INSIDE DOCUMENTA 12
The €19-million Documenta 12, June 16-Sept. 23, 2007, the 100-day-long exhibition of mostly contemporary art in the central German town of Kassel, features over 500 works of art in five primary venues, the Museum Fridericianum, the Neue Galerie, the documenta-Halle and the newly erected Aue-Pavilion, plus the Schloss Wilhelmshöhe and its surrounding park. Roger Buergel and Ruth Noack, the couple who serve as Documenta’s artistic director and curator, respectively, have conceived the show in rather airy terms as a "spectorial experience" that educates the audience by focusing on three questions, or leitmotifs -- Is modernity our antiquity? What is bare life? And, in terms of education, what is to be done? "In other words," they write, "Is humanity -- beyond all differences -- able to recognize a common horizon? Is art the medium for this awareness?"
In more practical terms, Buergel and Noack have managed to craft an exciting exhibition that is both global and historical at once. The catalogue is arranged not alphabetically by artist but in terms of a timeline, ranging from centuries-old Persian, Chinese and Ottoman artifacts to works by Paul Klee (from 1920), the Gutai artist Tanaka Atsuko (1956), the Sao Paulo-based process artist Mira Schendel (ca. 1966) and the Argentinian avant-gardist Graciela Carnevale (1968). More contemporary works range the world almost effortlessly, with works by artists from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe casually mixed with more familiar names from the U.S. and Europe (unlike in Venice, where the Biennale stresses national borders).
One thing is for sure, the Documenta 12 curators have gone outside the usual art-market mainstream for the majority of their choices.
"Exhibitions are only worth looking at," the curators write in the catalogue, "if we manage to dispense with preordained categories and arrive at a plateau where art communicates itself and on its own terms."
So here they are, the artists in Documenta (with their date and place of birth, and current residence): Sonia Abián Rose (1966, Posadas, Argentina; Barcelona), Ferran Adrià (1962, Stana Eulàlia, Spain; Roses, Spain), Saâdane Afif (1970, Vendôme, France; Berlin), Ai Weiwei (1957, Beijing), Halil Altindere (1971, Mardin, Trinidad; Istanbul), Eleanor Antin (1935, New York), Aoki Ryoko (1973, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan; Kyoto), David Aradeon (1932, Lagos), Ibon Aranberri (1969, Itziar-Deba, Spain; Bilbao), Monika Baer (1964, Freiburg; Berlin), Maja Bajević (1967, Sarajevo; Paris and Sarajevo), Yael Bartana (1970, Afula; Tel-Aviv and Amsterdam), Mária Bartuszová (1936, Prague; Košice), Ricardo Basbaum (1961, Sao Paulo; Rio de Janeiro), Johanna Billing (1972, Jönköping, Sweden; Stockholm), Cosima von Bonin (1962, Mombasa; Cologne), Trisha Brown (1936, Aberdeen; New York), Graciela Carnevale (1942, Marcos Juárez, Argentina; Rosario, Argentina), James Coleman (b. 1941, Ballaghaderreen, Ireland; Dublin), Alice Creischer (1960, Santa Fe; Berlin), Danica Dakić (1962, Sarajevo; Dusseldorf).
Juan Davila (1946, Santiago; Melbourne), Dias & Riedweg (1964, Rio de Janeiro, and 1955, Lucerne), Gonzalo Díaz (b. 1947, Santiago de Chile), Atul Dodiya (1959, Mumbai), Ines Doujak (1959, Klagenfurt, Austria; Vienna), Lili Dujourie (1941, Roeselare, Belgium; Ghent), Lukas Duwenhögger (1956, Munich; Istanbul), Harun Farocki (1944, Nový Jicin, Czechoslovakia; Berlin), León Ferrari (1920, Buenos Aires), Iole de Freitas (1945, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Rio de Janeiro), Peter Friedl (1960, Oberneukirchen, Austria; Berlin), Poul Gernes (1925, Copenhagen-1996, Sweden), Andrea Geyer (b. 1971, Freiberg; Freiberg and New York), Simryn Gill (1959, Singapore; Sydney and Port Dickson), David Goldblatt (1930, Randfontein, Zamibia; Johannesburg), Sheela Gowda (1957, Bhadravati, India; Bangalore), Ion Grigorescu (1945, Bucharest), Grupo de Artistas de Vanguardia (formed 1968, Rosario, Argentina), Dimitri Gutov (1960, Moscow).
