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Articles on this Page
- 05/15/14--06:54: _WhiBi Artists Withd...
- 05/15/14--08:08: _Slideshow: See Phot...
- 05/15/14--09:03: _After 18 Years, Roo...
- 05/15/14--10:12: _On the Red Carpet a...
- 05/15/14--10:48: _Cadillac Highlights...
- 05/15/14--11:59: _Review: Jessica Mal...
- 05/15/14--13:57: _Boston
- 05/15/14--14:12: _New York
- 05/15/14--21:17: _Phillips Closes Auc...
- 05/15/14--22:31: _Georg Jensen Dinner...
- 05/16/14--04:40: _Cory Arcangel, Newl...
- 05/16/14--07:24: _Detroit Judge Denie...
- 05/16/14--09:16: _5 Artists to Discov...
- 05/16/14--11:34: _Shows That Matter: ...
- 05/16/14--12:06: _The Second Annual A...
- 05/16/14--13:04: _BLOUIN Lifestyle Pi...
- 05/17/14--04:59: _Sanya Kantarovsky M...
- 05/17/14--08:34: _VIDEO: Carsten Nico...
- 05/18/14--04:04: _Brothers in Law on ...
- 05/18/14--18:36: _VIDEO: Encountering...
- 05/15/14--06:54: WhiBi Artists Withdraw, Ancient Aboriginal Art Vandalized, and More
- 05/15/14--08:08: Slideshow: See Photos from Los Angeles's New Gallery All
- 05/15/14--09:03: After 18 Years, Rooftop Films Stays True to Its Roots
- 05/15/14--10:12: On the Red Carpet at the 67th Cannes Film Festival
- 05/15/14--10:48: Cadillac Highlights a Past and Future Focus on Design
- 05/15/14--11:59: Review: Jessica Mallios at Artpace San Antonio
- 05/15/14--13:57: Boston
- 05/15/14--14:12: New York
- 05/15/14--21:17: Phillips Closes Auction Season on a Quietly Upbeat Note
- 05/15/14--22:31: Georg Jensen Dinner for Zhang Xiaogang, Liu Xiaodong, Yan Pei-ming
- 05/16/14--04:40: Cory Arcangel, Newly Minted Clothier, at the Holiday Inn
- 05/16/14--07:24: Detroit Judge Denies Creditors, Corcoran Merger Finalized, and More
- 05/16/14--09:16: 5 Artists to Discover at Art Basel in Hong Kong
- 05/16/14--12:06: The Second Annual Architizer Awards Gala — May 15, 2014
- 05/16/14--13:04: BLOUIN Lifestyle Pick: Bonhams' Aston Martin and Spa Classic Sales
- 05/17/14--04:59: Sanya Kantarovsky Makes His Paintings Perform
- 05/17/14--08:34: VIDEO: Carsten Nicolai Installation Lights Up Hong Kong Skyline
- 05/18/14--04:04: Brothers in Law on Corporate Affairs — When Art and Business Mix
- 05/18/14--18:36: VIDEO: Encountering Large-Scale Sculptures at Art Basel Hong Kong
— Yams Collective Withdraws From WhiBi: The collective HowDoYouSayYaminAfrican? has withdrawn from the 2014 Whitney Biennial to protest Joe Scanlan’s Donelle Woolford project, wherein a white male Princeton professor hires black women to play a fictional black artist. “We’re sure that we don’t need to explain how the notion of a black artist being ‘willed into existence’ and the use of a black FEMALE body through which a WHITE male ‘artist’ conceptually masturbates in the context of an art exhibition presents a troubling model of the BLACK body and of conceptual RAPE,” the collective said in an email to all of the Biennial artists. The piece has also been met with negative responses from journalists, including Eunsong Kim and Maya Isabella in The New Inquiry. [Hyperallergic]
— Aboriginal Carvings Vandalized: Aboriginal art located on the Burrop Peninsula in Western Australia that dates back 60,000 years was vandalized by visitors who scratched “Go and work for a living” above the original artwork. The works, which have been targeted in the past, are part of nearly two million carvings that are national heritage-listed sites at Murujunga National Park. [UPI]
— Gurlitt’s Last Days Revealed: In an in-depth, inside look at Cornelius Gurlitt’s last days, the Wall Street Journal details his surprising decision to donate the work outside of Germany. [WSJ]
— Art Blasé Tees Are a Hit in Hong Kong: Anastasia Klose’s irreverent T-shirts, featuring puns like “Art Blasé,” are a huge hit at Art Basel in Hong Kong. [TAN]
— Spencer Finch’s Commission: Here’s a profile of Spencer Finch, the only artist commissioned to make a work for the 9/11 museum. [NYT]
— Turner Biopic Debuts: Mike Leigh’s JMW Turner biopic debuted at Cannes, and Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw loved it. [The Guardian]
— The Whitney Museum is donating its educational pop-up studio space to Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park. [NYT]
— Pieces from the esteemed collection of Edwin A. and Betty Jane Bergman fetched millions this week at New York sales. [Chicago Tribune]
— A young boy who bought a watercolor for $2 learned it was actually an Albert Neuhuys original worth $1,500 when he appeared on “Antiques Roadshow.” [HuffPo]
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Eighteen years ago, there were very few outlets for independent film in New York City. This was before there were film festivals in every city around the world, and before you could find and stream any film in a matter of seconds over your computer with a strong Internet connection. For filmmakers working with a small budget outside the traditional channels of distribution and promotion, opportunities to screen a film and have it reach an audience were limited — some filmmakers found their work had no chance to be seen at all.
