Saturday, May 18, 2013
Some of you may recall and perhaps even played Pippin Barr’s game based on the Marina Abramović survey exhibition at MoMA The artist is present. It turns out you were not alone. The other day Pippin got an email from Abramović saying she had played the game but lost her place in the queue when she left her computer to make lunch. She summed up the experience, “so I never got to sit with myself”. Now, following a meet on Skype, she and Pippin are going to collaborate on some more games. If you find that impressive, join the queue.
Friday, May 17, 2013
“In this years Venice Biennale, out of 31 countries that will show solo artists, 74% solo artists will be male and 26% will be female. Assuming all of these countries have similar ratios of artists in general and art school graduate ratios as Australia has, (35% male grads and 65% female grads) a male artist will have above 5 times more chance of showing at the Venice Biennale than a female artist.”The COUNTESS
The boundary between art and fashion isn’t blurred any more. To use a fashion term, it’s seamless. At the moment in New York within three blocks there is not one but three mega stores vying to take the art fashion crown, At Barney's it's Lichtenstein all the way with three windows onto Madison Avenue devoted to blow-ups of his limited editions. From a beach ball to a frisbee (decorated with the Lichtenstein cat painting once owned by Andy Warhol) in the familiar RL style they are all to be had in store. A few block down the Japanese retailer UNIQLO is dishing out Andy Warhol on Ts and has sponsored a free night at MoMA for the rest of the year. And finally a more up-market was on offering at Calvin Klein with Ellsworth Kelly’s 1952 dress design updated (you can see the original being worn here on OTN) and in its window tastefully 'curated' in front of a Kelly print.
Images: Top left the Kelly dress at Calvin Klein and right the window at Barney's. Middle Barney's flogging Lichtenstein-like product. Bottom, meanwhile over at UNIQLO
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Here’s a story we heard from the guard standing by Marcel Duchamp’s The large glass in the Philadelphia Museum. When the collection of Duchamp’s work owned by Louise and Walter Arensberg was donated to the Museum, Duchamp designed the first installation himself (and some of the key works are still where he placed them). During this process Duchamp learnt that outside one of the blank walls in his gallery was a large courtyard and fountain. He asked for a window to be cut into the stone wall and to Duchamp’s delight the gushing water of the fountain outside was reflected in The large glass. Typically though, despite most of his key works being included in the gallery, there was no sign of his readymade sculpture Fountain.
Images: Top, Duchamp’s The large glass with our guard behind it. Bottom, the ‘Duchamp’ window and the view of the fountain beyond.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
“I never really think about the money I just think about the next piece and about how we’ll do it and how much it will be. And sometimes I think, Wow, that’s a lot. And sometimes we have it, and sometimes we don’t.”
American artist Paul McCarthy in the NYT
On Saturday in New York we were able to see not one but two big exhibitions of Jeff Koons. Infamously the two shows were on at two competing dealer mega galleries Gagosian and David Zwirner. David Zwirner has only ever lost one of his big-time artists (that was Franz West and he went to Gagosian) and Gagosian doesn't like losing anything so all eyes are on how this Koons arrangement evolves. And how the hell Koons pulled off this doubles stunt is anyone’s guess but it's definitely a muscle flexing demo of his pulling power with rich collectors. Anyway there were Koons to burn at both barn-sized spaces but very different approaches to their ARIPs (Audience Relationship Interface Protocols).
Gagosian was guard heavy. Ten of them in fact (more than one per work which were in fairness finger-licking shiny stainless steel) and dressed in black along with a grey-suited boss who scuttled around repositioning his team like a neurotic cricket captain adjusting the out field. No touching, no photography, no bags. When we did take a photo from the street through the window a guard inside was not a happy person.
At Zwirmer's a couple of guards handled the whole area. Photography was fine, posing in front of the works was ok and bags and backpacks didn’t seem to be a problem.
Then we went to Zwirner’s other gigantic gallery on the next block to look at sculpture from another galaxy altogether.
Images: Guarding Koons at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Govett-Brewster director Rhana Devenport will be the first woman to take up the director’s job at the Auckland Art Gallery. She will lead the charge for the new commercial model as the Gallery works within Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA), the council-owned body that oversees the art gallery, Auckland Zoo, Auckland Museum, Mt Smart Stadium etc. All three top positions in the Auckland Art Gallery are now held by women (Director, Deputy Director and Principal Curator).
Devenport has been at the Govett-Brewster for around seven years and for the last two or three has been heading the push for a new Len Lye Centre. It is now being built in New Plymouth. She follows a number of Australians who have led the Auckland Art Gallery including its last director Chris Saines who has gone on to direct the Queensland Art Gallery.
Eyes now on the Govett-Brewster to see who will take over New Plymouth’s contemporary space and the challenge to make Len Lye its centre of attention.
