TURNER PRIZE TO SIMON STARLING
On Dec. 5, 2005, 38-year-old Scottish conceptual artist Simon Starling was presented with the £25,000 Turner Prize by culture minister David Lammy at Tate Britain in a ceremony televised on Britain’s Channel Four. The Berlin-based, Glasgow-born artist is known for Shedboatshed, in which he transformed a wooden shack into a boat that he sailed down the Rhine. Starling has also made Eames-style chairs from recycled materials, ridden a motorized bicycle across Spain in 2004, using the water from the exhaust to paint a picture of a cactus, and built a wooden chicken coop for hens, using the wood from the coop for a fire to cook the eggs the hens laid. His work has been little-seen in the U.S.
This year’s jury -- comprised of The Art Newspaper’s Louisa Buck, academic Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, Kate Bush of the Barbican Centre, Eckhard Schneider of the Kunsthaus Bregenz and Nicholas Serota of the Tate -- selected Starling over the other artists on the short list, who included Darren Almond, Jim Lambie and Gillian Carnegie. A certain amount of early attention had gone to Carnegie who, as a woman and a painter, was considered an atypical pick for the Turner.
The victory of the more conceptual-oriented Starling drew predictable scorn from the British tabloid press (The Evening Standard’s "The rotten shed won" was a typical lead) and a protest by the Stuckist traditionalist art movement, which picketed the award ceremony as it has done in years past. Despite such populist posturing, however, Starling’s victory can be seen as a reflection of a "post-YBA sensibility" that is less spectacle-driven and more "modest materially and formally," according to White Columns director (and 2006 Turner jurist) Matthew Higgs. Both Starling and last year’s winner, Jeremy Deller, are associated with Glasgow’s influential, artist-run Modern Institute.TATE TRIENNIAL SET FOR 2006
With the 2005 Turner Prize awarded, Tate Britain can now turn its attention to another event in the world of contemporary British art -- the "Tate Triennial 2006: New British Art," Mar. 1-May 14, 2006. Organized by German curator Beatrix Ruf, director of the Kunsthalle Zürich, with a team of four associate curators -- Carolyn Kerr, Katherine Stout, Clarrie Wallis and Catharine Wood -- the third installment of the show focuses on "the appropriation or re-working of cultural material." Among the artists represented in the show are Pablo Bronstein, Angela Bulloch, Gerard Byrne, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Lali Chetwynd, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Enrico David, Peter Doig, Kaye Donachie, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Luke Fowler, Michael Fullerton, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, Douglas Gordon, Mark Leckey, Lucy McKenzie, Daria Martin, Simon Martin, Alan Michael, Jonathan Monk, Scott Myles, Christopher Orr, the Otolith Group (Kodwo Eshun, Anjalika Sagar and Richard Couzins), Djordje Ozbolt, Oliver Payne and Nick Relph, Olivia Plender, Muzi Quawson, Eva Rothschild, Tino Sehgal, Linder Sterlin, John Stezaker, Rebecca Warren, Nicole Wermers and Cerith Wyn Evans. The exhibition is sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. NEW LOOK FOR EL MUSEO
Puerto Rican activists may have grumbled a bit in 2002 when El Museo del Barrio hired a Mexican national as its new director, but Julián Zugazagoitia is making things happen at Manhattan’s leading museum of Latin American art. The museum’s programming has always been lively, and now el Museo’s city-owned facility is finally getting the overhaul that it desperately needs. The just-announced renovation of the museum’s first-floor space in the 1923 Heckscher Building at Fifth Avenue and 104th Street, designed by Gruzen Samton LLP, includes the addition of a new glass portico and outdoor café as well as renovation of the gift shop and galleries. A rendering on the architect’s website shows colorful new paving and plantings in the courtyard of the building, which would do a lot to dress up what is a strikingly drab structure (it was built as an orphanage, and now houses city offices) -- but this part of the design had disappeared in a more recent drawing of the project, unveiled at a press conference on Dec. 5, 2005.
