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  • 03/10/14--13:22: Garden City
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    It gives me great pleasure to welcome all visitors to the Adelphi University Virtual Art Museum. This ever-growing online collection reflects our continuing commitment to bring contemporary, cultural, and historic visual art to our students and the wider Adelphi community.

     

    Showcasing the work of Adelphi students and faculty, along with special exhibitions from accomplished artists, this virtual museum nurtures Adelphi's artistic community and allows us to serve a public beyond our immediate geographical region.

     

    While the Adelphi campuses feature a number of venues for viewing art in person—the Adele and Herbert J. Klapper Center for Fine Arts Gallery, the University Center Gallery, and the Swirbul Library Gallery in Garden City, as well as in the gallery at Adelphi's Manhattan Center—those galleries provide limited display space in light of our vast permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. We have taken Adelphi's collections and rotating exhibitions beyond the walls of any gallery space, offering a view into these extraordinary works to anyone, anywhere within reach of Internet access. I anticipate that these works of art will inspire, challenge, and captivate a diverse audience.

     

    The University’s goals of teaching, research, and service are supported and enhanced by the virtual Art Museum. Through remote access to original works of art, and by collaborating with faculty, students, and staff from the departments of Art and Art History, and many other disciplines, the museum contributes to the development of critical thinking and visual literacy. This collection of works creates an online environment that is exciting, challenging, and thought-provoking—distinguished by the range and diversity of collections, innovative exhibitions, and in-depth research of our staff.

     

    The Adelphi University Art Museum is meant to encourage appreciation and understanding of art and its role in society through engagement with original works of art. Observing art provides a needed refuge for reflection, tranquility, stimulation, and joy in our often stress-filled lives. It can deepen our knowledge of cultures and reveal insights into history that other modes can't. Through our online museum we seek to share these opportunities with many.

     

    It would be impossible for me to choose a favorite among the works presented on the site, so I encourage you to view all medias and styles: the "Outdoor Sculpture Biennial"; the "Weapons, Tools, and Rituals" collection of African ceremonial implements; various works on paper, mixed media, oil painting, watercolor, silkscreen, lithographs, sketches, and photography, including portraits, landscapes, and abstract images.

     

    It is my hope that visiting the museum through the website will encourage you to visit the galleries and showcases on our campus and experience first-hand the collections, exhibitions, and events.

     

    I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all who were involved in creating this virtual museum. This group has worked incredible hours bringing together so many diverse collections of art to make it available to an infinite audience. Thank you for stopping by, and enjoy!

     

     

    A Note from Gayle D. Insler, Ph.D.

    Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

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    By Train from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jamaica Station Take the Hempstead line from Penn Station in Manhattan or the Flatbush Avenue Station in Brooklyn or the Jamaica Station in Queens to the Nassau Boulevard Station. The campus is a short walk east on South Avenue. Travel time from New York City is approximately forty-five minutes. For additional directions please visit: http://www.adelphi.edu/visitors/directions.php
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  • 03/10/14--13:22: Manhattan Center Gallery
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    It gives me great pleasure to welcome all visitors to the Adelphi University Virtual Art Museum. This ever-growing online collection reflects our continuing commitment to bring contemporary, cultural, and historic visual art to our students and the wider Adelphi community.

     

    Showcasing the work of Adelphi students and faculty, along with special exhibitions from accomplished artists, this virtual museum nurtures Adelphi's artistic community and allows us to serve a public beyond our immediate geographical region.

     

    While the Adelphi campuses feature a number of venues for viewing art in person—the Adele and Herbert J. Klapper Center for Fine Arts Gallery, the University Center Gallery, and the Swirbul Library Gallery in Garden City, as well as in the gallery at Adelphi's Manhattan Center—those galleries provide limited display space in light of our vast permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. We have taken Adelphi's collections and rotating exhibitions beyond the walls of any gallery space, offering a view into these extraordinary works to anyone, anywhere within reach of Internet access. I anticipate that these works of art will inspire, challenge, and captivate a diverse audience.

     

    The University’s goals of teaching, research, and service are supported and enhanced by the virtual Art Museum. Through remote access to original works of art, and by collaborating with faculty, students, and staff from the departments of Art and Art History, and many other disciplines, the museum contributes to the development of critical thinking and visual literacy. This collection of works creates an online environment that is exciting, challenging, and thought-provoking—distinguished by the range and diversity of collections, innovative exhibitions, and in-depth research of our staff.

     

    The Adelphi University Art Museum is meant to encourage appreciation and understanding of art and its role in society through engagement with original works of art. Observing art provides a needed refuge for reflection, tranquility, stimulation, and joy in our often stress-filled lives. It can deepen our knowledge of cultures and reveal insights into history that other modes can't. Through our online museum we seek to share these opportunities with many.

