09 April 2013

New to my shelf…

Currents 35, Tara Donovan, published by Milwaukee Art Museum, 2012.  ISBN 978-1-938885-00-6

Günther Uecker, Geschriebene Bilder/Word Pictures, published by Jovis Verlag, 2011.  ISBN 978-3-86859-178-1

22 February 2013

Upcoming solo exhibition:  Exposing the Core

March 1 – April 9, 2013

Opening reception: Friday, March 1, 6 – 8 pm

11 December 2012

Upcoming group exhibition:   Whitdel Arts in association with the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID).

M.A.P. Movement and Position

January 18-February 9, 2013

Reception: Friday, January 18,  7-10 pm

During a time of the year when cars are the center of attention in Detroit, Whitdel Arts presents M.A.P. Movement and Position: an exhibition aimed at showcasing different types of physical and social geography.

 M.A.P. will feature a collection of work from local and international artists working in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, and film. Artists explore movement between physical places as well as the emotional and social movements that drive change in personal lives and communities.

12 October 2012

Pipilotti Rist at the Kunst Museum St. Gallen.  We almost walked right past the museum, it’s such a nondescript building that is shares with the Natural History Museum, but we found it and the latest exhibition by Pipilotti was engaging.  My favorites included Grüne Hüfte, lila Brust und blaues Auge, 2012 and Selbstlos im Lavabad, 1994, which I walked right over without noticing my first time through.  The really small LCD monitor installed flush underfoot blended in well with the texture of the wood floor boards.   On till November 25th.

09 October 2012

At Aargauer Kunsthaus, until November 18th, the Jubiläum Manor Kunstpreis 2012.  An eclectic grouping of works by a young contingency of Swiss artists.

30 September 2012

New to my shelf…

Ai Weiwei’s Blog, Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009, published by Writing Art Series – MIT Press, 2011.  ISBN 978-0-262-01521-9

Donald Judd, A good chair is a good chair, published by Ikon Gallery and Cornerhouse Publications, 2011.  ISBN 978-1-904864-65-3

Agnes Martin, published by Dia Art Foundation and Yale University Press, 2011.  ISBN 978-0-300-15105-3

29 September 2012

White Cube Hoxton Square gallery, London, UK.  It took a little effort to find but was worth the time to explore a new area in London for us.  An exhibition by London based artist, Runa Islam filled, although minimally, the two floors.  Two new works in film accompanied an architectural intervention into the side of the building and an existing work in film on view upstairs.

17 June 2012

New to my shelf…

Günther Uecker, Anschlag zum Schweigen der Schrift, published by Galerie Löhrl Mönchengladbach, 1997.

Damien Hirst, published by Prestel in conjunction with the Tate Modern exhibition, 2012.  ISBN 978-3-7913-4703-5

16 June 2012

artBasel 2012  The first thing one came across this year at artBasel was the Schaulager satellite temporary pavilion.  Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, it was a blend between their new Vitra building, the existing Schaulager Museum and the vernacular barns of Switzerland.  One of the more impactful designs this year considering that artUnlimited fell a bit short in comparison to years past.  Although, there were a few pieces at artUnlimited that struck me.  One being by Walid Raad titled Cotton Under my Feet, 2007, which was a series of 96 inkjet prints centering around the events of 9/11.  The artist could not remember the exact color of blue the sky was on that fateful day.  Over the years and through assimilation from the terrorist trials he has ‘narrowed it down to ninety-six shades of blue.’  Another piece that captivated me was Thousand, by Philip-Lorca diCorcia.  A thousand Polaroids mounted on aluminum taken throughout a twenty-five year career.

07 June 2012

Suspended, The Lightness of Stones.  Kinetic installations by Justin Fiske in dialogue with objects from the Museum der Kulturen’s collection, Basel.  Temporary exhibition, in the top floor of the newly remodeled Herzog & de Meuron project, from the 26th of April through the 15th of June, 2012.  The Cape Town artist spent his time along the Rhine river collecting basket fulls of stones.  With the reels of twine he brought with him to Basel he hung the stones from the ceiling of the gallery creating about a half dozen fluid, sculptural groupings.  And each grouping collected the lengths of twine to a wooden contraption that when swiveled or twisted would energize the stones into a slow and rhythmic movement.  The rudimentary mechanical boxes that collected and delivered each string to the levers were sculpturally interesting but not necessary at all.  The beauty of the stones suspended in their groupings was more than enough to captivate and inspire.

