Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Justin Paton picks up the 2012 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship

Justin Paton has been awarded the 2012 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship, which offers a residency of at least 6 months in Menton, France and $75,000. Currently senior curator at Christchurch Art Gallery, he is also well known as the author of How to Look at a Painting and presenter of the accompanying television series seen this year on TV1.

Another Power 100 list

In its annual Power 100 issue, Art & Auction positions Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamid bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the daughter of the Emir of Qatar, as the most influential person in the art world. Shiekha Al-Mayassa is the chairwoman of the Qatar Museums Authority, an organisation overseeing the country's cultural initiatives including the world's biggest art buying spree.

You can see the Power 100 top ten here.
Image: Sheikha Al-Mayassa at the opening of Takashi Murakami's exhibition at Versailles in 2010

Hye Rim Lee's Crystal City goes under the hammer at Christie's HK auction

Hye Rim Lee's Crystal City (Grey) sold for USD22,500 (against an estimate of USD17,900-23,100) at Christie's Asian Contemporary Art sale in Hong Kong on 27 November.
Image: Hye Rim Lee, Crystal City (Grey) 2007, C-type print, 182 x 182 cm, edition of 5

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Art museum goes underground to take on bank loans

Frankfurt's Staedel Museum is expanding underground to double its storage space and create room for bank loans. Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) and DZ Bank agreed in 2008 to hand over more than 8oo works to the Staedel, including works by Joseph Beuys, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol. The loan includes an option to buy the art at 25% of its value, without interest over 25 years.
Image: Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt

Billy Apple®: A History of the Brand

Billy Apple®: A History of the Brand runs at Starkwhite to 8 December 2011. The works in the exhibition record the artist's transformation from an individual artist into a brand. The process culminated in 2007 when Apple became a registered trademark, formalising his status as an art brand.
Image: Billy Apple® A History of the Brand, Witte de With, Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam

Monday, November 28, 2011

Does art need bankers?

100 financiers, entrepreneurs, collectors, curators, dealers and academics gathered in Florence recently for a private conference on the future of art and finance. The cue for the conference was the exhibition Money and Beauty: Bankers, Boticelli, and the Bonfire of Vanities at the Palazzo Strozzi. The discussions ranged across a variety of topics including: whether financial centres necessarily became cultural centres, the shift of economic and cultural power from the West to the East, how art tracks money and power, and whether the art world has been hijacked by the same forces that possessed the world of finance. Read more...
Image: artworks from Andy Warhol's Dollar Sign series

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home Alone in Miami

Hedge fund manager Adam Sender has joined the ranks of collectors who mount curated presentations of their art collections during Art Basel Miami Beach. Sender's collection manager Sarah Aibel is presenting 70 works from Sanders holdings of over 1000 works in his vacant 5,0000 square-foot Miami property.

Instead of attempting the transform the house into a gallery, Aibel says she made the entire exhibition about toying with the notion of displaying art in a domestic space. Even the bathrooms have been given over to art. One is dedicated to Ramond Pettibon and in another Richard Prince's image of Brooke Shields hangs above a real tub in the children's bathroom.
Image:Urs Fischer's What if the phone rings, 2003

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Art that is completed when the viewer is drunk

"For centuries, alcohol has played an important role in the art scene," says Erwin Wurm, so it seems entirely appropriate for his latest series, Drinking Sculptures, to be opened at the Bass Museum of Art on the same day as Art Basel Miami Beach, an art fair renowned for its partying, opulent dinners and champagne-fueled hobnobbing.

