MOMA’S "TIM BURTON" BLOW-OUT
The Museum of Modern Art launches its exhaustive exhibition of cartoons and models by eccentric Hollywood filmmaker Tim Burton, a long-running show monographically dubbed "Tim Burton," Nov. 22, 2009-Apr. 26, 2010, with a gala reception tonight, Nov. 17. The party, which is "co-chaired" by Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (Burton’s wife), is a fund-raiser for MoMA’s film department, with tickets starting at $2,500 -- though admission to the after-party, which runs from 9 pm to midnight, is $125 at the door.
The show itself, as everyone must know by now, features over 700 works, but is compactly installed in the museum’s third-floor galleries, in the space previously occupied by "In & Out of Amsterdam." And though Burton’s cartoons are of limited artistic interest, the show raises the tantalizing prospect that MoMA could in the future showcase works by the dozens of talented animators and comix artists active today, from James Romberger to whoever the auteur is behind the Chowder cartoon on Nickelodeon. In addition, the MoMA exhibition has apparently prompted Burton to consider the art biz in earnest, and fabricate several large-scale sculptures for the show, including the amusing topiary deer now out in the sculpture garden.
Burton’s undeniable talent is in film directing and animation, of course, and "Tim Burton" includes a retrospective of his 14 feature films (11 of which are in MoMA’s collection), from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) and Beetlejuice (1988) to Sweeney Todd (2007). Burton has also made a short, brilliant animation especially for MoMA to advertise the show, a vid that the museum has posted on YouTube, is displaying it its lobby, and is using as an ad in the online version of the New York Times. This last is a first for MoMA, and costs the museum about $6,000 a month.
MAN RAY AWARD TO CINDY SHERMAN
Artist Cindy Sherman has received the Man Ray Award from the Jewish Museum, celebrating her "accomplishments in advancing understanding of the limitless possibilities of identity, and the profound impact of her work on the contemporary art world." The award ceremony takes place at the museum tonight, Nov. 17 in conjunction with a viewing of the museum’s new exhibition, "Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention," and is designed as a fund-raiser for the museum’s contemporary exhibition program. Tickets start at $250, and a $750 ticket includes a visit to the artist’s studio on Mar. 10 (phone 212 423-3278 for tickets).
PINTA ART FAIR 2009
Pinta 2009, the third installment of the self-described "modern & contemporary Latin American fair," opens Nov. 19-22, 2009 at the Metropolitan Pavilion and the B. Altman Building at 125 West 18th Street in Chelsea. Some 60 galleries from 12 countries are participating, including an impressive line-up from right here in New York City: Alexander and Bonin, Alexander Gray, Cecilia de Torres, Dean Project, Eleven Rivington, Latincollector, Henrique Faria, Hosfelt, James Fuentes, Josée Bienvenu, Magnan Projects, Nohra Haime, Ricco / Maresca and Y Gallery.
Pinta also boasts what it calls a "museum acquisitions program," a series of grants to museums to acquire works at the fair, "to incentivize the art market and enhance museum collections." Among the museums invited to participate are the Houston MFA, the Boston MFA, the Harvard Art Museum, Tate Modern, El Museo del Barrio and several others.
What’s more, the Pinta team -- Diego Costa Peuser, Alejandro Zaia and Mauro Herlitzka -- is taking their act on the road. The inaugural Pinta London is slated to open June 3-6, 2010, in Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Brompton Hall.
LAYOFFS IN PENNSYLVANIA
Pennsylvania announced on Monday that it was laying off some 319 state employees, including 85 employees of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The only department to suffer more was the state Department of Environmental Protection, which lost 138 employees -- though the PHMC still took a bigger hit in terms of a percentage of its staff, losing a full quarter of its employees. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the cuts will mean "suspending services at six historic sites, closing the state museum in Harrisburg two days a week, and eliminating all new exhibit spending."
THE FUTURE OF MUSIC IS ART: JARVIS COCKER
Everyone knows that the traditional music industry is down on its luck, as the internet has made traditional album sales increasingly obsolete. But could some kind of art/music synthesis offer a possible future? One person who thinks so is former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, who last week took over the space of London’s Village Underground for an experimental music jam that took a page from the "relational esthetics" of artists like Rirkrit Tiravanija and Jeremy Deller, inviting the audience to be part of the experience.
"I wanted to look at another way of presenting music rather than just putting on a show," Cocker explained to the Guardian. "Can it work in an art gallery? Will people come along?"
Dubbed "Jarvis Cocker Makes an Exhibition of Himself," Nov. 9-11, 2009, the experience involved filling the art space with, well, some beanbag chairs (it recreated a similar spectacle that Cocker staged this summer at Galerie Chappe in Paris, where he lives). A program of events posted online gave details of what to expect each hour, which included live graffiti (provided by something called the Pure Evil gallery), pole-dancing and burlesque workshops, circus performances and yoga.
All of this, of course, was accompanied by live music by Cocker and his cohorts, and interspersed with generous segments where visitors were encouraged to "bring an instrument" and play with the band. The Guardian’s story contains the account by Kate Abbott about her experience jamming with the star on an improvised 20-minute version of Another Brick in the Wall ("I won't be terrified to join in a jam next time -- I learnt today that all you need is a great band behind you.") As can be expected with such a popular spectacle, plenty of video of it is available on YouTube.
Speaking of the significance of the whole affair, Cocker postulated that "maybe as the record becomes less important it's going to be more about the performance." Then again, perhaps the experience echoes less the adventures of performance art, and more another, more familiar form: the publicity stunt. Cocker has just released a new solo album, Further Complications. Either way, look for Jarvis coming to a gallery near you soon.