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January 30 2013

Ishmael Randall Weeks: Quoin at Eleven Rivington Gallery, New York

In this video we attend the opening of Ishmael Randall Weeks’s solo exhibition Quoin at Eleven Rivington’s Chrystie Street space in New York. It’s Ishmael Randall Weeks’s second exhibition with the gallery. Titled Quoin, the show features new collages and works on paper, objects, sculpture, and a 16mm film.

Ishmael Randall Weeks is known for his use of found and re-purposed materials such as tires, magazines, construction fragments for his sculptures and installations. His work deals with such as urbanization, development, travel, and migration. Ishmael Randall Weeks was born in 1976 in Cusco, Peru. He studied at Bard College and The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. The artist currently lives and works in Lima and New York. His work is part of the collections of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; MIMA, Middlesbrough, UK; The Museum of Art in Lima (MALI), Lima, Peru; and the MACRO Museum, Rome, among others.

The artist’s solo exhibition at Eleven Rivington runs until February 10, 2013. The show coincides with a solo project Cuts, Burns, Punctures at The Drawing Center, New York, that runs until March 13, 2013.

Ishmael Randall Weeks: Quoin at Eleven Rivington Gallery, New York. Opening reception, January 9, 2013. Video by Shimon Azulay.

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January 17 2013

Yelp partners with NYC and SF on restaurant inspection data

One of the key notions in my “Government as a Platform” advocacy has been that there are other ways to partner with the private sector besides hiring contractors and buying technology. One of the best of these is to provide data that can be used by the private sector to build or enrich their own citizen-facing services. Yes, the government runs a weather website but it’s more important that data from government weather satellites shows up on the Weather Channel, your local TV and radio stations, Google and Bing weather feeds, and so on. They already have more eyeballs and ears combined than the government could or should possibly acquire for its own website.

That’s why I’m so excited to see a joint effort by New York City, San Francisco, and Yelp to incorporate government health inspection data into Yelp reviews. I was involved in some early discussions and made some introductions, and have been delighted to see the project take shape.

My biggest contribution was to point to GTFS as a model. Bibiana McHugh at the city of Portland’s TriMet transit agency reached out to Google, Bing, and others with the question: “If we came up with a standard format for transit schedules, could you use it?” Google Transit was the result — a service that has spread to many other U.S. cities. When you rejoice in the convenience of getting transit timetables on your phone, remember to thank Portland officials as well as Google.

In a similar way, Yelp, New York, and San Francisco came up with a data format for health inspection data. The specification is at http://yelp.com/healthscores. It will reportedly be announced at the US Conference of Mayors with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee today.

Code for America built a site for other municipalities to pledge support. I’d also love to see support in other local restaurant review services from companies like Foursquare, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!  This is, as Chris Anderson of TED likes to say, “an idea worth spreading.”

November 06 2012

A case for voting Republican

I’m writing this from an hour-long polling line on the Upper West Side, where no political races will be remotely competitive this year. The presence of so many people willing to put up with the inconvenience of a long wait to cast a vote that’s unlikely to make a difference is inspiring, but under conditions like this one my mind tends in a cynical direction, and when I go cynical I start to think about voting Republican.

That temptation comes not from the party’s position on FEMA or climate change, its willingness to force legislative cliffhangers rather than compromise, or its alertness on issues as diverse as Barack Obama’s birth certificate and the war on Christmas.

Rather, the temptation arises from this map, which shows the concentration of political influence in just a small handful of “battleground” states. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have together visited Ohio 75 times. They’ve visited New York 24 times, almost all of which were fundraisers and media appearances. The political cycle, and the issues it chews over, are calculated to excite voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida — hence a focus this year on industrial offshoring and retiree health care. Political campaigns use the same big-data approaches that any clever startup or retail chain would use to segment voters and target them directly. Undecided voters in swing states have enormous leverage. The rest of us have been mostly segmented out of the process.

As much as I hope Obama will win today’s election, I’m tempted by the thought that my vote — which is practically certain to have no impact on the outcome of any election today — might be better spent strategically in making New York a slightly more competitive political arena.

You might point out that the candidates’ fundraising hauls come largely from New York and California, and so my fellow urbanites have perhaps a greater say in the formation of the political agenda than a voter in a closely-contested state. But I think it’s safe to say that Donald Trump is not whispering in Mitt Romney’s ear about the need for better rail transportation between New York, Boston and Washington, or the threat to the Northeast of rising sea levels.

