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    NEW YORK — To commemorate a visit to an art museum, wouldn’t it be great of the gift shop offered something more personal than a postcard?

    The thought had occurred to Pierre Pelegry, who founded Paris-based artist design shop Ligne Blanche in 2007. “There are more and more art lovers, but of course, many people cannot collect,” he recently told ARTINFO. “I wanted to develop something for museums that people can take home and live with, but of quality.”

    Pelegry began his business with tins of chocolate designed in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation, which evolved into fine Limoges porcelain plates featuring the classic works of René MagritteJean-Michel BasquiatRobert MapplethorpeAndy Warhol, and others — the pieces have graced the gift shops of the GuggenheimLACMA, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. His most recent launch in early February — 24 plates for his first-time collaboration with MoMA — marked a turning point for the company. Six of the plates were created in collaboration with four living artists: Alex KatzRobert LongoJack Pierson, and Tom Sachs.

    “To work with an institution or estate is great,” said Pelegry, but active collaboration is a different story. The creation of his latest collection required more than the transfer of a work of art to a piece of porcelain — it was an intimate process of capturing an artistic sensibility. “We do prototypes, they see the results, they change their minds.”

    For Sachs’s “Top Mug,” Sachs and Pelegry developed a design that expressed Sachs’s associations with branding and bricolage. The result was a trompe l’oeil homage to the artist’s 2001 fast food parody “Nutsy McDonald’s”: a flat white plate that appears to have been collaged with the raised buttons, flaps, and “WARNING: HOT” inscriptions like those seen on disposable coffee cups. At Sachs’s insistence, it includes the minutest of details — even lines that look like the glue he would have used. Jack Pierson designed a plate collaged with various typefaces that spell the words “Golden Years,” along with a series of four scented candles created with French perfumer Givaudan. The olfactory art captures various specific moods: “Golden Years” is meant to evoke the brightness of old age in vanilla and honey with the spice of sage and black pepper.

    While the plates and candles work fine as standalone décor either on a shelf or behind the glass of a china cabinet, Pelegry prefers to think of them as active agents of design. The colorful scent of a Haring candle brings a pop sensibility to a space; his array of plates are curatorial tools for dinner parties.  

    “For classic dinners, I like to use my George Baselitz plates,” he said. “If you have a younger crowd, you can use the Basquiat plates and play with the different colors, or for dessert, depending on who’s coming, I can use black-and-white Mapplethorpe plates and put red fruits on them. It brings an atmosphere to dinner.” And certainly, they’re better conversation starters than a postcard.

    Fine Art Dining Available at the MoMA Design Store
    American artists plates by Ligne Blanche Paris at the MoMA Design Store.

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    A Mondrian-esque 60s minidress by Bonwit Teller and a Lichtenstein-print suit by Moschino are just some of the highlights in Kerry Taylor Auctions’ Spring Vintage Fashion sale on February 25 in London.

    Comprising about 145 pieces from the collections of Henning Thorsen, a film and television costume designer, and fashion consultant Anne Dettmer, the lots include those of Scandinavian origins, hailing from the great Copenhagen department stores — Illum, Magasin du Nord and A. Fonnesbech — as well as Parisian houses and stores such as Charles Frederick Worth, Au Louvre and La Samaritaine. Expect a wide-ranging collection of garments that showcase extreme skill and craftsmanship, or interesting fabrics and construction, in wearable condition.

    Meanwhile, Dettmer’s collection features a dash of Hollywood glamor, thanks to pieces by Ceil Chapman, Irene, Adrian and Helen Rose — who all designed for the leading film stars of the 1940s and 50s. Also in the mix are Victorian daywear, 1920s flapper dresses, 1980s Chanel jewelry, Hawaiian beach-wear by Alfred Shaheen and Cole of California, as well as sunglasses by Philippe Chevalier, Courrèges and others.

    There’s even a vintage Louis Vuitton trunk to cart your purchases away in.

    The sale will take place at 49-253 Long Lane, London, SE1 4PR on February 25 at 10:30am.

    To see highlights of the sale, click on the slideshow.

    Spring for Artsy Vintage Fashion
    Moschino suit and Bonwit Teller dress

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    ARCOmadrid puts a premium on international connections, and this year that means a spotlight on Finnish art with the #FocusFinland section, curated by Leevi Haapala of Helsinki’s Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. A total of 13 Finnish galleries are featured in the fair — from Make Your Mark and SIC, in the fair’s #Openings section for emerging galleries, to Galerie Anhava and Galerie Forsblom, both returning ARCO participants who also each have a second booth dedicated to artists outside their #FocusFinland selection.

    At Galerie Anhava, that selected artist is Antti Laitinen, whose work, “Forest Square,” 2012-13, was created for the 2013 Venice Biennale. An artist who “often makes projects that are physically very demanding,” according to gallery director Ilona Anhava, Laitinen cut down a 10-by-10 meter square of forest, separated the materials therein over a period of five months, then reorganized them by type and texture into a Mondrian-like grid, also in a 10-by-10 meter square. A portion of that installation is on view at Anhava’s booth for €40,000 ($54,800), as well as a video of the separating process for €4,000 ($5,500), and a large-format photograph of the whole final product for €10,000 ($13,700). Two photographs of the original forest area, “Forest Square I” and “Forest Square II,” 2013, sold almost immediately for €5,000 ($6,800) each.

    Wood shavings are also prominent at Forum Box’s booth, which showcases the sculptures of Mia Hamari. Hewn from unvarnished wood and adorned with animal parts (hares’ feet, horse tails), the work has a raw, natural feel. “I live in the countryside, by the river — I work outside,” said Hamari, who stood in the booth whittling small interlocking pieces for an upcoming sculpture. “That’s important to me, to use material from nature.” She also notes that the animals she incorporates all died naturally or in accidents. For example, a deer that was hit by a car eventually became part of the sculpture “Son of Deer,” 2009, which was reserved by a collector early on.

    In contrast to Hamari’s countryside feel, Jiri Geller’s work at Showroom Helsinki is delightfully manufactured pop art, including “We Come At Night (Glossy),” 2014, a pedestal with a skull hidden inside, which rises up through thick black paraffin oil based on viewers’ proximity as determined by a motion sensor. Priced at €105,000 ($144,000), this new work already sold prior to the fair. “We’re doing our own generation’s thing, but it’s nice to see that the old collectors like it, too,” said gallery director Tuomas Zetterberg.

    Korjaamo Galleria is hard to miss with its giant red aluminum lightbox bearing the message “Escribid a Papá Noel y Pedid Trabajo” (“Write to Santa Claus and Ask for Work”), 2013 — a surprisingly Spanish turn for the Finland-focused section. “It’s kind of an absurd situation that I’m presented here as a Finnish artist, but I’ve lived in Spain for 10 years,” explained artist Riiko Sakkinen. “So I thought, ‘I won’t do anything to do with Finland, I want to do something as local as possible.’” Sakkinen presents a series of ceramic plates bearing satirical takes on food advertising — such as an instant noodle mascot surrounded by the phrase “Curry Flavored Chemical Weapon,” priced at €5,300 ($7,300) — as part of an overall capitalist critique. “Food has been a focal thing in my art, because I’ve heard that the biggest businesses in the world are weapons, prostitution, and drugs. But, I mean, I know people who don’t have a gun, people who don’t sleep with prostitutes, and people who don’t use drugs — but I don’t know anybody who doesn’t buy food," he said. “You are what you eat, right?”

