYS, LES ARTS DECORATIFS
(Paris Je t’aime, part 3)
Swedish Wooden Toys opened on June 18th at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris, it is the exhibition to see this summer, fall and winter. It is the premier exhibition in Paris right now. It is magnificent. Tell one tell all.
A treat for any design aficionado, nostalgic adult and child. The exhibition is a library of knowledge mapping the history of Swedish toy manufacture presenting more than 250 toys from the 17th-21st century. Major Swedish toy companies like Gemla, Brio, Micki, Playsam, IKEA are represented alongside more rare items from smaller factories like Berglinds, Kometen and ACNE JR in the toy galleries of Les Arts Decoratifs.
Most of the toys are from the ‘golden age of toys’ 1860-1930, arranged in themes such as Doll Houses, The Horse, Transportation and Winter Toys showcased in a magical immersive environment of birch-trees and rainbows in cardboard created by celebrated french designer Matali Crasset. The toys will tour to New York in 2015.
Advanced amateur made toys, like the the 19th century dollhouse with an electric elevator contrast more simple ones such as a moose carved in wood. In the realm between toys and decorative household objects and representing a shift from home-made to larger scale manufacture a herd of Dalcarlian horses stand in one of the cases ready to be admired.
The exhibition is accompanied by Swedish Wooden Toys the first major publication on the history of Swedish wooden toys, published in English by the Bard Graduate Center and Yale University Press. The book features contributions by specialists such as the exhibitions curators Amy F. Ogata, professor in Design History, Susan Weber, founding Director of Bard Graduate Center and Peter Pluntky, a Swedish toy expert and collector as well as Solveig Nordh, curator of the BRIO Lekoseum, and Hedvig Hedqvist, a journalist, among others.
All of the works in the exhibition are vividly reproduced with magnificent photographs in the catalog.
As all things American the exhibition in New York at the Bard Graduate Center opening in the fall of 2015 will be bigger and, I dare say, better - showcasing one hundred more toys than the Paris exhibition!
Swedish Wooden Toys at Les Arts Decoratifs is open until January 2015.
ps. By the way, my name is in the catalog, I wokred on the exhibition as curatorial assistant for 2.5 yrs!!! HÄFTIGT!
Amusez-vous bien! / Anna Mikaela
I know, I’m a dork. But, my fellow Americans, and Swedes and Brits and whoever else skims my articles, this is AMERICA. WE ARE AMERICANS NOW. Before you watch fireworks or eat cake or run off to the South of France, take a moment to reflect on GREAT AMERICAN ARTISTS. Unfortunately, my list is a little too laden with males. America will get over itself one of these days…
New York is filled with artist & curator-run spaces - apparently Paris is not – which due to the French state’s generous support to the arts and museums isn’t surprising, small spaces are quickly institutionalized. Such as the Fonds régionaux d’art contemporain (FRACs) contemporary art museums funded by the state in major cities of the country.
Upon leaving Palais de Tokyo we ran into resident curator Gallien Dejéan who is also an art-critic and one of the founders of Treize, an artist/curator run space in Paris. I asked him many questions but forgot all of his answers.
Shanaynay is another curator-run space in the trendy quartier of Bellevue. I didn’t manage to get any information out of anyone at the opening of their current exhibition organized by a space in Vienna. I did however chat to one of the founders, Romain Chenais who recently opened a gallery down the street High Art, he was quite attractive and most probably straight to so I am going to keep an eye out!
In the summer time hot men trump good art.
HOLIDAY READING— Last Saturday, Staten Island’s LUMEN performance arts festival just held its “fifth incarnation where it all began: Atlantic Salt Company’s waterfront dock — 561 Richmond Terrace.” The festival was curated by David C. Terry and Esther Neff. And while it’s tempting to wax on about whether or not LUMEN 2014 was as good as LUMEN 2013, that debate is a bit old and really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that artists who I think are the best (and most underrated) performance artists in NYC participated yet again this year. My favs this year included Whitney V. Hunter, Ian DeLeon and Future Death Toll. I think the two are too different to properly discuss in the same post so for now I will turn your attention to Mr. Hunter. (More posts featuring Future Death Toll & DeLeon later this month.)
I asked Whitney Hunter to give me a little more insight into his project for Lumen. I was in intrigued by the poetic appeal that performer Germaul Barnes brought to the piece and wanted to know more. Ever the perfect ambassador for his own work (and YES this is a skill) this is what Hunter wrote:
1st American Shapist House for the Practice of Performance/Ritual:
SALT, a ceremony of 5 actions
Conceived by Whitney V. Hunter. Performed by Germaul Barnes.
