Saturday, December 24, 2011

Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays

We'll be taking a break over the Christmas/New Year period and will resume our posts on 3 January. Happy holidays!
Image: Pohutukawa, a New Zealand native also known as the Christmas Tree for its brilliant display of red flowers over the Christmas period.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Download and print artist-designed Christmas paper

Tacita Dean, Jeremy Deller, Julian Opie and Gillian Wearing are amongst the artists commissioned by the Guardian to design wrapping paper in the run up to Christmas. You can download and print the wrapping paper here.
Image: Tacita Dean's Christmas paper designed for the Guardian

Starkwhite summer hours

Starkwhite will close tomorrow at 3.00pm, reopening on Thursday 5 January with an exhibition by Berlin-based artist Mariana Vassileva.
Image: Mariana Vassileva, Will they be friends one day? 2011. Image courtesy of the artist and DNA, Berlin

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sign of the times

Image: John Reynolds' Democratic Vistas, 2011, reflective vinyl on aluminium

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The art of war

As America withdraws from a misbegotten war in Iraq and the world wonders what will become of the country, ARTINFO looks back at 10 works addressing the conflict. View images
Image: Thomas Hirschhorn's Drift Topography

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

AK-47 takes its place as a design classic

Mikhail Kalashnikov's AK-47 is one of the London Design Museum's 14 new acquisitions currently on view in This is Design, an exhibition of the world's most influential objects. Introduced to the Soviet army at the end of World War II, the AK-47 revolutionised the assault rifle and today continues to be one of the most widely used (and deadliest) weapons around due to its simple, rugged design (it only has 8 moving parts) and cheap production costs.

In a 2003 interview with the Guardian, Kalashnikov acknowledged his deadly legacy to the world. "I made it to protect the motherland," he said. "And then they spread the weapon [around the word] - not because I wanted them to." Now the question is should one of the world's deadliest killing machines be celebrated in a design museum?

Monday, December 19, 2011

9/11 architecture?

Dutch architectural firm MVRD's plans to build two luxury residential towers connected by a cloud-like bridge in Seoul triggered a backlash of criticism when critics noted is resemblance to images of the exploding World Trade Centre towers. "A real media storm has started and we receive threatening emails and calls of angry people calling us Al Qaeda lovers or worse", the firm stated in its Facebook page.
Image: MVRDV's design for two Seoul Skyscrapers

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gavin Hipkins billboard at Connell's Bay Sculpture Park

Gavin Hipkins' billboard commission Waiheke Island (877C), 2011 for John and Jo Gow opens today at their Connell's Bay Sculpture Park on Waiheke Island.
Images: Gavin Hipkins, Waiheke Island (877C) 2011, billboard commission, Connells Bay

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Marrakech Biennale curator Carson Chan on how the Arab Spring has influenced exhibition making

The Marrakech Biennale's fourth edition, Higher Atlas, will reflect the effects of the Arab Spring that has swept though North Africa. Recently biennale co-curator Carson Chan spoke to ARTINFO Berlin about the fallout from protest, the challenges of reassessing post-colonialism and why its important to break the rules. Read more...
Image: Marrakech curators Carson Chan and Nadim Samman

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cai Guo-Qiang lights up Doha sky with daytime fireworks

Cai Guo-Qiang lit up the Doha sky last week with an explosion event that shot rainbow coloured gunpowder into the sky near Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, which is presenting his first solo exhibition in the Middle East. View video
Image: Cai Guo-Qiang's daytime fireworks in the desesrt near Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Yuko Hasegawa selected as curator of the 11th Sharjah Biennial

The Shajah Art Foundation has announced the selection of Yuko Hasegawa as the curator of Sharjah Biennial 11, opening in March 2013. Hasegawa is Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT), and a seasoned director, curator and advisor for international biennials.

For the biennial, Hasegawa has proposed a selection of artworks that reassess the Eurocentrism of knowledge in modern times and she has called for a gathering of architects, designers, creators and artists who will bring together different perspectives and challenge viewers to seek new knowledge by sharing ideas.
Image: Yuko Hasegawa

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Too big to fail? Damien Hirst's mega-exhibition of spot paintings at 11 Gagosian galleries

Damien Hirst certainly knows how to play the art market with moves like his $78 million diamond-encrusted skull, which
is owned by a consortium of investors including the artist himself (and soon to be shown at the Tate Modern), or bypassing his galleries to go direct to Sotheby's where the auction smashed top estimates to reach a record total of $125m.