The sculptures in the series open to reveal bottles of liquor and the artist considers them complete only when the viewer is drunk. At this stage it is unclear whether visitors will be able to drink freely from the sculptures, or whether the museum will hire performers to get drunk. Museum officials say the decision will be made by the artist.
Image: Erwin Wurm's Drinking Sculptures (2011) at the Middleheim Museum, Antwerp

Prospect: New Zealand Art Now opens at the City Gallery Wellington

Dane Mitchell is amongst the artists in Prospect: New Zealand Art Now which opens today at the City Gallery Wellington. The exhibition has been curated by Kate Montgomery who has since taken up a new position at Creative New Zealand.
Image: Installation view of Dane Mitchell's Radiant Matter Part II (2011) at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Mitchell is represented in Prospect with works from this exhibition

Thursday, November 24, 2011

European Commission plans the world's largest cultural funding programme

The European Commission is planning to introduce the world's largest cultural funding programme - a 1.8 billion Creative Europe fund to be administered between 2014 and 2020 as part of a larger pan-European goal to stimulate the economy through cultural enterprise.While approximately half will be allocated to the film industry, 500 million will be targeted directly to the visual and performing arts.

The accidental art mogul

Her fortunes come from caring more about showing art than selling it. Newsweek's Blake Gopnik on Marian Goodman's path to success. Read more...
Image: Barbara Gladstone by Thomas Struth

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hou Hanru to curate the 5th Auckland Triennial

Hou Hanru has been named as the curator for the 5th Auckland Triennial. "The Auckland Triennial interests me with the city's increasingly vibrant art scene, being one of the leading cities of the Pacific Rim with its Maori and Pacific influences," he says. "The Triennial can be a particularly inspiring and challenging context for artists: to engage themselves in reimagining the relationship between their work and the changing world, to generate more energy and new vision to an already dynamic art scene."

Damien Hirst's For the Love of God: a sign of the times?

A little over three years ago Damien Hirst abandoned the traditional method of selling art going straight to Sotheby's instead where the auction smashed top estimates to reach a record total of USD125m. Ironically it was also the day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, setting in train a credit crunch and global recession which in turn sent a booming international art market into freefall.

As the sovereign debt crisis plays out in Europe and the world stares down the barrel of another global recession, Hirst is in the news again. His $78 million diamond-encrusted platinum skull, For the Love of God, is back in London courtesy of the Tate. The piece, which has yet to enter a major public collection and is owned by a consortium of investors including the artist himself, will be displayed in a special viewing room in the Turbine Hall during the first two months of the artist's retrospective at Tate Modern.
Image: Damien Hirst's For the Love of God (2007)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Martin Basher: melding minimalist sculpture and retail display at the Rockefeller Apartments

Martin Basher has installed two new works (Paradise Sale and The Everyday Solution for Shakey Hands) in the courtyard garden of New York's Rockefeller Apartments. The installation is a further development of his 9-month New York Public Art Fund project at the MetroTech Centre in Brooklyn, and the latest in an ongoing series of artists' presentations at the apartments.
Images: Martin Basher's Paradise Sale and The Everyday Solution for Shakey Hands (2011), installation views (day and night), Rockefeller Apartments, New York

Monday, November 21, 2011

Curator defends artist's use of imagery of Christ's crucifixion as a metaphor for human suffering

The Brooklym museum is refusing to budge in the face of calls for David Wojnarowicz's video A Fire My Belly to be removed from the Hide/Seek exhibition, saying the artwork is "an expression of the artist's outrage at indifference to human suffering during the early years of the AIDS crisis.

The co-curator of the exhibition, Jonathan Katz, has also weighed in saying the work belongs to a centuries-old tradition of using the imagery of Jesus Christ's crucifixion as a metaphor for human suffering. "What gets lost in all this brouhaha is how thoroughly informed he is by a Catholic iconographic tradition and how he is reinvigorating it to describe new social realities" Katz said of the artist. "This is a work of art of great complexity and sensitivity."
Image: David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly (1987), video still

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Brooklyn bishop calls for A Fire in My Belly to be banned

The Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio, is fueling the furore over David Wojnarowicz's video A Fire in My Belly, calling for it to be removed from the Hide/Seek exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum on the grounds that it is a disrespectful and blasphemous attack on their religion. In a strangely telling video statement on the web Bishop DiMarzio says that he admires Wojnarowicz's identification with the suffering Christ but that he shouldn't be allowed to express it publicly in art. Read more...
Image: Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and David Wojnarowicz

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gavin Hipkins' film This Fine Island previewed at Centre Pompidu

This Fine Island, a postcolonial ballad by Gavin Hipkins that revisits Charles Darwin's journey to the Bay of Islands in 1835, will have its first screening in Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid, an event that aims to create a space between new cinema and contemporary art. In Hipkins' adaption, Darwin's nineteenth-century travel writing in The Voyage of the Beagle becomes a vehicle for present day tourisms, travel romance, and racial othering, against the backdrop of New Zealand's lush landscape.

Hipkins' experimental narrative screens at Centre Pompidu on 21 November in People's Television, a film programme curated for Rencontres Internationales by Laura Preston and Mark Williams.
Image: Gavin Hipkins, This Fine Island , 2012 (production still), 12 mins, 16mm transferred to Digibeta

MOCA gala raises $2.5m with Marina Abramovic's An Artist's Life Manifesto

The controversy surrounding Marina Abramovic's An Artist's Life Manifesto didn't dampen the enthusiasm of guests at the recent MOCA gala, an event that Jeffrey Deitch said "fused an art experience with a social experience". Attended by more than 750 guests, the gala raised $2.5m for the museum.
Image: Deborah Harry and Marina Abramovic at the MOCA fundraiser

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review of Ann Shelton's in a forest

You can read a review of Ann Shelton's exhibition in a forest here.
Image: Ann Shelton, Seedling, Imre Harange's Olympic Oak (These trees were awarded at the 1936 Olympics and are sometimes also called 'Hitler Oaks'), Nyiradony, Hungary. C-type print. 1.2 x 1.5m, 2011

Benetton's controversial "Unhate" campaign

In Italian clothing label Benetton's ideal world, foreign dignitaries from opposing sides would lock lips. Benetton took the concept to heart, making it the subject of its controversial "Unhate" campaign, which features political enemies getting a little too close for comfort. The company debuted its ads recently at its flagship Paris store much to the chagrin of the world leaders it featured. Read more...
Image: The Pope and al-Tayeb share a kiss on the latest United Colours of Beneton advertisement

Putting a spin on plunder culture

Artefacts of historical and cultural significance which are displayed in major museums around the world should not be returned to their country of origin according to British Museum director Neil MacGregor. During an address in Australia recently he sprang to the defence of museums holding contested cultural property "The value of an object is to explain history to as many people as possible and explain the present to as many people as possible and that may not be achieved by it being returned to the place where it was made", he said. "When you see these objects they will mean more to you in your own experience than they would in the place they were made."

MacGregor has an ally in British Prime Minister David Cameron who shares his view on the repatriation of cultural property. In a 2010 interview he explained why the Kohinoor diamond, which was seized by the East India company to become part of the Crown Jewels when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877, could not be returned. "If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty", he said.
Image: Interior carving and panels in the Mataatua Wharenui or meeting house. Originally built as a symbol of unity and strength by Ngati Awa, it was uplifted by the New Zealand government and shipped overseas to represent the country at anthropological exhibitions. After enduring a century of foreign travel it was finally repatriated in 1925 to be housed at the Otago Museum where it remained for another 70 years. After being lost to its people since 1880, Mataatua Wharenui finally returned to its rightful place in Whakatane in the 90s. After 15 years of work to restore the house to its former glory, it opened on 17 September 2011 with a traditional dawn ceremony. The meeting house is now a central point in a complex that provides a maori cultural tourism experience for visitors, allowing them to hear the story of the wharenui and learn the traditions and history of the tribe - all brought to life with the latest interactive digital technology.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Australia's Indigenous Art Triennial back on the calendar

After being put on the backburner twice, with National Gallery of Australia director Ron Radford pointing to "fiscal responsibility" as the reason for the last postponement, Australia's National Indigenous Art Triennial is back in the mix. The NGA has announced that the second Triennial, unDisclosed, will run from 11 May to 10 July 2012.

