Blogs Centerpoints

Take our blog survey, win an iPod shuffle

Every so often we like to take a survey of our readers to see what you think. Our last survey was in March of 2007, so it’s time for a new one. The questions are focused on the blogs and a little demographic information, which you can skip if you like. We’re sweetening the deal […]

Every so often we like to take a survey of our readers to see what you think. Our last survey was in March of 2007, so it’s time for a new one. The questions are focused on the blogs and a little demographic information, which you can skip if you like.

We’re sweetening the deal this time. If you take the survey, you can enter your name into the pool and we’ll select one person to win a 1GB iPod Shuffle.

Take the survey.



Photo by bluetsunami.

Centerpoints 10.2

The politics edition: • Presidential art policy: CultureGrrl Lee Rosenbaum dug up Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s art policy, noting that, at just four sentences long, it’d be more accurate to “call that an education policy, not an arts policy.” (Update: LACMA’s new blog Unframed apparently found it first, according to the LA Times’ Christopher […]

The politics edition:

• Presidential art policy: CultureGrrl Lee Rosenbaum dug up Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s art policy, noting that, at just four sentences long, it’d be more accurate to “call that an education policy, not an arts policy.” (Update: LACMA’s new blog Unframed apparently found it first, according to the LA Times’ Christopher Knight). Democrat Barack Obama’s version, which is much more substantial. Noteworthy is his support of the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which allows “artists to deduct the fair market value of their work, rather than just the costs of the materials, when they make charitable contributions.” Obama’s community blog has much more.

• Cast your vote in the People’s Design Awards: Both Barack Obama and John McCain have campaign logos in the running for the Cooper-Hewitt People’s Design Award, although only Obama’s is among the top vote-getters. Entries, as the name suggests, are submitted and voted on by visitors to the contest website. Vote now through Oct. 23. (Minnesota has two entries.)

• Kruger’s “Brain”: Among her many accolades, artist Barbara Kruger can add another: Last week she won three prizes, including “Cover of the Year” in the Magazine Publishers of America Best Magazine Covers contest for her trademark alteration of a New York cover image of former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. For the top honor, judges wrote:

Artist Barbara Kruger’s graphic interpretation on Henry Leutwyler’s photograph—the word “BRAIN” in a bright-red box with an arrow pointing to the area of Spitzer’s anatomy that seemed to have been thinking for him—was quickly selected, thanks to its directness, humor, and simplicity. The cover required no headlines. The image succeeded powerfully all by itself.

• AIGA GOTV: Last month the AIGA created a series of juried get-out-the-vote posters for distribution and download. Among the 24 posters, which were printed and dropped off for display in storefronts and kiosks, is AIGA Minnesota’s Brad D. Norr. Pictured above: Agustín Garza, AIGA Los Angeles.

• Flagging the arts: This week Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes is asking curators to share their favorite contemporary artwork featuring an American flag. First up, a selection by David S. Rubin, curator of contemporary art at the San Antonio Museum of Art: Sam Wiener‘s Those Who Fail to Remember the Past are Condemned to Repeat It (1970).  He writes:

Created at the time when Minimalism was still in vogue, this sculpture takes the form of a simple cube on its exterior. But looks are deceptive here, as Wiener infused a Minimalist form with significant and timely social commentary. As viewers peer through slats along the sculpture’s upper edges, we see endless rows of flag-draped coffins, an effect created by a mirrored interior.

• “Democracy is merry”: Get your free button this Thursday.

Political statements: Free Beuys and Judd buttons

While the “statements” on view in the exhibition Statements: Beuys, Flavin, Judd may seem less-than-political at first glance, all three artists — Joseph Beuys, Dan Flavin, and Donald Judd — were deeply engaged in political matters. According to exhibition curator Yasmil Raymond, all three men, who were adult artists working in the turbulent 1960s, were […]

While the “statements” on view in the exhibition Statements: Beuys, Flavin, Judd may seem less-than-political at first glance, all three artists — Joseph Beuys, Dan Flavin, and Donald Judd — were deeply engaged in political matters. According to exhibition curator Yasmil Raymond, all three men, who were adult artists working in the turbulent 1960s, were both military veterans and pacifists and had bold views on politics of their day. Of course, theirs wasn’t politics in the traditional sense. As Beuys once said, “I have nothing to do with with politics — I know only art.” Yet he and environmentalist Likas Beckmann founded Germany’s Green Party. And Judd, who was bitterly opposed to war of all kinds, wrote the seminal essay “Art and Internationalism” in protest of imperialism; his withdrawal to Marfa, Texas, some say, was a response to the war in Vietnam.

