Friday, December 21, 2007

Best of 2007

Best of 2007 by Don Porcella

  1. Nintendo Wii – senior citizen centers report the game's use in rehabilitating older population. Use of game increases physical activity of aging generations.
  2. Apple's IPhone – revolutionary touchscreen interactivity, camera, music player and phone all in one.
  3. San Francisco taxing high fructose corn syrup soda drinks. Mayor Gavin Newsom wants large grocery stores to help fight obesity by paying fees on sodas and other beverages they sell in San Francisco.
  4. Cities across the world banning plastic bags at supermarkets.
  5. SUV hybrid and subsequent commercial signaling the new "coolness of going green" -
  6. New Museum and NoHo Galleries – The New Museum opend in December and even before that galleries were moving and new ones opening up in the SoHo, NoHo and the Lower East Side area of Manhattan. Thus signaling a transformation in the Art market and the New York Art Scene.
  7. Youtube – Andy Wharhol's proclamation that in the future everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame has never been more true as YouTube makes filmmakers and stars out of all of us.
  8. Bob Barker leaving Price is Right - After holding the job for nearly 35 years and having been in television for 50 years, Barker retired in June 2007.
  9. LED's in Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree – energy efficiency and LED's presence in all aspects of design and lighting.

Man of the Year - Al Gore

Best Museum Show: Chelsea Art Museum The Incomplete (currently up)

Best Artist: Misaki Kawai at Clementine Gallery January 2007

Best Curator: Kathy Grayson for Mail Order Monsters Show at Deitch Projects September 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Recap: Art Basel Miami 2007

A Game not for the Timid or Meek


"40% of the work has sold before it even travels to Miami! (offered to some clients via email before hand!) and there are 400 private jets in Miami for Art Basel!!!
Craaaazy world of art buying!!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Quote of the Week: Keith Tyson

London Artist Keith Tyson at Haunch of Venison

``I want to record every day, every day is miraculous. I don't see things as mundane. It is a profound thing to write a shopping list.'' - Keith Tyson.

  1. Bloomberg Article on the show at Haunch of Venison in London
  2. Haunch of Venison

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Art of the Smoking and Dan Levenson

The Guy Debord Show at New General Catalog

Danger. The allure of the sensual often predates unexpected consequences to the naive which is why I am highlighting Dan Levenson's penetrating and deceptively humorous performance at New General Catalog which included enticing onlookers (or spectators, you decide) at the gallery to engage in seemingly innocent acts of smoking. Here's the link to the episode:
Trong G. Nguyen, the curator of 'The Guy Debord Show,' a show that presented several episodes of performance art and presented them via video across the Internet that can be found on the aforementioned website, is also a taking park in some performance art tonight in Manhattan's LES: All You'll Need is Love.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Three Notes from Art Comments

Next week Larry Gagosian is opening a new gallery in Rome with a Cy Twombly show.

Sadly, the London based contemporary art gallery Emily Tsingou is closing shop December 22nd.

Art Basel and Design Miami are seriously considering an additional fair in Bejing, obviously a smart move if they decide to move in that direction. Rénee Sham, chief executive, of MCH Messe Schweiz is quoted on as saying, "We cannot simply replicate Art Basel directly for Asia because the Asian market is still at a very developing phase and the art market is so demand-driven and there is already a shortage of quality artwork. But certainly features of our franchise, adapted to the state of the Asian market, is now possible with Design Miami."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

2007 Turner Prize: Mark Wallinger

Thoughts on the Turner Prize

I have to admit, I'm a little underwhelmed with Mark Wallinger winning the prize. His installation for which he won the prize, appears to lack any contemporary inventiveness and originality. He should receive some credit for selection of subject but beyond that, I don't see anything compelling or challenging. The fact that so many critics and people applaud him winning the prize is a cause for concern in and of itself. We all remember the "impressionists" and the derision they received for years...

Despite the art writers and public who dismissed Martin Creed's win of the Turner Prize several years ago, my hat goes off to him.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

2007 Turner Prize Awarded: Mark Wallinger

Anti-War Installation Wins 2007 Turner Prize

Conceptual artist Mark Wallinger has won Britain's most prestigious and coveted art award, the 2007 Turner Prize, for his installation titled "State Britain", which is a recreation of Brain Haw's 2001 peace demonstration against sanctions imposed on Iraq by Britain.

The common rhetoric that artists today are not commenting on the war on Iraq should cease for awhile, not that I personally share the sentiment since I've seen various artists give their take on the war, but a new debate has been sparked concerning artistic authorship and originality.

Noteworthy Links:
New York Times

Monday, December 03, 2007

Possible to Navigate Art Basel Miami?

Roadmap for Art Basel Miami

No matter the camp, the link to the succinct article featured in New York magazine will stoke the trip of any international traveler to Art Basel Miami this December: The Tribes of Art Basel Miami.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Don Porcella from Art Comments is having a solo show of drawings that opens at Werkstatte Gallery in the NOHO section of Manhattan, New York. The show opens on Thursday November 29th from 6-9pm, please come. It is called Strip Mall.

November 29th, 2007 - January 5th, 2008

55 Great Jones Street
New York, NY, 10012

6 to Bleecker Street
B/D/F/V to Broadway/Lafayette
N/R to Prince Street

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Disappointing Results at Sotheby's Auction

Impressionist art fails to deflect credit crunch affect

Last night, Sotheby's missed their target estimate by almost $100 million. 25 percent of the art up for auction didn't even sell. Anyone surprised? Not anyone who paid attention to highly esteemed collector Eli Broad who stated his views publicly sometime ago the a correction was on the horizon. I've also stated here on Art Comments that I've seen a "correction" taking place in the economy, and in the art market for almost a year now and that it was only a matter of time before it affected the auction world. Many disagreed and several still don't get it.

Cristin Tierny, a New York art adviser is quoted on as saying, "It's too early to say there is a correction." Too early to tell? That same article states "A Van Gogh estimated to sell for as much as $35 million failed to draw a single bidder." -

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Upcoming Exhibition: Don Porcella at Stux

Don Porcella: Stux Gallery Solo Show January 2008

I am pleased to announce that I am having a solo show at Stux Gallery in Chelsea this January 2008. A tentative date for the reception is January 5th, 2008 (stay tuned). I am so pumped and excited about this show. The gallery is awesome and the people are wonderful.