If New York were a battleground state, we might enjoy political spoils as lavish as any enjoyed by a subsidized Ohio farmer — and those spoils, in the form of badly-needed improvements to interstate infrastructure, would probably be better for the country than the former, since a modest improvement in the functioning of the New York City area — whose GDP is $1.3 trillion — could have an outsize impact on the national economy. At the very least, presidential candidates would be better attuned to the needs of our big cities, which are the engines of U.S. economic growth but are mostly in electorally uncompetitive states.

Of course, hoping that my vote will make a difference in the competitiveness of this state is probably as far-fetched as thinking my vote will determine the outcome of any election. In the meantime, there are more promising ways to work against the injustice of the Electoral College — like an effort to have states commit to giving their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular election.

As it turned out, I took the safer route and voted straightforwardly, for the candidate I’d gone to the polls to support.

October 29 2012

Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos / New Museum, New York

The exhibition Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos at the New Museum in New York presents the extensive and varied work of the German artist Rosemarie Trockel. German artist Rosemarie Trockel is known for works that address issues of sexuality, feminism, and the hierarchy of systems. Rosemarie Trockel. A Cosmos encompasses all three main gallery floors of the New Museum. The retrospective presents drawings, collages, installations, videos, furniture, insallations, clothing, and Rosemarie Trockel’s famous “knit paintings”. For this retrospective, Rosemarie Trockel places her work in the company of others whom she regards as kindred spirits. For example, Trockel’s ceramics from the past several years are displayed along with Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka’s glass models of sea creatures created in the nineteenth century.

Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos / Retrospective at New Museum, New York. Opening reception, October 23, 2012. Video: Shimon Azulay.

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Rosemarie Trockel was born in 1952 in Schwerte, Germany. She studied at the Kölner Werkschulen in Cologne, Germany. Since 1998, Rosemarie Trockel has been a professor at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. She lives and works in Cologne. The artist has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at venues including: the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Dia Center for the Arts, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland.

Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos has been curated by Lynne Cooke, former Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, in collaboration with Rosemarie Trockel. The New Museum’s presentation has been organized in conjunction with the artist and curator by Massimiliano Gioni, Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions, and Jenny Moore, Associate Curator. The exhibition was first on view at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía from May 23–September 24, 2012. After its presentation at the New Museum, the exhibition will travel to the Serpentine Gallery, London.

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September 24 2012

What caused New York’s startup boom?

Google's New York officeGoogle's New York officeSince the crisis of 2008 New York City’s massive financial sector — the city’s richest economic engine, once seen to have unlimited potential for growth — has languished. In the meantime, attention has turned to its nascent startup sector, home to Foursquare, Tumblr, 10gen, Etsy and Gilt, where VC investment has surged even as it’s been flat in other big U.S. tech centers (PDF).

I’ve started to poke around the tech community here with a view toward eventually publishing a paper on the rise of New York’s startup scene. In my initial conversations, I’ve come up with a few broad questions I’ll focus on, and I’d welcome thoughts from this blog’s legion of smart readers on any of these.

  • How many people in New York’s startup community came from finance, and under what conditions did they make the move? In 2003, Google was a five-year-old, privately-held startup and Bear Stearns was an 80-year-old pillar of the financial sector. Five years later, Google was a pillar of the technical economy and among the world’s biggest companies; Bear Stearns had ceased to exist. Bright quantitatively-minded people who might have pursued finance for its stability and lucre now see that sector as unstable and not necessarily lucrative; its advantage over the technology sector in those respects has disappeared. Joining a 10-person startup is very different from taking a job at Google, but the comparative appeal of the two sectors has dramatically shifted.
  • To what degree have anchor institutions played a role in the New York startup scene? The relationship between Stanford University and Silicon Valley is well-documented; I’d like to figure out who’s producing steady streams of bright technologists in New York. Google’s Chelsea office, opened in 2006, now employs close to 3,000 people, and its alumni include Dennis Crowley, founder of Foursquare. That office is now old enough that it can generate a high volume of spin-offs as Googlers look for new challenges. And Columbia and NYU (and soon a Cornell-Technion consortium) have embraced New York’s startup community.
  • Does New York’s urban fabric make its labor market more liquid? Changing jobs in Silicon Valley can mean an extra 40 minutes on your commute if you have to slog up the 101 during rush hour. New York’s main business districts are much more compact; if you change jobs from a bank in Midtown to a startup on 28th Street, your commute won’t change by more than 10 minutes.
  • What are the dominant practice areas in New York’s tech scene, and how do they relate to the human capital available here? Have refugees from the finance, media and advertising industries brought with them distinctive skills from those areas? How much of the startup community here is targeted at acquiring those industries as clients?
  • What’s the city doing in response to the growth of its tech industry, and what can other cities learn from New York’s model? Other old, established cities like Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington claim to have robust startup communities. What do these cities have in common, and how have their governments reacted to the emergence of their tech communities? The emergence of a tech startup scene here could be particularly fortunate for New York in light of its dependence on the finance industry (at the peak of the finance boom, the industry contributed 20% and 13% of New York State’s and City’s income tax revenues, respectively; those figures in 2011 were 14% and 7%). To what degree can a city or state government desperate for diversification bring a startup community into existence?

