Thursday, June 30, 2011

Public art rubs Seoul the wrong way

Critics of an urban improvement effort in the South Korean capital that requires developers to provide public art say the law generated too many works that many find objectionable. Recently the law was changed and under the new guidelines developers have a choice: they can commission a piece of art, or they can donate the money (1% of the cost of the building) to a government-administered public art fund. While this is likely to address many of the issues surrounding the public art scheme and the proliferation of artworks (sometimes less is more) the question remains: what does Seoul do with all the unwanted art that dominates the cityscape. Read more...
Image: Frank Stella's Amabel stands in front of a South Korean steel company in Seoul, caught up in the controversy surrounding public art

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Collecting conceptual art

Are the collectors who spend thousands on conceptual works crazy - or on the cutting edge? Read more...
Image: Collectors Aaron and Barbara Levine at Art Basel

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

$4m windfall for the Len Lye Centre

The plan to build a Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth received a boost today with the announcement by the The Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Christopher Finlayson, that a $4m grant has been approved from the Government's Regional Museums Policy for Capital Construction Costs. The new centre is to be designed by the New Zealand architectural firm of Patterson Associates.  
Image: Len Lye, Self Portrait (With Night Tree), 1947

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hye Rim Lee's Crystal City Spun at Starkwhite

Hye Rim Lee's Crystal City Spun runs at Starkwhite to Saturday 1 July, 2011.
Images: installation view of Hye Rim Lee's Crystal City Spun, presented at Starkwhite in association with Kukje Gallery, Seoul

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Alicia Frankovich's Floor Resistance at HAU3

HAU3 presents Alicia Frankovich's Floor Resistance on 25 June 2011. The piece coincides with her solo exhibition of videos, films and kinetic sculptures Gestures, Splits and Annulations at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Auckland's Artspace has a new director

London-based curator Caterina Riva arrived in Auckland recently to take up her position as director of Artspace. She follows (working backwards) Emma Bugden, Brian Butler, Tobias Berger, Hanna Scott, Robert Leonard, Lara Bowen, Priscilla Pitts and founding director Mary-Louise Browne.
Image: Caterina Riva, director of Artspace, Auckland

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gavin Hipkins talks about The Next Cabin

Gavin Hipkins will talk about his 20-part installation The Next Cabin (2000 - 2002) at Art & Object on Saturday at 4pm. The work features in the David and Angela Wright Collection, which goes under the hammer at Art & Object next week.
Image: Gavin Hipkins, The Next Cabin (2000 - 2002), detail 

Upstairs at Starkwhite

In our first floor spaces we are showing works by Billy Apple, Martin Basher, Stella Brennan, Whitney Bedford, Alicia Frankovich, Trenton Garratt, Jae Hoon Lee, Dane Mitchell, Seung Yul Oh and John Reynolds
John Reynolds, Democratic Vistas (2011), reflective vinyl on aluminium, three panels each 500 x 900 mm

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Asia Society presents Ai Weiwei's New York photography

Following the public opening of Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animal/Zodiac Heads at the Pulitzer Fountain, New York's Asia Society is set to open a large show of his photographic work, featuring 227 photos he took during his New York days. The exhibition runs from 29 June to 14 August 2011. Read more...
Image: Ai Weiwei's Dropping a Han Dynsaty Urn, 1995

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Steilneset Witch Trial Memorial by Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois

Dedicated to 91 victims of a 17th century witch hunt in Vardo, The Witches of Finnmark Memorial is a collaboration between artist Louise Bourgeois and architect Peter Zumthor. Set to open on the 23rd of June, the monument is located at Steilneset in Vardo, the place where the burning of the vast majority of the witches occurred.

Inside a glass cube designed by Zumthor, Bourgeois' sculpture The Damned, The Possessed and The Beloved (2007 - 2010), is made up of a flaming chair surrounded by a ring of oval mirrors. A second building by Zumthor, made of wood and fabric and 125 meters long, has one illuminated window for each for the victims burnt at the stake.

