Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Inaugural 'Institute of Museum Ethics' Graduate Biennial


Considering "New Directions in Museum Ethics" Graduate Student Conference

written by Sophie Landres in New York
 
If etiquette is breached when one deviates from current customs, ethical crises occur when there is a deviation from tradition. Museums, which are charged with the responsibility of preserving traditions as well as their deviated forms, encounter crisis with regularity. Performing as conservationists and historic stewards on one hand, while abjuring their colonial heritage and maintaining their contemporaneity on the other, art institutions struggle to uphold higher standards of moral conduct than the corporate models they follow or the private collectors on which they depend. 

Organizations such as the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) have created codes of ethics stipulating what constitutes ethical behavior. But in exchange for representing our past, reflecting the present and determining how we will be remembered in the future, we regard museums as more than mere law-abiding institutions. They are our cultural paragons. In an attempt to satisfy professional standards and the tacit demand for apotheosis, extensive research has been devoted to the subject of museum ethics. 

On November 14th, The Institute of Museum Ethics held its inaugural Biennial Graduate Student Conference: "New Directions in Museum Ethics" at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. Topics ranged from the administrative (such as archiving digital media, deaccession and fundraising) to the more existential functions of museums as they encounter new aesthetic precedents and ruptures in the paradigm.

Materiality, Immateriality and Authorship

Many of the Seton Hall speakers addressed how technology increasingly mediates the fabric, presentation and subject of art. Most museums currently utilize various types of social media for information sharing, audience engagement, publicity and outreach. Allowing their collections to function as interactive media is a realization of Marshall McLuhan's 1959 presage that "the spectator or reader must now be cocreator." Once information is in the public domain, it is allocated for public use and subject to public commentary. Unfortunately, the democratic intentions are often compromised by the lack of fact-checking and anonymity, and the discourse tends to become surrounded by blogosphere flippancy, dilettantism and aggression. 

Amelia Wong delivered an exemplary paper describing how the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum faced conflicting responsibilities to the public when Holocaust deniers used one of their YouTube postings as an opportunity to publish insulting messages that spread hate as well as misinformation. Decidedly anti-censorship, the museum had enjoyed the dialog and documented argumentation possible through its remediation. But relinquishing control over their media left it vulnerable to historic sabotage and its integrity as a memorial was jeopardized because of it. 

Opting out of remediation will ensure a museum's obsolescence.  Moreover, ontological debate has determined that history benefits (if not requires) multiple perspectives. Yet the internet proves time and again that a multiplicity of voices does not guarantee historic accuracy. What then is a museum's right (or responsibility) to singular authorship?

More familiar contests over ownership and claims to intellectual property arise over the persistent materiality of objects and immateriality of images. Though ownership and authenticity are deemed postmodern issues that many contemporary artists and critics have moved beyond, ethicists remain sorting out the titles, documentation, and non-archival material left in conceptualism's wake. Appropriation disputes (such as the source of Shepard Fairey's Barack Obama campaign poster, which was discussed by the art and entertainment attorney, Walter G. Lehmann) are often determined by litigation. These cases set precedents that if undermined, may go on to adversely effect provenance law, thereby granting allowances for illicitly procured art. Here, a generosity of free usage is cut to condemn what happens when other things are taken without permission.

Authorship and Authority

Ethics become even messier when legal codes contradict. For example, when the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 protects artists' intent and the AAM decrees that museums have a responsibility to preserve art, who determines what is to be done with collections of intentionally ephemeral art work?  And if pieces are replaced (think: the formaldehyde shark in Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,) can it still be considered "an original?" The infinite reproducibility of digital media similarly confounds the codes as well as inventory catalogues and determinants of value. "Since the historical testimony rests on the authenticity, the former, too, is jeopardized by reproduction when substantive duration ceases to matter," wrote Walter Benjamin in The Work of Art and Mechanical Reproduction,  "And what is really jeopardized when the historical testimony is affected is the authority of the object." For whom the conference repeatedly referred to as "stakeholders," this reconfiguration is a source of great anxiety.

Evidence that issues of ownership and authority remain unsettled is perhaps most visible through the lens of post-colonialist politics. The repatriation of ill-begotten artifacts and the equally illicit insistence of western culture upon "developing" nations, involves (as speaker Lydie Diakhaté explained) complicated acts of philanthropy, paternalism and continued exploitation. Whether multiculturalism will be able to outrun colonial legacies and keep up with geopolitics depends on how entitlement claims will be redistributed and universalized. Chelsea Haines offered New Orleans's post-Katrina Prospect 1 biennial as a model- less for exhibition design, than for how to rebuild communities and create discursive spaces in neglected parts of society. It is fair to ask for museums to be responsive to their communities but ambitious to assume they can act as trustworthy agents for social change. A reasonable compromise might lay somewhere between performing as repositories of social meanings and envoys of critical analysis (at their apogee.)

