BP, ARTS PATRON
Do corporations even support the arts anymore? Well, one big funder in England is British Petroleum, and if the oil giant might have thought that its good deeds in the realm of arts patronage would gain it any relief from the gusher of bad publicity (and worse) that has come its way during Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, then it was sorely mistaken. Or perhaps BP does benefit in a peculiarly perverse way, as the wrath of protestors that might ordinarily been exercised at the oil company itself is instead aimed squarely at the arts institutions who are recipients of its largess.
In a supreme example of bad timing, Tate Britain held a "summer party" on June 28, 2010, to celebrate 20 years of BP sponsorship, allowing BP executives to mingle with curators and artists at the museum. In a letter to the Guardian, a long list of arts professionals protested the association of Tate with BP, claiming that "the BP logo represents a stain on Tate’s international reputation." Signers of the letter include Hans Haacke, Suzi Gablik, Lucy Lippard, Peter Fend, Maya Ramsay and Helene Aylon.
BP is also the sponsor of a show that bowed last week at London’s National Portrait Gallery, a popular open-entry juried exhibition of portraits called "The BP Portrait Award 2010," which provides the winner -- Daphne Todd, 63, for a "devotional study of her dead mother" -- with a £25,000 prize. The NPG event was picketed by a group of artists calling themselves the Greenwash Guerrillas, while Tate Britain’s summer party was met with a protest by another group called Good Crude Britannia. Last month, still more activists, these called Liberate Tate, invaded Turbine Hall and released black helium balloons with dead fish tied to their strings -- which gallery staff had to shoot down with air rifles.
BP does not divulge the amount of funding it provides to the arts, according to reports, but is considered to be a major supporter of the British Museum as well as the Tate and the NPG (and also sponsors programs at the Royal Opera House and other museums).
MORE NYC GROUP SHOWS FOR SUMMER
On Thursday last, Artnet News listed some of the alluringly titled group shows on the schedule for New York galleries this summer, including the collaborative exhibitions "Lush Life" at no less than nine galleries and "Swell" at no less than three. Here’s some more that have come in over the transom.
* "SHRED," July 1-Aug. 27, 2010, at Perry Rubenstein Gallery, is organized by independent curator (and sometime Artnet Magazine contributor) Carlo McCormick, and presents collage-based works by Bruce Conner, Jess, Dash Snow, Gee Vaucher and Jack Walls, with new works made for the occasion by FAILE, Leo Fitzpatrick, Mark Flood, Erik Foss, Swoon and Judith Supine. Video works by Martha Colburn, Tessa Hughes-Freeland and Bec Stupac are also included.
* "Keeping Busy: An Inaccurate Survey of Michel Auder," June 24-Aug 13, 2010, is a survey of the video veteran spread across three venues, Newman Popiashvili Gallery and Zach Feuer Gallery in Chelsea, and Participant, Inc., on the Lower East Side.
* "False / Divide," July 1-Aug. 14, 2010, at Miguel Abreu Gallery, is subtitled "representations of abstraction in a few photographic works," and includes Matthew Buckingham, Moyra Davey, Liz Deschenes, Zoe Leonard, Sam Lewitt and Eileen Quinlan.
* "Creeds, Colors and Combinations," July 1-Aug. 13, 2010, at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, presents six artists who "collectively argue against Kant’s theory of one, absolute geometry."
* "Phantasmorganica," July 14-July 31, 2010, at Allegra LaViola Gallery (179 East Broadway), showcases works by seven artists whose works "intertwine the fantastical with the natural." The show is co-organized by Danielle Mund.
* "Philadelphia Painters," July 6-Aug. 17, 2010, at the Painting Center (at 547 West 27th Street), a show organized by Matthew Farina, surveys works by more than 20 painters from Philadelphia and its surrounds.
* "Forced Exposure," July 1-30, 2010, at Team Gallery, includes "works of art that position the viewer as an interloper in the gallery." The show is organized by Team’s Miram Katzeff, and includes works by Lutz Bacher, Tom Burr, Ross Knight and Bjarne Melgaard.
* "Held Up By Columns," July 8-Aug. 6, 2010, at Renwick Gallery, presents artworks that use the newspaper ("a ticker tape of the stock of our societies" that "cascades the events of the cities into the country") by approximately 40 artists, including Sarah Charlesworth, Robert Gober, Karl Haendel, Matt Mullican and Al Taylor.