     

    It would be impossible for me to choose a favorite among the works presented on the site, so I encourage you to view all medias and styles: the "Outdoor Sculpture Biennial"; the "Weapons, Tools, and Rituals" collection of African ceremonial implements; various works on paper, mixed media, oil painting, watercolor, silkscreen, lithographs, sketches, and photography, including portraits, landscapes, and abstract images.

     

    It is my hope that visiting the museum through the website will encourage you to visit the galleries and showcases on our campus and experience first-hand the collections, exhibitions, and events.

     

    I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all who were involved in creating this virtual museum. This group has worked incredible hours bringing together so many diverse collections of art to make it available to an infinite audience. Thank you for stopping by, and enjoy!

     

     

    A Note from Gayle D. Insler, Ph.D.

    Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

     

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    Working once again with curator Germano Celant at the Venice Biennale, the Prada Foundation announced its “Art or Sound” exhibition is slated to run in the Serenissima at the Ca’ Corner della Regina palazzo, from June 7 to November 3.

    The expo explores the relationship between art and sound through various types of musical instruments, and questions when they are works of art or sound objects. It will offer a reinterpretation of musical instruments as both sculptural and visual entity, while eschewing their unnecessary categorization as one or the other, and also examine how the roles of the artist and musician are sometimes blurred.

    The exhibition will occupy 1,000 square meters across the ground floor and two main floors of the Venetian palazzo Ca’ Corner della Regina, which has been restored as part of the Prada Foundation’s efforts to renovate the historic building.

    Organized chronologically, the exhibition will begin with musical instruments made from unusual and precious materials in the 17th Century (by Michele Antonio Grandi and Giovanni Battista Cesarini), as well as instruments like lyres and automata by Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz in the 18th Century.

    Moving on to the 19th Century are examples of automated musical instruments and mechanical devices, exploring light and color, by the historical avant-garde set, including Futurist artist Luigi Russolo’s Intonarumori (1913) and some of Giacomo Balla’s objects.

    The 20th Century section will comprise instruments and works by composers such as Alvin Lucier and John Cage; the sound boxes of the Sixties, by Robert Morris and Nam June Paik; kinetic sculptures by artists like Takis and Stephan von Huene, and sound installations including Robert Rauschenberg’s “Oracle” (1962-1965) and Laurie Anderson’s “Handphone Table” (1978). On display will also be pianos created by Arman, Richard Artschwager and Joseph Beuys, and hybrid instruments like the guitars and the violins of Ken Butler and the banjos of William T. Wiley— which are more like sculptures that happen to be playable instruments.

    Fondazione Prada, the nonprofit arm of the Italian luxury label, is also publishing a book to accompany the exhibition, with essays and other treatises by a long list of musicologists, visual artists, musicians, composers and art historians, such as Jo Applin, Luciano Chessa, Christopoh Cox, Geeta Dayal, Patrick Feaster, Christoph E. Hänggi, Bart Hopkin, Douglas Kahn, Alan Licht, Andrea Lissoni, Noel Lobley, Deirdre Loughridge, Simone Menegoi, Holly Rogers, Jonathan Sterne, David Toop, John Tresch, Eric de Visscher and Rob Young.

    To see highlights from the upcoming exhibition, click on the slideshow.

    Prada Foundation Announces "Art or Sound" at Venice Biennale
    Arman's "The Spirit of Yamaha" (1997)

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    21 Questions for Conceptual Artist and Dirt Collector Mel Chin

    Name: Mel Chin
    Age: 62 is the new 82
    Occupation: Becoming an artist
    City/Neighborhood: A wannabe Witness Protection Program

    Your first major retrospective just opened at the New Orleans Museum of Art. What was it like to see that kind of survey of your work assembled in one show?

    “Don’t look back” was the code of a few artists in my generation, and I’ve tried to avoid retro behavior most of my life. However, as a rite of passage in a world preoccupied with the mythology of rugged individualism, it occasionally happens. The evidence of 40 years of critical decisions gives me a way of looking forward and allows me to contemplate what I could become.

    You created two new works for the show. What are they?

    A handmade “Fundred Presentation Pallet” made of book-matched, quarter-sawn oak, bronze, and silk. Something deemed honorable and strong enough for 7,000 pounds of drawings by the people of America. I propose these “Fundred” drawings to be exchanged for funds allocated by Congress to prevent lead poisoning of children on a national level.

    The other work is an internally illuminated diorama of “Revival Field,” using actual plant specimens, soil, and plot-marker stakes from the original implementation. I guess this is looking back in a way — in a natural, historical, dioramic way, which I haven’t done before.

    What project are you working on now?

    A Bank of the Sun in the liberated zone of the Western Sahara as a response to climate change; and two films starring the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

    What’s the last show that you saw?

    Linda Larsen’s paintings and prints at the Flood Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.

    What’s the last show that surprised you? Why?