STUX Gallery
530 West 25th Street, New York 10001
T: 212.352.1600

Tuesday - Saturday; 10am ~ 6pm

For further information please contact:

Posted By Don Porcella to Art Comments at 11/01/2007 12:24:00 PM

Art and Auction: Irreconcilable Differences?

I couldn't hold back my laughter on the train when I came across this quote in an article in the WSJ concerning the friction between some gallery owners and auction houses:

Tobias Meyer, world-wide head of contemporary art at Sotheby's, says auction houses have a different set of priorities regarding artists than dealers do. "We are not a set of curators, sitting around a table trying to place important collections in museums," he says. - Wall Street Journal

written by peter duhon in new york

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Richard Meier at Louise T Blouin Institute

written by Ashley Eldridge-Ford in London

Not coming from an architectural background, the promise of reviewing the Richard Meier exhibition: Art and Architecture that has just opened at the Louise T Blouin Institute in Notting Hill, may have seemed a little unexpected. Certainly it was the collages and sculpture that drew me first and foremost, curious as I was to see what art the architect, Richard Meier, had created. More so when I found out that Meier used to be an Abstract Expressionist painter, attending night school to train after graduating as an architect, and that he shared a studio with Frank Stella back in the 1950s. The two have been firm friends since and Meier even recently told me how Stella wants to work on an architectural project with him. This idea of cross-discipline involvement sums up to a great extent the creative output of Meier over the last fifty years.

He and his daughter, Ana, whose face features in a number of the collages on display, are in fact currently collaborating on the design of a cashmere cardigan and sweater. I have the impression that Mr. Meier is not someone who can sit with idle hands. He is known, of course, as a modernist architect, and on the ground floor of the exhibition are a selection of his architectural models for the Jubilee Church, the Getty Center, the High Museum in Atlanta, the World Trade Center redevelopment, amongst others. Illustrating these beautifully crafted models are photographs of the constructed and finished buildings or three-dimensional renderings for those otherwise.

It took me a long while to really get into looking at these pieces, built by the newest members of staff who are sent straight to the model room to learn about three-dimensional space and how to model it. The wonderful thing about the models is that they allow one to see how light would fall through the space. I have the distinct impression that light is as important to Meier as space, for the two allow for the others to be better experienced. A little like Claude Monet, who used his subjects as palettes on which to record the passage of light and its subsequent colour transformation, so Meier seems to use his buildings as such. The Jubilee Church, just outside Rome, a beautiful building in design, in particular, seems to come alive as light moves through it. Of course, this remained an impression for the light that was focused upon said model was stationary. In my mind, however, I imagined how the Italian afternoon sun would turn the exterior layers and interior walls a golden hue and the evening sun send it, its layered shells like a cinema screen, melodic shades of oranges, pinks and golds and then later, darkening shades of blues and greens. I imagine that even in the darkness, the pure whiteness of the Jubilee Church would reflect the colours of the sky. It is quite beautiful.

The Getty Museum Center is an undoubtedly impressive building complex, it sits on the apex of an undulating hill, built up it seems from the ricochet of the contour lines of the hill that ripples, as though the Getty Center were a pebble thrown into a lake of water. This rhythm of seeming movement stills towards the centre, where the Getty sits monarchic. Its homogenous geometry and smoothed, perfect, white curves and lines prevent it from being a monstrosity or an eyesore. And I am only describing the model. Wonderfully placed opposite the model on a long table are two enormous sketchbooks of architectural drawings and diagrams for the Getty.

To the model’s right are a series of five drawings of the Getty that are eye-catching for their unexpected rawness. Drawn as though there were no need for computers, the building emerges out of thick, if it were possible, impasto of pencil strokes. These cross-hatch and seem to push the building out at the viewer. It took the wonderful eye of a friend to point out the beauty of these drawings. What stood out more than anything else for me was how the clouds in the sky were so abstract – the building, so rigid, so tangible, and the clouds were like the wan suggestion of such, as seen in the paintings of Edvard Munch. When I pointed this out to Meier, he smiled and seemed surprised but pleased.

Another quirky art historical reference was in the three-dimensional renderings of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, wherein, to give a sense of space, figures had been placed in pencil-lined silhouette. Yet, these were no ordinary figures, they were 19th century characters plucked from the pointillist paintings of George-Pierre Seurat – the La Grande Jatte and Bathers at Asnières.

Surprised at my enthusiasm for the architectural work and excited by the art historical cross-references, I made my way upstairs to where the design and sculptures had been placed. Upon entry to the second floor exhibition space, a series of forty collages had been hung, the earliest dating back to 1987, reaching away from the entrance both left and right. On the flight back from every trip he has taken, Meier has collaged together ticket stubs, newspaper headlines, photographs, hand-written notes, hotel stationary and such like. Aesthetically they hold very little attention but as a memento to his travels and experience, they are wonderful souvenirs. They are small (so as to be completed whilst in an airplane seat) and personalized and are probably of more interest to his children as records of their father’s activities.

What is interesting however, is to compare these neat, overlapping, personal, colourful pieces to his architectural designs. Worlds apart. Likewise, this comparison is carried further as one steps into the second part of the room, in which is placed in beautiful clear glass cases, examples of Meier’s design work – white plates with two perfectly placed black lines that dissect one another as a cross in the centre, as well as silverware, watches (without a dial and one of which Meier wears), bowls, cutlery, a 'Tea and Coffee Piazza', amongst others – each of which has a decidedly Bauhaus feel to them (except the watches which are perfectly minimalist and very contemporary); in another glass case sit glass and silver pitchers, a highly polished silver jug. One piece that stands out from the others and is surprisingly added as it almost clashes with the perfect geometry and cleanness of the other pieces, is a plate on which one of his collages has been glazed. The collage has rough, unfinished edges that peter out towards the rim. It’s disorder and lack of trademark polished Meier makes it look ugly despite it being such an interesting blend of disciplines and influences, which so characterizes Meier.