Rooftop Films was created to fill that void. Put together in 1997 by Mark Elijah Rosenberg, who was looking to find interesting ways to show films and bring people together. He and a few friends began by screening films on the roof of their apartment, later moving to the roof of the lofts on McKibbin Street in Brooklyn.
“We started out as a much smaller organization, all volunteer-run 18 years ago when we were just getting out of college,” said Dan Nuxoll, the program director for Rooftop, in a recent phone conversation. “When I first started doing it, the core idea was pretty simple: We wanted to show films that deserved an audience and wouldn’t have gotten that audience otherwise.”
Nuxoll joined in its second year, when the screenings moved to Bushwick, and over his time with Rooftop, as the group has grown considerably and the series has gone from a few scattered screenings to a weekly program of events that runs all summer long, things have changed — but only slightly. The focus is still on independent filmmakers, but the program is more expansive and, for the organizers, more time-consuming. According to Nuxoll, the group begins working on the series in earnest not long after the previous one ends, attending film festivals, reaching out to filmmakers, and watching countless films.
“But there are plenty of films that show up on our doorstep,” Nuxoll told me, noting that the group received over 3,000 blind submissions this year, a combination of short and feature films. One of those, Adam Newport-Berra’s “Thanksgiving,” will make its world premiere at the series on July 3.
Other films have been nurtured by Rooftop since the beginning. The series opens on May 17 with Gillian Robespierre’s abortion comedy, “Obvious Child,” starring Jenny Slate, which premiered at Sundance and played at New Directors/New Films earlier this year. “I had seen a rough cut of before it was at Sundance, and we had given a grant to them previously through the Rooftop Filmmakers Fund, more than two years ago, well before it was even into production,” Nuxoll said. “We were excited about it and once we saw it and saw how successfully it had come together we were happy to highlight it.”
What Rooftop highlights every year ranges far and wide. Some of the films that will screen this summer include Jim Mickle’s throwback revenge-thriller “Cold in July,” starring Michael C. Hall; a documentary about Brit-Pop band Pulp; Michael Winterbottom’s “A Trip to Italy”; and “The Case of the Three Sided Dream,” a film about blind jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Part of the appeal of Rooftop, and part of the challenge for the programmers, is where to screen each film. “That definitely influences our programming,” Nuxoll said. “We’re thinking about what’s going to work where, and what’s going to be augmented by the location. It’s a bit more complicated than just picking the films.”
This year, they are particularly excited about a screening of Sara Dosa’s “The Last Season,” about mushroom hunters in the Pacific Northwest, on the rooftop farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “It was a film we knew about for a long time, and as soon we had the venue we immediately thought the film would be fantastic in that location,” Nuxoll said.
“Sometimes we just love a film so much we go out and try to find the perfect venue to show it at,” Nuxoll added, “whether it’s a venue we’ve worked with previously or one we’ve never shown at before.” Right now, he is attempting to set up a screening of Hitoshi Matsumoto’s “R100,” about an ordinary man who joins a mysterious sex group, at a BDSM club, a first for Rooftop. “We’re always trying to be as creative as possible with it,” Nuxoll said, laughing.
As the program and audiences continue to grow in size, and venues become more audacious, the people behind Rooftop are thankfully humble about their success. For them, even though the environment around has changed, their mission has remained solidly in place. “The original idea of doing films on a roof was that it seemed more fun than showing it in a movie theater,” Nuxoll said, “and that’s still the case I think. It’s still a way to bring people out. It’s about enjoying this work together.”
When Cadillac introduced the 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado, it was the first car of its kind.
“The shape of it, its bold stance, and its use of front-wheel drive made it like nothing else on the market,” Travis W. Washay, Cadillac’s historian and heritage specialist, told ARTINFO at a special exhibition about the car at the Collective Design Fair in New York last weekend. The iconic model was the peak of both style and technology in its day, with a broad-shouldered, angular styling reminiscent of a an expertly tailored Italian suit, and the newly developed front-wheel engineering gave it a roadability unlike that of any preceding luxury coupe.
Five decades later — after a long period of being more associated with capacious dimensions and cushy comfort than with thoughtful styling — Cadillac has renewed its focus on both form and function in recent years. On view alongside the ’67 Eldorado was the company’s new luxury electric coupe, the Cadillac ELR. Seen together, the two distant cousins clearly reflect the same innovative design DNA, particularly in their striking silhouettes. The ELR is a “cutting-edge couple, like the Eldorado,” said Washay. “But the modern aspect is a luxury electric car with performance.”
