Just the things you should know this week, via the ArtList blog.
1. New Guggenheim, New Design
The Guggenheim has selected the design for its new museum in Helsinki. The design, which was selected after a two-round competition that included 1,715 submissions, comes from Paris-based firm Morea Kusunoki Architects.
A rendering of the Guggenheim Helsinki Museum (Guggenheim Museum)
The selection is a departure from Guggenheim’s museums in New York, Bilbao and Abu Dhabi, all of which are large, stand alone structures designed by singular, renown architects such as Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright. Comparatively, the new Helsinki facility is a more sectioned building from a four-year-old architectural firm. The structure’s sprawling layout encourages visitors to interweave between the city’s existing culture and the museum’s new artistic additions.
2. Gavin Brown Opens in Harlem
Soaring Manhattan real estate prices have triggered questions over New York’s art culture for years. (How can you have an artistic scene in neighborhoods where most artists and galleries can’t even afford rent?) Amid such ongoing questions, Gavin Brown has announced a relocation of its West Village location that may hint at a future location for NYC’s art scene: Harlem.
The exterior of Brown’s soon to be Harlem location (Google Street View)
Gavin Brown will open the doors to its new location at 461 W 126th Street in September with a solo show of Ed Atkins’ artwork. The move takes the gallery closer to owner Gavin Brown’s own Harlem apartment (between 121st and 122nd streets), which he has converted into an informal gallery multiple times in the past.
3. Shepard Fairey Faces Arrest in Detroit
The Detroit police department has accused renown street artist Shepard Fairy of $9,000 worth of damage to the city, issuing a warrant for his arrest for two counts of malicious destruction of property.
Fairey’s commissioned mural on the exterior of the 18-story Campus Martius building (Playground Detroit).
While Fairey was commissioned in May to create an outdoor mural for the Campus Martius building in downtown Detroit, his artwork has since also appeared in 14 other locations around the city, without authorization. Unless Fairey turns himself in to the police he faces arrest and a penalty of more than $10,000 and five years in jail.
4. Bloomberg Names Winners of Public-Art Grants
Bloomberg Philanthropies has selected 4 public art projects across the US to receive up to $1 million in funding. The funds will enable the creation of temporary, outdoor art installations in Los Angeles, Gary, Indiana, Spartanburg, South Carolina and a joint project between Albany, Schenetady and Troy, New York.
A rendering of the future New York state project (New York Times)
The cities were selected from 230 city entries and are also required to contribute some funds to the projects, which will be completed in the next two years. In an official statement regarding the grants, Michael Bloomberg said: “Great public art strengthens cities by making them more exciting and attractive places to live, work, and visit. Public art can also help us to see urban challenges in a new light — and imagine new solutions.”
5. Careful Where You Park Your Art
Apparently “art” is not a good excuse to get out of a parking ticket. This week, an outdoor sculpture by artist Erwin Wurm — known for infusing his art with a sense of humor — was issued a ticket in the German city of Karlsruhe for parking in a restricted parking area.
Wurm’s ticketed sculpture (Mixed Grill)
The museum for which Wurm created the work initially confirmed that the thirty euro ticket was very real and will have to be paid by the museum. However, Karlsruhe mayor Dr. Frank Mentrup has since announced that he would appeal the ticket for the museum.
Before selfies, Instagram and digital cameras — there was Polaroid.
Andy Warhol with a Polaroid self portrait (Designboom)
Founded in 1937 by Edwin Land, Polaroid was a revolution of its time: the first, and for a long time the only, way to instantly see an image you had just taken. In fact, it is because of Polaroid’s innovation that Land holds the second largest amounts of patents in US history (after only Thomas Edison).
Christopher Bonanos, editor at New York magazine and author of Instant: The Story of Polaroid, explains that Land wanted to create:
“a camera which you would use not on the occasion of parties only, or of trips only, or when your grandchildren came to see you, but a camera that you would use as often as your pencil or your eyeglasses.”
The incredible speed and ease of use of Polaroid cameras gave artists new freedom to experiment and expand their art.
No longer did photographers have to wait to finish and then develop an entire roll of film before being able to see their efforts. They had easily accessible, instant feedback and the chance to experiment with results.
