- The strange, fabulous story of LACMA and Chinese art. It includes Americans in the Chinese army, a curatorial suicide and pictures so good you won’t stop staring at them.
- Given in Eyjafjallajokul in Iceland, the Amon Carter’s photo of the week is timely.
- I wasn’t the only one linking to art historical #Boobquake images yesterday — Jen Graves was too (you may have to scroll a bit).
- Jonathan Jones also likes making memes art historical.
- Cubism. Yes. Agreed. (In a related story, Picasso at the Guggenheim.)
Tyler Green Modern Art Notes
Archive for April, 2010
The Columbus Museum of Art has acquired a John Marin watercolor: New York Series (1927, at left). The acquisition makes Columbus’ already-strong collection of early American modernism — and Marin in particular — even stronger. Once Columbus finishes an ongoing renovation it will again be one of the best places to see early 20thC American painting.
The Columbus painting is a superb cubist rendering of one of Marin’s favorite subjects: New York City’s skyline. It recalls how an unnamed Time magazine critic described Marin’s watercolors in 1962: “[They] crumple into fragments, as if each scene he painted had jumped inside a prism. Everything was recognizable, but everything was also slightly out of place, tipped or distorted to give a sense of motion.”
The painting seems to revolve around a succession of not-quite-right-angles, both at the perimeter of the composition and within the buildingscape itself. The deep blue of the sky and the building at the center-foreground gives the illusion that the buildings are pushing up into the sky. At the lower left, a gray tree provides an almost-respite from the surging urbanity.
Check out more of the Columbus Museum’s early American moderns collection here. In 2011 or 2012 Columbus will publish a catalogue of its entire American collection, followed a year later by a catalogue devoted to the core its American moderns collection, the Howald Collection. (The last Howald publication was authored by Marcia Tucker, in 1969.)
- Christopher Knight says it’s time to re-organize the Getty Trust.
- Expect to see a lot of Latin American light-and-space art in the next couple years. First up is the Miami Art Museum, where Carlos Cruz-Diez is on view. The Miami Herald’s Fabiola Santiago takes a look.
- Knight remembers collector Giuseppe Panza di Biumo. Great Warhol anecdotes.
- Artnet’s Charlie Finch makes the unusual argument that talking about the art market is the most important thing. Finch seems to think that’s more important than talking about, you know, actual art. (And he errs.)
- The Stranger’s Jen Graves on artist Chauney Peck’s solo show at Seattle’s SOIL gallery — and why Peck is giving the art away.
- Washington Postie Philip Kennicott looks at a show of contemporary Lebanese art at American University’s Katzen Arts Center and considers what art reveals about national identity.
- In the Kansas City Star, Alice Thorson looks at Marc Wilson’s impact on the Nelson-Atkins.
- Delighted to see the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona score Joe Deal’s archive. Deal’s work is on view at Robert Mann Gallery. The University of Chicago Press published his new book West and West late last year. More on MAN on both, soon.
- Regarding Christopher Knight’s reminder of Hirshhorn director Richard Koshalek’s apparent predilection for creative pay-for-it schemes, Red Grooms’ bookstore is still at the Hudson River Museum, in this modified version.
- Jumping with Ron Mueck?
- It’s lovely that the Obama administration is doing this for conservation and for a key Democratic constituency: Enviros. How come art/creative types don’t assert themselves thus? Why isn’t the Obama administration rallying people around art/museums, especially given that at least one major American institution is facing a squeeze?
- Christopher Knight says that Hirshhorn director Richard Koshalek has tried this before, 30 years ago at the Hudson River Museum. Number of museum directors to try in between 1979 and now? None.
- Emergent trend?: While in the planning phase, the Hirshhorn’s Bulbous Membrane was leaked to the press. While in the planning phase, the idea of using acquisitions funds to pay for a bookstore remodel was leaked to the press. Has the Hirshhorn become a conceptual, planned, waiting-for-approval, funds may be available, maybe not, do little, leaky museum?
- Also, because this wasn’t addressed in this morning’s Post article, I have asked the Hirshhorn if its trustees have approved or otherwise weighed in on the Aitken bookstore ‘acquisition.’ I’ll update this post when the museum responds. (UPDATE, Friday morning: The museum has failed to respond to my inquiry.)
This morning the Washington Post published this Hirshhorn press release announcing the museum’s plans to relocate its bookstore. Because the new bookstore will be designed by Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken, the Hirshhorn plans to pay for it with funds set aside for acquisitions.
As it turns out, a museum spokesperson was eager to explain its new acquisition plans: “When the trustees refused to donate money for some of our director’s plans, we decided that one way to make things happen was to involve an artist in anything and everything we do,” the spokesman said. “That way we can tap the Hirshhorn’s abundant acquisitions funds to pay for whatever. We also thought the trustees would be less likely to object so long as it wasn’t their money. Heck, they might even be out shopping when this comes up at a board meeting. Wouldn’t that be ironic! Actually, now that I think about it, here’s another idea: We’ll have Richard Prince in the room when they’re out shopping. That way the whole trustee meeting can be paid for via the acquisitions budget!”