In an interview on the collaboration, Peter Zumthor said: "The result is really about two things - there is the line, which is mine, and a dot, which is hers... Louise's installation is more about the burning and the aggression, and my installation is more about the life and emotions [of the victims]."
Image: Memorial in memory of the victims of witch trials by Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois, Steilneset

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rules of Nature at the Museum of Lucerne

Jin Jiangbo's Rules of Nature was created for the Shanshui exhibition at the Museum of Lucerne. It explores not only the theme of the exhibition but also the striking architecture of the Culture and Convention Centre in which the Museum is housed. The KKL is the work of French architect Jean Nouvel, who wanted Lake Lucerne to be an integral part of his structure. The three wings of the complex are separated by two water channels, which when viewed from the museum's roof-top floor look rather like deep canyons. Jin Jiangbo has used one of these pools as the 'support' on which to project a landscape in the manner of traditional Chinese ink-and-wash painting. The process, however, is steered by the viewer, who by striking notes on a gugin, a traditional Chinese zither, triggers the electronic signals that define the parameters of the composition to be projected.
Image: Jin Jiangbo, Rules of Nature (2011), installation views, Shanshui exhibition, Museum of Lucerne, Switzerland

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Francis Plagne at St Kevin's Arcade, Auckland

Aucklanders can catch Francis Plagne tomorrow night at the Wine Cellar, St Kevin's Arcade (7.00pm/entry $10). Plagne is a Melbourne-based musician and songwriter whose work engages with popular and experimental music forms. His music has been described as sounding as "close to Pet Sounds era Beach Boys as it does musique concrete future classics" (Mess + Noise) and as the "unlikely amalgam of Antonio Carlos Jobim's samba and an Andre Breton poem" (Three Thousand). The Wire's John Dale described his work as "slotting into a trajectory of experimental song/sound crossover that stretched from Caetano Veloso's 'Araca Azul' through to Broadcast." . You can hear his work at
Image: cover for Francis Plagne's Idle Bones (Label: Synaesthesia)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Celebrating unrealised artists' projects

This year, e-flux was invited to develop a special project for the Kopfbau during Art Basel. In response, e-flux developed a raft of projects situated somewhere between exhibitions of art and the concrete forms of social reality encountered in everyday life, drawing on a wide circle of institutions, artists, curators and writers who have been involved with various e-flux projects over the past several years. 

The projects include the Agency of Unrealised Projects (AUP) - a temporary office that exhibits a growing archive of several hundred unrealised art projects, including contributions received through an open call, as well as those originally collated by Hans Ulrich Obrist (they include one by Billy Apple). You can read more about this exhibition celebrating artists' projects that never got beyond the planning stage here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Alicia Frankovich at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin

Alicia Frankovich's exhibition Gestures, Splits and Annulations opens today at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin where she is participating in the Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Artists Residency. The exhibition runs to 10 July 2011.
Image: Alicia Frankovich, Volution 2011, 35 mm film transferred to digital video

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Coming up at Starkwhite

Our next downstairs show, Hye Rim Lee's Crystal City Spun animation, runs from Monday 20 June 2011
Image: Hye Rim Lee, Crystal City Spun (animation still), presented in association with Kukje Gallery, Seoul

A window of opportunity in Venice

Like so many countries that missed the opportunity to build a national pavilion in the Giardini (Australia was the last country to be granted land to build on), New Zealand works with spaces selected from the array of palazzos, churches and other buildings available for Venice Biennale presentations.

The possibility of sharing a pavilion with Australia has been raised in the past and the idea surfaced again with the news that Australia's pavilion in the Giardini will be replaced with a purpose-designed space for artists. While the idea may be of interest on this side of the Tasman, ANZART in Venice appears to be an unlikely prospect. Would Australia consider sharing a pavilion with New Zealand and, if so, how would it work?

