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Artnet News
May 8, 2007 

This summer, as a part of Documenta 12, June 16-Sept. 23, 2007, the Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei is mounting an incredible installation cum performance work -- he’s bringing 1,001 Chinese citizens to Kassel, the central German town where the prestigious international art show is mounted every five years.

Dubbed Fairytale -- the artist notes that Kassel was home to the Brothers Grimm from 1798 to 1830 -- the work is designed to allow the Chinese participants "to confront each other with their ordinary lives" while attending "one of the most important contemporary art events." Volunteers were selected by Ai Weiwei with an open call on his blog, and are being brought to Kassel in groups of 200 for one week each, with their airfare and lodging paid for. While international travel is typically available to upper-class Chinese, Ai Weiwei’s group includes farmers, teachers, students, artists and engineers.

What’s more, the participants in Fairytale are to be identifiable through an as-yet-unspecified "tourist uniform" designed by the artist and his team, and are required to convene once a day for a group demonstration, whose details are also as yet unannounced. Participants live communally in an abandoned factory, and are free to roam around Kassel, though they cannot leave the city. Both the artist and the participants are documenting their Fairytale experience.

The work has a price tag of over €3 million, and is sponsored up by the Swiss Leister and Erlenmeyer Foundations as well as Ai Weiwei’s primary gallery, the Galerie Urs Meile of both Lucerne and Beijing.

Ai Weiwei is perhaps best known for painting a Coca-Cola logo on a Ming dynasty vessel. His recent works show a more hands-off approach to art-making, with the artist designing a set of rules or conditions while assistants or craftspeople actually construct the work. In a recent example of this process titled Fragments, workers pieced together wooden fragments of ancient temples according to basic rules Ai Weiwei designated.

Will the Chinese visitors be easily accepted among the throngs of art lovers in Kassel? Ai Weiwei hopes that the process of "direct confrontation and enlightenment" can lead to a "most meaningful process of cultural exchange." In any case, he himself is holing up in a hotel room outside of Kassel, observing the fruits of his orchestrated social interactions through second-hand media accounts, an approach that seems to be in tune with his brand of "hands off" art-making.

--Lee Ambrozy

London’s Tate has announced the shortlist for the 2007 Turner Prize. The four artists are Zarina Bhimji, who was commended for photography and films exhibited at Haunch of Venison in London and Zurich; Nathan Coley, who was recognized for installations in Santiago de Compostela and Belgrade; Mike Nelson, who was cited for "immersive installations" that "transport the viewer to imaginary yet plausible worlds"; and Mark Wallinger, who was cited for his "State Britain" installation at Tate Britain [see "The State We’re In," Feb. 8, 2007]. The winner, announced at a televised ceremony on Dec. 3, 2007, receives a £25,000 award, with the runners-up taking home £5,000 each.

This year, an exhibition of works by the shortlisted artists goes on view at Tate Liverpool, opening Oct. 19, 2007. The Turner Prize returns to Tate Britain in London in 2008. In the meantime, Tate Britain presents "The Turner Prize: A Retrospective," Oct. 2, 2007-Jan. 6, 2008. The jurors for the 2007 prize are writer and critic Michael Bracewell; Fruitmarket Gallery director Fiona Bradley, Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden, freelance broadcaster and writer Miranda Sawyer, and Tate Liverpool director Christoph Grunenberg.

Salvador Dalí’s personal engagement with the movies -- as a fan and a filmmaker -- is fundamental to his art, or so says the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in "Dalí & Film," Oct. 14, 2007-Jan. 6, 2008. The first show to focus on the subject, the survey presents approximately 100 artworks alongside Dalí’s major film projects, which include Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien andalou, L’Age d’or (1929-30), Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945) and Walt Disney’s Destino (1946), as well as Dalí’s own Chaos and Creation (1960) and Impressions of Upper Mongolia (1976). The exhibition is organized with Tate Modern and the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation in Figueres, Spain.

Mexico City-based artist Francis Alÿs is the first artist commissioned for a special series of collaborations between the Dia Art Foundation and the Hispanic Society of America in New York, whose headquarters up at Broadway and 155th Street in Manhattan are famous for their Beaux-Arts beauty as well as for a lack of broad attendance. The three-year long partnership kicks off in fall 2007, and is designed to allow Dia to keep a toehold in Manhattan while it searches for a new headquarters. The contemporary art projects are expected to respond to the building and the institution’s holdings of Spanish and Latin American art. The events are free and open to the public.