Featuring Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) technology, the ELR is powered by pure electric driving backed by a range-extending generator—meaning zero emissions during the daily commute, but a driving range of 340 miles. Adding to its energy efficiency are LEDs used in the headlamps, daytime running lamps, taillamps, and decorative lighting elements in the front and rear. On its exterior, the ELR shows an attention to contemporary needs — a shortened nose allows for more agile city navigation and more efficient use of materials, for example — that has not required a sacrifice of elegance or style. “The sharp, flowing lines show people that the electric car does not need to be an ugly, utilitarian vehicle,” said Washay.
While the ’67 Eldorado was sculpted by the notion of emulating the wind, wind directly determined the shape of the ELR. New advances in aerodynamics dictated the forward-leaning profile, and the flush fascia and grille and recessed door handles are essentials for decreasing drag and increasing performance. In a nod to its predecessors, the ELR retains signature Cadillac design traditions: vertical headlamps and taillamps, and the sharp creasesof that Italian suit.
In “Sight Lines,” Jessica Mallios’s contribution to the Spring 2014 International Artists in Residence exhibition at Artpace San Antonio (through May 18), the artist continues to delve into the relationship between the image and the object. She dislocates the viewer, creating photographs that act as objects and vice versa. While her work consistently scrutinizes how we come to develop meaning through images, her new, somewhat abstract series subtly includes elements of performance, documentation, and sculpture that foreground her interest in the phenomenology of photography.
Four of the photographs on view were made by exposing the same piece of black-and-white photographic paper to different levels of light in Marfa, Texas. The artist, reusing the same paper, folded it into sections that indexed various atmospheric conditions in West Texas. With a large-format camera, she documented the changing paper over time. Each image differs in color, dotting the landscape of the gallery with traces of green, red, and taupe. The creases in the pictures form a topography, while the collected markings evidence the land’s history. While one can tell that the creases are the same in each work, they all present a different view of the object — revealing the various stages of the paper’s life.
At the back of the gallery Mallios places two mirrored glass works: One lays flat on the floor and the other precisely divides the comer. Acting as mirrors (or as the artist deems them, “live photographs”), they reflect ever-shifting light in the space and the position of the viewer. Related to Mallios’s earlier holograms, these works point to how a photographic object can be unfixed, and also create shapes on the walls that resemble works by light artists James Turrell and Doug Wheeler. Her video, filmed for multiple days through the glass windows of San Antonio’s iconic Tower of the Americas, pays homage to the history of the Steadicam and the panoramic. Built for the 1968 World’s Fair, the rotating observation tower also houses a restaurant. The 61-minute video presents one full rotation of the tower with occasional black spaces obstructing the view as the building’s exoskeleton passes by the steady camera. Mallios’s interest in the tower is as both an object and a viewing platform, acting as another apparatus of unfixed photography.
Reserved yet strong, Mallios’s multiple imaging techniques speak precisely to how temporal and material elements can force viewers to reconsider the “truth” of pictures. The artist engages with both the history of the city and the history of photography, documenting and highlighting the ephemeral qualities of her medium.
A version of this article appears in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Painters magazine.
Phillips’ season-ending contemporary art evening sale on Thursday delivered $130,905,000, making it the Russian-owned auction house’s biggest sale to date. It easily trumped last May’s $78.6 million result for 30 lots sold — as compared to 37 on Thursday — and it even eclipsed the one-off “Carte Blanche” auction organized at the boutique house by Philippe Segalot in November 2010, which made $117 million.
Nine of the 46 lots offered on Thursday failed to sell, for a respectable buy-in rate by lot of 20 percent and ten percent by value. The tally, including commissions, nicked the low-end of pre-sale expectations, which were pegged at $126,200,000- 181,150,000 — though the $114,110,000 hammer total came up shy. (Estimates do not reflect commission charges.)
Sixteen of the lots that sold hurdled the million-dollar mark, and of those, three vaulted past $10 million and one painting exceeded $50 million. Three artist records were set.
Eleven of the offerings this round carried pre-arranged third party guarantees, assuring the sale of those lots no matter how they performed.
The auction got off to a spirited start with auction newbie Alex Israel’s 96-inch-high, pink-hued abstraction “Untitled (Flat)” from 2013, comprised of acrylic on stucco, wood and aluminum frame and ceramic tiles, which fetched $581,000(est. $200-300,000). Los Angeles dealer Stavros Merjos was one of the posse of underbidders.
The work was made at the Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank , as attested to by a stamp on the back. Israel’s conceptual style and penchant for bespoke construction have captured the fancy of the market.
The Israel was guaranteed, as was Nate Lowman’s shaped bullet hole painting, “Skidmark Altima” from 2005, which sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $485,000 (est. $300-400,000).
The guarantee trail for relatively low-priced lots continued with Joe Bradley’s totemic shaped and pink “Standing Nude” from 2007, a vinyl on canvas in four parts that brought $581,000 (est. $200-300,000) and Dan Colen’s “Untitled” oil on canvas in five splattered parts from 2006-07, a multi-panel example of his “Bird shit painting” series, which sold to New York dealer David Mugrabi for $545,000 (est. $400-600,000).
