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    LONDON — There is a film at the opening of the enormous and ebullient exhibition “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs” at Tate Modern (April 17-September 7). It shows the great man busy at an activity on which he had spent much of his long life: drawing. However, he is not doing so with pen, charcoal, or pencil — but with a pair of scissors. And that made all the difference. In his late 70s and early 80s, Matisse discovered a novel medium, not quite like painting, drawing, or low relief. Essentially he was making works out of segments of colored paper pre-painted by assistants.

    These cut-outs were a daring development for such a venerable artist, so late in his career. Even as his life ebbed away, Matisse (1869-1954) continued to be hugely excited about the possibilities of his discovery, filled with ambition and immensely productive. Giacometti, who drew Matisse’s portrait during the old man’s last summer, commented that he was moved to see “a great artist still so absorbed in trying to create when death was at his door... when there was no longer time.”

    One of the striking things about this exhibition is that the scale and the daring of the works increase as you walk around, almost until the end. “The Snail” (1953) is effectively an abstract, though as Matisse was careful to explain, an abstraction “rooted in reality.” He had begun by drawing and observing a real mollusc, then it slowly morphed into a “purified sign for a snail,” “an unfolding” in which irregular, roughly rectangular chunks of color seem to turn though space — mauve, green, yellow, orange, blue, and black (the last of which Matisse famously insisted was a color too). It’s majestically stable yet full of movement.

    The same is true of “Memory of Oceania” (summer 1952-early 1953), except this is yet looser and more dynamic — evoking the experience of diving into tropical waters, as Matisse himself had in 1930 when he travelled to Tahiti and swam among corals and brightly colored fish. A number of the cut-outs have that hidden wistfulness: they are images of movement and energy, created by an elderly artist confined to a wheelchair. But you would scarcely guess it, from these reflections of joie de vivre.  

    It was no accident that Matisse made that pilgrimage to the South Pacific in the footsteps of Gauguin. For much of his career he wrestled with an idea that begins with a picture such as Gauguin’s “Vision After the Sermon” (1888). That is: how to make space and volume not with perspective and shadows, but out of pure color. In the series of Blue Nudes from 1952, Matisse does exactly that with amazing economy and force. Simply by cutting lines and contours in a piece of paper, he creates three-dimensional bodies with a melodic flow of limbs and air circulating around them.

    In the films on show, you can watch as Matisse snips rapidly and fluently around a form, in a process which felt so free and daring that he once compared it to flight. You could think of the results — a mosaic of paper shapes, eventually glued to a background — as very thin sculpture. The three dimensional aspect is important, though it’s only a matter of a milometer or two: paper-thin. You can see that early on in the exhibition by comparing the maquettes for the illustrated book “Jazz” (1947) with the final printed version. The original cut-outs have much more punch and presence, as Matisse himself acknowledged.

    In old age, Matisse was anticipating the future in several ways. Effectively, in the initial stages when the colored forms were simply pinned to the walls of his rooms in Nice, the cut-outs were installations — long before that term was invented. “The Snail” is effectively an example of color-field abstraction, an avant-garde movement represented by American painters such as Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland; but in 1953 it didn’t yet exist. The late Anthony Caro was happy to accept the description “Matissey” for his own work of the 1960s, made of welded steel, painted in strong colors.

    The Tate exhibition itself would have benefitted from at touch of another art movement of the ’60s: minimalism. Especially early on in the show, there are moments when the sheer numbers of small colorful and euphoric works on display jangle and cancel each other out. There is such a thing as too much joie de vivre.

    Emotionally, the cut-outs might seem unremittingly upbeat. However, there were plenty of dark notes in Matisse’s own life. His marriage broke up in 1939; the following year he barely survived an operation that left him an invalid. His daughter Marguerite fought for the French Resistance and was captured, tortured, and narrowly escaped death at the hands of the Nazis. But the point of his art, as far as Matisse was concerned, was not to reflect tragedy and suffering, but to escape into a world of exuberant light and form. In that he was hugely successful. These late works were a triumph: Matisse’s own internal victory over illness and age.

    An Artist's Triumph: Henri Matisse's Cut-Outs at Tate Modern
    Henri Matisse's "The Horse, the Rider, and the Clown," 1943-44, currently on vie

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    Designed in the style of a Moorish fort, Muscat’s Al Husn and its private beach offer Oman’s most extravagant stay option.

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    While the neighboring cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE get most of the attention, Muscat offers perhaps the most authentic experience of the Gulf region, offering history, charm and rugged landscapes from the coast to the inland mountains and deserts.

    Designed in the style of a Moorish fort, Muscat’s Al Husn offers the Sultanate of Oman’s most extravagant stay option, tucked away with its private cove and beaches about 20 minutes drive from the capital. Part of the Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, and directly translated as “The Castle,” its palm trees, water features and Portuguese influenced architecture recall the Alhambra, with views of rugged mountains as a backdrop.

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    Oman is the calmer cousin of its commercial neighbors, and Al Husn matches that vibe – luxurious but never ostentatious. It’s actually has two sister hotels, Al Bandar (The Town) and Al Waha (The Oasis), though while both are a short stroll within the same 124 acre grounds, they have a very different feel. Al Husn stands very much on its solid grounds, on a hill overlooking both a sand beach, and a garden beach.

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    Al Husn describes itself as embodying “the true essence and mystique of Arabia, steeped in history and myth, from Sinbad the Sailor to the Queen of Sheba.” And from the beautifully curved arches that begin at its entrance, through Persian rugs underfoot and Arabic scents in the air, the atmosphere is indulgent without ever being overpowering.