Market Forces and the Ethics of Compromise

Business decisions inevitably engender conflict of interests in which museums must compromise romantic intentions with the tremendous amount of power and money that surrounds their position. The New Museum of Contemporary Art's recent imbroglio involving the exhibition of a museum trustee's collection demonstrates how their very programming is an act of judgment and undeniable mediator of the art market. Yet despite their heft in the market, they are also public minions, enlisted to serve the enigmatic "collective good."  To some that prohibits their freedom to break from trusted convention and challenge orthodoxy; to others, that gives them the green light. If objectivity is a requisite for safeguarding objects, museums must refrain from curation that Peter Brown lamented often comes across as an "academic, postmodern indulgence." But if art institutions are also dealers of dialectics, they cannot curb their subjectivity from fear of debate or audience alienation.

The pedagogical concern is that ethical solutions exist in theory, but not in the professional world. To be intellectually progressive (yet accommodating to mass interests,) research centers (as well as flashy tourist destinations,) arbiters of good taste (but not snobbish about it,) and didactic (while entertaining,) museums struggle to monitor their internal actions, let alone their presence outside gallery walls and in the minds of society. For legal claims over intellectual property, moral claims over stewardship, and political claims over nationhood to tangibly coexist, contemporary ethicists point to the recognition of parallel contexts.

AAM and ICOM codes amend themselves at Sisyphean rates, redefining and standardizing as the rest of the world diversifies, rejects judgment and avoids materiality. Though these valuable regulators keep museums in check, post-colonialism and the remediation of information require control sharing, not tightening. New codes must be broad and provisional. Allowances should favor authenticity that is in the service of meaning, ownership that is contingent on public access and authority that is never absolute. Habits to the contrary may be deeply ingrained in institutional structures, but global movements toward
dissolving information barriers, dematerializing art forms and decentralizing localities break too many rules to keep enforcing.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Artist Lecture: Robert Lazzarini | School of Visual Arts, New York



Artist Lecture: Robert Lazzarini

7pm - 9pm November 20, 2009

Art Comments is delighted to announce that Robert Lazzarini, a contemporary artist based in New York, and whose work was recently featured at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in a solo exhibition this past summer, will present a lecture focusing on his new work at the School of Visual Arts this Friday.

Robert Lazzarini's practice comprises the distortion and activation of both space and objects, which subvert normative perspective, Cartesian notions of perception and time, often through the vehicle of meticulously fabricated objects and carefully activated environments. Not surprisingly, The New York Times recently wrote, "one of America’s most exciting young artists." Robert Lazzarini will give a presentation based on his work, followed by a conversation with Peter Duhon (Director of programming, ATOA, and Director of Art Comments), and Q&A with audience.

Relevant links:


RSVP Suggested: Click Here

The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater
Directions

Suggested donation:

$7 General Public
$3 Artists and students, Free for SVA students and faculty

Discussion is organized by the New York based non-profit Artists Talk On Art. Art Comments is a signifying, discursive practice that functions internationally as an apparatus within the realm commonly referred to as the contemporary art world.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Art in General | Benefit Party | Oct. 17th

Art Comments is delighted to lend our support to a wonderful, expansive, and international contemporary arts program such as Art in General. The said benefit party will help support their program which serves as a beacon for contemporary discourse centered on provocative artistic practices. I hope everyone can participate and support AiG in some fashion. Please see information pertaining to their party below. Apologies for any cross-postings.
Underground Up
Art in General’s 2nd Annual Saturday Night Party

Saturday, October 17, 2009, 8pm to 11pm
87 Lafayette Street, New York NY 10013




Art in General will offer audiences and art patrons a one-time opportunity to view unique
new works by graffiti and street artists Cake, Cern, and Chris Stain at its 2nd Annual
Saturday Night party, Underground Up, on October 17th from 8-11 pm. As part of a
fundraiser for the nonprofit that supports emerging artists with the production and
presentation of new work, the artists have been asked to create unique pieces on the day
of the event for the walls of an old firehouse on Lafayette Street. To be fully realized, the
works will require participation by attendees who will also enjoy complimentary beer,
wine, cocktails, music, and dancing.

The event will offer art enthusiasts with a desire to support the arts an opportunity to do so outside the pricey sit-down gala format. With Art in General's line-up of artists, open bar and music, and its history of organizing great events, the party is sure to be worth the $100 donation.

The event poses a significant challenge for the artists – creating a new work in under eight hours – a task that remains in line with Art in General’s tradition of presenting unconventional and experimental new work.
To rsvp for this event and purchase tickets, please visit http://www.artingeneral.org/events/957.

Friday, October 02, 2009

TONIGHT: Aporias of Perfection | Panel Discussion




Christian de Vietri
Zero
2008-2009
acrylic polymer, vinyl paint
71 x 43 x 32 inches

Aporias of Perfection
7pm - 9pm October 2nd, 2009
The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater

Art Comments is delighted to present a panel discussion tonight, Aporias of Perfection. Discourse situated simultaneously between and underneath debated notions of theory, practice and praxis, discourse which facilitates an epistemological 'uprooting' (Hinausgerissenwerden) exerting a potentiality of heterogeneous discovery while avoiding any false pretense of a grand narrative or finite totality.