Send along any ideas in the comments below!

September 22 2012

Mr.: Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings / Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York

The current exhibition Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York presents new works by Japanese artist Mr. The centerpiece is a huge, complex installation composed of garbage and everyday objects from Japanese life. The piece deals with the devastation and nuclear disaster in Eastern Japan following the earthquakes and Tsunami in March 2011. A counterpoint to this thoughtful installation is the colorful and uplifting paintings the artist has created for the exhibition. The new paintings are part of Mr.’s ongoing exploration of otaku, the Japanese “cute” subculture that is characterized by the obsession with manga, anime, video games, and sci-fi literature.

Mr. was born in 1969 in Cupa, Japan. Mr. lives and works in Saitama. He graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Sokei Art School, in Tokyo, in 1996. As former protégé of Takashi Murakami has been closely involved with Murakami’s studio and his enterprise, Kaikai Kiki. Mr. has been participating in exhibitions such as Krazy: the Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture at Japan Society, in New York.

Mr.: Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings / Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York. Opening reception, September 13, 2012. Video by Shimon Azulay.

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September 20 2012

Simon Starling: Triangulation Station A / Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York

The exhibition with the title Triangulation Station A (40°44’49.17″N 74° 0’22.45″W) is Simon Starling’s fifth show with the gallery Casey Kaplan. It runs concurrently with presentation of the same works at the gallery Neugerriemschneider in Berlin. Thus, the other show is called Triangulation Station B (52°31’39.61″ N  13°23’38.64″ E). The exhibitions present two films, Black Drop and Project for a Masquarade (Hiroshima). Black Drop brings together the topics astronomy, photography, and the beginnings of moving image technology and is accompanied by the sculpture Venus Mirrors (05/06/2012, Hawaii & Tahiti Inverted), which consists of two telescopes. Project for a Masquarade (Hiroshima) revolves around Henry Moore’s sculpture Nuclear Energy, which is installed at the University of Chicago. Two wooden maks by Yasuo Miichi accompany the film. More information is available after the break. The exhibition at Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York City runs until October 20, 2012.

Simon Starling: Triangulation Station A (40°44’49.17″N 74° 0’22.45″W), Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York. September 6, 2012. Video by Shimon Azulay.

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September 18 2012

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Voice Array at Bitforms Gallery, New York

The current exhibition at Bitforms Gallery in New York presents works by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. The centerpiece is Rafael Lozano-Hemmers artwork Voice Array. Voice Array is a sound and light sculpture that fills the gallery’s far wall and consists of LEDs and a customized intercom system of audio playback and recording. Here is how it works as explained by the gallery: Capturing hundreds of voices and translating each one into a series of light flashes, the piece stores a unique pattern as a loop in the first light of the array, until the next participant speaks into the intercom. Each new recording is pushed along its long horizontal band of LEDs, as sounds of the voices gradually accumulate. When the first voice reaches the other side of the piece, the participant’s phrase is once again released as sound, punctuated by the staggering pulsation of all the lights in tandem. The ever-changing voices stored by the piece play back through a directional speaker, during moments of less activity.

On the occasion of the exhibition’s opening, vocal percussionist Rahzel, aka The Godfather of Noyze has been commissioned to perform a piece, using Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Voice Array. Rahzel is a two-time Grammy award winning artist, beat boxer, actor and writer. This video documents part of the performance and the use of the piece by individual attendants of the opening reception.

Voice Array is the fourth solo exhibition with Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. The piece Voice Array debuted last fall in Sydney (Australia), at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The show also presents the work Last Breath, a robotic installation that stores and circulates the breath of a person forever, between a bellows and a brown paper bag.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in 1967 in Mexico. He is known for his interactive artworks that mix the fields of digital media, robotics, medical science, and performance art. Recent projects include large-scale public installations for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada; the Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York; and the 50th Anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Until October 14, 2012, the Association for Public Art in Philadelphia presents his work Open Air. As part of the ZERO1 Biennial, the SF MoMA in San Francisco presents his works Homographies and Frequency and Volume. He is also currently participating in exhibitions in Valencia, Spain (at Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno); Bochum, Germany (Ruhr Triennial); and Buenos Aires, Argentina (Fundación Telefónica).