Romuald Hazoumé (1962, Porto Novo, Brazil), Hu Xiaoyuan (1977, Haerbin, China; Beijing), Sanja Iveković (1949, Zagreb), Luis Jacob (1970, Peru; Toronto), Jorge Mario Jáuregui (1948, Rosario, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro), Amar Kanwar (1964, New Delhi), Mary Kelly (1941, Fort Dodge; Los Angeles), Bĕla Kolářová (1923, Terezinĕ, Czechoslovakia; Prague), Abdoulaye Konaté (1953, Diré, Mali; Bamako), Bill Kouélany (1965, Brazzaville), Jirí Kovanda (1953, Prague), Sakarin Krue-on (1965, Mae Hongson, Thailand; Bangkok), Zofia Kulik (1947, Wroclaw; Lomianki-Dabrowa, Poland), Kwiekulik (Zofia Kulik, 1947, Warsaw; Lomianki-Dabrowa/Warsaw, and Przemyslaw Kwiek, 1945, Warsaw; Lomianki-Dabrowa/Warsaw).
Louise Lawler (1947, Bronxville; New York), Zoe Leonard (1961, New York), Lin Yilin (1964, Guangzhou, China; New York and Guangzhou), Lee Lozano (1930, Newark-1999, Dallas), Lu Hao (1969, Beijing), Churchill Madikida (1973, Butterworth, Zamibia; Johannesburg), Inigo Manglano-Ovalle (1961, Madrid; Chicago), Kerry James Marshall (1955, Birmingham; Chicago), Agnes Martin (1912, Macklin, Ca.-2004, Galisteo, N.M.), John McCracken (1934, Berkeley; Santa Fe), Nasreen Mohamedi (1937, Karachi; Kihim, India); Andrei Monastyrski (1949, Petsamo/Murmansk, Russia; Moscow), Olga Neuwirth (1968, Graz; Vienna), J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere (1930, Oovionu-Emai, Nigeria; Lagos), Anatoly Osmolovsky (1969, Moscow); George Osodi (1974, Lagos), Jorge Oteiza (1908, Orion/Guipuzco, Spain; San Sebastian).
Annie Pootoogook (1969, Cape Dorset/ Nunavut, Canada), Charlotte Posenenske (1930, Wiesbaden; Frankfurt am Main), Kirill Preobrazhenskiy (1970, Moscow); Florian Pumhösl (1971, Vienna), Yvonne Rainer (1934, San Francisco; New York and Los Angeles), CK Rajan (1960, Kerala; Hyderabad), Gerhard Richter (1932, Dresden; Cologne), Alejandra Riera (1965, Buenos Aires; Paris), Gerwald Rockenschaub (1952, Linz; Berlin); Lotty Rosenfeld (1943, Santiago de Chile), Martha Rosler (Brooklyn; New York), Luis Sacilotto (1924, Santo André, Brazil; ABC Paulista, Brazil), Mira Schendel (1919, Zurich-1988 Sao Paulo); Dierk Schmidt (1965, Unna, Germany; Berlin), Kateřina Šedá (1977, Brno, Czechoslovakia; Brno and Prague), Allan Sekula (1951, Erie, N.Y.; Los Angeles), Ahlam Shibli (1970, Palestine).
