MEETING AT THE MET: KHUBILAI KHAN, JAN GOSSERT AND MORE
On Monday, May 10, 2010, the Metropolitan Museum of Art invited the art press to preview an exhibition of Old Master drawings from a private collection ("An Italian Journey: Drawings from the Tobey Collection, Correggio to Tiepolo," May 12-Aug. 15, 2010) and then took the crowd of ink-stained wretches up to the roof for a look at Doug and Mike Starn’s Big Bambú sculpture, reportedly none the worse for wear after a weekend of high winds (though all but the Starns’ team of professional mountain climbers were kept off the elaborate structure). All this came in advance of lunch in the trustees dining room, the occasion for a quick preview of the museum’s upcoming exhibitions.
Museum director Thomas Campbell proved himself an able emcee, deflecting concerns that the museum’s exhibition program continues to run on a straitened budget, and drawing the occasional laugh with his wry asides. He started out by celebrating attendance levels, which he said were as high as they had ever been since 9/11, with 10,000 visitors on Saturday for the museum’s "Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," despite the show’s mixed reviews.
Before proclaiming that the new schedule "reflects the diverse energies of all our departments and the breadth of our encyclopedic collection," Campbell also noted that the Met had a few drawings on view made by the late New Yorker cartoonist Barney Tobey, father of the drawing collection patron David Tobey (with his wife Julie). Campbell also took the opportunity to praise the verdant spring gardens at the Cloisters, and tout the Cloisters blog, which is called the Medieval Garden Enclosed.
Campbell pointed out that the exhibition schedule features two major loan shows -- one on Khubilai Khan and a second on Jan Gossart -- as well as smaller exhibitions drawn from the museum’s own collection. A quick roundup:
* "Hipsters, Hustlers and Hardball Players: Leon Levinstein’s New York Photographs, 1950-1980," June 8, 2010-Oct. 17, 2010, fills the museum’s Howard Gilman Gallery with 45 photos by the pioneering New York street photographer Leon Levinstein (1910-1988), drawn from the museum collection. The show is organized by curator Jeff L. Rosenheim.
* "Between Here and There: Dislocation and Displacement in Contemporary Photography," July 2, 2010-Feb. 13, 2011, presents "perambulations and digressions" from the 1960s up to the present by Vito Acconci, Darren Almond, Doug Aitken, Lothar Baumgarten, Rineke Dijkstra, On Kawara, Richard Long, Bruce Nauman, Robert Smithson, Thomas Struth and several others.
* "The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty," Sept. 28, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011, presents 220 works, most from Chinese collections, exploring the period of the Yuan Dynasty (1231-1368), when China was subjugated and became part of the Mongol empire. Organized by James C.Y. Watt, chair of the Met’s Asian art department, the exhibition is divided into four sections: daily life; religious practices; paintings and calligraphy; and decorative arts.
* "The Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel," Sept. 28, 2010-Apr. 3, 2011, is the first museum presentation of an elaborate, three-part mosaic floor decorated with exotic animals, fish and marine scenes that was found in 1996 during construction of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.
* "Man, Myth and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance," Oct. 6, 2010-Jan. 17, 2011, a show that "brings together the Met’s financial and political leverage," according to Campbell, presents paintings, drawing and prints by Jan Gossart (ca. 1478-1532), the pivotal Netherlandish artist who is credited with introducing the Italian Renaissance style to Northern European art.
* "Miró: The Dutch Interiors," Oct. 5, 2010-Jan. 17, 2011, juxtaposes three paintings Joan Miró made after visiting museums in the Netherlands in 1928, and the two Old Master paintings on which they are based. The show debuts at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
* "The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs," Oct. 19, 2010-Jan. 23, 2011, is a "focused" exhibition of 50 pieces from the Buffalo furniture workshop of Charles Rohlfs (1853-1936). The show has already appeared at museums in Milwaukee, Dallas, Pittsburgh and San Marino, Ca.
* "Katrin Sigurdardottir at the Met," Oct. 19, 2010-Mar. 6, 2011, features works by the Icelandic artist Katrin Sigurdardottir (b. 1967) -- cutouts and mirrors inspired by the museum’s Wrightsman Rooms -- in the contemporary wing’s mezzanine, in the latest in the Met’s series of mid-career contemporary artists.
* "John Baldessari: Pure Beauty," Oct. 20, 2010-Jan. 9, 2011, is the final stop of the traveling survey of works by the California proto-postmodernist.
* "’Our Future Is In The Air’: Photographs from the 1910s," Nov. 9, 2010-Apr. 10, 2011, marks the 100th anniversary of the "Great War" with an eclectic selection of 44 photos by 25 artists from the museum collection, in a show designed to celebrate "the birth of modern life."
* "Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand," Nov. 10, 2010-Apr. 10, 2011, offers approximately 100 works from the museum collection by three photo pioneers, including Edward Steichen’s three large variant prints of the Flatiron Building, exhibited side-by-side.