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice has lined up an exhibition to lure those summer visitors to the 52nd Venice Biennale -- "All in the present must be transformed: Matthew Barney and Joseph Beuys," June 6-Sept. 2, 2007, a show of sculptures and drawings drawn from the Gugg collection. What links the two modern mythopoeians? According to curator Nancy Spector, it’s "the metaphoric use of materials, the focus on metamorphosis, and the relationship between action and its documentation in their respective practices." The exhibition premiered at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin in 2006.

The Miami Art Museum has received 10 major works, worth an estimated $8 million, as gifts in honor of its 10th anniversary. Several are destined for the grounds of the museum’s future home in downtown Miami, designed by Herzog and de Meuron and slated to open in 2010, said museum director Terence Riley. Among the prizes: Doug Aitken’s Sleepwalkers video, which premiered this winter on the exterior of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Alfredo Jaar’s 45-foot-long installation Europa; and works by Carlos Alfonzo, Wifredo Lam, Sol LeWitt, Vik Muniz and Susan Rothenberg.

The museum also recently received 101 photographs from New York dealer and art patron Charles Cowles, as well as monumental sculptures by Fernand Léger and Nikki de Saint Phalle from art dealer and Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey H. Loria. The new acquisitions go on view in "Power of Ten: Gifts in Honor of Miami Art Museum’s 10th Anniversary," May 4-Oct. 28, 2007.

The new exhibition at the Printed Matter bookstore and gallery on Tenth Avenue in New York’s Chelsea art district is "Leaderless: Underground Cassette Culture Now," May 12-26, 2007, featuring hundreds of cassette tapes from the thriving noise, psych and experimental music scenes across the country. Also featured are selections from the cassette collections of Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Chris Freeman of Fusetron and Dominick Fernow of Hospital Productions. The show is organized in conjunction with Heavy Tapes, the Brooklyn-based label established in 2004 by Michael Bernstein and Maya Miller.

Joel Mesler and Daniel Hug, who launched Rental in Los Angeles in 2005 to provide exhibition space for galleries headquartered elsewhere, are bringing the show to New York City’s Chinatown district. Rental opens at 120 East Broadway with "Oliver Twist," May 12-June 16, 2007, a group show of about 30 artists affiliated with the galleries that are exhibiting at Rental in the coming year. For details, contact

The winners of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Individual Artist Awards for 2007 -- $10,000 prizes reserved for Chicago artists -- are Judy Ledgerwood, Gaylen Gerber and Philip von Zweck. The award jury included Art Institute of Chicago contemporary curator James Rondeau, Smart Museum contemporary curator Stephanie Smith, Graham Foundation director Sarah Herda, photographer Terry Evans and artist McArthur Binion. For more info, see

Judy Kim has been named as managing curator of the Brooklyn Museum’s new exhibitions division, which oversees all museum shows as well as major reinstallations of the museum collection. She previously was curator of exhibitions at the American Federation of Arts, a post she had held since 2001. Brooklyn Museum director Arnold Lehman sparked controversy last year when he announced plans to abolish traditional curatorial departments in favor of teams of staffers devoted to collections and exhibitions, a move that critics said was designed to emphasize marketing over scholarship [see Artnet News, June 22, 2006].

The arts advocacy group Americans for the Arts is teaming up with the ten-year-old fine-arts cable network Ovation TV, calling for submissions of short films that promote "qualified arts organizations." According to Variety, the Harlem School of the Arts and Los Angeles’ P.S. Arts are already signed on to provide educational video. Interested organizations should submit their videos, which can run from one to 30 minutes, by June 1, 2007. For more info, contact Ovation’s Gaynor Strachan-Chun at

Lorie Mertes has been appointed director and chief curator of the Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia. She had been director of the Fabric Workshop and Museum.

The Nicholas Robinson Gallery opens at 535 West 20th Street in Chelsea with an exhibition of work by British sculptor Steven Gregory, Sept. 13-Oct. 27, 2007. The 7,500-square-foot space is the former home of Feigen Contemorary. Dealer Nicholas Robinson had formerly partnered with Josh Briggs in Briggs Robinson Gallery on West 29th Street; Briggs has left the partnership to pursue curatorial and other art projects under the name JMB Fine Art.

The Warhol Museum in Pittsburg has loaned a variety of iconic Warhol prints featuring Coca-Cola bottles for the opening of the new 62,000-square-foot World of Coke Museum in Atlanta. "Andy Warhol was one of our best brand directors," a Coke representative told the Associated Press.

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