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    180 rooms, each of 48 square meters all include a terrace or balcony, most overlooking the Sea of Oman, of which the hotel claims 600 meters of coastline. The best swimming though is in its picturesque pool, surrounded by palms.

    The pool isn’t the only water feature on the property of note though, it also has a horizontal water flume on which to ride a float and slowly meander at the water’s own pace around the property.

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    As well as Al Husn’s private cove, ideal for relaxation in front of the dramatic rock formations, it has its own dive center for beginners and professionals, and boats for fishing. Dolphin and whale watching tours are an unexpected service, but the sunset tours are the most popular.

    One beach, protected from guests, is used by visiting turtles, who bury their eggs, allowing their young ones to crawl from the sands back into the sea without harm.

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    Incredibly, Al Husn and its extended property, including the two sister hotels, has 21 restaurants. No shortage of options means never really needing to leave the premises.

    While consistent throughout, and including Lebanese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian and South American, the pick of the bunch is perhaps the Moroccan restaurant Shahrazad. Romantically lit at night, the slow-cooked stew of the specialty Lamb Tajine Tfaya is the top choice, complimented by imported Morrocan wine.

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    The hotel first opened seven years ago, and its reputation has only improved with time.  “We are honoured to have received numerous international awards and achieve high recognition in the market,” says General Manager Mark Kirk.

    “When combining our delivery of Shangri-La’s legendary hospitality from the heart together with the warm welcome and hospitality of the Omani people, it is an unbeatable combination.”

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    Al Husn guests are treated to several special complimentary activities. A large outdoor platform plays host to afternoon tea with cakes, overlooking the main beach area. Then in the evening, pre-dinner cocktails and snacks warm up guests as the sun goes down.

    Live music is provided by local musicians on traditional instruments, ensuring an authentic feel to the hotel experience. Then, in-room, complimentary iPods are prepared with a personalised music selection,

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    For those looking for pure relaxation, and revitalization Al Husn is prepared with the CHI spa. Ostensibly based on Chinese philosophy, the 12 treatment villas at the spa uses local, naturally grown Omani ingredients, such as frankincense. Frankincense has long been known for its anti-ageing and healing powers and is mixed in to oils and clay for the treatments. It is mixed with rose for a Frankincense and Rose Wrap.

    Male and female hammams with steam room and bathing sections are worth a trip just to view the mosaic tiling and fountains alone.

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    The atmosphere of Oman is all around at Al Husn, where camels wander the beach with their masters, and an Omani Heritage Village showcasing the country’s history and culture in the grounds. The village is supported by the Bait Al Zubair Foundation and the Omani Craft Authority, which helps to ensure its authenticity, while next door, the Al Mazaar Souk sells local wares.

    Art lovers will find particular enjoyment at the Art Gallery, a collaboration with the Bait Al Zubair Museum, which presents rotating local exhibitions, including photographs of Omani culture, by local artists.

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    Bed Down in a Castle at Al Husn in Oman
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    Pharrell Curates at Perrotin, Mana Launches Selling Show, and More

    — Pharrell Curates Perrotin Show: Emmanuel Perrotin has tapped musician Pharrell Williams to curate a show at his new Paris gallery. Titled “G I R L” — also the name of Pharrell’s new album — the show will feature “images of women and of love” by Tracey EminAlex KatzDaniel Arsham, and 29 others. “I’m like a student when I’m with visual artists, I love to learn from them. Artworks teach you how to live and think differently,” Pharrell said. [TAN]

    — Mana Launches Selling Show: Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary is launching a new selling show called “Mana Exposition,” which will take place three times a year. Run by Cornell DeWitt, former Pulse fair director, the show claims to be “neither an art fair nor a pop-up gallery.” The first exposition, “All the Best Artists Are my Friends, Part 1,” will take place during Frieze week. [AiA]

    — Fairey Among Rubenstein’s Creditors: Court documents recently filed in the Perry Rubenstein gallery bankruptcy case reveal artists Shepard FaireyGeorg Herold, and Zoe Crosher to be among those who the gallery owes money. According to the filing, Fairey is owed $159,000, Crosher is owed $105,000, and Herold is owed $364,000. “The documents are accurate. We’re obliged to file accurate documents,” Rubenstein said. “These are all matters that are being resolved civilly and, hopefully, expeditiously.” [LAT]

    — Bristol Takes Banksy: The city of Bristol has seized the Banksy that was previously seized by a youth club in the city. [The Guardian]

    — GIF Award Announced: Brooklyn-based creative director Christina Rinaldi’s GIF has won the first ever Motion Photography Prize awarded by Saatchi Gallery and Google+. [CNN]

    — Film Follows Master Forger: “Art and Craft,” a film about master forger Father Arthur Scott, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival this week. [The Daily Beast]

    — MoMA will have a retrospective of Robert Gober this October. [NYT]

    — Sotheby’s has released an investor update presentation in reaction to Daniel Loeb’s attacks this week. [AMM]

    — Pace and Axel Vervoordt are opening Hong Kong outposts timed to debut with Art Basel there. [TAN]

    ALSO ON ARTINFO

    An Artist’s Triumph: Henri Matisse’s Cut-Outs at Tate Modern

    14 Questions for Site-Responsive Sculptor Virginia Overton

    Milan’s Safe Bet: Midcentury Reissues at Salone del Mobile

    Artists Ball Celebrates All Things Brooklyn

    Kasper Konig Talks Curating in Russia

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

    Pharrell Curates Perrotin Show

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    Will "Orphan Black" Break Out in Season 2?