Please click here for curatorial statement for 'Aporias of Perfection' written by Lukas Baden.

Moderator: Lukas Baden (GER, Curator, Ferenbal Gurbruestation), Darren Bader (NYC based Artist, Writer, Curator), Glen Baldridge (NYC based Printmaker and Artist), Christian Ertel (GER, Artist), Christian de Vietri (AU, Artist), Shana Moulton (NYC based Artist)

RSVP RECOMMEND: rsvp@artcomments.com
The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater
Directions


Suggested donation:
$7 General Public
$3 Artists and students, Free for SVA students and faculty

CURATORIAL STATEMENT:

“No good work whatever can be perfect, and the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art.” (John Ruskin)

This panel attempts to examine the idea of ‘perfection’ as it is embraced or rejected in the practice of contemporary artists. The topic is related to technical skill and craft versus a deliberate renunciation of these. The artwork as a contained entity with a distinguishable form has been questioned since the inception of Modernism when impressionists were accused to paint merely in stains.

Conceptual art’s progression towards a “dematerialization” of the object has offered the leverage to deepen the cleavage between artistic approaches that pursue a labor oriented mode of production and others that use a minimal effort in the creation of the object. In fact, this panel is centered at a notion of perfection that aims at the enchantment of form and material, while simultaneously acknowledging the limits that are implicit in the processes of rendering an idea or applying a technique.

The failure or plain impossibility of either an artistic or philosophical endeavour to get closer to the idea itself in both visual and spiritual terms is alluded to by the term “aporia” in the title for the panel. In order to provide a creative opposition of terms, the moderation is based on the contrast of “perfection” and “deskilling”, or, drawing on more musical terms, “pop” and “punk.”

The polemic presupposition for the panels discussion is a presumed development in artistic practice away from completion or ostensibly accomplished practice to more interventionist strategies and esoteric presences, thus allowing for the aesthetics of a 'New Poor,' a new form of arte povera, to develop, independent of the current recession.

In yet another set of a binary opposition, this panel seeks to find out when or where the actual turn happened from where attitudes become form (Harald Szeemann, 1969) to where forms become attitudes (Massimiliano Gioni, 2009).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lecture | Janaina Tschäpe | Contingent Space: Myth, Fantasy, and Time


Janaina Tschäpe
Dragoon Moon II
From the series Dragoons, 2008
Ed of 6
C-print
40 x 50 in



Art Comments is delighted to invite everyone to a lecture presented by contemporary artist Janaina Tschäpe, 'Contingent Space: Myth, Fantasy, and Time,' this Friday, September 25, at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Since 1997, Janaina Tschäpe has employed the female body as her muse, creating universes of polymorphous landscapes, embryonic forms and ambiguous characters. Tschäpe’s drawings, photographs, films and installations seek to give form to the trance of art making, portraying not a dream world, but the sensation of being in one.

Pertaining to the work of the New York based Brazilian and German artist, Frieze aptly wrote, "Janaina Tschäpe shares her forename with a Brazilian water goddess, and, not coincidentally, her photographs and performances-to-video feature sumptuously organic, watery, distorted female figure." Janaina Tschäpe deftly exploits and subverts notions of identity and reality in her work, often referencing primitive beauty, hybridity, and alterity which at times confront, embrace, and recasts the envelopment of nature and abjection.

Janaina Tschäpe will give a presentation concerning her œuvre, sharing some of her photographs and performance-to-video pieces with the audience followed by a conversation with Peter Duhon (Director of Programming, ATOA, and Art Comments), and a Q&A session with the audience.

Janaina Tschäpe is represented by Galerie Catherine Bastide (Brussels Belgium), Galeria Fortes Vilaca (São Paulo Brasil), and Sikkema Jenkins & Co (NY, New York).

Janaina Tschäpe is also participating in the ICP Triennial this year in New York.


Janaina Tschäpe | Contingent Space: Myth, Fantasy, and Time
7pm - 9pm September 25th, 2009
The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street (between 2nd and 3rd avenue), NYC, in the Amphitheater

RSVP RECOMMEND: Click Here to RSVP
Click here for directions

Janaina Tschäpe's website.

$7 Suggested donation for general public.
$3 Artists and students, free for SVA students and faculty.

