FLAVIN IN MUSIC VIDEO
R&B singer Kelly Rowland, former member of the pop group Destiny’s Child, seems to like the artwork of Minimalist legend Dan Flavin. The music video for Rowland’s hit single Work features the singer and a team of dancers performing a Bollywood-style dance number in a variety of florescent light environments, many of which are dead ringers for Flavin light installations.
Obviously referenced in the video, for instance, is Untitled (in honor of Harold Joachim) 3 (1977), a set of pink and yellow horizontal florescent tubes with vertical rows of blue and green lights facing the opposite direction, as well as Untitled (To Jan and Ron Greenberg) (1972-73), which features a cage-like structure of red and green light tubes, installed back-to-back. Recreations of both works feature as background for Rowland’s gyrations, while other Flavin-esque light tubes serve as a prop for a simulated pole dance.
The video was filmed in Los Angeles in July 2007, a timeframe that happens to coincide with the presentation of the Dia Art Foundation’s touring show, "Dan Flavin: A Retrospective" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, May 13-Aug. 12, 2007. Both the Harold Joachim and Jan and Ron Greenberg works were part of that show. A press rep for Dia, which runs the Dan Flavin Institute in Bridgehampton, N.Y., said that there was little chance that the piece was an official collaboration, while retrospective co-curator Tiffany Bell called the sculptures in the video "close imitations -- not works by Flavin."
The video’s director, Philip Andelman, is definitely a fan of avant-garde art. Named as one of Paper magazine’s beautiful people in 2005, Andelman told the magazine that "I want to do a Philip Glass music video very badly."
BANKSY, HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT?
By now, everyone knows that Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper has claimed to have unveiled the identity of masked graffiti artist Banksy, having engaged, in the paper’s words, in an "exhaustive year-long investigation in which we have spoken to dozens of friends, former colleagues, enemies, flatmates and members of Banksy's close family." And what is the fruit of this crusading bit of investigative journalism? Banksy, the paper claims, is actually 34-year-old Robin Gunningham, originally of Bristol. The Mail report makes much of the fact that the artist known for works of "anti-authoritarian whimsy" (as the New Yorker once dubbed it) is actually "a former public schoolboy brought up in middle-class suburbia." Pretty thin stuff, but after that year-long investigation, the paper has to come up with something, right?
Since the unveiling, the online scandal sheet Gawker has added a new wrinkle to the news. The starting point for the Mail on Sunday’s investigation was the "one known photo" of someone supposed to be Banksy, taken in Jamaica four years ago, which the paper’s reporters used as clue to track down old acquaintances and wrangle information. However, Gawker points out that there is another photo of the artist, sans mask, publicly available. Taken in 1999 at the Sony Playstation Skate Park in London, that pic has long been viewable through the Rex photo service. It even features the following caption: "'Banksy' as himself, probable real name Robin Banks, or Robin Gunningham from Bristol 1999."
In fact, an online search reveals other photos from the same set depicting the unmasked artist cavorting with British dancer Deborah Bull, member of government funding agency Arts Council England from 1999-2005. Banksy manager Steve Lazarides is also pictured. Large versions of the pics are available to Rex users, and can be used for "the usual repro fees" -- the Mail might score one for a fraction of the price of its investigation.
UPDATE: The Banksy mystery goes on. No sooner had Gawker posted the information about the Rex photos, then it printed a retraction, saying that a reader had pointed out that the man in the photos might actually be Banxy, a UK-based break dancer, who had worked with Deborah Bull. Bizarrely, this would mean that the photo service had incorrectly identified the man in the photo with the very name -- “Robin Gunningham” -- that the Times would track down nine years later. And that both the break dancer and Bull happened to be hanging with the actual Banksy’s agent, Steve Lazarides. Stay tuned.