    Have you seen “Orphan Black?” I’m guessing not. Many people don’t know it exists. But that’s slowly beginning to change. The sci-fi drama, whose second season premieres on BBC America on April 19, has been given a major marketing push from the network. In New York City, the name of the show whizzes past on public busses, and it’s near-impossible to walk into a subway station without seeing a poster featuring the face, or rather faces, of the show’s star, Tatiana Maslany. More people have been talking about this show than ever before, which prompted me to take a look at the first season a few weeks ago, just to see what all the chatter was about.

    I became obsessed. I cancelled my plans on a Sunday and watched all 10 hours in a single day, pretty much back to back. When I emerged it was dark, my legs were cramped, I was hungry, and I was certain I had just seen the best television series to come out in a long while.

    Set in an unnamed Canadian city, “Orphan Black” opens with Sarah Manning, a down on her luck punk rock mom who’s returned after a long disappearance, ready to make a quick drug deal and take back the daughter she left behind. On a train station platform outside the city, she catches eyes with a stranger who looks just like her moments before witnessing the woman jump to her death in front of an approaching train. Making a quick decision to grab the woman’s purse, Sarah opens the wallet and is startled by the driver’s license photo — the resemblance is uncanny, as if she’d just discovered a long-lost identical twin.   

    Thus begins the central mystery of the show, and one that continues throughout the first 10 episodes. As the season progresses, Sarah finds out the harrowing truth — there is more than one woman who looks exactly like her, and together they piece together the puzzle of their origins.

    What at first might seem like a gimmick manages to escape any kind of Eddie Murphy-style ridiculousness. Maslany, who plays at least five different characters in the first season (and likely more in the second), makes the transition from one character to the next, often played together in a single scene, practically seamless. It’s easy to forget you’re watching the work of one actress, and even more remarkable when the only difference between the characters is often a slightly altered hairstyle or speech pattern.  

    The relentless pace of the show helps keep your mind off the multiple-character trick as well. The story jumps from one moment to the next, leaving very little room for unnecessary material over its brief (for American television) season. And like so much great science fiction, part of the reason “Orphan Black” works is because the narrative is rooted in a world we recognize and experience, not fantasy but a mysterious reality.

    The first season, which answered quite a few of the questions posed throughout the episodes, was still left opened ended. But the most pertinent question still remains: Will people finally begin to watch “Orphan Black” or is it destined to be a cult show forever?

    The second season of “Orphan Black” premieres on April 19 at 9 p.m. on BBC America.

    Tatiana Maslany, star of Orphan Black.

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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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    Perhaps due in part to the sunnier weather, the cloud of economic gloom that hung overhead during Milan’s 2013 Salone del Mobile was decidedly less pronounced this time around. The Rho Fairgrounds felt more robust and more cheerful, overflowing with new releases and, particularly among the Italian brands, a plethora of midcentury reissues.

    “Nineteen-fifties Italian style is joyful, energetic, and multi-functional,” Cedric Morisset, head of the design department at Paris’s Piasa auction house, recently told ARTINFO during an interview in his showroom. Midcentury designs, developed after World War II to fill a surge of newly constructed urban spaces, are efficient by nature, and their compactness and modularity perfectly address our current needs for space efficiency. More importantly, they’re far less of a gamble.

    “It’s safer than having a young designer to work on a specific project,” Morisset continued, referring to the still dismal economic climate in Milan. After surveying last week’s festivities in that city, this reporter stopped by a well-timed exhibition of 1950s and ’60s Italian design at Morisset’s Paris auction house, and found an uncanny resemblance between his secondary market wares and the new launches we had just seen at Salone. “When you have the drawings and the name and the techniques already developed, it’s much easier for marketing. Honestly, I think that new design comes when the economy is good,” he said.

    Poltrona Frau, of which Michigan-based brand Haworth acquired a majority stake in February, was one of several Italian brands in on this revival trend. During the fair, the company launched the Albero, a clever, pole-mounted revolving bookcase designed in the 1950s by late Italian architect Gianfranco Frattini, as well as Gastone Rinaldi’s 1953, single-shell DU30 chair, reissued with its original visible screws as an homage to Rinaldi’s design. Sister company Cassina went into the archives of Simon, a midcentury brand founded in 1968 by the late Dino Gavina, and resurrected works by modernist greats Marcel Breuer, Kazuhide Takahama, and Gavina himself, as well the 1952 Mexique Table and swiveling 1943 Indochine Chair from Charlotte Perriand’s lusted-after estate. Molteni & C paid homage to Gio Ponti with a full exhibition of his works in its showroom, along with the reissue of two chairs from his 1970 Casa Adatte manifesto. Kartell reissued its midcentury and more recent past in new metallic finishes, gilding Anna Castelli Ferrieri’s 1969 modular Componibili storage system and Philippe Starck’s 2009 Master’s Chair in silver and gold.

    Of course, it wasn’t just the Italians. Scandinavia, the world’s other capital of design, had plenty of throwbacks of its own. Denmark’s Carl Hansen & Søn relaunched Hans Wegner’s 1963 Shell Chair with new Paul Smith-designed Maharam upholstery, while fellow Danish brand Fritz Hansen revived Arne Jacobsen’s 1958 Drop Chair. Finland’s Artek, co-founded by the late great Alvar Aalto in 1935 and acquired by German brand Vitra in 2013, launched three reissues of Aalto icons — the 400 and 401 Armchairs, designed in 1936 and 1932, plus the 1933 Stool 60 — in soft new colorways by Vitra art director and newly appointed Artek creative director Hella Jongerius.