    Like Chomsky’s observation that if you’re surprised you’re not informed especially when learning of political treachery, I try to take the same attitude toward art shows. I am looking forward to a future of revelations by the works of my peers.

    Describe a typical day in your life as an artist.

    There are no typical days or nights, especially with erratic patterns of slumber. Days of waiting, Internet surfing on a slow bandwidth, doodles with used, non-drying printer-ink, shopping for the perfect tape dispenser or screwdriver, all convey a state of procrastination. Then, like a maelstrom, an idea activates an inescapable intense sea of effort in the studio, even all important paperwork and communication is swallowed in a vortex that can take days and nights; or a postulation appears, hell-bent toward reality therapy that I know, upon conception, will consume years. 

    Do you make a living off your art?

    I think I’m good with: “Get rich or die trying.”

    What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

    The trash can and the axe.

    Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?

    Ideas are being stimulated by confrontations, compelled into action by conditions of immense tragedy, or by uncovering strange infinitesimal obscure quirks that demand materialization in some shape or form.

    Do you collect anything?

    I collected dirt samples — like a pack of soil from Rimbaud’s grave, and water samples — of the Hudson River and from the “Spiral Jetty,” and oyster shells that “lean” one way. I am returning to mycology for more evidence of fungal traces in patterns of spalting wood and the tongues found on shaman art.

    What is your karaoke song?

    Either “Suspicious Minds “ or Lightnin’ Hopkin’s “Short Haired Woman.” Elvis’s song is one that reminds me to follow a path contrary to its message, and it is easy to find in most parlors. Lightnin’s blues is much harder to find, but I like it for its sound economic advice and descriptive power.

    What’s the last artwork you purchased?

    The last work purchase was by a painter named Mickey who created a portrait of Mr. Elwood Kirkman, a corrupt banker and real estate developer in Atlantic/Ocean City. I did some surgery on him. Now the work is an Unauthorized Collaboration entitled “The Face of Fidelity.”

    What’s the first artwork you ever sold?

    Can’t remember the first, but I do remember selling portraits of riders for a nickel each, on a Houston bus from Meyerland (a southwest suburb) to the Fifth Ward, to anyone who would buy them.

    What’s the weirdest thing you ever saw happen in a museum or gallery?

    It wasn’t that weird because it happened in Texas. First, the normal fist-fight, then, the abnormal bread-fight resulting in the complete destruction of Miralda’s fantastic multi-colored bread line at the CAM in Houston.

    What’s your art-world pet peeve?

    Art-world pets.

    What’s your favorite post-gallery watering hole or restaurant?

    There is a mountain spring coming out of a pipe on 19W North, along the Cane River; I’ve stopped there for a sip after a flight from NYC.

    Do you have a gallery/museum-going routine?

    There are no museums close by. I wait for friends to come by and describe what they have seen. I try to take notes.

    What’s the last great book you read?

    “The Last Novel” by David Markson.

    What work of art do you wish you owned?

    “The Mind Landscape of Xie Youyu” by Zhao MengFu.

    What would you do to get it?

    Im already doing what it would take to deserve it, living in occasional isolation along rivers and streams, simultaneously conceptualizing the transformation of suspect political systems through strategic and culture-driven action. But, deserving has nothing to do with it.

    What international art destination do you most want to visit?

    I want to visit them all since I have been to only a few; Le Palais Idéal by Facteur Cheval in Southern France was probably the first. It would be excellent to see all the great cultural constructions and acquisitions that belief and power have manifested. At the same time I want to visit international ship-breaking yards from Texas to Turkey, Bangladesh, China, India, and Pakistan. I’m not into the festering mess that results and I am aware of the sad reports of barefoot human tragedy, but I’m curious to witness the scale of what can be destroyed (transformed) with intention in contrast to what can be created. I imagine how ship-breaking can be applied, physically, to the massive floating islands of plastic in our oceans or, conceptually, to ships of social injustice and oppression that still sail.

    21 Questions for TK and TK Mel Chin

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  • 03/11/14--04:59: Preview: Asia Week New York
  • Preview: Asia Week New York

    Shangri-la has been found—in Manhattan, of all places. On March 14 the cultural mecca transforms into an Asian art heaven where devotees can flock to concurrent gallery shows, museum exhibits, and auctions, all under the banner of Asia Week New York. While it began only seven years ago as a humble gathering of 14 local Asian art dealers, Asia Week has grown to encompass five auctions, 17 institutions, and a record 47 dealers from nine countries, all under the direction of newly appointed chair Carol Conover.

    The heart of this year’s event lies within the galleries that span
30 blocks on the city’s Upper East Side, which are staging exhibitions of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian arts through March 22. “We have brought together many important cultural institutions in the New York area associated with Asian art,” says Conover. Most of the action is clustered around Madison Avenue from 57th Street to 87th Street.