Opening Reception and Performance by Rahzel, the Godfather of Noyze. Bitforms Gallery, New York City, September 6, 2012.

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September 14 2012

Industrial Evolution. Kris Perry & Friends at Family Business Gallery, New York

Kris Perry is a Hudson-based artist that conceives and builds kinetic sculptures / instruments. At the art space Family Business in Chelsea, New York City, he and his friends (Elise McMahon, Bill Stone, Brian Dewan, Peter Nadin, Vanessa Haroutunian) present an exhibition, curated by Linda Yablonsky and called Industrial Evolution. On September 7, the musicians Chris Turco, Ben Fundis, Brian Dewan, John Rosenthal, Elvis Perkins, Tommy Stinson performed a concert, playing on the instruments.

Kris Perry was born in Berkeley, California. He studied under illustrator Charles Pyle and attended California College of Art. Kris Perry also studied welding and metallurgy. He has worked with artist David Best on numerous large scale projects. Kris Perry is the founder of Fantastic Fabrication, the custom metal fabrication shop of the artist. Kris currently lives and works in Hudson, New York.

The last concert takes place on September 29, 2012, which is also the last day of the exhibition. Family Business is a new exhibition space initated by Maurizio Cattelan and Massimiliano Gioni.

Industrial Evolution. Kris Perry & Friends at Family Business Gallery, New York. Concert, September 7, 2012.

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August 03 2012

VernissageTV Classics (r3): Keith Tyson: Large Field Array / Pace Wildenstein, New York (2007)

For the 10th segment in our r3 series, we look back at Keith Tyson’s 2007 exhibition Large Field Array at Pace Wildenstein in New York. Keith Tyson arranged over 220 separate sculptural forms in a grid-like array (see the original post for more information.)

Keith Tyson was born in 1969 in Ulverston, Lancashire (England). He studied at the Faculty of Arts and Architecture, University of Brighton. In 2002, he won the Turner Prize.

Keith Tyson’s “Large Field Array” is named after the Very Large Array (VLA), a field of Radio Telescopes in New Mexico. The elements of the work are arranged in a grid and suspended on the walls. Art critic Walter Robinson described the work as “nothing less than a complete Pop cosmology“. Among the individual sculptures are a house of cards, a chair made of skeletons, a mini-tornado of water mist in a box, a roulette table, and a box with bubbling mud.

This is another segment in our series r3 that highlights the treasures of VernissageTV’s huge archive. R3 is a series of VernissageTV classics, now re-mastered, re-edited and reissued in High Definition. Click here for the complete list of videos. Click here for the original post and more information about the show.

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August 01 2012

Roy Lichtenstein's Electric Cord resurfaces after 42 years

Painting by pop art pioneer found in a New York city warehouse

A Roy Lichtenstein painting missing since 1970 has surfaced at a New York City warehouse – and a judge has ordered that it stay put until rightful ownership can be determined, according to court documents.

Lichtenstein's Electric Cord was created in 1961. It depicts a coiled cord in black and white on a 28 by 18 inch (71 by 46 cm) canvas. It was bought for $750 in the 1960s by art collector Leo Castelli, but disappeared in 1970 after the Castelli gallery sent it out for cleaning.

In 2007, Barbara Castelli, who inherited the art gallery when her husband Leo died in 1999, listed Electric Cord with a registry of missing and stolen artwork.

Castelli learned last week that an art dealer named James Goodman had contacted the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation seeking assistance authenticating the artwork, which was sitting at a storage facility on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

The painting had been shipped from a gallery in Bogota, Colombia, court records show.

Lawyers for Castelli claim the painting is worth $4m (£2.6m). New York State judge Peter Sherwood issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday barring the painting from being removed from the warehouse.

Lichtenstein was a pioneer in pop art who died at age 73 in 1997. In May, one of Lichtenstein's works, Sleeping Girl, sold at the auction house Sotheby's for $44.8m.


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July 02 2012

Jaša: Apnea’s Rhapsody / Installation and Performance Project at On Stellar Rays, New York

Apnea’s Rhapsody is a multi-layered installation and performance project by the Slovenian artist Jaša (Mrevlje-Pollak; born in 1978 in Ljubljana, Slovenia). Apnea’s Rhapsody at On Stellar Rays is Jaša’s first exhibition in the United States. The gallery exhibition is an immersive installation including wallpaper, carpeting, furniture, sculpture, video, photography and other surprises. According to the gallery, the show “explores the tension between perceived experiences of awe, ecstasy and beauty, and actual conditions of a specific time and place.” (Hit the jump for entire press release). This video documents the performance on June 21, 2012. The exhibition runs until July 27, 2012.

