Tyler Green Modern Art Notes
Archive for March, 2004
Admin note: Yesterday I mentioned how AJmate James S. Russell has more good stuff on Zaha Hadid’s Pritzker. I suggested that you read it. Then I goofed up the link. Sorry about that. Try clicking here.
The Wall Street Journal’s web page has a posting of some responses to what I wrote yesterday.
Responses in my email were a little different. More than a few people emailed me to say that they grew up in small towns and how great access to a national Whitney Biennial would have been for them. New Yorkers, except for those from outlying areas, generally had the opposite view.
Quite a few Texas readers wrote to point out that I could (or should) have included Houston and/or Dallas-Fort Worth in my list of areas with great access to contemporary art. Definitely a fair point. My response was that I’m not sure that those areas have the gallery/artspace depth of the other cities on my list, but I certainly agree it’s a debatable point.
Two museum admin types wrote to say that while the idea is good, it is nothing unless loan fees are extremely modest. Good point.
In fact, I received a lot of email about the funding equation and how that would work. Clearly doing something similar to what I outlined would require a substantial chunk o’ cash, probably $3-5 million per Biennial. Given the state of government arts funding, I can’t see the NEA contributing. They’re too busy funding national tours of Shakespeare (because Shakespeare is so hard to find in this country!), and tours of safe, not-very-good, early American modern painting. I think that the sources of income would have to be private, say a corporate or philanthropic foundation, plus some state money from each of the non-NYC venues.
(And then there was the reader who wrote in with a fake name, fake business and fake email address who felt he had to tell me that all Palestinians are terrorists.)
Lots of really good arts reads/looks out there today.
- Steve Mumford has another of his incomparable Baghdad Journals up on artnet. Don’t miss it.
- Universes in Universe features a new issue of Contemporary Art from the Islamic World. Tons of images.
- At art.blogging.la (don’t forget our beverage gathering next Friday in LA), the crue is having a jolly time on the message boards. The topic: Thomas Kinkade’s show at Cal State Fullerton.
- In a story on Eli Broad, the NYT boldly proclaims that it is “unlikely” that the new Contemporary Broad will open in early 2005. The reason: They haven’t broken ground yet. (Heck, I don’t think they have unveiled a design yet.) The entire NYT special section on museums is here.
- And for fun: A four-week old reviews the Whitney.
Just coming in from the WSJ? Here’s an explanation of what the heck MAN is.
UPDATE: Earlier today, I suggested that someone come up with a name for the Eli Broad space at LACMA. Readers sent in about a dozen suggestions, but Deborah Knuckey contributed the easy winner. It requires some pronunciation-tweaking and a killer Mae West-inspired logo. The winner: The Contemporary Broad.
Make sure you pick up a New York Times tomorrow. The paper will run a “Museums” special section. Stories will include: a write-up of the Eli Broad Contemporary at LACMA (boy does that need a clever shortening, a la the Temporary Contemporary), a profile of MoMA boss Glenn Lowry, the bursted bubble that is/was internet art, the Williams College art mafia, and the Marjorie Merriweather Post art collection in Germantown, MD.
- AJmate James Russell has more good stuff on Zaha Hadid. There is no visual arts prize on par with the Pritzker. (Well, not in the U.S. anyway. The Brits have the Turner.) Look how much ink the Pritzker and the Turner generate for the winners and for their artistic disciplines. Some kind of visual arts prize, one more prominent than the one a shuttered Smithsonian museum gives (that museum, by the way, has a new website), would be great fun.
- Ionarts has two interesting posts: A proposal about government arts funding, a funny idea for the potentially Gehry-impacted Corcoran, and a well-linked look at the Whitney Biennial.
- Miami Art Exchange has so much good stuff I won’t list it all. Just don’t miss the top six or so posts.
- Longtime art blogger Dangerous Chunky knows the easiest way to get linked to from MAN: Mention Vija Celmins. DC has a good post on art reading too. (Scroll to the March 26 post.)
- Art Addict on the art we wish we’d bought.
