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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

What a year. Time for A&O to reflect on all that was, and look forward to all that will be in 2011. Here’s our pick of the litter, our top ten art world announcements from 2010. What are yours?

2010 Marked the Death of the Following 20th century Luminaries:

Dennis Hopper

Louise Bourgeois

Harvey Pekar

Frank Frezetta

JD Salinger

Howard Zinn

Alexander McQueen

Censorship Infuriates the Art World

Controversy blazes over the Smithsonian’s censorship of the David Wojnarowicz video piece “A Fire in My Belly” from the Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Deitch Goes West

Deitch gives up the private sector and moves to the public realm as Director of MOCA in Los Angeles.  As anticipated by detractors and fans alike, he causes quite a stir.

Chaos and Classicism at The Guggenheim

The Guggenheim delivers a curatorial gem.  Chaos and Classicism focuses in on a seldom talked about moment in interwar European art, when a renewed interest in Classical aesthetics reigned.

Despite Economic Factors, Sales at Miami Art Basel Were Strong

Art Sales in Miami challenge, as they have in the past, the state of a globally jeopardized economy.

Bravo TV airs “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist”

Art world heavyweights huddled on couches and crammed into bars to watch and weigh in on the first art-based reality TV show, “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist”.

Scott Campbell Burns Art Over a Dispute with Vice Mexico gallery

After a dispute with Mexico’s Vice Gallery, Scott Campbell took the work from his sold- out show and burned it in the street.


An Art Mogul, the CEO of an Empire, and an Heiress Walk Into a Bar…

Larry Gagosian, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Russain heiress Dasha Zhukova, Wendi Murdoch (Rupert Murdoch’s wife), and others are teaming up to launch art.sy, an online art sales site that could very well be a game changer.

The First Online Art Fair

New York dealer James Cohan and internet entrepreneur Jonas Almgren announced the impending launch of the first online art fair.

$120 Million Dollar Art Fraud

The art world is hit by a financial schemer, Lawrence Salander, who defrauded his clients out of a total of 120 million dollars.

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Dan Witz’s integrity in expressing beauty through subversion and an enduring interest in realism has sustained the artist a copious 30-year career. Known for his hyper-realistic paintings, Witz challenges himself to keep representational painting relevant in the postmodern era and digital age.  This challenge commands that the artist must continually grow and experiment in his art practice which has contributed to him being cited as one of the most progressive and influential painters of our time.

White Walls Gallery is pleased to announce the debut solo show by Dan Witz entitled “What The %$#@? (WTF)”. The opening reception will be held on January 8, 2011 from 7-11pm. Witz is known for using  his mastery of the visual deception of trompe-l’oeil and photorealistic painting techniques to create conceptual visual pranks, producing a definitive and unparalleled street art practice.

The “What The %$#@? (WTF)” series is named for the universal reactions it often inspires within the viewer.  For this street art project, Witz is installing his Dark Doings pieces on walls beside highway ramps and interchanges–bottleneck locations where traffic backs up and a captive audience develops as cars pass by at low speeds. Dark Doings is made up of digital photo prints with extensive over-painting mounted on plastic and then framed.  For each piece that Witz will be showing within the gallery, a corresponding piece will be put up somewhere in the Bay Area.  The artworks come in an edition of 6:3 for the street and 3 for other distribution.  The street versions are unsigned, but marked with NFFS*.  The asterisk indicates (on the back of the piece) *NOT FOR FUCKING SALE.

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Meat in Plastic

Through the traditional style of still life painting, Victoria Mimiaga explores the abundant and sometimes superfluous use of plastic packaging in the food industry. On December 30th, the SFMOMA Artist’s Gallery at Caffe Museo will host an exhibition Mimiaga’s work entitled “Food in Plastic”. In this body of work, Mimiaga captures the ephemeral nature of reflectivity while portraying the humor in the perfunctory uselessness of plastic receptacles. Cucumbers are Individually shrink-wrapped, sliced apples are packaged twice in plastic, a molded plastic half shell is manufactured for half a Bundt cake. These containers inevitably call into question the banal acceptance, redundancy and environmental implications of the overuse of plastic packaging.

Cucumbers

From the artist’s statement: “From thin gauge thermoform trays to seal tear bags, the use of plastic packaging in the food industry has undergone a renaissance. In supermarkets, corner bodegas and organic food stores, there are new and creative uses of plastic packaging – in some cases offering little more than heightened protection where none is needed. Items such as bananas, already covered in Nature’s skin, are further enveloped in a silky sheen of polymer.

