ART BASEL ONLINE AT ARTNET
Are you one of those conflicted souls who decided that you wouldn’t go to Miami for art fair week this year -- but now are wondering what you’re missing? The big fish at the center of things, Art Basel Miami Beach, opens to the public at the Miami Beach Convention Center in South Beach, Dec. 4-8, 2008. Now, computer jockeys everywhere can visit the art fair online, courtesy of Artnet, at www.artbasel-artnet.com. What’s more, the online version of the event remains on view for two months, Dec. 3, 2008-Feb. 7, 2009. Enjoy!
SOME FACTS ABOUT WOMEN ARTISTS
The National Endowment for the Arts has just issued Women Artists: 1990-2005 (the full text is downloadable here), a 17-page study about the status of women in the arts. The title of the report is mildly deceptive, in that Women Artists really tracks the challenges faced by women across all the creative professions -- including, among other things, "actors," "writers and authors" and "announcers." Also unfortunately, "visual artists" are inexplicably lumped together in the survey into a single category with "art directors" and "animators." However, the report does make some valuable points:
* The category of "art director, visual artist or animator" is the closest of all the creative professions to achieving gender parity -- it is 47.4 percent female. For the curious, the field with the lowest concentration of women was "architect," with only 22.2 percent. By far the highest concentration of women was to be found among "dancers and choreographers," at 75.9 percent.
* The median annual earnings for women listed as "art directors, fine artists and animators" is $29,000. Median earnings are $36,000 for men in the same fields. Thus, on average, women in the visual arts earn 81 cents to a man’s dollar.
* Despite being equally represented in the field, female "art directors, fine artists and animators" are far more likely to have only part-time employment. According to the NEA’s findings, close to 40 percent of women are part-timers, as opposed to just about 20 percent of men.
* Women Artists reports that earning discrepancies increase for older women -- quite substantially so. "In 2003-2005, women artists aged 18 to 24 earned $0.95 for every $1 made by young men artists. This ratio fell to $0.78 for artists aged 35 to 44, and to $0.67 for 45-to-54-year-olds. Women artists aged 55 to 64 earned only $0.60 for every dollar earned by men artists in that age group."
* The median age of women working in the "art director, visual artist or animator" category is 46 -- five years older than the median age for men, which is 41. Strangely, the trend among architects is the opposite: The median age for women is 38, six years younger than the median age of 44 for men. (A guess would be that this is due to the relatively recent inroads females have made into architecture, having increased their representation by nearly seven percent in the brief time span covered by Women Artists.)
* The percentage of what women artists earn relative to men varies regionally. In the report’s words, relative to what men make, "female artist earnings were highest in New York and New Hampshire (85 percent in both states), followed closely by Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, where the ratio was 84 percent."
* And yet, perhaps the quirkiest generalization from Women Artists is the following: "women artists tend to concentrate in low-population states." As percentages of the total, the number of women artists is highest in Nebraska, where it approaches 60 percent, followed by similar high concentrations in Iowa, Alaska, New Hampshire and Mississippi. The percentage of woman in the creative labor pool is lowest in California (42.6 percent), Michigan (42.9), New Jersey (42.9), Florida (43.3), Texas (44.2) and New York (45.8).
ABU DHABI AT VENICE BIENNALE
Are we seeing a race between cities in the United Arab Emirates, notably posh Dubai and booming Abu Dhabi, to gain the title of Cultural Mecca of the Middle East? Even as the UAE as a whole is scheduled to have its first-ever pavilion at the next Venice Biennale, June 7-Nov. 22, 2009 -- making it the first Gulf nation to be represented at the venerable art fest -- Abu Dhabi has announced its own independent initiative to coincide with the event.
To wit, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage has retained the services of Paris-based curator Catherine David, a veteran of Documenta as well as several other major international shows, to put together a "Platform for Venice" for the biennale. The show is tasked with representing the "contemporary visual arts and culture from the perspective of Abu Dhabi and beyond." David’s somewhat cryptic brief has her producing something like an artistic homage to the Gulf citystate, offering a picture of Abu Dhabi "visually interpreted by photographers, artists and film-makers from the region and abroad."
MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART IN QATAR
Meanwhile, the just-opened Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is a bid by Qatar -- the Middle Eastern state that had the world’s highest per capita income in 2007 -- to project its cultural leadership on a global scale. Built on a "stand-alone island" in Doha Bay, the dramatic structure is designed by starchitect I.M. Pei as a sort of Cubist reduction of Islamic architecture. The permanent collection strives to represent a sense of cosmopolitanism by stressing the breadth and diversity of the Islamic tradition, from 9th-century Iraqi earthenware evidencing the influence of Chinese ceramicists, to a jade pendant worn by India’s Shah Jahan (1631-1632), the man who commissioned the Taj Mahal. The Museum of Islamic Art’s inaugural temporary exhibition,"Beyond Boundaries: Islamic Art Across Cultures," Dec. 1, 2008-Feb. 22, 2009, takes in loans from a variety of international institutions, and promises to"reflect the theme of cultural diversity in the heritage of the Muslim world."