They also had a small, simple camera with which they could capture quick moments of their daily life without having to adjust a number of settings.
The Polaroid soon became not just an easy to use camera for the masses, but a tool for some of the most renown contemporary artists.
Polaroid’s Great Users
Perhaps the fine artist most known for Polaroid use, Andy Warhol used Polaroid to capture quick, casual glimpses into the lives of him and his friends (some of the most famous celebrities of their time). The speed and ease of Polaroid allowed Warhol to capture candid, intimate portraits of these seemingly inapproachable stars; a vulnerable honesty that would undoubtedly be lost in a formal photoshoot setting.
Andy Warhol, Polaroid portraits of (clockwise from top right): Liza MInnelli, Diana Ross, Jerry Hall and Bianca Jagger, 1960s (Pret-a-Reporter)
Though Warhol’s Polaroids were meant as artistic experimentation for his larger silkscreen portraits, rather than artwork for exhibition, they have been shown all over the country, from Los Angeles and Las Vegas to Poughkeepsie, New York, gaining attention after the artist’s death in 1987. They are often exhibited on a more intimate scale than his more notable silkscreens, offering audiences that may not have access to Warhol’s larger oeuvre the chance to peek into the life of the great Pop artist.
Along with Warhol, Chuck Close was an early proponent of Polaroid, incorporating the film as a staple of his artistic practice. While most people may think of Polaroid on a very small scale, Close preferred much lager images, producing 20 x 24 in. Polaroid portraits.
Chuck Close shoots Oprah Winfrey for Vanity Fair magazine.(Vanity Fair)
And Close still uses the Polaroid format today — explaining to Vanity Fairthat he enjoys the “brutal honesty” of the film, which captures an intimate, exposed truthfulness that would otherwise be concealed in digital post-production processes. He also finds that the instant processing of a Polaroid print allows for a more collaborative photoshoot; both he and the model can see and discuss the results, a luxury when shooting film.
As a consultant for Polaroid in 1949 (for $100 per month), Ansel Adams worked with and tested Polaroids various film and camera. His experiments with polaroids revealed a different side of the Western landscapes that he was so famous for capturing.
Ansel Adams, Yosemite Falls, 1979 (Smithsonian)
Adams’ polaroids take the format beyond portraiture, combining landscapes’ grandeur with the soft, other-worldly color palette that characterizes Polaroid images. The result is a landscape both familiar and reinvented, seen through a new lens. Adams even said of his Polaroid: “Many of my most successful photographs from the 1950’s onward have been made on Polaroid film. One look at the tonal quality of the print I have achieved should convince the uninitiated of the truly superior quality of Polaroid film.”
Like all film based industries, Polaroid’s business has suffered in the age of digitalization, filing for bankruptcy in 2001 and again in 2008. However, the film still stands as the only instantly processing film — the only way to both shoot in film and quickly see the results.
Chuck Close explains how this instantaneousness is a key part of his artistic practice:
“After every shot, the picture goes up on the wall. I can look at it, and the sitter can look at it. They say, ‘Oh, okay, this is what we’re doing.’”
A Chuck Close portrait of Brad Pitt for Vanity Fair magazine (2013)
However, most camera users have found a replacement for the instant gratification and specified color palette of Polaroid film — Instagram, which includes even more options for altering the color of an image and the chance for instant viewing not only by oneself but by an entire online community.
Moreover, the photo sharing platform combines artistic photography with personal narrative to glimpse into users and artists lives as never before.
Whereas Andy Warhol’s casual snapshots served as rare glimpses into his social life and circle of friends, such personal exposure is the norm of Instagram. Andy Warhol once said that he took so many Polaroids to
“…know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.”
Although the world’s biggest contemporary art fair only officially opened yesterday, the fair has already racked up big sales in the two days of its VIP preview. New York dealer David Nolan told artnet news that he hand’t “had such a good Day One at Basel in 10 years.”
