ARTISTS TO TAKE OVER DOCUMENTA?
"I am uneasy about being used as an ingredient for an exhibition recipe," exclaims John Baldessari on e-flux.com in "The Next Documenta Should Be Curated by an Artist," an online exhibition forum organized by international curator Jens Hoffman and designed to wrest control of the celebrated German art show -- next scheduled for June 2007 -- from the clique of international curators that controls it. Baldessari's grievance is one among 30 written statements by artists such as A. A. Bronson, Marina Abramovic, Liam Gillick, Martha Rosler, Julia Scher and Lawrence Weiner, statements that range from laments against curatorial tyranny to proposals for an improved Documenta roster. Boris Ondreicka suggests, for instance, that the 1980s rock group Ice T & Bodycount be included among the participating artists. Hoffman and e-flux have scheduled a conference to further argue the issue at Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center in Istanbul, Apr. 8-9, 2004, and a print version of the texts is forthcoming from Revolver Books. for more info, see the e-flux website. For what it's worth, the director of Documenta 12, which opens in June 2007 in Kassel, Germany, has already been announced -- it's German critic and curator Roger Buergel.
ART SHOW 2004
The New York art world is getting ready for the Art Dealers Association of America's annual Art Show, bowing Feb. 19-23, 2004, at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue and East 67th Street. Seventy of the top U.S. art dealers are presenting booths in the fair; highlights include a solo show of work by John Chamberlain at PaceWildenstein, a presentation of new stripe paintings by Kenneth Noland at Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, an installation titled "Mud Ladies" and including works by Anthony Caro, Lucio Fontana, Elie Nadelman, Louise Nevelson and Pablo Picasso at Garth Clark Gallery, works by Jackson Pollock at Joan T. Washburn Gallery (representing the Pollock-Krasner Foundation), eight paintings by Guillermo Kuitca at Sperone Westwater, Lynn Chadwick bronzes and drawings at Tasende, and a show of works by Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard at Jill Newhouse. And New York Old Master dealer David Tunick presents a selection of blue-chip works on paper ranging from Pieter Bruegel to Pierre Bonnard and Pablo Picasso. The opening night gala on Feb. 18 benefits Henry Street Settlement; for more info call (212) 766-9200 x248.
This year the press buildup to the classy fair was accompanied by a bit of aired laundry, however, thanks to a story in the New York Sun by intrepid art-market reporter Lindsay Pollock about internal tension within the tony art dealers' organization. It seems that the ADAA membership has grown so much that almost two dozen members were turned away when they sought to participate in the fair. Enough complaints were lodged -- notably by Lawrence Di Carlo, director of Fischbach Gallery, one of the ADAA founders -- that the organization has instituted a new lottery system to help make the annual selection more equitable. One result of the new system is the absence this year of Nancy Hoffman, Kraushaar and Babcock Galleries, who have shown in all 15 earlier incarnations of the show. For a complete list of ADAA members in this year's show, click here.
Meanwhile, the Armory Show -- the Art Show's younger competitor, which is more international and for many more exciting -- opens Mar. 12-15, 2004, on Piers 90 and 92 on Manhattan's West Side.
MODERNISTS GO ONLINE
The hip literary and art crowd has a new online zine to tantalize itself with. Themodernist.com, founded by Chicago-based critics Eric Ottens and Jason Mojica, strives to be a bastion of high art, high flying, high intellects and high libidos. Inspired by Playboy magazine in the Nabokov and Updike era, themodernist.com is separated into four "terminals," each decorated with an airplane logo, a homage to Frank Abagnale, Jr., the teenage con-artist who posed as an airline pilot. Terminal 1 features naughty girlie portfolios, lovingly shot by photographers Julia Beasley, Richard Kern and Reagan Louie; Terminal 2 is devoted to art, architecture and design, including a review of Piero Fornasetti's retrospective at Chicago's Istituto Italiano di Cultura; Terminal 3 examines issues of "new internationalism" from the politics of travel to the ramifications of globalization; and Terminal 4 is devoted to columnists like Kiki Mercury, whose "modernist gift-giving guide" features the newly coined aphorism, "If the shit deserves wrapping, the shit deserves thinking."
THE YEAR 8,000,000,000 AT MOCA
The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles has posted its newest work of web art, a manga-inspired animation of the year 800,000,000 by Japanese artist Aya Takano. Takano's planet is a friendly place, where a welcoming female Virgil, wearing a dove on her head, guides the viewer to click on moons, rocks and sea-creatures that move, morph and omit playful cooing sounds (that can get you in trouble at work). In one sequence, a little tiger announces that he is hungry before flashing a charming smile and wandering away; in another, our pretty knob-kneed protagonist rides her bicycle on the beach; in still another, she stretches out in the nude in a sea-shell-like hammock. Click on her nipple and a text emerges, telling a story about marital separation. All this dreamy fun can be found at www.moca.org/museum/digital_gallery.php. The piece was selected by MOCA assistant curator Michael Darling.