Friday, April 25, 2008

Are we alone in the universe? Do aliens exist? Or are we, ourselves, strangers in our
own world?
Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International explores the important yet continually perplexing question of what it means to be human in the world today. Organized by Douglas Fogle, curator of contemporary art at Carnegie Museum of Art, the provocative Life on Mars will present the varying perspectives of 40 artists from 17 countries, spanning generations and continents. This is the 55th installation of the series of contemporary-art survey exhibitions that was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1896. It will include 204 works of art in diverse media, from painting, sculpture, and drawing to animation, film, installation, and performance—all searching for the sublime in the confusion of everyday life.
The question “Is there life on Mars?” is a rhetorical one posed by the exhibition in the face of a world where political, social, natural, and economic global events increasingly seem to challenge and threaten to overtake the most basic forms of everyday existence.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008



Cover image: Matthew Barney

Friday, April 11, 2008


Theft is Vision gathers essays and interviews from the past ten years by the influential New York critic and curator Bob Nickas, offering a personal, shoot-from-the-hip take on the American art scene. More of a fan than a theorist, Nickas views art through a focused, subcultural lens; he pursues overlooked figures such as graphic designers Art Chantry and Jamie Reid, post-punk legends The Fall, cult artists Cady Noland and Steven Parrino; collaborates on photo/text pieces with Trisha Donnelly and John Miller; and offers a fictional conversation between Andy Warhol and On Kawara. Interviews with Philip Taaffe and Jeff Wall reflect on the 80s, while those with Wolfgang Tillmans (not previously published) and Kelley Walker bring us into the present. Since 1985, Nickas has organized over 60 exhibitions for galleries and museums as an independent curator. As Curatorial Advisor at P.S. 1 from 2003-2007, he organized more than 20 exhibitions, including Stephen Shore: American Surfaces, Wolfgang Tillmans: Fredom From The Known, William Gedney-Christopher Wool: Into the Night, Peter Hujar and the Lee Lozano retrospective. .

FORMAT: Paperback, 6 x 8 in. / 160 pgs / 24 b&w.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


The Fondation Cartier is hosting a major solo exhibition of the visual work of American artist and performer Patti Smith. Drawn from pieces created between 1967 and 2007, it strives to provide an insight into her lyrical, spiritual and poetic universe. Her expressive voice serves to magnify the installations created specifically for the exhibition: a synthesis of photographs, drawings and films. While the name Patti Smith evokes an image of a founder of the New York punk-rock scene, she has explored the visual arts and poetry since the late 1960s. The exhibition at the Fondation Cartier embraces the various facets of her creative process. Patti Smith began to take photographs in 1967 for use in collages. In 1995, she returned to photography using a vintage Polaroid Land 250: “The immediacy of the process was a relief from the long involved process of drawing, recording, or writing a poem.” Many of Smith’s photographs embody significant personal meaning: Robert Mapplethorpe’s slippers, Virginia Woolf’s bed, Hermann Hesse’s typewriter and Arthur Rimbaud’s utensils. Others serve as a visual record of her well-traveled life. The exhibition also features a selection of the artist’s drawings, several of which are borrowed from prestigious institutions such as the MoMA and the Centre Pompidou or from private collections.

Friday, April 04, 2008

"Blubberland" The Dangers of Happiness by Elizabeth Farrelly

The MIT Press
6 x 9 1/4, 219 pp.
$19.95 (PAPER)
I, like you, drive too much. I buy too much--of which I keep too much and also throw too much away. I overindulge my children, and myself. Directly as well as indirectly I use too much water, energy, air and space. My existence, in short, costs the planet more than it can afford. This is not some handed-down moral stricture, nor any sort of guilty self-flagellation, but a simple recognition of fact. The consequences are obvious, and near enough now to see the warts on their noses. For my own future, as well as my children's, I must change. And yet--this is what's weird--I, like you, can't. Cannot abandon comfort, convenience and pleasure for the sake of abstract knowledge. Can't stop doing it. This is interesting.
It's interesting because we think we are so rational, so intelligent, and yet we behave, both individually and as a herd, in such unintelligent ways. That's what drove this book into being.
--from Blubberland

Welcome to Blubberland--a world of quadruple-garaged mansions, vast malls, gated communities, stretch limos, and posh resorts. Blubberland is a place, but it is also a state of mind: we expect to be happy (trophy house, SUV in the driveway, home entertainment system, pension fund, cosmetic surgery), but in fact we've grown increasingly bloated, bored, and miserable. In Blubberland, award-winning critic Elizabeth Farrelly looks at our "superfluous superfluity," our huge eco-footprint, and asks why we find it so hard to abandon habits we know to be destructive. Why can't we build human-scale cities, design meaningful public spaces, eat reasonable meals, and stop assaulting nature?
Farrelly, trained as an architect, begins this story with architecture, urban sprawl, and housing, but she does not end there. She also looks at "affluenza," childhood asthma, diabetes, addiction, beauty, ugliness, narcissism, climate change, mega-churches, big box retailers, sustainability, depression, anorexia, and the links that collect all of these issues under the same roof--the roof, as it were, of the McMansion. As "big" becomes more and more pervasive, and success is seen in increasingly measurable and material terms, the goal of happiness jeopardizes our survival. Blubberland is a smart, thoughtful, and stylish argument for turning things around.

About the Author
Elizabeth Farrelly is one of Australia's liveliest and most provocative writers on architecture and the environment. The winner of the CICA International Critics' Award, the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing, and the Marion Mahony Griffin Award, she is a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, a commentator on Australian television and radio, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney.

The MIT Press

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sonnabend Heirs Hold Colossal Private Sale to Pay Off Estate Taxes


In what experts described as the largest private sale of art ever, the heirs of the legendary dealer Ileana Sonnabend have parted with some $600 million worth of paintings and sculptures in two transactions to cover their estate taxes, reports Carol Vogel in the New York Times. Ever since Ms. Sonnabend died last October at ninety-two, the auction giants Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been vying with some of the world’s most powerful art dealers—Larry Gagosian, William Acquavella, Robert Mnuchin, the team of Giraud Pissarro Ségalot—to get at least a piece of the collection to sell. Sonnabend’s art trove, which includes seminal works by artists like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly, is valued at more than $1 billion. Taxes on the estate amount to more than half the value of the assets, experts said. After months of deliberations Sonnabend’s son and daughter settled this week on the two private sales. “We did sell two blocks of works,” said Antonio Homem, Sonnabend’s son, who along with her daughter, Nina Sundell, inherited the collection. Citing confidentiality agreements, Homem declined to identify the buyers. But experts close to the transactions who insisted on anonymity, also because of those agreements, said that the dealers Franck Giraud, Lionel Pissarro and Philippe Ségalot, who have offices in New York and Paris, bought $400 million worth of art on behalf of several clients, including some of the collection’s finest works. A second group of artworks, all Andy Warhols, was sold to the Gagosian Gallery for $200 million, the experts said.