Jaša: Apnea’s Rhapsody / Installation and Performance Project at On Stellar Rays, New York. Performance, June 10, 2012. Video by Shimon Azulay.

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Press release:

On Stellar Rays presents Apnea’s Rhapsody, a multi-layered installation and performance project by JAŠA, exploring the tension between perceived experiences of awe, ecstasy and beauty, and actual conditions of a specific time and place. The gallery installation will be immersive, including wallpaper, carpeting, furniture, sculpture, video, photography and other surprises. Apnea’s Rhapsody marks the Ljubljana-based artist’s first exhibition in the US.
Like a rhapsody, Jaša’s work is often charged with romanticism, mood and spontaneity, created thorough the layering of familiar contemporary and traditional images. Jaša plays with an excess of seemingly idiosyncratic proverbial visual associations – albeit, with Aesopian hints – that are taken to such extremes that the elemental parts fuse and the total atmosphere overcomes interest in minutiae. Personal narratives also permeate Jaša’s work, often taking on cultural or folkloric forms and recapitulating feelings of euphoria and beauty found within them.
Flight is an important reference in Apnea’s Rhapsody, particularly as it relates to the mythological and visionary aspirations of man. Divergent views of the heavens and the sky in Slavic (Koschei the Deathless, Baby Jaga, Tugarin Zmeevich, Zmeu Gorynich) and Western mythologies (Icarus and Deadalus), as well as later, turn-of-the-century attitudes inherited from such diverse sources as the Wright brothers and Vladimir Tatlin’s Letatlin flying device, play into various sculptures and actions, most prominently in a 8-foot pair of wearable wings, made of black umbrellas, constructed by the artist and his wife in a furious all-nighter, after the discovery of an account of Tatlin’s shared project.
Although allusions to the beautiful and euphoria are ever-present, Jaša’s playful approach and emphasis on the particularities of situation point more to a heightened state of reality than to fantasy. Reality, however complex, multi-layered, absurd or unpredictable, may still offer breathless moments.

Jaša (Mrevlje-Pollak; b. 1978, Ljubljana, Slovenia) graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, Italy and studied classics at the Gimnazija Poljane Ljubljana. He frequently works in collaboration with other artists, with Crash in Progress from 1999-2005, an artists collective with Giorgio Andreotta Caló, Simone Settimo, Peter Furlan & Martina de Lugnani, and recently with Kalu (Luka Uršič), Junzi, Nina Vidrih, Mark Požlep, Jyrki Riekki and Meta Grgurevič among others. Recent solo presentations include The Lovest at The Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2011-ongoing); Yellow Dot, official inaugural event at Museum of Contemporary Art, Ljubljana (2012); Dolphin’s Dream at ViaFarini, Milan (2011); and solo exhibitions with Ganes Pratt Gallery, Ljubljana (2010, 2008) and Jerome Zodo, Milan (2011). Recent group exhibitions include The Accademie Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennal (2011); Lords of Dirt at UGM/Maribor Art Gallery, Maribor, Slovenia (2011); The 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2010); Realism and Reality in Contemporary Art in Slovenia, curated by Charles Esche, The Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2010).

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June 15 2012

Figment New York Participatory Arts Event 2012

Figment New York: Another kind of documenta. Figment is a free annual participatory arts event that was originally created specifically for New York City’s Governors Island. The first event, inspired by the current arts environment in New York, as well as by the Burning Man event in Nevada, took place in 2007, since then it has spread to a number of other cities such as Boston, Jackson, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.

Figment New York hosts an annual event on Governors Island. It includes an interactive sculpture garden, an artist-designed minigolf course, and an architectural pavilion. (Sounds like Documenta 13′s Karlsaue sans dog run). On the weekend of June 9/10, more than 25’000 people came to the Island to watch and help create over 200 art projects in any imaginable medium. Special exhibitions included the Minigolf Course based on the theme “Arcade”; the City of Dreams Pavilion 2012-2013; and the interactive sculpture garden. The centerpiece of Figment’s summer-long installations for 2012 is the TreeHouse. So how was the Figment 2012 Weekend? Watch this video!

Figment New York 2012. Video by Shimon Azulay. Governors Island, June 9, 2012.

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June 13 2012

Marlène Mocquet at Haunch of Venison, New York

Marlène Mocquet is a French painterd who lives and works in Paris. Born in Maison Alfort in 1979, Marlène Mocquet graduated from Paris’ Ecole Normale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in 2006. After solo exhibitions in Lyon, Paris and Hong Kong, she now presents her paintings in a solo show at the gallery Haunch of Venison in New York. The exhibition that runs until June 16, 2012 includes four paintings and two ceramic works.