In any case, Zugazagoitia -- who previously worked as a curator at the Guggenheim Museum and the Getty Conservation Institute, and as director of visual arts for the Spoleto Festival -- is to be complimented for navigating through the shoals of city politics to get the project off the ground. Among the local politicians at the event were New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, congressman Charles Rangel, New York city council speaker Gifford Miller and Manhattan borough president C. Virginia Fields. The city is putting up $12.7 million of the renovation’s approximately $15 million cost; completion is scheduled for spring 2007.LOU REED, PHOTOGRAPHER
Famed Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed exhibits his photographs for the first time in two simultaneous exhibitions at the Gallery at Hermès above the flagship store on Madison Avenue and the Steven Kasher Gallery at 521 West 23rd Street in Chelsea. "Lou Reed’s New York," Jan. 20-Feb. 25, 2006, features over 50 trippy color photographs of city sunsets and the urban night sky, as well as a selection of "idiosyncratic" self portraits. Reed, a New York resident (and companion of musical artist Laurie Anderson), has previously put out a book of his photos; this exhibition coincides with his second, which is published by Edition 7L and distributed by D.A.P. The price is $48. NEW HOME FOR PRINTED MATTER
It’s back on the avenue for Printed Matter, the veteran purveyor of artists’ books. On Dec. 10, Printed Matter opens its new bookstore at 195 Tenth Avenue at 22nd Street, across the road from Paula Cooper’s 192 Books (and in a space rumored to have formerly been a bookmaking parlor). The new store, designed by architect Mark Krayenhoff, features a wall drawing by Sol LeWitt, a site-specific Joseph Kosuth neon installation, a fluorescent plastic countertop and plenty of room in the back for exhibitions and meetings. "I want to return Printed Matter to its roots," said director A.A. Bronson, "as a gathering place for artists -- make it more about artists than collectibles." The first show is "Artists’ Books, revisited," a survey organized by Matthias Herrmann of one-of-a-kind books made to accompany exhibitions at the Secession in Vienna. NEW OXFORD COMPANION FOR PHOTOGRAPHY
Oxford University Press, the art world’s publisher of choice when it comes to standard reference books for the fine arts, has extended its reach to photography. The new 800-page Oxford Companion to the Photograph, edited by Robin Lenman, features over 800 biographical entries and more than 1,600 articles on every aspect of photography, from the birth of the daguerreotype over 150 years ago to the digital image revolution of today. The price is $65. NEW SMITHSONIAN BLOG
The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., has launched a new blog called Eye Level at http://eyelevel.si.edu (so named because of the museum’s goal to celebrate "this nation’s vision and creativity"). The blog plans to focus on the museum collection -- indeed, one of the first entries reports the fashion in the 1820s to carry a miniature portrait of the eyeball of one’s beloved, and illustrates it with a gilt-framed watercolor-on-ivory portrait of an eye from the museum holdings. Eye Level is produced by a team of six SAAM staffers, including publications editor Tiffany Farrell, writer Kriston Capps and chief curator Eleanor Harvey. BRITISH DIRECTOR FOR CORCORAN
Paul Greenhalgh, 50, head of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design since 2001 and former head of research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, has been appointed to be the new director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran’s College of Art and Design. Greenhalgh succeeds David C. Levy, who resigned abruptly last May after the Corcoran trustee board suspended his project for a new Frank Gehry-designed new wing. D4D BENEFIT AUCTION
Downtown for Democracy (D4D) hosts "No Sleep till Albany," a silent auction designed to raise funds to "take back New York, a historically liberal stronghold," for the Democratic party and elect a Democratic governor and continue the fight to reclaim the New York State Senate from the right wing. The event is set for Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005, 6-10 pm, at Gavin Brown's Enterprise at 620 Greewich Street (corner of Leroy Street). Tickets are $50 in advance, $65 at the door. Works in the silent auction have been gathered by Rita Ackermann, A.A. Bronson, Jon Kessler, Damian Loeb, Erik Parker, Peter Saul, Dana Schutz, Haim Steinbach and Banks Violette; the art is on view in the gallery now. For details, see www.downtownfordemocracy.com JUDD FOUNDATION HIRES DIRECTOR
The Judd Foundation has hired its first director -- Barbara Hunt, who has been director of Artists Space in New York since January 2000. A recipient of the Chevaliere dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, Hunt is a veteran arts administrator and curator with almost 20 years experience. She’ll need it -- the foundation is said to be less than richly endowed (though it produces Judd’s pricey furniture line) -- and one of her first projects is the restoration and preservation of 101 Spring Street, the five-story SoHo loft building where Judd lived and worked (and which presently serves as the foundation offices). GOODBYE, SOLOMON & CO.
One of Manhattan’s beloved "mom & pop" gallery operations is closing up shop after more than 35 years of business. Since opening in 1969, Solomon & Company, located at 959 Madison Avenue, has specialized in School of Paris, Abstract-Expressionism and other 20th-century masters. Now, Jerry and Sally Solomon are retiring. Among their other accomplishments, the Solomons are parents of art critic Deborah Solomon, who is increasingly known for her no-holds-barred interviews with the great and famous in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. EDY DE WILDE, 1919-2005
Edy de Wilde, 85, director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam from 1963-85, died on Nov. 19, 2005. In 1946, at the young age of 26, de Wilde became director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven; at the Stedelijk, he oversaw a new emphasis on contemporary art and design, focusing notably on Abstract-Expressionism, Pop and other American art movements. His tenure was often stormy, and the museum was taken over by artists’ protests on several occasions. His farewell exhibition was "La Grande Parade," a sprawling survey show that proved immensely popular, drawing more than 400,000 visitors.
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