Monday, December 27, 2010

Starkwhite summer hours

Starkwhite is closed over the Christmas/New Year period, reopening Tuesday 6 January 2011. Our summer hours are Tuesday - Friday 11am to 5pm, Saturdays 11am to 3pm. And we'll take a break from the blog for a week and resume our posts on 3 January 2011. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Conceptual artist commissioned to create Tate Britain Christmas Tree

This year conceptual artist Giorgio Sadotti has been commissioned to create the Tate Britain Christmas Tree.

For Flower Ssnake, Sadotti has chosen to display a Norwegian Spruce in the gallery's neoclassical Rotunda, but has resisted the tradition of decorating it. At the bottom of the tree rests a coiled bullwhip to be used in a performance on the twelfth night when the spell of Christmas will be dramatically driven out of the tree with the whip.

Sadotti said: "For me the challenge was to present a tree that was naturally effortless. A tree that managed to maintain its dignity and timeless grace. A tree that remained sublime. A tree that was familiar but strange, like all trees but no other. A tree that had the potential to become another. A tree that talked. A tree as art."
Image: Giorgio Sadotti, Flower Ssnake (2010), Tate Britain Christmas Tree for 2010. Image from the Tate Britain website

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Publishing the unpublishable

As a prelude to the 2012 exhibition, dOCUMENTA (13) and Hatje Cantz are publishing a series of notebooks, 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts, comprised of facsimiles of existing notebooks, commissioned essays, collaborations and conversations.

"A note is a trace, a work, a drawing that all of a sudden becomes part of thinking, and is transformed into an idea. This publication follows that path, presenting the mind in a prologue state, in a pre-public arena. A space for intimacy and not yet of criticism, dOCUMENTA (13) is publishing the unpublishable, the voice--and the reader is our alibai and ally. Note taking encompasses witnessing, drawing, writing, and diagrammatic thinking; it is speculative, manifests a preliminary moment, a passage, and acts as a memory aid." dOCMENTA (13) media release

You can read more about 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Starkwhite in the lineup for ART HK 2011

We are pleased to announce that we will be returning to ART HK in 2011 (we were at the 2009 and 2010 editions of the fair). While we will continue to work with art fairs in Europe and the USA - over the past two years we've participated in Art Basel's Art Statements and Art Unlimited, The Armory Show, Art Cologne and Art Los Angeles Contemporary - we are also committed to working with the art fairs that are emerging in the Asia/Pacific region such as ART HK.

The lineup of galleries for ART HK 2011 includes: 1301PE, ARNDT, Beijing Commune, Bernier/Eliades Gallery, Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Blum & Poe, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, James Cohan Gallery, Sadie Coles HQ, CONTEMPORARY FINE ARTS, Gagosian Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, Lisson Gallery, Long March Space, Marian Goodman Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Sean Kelly Gallery, Kukje Gallery, Yvon Lambert, Kate MacGarry, Galerie Urs Meile, Victoria Miro Gallery, The Modern Institute, NANZUKA UNDERGROUND, ONE AND J Gallery, Pace Beijing, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sperone Westwater, Spruth Magers Berlin London, Vilma Gold Gallery, Vitamin Space, White Cube and David Zwirner.

ART HK is clearly on the rise. The third edition of Art HK in 2010 attracted 47,000 visitors (up from 30,000 the previous year) compared to 60,000 for Art Basel and The Armory Show and is expected to increase in 2011. The international visitor mix was reflected in the fair's VIP list, which included influential collectors from Australia, China, France, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and the USA, along with art museum directors and curators such as: 
Richard Armstrong, Director, Guggenheim Museum
Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg, Director, Los Angeles County Museum
Joseph Thompson, Director, MASS MoCA
Olga Viso, Director, Walker Art Center
Elizabeth Ann MacGregor, Director, MCA Sydney
Jock Reynolds, Director, Yale Art Gallery
Nigel Hurst, Director of the Saatchi Gallery, London
Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator, Guggenheim Museum
Maxwell Hearn, Curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Shinji Kohmoto, Chief Curator, National Museum of Art, Kyoto
Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
Yuike Kamiya, Chief Curator, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art
Barbara London, Associate Curator Museum of Modern Art
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions, Serpentine Gallery  
Annette Schonholzer and Marc Spiegler, Co-directors, Art Basel
Image: Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre, venue for ART HK

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A play for philanthropy in uncertain times

The Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce set up by Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Chris Finlayson, has responded to his brief to explore whether there are new opportunities to encourage private investment in the arts in New Zealand over the next five to ten years.

