ART HIGH-JINKS ON MYSPACE
The mega-popular, Rupert Murdoch-owned social networking site MySpace, has room for everything these days, even some high-art high jinks. Some highlights:
MySpace provides fertile soil for artist fan-sites, albeit ones that can be rather bland, like those for the performance art group and rock band Tracy and the Plastics, and for "most important artist of his generation" Matthew Barney. On the other hand, the page for Damien Hirst is something of an anti-fan site, offering an annoying duck graphic that floats in the center of the screen, and soliciting viewers to send rubber ducks "to be part of the largest duck inspired art exhibit EVER." The Hirst site also highlights a quote from Tracey Emin, who purportedly said, "Would Damien Hirst really bother to create a MySpace page?"
On the other hand, the art provocateur Banksy actually uses his MySpace page to promote his street art projects, and visitors can check out updated pics, including images of Brad Pitt schmoozing at the opening of his recent "Barely Legal" affair in L.A.
A true original in the MySpace art-scene is Puerto Rican artist (and Artnet Magazine contributor) Pedro Vélez, whose "Hell in LAMB UC" is an online multimedia piece that makes semifictional hash from Hunter Thompson’s lost novel, The Rum Diary.
MySpace can also be extra-exclusive. Fashion photog extraordinaire David LaChapelle has his MySpace profile (which boasts a jpg of a painting by Kehinde Wiley) set to "private" -- LaChapelle must add you to his list of friends before you can visit.
There is also a page devoted to Thomas Kinkade, and though it is a meant as a lampoon of the "Painter of Light," it features many seemingly sincere comments from fans. The late how-to-paint television star Bob Ross gets a similar treatment, with a page that offers up a notably crass series of photos from visitors on the comments page -- though the painter of "happy little trees" still manages to have over 6,000 friends.
You don’t have to be alive to get in on the online networking action, however. Pablo Picasso has an impressively informative page for those looking to commune with the modernist master, aggregating vintage clips of Pablo painting, images of artworks, a blog (with entries like "My Dora painting sells for 95 mil!!") and lengthy biographical info written in the first person ("At the time of my death, I had many paintings, as I had kept off the art market what I didn't need to sell. . .")
Plenty of top art stars are featured in this vein, including Salvador Dalí (he has 4588 friends, and a hideous tiled background of a desertscape), Henri Matisse (Favorite TV Show: Duckman; Hero: Albert Barnes), Jean-Michel Basquiat ("basquiat i went to your exibet at the moca it was awesome," a fan comments to Jean-Michel), Leonardo da Vinci (most of his "top 8" friends are TV characters, for some reason), Vincent van Gogh, Chaim Soutine and Caravaggio.
Andy Warhol, on the other hand, is a bit of a disappointment -- not the iconic New York Andy, but a "proletarian/socialist filmmaker" from Bergen, Norway. (Okay, so there are – at least – two other Warhol pages, here, here, as well as one "Warhol Boy".)
Finally, perhaps the eeriest artist page is the still-active site for the recently deceased Jason Rhoades’ performance art cabaret project, Black Pussy ("Female, 18-years-old"). The final comment, posted Aug. 8, 2006, days after Rhoades’ untimely death, is from "Fast Friends, Inc.": "Thank you for everything."
AG HAND SLAP FOR GETTY
In a move that Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight compared to bringing in a chaperone to keep an eye on a wayward child, the state of California has brought in a special, independent monitor -- former Cali attorney general John K. Van de Kamp -- to watch over the scandal-plagued J. Paul Getty Trust for the next two years, to make sure it complies with promised reforms to its operations. The move is the climax of a year-long investigation into the trust’s dealings, and was accompanied by a 13-page report that faulted the board for failing to oversee adequately a long list of dubious expenditures by ex-Getty-chief-executive Barry Munitz -- though the report also concluded that no legal action was needed against Munitz or the Getty. Munitz had made adequate restitution, according to the AG, by returning $250,000 in severance pay and foregoing some $2 million in additional compensation in a private settlement.