Dan Flavin, European Couples (1966–71), Unlimited in Basel (Art Basel)
Our very own Head of Curation, Astrid de Maismont, was at Basel talking to collectors about the works of Danh Vo, Harold Ancartand Ugo Rondinone. From the fair’s $3.4 billion worth of art for sale this year, millions of dollars worth of artwork has already been purchased (included a $5.5 million Christopher Wool that was bought from Van de Weghe Gallery within the first 30 minutes of the preview). However, the fair’s priciest piece — a $50 million Mark Rothko work— has yet to be bought from Helly Nahmad, who is back on the fairgrounds after serving jail time for his role in an illegal gambling ring.
2. Boesky Adds Bjorn Braun
There were several changes in gallery representation this week. Notably, Marianne Boesky Gallery added Bjorn Braun to their roster of artists, signaling the establishment of career maturity.
John Altoon, Ocean Park Series #8, 1962 (LACMA)
Braun’s picture, collage and installation works incorporate naturally-sourced materials and faunal inspiration — going so far as to allow the very animals to participate in the creation of the work — as an examination of the artificiality of artistic production. Additionally, New York’s Galerie Lelong now represents self-described “rural modernist” McArthur Binion, whose abstract, highly textured compositions challenge the accepted conventions of abstract art. Los Angeles’ Kohn Gallery also became the representative of the estate of John Altoon, gaining access to the abstract expressionist oeuvre of the late painter who was a predominate figure in the Los Angeles art scene.
3. Broad Museum Spends Big on New Pieces
In preparation for the September 20 opening of their Los Angeles museum,Eli and Edythe Broad have announced new additions to their over 2,000 piece collection. The couple has added a 2014 Takashi Murakami painting, “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” (joining 10 Murakami works already in the museum’s collection) and a 2014 charcoal drawing by Robert Longo, “Untitled (Ferguson Police, August 13, 2014).”
Untitled (Ferguson Police, August 13, 2014), Robert Longo, 2014 (The Guardian)
This represents a recent trend in the Broads’ art acquisitions, which have focused on very new works by younger artists. However, the couple still seeks out older pieces with less recent additions of works by Ed Ruscha, Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly, Christopher Wool and Damien Hirst.
4. Rainbow Flag Added to MoMA Design Collection
In the midst of both LGBT Pride Month and the Supreme Court’s deliberation on gay marriage’s federal status, MoMA has added the Rainbow Flag — the symbolic icon of gay pride — to its permanent design collection.
The Rainbow Flag (Creative Commons)
The flag, designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978, joins other design innovations such as the Creative Commons logo, the “@” symbol and the Google Maps pin. In a statement on the addition, the museum said “We’re proud the MoMA collection now includes this powerful design milestone, and there’s no more perfect time to share this news than during global celebrations for Gay Pride Month.” The flag’s here, it’s queer and now part of design history.
5. Ai Weiwei‘s Homecoming
Although Ai Weiwei has gained incredible acclaim and attention internationally (Basel-goers can check out some of Ai Weiwei’s work on the fairgrounds), this week marked the opening of Weiwei’s first ever solo exhibition in his home country of China.
Weiwei’s temple recreation (Design Boom)
Prohibited from leaving China since 2011, the Chinese government’s response to his his politically charged artwork, Weiwei has taken a decidedly more subtle approach to his new, eponymous exhibit in Beijing. Rather than referencing China’s political present, his works revisit the country’s historical past, with, among other works, a recreation of a Ming dynasty ancestral temple.
3 booths making a big impression at the world’s best art fair: Art Basel, June 16–21.
1. Gavin Brown’s enterprise (Booth S2)
Gavin Brown’s booth boasts work by established artists such as Rob Pruitt,Alex Katz and Joe Bradley, among others. However, the NYC-based gallery takes a characteristically unconventional approach (one of the most unconventional of the fair) to exhibiting its artists, fully utilizing its space with a wallpaper by Karl Holmqvist that provides a backdrop for many of the artworks on display and a floor installation by Martin Creed, who has covered the booth’s floor with a patchwork of rugs and textiles. Thus Brown creates an immersive, interactive experience with their art.