Discussion is organized by the New York based non-profit Artists Talk On Art. Art Comments is a signifying, discursive practice that functions internationally as an apparatus within the realm commonly referred to as the contemporary art world.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Non-speaking Blind Man

NY - 303 GALLERY- HANS-PETER FELDMAN

I just spoke with Hans-Peter Feldman, according to him the blind man doesn't speak apparently. I asked him if he had any speaking engagements while here in NY, he's leaving tomorrow but doesn't believe in speaking engagements, only objects. Hans-Peter Feldman, perhaps the title Saint is applicable now, said that in the beginning humans could only see long before we could speak. I mean, just when I thought I had been to the mountain top and back. Yes, conversations with the apostles are always neatly situated on, obsessively concerned with or assertively opposed to the word. Sauserre and Peirce would be proud. A trip to Germany is in order to finish our conversation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Theory and Practice: Aporias of Perfection




Christian de Vietri
Zero
2008-2009
acrylic polymer, vinyl paint
71 x 43 x 32 inches

Theory and Practice: Aporias of Perfection
7pm - 9pm October 2, 2009
The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater

“No good work whatever can be perfect, and the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art.” (John Ruskin)

This panel attempts to examine the idea of ‘perfection’ as it is embraced or rejected in the practice of contemporary artists. The topic is related to technical skill and craft versus a deliberate renunciation of these. The artwork as a contained entity with a distinguishable form has been questioned since the inception of Modernism when impressionists were accused to paint merely in stains.

Conceptual art’s progression towards a “dematerialization” of the object has offered the leverage to deepen the cleavage between artistic approaches that pursue a labor oriented mode of production and others that use a minimal effort in the creation of the object. In fact, this panel is centered at a notion of perfection that aims at the enchantment of form and material, while simultaneously acknowledging the limits that are implicit in the processes of rendering an idea or applying a technique.

The failure or plain impossibility of either an artistic or philosophical endeavour to get closer to the idea itself in both visual and spiritual terms is alluded to by the term “aporia” in the title for the panel. In order to provide a creative opposition of terms, the moderation is based on the contrast of “perfection” and “deskilling”, or, drawing on more musical terms, “pop” and “punk.”

The polemic presupposition for the panels discussion is a presumed development in artistic practice away from completion or ostensibly accomplished practice to more interventionist strategies and esoteric presences, thus allowing for the aesthetics of a 'New Poor,' a new form of arte povera, to develop, independent of the current recession.

In yet another set of a binary opposition, this panel seeks to find out when or where the actual turn happened from where attitudes become form (Harald Szeemann, 1969) to where forms become attitudes (Massimiliano Gioni, 2009).

Moderator: Lukas Baden (GER, Curator, Ferenbal Gurbruestation), Darren Bader (NYC based Artist, Writer, Curator), Glen Baldridge (NYC based Printmaker and Artist), Christian Ertel (GER, Artist), Christian de Vietri (AU, Artist), Shana Moulton (NYC based Artist)

RSVP RECOMMEND: rsvp@artcomments.com
The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater
Directions

$7 General Public
$3 Artists and students, Free for SVA students and faculty

Discussion is organized by the New York based non-profit Artists Talk On Art. Art Comments is a signifying, discursive practice that functions internationally as an apparatus within the realm commonly referred to as the contemporary art world.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Artist in Conversation: Robert Lazzarini

Robert Lazzarini, who exhibits with Deitch Projects in New York, and whose work was recently presented at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, challenges normative perspective and perception via pictorial distortion and reconfiguration which demands for the spectator to reexamine their notion of spatial potentiality, and the shift of meaning that occurs with all objects through the experience, often violent, and decay thrusted upon them. Not surprisingly, The New York Times recently wrote, "one of America’s most exciting young artists." Robert Lazzarini will give a presentation based on his work, followed by a conversation with Peter Duhon (Director of programming, ATOA, and Director of Art Comments), and Q&A with audience.

7pm - 9pm November 20th, 2009

RSVP: atoarsvp@gmail.com
The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater
Directions

$7 General Public
$3 Artists and students, Free for SVA students and faculty


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Monday, August 31, 2009

Past Dreams and Future Visions: The South Bronx art scene in the 21st Century

The Bronx art scene has emerged, submerged and changed many times over the last 30 years. Each time it has been a model for coordinated community artistic efforts ripe with great art, beauty and expression and not surprisingly coupled with the infighting and rivalries associated with any family. Past dreams and future visions exemplified by select consortium of artists, alongside with what makes an art scene grow, coalesce, dissolve and survive. An effort will be made to reveal the general aesthetic trends that have come from this often forgotten Borough of New York.

Moderator: Barry Kostrinsky, Founder of Haven Arts, a Municipal Arts Society's recipient of a certificate of merit in 2006, Barry is an artist, curator, collector and supporter of the South Bronx arts scene.
Panelists: Joe Lewis (Dean of Alfred University's School of Art and Design), John Ahearm(Artist), Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz (Artist, Curator), Tim Rollins (Professor at SVA and recently exhibited at the 53rd Venice Biennale), Holly Block (Director of Bronx Museum)

7pm - 9pm October 9th, 2009

RSVP: atoarsvp@gmail.com
The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater
Directions

$7 General Public
$3 Artists and students, Free for SVA students and faculty


Add to Google Reader or HomepageAdd to My AOL

Monday, August 24, 2009

Artist in Conversation: Janaina Tschäpe | September 25th | School of Visual Arts

Janaina Tschäpe
Untitled (Primer plano de mujer rubia arrollada e impactada contra un poste,
en avenida Chapultepec, Ciudad de Mexico), 1979
C-print , 20 x 24"
Edition of 15


Artist in Conversation: Janaina Tschäpe

7pm - 9pm September 25th, 2009

The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater

Since 1997, Janaina Tschäpe has employed the female body as her muse, creating universes of polymorphous landscapes, embryonic forms and ambiguous characters. Tschäpe’s drawings, photographs, films and installations seek to give form to the trance of art making, portraying not a dream world, but the sensation of being in one.