With a contentious and historic election three weeks away, the Walker has taken some of the political quotations by artists in the show and reproduced them on simple red and blue buttons, to be given away free at each Target Free Thursday Night. The statements, selected by Raymond and Education’s Sarah Peters, are bold, positive and quirky — like Beuys’ quizzical “Democracy is Merry” — serving as either a welcome respite from the clichés of modern horserace politics or a transcendent view of a different possibility for democracy.

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Centerpoints 10.1

• Object-based new media: Former Walker visual arts curatorial fellow Sarah Cook is interviewed by Rhizome about Untethered, the show she curated for Eyebeam. “I was tiring of new media exhibitions that rely on video documentation, screens, text, and proof-of-concept, and I wanted to question one of the assumptions that the art world has about […]

• Object-based new media: Former Walker visual arts curatorial fellow Sarah Cook is interviewed by Rhizome about Untethered, the show she curated for Eyebeam. “I was tiring of new media exhibitions that rely on video documentation, screens, text, and proof-of-concept, and I wanted to question one of the assumptions that the art world has about new media, namely that it isn’t an object,” she says. Fittingly then, Untethered, which closes Oct. 25,  is about hacked objects. It’s described as “a sculpture garden of everyday objects deprogrammed of their original function, embedded with new intelligence, and transformed into surrealist and surprising readymades, including a photocopier that reads the night sky; a PDA turned guitar; and a piano that plays the Internet. The exhibition features pieces by 15 artists working at the intersection of art and technology, including current and former Eyebeam residents and fellows, as well as leading international artists.” See exhibition images here, including Michael de Broin’s Dead Star (pictured above, in detail).

• Deerhoof interview: Culture Bully, my go-to source for Deerhoof news, interviews Greg Saunier, drummer for the Bay Area art-rock band, on the new album Offend Maggie, its cover art and his Oct. 14 show at Minneapolis’ First Avenue. Deerhoof also makes today’s Art Fag City post on the top-10 music videos made by contemporary artists for a video by Martha Colburn.

• Found Barney: Culture Pundits directs our attention to CremasterFanatic.com, which catalogues found “field emblems” from Matthew Barney’s film series.

• Lydia Fong speaks: “I needed to become another person — to be in a different persona to make that work,” says Barry McGee in a KQED video interview as Lydia Fong, his artistic alter ego.

“Pictures of People”

Calvin Tomkins has a lengthy piece on Elizabeth Peyton and her “pictures of people” (as she prefers to call her portraits), in the October 6th New Yorker. It’s pegged to a new survey of her work, Elizabeth Peyton: Live Forever, which opened yesterday at the New Museum in New York, and arrives here at the […]

Calvin Tomkins has a lengthy piece on Elizabeth Peyton and her “pictures of people” (as she prefers to call her portraits), in the October 6th New Yorker. It’s pegged to a new survey of her work, Elizabeth Peyton: Live Forever, which opened yesterday at the New Museum in New York, and arrives here at the Walker on Valentine’s Day.

The article traces the evolution of Peyton’s style, from her early years of painting mostly from photographs (she used to have a day job as a photo researcher), to her recent focus on doing live sittings with people who are part of her life. Tomkins, who writes of sitting for Peyton along with his wife, Dodie Kazanjian, also delves to some degree into the personal life of Peyton, whose biography enters her work most markdly through her renderings of close friends and lovers.

The article is available only in print (and no one has put it elsewhere on the Web that I can find), but the New Yorker website features a web-only slide show of 9 images, ranging from one of her early works, a charcoal portrait of Napolean, to a recent likeness of Matthew Barney.

charcoal drawing by Elizabeth Peyton

charcoal drawing by Elizabeth Peyton

Also: here’s a 10-minute audio interview on the New Museum’s website, in which Peyton talks with curator Laura Hoptman; and a few notes, courtesy of WWD, on the “fashion flock” who attended the Tuesday night preview in New York: you know you want to read it!

Centerpoints 10.0

Banksy continues to spread his work across the US, this time opening a new enterprise in New York, the Village Pet Store And Charcoal Grill. Wooster has the details: A clear departure form last year’s behemoth show in Los Angeles, Banksy’s first ever show in New York City (the others have been fakes) is being […]

  • Banksy continues to spread his work across the US, this time opening a new enterprise in New York, the Village Pet Store And Charcoal Grill. Wooster has the details:

    A clear departure form last year’s behemoth show in Los Angeles, Banksy’s first ever show in New York City (the others have been fakes) is being held in a tiny storefront that’s less than 300 square feet and can’t hold more than 20 people at any one time.