WILSON SISTERS OPEN NEW DERBY ART CENTER
A special commission by Jane & Louise Wilson launches the new £11.2-million, 2,600-square-meter Quad center for contemporary art and film in Derby in central England, which opens the weekend of Sept. 26-28, 2008. Designed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley, the facility includes a gallery, two cinemas, a black box space, a café, workshop spaces and artist’s studios. Quad is one of several new venues opening in the East Midlands as part of a scheme to develop the area as a cultural hub. Further details of the new Wilson work, which is to draw on Derby’s industrial history, await the debut.
REMBRANDT AT THE PRADO
For all its artistic riches, the Prado in Madrid has but a single Rembrandt painting (Artemisia, 1634), which has prompted Prado curator Alejandro Vergara to organize "Rembrandt: Painter of Stories," Oct. 15, 2008-Jan. 6, 2009. The show, which focuses on the artist’s narrative and history works, presents 35 paintings and five prints from 20 museums and collections. The show also includes Rembrandt’s Self-portrait in Oriental Dress (1631) from the Petit Palais in Paris, and his Self-portrait as Zeuxis (1662) from the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.
SATELLITE ART FAIRS FOR FIAC 08
FIAC 08 bows in Paris, Oct. 23-26, 2008, but it won’t be alone. Art Elysees, Oct 23-26, 2008, which launched in 2007 as "Elysées de l’Art," promises 80 modern and contemporary galleries, most of them French, in a pair of tent pavilions on the Champs-Elysées. The fair is organized by Paris dealer Badoin Lebon. For further details, watch the not-yet-live www.artelysees.fr.
This year, the Slick 08 contemporary art fair, Oct. 24-27, 2008, moves to the garden entrance level of the 39,000-square-meter Centquatre, a 19th-century industrial structure. Almost 60 galleries are expected, with a bit more than half being French and the rest hailing from Belgium, China, Croatia, Spain, Italy, the UK and the US. For more info, see www.slick-paris.com
The third satellite fair for FIAC is Show-Off, Oct. 22-28, 2008, at the Espace Pierre Cardin on the Place de la Concorde. Founded in 2006 by Several French dealers (Magda Danysz, Eric Dupont, Patricia and Olivier Houg, Stéphane Magnan and Christine Ollier, and Vanessa Quang), Show Off presented 28 exhibitors in 2007, including Mike Weiss and Priska Juschka from New York. For details, see www.showoffparis.com
ESTATE PLANNING FOR ARTISTS
The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation and the Judith Rothschild Foundation have teamed up to publish a 2008 update and supplement of A Visual Artist’s Guide to Estate Planning, the indispensible handbook to everything from copyright registration to living wills, first published in 1998 (and now available as a free download at www.sharpeartfdn.org). Much has changed in the past ten years, however, and the new supplement, overseen by art attorney Barbara Hoffman, addresses recent changes in tax legislation and copyright law, a new interest in preserving artists’ archives, and the growth of artist’s foundations, which have become a significant estate-planning vehicle for artists. The supplement also features essays by Michele Wallace on artist Faith Ringgold’s Anyone Can Fly Foundation, curator Jack Cowart on the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, and Barbara Hunt McLanahan on the Judd Foundation. The 2008 Supplement Update is available free at the Sharpe Art Foundation website.
SPACE ARTISTS AT THE MWSAF
Speaking of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, the organization has just announced the winners of its Space Program 2008, which awards free studios in DUMBO in Brooklyn to 17 artists for a year (rather than trips into orbit). Winners include Colette and Katinka Mann, who both received a special "studio award for older artists," as well as Kim Beck, Erik Benson, Michael Paul Britto, Bibi Calderaro, Michelle Carollo, Rob Carter, Cora Cohen, Franklin Evans, Christopher Gallego, Ezra Johnson, Kakyoung Lee, Kristine Moran, Eric Sall, Diane Wah and Frank Webster. The jury for the awards included artists Matthew Deleget, Richard Haas, Mary Lucier, Harriet Shorr and Sarah Sze. The space program is now in its 18th year.
KATY KLINE RESIGNS AS BOWDOIN DIRECTOR
Katy Kline, director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Me., has resigned after a decade in the job. She oversaw a $20.8-million renovation of Bowdoin’s Walker Art Building. A search for her successor is under way.