ARTIST LINEUP FOR DOCUMENTA
Documenta 12, the important contemporary art show that is organized once every five years in the central German town of Kassel, kicks off June 16-Sept. 23, 2007 -- and so far Documenta artistic director Roger Buergel has been mum on who’s in the show. Well, not completely, since two names were announced several months ago, in a presentation designed to range from "A" -- the cook and culinary artist Ferran Adriá -- to "Z" -- the Polish artist Artur Zmijewski, who presented a Bach cantata performed by a mezzo-soprano and accompanied by a deaf choir. A third participant, the Brazilian artist Ricardo Basbaum, has distributed steel objects to a number of people and asked them to record their experiences living with the works.
Now, German art writer Ludwig Seyfarth has done his own detective work in discovering additional artists included in Documenta 12, publishing the list in the German version of Artnet Magazine. Seyfarth assembled his roster after talking to dealers at the Art Cologne art fair, examining the artists profiled in the recently published Documenta 12 magazine, and scanning news reports and gallery announcements.
One might note here, too, that two projects have garnered more attention than most. The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei proposes to bring to Kassel 1,001 Chinese nationals, and the artist Sanja Ivekovic is planting a field of poppies in the Friedrichsplatz.
The list that follows here is speculative, and readers are encouraged to send in additions to the email address below. Artists who are represented in the Artnet network are listed in red and hotlinked to their Artnet page:
Ferran Adrià, Saâdane Afif, Ai Wei Wei, Eleanor Antin, Ibon Aranberri, Monika Baer, Maija Bajevic, Yael Bartana, Ricardo Basbaum, Johanna Billing, Cosima von Bonin, Trisha Brown, James Coleman, Alice Creischer, Ines Doujak, Lukas Duwenhögger, Harun Farocki, Peter Friedl, Andrea Geyer, Sheela Gowda, Simryn Gill, Dimitrij Gutow, Sanja Ivekovic, Emily Jacir, Amar Kanwar, Abdoulaye Konaté, Jirí Kovanda, Zofia Kulik, Louise Lawler, Zoe Leonard, Churchill Madikida, Olga Neuwirth, J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, Charlotte Posenenske, Florian Pumhösl, Yvonne Rainer, Gerhard Richter, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Martha Rosler, Sakarin Krue-On, Dierk Schmidt, Allan Sekula, Ahlam Shibli, Andreas Siekmann / Christian von Borries, Nedko Solakov, Jo Spence, Hito Steyerl, Jürgen Stollhans, Alina Szapocznikow, Imogen Stidworthy, Lidwien van de Ven, Simon Wachsmuth, Xie Nanxing and Artur Zmijewski.
CHICAGO MART BUYS ARMORY (ALMOST), VOLTA FAIR
Chicago’s Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI), which only got into the art-fair business a year ago when it stepped in to rescue a faltering Art Chicago, has entered into a "strategic partnership" with the Armory Show in New York. According to Armory Show spokesperson Pamela Doan, the arrangement is likely to be a prelude to an outright purchase. Though financial details weren’t released, the plan seems to call for retaining the show’s existing management, led by director Katelijne De Backer. Insiders suggest that Armory Show co-founder Matthew Marks may bow out, while dealer Paul Morris will remain as president of the operation.
Headed by president Chris Kennedy (one of the sons of Robert F. Kennedy), the Merchandise Mart was long a major profit center for the Kennedy family. Built by Marshall Field in 1930, it was purchased by Joe Kennedy in 1945 and sold to Vornado Realty Trust in 1998. The purchase of the Armory Show should bring efficiencies in the production of the fair, which is likely remain at its current venue on Pier 94 on the Hudson River for the immediate future. MMPI produces more than 300 trade shows and conferences a year, and also manages "mart" properties in Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and High Point, N.C.
The Mart has also purchased the VOLTAshow, founded in 2005 by Chicago dealer Kavi Gupta, Berlin dealer Friedrich Loock and Frankfurt dealer Ulrich Voges. The original team -- including executive director Amanda Coulson and managing director Karoline Willems -- is to retain 100 percent creative control, and expects to be able to retire the fair’s debit and expand it operations.
Meanwhile, the MACO art fair in Mexico City, Apr. 25-29, 2007, ran into some unexpected difficulties with its new site -- the unfinished parking garage of an apartment complex that is still under construction. Though some shopping was done, dealers were spotted wearing white face masks against the concrete dust, and even buttons that said, "I survived MACO 2007."
REMEMBERING MICHAEL HURSON AT LANDAU CENTER
Michael Hurson, the much-loved New York artist who died at age 65 on Jan. 29, 2007, is being given a tribute exhibition at the Fisher Landau Center for Art in Long Island City, N.Y. "Remembering Michael Hurson" opens on May 19, 2007, and features approximately 15 paintings and works on paper from the collection. Also on view at the center is "Paper," a show of more than 200 works by artists ranging from Joe Andoe, Carl Andre and Richard Artschwager to James Wyeth, Tadanori Yokoo and Lisa Yuskavage.
