Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Art and entertainment

With their spectacular presentations, interactive exhibits, and children's activities, today's contemporary art museums imply a new visual economy for art. Similarly, within the academy there is an increased insistence on seeing art as part of a wider spectrum of 'visual culture' or 'creative industries'. The latest issue of Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art looks at the relationship between art and entertainment today. You can order the Journal from The Institute of Modern Art (IMA) Brisbane.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

VIP Art Fair update

ARTINFO reports on the VIP Art Fair's new programming and enhanced interaction opportunities.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Upstairs at Starkwhite

Since 1994 Clinton Watkins and Richard Francis have worked collaboratively under the moniker 1000. They regularly perform and produce recordings that focus on creating stark and intense minimal/maximal compositions of electronically generated noise. One Step Further From Birth, which is part of our upstairs group show of works by represented artists, is a limited edition lathe-cut LP including a link to free mp3 downloads.
Image: 1000, One Step Further From Birth, Lathe-cut LP, 33rpm, edition of 30

Last few days to catch Mariana Vassileva's The gentle brutality of simultaneity

Mariana Vassileva's exhibition The gentle brutality of simultaneity closes on Tuesday 31 January at 6pm. You can read a review of the exhibition here.
Image: Mariana Vassileva, Will they be friends one day?, 2011, two nails and pencil on wall

Friday, January 27, 2012

The proliferation of art biennales continues

Ukraine has announced that it will launch a biennale in Kiev in May 2013 with David Elliot as the artistic director of the event. Elliot is a seasoned biennale director having directed the first Istanbul Biennale and last year's Biennale of Sydney. He also served as the founding director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and director of the Moderna Muset in Stockholm. Elliot has picked an epic title for his biennale: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art.
Image: David Elliot, director of the first international Biennale of Contemporary Art in the Ukraine

India Art Fair goes global

This year's edition of the India Art Fair is likely to be remembered as the one where it moved from an Indian event to an international one. Now in its fourth year, the fair has attracted international artists and dealers keen to get a slice of the booming Indian art market. "We've bought Damien, Tracey, Mark and Antony," said Graham Steele, director of London gallery White Cube. Also in the line up are a raft of high-profile galleries such as Hauser and Wirth from Britain and the United States, Galleria Continua from Italy, Arndt from Germany and Kalfayan Galleries from Greece.

The fair has also internationalised its investor base. Last June Neha Kirpal, the founder and director of India Art Fair, sold a 49% stake in the fair and brought on board the co-founders of ART HK, Sandy Angus and Will Ramsay. This followed news that MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd, the organiser of Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, would take a majority ownership in ART HK.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Abramovic's silent party at Sundance

Marina Abramovic staged a high-concept event at Sundance in honour of the documentary Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present. All guests wore white lab coats, noise cancelling headphones and (echoing the artist's silence during her MoMA retrospective performance) were forbidden to talk for an hour. Robert Redford, who spent an entire day at the MoMA show, called the event "fabulous".
Image: Robert Redford, documentary director Matthew Akers and Marina Abramovic

Art Los Angeles Contemporary restages Judy Chicago's Disappearing Environments

Since starting his fair in 2010, Tim Fleming has wanted to host an event that's decidedly cultural, where commerce is key, but downplayed. "We have this enormous audience of almost 11,000," he said "and we can do pretty much anything with them, within reason." This year at the opening of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, audiences encountered a re-staging of Judy Chicago's Disappearing Environments. Read more...
Image: Judy Chicago's installation outside the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair, January 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Qatar presents Louise Bourgeois as its latest cultural initiative

The first solo survey of the work of Louise Bourgeois in the Middle East has opened at the Qatar Museums Authority Gallery. Featuring 32 works spanning the artist's career, the exhibition Louise Bourgeois: Conscious and Unconscious is part of a series of cultural initiatives that are being rolled out under the watch of QMA chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani,who was positioned in a recent Power 100 list as the most influential person in the art world.

The Louise Bourgeois survey follows Cai Guo-Qiang's first solo exhibition in the Middle East at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art as the museum looked eastwards to consider the dynamics of the longstanding, but little-known relationship between China and the Arab world. Mathaf also works under the umbrella of the Qatar Museums Authority.
Image: Louise Bourgeois' Maman in Qatar

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

French museums hand over ancestral Maori heads

France is returning 20 ancestral heads of Maori held in French museums as a cultural curiosity. For many years France resisted handing over the cultural artifacts, but a law passed in 2010 paved the way for their return to New Zealand where they will be returned to their home tribes or sit in storage at the National Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa "They are after all human remains, and in Maori culture they should not be publicly displayed," said Pou Temara, a university professor who chairs New Zealand's repatriation advisory panel.
Image: Repatriation ceremony at Quai Bramly, Paris

