OK we have shown you this sort of thing before, but it wasn't Lisa Wong and it certainly wasn't the winning act in the fabulously named Narcissus Pageant. Besides, in a rare twist at the end of the clip, you get to see art make a fool of television.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Posted by jim and Mary at 6:59 AM
Friday, January 30, 2009
Later today we are going to Auckland to see the exhibition Beginning in the archive: Giovanni Intra 1989-1996 at Artspace. Anyone who knew Giovanni would have had drawers full of his distinctive graphics on invitations, letters, small magazines and Teststrip publications. His spidery, surreal exhortations to become involved in CRIMINY or to contact 0800 ANALGESIC were as distinctive as your own handwriting even though designed by exotics like crushed honey and sex checks. The invitation to the opening show of Teststrip in the Vulcan Lane space was typical of the seriously insane fun being had then, and hopefully in Auckland tonight. Click on the image for the greater glory of Intra.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
2100 Number of staff currently working for Christies
200.8 The number in millions of US dollars paid for works at the Damien Hirst auction
30 The salary in thousands of dollars reportedly paid to staff working for Damien Hirst
50 The percentage of staff let go by Hirst after the auction
6000 The number of times work by the painter Zhang Xiaogang appreciated over one year ($US 1000 to $US6 million)
60 The number of assistants working for German artist Anselm Reyle
26 The estimated dollar value in billions for the global contemporary art market over the last eight years
983 The percentage increase in sales of contemporary Chinese art between 2005 and 2006
300 The percentage rise in the Russian stock market between 2000 and 2005
2365 The percentage rise in the contemporary Russian art market between 2000 and 2005
57 The dollar value of Sotheby’s stock in 2007
8 The dollar value of Sotheby’s stock in 2008
23 Highest price in millions of dollars paid for a Jeff Koons sculpture
4 The number of houses Amy Capellazzo, head of Christies contemporary art division, famously referred to in her statement “After you have a fourth home and a G5 jet, what else is there?”
454 The number of contemporary art works that achieved more than $US1 million in the first half of 2006
15 The number of Chinese artists represented in the 35 most expensive contemporary artworks sold in 2007
1000 The number of contemporary artists that achieved auction record prices for their work in 2006
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Just when art dealers thought it was safe to get back in their galleries for the tough year ahead, the limping impala of news journalism – TV3’s 60 Minutes – attempts to spring a fast one on them.
“Dear Gallery Owner,” writes ace reporter Amanda Millar, “TV3's '60 Minutes' programme is canvassing gallery owners throughout the country to seek their opinion about the work of an artist we're featuring in a story.” Fair enough. Art dealers know about art, why not. Amanda continues, “We want to to (sic) know whether you rate it or not and if you would be prepared to exhibit the work in your gallery?” And then, “I know this is mysterious but that's all part of it.” Amanda subtly concludes. CLUNK. Yes, it’s a leaden attempt to make idiots out of the art world (again). This time it’s the good old and-what-would-you-say-if-we-told-you- it-was-painted-by-an-earthworm? story.
Regular readers will also recognise it from OTN’s post a month ago. To think that at the time we gave the Dominion Post stick for the story three months after the event was reported by The Age in Australia. You can read about two year old Aelita’s painting here.
Image: Freddy Linsky another two year old painter TV3 might like to do a story on.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
“Therefore there is a hope that within the next few decades, which will see in any case the fruition of a national character for New Zealand, will be seen the birth of a native school of painting supported by artists who have not since their cradle days had their art emasculated by the fever of Europe.”
