I’m on travel on Tuesday and Wednesday. I probably won’t be posting until Thursday, but… ya never know.
Tyler Green Modern Art Notes
Archive for April, 2007
In a 1966 essay titled “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” Joan Didion looked under the skirt that was California’s post-war, middle-class normalcy to reveal a society in which violence, drug use, and all the rest were the norms rather than the exceptions. (Didion did this in lots of essays and they fill two remarkable collections: The White Album and Slouching Toward Bethlehem.)
Reading Brent Burket’s recent post about Marilyn Minter reminds me that Minter is the artist who does the same thing around today’s conceptions about celebrity, appearance and wealth. She is a devastating artist in the way that Didion was a devastating essayist.
Related: Burket visits Minter’s studio. His post was prompted by this group show. MAN on Minter in the 2006 WhiBi. Alec Soth riffs on Marilyn & Pam too.
UPDATE: As the Art World Turns may have solved the LAT+Alex Prager mystery…
Walking out of the Baltimore Museum of Art the other day, I found myself thinking: What makes my favorite museums my favorite museums? Some ingredients:
I just don’t get this: Is there no journalist in Colorado willing to call the Denver Art Museum on its, uh, questionable spin job on why it is cutting its budget and laying off staff?
Earlier this week museum director Lewis Sharp was a guest on Colorado Public Radio’s Colorado Matters program. I can’t exactly say he was interviewed. More like chatted-up. Sharp didn’t repeat the museum’s bizarre free-admission explanation for its staff/budget cuts, but he wasn’t questioned about the museum’s post-opening shortfall very intelligently either. He actually said that the DAM was something of a liberator because it allowed laid-off employees to explore new chapters in their lives. And got away with it.
Sure, it’s possible that some of what the museum is telling the Denver media is true. But the initial round of stories in the Denver Post and in the Rocky Mountain News were regurgitated press releases. Denver media: When you stand up, MAN will stand down. (Where have I heard that before…)
P.S. Why does this matter? If Denver gets away with blaming its budget probs on free admission…
Aqua Art Miami, the coziest of Miami’s fairs, is close to finalizing a major upgrade: Aqua is in the final stages of negotiating a three-to-five-year lease for a warehouse space in Wynwood, not far from the Rubell and Margulies collections, fair owner Jaq Chartier told me. Chartier wouldn’t tell me exactly where the building will be because she and her husband, fair co-organizer Dirk Park, are still finalizing the contract.
As a result of the warehouse addition, Aqua plans to offer two spaces this December: The ‘traditional’ space for 42-43 galleries at the Aqua Hotel, and what Chartier calls a “slightly upscale” warehouse for another 40ish galleries. “Sometimes hotels are given short shrift by collectors who see them as lower on the totem pole,” Chartier said.
Not only is Aqua going warehouse, but it plans to reconceptualize how galleries and visitors experience the Miami fairs. Gallery spaces at the Aqua warehouse will be as large as 500 square feet, 60 percent larger than the gallery spaces at NADA. And Aqua wants to do away with the aisles-and-booths layout of most fairs. “What we want is a sense of contained rooms,” Chartier said. “We want people to have a sense of being in a gallery space. It will be more of a museum-type space, where you flow into rooms instead of down aisles.”
Another change from the fair norm: Because Aqua will be leasing the entire warehouse year-round, Aqua plans to build permanent walls for its gallery-booths. Expect prices for dealers to run around $40 per square foot. (Last year NADA charged about $30 per square foot, a figure which is expected to increase for 2007. I’ve heard several reports from Miami that fair organizers are seeing a dramatic increase in their rental costs, with space rentals as much as tripling.)
I asked Chartier if Aqua conceived the expansion to target NADA and the collectors who consider it No. 2 after Art Basel Miami Beach. “Definitely,” she said.
People from whom we’re waiting to hear on the Smithsonian’s foot-in-the-door, see-if-anyone-stops-us admissions charge:
I find art magazines to be worth their weight in doorstoppers, so it’s with sheepishness that I admit this: I keep an eye on a couple UK-based mags, including Tate Etc. The current Tate Etc. includes a Simon Grant Q&A with Vija Celmins. I find most artist Q&As to be worth their weight in dust, but how can you not love Vija Celmins? (The image here is MAMFW’s Night Sky #17, one of their three Celminses.) So here’s the Q&A and here’s a great line:
Grant: Why just [paint] things in your studio? What about outside? Because Venice Beach, where you were living at the time, is a nice place, isn’t it?
Celmins: Yes, but artists in Los Angeles didn’t sit outside in the smog on the freeway, painting.
This is a big deal. The WP’s Jackie Trescott reports that the Smithsonian is kicking down the access-for-all door by establishing tiered entry. Even more notable: It’s the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum that’s experimenting with the charge. The Smithsonian’s interim secretary: Cristian Samper, the former head of the Natural History Museum. Tsk tsk.
Here’s hoping that American for the Arts or some such arts group lobbies against the Smithsonian charging access to parts of our national museums. And fast.
UPDATE: From Thursday, April 26: From whom I want to hear on the admissions charge.