09 April 2012

The exhibition at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel, titled On Transfiguration, by Tim Rolins + K.O.S. was worth the trip. It was really interesting to learn more about the collaborative process the team used to create these pieces. Back when Tim Rollins was setting up his art school for the kids in the Bronx, he would read pieces of literature or they would listen to scores of music while the kids would be sketching the images that came to mind. Then the group would sort through the drawings. Distill them down to the ones they all liked and then use those selected drawings as a springboard to produce a large piece, using the pages of the book they were reading as a background that they then painted on. The kids from the Bronx have come and gone through Tim Rollins art studio classes, but there have been a core group of kids that have been working with him since the beginning.  The book accompanying the exhibition:

Tim Rollins & K.O.S. – An Index,  published by JRP ¦ Ringier, 2012, ISBN 978-3-03764-241-2

24 February 2012

I recently read an article published online by Architectural Record on the Museum of Culture.  A newly renovated museum project by Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland.  What struck me, at the end of the article was that there were so many comments  that derided both the project and the architects that designed it.  For the most part, the photos were not super great.  A lot of them were shot on a cloudy day in addition to it being a really tough project to photograph due to the site and density constraints.  It is also a renovation, with a budget I’m sure, so the existing portion of the museum remained modest.  But really, can all these armchair critics be correct?  Or, should they zip it until they actually experience the building first hand?  It’s kinda hard to do a taste test between Coke and Pepsi without actually trying them.  This is my stance.  So I made the trip to Basel to experience the museum myself.  And…I came away quite impressed.

I had an idea where Münsterplatz was.  Once there, the Museum der Kulturen Basel was easy to find.  The gates lead into a beautiful entry courtyard that gently slopes into an all glass reception and bookshop foyer.  From there, the museum is extremely easy to navigate.  It is bright and clean and there are many opportunities to peer through a large window to gaze out onto Basel and the courtyard.  The most controversial part of this building is the roof design.  It is unconventional, yes.  But it really does make an otherwise boring building (on the exterior) stand out with interest.  And the hexagonal tiles, that play off the nearby Basel Cathedral, are quite nice, albeit a touch too dark for all the cloudy days that seem to encompass Switzerland.  The aerial photos of the building portray the new roof design as though it was just plopped on without consideration to scale and context.  Which is a correct portrayal.  And that is the point!  We are living in a time, now, where everything is fighting for our attention and we have less and less time to consume it.  Buildings need to stand out and make a statement to attract visitors, just like the next widget.  And this is another good example from the Herzog & de Meuron portfolio.

17 February 2012

Back from a stay in Tuscany.  Of course we visited all the major destinations including Florence, Siena, Pisa, Voltera, etc.,.  The small town of Vinci made the biggest impression on me.  The birthplace of Leonardo a Vinci.  Such a quaint town on a small hill that overlooks vineyards and olive groves.  In town are two Leonardo Museums.  Both have permanent exhibits showcasing his amazing and abundant models of the contraptions he invented.  Definitely worth the visit!

29 January 2012

New to my shelf…

Contemporary Drawings from the Irving Stenn Jr. Collection, published by The Art Institute of Chicago, 2011.  ISBN 978-0-300-17573-8

From the exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, running from November 19, 2011 through February 26, 2012.  Some of my favorites from this exhibition…Gego, Untitled, 1968, Eva Hesse, Untitled, 1967, Agnes Martin, Untitled, 1961 & 1964, Alan Saret, Circle Branch Circle, c. 1967, Jan Schoonhoven, T 70-27, 1970, and Lenore Tawney, Red Circle, 1964.

25 January 2012

New to my shelf…

Ai Weiwei, Art ¦ Architecture, published by Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2011.  ISBN 978-3-86335-041-3

A beautiful book published by one of my favorite museums.   This is an exhibition catalog, which lays out the projects in the book as they were exhibited on the three floors of the museum.  First floor; Jindong New Development Area, National Stadium (with Herzog & DeMeuron), Five Houses, Artfarm, and Tsai Residence.  Second floor, Ordos 100.  Third floor, Moon Chest.  Beautiful craftsmanship with wood is a theme running through this exhibition.  In the back of the book is a section on the detainment of Ai Weiwei and the collective response in the art community at that indignation.