    “I don’t have to constantly be creating the new,” Jongerius recently told Disegno Daily. “I like to refresh classics, because I believe that you don’t need to create new stuff all the time.” She has a point. The midcentury was a golden age of design in Italy and around the globe. As the world’s capital of design struggles financially, the show must go on, and better to do so with well-worn, proven classics than a proliferation of wares that may come and go. That’s the last thing the design world needs now. 

    Milan's Safe Bet: Midcentury Reissues at Salone del Mobile
    Salone del Mobile - Milano 2014

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    The Austrian city of Salzburg is famous for being many things: the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the setting for “The Sound of Music,” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its Baroque architecture. But for gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac, of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, it is the mix of the old and new in the city that is its most alluring quality.

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    The Austrian city of Salzburg is famous for being many things: the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the setting for “The Sound of Music,” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its Baroque architecture. But for gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac, of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, it is the mix of the old and new in the city that is its most alluring quality. He’s partial, for instance, to the Unipark, a campus in the University of Salzburg in the medieval district of Nonntal. Designed by Hannover-based architectural firm Storch Ehlers Partner, the building is, as Ropac describes it, “a most successful synthesis of contemporary and audacious architecture in historic surroundings.” Meanwhile, his favorite Baroque masterpiece is the Hellbrunn Castle, near Morzg, a southern district of Salzburg. Built between 1613 and 1619 by Italian architect Santino Solari on commission from Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, and named for the "clear spring" that supplied it, the castle is just 20 minutes from the city’s center, putting it at a handy distance when one is craving a long walk or bicycle ride. Personally, Ropac prefers to jog the route, each time he is in town.

    HOTEL SACHER

    Schwarzstraße 5-7, 5020 Salzburg; 43 (0) 662 889770

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    For the best place to pick up some new threads, Ropac recommends Dantendorfer—a multi-label boutique for men and women stocking brands like Fratelli Rossetti, Tory Burch and Charles Philip—and Dschulnigg for luxury accessories. Since its founding in 1946, the store, being also a purveyor of hunting apparel and rifles, has drawn high-profile clients such as His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales. If you’re looking for sartorial souvenirs with a more cultural flavor, look no further than Jahn-Markl for traditional Austrian clothing and world famous hand-stitched lederhosen.

    JAHN-MARKL

    Residenzplatz 3, 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 842610

    DANTENDORFER

    Getreidegasse 33, 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 84326172

    DSCHULNIGG

    Griegasse 8, Salzburg; 43 662 8423760

     

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    Of course, art is never far from the gallerist’s mind, and he heartily recommends visitors to the city to partake of the Walk of Modern Art, a monumental outdoor art project comprising 12 intriguing artworks throughout the city, including Jaume Plensa's Awilda and Marina Abramovic’s interactive "Spirit of Mozart.” There are also works by Anselm Kiefer, Tony Cragg, James Turrell, Mario Merz, and Stephan Balkenhol.

    Otherwise, a good way to get far from the madding crowd is to find peace in the St. Sebastian Church and Cemetery. “It’s a contemplative place—and also where Mozart’s family members have found their final resting place,” said Ropac. (The composer himself is buried in Vienna.)

    Another site off the beaten path is the Hohe Weg—a footpath from Fortress Hohensalzburg alongside the Mönchsberg, with a marvelous view on churches, monasteries, and the Festival District.

    MUSEUM DER MODERNE

    Mönchsberg 32, 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 842220403

    SALZBURG UNIVERSITY

    Ignaz-Harrer-Straße 79, 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 80443800

    SCHLOSS HELLBRUNN

    Hellbrunn, Furstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 8203720

    SEBASTIANSKIRCHE & FRIEDHOF

    Linzer Gasse 41, 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 875208

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    Eating and shopping in Salzburg is a similar mélange of the traditional and modern. Take the Blaue Gans, a modern hotel and contemporary restaurant with walls that are more than 650 years old and a kitchen that would still impress the Habsburgs were they around today, serving up delicious historic Austrian cuisine (like backhendl, or fried breaded chicken).

    BLAUE GANS

    Getreidegasse 41-43 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 842491

    M32

    Mönchsberg 32, 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 841000

    CAFÉ BAZAR

    Schwarzstraße 5-7, 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 874278

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    To unwind, Ropac typically heads to his favorite watering hole: the bar at the ancient Hotel Goldener Hirsch, where many artists are also known to hang out, and where showgoers to the famous Salzburg Festival grab a tipple in between performances. “It’s the best chance to bump into whoever you always wanted to meet,” quipped Ropac, who suggests ordering the Susanne —a vodka-based drink mixed with orange juice and cassis. Legend has it that Susanne was a young girl who used to visit the bar with her parents. While her parents sipped their liquor, she had orange juice. When she turned 13 years old, the bartender added tonic water; when she was 16, Campari, and 18, vodka—which explains the drink’s enduring appeal. As Ropac summed it up: “As the years passed, the drink contained more alcohol than juice...”