Over the past decade, Victoria Mimiaga has been struck by this proliferation of plastic in the food industry. The traditional still life with fruit, fish or vegetable, a time-honored artistic subject, must now account for this new, man-made offshoot. And while plastic-wrapped food presents an aesthetic of its own, lying beneath the surface is the alarming reality of how this added waste material impacts the rest of the natural world.”

Cauliflower in Plastic

Food in Plastic will be exhibited at Caffe Museo, inside the SFMOMA, at 151 Third Street in San Francisco. The artist’s reception will be held on Thursday, December 30, 2010 from 6:30 – 8pm. The exhibit runs from December 23, 2010 to February 1, 2011.

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"Poppies"

The American Federation of Arts is pleased to announce that artist Donald Sultan will be giving the first ArtTalk of 2011, to be held at Christie’s, located at 20 Rockefeller Plaza, on Tuesday, January 18, at 6:30 p.m. ArtTalks, the AFA’s lecture series, features notable figures in the art world. Following Sultan’s lecture, audience members are invited to participate in a question-and-answer session and a wine reception.

Internationally recognized for his painting, printmaking, and sculpture, Donald Sultan is best known for his sensual, large-scale paintings and monochromatic prints that incorporate images of lemons, flowers, dominoes, and other ordinary objects. At once representational and abstract, these works are rendered through an innovative use of unlikely materials such as linoleum, tar, vinyl, spackle, and Masonite.

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I just learned from @paddyjohnson Twitter feed that the controversial video by David Wojnarowicz is now live on Vimeo. Thanks to P.P.O.W. Gallery for publishing and standing up against censorship.

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“Bottom line, if people don’t say what they believe, those ideas and feelings get lost. If they are lost often enough, those ideas and feelings never return.” – David Wojnarowicz

This quote is from the website of David Wojnarowicz; a posthumous warning that foreshadows the recent ethical plight between the National Portrait Gallery and “A Fire in My Belly”, a video by Wojnarowicz that was recently censored from the museum’s “Hide/Seek” exhibition. In the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture, “Hide/Seek” considers such themes as the role of sexual difference in depicting modern America; how artists explored the fluidity of sexuality and gender; how major themes in modern art—especially abstraction—were influenced by social marginalization; and how art reflected society’s evolving and changing attitudes toward sexuality, desire, and romantic attachment. Wojnarowicz created his video piece “A Fire in My Belly” as a response to the “agony and suffering” of his partner who at the time was dying of AIDS. The piece includes some fairly grotesque imagery to comment on the fragility of flesh but it’s the scene in which a cross is covered in ants that caused the video piece to be removed from the exhibition at the behest of Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League who deemed the work “hate speech”.

In an act of solidarity, TRANSFORMER, an alternative art space in D.C., as well as the New Museum in NYC have decided to take a stand on the side of freedom of expression and are looping the Wojnarowicz video for all to see. Argot & Ochre supports the expressive creative projects of all voices and has invited MANIAC Gallery curator and art writer, Petra Royale Bibeau to share her comments on this topic.

(rebuttal for the removal of Wojnarowicz work from SEEK/FIND exhibition at the NPG)

WORSE THAN A CULTURE WAR, THE ABSENCE OF ONE.

By Petra Royale Bibeau

The censoring of the Wojnarowicz piece at the National Portrait Gallery due to claims of an “anti-Christian” sentiment has highlighted the importance of the nations alternative spaces. While the Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights, an organization along side House Speaker John Boehner, behind the claim of the anti-Christian sentiment, boasts a mission to ‘protect religion and its freedom of speech’, citing the First Amendment, TRANSFORMER, a DC alternative space, has taken up the slack by hosting the video on loop in their storefront window.

With the National Portrait Gallery’s decision to remove Wojnarowicz’s work, the idea of freedom of speech has again become limited and exclusionary, removing the same right for others, and worse, without any acknowledgement of the major flaw in reasoning. Most concerning, is what Christopher Knight of the LA Times pointed out regarding Smithsonian’s Secretary G. Wayne Clough’s act of removing the Wojnarowicz piece from the exhibition: “Clough’s unfortunate decision gave tacit credence to their claim that the censored art is “anti-Christian.”