Later in the sale, freshly minted stars Lucien Smith and Oscar Murillo made hay with Smith’s “Double Date,” from his rainmaking series in acrylic on unprimed canvas from 2011, which sold for $137,000 (est. $100-150,000) and Murillo’s [lot 50] “Untitled” oilstick, spray paint, oil dirt on canvas composition, with the Spanish word Pollo painted at the bottom, which went for $389,000 (est. $100-150,000).
It was a big New York night for Smith, whose exhibition of new paintings, “Tigris,” was opening at the same time at the Skarstedt Gallery on East 79th Street.
There was greater interest in Tauba Auerbach’s “Untitled (Fold)” abstraction from 2011, which sold to New York dealer Andrew Fabricant of the Richard Gray Gallery for a record $1,805,000 (est. $800,000-1.2 million).
Wade Guyton's Epson UltraChrome inject on linen abstraction, "Untitled" from 2006 and comprised of large 'X' letters scrolling across the 80 by 69 inch canvas sold to New York/London dealer Daniella Luxembourg for $2,165,000 (Est. $1.5-2 million).
An impressively wacky “Cartoon Abstraction” from 2010 by George Condo — a elder to this young bunch — by Hanna-Barbera animated cartoon characters, squeaked by at $305,000 (est. $300-400,000), while one of Jeff Koons’s Banality series sculptures, the plush toy figure “Poppies” cast in porcelain from 1988, got away at $4,645,000 (est. $4-6 million).
Works by market workhorses Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol were sprinkled throughout the sale, with Basquiat’s early and mostly text-free “Untitled” from 1981, in acrylic and oil stick on canvas, selling to a telephone bidder for a solid $11,365,000 (est. $8-12 million). The painting was included in the artist’s most recent traveling retrospective held at the Fondation Beyeler in 2010.
A later and even sparser Basquiat, “Rodo” from 1984, depicting a blue skinned super-hero posed in a bare room containing a single unoccupied chair, surged to $3,021,000 (est. $2-3 million). Connecticut collector David Rogath was the underbidder.
Then came a billboard scaled collaboration between Basquiat and Warhol, “Zenith” from 1985, titled after the electronics brand. It set a record for that artist duo of $11,365,000 (est. $10-15 million). The painting combines Basquiat’s primitive-style figures with Warhol’s advertising logos and large skull and cross bones.
A mournful, 20-by-16-inch Warhol “Jackie” from 1964, portraying the grieving first lady, sold to New York dealer Nathan Bernstein for $3,077,000 (est. $1.2-1.8 million), while the larger scaled, 48-by-48-inch Warhol “Flowers” from the same year, stamped twice by the Estate of Andy Warhol and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, sold to Stavros Merjos for $10,245,000 (est. $10-15 million). This Warhol also carried a third party guarantee.
While Phillips is best known for offering cutting-edge contemporary works, often for the first time at auction, the house appears to be expanding its mission by offering more blue chip works.
That was evident as the bold yet sublimely luminous Mark Rothko abstraction“Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange)” from 1955, bolstered in part by a separate 53 page catalogue devoted to the painting and the artist, went for the top-lot price of $56,165,000 (unpublished estimate). Bidding opened at $30 million and tentatively crawled along until an actual phone bidder came in to play.
“It’s a great price for a painting of that scale,” said Michael McGinnis, Phillips’s world-wide head of contemporary art, who was part of the small group of telephone underbidders.
The Rothko had last sold at Christie’s New York in November 2007, a date considered by some to be the apex of that decade’s art boom, for $34,201,000.
On Thursday, not surprisingly, it came to market with a third party guarantee.
Another blue-chip name, Gerhard Richter, was represented by the evening’s cover lot, “Madchen Im sessel (Lila)” from 1965-66, infused with an all-over shade of violet and based on an out-of-focus photograph of a reclining woman. It sparked enthusiastic bidding and sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $8,005,000 (est. $6-8 million).
It had last sold at Sotheby’s New York in May 2004 to New York dealer Jack Tilton for $1,464,000.
Fellow German artist Sigmar Polke, currently the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, was represented by “Untitled” from 1994, a dispersion-and-pigment-on-canvas composition swirling with Benday dots, which sold to New York private dealer Leslie Rankow. “I bought it for a client and I’m very pleased,” said the dealer as she searched for her driver outside Phillips’s Park Avenue headquarters.
Jack Tilton was in the salesroom on Thursday, too, and characterized the evening this way: “The young stuff is going through the roof, some of the classics did OK, and some struggled. All this young abstraction stuff is going for $200,000 to half a million. It looks like a shift in the market. Let’s see if it lasts for more than fifteen minutes.”
Other blue-chip contenders included Alexander Calder’s 76-inch-high, late but still playful stabile, “Crag With White Flower and White Discs” from 1974, which brought $2,965,000 (est. $2.5-3.5 million), and Vija Celmins’s “Night Sky #3” from 1991, in oil on canvas laid on wood panel, which fetched $2,405,000 (est. $2-3 million). Both works carried third party guarantees.