    Longtime participant J.J. Lally & Co., which over the past two decades has helped define the antique Chinese market in the United States, is eschewing the current taste for snuff bottles and jade by sticking to the classics. Lally is featuring antique bronzes from the Daniel Shapiro collection, including a ritual wine vessel from the Shang Dynasty. A few blocks north, Koo New York, one of two Korean participants, is setting up shop in Mark Murray’s 72nd Street gallery with traditional Korean wares, such as a lacquered-wood altar chair from the 18th-century Choson Dynasty.

    Meanwhile, on 78th Street, Joan B. Mirviss, an original cofounder of Asia Week New York with expertise in Japanese art, has paired ink paintings with modern ceramics, including Yagi Kazuo’s asymmetrical, earthy creations. “Japanese ceramics remains one of the most attractive areas of collecting due to its affordability,” Mirviss says. Reflecting the current craze for Himalayan art, Walter Arader will have a selection of Tibetan and Chinese gilt-bronze bodhisattvas from the 15th through the 18th centuries, including a slim-waisted Tibetan goddess Tara. With Asia Week’s gallery sales last year hitting $35 million, the category “continues to grow, and with it the demand in niche markets,” Conover notes.

    For those who prefer the excitement of the auction room, there is no shortage of Asian art action there, either. Christie’s and Sotheby’s dominate with 14 sales across all categories on March 18 and 19, aiming to fetch more than the combined $140 million they brought in during the sales last fall. Bonhams hosts three sales, including two daytime auctions on March 17, one of Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian art, and another of Chinese works from the collection of a single special owner: Zhang Daqian. The artist’s deteriorating eyesight is said to have led to his painterly innovations. On March 19 the house also hosts a Fine Japanese art sale. 

    A version of this article appears in the March 2014 issue of Art + Auction. 

    A gilt-bronze seated figure of the Medicine Buddha.

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    Hofman's Duck to Hit Virginia, Smithsonian Names New Head, and More

    — Hofman’s Duck to Hit Virginia: The next stop for Florentijn Hofman’s wildly popular giant rubber duck will be the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia. The duck is scheduled to float in front of the museum from May 17 to 26 in celebration of its newly renovated building. “I don’t understand how or why this works,” said museum director Bill Hennessey. “But there’s something about this duck that simply makes people happy.[Hampton Roads]

    — Smithsonian Names New Head: Cornell University president and practicing cardiologist David J. Skorton has been named as the new secretary of the Smithsonian and will assume the job in July 2015. Skorton says his first trip to a Smithsonian Museum was to the Museum of Natural History as a boy. “I remember being awed, impressed and excited and slightly scared by some mammal or other. It definitely left an impression on me.” [NYT]

    — Pollock “Mural” Myth Upended: According to new research done by conservators at the GettyJackson Pollock’s “Mural” from 1943 was not actually created overnight. Previously, the 20-foot mural was believed to have been painted in one night’s burst of energy, but the Getty believes it was actually done over several days or weeks. The mural, which is on loan from the University of Iowa Museum of Art, is on view now through June 1. [LAT]

    — Former Bloomberg Architecture Critic Speaks Out: Bloomberg News’s former architecture critic James S. Russell has spoken out to condemn the company’s elimination of culture coverage in favor of luxury and lifestyle content. [James S. Russell]

    — Carolee Schneeman Considers Her Legacy: “My work became a bridge that had to be crossed by young feminists working with their bodies.” — 73-year-old performance artist Carolee Schneeman looks back at her career ahead of her first solo show in the U.K. [The Guardian]

    — Poland’s Most Important Arts Patron: Art collector Grazyna Kulczyk, the richest woman in Poland, talks the art scene in Poland on the occasion of a show of works from her collection in Madrid. [FT]

    — A new program at Williams College loans students artworks from the school’s art museum. [WAMC]

    — The United Arab Emirates have tapped Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi to curate their 2015 Venice Biennale pavilion. [Artforum]

    — Here’s a report from the Bitcoin Art Fair that was staged in San Francisco last week. [Coin Desk]

    ALSO ON ARTINFO

    Armory Focus: China — The Verdict

    VIDEO: The Mythical Furies Come to Life at The Prado Museum

    Preview: Asia Week New York

    Prada Foundation Announces “Art or Sound” at Venice Biennale

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

    Hofman's Duck to Hit Virginia, Smithsonian Names New Head, and More

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  • 03/11/14--12:35: New York
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  • 03/11/14--12:36: New York
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    Barry Friedman Ltd. has been an important presence in the international art market for the past 40 years, bringing 20th century European fine and decorative art works to the attention of the American audience. The gallery presents 6-8 exhibitions a year featuring contemporary art, cutting-edge furniture, studio glass, ceramics, and photography.

    Additionally, we deal in avant-garde painting, works on paper and sculpture from 1900-1940; vintage photography.

