Archive for July, 2009

His and Urs

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
The talk of the town – in the WSJ, the New Yorker, New York Magazine – is Marguerite de Ponty, the solo show “introspective” of Urs Fischer at the New Museum.  The artist takes on the three floors (and ceilings) of exhibition space.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704024904574475312171391366.html
The mouthpiece of the show – and organizer – is Massimiliano Gioni, Director of Special Exhibitions and cocurator of “Younger than Jesus.”  The show originated from “Jet Set Lady,” the 2005 solo show of Urs Fischer at the Trussardi Foundation, where Massimiliano Gioni is artistic director, alongside Laura Hoptman, a Trussardi advisory board member by night, Senior Curator at the New Museum by day.
The main attraction is A technical tour de force that required more than 25,000 photographs and over twelve tons of steel, ” according the the New Mu.  It includes about 50 shiny stainless steel boxes bearing silkscreen prints on all visible sides.  It’s an assortment of objects depicted from all three Cartesian axes, x y and z.
The boxes, engineered in Zurich, are immaculately seamless and the prints masterfully applied.   There seems to be no room for error, and one wonders how the printmakers juggled the images, which demand vertical and horizontal orientations.  Moreover, how did the photographers shoot, scan, and splice these dimension-defying captures?  It’s especially excited in the photos of photos, such as the Installing the heavy cubes required wizardry, too: preparators were not allowed to touch the sculptures.  So they unsheathed them from their crates and slid the plinths from underneath.  But how did they mount the vertical “chain” piece to the ceiling?
Meanwhile, the monumental molten crags on the third floor reveal seams where the component pieces conjoined.  Why would a precisionist perfectionist like Urs Fischer permit this?  Don’t we lose our illusion when we see the stitching?  Maybe it’s a trick to remind our eyes that the towering turds are more than surface, even if that battered surface fascinatingly reports the thumb impressions that shaped it in its fetal stages.

Dearth 'vator
Dearth 'vator

Opening today is the new hotness, Marguerite de Ponty, the solo show “introspective” of Urs Fischer at the New Museum.  The artist has his way with the three floors (and ceilings) of exhibition space.

The showman, mouthpiece, and organizer is Director of Special Exhibitions and cocurator of “Younger than Jesus,” Massimiliano Gioni, 35, older than Jesus.  The show originated when Gioni and Fischer erected Jet Set Lady, Fischer’s seminal 2005 solo show at the Trussardi Foundation, where Gioni is artistic director, and where Laura Hoptman, Senior Curator at the New Museum, is a Trussardi advisory board member.

This is a good time for Gavin Brown.  Fischer is the second artist from Gavin Brown’s Enterprise to have a solo show at the New Museum.  Brownian Jonathan Horowitz just concluded And/Or at P.S.1 and his soul- and gallery-mate, Rob Pruitt, is hosting the First Annual Art Awards this week at the Guggenheim.

P.S. Wish “good luck” to SVA alumni “and/or” faculty who are nominees: Elizabeth Peyton, Mary Heilmann, and Jerry Saltz.

Urs Fischer at New Museum
Urs Fischer at New Museum

The main attraction ($$$) of Marguerite de Ponty (a pseudonym used by Mallarmé when writing on fashion) is “a technical tour de force that required more than 25,000 photographs and over twelve tons of steel,” according the the New Mu. Sounds pretty MACHO for an institution founded by feminist Marcia Tucker.

Cary Leibowitz, Marcia Tucker Puffy Print, 2007
Cary Leibowitz, Marcia Tucker Puffy Print, 2007

It includes about 50 splendid stainless steel boxes, silkscreened on all visible sides with photos of an assortment of objects, depicted from all three Cartesian axes, x through z.  Despite the roid-rage marketing, the installation invokes non-Hulk Hogans: Guyton/Walker + John McCracken + Warhol + maybe Cady Noland in a good mood.  -And Robert Morris cubes, Judd boxing, Picasso cubism, Duchamp readymade, Dutch still life. With flat images adhered to flat, reflective boxes that all share axes, it’s a vista without perspective – no transverse lines, like drawing with an Etch-a-Sketch.

Artists Frank Benson and Xavier Cha
Artists Frank Benson and Xavier Cha

Only 40 visitors are allowed in at once, but it’s worth the wait in line, because population control is to labyrinths what rent control is to apartments: you feel good about staying for a long time.

The boxes, engineered in Zurich, are immaculately seamless.  There seems to be no room for error, and one wonders how the printmakers, in Austria, juggled the tumbling vertical and horizontal orientations.  Does this site help us? The effect is especially exciting in the photos of photos, such as the giant Ashanti, who looks real from the front, but surprises us as a cardboard cutout.  Look closer, and the cardboard’s crumbled corners and scored surfaces revolt against the surgical, sterile surfaces.

Hunk Hendrik Gerrits with Peres Projects' Sarah Walzer
Hunk Hendrik Gerrits with Peres Projects' Sarah Walzer

Preparators were not allowed to touch the sculptures, so they unsheathed them from crates and slid the plinths from underneath.  But how did they mount the vertical “chain” piece to the ceiling?  If you see Hendrik Gerrits, who oversaw the installation, you should ask him.  He looked really relieved last night.