The evening made for a pleasant though hardly super-charged end to the marathon auction week.
“It was a solid sale,” opined London dealer Fernando Mignoni, who bought the Donald Judd six-part stack “Untitled (88-27 Menziken),” from 1988, in anodized aluminum and green Plexiglas, for $2,165,000 (est. $2-3 million).
“It’s not something that will fit over the sofa, but it’s a beautiful thing to behold.”
Returning to the 21st century, a widely exhibited and mightily scaled collage and mixed-media abstraction by Mark Bradford from 2003 made $1,205,000 (est. $1-1.5 million). Dana Schutz’s wildly figurative “Reformers” from 2004, also large scaled, sold to a telephone bidder for a record $605,000 (est. $200-300,000).
Together, the four evening auctions, starting with Christie’s one-off “If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday” sale on Monday, brought a cumulative and unprecedented $1,373,858,000.
The first thing you have to know about Cory Arcangel is that he’s serious — despite the kittens on pianos, the abstract compositions based on Photoshop gradients, the modified video game bowling. Despite the retail-based solo exhibition he’s hosting tomorrow in a business conference room at a Holiday Inn in Soho. Despite the fact that this show — titled “You Only Live Once,” and characterized by Arcangel as “a pop-up shop or an exhibition, it’s 50/50” — will debut new artworks that include an architectural-style drawing of the exterior of an Applebee’s, America’s “Neighborhood Bar & Grill.” Love it or hate it, there’s heart here, and to discard Arcangel’s experiments with cultural detritus as mere ironic posturing is a mistake, and a sad one at that.
Open May 17 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., the artist’s one-day event — which he’s billing, accurately, as his first solo exhibition in New York since a 2011 retrospective at the Whitney Museum— includes a line of sweatshirts, sweatpants, and hoodies, along with iPad covers and bed sheets, created in conjunction with the company Bravado. (Items start at $39.95 and range up to $495.95, for the sheets.) Arcangel says that he found Bravado conceptually interesting because “they do the merchandise for Justin Bieber, Kanye, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne — I liked the idea that I was going to be working with them in the same way a musician would.” The resulting apparel, explicitly intended to be worn and enjoyed while cruising the Internet, is emblazoned with the logo for the line, which combines the colorful fade of one of Arcangel’s Photoshop gradient photographs with a yin-yang symbol (“hinting at a kind of spirituality to being at your computer”), as well as a winky-face emoticon and an outline of an actual computer (both “self-explanatory,” Arcangel confirmed). The text on the logo is rendered in Comic Sans, which the artist called “the fantastic Microsoft font emblematic of the late ’90s, the golden era of the amateur web.”
The bed sheet set most explicitly muddles the division between consumer product and artwork; as Arcangel explains, it’s simply a version of one of his Photoshop gradient works, printed on a different medium. “Instead of being on the wall, it’s on a bed now,” he said. “As a whole set, Arcangel Surfware was conceptualized to fit together, and to fit with the work I’m making now. There are all these blurred lines.”
As far as the Holiday Inn itself, he is also sincere about it as a venue for his recent art. “It has the right flavor,” he said. “I took a break for a couple years and I’ve been working on stuff quietly. The work has changed quite a bit. [The Holiday Inn] seemed the perfect place to place it all.” Some works recently unveiled at Lisson Gallery’s Frieze New York booth will also resurface in the hotel’s conference room. One involves readymade plush polar bears with televisions embedded in their stomachs; Arcangel has arranged it so that the TVs are playing looped clips from a video of President Clinton, jogging. “I saw [the polar bear TV] on Walmart’s site, I bought two, and then they stopped selling them,” he said. “That’s how that work happened. It’s always hard to say what you’re doing when you do it.”
Which brings us to Applebee’s, which has figured recently in Arcangel’s work — his contribution to Artists Space annual, editioned portfolio was a readymade composed of a $10 gift card for the restaurant — and will be present at Saturday’s pop-up in drawing form. It’s easy enough to assume that Arcangel’s incorporation of such lowbrow highway chains is nothing more than wink-wink hipster affectation (embodied in many ways by an Onion TV spoof in which the chain “urges hipsters to go to Applebee’s ironically”). But this isn’t the angle Arcangel is taking. “You can’t get very far if that’s the spirit of the work you’re making,” he said. “When I started doing Nintendo stuff 10 years ago, people would say, ‘That’s junk, you must be making fun of it.’” Instead, in these loci of what the artist calls “contemporary Americana,” he sees “what it means to be alive now, what it means to be an American, what it means to be human.” Call it an existentialist philosophy of onion rings and Top 40 aural wallpaper.
“I grew up going to places like that,” said Arcangel, who spent his youth in Buffalo, New York. “When my family was going to have a fancy dinner we’d go to T.G.I.F’s. I still remember the first time I went to another T.G.I.F.’s and was devastated — I had no idea it was a chain. I thought it was this special restaurant full of this old stuff. I feel most comfortable in places like that. Do you remember the Virgin Megastore? When that was still open I would go there to calm down. It was the one thing in New York that reminded me of the suburbs.”