    Each gallery brings something new to the table, from the intricate black and white ink drawings of Ville Andersson at Helsinki Contemporary, to Leena Nio’s massive, richly textured paintings at Galerie Forsblom, to Anna Rokka’s full-booth installation, “Mad Horizon,” at Sinne, which includes a dwelling-like structure made of burnt plastic and a floor littered with oyster shells, at once sci-fi-reminiscent and post-apocalyptic. If #FocusFinland shows us anything, it’s that Finnish art comes in all varieties — and that each of those varieties is well worth exploring.

    ARCOmadrid Puts a Spotlight on Finnish Art
    Ville Andersson's "Reflection," 2013 at Helsinki Contemporary.

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    In Tokyo for the art fair and wondering what else you shouldn’t miss around town? BLOUIN ARTINFO Japan offers a (very) shortlist of some of the best restaurants, bars, art spaces and boutiques in the city.

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    Palace Hotel Tokyo
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    ART FAIR TOKYO 2014
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    WHEN: March 7—9

    WHERE: Tokyo International Forum

    Under the direction of Takahiro Kaneshima, Art Fair Tokyo has been acquiring a slightly stronger East Asian and Southeast Asian focus, with dealers from Hong Kong, Taipei, Manila, and Jakarta making up some of the 150 exhibiting galleries this year that offer everything from early 20th Century modern Japanese painting to ceramics and contemporary art.

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    STAY: Palace Hotel Tokyo
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    Palace Hotel Tokyo
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    The official partner hotel of this year’s Art Fair Tokyo, the Palace Hotel opened in May 2012 on a historic site in the prestigious Marunouchi business district (a mere twelve minute stroll from the fair venue), offering unobstructed views of the Imperial Palace and its lush grounds from each of its 290 immaculately appointed rooms and suites — stellar credentials that made it the first Japanese property to win a Design Award from Travel + Leisure magazine. What really catapults the Palace into a different league, however, is its varied and tasteful art collection — to date, the hotel has invested US$1 million building up a collection of some 1,000 pieces, curated by the Tokyo-based Art Front Gallery, including a stunning, austerely beautiful white panel by Shinji Ohmaki that hangs gracefully above the reception counter.

    en.palacehoteltokyo.com

    1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005 Japan. +81-3-3211-5211

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    STAY: Claska Hotel
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    Claska Hotel
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    A perennial favorite for Tokyo visitors seeking out a pared-down, Japanese modern boutique hotel, the Claska also has a lively side program of music performances, morning yoga and breakfast sessions on its rooftop terrace, Japanese ceramics and craft showcases, and design exhibitions. The 20 carefully tended rooms are produced by designers like Intentionallies, Torafu, and Kaname Okajima, furnished with a carefully judged mix of antiques and both traditional tatami mats and sleek Japanese modern furniture that offer visiting design, fashion, and art crowds a seductive taste of contemporary Tokyo sensibilities. Make sure to drop by the in-house DO gallery and shop, which stocks an eclectic selection of artisanal sake and wine glasses, folk crafts, ceramics, and coolly minimal interior pieces. Although the location is slightly out of the way in a largely residential quarter of Meguro, you can also take a little excursion to the furniture and design boutiques that line the nearby Meguro Dori.

    www.claska.com

    1-3-18 Chuo-cho, Meguro-ku. +81-3-3719-8121

     

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    EAT: Higashi-yama
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    Higashi-yama
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    Higashi-yama quietly took up residence at the base of a gently sloping hill nestled within a quiet quarter near Nakameguro station 15 years ago this month, long before the neighborhood became popular with hipsters, designers, and fashion people. Conceptualized by renowned designer Shinichiro Ogata, who is also known for his ceramics and “Wasara” series of tableware made from Japanese paper, the restaurant balances warm wood notes with sleek glass, bare concrete and hefty travertine — the perfect backdrop to the kitchen’s spare, simple but confident flavors that channel the best of Japanese cooking, all using a rotating selection of regional produce from Japan’s 47 prefectures under its “Food Nippon” project.

    After dinner, adjourn downstairs to the dusky basement lounge for some single-malt Japanese whiskey, hand-dripped coffee and house-made confectionery in casually louche surrounds that epitomize the discretion, intimacy, and warmth of Tokyo’s best dining experiences.

    higashiyama-tokyo.jp

    1-21-25 Higashiyama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0043. +81-3-5720-1300

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    EAT: L’As
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    L'As
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    Nestled down an unassuming backstreet in Aoyama, L’As is a single-roomed open-plan French restaurant run by owner-chef Daisuke Kaneko, where the immaculately appointed island kitchen directly adjoins the cozy 30-seater dining room. In the best Japanese omakase spirit of delegating all decisions and judgments of taste to the chef, only a single degustation menu (at an astonishing ¥5,250) is available at both lunch and dinner. On a recent mid-February evening, highlights included delicate beef filet baked in a salt crust with eringi mushrooms, lightly seared Japanese sawara mackerel with a red wine and oyster reduction, and the restaurant’s signature caramelized foie gras “crispy sandwich” (modeled after an ice cream wafer sandwich). Just in front of L’As is sister establishment Cork, a starkly minimal wine tasting bar that also offers platters of tasty accompaniments set underneath dramatic pendulous lamps, gracefully spotlighting the subtle hues of the sommelier’s selections.

    www.las-minamiaoyama.com

    1F Minami Aoyama Kotori Bldg., 4-16-3 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062. Reservations: +81-80-3310-4058

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    DRINK: Bar Zingaro
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    Bar Zingaro
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    Opened by Japanese contemporary art impresario Takashi Murakami last November in the otaku-themed Nakano Broadway shopping mall in western Tokyo, Bar Zingaro is produced by Fuglen, an Oslo café that itself opened its first overseas branch in the casually chic Tomigaya neighborhood in May 2012. Coffee, cocktails, and light bar snacks are served in a sparely stylish space adorned with vintage Norwegian furniture and Murakami’s own prints on the walls. After your afternoon cuppa, don’t miss Murakami’s mini-empire of four micro-sized art galleries located in the same complex that showcase works by young Japanese artists and potters, or the plethora of secondhand dealers in cult manga, anime figurines, and other otaku paraphernalia — a heady jostle of pop culture that feels more like Mongkok than Tokyo.

    bar-zingaro.jp

    Second floor of Nakano Broadway, 5-52-15 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo. +81-3-5942-8382.