The theme of the Triennial alludes to the spoken and the unspoken, the known and the unknown, what can be revealed and what cannot, capturing the disclosed and the undisclosed embedded within the works in the exhibition. You can see the lineup of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists selected for the Triennial here.
Image: Vernon Ah Kee, Yidindji Tribe Circa 2007, 2007

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview with Paolo Baratta on how he revived the Venice Biennale

As chairman of the Venice Biennale foundation, Paolo Baratta has been credited with reinvigorating the Biennale and ensuring it is largely self-funded. With the news that his successor Giulio Malgara (an ally of Silvio Berlusconi) has withdrawn his nomination to head the Biennale, some expect to see him reappointed to the post. In an interview first published in Il Giornale dell'Arte, the man who gave Venice a new lease of life looks back on his tenure. Read more...
Image: Paolo Baratta, outgoing chairman of the Venice Biennale foundation

Shanghai Expo sites to house new art museums

Two new art museums are to be created in Shanghai using former Expo sites along the Huangpu River. The former China Pavilion on the Pudong side will become a museum of modern art with 70,000 square meters of exhibition space and the former Pavilion of the Future on the Puxi side will become a contemporary art museum with 15,000 square meters of exhibition space.
Image: China Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo, Shanghai which is to house a new Museum of Modern Art

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How can art compete with Hollywood?

The Guardian's Jonathan Jones travels to Los Angeles to talk to Paul McCarthy about what it means to be a serious artist in the shadow of Hollywood. Read more...
Image: Paul McCarthy

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sacrilege and the sacred: round two

David Wojnarowicz's video A Fire in My Belly is drawing flak from Catholic groups as the National Portrait Gallery's Hide/Seek exhibition heads to the Brooklyn Museum. So far Brooklyn's Catholic Diocese has requested the work be censored from the show, the Daily News is fueling tabloid-ready outrage in advance, and Brooklyn Museum director Arnold Lehman says he has received thousands of pre-programmed emails in protest.

This link takes you to our earlier posts on the Smithsonian's controversial decision to withdraw A Fire in My Belly from the Washington showing of Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.
Image: David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly (1987), video still

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Berlusconi's ally withdraws nomination to head the Venice Biennale

Outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's ally Giulio Malgara has withdrawn his nomination to head the Venice Biennale. Malgara was set to replace Paolo Baratta, a decision that sparked an outcry due to his lack of experience in the field of culture.
Image: outgoing Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Whitney Bedford with Dane Mitchell at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Museum of Modern Art dusts off its Diega Rivera murals

In 1931 the Museum of Modern Art commissioned Diego Rivera to paint 5 portable murals for a 5-week exhibition. Now after 80 years in storage, the murals are being rehung. Read more...
Image: Diego Rivera, Agrarian Leader Zapata (1931), photograph from the MoMA website

Friday, November 11, 2011

Takashi Murakami's New Day: Artists for Japan charity auction raises just under $9m for earthquake and tsunami relief fund

Takashi Murakami's recent charity auction at Christie's raised $8,756,100 million from the likes of auction house owner Francois Pinault and dealer Larry Gagosian for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern art of Japan on 11 March. The highest price fetched on the evening was $1m paid by an anonymous bidder for Jeff Koon's' Balloon Monkey Wall Relief.

Murakami said estimates were kept purposefully low to encourage biddiing for charity but that he was surprised by the priced fetched. "I'm very appreciative for that", he said adding that he found the turnout and sale total for his auction "heartwarming."
Image: KAWS' Kawsbob Enters the Strange Forest, 2011 (detail)

Paul McCarthy's Tomato Head (Green) fetches $4.5m at auction; will the artist get a slice of the action?