New York based Brazilian and German artist, "Janaina Tschäpe shares her forename with a Brazilian water goddess, and, not coincidentally, her photographs and performances-to-video feature sumptuously organic, watery, distorted female figures," writes Frieze. Janaina Tschäpe deftly exploits and subverts notions of identity and reality in her work. Janaina Tschäpe will give a presentation concerning her work, followed by a conversation with Peter Duhon (Director of Programming, ATOA, and Director of Art Comments), and Q&A with audience.

RSVP RECOMMEND: RSVP

The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater

Directions

$7 General Public
$3 Artists and students, Free for SVA students and faculty

Discussion is organized by the New York based non-profit Artists Talk On Art.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Post-Crisis Aesthetics | Panel Discussion | September 18 | SVA




Enrique Metinides
Untitled (Primer plano de mujer rubia arrollada e impactada contra un poste,
en avenida Chapultepec, Ciudad de Mexico),
1979 C-print , 20 x 24"
Edition of 15
Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery

POST-CRISIS AESTHETICS
7pm - 9pm September 18th, 2009
The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater

Panelists explore how the economic crisis has affected art, its production and display. Are we experiencing a paradigm shift, and if so, what is the impact? Has the collapse emancipated or restrained the production of art?

Richard Flood (Chief Curator of the New Museum), Josh Baer (Writer and Art Adviser, Baerfax Newsletter), Anton Kern (Gallerist, Anton Kern Gallery), Alexandra Peers (Writer, New York Magazine and Wall Street Journal)
Moderator: Peter Duhon (Director of Programming, ATOA, Art Comments)

RSVP RECOMMEND: rsvp@artcomments.com
The School of Visual Arts (SVA), 209 East 23rd Street, NYC, in the Amphitheater
Directions

$7 General Public
$3 Artists and students, Free for SVA students and faculty

Discussion is organized by the New York based non-profit Artists Talk On Art. Art Comments is a signifying, discursive practice that functions internationally as an apparatus within the realm commonly referred to as the contemporary art world.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Press Release: Artist Talks and Panels, Fall 2009 Program

Art Comments

Art Comments is pleased to announce our collaboration with the New York based not-for profit, Artist Talk on Art, an organization committed to contemporary discourse since 1975. Below you will find their official release with detailed information concerning the fall schedule:



ATOA, a New York based non-profit dedicated to discursive and aesthetic dialog, is delighted to announce our Fall program for 2009, a diverse range of contemporary art panel discussions and lectures all focused with an intentionality to intensify thought, and serve as a generator of multiplicities. This season, all of our events occur at the School of Visual Arts here in New York on various Friday evenings:

  • Post-Crisis Aesthetics
  • Artist in Conversation: Janaina Tschäpe
  • Discourse and Practice: Aporias of Perfection
  • Past Dreams and Future Visions: The South Bronx art scene in the 21st Century
  • Theory and Practice: Encaustic Painting Today
  • She: Visions of Women by Taiwanese Artists
  • Artist in Conversation: Robert Lazzarini
  • NY Portraits: Artists with Disabilities
  • Super-Craft: The New Insider Folk Art

For more information, please visit: ATOA Fall Schedule.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Resistance of Frieze: Offers Refusal to Apprentice Show

Revolt, She Said

written by Peter H. Duhon Jr. in New York

Thankfully, London's Frieze Art Fair said no to the reality TV show The Apprentice. The Guardian's coverage of the refusal, quite biased against Frieze one must all admit in this article, reports that the TV show wanted to have a reality contest amongst dealers to see who could sell the most work at the fair. Rather seriously, that is akin to offering to film someone while they are in the shower, and posting the resulting footage on ABC here in the U.S. or BBC in the U.K. Hell no, shouts the blind man.

Of course, many would argue why not? But assertively, Frieze offers the appropriate word to The Apprentice, that statement that Freud suggested as the word which signifies the stance of adulthood, the word that gives birth to it, the word that postures it: no. Yes, in fact, the blind man can see through the trees, beyond them, revealing the ignorance, the absurdity of the instigator, revealing the brazen motives of the iniquitous beast.


I've always lauded Frieze as one of the most important contemporary art events of year and with this bold decision, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp (founders and active decision makers at Frieze, respectively) do not disappoint.

Those accustomed to, and seduced by the culture of the spectacle are perhaps puzzled by the refusal, but my personal hope is that by their decision to resist this mindless, frivolous forbidden fruit of contemporary culture (to say that reality TV shows present distorted and manufactured reality is an understatement, no apologizes), if you will, those unaware of the significance of Frieze and it's distinguished difference will perhaps investigate further why Frieze exists as a beacon of provocative thought and discourse today. Yes, open that book, hop on that plane, book that ticket, and visit Frieze. No cameras allowed, please.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Verfall: Decadence and Decay- at 150 Bay Street in Staten Island, NY.

written by Don Porcella in New York City




Verfall: Decadence and Decay
Curated by Ginger Shulick
07/25/2009 - 08/28/2009.