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    VISIT: SuperDeluxe
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    SuperDeluxe
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    Started in 2003 as a side project by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture (click here for a recent interview with Klein), this basement concrete bunker-like space in Roppongi is the birthplace of the now world-renowned Pecha Kucha Night, an event where creative innovators in various fields can share their work in a low-key, lounge-like setting that is now being replicated in 700 cities around the world. The founders see SuperDeluxe as equal parts “bar, gallery, kitchen, jazz club, cinema, library and school,” and it also brews its own beer, Tokyo Ale. Executive producer Mike Kubek keeps the nightly program varied and star-studded, with regular appearances by top Japanese and foreign musicians, dancers, and other performers that skew towards the subculture/underground.

    www.super-deluxe.com

    B1F 3-1-25 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031. +81-3-5412-0515

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    TOLOT/heuristic
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    Located on the sprawling 1320 sqm second floor of a printing and binding factory in Shinonome, near the Tokyo Bay area, TOLOT/heuristic is a contemporary art space opened in March 2013 composed of eight minimal white cubes, two of which are permanently occupied by Yuka Tsuruno and G/P+g3 Gallery. The other cubes host rotating curated shows put together by some of Tokyo’s other top galleries, and occasionally form the backdrop for other events, such as performances by rising young Japanese art stars Ei Arakawa and Shimon Minamikawa. The weekend of this year’s art fair coincides with an opening for Candida Hofer’s first Japan solo show at Yuka Tsuruno.

    www.heuristic.com/tolot

    2-9-13 Shinonome, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0062. 

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    VISIT: Vacant
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    Vacant
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    Snugly secluded on a Harajuku backstreet, this two-storey venue combines a satellite branch of the Yoyogi Park-side Little Nap Coffee Stand (try the delicious house-made organic lemonade) with a bookstore-cum-boutique that stocks Tokyo-based photography magazine IMA, fashion rag Libertin Dune, books by top Japanese photographers Taiji Matsue, Takuma Nakahira, Lieko Shiga and Taisuke Koyama, and crafts and accessories by Postalco and Syuro. The second floor houses a capacious (by Tokyo standards) event space for concerts, live performances, and screenings. In a neighborhood that skews towards schizophrenically towards both high-end street apparel and throwaway teen fashion, Vacant manages to attract an even mix of music heads, art fans, and fashion kids with an eclectic program that ranges from photography book launches and talks by New York lensman Lucas Blalock, poppy electronica by Shuta Hasunuma, and screenings of Mike Mills’ recent documentary on depression in Japan, “Does Your Soul Have a Cold?”

    www.vacant.vc

    3-20-13 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. +81-3-6459-2962.

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    SHOP: Intersect by Lexus
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    Intersect by Lexus
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    Designed by top designer Masamichi Katayama of Japanese firm Wonderwall, Intersect by Lexus is not a typical car showroom, but rather a “luxury brand experience space” that seeks to become a “comfortable and inspiring space for interaction among people and between people and cars,” according to Lexus International’s executive vice president Mark Templin. Having opened last summer on a prime spot on the upper end of Omotesando within spitting distance of the Comme des Garcons, Iseey Miyake, and Yohji Yamamoto flagships, Intersect houses a café on the first floor featuring specialty coffee brands from around the world, and the “Garage” space devoted to showcasing exhibitions and other rotating cultural events. The second floor houses a section called Crafted for Lexus — a curated boutique offering select items that harmonize with the overall Lexus brand, including artisanal Italian leather bags and coffee cups with volcanic ash glazes — as well as a library lounge that will serve contemporary cuisine with a distinct Tokyo flavor.

    www.lexus-int.com/intersect/tokyo

    4-21-26 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062. +81-3-6447-1540.

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    SHOP: D-mall
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    D-mall
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    Decked out to resemble something of a ramshackle wooden clapboard house that has been sitting in a quiet northern corner of Harajuku since March 2012, this rugged boutique is the Tokyo outpost of a store that hails from the scenic coastal town of Kojima, Okayama prefecture, known throughout Japan for its high-quality homespun Japanese denim production (produced using its large number of vintage denim looms imported directly from the US). Here, you’ll find a range of beautifully textured raw denim, hoodies, linen shirts, and khakis from Okayama stalwarts Omnigod and Spellbound, artisanal jams made using local Okayama fruit from Alimna, organic veggies from Wacca Farm, and books from the boutique publisher and distributor 451 Books. 

    d-mall.co.jp

    2-27-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 155-0001. +81-3-6863-7500.

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    “I’ve been thinking a lot about Double Dare and pupu platters,” Molly Lowe admits, circling the custom-built stage for her performance Hands Off. The New York–based artist describes herself as both “ashamed and proud to be a pretty hardcore surrealist,” one trying to update the modernist movement’s mandate of radical aesthetic juxtaposition for a 21st-century audience both enthralled and disturbed by technology’s effects on the body. In Lowe’s weird world, the Surrealists’ chance meeting of an umbrella and a sewing machine on a dissecting table is updated for the age of the meme. Referents like Double Dare, a Nickelodeon children’s obstacle-course show, and the American-Chinese appetizer tray are just two recurring, circulating icons in her raunchy, funny, sexy vocabulary.
 Hands Off premiered in New York in November as part of the fifth Performa biennial, which not coincidentally adopted Surrealism as its historical touchstone. In Lowe’s temporary studio at Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works, she explains the dramatic action that will unfold on her set.

    Three actors in full-body vinyl costumes resembling grotesque hands—their 
heads and each limb a finger, with extra phalanges attached to their backs—enact behaviors of self-destruction in four movements. “I’ve wanted to make a rotating set for a really long time,” Lowe explains, invoking maypoles and carousels as inspiration for the set’s circular form. “I like the idea of these ritualistic things, like maypoles, that seem harmonious, and then fucking with them.” Her characters, tethered to the stage, are absorbed in individual, selfish acts—watching porn, stealing someone’s identity, playing a school-shooting video game, and drinking, all while watching provocative video footage of other hand-creatures. At the culmination of the performance, the hands gather at the center of the stage
for one choreographed, orgiastic sequence before slumping back to their corners to engage with their personalized screens. “Everyone is like a cog on a wheel. They’re all unaware of each other, but together, they’re making this thing happen.
 But it’s not even a glorious thing,” Lowe says. “What are they doing together except consuming and indulging in these emotional attacks on themselves?”

    Working with sculpture, video, installation, and performance, Lowe explores, with no small measure of humor, technology and the media’s warping of human interactions. Her longest video, Cycle, 2012, could be summarized as
 a wordless, sexualized version of the Hunger Games trilogy. Figures in a quasi-apocalyptic landscape engage in game show–style physical challenges, from trying to copulate inside a giant plastic suit to skimming across a lake in floating plastic pods. The characters occupy a zone somewhere between cyborg and cartoon: Clad head to toe in nude bodysuits, their faces, butt cracks, nipples, and pubes are scrawled on with a pen.