2. Metro Pictures (Booth B5)
New York-based Metro Pictures’ Basel selection includes works by Cindy Sherman, Camillie Henrot — whose drawing below has already sold for $45,000 — and a notable charcoal on paper piece from Robert Longo, who uses an unusual, powerful amount of negative space to offset his iconic flag emblem. The booth also includes multiple pieces from the subject of Metro Pictures’ current NYC exhibition, Olaf Breuning, whose large steel sculptures and photo collages mirror the visual vernacular of our contemporary society.
3. Anton Kern (Booth L10)
From NYC, Anton Kern has brought pieces from 17 different artists to Art Basel. One artist making a particularly big impression is Matthew Monahan, who has multiple sculptures and works on paper in the Kern booth. Monahan’s paintings and sculptures reference ancient relics in their imagery and materials. Thus his works seem to be part of their own archeological revealing, to contain a greater history than their own creation. Kern also has two large scale sculptures from Jim Lambie and David Shrigley in Art Basel Unlimited, Basel’s exhibition platform for works unsuited for a fair booth, such as large-scale sculptures, video projects and performances.
To see more of Young’s work check out his swing on Artlist.co. You can also find more past artist profiles on the ArtList blog.
“My work is an attack,” Aaron Young has warned viewers.
Tumbleweed, 2009 (Mutual Art)
Whether spray painting “LOCALS ONLY!” onto bronze rocks or crushing and mangling 24 karat gold plated steel fences, Young uses his art to examine American culture, conflating its images of rebellion with an elevated, artistic discourse.
Thus, his works balance aggressivity with a poetic artistry to arrive at a new experience of familiar, urban images.
For example, Young recorded one video series as he kicked a camera along the ground in various locations until the device disintegrated. The video turns the violence of the kicking action into a continuous visual poetry — a new way of experiencing familiar locations.
Disintegration or a the implementation of loss is another common theme in Young’s pieces, poignantly described by filmmaker Matt Black, who has worked with Young, as:
“a pure exploration of America and masculinity — minimalism on steroids.”
This process of removal to ultimately create was exemplified in Young’s well known “Greeting Card” performance piece, in which drivers rode motorcycles over a large, black plywood surface to reveal the layers of fluorescent paint beneath the black facade.
A photo from Young’s “Greeting Card” performance (Park Avenue Armory)
The sound, smell and smoke of Young’s performance purposefully overwhelms his audience’s senses, until there is nothing left but the large, gestural painting which the motorcycles’ tires create.
“I like the aggressiveness but I also like that it has a kind of flowing, seamless poetry to it at the same time. And that kind of grinding up against each other is what I try to pull out from the work,” — Aaron Young
Young lives and works in New York City. He received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and a MFA from Yale University. He has had solo exhibits at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, Kukje Gallery in Seoul, The Company in Los Angeles, Galerie Amine Rech in Paris, and the Gagosian Galleries in both Beverly Hills and Moscow. His work has also been exhibited at MOCA in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Gagosian Gallery in London and Marian Goodman in Paris.
What is art? The eternal debate has taken a new turn in recent years with the relationship between functional design & art.
As we are launching this week an exceptional sale of artist-made outdoor functional objects, we asked Chardonnay Pickard to provide some perspective on art and design collaborations and Astrid de Maismont to give some insight into why we decided to feature one.
Aaron Young, Untitled , 2009. Recycled tire and 24 ct. gold chain. Available here.
How artists and designers collaborate
Chardonnay Pickard is a NY based art and design expert. She previously served as Public Relations Director of the famed, Limoges-based porcelain company, Bernardaud. She currently consults with a wide variety of designers, architects, retailers and manufacturers.
ArtList: So, is it OK for artists to make functional objects?
Chardonnay Pickard: I think that when you ask an artist to collaborate in any kind of product development process with a brand or manufacturer you’re going to end up with something fascinating. So much of the way contemporary craft, design and art are segmented seems really silly to me.
My experience has definitely been that artists are designers, designers are artists and so many incredible objects and projects come from the collaboration between the two.
ArtList: What makes a good artist collaboration with a designer?
Chardonnay: Successful artist collaborations are made when the artist and the brand or manufacturer are able to create something wholly different from what either is known for creating without detracting from either of their brands…In many of these partnerships seeing the brand or product through the eyes of the artists helps the brand clarify and enhance its DNA. A lot of european heritage brands are partnering with artists and I think it’s reinventing them and enhancing their relevance.