Exhibiting Artists:

Mikhael Antone, NYC
Brendan Coyle, NYC
Christopher Frederick, NYC
Michelle Sciumbato Keller, Nashville
Scott Lewis, New Jersey
Reggie Manning, Milwaukee
Keren Moscovitch, NYC
Mona Oman, NYC

Studio 150
150 Bay Street
Staten Island, NY 10301

Verfall: Decadence and Decay

The 18th century view of language is largely based on the concept of “decadence and decay”, words which are synonymous in many languages, including German (verfall). This exhibition focuses on decadent yet banalized behaviors – smoking, excessive drinking, over-eating, sexual promiscuity – and examines whether these over-indulgences are just another part of living a contemporary existence. However, these decadent lifestyles can lead to physical and moral decay and ultimately, death. Installations by Brendan Coyle and Mikhael Antone deal with fatality itself, and question viewers’ responses to and fascination with the everyday occurrence of death. Coyle’s sculpture “Candy Corpse” will simultaneously address death and decay; this installation will be altered throughout the course of the show as the materials respond to temperature and climate changes, but will never fully decay.

The opening will be on Saturday, July 25th from 7pm-12am, and will be open for regular hours Thursdays and Fridays 5pm-9pm, Saturdays 12pm-8pm, and Sundays, 12pm-5pm through the close of the show. Studio 150 is located at 150 Bay Street in Staten Island, NY. Take the Staten Island Ferry in downtown Manhattan. The boat ride is 25 minutes. Then walk 5 minutes to 150 Bay Street from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

Curator Ginger Shulick in front of a wall painting by Reggie Manning an artist from Milwaukee, WI

This exhibition in Staten Island is very important because it is another significant moment in the continued evolution of the Staten Island Art Scene. Verfall: Decadence and Decay curated by Ginger Shulick, brings together artists from Staten Island and artists from other parts of the country. Given the importance of the show, I was very impressed with the variety and dedication each artist represented in their work. I thought all the art in the show was extremely provocative and alluring.

A fantastic piece of art by Scott Lewis, New Jersey. He is currently having a solo show at The Puck Building in NYC.


Brendan Coyle's magnificent "Candy Corpe" made out of candy lying in dirt. I was very impressed with Brendan's Candy Corpse (see www.candycorpse.com which allows people to participate in the ongoing project). Coyle put a lot of time and effort into handcrafting his corpse and integrated that into a decaying mound of dirt. During the opening, the corpse sinks ever so slowly into the ground. Go see it!!!

Studio 150
150 Bay Street
Staten Island, NY 10301


The Staten Island Art Scene has many interesting and talented artists living and working in the borough. Many of those artists came to the opening last night and I tried to take photos of as many of them as possible. There are many more artists who are doing interesting work here and it is worth coming to "the island" and meeting these exciting artists.

Tattfoo, an artist living in Staten Island was there taking photos of the Candy Corpse. Tattfoo is having an exhibition at The Bronx River Arts Center in the Bronx. see www.tattfoo.com/

Stephen Lapcevic and his wife - Lapcevic is an animation artist living in Staten Island. see www.youtube.com/user/StevenLapcevic

Brendan Coyle and Amanda Curtis are artists living in Staten Island and they also operate The Assembly Room, a gallery in Staten Island, NY. see www.myspace.com/assemblyroom

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Leo Kesting Gallery Presents: Ray Sell : Ya Gotta Be Tough

written by Don Porcella in New York City



Leo Kesting Gallery Presents:
Ray Sell : Ya Gotta Be Tough
July 9 – August 2, 2009

Ray Sell : Ya Gotta Be Tough - installation photo


Limelight, 12" x 12", mixed media on canvas, Ray Sell


Hold Your Horses
Mixed Media Sculpture, 10 x 21 x 7", Ray Sell


Ray Sell : Ya Gotta Be Tough - installation photo


Easy Target, mixed media sculpture, 45" x 18" x 20", Ray Sell



Leo Kesting Gallery Presents: Ray Sell: Ya Gotta Be Tough is a mixed media and collage exhibition. What I think makes it sucessfull is the use of mixed media and the three dimensionality of the collage mixed media process. The work by Ray Sell at Leo Kesting Gallery is pushing collage, through the use of mixed media, in a different direction than most 2 dimensional collage based works. I appreciate the painted parts of his work and I think for the price these have a lot of time invested value in each piece. Most of the work has already sold in the two weeks the show has been open but there are many more gems still available at very reasonable prices.

Leo Kesting Gallery is located at the southern end of the New High Line Park at Ganesvoort St. in the Meat Packing District of Manhattan.. Full of trendy boutiques and restaurants this area is ripe with vacationing europeans and a swanky upper crust crowd. Leo Kesting Gallery provides a ground floor art experience in this vibrant section of Manhattan.