Throughout the day I’ll update this post with some responses to my WSJ opinion piece…
From LA collector Alex Worman:
“A traveling Biennial is a good idea. However, cutting the group down to 8-12 artists is not going to happen. First, Whitney curators would lose their jobs since 3 people are not needed to pick that few artists. Second, the 50-100+ galleries (ie “the art world”) that make mucho bucks from having their artists included in the Biennial would be all up in arms. So what would happen is that the New Museum or MoMA would step in and create their own standing-room-only Biennial with 100+ artists to compete with or supplant the Whitney. And finally, as much as I love the place, New York will NEVER do anything to lessen its arts & culture dominance. New York is not interested in heartland America. If it doesn’t happen in New York it doesn’t matter.”
Alex raises some good points. Historical note: Once upon a time, the Whitney only had one curator. I think galleries would be annoyed, but I’m not sure how much impact gallerist-whining would have. I think curators love being able to make friends in the gallery world by including certain artists, and they’d lose that. I don’t think that another institution would step in with an alternate/related show, at least not more than they have already. And the NYC cultural dominance issue is real. Museum boards aren’t interested in providing much for Omaha. (But the NEA or private foundations should be.)
In today’s Wall Street Journal I toss out an idea for how the Whitney Biennial could be a different, more important show:
“The Whitney Biennial should be the most important presentation of contemporary art in America. Instead, we usually dislike it by degrees. The problem is as often the execution of the concept as it is the art itself. Instead of nitpicking at a single show, let’s explore how the concept of a biennial survey of new American art can be most effectively used.”
Read the details here. (And if the link doesn’t work, the paper is only $1.)
Welcome to Wall Street Journal readers coming to MAN for the first time.
This is my chronicle of my thoughts of and passions for modern and contemporary art. It’s updated several times every weekday.
(Yes, the name of the blog is a lie. For over two-and-a-half years years I’ve written here about both modern art and contemporary art. When I originally started the blog, “contemporaryartnotes.blogspot.com” was too long for the (previous) software to handle. So the site became MAN. This is a good thing: CAN sounds a bit much like a neo-socialist co-op.)
I write about art. That includes broad ideas about the art world to specific thoughts about specific artists and shows. I live in Washington, but I travel to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco many times a year (and to lots of other places too). I think that too much art writing is one-city centric: New York writers write about New York and not much else. L.A. writers write about L.A., sometimes San Francisco, and not much else. Between my day job and my love of art, I get around a pretty good bit. I try to write about what I see.
(I also write about anything that has something to do with art, kind of. For example, MANfave Cathy Opie was on Showtime’s The L Word this week. I’ll get the videotape today and I’ll probably gossip about it later.)
You’ll find some links to things I’ve written and links to some recent favorite shows and such over on the right-hand side. In the upper-right you’ll find the archives (I’ve been on AJ since December 2003 and those archives are much more easily navigated than the old stuff) and my email address. Feel free to write. There are not enough places where people can discuss contemporary art. There are nowhere near as many blogs about visual art as there are blogs about the literary world, to name one other arts-minded subculture. Several times a week I try to link to as many arts-minded bloggers as I can.
Finally, I thought I’d guide new readers around a bit with some links to some recent (and relevant) writing. You can also scroll down through this page to read more. In the last month or so I’ve written about the Scope and Armory fairs, the Barnes Foundation, and a variety of other, broader topics.
In Carol Vogel’s NYT write-up of Sotheby’s $5.4M estimate for a Vermeer that is coming up at auction:
”There’s every indication the painting will do a lot better because of its rarity and because Vermeer is such an iconic artist,” said Alexander Bell, head of Sotheby’s old master paintings department in London. “We wanted people to concentrate on the picture, not the price.”
Inspired by the success of the ArtsJournal get-together in New York a few weeks ago, abLA and MAN are teaming up to copy the idea. The concept is simple: we pick a bar, you show up and buy us drinks, and we all have a good time. (OK, the “buying us drinks” part is optional.) So here’s the skinny:
Date: Friday, April 9
Time: 8 pm to whenever
Parking: abLA, which is important enough to be written up in LA Weekly, tells me that the Biltmore has $3 valet parking!
Hope to see lots of you there!