BRITNEY SPEARS SCULPTURE CAUSES MEDIA RUCKUS
Connecticut portrait artist Daniel Edwards has created a considerable stir with his Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston, a provocative sculpture of a nude Britney Spears giving birth that is set to debut at Williamsburg’s Capla Kesting Fine Art, Apr. 7-23, 2006. The pop princess is shown in an unlikely on-all-fours position, displaying her "lactiferous breasts and protruding navel" which "compliment a posterior view that depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean’s head." The work is seen as an outspoken pro-life statement by Lincoln Capla, an artist who co-founded the gallery in 2004. Material from the Manhattan Right to Life Committee is going to be on display at the gallery, and Capla told Artnet News that he wants "to get a block permit for a right-to-life demonstration at the opening."
Unsurprisingly, the sculpture has been like catnip to both online and mainstream media, and has provoked individual responses as well. Edwards told Artnet News that he had gotten perhaps 500 emails, most of them from women, and most respectful in tone. "The pro-life people are upset, the pro-choice people are upset, animal rights activists are upset" (Spears is shown posing on a bearskin rug). The work has also drawn complaints from proponents of natural birth, who suggest that the sculpture glosses over the truth, since in reality Spears had her first child via C-section. According to the artist, the pose combines Spears’ double role as seductress and mother -- and it also shows her in the middle of an apparently painless birth.
Edwards is no stranger to media high jinks. Last year, he displayed three "death mask" sculptures of the frozen head of baseball great Ted Williams at First Street Gallery in Manhattan, a work that got him raked over the coals by his fellows at the venerable co-op, which generally favors more sedate representations. And, despite all the press attention, Edwards still owns the works. As for the Spears sculpture, it was made in plasticine, and could be cast in either bronze or aluminum, at a price that is likely to be in the six figures. The opening is slated for 6-9 p.m. on Apr. 7; the gallery is located at 121 Roebling Street in Brooklyn.
ASIAN ART FAIRS IN NEW YORK
It’s Asia Week in the Big Apple, and the city boasts not one but two Asian art fairs. Up at the Seventh Regiment Armory at Park Avenue and 67th Street, Brian and Anna Haughton are presenting the International Asian Art Fair, Mar. 31-Apr. 5, 2006. Now in its 11th year, the Haughton fair features approximately 55 dealers, ranging from the Chinese Porcelain Company, Cora Ginsburg and Goedhuis Contemporary to Lesley Kehoe, Martha Sutherland Fine Arts and Linda Wrigglesworth. The fair opens with a gala benefit for Asia Society on the evening of Mar. 30; for info about tickets, see www.haughton.com
New exhibitors at the IAAF include Barry Friedman, who is bringing contemporary Chinese photography and Japanese glass, as well as Cedric Curien Art Asiatique (Marseille), Danon (Rome), Mita Arts Gallery/Mary Deeming (Japan), Gallery Oi Ling (Hong Kong), Olyvia Oriental (London), Sundaram Tagore (New York) and Robert Winter Oriental Art (Japan). For the first time, the fair is including dealers in the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, represented by Chicago dealer Douglas Dawson, Tambaran Gallery from New York and Ned Jalbert, the Massachusetts-based dealer in American Indian art.
General admission to the fair is $18. Among the scholarly attractions is a presentation by Asia Society director Melissa Chiu on "The Rise of Contemporary Chinese Art" on Monday, Apr. 3, at 4 pm.
Meanwhile, downtown at the 69th Regiment Armory at Lexington Avenue and 26th Street is the Arts of Pacific Asia Show, Mar. 30-Apr. 2, 2006. Organized by Caskey-Lees, this year the fair boasts an expanded focus on Islamic art as well as slightly broader contemporary offerings, including a special display of works by three contemporary artists from Atlanta -- tapestry artist Jon Eric Riis, metalsmith Richard Mafong and sculptor Mike Harrison. Eighty galleries are represented. General admission is $15; admission to a special opening preview on Mar. 29 is $60 per person. For details, see www.caskeylees.com
CAMPARI BECOMES ART PLAYER
Campari, the red Italian liquor (and key ingredient in the classic summer drink, the "Americano," as well as in the provocatively named "Malaria Killer"), is making big moves into the art world. As it did last year, the House of Campari at 382 West Broadway in New York is sponsoring a big spring arts show, May 5-May 21, 2006. "25 Bold Moves," as the exhibition is called, brings together works by 25 emerging artists, in a show that is organized by Simon Watson and Craig Hensala of Scenic.