If it is called anti-Christian, it is so in the sense that the Church does not appreciate the legacy of their judgements during Wojnarowicz’s time viewed now through a contemporary context. Wojnarowicz’s ‘Fire In My Belly’ visually establishes a haunting account of both American governmental and (largely Christian) religious resistance of the epidemic during the height of the AIDS crisis in America by using larger/global iconographical reference. Specifically, the work addresses the harsh global realities, more so than personal commentary. The fact that Wojnarowicz’s use of a cross covered in ants as a symbol relaying the sickness of the sheer amount of people dying due to the rapid spread of AIDS coupled with the dismissal of the epidemic by the Church, is being called into question as anti-Christian precludes the real issue of historic relevance and integrity. Not only an integrity loss for the millions of people effected by this particular point in time, but also the integrity of a secular institution to successfully curate and develop full exhibitions historically and culturally relevant to an audience. The unfortunate removal of the work is an insult to LGBT community, as it goes without saying that this work is both historically accurate and relevant to the whole of the exhibition and is an important part of American art history.

Adding insult to injury, Clough’s decision of removal came across as apologetic as cited on the National Portrait Gallery’s website in a letter apologizing for offending anyone. Whereas Boehner and the Catholic League expressed no hesitation asserting a gross demand on the claim that a portion of Wojanrowicz’s piece is considered ‘anti-Christian’, The NPG, a secular institution gatekeeping cultural relevance in the public sector did not provide an appropriate context and/or rebuttal to this claim. This negligence alone begs the question: what is more insulting, the fact that the work was removed, or the fact that no one provided the appropriate context and insisted on its merit and worth for inclusion in “the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture”?

This is a simple and obvious issue of censorship that esteems to alter and erase history and to replace with an edited version by the same institution that the art was being made to address in an educated manner. The removal of this work seeks to destroy and discredit the very real struggle and public plight of the LGBT community specifically from the late 1970s onward in the face of gross negligence and superfluous public hate campaigns.This is no different than removing atrocities dealt to African-Americans during civil rights to appease a white majority and calling any reference to said atrocities anti-American, for example. The integrity of American intellect and history is at great risk with these types of decisions, most especially when responsibility is not taken for specific acts and reasoning that have shaped the American psyche for the past 30 years. This is not an acceptable decision, nor is it appropriate to censor a real expression from the point in time where this work was conceived under very real conditions, in response to very real attitudes that permeate our society to this very day.

In 2010, this issue is not as closely related to the 1990s culture wars as expected. This isn’t simply a question of conflicting cultural values, as this issue has only really been unilaterally dealt with, it gives the appearance as there are no real conflicts with the decision or consequence, or as Knight argues, the label itself. There has been little to no rebuttal from Clough or the Smithsonian, and it has largely gone (critically) unaddressed. As gatekeepers of culture, if that is in fact the position defined, it is their job to assure cultural relevance and historic accuracy for the public. Political and/or religious bargaining is not on the agenda. For now, if you wish to see the entire HIDE/SEEK exhibition, including Wojanarowicz’s piece, the missing video is being playing on loop in the storefront window of Transformer, an alternative space in DC.

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Photo by Alan Lishness via Flickr

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts invites submissions from Bay Area artists for a new commission for a public art project at YBCA. One artist will be selected to create a large-scale artwork on the glass exterior walls of the forum/galleries building. This is one of two buildings that make up YBCA’s campus, the forum/galleries building is designed by world renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki and opened to the public in 1993. It houses YBCA’s exhibition galleries, multi-purpose forum and administrative offices.

The commissioned public artwork must be visually compelling and dynamic, express the values of YBCA, and enhance the experience of those in the vicinity of YBCA’s facility, the adjacent Yerba Buena Gardens and Mission Street. The selected temporary artwork will remain on view for a period of time between 18 months and two years.

The selected artist will be asked to participate in outreach efforts meant to deepen the public’s engagement with their artwork, for example, an artist talk or presentation on the making of the selected work on view.

Mission

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents contemporary art from the Bay Area and around the world that reflects the profound issues and ideas of our time, expands the boundaries of artistic practice, and celebrates the diversity of human experience and expression.

Eligibility

Applicants must reside in the Bay Area.

Bay Area Counties include: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Napa County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County

Electronic submissions are preferred. Visit www.ybca.org to download an application form and instructions.

Awards

Three artists will be chosen to proceed to the second round and will be awarded $1000 each to develop a detailed design proposal.

The selected artist will receive an honorarium in the amount of $5000. In addition, under YBCA proposed guidelines, YBCA will pay for costs associated with the fabrication and installation of the work.

Deadlines & Dates:

Submissions must be postmarked, Friday, January 7, 2011

Three finalists will be notified by February 1, 2011

The final selected artist will be notified by April 1, 2011

For further information, please visit www.ybca.org

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