Some observers have expressed doubts as to whether the AG’s condemnation went far enough -- and the L.A. Times has in the past reported on current attorney general Bill Lockyer’s close friendship with Munitz (incredibly, free-spending Munitz is said to have been a political advisor for Lockyer, who is running for state treasurer). In a number of cases, the AG seems to let the Getty off on technicality. For instance, several questionable expenditures on Munitz’s pet projects, like sending a Getty employee to Israel to play chess (Munitz is a chess aficionado), were OKed because they were funneled through other nonprofit organizations. As nonprofit law expert Jack B. Siegel told the New York Times, the AG report doesn’t "really seem in this to be addressing fundamental governance issues, about the overall way things are run."
As for Munitz, scandal continues to dog him. A separate L.A. Times piece details a lawsuit by the California Faculty Association challenging California State University’s decision to sign Munitz on to teach and raise money. He is to oversee a single class in English literature, yet is set to make $163,776 -- twice the maximum salary for a Cal State prof, at a time when the University as a whole has had 20 percent budget cuts, and faces tuition fees that have risen by 76 percent, according to the Times.
"PAINTING THE CITY" IN TILBERG
Contemporary art has filled the town of Tilburg in the Netherlands for "Public Image, Painting the City," Aug. 25-Oct. 22, 2006, an exhibition of public art by 12 artists organized by curator Chris Driessen and the Fundament Foundation. Among the artists are Jessica Diamond, who has painted a 140-meter-long cobblestone street blue and overlaid it with a poetic text referring to "threads of warp masculine and woof feminine." Other U.S. artists include Dzine, who painted "Space Jungle" murals on a five-story office façade as well as some residential walls; Benjamin Edwards, whose painted cityscape was mounted on the tower of a municipal theater, and Fabian Marcaccio, who installed a new painting, titled Game-Over Paintant, on the side of a soon-to-be demolished building. Other participating artists include Franz Ackermann, Koen Delaere, Huub van der Loo, Hadassah Emmerich, Erik van Lieshout, Jean-Luc Moerman and Osgemeos. For details, see www.fundamentfoundation.nl/pers/
MANET’S MAXIMILLIAN AT MOMA
The Museum of Modern Art is presenting "Manet and the Execution of Maximilian," Nov. 5, 2006-Jan. 29, 2007, a show that unites Manet’s works on the subject -- three large paintings, an oil sketch and a lithograph -- along with selected additional works. The exhibition is organized by John Elderfield.
MATISSE SCULPTURE SURVEY IN DALLAS
"Matisse: Painter as Sculptor," featuring more than 40 sculptures, plus some 100 paintings and drawings as well as photos of the artist at work, opens at the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Jan. 21-Apr. 29, 2007. The show also features recent high-tech research (animated interactive computer models of Matisse sculptures) and a fully illustrated catalogue from Yale University Press. Project director for the show is Dallas senior curator Dorothy Kosinski. The exhibition also appears at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, June 10-Sept. 2, 2007, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, Oct. 7, 2007-Jan. 13, 2008.
WHITNEY SETS MATTA-CLARK RETRO
The Whitney Museum of American Art is kicking off 2007 with the first full-scale retrospective of work by "anarchitect" Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-78). "Gordon Matta-Clark: You Are the Measure," organized by Elisabeth Sussman, opens at the Whitney on Feb. 22, 2007, and subsequently travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
QUEENS, ALL AT ONCE
The third installment of the Queens International, Oct. 1, 2006-Jan. 14, 2007, the Queens Museum of Art’s biennial survey of Queen-based artists, is called "Everything All at Once" and features works by 52 artists and two collaborative projects. The artists in the show are Manuel Acevedo, Elia Alba, Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Blanka Amezkua, Michael Antkowiak, Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock, Judith Barry, Cayetana Carrión and Camila Valdeavellano, Gigi Chen, Shen Chen, Anne Chu, Martha Colburn, David Dempewolf, Sjoerd Doting, Anindita Dutta, Yukari Edamitsu, Paul Galloway, Linda Ganjian, Orly Genger, Jesus Gonzalez Gutierrez, Debra Hampton, Joshua Abram Howard, Andrew Hur, Ran Hwang, Taeseong Kim, Fawn Krieger, Gwenessa Lam, Miyeon Lee, T. Charnan Lewis, Norma Markley, William McMillin, Yin Mei, Wardell Milan, Jason Mones, Ivan Monforte, Natalia Nakazawa. Renzo Ortega, Jihyun Park, Sophia Peer, Antonia Perez, Lucia Pizzani, Helen Quinn, Anita Ragusa, Sara Rahbar, José Emilio Rodríguez, Nola Romano, Gina Ruggeri, Judith Sloan, Amanda Sparks, Still Present Pasts (Injoo Whang, Ji-Young Yoo, Yul-san Liem, Grace M. Cho, Hosu Kim, Hyun Lee, Carolina McNeely), Jaret Vadera, Mary A. Valverde, Alejandra Villasmil, Anahita Vossoughi. The opening reception is 3-6 pm, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006.