His and Urs
Sincerely Urs

In contrast to the rigid order below them, the monumental molten crags on the third floor are all accident.  Yet they reveal seams where the component aluminum sections conjoined.  Wouldn’t that bother a precisionist perfectionist like Urs Fischer?  Don’t we lose our illusion when we see the stitching?  Maybe it’s a trick to remind our eyes that the towering turds are ugly on the inside, too – even if we want to stay with the fascinating thumb impressions on the surface.

Now that's what I call ART
Now that's what I call ART

That’s right, foxy; I’m talking to YOU!

IMAGES: Michael Bilsborough

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Monday, July 27th, 2009

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Ad Reinhardt

Preserve All Monsters

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Moments from A Fantastic World Superimposed on Reality on Saturday, Nov. 21 @ Blender Theater.  Curated by Mike Kelley and Mark Beasley!

The legendary Destroy All Monsters
The legendary Destroy All Monsters

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Vito Acconci
Vito Acconci is in the House

Christian Marclay and Shelley Hirsch:

A little more, if you can handle it; don’t sweat the [Marclay] technique:

John Duncan’s performance scared the bejeezus out of everyone!  In the pitch black dark theater…

Evacuate?
Evacuate?

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…a chorus of people suddenly began screaming like maniacs.  Terror!  Nobody would attack an avant-garde crowd, right?

(l) Standing Nude, (r) Sitting Dust
(l) Standing Nude, (r) Sitting Dust

-Right?  To my relief, the Xenon flash identified the screamers as merry pranksters, not bloody murderers.

More merry than hairy
More merry than hairy

Take a bow?

Artsy Fartsy?  (No thanks!)
Artsy Fartsy? (No thanks!)

On with the show~

IMAGES: Michael Bilsborough

Ch-Ching, Singh!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Alexandre Singh, Assembly Instructions (lecture), performance with two OHP projectors and transparencies, 2009
Alexandre Singh, Assembly Instructions (lecture), performance with two OHP projectors and transparencies, 2009

Congratulations to SVA alum Alexandre Singh!  He is one of the 8 artists selected by the Rema Hort Mann Foundation for the 2009 Visual Arts Grant.  Each recipient gets a big check for $10,000 to be used however he or she pleases.  Alexandre starred in this blog recently (Showroom Dummy, 2009).

From approximately 110 artists nominated by art world professionals, the 7 other recipients are Jennifer Cohen, Alexander Fleming, Alice O’Malley, Matt Sheridan Smith, Rashaad Newsome, Mary Reid Kelley, and Rona Yefman. To be nominated for the grant, an artist must be based in NYC, must not be a student, and must not have had a solo show at a commercial gallery before nomination.  (Take note, young artists aching for a solo debut; it pays to wait!)  (Take note, young artists looking for a great gallery; two winners are represented by Lisa Cooley!)

Alexandre Singh, The Marque of the Third Stripe, wood, chipboard, vitrines, belgian waffles, adidas trainers, plaster and 80 mins video, 2008
Alexandre Singh, The Marque of the Third Stripe, wood, chipboard, vitrines, belgian waffles, adidas trainers, plaster and 80 mins video, 2008

Nominees must also be on good terms 🙂 with the selection committee, the members of which parse through the A-list nominations: Lauren Cornell of Rhizome, who also helped curate Younger Than Jesus; Susan Hort, Stefan Kelmar of Artists Space, Tina Kukielski of the Whitney Museum, and Matthew Lyons of The Kitchen.  In recent years, that supreme court has also included judges Lia Gangitano of Participant, Inc, Massimiliano Gioni of the New Museum, Matthew Higgs & Amie Scally of White Columns, Carter Foster & Gary Murayari of the Whitney Museum (Gary is now curating the next Biennial), hypercritic Jerry Saltz, and João Ribas, who recently advanced from the Drawing Center to the MIT List center.  Read his interview with the Horts at Flash Art.

Right-hand Man: João Ribas
Right-hand Man: João Ribas

Personally, this blog thinks they are all beautiful, smart, witty, sexy, talented, stylish, well-groomed, skinny, fabulous, glamorous, wonderful, great……..

The Rema Hort Mann Foundation is unique for several reasons.  It is one of the few private foundations offering grants to emerging artists, its prize is unrestricted and unconditional, and the odds of winning are high for nominees.  But above all, and in its own words: “The Rema Hort Mann Foundation was established in 1995 in loving memory of Rema Hort Mann who passed away from cancer at the young age of 30. In her life, she was passionate about supporting young artists and later to individuals she met while undergoing treatment.”

Michael & Susan Hort, Susan Sarandon in Stepmom and Jonathan Horowitz' Video
Michael & Susan Hort (l), Susan Sarandon in

SVA alumni are familiar with the generous Rema Hort Mann Foundation.  It has rewarded SVA’s grads many times in the past: Lane Twitchell (MFA, ’95), Sarah Sze (MFA ’97), Mika Rottenberg (BFA, ’00), Aïda Ruilova (MFA, ’01), and some clueless mama’s boy (MFA, 06).