The next surprise in the room comes in the guise of a series of pastel sunsets. About twenty-two of these small, on average, 10x10 - 15x15 pieces face the design work opposite. They are beautifully colourful, blues, greens, pinks and reds and capture what I remember of the distinctive sunsets in Long Island. Meier told me that he draws these whilst sitting on the beach in the evenings when at home. The pieces are wonderful for their summation of a man at leisure, in repose. For this is just one of the things the great man does in his spare time, not sitting still for an instant. I like the fact that despite being the closest thing to conventional artwork, each pastel is strictly divided by an obvious statemental line dividing each piece – the line says: above is the sky and below is the sea. Hung side by side, there is an almost poetic and somehow architectural quality to them generated by the play of colour and line.

In the third and last space is the penultimate surprise in Meier’s oeuvre: his sculptures. Four in total and only a fraction - and those that are the smaller of - his entire output. He said he has had to stop making them as there are so many and he has no room to store them. I asked him whether he had thought about designing a museum for them. He didn’t brush away the idea. The sculptures are created from destroyed models that he has placed together in extremely abstract, almost angry formations. Like three-dimensional Jackson Pollocks. They don’t look as though they have been constructed from models as there is little that is recognisable but they have more resonance when one knows this. They are named after cathedrals which Meier visited on a trip through Germany. There is no additional symbolism behind these titles, he just didn’t know what else to call them. They are beautifully stark in their cast dark grey metal within the pure white of the room. There is an energetic resonance to them.

Additionally in this room is a chaise-longue (or chaise lounge, as the Americans call them) designed by Meier for Knoll International. It is a beautiful piece of design – fat black strips of padded leather luxuriously placed tightly alongside one another, a gentle curve indicating and inviting where the body could lie in repose and comfort. It suits the space perfectly and above it is Meier’s signature, black and bold against the white walls. A wonderfully humble man is behind all of this work and in the exhibition can be seen the many facets of his creativity. He seems slightly embarrassed to talk about his sculptures and drawings, as though doing so were to reveal a very private part of himself. I wonder whether this has anything to do with an event that took place in the early part of his painting career. Meier had rented a studio next to de Kooning's on Tenth Street and de Kooning had come into Meier's studio one day to have a look around. De Kooning walked out without saying a word. It was at that stage Meier decided to quit. A nerve-wracking rebuff for any budding artist. The exhibition reveals a completely different side of the man we know who is a very famous and distinctive architect, one of the founders of the New York Five and a bastion of modernism. It may not put on display the finest example of artistic skill but it shows a man known for his lack of colour and in exuberant expression (except for the odd curved flourish in his building design) who chooses to express himself in ways perhaps architecture does not allow him to.

In fact, I would argue that his entire output of creative work on the side of his architecture over the last fifty years (and what is in the exhibition, I am certain, is only a tiny fraction of it) gives depth and insight into his architectural work. His buildings suddenly seem more playful than I had noticed they were before and I went downstairs to have another look. This playfulness is summed up for me on the way out, for, in the entrance hall is a beautiful black- lacquer shiny square grand piano designed for Rud Ibach Sohn where Meier’s playful side comes out in giving the piano a leg that gives the impression it is about to take a bow. It is a gentle and elegant curve and gives the rather austere piano a softly feminine grace. It sums up rather well both the work and the exhibition of, Meier’s creative output.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

List of fairs in London during Frieze Week 2007

All eyes will be upon the Frieze Art Fair (October 10 -14, 2007) and the frenzy of activity associated with it. Here's a list of art fairs in London that are happening during the same time as Frieze:

  1. Year_07
  2. Pulse Art Fair
  3. Bridge Art Fair
  4. Zoo Art Fair

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Art Market, The Bubble and My Point of View

Email Posts:

From: anonymous <>

Hey Pete:

Did you ever see this article?

August 18, 2007
Eli Broad suggests difficult times ahead for the art

From: peter Duhon <>
Date: Sep 20, 2007
Subject: The Art Market, The Bubble and My Point of View

I saw this months ago, and I sent everyone (Art Comments team) the article also or maybe not. Since the spring, I've seen the slowdown and predicted one, my thoughts are in line with Eli Broad. There will indeed be a slowdown, it is not a matter of if but when. I've seen a slowdown from the grassroots level, sometime early in 2008 there will be a slowdown that will become evident even in the auction houses. There have been many indicators supporting my stance: gallery closings, galleries reshuffling from Chelsea to the lower eastside, the abrupt firing of UBS CEO Peter Wuffli, the firing of a prominent official at the investment house Bear Stearns, the housing problem in America (prices receding) and the sub-prime loan crisis, the collapsing of several hedge-funds, the problems at the largest American mortgage company, CountryWide mortgage, which needed a $2 billion bailout from Bank of America (rumor has it that they need several more billion to survive - I thought lending them $2 billion was a big mistake in the first place), and even the current problems of the bank Northern Rock in the U.K give evidence of potentially long-standing problems. I could go on and on with examples.

The sub-prime loan issue is bigger than what the mass media (e.g. George Bush, CNBC) is telling the general public. The mere fact that Damien Hirst's $100 million skull didn't sell but that he actually bought the skull (should we call it art) back from Whitecube, is a symbol that the days of undisciplined and frivolous spending on art are over, at least for the foreseeable future. Damien Hirst's skull will forever symbolise the end of the bubble, however, this doesn't mean the end of great contemporary art.

Although the head of Sotheby's and George Bush feel that things will be fine. I'm curious as to who invented the phrase "pump and dump" which appears be the only reason why someone would forecast good things for the current economy in America. Maybe I'm wrong, but there does seem to be two opposing views, one that predicts a significant cooling of the economy, another one that purports that the economy is only experiencing a minor hiccup. It is not my propensity that I agree with the notion that a significant cooling has already begun and will affect all sectors of the economy, on the bottom and on the top. Although, at the high-end of the spectrum, hedge-fund individuals for example, will have a more tempered and restrained approach, which will affect prices but doesn't necessarily mean that all selling and buying of art will cease.

