September 21, 2012

Michael Ned Holte and Karin Higa Named Curators of the 2014 Los Angeles Biennial

Karin Higa and Michael Ned Holte have been named cocurators of “Made in L.A. 2014.” Higa, former senior curator at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, is an independent curator and writer. She has organized numerous exhibitions, including a 1999 retrospective of Bruce and Norman Yonemoto at the Japanese American National Museum and the national traveling exhibition “One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now” 2006-2008, for the Asia Society Museum in New York (cocurated with Melissa Chiu and Susette Min). Holte, a Los Angeles–based independent curator and frequent Artforum contributor, is a member of the art program faculty at the California Institute of the Arts. Among other shows, he curated “Temporary Landmarks & Moving Situations,” currently on view at Expo Chicago, and the 2007 exhibition “Laying Bricks” at Wallspace Gallery in New York.

Said director Annie Philbin: “We are very excited to announce our curatorial team for 2014. Karin and Michael will bring unique perspectives and rich knowledge of LA’s creative landscape to the next biennial. We are thrilled to be working with them and looking very much forward to the summer of 2014.” The second edition of the Los Angeles Biennial will open in June 2014 and run through September.

September 21, 2012

Gareth Williams Appointed Head of Contemporary Art and Design at Bonhams

Gareth Williams has been named head of the contemporary art and design department for the United Kingdom and Europe at Bonhams, reports Artdaily. Gareth began at the auction house in 1995, gaining notoriety for launching the urban art auctions; he is best known for promoting the work of Banksy. Said CEO Matthew Girling: “We are delighted with this appointment. Gareth has an excellent track record of achieving world record prices for contemporary artists and has led our highly successful urban art sales. It is always a pleasure to make an internal appointment that is based on long term organic growth and success.”

September 21, 2012

Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund Names 2012 Fellows

The Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund has awarded Russian artist Andrey Filippov its 2012 visual arts fellowship. A leader of Conceptual art in Russia during the 1980s and ’90s, Filippov has exhibited widely throughout Europe. The fellowship provides artists with the opportunity “to spend the fall of 2012 in Rome, studying classical and contemporary Italian culture, developing their own projects, and conversing with artists and scholars from around the world,” notes the fund in a press release. A fellowship in poetry has also been awarded to Alexander Belyakov. The program was created shortly after Brodsky’s death as way to provide Russian artists and writers with the opportunity to study and work in Rome.

September 21, 2012

International News Digest

SEPTEMBER 21

Der Standard has reported that the highly anticipated biography of the late artist and theater director Christopher Schlingensief will be released by publisher Kiepenheuer and Witsch on October 10 (after being pushed back from its original release date in 2010) and will be titled I Know, That was Me. Schlingensief’s widow, Aino Laberenz, acted as editor for the book, which describes the artist’s childhood in Oberhausen, his early filmmaking, and his experiences watching Wagner in Bayreuth. The personal diary of Schlingensief dealing with his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer in 2008 sold 150,000 copies.

The Romanian government has enacted severe budget cuts that have drastically, if not fatally, affected the arts. Romania’s state cultural broadcasting network, TVR Cultural, will be shut down while the cultural institute ICR will have its budget cut by a third. Further, the National Cultural Fund will not longer receive any support from revenue generated by the state lottery. The Romanian blog portal Voxpublica has suggested that the nation’s prime minister, Victor Ponta (who was previously covered in this column for controversially dismissing several directors of cultural institutions) has declared an open war on culture. One post states, “Of course, by national comparison, the ‘savings’ that result from these cuts are laughable. None of Romania's major problems will be solved with the few million Euros saved. The only thing that will really be ‘executed’ is the meager support allocated to people working in the cultural sector. In fact the cuts are both a highly irresponsible gesture vis--vis our country’s culture and an act of vengeance against all those vocal people who won’t let themselves be gagged or pushed around.”

In Berlin, it seems that promises cannot always be kept. The city told the influential photography venue c/o Berlin in September that it would have a new location in Monbijoupark after space after losing its home in Postfuhramt in Berlin-Mitte. However, this promise looks like it will be broken, as the development plan in place for the new site states that it can only be used as a green space––not as a cultural venue. While the city’s communal parliament unanimously voted in favor of the move, Carsten Spallek, of the city council for urban development in Mitte, told Die Sueddeutsche Zeitung that it would take at least one year before the building permit could be given even if the City Development Committee improbably made a decision in the coming weeks.

The painting Ready-Made de l’Histoire dans Caf de Flore by artist Jrg Immendorff has been declared a fake—or more accurately, not painted by the artist—by Immendorff expert Siegfried Gohr, Immendorff’s widow, Oda Jaune, and dealer Michael Werner. Gohr says, “'If it’s the same artist, I have to give up my reputation, I think.” But the owner of the painting, who claims that he purchased it in 1999, has a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist, who died in 2007. Besides raising the question of who can decide the fate of a dead artist’s work, this particular case is interesting, according to Catrin Lorch of Die Sueddeutsche Zeitung, because Immendorff sold many works at inexpensive prices straight from his studio during the later phase of his life, he was not actually painting these works himself, but rather giving general directions to his assistants who then generated the pieces. Lorch questioned the intent of the widow, expert, and gallerist, who she suspects are interested in keeping fewer of Immendorff’s works in circulation and therefore increasing the value of his art that they control. Suggested Lorch, “To say that only quality equals authenticity is not accurate in this case. It was precisely the cheap mass-produced works, now considered wooden and flat, that were the real ‘Immes’ of his last years.”

