Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Returning in the Fall!!

Photo: Ryan McGinley

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The New Décor: Artists & Interiors
June 19th- September 5, 2010

An international survey of over 30 contemporary artists, including some of the leading sculptors of our time, who explore interior design as a means of engaging with changes in contemporary culture. By reconfiguring and reinventing the familiar objects of our domestic life, these artists look beyond design and function to create provocative sculptures and installations. The exhibition features work by 30 artists including: Martin Boyce (Britain), Los Carpinteros (Cuba), Jimmie Durham (USA), Elmgreen & Dragset (Scandinavia), Gelitin (Austria), Mona Hatoum (Lebanon), Jim Lambie (Britain), Sarah Lucas (Britain), Ernesto Neto (Brazil), Ugo Rondinone (Switzerland), Doris Salcedo (Colombia), Rosemary Trockel (Germany), Tatiana Trouve (Italian), Franz West (Austrian). Curated by Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery, the exhibition draws on artists from around the world, but what unites them is their ability to transform objects we associate with the everyday – a bed, a shelf, a lamp – into something uncanny and compelling.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Frieze Projects is a program of newly commissioned artworks by international artists realized annually at the Frieze Art Fair every October in Regent's Park, London. It is curated by Sarah McCrory and, this year, includes nine specially commissioned projects as well as the Cartier Award. The artists commissioned to create these site-specific works for Frieze Art Fair are Ei Arakawa and Karl Holmqvist, Spartacus Chetwynd, Matthew Darbyshire, Shannon Ebner and Dexter Sinister, Gabriel Kuri, Shahryar Nashat, Nick Relph, Annika Ström and Jeffrey Vallance. This year’s program of commissioned projects includes elements of performativity – either directly, with performances taking place in and around the fair, or more obliquely, commanding a level of involvement from visitors. Ranging from the spectacular to the intimate, the emphasis is on a direct engagement that will rest upon a series of personal encounters. The Cartier Award 2010 recipient is Simon Fujiwara. Fujiwara will present Frozen; an installation based on the fictive premise that an ancient lost city has been discovered beneath the site of the fair. Throughout the fair, visitors will encounter archaeological digs, displays of found artefacts and graphic panels describing a historic civilization that was once a hub of art and commerce.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


European Pressphoto Agency / April 7, 2005

Sigmar Polke, one of Germany’s best-known artists, died Thursday night from cancer at the age of 69.  Polke, a painter, graphic artist and photographer, was “one of the most important and most successful representatives of German contemporary art and had an important international reputation. The record price for Polke’s work at auction was 2.7 million pounds (then $5.3 million) for a 1966 canvas titled “Strand” (Beach) that sold at Christie’s in London in 2007. Stephanie Barron, curator of modern art at LACMA who included Polke in the 2009 show "Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures," called him "one the most important painters of the postwar generation and a leader among German artists." Born in 1941 in eastern Germany, Polke emigrated to the west in 1953. He settled in Dusseldorf, where he studied at the Art Academy. In 1963, he founded the “Capitalist Realism” painting movement with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Lueg. The three artists mocked both the realist style that was the official art of the Soviet Union and the consumer-driven pop art of the west. Polke moved to Cologne in 1978. He experimented with a wide range of styles, subject matter and materials. In the 1970s, he concentrated on photography, returning to paint in the 1980s, when he produced abstract works created by chance through chemical reactions between paint and other products. In the last 20 years, he produced paintings focused on historical events and perceptions of them. Polke was "incredibly adept at blending together images taken from many different sources," Barron said. "In his paintings he would bring together images from advertising, newspapers, film stills, and more in an incredibly eloquent and layered way." Nicholas Serota, director of London's Tate Modern art gallery, said Polke's "sublimely beautiful paintings" often carried a "tough message about society and its values" and were enormously influential on younger generations of artists. 

Monday, June 07, 2010

Marina Abramovic Answers $64,000 ? "HOW DID I PEE?"

Marina Abramovic, the performance artist whose retrospective closed at the Museum of Modern Art on Memorial Day, last night answered what she said was the number one question about her performance in the exhibit, in which she sat in the museum's atrium facing museum visitors all day every day during the exhibit's run: "How did I pee?" In her MoMA performance, called, as was the retrospective, Abramovic sat in an armless chair, on a pillow, facing an individual visitor--the famous like Sharon Stone, Lou Reed, James Franco, Isabella Rossellini, Marisa Tomei and Bjork, but, more often, the not-so-famous--who sat in the same kind of chair; initially they were separated by a table, which was later removed. Speaking at MoMA, surrounded by 36 performance artists who, during the retrospective, recreated her pieces on the museum's sixth floor, Abramovic said her chair had a "little hole." After three days of sitting on it, she said it became "so clear to me I will never use it. I never have the urge to pee, I sat on a pillow." To prepare for her marathon performance--her longest to date, 716.5 hours long, with Abramovic facing 1,545 visitors--the artist said she became a vegetarian (something she normally is not) six months before the exhibit, eating light food based on grains. And she said she trained herself to wake up every 45 minutes at night to drink water and remain hydrated. Abramovic also explained her fashion choices during the marathon. She said the blue dress she wore during the first month "calmed" her mind; "my brain was moving 360,000 miles per hour." The red dress the second month symbolized the "enormous amount of physical pain" she was experiencing, particularly from her armless chair--which she said she would change if she were to perform the piece again--and her legs swelling. The white dress, worn during the final month, represented "clarity, the immaterial." Abramovic also said her eyes created "incredible problems," but that she walked out on a doctor whom she consulted when he asked, "Why are you doing this to your eyes?" Klaus Biesenbach, curator of the Abramovic exhibit, said the artist called him on April 30 to ask if she could remove the table separating her from museum visitors, "to be directly with the audience." Although he said he had some misgivings about this, "Marina took it away." Asked if she could reperform "The Artist is Present," Abramovic said, "Of course we could reperform it. It's really a kind of piece about awareness, stillness. It opened the door to me to aspects of performance."
Jane Levere: Huffington Post