The Taskforce's recommendations to the Minister are to:
  • develop a fundraising capability initiative to mentor and advise cultural organisations on a one-to-one basis
  • promote knowledge and awareness of recently introduced tax incentives
  • introduce Gift Aid to boost private giving
  • explore the workability of a cultural gifting scheme
  • recognise the value and generosity of philanthropists
  • reward with matched government funding cultural organisations that succeed in increasing their levels of income derived from private giving
This link takes you to Growing the Pie: increasing the level of cultural philanthropy in Aotearoa New Zealand. It's a broad-brush report highlighting the need for further research and development, focusing on the development of philanthropy rather than on specific proposals aimed at encouraging forms of arts patronage that might, for instance, benefit practicing artists.

Meanwhile in the UK where austerity measures are impacting on arts funding, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced an 80 million pound matching fund to boost cultural philanthropy, saying the rich in Britain gave six times less to the arts than their US equivalents - cultural giving per capita is 37 pounds per month in the US compared to 6 pounds in the UK.

Back in New Zealand it's harder to predict whether new money from the private sector will be sought to "grow the pie" or shore up arts funding as the government looks for ways to achieve savings to reduce debt. The Minister has said his intention is not to replace government funding but to grow the cultural philanthropy pie. However, a recent Creative New Zealand announcement regarding arts organisations that have been confirmed into the new Arts Leadership Investment programme has fueled speculation on the future of arts funding. Only two visual arts organisations - the Physics Room in Christchurch and Objectspace in Auckland - made the cut. 

Surprisingly, Auckland's Artspace has been asked to submit further programme and budget information to help assess their fit with the new Arts Leadership Investment programme. What does this mean? That Artspace has to jump through a few more hoops to be confirmed under a new programme that ensures long term funding? Or is it a sign that no art institution, not even one with a track record like Artspace, can take public funding for granted in a post-recession economy?
Image: Billy Apple, PAID - THE ARTIST HAS TO LIVE LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, Auckland Regional Council (2003), invoice mounted on lithograph on paper

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dane Mitchell amongst the artists selected for the 2011 Singapore Biennale

Titled Open House, the third edition of the Singapore Biennale will feature over 150 works by 63 artists from 30 countries. Over half the artists are creating new commissions or premiering new works. They include Dane Mitchell who is currently in New Plymouth under the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery's artist-in-residence programme.

Led by artist Matthew Ngui and curators Russell Storer and Trevor Smith, Open House will be presented across four exhibition venues, each with their own particular character, that draw upon emblematic spaces in Singapore: Housing Development Board flats (Singapore Art Museum and 8Q), shopping centres and night markets (National Museum of Singapore) and international air and sea ports (Old Kallang Airport).

You can read more about the exhibition and lineup of artists at the Singapore Biennale website.
Open House runs from 13 March - 15 May 2011.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tate Modern says Wojnarowicz's work remains a crucial, inspiring response to the mortality, decay and rage that defined his era

While artists, foundations and activists continue to protest the Smithsonian's decision to pull David Wojnarowicz's video from an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, many museums, including the Tate Modern, are lining up to show the disputed video.

The Tate Modern will present a selection of films and readings to reconsider David Wojnarowicz's powerful work in the light of recent efforts to distort its intentions and legacy. The programme will include A Fire in My Belly plus Wojnarowicz's collaboration with Ben Neill, ITSOFOMO (in the shadow of forward motion). Other material will be screened along with readings of the artist's writings by local artists and writers. 

This link takes you to the Tate's release on the Wojnarowicz event scheduled for 22 January 2011.
Image: David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly (1987)video still

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Seung Yul Oh's PokPo at Artspace

Seung Yul Oh's PokPo is currently showing at Auckland's Artspace and runs to 19 February 2011.
Images: from Seung Yul Oh's PokPo exhibition at Artspace, Auckland, NZ. Photographs by Sam Harnett

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tacita Dean to follow Ai Weiwei as Tate Modern's Turbine Hall artist

Tacita Dean, the British artist known for her work with film, has been commissioned to create the next installation for the Lobby of London's Tate Modern. She will come after Ai Weiwei who paved the Hall with 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds.

"We've never really had anyone who has approached the Turbine Hall from the point of view of filmmaking, and the role and importance of the camera in articulating and animating space," said Tate Modern Chief Curator Sheena Wagstaff in an interview at press launch.
Images: Tacita Dean, Kodak (2006), film still and Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds (2010)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

First recipient of Victor Pinchuk's Future Generation Art Prize announced

Cinthia Marcelle, a Brazilian artist who makes films, photographs and installations, is the winner of the first Future Generation Art Prize from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. She receives USD$60,000 in cash and USD40,000 to be invested in the production of new work.

Marcelle was seleted by a jury consisting of Daniel Birnbaum, Okwui Enwezor, Yuko Hasegawa, Ivo Mesquita, Eckhard Schneider, Robert Storr and Ai Weiwei. 