— Detroit Judge Denies Creditors’ Request: Judge Steven Rhodes denied creditors the ability to remove art from the Detroit Institute of Arts so that it could be inspected and appraised for the city’s bankruptcy case. Though the judge also ruled against a request for access to over a million pages of historic documentation about the art, he will allow creditors to access art in storage through DIA officials. In the end, it was determined that removal would pose too much of a threat to the artwork’s safety. [Detroit Free Press]
— Corcoran Merger Deal Closes: On Thursday George Washington University and the National Gallery of Art agreed to merge with the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which will close indefinitely on October 1 for renovations. The takeover means that when the Corcoran reopens it will offer free admission, 17,000 artworks from its collection will be absorbed by the National Gallery, and galleries will become halved with more space dedicated to the art school. The Corcoran’s interim director, Peggy Loar, said, “I think there’s a euphoria that we have a wonderful solution here.” She added, “The one thing we need to work at is to maintain that synergy between the collections and curators along with the faculty and the students.” [CBS DC]
— Thief Pillages Danh Vo Sculpture: A section of Danh Vo’s $6,000 City Hall Park public art project “We The People” was stolen yesterday. The sculpture, which was meant to be unveiled Saturday, was on loan from Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris. The thief managed to make off with a 40-pound piece of the copper statue while workers were installing. [NYPost]
— Feminist Intervention to Hit Whitney: Brooklyn-based Artist Sophia Wallace, known for her “CLITERACY” project, will take part in a “rogue feminist public intervention” with 25 artists today at The Whitney to protest the museum’s lack of diversity, evidenced by this year’s Biennial. [Guardian]
— Laurie Simmons to Direct Feature Film: Photographer Laurie Simmons, who was recently nominated for the Prix Pictet photography award, will direct a feature film this summer titled “My Art,” which will feature a role for her daughter, “Girls” creator Lena Dunham. [Independent]
— Website Lets Museumgoers Pose for Masterpieces: A new social media initiative in the UK and Europe encourages museumgoers to imagine themselves in iconic paintings by recreating their famous scenes and sharing them on the VanGoYourself website. [Telegraph]
— Melva Bucksbaum, vice chairman of The Whitney, talked to Kelly Crow about what artists feature in her collection. [WSJ]
— The New Orleans Prospect 3 Biennial has announced its participant list. [Artforum]
— Swann Galleries will hold an auction of African-American art called “The Hape of Things to Come,” focusing on social and political art from the 1960s and 1970s. [Art Daily]
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WHAT: “SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot”
WHEN: April 19-July 27
WHERE: Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA
WHY THIS SHOW MATTERS: Founded in 1994 as a small, punk-influenced zine by Eric Nakumura and Martin Wong, Giant Robot explored Asian pop and alternative culture in the simple format of a collaged, photocopied, and stapled handout. Today, the iconic bi-monthly publication is credited with helping to bring Asian and trans-Pacific art to the forefront of mainstream American culture, from the popularity of collectible vinyl toys to catapulting the careers of many of the art world’s most successful artists, who contributed work in the early days.
Giant Robot ran for 20 years and covered a range of subjects, from art and design to music and film. The OMCA exhibition includes new and historic magazine art by graphic artists like James Jean, whose fantastical works incorporate the styles of woodblock prints and Renaissance paintings, and have been seen in cover art for DC comics and collaborations with Prada; and illustrator and comics artist Adrian Tomine, best known for his New Yorker covers and original series “Optic Nerve.”
Also featured are murals from graffiti artist David Choe, who was hand-picked to paint a mural at the Facebook offices when the social media company first started, and well-recognized street artist Andrew Hem, whose 12- by 40-foot “I Think that possibly, maybe I’m falling for you” is a highlight of the exhibition, and located in the museum’s Oak Street Plaza.
Giant Robot wasn’t just a magazine. It has expanded over the years to include retail stores, galleries, a museum, a restaurant, and a website. With this in mind co-curators Carin Adams, OMCA’s associate curator of art and material culture, and Nakamura have included ephemera, vinyl toys, custom vending machines, and even the Giant Robot Scion XB, an interactive car gaming station, to show the expansive breadth of the brand’s social impact.
A few months ago, Sanya Kantarovsky was in his Brooklyn studio, telling me about a certain type of Russian poster — popular following the death of Stalin — that exploited a very unique palette. “Things didn’t have to be red and happy and healthy anymore,” he said, “and all of a sudden, this public imagery had colors that reflected jaundiced skin, alcohol, bile, vomit, and dirt — quite abject, in this caged way.” For his latest series of paintings, on view in the exhibition “Allergies” at Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York through June 21, Kantarovsky borrowed some of these tones to enact his own unnerving contemporary scenarios. (He’ll also be engaging more directly with the poster format for a show in Riga, Latvia, this June, in collaboration with Ella Kruglyanskaya.)