Marlène Mocquet at Haunch of Venison, New York. Opening reception, May 17, 2012. Video by Shimon Azulay.

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From the press release:

Mocquet’s paintings depict a fantastical world of animated and anthropomorphic creatures inhabiting a universe filled with hallucinogenic splashes of color. At first glance the works appear to portray a vision of whimsical fantasy, but upon further observation reveals a much darker more sinister existence. The beautiful realms Mocquet introduces are filled with menacing characters and macabre undertones set in a most beautifully tactile and opulent universe.

Mocquet’s paintings are an overflowing lush world inhabited by otherworldly beasts, manga and cartoon characters, and prehistoric imagery. However, it is not the characters that dictate Mocquet’s paintings but her instinctive and passionate use of material. As stated by Roberta Smith (New York Times, August 10, 2007) “…she exploits paint’s possibilities with flair, working thick, then thin, dripping, pouring and staining.” It is from these thick impasto-like layers of paint, alongside billowing clouds of glitter and lengthy drips of enamel that Mocquet’s imagery is born.

One of the highlights of the exhibition, Le Barrissement de la Peinture (The Trumpeting of the Paint), is a modest nine inches high and features a diaphanous figure gathering apples in a candy-colored landscape. Strange creatures surround the figure, one spewing paint into another’s throat through a long elephant-like trunk. The paint then gushes off the canvas. Wax, enamel, glitter and layer upon layer of paint enable Mocquet to achieve a highly tactile surface in which her figures take on a nearly sculptural quality. Her work, is both playful and grotesque, sharp and subtle, and warrants great inspection.

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June 06 2012

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Interview with Executive Director Christy MacLear

Robert Rauschenberg was one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. He became famous for his “Combines”, works in which he used everyday objects and materials in innovative combinations. Lesser known are his philanthropic activities such as his Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI), a seven year, ten country tour through Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Beijing, Tibet, Japan, Malaysia, the Soviet Union, and Berlin. With ROCI, which he announced at the United Nations in 1984, he intended to encourage “world peace and understanding”.

In 1990, Robert Rauschenberg, who was convinced that “Art Can Change the World”, formed the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (RRF). With the RRF, Robert Rauschenberg wanted to promote awareness of the causes and groups close to his heart. Among the activities of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation have been grant making, educational programs and the support of environmental and humanitarian initiatives. Recently, the RRF has extended this scope with varied programs, including a new grant for artistic innovation and collaboration to fund small-to-medium arts organizations.

On the occasion of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s presentation of Rauschenberg’s Cardboards series and Gluts series, VernissageTV met with the Executive Director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Christy MacLear, who tells us more about the Foundation’s history, mission, grants and programs, and future presentations and activities.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Interview with Executive Director Christy MacLear. The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York City, May 18, 2012.

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June 05 2012

Robert Rauschenberg: Cardboards and Gluts / Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Last month, VernissageTV had the privilege to be in invited to see a private presentation at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in New York. The presentation at Robert Rauschenberg’s former studio in Manhattan had its focus on two fascinating aspects of Rauschenberg’s oeuvre: the Cardboards series and the Gluts series.

We were not only able to document the exhibition, but two renowned Robert Rauschenberg experts, Susan Davidson (curator at Guggenheim and RRF Board member) and David White (curator at Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Board member) even gave us an exclusive tour of the presentation and provided us with fascinating insights into Robert Rauschenberg’s life and work.

The above video is an excerpt of the tour, the video with the complete walk-through with Susan Davidson and David White is available after the break.

Prior to the tour, we had also the opportunity to speak with artist, sculptor and photographer Jean-Marc Bustamante and Pratt Institute Graduate Julia Monk about Robert Rauschenberg’s Cardboards Series. The interviews with Jean-Marc Bustamante and Julia Monk are available after the break.

We had also the opportunity to speak with the Executive Director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Christy MacLear. In a video interview that we will publish soon, Christy MacLear provides us more information about the Foundation’s history, mission, grants and programs, and future presentations and activities.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation: Cardboards and Gluts. Guided tour with Susan Davidson (curator at Guggenheim and RRF Board member) and David White (curator at Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Board member). The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York City, May 18/21, 2012.

PS: See also: VernissageTV Classics (r3): Robert Rauschenberg and Darryl Pottorf at Jamileh Weber (2006).