You can see her work here.
Image: Cinthia Marcelle, O Conversador (The Speaker), 2005, photograph, 50 x 70cm

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Andy Warhol Foundation steps into art censorship debate

The Andy Warhol Foundation has threatened to to end Smithsonian funding unless the David Wojnarowicz video A Fire in My Belly is restored to the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, but the Smithsonian is refusing to budge.
Image: Protestors hold mask in support of artist David Wojnarowicz on the steps of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Whitney Bedford: From here to there

Whitney Bedford: From here to there runs at Starkwhite to 24 December 2010 and from 4 - 19 January 2011. During the Christmas/New Year period (27 December - 3 January) the gallery will be open by appointment.

This link takes you to our exhibition release.
Image: Whitney Bedford, Untitled shipwreck (touched), 2010, ink and oil on panel, 15" x 18"

Seung Yul Oh awarded the Harriet Friedlander Residency in New York

Seung Yul Oh has been awarded the 2011 Harriet Friedlander Residency. The Friedlander award sends an artist to New York, with no strings attached, for as long as $80,000 will last them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sacrilege and the sacred

The New York-based Catholic League, a self-described civil rights organisation at the forefront of the fight to remove David Wojnarowicz's video A Fire in My Belly from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, has changed tactics this week. Originally objecting to the video that League president William Donohue described as "anti-Christian", the organisation now says that museums should have all federal funding pulled because "they cater to the affluent and well educated rather than to the working class". 

The controversy surrounding Wojnarowicz's video echoes the furore that erupted in New Zealand in 1998 when Te Papa Tongarewa the Museum of New Zealand presented Tania Kovats' Virgin in a Condom in the Pictura Britannica exhibition. New Zealand's Catholic community was outraged by the small statuette of the Virgin Mary sheathed in a condom. This followed the 1997 closure of the Andres Serrano exhibition at Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria after a second attack on the artist's controversial work Piss Christ, death threats to staff and an alleged concern for a Rembrandt exhibition that was on at the time.   

The Catholic League's latest move (going after the museum project) also echoes the tactics of Catholics and evangelical Christians in New Zealand who questioned the national museum's double standards, pointing out that Te Papa (Maori for Our Place) had engaged in a lengthy process of consultation with Iwi aimed at developing a bicultural museum, but was unwilling to do the same for other communities of interest. They said the museum took great care to observe Maori spiritual values but ran roughshod over Christian values. 

Te Papa officials dug in, refusing to budge in the face of daily protests outside the museum and a 33 thousand-signature petition demanding the removal of Virgin in a Condom. But while the art world supported the museum's refusal to bow to pressure, many also felt that by its unwillingness to enter into an open debate Te Papa lost an early opportunity to foreground the museum's role as a forum - a place where ideas could be presented, tested and contested. 

The trans-Tasman responses in the late 90s (closing an exhibition in Melbourne v. an unproductive stand-off in Wellington) were less than ideal so it'll be interesting to see how the current controversy generated by Wojnarowicz's searing meditation on aspects of the AIDS pandemic plays out in the States.

This link takes you to a Backchat panel discussion screened by TVNZ in 1998 on Virgin in a Condom, the sacred and the profane, and art museums and controversy.
Images from the top: David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly (1987)video still; Tania Kovats, Virgin in a Condom (1992); Andres Serrano, Piss Christ (1989)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Leigh Davis Flag Poems in Time, Text & Echoes

Images (top to bottom): Leigh Davis, Madonna of Gowns, Do Not Construct,  Space of Mouthing, flag poems presented in the JAR exhibition Time, Text & Echoes (2010-2011), a sequence of ten-day hoists over 300 days, New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland, NZ

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A new public art walk by Billy Apple

Billy Apple's Waipero Swamp Walk opened to the public last weekend. Utilising the golden ratio and two famous sports colours - black (rugby) & white (cricket) - Apple has created a visually striking walkway to the Eden Park Stadium, one of the venues for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Image: Billy Apple's Waipero Swamp Walk (2010), commissioned under Auckland City's Public Art Programme. Photographs courtesy Peter Fell Ltd

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Physics Room announces new director

Stephen Cleland (formerly curator at the Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts) is the new director of the Physics Room in Christchurch.

Mercedes Vicente article on Ann Shelton in Camera Austria

The current edition of Camera Austria includes an article by Govett-Brewster Art Gallery curator Mercedes Vincente on the work of Ann Shelton and Mark Adams. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Decision to censor video draws flak

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) has issued a strongly worded rebuke to the Smithsonian Institution and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, for censoring a video by David Wojnarowicz in the critically acclaimed exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, reports Christopher Knight for the Los Angeles Times.

