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  • 04/30/14--12:05: Paris
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    Jaimie Warren, “That’s What Friends Are For” at the Hole, through May 4

    Orbiting in a web-obsessed space somewhere between Alex Bag, Ryan Trecartin, Cindy Sherman, and John Waters, Warren’s practice is delightfully gross. For a series of photographic diptychs she dresses up as a cultural icon, and then dresses up as whatever that celebrity resembles, according to “Totally Looks Like” memes. (One of the ballsier works has her posing as Lil’ Wayne, and a gremlin.) A hypnotizingly strange grid of videos sees Warren reenacting animated GIFs. And a film in the back room — a “remake of Fra Angelico’s High Altarpiece of San Domenico in Fiesole,” according to press materials, though it equally brings to mind the jam-packed cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” — is soundtracked by a group rendition of “That’s What Friends Are For” that’ll scar your dreams.

    Michael Manning, “WILD FUSION: Vol. 1—Total Collapse,” at American Contemporary, through June 1

    Do you love the ways in which digital culture affects traditional mediums like painting? Do you have a fondness for the once rabidly-collected Beanie Babies? If so, Manning’s exhibition will rub your brain until it explodes. The paintings are produced using computer software, then printed on canvas. At American Contemporary they’re paired with clumps of Beanie Babies (in some cases the Babies’ soft palette pairs with that of the paintings); abstract animations running on monitors propped against the wall; and wallpaper composed of a hodgepodge of images (Tibetan prayer flags, race car drivers). Manning’s press release includes a series of notes that seemingly inspired the presentation, including “SRIRACHA MAYO OVER EVERYTHING” and “Angry Birds hanging next to Turkish rugs.” Wild fusion, indeed.       

    The New Romantics” at Eyebeam, through May 10

    Predicated from a simple conceit — “just as the Romantics responded to the industrial revolution, this group of artists are similarly responding to the current information revolution” — this show includes sculpture, animation, video, and 2-D works. Jon Rafman’s “A Man Digging,” 2013, is a slow, sad pan through various “recent video game massacres.” Jonathan Monaghan and Nicholas O’Brien likewise explore virtual landscapes: An abandoned office and the iconography of Caspar David Friedrich, respectively. Jasper Spicero’s sculptures — like one that uses bottles of “Alkaline Fulvic Trace Mineral Infused Water” as its base — share a sensibility with Brad Troemel and the Jogging camp. Jaakko Pallasvuo’s “Utopia,” 2013, is my favorite: A meandering, personal film that deals with the artist’s inability to fully feel the picture-postcard natural beauty of what surrounds him.

    Hunter MFA Thesis Exhibition: Part I, 205 Hudson Street Gallery, through May 20

    Gallerists are known to trawl the school’s MFA thesis shows for future signees, and this first part of the thesis show is as good a group exhibition as you’ll see downtown right now. Two standouts make it especially worth a visit: Sharon Madanes, whose acrylic-and-plaster paintings recall the funky grotesqueness of Llyn Foulkes, and manage to be horrifying and emotional without verging on camp; and Mike Crane, whose “Feedback Action Program” is a slice of oddball eeriness that’ll appeal to fans of Hal Hartley and Keren Cytter. Part II of the thesis show opens May 23.

    Robert Longo’s “Strike the Sun” at Petzel Gallery, through May 10; and “Gang of Cosmos” at Metro Pictures, through May 23

    A virtuosic two-gallery show focused mostly on charcoal works finds Longo copying Abstract Expressionist paintings (Metro Pictures) and depicting the US Capital in a panoramic, seven-panel drawing (Petzel). The latter show also includes a massive steel sculpture of an American flag angled into the floor — it has a nice Serra-esque tilt and weight to it. The Capitol drawing needs to be seen in person, both from across the gallery and up close (where, oddly enough, the action in the murky side panels is possibly the most interesting part). Meanwhile, Longo’s photorealist renditions of paintings by Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and other Ab-Ex stars look like the originals were loaded into an enormous Xerox machine. The intricate draftsmanship involved in replicating a Jackson Pollack is balanced by copies of classics that seem more inclined toward charcoal reproduction, like one of Ad Reinhardt’s “black” paintings.

    ALSO WORTH SEEING: Justin Matherly’s hazy, enigmatic monoprintsat Paula Cooper Gallery, along with a series of sculptures that combine concrete casts with paint-speckled ambulatory walkers. Through May 23.

