Friday, December 9, 2011

Art News, etc.

By Charles Kessler

Art News
Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein in 1922 in their apartment in Paris.
Laura Gilbert’s site, Art Unwashed, has become a go-to site for insider museum news. The Metropolitan Museum has reported future exhibitions only until June 2012, but Gilbert managed to uncover their plans until June of 2013. Here are some of the exhibition highlights from her site:

Rembrandt and Degas, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, February 23 to May 20, 2012.  Highlights:  two early Rembrandt self-portraits on loan from Europe.

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde, February 28 to June 3, 2012.  About 100 works collected by expatriates Gertrude Stein and her brothers.

Regarding Warhol: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years, September 2012 to January 2013.  Warhol and his influence, thematically arranged.  A Met rarity – a group show of contemporary art.

Bernini Models in Clay, October 2012 to January 2013.  50 models and several sculptures by the Roman Baroque master.


Typically museum websites are only about the museum itself — their collection, exhibitions, hours, etc., but the Walker's new site contains links and articles about the wider art world and hopefully will be an inspiration for other art museums.


More Bushwick Gallery News:

Storefront Gallery’s co-founder Jason Andrew informed me that Deborah Brown, Storefront’s other founder, has renewed the lease at its current location, and a new gallery will re-open there on December 18th with essentially the same name: Storefront Bushwick. The resourceful Jason Andrew will not be involved with the new gallery but will maintain his association with the Norte Maar Gallery.

Via L Magazine comes the news that Soho gallery Christina Ray will open a project space in Bushwick at the beginning of the year, and they will be changing their name to the Kesting/Ray Gallery to reflect the addition of David Kesting, Ray's husband, as co-director.


The Merce Cunningham Dance Company website has a complete series of videos documenting many aspects of the company. It’s called “Mondays With Merce” and includes 19 interviews with Cunningham that were filmed two years before he died. There are also forty-two interviews with Cunningham’s colleagues and dancers, and footage of 15 technique classes taught by Cunningham and rehearsal sessions of more than 30 works with him in charge. If you never saw Merce Cunningham or his dance company, this is the next best thing.


Warning: political commentary next — just skip it if you want.

Mr. Montgomery Burns
My first love was economics, and I still spend a lot of time reading the literature -- especially Paul Krugman's blog. Very occasionally I come across an article that's not well known, a least not known in the art world, but is so clear and compelling I want to call attention to it here.

A few months ago, billionaire Warren Buffett wrote a New York Times Op-Ed entitled Stop Coddling the Super-Rich. It was mainly about the fairness of taxing the rich; now Nick Hanauer, another billionaire, writes about the economic benefits of taxing the super rich: Raise Taxes on Rich to Reward True Job Creators

Hanauer is a famous venture capitalist who helped launch more than 20 companies, including aQuantive Inc. and; nevertheless in he wrote:
...I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate. 
...The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the average American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. 
...So let’s give a break to the true job creators. Let’s tax the rich like we once did and use that money to spur growth by putting purchasing power back in the hands of the middle class. And let’s remember that capitalists without customers are out of business.
Urban Planning:

“Why should people get to see plans? This isn't a public project.”
     --Bruce Ratner, the developer of the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, quoted in Crain’s, November 8, 2009

I'm a bit soured on Urban Planning lately after my bad experience with Jersey City's Powerhouse Arts District but, like looking at a horrific accident, I continue to read the literature. (I highly recommend the very readable, even entertaining, The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. It’s still the definitive book on urban planning but heartbreaking to read because, after 42 years, city planners still don’t get it.)

The New York Times had an article recently on how the Dutch, when they undertake big new development projects, put together what they call “structure plans.” Urban designers are called in to work out the best way to organize the site for the public good. They plan parks, squares, the street-scape, access to public transportation, and generally create a pedestrian-friendly environment. (This is the kind of thing the BMW Guggenheim Lab was concerned with.) The thing is, this is done BEFORE a developer submits a plan for the site. You might think "duh", but, except for Rockefeller Center and a few other notable places, that isn’t the way we do things here, e.g., Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and the re-zoning of neighborhoods like Lower Manhattan, Williamsburg and of course Jersey City (see our blog title photo above).

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