     

    Landmark exhibitions presented by Barry Friedman Ltd. have included: Venice. 3 Vision in Glass: Cristiano Bianchin,

    Yoichi Ohira, Laura de Santillana (traveling to Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City; Naples Museum of Art, Florida;

    Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris); Ron Arad: A Retrospective Exhibition 1981-2004; Yoichi Ohira: A Phenomenon in

    Glass; Emergence: Early American Studio Glass & Its Influences: 1964-1989; Fernand Khnopff and the Belgian

    Avant-garde; Tamara de Lempicka; Bernard Boutet de Monvel; Mackintosh to Mollino: Fifty Years of Chair Design;

    The Bauhaus: Masters & Students; Gerrit Rietveld: A Centenary Exhibition; Design Italian Style (furniture of Carlo

    Mollino and Carlo Graffi and important Italian glass), and numerous important photography exhibitions.

     
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  • 03/11/14--12:39: New York
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    Bernard Jacobson Gallery was founded in 1969, publishing and distributing prints by artists including Robyn Denny, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Leon Kossoff, Henry Moore, Richard Smith, Ed Ruscha and William Tillyer.  By the mid 1970s, having established himself as one of the major dealers in prints, Jacobson began to show paintings and sculpture.  The early 1980s saw the gallery open branches in Los Angeles and New York, expanding the range of international artists to include West Coast American artists such as Joe Goode and Larry Bell as well as modern British masters such as David Bomberg, Ivon Hitchens, Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson, William Scott, Stanley Spencer, and Graham Sutherland.  From 1997, the gallery moved more firmly into American and international art, with shows of artists such as Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons and Frank Stella.  Recently, the gallery has held shows by the American artists Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, while European painters include Bram Bogart and Pierre Soulages and British artists William Tillyer, Bruce McLean and Mark Vaux.  In 2004, the gallery moved to 6 Cork Street in London’s Mayfair, uniting Bernard Jacobson Graphics and Bernard Jacobson Gallery under one roof.  Since then, the gallery has held major exhibitions including a two-part examination of Robert Motherwell’s Open Series, the largest showing of the artist’s work in the UK since the 1978 retrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts; a rare selection of works from Helen Frankenthaler’s personal collection; and Bruce McLean’s first London showing of new paintings in over fifteen years.  In 2010, the gallery hosted the first UK exhibition of new work by French painter Pierre Soulages for over thirty years.  In 2011 the gallery opened a new space in New York on East 71st Street with an inaugural exhibition entitled 60 Years of British Art followed by 21 Americans, the latter showing work by major American artists including Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg.    Bernard Jacobson Gallery has a strong presence at major international art fairs participating at Art Brussels, Art Hong Kong, The Armory Show New York, London’s Pavilion of Art and Design, and the prestigious Art Basel where ArtInfo voted it one of the top booths of 2011 for a vast and impressive selection of works by Robert Motherwell. 
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    Addressing art that highlights the ephemerality of earthly pleasures, fragility of life and inevitability of death, “Vanitas: Fashion and Art,” opening March 13 at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami, brings together a tightly curated selection of clothes, photographs, videos and sculptures by the celebrated curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Harold Koda.

    Koda, in conceptualizing his vision for the exhibition, wanted to present “a very concise essay about fashion as a compelling system of obsolescence,” he told BLOUIN Artinfo,” with a haiku-like authenticity and elegance.”

    Fashion is just one method he employs to play on the original idea of vanitas as 17th century Dutch still-life paintings containing symbols of death or change as a reminder of their inevitability, because “most designers don’t think about this. Fashion as a discipline wants to project beauty, luxury, and all the positive aspects of life, even though within the system there is a built-in transience. It’s meant to engage you into buying a fantasy about the present. Someone like Alexander Mcqueen is a rarity: He had a dark, romantic sensibility that was able to integrate these heavier questions about existence while somehow making fashion light objects.”

    Koda opens the exhibition with a Schiaparelli jacket (ca. 1989-1939) with beautiful Lesage embroidery and gold rococo hand mirrors with broken glass. 

    “It really invites you to look at a woman’s breasts, but what you see is a fractured reflection of yourself. It’s a weird kind of optical armor, with the mirror as an unrelenting reflection of the passage of time,” he explained. “Broken wine glasses were very specific symbols in true vanitas still lifes, while [this is a play] on the importance of mirrors in vanity.”

    The exhibits following the opening number have largely been organized as a series of juxtapositions, one of which, for example, puts Shaune Leane’s “Spine” corset for McQueen — a steel and black leather spine with rib cage and a tail — against Jason Salavon’s “Still Life (Vanitas),” a four-hour long video by a skull morphing through animal-types including bear, human, baboon, and boar.

    In another pairing, Damien Hirst’s “St. Peter’s” (2007) conveys “a weird conflation of spirituality through both natural history and religion,” said Koda, while a butterfly dress from Sarah Burton’s first collection for Alexander McQueen (Spring/Summer 2011) — which appears to be floating off the ground toward the ceiling — shows how the DNA of the label (whose founder hung himself in 2010) is channeled “through the lens of someone whose imagery is much more poetic, romantic and optimistic, not framed toward the shadowed corners of the psyche, but bringing everything into light.”