Check out Susan and Michael Hort in this video.


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Use Yr KOHllusion

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Koh intern and vamp, Val
Koh intern and vamp, Val

If I were a member, I’d be livid,” whispered one super fierce publishing figure last night at the National Arts Club, referring to the dinner jacket-clad grown-ups who weren’t there for the Terence Koh lecture, who might have felt uncomfortably bumrushed by the scores of the artist’s ab fab fans, friends, a-KOH-lytes, and KOH-konspirators.

Garrick Gott and event organizer Stacey Engam
Garrick Gott and event organizer Stacy Engman, NAC Chair of Contemporary Art

To appease the outnumbered, but patient and actually very welcoming real NAC members, and to satiate the hungry, anxious club visitors, refreshments were abundant, including exotic absinthe spritzers, chocolate covered ants, port wine cheese spread, and Campbell’s soup with straws.

Who was there? Who wasn’t?

NAC President Arlene S. Hamsun introduces Terence Koh
NAC President Arlene S. Hamsun introduces Terence Koh

Marina Abramovic, Klaus Biesenbach, Phil and Shelley Aarons, Jerry Saltz, Roberta Smith, Cecilia Dean, Adam McEwen, Jeffrey Deitch, Mary Boone (happy belated birthday, still sexy at 58), RoseLee Goldberg, Kathy Grayson, Sophia Lamar…

…and lots of fashion people I can identify only by their looks.

W.W.W.D.?
W.W.W.D.?

The patrician, oil-on-canvas dinner jacket set would have been pleased.

Armchair historians
Armchair historians

At 45 minutes, with nearly 400 images handpicked from local libraries and the artist’s bookshelves, individually scanned to ensure the highest quality, Terence Koh’s Art History 1642-2009 was a whirlwind tour of Western and Eastern Art, mostly chronological from 1642 to the present, and admitting into the Koh canon a few book covers, party photos, vintage porn, and even some line graph charts to diagram art market confidence.

Autumnal Degas moment at the NAC
Autumnal Degas moment at the NAC

Who was in it?  Who made the Terence Koh Canon?

KOHlympia
KOHlympia

Marcel Duchamp, Vermeer, Velasquez, Warhol, Koons, Aurel Schmidt, Adam McEwen, Marina Abramovic, David Shrigley, Goya, Rembrandt, Judd, Bourgeois, Wojnarowicz, William Blake, Hockney, Rob Pruitt, Kelley Walker, Dash Snow, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Karen Black/Kembra Pfahler, Christian Holstad;

Maurizio Cattelan, Aaron Bondaroff, Muntean/Rosenblum, Yoko Ono, Bianca Jagger, Nauman, Robert Smithson, Yayoi Kusama, James Lee Byars, Girodet, Chardin, Flavin, Jenny Saville, Damien Hirst, Julian Schnabel, Murakami, Zhang Huan, General Idea, Dan Colen – not in that order (no McGinley? no AVAF?) – and that’s just a fraction of art history according to Terence Koh – which is more expansive than the Eurocentric humanities courses I took in college.

RIP Jeanne-Claude, Long live Bruce High Quality
RIP Jeanne-Claude, Long live Bruce High Quality

Koh spoke his own private ida-Koh language, which sounds something like Proto-Indo-Cabbie, though I heard someone ask Terence if it was Swedish.

Tonight at NAC
Tonight at NAC

He barely stopped to breathe, only taking breaks to sip from his glass of vodka.  He frequently strided away from his lectern to gesticulate and indicate details of the projected images.

A few times, he ranted at a rapid-fire clip, sounded like a Sotheby’s auctioneer, notably while discussing the Jeff Koons chrome bunny, which at the scale of the projection, looked like a anthropomorphic Sputnik.

RIP Dash Snow
RIP Dash Snow

Terence shouted and waved his arms indignantly while covering pictures of Hitler looking at artwork, and in the more emotive moments, slowed and spoke solemnly, especially when Dash Snow appeared, and when he displayed AA Bronson’s heartbreaking AIDS revelation, Felix, which is, for me, one of the most moving images of contemporary art since I first saw it in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.

Long live AA Bronson
Long live AA Bronson

In these heavyhearted moments, Terence sounded plantive and morose, though somehow resisted tears.  His lecture was politically charged, addressing, for example, 20th Century China and the Reagan administration’s delusional failure to intervene during the incipient AIDS epidemic.

Ups and Downs
Ups and Downs

And although nobody but Terence understood his words, he still said a lot, contextualizing himself and refreshingly reminding us that ultimately, art is remembered for being seen, and all that matters is how it looks!

Shrigley vs. Seymour (vs. Brant)
Shrigley vs. Seymour (vs. Brant)

Is this the new Terence Koh, post market crash, post Snow?  Still cheeky, but more substantial, orchestrated, polychrome, narrative, and profound?  Let’s find out at his “secret” performance tomorrow evening at Tompkins Square Park.

Ike-Koh (gesundheit!)
Ike-Koh (gesundheit!)

Oh, and rumor reveals a potential Terence Koh/Lady Gaga collaboration! DisKOH Stick!

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