Peter Tomory in the catalogue New Zealand Painting 1956
Posted by jim and Mary at 11:59 AM
A few things have happened over the past week that bring authenticity, appropriation and the ownership of art images into focus. Again. The first is the bizarre exhibition Terracotta Warriors on show in Wellington. These are contemporary replicas made and aged in China. A selection of the original terracotta figures from Shaanxi province were exhibited in New Zealand years ago and now this new lot are showing upstairs in Wellington’s St James Theatre foyer. In Auckland they showed at Sky City which reminds us of another display, this time of of Egyptian artifacts, we saw in the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas (now sadly closed). It too was populated by copies made locally for tourists. At the St James the show comes complete with guards, in what is perhaps traditional dress, and a number of the figures are painted in “vibrant colours” to show visitors “how the Terracotta Warriors originally looked when buried.” The 54 sculptures are owned by Auckland Creative Business Financier and exhibition wrangler Marshall Bird, author of How to start a business using none of your own cash. Bird has been assembling his doppelganger army over the years, warrior by warrior. Meanwhile, in the United States the heat’s on Richard Prince, painter and appropriator. He’s being sued by photographer Patrick Cariou who is upset by Prince’s nicking his images of Rastafarian culture. As if that weren’t enough for one week, in the Paris quarter of Montmartre, traditional sidewalk painters are gathering forces to remove skilled Chinese painters from their streets. You will remember we encountered this same phenomenon in New York. The French claim that the Chinese paintings are too cheap, too slick and, given the training of the artists, possibly too expert. Also, they are not French. Keep alert for Chinese artists and artisans putting even more pressure on the meaning and value of that word - original.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Louis Kahn's Jatiya Shangshad Bhaban, Bangladesh’s General Assembly Building, will be back in business after nearly two and a half years of military government. Today (Sunday afternoon in Bangladesh) the new parliament convenes in Khan's architectual masterpiece in the capital city, Dakka.
It’s hard to believe that a humour magazine started in 1952 could still be publishing much the same kind of stuff over 55 years later (MAD was started by Harvey Kutzman as a satire on other comics). Over the years MAD has looked at art and used art clichés on its covers many, many times. The two covers illustrated here were published nearly 50 years apart but both rely on the same basic idea – art is as dumb as anything else in the world. These MAD musings were triggered by news of the magazine reducing its monthly publishing schedule to once every three months. In true MAD tradition editor John Ficarra said, “The feedback we’ve gotten from readers is that only every third issue of MAD is funny. So we decided to just publish those.” You can see some MAD art parodies of Norman Rockwell here on OTN Stuff along with other art-related features including the MAD fold-out which we have posted on before.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Over the Net has a fascination for labels and signs. They can make exhibitions by adding new information and insight or break them with irrelevance and obscurity. Too often museum labels say more about the institution than they do about the work. An OTN cap for the best labels (great or gross). In the meantime this extraordinary example from the Los Angeles County Museum.
Imagine. You see a painting that looks like a man flaying himself. You head toward the label to find out what’s going on and why. Leaning forward you read,
Victor Brauner Romania 1903-1956, active France Suicide at Dawn, 1930 Oil on canvas Purchased with funds provided by Robert and Mary Looker, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, Max and Eleanor Baril Family Trust, Helena and Boyd Krout, Alice and Nahum Lainer, Sheila and Wally Weisman, Herta and Paul Amir, Abby and Alan Levy, Sandra and Jacob Y, Terner, and Bill and Maria Bell through the 1996 Collector’s Committee, and gifts of Richard L. Feigen, New York AC1996.18.1. 703
Whatever story this label is telling, it is sure not the artist’s or the painting’s. It doesn’t even tell you that Brauner was introduced to the Surrealists circle by Yves Tanguy and was included in most of their exhibitions. And you would never know that in the same year he painted Suicide at Dawn, Brauner also painted Self-portrait with enucleated eye, a painting that turned prophetic eight years later when Brauner lost his left eye in a bar brawl with another artist. Biennale fans will be interested to know that Brauner represented France at Venice in 1966. As for what the painting represents, we still have no idea.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
There was a story, possibly apocryphal, that Colin McCahon’s Murawai letter box, with the number painted on by McCahon himself, was stolen not once but a couple of times. Not that we encourage theft, but you can see the attraction. These signs were painted by artist Julian Schnabel (or if they weren’t by a skillful copy cat) on his apartment building in New York. The building has been the subject of intense local debate and complaint. Schnabel has added a number of floors onto a standard brick apartment and has leased some of them out (Richard Gere bought a floor but it’s back on the market). The penthouse is apparently still available and, given the current market, maybe will be for some time. Locals should perhaps be on the look-out for a Schnabel ‘For sale’ sign.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
About five months ago we mentioned how influential a visiting exhibition in 1938 including the Canadian Group of Seven had been on Rita Angus. Of course Angus wasn’t the only New Zealand artist who visited the show. Imagine our surprise to round the corner in the National Gallery of Canada and see a Leo Bensemann ... whoops ... we mean Lawren S. Harris.