Andreas Siekmann (1961, Hamm, Germany; Berlin), Nedko Solakov (1957, Cherven Briag, Bulgaria; Sofia), Jo Spence (1934, London), Grete Stern (1904, Wuppertal-1999, Buenos Aires), Hito Steyerl (1966, Munich; Berlin), Imogen Stidworthy (1963, London; Amsterdam and Liverpool), Mladen Stilinović (1947, Belgrad; Zagreb), Jürgen Stollhans (1962, Rheda, Germany; Cologne), Shooshi Sulaiman (1973, Muar, Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur), Oumou Sy (1952, Podor, Senegal; Dakar), Alina Szapocznikow (1926, Kalisz, Poland-1973, Praz-Coutant, France), Tanaka Atsuko (1932, Osaka-2005, Asuka, Japan), the "Nation at War Collective" (David Thorne [1960, Boston; Los Angeles], Katya Sander (b. 1970, Hillrød, Denmark; Copenhagen), Ashley Hunt [1970, Los Angeles], Sharon Hayes [1970, Baltimore; New York], Andrea Geyer [1971, Freiburg; Freiburg and New York]).
Guy Tillim (1962, Johannesburg; Cape Town), Tseng Yu-Chin (1978, Taipei), Lidwien van de Ven (1963, Hulst, the Netherlands; Rotterdam), Simon Wachsmuth (1964, Hamburg; Berlin and Vienna), Xie Nanxing (1970, Chongqing; Beijing and Chengdu), Yan Lei (1965, Hebei; Beijing), Zheng Guogu (1970, Yangjiang), Artur Żmijewski (1966, Warsaw).
NEW MANAGEMENT FOR ART BASEL
Art Basel director Samuel Keller, who leaves his post at the end of 2007 to become director of Basel's prestigious Fondation Beyeler, is being succeeded by a troika. The new "management team" of three people includes Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, currently U.S. editor of Parkett and a professor at Parsons New School for Design, who takes the role of artistic director; former Art Basel Miami Beach director Annette Schönholzer, who is be in charge of organization and finances; and art journalist Marc Spiegler, who oversees strategy and development.
Keller offered the following sage advice to the new team, via a report by Bloomberg’s Linda Sandler: "Change continuously with the art world. Listen to the galleries who have what it takes to make an art fair.''
ARTISTS RALLY IN CHICAGO
About 200 artists and supporters rallied in front of the Pablo Picasso’s iconic public sculpture in Chicago’s Daley Plaza, Monday, June 11, to protest a proposed change to the regulations governing the Public Art Program, which administers the city’s percent-for-art funds. The new resolution would eliminate the "Open Meetings Act," which requires that the city consider grassroots feedback in selecting public art projects. An article in the Chicago Sun-Times described the protest as "well-mannered," with participants calling on mayor Richard Daley and the city council to change course. Best quote went to artist Tony Fitzpatrick, who told the crowd, "It doesn't make sense that they're taking the public out of public art."
The protest and a letter-writing campaign to city aldermen have been headed up by former Chicago dealer Paul Klein, along with a variety of Chicago arts organizations, including Around the Coyote, Art Advisory LTD, the Bridge Art Fair, Bad at Sports, the Chicago Artists Coalition, Lumpen, Punk Planet, Navy Pier Walk, Sharkforum and the Rubber Monkey Puppet Company.
The change in the law is being spearheaded by Public Art Program czar Lois Weisberg. Weisberg contends that paperwork associated with gathering public feedback is weighing down the selection process, and that members of her staff, "several of whom have advanced degrees in art," are better equipped to handle artistic decisions than the "citizens council" meetings mandated by the current law. In recent years, Chicago attorney Scott Hodes has filed a series of lawsuits alleging that the Public Art Program violated the Open Meetings Act -- and Weisberg seems to have decided to deal with the inconvenience by eliminating the requirement altogether.
The city council is due to decide on the matter today, and looked almost certain to pass the change. A second rally was planned in front of City Hall at 10 am.