    BAR GOLDENER HIRSCH

    Getreidegasse 37, 5020 Salzburg; 43 662 80840

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    Review: Aleksandra Domanović at GoMA

    Aleksandra Domanović’s monumental prints at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow reference a multitude of things at once — science fiction, animation, and real and imagined technologies, to name a few. Even their transparent material, Cuben Fiber, has been specially designed for use in space. But Domanović’s rendering of images from a gendered perspective transports what could otherwise be relegated to the realm of fiction into a social reality.

    As you enter the gallery, the sheer size of the works — if not museum etiquette — will make you wary of disturbing the pieces. However, walking directly through the heavy panelled prints is welcomed, if not encouraged. Pushing the panels aside mimics the act of opening a door, as though the works themselves were taking you on a symbolic journey.

    The first thing to confront visitors is an imposing image of the International Space Station. Domanović explains that the ISS is featured in the film Gravity. It seems odd for something as recognizable as the International Space Station to be qualified by a Hollywood movie appearance, but film criticism, particularly readings of gender theory in animation and sci-fi, informs all of the pieces in this show.

    And yet it is not Gravity that comes to pervade the exhibition (on view through June 1), but rather that 1979 allegory of male sexual anxiety prevalent in the sci-fi film Alien. In the film itself there is an overriding sense of insecurity surrounding a potential future of sexual equality — particularly in its repeated images of childbirth, in which male impregnation not only becomes possible, but results in the birth of grotesque creatures. A fair amount has been written on what Alien conveys about male sexuality in the era of second-wave feminism, and Domanović channels these interpretations.

    In one print, a bluebird from Snow White sits on the shoulder of the robot from Alien, (the film frequently references the Disney cartoon). Snow White pervades Domanović’s works throughout the show, and at the end, she reproduces an infamous rejection letter an aspiring female animator received from Disney in 1938. “Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen,” the letter explains, “as that work is performed entirely by young men.” It becomes clear, then, that this show is a monumental homage to a forgotten female artist.

    A version of this article appears in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Painters magazine. 

    Installation view of Aleksandra Domanović at GoMA.

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    For its second U.S. edition after a blockbuster debut last year, Paris Photo Los Angeles embraces the glamour and grit of its host city. The fine art photography fair sets its stage, quite literally, in the studios of Paramount Pictures, where 80 international galleries bring out the medium’s shining stars April 25 through 27. Take Danziger Gallery, which is presenting work by Jim Krantz, the commercial and fine art photographer whose Marlboro ads Richard Prince appropriated in his “Cowboy” series. Stephen Shore’s “Winslow” suite, capturing the retro Americana of the sleepy Arizona town of the same name in photos all shot on September 19, 2013, occupies the entire booth of 303 Gallery. Debuting this year is a new component occupying the New York Street Backlot, a replica of the Big Apple, which will house solo shows from 15 emerging galleries, such as New York’s Kate Werble, bringing John Lehr, and Ambach & Rice, with Martina Sauter.

    Click on the slideshow to see highlights from Paris Photo Los Angeles.

    A version of this article appears in the April issue of Art+Auction magazine. 

    Preview Highlights From Paris Photo Los Angeles
    Stephen Shore's "Winslow, Arizona, September 19, 2013" at Paris Photo LA

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    In Favor of a “Law & Order: SVU”-Inspired Art Movement

    I once only semi-jokingly suggested that contemporary artists could build a very fruitful practice entirely around the seemingly never-ending police procedural “Law & Order: SVU.” More people suffer from “SVU” addictions than you might expect — normal, intelligent, well-adjusted individuals who just happen to find something soothing or gently exhilarating about this formulaic show, with its cast of cops punning away as the bodies and tragedies pile up. I also continue to have a personal interest in what might, in International Art English, be termed “an ‘SVU’-catalyzed aesthetic”: I’m in the midst of making a series of paintings inspired by the show’s producer, Dick Wolf, who I tend to depict as an abstracted sad clown, simultaneously omnipresent and powerless to stop the eternal flood of awfulness that Olivia Benson and her crew must confront. And I’m certainly not alone in trying to tap this most stalwart of television institutions for something highbrow — or at least weird. Last year, in the “American Reader,” Carmen Maria Machado presented “Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU,” an experimental novella built from concise, poetic recaps of specific episodes. For example:

    “Misleader”: Father Jones has never touched a child, but when he closes his eyes at night, he still remembers his high school girlfriend: her soft thighs, her lined hands, the way she dropped off that roof like a falcon.

    Earlier this year, Rhizome supported a project by Jeff Thompson for which he watched “all 456 episodes of the American crime drama ‘Law & Order,’ tracking the representation of computers throughout the series.” This is, mind you, not “SVU” — and many “SVU” purists simply don’t have time for the other branches of this dysfunctional tree — but the point is that there is indeed a nascent recognition of what the creative community could or should do with “Law & Order”’s raw material. That’s why I was especially thrilled to hear from artist Tommy Kha, who’s working on a video called “Guest Appearance” (below). The short work-in-progress is a Christian Marclayesque collage of clips from “SVU” in which an individual named Tommy is referred to by the cops and other characters. This first cut includes moments from 16 episodes across 15 seasons of “SVU.”

    “The various characters who portray a Tommy ranged from victim to perpetrator to bystander, sometimes a suspect, sometimes an innocent child,” Kha said. “They were never the same person, but I’ve changed that in the video, implying that it is the same person: the same Tommy — with many issues.” While the much-discussed character is never seen in the 1:21 clip, we learn a lot about this adaptable chameleon: Tommy had an alibi, Tommy knows more than he’s telling, Tommy’s pretty traumatized, Tommy’s dead, Tommy was alone for six hours watching her die, Tommy almost died for you, Tommy’s not charged with a crime, and Tommy needs you.