    5 Must-See Gallery Shows: Jaimie Warren, Robert Longo, and More
    Robert Longo's Untitled (Capitol), 2012-2013 from Strike the Sun at Petzel Galle

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    Nahmad Sentenced to a Year, Lollapalooza Gets an Art Show, and More

    — Helly Nahmad Gets a Year: Upper East Side gallery owner Helly Nahmad has been sentenced to a year in prison for operating an illegal gambling and money laundering ring. The judge ignored Nahmad’s recent plea to start an arts education non-profit in lieu of serving time. “The record reveals to me that the defendant has contempt for the rules that apply to everyone else and for those who are vulnerable,” said Judge Jesse Furman. [NYT]

    — Britain Will Keep Van Dyck: After a lengthy fundraising process, Britain has finally raised the £10 million necessary to keep Sir Anthony van Dyck’s self-portrait in the country. The painting was originally sold to Los Angeles-based businessman James Stunt last year. “This Van Dyck self-portrait is very special,” said Dame Jenny Abramsky, chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, who contributed £6,343,500 to the cause. “It nearly left these shores forever and I’d like to congratulate the National Portrait Gallery and the Art Fund for their tenacity in running such a successful fundraising campaign over the past six months.” [The Guardian]

    — Lollapalooza Gets an Art Show: Shephard Fairey will be curating a large-scale group exhibition for the summer music festival Lollapalooza in Chicago, held as a separate ticketed event and predicted to draw 5,000 daily visitors. “Art Alliance: The Provocateurs” will be held in Block Thirty Seven, and some confirmed artists include FuturaGary PanterInvaderRyan McGinnessFAILEDzine, and RETNA. “A great thing about music is how democratic it can be, and my approach to art was always modeled on that basic accessibility, around more do-it-yourself kinds of music like punk and hip-hop,” said Fairey. “Art is increasingly about straddling worlds. That makes it a natural fit for music, which is doing a lot of those same things. Barriers between so-called high and low art are not so much there now.” [Chicago Tribune]

    — Vienna Museum Free For Mexicans: The Welt Museum (World Museum), affiliated with Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, isn’t willing to send the feathered headdress known as the Penacho (believed to be the crown of emperor Moctezuma) back to Mexico, but it is willing to waive the museum’s entry fee for all Mexican citizens. [TAN]

    — Guarantees Return to Big Auctions: New York auction houses preparing for their big spring sales are offering guarantees to motivate consignors to sell, with Christie’s leading the pack with the highest-value sale so far. [Telegraph]

    — NYC’s Kalan Gets Profiled: Nicholas Heller’s “No Your City” documentary series for Gothamist profiled the enigmatic, camera averse performance artist Kalan. [Gothamist]  

    — Carol Vogel reviews the Charles James show at the Met, and says it is an example of the museum becoming more tech-friendly. [NYT]

    — Here’s an excerpt from Don Thompson’s follow-up to “The $12 million Stuffed Shark: the Curious Economics of Contemporary Art.” [TAN]

    — NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts has named Allyson Green as its new dean. [NYT]

    ALSO ON ARTINFO

    5 Must-See Gallery Shows: Jaimie Warren, Robert Longo, and More

    British Museum Displays Mysterious Treasures of the Sutton Hoo Burial Ship

    Down Into the Maze with David Lynch at BAM

    IMA Names Curators-At-Large to Investigate Native American and African Art Holdings

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

    Helly Nahmad (left) with Brandon Davis

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    LOS ANGELES — Paris Photo LA makes for a hard act to match — the fair is star-studded, popular with the public, and brings the glamour of the original French edition to California. The second iteration of that event took place this past weekend. The Los Angeles Modernism Show and Sale, the preeminent local design fair, also set up shop on April 26 and 27. Though the fairs ran concurrently, and Paris Photo LA invariably drew larger crowds, there was presence enough at Modernism to suggest that this fair, too, has the potential to become an important event on the city’s cultural calendar. Wares and sales here varied greatly between the event’s 40 exhibitors — a product, in part, of the rather broad interpretation of what counts as “modernist” design.

    Mid-century modernism originally gained currency across the United States in the 1950s and ’60s as a distinctly Californian movement. Considering this, one might have expected to find an emphasis on California design at the LA Modernism Show and Sale. Many pieces of furniture, however, were Scandinavian in origin — vintage production items without an attributed designer that might be found at a wide variety of mid-century dealers across the United States. There was also clothing, books, jewelry, and decorative art for sale, but certain materials and pieces stood out for their quality and rarity.