Image: Lawren S. Harris, North Shore, Lake Superior 1926
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Later in the year Te Papa is getting the Monet exhibition that is currently on at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Given the fuss made when Monet last came to New Zealand – armoured cars, art as bullion etc – we thought we’d look at how this exhibition is being sold to the people of Australia. Apart from the "exclusive Monet Chic Picnic package which includes luxurious overnight accommodation, tickets to the Monet and the Impressionists exhibition, buffet breakfast, car parking, access to Elix'r Health Club and a delicious Chic Picnic," there is also a line-up of talks by experts (comedians, floral artists, journalists and radio presenters), along with that other blockbuster favourite, the DIY. Yes, you have the chance to show anyone-can-make-stuff-that-looks-like-great-art tinged with a whiff of a-child-could-do-it. The site offers primitive tools with which you can create your own work by ‘painting’ over a Monet drawing. When you are done, two actors comment on your efforts in Franglaise.
Still, art is not the only discipline subject to this sort of trivialisation in the name of popularity by marketing. Witness the swipe at Palaeontology by the Auckland Museum in its ad for a T-Rex exhibition. The Museum suggests that you, “…rattle your bones and come and see the old girl.” Fun.
Images: Top, the two “French” wags with the Monet you are asked to make a version of. Middle, the original Monet drawing that you use as the foundation of your masterpiece. Bottom, OTN’s brave effort being diplomatically appraised “It has some fine points.” “It has some not so fine points.” “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Monday, January 19, 2009
Emil Jean Kosa Jr. worked for the movies as an art director and most famously as a scene painter on glass for the elaborate shots that are now achieved by computer. He won an Academy Award in 1965 for his work on Cleopatra but it is for the amazing image of the Statue of Liberty in the final shot of the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes that he is best remembered. Kosa’s other enduring contribution was his 1933 design for the 20th Century Fox logo. As for his own art work, it tended to traditional landscapes and portraits (although he did study under the non-objective painter Frank Kupka) and can be found in some public collections in the United States.
Images: Top Kosa’s Statue of Liberty rearing out of the beach. Middle, A glass shot with mountains and buildings added for the Steve McQueen vehicle The Sand Pebbles. Bottom the logo for 20th Century Fox.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
What do Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, Helen Clark and now Vladimir Putin have in common? They are all politicians who have painted, or in Clark’s case, drawn. Like Clark, Putin the painter’s work has aroused some suspicion as to whether it is actually by his hand. One critic was bold enough to remark (that’s bold in the anonymous sense of the word), "It looks as if it was painted by a sentimental woman. It is too sweet; you can feel it in the brushwork and the palette. The core theme is feminine too.”
Friday, January 16, 2009
The International Arts Festival in Wellington largely ignores the visual arts so it’s good to see the St Petersburg group Factory of Found Clothing doing a series of work in conjunction with the Auckland Festival as well as a residency at Unitec. There’s an interview with the two artists "Gliukla" (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya) and "Tsaplya" (Olga Yegorova) here. It’s relational aesthetics meets et al. with a touch of city-envy. FFC is from St Petersburg which is to Moscow what Wellington is to Auckland. “In Moscow there are ‘rosy-cheeked gymnasium girls’. The Petersburg Gymnasium Girl is sad; she drinks vinegar to make her cheeks pale and her skin limpid." You can check out their Auckland programme here.