  • The Milwaukee Art Musuem (in my humble hometown) has opened a new show called Act/React, an that demands visitor participation. Artists included are Janet Cardiff, Brian Knep, Liz Phillips, Daniel Rozin, Scott Snibbe, and Camille Utterback. Former Walker New Media curator Steve Dietz is giving a talk at MAM on Oct. 16. MAM has also been blogging the show. I plan to visit when I’m home for the holidays.
  • Dietz is also running a symposium, Experimenting with Art in Public Places, this weekend in Minneapolis, as part of Northern Lights’ Art(ists) on the Verge program.

    Friday evening, there will be a keynote presentation by Seattle phenoms SuttonBeersCuller. Saturday will be a day of Pecha Kucha presentations and panel discussions.

    Speakers include Walker curator Doryun Chong, mnartists.org Director Scott Stulen, and artist Wing Young Huie, among others.

  • “Obsessions make my life worse and my work better” — Stefan Sagmeister. Sagmeister enlisted a group of students to lay out those words in euro-pennies on the ground of a plaza in Amsterdam:

    The design is created using four different shades of pennies. We first sort them by color, then lay them out on the tiles. After the piece is completely set up we will leave it alone, on the street. We expect the piece to slowly dissolve as people take coins, play with them, alter the design. All coins have been painted on the back with a bright blue permanent color.

    There’s an extensive blog documenting the process. The conclusion is something that is straight out of the standard operating procedure of the US department of homeland security.

I was hesitant to call this Centerpoints 10.0, because Paul has been promising to make a mind-blowing 10.0 post. I must remind Paul that every mac user knows the 10.0 release was no good and we had to wait until 10.1 to get anything to work.

Turner Prize ‘08: “Be The First To See What You See As You See It”

The Guardian has an excellent slideshow of work from the four shortlisted artists, as well as a video, taken from a group exhibition that has just gone on view at the Tate Britain. The British newspaper opines that year’s quartet is “the most obscure shortlist in the history of the prize,”established in 1984 by the […]

The Guardian has an excellent slideshow of work from the four shortlisted artists, as well as a video, taken from a group exhibition that has just gone on view at the Tate Britain.

The British newspaper opines that year’s quartet is “the most obscure shortlist in the history of the prize,”established in 1984 by the Tate Britain. If that’s so, perhaps rather than merely affirming talent, the museum is trying to gain credibility as one who makes it – not unlike one notable British innovation that spawned a phenomenally successful American franchise.

The four artists are Goshka Macuga, Cathy Wilkes, Mark Leckey, and Runa Islam (one of whose works’ title was recycled as the title for this post), and the Guardian includes brief bios as part of its extensive coverage of the prize, which is taken very seriously in the UK, with bookies getting in on the action (apparently, the lone male of the group is currently favored).

Looking back at a list of previous winners and nominees, it does seem that many Turner artists were better known when they won the Prize (and many have work that’s in the Walker’s collection or has been seen in its galleries: Gilbert and George, Derek Jarman (subject of a special tribute during our Expanding the Frame cinema series in January/February – keep an eye on our Film/Video page for details), Yinka Shonibare, Tony Cragg, Rachel Whiteread, Christ Ofili, etc.)

However, it’s also worth noting that this year’s shortlist artists are not so obscure as to be confined by the boundaries of the UK. Islam, Leckey, Wilkes, and Macuga have each had shows Stateside, if that means anything in a now-thoroughly-globalized art world.

The 2008 Turner winner will be announced December 1, and it’s tempting to wonder if viewer input from the Tate exhibition has any bearing on this decision. In any case, we should probably write a whole other blog post on on the American counterpart to the Turner Prize and speculate on why it doesn’t garner nearly the attention – its 2008 winner was announced last week.

Centerpoints 9.9

The science of decay: Part Sally Mann’s What Remains, part Corpse Farm, our friends at the Science Museum of Minnesota are liveblogging the decomposition of a pig — all in the name of science. By Day 8, I’ve got to add: Gross-out alert! Kitundu on NPR: A few days ago, NPR interviewed MacArthur “genius” grant […]

walter540-1.jpgsop_soldier_dougherty_am.jpgsleepingmuse_3.jpgfreshborn.gif

The science of decay: Part Sally Mann’s What Remains, part Corpse Farm, our friends at the Science Museum of Minnesota are liveblogging the decomposition of a pig — all in the name of science. By Day 8, I’ve got to add: Gross-out alert!

Kitundu on NPR: A few days ago, NPR interviewed MacArthur “genius” grant winner and former Walker Performing Arts residency coordinator Walter Kitundu. Listen here as he describes how the phonoharp he invented works, how “trial and terror” experimentations lead to a few exploded turntables, and more.