Fortunately, another window of opportunity opened up this year. The President of the Biennale, Paolo Baratta, is offering countries that don't have a national pavilion the chance to buy a space in the Arsenale's Sale d'Ami. At a reported cost of 1.5m for a 20 year concession, a pavilion in the Arsenale could be an interesting option to consider for New Zealand.
Image: Arsenale, Venice

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jae Hoon Lee bound for Antarctica

Each year Antarctica New Zealand invites artists to become honorary Arts Fellows and travel to Antarctica to undertake specific projects. Jae Hoon Lee is one of four artists invited to travel to the frozen continent this year. The others are musician Dave Dobbyn, photographer Laurence Aberhart and sculptor Joe Sheehan.
Image: Jae Hoon Lee, Annapurna (2011), archival pigment ink on Ilford paper, 800 x 1200 mm

Saturday, June 11, 2011

NYT's Roberta Smith on the Venice Biennale

When it comes to dense, out-of-control concentrations of contemporary art, there is nothing like the Venice Biennale. With its big central exhibition, its ever-rising number of national pavilions and the scores of collateral shows organised in museums, galleries and palazzos all over the city, the Biennale never stops. It is a cornucopia of recent artistic endeavor, endlessly amplified by Venice itself, which remains one of the most culturally layered, artful and art-filled places on earth. Read more...
Image: Mike Nelson's trompe l'oeil rabbit hole to Istanbul, Venice Biennale

Friday, June 10, 2011

From urban decay to post-industrial renovation

Eighty years after it was built to carry carcasses to New York's meatpacking district, the old railway line on stilts was converted into a city park, opening to the public in June 2009. The second phase of the conversion has just opened, doubling its length to one mile.

For a railway that came close to being torn down in 1999 when local businesses - backed by Mayor Rudi Giuliani - called it a blot on the landscape, it has become one of the most resounding examples of city rebirth. The neighbourhood has boomed since it opened and the flanks of the park have been dubbed "architects row" in recognition of the new buildings that have sprung up by internationally renowned architects such as Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Neil Denari.

In 2015 the area will receive another boost when the Whitney opens its new lower Manhattan museum at the southern end of the High Line.
Image: New York's High Line park, past and present

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ai Weiwei & Uli Sigg co-curate Shanshui with Peter Fischer

Jin Jiangbo is amongst the artists represented in Shanshui, Poetry without Sound? at the Museum of Art Lucerne. Curated by Ai Weiwei, Peter Fischer and Uli Sigg, Shanshui looks at the relationship Chinese contemporary art has shaped to its own tradition through the lens of landscape painting.

The exhibition combines 70 works from the Sigg collection, all dated between 1994 to 2011, some, like Jin Jiangbo's piece, commissioned for the exhibition. In addition to international stars like Ai Weiwei, Huang Yan, Liu Wei, Qiu Shihua and Zhou Tiehai, a younger generation of artists are present, including a significant number of women: Chen Ke, Hu Liu, Li Xi and Ni Youyu amongst others. Read more...

The exhibition is accompanied by book dedicated to Ai Weiwei whose whereabouts was unknown at the time of printing.
Image: Cover of Shanshui, Poetry without Sound? Landscape in Chinese Contemporary Art, published by the Museum of Art Lucerne

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Billy Apple produces a text-based portrait in Chinese

The first painting in Billy Apple's From the Collection series was commissioned by the Bank of New Zealand in 1988. Since then it has attracted a broad range of corporate, public and private clientele such as Fletcher Challenge, Victoria University of Wellington and Jenny Gibbs. Each work in the series is commissioned by the collector and operates both as a text-based portrait and a frontispiece for their collection.

Recently, art collectors Jeffrey Lai and Michelle Soo commissioned the first work to be executed in Chinese. Along with a companion piece in English, From the Lai Soo Collection was exhibited by Starkwhite at ART HK from 26 - 29 May 2011.
Image: Billy Apple, From the Lai Soo Collection (2011), UV impregnated ink on canvas, 430 x 270 mm

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Christoph Schlingensief and Christian Marclay awarded Golden Lions at the Venice Biennale

The Venice Biennale has announced the awards for its 54th edition. The Golden Lion for the best national pavilion went to Germany, represented this year by Christoph Schlingensief, who died last August. The Golden Lion for the best artist went to Christian Marclay for his piece The Clock, 2010, on display at the Arsenale.
Image: A still from Christian Marclay's The Clock, 2010

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jae Hoon Lee and Justin Paton in conversation

Artist Jae Hoon Lee and curator Justin Paton discuss his works in Unguided Tours: Anne Landa Award for video and new media arts 2011 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Play video
Image: detail from Jae Hoon Lee's installation in Unguided Tours: Anne Landa Award for video and new media arts, Art Gallery of New South Wales, to 12 July 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Australia to get a new Venice Biennale pavilion

After almost 25 years of critical sniping, Australia's pavilion at the Venice Biennale will finally be replaced. Even the pavilion architect Philip Cox is on record as urging that the original was intended to be a temporary structure only.