The Armory Show gears up for a competitive year

As Frieze and NADA prepare to launch their debut editions in New York, The Armory Show is positioning itself as a new and improved fair. The 2012 gallery list has been pared back by 25% and most booths will focus on presentations by a smaller number of artists. New director Noah Horowitz says: "art fairs have a tendency to go bigger, but our mission is to make it more boutique and give the galleries a larger footprint. The re-vamped Armory also includes a new solo projects section for young dealers and a new media lounge presented in partnership with the Moving Image video fair. You can see the Armory's exhibitor list here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Asia Society opens a satellite in China

Scheduled to open next month, the Asia Society Hong Kong is the first American museum satellite to be launched in China. Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects have transformed a campus of four heritage buildings built by the British army in the mid-nineteenth century and added a new wing connected to the heritage buildings by a double-decker walkway.

Following the vision of Asia Society founder John D Rockefeller to promote the understanding of Asian culture, the museum will open with Transforming Minds: Buddhism in Art showcasing 6th-century relics from Rockefeller's collection together with work by contemporary Asian American artists.
Images: The $49.5m Asia Society Hong Kong by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Entering the Year of the Dragon

This year the Chinese New Year falls on January 23, marking the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. The only mythical creature among the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac and associated with the emperor in ancient times, the dragon is regarded as a symbol of might and intelligence.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Upstairs at Starkwhite

We are showing works by represented artists in our first floor galleries.
Image: Trenton Garratt, Morning Sun, oil on linen, 1000 x 830mm

Friday, January 20, 2012

Profiteering hedge funds threaten Greek bailout

As Greece races against the clock to avoid being the first nation to default on its debts and potentially plunge the eurozone into a further financial crisis, the Independent reports hedge fund financiers who bought distressed Greek debt are holding up the rescue attempt to ensure they profit from the crisis. Read more...

Review of Mariana Vassileva: The gentle brutality of simultaneity

This link takes you to a review of Mariana Vassileva's exhibition The gentle brutality of simultaneity, which runs at Starkwhite to 31 January 2012.
Image: Mariana Vassileva, My old friends, 2010, installation view, Starkwhite

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seung Yul Oh at Art Los Angeles Contemporary

Seung Yul Oh is in the lineup of artists presented at Art Los Angeles Contemporary this week by ONE AND J Gallery, Seoul. Oh is currently based in New York under the Harriet Friedlander Residency
Image: Seung Yul Oh, RaMyun, 2011

Jae Hoon Lee in Aotearoa Baroque at MUCA Roma, Mexico City

Jae Hoon Lee's installation Tree Roots is part of El Barroco de Aotearoa at MUCA Roma, Mexico City. Co-curated by Richard Reddaway and MUCA Roma director Gonzalo Ortega, the exhibition runs to February 2012 (closing date yet to be announced).
Image: Installation view of Jae Hoon Lee's Tree Roots at MUCA Roma, Mexico City

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jae Hoon Lee on the frozen continent

Jae Hoon Lee is at Scott Base under the Antarctica New Zealand Arts Fellowship Programme. Each year Antarctica New Zealand invites artists to become honorary Arts Fellows and travel to the frozen continent to undertake specific projects that will help raise awareness of the scientific, aesthetic and wilderness values of Antarctica. Lee follows in the footsteps of Phil Dadson who was there in 2003, a visit that culminated in Polar Projects.
Image: Scott Base Antarctica

Like many other of the world's tallest buildings, Renzo Piano's Shard may herald a recession

Scheduled to open in June and bankrolled by Qatari wealth, Renzo Piano's Shard will be the tallest building in Europe. The 301-metre-high (1,017ft) building includes 27 floors of offices, three floors of restaurants, an 18-floor five-star Shangri-La hotel with a spa, and 10 palatial apartments, two of which span the entire floor - these are expected to become London homes for members of the Qatari royal family. A four-story public viewing area is being built starting on the 68th floor and the developer is considering renting out the very highest room on the 78th floor for high-powered conferences and political talks - summits at the summit.

The building has been a source of pride and symbol of confidence for Londoners, but they may think again in light of a new report that says rather than being a sign of growing prosperity, high rises, especially those spearheaded by the next 'world's tallest building', herald a recession. Barcalys Capital has examined the cases of 18 'world's tallest buildings' in the past 150 years and links them to recessions. The Empire State Building was completed in New York in 1931 as the Great Depression got underway, while the world's current tallest building - the 2,717ft, 163 story Burj Khalifa skyscraper was built in Dubai in 2010 as the emirate came close to economic meltdown.