    Brazilian rosewood, one of the staple materials of mid-century Danish design, appeared at several of the sale’s furniture dealers. Some of the recent interest among dealers and collectors in the material is a matter of access: Brazilian rosewood trees have been listed as an endangered species since the 1990s and their wood is very difficult to obtain. Its reddish hue and curvilinear grain were prominently displayed inside the booth of dealer Josh Zimber, who owns the O.C. Modern design gallery in Long Beach, California. Zimber’s offerings included a Danish rosewood corner cabinet, made by an unknown craftsman, with large front panels that emphasized the wood’s articulated swooping grain. The highlights among all of O.C. Modern’s wares were, in fact, two Brazilian rosewood pieces: a side table designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller circa 1965, with porcelain handles and aluminum feet, and a 1978 Eames chair made of Brazilian rosewood and upholstered in black leather. Elsewhere at the sale, Palm Springs-based gallery A La Mod displayed a 1965 Ward Bennett Brazilian rosewood desk with aluminum feet, selling for $15,000 and in mint condition. With clean lines and minimal details, the desk’s two small square drawers and featureless 6.5-foot-long workspace embrace the material’s distinctive appearance as decoration enough.

    Though California design accounted for a relatively small portion of the objects at the sale, locally made pieces were among its most interesting wares. Los Angeles-based Reform Gallery eschewed the predilection for Scandinavian design by showcasing the work of California craftsman Gerald McCabe. Based in Venice Beach, McCabe is known both for the high quality of his work and his collaboration with Pierre Koenig to furnish the Case Study Houses in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Handmade pieces for sale by the master carpenter, who worked chiefly in sedua and oak woods, included a rectilinear king bed frame, an oak bench, and small end and side tables. Prices for McCabe’s work ranged from $2,400 to $9,000 — surprisingly low for such craftsmanship. McCabe, however, never gained the sort of international renown accorded to Charles and Ray Eames, in part because his pieces were never mass manufactured.

    Other notable items at the fair included a set of four cardboard chairs, custom made by Frank Gehry for local Japanese restaurant R23 in the early 1990s (and altogether different from Gehry’s more famous Easy Edges line of cardboard furniture), selling for $5000 at the O.C. Modern booth. Local dealer NoHo Modern featured pieces by Los Angeles-based artist Norman Zammitt, better known for his large-scale colorfield paintings than for the thin, rainbow-hued acrylic poles available at the event. Highly unusual, and rare even in the Los Angeles design market, the pieces were going for $15,000 and $18,500, respectively.

    The organizers of the LA Modernism Sale and Show might do well to put greater emphasis in future years on work like McCabe’s and Zammit’s, decidedly Californian and largely unavailable outside the state. Though this year’s iteration featured several outstanding objects, there were also some mediocrities. A set of Tamara Coatsworth glass panels decorated like sticks of gum appeared random and kitschy alongside the sale’s standout pieces. Late 19th-century Impressionist paintings in one booth faced contemporary sculptural desks in another. This disparity perhaps accounts for the sale’s relatively low price points — nothing was marked above $50,000.

    Dealers noted that sales were moderate, but were still enthusiastic about the opportunities provided to connect with new clients and colleagues this year in Los Angeles.  

    Highlights From the LA Modernism Show and Sale
    LA Modernism Sale - NOHO Modern Bronze "Brno" chairs by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

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    “I’m interested in the slippery narratives that my photos can communicate, and a good narrative always involves relationships of some kind,” said Tim Barber, whose exhibition “Relations” opens tonight at Capricious 88 on the Lower East Side of New York, and includes images of nude lovers, a cat, hands, and a breastfeeding child, among other things. “Photographs can be so literal, but I’m more interested in them as entry ways rather than finales; windows on a wall, question marks. Another way to put that is I’m less interested in what they are about then what they could be about.” 

    Barber, a pivotal player in the city’s photographic community, once served as Vice magazine’s photo editor. His practice includes commissions for the likes of Vogue Italia, New York magazine, and Nike, but series like “Relations” collect more esoteric images, organized into a new shape. Some of those images are idyllic, even romantic — like shots of roses or solar flares in the forest, and “Untitled (rain/shower),” 2013, which captures a naked woman behind a rustic shack. Others possess a hazier provenance — who is that mask-wearing kid caught in the woods in “Untitled (alien),” 2013? “There are some literal depictions of relationships in the series,” Barber said. “There’s a reoccurring couple shown in various degrees of intimacy, but I’m not trying to tell their specific story. I want them to appear iconic or symbolic, like an emoji that stands for the complications of love.” (Spoiler alert: It’s artist Aurel Schmidt and her boyfriend, Virgins’ frontman Donald Cumming.) “My relationship to the subjects will always be present, but it’s ultimately more about the viewer’s relationship with the images, and where that can lead.” 