Anyone walking into the gallery is met by Johnny Leo and David Kesting two very likable and enthusiastic art gallery owners. Johnny Leo and David Kesting are doing something really special by providing a lot of these artists their first major solo show in New York City. Leo Kesting Gallery is very committed to introducing these talented artists and helping develop them into art stars. They work hand in hand with their artists and they expect their artists to be professional. Check out Ray Sell's latest works and meet the people at this great ground floor gallery.

ALSO > Leo Kesting Gallery presents:
FOUNTAIN ART FAIR in Miami and New York
2505 North Miami Ave - Fountain Miami Dec 3 - 6, 2009
Pier 66 the West Side Highway - Fountain New York March 4 - 7, 2010
http://fountainexhibit.com/blog/


Tue - Sat from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm Sun & Mon 1– 6pm
Admission is free to the public
phone: 917-650-3760
http://www.leokesting.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Low Blow: And Other Species of Confusion



written by Anne Marie D. Lee in NYC

It begins with a room by Kristen Schiele featuring a dilapidated dollhouse turned French brothel—or wherever it is that B-movie vampire lesbians are normally housed. Schiele adeptly plays with texture, colors and patterns to create a tawdry atmosphere of faded beauty and morbid lust. That’s the first of many scenes of iniquity you will come across in Low Blow: And Other Species of Confusion.

A brash and witty exhibition, Low Blow features works by a group of 18 bold artists, many of whom seem to share in common a fetish for anodyne portrayals of lewd subject matter. Take for instance Ashley Hope whose impeccably girlish depictions of crime scenes bring to mind something along the lines of Mary Engelbreit meets Law & Order SVU. Then there’s Barnaby Whitfield, master pastel artist of the languorously maniacal. In his baroque world, golden bubbles of urine delicately float amidst pink flamingos and blue cake. Topping the list of contradictory forms of design and content are Benji Whalen’s stuffed-cotton arms with embroidered tattoos. In addition to the inherent irony of tattoo embroidery, there is the added dichotomy of themes. One arm bears a colorful rendering of a naked woman riding a tiger emerging from dense green jungle foliage and the other a black embroidery of the “Road to Calvary”. Equally audacious is Don Porcella’s weird encounter of the pipe-cleaner kind titled “Nature Boy: The Naked Beekeeper with Split Personality.”

Looking at Tracey Snelling’s miniaturized strip club, complete with lurid details—a desolate parking lot and glowing marquee promoting “World Class Topless Girls” on the outside and loud music, little red vinyl chairs, strip poles and video of dancers inside—is like looking through a rear view mirror at a cultural relic fading out of view. The tiny scale of Snelling’s work, like the dollhouse contained in Sheile’s, disarms the seedy setting of any potency so that it may be appreciated as a bygone aesthetic, pondered as an allegory or viewed simply as a cultural emblem. But perhaps the most attention-grabbing statement of this exhibition is Tom Sanford’s giant adult-movie poster of “Client 9” featuring Eliot Spitzer. A reminder that life often imitates art, even in its low forms.

Artful and daring, Low Blow is worth a peek.

LOW BLOW: And Other Species of Confusion

STEFAN STUX GALLERY
June 18 – July 17, 2009
530 West 25 Street, New York
www.stuxgallery.com

Curated by
Aaron Johnson and Stefan Stux

Artists
Scott Anderson | Brent Birnbaum | Miki Carmi | Claudia Hart | Ashley Hope | Aaron Johnson | Reena Saini Kallat | Tracey Moffat | Shimon Okshteyn | Dennis Oppenheim | Don Porcella | Tom Sanford | Kristen Schiele | Christoph Schmidberger | Tracey Snelling | Lydia Venieri | Benji Whalen | Barnaby Whitfield

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Longer Empty!

written by Don Porcella in New York City.


I attended the opening of No Longer Empty (in two storefronts at 222 w 23rd St NY NY next to the Chelsea Hotel)) in New York City June 18th, 2009. I was greeted by Manon Slome, former head curator at Chelsea Art Museum. She and others have started a great organization that provides exhibition space in vacant storefronts throughout New York City (see http://www.nolongerempty.com/).


Manon was nice enough to personally escort me through the whole exhibition. No Longer Empty utilizes vacant spaces by exhibiting challenging and provocative art. Two storefronts were used by the artists as their exhibition space. Several artists are in each store and the art is aware of its surroundings. There are 5 large poster sized photos of artists from the Chelsea Hotel paying homage to the rich artistic tradition and history of The Chelsea Hotel. There is also a tape installation by an artist from The Chelsea Hotel in one of the storefronts.

A neon artist uses the window of one of the storefronts to change our perception of language by providing a different context for storefront signage.


Michael Bevilacqua curates a groups af artists in what was formerly a fish and tackle shop. The artists incorporate the former fish and tackle business into the exhibition by utilizing some of the features from the original shop including the pegboard.