As Andrew Lawrence, the author of the report explains, the pattern is typically the same. Buoyed by an economic boom and the availability of cheap credit, property developers are emboldened to take on increasingly ambitious skyscrapers. By the time they are finished a few years later, the world is generally a very different place - the economic bubble has is bursting, reality has hit, the banks are nursing their losses on their loans and credit is much harder to come by. But by then, the building is built, providing a potent symbol of the excesses of recent years.
Image: Renzo Piano's Shard by London Bridge

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Art Los Angeles Contemporary teams up with Paddle8

Prompted by the arrival of the VIP, the world's first virtual art fair, partnerships between art fairs and online sites offering platforms for the viewing, curating and acquisition of art have been on the rise over the past 12 months. Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC) is the latest fair to utilize the web through a partnership with Paddle8 that adds web-based exhibitor presentations and transactions to the mix, along with a fair preview. (You need to join Paddle8 to access the preview and online services.) Art Los Angeles Contemporary runs from 19 - 22 January and the online facility remains in place to 9 February.

Artist and art activist Michelangleo Pistoletto behind new prize for socially engaged art

Recently the Serpentine hosted an awards show for a new art prize conceived of by artist and art activist Michelangelo Pistoletto with the Fondazione Zegna for artists and collectives who aim to bring about responsible social change through their practices. Read more...
Image: Michelangelo Pistoletto with one of the winners of the first Visible prize, Anna Maria Milan (of the collective Helena Producciones) and co-organisers Andrea and Anna Zegna

Monday, January 16, 2012

Keith Haring mural: conservation v. repainting

Keith Haring's last surviving mural in Australia is at the centre of a conservation v. repainting debate. Arts Victoria is advocating conservation works including an investigation of the materials used by Haring, cleaning and "selective retouching", stabilisation and the application of a protective coating.

Others want to see the mural repainted saying it is in line with the artist's wishes. Director of the Keith Haring Foundation Julia Gruen says: it is more important that the work conveys Keith's ideals and respect for communities in which he worked, rather than to preserve a brushstroke." ACCA's artistic director, Julia Engberg agrees. "If we stabilise it now it would just be a vapid, dilapidated [piece] instead of a lively work."

Haring's Melbourne work is one of only 31 known murals across the world that have survived to this day.
Images: Keith Haring working on his Melbourne mural and a detail of the work showing the effect of time, neglect and the elements

This week at Starkwhite

This week we continue with Mariana Vassileva's exhibition The gentle brutality of simultaneity downstairs and works by represented artists upstairs.
Images: Mariana Vassileva, Globe (2011) and Jin Jiangbo, Hidden (2011)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The new $2000 Swiss Army Knife

In addition to the requisite blade, scissors and nail file-screwdriver, the latest Swiss Army Knife has a new utility - a jump drive that can hold up to a terabyte of information, which is enough to hold 220 million pages of text or two continuous years of music.
Image: Victorinox's new SSD pocket-knife with thumb drive combo

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chinese artists take first and second place on world auction market and Picasso drops from first to fourth place

Chinese artist Zhang Daqian has ousted Picasso to take the No.1 position on the world auction market. Artprice reports Zhang generated $506m in auction revenue in 2011 followed by compatriot Qi Baishi on $445.1m. Warhol took third place with auction sales of $324.8m followed by Picasso on $311.6m. Fifth slot was occupied by another Chinese artist, Xu Beihong who tallied $212.9m.

The change reflects China's growing strength in the global art market. Of the approximately 11 billion total works revenue for fine art last year, China's share was 39%, up from 33% the year before. Artprice said. The USA was in second place with 25%.
Image: Lotus and Mandarin ducks by Zhang Daqian which fetched HK191m ($24.5m) at Sotheby's in Hong Kong in May 2011

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mariana Vassileva exhibition installation views

Staged in association with DNA Berlin, Mariana Vassileva's exhibition The gentle brutality of simultaneity runs at Starkwhite to 31 January 2011.
Images: Mariana Vassileva, The gentle brutality of simultaneity, installation views, Starkwhite, 2012. Photos: Sam Hartnett

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Art Stage Singapore: putting the spotlight on collectors

Art Stage Singapore's opening showcased works by big name artists, from an installation by Turner prize winner Antony Gormley to a painting that took Rikrit Tiravanija 20 years to complete. Read more...
Image: Yayoi Kusama's Statue of Venus

The second edition of Art Stage Singapore starts today

This year's edition of Art Stage Singapore (12 - 15 January) includes a local platform curated by Eugene Tan. In a recent interview he talked about why Singapore art needs this push. Read more...

