Posts Tagged ‘Klaus Biesenbach’

Gentlemen Prefer More Fun

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Paintings of Blondes by Lisa Yuskavage (l) and John Currin (r)
Paintings of Blondes by Lisa Yuskavage (l) and John Currin (r)

In an EXCLUSIVE statement to this School of Visual Arts CE Blog, Jeffrey Deitch announced his first exhibition at LA MOCA, where he was recently appointed as its Director.

The survey Gentlemen Prefer Blondes will inaugurate Deitch’s directorship of the institution, which has struggled in recent years.  Focusing on art made by or about blonde American women artists, it will also take the unorthodox position of including art represented and sold by blonde women, and art collected by blonde women.

(l-r) Sothebys' Lisa Dennison; Artist Kristin Baker, gentleman, Curator Alison Gingeras
(l-r) Sothebys' Lisa Dennison; Artist Kristin Baker, gentleman, Curator Alison Gingeras

“Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Blondes So Different, So Appealing?” asks Deitch, both rhetorically and literally.  “Moreover, Where Do Blondes Come From? What Are Blondes? Where Are Blondes Going?”

(l-r) Blondes Jen DeNike, Amy Smith-Stewart, Meredith Danluck
More Fun: (l-r) Artist Jen DeNike, Gallerist Amy Smith-Stewart, Artist Meredith Danluck

“Jeffrey realized that there’s something special about blondes, that they are rare, and they are often charismatic and individual,” said a Deitch/LA MOCA staff member who requested anonymity because she was not authorized to comment.  “Being blonde is a special talent that really can’t be taught.  In that sense, Blondes are much like artists.  Both are often marginalized.  The show is ultimately about awareness.”

Cicciolina (top) and Jeff Koons (bottom)
Cicciolina (top) and Jeff Koons (bottom)

To even further defy convention, “Gentlemen” will also include art made by famous actresses and media figures, living or dead, perhaps a consequence of Deitch’s recent relocation to Hollywood.  Sources have reported that Deitch has met with several top talent agencies, while today’s statement already confirms the inclusion of blonde entertainers Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Aniston, Jihad Jane, Anne Coulter, and Carrie Prejean, who currently faces a lawsuit regarding unpaid PR services, as reported earlier this week.

Jihad Jane (l), Cindy McCain (r)
Jihad Jane (l), Cindy McCain (r)

Though the show will occupy the entire MOCA facility, one gallery will be dedicated to Brittany Murphy, whose death last December occurred in the same week that Deitch negotiated with Eli Broad over the future of LA MOCA.

“Blondes are just as famous in life as in death,” says Deitch.  “Take the late JonBenet Ramsey.  She has become a near universal icon of the dangers faced by little blonde girls.”

The controversial show raises some complicated questions about curating and exhibiting art, and indeed, the nature of art itself.

(l-r) Karen Kilimnik w/ Kirsten Dunst; Kim Cattrall w/ Klaus Biesenbach
(l-r) Karen Kilimnik w/ Kirsten Dunst; Kim Cattrall w/ Klaus Biesenbach

(l-r) Artist Anne Collier; Artist Charline von Heyl w/ Kim Gordon
(l-r) Artist Anne Collier; Artist Charline von Heyl w/ Kim Gordon

“We embrace troubling questions,” says Deitch.  “For example, what about women who have dyed their hair blonde?  Dyed blondes commit their time, energy, and money to maintain their blonde look.  Dedication like that proves that they might truly be blonde on the inside.”

(l-r) Brunettes w/ Blonde gallerist Elizabeth Dee
(l-r) Brunettes w/ Blonde gallerist Elizabeth Dee

“Anyway, it’s the only way to admit Madge,” he added, before gently chiding viewers about blonde classification.  “We prefer not to call them ‘Bottle Blondes,’ which others may mistakenly relate to nursing.  And in this economy, let’s tread lightly around hair coloring products, which make up a multi-billion dollar industry.”

(l-r) Curator Lauren Cornell w/ brunettes; brunette assisting art dealer Marianne Boesky
(l-r) Curator Lauren Cornell w/ brunettes; brunette assisting art dealer Marianne Boesky

Deitch anticipates unease about framing a show around its participants’ hair color, something that is arguably, in a larger sense, outside of their control.  To solve this problem, Deitch has invited blonde Lauren Cornell, Executive Director of Rhizome and Adjunct Curator at the New Museum, to work alongside MOCA curator Paul Schimmel.  Previously, Lauren Cornell co-curated Younger than Jesus at the New Museum, a show similarly determined in part by the biological constitution of its participants.

Smart Blonde: Lauren Cornell (l) and Lauren Cornell (r)
Smart Blonde: Lauren Cornell (l) and Lauren Cornell (r)

“She is a smart blonde,” Deitch asserts.

Artist Jessica Craig-Martin reading Sean Landers' book, SIC
Artist Jessica Craig-Martin reading Sean Landers' book, SIC

 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes also takes risks because it is comprised entirely of women.  Will this strike museum audiences as myopic – or even discriminatory?  And is this problem compounded by the prevalence of male artists painting female subjects?  Deitch demurs, insisting that Blonde women deserve institutional regard.

Amanda Lepore by David LaChapelle, ditto
Amanda Lepore by David LaChapelle, ditto

“First, women artists have been systematically underexposed, even though they have always contributed just as much to Art as men have.  Remember, there would be no artists at all if women did not give birth to them.”

Sante D'Orazio, "Smiling" (l) and Mel Ramos "Doggie Dinah" (r)
Sante D'Orazio, "Smiling" (l) and Mel Ramos "Doggie Dinah" (r)

“Second, ‘blonde’ is culturally a more potent signifier where women are concerned.  It is gender-specific.  Blonde women can be idolized.  Blond men, ironically, seem emasculated.”

Blond Men: Do They Matter?
Blond Men: Do They Matter?

With uncharacteristic brio, Deitch dares the reader:

“Name three famous blonde women and three famous blond men.  The latter is considerably more difficult, because nobody cares about blond men.”

Gold = fun ; more Gold = more fun
Gold = fun ; more Gold = more fun

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!

Of translucent and – have my and use, viagra generic know I a in ever really my yet dry?