The people in the art market who will feel the burden of the downturn in the economy the most are those who have relied too heavily on slick gimmicks and hype. Just my humble opinion.

I'm optimistic however about the overall health of the contemporary art scene, and I'm referring to the art and not the prices.

Robert Shiller gave his honest thoughts on the US economy, here's a snippet from the finanical times:
"Robert Shiller, a Yale university economist, told a US congressional panel that he feared “the collapse of home prices might turn out to be the most severe since the Great Depression”.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Photos, Deitch Projects: The Art Parade in New York

Here's a link to the photographs I took of Deitch Projects 2007 Art Parade which took place in lower Manhattan: Click Here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Art Season Begins in New York: Response from an Artist

Email Written on September 7, 2007: Re: Openings.....

Hi Peter, thanks for the list. I must have missed you at each gallery though. Hope you had a good time. I really loved Shannon Lucy's work at Cynthia Broan. Plus, Robert Whitman's installations at PaceWildenstein was amazing, though it would've been cooler if the orbs he had hanging from the ceiling went all the way around instead of coming out of metal thingy (not sure if that made any sense!) Take care and have a great weekend. -robyn

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Email Written by Peter Duhon on September 8, 2007:

Re: [Updated Invitation] Art Parade: Deitch Projects Parade @ Sat Sep 8 4pm - 6pm (nikki)

Nikki, that would be great! Let's meet up at 3:30pm at Aroma Cafe on Houston Street, below is the address, also, I think one or two other artists might come also. After the parade, heading over to Marienne Boesky gallery, and after that opening reception, heading to another opening on the lower eastside, and then finally, heading to a party, art reading in Harlem. Here's the address for Aroma:

Aroma Espresso Bar

3.5 star rating
based on 32 reviews

Categories: Coffee & Tea, Sandwiches [Edit]

Neighborhood: Manhattan/SoHo
145 Greene St
Entrance on W Houston
(between Houston St & Prince St)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 533-1094

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Art Season Begins in New York

Email Written on September 7, 2007:

Sorry for such a short notice, but here is tonight's agenda:
  1. 6pm Black & White Gallery - 636 West 28th Street, Ground Floor // New York, NY 10001
  2. 6pm Opening Reception FRIDAY: Lyons Wier • Ortt Presents: - 171 Seventh Ave (@20th St.)
  3. Keith Tyson PaceWildenstein - 545 West 22nd Street, New York, New York
Last stop is at PaceWildenstein, reception concludes at 8pm.



The Art Season Begins in New York

Email Written on September 6, 2007:

Here's a list of the openings that I'm attending tonight:

  1. Cynthia Broan Gallery - Cynthia Broan Gallery, 546 W 29th St
  2. Group Show: Diving in the Decadent Ditch of Des Esseintes - 526 W 26, 3rd floor, room 308
  3. Julie Baker in NYC: Garson Fine Art - 511 West 25th Street, 2nd Floor
  4. Zach Feuer Gallery Exhibition dates: September 6 – October 13, 2007 - 530 W. 24th Street
  5. Robert Whittman at PaceWildenstein - 534 West 25th, New York, New York

Starting at 6pm, I am going to essentially follow the order above, Cynthia Broan's Gallery first, and then I'm attending the rest. My last stop will be Robert Whittman at PaceWildenstein.
Hope to see some of you!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Our Very Own: Artist Mentioned in Village Voice Article

Here's a great link to an exhibition review in the Village Voice that covers the work of an artist who contributes to Art Comments frequently, Don Porcella: Village Voice Article.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Grand Tour: The Arsenale in Venice, Italy

written by Ashley Eldridge-Ford

Needless to say, The Grand Tour 2007 (for me, sadly, only at this point encompassing Venice and Basel), was fantastic. Predominantly because it reinvigorated my perception of the contemporary art market. Having arrived within the first week, there was, of course, much to see and much to do. Having only two full days, I restricted my viewing to predominantly the main sections of the biennale - the Giardini and the Arsenale, both curated by the director, Robert Storr. If I had been lucky enough to have had a few more days there, I would dearly have liked to have explored the numerous other pavilions that are scattered throughout Venice. 'Think with the Senses - Feel with the Mind. Art in the Present Tense', showing in the Arsenale was an incredibly interesting, absorbing exhibition (if one can label such a wide variety under one collective).

Gabriele Basilico
Beirut 1991
9 fotografie / 9 pictures
Pure pigmented print.
Courtesy dell’artista e Studio Guenzani, Milano

The first installation of artwork to fully catch my attention was that of Gabriele Basilico whose series of photographs, 'Beirut' (2007) reminded me almost instantly of the work of the Australian photographer, Simryn Gill. What calls to mind this comparison is the sense of beauty in decay and destruction. Basilico's photographs contain shots of buildings pockmarked with bullets or buildings that looks as though they have exploded internally. One has the distinct impression that the buildings and the streets were once very beautiful. What is poignant and sad is that one remembers how this city has already built itself up from the ruins of war once before and how it has once again been reduced to squalor and rubble. As with Gill's work, the ugly offensive (such as bullet holes peppering exterior walls) becomes inherently beautiful due to a stillness, an absence (of humankind) and a subsequent timelessness enhanced by the immortality of these buildings.

Yang Fudong
Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Part 1
Pellicola da 35mm, bianco e nero / 35mm film, black and white
Durata / Duration 29’
Courtesy of the author

A second series of work that quickened my pace from room to room is the film series by young Chinese film artist, Yang Fudong, entitled 'Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest' (2003 - 07). The film is based on the history of seven talented intellectuals - poets and artists - in the Chinese ancient Wei and Jin Dynasty. Open and unruly, they used to gather and drink in the bamboo forest, singing songs and playing traditional Chinese musical instruments in the hope to escape from the earthly life. They pursued individuality, freedom and liberty. Their remarkable talent and passion made them a notable group in Chinese history. Hauntingly re-interpreted, there are seven films in total, each shot on 35mm black and white film. The detail and choreography therein is exquisite and I was only disappointed to discover that the final two were closed upon my arrival (being dispersed in separate video chambers throughout the exhibition).