The video, A Fire in My Belly, is a searing meditation on aspects of the AIDS pandemic and the decision to remove it came in the wake of calls by the House speaker-designate John Boehner and incoming majority leader Eric Cantor to dismantle the privately funded exhibition.

The AMMD statement described the Smithsonian's decision as having resulted from political pressure.

"More disturbing than the Smithsonian's decision to remove this work is the cause: unwarranted and uninformed censorship from politicians and other public figures, many of whom, by their own admission, have seen neither the exhibition as a whole or this specific work. The AAMD believes that freedom of expression is essential to the health and welfare of our communities and our nation. In this case, that takes the form of the rights and opportunities of our art museums to present works of art that express different points of view."
Image: video still from David Wojnarowicz's video A Fire in My Belly

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

India to go to the Venice Biennale for the first time

For the first time in the history of the 150-year-old event, India will showcase an exhibition of younger artists at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. Curated by Mumbai-based art critic and writer Ranjit Hoskote, the exhibition will be presented in a space in the Arsenale.
Image: Arsenale di Venezia

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Turner Prize winner announced

Susan Philipsz, whose melancholy song loops were first exhibited in secret walkways in Glasgow, has won the the 2010 Turner Prize. Philipsz uses her own voice to create sound installations that play on and extend "the poetics of specific, often out of the way spaces". You can follow live comment and chat surrounding this year's prize at the Channel 4 News live blog.

Art Basel Miami Beach

This link takes you to an upbeat report on Art Basel Miami Beach published in the New York Times.
Image: The Gagosian booth at the Miami Convention Centre, Art Basel Miami Beach 2010. Photograph from the NYT

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winner of the 2010 Turner Prize announced tomorrow

The winner of the 2010 Turner Prize will be announced tomorrow. Susan Philipsz is the odds-on favourite this year for her sound installations.
Image: the site of a sound installation in Scotland by Susan Philipsz

Post-recession austerity measures pose a threat to public art collections

Art News reports that leading international museum directors have restated their opposition to the financially motivated sale of works of art from public collections when the proceeds are used for "anything other than acquisitions or the direct care of the collection". The call comes at time when post-recession austerity measures pose a significant threat to arts funding.

Manuel Borja-Villel, speaking as president of the International Council for Museums and Collections of Modern Art, has said his Council was concerned by cases when money from sales was diverted to things that had little to do with collections such as expansions. "It is important to restate that a public collection is different from a private collection," said Borja-Villel. "The public collection has an element of memory - we must respect what colleagues have collected before us". He added decisions need to be made by directors, "not by politicians or just managers".

This follows a hardening of the US Association of Art Museum Directors opposition to deaccessioning to raise funds for operating expenses and expansion projects. Concern is also rising in the UK at the the lack of safeguards to protect collections when the pressure on local authority finances will increase following the coalition government's austerity drive.

Stephen Deucher, the director of the Art Fund, summed up the growing concerns, saying "we are implacably opposed to councillors pointing to a Picasso and seeing a short-term solution to a funding crisis".
Image: Ernest Normand's Bondage (1895), 'privatised' recently by a UK regional museum

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Recalling and revisiting history in downtown Brooklyn

This link takes you to Benjamin Sutton's review of TOTAL RECALL, the Public Art Fund exhibition of five commissioned sculptures presented at the MetroTech Commons, downtown Brooklyn. The works in TOTAL RECALL are by Martin Basher, Zipora Fried, Sam Moyer, Matt Sheridan Smith and Kevin Zucker.
Image: Zipora Fried, Armchair (2010). Photograph by James Ewing

A new site for speculative projects

altsprojects is a new project space that aims to "test out interventions and proposals for new exhibition formats". Richard Frater's project, Alternative, opens today at 11.00am. This link takes you to the altsprojects site.
Image: from the altsprojects site

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wind-powered art picks up sponsorship award

The recipients of this year's NBR Sponsorship Awards include Meridian Energy, with the Wellington Sculpture Trust, for a suite of wind sculptures located along Evan's Bay close to Wellington airport. The sculptures combine public art with a celebration of Wellington's best-known natural characteristic (the wind), bringing together notions of wind power in New Zealand's energy future and the creative use of wind.
The suite of sculptures includes Phil Dadson's Akau Tangi. The title (the Maori name for Evan's Bay) references the lamenting sounds of the wind in the bay, which is reputed to be one of New Zealand's windiest locations.
Images: Phil Dadson, Akau Tangi (2010) installation views, ten poles ranging between 6 to 6.8m, aluminium, stainless steel, black steel, LED lights and paint

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Seung Yul Oh project at Artspace

Seung Yul Oh's project POKPO runs at Auckland's Artspace from 4 December 2010 - 19 February 2011.