22 January 2012

Back on the theme of using studio assistants, there was a great article on the New York Times digital edition on Ellsworth Kelly this weekend.  A great piece on Kelly, whom at 88 years old, has been making art for a very long time.  When asked about creating everything by his own hand one of my favorite quotes by Kelly is, “I wouldn’t feel right doing it any other way.  Kids do anything these days, but I’m still an old-fashioned painter.  Maybe in a few years when I’m too old, I’ll need help, but what am I going to do, say to an assistant, put yellow there?” Priceless!

18 January 2012

Kunsthalle Basel is showing right now, until March 04, 2012, an extremely minimalist exhibit.  CE  VD  ET  ER  EK  WE  EK Artist Cevdet Erek and his show, Week, fills the tall, skylit space with a large stack of black speakers.  The speakers are placed at one end of this double height space and white cloth draped from ceiling to floor forms a rectangular wall structure.  A steady drum beat with occasional acoustic additions plays while a male voice recites MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY, DAY, DAY, DAY, DAY, DAY, DAY, DAY.  The blending of the beat and the voice chanting the days of the week creates a pleasing and hypnotic composition that becomes addicting.

09 January 2012

Going on until January 14, 2012, an exhibition titled What We Talk About When We Talk About Love at the Michael Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town.  What caught my eye out of the many artists presenting were works by Wim Botha.  Sculptures of the human form carved from bibles and government text books.  Both raw and refined, the forms coming to life from thousands of pages evoke despair, pain and suffering.

06 January 2012

Just got back from a visit to the MMK Kunstmuseum Frankfurt.  On view, Douglas Gordon video pieces, an exhibit titled Zuhause, and works from their permanent collection  The architecture of the building won out on capturing our interest.  Designed by a Vienna-based architecture firm, it has a very 80’s feel despite opening in the early 90’s.

05 January 2012

Matthew Day Jackson exhibition now on view at the Kunstmuseum Luzern.  Titled, In Search of… is his first solo European show.  Only another week on view, the show ends 15 January 2012.

03 January 2012

This is an excerpt of a recent article from The Telegraph.

Damien Hirst’s work is an insult to craftsmen, says David Hockney. David Hockney has criticised Damien Hirst, saying it is “insulting” to craftsmen if artists do not put together their own work.

Hockney, 74, whose major exhibition of landscapes opens this month, said he disapproves of artists who employ others to make their creations. A poster for his show at the Royal Academy reads: “All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally.”

Asked if he was referring to Hirst, whose works include a human skull covered with 8,601 diamonds and a shark suspended in formaldehyde, Hockney nodded and said: “It’s a little insulting to craftsmen, skilful craftsmen.”

He told Radio Times: “I used to point out at art school, you can teach the craft, it’s the poetry you can’t teach. But now they try to teach the poetry and not the craft.” Hirst has defended using assistants to make his spot paintings, saying that they could do the work better as he found it boring to paint them himself. Hockney quoted a Chinese saying that to paint “you need the eye, the hand and the heart. Two won’t do”.

Although I really like some of the work by Damien Hirst, I have always felt that it is “cheating” when artists have a team of assistants producing for them. And it is pretty funny, or revealing, when reading his comment, “saying that they could do the work better as he found it boring to paint them himself.”  Another artist whom i really admire, and also has a whole flock of artist and architectural assistants, is Olafur Eliasson. He is so prolific. And this is mainly because he has so many people working for him. It’s an industry or brand that he has created, much to his credit.

I suppose I am on both sides of the fence on this one. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few things that i wish someone else would do for me Things that are so monotonous and mundane but are necessary for my pieces. Like cutting all the words out of a book. But there really is something to be said about the “craft” that goes into the piece and the process that it takes to get there. When I am working on a piece, the time during the crafting process my mind is constantly thinking about further iterations or tangents that this particular piece or series could take. But this is also depressing because with all the fertile thoughts I have while working I know that there will never be enough time to do everything. I suppose this is where the assistants come in. Anyone interested?