Brito’s clutch collaborations with (from left) Carlos Rolón/Dzine, Erik Parker and Kenny Scharf (Wall Street Journal).
ArtList: What kind of recent artist-made objects do you like?
Chardonnay: Apart from Bernardaud’s artist-designed porcelain sets, of course, interior designer and art consultant Maria Brito has created some incredible art clutches that I adore with the likes of Trudy Benson, Erika Parker and Kenny Scharf, which are gorgeous.…More than anything, I get excited that art is no longer being seen as something that’s unattainable and only for academics and certain people. Art is really something that everyone should be able to enjoy and own and I think the world is recognizing that.
7x7x7 Outdoor Contemporary, by ArtList
Exploring this combination of art and desig, ArtList is excited to present a 7 day sale that will feature 7 functional objects and 7 textiles created by leading contemporary artists and in collaboration with Nathalie Karg / Cumulus Studios. Astrid de Maismont, Head of Curation at ArtList, explains the motivation behind the sale.
ArtList: What is 7x7x7?
Astrid de Maismont: It is a 7 day sale that will feature 7 functional objects and 7 textiles created by leading contemporary artists, in collaboration with Nathalie Karg / Cumulus Studios. From a ping pong table by Tom Burr, to a fountain byRob Pruitt, we are selling functional outdoor objects by some of our favorite contemporary artists, that will add personality to any collector’s home just in time for summer.
Rob Pruitt, Untitled, 2008. Tires and electrical pump. Available here.
ArtList: Why do a sale featuring functional objects by artists?
Astrid: We felt that the pieces from this sale blur the distinctions between design and artistic creation, proving that the two fields can collaborate to create playful, interactive pieces. At ArtList, we care about presenting high quality fine art for our collectors. Historically, we have been focusing on unique works of art. However, we liked the idea of artists working under a specific constraint which drives further creativity: Outdoor.
ArtList: Why is “outdoor” such an important element of these works?
Astrid: Today, as a collector, it is difficult if you want to expand your art collection outside. There are design objects but nothing that can act as a direct extension of your indoor collection, nothing functional created by contemporary artists — like a bench, a ping pong table or a swing. These objects offer a unique solution to that problem in that they can serve as either indoor or outdoor additions to a collection.
Tom Burr, Bouncing Balls, 2010. Aluminum, rubber, paint. Available here.
Via the Artlist blog: Art shows you can’t miss this week in New York. We pick only three.
1. Yayoi Kusama at David Zwirner May 9 — June 13
As Yayoi Kusama’s Give Me Love exhibition at Zwirner enters its final weeks, it is now perhaps the best time to see the exhibit. Through her work, Kusama offers viewers a playful, fantastical respite from the mundane and ordinary. The highlight of the exhibition that has been gaining incredible attention — Kusama’s “Obliteration Room” in which visitors are free to place a series of colored, circle stickers wherever they please — is now at its most colorful and should not be missed.
On display at 519 West 19th Street, NY, NY.
2. Mary Weatherford at Brennan & Griffin May 16 — August 1
The inaugurating exhibition of Brennan & Griffin’s new gallery space, Red Hookoffers Weatherford the chance to expand her examination of American landscapes. With this most recent series of paintings, Weatherford abstractly represents the reality of the American landscape, looking to industrial, urban centers (such as the series’s namesake Red Hook naeighborhood) as sources of inspiration. She is inspired by landscapes as they are, rather than by a pastoral idealization of them.
On display at 62 Delvan Street, Brooklyn, NY.
(Brennan & Griffin)
3. Niele Toroni at Swiss Institute June 3 — September 6
The the first institutional solo show of Niele Toroni in New York (and the first show of his in the US in over 25 years) at the Swiss Institute includes both an expansive collection of past works spanning over 50 years of the artist’s career and new site-specific pieces, commissioned especially for the exhibition. The show thus offers both a panoramic view of the painter’s ouevre while giving visitors a taste of newer work. However, in contrasting the two, the exhibit highlights the meditative consistency that characterizes Toroni’s painting.