Tan was the curator of the Singapore pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale and co-curator of the inaugural Singapore Biennale in 2006. He is is former director of Singapore's Institute of Contemporary Art and in 2006 he curated Islanded: Contemporary Art from New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan. Currently he is director of special projects at the Singapore Economic Development Board.
Image: Eugene Tan

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

VIP launches three new on-line art fairs

VIP has announced three new online fairs - VIP Photo, Paper and Vernissage - to take place later this year following the flagship VIP 2.0 fair which runs from 3 - 8 February. The new fairs will allow VIP to "showcase a wider range of works at a variety of price points" and "help the VIP brand solidify its position as the leader in online art sales," VIP CEO Lisa Kennedy said in a statement.

The new platforms have been financed by a $1m injection from a pair of art collectors: Brazilian Selmo Nissenbaum, partner in Personale Investimentos, and Australian Philip Keir, media and arts specialist and founder of NextMedia.

Given the technical glitches that dogged the inaugural edition of VIP the move to expand the franchise seems surprising, but co-founder Jane Cohan says one impetus for seeking backers was to allow them to re-architect their site and build a new tech team which includes internet retail specialist Kennedy and former artnet sales director Liz Parks. "The space for the contemporary art online is only just beginning to take shape," says Cohen. "The impetus to further develop the event, its capacity and its reach is ongoing."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The MONA effect

Launched in January 2011 by gambling millionaire and maverick David Walsh, Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is on Australia's art map and is credited with having spared Hobart from the worst of the tourism declined triggered by the global financial crisis. During its first year MONA attracted about 400,000 visitors and is the state's number one visitor attraction. It was named Tasmania's best new tourism development of 2011 and is in the running for the national tourism awards in March.

Transforming Hobart's image from a sleepy backwater to a cultural playground comes at a cost. The $80m museum costs about $15m a year to run, which prompted Wash to start charging interstate visitors (entry remains free for Tasmanians). However the real money is to come from the sale of technology, such as the "O", the super-smart, iPod-like device that in the absence of wall labels provides information about artworks when pointed at them, and tracks visitors movements in the gallery.
Image: MONA, Hobart

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mob museum to open in Los Vegas

A mob museum scheduled to open soon in Los Vegas will trace Hollywood's portrayal of mobsters from the birth of the silver screen. The museum is the brain child of former mob lawyer/Los Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman and has screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi amongst its advisors. Pileggi wrote the book Wise Guy and then adapted it into the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas. The National Museum of Organised Crime and Law Enforcement opens in February in a former courthouse where a famous mob hearing was held in 1950.
Image: Marlo Brando as the Godfather

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Voina on why firebombing a police tank is a "piece of art"

Voina have stretched the boundaries of art and politics by using Molotov cocktails to light a tank-like police transport vehicle used to relocate prisoners, describing the act as "a gift to all political prisoners of Russia." Read more...
Image: A member of Voina firebombs a police carrier

Friday, January 6, 2012

9th Gwangju Biennale's theme is Roundtable

The team of six co-artistic directors appointed to organise the 9th Gwangju Biennale have announced the theme for their edition of the event. In a statement issued recently they say: "ROUNDTABLE allows us to reflect on our shared contemporaneity at a time when the tremendous momentum of ecological, political and economic change has radically transformed our global reality. The image of the round table is associated with political summit, where various urgent agendas are brought together and its participants convene to reach a renewal of understanding."

The six co-artistic directors are from Korea, China, Japan, Indonesia and Qatar. Nancy Adajania is a Bombay-based cultural theorist and independent curator. Wassan Al-Khudhairi is the director and chief curator at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Art, Dohan. Mami Kataoka is chief curator at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. Sunjung Kim is a Seoul-based independent curator and professor at Korea National University of Arts. Carol Yinghua Lu is an art critic and curator who works in Beijing and is also a contributing editor for Frieze. Alia Swastika is a curator, project manager and writer based in Jakarta.

The 9th Gwangju Biennale runs from 7 September - 11 November 2012.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Starkwhite opening tonight

Mariana Vassileva's exhibition The gentle brutality of simultaneity opens tonight at 5pm. The artist and her Berlin gallerist, Johann Nowak, will be present at the opening
Image: Mariana Vassileva, My old friends 2011. Image courtesy of the artist and DNA, Berlin

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Starkwhite opens on 5 January with an exhibition by Mariana Vassileva

We reopen the gallery this week with The gentle brutality of simultaneity, an exhibition by Berlin-based artist Mariana Vassileva. The exhibition opens on Thursday 5 January at 5pm.
Image: Mariana Vassileva, Will they be friends one day? 2011. Image courtesy of the artist and DNA, Berlin