Monday, August 20, 2012

Art News, August 20, 2012

By Charles Kessler

Los Angeles:

Hyperallergic just published this map by artist Zach Alan. It superimposes a map of Manhattan (the little red rectangle is Chelsea) over a map of Los Angeles with art venues flagged. The map graphically illustrates how spread out LA art spaces are. I’ll be in LA next week and will be experiencing this art sprawl myself.
Margo Leavin in her Robertson Boulevard gallery, 1996  (Edward Ornelas / Los Angeles Times / August 14, 2012)
The Los Angeles Times reports the Margo Leavin Gallery will be closing after 42 years. To her credit, Leavin started the gallery with very little capital and built it up to be one of the most important galleries in Los Angeles. I have fond memories of Margo Leavin; she's a smart and cultured person who always did her homework --  I'd often see her at exhibitions not only in Los Angeles but also New York. 

Jersey City: 
New street art on Monmouth between 4th and 5th streets.
What I particularly like about this work, aside from the whimsey, is that there are many such works on both sides of the street, so it's like an installation or environment. 

There are two new shows:
Tabula Rasacurated by Aimée Burg (until September 16th), 
Curious Matter gallery, 272 Fifth Street in Downtown Jersey City.
Open Sundays noon to 3pm and by appointment.
This is a jewel of a show installed in an appropriately small and intimate space -- the front parlor of an historic row house. From the catalog:

TABULA RASA is a group show of work discussing/showing the idea of the table and the discourses we have with this object and space. It is not only a matter of what a table is but also what takes place at or on a table. Our language appreciates the literal and metaphorical potential of this everyday object: when we are open to possibilities, we say All ideas are on the table. These interactions–from a romantic dinner for two to a large board meeting–span every class and social space. This show’s focus on the table examines these crucial instants and decisions.
Steven Paneccasio, Tablecloth, March, 2012, photogarph, 17 ½ x 22 inches.
And opening Saturday, August 25th 7 - 9 PM is: Shimeon Nandlal 2012
Art House Productions
One McWilliams Place (the old St. Francis Building, SE corner of Hamilton Park) 
The press release describes the show as "Self-motivated drawing, poetry, music, theater and dance by self-taught artists." It includes work by Buckle, Boss Jones, Chris G., and Haruko Glory. Should be interesting.

Other art news: 

GalleristNY reports the Canada Gallery will be moving to a larger (and more accessible) space on the Lower East Side — 333 Broome Street (between Chrystie and Bowery). They will be sharing the space with a new branch of the Marlborough Gallery — yet another big-time gallery that wants a LES venue.   
62 East 4th Street, the newly restored home of Duo Center and the Rod Rodgers Dance Company.
I just went on a tour of the East Fourth Street Cultural District organized by FAB (Fourth Arts Block). I’ve been going to La MaMa and The New York Theatre Workshop for years but I never knew there were TWELVE other performing arts venues in that one block between Second and Bowery. And what a history! You can read about some of it here, but take a tour if you can. 
Interior, 62 East 4th Street. Among other things, the opera scene from Godfathers II was shot here, and Andy Warhol used it to show gay porn films. 
And finally, Alastair Macaulay, the respected dance critic of the New York Times, just wrote a thoughtful article about nakedness in current dance that I think applies equally to the visual arts. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Art News - August 13, 2012

By Charles Kessler

Monumental Iron Age statue discovered in Turkey.
The NY Times reports archaeologists in Turkey discovered the top part of a statue of a Neo-Hittite king that's about 3,000 years old and may have been more than 10 feet high.  They say the piece indicates artistic creativity flourished in Iron Age small cities and kingdoms. 

Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay stands near a 3,000-year-old statue of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma.
Lost Raphael Portrait Found.
The Art Newspaper reports Poland’s long lost Raphael, confiscated by the Nazis in 1939 for Hitler's Führermuseum, was recently found in a bank vault.
Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man, c. 1513-1514, 28 x 22 inches, (from the Czartoryski family collection in Crakow).
LA MoCA Update:
In an interview with the LA Times, MoCA director Jeffrey Deitch denies he "courted celebrity sizzle and populist appeal at the expense of serious scholarship."

Meanwhile, as first reported in Bloomberg News (The LA Times seems to have been cut off from MoCA press releases probably due to Christopher Knight’s criticism), MoCA will be replacing Paul Schimmel as chief curator after all -- IF they raise the money. Deitch will not take over the job himself. 
And on a disturbing note, Eli Broad (above), MoCA's questionable savior, halted promised payments to MoCA. He says they have $2.1 million in grants they haven't put toward exhibitions. Why that has anything to do with his multi-million dollar pledge is beyond me. 

Art Critic Robert Hughes died.
Robert Hughes rose to star status by introducing television audiences to the development of 20th century modernism in The Shock of the New: A Personal View in 1981. (Helmut Newton)
There are several justly laudatory obituaries. Jonathan Jones wrote a heartfelt one for the Guardian here.

Many episodes of his groundbreaking and perceptive television series about modern art can be found on YouTube. Here are the first five:
Episode 2: The Powers that Be
Episode 3: The Landscape of Pleasure
Episode 4: Trouble in Utopia
Episode 5: The Threshold of Liberty

The Philadelphia Weekly asks why so many Philly art galleries are closing.
Travis Heck, director of one of those galleries, Extra Extra, suggests one possibility:  "There was just really no support from larger institutions to get the collectors to the galleries.

Artists and small art galleries sometimes have an inflated sense of importance and entitlement, but I don't think it's too much to ask larger art institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art to occasionally bring a group of collectors to local art galleries, or to at least find other ways to encourage their members to go to local galleries.

Paula Cooper portrait by Rudolf Stingel based on a 1984 Mapplethorpe photograph.
Interview with legendary art dealer Paula Cooper.
Classy Cooper talks about what Soho was like in the seventies and eighties, and notes some major changes in the art world since then.