Images: Left, Gliukla and right, Tsaplya
OTN’s Style Editor has flagged stop motion movies of exhibition installations as a design phenomenon to leave behind us in 2008. We’ve seen them at the Auckland Art Gallery, where they’re also doing the development of their new galleries (the stop motion craze is huge in architecture) and Best of 3 has spotted Sol Lewitt being de-installed and more recently Installation of the Permanent Collection and Then Some at the Modern Art Museum in Forth Worth. Last week we saw yet another one. This time it was of Franz West’s The Ego and the Id being installed in the Baltimore Museum of Art. Initially we agreed with Best of 3 that these stop motion accumulations were fun, but it's 2009, time to move on.
Image: Franz West The Ego and the Id installed in the Baltimore Museum of Art’s survey To Build a House You Start with the Roof
Thursday, January 15, 2009
This sculpture Europa, by Czech Republic’s David Cerny and three others, is definitely another cousin to works by Michael Parekowhai. Cerny last appeared on overthenet with yet another look alike of Sadam Husain as a Hirst shark. Europa has deeply upset EU members depicting as it does Belgium as a toilet, France on strike and leaving the UK out altogether. The sculpture was commissioned to celebrate the start of the six-month Czech presidency of the EU. You can read the full story here on BBC News.
The Dominion Post takes a hardline populist approach to art. By now everyone must know that they’ve booted out their art critic and, after a couple of weeks of feature stories to try and cover their cultural butts, they’ve gone back to their more familiar stance of art-as-a-joke. Yesterday (Wednesday is the DomP’s art feature day) we were treated to a textile artist “who once cut off her hair, painted herself blue and climbed a sheer ice wall naked (yes, of course there's a photograph) to better understand how water works” as well as a classic animal art story on the front page with three column photo. The twist this time is that the animal is a two-year-old human, Aelita, who the DomP claims has “put her finger on what it takes to sell abstract art”. You can see the full story here on OTN Stuff.
Young tykes fooling the art world with their abstracts have sold lots of newspapers, so who can be surprised when the DomP finally catches up. The original story of Aelita featured in Australian papers three months ago and a quick Google search will swamp you with genius baby-painters, all of whose art is guaranteed to fool any old art expert. If you’re still with us on this, you can check out two-year-old Freddy and two-year-old Marla Olmstead, who even has her own web site. Oh, and here’s a Charlie Rose programme on the whole business of kids making art works that fool the art world.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
A couple of times a year we ask you whether you want to be able to comment on overthenet (we have no strong feelings about it). Currently we do get a lot of email which we always respond to, and often publish (thanks for that), but the comments we received, when they were on, were largely abuse, praise (blush), or on about stock blogger topics like the use of pseudonyms that took up so much time on Artbash and is now being relitigated on Art, Life and TV. But, if you want comments back on, let us know and we’ll flick the switch.
Damien Hirst’s shark must be one of the most reproduced contemporary sculptures. On Google images, for instance, you can bring up 104 images of The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living in the first ten pages of results (along with 27 images of the Lego version).
So when the Metropolitan Museum exhibits the work surrounded by large “Do not photograph” signs and doesn’t seem to care how many pics are taken, as long as they are not flashed, you start to get the feeling that the sign is more about wrecking the shot than stopping it.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
We had a Norman Bates moment in our LA motel. The shower curtain had a Psycho window so you could see the crazy motel owner before he plunged his knife into you. Thoughtful.
Images: Left, stepping into the shower. Right, the Bates protection window device in action.
Posted by jim and Mary at 6:51 AM
Monday, January 12, 2009
At the Los Angeles County Museum.
“I like this.”
“So do I.”
“…well, not all of it.”
“I did like it. I liked it a lot, but in the end the paint was too thick.”