    This masking of a person, transforming him or her from an individual to a type, is crucial to Lowe’s narrative project.
 So, too, is the televisual manufacture of drama like that in competitive reality shows. The artist returns multiple times to the idea of the “cannibalistic cooking show,” where, she says, contestants invest their emotional energy into the preparation of food to a frightening degree, to the point where they’re “cooking themselves. It’s like, ‘Here’s my heart in a dish. How does it taste?’”


    This identification of people with food, which dovetails with sexual fantasy, factors prominently in many of her works. In Formed, a seven-minute video created for SculptureCenter’s 2013 “Double Life” exhibition, material transformations evoke emotions from sadness to disgust. In one sequence, a glistening fake brain is sliced open, exposing an interior of runny, soft-boiled eggs; in another, a clay mouth opens to reveal broken keyboard keys as teeth. A subsequent video from the same year, Love, features figures in lumpy masks exploring the highs and lows of Eros as they clumsily navigate technology. Their faces transform into bright red, pulsating hearts and brains at the climax.

    As a student, Lowe, before turning to video and performance, created absurdist sculptures that engaged in similar material morphings. Heineken bottles turn into geodes; an installation of
 a computer and desk chair resemble a medieval torture device; aluminum cans become penises. But, Lowe says, the photographic documentation of these objects always took precedence over their display. During a summer residency 
in Maine in 2008, Lowe says, she was encouraged by Liz Magic Laser, among others, to take up video. “They said my sculptures were dying to become animated, because my pictures of them were really theatrical.”

    Since then most of her work has been in video. The live performance Hands Off marks a new departure. The work engages themes she has obliquely addressed before: technology as magic and the hand as a metonymic stand-in for the body in an age of digital technology. One influence on the performance is a book Lowe has of 19th-century illustrations of disembodied hands demonstrating what were then cutting-edge technologies as well as sleight-of-hand magic. It’s not much of a logical leap from yesterday’s feats of manual dexterity to today’s touch-screen devices that promise, in Lowe’s words, “everything at your fingertips.” The book’s jumbling together of images appeals to her sense of montage. “It’s very much how I edit. I think of it as shuffling,” she said, describing a set of “tarot-style cards” with which she creates sketches of scenes.

    Lowe’s affinity for Surrealism, montage, and even observational comedy is, she grants, a little anachronistic.
She resorts neither to the slickness
of digital animations nor the obsolete imagery so prevalent in ironic net art.
 If anything, her horror-show costumes, absurdist timing, and enthusiasm for utter grossness more closely align with that of her former Columbia professor, Jon Kessler, or even Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, two other proponents of so-called clusterfuck aesthetics. She
 also shares with these artists an affinity for the abject. The set for Hands Off is, she says, “really bad design because it has the human element. It’s not 
sleek. It’s not efficient, I want it to be too close, for it to get under your skin.”

    She grasps after a “too human” feeling, which she calls a “kind of repulsive thing.” When the audience descends
 to the basement stage of temp Art Space to view Hands Off, their hands are squirted with sanitizer—an act
 the artist sees as at once violating and cleansing. Humans, in Lowe’s world,
 are part of the embarrassing, sticky real world. She allows for certain messiness in her creative process too. Speaking of Cycle, Lowe recalls the editing process as “letting my subconscious run
 wild, thinking about my confusion of becoming a woman and being in society and reproducing.” Lowe’s very corporeal productions can be understood as standing against technology’s sterile reproductions.

    Hands-On: Molly Lowe’s All-Too-Human Creations
    A still from Molly Lowe's "CYCLE," 2012, a 20 minute HD video.

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    FIAC to Stage Los Angeles Edition in 2015

    Hot on the heels of Paris Photo, FIAC will stage a Los Angeles edition in April 2015, the French art fair awith Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts, former director of the Thaddaeus RopacGallery, at its helm.

    It will be the first international outing for FIAC, which is held each October in Paris’s Grand Palais. In a press release, Jean-Daniel Compain, director of the cultural division of Reed Exhibition, which owns FIAC, suggested that Los Angeles had been chosen because it is “extremely dynamic.” The city has lately become an increasingly popular center for art fairs, in part due to its geographical proximity to Asia and Latin America, two of the art world’s biggest markets. Around 150 exhibitors are expected to participate, with the dates yet to be announced.

    Paris Photo held its inaugural Los Angeles event last April, drawing a slew of influential visitors from both inside and outside the art world, including Michael and Eileen Cohen, Dan Cameron, Jeffrey Deitch, Timothy Potts, Franklin Sirmans, David Lynch, Sean Penn, Drew Barrymore, Orlando Bloom, Jodie Foster and Liz Goldwyn. Its second edition is scheduled for April 25 to 27 (see our video interview with the show's director Julien Frydman here).

    FIAC to Stage Los Angeles Edition in 2015

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    Artists May Boycott Sydney Show, Cleaner Tosses $13k in Art, and More

    — Artists Threaten to Boycott Biennale of Sydney: Thursday, just weeks before the Biennale of Sydney opens its doors, 35 artists (of the 90 taking part in the Biennale) dispatched a letter to the board conveying their moral abhorrence of the Sydney-based company Transfield, which is one of the event’s major sponsors. The company makes money off of the Australian government’s disputed policy of forcing asylum seekers into mandatory detention. Artists, including Turner Prize-winning Martin Boyce, threatened to boycott the event, or embed statements of protest in their work, if the Biennale didn’t drop the sponsor. [TAN]

    — Cleaner Accidentally Throws Out a $13K Art Work: Mistaking a Paul Branca installation made of newspaper, cardboard, and cookie crumbs for trash, a cleaner at a gallery in southern Italy tossed out part of the work, which was valued at more than $13,000. Lorenzo Roca, spokesperson for the Chiarissima, said the woman “was just doing her job” when she disposed of the piece, thinking it was left behind by those setting up for the show, which opened Wednesday. [Jezebel]

    — Low-Stakes Fine Art Auction Houses Offer Something for the Masses: Proving that Sotheby’s and Christie’s aren’t the only auction houses where bidding can be fervent, Hutter Auction Galleries in Midtown Manhattan and Capo Auction in Long Island City are two auction houses that offer works for a bargain. Most works sell for a couple hundred dollars or a few thousand, but rarely more than $50,000. “Here anyone can walk in,” said Capo co-owner Larry Berman. “What we have here is for the masses. Most people feel uncomfortable going to Christie’s or Sotheby’s. We are trying to lure them into coming into Queens.” [NYT]

    — Battle Over Pissarro Work at Oklahoma University: French woman Leone Meyer filed a lawsuit against the University of Oklahoma seeking the return of a 128-year-old French Impressionist painting, Camille Pissarro’s “Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep,” which she claims was looted by Nazis during WWII and belongs to her family. Now, Republican representative for Oklahoma City Paul Wesselhoft is stepping in and sponsoring a resolution demanding the return of the painting. “It is the right and moral thing to do for OU to return this painting to the Jewish family from which the Nazis plundered it,” said Wesselhoft. “Keeping this painting is an embarrassment. I'm ashamed that it’s in the museum.” [Reuters]