Here’s the list of upcoming Hirshhorn acquisitions:
1.) New sinks in the Hirshhorn bathrooms: Robert Gober. The sinks may still come from Kohler, but they won’t have faucets. “We thought about having running water in the sinks,” said Hirshhorn director Ken Lay. “But Olafur Eliasson was too expensive. Also, that’ll make Gober’s drains a nice conceptual touch.”
2.) Conservation of the Doug Aitken bookstore: Tino Sehgal. Conservators will walk in circles around the museum’s Bunshaft-designed building, talking about both the bookstore and the “progress” the museum’s director is making in transforming the Hirshhorn.
3.) New light bulbs for Hirshhorn galleries: Dan Flavin. Upon being informed Flavin was no longer alive, Lay seemed confused. Then a, er, light bulb went off over his head: “Spencer Finch!”
4.) Stocking the Hirshhorn bookstore: Josephine Meckseper. “We realized that acquiring stock for the bookstore would be expensive,” Lay said. “So we’re going to acquire books, t-shirts, whatevs, and then have Meckseper sign the purchase invoice. That way it’ll be fund-able through the acquisitions budget, convenient, and a wry commentary on consumerism!”
(In a related story, the Hirshhorn said that it plans to announce that from now on its library will be a Rachel Whiteread that the museum already owns. “That way we won’t need any more expensive books,” Lay said.)
5.) Auditing of the Hirshhorn’s acquisition expenditures: Josiah McElheny. Asked to explain the sudden switch away from Smithsonian accountants, Lay said: “From now on we’re pretty much going to do this kind of thing with mirrors.”
One of my fondest memories of Missouri is of throwing a baseball around under the Gateway Arch before walking over to the old Busch Stadium to watch the Cardinals play. Something about it seemed very St. Louis. [Image, via Cfinke: The Arch and what lies between it, Dan Kiley's landscaping and downtown.]
As I’ve posted about here before, a team of civic-minded St. Louisans is sponsoring a competition to design a new park around Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch. Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne has called the process “one of the most intriguing design competitions now underway in any American city.” Hawthorne also said that the competition is important because: “The goal of the project suggests the growing prominence of landscape architecture in American design culture.” Art lovers should be extra-interested in what happens around the Arch grounds because it’s hard to imagine earth art having happened without the Arch having been designed and built.
There have been two developments since I last posted about the competition: The CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation has named five finalists and will host a presentation of the finalists’ (previous) work on April 28. In true St. Louis fashion, the emcee/host for the evening will be… a baseball and football broadcaster: St. Louis’ own Joe Buck. (The first public presentation of proposed designs from the finalists will be on August 17.)
You can also follow the competition on Twitter. (Sort of. It’s not a super-active account…)
One of my favorite places to wander through the collection galleries is the Modern Art Museum Fort Worth. Tadao Ando’s galleries are divine, MAMFW’s collection is good, and the art is always thoughtfully — even cleverly — installed.
I was particularly fond of a juxtaposition installed by MAMFW chief curator Michael Auping: As you walk through MAMFW’s ground-floor galleries, the ‘final’ collection space features this Hamish Fulton, Rock Fall Echo Dust (1988, at left), on the far wall. The small, barely visible-in-this-JPEG text at the bottom reads: “A TWELVE AND A HALF DAY WALK ON BAFFIN ISLAND ARCTIC CANADA SUMMER 1988.”
Fulton’s work is typically ‘based on’ walks he has taken through somewhere outdoorsy-fabulous and is then recorded on gallery walls in some eye-catching way. On his website, Fulton describes himself as a “walking artist.” In one Flash-animated section of his website, Fulton presents his modus operandi this way:
Only art resulting from the experience
of individual walks
a walk has a life of its own
and does not need to be
materialised into an art work
an artwork may be purchased
but a walk cannot be sold
To reach the Fulton, a visitor may literally walk across this sculpture, Carl Andre’s Slit (1981). Here’s another view of the installation (the passageway through which the majority of visitors enter the gallery is barely visible in the upper right).
Related: Despite the above, Fulton’s site has a “works for sale” section.
- For the LAT, Susan Emerling visits Pae White in her studio.
- The LAT’s Karen Wada looks at the Getty Research Institute’s plans to consider the future of the bibliography. (Which is great, but the GRI shouldn’t overlook digital publishing/publications…)
- It’s astonishing to see how thoroughly new NYTer Kate Taylor missed a key part of this story. Oops.
- The Boston Globe’s Sebastian Smee looks at the profusion of tattoos in Boston. Er, in Boston museums, that is. Also: Dr. Lakra, the subject of an ICA show, talks with the Globe’s Joel Brown.
- The Detroit Free Press’ Mark Stryker looks at a new Detroit Institute of Arts show that examines Africa’s ties with the West.
- In The Stranger, Abigail Guay tells the story of the week about Jeff Koons, Clearfield, Pa. and a “castrated” cannon.