FASHION AT ICP
The International Center of Photography in Manhattan, founded by celebrated war photographer Cornell Capa, is spurning its illustrious history all for the sake of fashion -- for its first set of exhibitions in 2009, anyway. A suite of no less than four shows of fashion photography are on the ICP schedule for Jan. 16-May 3, 2009. These include "This Is Not a Fashion Photograph," a selection by art writer (and ICP adjunct curator) Vince Aletti of ca. 70 fashion-type photos made by photojournalists and artists like Gordon Parks, Tina Barney, Robert Capa and Berenice Abbott, and "Munkacsi’s Lost Archive," which presents images of models and athletes in motion made by the Hungarian photographer Martin Munkacsi (1896-1963), drawn from the photographer’s only recently rediscovered archive of glass negatives. Also on tap is "Weird Beauty: Fashion Photography Now," featuring works by 50 artists ranging from Steven Klein and Juergen Teller to Nan Goldin and Collier Schorr, and "Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937," a selection of 175 vintage prints from the publisher’s archive.
JESSICA LANGE, PHOTOGRAPHER
Hollywood superstar Jessica Lange is having her first-ever exhibition of her photographs at Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York, Nov. 26, 2008-Jan. 10, 2009. The black-and-white prints are both "cinematic and traditional documentations" of 15 years of travel around the globe. The exhibition is accompanied by a monograph, 50 Photographs (powerHouse Books), which has already sold out in its first printing. Lange had a scholarship to study photography in 1967 at the University of Minnesota, but didn’t last long, and left for Paris, where she met Robert Frank, Danny Lyons and other photographers (her acting career was launched in 1976, when she starred in a remake of King Kong). For images and more info, see www.howardgreenberg.com
PAT PLACE, PHOTOGRAPHER
Cult punk-rock guitarist Pat Place, founding member of the Contortions and the Bush Tetras, is having the debut exhibition of her photographs at Jane Kim / Thrust Projects at 114 Bowery in New York, Dec. 11, 2008-Jan. 11, 2009. The photos are part of an appropriately nihilistic project titled "The End, 1981-Infinity," an archive of over 1,000 prints of end titles from movies on television, a collaboration with the art critic Linda Yablonsky. For more info, see www.thrustprojects.com
FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS BENEFIT
Cohan and Leslie gallery at 138 Tenth Avenue in Manhattan is hosting a rather large exhibition of more than 200 photographic works to benefit the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the grant-giving nonprofit that was founded in 1963 by Jasper Johns, John Cage and other artists. The benefit show, which is organized by Gregory Crewdson, Nan Goldin, Annie Leibovitz, Julian Lethbridge, Laurie Simmons, Kara Walker and Johns, goes on view Dec. 11-20, 2008. The works can be viewed online -- without prices -- at www.foundationforcontemporaryarts.org. A box of black-and-white postcards of all the works is available for $48.
TURNER PRIZE TO LECKEY
Forty-four-year-old conceptual artist Mark Lecky has won the 2008 Turner Prize, the career-making, £25,000 award for British contemporary art given by the Tate in London. Lecky is known for eclectic multimedia works that provide a kind of subjective anthropology of media ("He haunts the secret parts of modern culture," Jonathan Jones writes in the Guardian newspaper, which is the Tate’s media partner). According to his MySpace page, he also plays in a band, Jack too Jack. Lecky shows at Cabinet gallery in London, and Gavin Brown's Enterprise in New York.
The other nominees for the 2008 Turner were Runa Islam, Goshka Macuga and Cathy Wilkes, each of whom takes £5,000.
AXA ARTIST AWARD TO WARREN
Brooklyn-based artist Jack Warren (b. 1970) has received the $25,000 AXA Artist Award. Warren, who has shown in New York at Larissa Goldston Gallery, is known for drawings that incorporate leaves from found books and magazines.
HUMBLE ART GRANT TO BÜHLER-ROSE
Jersey-born, New York-based photographer Michael Bühler-Rose (b. 1980) has won the latest grant from the Humble Arts Foundation. The $1,000 prize, awarded twice a year, goes to support the best proposal for a new art project. Bühler-Rose has previously worked on a series titled "Constructing the Exotic," for which he photographed women in Indian dress in distinctly American settings. For his Humble grant project, he intends to make a new series photographing items taken from Indian neighborhoods in the style of Dutch still-lifes. Proposals for the next round of Humble Art grants are due Mar. 27, 2008. Info is available at www.humbleartsfoundation.org
CALL FOR ENTRIES FOR GUANDU FESTIVAL
Taiwan’s Guandu International Outdoor Sculpture Festival, June 12-Sept. 27, 2009, is seeking proposals for its upcoming edition. Held at Guandu Nature Park in Taipei, the festival is asking for ideas for site-specific installations that "raise awareness about environmental issues related to land, water and culture." All work must be made from materials such as "reeds, rice straw, earth, small stones, branches and small bamboo as well as recycled bamboo," which will be found on site. Artists whose proposals are accepted receive airfare, a $1,200 honorarium and a 15-day-long residency in Taiwan, during which they complete their project. Send cv, images of previous works and proposal to curator Jane Ingram Allen at guandusculpturefestival @ gmail.com. The deadline is Feb. 1, 2009.