    Barber shot the images in “Relations” using a combination of digital and film cameras. While he acknowledges that it’s the first time he’s exhibiting both types of photographs together, he’s not very precious about the distinctions between formats. “I grew up shooting film and printing in the darkroom, but more and more the argument for film is a nostalgic one, and I’m not really interested in that kind of nostalgia,” he said. “Process is process, images are images. In the future, when we can take 3D photos with our eyes, people will be nostalgic for the iPhone JPG.” 

    And while Barber has long been a proponent of the Internet-based photo community — he ran Tiny Vices before it morphed into his current website, Time & Space— there’s something integral about the way “Relations” can be experienced in physical space. “I think of images in sequence like notes in a song,” he said. “Different images hit different notes. Size, shape, and spacing set tempo and volume. I can’t ultimately control how the viewer experiences the work, but arranging those notes is very important.”

    Tim Barber’s Slippery Narratives at Capricious 88
    Tim Barber's "Relations" at Capricious 88

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    Veiled Whistler Portrait Found, Google Glass Sponsors NuMu, and More

    — Hidden Whistler Portrait Discovered: An X-ray has revealed a hidden portrait of James McNeill Whistler’s mistress Jo Hiffernan beneath a painting of the River Thames, completed in 1862. While hanging the first major exhibition of Whistler’s work at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London last year, curators noticed irregular bumps on the surface of “The Last of Old Westminster.” Scholars believe the artist painted over the portrait in order to complete a paid commission. [TAN]

    — Google Glass Sponsors NuMu: Google Glass will be the primary sponsor of the New Museum’s 2015 triennial. Visitors will have the opportunity to don the much-maligned eyewear as part of the exhibition, perhaps as a replacement to the traditional audio guide, though the details haven’t quite been worked out yet. “The show is very much about the future,” said Lisa Phillips, the New Museum’s director. “It is very experimental.” [NYT]

    — Monuments Men Donate Nazi Photo Album: The Monuments Men Foundation will donate a photo album compiled by the Nazi organization responsible for looting European art objects during World War II to the National Archives on May 8. The album, which contains photographs of stolen paintings and cultural items, is one of 39 found by the Allies during the war. Greg Bradsher, a senior archivist at the Archives, said, “This set [of albums] was primarily to show Hitler the work they were doing.” [WP]

    — Ontario Museum Workers May Strike: Three hundred and fifty employees of Art Gallery of Ontario may go on strike today due to the museum’s move to outsource jobs. [Globe and Mail]

    — A Look at Dan Colen: Here’s a Dan Colen profile ahead of his show at the Brant Foundation — apparently he wanted to be in the NBA before he was an artist. [WSJ]

    — Post-Frieze Fair: Artist Mark Flood’s “Insider Art Fair” is coming to Chelsea the week after Frieze. [AiA]

    — Anita Ellis, deputy director of curatorial fairs at the Cincinnati Art Museum, will retire at the end of May. [Cincinnati.com]

    — Pulse Art Fair announced it would relocate its Miami edition from downtown to a new tented home in Miami Beach. [WSJ]

    — Nan Rosenthal, curator of 20th-century art for the National Gallery of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, died on Sunday at 76. [NYT]

    ALSO ON ARTINFO

    Tim Barber’s Slippery Narratives at Capricious 88

    Highlights From the LA Modernism Show and Sale

    Catinca Tabacaru to Open Lower East Side Gallery this May

    Grace Coddington Curates Nudes-Only Auction

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

    Whistler's "The Last of Old Westminster," 1862.

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    VIDEOS: "Capa in Color" and "What Is a Photograph?" Close Sunday at ICP

    This weekend is the last chance to catch two outstanding shows at the International Center of Photography.

    Sunday May 4 is the final day for both "Capa in Color", the first exhibition of the color work of famous wartime photojournalist Robert Capa, who was known for his striking black and white images, and "What is a Photograph?", an exploration of creative experimentation in photography since the 1970's.

    Curator Cynthia Young says until until this show, Capa's color photographs remained in the ICP's archives because the technology had not yet been developed to help restore the faded photos.

    In “What Is a Photograph?,” ICP curator Carol Squiers brings together photographic works by 21 artists that in one way or another challenge the definition of the medium. 