His latest art-market venture is to supply all of Larry Gagosian's galleries world wide with exhibitions of his spot paintings. It's the kind of move that once prompted critic Jerry Saltz to call Hirst "a symptom of the hype, the hubris and the money that have swamped the scene lately." When asked whether he worried about the art market's capacity to absorb another round of spot paintings, Hirst was quick to come up with several answers. Read more...
Image: Damien Hirst

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Architectural heritage at risk in Christchurch

Plans to demolish 50% of buildings in Christchurch city's Central Business District, including historic buildings, has conservation societies up in arms. Campaigners say that new disaster recovery legislation supercedes laws designed to protect historic structures. Read more...
Image: The Christchurch Cathedral, designed by Victorian architect George Gilbert Smith is to be partially demolished

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The end of the controversy surrounding A Fire in My Belly?

When David Wojnarowicz's video A Fire in My Belly hit the headlines following the Smithsonian's decision to withdraw it from Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Smithsonian's National Portrait, many commentators talked about a return to the culture wars of the 1990s.

However, this time the controversy has played out differently from the era when Jesse Helms was railing against gay rights and contemporary art.The video made it onto YouTube, reaching millions of viewers who were previously unaware of its existence, MoMA acquired it for its permanent collection, the New Museum showed it continuously in its lobby, it was featured in an event at the Tate Modern to reconsider Wojnarowicz's work in the light if efforts to distort its intentions and legacy, and when the Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio reignited the controversy calling for A Fire in My Belly to be removed from Hide/Seek at the Brooklyn Museum the director of the Museum refused to withdraw the work.

This link takes you to an article in the Financial Times Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture and the controversy surrounding David Wojnarowicz's work.
Image: David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly (1987), video still

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to stage audience-sourced exhibition at the MCA, Sydney

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is about to stage his first solo show in Australia at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Recorders will be an audience-sourced exhibition with the content collected from visitors using technologies such as heart rate sensors, motion detectors, fingerprint scanners, microphones and face recognition software.

The artist is no stranger to Australia. He had a piece in the 2006 Sydney Biennale, gave a keynote address at the 2009 Adelaide Film Festival and, last year, projected solar animations on to a giant balloon tethered over Melbourne's Federation Square.

Recorders opens at the MCA on 16 December and runs to 12 February 2012
Image: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Pulse Room.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

John Baldessari: the first $100,000 I ever made

A new billboard by John Baldessari features the $100,000 bill that didn't make it into circulation. Forty-two thousand of these bills were printed during the Great Depression and Baldessari has re-issued it as the US economy faces the spectre of another deep global downturn. Titled The First $100,000 I ever made, the piece will be on display at New York's High Line until 30 December.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Old Genes: Artists reading Len Lye

The exhibition Old Genes: Artists reading Len Lye presents the work of five contemporary artists, including Phil Dadson and Dane Mitchell, engaging with Lye's legacy and the role of language in his work. The exhibition opens tonight at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and runs to 26 February 2012.
Images: Phil Dadson, Osmosis (of Len's Universe), 2011, single channel video (still grab) and Dane Mitchell, Len Lye, 'Snow Birds' 2010, glass, spoken word

Friday, December 9, 2011

Review of Billy Apple®: A History of the Brand

This link takes you to a review of our current show Billy Apple®: A History of the Brand.
Image: Billy Apple® A History of the Brand, installation view, Witte de With, Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam

Vincent Ward takes time out from filmmaking to stage an exhibition at the GBAG

Filmmaker Vincent Ward is taking time out from Hollywood to stage an exhibition at New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. He says his films have been a starting point for fresh exploration in the new mixed media work featuring in the exhibition. "Somewhere between the world of motion, film and painting I am currently working to find an alchemical marriage between these different media".

The exhibition coincides with the publication of a new book Making the Transformational Moment in Film - Unleashing the Power of the Image (with the films of Vincent Ward) by Dan Fleming and distributed worldwide by US publisher Michael Wiese Books.

Breath - The Fleeting Intensity of Life opens tomorrow night at the GBAG and runs to 26 February 2012.
Image: Vincent Ward, Embryo 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Voina collective member stages daring escape from a Russian jail

Earlier this year the radical art collective Voina won a contemporary art award sponsored by Russia's Ministry of Culture and the National Centre for Contemporary Art for a project that consisted of a 210-foot penis painted on a drawbridge in St Petersburg, pointed at the the headquarters of the state security service, the FSB. Last week it was announced they would help organise the Berlin Biennale as associate curators, a title given to them by artist/curator Artur Zmijewski.