Military “Muse”: Artworks from Suzane Opton’s “Soldier’s Face” billboard project are now on view at LA’s Stephen Cohen Gallery. The series was scheduled to appear in the Twin Cities to coincide with the Republican National Convention, but the local billboard company pulled the plug, fearing viewers might think the boards show dead soldiers (my colleague Chris Steller reports that one version was ultimately produced here). The LA Times‘ Christopher Knight offers an (ahem) dead-on explanation of the vulnerable, horizontal heads Opton features: They derive from Brancusi’s emblematic “Sleeping Muse” sculptures. Beautifully, Knight writes that Opton’s “vulnerable images depict the always shocking youth of soldiers who, like the Greek Titan who stole fire from the gods in Brancusi’s title, have witnessed devastating power up close. They seem almost shell-shocked, caught between the fragile beauty of youth and the desperate gravity of adulthood.”

Free form: Deerhoof (SM&M 2003 and last fall’s Walker concert) offers a free mp3 of its new single “Fresh Born” — and an invitation for fans to download the song’s sheet music, modify it, upload it to fans’ blogs and link to it on their site More than 30 people have already done so. Culture Bully has the “Fresh Born” video.

“Everything must go! Sofa-sized oils!” Twin Cities-based painter (and 2006 Whitney Biennial artist) Todd Norsten‘s having a “massive inventory reduction sale and funfest,” tomorrow evening in St. Paul.

UPDATED: Chelsea Art Museum pulls plug on “Aesthetics of Terror” show, chief curator resigns

Paddy Johnson at the Brooklyn art blog Art Fag City reports that the Chelsea Art Museum has cancelled its November opening of The Aesthetics of Terror and its chief curator has resigned in protest. Museum president Dorothea Keeser reportedly felt the exhibition — which was to include artists like Jenny Holzer, Harun Farocki, Martha Rosler […]

azzarella.jpg

Paddy Johnson at the Brooklyn art blog Art Fag City reports that the Chelsea Art Museum has cancelled its November opening of The Aesthetics of Terror and its chief curator has resigned in protest. Museum president Dorothea Keeser reportedly felt the exhibition — which was to include artists like Jenny Holzer, Harun Farocki, Martha Rosler and the Chapman brothers — “ glorified terrorism and showed disrespect for its victims,” according to Josh Azzarella, one of the show’s artists. CAM chief curator Manon Slome has, according to Johnson, left over the cancellation.

The museum has deleted mention of the exhibition, which was to run Nov. 21 though Jan. 31, but a cached version (with the title The Dialectics of Terror) is still available.

UPDATE: The Chelsea Museum of Art has released a statement [pdf], which contradicts the above. It states that Chief Curator Manon Slome resigned for “personal reasons.” It continues: “Upon resigning, she unilaterally decided to cancel the exhibition The Dialectics of Terror (formerly The Aesthetics of Terror) and informed all the participating artists without prior discussion with Dorothea Keeser, Chelsea Art Museum’s Founder and President, or any Museum personnel.”

Reached by email on Friday, Keeser said that the exhibition will go on, but likely not at her museum. “As the show is ready to be installed and the catalogue is ready, it surely will be shown somewhere,”she said. “For the time being, we are too hurt to show it here after what happened and was said about us.”

UPDATE 2: Johnson interviews Keeser and offers a note from former CAM chief curator Manon Slome.

MORE: The Chelsea Art Museum’s Dialectics of Terror Catalog Raises More Questions” (with catalogue pdf)

A description of the show after the jump:

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Your moment of zen.

This article from the New York Times by Nicolai Ourousoff about the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, designed by Renzo Piano and across the park from Herzog & de Meuron’s deYoung, was just too beautiful not to share, particularly the opening and closing paragraphs. Ahh, I remember those African Hall dioramas well: […]

This article from the New York Times by Nicolai Ourousoff about the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, designed by Renzo Piano and across the park from Herzog & de Meuron’s deYoung, was just too beautiful not to share, particularly the opening and closing paragraphs. Ahh, I remember those African Hall dioramas well:

Not all architects embrace the idea of evolution. Some, fixated on the 20th-century notion of the avant-garde, view their work as a divine revelation, as if history began with them. Others pine for the Middle Ages.

But if you want reaffirmation that human history is an upward spiral rather than a descent into darkness, head to the new California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park, which opens on Saturday.

and

The museum has also preserved its African Hall, with its gorgeous vaulted ceiling and dioramas of somnolent lions and grazing antelopes, integrating it into the new design. Built in the 1930s, this neo-Classical hall is a specimen of sorts. Its massive stone structure reflects colonial attitudes about the civilized world as a barrier against barbarism. It was intended as a symbol of Western superiority and a triumph over nature.

By contrast, Mr. Piano’s vision avoids arrogance. The ethereality of the academy’s structure suggests a form of reparations for the great harm humans have done to the natural world. It is best to tread lightly in moving forward, he seems to say. This is not a way of avoiding hard truths; he means to shake us out of our indolence.

Images, of course, from the New York Times.

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