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> On YouTube:


Robert Rauschenberg has been very productive and created an oeuvre that is innovative and prolific. He is one of the most famous artists, but despite of that, some aspects of his work are not very known, even to experts. The Cardboards series is one of them. Rauschenberg had his breakthrough with the Combines, works that are neither sculpture nor painting, but a combination of a variety of objects, materials, and artistic techniques. The Cardbaord works that he produced after he moved from New York to Captiva Island in Florida in 1970 present a continuation of that body of work, but instead of using all sorts of materials, Robert Rauschenberg confined himself to discarded cardboard boxes.

Complete walk-through with Susan Davidson and David White (36:23 min.):

In the 1980s Robert Rauschenberg turned to a new material: metal. The Gluts series was inspired by a visit to Houston, when the Texas economy was suffering a receccsion due to a surplus of supply (glut) in the oil market. Back in his studio in Captiva, he began to collect gas-station signs and other industrial parts and transformed them into wall reliefs and freestanding sculptures.

Jean-Marc Bustamante, Artist, Sculptor and Photographer, talks about Robert Rauschenberg’s Cardboards Series (7:21 min.):

Julia Monk, Graduate from Pratt Institute, talks about Robert Rauschenberg’s Cardbaords Series (4:28 min.):

Photo set:

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June 01 2012

Chiharu Shiota: Other Side / Haunch of Venison, New York

The Japanese installation and performance artist Chiharu Shiota is best known for her thread works, encapsulating personal found objects in impenetrable webs of black thread

The current exhibition at Haunch of Venison New York presents several of Chiharu Shiota’s smaller “boxed” thread works, and a large-scale installation, made entirely of window frames that the artist found in East Berlin. In this series, the window frames that she salvaged from demolition sites and deserted buildings, are stacked to form various architectural structures. The structure at Haunch of Venison has an entrance, so the visitor can experience the work from all perspectives. Chiharu Shiota’s exhibition at Haunch of Venison New York runs until June 16, 2012.

Chiharu Shiota 塩田千春: Other Side at Haunch of Venison, New York. Opening reception, May 17, 2012. Video by Shimon Azulay.

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Shiharu Shiota: Window installation

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May 24 2012

Phyllida Barlow: Siege / New Museum, New York

Another of the five new exhibitions that recently opened at the New Museum is a solo show with works by Phyllida Barlow. The exhibition is titled Siege, and it’s the first New York solo exhibition of the work of the British sculptor, who has been an important influence on British sculpture for the past forty years. Barlow began making work in the mid-1960s. She was inspired by Arte Povera and American sculptors like Eva Hesse. In her works she uses disparate substances such as concrete, felt, wooden pallets, polystyrene, and fabric, often within the same work. For the show at the New Museum, Barlow created a new, site-specific sculptural installation in the Museum’s fourth floor gallery. Phyllida Barlow: Siege is curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari. Phyllida Barlow was born in 1944 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. She currently lives and works in London, England.

Phyllida Barlow: Siege / New Museum, New York. Opening reception, May 6, 2012. Video by Shimon Azulay.

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> On YouTube:

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May 13 2012

A Rebours. Group Show at Venus Over Manhattan, New York

Venus Over Manhattan is a new exhibition space in New York City created by art collector and writer Adam Lindemann. The new gallery opened to the public on May 9, 2012 with a group show titled À rebours. The inaugural show presents several dozen works of art spanning the 19th century to the present. Referring to Joris-Karl Huysmans’ 1884 anti-novel “À rebours”, the exhibition explores the notion of “against the grain” through a selection of works by artists such as Odilon redon, Lucas Samaras, Jeff Koons, Salvador Dali, and Gavin Kenyon. The exhibition runs until June 30, 2012. This video provides you with a tour of the exhibition on May 9, 2012 (as you can see, it’s rather a black than a white space).

Adam Lindemann’s Venus Over Manhattan plans to expand the conventional gallery format through collaborations with artists, dealers, collectors, curators, and institutions. Upcoming shows include works of art and design that range from historic to contemporary.

À Rebours. Group exhibition at Venus Over Manhattan Gallery, New York City. Video by Shimon Azulay. May 9, 2012.

PS: Reviews of the exhibition at Hyperallergic and Guest of a Guest.

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> On YouTube:

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May 12 2012

The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg with Music by Hans Berg / New Museum, New York

Five new exhibitions recently opened at the New Museum in New York: Ellen Altfest: Head and Plant; Tacita Dean: Five Americans; Klara Lidén: Bodies of Society; Stanya Kahn; Phyllida Barlow: Siege; and Nathalie Djurberg: The Parade. VernissageTV attended the openings and covered two shows of Phyllida Barlow and Nathalie Djurberg. In this video, we have a closer look at Nathalie Djurberg’s show. The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg with Music by Hans Berg is an ambitious multimedia installation. The Swedish artist has created five animations and a menagerie of more than eighty freestanding bird sculptures.