September 20, 2012

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Receives $5 Million Donation; Starts Residency Program

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has announced that it will start a residency program for scholars to work full-time doing specialized study in American art thanks to a donation of $5 million from Tyson Foods Inc., reports Bloomberg. This residential program will also provide development and research for Crystal Bridges's future exhibitions. In conjunction with this new program and donation, there will also be an annual prize awarded for lifetime achievement in American art. Director Don Bacigalupi stated in a press release, “Thanks to the generosity of the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, our museum will be able to develop and foster a community of scholars committed to furthering the understanding and appreciation of American art.”

September 19, 2012

Four Artists Chosen for German Pavilion at 2013 Venice Biennale

Susanne Gaensheimer, director of the Museum fr Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt am Main and curator of the German pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, has announced that four artists will represent Germany: Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng, and Dayanita Singh. A statement released by the German pavilion notes that each of the four is affiliated with “the German art scene” in his or her own way, having worked in Germany for many years and exhibited in collaboration with a number of German institutions. Said Gaensheimer of her choices: “Both everyday life and the cultural landscape of Germany are determined by different religions, economies, and political approaches. This defines our everyday and leads to mutual enrichment as well as to confrontation . . . . Although they develop their works out of specific, local contexts, they establish a kind of universal visual language by integrating their individual experiences of internationality.” The German pavilion has also hinted at the possibility of a collaborative project staged by the artists in cooperation with Anri Sala, the artist representing France at the biennale.

September 18, 2012

Serge Spitzer (1951–2012)

Serge Spitzer, a Romanian-born New York-based artist known for his labyrinths of installations that explore the ways in which the passage of time influences public space and, subsequently, shared reality and collective memory, has passed away at the age of sixty-one. Spitzer also utilizes sculpture, works on paper, photography, and video to reflect on these issues. He has participated in a variety of international exhibitions, notably Documenta and the Venice Biennale, and his work is represented in a number of public and private collections including the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Menil Collection.

Some significant works include his installation at the Palais de Tokyo, originally made for the 1997 Biennial of Lyon, which included nearly 2300 feet of plastic tubes that wrapped through the space, soaring into the air and across the ceiling, sliding about corners and over the floor. Here, the artist aimed to reflect a system of tubes that were installed in Paris prior to telephones as a way to send messages quickly from one end of the city to the other. Said Spitzer: “The message of the work is to create something which is a question to itself. You build structures, which seem to be very clear in their functions. But as you realize the work, you discover the irrationalities in the system. The narrative is about reality. You think the piece is about itself but it’s actually about the world around it, about the people, architecture, and about the structure.”

His 2010 installation at the Mayor Synagogue in Majorca was similarly monumental; the artist laid four tons of green and blue marbles over the former main hall of the building. The color and brightness of the marbles changed with various shades of natural daylight, which as the artist, noted in a New York Times article, symbolized the splintered qualities of life and time, which betrayed the temple’s complexity as both a contemporary and historical entity. “I tried to make sure that the work will force a blended reading of reality at all levels,” said Spitzer, “confronting and melting issues in an attempt to succeed alchemy.”

September 18, 2012

Annie Leibovitz Awarded Wexner Prize

Annie Leibovitz has been named winner of the Wexner Prize, which awards fifty thousand dollars to artists whose achievements reflect “bold originality, innovation, and creative excellence.” Past recipients include Merce Cunningham and John Cage, Bruce Nauman, Louise Bourgeois, Martin Scorsese, Yvonne Rainer, Renzo Piano, and Gerhard Richter. Leibovitz is the subject of a major exhibition at the center, set to open September 22. Said director Sherri Geldin: “Working with Annie over the last fifteen months to produce her exhibition, [we found that] her ‘candidacy’ quite naturally emerged with all the clarity and authority of one of her photographs. The more than two hundred Leibovitz photographs on view at the Wexner Center this fall attest to her stunning achievement across more than forty years of relentless photographic pursuit. That these works continue to so profoundly move us decades after they were shot is but one measure of her mastery.”

September 17, 2012

Howard R. Moody (1921–2012)

Reverend Howard R. Moody, the longtime minister of Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, has died at the age of ninety-one, reports the New York Times. He deeply encouraged and supported integration of the arts into spiritual practice throughout his thirty-five year ministry and allowed Judson Memorial Church to become a theater and laboratory for many artists for decades. He hosted 1960s happenings, opened a gallery in the basement, and provided the church as space for off-Broadway performances. Moody began his religious life preaching the Baptist faith on a street corner in Texas and later attended the Baptist Baylor University to study seminary. During this period he was drafted into the marines where he served four and a half years as a gunner, photographer, and sergeant. Moody went on to earn degrees from what is now the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Yale Divinity School. He was ordained at Judson Church in 1950 and began to serve as its pastor in 1957. He is perhaps most well-known for his social outreach work that focused on political and health-related issues. This included beginning AIDS support groups, defending political activists from censorship, and establishing the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health, a free-standing private clinic to provide safe and legal abortive services, among numerous other socially progressive projects. In 1965, he wrote “We used art and literature of the unbelieving world to drive our victims into some corner of existential despair where all answers failed, and then we slipped in God.” In a recent video interview on the 50th anniversary of the Judson Dance Theater, Carolee Schneemann reflects on Moody’s service immediately following her performance of Meat Joy at the Judson Memorial Church.