26 artworks from the collection of Peter Norton went under the hammer at Christie's on Tuesday night. All of the lots were sold bringing in $26.8 million and a few set new records for artists with Paul McCarthy's Tomato Head (Green) topping the list at $4,562,500.

Although he has multiple residences, Norton is identified in Christie's news release as "the Los Angeles collector and software entrepreneur". According to the California Resale Royalty Act, a seller or seller's agent must give 5% of the resale price to the artist provided that the seller lives in California or the transaction takes place there, making McCarthy's cut $228,125.

So far Norton has not responded to requests for comment.
Image: Paul McCarthy's Tomato Head (Green)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dane Mitchell's RADIANT MATTER reviewed in ARTFORUM

The latest issue of ARTFORUM includes an Anthony Byrt review of Dane Mitchell's RADIANT MATTER, a series of three exhibitions presented at three public galleries across New Zealand.
Images: Dane Mitchell, Radiant Matter III. The Smell of An Empty Space (Liquid) 2011, Artspace, Auckland. Photo Sam Hartnett and courtesy of Artspace

Los Angeles novelist and art critic Chris Kraus talks to Martin Rumsby

Chris Kraus talks to Martin Rumsby on her experiences of growing up and studying in New Zealand and how those experiences shape her work. View video
Image: Chris Kraus interview with Martin Rumsby

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Performa founder RoseLee Goldberg on the rise of performance art

Performance art is everywhere these days - the American pavilion at the Venice Biennale, MoMA, the Guggenheim... To understand the phenomenon, ARTINFO spoke to Performa founder and art historian RoseLee Goldberg about the rise of performance art. Read more...
Image: Marina Abramovic, The Artist is Present exhibition, MoMA 2010

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dying river poses a threat to the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal, the white marble tomb built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1648 for his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, could soon sink into the sand. The mausoleum's mahogany post foundations which are sunk into wells fed by the Yamuna River are reportedly rotting and brittle because the river is drying up due to pollution and deforestation. The main structure showed cracks last year and the four minarets around the monument are tilting due to the weakening of the foundation.

Ramshankar Katheria, a member of parliament from the northern city of Agra where the iconic monument is located, is leading the movement to save it. He warns that "if the crisis is is not tackled on a war-footing, the Taj Mahal will cave in between two and five years." He has proposed a $110m dam to maintain the water levels necessary to preserve the foundations, saying, "the river is a constituent of its architectural design and if the river dies, the Taj cannot survive."

Donations pour in to Ai Weiwei

The New York Times reports that in the days since the Chinese government delivered a tax bill of $2.4m to Ai Weiwei, more than 20,000 people have together contributed at least $550,000. The artist said one businessman had offered him 1 million renminbi, but he turned it down saying he preferred to receive smaller sums. Others had folded 100-renminbi notes into airplanes and tossed them over the wall of his compound. Read more...

Monday, November 7, 2011

The New Fair begins to take shape in Melbourne

The Australian Art Collector has confirmed that Melbourne gallerist Vasili Kaliman is one of the players behind The New Fair, which will run alongside the Melbourne Art Fair in August 2012.
Image: Vasili Kaliman

Alicia Frankovich in Seoul

Alicia Frankovich is represented in two exhibitions in Seoul this month - City Within the City at Artsonje Centre opening on 11 November and running to 15 July 2012, and From Blank Pages at Art Space Pool to 30 November 2011.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sitting on the High Line watching the actors go by

We've posted before on the High Line, the old railway line on stilts built to carry carcasses to New York's meatpacking district that has been converted into a city park. Last month it was used to stage SeeWatchLook, a collaboration by Brazilian director, Michel Melamed, and the Brooklyn-based theatre company Magic Futurebox. Visitors to the High Line Park formed a ready-made audience for snapshots of street life performed below by actors and dancers from Magic Futurebox, with occasional unscripted cameos by passers-by. Read more...
Images: actors portraying a Hasidic Jew and an Arab gathering condoms as part of SeeWatchLook at the High Line.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Handmade signs favoured over high-tech placards at Zuccotti Park