    Read ARTINFO's coverage of the opening of "Capa in Color", HERE. 

    Read ARTINFO's coverage of the opening of "What is a Photograph?", HERE. And watch the accompanying video below:

     

    "Capa in Color" at International Center of Photography

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    LONDON — I don’t think the National Gallery has ever looked better. For “Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice” (through June 15), many of the grandest rooms in the building have been cleared of their normal contents. Instead they are hung with a simply staggering sequence of loans to the exhibition: on view are pictures that one would never have believed would ever leave Italy and France.

    Everything about it works. The scale and mood of the paintings fit the ornate classicism of the architecture, the mid-grey color the walls have been painted sets off Veronese’s palate to perfection. You walk out convinced he was truly a great painter. A more intriguing question is what kind of artist Veronese (1528-88) — Paolo Caliari, or alternatively Bazaro (his humble father’s name, which he dropped) — really was. Beside the door of the first gallery in gold lettering you read the resounding, if slightly back-handed judgement of Bernard Berenson. “It may be doubted whether, as a mere painter, Paolo Veronese has ever been surpassed.”

    There were depths the artist did not investigate. The spiritual grandeur of Rembrandt, violent drama of Caravaggio, and carnal sense of flesh and mortality that fills the work of his older Venetian contemporary Titian: all these were out of his range. What Veronese painted best — in modern terms — were parties. But what festivities! These are feasts and pageants displaying the whole pleasure and opulence of life.

    “The Supper at Emmaus,” circa 1555, from the Louvre was one of his earliest masterpieces. It depicts the moment when two disciples recognized the resurrected Jesus while sharing a simple meal. The three holy figures are all there, at the table, but Veronese has surrounded them with a jostling, extended aristocratic family: husband, wife, lots of children, servants, a baby, an older uncle or father. Front and center, two young girls play with a marvellous reclining dog.

    This sort of thing might seem a bit too frivolous to be devout. Indeed, the figure of Christ is — as art — quite a bit duller than the household pets (early on it was noted that dogs were one of Veronese’s specialities). Veronese famously got into trouble with the Inquisition for the amount of extraneous detail he put into his religious pictures, but as you walk around, you realize he was not insincere. His rich textiles, vigorously healthy people, and noble animals added up a vision of how the world should be.

    Suffering and death were not really his subjects. “The Martyrdom of Saint George,” circa 1565, is one of his masterpieces — the catalog calls it “arguably Veronese’s finest work.” But it does not dwell on torture and decapitation. The saint — flanked by two of Veronese’s trademark horse observers — approaches his fate with equanimity. The picture shifts seamlessly into a vision of heaven, opening out above.  

    Veronese has been accused of being “theatrical,” and so he was, in a fabulous fashion. His pictures take place on sets made up of stately classical architecture, borrowed from the Roman remains of his native Verona (in later life he moved to Venice). And they are animated by light and color. The Pharaoh’s daughter in “The Finding of Moses” is spot-lit, so her gold and white brocade dress shimmers. That’s a favorite effect. Veronese was a magician with white. “The Martyrdom of Saint George” is a patchwork of gleaming clouds and marble columns, set against blue sky. The highpoints of many pictures are richly embroidered clothes and sunlit flesh.

    He was a master of lighting, therefore also of shadow. The soft shade that covers the chained nude’s body in “Perseus and Andromeda,” circa 1575-80, is a good example. Towards the end of Veronese’s life, the shadows seem to deepen. His last dated work, “The Conversion of Saint Pantaleon,” 1587, is somber by Veronese’s standards but, still, a divine glow from above offers hope and reassurance.

    On the back of a drawing, Veronese once jotted an aspiration. If he ever had time, he wrote, he “would like to represent a magnificent banquet under a noble loggia.” There the Holy Family — the Virgin, Christ Child, and St. Joseph — would be waited on by “the richest cortège of angels that one can imagine,” serving “regal food,” such as “sumptuous fruits in silver and gold dishes.” Though he never painted this exact picture, he succeeded spectacularly in his ambition. No one has ever transformed religious art into such superb scenes of worldly splendor.

    This exhibition does not present his entire achievement. Naturally, the frescoes are absent, and there is little sense of the aerial fantasy of his Venetian ceilings. Veronese’s very largest pictures, such as the “Marriage at Cana” in the Louvre, really are too big to move. But what is on display here is absolutely overwhelming. 

    The Fabulous Theatrics of Veronese at London's National Gallery
    Paolo Veronese's "Christ and the Centurion,"

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