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by Max Henry
|Bright Lights Big City
Glamour, glamour everywhere.... The fall 2000 circuit blast spells a red carpet roll out for art world tastemakers. Bridget, Damien and Giorgio headline a frenzy season that inevitably will have highs and lows, peaks and valleys, controversies and bashings, historical surveys plus a new crop of artists having their first solo shows.
Damien's theories, Damien's models, Damien's methods, Damien's approaches, Damien's assumptions, Damien's results and findings
Now comes "Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings" -- 16 sculptural works, a few recent paintings and a 20-foot-tall bronze anatomical model (first shown last year at the Saatchi Gallery in London). One installation involves ping-pong balls floating on jets of air, and has something to do with a sure-to-sell-out limited edition called Magnificent 7, a boxed set of seven ping-pong balls. The celebrated artist has kept a low profile on the London party circuit of late, but expect the usual deluge of paparazzi and celebrities at this opening.
The talented Mr. Dzama
Pierre and Gilles slept here
The duo hand-paint their photographs in the manner of Renaissance art, culling motifs from religious iconography, Pop culture, erotica and classical ideals. The duo are Parisian cross-over costumers, shooting for fashion houses and doing album covers while photographing the famous and marginally famous porn or movie stars who get the royal treatment, winding up in kitsch heaven either as saints or sinners.
The life of Riley
His stellar career was a long and distinguished one: WWI aerial reconnaissance photographer in France, botanist, portraitist, fashion chronicler and commercial photographer, textile, glass and piano designer, chief of U.S. Navy combat photography in the Pacific during WWII, director of the department of photography at MoMA, art impressario and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient for lifetime achievement.
Steichen is the subject of a major Whitney Museum retrospective, Oct. 5, 2000-Feb. 4, 2001, and the first comprehensive gallery exhibit of original vintage prints at Howard Greenberg Gallery, Oct. 20-Dec. 2, assembled from the collection of Joanna Steichen and focusing on the period between the two world wars.
The only thing missing in the oeuvre are the paintings, which were ceremoniously set on fire in a symbolic gesture by Steichen in 1922.
Soft shoulders, extra large
Hopefully the essay by Interview magazine editor Ingrid Sischy will be less vapid than the one that she wrote for Vanity Fair on young painters (with all due respect to the featured artists). Whatever, the success of this show offends most for the gratuitous sponsorship of said artiste.
One can expect a dramatic installation (designed by Robert Wilson, the renowned avant-garde theater director and conceptual artist) with lots of formless garments in the guise of chic black vestments with prototype illustrations that will show or expose his strengths or weakness as an innovative designer. But does it belong in the fine art canon? Only the Guggenheim's acquisition committee knows for sure. Fashion has inextricably grafted its nebulous presence into cultural folly. And what's everyone wearing to the opening? The show is on view at the Guggenheim Museum uptown, Oct. 20, 2000-Jan. 17, 2001.
Phaidon's post-millennial list looks well rounded and more inclusive of painting and photography in addition to the usual bulk of video and new media -- Doug Aitken, Ghada Amer, Uta Barth, Xu Bing, Miguel Calderon, Wim Delvoye, Dara Friedman, Sharon Lockhart, Takashi Murakami, Laura Owens, Ugo Rondinone, Doris Salcedo, and Shazia Sikander among others.
Chat room textual riffs dismiss previous criticisms of "list making" as unavoidable, and politicized. Swiss curator Maria Lind says art magazines are too predictable. Poet Olu Oguibe refers to the hexagon in Borges Library of Babel. Vasif Kortun, founder of the Istanbul Contemporary Art Project, weighs in that museums are no longer the arbiters of "shelf life" and "value" of an artist and Gerardo Mosquera, adjunct curator at the New Museum, contends that the international circulation of art is extremely centralized and restricted.
Look for a splashy release party and contentious debate about who's not included in this volume until the next edition of this biennial book.
MAX HENRY lives in New York.