Artnet.com's gallery network had a total of more than 5.9 million visits from web surfers in 2000, according to the most recent stats compiled by artnet.com tech wizard John Omokpo. (By comparison, Artnet Magazine had almost 1.7 million visits in that year.)
That's plenty of people strolling through our cyberspace art district, needless to say. One of the handier features of the site is an index of gallery exhibitions that can be organized by opening date, so that art lovers can check out new shows around the globe from the comfort of their desks. If only there were a few more pictures...
Opening today, Friday, Feb. 16, 2001, for instance, is an exhibition by the Italian artist Brigitte Neidermair (b. 1971) at Robert Sandelson gallery on Cork Street in London. Fans of the Surrealist artist Max Ernst's masterful painting of the Virgin Mary spanking a bawling baby Jesus, The Virgin Spanking the Christ Child before Three Witnesses: André Breton, Paul Eluard, and the Painter (1926), will appreciate Neidermair's large color photographs, which range in size from three to six feet square.
Using a sultry fashion model posing as the Virgin, Neidermair has her Madonna camp it up in the lotus position, laughing, posing naked and holding mysterious objects -- a feather, a crown, a glowing glass globe. Neidermair has previously shown in Milan and at the San Francisco Art Fair; this is her first major show in London.
Several shows open tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 17. Out in Los Angeles, 1301PE is exhibiting six large-format, laquer-on-vinyl self portraits by the witty Canadian art collaborative General Idea. Since 1969, when AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal formed the group in Toronto, until the death of Partz and Zontal from AIDS-related causes in 1994, General Idea has made the smoothest satire going. What could be sweeter than Baby Makes 3, one of their trademark images from the 1980s, which shows the trio, tucked into a pink blanket and against a pretty blue sky, regressed and airbrushed into infantile cheer?
Back in New York's Chelsea district, D'Amelio Terras is presenting the New York debut of photographer Rika Noguchi. Works in her "Dreaming of Babylon" series usually show a single minuscule figure overwhelmed by a vast cityscape or landscape, an image the artist says possesses a moment of universal truth. The Tokyo-based photographer, who was born in 1971, has showed at Parco and at Koyanagi galleries in Tokyo and at Wohnmachine in Berlin.
Another interesting photography show opened Feb. 10 at Galleri Axel Mörner in Stockholm. Though only a single image is available online, the work of the artist Maria Finn in her series "Naturel" is fascinating -- a picture of a young woman climbing a tree in a patterned bikini. Finn is apparently fascinated with fashion as a semiotic system, and in this group of photographs, called "Summergames," she poses herself (with hidden face) at play in the countryside. As Finn points out, the images give an impression of childlike openness and hope -- though not without an air of suspicion.
Not every new artist is working with photography. On Feb. 17, Kim Foster Gallery in New York is presenting the solo debut of Moon Beom, a conceptual artist who represented Korea at the Third KwangJu Biennial last year. In this exhibition, Moon is showing monochromatic works done with car enamel, which provides a surface that is "at times passionate and at times hard and cold." The artist has manipulated the paint to give the works a tectonic feel, an effect that is reflected in their titles -- "Slow, Same, Slow."
Finally, last but not least, this Saturday William Campbell Contemporary Art in Fort Worth opens an exhibition of paintings by Otis Jones. A Midwestern painter of muscle and depth, Jones' sparse abstractions begin with irregularly shaped wood reliefs which are covered with plaster and then multiple layers of color and pigment. The monochromes have a primordial quality, as if they were "walls of an ancient ruin" or altarpieces for a lost civilization that venerated an abstract spiritual process.