* "Defrosted: A Life of Walt Disney," June 29-Aug. 6, 2010, at Postmasters Gallery, features works by a dozen artists -- Will Cotton, Inka Essenhigh, Arturo Herrera and Joyce Pensato among them -- in "a geography of Walt’s life" organized by artists Adam Cvijanovic and David Humphrey.
* "Siren," July 1-Aug. 6, 2010, at Anna Kustera Gallery, features works by four artists: Dineo Bopape, Sally Dennison, Narcissister, and Pinar Yolacan; a performance by Narcissister is scheduled for the July 1 opening.
* "Christmas in July," July 1-31, 2010, at Yvon Lambert New York, is organized by Simon Castets and takes its title from the 1940 Preston Sturges comedy, in which the lead character (played by Dick Powell) becomes a spendthrift after his friends convince him he’s won $25,000. Artists in the show include Lynda Benglis, Douglas Gordon, Christian Holstad, Aleksandra Mir and Jonathan Horowitz, who is operating a "free store" that allows visitors to drop off items they don’t want and help themselves to things that they like.
* "Jo and Jack: Jo Baer and John Wesley in the ‘60s," July 6-Aug. 13, 2010, at Matthew Marks Gallery on West 22nd Street, is curated by Josh Baer (Jo’s son) and features works made by the two artists during the time they lived and worked together in New York City.
* "The Pencil of Nature," July 1-Aug. 20, 2010, at Julie Saul Gallery, offers works by Zeke Berman, Vija Celmins, Sally Gall, Vik Muniz, Nic Nicosia and almost 20 other artists in a show that explores "the dialogue between drawings and photographs."
* "Multiple Pleasures: Functional Objects in Contemporary Art," June 25-July 30, 2010, at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, presents over 150 objects and artworks by more than 90 contemporary artists, ranging from Andrea Zittel’s wall hooks and Ed Ruscha’s beach towels to Rob Pruitt’s stacked-tires fountain and a dinner table by Urs Fischer. The show is organized by Nathalie Karg, founder of Cumulus Studios.
* "Other than Beauty, June 1-July 30, 2010, at Friedman Benda, presents works by almost 30 artists -- from Ai Weiwei and Janine Antoni to the Yes Men and Zhang Huan -- "who have disregarded the primacy of formal and esthetic beauty. . . and expanded our ideas of what beauty can be." The show is organized by Janine Cirincione.
* "Landscape as an Attitude," June 23-July 30, 2010, at Alexander Gray Associates, looks at "the conceptual space between landscape and portraiture" via works by five gallery artists.
* "Day to-Day," June 29-July 30, 2010, at Martos Gallery, features works by about a dozen artists, including Nancy Brooks Brody, Xylor Jane, Roman Opalka and Danica Phelps, who "incorporate the time dimension into their daily practice." The show is organized by Anne Couillaud.
* "American Iconography," June 30-Aug. 4, 2010, at Adam Baumgold Gallery (40 E. 75th), organized by John Friedman, features works by Jules de Balincourt, Jane Dickson, Saul Steinberg, Matthew Day Jackson and nine other artists.
ROLEX PROTEGES SELECTED FOR 2010-2011
The 2010-11 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which matches young talents with experts in their field, has announced the six emerging artists who were selected for the year-long collaborations. The emerging artists, and their mentors, are:
* Lee Serle, a 28-year-old dancer and choreographer from Australia, selected by Trisha Brown.
* Ben Frost, 30, an Australian composer, producer and musician who co-founded the record label Bedroom Community (based in Reykjavik, where he lives), selected by Brian Eno.
* Tracy K. Smith, 38, a U.S. poet and professor of creative writing at Princeton, whose books include The Body’s Question (2003) and Life on Mars (2011), selected by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
* Nicholas Hlobo, 34, a sculptor and performance artist from South Africa whose works are rooted in his native Xhosa culture and language, selected by Anish Kapoor.
* Maya Zbib, 29, a Lebanese actor, writer and aspiring director who currently co-manages Beirut’s Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, which she founded in 2006, and teaches at Lebanese University’s Institute of Fine Arts, selected by Peter Sellars.
* Annemarie Jacir, 36, a Palestinian film director and poet living in Jordan, whose film credits include like twenty impossibles (2003) and Salt of this Sea (2008), selected by Zhang Yimou.
The Rolex program is now in its fifth year.