    Kha’s not sure when he first began following the show, but, he said, “it’s something that has been on peripherally, and with anything I watch, I start to invest in its mythos by accident.” He went on to cite forensic examiner Melinda Warner as his favorite “SVU” character: “She had the best lines, like ‘I got shot in the chest, not in the head.’” The future “SVU”-related contours of Kha’s practice are still to be determined. “I do [have future plans to] use ‘SVU’ again,” he said, “perhaps after I figure out how to appear in an ‘SVU’ episode.” That sort of artistic TV-infiltration would put him in good company, of course, part of a lineage that includes Mel Chin, who once created 200 props that were “inserted on the set” of “Melrose Place,” and even James Franco during his “General Hospital” phase.

    So open-minded curators take note: “The SVU Show” is something the world might need, without really knowing it. If exhibitions can be organized around comparatively niche concerns — like cats, or Drake, or pizza, or the color pink— then why not the horrifically heroic efforts of America’s favorite Special Victims Unit?

    Law and Order, Tommy,

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    Queen Poses for 88th Bday, Glafira Rosales Partner Arrested, and More

    — Rosales Partner Arrested: Jose Carlos Bergantiños Diaz, boyfriend of Glafira Rosales and a central figure in the Knoedler forgery scandal, has been arrested in Spain at a luxury hotel in Seville. He is currently being transferred to Madrid and the US is expected to request his extradition. Together with Rosales, Diaz is accused of duping collectors into spending more than $80 million on fake works at Knoedler & Company, among other places. [NYT]

    — Bailey Captures the Queen: British celebrity photographer David Bailey has released an adorable black-and-white portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her 88th birthday. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Queen,” Bailey said. “She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I’ve always liked strong women and she is a very strong woman.” [The Guardian]

    — Lowry Answers Critics: As MoMA begins demolition on the former Folk Art Museum this week, longtime director Glenn Lowry defends his decision to raze the building. “Obviously I’m deeply empathetic to the feelings that that has elicited from a community we really care about,” he said. “On the other hand, sometimes you have to make really tough decisions if you think they’re right. If one’s tenure boils down to a construction program then something fundamental has been missed. And what I think is essential is the collection, the programs and the people.” [NYT]

     — Dispute Over Eisenstaedt Prints: Time Warner, which owned Life magazine, is in a legal battle with the family of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s longtime companion over a group of signed prints. [DNAinfo]

    — Roman Restorations:Bernini’s mid-17th-century Triton’s Fountain in Rome and St. Peter’s Colonnade in Vatican City have recently been restored. [WSJTAN]

    — Group Fights for Corcoran: Save the Corcoran director Jayme McLellan is devoted to preserving the museum’s collection as it merges with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. [WP]

    — Turkish artists are speaking out to condemn Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s censorship. [TAN]

    — “It is so big that by the time you get to the middle, you can’t remember where it started. It’s not a book. It’s really an installation, a piece of art.” — Annie Leibovitz on her new $2,500 limited-edition book. [LAT]

    — The Andy Warhol Museum is lending 50 photos to the new Polaroid Museum in Las Vegas. [Art Daily]

    ALSO ON ARTINFO

    In Favor of a “Law & Order: SVU”-Inspired Art Movement

    Preview Highlights From Paris Photo Los Angeles

    Review: Aleksandra Domanović at GoMA

    VIDEO: Legendary Artist Christo Discusses Major Projects at NeueHouse

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

    A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by the renowned British photographer David Bail

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    An Obsessive's Guide to Cultural References on "Mad Men": Season 7, Episode 2

    Like most fans of “Mad Men,” we tend to be obsessive about the show — no detail is too small to analyze. Series creator Matthew Weiner feeds into this obsession by loading every episode with a long list of reference points — from literature, television shows, music, and more. Each week, we’ll provide a quick and handy guide to the previous episode’s cultural references, from the obvious to the elusive. This week, Don is trudging through an eternal slump reading magazines, we have a mention of a famous New York sports team, and two songs that highlight possible directions for “Mad Men” to take during its final season.

    Look Magazine

    At the beginning of the episode, Don is moping around his apartment. On forced suspension, he now has nothing to do. He wakes up after noon, watches daytime television, and flips through the pages of Look magazine. Created in 1937 (it would cease publication in 1971, two years after the present moment of “Mad Men”), Look was published bi-weekly with an emphasis on large color images. Published in Des Moines, Iowa, it was once considered the second-tier equivalent to Life magazine, and reached a peak circulation of 7.75 million subscribers in 1969. Also of interest: in episode five of the first season, Don replies to his then-wife Betty, after she questions him about his relationship with then-secretary Peggy, “Did you read some terrible article in Look magazine that I should know about?” The implication being that her concerns are based on a trashy story she read in the magazine. Now we know Don reads Look magazine as well.

    New York Knicks

    After taking lunch with another adman who’s trying to get the truth out of Don about his current status within Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce — rumors are being whispered that Don had a breakdown, cried during a meeting, and punched a client — his acquaintance offers the opportunity for both of them to get tickets to see the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. “Bradley’s having one hell of a season,” Don replies. This back and forth may seem innocuous but it’s not. In 1969, the New York Knicks were the hottest team in the National Basketball Association, led by former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, a Rhodes scholar who was already a sensation when he arrived in New York (New Yorker reporter John McPhee wrote a famous article about Bradley during his time at Princeton, which later became the book “A Sense of Where You Are”). In 1970, the Knicks would win their first championship, helping to popularize professional basketball in New York City.