Emily Prince
American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, Nor the Iraqis nor the Afghanis)
2004 fino ad oggi / to the present
Matita su pergamena colorata / Pencil on color coated vellum
Progetto composto da circa 3,800 disegni da aggiungere giornalmente / Project comprised of approximately 3,800 drawings to be added to daily
Ogni Immagine / Each image: 4 x 3 in. / 10.2 x 7.6 cm.
In totale / Overall: 300 x 540 in. / 762 x 1371.6 cm.
© Emily Prince
Courtesy of the artist and Kent Gallery, New York

Emily Prince's 'American servicemen and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan (but not including the wounded, nor Iraqis, nor the Afghans)' (2004) was evocative and effective in bringing home to the viewer the number of US casualties. The installation piece contains 10x8cm cards containing delicate pen and ink drawings. What is evocative and moving is that each card contains a portrait of the serviceman or woman killed and a sentence that describes a part of them - that makes them human and familiar: ' He was a good footballer'; 'Father to a two-year-old daughter', etc. Opposite the piece, that takes up an entire wall, was a glass vitrine that I longed to penetrate, in which an index box contains the names of every person, I presume, who was on the wall. Those done by Prince create a brief catalogue of their life as well as of their death.

Jason Rhoades
Installazione / Installation views
CAC Malaga
Courtesy: David Zwirner Gallery

Jason Rhoades 'Tijuanatanjiechandelier' (2006) was a veritable feast for the eyes and one's imagination. A room is dedicated to a host of paraphernalia lining the floor and suspended in dread-locked clusters from the ceiling. Beds with colourful rugs encouraged those brave enough to take in such a hodge-podge of material to lie down and stare up and around at the installation. Neon-lit words, feathers, bowls, masks, lamps, plastic dolls, hats, a dog jacket, shells, etc. fight for definition. The effect is loud and encourages exploration.

Sophie Whettnall
Shadow Boxing
Proiezione video / video projection
3min, 16mm on dvd
Photo of video projection by Peter Duhon

Sophie Wettnall's 'Shadow Boxing' (2004) stood out. An interesting intestinal-squirming video piece shows a bald-headed man air boxing either side, and within inches of, a stationary, unmoving female figure who wears a fitted patterned dress. At one stage I decided that the two figures must be superimposed but then I began to notice how the female figure's hair is swotted by the fist rushing through the air around her head. She almost looks bored.

Faustin Titi e Eyoum Ngangué
Une éternité à Tanger(detail)
46 tavole a colori in formato A3 / 46 Coulored Tables in A3 size.
Acquerelli e pennarello su carta /Watercolour and felt-tip pen on paper.
Courtesy: Africa e Mediterraneo

Eyoum Ngangué and Faustin Titi's 'Une éternitè à Tangers (2003). This is a harrowing cartoon style strip dealing directly with the difficulties and dangers facing the emigrants from Africa who attempt to enter Europe where they imagine and dream a better life awaits them. We read frequently (until it fell from front page news) here in the UK that the Canary Islands have become a favoured destination for African emigrants seeking to make it to Europe to look for work. Illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa have increasingly chosen a sea route to the Canary Islands over the last two years, especially since Madrid tightened security around two Spanish enclaves in North Africa that were being used as a bridge into Europe. In 2006, 30,259 illegal immigrants arrived in the Canary Islands by sea, according to Spanish government figures.

Christian Capurro
Another Misspent Portrait of Etienne de Silhouette
85 x 60 cm
Courtesy of the Artist

Christian Capurro et al 'Another Misspent Portrait of Etienne de Silhouette' (1999 - 2007) is an interesting piece. Created with the help of 260 people from all walks of life, each was asked to completely and anonymously erase with a rubber one page of an approximately 246-page Vogue Hommes (September 1986, #92) magazine, with Sylvester Stallone on the cover. They were each asked to write in pencil on the page the time it took them to erase the page (the shortest time being 9 minutes while the longest was beyond 3.5 hours) and whatever monetary value translated into an hourly rate they currently received for their time. As a result, each page has a nominal 'value' based on the sum of these indices. The dollar value accrued 'on' each page ranges from nothing, in a number of instances (some contributors were receiving no calculable money for their time), to one page 'worth' over USD$1,000. Taken together the accumulated monetary value of all these peoples' pages proposes a value, of sorts, for the work as a whole. The finished 'work' (the erased copy of Vogue Hommes was presented within a glass vitrine, soft and white, like a Claus Oldenburg version of a magazine.

Nedko Solakov
Discussion (Property) 2007
Detail of “5,56 x 45 mm AR–M9 with UBGL-M6” from 12 life-size drawings of recently manufactured Bulgarian assault rifles,
executed by Mihaela Vlaseva and Svetozara Alexandrova, charcoal and white chalk on paper
76 x 112 cm ciascuno / each
Photo by Angel Tzvetanov
Courtesy the artist, Galerie Arndt & Partner, Berlin/Zurich and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing. © Nedko Solakov.

Of note also was Nedko Solakov's 'Discussion (Property)' (2007), Malick Sidibé 'L'Afrique chante contre le SIDA (Portraits)' (2005).

The Africa Pavilion, 'Check List Luanda Pop', was an interesting exhibition of work from some artists originating from Africa - and this is my biggest criticism of it: there were pieces therein by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol as well. Could the wall space not better have been used for artists working out of Africa who have no means by which to get the international exposure such an event as the Venice Biennale gives? Haven't Basquiat and Warhol exhausted our sensibilities? I had envisaged the essence behind the Africa Pavilion would be to act as a mouthpiece for the artwork originating from Africa by those whose voices are too weak to be heard being drowned out by the international art market and art institutions. Why always the Big Names? Here was a unique opportunity and yet again the work of Yinka Shonibare is there - yes, tick. Kendell Greers? Yes, tick. Whilst obviously these two artists' work is essential for summing up the struggle of African art to achieve international recognition and to be housed at the Venice Biennale and in the Arsenale no less, but, a foothold is a foothold and once a grip has been found perhaps complete originality should come rushing forth rather than the predictable?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


written by Don Porcella in New York

Scope Hamptons has inspired some offshoot art shows and galleries and this year was no exception. Among them were the Salomon Contemporary and the McNeil Group who held events in Wainscott close to the Scope Hamptons event. Both galleries had booths at the fair but chose to heighten the experience and exposure as they offered an offsite art event. Another art event that was in the vicinity of Scope Hamptons was a group show of 6 artists called Bonac Tonic, which I participate in as an artist, at the Wainscott Chapel. The show was curated by local artist Grant Haffner from the Bonac Tonic Art Collective of the East End. Below are a few pictures from the Bonac Tonic show:

“Car Sculpture” by Carly Haffner playfully dominated the entry way of the space.
Later in the evening, lights illuminated the sculpture and it took on an even more mysterious and foreboding tone.