Campari is also sponsoring a series of "Campari Talks" at Redcat in Los Angeles, which currently has on view "An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life," Feb. 2-Apr. 2, 2006, a project that has Santiago Cucullu, Mary Kelly and Martha Rosler and other artists responding to images from the photographic archive of Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Next up for Campari at Redcat is the exhibition "Ubiq: A Mental Odyssey, Mathieu Briand," Apr. 20-June 18, 2006, an audience-interactive DJ installation that debuts on Apr. 19, 2006.
According to a representative from Campari, a third series of talks is set to start in the future in partnership with the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco. Campari also sponsored "The Passionate Image," the exhibit of advertising art that ran at Lightbox Gallery in L.A. and Steven Kasher Gallery in New York last year. To keep track of upcoming events, visit www.campariusa.com
SINGAPORE BIENNIAL ANNOUNCES LINE-UP
The inaugural Singapore Biennial, Sept. 4-Nov. 12, 2006, tackles the theme of "Belief" via exhibitions at a variety of venues throughout the city, including City Hall, the National Museum and the Singapore Art Museum, as well as religious sites. Artistic director is Fumio Nanjo of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, assisted by an international team of three curators: Roger McDonald from Japan, Sharmini Pereira from Sri Lanka and the U.K. and Eugene Tan from New York.
Among the ca. 90 participants are internationally known artists including Shahidul Alam, Shigeru Ban, Santiago Cucullu, Amanda Heng, Jenny Holzer, Eduardo Kac, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama, Mariko Mori, Carsten Nicolai, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Jaume Plensa, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Agus Suwage, James Turrell and Mark Wallinger. The show includes 17 artists from Singapore itself.
GOVERNOR GENERAL’S AWARDS ANNOUNCED
The Canada Council for the Arts has announced the seventh annual Governor General’s Awards for Excellence in Visual and Media Arts, recognizing distinguished career achievement in fine arts, applied arts, film and video or audio and new media. Artists taking home the $15,000 honor are sculptor Mowry Baden, textile artist-weaver Micheline Beauchemin, multidisciplinary artist Vera Frenkel, painter Kenneth Lochhead, photographer Arnaud Maggs and documentary filmmaker Peter Wintonick. Curator and video-art critic Peggy Gale receives a special award for non-artistic contribution.
It’s come to the point where satellite fairs attach themselves not just to successful art fairs, but to successful artists as well. At the same time that Cremaster mastermind Matthew Barney is seeing the opening of his new film, Drawing Restraint 9, and an exhibition of works related to it at Barbara Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea, Brooklyn "bootleg" impresario Eric Doeringer has announced his first curatorial endeavor, "The Matthew Barney Show," Apr. 1-23, 2006, at Williamsburg’s Jack the Pelican Gallery, featuring 30 emerging and established artists who have been inspired by Barney. The show of Barney-themed art grows out of Doeringer’s website/conceptual art project www.CremasterFanatic.com
Artists participating in the homage are Richard Albeda, Barry X Ball, Matthew Ray Barney, Stephen Beveridge, Roz Chast, Michael R. Crusoe, Ryan Dale, Rico Deerring, Alan Demille, Marta Edmisten, John Allen Gibel, Sean Grilling, Ryan Humphrey, J.T. Kirkland, Nathan Kukulski, Sarah Lamont, David Langly, Matthew Larkin, Liz Magic Laser, Dan Levenson, Scott Lipman, Robert Madrigal, Charles McAndrews, Aaron McDonald, Sean Meyer, Plasticgod, Bradley Rubenstein, Steve Silvers, Harry Smythe, Carolyn Sortor, Chris Spinelli, Gilad Stark, Kimberly Stubbins, Amanda Tamayo, Erik Tlaseca, Timothy Tupper, Odey Curbello Urquijo, Dax Van Aalten and Patrick Welch.
