DOCUMENTA STAYS BUSY
Now well into its second month, Documenta 12, June 6-Sept. 9, 2007, has received mixed reviews -- but that fact certainly hasn’t slowed things down at the famous international art show. Some examples:
* Documenta recently launched several blogs devoted to reporting on the show, including documenta12blog.de, which is welcoming independent posts of images and commentary, and saab-documenta.de, a German-language blog sponsored by the auto company.
* Documenta also reports that Ai Weiwei’s 1,000 Chinese guests have departed on their journey back to China. Dubbed Fairytale [see Artnet News, May 8, 2007], the project to provide free trips to Kassel for 1,000 people from China seemed to be a particularly good example of Joseph Beuys’ notion of "Social Sculpture," and quickly captured the attention of the media. According to the Documenta administration, the Nordstadt district of Kassel, where the visitors were housed, "spontaneously" added Chinese characters to local signposts. For further details, click here.
* One disappointment of the Documenta preview was the flat expanse of dirt and weeds that stretched out in front of the Museum Fridericianum, the site of a project by Croatian artist Sanja Iveković, who had planted seeds and hoped to turn the space into a "bright red field of poppies." Sadly, no flowers were in evidence, and it seemed that the effort had failed. But don’t underestimate Mother Nature -- the poppies have bloomed into what Iveković calls a "red square." "For me, coming from Eastern Europe," she says, "red poppies are not a symbol for death and dead soldiers but they are little flames of political struggle."
* And last but not least is a Documenta 12 educational program that would never fly in the U.S. -- "Dirty and Stinking," a special discussion for young people aged 12 to 16, examining the artworks in the show that allude to "sexuality and sexual play." Led by Michael William and Ulrich Schoetker, the program asks why sex makes adults nervous when kids are around, and whether shocking material can also be critical.
SCOPE HAMPTONS GEARS UP
The Scope art fair franchise is raring to go, moving into a new office, getting ready to launch a new website and hiring four new staff members, according to Scope chief Alexis Hubshman. The expansion has not come without a few bumps -- Scope London, which debuted last year during Frieze Week, does not return in 2007, though Hubshman states that he wants to do a Scope Berlin, and that backers are already lining up behind future installments in Dubai and Beijing.
In the meantime, we have Scope Hamptons, July 27-29, 2007, at East Hampton Hall in the Long Island resort community, which Hubshman describes as "maybe the best fair that we have done, ever." Many of the galleries are familiar from the previous two installments, including Danzinger Projects (New York), Edsel Williams/Fireplace Project (East Hampton), Galerie Schuster (Berlin/Frankfurt), Rare (New York) and Spinello Gallery (Miami). Tickets for the $500-per-head gala preview on July 26 are already sold out.
One new addition to Scope Hamptons this year is "Scope Kids," an initiative co-sponsored with Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. For the duration of the fair, Scope is bringing in 100 children from "underserved communities," including members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, to work with 17 artists and teachers supplied by Socrates as well as 25 mentors from the Bridgehampton’s experimental Hayground School. The kids will work on building boats, kites and, in the case of the Shinnecock youngsters, a float in the form of a whale. The creations debut at a "Scope Regatta" on Sunday.
GERMANY HANGS IMMENDORFF PORTRAIT
Say one thing for European politicians, they’re not afraid of hanging around with bohemian artists. Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder was famously a friend of the late Neo-Expressionist painter Jörg Immendorff, who painted a portrait of the Social Democratic politician shortly before his death, depicting Schröder in a heroic pose but surrounded by Immendorff’s trademark monkeys. Now, the painting has finally been installed in the Federal Chancellery in Berlin alongside portraits of other German chancellors, including Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt. During the dedication, current chancellor Angela Merkel, a Christian Democrat, joked that "now things are complete and no one need ask any more why Schröder has not yet been hung."