Voina is back in the news following the arrest of group member Leonid Nikolaev at Pushkin Square in one of the mass protests against corruption in the Russian elections where he roused the crowd into a rendition of the socialist anthem Internationale. He was taken to jail, but after noticing the magnetic door to his cell area was unattended he slipped his finger in the door as the guard exited and staged a daring escape. You can read Nikolaev's journal entry on his arrest and escape at the Voina website.
Image: Leonid Nikolaev shortly before his arrest

Cai Guo-Qiang explores the relationship between China and the Arab world at Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is showing newly commissioned work by Cai Guo-Qiang. It is Cai's first solo exhibition in the Middle East and the first single-artist exhibition presented by Mathaf as the museum looks eastwards to consider the dynamics of the longstanding, but little-known relationship between China and the Arab world dating back to the ancient maritime Silk Road.

The museum works under the umbrella of the Qatar Museums authority which is chaired by Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the daughter of the Emir of Qatar who was positioned in Art & Auction's recent Power 100 issue as the most influential person in the art world.
Image: Cai Guo-Qiang's Black Ceremony at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The long slide

Jerry Saltz on museums as playgrounds, equating happy crowds with quality and experimentation. Read more...
Image: installation view, Carston Holler exhibition at the New Museum

Blake Gopnik's Art Basel Miami Beach shopping spree

How art critic Blake Gopnik stopped being grouchy at art fairs by spending $10m in monopoly money at Art Basel Miami Beach. Read more..

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reflecting architecture in contemporary art photography

Curated by Simon Rees, ENVISIONING BUILDINGS at MAK, Vienna engages with the work of contemporary artists who use the camera to reveal different perspectives about architecture and buildings. Gavin Hipkins is amongst the artists represented in the exhibition, which include Andreas Gursky, Pierre Huyghe, Thomas Ruff, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Jane & Louise Wilson.

The artists and the exhibition focus on iconic buildings of the 20th and 21st century, including the work of modernist architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Ernst Plishke and of contemporary figures such as Frank Gehry, Herzog & de Meuron and Peter Zumthor. Read more...
Image: Gavin Hipkins The Habitat installed at Artspace, Auckland

Monday, December 5, 2011

Charles Saatchi launches a surprise attack on the art world

Charles Saatchi has launched a surprise attack on the art world in the Guardian saying, "even a show-off like me finds this new, super-rich art-buying crowd vulgar and depressingly shallow." This link takes you to another Guardian article by arts correspondent Mark Brown on Saatchi's view of the buyers, dealers and curators who populate the contemporary art world.
Image: a super yacht moored in Venice for the Biennale

Art for the Christmas stocking

Each year California technology entrepreneur and art collector Peter Norton commissions an artist to make an edition to send to his friends as Christmas gifts. Commissioned artists include Christian Marclay, Vic Muniz, Takashi Murakami, Yinka Shonibare, Kara Walker, and Brian Eno and Pae White who produced a collaborative work. Norton has also donated some of the works to MoMA with the proceeds of sales going to PS1. You can buy the works here.
Image: Takashi Murikami's Oval, 2000

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Comic book sale breaks through the $2m barrier

A rare copy of the first issue of Action Comics, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold recently for a record price of $2.16 million. The issue was published in 1938 and cost 10 cents.
Image: cover of Action Comics No. 1

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The art opening experience made over as art

Grant Stevens has been commissioned by Sydney's MCA to make a video work for the museum foyer to sit alongside the piece by Imants Tillers' featuring the names of the MCA's patrons. For between $1,000 and $20,000, a new generation of patrons can see their names in the video with its audio component echoing the conversations that might be heard at an opening.

Stevens says he is less interested in the politics of patronage than in drawing out the sometimes uncomfortable conversations between people in personal and social settings. "The starting point for the work is thinking about the experience of attending openings, specifically MCA openings, and my personal associations with the Imants Tillers painting in the foyer," he says. "Hovering above the crowds...the work has a slightly intimidating presence for me. It is a reminder that art's history is intrinsically linked with people and money."
Image: Grants Stevens, Crushing (2009), video still

Friday, December 2, 2011

Glenn Murcutt ruled out for Australia's new Venice pavilion

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Glenn Murcutt has been ruled out of contention for Australia's new Venice Biennale pavilion because he doesn't have previous experience with similar cultural projects. Spokesperson Simon Mordant, who is coordinating the project, says: "This has to start with the credentials and go on to the design, not the other way around."
Image: Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre, NSW Australia, designed by architect Glenn Murcutt

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Norman Foster reconstructs Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car for Design Miami

Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car will be a feature of this year's Design Miami. The three wheeler, tear shaped vehicle that overturned and killed its driver at the 1933 World's Fair has been reconstructed by Norman Foster and will be shown alongside Fuller's Fly's Eye dome.
Image: Buckminster Fuller and his Dymaxion car in front of the Fly's Eye dome