    Pocahontas Boots

    A popular clothing item of the period, a pair of the unfortunately named Pocahontas Boots was typically made of suede — they had soft soles and contained fringe, not unlike a moccasin. They are mentioned by one of Sally’s friends at school who wants to skip out of the funeral of a classmate’s mother in Manhattan to buy a pair in Greenwich Village.

    “Elenore” — The Turtles

    This is the song that plays in the car while Don drives Sally back to school and attempts to lecture her about gallivanting around Manhattan. Produced in 1968, the song reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has an interesting history as its essentially, according to the band, a parody of one of their earlier songs, 1967’s “Happy Together.” Like many bands of the period (the most obvious example being the Monkees), The Turtles were desperately trying to break out of the mold created for them by the record company. This led to their 1968 album, “The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands,” which displayed the group trying on, for lack of a better term, different musical styles. One of these was the bubble-gum schmaltz they perfected a few years earlier, this time mockingly. Unfortunately for the band, the song was misunderstood and became just as popular as its predecessor. 

    “This Will Be Our Year” — The Zombies

    The song that plays over the final moments of the episode is a classic from The Zombies, off their album “Odyssey and Oracle.” It also possibly signals better things to come from Don Draper. “Don’t let go of my hand, now darkness has gone,” the songs lyrics go. “This will be our year, took a long time to come.” Is Don finally escaping his darkness? If this is true, based on the song, it also appears that he is looking for help — “Don’t let go of my hand” — for his final push toward the light. Like the end of the last season, it’s interesting that Don’s path seems to be looking toward his children for answers, but toward what light is he headed?

    Mad Men Season 7, Episode 2

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    Contemporary artists are known for being relentlessly multi-disciplinary, toggling between sculpture, painting, video, and any other media they can wrap their brains around. Furniture has often been a part of that equation, whether it’s as an element within the work (Robert Rauschenberg conscripting a battered chair for a combine) or the work itself (Donald Judd’s barebones tables, shelves, and desks; Jim Drain’s brightly colored benches, recently spotted at the Dallas Art Fair).

    A number of artists currently showing in New York are flirting with their inner interior decorator. At Andrew Kreps through May 10, you can see a series of Judd-simple wooden viewing benches by Marc Camille Chaimowicz, as well as a desk dedicated to Gustave Flaubert, its legs resembling two bulbous quotation marks. At the Whitney Biennial, and at the just-closed Broadway 1602 show, Paul P. presents wooden chairs and seats that are simultaneously skeletal and ornate. At Gladstone Gallery, a concrete-block bench theoretically provides a place to sit and admire monumental photo-wallpaper featuring Sarah Lucas chomping down on a banana. That phallically fixated exhibition is on view through April 26; Lucas also spotlighted more concrete-and-MDF furniture earlier this month with Sadie Coles HQ at the Salone del Mobile furniture fair in Milan. Julian Hoeber adds a cherry wood, white oak, epoxy, and suede chair he designed to a two-person back-gallery exhibition at Zach Feuer, up through May 3. (You might also recall fawning over Hoeber’s “Endless Chair (Bench)” at the since-shuttered Harris Lieberman gallery’s 2012 Frieze booth.)

    And last but not least, it’s good to see that artists aren’t always taking a human-centric view when it comes to furniture. Friedrich Kunath’s excellent, multi-faceted exhibition at Andrea Rosen (on view through April 26) includes a series of sculptures composed of “cat towers,” covered in Persian rugs and decorated with faux-watermelons. 

    Take a Seat in Chelsea: Artists Dabble in Furniture Design
    Installation view of Sarah Lucas' "NUD NOB," including a bench by the artist, at

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    This year feminist art icon Judy Chicago turns 75 and institutions across the country are taking the opportunity to reexamine the spunky septuagenarian’s legacy. Before her birthday in July, she will have had shows open at the Brooklyn Museum, Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary, D.C.’s National Museum of Women in the Arts, the New Mexico Museum of Art, Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art, and Harvard’s Schlesinger Library. Since Chicago was included in 2011’s “Pacific Standard Time,” there’s been a revived interest in her work in finish fetish, minimalism, and performance — fields she isn’t usually associated with.

    “For many, many years I was very happy about the attention that ‘The Dinner Party’ brought me, but it also blocked out the rest of my work,” Chicago told ARTINFO during a recent interview at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan. “That began to change with ‘Pacific Standard Time’ and since then there’s been interest across my career. There’s not a major museum in the world that would accord enough space to a major retrospective of my work, so I’m having a national retrospective. I’m thrilled. It’s a good birthday present, right?”

    In this retrospective year, it’s not just Chicago’s art that deserves more attention. With the publication of her new book, “Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education,” it’s also the perfect time to look at her life-long dedication to feminist education and mentoring other artists. From the beginning, teaching existed side by side with her art practice.

    Chicago is well known as the founder of the first Feminist Art Program at Fresno’s California State University in 1970, which she then moved to CalArts a year later with Miriam Schapiro. With Schapiro she also founded Womanhouse, a collaborative performance space, in 1972. Over the course of her career, Chicago has taught at Indiana University, Duke University, Western Kentucky University, and Vanderbilt University, among other places.

