TANIA BRUGUERA PERFORMANCE RETRO
Sometimes great ideas strike in many different places at the same time, and this winter the idea is major museum shows of performance art. At the Guggenheim Museum is "Tino Sehgal," Jan 29-Mar. 10, 2010; at the Museum of Modern Art is "Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present," Mar. 14-May 31, 2010; and at the Neuberger Museum of Art in nearby Purchase, N.Y. -- less than an hour away from Manhattan on Metro North -- is "Tania Bruguera: On the Political Imaginary," Jan. 28-Apr. 11, 2010. The show is organized by chief curator Helaine Posner and accompanied by a 144-page catalogue surveying 27 works, the first major book on the Cuban-born artist whose works engage political and social themes with admirable directness and power.
The survey encompasses 18 of Bruguera’s works, and features multiple daily performances throughout the run of the exhibition, undertaken by students at Purchase College (whose curriculum includes performance art courses). Among these are Burden of Guilt from 1997-99, perhaps Bruguera’s best-known action, in which she ties a lamb carcass to her naked body and ritualistically consumes dirt and salt, to represent a suicidal conflict between Cuba’s indigenous people and Spanish invaders.
The show features the debut of a new performance, called Survey, in which guided tours of the museum are conducted by blind docents, as well as a new action by Bruguera herself -- details as yet unannounced -- who splits her time between Cuba and the University of Chicago. Some of the work in the show has been deemed unsuitable for younger audiences, and visitors under 18 years of age are admitted only with a parent or guardian. For more info, see www.neuberger.com.
MOVIES FOR PLANTS IN CHELSEA ART DISTRICT
In 2000, the California conceptual artist Jonathan Keats sat in a gallery with a nude model, selling his "thoughts" (a stamped time card) to collectors, and in 2004 tried to genetically engineer God in a Berkeley lab, according to Wikipedia. Now, Keats plans to show travel documentaries to potted plants, in order to allow "local palms and ficus trees. . . to see distant parts of the planet vicariously." The show takes place at the nonprofit AC Institute, Feb. 4-Mar. 13, 2010, at 547 West 27th Street (fifth floor).
Keats says that his theater is featuring Strange Skies, a travelogue of clouds over Paris and other European cities. "Skies are the ultimate botanical tourist attraction," he said, noting as well that though plants don’t have eyes, they’re "highly sensitive to fluctuations in the spectrum." Keats has previously filmed pornography for plants, featuring honeybees pollinating flowers.
THE END OF "ART ON PAPER"
Chalk up another print victim of the digital era. After a good run of 40 years, Art on Paper magazine -- founded by Paul Cummings as the Print Collector’s Newsletter in 1970 -- has suspended publication. "We had no choice," said co-publisher Peter Nesbett, who noted that ad revenue had fallen almost 70 percent in the last year. "We just ran out of cash." Nesbett and his co-publisher, Shelly Bancroft, who also run the Triple Candie alternative space, had overseen the magazine since 2004, after acquiring it for "very little money."
In its heyday, the Print Collector’s Newsletter (which was run by Jacqueline Brody from 1970 to 1996), was the essence of a professional publication, carrying densely detailed reports on new editions as well as chronicles of print auctions and museum exhibitions. "It was a great way for print people to keep track of each other and stay in touch. It was the center of a real community," said Artnet print specialist Deborah Ripley. Even in its recent form as a glossy mag, its strong suit was its sections highlighting recent new editions. Might it be reborn in digital form? Stay tuned.
BOLOGNA ART FAIR 2010
The 34th edition of Italy’s most prestigious contemporary art fair, Arte Fiera Art First, Jan. 29-31, 2010, takes place at the Bologna Exhibition Center this weekend, and the attractions are many. Among the 200 exhibiting galleries are a few dealers from New York, including Bortolami, Massimo Cirulli, James Cohan and Sperone Westwater. The fair also boasts a special section of "young galleries" devoted to newer dealers; an Art Cafe, reserved for new books and catalogues; and the award of the Premio Euromobil under 30 prize.
Accompanying the fair is "Here and Now," an exhibition of installations by 22 artists organized by Julia Draganovic and sited throughout the city, and "Diario dell’Anima," a collaboration between Bill Viola and composer Arvo Pärt in the deconsecrated Church of Santa Lucia.
One of the special panels addresses the question of "The Private museum," and features collector Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, Hayward Gallery curator Mami Kataoka and DSL Collection co-founder Sylvain Levy, among others.
"FOUND ON FACEBOOK"
In our digital age, it had to happen -- an exhibition curated entirely while surfing Facebook. As artist-curator Charles McGill puts in, in describing the show, "Found on Facebook," which opens Feb. 3, 2010, at the Berger Art Gallery at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., "there hasn’t been a studio visit, a handshake or any eye-to-eye contact. . . . Until the work arrived at the gallery, I hadn’t even seen it live. The show puts both art and artist into the role of ‘found object’." But the show isn’t about Facebook per se; rather, says McGill, the work "reflects the presence (or absence) of human-to-human contact." Participants include RM Fischer, Nina Levy, Joe Lewis, Paul Villinski, Joe Gaffney, Dana Hoey, Leah Durner, Sam Holmes, Julie Trembley, Max King Cap, Willie Middlebrook, Marjan Moghaddam, Liz Insogna and Zed Nesti. For more info, see Facebook, of course.
DAMON DASH, ART DEALER
Hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, cofounder of Roc-A-Fella Records and the Rocawear fashion line, is getting into the art business. The new Dash Gallery opens at 172 Duane Street in Tribeca on Feb. 19, 2010, with a three-part exhibition presenting works by artists Isaac Fortoul, Bobby Castañeda, Heather Gargon, Hector Ruiz and Jeremy Wagner. The gallery building -- dubbed DD172 -- already is well-known to urban trendoids: In a story headlined "The Wannabe Warhol," the New York Observer described DD172 as a four-story building that is already doing duty as an art gallery, photo studio, rehearsal space and all-around hangout, marked by "a thick cloud of pot smoke."
WIN A CANON CAMERA
Maybe you’ve noticed the ads on Artnet.com, featuring a lost teddy bear and a slogan along the lines of "the story behind the still." It’s actually a contest being run by Canon, with cameras and lenses as prizes, that is sort of a video version of the old Surrealist "Exquisite Corpse." The first vid, by photog Vincent Laforet, begins with a still of the teddy bear and spins a short narrative from that starting point, ending with one of Laforet’s own photo stills (it’s already on the Vimeo website). For the next stage in the contest, video-makers are to submit their own vids, from two to four minutes, beginning with Laforet’s still (an ominous shot of a trunk in a dark warehouse) and ending with their own. It’s pretty straightforward; submissions are due Feb. 11, 2010. Detailed rules, as well as a list of judges, are available on the website.