Australia Council Chairman James Strong said in Venice that a new pavilion design will be selected by invitation from a small hand-selected group of Australian architects with a brief to produce a functional exhibition space that works for the artist and complies with Venetian authorities' requirements.
Image: The existing Australian pavilion in Venice, designed in 1988 by Philip Cox a temporary structure

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Exhibition concept announced for the 18th Biennale of Sydney

all our relations has been announced as by artistic directors Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster as the exhibition concept for the 18th Biennale of Sydney, which will take place from 27 June - 16 September 2012. Read more...
Image: Biennale of Sydney artistic directors Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shrinking public subsidy forces Venice Biennale to be more reliant on self-generated finance

In an age of shrinking state support, the Venice Biennale has found new ways to generate revenue. This year the the Biennale will fund 87% of its operations. 

The person behind the revenue-generating schemes is Biennale president Paolo Baratta, a cambridge educated economist whose favourite book is Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. After a career in finance he was made minister of privatisations in 1993 and is said to have a gift for balancing social responsibility with commercial interests.

So what are the new schemes? He is offering countries that don't have a national pavilion the chance to buy a space in the Arsenale's Sale d'Ami for 1.5m each; he charges the collateral exhibitions 20,000 to use the Biennale's logo and appear in the official catalogue (he also says out of the 90 requests this year Bice Curiger rejected 55%); he's raised ticket prices by 30% to 20 (and visitors have risen from 319,332 in 2007 to 375,702 in 2009); and he's reduced the main curatorial show's installation budget thereby forcing some artists to seek additional funding and sponsorships. Read more...
Image: Venice Biennale president Paolo Baratta

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gertrude Contemporary runs into gentrification

Melbourne's Gertrude Contemporary has found that creative people don't just break ground for new ideas, but also for property developers. After 28 years of setting the scene, the not-for-profit space is a victim of the gentrification of Gertrude Street, which has gone from grunge to glamorous shopping strip in a generation. "We've gone from the days of bullets in the window from the Macedonian gangsters across the road, all the way to the first hairdressers and soy lattes", Gertrude Contemporary director Alexie Glass-Kantor said.

The Age reports that a for sale sign is expected to go up this week and that it is unclear whether the gallery will be able to remain until its lease expires. However, Alexie Glass-Kantor says: "The sale will not affect Gertrude Contemporary's status as a leading centre for the creation and presentation of contemporary art in Australia, nor our capacity to carry out our vision for the future. In the face of Fitzroy's ongoing gentrification, we will continue to deliver our internationally acclaimed program of exhibitions, publications, education programs and, most of all, artists' studios consolidating our reputation as Melbourne's leading generator for contemporary art and ideas."

Since 1983, Gertrude Contemporary has supported the careers of Australia's top thinkers makers and writers, charting movements, trends and revolutions in thought and art across its complex of galleries and studios. It has a big reputation  in Australia and also across the Tasman and artists and colleagues in New Zealand will be on the lookout for news of moves to secure the space's future.
Image: Gerturude Contemporary, Melbourne

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Leigh Davis' Jar

Today we feature the final Leigh Davis flag poem in the exhibition Time, Text & Echoes presented at Jar in a sequence of thirty, ten day hoists (see our earlier post). You can see the full suite of flag poems and installation views here.
Leigh Davis' death in 2009 at the age of 54 was a major loss to poetry and the visual arts in New Zealand. Jar is part of his legacy. Established as a small not-for-profit trust for promoting strong, singular work for public consumption, it aims to grow "an art excited public who experience in each Jar project something with small size but scale, something to look at and wonder about a long time."

The first Jar space is 589 New North Road, Kingsland, NZ where projects have been staged by Auckland-based artists Stephen Bambury and Peter Robinson.
Image: Leigh Davis

Leigh Davis Flag Poems in Time, Text & Echoes

Image: Leigh Davis, Bees, flag poem 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