MICHAEL BIDDING ON SKULL
Pop star George Michael, fresh from spending some £20 million on contemporary art by Damien Hirst and others [see Artnet News, June 6, 2007] -- his latest tour was a smashing success -- is among the bidders for Hirst’s £50-million diamond-coated skull, For the Love of God, currently on view at White Cube gallery in London, according to the website thisislondon.co.uk. Michael and his partner, dealer Kenny Goss, are reported to have received a private viewing of the show, and have made an offer for the artwork.
NEW CURATOR AT THE KEMPER
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo., has announced that Christopher Cook is taking charge as head curator. Cook has been serving as acting curator at the institution, organizing several survey exhibitions from the Kemper collection (he previously served as curator at the Sioux City Art Center). For the future, Cook has planned solo exhibitions by Chakaia Booker, Anthony Lepore and Julia Oschatz, as well as a group exhibition titled "En Masse: Accumulation and Multiplicity in Recent Art."
ARTIST MAPS OF NEW YORK
The New Museum of Contemporary Art is still waiting for its new headquarters to open in the Bowery at the end of this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s idle! Curator Massimiliano Gioni has organized Get Lost: Artists Map Downtown New York, a collaboration with 21 visual artists creating personal maps of downtown Manhattan. The works, which range from the jokey (Cory Arcangel’s printed instructions from Google maps, describing how to get from downtown to the "nearest Vegas casino"), to the abstract (Julie Mehretu's scribbles evoking Manhattan as remembered from Berlin), to the wistful (Jonas Mekas’ map which contains his recollections of the New York cultural scene in the ‘60s).
The project is being distributed as a free magazine, and can be found at the New Museum Store (currently located at the Chelsea Art Museum), the galleries of any of the represented artists, and an eclectic list of New York locations including the Bronx Museum, Joe’s Pub, Babeland and the Bedford Cheese Shop, listed at the project’s website.
Other artists taking part in Get Lost are 16 Beaver Group, Francis Alÿs, Jennifer Bornstein, Beth Campbell, Marcel Dzama, Isa Genzken, Dorothy Iannone, Inaba & Associates, Chris Johanson, Christopher Knowles, Terence Koh, Jonas Mekas, Aleksandra Mir, Thurston Moore, Dave Muller, William Pope.L, Lordy Rodriguez, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Lawrence Weiner.
"RESISTANCE IS. . ." AT THE WHITNEY
As a sort of sidebar to the sprawling exploration of psychedelia, "Summer of Love," May 24-Sept. 16, 2007, at the Whitney Museum in New York, the institution is mounting "Resistance Is. . .," June 29-Sept. 2, 2007. Curated by Tina Kukielski, the show considers the political unrest and activism of the ‘60s and ‘70s that was the other side of the era’s flower child hedonism, and features works by Richard Avedon, Andrea Bowers, Sam Durant, Larry Fink, Wayne Gonzales, Danny Lyon, Josephine Meckseper, Gordon Parks, Adam Pendleton, Gilles Peress, Martha Rosler, Andy Warhol and Garry Winogrand.
Carol Becker has been named dean of Columbia University’s school of the arts. Becker, the author of many books including Surpassing the Spectacle: Global Transformations and the Changing Politics of Art and Zones of Contention: Essays on Art, Institutions, and Gender, was previously dean and senior vice-president for academic affairs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She assumes her new post Sept. 1, 2007.
CINTAS AWARD TO MORENO
Miami-based assemblage artist Gean Moreno has won the $15,000 Cintas Foundation Emilio Sánchez Award in Visual Arts for 2007. The award is open to artists of Cuban heritage residing outside of Cuba.
FRIEDMAN MOVES TO CHELSEA
Add still another hot spot to the Chelsea art district in New York. Long-time Upper East Side gallery Barry Friedman Ltd is moving to 515 West 26th Street, starting in September 2007. The gallery is on the second floor of a new three-level, 18,000-square-foot space, and is set to open with exhibitions by glass artist Toots Zynsky and Norwegian contemporary figurative painter Anne-Karin Furunes. The space will be shared with a new project, dubbed Friedman Benda, a collaboration of Friedman with his former gallery director, Marc Benda, focusing on contemporary art.