* "Haremhab, The General Who Became King," opening Nov. 10, 2010, offers 40 objects from the Met collection surveying the career of a scribe who became one of King Tut’s important generals and then ruler himself, in a show that Campbell described as being "part of our effort to give more context to the exhibition in Times Square."
And finally, Campbell couldn’t resist mentioning a show slated for February 2011 "Cézanne’s Card Players," devoted to Paul Cézanne’s famous paintings of card players and related images of peasants, an exhibition organized with the Courtauld Institute of Art.
KOOLHAAS’ PLAN TO SAVE EUROPE
Just when everyone is questioning whether the European Union has a future, along comes Rem Koolhaas’ Office of Metropolitan Architecture with a plan to save the planet and promote European integration all at once. The ambitions "Roadmap 2050" project, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation and executed in collaboration with Imperial College London, KEMA, McKinsey & Company and Oxford Economics, envisions a complete green energy redesign of the continent by 2050, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent. Essentially, it is a plan for a continent-wide "European Power Grid," based on the premise that climate-friendly power sources like solar and wind are erratic, but that a shared continent-wide grid would alleviate this effect, as well as allowing everyone to benefit from the different strengths of different geographies.
Whether or not this giant-sized project has any practical chance of coming into effect, what is certain is that, as usual for OMA, the best part is the concept art! This includes a fanciful map of the redesigned Europe as "Eneropa," with the different regions renamed according to their principal contribution to the Grid (e.g. "Solaria," "Isles of Wind," the "Tidal States"). There is also a color-coded chart of the grid made to resemble a Subway map, with the different colored lines representing different kinds of power, and images that illustrate what future under the Euro Grid would look like (solar panels on the roof in Barcelona! What?). For the graphics, and video of OMA partner Reinier de Graaf introducing "Roadmap 2050," go here.
SUMMER ART EVENTS FOR WALKER BACKYARD
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has discovered a way to make its "big green backyard" into an open-source artwork. "Open Field," June 3-Sept. 5, 2010, invites the public to gather in the Walker’s greensward for a variety of scheduled and free-form activities. The project includes an "Open Lounge" (with a cafe menu by Wolfgang Puck) as well as an "Open Field Tool Shed," where visitors can check out picnic blankets, sports equipment, books, games and other supplies.
Visitors are also invited to make their own events, such as a yoga class, a badminton tournament or a book club. The Walker is organizing its own programs, too (like an afternoon "Drawing Club") and promises to bring in artist-collectives Red76 and Futurefarmers for activities later in the summer.
DESIGN MIAMI TO MIAMI BEACH
For its 2010 incarnation, Design Miami is probably moving from the Miami Design District to the parking lot behind the Miami Beach Convention Center, according to the Miami Herald. The move would put Art Basel Miami Beach side-by-side with its popular design-based sister fair. Miami Beach commissioners are reportedly considering a three-year deal at something between $50,000 and $75,000. Though good for Design Miami, the move seems like bad news for the Design District, a curious fact considering that the Design District’s mastermind, real estate developer Craig Robins, also happens to own most of Design Miami. "The reason we're considering this move is because both the Design District and Design Miami have become so successful,'' he told the Herald.
MATTHEW BARNEY AT THE NEW MUSEUM
Sounds like a hot ticket! Artist Matthew Barney is discussing his current project, Ancient Evenings -- a seven-act opera based on Norman Mailer’s 1983 novel -- at the New Museum on Friday, May 21, 2010. The event is part of the museum’s "Proposition" series, in which an artist presents a lecture on Friday evening, followed the next day at noon by a discussion led by Dr. Michael K. Bartalos & Gabe Bartalos. Tickets are $6 for students, $8 for the general public. For more info, click here.
"CRITICISM AND THE NEW MEDIA" AT NEW MUSEUM
The U.S. section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) is having its annual meeting tomorrow, May 12, 7:00 pm, at the New Museum, and the event is to be highlighted by a panel on the indubitably trendy topic of "Criticism and the New Media." On tap to discuss the issues are art writer Robert Ayers, Artnet Magazine’s own associate editor Ben Davis, the New Yorker’s Andrea Scott, blogger extraordinaire Paddy Johnson, and The Daily Beast’s Rachel Wolff. Rhizome.org director Lauren Cornell, who knows of what she speaks when it comes to "the new media," moderates. The panel is open to the public.
BUS HITS HIRSHHORN
In what is being described as "an incident with little if any recent precedent on the National Mall," a UPS truck barreled into Washington, D.C.’s Hirshhorn Museum last night, for no apparent reason. The package-laden truck shattered a plate-glass window and ran through a row of flower pots, but did not affect any art. At the very least, the freak occurrence gives meaning to the museum’s strange, Diller Scofidio + Renfro-conceived plan for adding a large inflatable extension -- it could be just the thing to deflect future out-of-control trucks.