New York is killing me. Paris Je t’aime (Part 1)
As Alix mentioned I am gallivanting around Europe, recently in PARIS, below on PALAIS DE TOKYO.
Palais de Tokyo has become a monstrously large space for contemporary art with two recently added subterranean raw and unpolished subterranean floors, like a squatted warehouse or parking garage.
An excellent setting for Tomas Hirchhorns “Flamme Eternelle,” a large DIY participatory exhibition in the form of a maze-like structure of stacked car tyres, throughout which a variation of seating arrangements often constructed with the help of brown tape and a bar can be found. Several large artificial camp-fires also help fill the space. With a semi-anarchistic set-up the exhibitions programming includes lecture series that staff sets up daily with walk-in lecturers, viewing stations for pirated DVDs, a library and the artist himself. When I said that the set-up reminded me of Occupy Wall Street Hirschhorn replied, “Occupy Wall Street has copied my aesthetic.”
The Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibition also did well in the depths of Palais de Tokyo’s new space, illuminated only by the natural light of a few overhead windows the exhibition explores Sugimoto’s use of discarded materials in work which deals with re-creating different types of ritualistic objects and environments.
Skipping the post-internet-era aesthetic yet with a stripped aesthetic representation of technology Ed Atkins explores the human condition when it is at its most vulnerable; depression, loneliness, substance abuse through three projected loops of video and large text panels placed by the entrance of the exhibition. Atkins and/or his collaborators expertly master the craft of film and the exhibitions sound-system was incredible. Johan Wik is a videographer and editor turned video artist whose work I saw in Stockholm in December, it is a treat to see conceptually great video art which uses the aesthetic of commercial video, i.e. well-crafted.
IMAGES: Ai Wei Wei, Tomas Hirschhorn x2 & Ed Atkins. Credits: zzZZzzz the internet.
You may have noticed that I am the only one posting lately, and that I’m not linking to any recent publications elsewhere. That is because the rest of the wizened art world is gallivanting, while I sit at my desk musing unevocatively and pretending to look busy. (It turns out unevocative isn’t even close to a word, which makes a lot of sense in this situation, so I’m keeping it). This begets the real question: what should I be doing? Or more importantly, why is everyone gone? Here are my most fittingly unoriginal pontifications. Pontifications is also, apparently, not a word:
1. European Weather
Art Basel: No surprise there. In a galaxy far far away known as Basel in Switzerland, heiresses and bankers and fat old art dealers congregate every summer to posture their importance like cooing pigeons on a fire escape. But it’s not a fire escape, it’s a pristine, historically neutral wonderland that’s tailored to art shopping. For bonus points, mispronounce the fair as basil, like the herb. The most correct pronunciation is extremely ‘ah’-focused. Say Basel like you’re calling your butler and can’t honestly be bothered whether he brings your crumpets or not.
Basel is essentially the founding father of art fairs, a concept which has been mostly reduced to mall-like status (see misc Jerry Saltz). As you may know, Basel has outposts in Miami and Hong Kong. Miami’s the most fun.
Not this year, but next and last, the Venice Biennale also serves as a solid option. Overall, it’s really about profiting from the unusually seasonable climate Europe has to offer.
2. Asian Weather
Typhoons in Japan, Monsoons in India, and good old-fashioned blistering heat in Singapore make the greater part of the Asian continent a barrel of laughs for the summer season. If the art world isn’t shutting down because it’s gorgeous outside, it’s shutting down because there’s one natural disaster after another. I have been personally victimized by such intolerable weather conditions (but not Regina George) during considerable time in Asia, and it really makes the best and the brightest either cower in their rooms or run far far away…to Europe, por ejemplo.
3. A Taste for the Finer Things
It’s summer you guys. Sail a yacht. Fly your Cessna cross-country. Ingest hallucinogens in Mexico. Do something meaningful with your time. Whatever you do, don’t write art critical articles or be caught dead at metropolitan gallery openings.
4. Art Students
On good days, rich people buy art. On bad days, art students use fake IDs to drink all the wine in your gallery and take selfies with James Franco. On summer days, even the art students are gone, semi-pretending to be semi-responsible in very short skirts for very short internships. Everyone is gone. All is essentially lost. Go do something else.
/ Alexandra Bregman
P.S. This reminds me of the last time I offered insights into the art world. Clearly I’ve been bitter for a suspiciously long time.