More here from the Taranaki Daily News
More here from the Taranaki Daily News
Monday, May 13, 2013
Left the Union scab rat brought out to protest non-union labour being used at the Frieze Art Fair and right a 3.5 meter bronze 'art' version created by the Bruce High Quality Foundation ("a learning experiment where artists work together to manifest creative, productive, resistant, useless, and demanding interactions between art and the world") that sits without any visible irony in the foyer of Lever House.
An ear to the ground at the Frieze Art Fair:
“You talk to them, they’ll talk to George and George, can get back to us via Gina. Then maybe we can do something.”
“All I can say is whatever you think of his collection it certainly works in dollar terms.”
Collector: “I’ve got one of those but I think it is a different size.”
Dealer: “Yes they do come in different sizes.”
Collector: “I don’t like that.”
A: “There aren’t any labels, so how do you know who did what?”
B: “If you don’t know who they’re by you can’t afford them.”
A: “Love your trousers.”
B: “Thank you, they’re green.”
A: “I noticed.”
A: “That guy is totally of the moment.”
B: “Who is he?”
A: “Can’t remember.”
A: “Is it just me or are things getting smaller and smaller and costing more and more?”
B: “Mostly you I think.”
A: “Well at least we’re not screwing anyone over and that’s a good thing. Right?”
B: (uncomfortable silence)
Collector: “I do so love Struth.”
Dealer: “Actually this one is by Wolfgang Tillmans.”
Collector: “Oh, I’m not so sure about Tillmans.”
Collector on the phone: “Where are you? Oh. Have you seen anything… me? …no… it’s all either too big or too blue.”
Friday, May 10, 2013
The Frieze Art Fair opened this morning and OTN walked the halls on your behalf. You can also count on our special operative Big Ears having them both to the ground over the next few days, but in the meantime a quick sum up of what was everywhere you looked and what was nowhere to be seen.
Everywhere: cut glass, silver, cast objects, drawing and painting over photographs, birds and Paul McCarthy
Nowhere: neon, video, curtains, chandeliers and skulls
Image: Paul McCarthy's giant Balloon dog based on Jeff Koons's very large Balloon dog based on a regular party clown balloon dog
All public art museums crave to attract more people through their doors. Attendances often determine how much sun will shine on them from their funders who in NZ's case are mostly local and regional authorities. Take Auckland Art Gallery for instance. Its council ‘owner’ Robert Domm, the chief executive of Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA), is focussed on the Gallery “enhancing its commercial performance” and that aspiration is a very powerful shaping idea. But, be careful what you wish for. We found our visit to the Museum of Modern Art dispiriting. Commercially successful? No doubt but by pulling in the crowds MoMA has sacrificed what you'd have thought were two of its most important roles; the protection of works of art and the protection of the experience of those works of art.
Hundreds of people rushed through the galleries brushing against paintings, jostling for position in front of famous works and suddenly stopping dead or lurching away as the audio guide spun them round. The guards had all but given up in the face of such crowds only occasionally calling “no flash” if only to prove they even existed. Wow. Meanwhile down the road the sexy fashion brand Abercrombie & Fitch kept eager punters waiting in a line outside its Manhattan flagship store until there was space for them to properly enjoy the store. The priority of A&F (like the Barnes collection in Philadelphia) is the experience once you get inside and that's what they protect. MoMA's priority seems to be to take the money and run. Their approach to what the crowds get as an experience (or rather non-experience) at thirty bucks a head? Not our problem.
Images: top left, crowds form at the ticket office and right, they’re off, the rush to the ‘best’ galleries. Middle, six deep at audio tour stops and bottom, shadow play delivers Douglas Gordon’s poignant video Play dead; real time straight back to the circus.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Here’s an idea for an exhibition. Take a year and curate a tight selection of what was exhibited around town in that year. Well, not our idea but the New Museum in New York’s. What you got was a smart mix of art that was difficult at the time and has now come into focus, works that seemed important and now not so much, artists who were at their peak and others who were just about to break through. A fine curatorial sieve was set across time (1993) and place (NY) and yet as a viewer you had a lot of ideas to play with. The Museum is selling it as a time capsule but it's more an opportunity to step back and make a wider judgement than focus on quirky or outdated details as time capsules are notorious for doing. And to cap it off the Museum commissioned Rudolf Stingel to install an extraordinary floor covering that flowed from the elevators through the gallery spaces bringing the show together in a way bright orange carpet was never designed to do.
Images: top Rudolf Stingel’s carpet in a little side action as the lift opens onto the gallery space, second row left Felix Gonzalez Torres Untitled (couples) and right a detail from the billboard work untitled. Third row Derek Jarman’s Blue and bottom Charles Ray’s Family romance. All from 1993.