    — Met Roof to Get a Dan Graham-Designed Steel-and-Glass Pavilion: Beginning April 29, visitors to the Met can see a site-specific work designed by American conceptual artist Dan Graham, known mostly for his glass pavilion creations and architectural environments. The work, done in collaboration with Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt, will incorporate hedgerows in dialogue with the Met roof’s Central Park views. [NYT]

    — In light of news of the Corcoran Gallery ceding control of its art collection and college to the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University, here is a timeline of the Corcoran’s troubled history. [Washington Post]

    James Franco weighs in on Shia LeBeouf’s “erratic Behavior” in an LA Art Gallery. [NYT]

    — In response to Freight + Volume’s new show “Loren Munk: You Are Here,” here’s a look at some nifty flow-chart art. [ARTnews]

    Oscar Murillo’s first solo show in LA, per one reviewer, apparently “wraps Warhol’s unsentimental vision of art’s place in life in the kind of naivete that would make him cringe.” [LA Times]

    — Remember those cars that got damaged when they fell into a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum? The museum plans to exhibit them. [Wate.com]

    ALSO ON ARTINFO

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    VIDEO: ARCOmadrid 2014 — Increasingly International

    Michael Robinson's "The Dark, Krystal" in Chicago

    Check our blog IN THE AIR for breaking news throughout the day.

    The scene at 2012's 18th Biennale of Sydney.

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    Looking to beat the chill? Check out this selection of furs due to go under the hammer at an Artcurial Paris sale on February 26 that is also dedicated to haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessories. The auction will take place at the Hôtel Drouot.

    The pick is eclectic, with among the top lots a striking cape in tricolor mink by Frédéric Castet for Christian Dior, decorated with a geometric motif (est. 500-600 euros), and an unusual Bargouzin mink jacket by G.R. Fischelis (est. 4,000-6,000 euros) where wavy lines of fur flow from the collar right down the front.

    A rich Canadian Lynx by Rebecca exudes après-ski chic, while after-dark options include a circa 1980/1985 fox bolero by Jean-Louis Scherrer (est. 200-300 euros). Among the less classic styles is an unusual design in pastel mink by Herta Lorenz (est. 100-150 euros) with a checkerboard surface. 

    For those looking for accents of fur, check out the navy wool coat by Yves Saint Laurent trimmed mink cuffs and collar (est. 150-200 euros). 

    Click on the slideshow to see Blouin Lifestyle's top fur picks.

    BLOUIN Lifestyle Pick: Fabulous Furs
    BLOUIN Lifestyle Pick: Fabulous Furs

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    Collaboration of Illusions: Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” at BAM

    Written in 1879, Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” confronts institutions — marriage, family — that are as stifling and oppressive now as they were more than a century ago. This makes the social drama, which will begin a three-week run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on February 22, all the more relevant to contemporary audiences. Director Carrie Cracknell and playwright Simon Stephens handle the production, which enjoyed a celebrated run at the Young Vic in London’s West End, delicately and without massive shakeups to the original text. If you’re familiar with the play, you’ll know it doesn’t need it. Hattie Morahan revives the role of Nora, the housewife at the center Ibsen’s masterwork whose marriage, as the theater critic John Simon once called it, is “a collaboration of illusions.”

    The production is given a cinematic staging via a revolving stage that, like the recent production of “Machinal” on Broadway, doesn’t appear gimmicky or unnecessary. As the stage spins, our understanding of the connections between all the people connected to Nora — her family, her employees — is made clear, their dismantling more severe. The stage, like the narrative, spins out of control.

    In a recent conversation with ARTINFO, Cracknell spoke about her “long fascination” with Ibsen, the architectural research she did with designer Ian MacNeil, and why she views Nora as more complicated than a simple feminist reading provides.

    What is the appeal of “A Doll’s House” for a contemporary audience?

    I’ve had quite a long held fascination with Ibsen. I love the way he depicts the best and the worst parts of people, and creates these characters which are compellingly complicated and difficult. What was fascinating as I started to work on “A Doll’s House” was to try to find a relationship between the play and the world of gender politics now. So I started on the process with Simon Stephens, when he was working on the revision, of trying to understand exactly what things had changed but of course which things remained — or how the relationship between women and men now differs from the relationship between women and men then.

    Can you talk a little more about your work with Simon Stephens? How has the text changed?

    The intention of Simon and I, when we were working on the new version, was to really respect the original and not to try to make a radically departing version, but to release the original play for a contemporary audience. The way Simon approached that was to cut some of the slightly more over-expressed text in the translation, so that it felt more psychologically attuned to the way people speak now. We were also interested in uncovering certain elements of the play — for example, the relationship between Nora and the children, and the sexual dynamics between Nora and Torvald, which in its day was slightly more guarded in the way it was written. Simon made that more expressed and visceral in his version. But we also imagined our version like revealing layers of dirt from an old painting, nothing any more radical than that — trying to find the polish and shine of the original play.

    When approaching a play with such a history are you looking back to its history on the stage, what others have done before?

    I try to do as much historical research as possible. I went on a field trip with Ian MacNeil, the designer, to Norway, and we went to look at Ibsen’s apartment and went to an extraordinary folk art museum outside of Oslo where they recreated an apartment from the time the play was written. We really looked a lot at the architecture of the time and got really excited by these very heavily built European apartments, which actually reminded us of New York tenements, which served as the model from the world of the play. We all have an idea of what a doll’s house looks like, but what’s clear from the play is that they live in a flat and are aspirationally middle-class and probably hoping to move into their own flat, with their own garden. That became a central part of the design process — trying to blend that feeling of an apartment, use that as the basis of the production, but from that to move into something more expressive. So we took the flat and revolved it so characters can walk in and out of all the different rooms and the audience can have a panoramic perspective. Again, it wasn’t about radically breaking from the play, but what we connected to emotionally, what were the themes that were most potent to us, and how do we release those themes.

    Is there room for multiple interpretations of the characters within the creative process?

    I think when you’re working on a version you have to commit the writer of the new version to be authorial. So, we had lots of conversations about the characters, but ultimately Simon, as the primary artist in that process, found his own connections. Then, when I would read each draft, I would feedback and say, perhaps we need to draw out this quality, or I don’t understand or believe the psychology in that moment. But it was important to me for Simon to find his own roots through those characters.

    The easy read of Nora in “A Doll’s House” — and why people feel she is a contemporary character — is that she’s a proto-feminist. I know Ibsen rejected that reading, but how do you view her? Is Nora a feminist hero?