“Is that a Koons?”
“I used to paint.”
“Oh yeah… I did watercolours. I liked the control.”
“Control is good.”
Visitor: “Where’s the photography exhibit?”
Guard: “Down there.”
V: “Past that ugly green painting?”
G: “That’s the one.”
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Ok, so we have already put this work up as a look alike to the there-is-a-dog-stuck-to-my-leg sculpture in Wellington, but when we saw this even-more-look alike in New York we knew you had to know.
Images: Left, original look alike by Gustav Vigeland in Frogner Park, Oslo, Norway. Right, New York version.
Friday, January 09, 2009
In 1998 we spent some time in Wellington’s James Smith’s car park. The reason for this car park fever was a number of installations that were produced under the series title The Concrete Deal. Jim Spiers did one, so did Joyce Campbell and Saskia Leek too. The Concrete Deal experience came to mind when we saw Daddy Daddy, Maurizio Cattelan’s contribution, to the Theanyspacewhatever exhibition at the Guggenheim. Daniel Malone, who had seen a cheeky visual connection between the Guggenheim and the spiralling car park (in fact Lloyd Wright did design a Guggenheim-like structure for the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective for the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain “that would "serve as an objective for short motor trips”) reproduced the famous pool in the foyer of the Guggenheim and located it in a similar relationship to the car park ramps. It was funny and smart. Later Daniel sent us a series of postcards featuring the Guggenheim Museum with instructions to place them together to create a Rorschach-like version of this iconic form.
Images: Maurizio Cattelan’s Daddy Daddy 2008
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Personal Assistant to the President
You are an efficient, proactive professional PA with experience of
administrative and secretarial support at the highest level, and fluent
in written and spoken German and English. You will assist the Gallery
President in all his administrative work, managing his diary, arranging
his travel and providing an effective interface between him and gallery
staff, clients, artists, and others.
You have a proven ability to recognise challenges and present viable
solutions, as well as developing energy-saving procedures that will
contribute to the smooth running of both the President’s office, based
in London, and all the gallery’s operations.
Please send CV to Sara Harrison: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the University of Canterbury’s Ilam art school, drawing from the plaster cast stopped in 1966. The bits of Greek and Roman sculpture – hands, legs, feet, heads – were dumped in an old stables near the school prefabs and from there moved on out to student flats to wear hats, have fags rested behind their ears and have their toe nails painted.
Is learning to draw an essential skill for artists? It certainly has the power to teach what Michael Kimmelman calls ‘the care and intensity with which people need to look at things they want to remember well’ - so, probably. In our experience some people have a natuaral ability to draw well, and most of us don’t, although even the ability to draw skillfully doesn’t mean that the drawing itself will be of long-term interest. And that is what we were talking about as we looked at academically trained Chinese artists drawing portraits for sale on the streets of New York.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
The 1999 steel original of Louise Bourgeois' sculpture Maman is in the collection of the Tate Modern. In 2003 it was reproduced in six bronze casts. The spider has become the Calder mobile of the 21st century. Where once global public art museums had a Calder hanging high in the atrium, now it’s a giant bronze spider guarding the entrance. This is true outside the Guggenheim in Bilboa, the Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, Tokyo’s MoriArtCenter in Japan and now, as we discovered today, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Four down, two to go.
Images: Top, the Ottawa spider. Middle left, the original steel spider outside Tate Modern and right, a spider in Seoul. Bottom left Bilbao spider and right Tokyo spider at the Mori.
It’s enough to make your head spin. Anyone who has been to a public space anywhere will have seen at least one living sculpture. Lots of make-up, a well starched costume, a couple of props and a lot of standing very, very still. German artist Christian Jankowski obviously gave the genre some thought, and decided they would be ideal subjects for ….sculptures. The bizarre result Living Sculptures: Caesar, Dali, El Che stand at the South-East end of Central Park. People stop, people stare and people prod. But nobody gives them a cent.