    Koda further explained: “What becomes clear in the juxtapositions is that… the fashion works have a different kind of way of engaging the viewer, because they’re alluding to darker issues, but they’re filtered through a sensibility of the exquisite, the elegant and the beautifully crafted. With fashion, there’s a mediating principle of aesthetics that tames the morbid aspects of the theme [that is not present in] the artworks.”

    Other fashion highlights include a large, 24-inch poppy hat made by milliner Philip Treacy for Jasper Conrad and a poppy-print dress by Isaac Mizrahi  — both reminding Koda of the red-and-black flower’s symbolism of war and remembrance — as well as a 3D-printed corset by Iris Van Herpen.

    Other contemporary art highlights include a series of photographs by artist Pinar Yolaçan of older British women wearing garments made of sagging animal flesh, which Koda reads as a statement on the modification of a woman’s body and the expiration of vanities, and a print of Ori Gersht's “Blow Up: Untitled 1, 2007”.

    All told, Koda wants show-goers to feel that everything is open to interpretation. “I want a few things that will be a surprise to some people,” he said. “It’s about the subjectivity of the viewer, not the intentionality of the creator.”

    To see highlights from "Vanitas: Fashion and Art," click on the slideshow.

    Vanitas: Fashion and Art Opens at Bass Museum
    Iris van Herpen's "Ensemble" and Ori Gersht's "Blow Up: Untitled 1"

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    British Museum Looks at Vikings' Place in History

    The Vikings are returning. Right now in Britain all things Scandinavian are fashionable, from television drama to political theories. So “Vikings: Life and Legend” (through June 22) at the British Museum catches the zeitgeist. 

    However, it must be admitted that it lacks the dark excitement of Nordic TV mysteries such as “The Killing.” The show — the first in the BM’s new temporary exhibition galleries — corresponds more to another set of clichés about Scandinavia: efficient, thorough, just a little dull. On the other hand, it contains some spectacular exhibits — including the remains of the largest Viking boat ever discovered.

    This, known as Roskilde 6, was found in Denmark in 1996, and dates from around 1025. At over 37 meters long, it is the biggest vessel to survive from the Viking age. Its beautiful lines contain a clue to the Vikings’ success. Like many booms throughout history, the Viking age — the period covered by the BM show runs from 800 to 1050 AD — was built on technology: in this case, a better boat, lighter, shallow enough to traverse rivers yet sufficiently seaworthy to navigate oceans. This was what enabled the Vikings to cross the Atlantic, sail up the Seine to plunder Dark Age Paris, and down the rivers of Russia to settle — topically — in Kiev.

    Only a fifth of the original timber of Roskilde 6 survives, so most of what you see is an elegant modern reconstruction: the ghost of a ship. The Vikings are like that — not too much survives to look at. True, there is plenty of jewellery on show, precious metals lasting better than most materials in the damp northern climate. The most eye-catching of these items is a neck-ring of plaited gold that originally weighed some two kilograms, suggesting the wearer was prepared to suffer to look rich. There are also quantities of weapons, some decorated. But personally I find that after a while I’ve seen enough brooches, necklaces, and rusted swords. As art, the most powerful things on show are carved chess pieces found on the island of Lewis in Western Scotland. These tiny, fierce figures stare angrily ahead, biting their shields in the manner of the “berserkers,” warriors who fought in a frenzied trance.

    Most Viking objects, made of perishable materials such as cloth, must have rotted long ago. The display includes some battered relics of wood, and — most grippingly  — bone. The single exhibit that most bears out the Vikings’ grim reputation — as Dark Age Hell’s Angels with battle-axes — is a jaw bone, its teeth carefully filed so that that they could be decorated with colored stripes.

    This fearsome dental ornamentation was probably complemented with tattooing. In the exhibition the grinning and serrated jaw is topped off with a helmet, giving a vivid impression of a person you would very much not want to come knocking on your door in the 9th century. Nearby, a pile of early 11th-century bones excavated in Dorset demonstrates that the Vikings did not have it all their own way. These were apparently the remains of a raiding party, all of whom had been beheaded, the skulls piled neatly to one side (the man with the striped teeth was one of these).

    The Vikings had an image problem in the Dark Ages. The histories were written by monks — an easy target for raiders — who regarded them understandably enough as barbaric heathens. But were the Vikings really so ferociously piratical, forever raping and pillaging? Or were they, as revisionist historians have argued, more likely to be peaceful farmers and traders? The book accompanying the exhibition hints the truth may lie in between. Most 9th- and 10th-century Scandinavians stuck to agriculture, but some — as that jaw bone proves — certainly lived up to the sacking and ravaging stereotype.