    I think it’s more complicated than that. The play has rightly been cast as a feminist play because it’s the first time we really staged a woman breaking out of the destructive confines of marriage. But I also appreciate the fact that Ibsen felt the play was more than that, and that he was trying to express something bigger or deeper about the individual within societal structures. It just so happens that heroine was a woman, and a woman breaking out of those structures. I also feel that it’s important that the final door slam [which occurs at the end of the play] isn’t a moment of triumph, not a moment of catharsis. It has to be the beginning of an unraveling of a life lived — of the lives of the three small children, of the lives of the staff, of the life of Torvald, and the life of Nora. They all have to wake up the next morning and work out who they are in this new perspective, and Nora has to head off into an uninhabitable world and find out who she is. So on one level she’s a feminist heroine, but the play is also darker and murkier and more complicated than a sort of triumphant finale.

    "A Doll's House"

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  • 02/21/14--12:56: DZINE at Salon 94
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  • 02/21/14--13:38: New York
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    Dynamically liaising with a distinguished client base of elite private collectors, decision-making art consultants, corporate art consultants, curators, architects, interior designers and decorators, as well as prestigious business, government, diplomatic and social VIPs, AMSTERDAM WHITNEY Gallery pre-eminently affords the acquisitor the extraordinary opportunity to acquire the most carefully curated, Contemporary Masters in the global art market.  Known as "The Most Beautiful Gallery in Chelsea,” AMSTERDAM WHITNEY Gallery is strategically located in the "Heart of Chelsea" the unrivaled, influential global epicenter of the art world. Home to over 200 leading galleries and the Chelsea Museum of Art, Chelsea is the ultimate undisputed international art destination for the informed acquisitor, decision based consultant and accomplished artist. The cachet of Chelsea attracts prominent art visitors worldwide.   In quest of the "creme de la creme" of global contemporary artists, AMSTERDAM WHITNEY Gallery's criteria is to highlight and showcase in a curated museum-caliber ambiance, Contemporary Masters and interpret significant art movements, reflecting diverse trends and mediums including Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Collage, Drawing & Watercolor. Featuring contemporary Representational Figurative art to Abstract work, modern Surrealism to today's Neo Post Impressionism, Portraits to Abstract Expressionism, AMSTERDAM WHITNEY Gallery is the acknowledged definitive global art resource for the informed collector, cognoscenti and professional art consultant. Its museum-curated, influential monthly exhibitions afford the private collector and demanding art professional a stimulating museum forum environment to view outstanding art and acquire the most exciting, innovative talent of the present day art world. 
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    Collectors Sue Haring Foundation, Photogs Rally for Cariou, and More

    — Collectors Sue Haring Foundation: Several collectors are teaming up to sue the Keith Haring Foundation for $40 million after the organization labeled their works as fakes. The roughly 80 works in question were rejected as authentic by the foundation in 2007 and subsequent appeals for review have been denied. The collectors are claiming that the Haring Foundation labeled their pieces as forgeries in order to keep the number of works on the market low.  [Reuters]

    —  Photographers Rally for Cariou: In response to artist Richard Prince’s win against photographer Patrick Cariou in court last year, several photography groups have banded together to lobby the courts in support of Cariou and stricter interpretations of fair use laws. The National Press Photographers Association, Professional Photographers of America, and the Picture Archive Council of America, among others, have submitted a friend of the court brief to the judge currently reconsidering part of the Cariou v. Prince lawsuit and they are also contemplating hiring a Washington lobbyist. “The courts have taken an approach to fair use that we do not believe was originally intended,” said Victor Perlman, general counsel for the American Society of Media Photographers. “A lot of what’s going to have to happen in fair use is going to have to happen on Capitol Hill.” [NYT]

    Master Forger Explains His Methods: Over the weekend, “60 Minutes” spent some time with art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi, who was sentenced to six years in prison and dealt with $27 million in lawsuits for creating fakes for 40 years. “Nearly all the experts we met, they were serious, really serious. Their only problem was that I was too good for them,” Beltracchi told Bob Simon. In other art forgery news, Oxford art history professor Martin Kemp has spoken out to condemn current authentication practices. “There’s lots going on, from academic incompetence to really dirty stuff,” he said. [CBS, the Guardian]

    Who areHowDoYouSayYaminAfrican?: A look at “mostly black and mostly queer” Brooklyn-based artist collective HowDoYouSayYaminAfrican?, whose 38 members are creating work for this year’s Whitney Biennial. [NYT]

    Lonnie Bunch is Making Waves in D.C.: Here’s a profile of “celebrity” curator Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the soon-to-open National Museum of African American History and Culture. [WP]

    — The New York Times editorial board has written a defense of the Four Seasons Picasso that Aby Rosen allegedly wants removed. [NYT]

    — The Museum of Arts and Design in New York has appointed Robert Cundall as its deputy director and COO. [Artforum]

    — The Armory Show is collaborating with Citi Bike to create 10 art bikes that will feature the designs of commissioned artist Xu Zhen. [NYT]

    Stuart Horodner will be the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky’s new director. [Artforum]

    ALSO ON ARTINFO

    Last Chance: The Silent Way at Simon Preston Gallery

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    Opening Ceremony Reveals René Magritte Capsule Collection

    Dzine Explores Puerto Rican Culture in Two Shows

    Check our blog IN THE AIR for breaking news throughout the day.

    A woman looks at a painting by US artist Keith Haring made in 1984

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  • 02/24/14--10:26: Chelsea
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    Leila Heller Gallery (formerly LTMH Gallery) located in the heart of Chelsea’s gallery district, promotes a cutting edge program of international contemporary emerging and mid-career artists. The gallery has gained recognition for fostering the careers of artists working across a multitude of disciplines and mediums, helping to establish them among the leading contemporary artists internationally. The gallery presents a dynamic exhibition schedule, actively engaging world renowned curators, hosting educational panels and producing catalogues with scholarly essays. The Gallery also participates in major international art fairs each year and stages offsite projects as a continuation of the program. Gallery artists have consistently participated in major international exhibitions and biennials, and are included in important institutional collections worldwide. The gallery has gained worldwide recognition for being a pioneer in promoting contemporary Middle Eastern artists. This specialization has positioned the gallery well within the burgeoning Iranian, Turkish and Middle Eastern art market. Most importantly, it is the gallery's mission to establish contemporary Middle Eastern art within a larger cultural and Art Historical context. The gallery remains dedicated to promoting the careers of its artists, and is ambitious in growing its program. In addition to its roster of contemporary artists, the gallery is also active in the American, European and Middle Eastern secondary art markets. With all of the gallery’s activities, it remains committed to fostering long-lasting bonds within the global art world through its professionalism and innovative vision. Leila Heller Gallery artists have been included in leading national and international museums and institutions, such as The New Museum, New York; the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; the Chelsea Art Museum, New York; Asia Art Society, New York; the Farjam Collection, Dubai; the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; Domus Atrium Museum, Salamanca Spain; Santral Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum, Turkey; Petacha Tikva Museum of Art, Israel; Hiroshima Contemporary Art Museum, Hiroshima, Japan; The Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran. After being based for 29 years on the Upper East Side, in 2011 the gallery moved to a 3,500 square foot ground floor space in the Chelsea gallery district, at 568 West 25th Street at the corner of 11th Avenue. The move to the new Chelsea location, designed by award-winning architect firm Hariri & Hariri, has allowed for an expansion of the gallery's internationally recognized artist roster as well as for larger, museum quality exhibitions. The gallery also maintains a rigorous art fair schedule, participating in fairs in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Hong Kong, Paris, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Istanbul.
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    Raves for Kelli O'Hara Anoint Her as Frontrunner for the Tony Award

    Kelli O’Hara has been nominated for a Tony four times, but this may well be her year following unanimous critical raves for her performance as an Italian émigré Iowa housewife and mother in “The Bridges of Madison County.” Based on the bestselling novel by Robert James Waller, the musical gives expression to the passionate yearnings awakened in Francesca when Robert, a National Geographic photographer, stumbles into her lonely and resigned life.