    At the recent press preview for her Brooklyn Museum show, “Chicago in L.A.: Judy Chicago’s Early Work, 1963-74,” a group of around 20 journalists gathered for a tour with Chicago and curator Catherine Morris. Before the tour started, Chicago asked everyone to go around and introduce themselves to the group. Clearly her teacherly sensibility extends outside the classroom.

    “In the later ’60s, she, as a teacher, was very much aware that her own personal experiences working primarily with male teachers in primarily male studio situations negatively impacted her,” Morris said in a phone interview. “She wanted to think about how she could support other female artists as a teacher. Those things come together to form her pedagogy and her ideas for building an independent studio where women artists could work and discover themselves independent of that external pressure to neutralize their gender if they wanted to be successful.”

    One of those students was L.A.-based artist and activist Suzanne Lacy, who earned an MFA from CalArts’s Feminist Art Program in 1973. “Judy was a fabulous teacher,” Lacy said. “She’s very compassionate, connected, and engaged with her students. She takes a deep personal interest in her students’ lives and wellbeing. She understands the mentorship relationship and she has maintained relationships with some of us for years. She influenced my career. I wasn’t going to be an artist. I was going to be a doctor. So her influence led me in the direction of the arts and ultimately creating a career in the arts.”

    Chicago’s latest tome is the result of a lifetime of working as a teacher and mentor. “I am arguing in the book for a complete transformation of university curriculum altogether,” Chicago said. Her pedagogical approach is what she calls “content-based.”

    “Content is not something that is often discussed in university studio art education classes or art history,” she said. “There’s a very famous story from the ’70s: There was a class at Stanford at the beginning of the women’s movement. This male professor is talking about Rubens’s ‘Rape of the Sabine Women’ and there’s this whispering starting in the class. One of them says to the other, ‘Isn’t that a rape?’ and the voices are getting louder. Finally one woman goes, ‘That’s a fucking rape. Why are you talking about the brushstrokes?’ It’s the perfect example of the kind of absence of focus on content.”

    Chicago argues that young artists should first find their content. “I’m advocating that content become part of the focus in helping young people find their own voices,” she said. “The way I teach is that I help people find… their own personal subject matter and then I encourage them and help them find and develop the tools to express that, whether that’s a video or performance or drawing or painting or sculpture.”

    Another goal of the book is to advocate that women’s history and the history of the feminist art movement be fully integrated into mainstream university education. “My interest in institutional erasure also prompted me to write ‘Institutional Time,’ because I was getting all these letters from young women who were telling me they were not learning about women’s art and women’s history, except in sort of ghettoized separate small classes, but certainly not in the mainstream of art history or history,” Chicago said. “The job of institutions is to preserve and pass on culture and history in terms of women’s cultural production and the cultural production of other marginalized groups. They are doing a lousy job. They are failing at that job.”

    Never one to hold back in speaking her mind, Chicago has been a contentious figure, especially within the feminist community. Art critic and activist Lucy Lippard has been friends with Chicago for 50 years and, together with Schapiro, founded the national feminist network West East Bag in 1971.

    “Judy always made it clear that she was a leader (or the leader), while many feminist artists thought the movement should be leaderless and more equally collaborative,” Lippard told ARTINFO in an email. “Some strongly resisted having Judy as their leader because they just didn’t like her work. (That’s allowed.) New Yorkers in particular were on different tracks and resented media lumping everyone in one Chicagoesque category. Judy can be charming and she can be abrasive. She takes no prisoners. She always thought big and dared to stand up against the (mostly male) powers that be, which is why she’s such a role model.”

    Role models like Chicago are still needed. According to Lacy, the art world and art education is greatly lacking in mentorship and women teachers supporting women artists. And Chicago, even in her mid-70s, is as active as ever and continues to fight for equality in the classroom and out.

    “When I was a grad student, a lot of us were real working class and we suffered economically,” Lacy said. “I was earning a living as a carpenter. Judy and I were standing in her living room talking and I said, ‘I’m flat broke. I just don’t have any money and I don’t know what to do.’ She reached in her pocket and pulled out $20, which was probably like $100 today, but she pulled it out and said, ‘It’s all I got now but here.’ She was that kind of really committed person to her students and to the process of becoming an artist.” 

    "She Takes No Prisoners": At 75, Judy Chicago is Still Making Waves
    Judy Chicago

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    Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” at the Metropolitan Opera

    Gioachino Rossini’s “La Cenerentola,” the composer’s famous opera based on Charles Perrault iconic fairy-tale, will enjoy a run at the Metropolitan Opera, April 21 through May 10. The cast features mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in her first Met performance of the lead role, and tenors Juan Diego Flórez and Javier Camarena (whom the New York Times recently said is “as close to a rock star as the Met has produced from its male roster this season”) doubling up as Prince Charming, with Met principal conductor Fabio Luisi at the podium.

    “La Cenerentola,” with a libretto written by Jacopo Ferretti, was Rossini’s follow-up to the successful “Barber of Seville” in 1816. It was first performed at Rome’s Teatro Valle in January 1817, where audiences and critics alike panned it. Rossini reportedly set the music to the libretto in a mere 24 days, essentially writing music at the same time as verses, which led some, including Ferretti himself, to feel that the opera is mediocre and rushed.

    NPR has called“La Cenerentola” one of Rossini’s most humorous operas, “but with a serious side to remind us that the happy ending to Cinderella’s story wasn’t just a gift from some benevolent fairy.”

    Rachelle Durkin as Clorinda, Joyce DiDonato as Angelina, and Patricia Risley as

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