    The British Museum exhibition makes the case that the Vikings hold an important place in history. But not every historical epoch is equally easy to display in visual terms. Although there is plenty of interesting information to absorb here, and some striking things to see, the Vikings do not quite come to life. Perhaps, in the case of the man with the teeth and the berserkers, that’s not such a bad thing.

    Roskilde 6 at the British Museum's "Vikings: Life and Legend."

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    Prada Marfa Vandalized, Manifesta 10 Sticks with Russia, and More

    — Prada Marfa Vandalized: Elmgreen & Dragset’s Prada Marfa was extensively vandalized with graffiti on the exterior and bullet holes in the windows over the weekend. Though the installation has been subject to interventions before, Ballroom Marfa director Melissa McDonnell Luján said this attack had a malevolent edge and caused more damage than usual. “The adobe walls are covered in a pigmented stucco, thus we might not be able to simply repaint,” said Luján.” There is significant damage to the awnings, which means they will have to be replaced and there was glue applied to the poly-carbonate windows, which can’t be scraped. After speaking with our insurance agent we will be estimating damage but we expect it to easily exceed our annual maintenance budget.” [TANMarfa Public Radio]

    — Manifesta 10 Sticks with Russia: Despite protests about its location, the art biennial Manifesta has announced that it is still planning to hold its 10th edition in Russia. The Kasper König-curated edition will open at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg on June 28. “We were invited by the State Hermitage Museum to investigate the notion of contemporary art and culture in a contested society, and we think it is necessary to continue to do so under the current circumstances,” said a statement signed by König, Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky, and Foundation Manifesta director Hedwig Fijen. [AiA]

    — France Returns Three Nazi-Looted Works: After dragging their feet on the restitution of Nazi-looted art for years, the French culture ministry returned three works in a ceremony in Paris on Tuesday. The return was timed to the release of George Clooney’s “Monuments Men,” which comes out in Paris theaters today. The handover “demonstrates the determination of the state and France to continue the restitution of artworks,” said French culture minister Aurelie Filippetti. [NYT]

    — U.S. Curators Paid Better than U.K. Counterparts: Higher salaries in New York are enticing London curators to move across the pond. [TAN]

    — Penny on Shrigley: “It looks to me like something pretty close to a big joke. So it’s witty. But do we want limericks being confused with epics?” — National Gallery director Nicholas Penny isn’t too keen on David Shrigley’s Trafalgar Square fourth plinth proposal. [Telegraph]

    — New Cézanne Catalogue Online: A new Paul Cézanne catalogue raisonné, funded by David Nash of Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery, will be available online in its entirety. [ARTnews]

    — After a six-year, $350 million renovation, the Harvard Art Museums are set to reopen this November. [Boston Globe]

    — Bill Cunningham’s photos from the 1970s are going on view at New York Historical Society. [DNAinfo]

    — 67-year-old artist Alice Aycock’s cyclone-shaped sculptures are now installed along Park Avenue. [NYT]

    ALSO ON ARTINFO

    VIDEO: Sibylle Szaggars Redford Presents an Homage to Earth at YoungArts

    21 Questions for Conceptual Artist and Dirt Collector Mel Chin

    British Museum Looks at Vikings’ Place in History

    Yoko Ono Tapped For Folkestone Triennial

    Curator Gets “Sandwiched” in Brooklyn

    2015 Venice Biennale Moves to May

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

    The vandalized Prada Marfa.

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    "Teenage" Riot: Q&A With Director Matt Wolf

    “Teenage,” the new film from Matt Wolf (“Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell”), is a quietly hypnotizing portrait of a forgotten period with contemporary resonances buzzing through its every frame. The film uses Jon Savage’s massive tome of the same name, a pre-history of teenage rebellion and unrest, as its foundation, and from there it constructs — using a combination of archival footage and recreations, as well as multiple narrators, including actors Jena Malone and Ben Whishaw — a mosaic of the collective teenage experience, told through the lives of its earliest iconoclasts. 

    In a conversation with ARTINFO, Wolf discussed his discovery of the source material, how punk rock’s cut-and-paste aesthetic influenced the film, and the importance of making the past feel new again.

    Let’s start with Jon Savage’s book, which is packed with historical information. When did you first discover it?

    Well, I was a Jon Savage fan. I read, “England’s Dreaming” in college and I think one of my main interests is hidden histories and forgotten biographies. That’s one of the main things I make films about. So when I heard about Jon’s book “Teenage” I was intrigued by the notion of a pre-history. I never thought of that as a model for looking at culture. I think it’s interesting that there’s this thing that we’ve all experienced, that we all know, but there’s an entire unfamiliar or hidden pre-history. So that intrigued me, but then I found that his book was just littered with all these biographies of these fascinating, obscure teenage figures. I thought, wow, there’s like 25 movies in here. One major impression I had was I felt that his punk perspective was coloring his depiction of the early 20th-century history, and I thought, what if I try to make a historical documentary that’s also imbued with this punk perspective? What if I try to make a panoramic, multi-decade historical film?

