Blogs Centerpoints

Tino and Sandra Oh

According to Star Tribune gossip columnist CJ, Grey’s Anatomy star Sandra Oh stopped by the Walker to see the Frida Kahlo show yesterday, but got sucked in by Tino Seghal‘s work in the Medtronic Gallery. After the requisite wardrobe check (Oh was wearing knee-high leather boots), CJ continues: …A Walker insider told me that Oh […]

According to Star Tribune gossip columnist CJ, Grey’s Anatomy star Sandra Oh stopped by the Walker to see the Frida Kahlo show yesterday, but got sucked in by Tino Seghal‘s work in the Medtronic Gallery. After the requisite wardrobe check (Oh was wearing knee-high leather boots), CJ continues:

…A Walker insider told me that Oh saw a lot of art but was particularly excited about Sehgal, formerly an artist-in-residence at Walker, because she knew who he was.

Sehgal specializes in something called “constructed situations.” He uses people at part of his art work, a conception of art that goes beyond its own materiality, it says at walkerart.org, which also noted that “Over the past seven years he has been known for making art without actually making any objects.”

Another unusual aspect of Sehgal’s interactive work was written about in a November New York Times piece by Anne Midgette.

The art of Sehgal, born in London and now living in Berlin, is “completely immaterial,” wrote Midgette. It “can be bought and sold without involving any objects whatsoever. His work is specifically conceived to function within the art world’s conventions; it is lent and exhibited, bought and sold. It is sold, in fact –now that Mr. Sehgal is becoming a star in Europe — for five-figure sums. The only stipulation is that his pieces cannot involve the transformation of any material, in any way. No written instructions, no bill of sale (purchases are conducted orally, in the presence of a notary), no catalogs and (to the dismay of photo editors in the art press) no pictures.”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that Oh appreciates Seghal’s quirkiness along with his art.

Centerpoints 8.9

Liberty: Raymond Pettibon does the NYT opinion page. Via Migwire. Literatest. That’s us. Minneapolis surpassed Seattle as America’s most literate city, according to new research by Central Connecticut State University president, Jack Miller. St. Paul comes in third in the study based on factors including newspaper circulation, internet access, and the number of bookstores, publishers […]

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Liberty: Raymond Pettibon does the NYT opinion page. Via Migwire.

Literatest. That’s us. Minneapolis surpassed Seattle as America’s most literate city, according to new research by Central Connecticut State University president, Jack Miller. St. Paul comes in third in the study based on factors including newspaper circulation, internet access, and the number of bookstores, publishers and libraries.

Balm for democracy. Aftershave, too. Greg.org highlights “1600 for Men,” a line of “Exclusive Fine Toiletriesbearing the “most significant mark of the free world — The Presidential Seal of the United States.” It’s the real deal: Licensed by the Secret Service, 15% of the products’ sales go to charities and families of Secret Service personnel. According to the marketing copy, “1600 for Men signature scent is crisp, cool and masculine created for ‘The Man’ of the house.” (Pictured: “Power Muscle Soak,” 16 oz. size.)

mnartists.org wants your music: The state’s top online arts community announces the launch of mnSpin, a new “quarterly music contest featuring Minnesota musicians with winning tracks selected by panelists from the music industry.” Samples are due January 11, giving Doomtree writer/rapper Dessa, Minnesota Public Radio’s Chris Roberts, and Compass Productions A&R coordinator Kate Galloway little time to make selections for the first weekly edition, three songs of which will be showcased on mnartists.org and at the website of mnSpin sponsor Summit Brewery, as well as a compilation CD at the end of ’08.

Gondry Rewound: Remember that YouTube video, “Michel Gondry Solves a Rubik’s Cube With His Feet“? Wired reveals that Gondry created it by filming himself scrambling a perfect cube, then scrambling it with his feet — and running the footage backwards to create the illusion of pedidexterity… not entirely unlike his newest film, Be Kind, Rewind.

Building more than a name

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroi, Brazi. The process leading to a new building — particularly when that building is home to a major arts institution — is anything but slapdash. Just ask the people who spearheaded the massive capital campaigns and selection of architects that led to the new Walker, Guthrie and Minneapolis […]

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The Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroi, Brazi.

The process leading to a new building — particularly when that building is home to a major arts institution — is anything but slapdash. Just ask the people who spearheaded the massive capital campaigns and selection of architects that led to the new Walker, Guthrie and Minneapolis Institute of Art buildings. That’s why I’m baffled with the crux of a New York Times story today about handwringing over the recent work of Oscar Niemeyer, one of the 20th century’s most influential architects.

Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff leads off by asking “What to do with our aging architectural heroes? What if their genius deteriorates and they begin tinkering with their own masterpieces?” and points to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroi, Brazil, as particularly egregious. Ouroussoff should have posed a more poignant question — “Why did you select this architect?” — to the people responsible for commissioning Niemeyer. Perhaps Niemeyer, whom Ourousoff describes as “one of Brazil’s greatest national treasures,” is so synonymous with architecture there that nobody dared think critically about Niemeyer’s contemporary relevance.

Most projects go to bid, a process in which selection committees vet competing proposals. Not so with the new Walker. For Expanding the Center: Walker Art Center and Herzog & de Meuron, recently departed director Kathy Halbreich wrote an essay detailing the “extensive search and several flirtations” leading up to selecting the architect:

“We eschewed a competition because we wanted to begin the process with a lengthy series of conversations rather than a stack of preconceived ideas or partially digested drawings. This is the first of many risks we took that in hindsight make perfect sense. The architects worked like inspired detectives, mining our archives, studying topographical maps, talking to staff … and drawing, drawing, drawing.” Halbreich goes on to write “We know the form the new Walker has taken is specific to its mission to be ‘a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences.’ It’s not a model for all institutions, and it may not be a model for any others.”

You have to ask, why not? The new Walker, now almost three years old, is a success by almost any measure, among them large increases in paid admissions, box office receipts and business in the gift shop. Nobody can say how much of that can be pinned on the architecture, but it doesn’t take an advanced degree in the field to see that a thoughtful, thorough front end is the best insurance against surprises on the back end.

Happy holidays from the Walker

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=TzXCFT95wAU[/youtube] A fellow Walkerite pointed this video out to me, and as YouTube poster maryhobrien puts it, it’s “kinda kitchy” [sic]. Most of the filming takes place in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and looks to have been shot on a beautiful morning a week or two ago when the trees were frosted white. Mary sums […]

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=TzXCFT95wAU[/youtube]

A fellow Walkerite pointed this video out to me, and as YouTube poster maryhobrien puts it, it’s “kinda kitchy” [sic]. Most of the filming takes place in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and looks to have been shot on a beautiful morning a week or two ago when the trees were frosted white. Mary sums it up right:

Though all the photos contain nativity scenes, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, etc., it’s all the same to me. Stay groovy in the New Year and Happy Holidays. Peace.

There are a couple of Walker related things to keep in mind over the holiday week:

Centerpoints 8.8

“These pictures ask more questions than they answer.” – Photographer Diane Arbus’s estate has been donated to the Met. A SFMoMA organized show, Diane Arbus Revelations, exhibited here last year. The extent of the archive sounds extremely impressive. Landscaping the B & W House. – I must admit a passing interest in landscape architecture, and […]

Centerpoints 8.8

  • “These pictures ask more questions than they answer.” – Photographer Diane Arbus’s estate has been donated to the Met. A SFMoMA organized show, Diane Arbus Revelations, exhibited here last year. The extent of the archive sounds extremely impressive.
  • Landscaping the B & W House. – I must admit a passing interest in landscape architecture, and the following item has a Walker connection. Walker Design Director Andrew Blauvelt’s Julie Snow designed “B & W House”, which has been the subject of a series of podcasts, video and blog posts, is now mostly complete. The landscape architecture firm has posted a series of photos of the landscape design work.
  • Thomas Kinkade, watch out. – We’ve been discussing fakes on OffCenter lately, so how about some “hyperfakes“:

    These are not counterfeits intended to deceive. No one is fooled into thinking the Van Gogh painting they just bought is painted by Van Gogh. Rather the fake is like a reproduced poster of Van Gogh. But since it has been painted by hand, often with gusto and intelligence, it is much more interesting than a duplication of the original. It is an original reproduction. It is a hyperfake.

    Wow. [via boingboing]

  • Only suckers pick “stone”. – The Telegraph reports on an article in New Scientist magazine that suggests the best way to win at Rock Paper scissors is to start with scissors. In fact, this is the way Christie’s auction house won the rights to sell a Picasso. The know-it-all’s favorite mag, Mental Floss, lays out the details on how to be a PRS champ. If everyone knows to pick scissors, doesn’t that mean you should pick rock?