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Jeff Koons Unveils Art Car That Will Race At Le Mans

Artist Jeff Koons unveiled the BMW Art Car that will carry his colorful paint job in this month’s 24-hour race at Le Mans, France. The race car, a BMW M3 GT2, competes in a popular category that includes Ferraris, Porsches and other production-based sports vehicles that most drivers would recognize. The Art Car will be part of a two-car team competing at Le Mans, where many other Art Cars have raced. The Koons racer is certain to be noticed on the track. Its bright, streaked paint job suggests motion, as if paint was thrown at the car as it passed. Up close, though, the color scheme is full of intricate detail. The M3 GT2 is the 17th Art Car BMW has produced since commissioning Alexander Calder to paint the first one in 1975. Many artists including Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol have designed Art Cars for BMW. Typically the artist created the design through sketches and models, and BMW does the actual painting. Andy Warhol is the only one who painted the car himself. 
By Jonathan Welsh: WSJ

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


                                                 Frank Klein

Leave it to John Waters to write what is perhaps the first loving, learned homage to outsider pornographers. In one chapter of his new memoir, Role Models (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Waters introduces Bobby Garcia, "the Almodóvar of Anuses, the Buñuel of Blow Jobs, the Jodorowsky of Jerking Off." Garcia--who has somehow convinced thousands of straight Marines to star in gay porn--lives in a run-down shack overflowing with pigs, roosters, and hundreds of rats. But to Waters he is a genius. Role Models is a paean to the people Waters claims as influences, but not all are so predictably perverse. In it, he reminisces about artist Cy Twombly and Clarabell the Clown from The Howdy Doody Show, Tennessee Williams and Patty McCormack, the actress who portrayed the murderous little girl in 1956's The Bad Seed. And aside from one serious, soul-searching chapter--about Manson girl and convicted murderer Leslie Van Houten--the book is surprisingly charming and riotously funny. It's an especially good read for those familiar with Waters' hometown, a city "filled with nutcases who think they are totally levelheaded." Baltimore's own aficionado of filth names many Charm City natives as inspirations. There's Lady Zorro the lesbian stripper, who would come out on stage naked and snarl, "What the fuck are you looking at?" There's Esther Martin, the foul-mouthed founder of the Club Charles, who inspired her daughters with such inspirational adages as "A cunt hair will pull a twenty-mule team." And Waters devotes a good deal of his chapter on Baltimore heroes to his favorite scary bars, most of which--Hard Times, Morgan's, Boots--are no more.
But beneath Waters' exuberant, bawdy prose lies a challenge. "Filth is just the beginning battle in the war on taste," he writes. Parts of Role Models are, of course, shocking, some in the same sense as a certain famous scene in his classic movie Pink Flamingos. (In the book, the author wonders if it is as draining for Johnny Mathis to sing "When Sunny Gets Blue" over and over again as it is for Waters to have fans ask him repeatedly whether Divine really ate dog shit.) But the affectionate, respectful tone Waters takes with each profile--whether of a famous fashion designer or an unknown coprophiliac--is a deeper transgression. After reading the book, you feel that his fascination with those on society's periphery is accompanied by real empathy, a generosity of spirit that most of us cannot fathom.
Leslie Van Houten is perhaps the most notorious recipient of that compassion. At the age of 19, in the thrall of Charles Manson, she participated in the bloody murder of the LaBianca family. She is still in prison, and Waters devotes a long chapter in his book to her story and the story of their friendship. She is repentant and fully rehabilitated, he writes, and deserves to be given parole. The chapter is neither scandalous nor simplistic. It discusses the limits of redemption, the nature of accountability, and the purpose of imprisonment. And it reveals another side of John Waters, the repentant one. He writes that he is "[g]uilty of using the Manson murders in a jokey, smart-ass way in my earlier films without the slightest feeling for the victims' families or the lives of the brainwashed Manson killer kids who were also victims in this sad and terrible case." Role Models covers a great deal of strange, seemingly unrelated ground. It leaps directly from Van Houten to a section on Waters' wardrobe, a style he calls "disaster at the dry cleaners." After perusing "John Waters's Five Books You Should Read to Live a Happy Life if Something Is Basically the Matter With You," you're whisked to a drab hotel room inhabited by Little Richard. You'd think this eccentric narrative wouldn't hold together. But the book is, somehow, a brilliant self-portrait. It's a little like one of those photo mosaics so popular of late: Up close, it's a jumble of tiny colorful portraits. Step back, and there's the Pope of Trash himself.
Baltimore CityPaper