    When you ask yourself those questions and decide to embark on the project, where do you start? Are you pulling text from the book? Are you immediately looking for images, or building a structure?

    It’s not a book you outline and make a film out of. For us, we created a rule, which was that any story we told had to have a strong basis in actual archival footage. So our whole process began with archival research. So instead of making an outline for the film, we made a list of topics that we thought could be included in the film and gave that to an archival researcher. We worked really closely with our lead archival researcher, Rosemary Rotondi, and she sourced an incredible body of footage for us and then enlisted researchers in Washington, D.C. at the National Archives, and in Germany and England. All this footage came in and I went over to Wales, where Jon is based, and we watched the footage together and identified different things within it — things we liked, things that were opportunities for storytelling, things we didn’t like. We would keep refining these lists of topics that would go to the researcher and we developed our outline based on what we could find.

    In terms of writing the film, the idea originally would be that Jon would narrate it, that it would be more of a traditional essay film, from his voice. In Wales, I went to a recording studio and recorded voice over with him but it just didn’t work. Understandably, he speaks with authority of an expert, and he’s an older British person. It just felt like it was killing the spirit of the material a little bit. I started to realize I wanted to break down these conventions of expertise that you find in a historical documentary. We had the idea, what if we record some subjective quotes from the point of view of youth? Another director connected me with the actress Jena Malone and I did an experiment with her in a studio, and she brought the quotes to life. I thought, this is a different narration that I haven’t heard in a film before, and what if we create a script that’s entirely framed subjectively and jumps between these different regional perspectives and genders and creates this kind of global youth perspective.

    I’m interested in this idea of a collective voice of youth.

    A Greek chorus.

    Exactly. And in other interviews, you’ve talked about this idea of the film as a “living collage,” which I think the polyphonic narration is an essential component of.

    Yeah, early on I had I had this idea of the film being imbued with a punk aesthetic and I didn’t really know what that meant. But I was talking with Jon about that idea and he remembered in the 1970s in England, as he was first observing and participating in punk, he saw young kids taking thrift clothes from previous generations and youth cultures — rocker suits and zoot suits — and literally cut up those clothes and reassemble them with safety pins into something that felt contemporary and new. He called that living collage at the time, and that felt like a really beautiful premise to me, that you could pick and choose these aspects of the past and rescramble them into something that’s totally new and reflects on the present. In the formal sense, that’s literally what we did — in terms of the narration, sampling all these firsthand quotes from teenagers, from diaries and written testimonies, but also visually, combining all of these clips, images of youth from the past, and kind of remixing them into something that’s a contemporary work that’s meant to use the past as a means to reflect on these things today.

    The form of the film slips between these different modes. There is archival footage, but it also has footage you shot to make look like archival footage; it has real diary entries, but read by actors. You use this Judy Garland song in the film, “In Between,” which speaks to the experience of youth, which the film also mirrors formally.

    That’s interesting, nobody has thought of that. To me, I think of the quality of the film as being dreamlike, which feels true to the adolescent experience. That dreaminess is a mix of fantasy and reality, in a sense. In terms of using recreations in the film, I see it as something I did out of necessity. I wanted to telescope into the experiences of a few individuals, and there’s such a global panoramic cultural history happening [in the film] that I thought these beats of individual stories were really important. But like I said, I’m interested in hidden histories and forgotten youth, and these characters were not filmed or documented — there was maybe three photos of Brenda Dean Paul, otherwise nothing — so I needed to do unconventional portraiture to bring those characters to life. It’s my filmmaking style to shoot recreations that don’t look like “Unsolved Mysteries,” but are informed by the actual archival footage from the period.

    It blends quite seamlessly. I’m curious how you view the film coexisting within the industry of nostalgia, especially for youth?

    Have you read Simon Reynolds’s book “Retromania”?

    I have.

    I disagreed with the argument in that book.

    Concerning the feedback loop of retro nostalgia preventing us from moving forward?

    Yeah, it was a very hard-lined, Clement Greenberg-style argument that a fascination with the past and retro culture is completely destroying the possibility of innovation. I was on board for the first part of that book but then I started to strongly disagree and started to recognize, in my own work in other peoples’ works, it’s a combination of retro nostalgia and innovation that’s happening simultaneously, which feels really organic.

    I think a lot of times things that deal with history are targeted for an adult, baby-boomer or older audience. This film is designed for a much younger, different kind of audience. A couple of journalists I’ve spoken to, and young people who have seen the film, have said this material feels so new. That’s an interesting and provocative experience. To take something that’s so old and to treat it in a way that makes the material feel new. 

    Rose Schlossberg, Elizabeth Raiss, and Alden Ehrenreich in a still from "Teenage

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