Wonderfully creative illustrations and paintings by Justin Smith.

Innovative sculpture that incorporates found art and woodworking

to create magnificent sculptural objects with a deeper message.

Encaustic Painting by Don Porcella

A hidden gem in the show.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Art Comments | Visual Arts Review

Blind Light: Anthony Gormley at The Hayward

written by ashley eldridge-ford in london

Fending off a nasty cold this weekend, I visited the Hayward with a friend of mine from Paris. Having had to book a time slot for entry earlier in the week, I was still surprised at the number of people queuing outside the gallery. It transpired that the queue was for those unfortunates who had not had the foresight or tip-off to book in advance. So much for public spaces appealing to the spontaneity of the general public. No wonder people consider art as an elitist past time when it’s only those in the know and who know better (on the whole those already in the art world or connected to it however tenuously) and who are given the speedy right of entry. 3pm and in we go. In my humble opinion, the Hayward is a difficult space in which to show artwork.

I have seen some exhibitions that have worked extremely well in the space (Jean Lartigue and Roy Lichtenstein are two that come to mind immediately) and others not so much. I would say that for an exhibition of Gormley’s work that, the Hayward hasdone the best possible within the restrictions of the space (making use of the dead space running opposite a stairwell or a wall that sits between the door exiting on to an exterior deck and the upstairs exhibition rooms, a wall perpendicular to the stairwell). However, I would say that the main visitor attraction, Blind Light (2007), sits right bang in the middle of a raised open-plan room and somewhat detracts from the other pieces that sit in the immediate entrance space (that runs by ramp up to the raised open-plan room) to the left and also the water colour drawings that run the length of said open-plan space. This is predominantly because the main source of light emanates from said work and the eye is therefore immediately drawn to it. This piece in fact, paradoxically, dwarfs the first piece to the left of the entrance, Space Station (2007). It is a 27-ton porous corten mild steel structure that, in Gormely’s words, “conjures a dark, labyrinthine, prison-like space but also has the feeling of a sieve, of something perceptually open. Looking through the peepholes into the interior spces of the boxes, we find strange places that are disorientating yet familiar.” One is meant to see the compressed foetal form of the human body and also the collective city environment in its densest form. In part, the latter explanation is easier to interpret. Although the exhibition as a whole explores both the human body and architecture - their relation to one another and independence from one another also – this is the only piece in which I can see no emergence of both, despite Gormley’s suggestions. Architecturally, the piece reminds me of the lit windows one sees at night when living in Manhattan and it is more in the rendering in the accompanying exhibition guide that one is best able to see a layering of block-like shapes, like the ancient computer game, Tetras, that look similar to the grid-streets and apartments and offices in Manhattan. I suppose one could argue that as buildings are constructed for man that man would therefore be at the heart of all buildings and subsequently at the heart of this artwork. In all honesty, I paid this piece very little attention upon entry into the exhibition; I turned my attention rather, firstly, to the work to my right, Allotment II (1996).

Three hundred life-size reinforced concrete units are placed within one room. Each concrete block represents the individual measurements and vital statistics of the inhabitants, aged between eighteen months and eighty years, of Malmö, Sweden. I was struck by several parallels when walking between these ‘figures’. One of the thoughts was that it was like being at an art opening with all these figures filling a space but frozen in time; the other is that these ‘works of art’ are records of the individuals who took part in the project and inadvertently are pre-tombstones. Despite the stillness, the piece is filled with life. It’s partly that they represent life but also that those who were within the room found the pieces really playful. It made me realise why Gormley’s works are so loved by the public. One begins to play games: try to match your height to a concrete representation; find the smallest (the eighteen-month old); the tallest – it encourages immediate involvement. I found myself rather enjoying the process of finding a quiet corner. Would these pieces be as playful and perhaps poignant if we were not aware that they were the record of individual people? No, I don’t think so. As works of art on their own merit they are below interesting but once one knows their raison d’etre, subtle interactions between the pieces emerge and one looks to find different means by which to engage with them.