As for Immendorff’s widow, the artist Oda Jaune, German tabloids acted scandalized when she dropped Immendorff’s name only weeks after his death. A Bulgarian national whose real name is Michaela Danovska, she was given what’s left of her current moniker by Immendorff as well, who christened her Oda (old German for "valuable, treasure") and Jaune ("yellow," Immendorff’s favorite color). An artist in her own right, she has a website at www.odajaune.de
HIRST SHARK AT MET
Damien Hirst’s 1991 The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living -- a.k.a. "the pickled shark" -- is going on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On three-year loan from hedge fund investor Steven A. Cohen, the $8-million-dollar fish is to be displayed in the Met’s Lila Acheson Wallace Gallery overlooking Central Park. It is expected to be on view in time for Labor Day.
"HIGH TIMES, HARD TIMES" TO EUROPE
"High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967 to 1975" is off to Europe. The revelatory exhibition, organized by art historian and critic Katy Siegal with artist David Reed, premiered last year at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery in Greensboro, N.C., before appearing at the National Academy Museum in New York. The show’s organizer, Independent Curators International, has now arranged for a European tour. The show is currently on view at the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, May 25-Sept. 9, 2007, and is scheduled to travel to the Neue Galerie Graz in Graz, Austria, Dec. 14, 2007-Feb. 24, 2008, and the ZKM / Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe in Karlsruhe, Germany, Mar. 28-May 18, 2008.
What’s more, Reed notes that the exhibition has inspired a gallery show in Berlin. Titled "Distance to Now," June 30-Sept. 26, 2007, the show is at Galerie Kienzle & Gmeiner and includes works by Lynda Benglis, Louise Fishman, Dan Christensen, Roy Colmer, Gerald Jackson, Harriet Korman, Howardena Pindell, Joe Overstreet, Cesar Paternosto, Gary Stephan, Michael Venezia, F.E. Walther and Jack Whitten.
HOPPER OPERA DOWNLOADS
Those who missed the press debut of Later the Same Evening, the new opera based on the work of American painter Edward Hopper, take heart! The aria Out My One Window, performed at the National Gallery of Art’s press conference on June 19, 2007, is now available for download from the NGA website (www.nga.gov/podcasts). The entire work, by composer John Musto and librettist Mark Campbell, is to be performed this fall at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland (for dates, times and ticketing information, see the NGA’s announcement).
NYC AWARD TO NOBUHO NAGASAWA
The New York City Art Commission has given a special award to Big Apple artist Nobuho Nagasawa for her project Timecast, for which she is etching shadows into the sidewalks along a new waterfront development in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. The project is done in collaboration with Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects.
FINLEY WINS FLETCHER FELLOWSHIP
The new Roberts Court may have just voted effectively to reverse the gains of the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, but the $50,000 Fletcher Fellowships -- started in 2004 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the decision by awarding scholars whose work contributes to improving race relations -- press on. Among the winners this year is Cheryl Finley, art history professor at Cornell University, for her work examining the art and film of the Civil Rights era and how it affected the later Black Power movement. Other winners are New Yorker writer Hilton Als, Williams College political science professor Joy James, Harvard law professor Kenneth W. Mack and University of Chicago social services prof Charles M. Payne.
FAURSCHOU OPENS BEIJING BRANCH
Luise and Jens Faurschou, who have operated the Faurschou Gallery in Copenhagen for some 20 years, are branching out. Faurschou Gallery Beijing is slated to open in a 15,000-square foot space in Beijing’s famous 798 Art District in August 2007. Kai Heinze, who has served as gallery director for dealer Leo Koenig for the last four years, is overseeing the Beijing gallery, which is specializing in both modern and contemporary art. The debut show features 40 new works by Robert Rauschenberg, opening Oct. 8, 2007. In 2008, the gallery expects to mount the first monographic Pablo Picasso exhibition in China, to run concurrently with the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
BINSTOCK TO CITIBANK
Corcoran Gallery curator of contemporary art Jonathan P. Binstock, who organized the D.C.-based museum’s 47th and 48th biennial exhibitions, among other shows, has departed for New York City, where he has become an art advisor for the Art Advisory Service in the Citi (formerly Citibank) Family Office.
BULLOCK TO TACOMA
Margaret Bullock has been named curator of collections and special exhibitions at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Wa. Bullock was formerly collections manager at the Harwood Museum of Art at the University of New Mexico in Taos, N.M. She begins work at the museum this September. Currently on view at TAM is "Sparkle Then Fade," 25 works by contemporary artists using light to explore the human condition.