The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg with Music by Hans Berg / New Museum, New York. Opening reception, May 6, 2012. Video by Shimon Azulay.

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> On YouTube:

Press release:

The New Museum is pleased to announce the third exhibition for its recently inaugurated ‘Studio 231’ series in the museum’s adjacent, ground-floor space at 231 Bowery. “The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg with Music by Hans Berg” will be on view from May 2–August 26, 2012. This is Djurberg’s most ambitious multimedia installation to date. Originally organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Djurberg will adapt this spectacular installation for the New Museum’s ‘Studio 231’ space. In the hands of Swedish artist Nathalie Djurberg, animation becomes a medium for transgressive and nightmarish allegories of desire and malcontent. Since 2001, she has honed a distinctive style of filmmaking, using the pliability of clay to dramatize our most primal urges—jealousy, revenge, greed, submission, and gluttony. Set to music and sound effects by her collaborator, Hans Berg, Djurberg’s videos plumb the dark recesses of the mind, drawing sometimes disturbing connections between human psychology and animal behavior. Increasingly, the artists’ interdisciplinary collaborations have blurred the cinematic, the sculptural, and the performative in immersive environments that pair moving images and musical compositions with related set pieces.

For new work, The Parade (2011), she has created five captivating animations and an unnerving menagerie of more than eighty freestanding bird sculptures. Drawing on avian physiology, rituals of mating and territorial display, and the social phenomenon of flocking, she has assembled a fantastical procession of species all fashioned from modest materials such as clay, wire, and painted canvas. These hybrid, sometimes monstrous forms speak to the artist’s recurring interest in physical and psychological transformation, as well as pageantry, perversion, and abjection. In the accompanying claymation videos, humans and animals alike act out upsetting scenarios of torture, humiliation, and masquerade, further mining the interplay of brutality and guilt at the heart of Djurberg’s work. Berg’s eerie film scores — composed of elements both found and invented — suffuse the entire installation, merging to form a unified soundscape. With these films, both artists have begun to conceive narrative in spatial terms as aspects of character, setting, sound, and action migrate from one story to the next across the exhibition space.

The exhibition is curated by Eric Crosby and Dean Otto for the Walker Art Center and organized at the New Museum by Gary Carrion-Murayari, Curator.

About the Artists
Born in Lysekil, Sweden, in 1978, Nathalie Djurberg received her MFA from Malmö Art Academy in 2002, and since that time she has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions around the world. Most notably, in 2009 she presented her installation The Experiment in the exhibition “Making Worlds” at the 53rd Venice Biennale, for which she was awarded the prestigious Silver Lion for Promising Young Artist. In 2008, Djurberg participated in the New Museum’s “After Nature” exhibition curated by Massimiliano Gioni. She currently lives and works in Berlin with Hans Berg.
Hans Berg was born in Rättvik, Sweden, in 1978. He is a Berlin-based electronic music producer and self-taught musician. He began playing the drums in punk and rock bands at the age of fourteen. By fifteen, Berg started creating electronic music—which he has made ever since—when he purchased his first synthesizer and sampler. Berg and Djurberg met in Berlin in 2004. Since then, he has composed the music for all of her films and installations.

About ‘Studio 231’
Nathalie Djurberg is the third artist featured in the New Museum’s new ‘Studio 231’ series, which presents commissioned projects in the museum’s adjacent, ground-floor space at 231 Bowery. The Museum inaugurated the series in October 2011 with a new installation and performances by Spartacus Chetwynd, followed by an exhibition by Enrico David. This new initiative will give international, emerging artists the opportunity to realize ambitious new works conceived especially for the space. These projects at 231 Bowery also seek to foster a new relationship between the artists and the public by allowing artists to create work outside the confines of the main museum building and in closer proximity to the energy of the street and to the creative space of the artist’s studio.

Support
“The Parade” is made possible by the generosity of the Leadership Council of the New Museum. Additional support is provided by Martin Margulies and Heather and Tony Podesta.

Support for programming at ‘Studio 231’ is provided, in part, by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
Generous support for ‘Studio 231’ is provided by Ellyn and Saul Dennison, Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg, Susan and Leonard Feinstein, Hermine and David Heller, Lietta and Dakis Joannou, Toby Devan Lewis, and the Board of Trustees of the New Museum.

About the New Museum
The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum is a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a place of ongoing experimentation and a hub of new art and new ideas.

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