Antony Gormley, Blind Light 2007
Photograph by Stephen White

One rather dull element of this exhibition is the fact that queues play a large part of it. The queue to enter Blind Light stretched three quarters of the way around the 10 x 10 metre square enclosure. Pumped full of moist air through ultrasonic humidifiers, one cannot see more than two feet before oneself. From outside waiting to go in, it is strange to realise that the figures who emerge through the fog cannot see at all that they are as close to the glass as we can see they are. It also becomes apparent at figures walk towards and almost collide with one another, that they cannot see one another either. We are in a strange position of being able to see those who in turn cannot see. A number of people knocked on the glass or placed their hand against the glass upon realising that there were people outside looking in at them. It looked like a need for acknowledgement on their part – that there is a world outside or that they are not alone. We entered into the fog when our turn came about and we almost instantaneously lost all sense of exterior space – i.e. where the parameters were, where the exit was, where other people might be. Figures emerged from out of the fog, their arms and fingers outstretched as much as my own but we would realise our proximity to one another at the very last minute and skirt past one another. Despite being so very unaware of space, it also made us very much more aware of other people’s personal space – or the need not to enter into either theirs or them into ours. There is a fragment of a second when the chances we would intrude are likely but as the figures materialise at just the right moment; this chance collision is always just kept at bay. Even when coming into contact with the glass walls, it is really difficult to ascertain whether one is at a corner or facing a wall of glass. My friend didn’t enjoy the sensation of being lost and found that interacting with people upon happening upon them was a reassurance – that he would be able to find his way out, that he wasn’t going to succumb to the sensation of being lost forever. I rather enjoyed the moments when I disappeared and was isolated. I quite liked to stand still and let everyone else move and grope their way through the fog around me. What was curious was that outside of the glass box people had not spoken to one another in the queue but when we were all within the fogged space, we had no qualms talking with one another – excusing ourselves predominantly - girls shrieked, people laughed and called to each other. All this noise and movement within such a small space with such quiet and decorum without was fascinating. I think that people’s different reactions to being within the space make for interesting viewing and contemplation – some within held on to one another, not wanting to lose the person with whom they entered, others entered as though on military operation (thus causing my friend to tag on to their knowledgeable-sounding crew so as to guarantee swift location of the exit), others still who were quite content to walk until either a person or a glass wall stopped them. I think if one thinks about some of the issues the artworks aims to raise that it is important to recognise that the artwork does indeed comment on human beings and raises the opportunity for us to examine how we interact both within and without the space. To look at this perhaps more broadly, how, within a city, we interact within and without the spaces – buildings or openair - that we enter, pass through and exit every day. Who and what we are or become as we commute through these passages.

Antony Gormley, Allotment II, 1996
Photograph by Stephen White

Another work worth noting on the ground floor is Sense (1991), a concrete geometrical block in which concrete has been formed around a life-size wax mould of the artists body using the ‘lost wax’ casting technique. Once the wax had melted and poured out, a body-shaped void was left within the block. Looking down into the block allows us to only see what would be the crown of the head, the space the head would occupy and then the darkness in which the body shaped cavity had been recorded. The only visible imprint is left by the hands pushing up against the side of the block against which the artist had been hunkering down and pressing his face against, so to speak.

Antony Gormley, Space Station, 2007
Photograph by Stephen White

The second floor galleries have some interesting works on show. There are a number that are not what I would choose to remember or discuss but Matrices and Expansions (2006 – 07) are works that I would. Created from stainless steel, Gormley has taken the human figure as the nucleus and axis out from which extend what look like geometric grids and lines that create striking polyheydron patterns in space – suspended geometric drawings. They are really hard to describe and Gormley in fact explains them rather well, ‘Neither architecture not anatomy’, they are ‘more like the random matrices found in fractal geometry.’ He calls them the “bubble matrix” series and has stated that this ‘is the closest I get to Brancusi’s notion that you can turn an object into light. He did it by polishing sculptures, whereas I have tried to do it by abandoning weight and mass and dissolving surface.’ The pieces are excellently crafted and thought through. The central figures can take a little time to emerge and are beautifully surprising when they do. Perhaps these pieces comment more on the space surrounding them, the space taken up by a dynamism suggested by the lines emanating from them of which they are the source. It is, of course, however, the lack of a solid body at the centre but merely its suggestion that begs the question of whether these transmissions relate to the energy we transmit and our imprint on the space around us. The photographs, Quads (1979 – 2007) were of interest because it was possible on occasion to see where Gormley may have gleaned some of the ideas for pieces in the exhibition. Drawn (2000/7) was a playful piece with eight identical figures legs spread-eagle and arms raised directly above the head. The figures appear to be holding the ceiling and floor in place, pushing against both and placed with each of the four corners of the room. I would very much have liked to have seen Hatch (2007) but again, the queue wound three quarters around the room and I couldn’t face another queue. Perhaps because I didn’t experience it from the inside this piece has left me cold; it has been created so called ‘porous’ in that endoscopic tubes act like maze walls around which a visitor inside must navigate whilst being spied on through these tubes by those standing (and waiting) outside. Without having been within, I found this piece quite disinteresting.

Antony Gormley, Hatch 2007
Photograph by Stephen White

Finally, outside of the Hayward Gallery there was an extremely interesting commissioned installations involving the city of London: life-size figure casts of Gormley’s body are placed on rooftops and walkways both north and south of the Thames over a 1.5 sq kilometre area. All the figures face toward the gallery’s sculpture terraces, which act as viewing platforms. Whereas one might take a look at the city of London from these terraces on a visit to the Hayward, this installation encourages and inspires one to interact with the city and one’s surrounds. These solitary and still figures in a bustling and crowded city create an occasion for meditation. Looking out over the vista, I found my eye was instantly on the hunt to locate as many silhouettes as I could. Of course, the more I looked, the more I saw. Where before I had looked at buildings in their own right, on this occasion the buildings served no other purpose but to be the instrument from which to show these figures - like plinths. It leads one to consider the function of architecture – the importance of the human figure in their configuration, design and construction. These buildings that were constructed to house the human form are here supporting a representation of them. I began to think about our influence on the design and construction of buildings – the importance of our dimensions in their construction in either grand buildings or small ones – from the attention to detail – a door handle, or the lip of a step, the manner in which two walls meet. These details may have been designed for the architect’s pleasure but they are still designed to please the human eye. All that is exterior that we experience has relevance and can be referenced to us because we are experiencing it. We are as much at the centre of all we see and do as we choose to be and perhaps more so.

View of Event Horizon, part of Antony Gormley: Blind Light with The Hayward.
Photo Credit: Gautier Deblonde

I had not anticipated that I would find so much to provoke my thoughts and the exhibition is good in two ways: a means to entertain the family and the kids on a Saturday afternoon but also as an occasion in which to stop and think – without sounding too trite - about our daily existence within architectural structures, our existence within a city, within our bodies. These are each ‘houses’ through which we pass and we left the exhibition with much to discuss, taking the conversation and discussion home to my architect boyfriend.