A mash note to Minnesota

Devon Fox of Wheat Ridge, Colo., appears qualified for any number of jobs — travel agent, the director of an upper Midwestern tourism bureau, or perhaps he’ll be the focus of a bidding war between the Walker and Guthrie Theater to land his services as a publicist. Devon has time to make his decision — […]

Devon Fox of Wheat Ridge, Colo., appears qualified for any number of jobs — travel agent, the director of an upper Midwestern tourism bureau, or perhaps he’ll be the focus of a bidding war between the Walker and Guthrie Theater to land his services as a publicist. Devon has time to make his decision — he’s 10 years old. Our assessment of his career prospects comes after his fan letter reached us by email, courtesy of his father (we leave his grammar and punctuation intact):

“I’ve been to many vacation spots. So far, I’ve been to Hawaii, Illinois, New York, San Francisco, New Jersey, South Dakota, Estes Park, Arizona, Utah, Washington D.C., Montana, Wyoming, Texas, and Mexico, but there are three reasons Minnesota is the best vacation spot.

The first reason that the best vacation spot in the world is Minnesota is because they have the Mall of America! At the Mall of America, they have game stores, grocery stories, clothing stores, jewelry shops, restaurants, and movie theatres. Also they have the famous Lego land! And towering over everything, is the amusement park inside the mall!!!!!!

spoonbridge.jpgThe second reason that Minnesota is totally awesome is because of their amazing sculpture collection at Minnesota’s Sculpture Garden. My favorite sculpture is the ‘Cherry on a Spoon.’ The variety stretches from sculptures of life-sized people to gigantic (by gigantic I mean at least 20 feet high!) sculptures of fish. Their sculptures are placed in so many different places. One sculpture could be in a corner, and another could be stretched across a small lake.

The third reason that Minnesota is the best vacation spot is because of their theatre. Their theatre is the Guthrie Theatre. The architecture is simply amazing: they have windows jutting out of the wall and the building looks like 4 boxes stacked unevenly on top of one another. But the best part about the Guthrie Theatre is their restaurant Cue. Cue has the most well prepared, perfectly cooked, exquisite meal I have ever tasted. I had the lamb chops and they were succulent and delicious!

Although there are many special places to visit, Minnesota is by far one of my favorites. I do, however, look forward to exploring many new places I have yet to see.”

— Devon R. Fox, 10 years old

Centerpoints 8.7

“Tough, respectful, flexible, and totally new.” Says NY Mag about the New Museum in a review of the best and worst of 2007 architecture. Also making the list are Walker Expansion designers Herzog & de Meuron, and local favorites Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Philip Johnson. Blauvelt blogging: The internet’s outlet for high-minded design discussion, […]

Centerpoints 8.7

  • “Tough, respectful, flexible, and totally new.” Says NY Mag about the New Museum in a review of the best and worst of 2007 architecture. Also making the list are Walker Expansion designers Herzog & de Meuron, and local favorites Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Philip Johnson.
  • Blauvelt blogging: The internet’s outlet for high-minded design discussion, Design Observer, added our very own design director, Andrew Blauvelt, to it’s stable of contributing writers. Blauvelt has been writing occasional articles for Design Observer, but now we can expect more regular commentary.
  • What’s going on at the Walker? MNspeakers want to know. You’ll just have to show up and find out.
  • 100% Fair-Trade Art: Walker visitor services staffer Mok Buakaow is hosting an art sale this weekend, just in time for the holidays.
  • Now that’s commitment: Kiki Smith Tattoo.

Fake: Part II

  A poster (far left) for the Guggenheim’s exhibition Richard Prince: Spiritual America (Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times) and Jim Krantz’s 1997 photograph “Stretchin’ Out,” taken for a Marlboro ad. CultureGrrl has an intriguing post (Headline: Chicago’s Faux “Faun” Inspires Faux Journalism) updating the fake Gauguin brouhaha that spurred a slight tangent from me […]

 

prince-show-nyt-photo.jpg prince-show-krantz-original.jpg A poster (far left) for the Guggenheim’s exhibition Richard Prince: Spiritual America (Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times) and Jim Krantz’s 1997 photograph “Stretchin’ Out,” taken for a Marlboro ad.

CultureGrrl has an intriguing post (Headline: Chicago’s Faux “Faun” Inspires Faux Journalism) updating the fake Gauguin brouhaha that spurred a slight tangent from me Wednesday. Thank you, CultureGrrl, for kicking the horse into another tangent — the artistic territory occupied by Richard Prince, who has made his way largely, though not exclusively, by appropriating the work of others. You can see and learn more when the Guggenheim retrospective of Prince, Spiritual America, comes to the Walker, in March 2008.