The Queens International also features a special photography show, "The World in a Picture/The World in a Borough," presenting works by Paul Anthony Melhado, Marga Carmona-Carriedo, Michelle Cheikin, Mark Chesnut, Jason A. Cina, Stephanie Diamond, Carlos L. Esguerra, Elizabeth Felicella, Rosalie Frost, Mary Teresa Giancoli, Anders Goldfarb, Enrique González Ibarra, Irv Gordon, Audrey Gottlieb, Edward Grazda, Tamara Gubernat, Tony Hamboussi, Belenna M. Lauto, Corky Lee, Barbara E. Leven, Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao, Gary Matson, Evie McKenna, Pierre Obando, Lina Pallotta, Carolina Peńafiel, Carol Pereira, Paulina Perera-Riveroll, Lourenso Ramautar, Susannah Ray, Sandra C. Roa, Rebecca Robertson, Orville Robertson, Sara Rychtarik, Greg M. Stowell, Deborah Straussman, Sookjin Suh, Tom Warren.
HIRST COLLECTION AT THE SERPENTINE
Superstar artist Damien Hirst’s own art collection goes on view at the Serpentine Gallery in London next month. "Murderme Collection: In the Darkest Hour, Let There Be Light," Nov. 25, 2006-Jan. 28, 2007, includes works by Banksy, Tracey Emin, Angus Fairhurst and Sarah Lucas as well as medical exhibits and paintings by unknown artists. The show is being sponsored exclusively by Hiscox, the specialist insurer that is also known for its own contemporary art collection.
NEW WHITE CUBE IN LONDON
London megadealer Jay Jopling opened a new White Cube gallery in Mason’s Yard in London’s West End on Sept. 29, 2006, with an exhibition of works by Gabriel Orozco. The 12,500-square-foot building, designed by MRJ Rundell & Associates, has 5,000 square feet of gallery space.
The third Pool Art Fair opens at the Guest House hotel at 542 West 27th Street in Manhattan, Oct. 6-7, 2006. Dubbed "Open Portfolio," the fair features 30 artists who do not have commercial representation -- showing work on laptop computers. For more details, see www.poolartfair.com
BETHAN HUWS WINS €50,000 EUROPE PRIZE
Welsh artist Bethan Huws (b. 1961) has won the €50,000 B.A.C.A. 2006 Europe prize, an honor that includes a works catalogue and a survey exhibition of the artist’s work 1988-2005 at the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, the Netherlands, Sept. 24, 2006-Jan. 14, 2007.
BIESENBACH HEADS NEW MOMA DEPT.
The Museum of Modern Art has established a new curatorial department, Media, and has named Klaus Biesenbach as its head, making him chief curator of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and chief curator of the Department of Media. Longtime MoMA video curator Barbara London is associate curator of the new department. MoMA’s film department, now a stand-alone, is headed pro tem by Steven Higgins while a search is under way for a permanent chief curator.
GIONI TO NEW MUSEUM
Massimiliano Gioni, co-curator of the 4th Berlin Biennial and artistic director of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation in Milan, has been appointed curator of the New Museum of Contemporary Art. He joins a team that includes chief curator Richard Flood and senior curator Laura Hoptman. The New Museum opens its new facility at 235 Bowery in late 2007.
FUMIO NANJO HEADS MORI MUSEUM
The Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hills in Tokyo has announced that deputy director Fumio Nanjo (b. 1949) is the new director of the museum. Nanjo had been director of the ICA Nagoya (1986-90) and commissioner of the Japan pavilion at the 1997 Venice Biennale, and led the curatorial team that assembled the current Singapore Biennale. He succeeds founding director David Elliott, who has become director of the Istanbul Modern in Istanbul, Turkey.