Anthony Gormley

Blind Light

The Hayward

17 May – 19 August 2007

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Art Comments | Scope Hamptons 2007

First Impressions of Scope Hamptons 2007

written by peter duhon in new york

Amongst the rustic and country setting of the Hamptons, 10 countries were represented by 65 different galleries at this year's Scope Hamptons International Art Fair which also organizes contemporary art fairs in Miami, London, and Basel. There were many highlights during the first day:

  1. The Mcneill Art Group: Savvy and charming art curator, consultant and dealer Beth Mcneill received several plaudits from various attendees and collectors at the fair this weekend. Her roster of artists for the fair included: abstract painter Jeff Muhs and large-scale Argentinian painter Tin Ojeda. I would advise art enthusiasts and collectors to bookmark her website,

  2. Frost & Reed: Karen Gunderson's black paintings (easily best of the show) in their booth adroitly defy the academic notion that black is not a color without prosaically wallowing in the debate of what is color and what it is not color but rather with the bravura of a master, she wins the debate easily without sacrificing aesthetic integrity. Her paintings waver and pulsate with motion and speak to both the intelligentsia and the masses. The three black oil paintings on display literally flow, shine and captivate the viewer with an illusion of 3D depth, movement and rhythm that fluctuates depending on the lighting and position of the viewer.

  3. Moti Hasson Gallery: David Kramer's figurative halcyon oil paintings with white text overlaying them, reminiscent almost of what one would see in a film with subtitles, are cleverly contemporary, challenging, and fun for the newcomer to contemporary art and even the seasoned contemporary art connoisseur. Moti Hasson's gallery consistently delivers great art at the various art fairs and their gallery in Chelsea.

  4. KlinkHammer Projects: Andrea Lehmann's seductive, haunting and disturbing figurative oil paintings delightfully offered necessary contrast to the safer and more conservative pieces on display in the Hamptons at the fair.

This year the fair appears to be stronger than the previous one last year, and after speaking with the dealers, the sales seem to be better as well. Alongside the many Chelsea galleries at the fair, there was a strong German presence with 6 galleries from there and even a strong Asian presence facilitated by several American galleries. Despite a strong showing by many of the galleries, the fair felt a little too vapid without any serious programming. Perhaps in the future this will change. I sure hope so since it could add to a better experience for everyone involved.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Art Comments | Scope Art Fair 2007 | Hamptons

Scope Hampton's third annual art fair kicks off today and concludes on July 29th. Check back daily for complete coverage of the fair here on Art Comments.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Art Comments | Design Review

New York 2007: The 10th Anniversary

June 1 - 3, Park Avenue Armory

Ethan Stern Design. (

written by don porcella in new york

Ethan Stern is a Seattle, WA artist, who makes sculptural objects out of glass. These pieces are hand blown and through this process he creates colored layers of glass. When the glass cools Stern cuts away top layers of opaque glass to reveal a very sexy and beautiful pattern.

Takashi Hinoda, Night of Monsters, 2007 ceramic 9x15x8”

@ Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd. (

@ Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd. Takashi Hinoda creates imaginative ceramic objects with a Japanese Manga sensibility. This work was mentioned to me several times when exhibitors discussed what is the most exciting thing at the fair. This work represents the hurdle that some galleries are jumping over. The push by some galleries at the fair to showcase artists whose work is more fine arts related and doesn’t deal with the history of the medium as much as more traditional arts and crafts. This work represents the new direction some galleries are pushing. Collectors usually look for something more traditional and the hope is that they will warm to this new breed of arts and craft artist. Several galleries are showing artists who are inspired by their contemporary popular culture and who speak outside their medium with their medium and are considered an artist over crafts-person. This new work has content as well as craft.

PHILIP EGLIN, ceramic @ Dean Project (

Another piece in the fair that represents a new breed of arts and crafts artists is the work of Philip Elgin above. A ceramic vessel but also a three-dimensional painting as well. A collaged painterly approach to the imagery where image and content supersede the medium (which is refreshing at this type of venue).

Monday, July 09, 2007

Art Comments: Grand Tour 2007 Artist Short List

52nd Venice Biennale 2007 | Arsenale | Sophie Whettnall

Sophie Whettnall
Shadow Boxing
Proiezione video / video projection
3min, 16mm on dvd

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Art Comments

Regular Blog posting will resume Monday, July 7th, 2007.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Art Comments: Grand Tour 2007 Artist Short List

52nd Venice Biennale 2007 | Arsenale | Rainer Ganahl

Rainer Ganahl
1966 Bludenz, Austria
Vive e lavora a New York, USA
Searching "The Politics of Education" on
2007, Wall painting

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Art Comments: Grand Tour 2007 Artist Short List

Art Basel UNLIMITED 2007: Christoph Büchel

Christoph Büchel
Unplugged (Simply Botiful), 2006/07
Hauser & Wirth Zürich

Art Comments Photo Gallery of Unplugged (SImply) Botiful

Monday, June 25, 2007

Art Comments: Grand Tour 2007 Artist Short List

Art Basel 38 2007: Herbert Brandl

Herbert Brandl
Ohne Titel
Öu auf Leinwand
300 x 201 cm

Friday, June 22, 2007

Art Comments: Grand Tour 2007 Artist Short List

Art Basel 38 2007: Michaël Borremans

Michaël Borremans
"The Prodigy"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Art Comments: Grand Tour 2007, update analysis

Can a triumvirate successfully manage Art Basel?

written by peter duhon in new york

Absolutely. One look at or visit to Silicon Valley here in the US, and the Google triumvirate of CEO Eric Schmidt, co-founders and presidents Larry Page and Sergey Brin, serves as a prime example that a triumvirate can actually make perfect sense for complex, international organizations. Looking over the credentials of the triumvirate appointed by Messe Schweiz, I'm optimistic of the continued success of Art Basel.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Art Comments: Grand Tour 2007 Artist Short List

Art Basel 38 2007: Thomas Hartmann

Thomas Hartmann
“Randgruppe”, 2007
Öl/Leinwand, 160 x 130 cm

Monday, June 18, 2007

Art Comments: Grand Tour 2007 Artist Short List

Art Basel 38 2007: Will Cotton

Will Cotton
Taffy Forest, 2007
72 x 80 inches
183 x 203
Richard Gray Gallery

Art Comments: Grand Tour 2007 Artist Short List

Art Basel 38 2007: Francesco Clemente

Francesco Clemente
Inside Out
Tempera and oil on linen
74 x 80.5 inches
188 x 204.5 cm