A Getty Images blog post today links to a similar controversy, brought to light last week by the New York Times, involving Prince and the original source of his Marlboro Man images, commercial photographer Jim Krantz, to ask “Is Appropriation Appropriate?” Prince doesn’t pass off others’ work as his own — indeed, the act of appropriation is integral to his artistic motives — but you could make that case for musicians who sample beats and riffs created by others. In music, such appropriation is either credited/licensed/paid or prosecuted. Prince has settled at least one lawsuit. So has Robert Rauschenberg, who committed to using only his own photographs in his collages after having to settle a suit over photos he appropriated. The neo-pop artist Jeff Koons appealed his 1988 String of Puppies copyright-infringement case all the way to the Supreme Court — and lost. (The Times wrote that Prince’s “borrowings seem to be protected by fair use exceptions to copyright law.”)

These “exceptions” (at least as much as you can discern them in a 2005 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit) seem to discriminate between mediums. Why? The answer is likely as simple, and obvious, as money. The Times article suggests people didn’t pay much attention to Prince’s methods until his work began selling at auction for six and seven figures — financial territory reached every year by scores of musical artists — whereas probing the nooks and crannies of popular music for illicit appropriation is like panning for gold. Even Spinal Tap thought it had a case.

Prince, Koons and other artists inspired by the work of others would likely applaud movements to overturn the appellate ruling and loosen “fair use” laws. So would the public at large. No longer would you gnash your teeth over someone else’s creation and wonder “Now why didn’t I think of that?” We’re moving closer to the day a good idea never has to die.

Fake is the new real

Tyler Green breaks news this morning on his Modern Art News blog that the Art Institute of Chicago has concluded that a Paul Gauguin sculpture in the museum’s collection, The Faun (c1888), isn’t from Gauguin at all, but from the so-called Greenhalgh Forgery Gang (aka The Bolton Forgers) — apparently fine art’s equivalent to the […]

gauguin-sculpture.jpgTyler Green breaks news this morning on his Modern Art News blog that the Art Institute of Chicago has concluded that a Paul Gauguin sculpture in the museum’s collection, The Faun (c1888), isn’t from Gauguin at all, but from the so-called Greenhalgh Forgery Gang (aka The Bolton Forgers) — apparently fine art’s equivalent to the Legion of Doom.

What I find most striking is that anyone would go through the trouble of forging stone sculpture. Stone isn’t a very forgiving medium, and you’d think someone with the skill to create a detailed knockoff of a centaur in repose would have the goods to come up with something original (of course, faux Gauguin can probably fetch much more at the Sotheby’s or, failing that, the Uptown Art Fair). Then again, the mere act of copying a masterwork isn’t different, in concept, than a bar band covering Foreigner (masterwork? somebody must think so) — that is, until it’s marketed as an original (the Greenhalghs are serving time).

This reminds me of the deliciously subversive work of Improv Everywhere, which not long ago jumped on a case of mistaken identity to impersonate Ben Folds Five. The real Ben Folds thought the act was hilarious and invited the fake Ben Folds to take the stage in a choreographed opening of a real Ben Folds Five concert.

… which brings me to a closing thought: What would Gauguin, who would turn 160 next year, do?

Centerpoints 8.6

“Bones of our wild forefathers, Oh forgive if now we pierce the chambers of your rest.” So begins a (not-so-great) poem by William Wordsworth’s niece that spent 150 years buried in a 4,500-year-old prehistoric monument called Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, England. The poem by Emmeline Fisher was burrowed into the mound in a time capsule […]

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“Bones of our wild forefathers, Oh forgive if now we pierce the chambers of your rest.” So begins a (not-so-great) poem by William Wordsworth’s niece that spent 150 years buried in a 4,500-year-old prehistoric monument called Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, England. The poem by Emmeline Fisher was burrowed into the mound in a time capsule in 1849, and is now published for the first time. Said piercing, reports The Guardian, could refer to the umpteen drillholes and tunnels bored by treasure seekers, many of which have caused cave-ins at the historic hill.

Erwin Wurm’s David? Headlined, “If David lived in the USA today,” this apparently photoshopped version of a Michelangelo masterwork seems an apt partner to Wurm’s obese cars and cottages.

ArtBasel’s “Creepiest Buffet”: C-Monster gives “The Damien Hirst Award” to the Rubell Collection for its breakfast trough at Art Basel Miami Beach: hundreds of boiled eggs and a pan of bacon, both presented amid a mound of latex gloves.

Moosterpiece: The Barr’s point out an enormous sculpture planned for the Swedish mountain town Vithatten. Touted as the biggest moose in the world, the sculpture will be 45 meters (roughly 145 feet) tall and house a restaurant and concert hall. Moose capacity: 350 people.

Wallinger wins Turner: Old news by now, but I had to mention it.

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