Images: Left, two of Christian Jankowski’s sculptures of living sculptures. Right, the real thing just past the horse carriage rides.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
We walked downtown to look at the site where Richard Serra’s 35.6 meter long Tilted Arc once stood in front of the Jacob K. Javits federal office building. It was removed after public complaints, much controversy and legal action. You can read an interesting summary of the supporting and opposing statements in court along with the judgment here or buy the book The Destruction of Tilted Arc, edited by Clara Weyergraf-Serra and Martha Buskirk, here. The affair began with a petition signed by 1300 federal employees working in and around the Federal Plaza to the General Services Administration (GSA) requesting the removal of Tilted Arc. The GSA’s own offices were located in one of the buildings looking onto the sculpture. It ended in May 1985 with Dwight Ink, acting administrator of the GSA, asking the National Endowment for the Arts to “review alternative locations” and the GSA Regional Administrator to “explore several low-cost options for improving the environmental character of the Federal Plaza.” Tilted Arc was finally removed 20 years ago on 15 March 1989.
The bitter irony of it all. Now in the space where Tilted Arc once stood is a convoluted arrangement of intensely curved public seating and wrought iron decorative features designed by landscape architect Martha Schwartz. The colour scheme is lime green set against purple tinted cement. This disturbing maze of circularity seems designed to mock Serra’s subtle arc.
Images: Top and middle right, the plaza today. Middle left, Tilted Arc in situ before removal. Bottom, The plaza showing the maze of seating that replaced Tilted Arc.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Fewer museums now stick to the no photography restriction. It’s a question of simple practicality. When virtually every visitor has a camera of some sort it has turned into a losing battle. We saw what felt like the last stand at the Guggenheim Museum. A photo taken from the top of the rotunda shows the flash from ten cameras at just that one moment (you can see the view here on OTNStuff). The Guggenheim has given up trying to stop people photographing the wonderful Frank Lloyd Wright building, but still struggles to ban snapping in the exhibition areas. They might as well not bother. Ironically we were attending Theanyspacewhatever, a large exhibition based in relational aesthetics and featuring ten artists. According to the curator Nancy Spector, the ten share the idea that exhibitions, in the widest sense of the word, can be the subject of art and help deflect the power of art object and the traditional role of museums in presenting them. We say ironically because relational aesthetics attempts to integrate art into the lives of its audience, so when people joined in what seemed to be the spirit of the show by photographing each other through the holes cut into a series of Jorge Prado screens, they might reasonably been expected to be applauded rather than sternly told there was “no photography”. Of course most of them took it in their stride, dropped their cameras to their sides for a few moments and then went right on with their pointing, framing and flashing the building and each other.
As is often the way with relational aesthetics there was not much to be seen, so this was an ideal opportunity to get a good look at the Wright building. For most of the people who were there when we were, the building was certainly the main attraction. Like conceptual artists before them, artists working in the loosely defined area of relational aesthetics claim to have an uneasy relationship with the museum and the market. From the prestige platform of the Guggenheim, it would be a tough to peg any of the tightly-knit group of friends with highly successful, professional art careers with any unease with the relationship. The museum is a tough context to disassemble, and the market remains a primary measurement of success.
Only one of the artists seemed to us to come out ahead. Pierre Huyghe’s books of photographs of the exhibition are beautiful and because they are transfers can be ironed onto t-shirts or anything else. Plus they only cost $10.
Images: The audience interacting with a Jorge Pardo screen
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Friday, January 02, 2009
During the 12 months of 2008 we: went to Bangladesh • kept an eye on CNZ • found the owner of the te papa thumbprint • looked hard at the walters prize • brought the painting worm to your attention • listed who owned what • did our darndest to get the mccahon database updated • visited the rita angus exhibition • stayed competitive • wondered about flogging the national collection • pondered the recession • shed a tear for the passing of the Carousel projector.
Posted by jim and Mary at 6:54 AM