The artist has always been concerned with the emotional and referential underpinnings of certain tones and pigments — his earlier paintings were lit by a “kind of Berlin dusk over everything,” he said. Those works generally feature a lone figure walking or sitting within an abstracted environment: They are mostly men, all with comically expressive limbs; Kantarovsky is a master of five-fingered communicative nuances. “I’m interested in the archetype of a person — like Jacques Tati, who’s a vessel of projection for anyone,” he said, referring to the French film actor and star of “Playtime.” “He’s a generic person. I was interested in this character as a sort of marionnette I could move around, coming up with experiences that feel familiar and yet singular.” The semi-anonymous nature of these protagonists often meant that they were partially obscured, hidden by hats or hands (“As soon as you paint eyeballs, it becomes super specific.”) In these new paintings, we start to see faces and expressions — like the mischievous smirk on the man in “Kolobok,” 2014, who appears to be ogling something just beyond the borders of the canvas. The focus on solo figures has also shifted a bit to include groups: “Speaking His Language” features a young woman, her face hidden, bare rear exposed to the viewer. “It’s about people being together but very suspicious of each other,” Kantarovsky said. “They’re very far apart, in subtle ways.”
For the artist, a painting is rarely just a painting on its own: It’s a node in a larger relational body that includes the exhibition space itself and sculptures — including carefully choreographed screens, or suspended railings — that affect how the work is received. For his Casey Kaplan show, the installation is focused more squarely on the canvases themselves, with larger pieces interrupted by assemblies of small works (like the subtly shocking “Casual Pleasure,” a watercolor-and-pastel work depicting a dapper man calmly contemplating his penis). “The painters I really love manage to throw the status of a painting up into the air for the viewer to grab onto,” he said. “The best ones can make a great painting but still have it function as part of a larger system. But it’s very easy to devalue a painting in that way — for it to become purely a prop — and I’m not interested in that.”
“There are already so many things about painting that are belated, weird, and strange,” Kantarovsky continued. “There are so many ways in which it can perform. Why not make it do everything it can do?”
A version of this article appears in the May 2014 issue of Modern Painters magazine.
German artist Carsten Nicolai lights up the Hong Kong skyline with a dazzling show on the city’s tallest building.
The performance installation “a (alpha) pulse”, commissioned by Art Basel in Hong Kong 2014, features pulsating lights on the International Commerce Center in West Kowloon flashing in syncopation with Nicolai’s electronic music.
Viewers can download his smartphone app to hear the soundtrack and fully participate in the interactive experience. They just have to point the phone at the skyscraper to sync it with the pulsating tower and their phone lights up to the beat of the show.
Nicolai tells Blouin ARTINFO he laid the groundwork for “a (alpha) pulse” with his 2009 installation “rota” in which changing frequencies of flickering light were also accompanied by sound. He says scientific research shows these impulses may have a direct effect on spectators' brain waves causing a neural feedback that can “simulate different conditions of mental condition like trance, relaxation or stress.”
Watch all ARTINFO videos from Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 HERE.
Hi, guys! My boss, Herb (copied above), asked if you could give some quick, free legal advice on our corporate art collection. I am running to a deposition, but let me know. Thanks!
INFO@DANZIGERWe don’t usually give free advice to nonclients via e-mail, but what’s your question?
JOE@PONZICORPOur SVP of marketing is buying a series of photographs from our company that he originally purchased for our corporate massage room. He offered us the original purchase price, but wouldn’t the photos have appreciated in value since then?
P.S.: No need to loop in Herb (poor guy—he was fired during lunch).
INFO@DANZIGERYes. The company should receive fair market value for the works, ideally as determined by an independent appraiser. Consider the 1995 federal case In re: The Mediators, Inc. Richard Manney, as the CEO and sole shareholder of the New York media buying company, purchased millions of dollars’ worth of paintings, antique furniture, fine jewelry, and rare collectibles with company money, but used them mainly to furnish homes and to outfit his family. When the Mediators faltered in the late 1980s, Manney personally borrowed $12 million from Citibank (secured by the art) to buy the art from the company at the original price as opposed to the fair market value—effectively a discounted rate. The company became insolvent and the Manneys were sued by the credit committee for breach of their fiduciary duty on the grounds that they had enriched themselves at the corporation’s expense by appropriating corporate assets for little or no consideration. The case was ultimately dismissed, largely on technical grounds, but the principles could still apply.
JOE@PONZICORPCool! Another small question: Looking out my window, I just saw our main shareholder load the rest of our corporate art collection into his Hummer. He is probably taking the art home for temporary safekeeping. He lives in an amazing loft with fantastic light. No problem, right?
INFO@DANZIGERSimilar issue, similar problem. And in fact your company’s directors might also be liable here, since they are the guardians of corporate assets. In the 2007 bankruptcy case ATR-Kim Eng Capital Partners, Inc., et al. v. Bonilla, the Ninth Circuit Court found the San Francisco firm’s directors had breached their fiduciary duties by allowing the majority shareholder to transfer major assets of the company—the ownership of several businesses worth more than $35 million—to members of his family, likening the actions to negligence on a par with “leaving a large amount of cash unguarded in a public place.” The court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss.