"SHAPES OF SPACE" AT GUGGENHEIM
The Guggenheim Museum is billing its new "Shapes of Space" exhibition, which opens sequentially in four parts, beginning on Apr. 14, 2007, as an exploration of "artist’s notions of space" that is timed to coincide with the unveiling of the museum’s rehabbed Frank Lloyd Wright building. And indeed, it does that -- but the show, which is drawn from the museum’s holdings, also provides a look at some of the Gugg’s recent acquisitions.
Two of the higher-profile works are Alyson Shotz’s The Shape of Space (2004), a large wall of 18,000 ovals of magnifying plastic hanging in the atrium (that gives the show its name), which was acquired in 2004, and Piotr Uklanski’s Untitled (Dance Floor) (1996), a Saturday Night Fever-style disco dance floor, which was acquired in 2006.
Other acquisitions from 2006 include works by Nathalie Djurberg, Carlos Garaicoa, Roni Horn (also 2005), Mika Rottenberg and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
Acquisitions from 2005 include works by Banks Violette (with Stephen O’Malley), Maria Elena González, Elliott Hundley, Aleksandra Mir, Valeska Soares, Yuken Teruya and Annika von Hausswolff.
Acquisitions from 2004 include works by Brian Alfred, Julie Becker, Paul Pfeiffer, Pipilotti Rist, Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimarães and Rirkrit Tiravanija.
Acquisitions from 2000-2003 include works by Ricci Albenda, Tom Friedman, Liam Gillick, Robert Gober, Luisa Lambri, Sarah Morris, Diego Perrone and John Pilson.
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM TEAMS WITH BANK
In a novel partnership with the private sector, the new Seattle Art Museum has teamed up with the Washington Mutual Bank to construct the new headquarters building for both, opening May 5, 2007. Dubbed the Washington Mutual Bank / Seattle Art Museum Tower, the 42-story skyscraper houses the museum on the first four floors -- 335,000 square feet of new galleries -- and reserves the rest of the space for Washington Mutual, the sixth largest bank in the U.S.
According to the Seattle Times, the money-men have been in the driver’s seat. "[T]he project did not spring from any visionary blueprint for the museum's future," writes reporter Jim Brunner. "It was driven by a bank's hunger for a new downtown headquarters." According to the story, the "marriage of convenience" allowed SAM -- which just opened the $85 million Olympic Sculpture Park project -- to expand the museum proper much sooner than expected.
As part of the deal, WaMU took charge of the construction and provided $375 million in loans to the museum. In return, it was allowed to pay $18 million for the rights to property appraised at $26 million, and to skirt zoning laws in order to supersize its new headquarters.
ART AND MUSIC VIDEOS
The current video for Honest Mistake by New York disco/alt rock band The Bravery starts out with footage of the band in black-and-white rocking out in a garage, and then morphs into an all-out homage to Fischli & Weiss’s The Way Things Go, the Swiss art duo’s classic video in which the camera tracks a continuous chain reaction between configurations of common items like tires, 2x4s and fireworks. While skeptics might say that it is hard to have a monopoly on Rube Goldberg-style mayhem, it’s pretty clear that a number of the set-ups in the Bravery video are directly lifted from the 1987 artwork. Director Mike Palmieri, however, seems to have failed to grasp the elementary thing that makes Fischli & Weiss’s video so mesmerizing -- its limited use of editing -- replacing it instead with a frenetic whirl of chaos set to a techno beat.
The video did, however, inspire Artnet News to compile a (selective) list of other instances of successful and not-so-successful encounters between MTV and contemporary art:
* The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 2003 Can’t Stop video is "inspired by the ‘one-minute sculptures’ of Erwin Wurm," and features the shirtless rockers sticking pens up their noses, cavorting in showers of pink Styrofoam peanuts, dancing with buckets on their arms, legs and heads, and, of course, putting their hands down their pants.
* "Video painter" Jeremy Blake did the cover graphics and video projections for Beck’s Sea Change album and tour in 2003, as well as the darkly psychedelic video for the tune Around the Bend, which intersperses the frozen image of the singer’s face with abstract patterns of color.
* Before setting new standards for scale in video art with his Sleepwalkers project on the exterior of the Museum of Modern Art, Doug Aitken directed more than 20 music videos, including clips for Fatboy Slim’s Rockafeller Skank, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ Korean Bodega and Barenaked Ladies’ It’s All Been Done.
* Damien Hirst directed the famous clip for Blur’s 1995 Country House single, which, in addition to including a pastiche of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody video, seems to be an elaborate homage to Benny Hill, with a man in a bowler hat being chased around a giant board game by scantily clad women.
* Going a little deeper into art history, Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand ransacked pretty much every early-20th-century "ism" for the clip to their 2004 hit Take Me Out, complete with Picabia sparkplugs, dancing shapes from El Lissitzky and Jean Arp, flying Cubist newspaper collages and bicycle wheels from Marcel Duchamp.