COURTROOM SKETCHES IN NEW BOOK, EXHIBITION
Celebrated courtroom artist Marilyn Church has published a new book of her drawings of 30 infamous trials, covering the court appearances of defendants ranging from the Son of Sam and Mark David Chapman to Jean Harris and Martha Stewart. Published by Quirk Books, the tome features 120 full-color portraits as well as trial summaries by television reporter Lou Young. The cast of characters includes Woody Allen, Amy Fisher, Bernhard Goetz and John Gotti, as well as a celebrity gallery of stars like Mick Jagger, Truman Capote, Jackie Onassis, Yoko Ono, Imelda Marcos and Don King. In conjunction with the book’s publication, an exhibition of her drawings is scheduled for Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in April. The price for the book is $19.95 paper, $50 hardcover.
PIERSON FAKES AT BARNEYS?
Celebrity window dresser Simon Doonan, who is in charge of the window displays of Barney’s, the upscale clothing chain, clearly admires artist Jack Pierson’s evocative sculptures made of mismatched letters from old signs, works that usually spell out a poetic word or two. Doonan has crafted his own versions of Pierson’s signature concrete poems for the new window displays at Barney’s stores throughout the country -- an undertaking that has now drawn the wrath of Pierson’s Chelsea art dealer, John Cheim. Many people presume that the window displays are in fact Pierson’s own doing -- "[a] fraudulent situation or, at the very least, a misrepresentation," Cheim wrote in an email. Doonan’s "imitations," which spell out words like "fabulous, courageous and outrageous," are "formally weak plagiarized versions" of Pierson’s sculpture, Cheim continues. Doonan, for his part, has refused to remove the window displays.
NERI WINS SCULPTURE PRIZE
Bay Area figurative artist Manuel Neri (b. 1930) has won the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center. An exhibition of his bronzes opens at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J., on Oct. 7, 2006.
MAX ANDERSON TO INDIANAPOLIS
Maxwell L. Anderson has been appointed as the new director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, succeeding interim chief Lawrence A. O’Connor, Jr., who had held the job since late 2004. Currently a principal with AEA Consulting in New York, advising museums and other nonprofits on long-range planning and program development, Anderson had formerly headed the Whitney Museum of American Art (1998-2003), the Art Gallery of Ontario (1995-98) and the Carlos Museum in Atlanta (1987-95). In Indianapolis, he oversees a museum with 320 employees and an annual operating budget of $20 million, with a 100-acre art-and-nature park adjacent to the museum now in the planning stages.
GLIER SHAKES UP WILLIAMS CLUB
Mike Glier, the figurative artist who first made his name with sharp-edged political drawings back during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, has now brought his work to the Williams Club in New York, Mar. 7-June 15, 2006. Glier, who is also chair of the art department at Williams College, installed several groups of works in rooms at the tony New York townhouse, which is located at 24 East 39th Street. In the library are "Fancy Men’s Clubs," a group of more than 30 cave-man-style clubs made of cement, nails, cans and gilded wood branches, intended as a satirical comment on the idea of white male power. In the lobby is a large painting of vibrantly colored flora, birds and exclamation marks, while the club bar and meeting rooms on the second floor feature drawings and paintings from Glier’s "Backyard" series, where large, colorful depictions of garden plots of Queen Anne’s lace, roses and Dutchman’s pipe.
HOLLAND IN BELGIUM
Harry Holland, the Scotland-born figurative painter known for his calm, deeply felt images of the everyday sublime, opens "Encounters" at Minetta Contemporary in Brussels, Apr. 12-May 27, 2006. Holland, who has shown internationally, has been represented by Minetta since 1982. On sale to accompany the new work is a new catalogue with an introduction by critic Gil Gilsoul, along with "The Painter and Reality," the definitive introduction to Holland’s corpus, penned by famous art historian Edward Lucie-Smith to accompany his traveling retrospective in the ‘90s.
LURIE AT P.S.1
Musician (Lounge Lizards) and actor (Down by Law) John Lurie has his talents as a watercolorist spotlighted in a show at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, May 1-Aug. 14, 2006. Approximately 80 paintings and works on paper are featured in the exhibition, which demonstrates Lurie’s lighter side via compositions featuring rabbits, buffalos, horses, pigs, birds and dogs, mixing "text and images in surprising and quixotic ways." The show is organized by Alanna Heiss.
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