JOE@PONZICORPJust got a call from our outside counsel, with great news. I’ve been promoted to senior vice president! Also, they want me to get back the art collection—and sell it! Cool, huh? No problem there, right?
INFO@DANZIGERThat should be OK. In terms of transparency, we recommend selling through public auction, an established gallery, or a reputable dealer. Fortunately, corporations are not under the same ethical restrictions as many museums in deaccessioning works from their collections—the proceeds can be used for any legitimate business purpose.
JOE@PONZICORPAn auction, eh? My girlfriend’s roommate’s sister works for an auction house. If I put the art up for auction, will the house act on my behalf or the buyer’s?
INFO@DANZIGERGood question. It depends on the state and the auction contract. Under New York law, an auctioneer must act in the best interests of the seller, but this duty may be modified in the consignment agreement between the parties. For instance, the agreement usually gives the auctioneer the right to rescind the sale if a buyer raises valid questions about a work’s authenticity.
JOE@PONZICORPOur outside auditors just found some neat prints when they blew open our former CEO’s safe. He had used these prints to back our corporate bonds, but some have faded over time, and others were partially torn while he was shredding documents. Assuming we have the copyright, can we reproduce and sell them?
INFO@DANZIGERCareful—irrespective of copyright, you may face claims under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), which gives living artists the moral right to prevent distortion, mutilation, or modification that would prejudice their honor or reputation. Distortions resulting from the passage of time, such as fading, are excluded from VARA, but the shredded works are another matter and bring to mind the 2007 federal lawsuit Louden v. Yahoo! Inc. In that case, artist Sharon Louden sued the search giant after it clipped her outdoor installation Reflecting Tips, 2001, which was located on Yahoo’s corporate campus and was designed to mimic the natural wetland vegetation there. The action was dropped in 2008.
JOE@PONZICORPUnderstood. The auditors did raise a tiny question about some of the choices the company made in art buying (the oil painting of Herb’s girlfriend, for starters). Any problemo?
INFO@DANZIGERNot necessarily. Corporate art collecting can be justified for purposes other than maximizing profits. The question is whether there was a rational business judgment behind the decision to collect.
JOE@PONZICORPI have a weird hypothetical for you. Could a CEO build a public museum with the company’s funds to house his private collection? The guards at this hypothetical museum are former models (friends of the CEO), if that makes any difference.
INFO@DANZIGEREven without the models, that might be allowed. In three civil actions commenced by shareholders in 1989 against Occidental Petroleum Corporation, the company withstood shareholders’ claims of waste after it spent more than $85 million to build and fund the operations of the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center for the collection of its chairman. The court there found that the expense resulted in corporate good will and was reasonable in light of the company’s pretax earnings of $574 million. (The museum has since operated in partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles.)
JOE@PONZICORPSo what are the outer limits of corporate philanthropy? Any problem donating our art collection to a great new charity to benefit former officers of our company?
INFO@DANZIGERThe limit is when it is deemed a waste of corporate assets—a high standard that encompasses inadequate consideration and lack of reasonable business purpose. (Only the corporation or the share- holders can allege waste.) In Cox Enterprises, Inc. v. News-Journal Corporation, the court found in 2007 that News-Journal’s spending on the arts was wasteful where individuals had used the company to “indulge their personal interests in the arts” and the company’s lawyer had warned that its arts contributions “had a material adverse effect on corporate profits.” Your suggested donation would violate more laws than we can count.
JOE@PONZICORPCrazy day. Just heard we’re in tomorrow’s Post, and two company lawyers are coming to my apartment right now! Could it be another promotion?!! Thanks again for your help.
P.S.: Shoot me the definition of coconspirator, OK?
INFO@DANZIGERNo problem, Joe. No problem.
Thomas and Charles Danziger are the lead partners in the New York firm Danziger, Danziger & Muro, specializing in art law.
Some facts have been altered for reasons of client confidentiality or, in some cases, created out of whole cloth. Nothing in this article is intended to provide specific legal advice.
A version of this column appears in the May 2014 issue of Art+Auction magazine.
Art Basel in Hong Kong, in its sophomore edition, impresses visitors with its "Encounters" section featuring 17 large-scale sculptures and installations. Curated for the second year by Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art Chief Curator Yuko Hasegawa, Encounters features traditional sculpture and interactive experiences ranging from a ping pong game (“Ping Pong Go-Round” by Lee Wen) to visitors performing with Yu Cheng-Ta in “The Letters”. Fair goers are invited to read fraudulent spam e-mails that originated in Africa to Cheng-Ta while being videotaped. The videos are replayed between the live performances.
In her curatorial statement for Encounters, Hasegawa says the show “reconsiders social and communal memories and relationships… undergoing a process of complicated diversification due to the fluidity of globalization and the formation of a new way of relating through social media. Change in the social landscape constitutes miscommunication and cultural breakdown.”
Details on all 17 "Encounters" can be found HERE.
Watch all ARTINFO videos from Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 HERE.