    Even critics, like Ben Brantley of the New York Times, who had reservations about the show itself, fell victim to O’Hara’s protean charms. He wrote, “Still, when you have a central performance as sensitive, probing and operatically rich and lustrous as Ms. O’Hara’s, you won’t find me kvetching too loud.”

    The praise for O’Hara and the mixed-to-positive reviews — the kvetchers were in the minority — throw the musical a lifeline. It had not been selling well before the opening and there were rumors that it might close. Now “Bridges” is set for a run up to the Tony nominations in May, and it is likely to garner a lion’s share. In addition to O’Hara and the show itself, nods are likely to go to co-star Steven Pasquale, who plays the shutterbug, director Bartlett Sher, several of the design team, and two more to Jason Robert Brown, the show’s composer and orchestrator.

    Even though Brown had written the show with O’Hara in mind, there was some trepidation that the blond, blue-eyed, and fair-skinned actor could pull it off. Her porcelain beauty had worked well for the brain-damaged American teen in “The Light in the Piazza” and the feisty heroines in “The Pajama Game,” “South Pacific,” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” But a weary Italian war bride who’d long ago given up on romance? The doubts were given more currency when the show tried out this summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival with Elena Shaddow as Francesca, since O’Hara was about to give birth to her second child. The dark-haired and solemn-faced Shaddow walked away with reviews, increasing the pressure on O’Hara to deliver in the Broadway transfer.

    And deliver she has. Even the New York Post’s Elisabeth Vincentelli, whose Italian heritage made her doubly skeptical, surrendered to what she called O’Hara’s “finely tuned” and graceful performance. “Decked out in a brunette wig, O’Hara sings like a dream and is unexpectedly funny as the Italian war bride, Francesca,” wrote Vincentelli. “Indeed, she doesn’t look any faker than that other famously swarthy star, Meryl Streep, who played the role in the ’95 movie.”

    While O’Hara is now the frontrunner for the Tony Award, she will face stiff competition from such strong potential contenders as Jessie Mueller (“Beautiful”), Idina Menzel (“If/Then”), Sutton Foster (“Violet”), and Audra McDonald, the five-time Tony Award winner who will star in a revival of the Billie Holiday bio-musical, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” That’s not to mention two possible newcomers to the game: Mary Bridget Davies for her titular performance in the short-lived “A Night with Janis Joplin,” which will re-open in March off-Broadway; and Michelle Williams, who will make her Broadway debut in the Sam Mendes-Rob Marshall revival of “Cabaret.”

    The race for Leading Actress in a Musical just got more interesting — and a hell of a lot more competitive.

    Kelli	O’Hara and Steven Pasquale in "The Bridges of Madison County."

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  • 02/24/14--10:28: West 20th Street
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    Jack Shainman Gallery was incorporated in 1984. Its first location was in Washington DC. Soon after opening, the gallery relocated to New York City occupying a space in the East Village before moving to 560 Broadway in Soho and then to its current location at 513 West 20th Street in Chelsea in 1997.

     

    The focus of the gallery, since its inception over 28 years ago, is to exhibit, represent, and champion artists from around the world, in particular artists from Africa, East Asia, and North America, by mounting major exhibitions of their work in the gallery, presenting artworks at important art fairs, securing museum exhibitions, and publishing major catalogues with full-color reproductions and scholarly essays on their artwork. Represented artists employ all mediums, with a tendency towards conceptual as well as politically and socially engaged artwork. The gallery presents approximately 15 exhibitions a year and participates in major art fairs including Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach, and The Armory Show. The gallery is a member of the Art Dealers Association of America.

     

    Gallery artists have been included in many important exhibitions, such as Documenta (1992, 1997, 2002, 2007); The Venice Biennale (1990, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007); The Carnegie International (1989, 1999/2000); the Moscow Biennale (2005, 2009); The Gwangju Biennale (2000, 2004, 2008); The Havana Biennale (2009); The Johannesburg Biennale (2005); and the Whitney Biennale (1997, 2006). Gallery artists have been recognized with numerous awards including a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Grant, a Fulbright, a Guggenheim, a MacArthur, A Louis Comfort TIffany, a Joan Mitchell and the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement, and are represented in museum collections throughout the world and have been documented in countless publications, monographs, and films.

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    With the Sochi Winter Olympics done and gone, the same question that invariably arises at the end of every Olympic production comes to the fore. What will become of the architecture constructed in anticipation of the featured sporting events? Discussions about the long-term prospects of Sochi’s Olympic architecture have taken on an especially feverish tone — after all, this year’s winter games cost $51 billion, more than any other event in Olympic history. The vast sums of money spent to construct an Olympic Park containing one massive stadium and five smaller arenas, and a nearby constellation of ski resort villages and athletic tracks known as the Mountain Cluster, whose purpose was to accommodate athletes and tourists, sensationalize the potential failure of Russian investment in Olympic architecture. Now a post-Olympic town, Sochi will have to reconcile the architectural imprint left by the games with local cultural and economic realities.

    “World record-setting projects in architecture and urban design rarely pay off for host nations,” wrote Kriston Capps in the Guardian, shortly after the Beijing Olympics closed in 2008. “Lack of use, expensive upkeep and bewildering construction costs have plagued cities that have undertaken similarly grand missions for the Olympics,” he explained, highlighting Athens to prove his point. Greek officials spent more than $13 billion to renovate existing stadiums and hire Santiago Calatrava to build a complex roof structure, only to find themselves considering the demolition of these unused post-Olympic structures several years later.

    In Sochi, however, officials began planning to dismantle some of the stadiums in Olympic Park before the games even began. And unlike many past host cities that construct Olympic buildings around existing athletic venues, Sochi had no winter sports infrastructure when construction began in 2008. Thus nearly all the arenas, resorts, and residences built for the current games are completely new developments. Mountain Cluster, located 60 miles from Sochi proper, is an imitation of European architectural styles nestled into a hillside that was bare six years ago. Likewise, marshland located 20 miles outside Sochi was paved over with concrete to make room for Olympic Park, planned by sports architects Populous, who also designed the games’ main venue, Fisht Stadium. The Olympic sporting events did not take place in Sochi; they took place near Sochi, in a swamp and a forest. The arenas that housed these events were not designed for any specific site — and thus, these products of hurried design and rapid construction might stand to outlive the Olympics, precisely because their generic mediocrity also makes them multiuse.