Etel Adnan, Mountain No. 2 (2014), watercolor on paper. The gentile pastels against the inky black are a breath of fresh air, only subtly figured against the rough black strokes. Artwork images via Paddle8
The Alwan Art Auction began on June 16th and will run through June 30th. The organization has partnered with Shirin Gallery at 511 West 25th Street, which will have a coinciding reception next Thursday, June 26th from 5-9pm in Chelsea. Additional supporters include AKArt Advisory, and The Committee. Ultimately the showcase is exciting, enriching, and ongoing! Check it out while you can!
Alwan’s mission is to introduce both established and new collectors to a wide array of Middle Eastern artists, and this showcase includes 30 of Iranian, Syrian, Egyptian, Lebanese, and Palestinian heritage among others.
The curatorial sampling successfully juxtaposes the ever-present pairing of culturally entrenched violence with a sense of hope expressed through aesthetic tranquility. Although much of the work incorporates weaponry, such as Jaishri Abichandri’s Two Bombers circling a white-clad hijabi with nails, and Katayoun Vaziri’s Goya in 2013, the works are offset by the more serene and generally expressive paintings of Etel Adnan.
Ganzeer, Like Water (2014), screen print.
A particularly highlighted artist in the showcase is the Egyptian Ganzeer (which means “chain” in Arabic). As a street artist, Ganzeer gained recognition internationally after the 2011 revolution in Cairo. The work deals thematically with anti-military calls to civic and social justice, and has since been featured in Bidoun, The Huffington Post, Al-Monitor.com, and Arteas. Currently based in New York however anonymously, Ganzeer is recorded as one of Egypt’s highest-selling living artists. All this gender-evasiveness leads me to think Ganzeer is probably a woman ;)
When the lovely Negin Sharifzadeh asked me to look into Alwan for the Arts’s online auction at Paddle8, I was more than happy to oblige. The recommendation of this Iranian artist (featured in the showcase), curator, and animator with great taste, trademark blue hair and a kind soul should not be overlooked.
/ Alexandra Bregman
Banksy (b. ca. 1974) is the pseudonym of the illustrious graffiti artist from Bristol, in the Southwest of England, who has managed to remain anonymous as he has risen to world-fame. Banksy often subverts classic images and includes slogans critical of war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed in his work the he still often executes in a classic street-art manner; unsanctioned and outside of the context of traditional art venues.
74 original paintings, sculptures and prints have been assembled for ‘Banksy: The Unauthorized Retrospective,’ curated by his agent Steve Lazarides opening at S2 in London, Sotheby’s gallery devoted to private sales. In 2013 Sotheby’s had consolidated sales on $6.3 billion where of $1.18 billion came from private sales, an increase of 30% from the previous year. S2 was inaugurated in 2011 with a show of work by American Abstract painter Sam Francis on York Avenue, New York and has since expanded with a second location the five-story building on 31 George Street, London. Prices for the career-spanning artworks on view range from $6.700 to $840.000, some of the early works were initially sold for $50.
Banksy began as a freehand graffiti artist in 1990–1994, inspired by the Bristol underground scene of Nick Walker, Inkie and 3D, as one of Bristol’s DryBreadZ Crew (DBZ), with Kato and Tes. It was during these early years that Banksy came into contact with photographer Steve Lazarides who began selling Banksy’s work (ehh the guy must be BRILLIANT). Although Banksy is often viewed as an outsider artist, allegedly Banksy “knows about the exhibition and he is not particularly happy about it,” he is highly involved in the art-world and pretty fucking £$€-ed. If Banksy solely focused on art-world criticism I would call him a hypocrite however the subjects he touches upon in his work are so much wider encompassing thems such as world-politics, consumer society, freedom of speech and leadership. His work is an important social commentary of our society today.
The sale, please don’t let the title confuse you, “unauthorized” is all about PR, upholding the image of mystery, Banksy will receive plenty re-sale royalties and Lazarides has probably included some work sold directly from the artist in there somehow, showcases key works throughout the artist’s rise, including Bombing Middle England (2000), Monkey Queen (2001), Paranoid Pictures (2003), Pulp Fiction (2004), Kate Moss (2005), and Sunflowers from Petrol Station (2005). Many pieces have not been seen by the public before, often bought shortly after they were made. Several have only been on view in public space briefly, such as Banksus Militus Vandalus (2004), which was illegally installed in London’s Natural History Museum and removed within two hours of it’s installation by officials.
The exhibition is open through July 25th, I’d say it’s worth as visit if you are passing through London this summer!