Occupy Wall Street protesters avoid high-tech placards in favour of scruffy, organic signs made by hand with cardboard construction paper and magic markers. It's part of a deliberate effort to make their message more authentic, says Blake Gopnik. Read more...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pace Beijing's first solo show by a western artist pays off

Pace Gallery's decision to choose Sterling Ruby for their first solo show by a western artist at their Beijing outpost has paid off with a trifecta of critical, popular and business success. According to Pace Beijing president Leng Lin, the show has been embraced by Beijing's critical and artist community and all works sold have gone to mainland Chinese and Asian collectors, some with no track record of collecting western contemporary art.

Ruby shared his thoughts on making and showing art in the People's Republic with ARTINFO China. Read more...
Image: Pace Gallery Beijing

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dane Mitchell in Afterlife at the Museum Tot Zover

Dane Mitchell is represented in Afterlife - art on the final destination at the Museum Tot Zover, Amsterdam. The exhibition runs from 3 November 2011 to 1 July 2012. Read more...

Shigeru Ban's post-disaster zone project for Christchurch

Architect Shigeru Ban is known for his post-disaster zone design projects, such as his temporary housing project underway in Onagawa, one of the coastal communities devastated on 11 March by the earthquake and tsunami that left 3,800 of its 4,500 homes partially, if not completely damaged.

Ban has also designed a massive temporary building to replace the historic cathedral in the quake-ravaged city of Christchurch. The 9700-square-foot building's A-frame sanctuary will seat 700 worshippers. Topping the structure will be a massive pitched roof made of cardboard tubes and covered with polycarbonate sheets that will allow daylight into the building. Shipping containers filled with earthquake rubble will form the base of the building.

The temporary cathedral is scheduled to open on 22 February, the one-year anniversary of the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that claimed 181 lives and left much of the city in ruins.

Ban talks about his work and the cathedral project tonight at Auckland University's Design Theatre (Symonds Street) at 6pm.
Image: model of Shigeru Ban's temporary cathedral to be built in the city of Christchurch

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hedge fund manager to show his collection alongside Art Basel Miami Beach

Hedge fund manager Adam Sender plans to show his art collection alongside Art Basel Miami Beach (29 November - 4 December). Titled Home Alone, the exhibition will be presented in his 5,000-square-foot Miami house, now empty and on the market. "We had an ability to rent it, but we figured why not throw a show for Art Basel", he said.

Sender was one of the first hedge fund managers to move into contemporary art and he is still an active collector who also sells. "If its not floating your boat anymore, you are entitled to sell it", he says. "What we do with the proceeds is we buy more art, and we buy younger art."

Following a stint with Steve Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors LP, Sender founded his own hedge fund in 1998, which stalled when Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH) sued several hedge fund firms including Sander's. The suit alleged that the hedge funds acted to harm the firm because they were betting its stock price would decline.
Image: Adam Sender, art collector and hedge fund manager

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

From VIP to The Armory Show

After stepping down as director of the VIP Art Fair, Noah Horowitz has joined The Armory Show leadership team as the fair's managing director. His appointment is among the signals of changes being made to the fair's infrastructure and amenities. They include the appointment of New York-based architectural firm Bade Stageberg Cox to redesign the floor plan and the connection between the modern and contemporary sections on Piers 92 and 94.

Horowitz is co-editor of The Uncertain States of America Reader published by Sternberg Press in 2006 and the author of The Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market published by Princeton University Press in 2011.

Opening tonight at Starkwhite

The Dragon, The Purple Forbidden Enclosure by Dane Mitchell and in a forest by Ann Shelton from 5.30pm.