NO LONGER EMPTY - revitalizing space : unlocking creativity

NO LONGER EMPTY is a group of curators and artists who
present thought provoking exhibits in empty store fronts.

Their first exhibit is at the storefronts at the
Hotel Chelsea
Opening June 18 6pm - 9pm
222 w 23rd st NY NY
June 19 - July 18 Wed - Sat 11am - 6pm

Curated by
Manon Slome and Asher Remy-Toledo with Julian Navarro, Ivan Saragusti, Felicity Faulkner, Yasaman Hoorazar, Molly Ryan, Nunu Hung.

Artists
Guido Albi-Marin | Joseph Aloi | Rita Barros | Sam Bassett | Michael Bevilacqua | Alina and Jeff Bliumis | Scott Campbell | Tara de la Garza | Kate Gilmore | Noel Hennessy | Michael Mandiberg | Cheonwook Park | Diana Puntar | Bruce Richards | Raimundo Rubio | Linda and Lothar Troeller | Dani Tull | Marnie Weber.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Venice Biennale 2009

Making Worlds

So far, quite an amazing and massive exhibition. Check back regularly for various updates across the web2.0 channels, I will post various comments, pictures and videos on Facebook, twitter, flickr, and here. If you would like to subscribe to all of the various updates, email artcommentsinfo@gmail.com.

My notebook computer's battery died beyond any hope of repair. So not exactly sure how I will post anything but I will figure something out.

from venice,

peter

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Monday, June 01, 2009

AC Screening and discussion: Jean-Luc Godard Film

Art Comments Hosts Its First Screening and Q&A

written by Anne Marie D. Lee in New York

A posh group of art world insiders turned up for an engaging evening of cinema and dialogue last Tuesday night, at the luxurious Tribeca Grand Hotel in NYC, popcorn included. In celebration of 50 years since the start of the French New Wave era, Art Comments presented a screening and discussion of Jean-Luc Godard's "In Praise of Love". Released in 2001, Godard's film of densely articulate imagery, lumbering pace and sharply opinionated dialogue exemplifies the experimental form and freethinking spirit of this revered cinematic movement. It is also a tribute to Godard's mastery over the cinematic medium, obtaining from it a stylistic malleability that feels as bold and new today as in the early 60s.

Enhancing the film-viewing experience was a brief though engaging Q&A that analyzed the film through the lens of contemporary discourse with Jonathan T.D. Niel, contributor for Art Review magazine and Peter Duhon, director of Art Comments, that also included several provocative questions and statements from the audience. Conversation continued at the hotel bar, where the valiant evening came to an end at around 10:00pm.

Judging by the attendance and the lively conversations that ensued after the screening in the lounge, it was a successful inaugural event that hopefully, says Duhon, "Will serve as an apparatus for further events that facilitate dialogue centered within the discourse of contemporary artistic practice today."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Francis Bacon at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A Painter for Our Times, Francis Bacon Arrives at the Met

written by Anne Marie D. Lee in New York

Most artists are deliberately abstruse when it comes to expressing their thoughts, filling the canvas with impenetrable abstractions or hidden symbolism. Not Francis Bacon. As an exiting observer remarked on her way out of this grimly exhilarating show now open at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, “He has something to say, and he’s saying it!”

On display for the viewing public from now until August 16th, Francis Bacon: A Century Retrospective presents some 65 paintings of unapologetic intensity. Commemorating the centennial of the birth of Francis Bacon, who died in 1992, it is the first museum exhibition in New York dedicated to his work. And what a dramatic show it is.

Perhaps in more peaceful times, the impact of Bacon's blurred, pummeled faces and wide-mouth screams of man and beast could be received on a purely philosophical level, as acutely vivid allegories of existential angst. But in the context of today’s times, the juxtaposition of man and meat is all-too revolting, and the sight of nude biomorphic figures weirdly perched on pedestal or table all-too disturbing and real. It is art that speaks to, or more so howls at, the conditions of our own fear-ridden world, where violence and brutality have so savagely dehumanized the experience of life.

Francis Bacon (British, 1909–1992)
Painting, 1946
Oil and pastel on linen; 77 7/8 x 52 in. (197.8 x 132.1 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York

In one of a series of paintings called the Man in Blue, a businessman stares watchfully from the canvas--his face, a grotesque pallor of sickly phosphorescence, caged in vertical shadows and equipped with biting teeth. How easy it is to see in this sordid portrait study, and others like it, reflections of the unremorseful greed of bankers and CEOs, those for whom the heart is just another piece of meat.

In a previous room, Francis Bacon is quoted in a wall text as having once said, “I remember looking at dog shit on the pavement and I suddenly realized, there it is—this is what life is like.” Indeed the artist's work seethes with the anger of a damaged man, imprisoned within a world filled with physical pain and mental anguish. A world of shit, in other words. And remarkably like our own.

Francis Bacon: A Centenary Retrospective
May 20, 2009–August 16, 2009
Special Exhibition Galleries, 2nd floor
MET WEBSITE


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