    “If the idea for the Sochi Olympics was to create something aesthetically interesting,” observed architectural theorist and historian Grigory Revzin, “then the project has failed.” Revzin, author of “Russian Architecture at the Turn of the 21st Century” and an architecture critic for the Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper, believes that aesthetic merit was a low priority for Russian authorities in Sochi. Rather, he argues that they sought to build a space that looked like it could be located anywhere. “The idea at the Olympic Park was to create the semblance of a global place,” said Revzin, before pointing out other international structures that were replicated in Sochi. Bolshoi Ice Stadium, designed by the Omsk-based firm Mostovik, is a copy, he explained, of Paul Andreu’s 2007 opera house in Beijing; and the centerpiece, Fisht Stadium, with electrical wires sticking out of walls and unfinished interior detailing, looks “more like a ruin than a new stadium, like it has been heavily used for the past 20 years.”

    The Olympic Park buildings’ uniform use of typical curvilinear architectural forms, plated in the usual Modernist-inflected glass and steel, is a riff on the international norm for monumental corporate architecture. But if the prevailing use of utterly standardized, ordered architectural tropes is meant to suggest that the arenas in Sochi are just like Olympic arenas outside of Russia, then the results again fail. As Revzin suggests, these buildings are meant to be international in style, but they are not world-class architecture. He referenced Herzog & de Meuron’s Bird’s Nest stadium, which drew international acclaim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and said, “Since the Olympics are meant to attract international attention, one would expect some kind of exceptional architecture for the event. We don’t have anything of the sort among the Sochi stadiums.”

    While Fisht Stadium is slated to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, some of the smaller venues inside Olympic Park are said to await permanent relocation to winter sports destinations across Russia. “I’ve heard that Adler Speedskating Stadium will be deconstructed and built up somewhere else in Russia,” said Rob Hornstra, a founder of the website The Sochi Project and author of “An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus,” who spent the past 10 years working as a photojournalist in Sochi. When construction began in 2008, Russian officials planned to disassemble and relocate some of Olympic Park’s smaller arenas, reports Kommersant. Plans held that Shayba Arena, the hockey venue designed by a German engineering firm, would be taken apart in Sochi, its constituent parts shipped to Stavropol and reassembled there as the city’s central hockey and skating arena. Similarly, the Ice Cube Curling Arena is built to disassemble and plans are in the works to repurpose it into a mall — whether or not customers will arrive to shop at the commercial compleis unclear. Ultimately, the town’s subtropical climate, its storied identity as the most popular summertime resort in the former Soviet Union, and the absence of a devoted winter sports community render the arenas unusable in their current capacities, according to Hornstra. Revzin agrees. “The arenas are simply are not fit to exist in that setting,” he said. His believes that the structures will eventually stand empty until the authorities relocate them. And precisely because the stadiums are generic by design, many can be dismantled and relocated with relative ease.

    Revzin reserves cautious optimism for the post-Olympic fate of the Mountain Cluster buildings. “There has never been a high-quality ski resort in Russia, it simply didn’t exist, and now, even though it’s not fully ready, the infrastructure for it is there,” he said. Though the architecture of Rosa Khutor, a ski resort owned by businessman Vladimir Potanin, is for Revzin a “trivial” exercise in historical pastiche, the nearby Mountain Village resort is “actually quite interesting.” Both resorts, he believes, will be popular with Muscovites, who are three hours away from these slopes rather than visa applications and six hours removed from the Swiss Alps. Ultimately, these ski resorts will have a clientele to serve after the Olympic visitors are gone. Revzin believes that they will encourage the local tourism industry — but the arenas will not. If Russia successfully moves these buildings, Sochi could be the first host city to find a functional solution to the pervasive problem of post-Olympic architecture. But which of the arenas will eventually be moved from Sochi is still unclear; authorities, it seems, have not drawn up any conclusive plans. “I believe that’s what they say will happen,” said Hornstra, “but you never know — it’s Russia.”

    Sochi’s Pop-Up Olympic Architecture Faces an Uncertain Future
    The Bolshoy Ice Dome at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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    The Cinema Tropical Festival Opens in New York

    The Cinema Tropical Festival, running February 24-27 at Village East Cinemas in New York, will present a slate of new and interesting films coming out of Latin America, all winners of the Cinema Tropical awards handed out earlier this year. Of the eight films on the program, a combination of fiction and documentary — and sometimes a blending of the both — only a few have had a theatrical release in New York, the others regulars on the festival circuit.

    To mark the opening night of the festival, ARTINFO selected four essential films to see at the Cinema Tropical Festival.

    “El Alcalde”
    February 26, 7 p.m.

    The film, which screened at the Toronto Film Festival last year, is in an Errol Morris-like portrait of a hubristic political animal from filmmakers Emiliano Altuna, Carlos F. Rossini, and Diego Osorno. The camera rests its eye on Mauricio Fernandez, the outspoken and eccentric mayor of San Pedro Garza García, an affluent area in the northern state of Nuevo León in Mexico. An outspoken critic of the drug cartels, Fernandez has been criticized for his reported penchant for vigilante justice and take-no-prisoners public attitude. By the end of the film, with a fantastic sequence that brings it into the surreal, the question that hangs over the subject remains unanswered: Should Fernandez be hailed as a hero, or sent to the loony bin?

    “Post Tenebras Lux”
    February 26, 9 p.m.

    A hallucinatory journey that floats through the mind of filmmaker Carlos Reygadas, an enfant terrible of Latin American cinema who’s often accused of provocation for its own sake. And “Post Tenebras Lux” will certainly provoke. The film strings together startlingly beautiful sequences with only a thin wrapping of narrative — moments, including a soccer match at an all-boys British private school, are seemingly devoid of connection to the rest of the film and only make sense in a hazy way. The work was picked by ARTINFO critic Graham Fuller as one of the best films of 2013.

    “The Girl From the South”
    February 24, 9 p.m.

    Half diary-film, half investigation, “The Girl From the South” charts filmmaker José Luis García’s fascination with South Korean activist Im Su-kyong. In 1989, García first came into contact with Im Su-kyong at the Youth and Student Festival in Pyongyang, North Korea — the first section of the film features home video footage of the time spent in Pyongyang, while the second features Garcia and a translator traveling to Seoul to speak to her and document her life, to mixed and ultimately surprising results.

    “Viola”
    February 27, 7 p.m.

    One of the strongest cinematic voices to come out of Latin America in recent years, Matías Piñeiro’s brief film, clocking in at just over an hour, focuses on an all-female theater troupe performing the works of Shakespeare. Specifically, they rehearse a scene from “Twelfth Night,” and the play’s themes of doubling and deception are absorbed into the private lives of the cast — until a sudden shift at the end reverses the entire thing.

    Cinema Tropical Festival at Village East, Viola

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