Friday, December 19, 2008

European Biennial Network Residency Program

EUROPEAN BIENNIAL NETWORK - Biennial Exchange and Residency Programme
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OPEN CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
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The following text is from http://www.europeanbiennialnetwork.org

The European Biennial Network is inaugurating its Residency Programme.
In the following months, the member Biennials of the European Biennial Network will be issuing Open Calls for residency positions. Liverpool Biennial will be offering one of these residencies.
The European Biennial Network is a collaborative structure, active in the field of contemporary art, that aims to promote dialogue, interaction and collaboration between contemporary art Biennials in Europe. It intends to use the knowledge, experience and wealth of information accumulated by organisers of large-scale periodic art events, in order to support the communication and mobility of artists and art professionals.
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The Residency Programme of the European Biennial Network aims to offer to successful applicants the opportunity to conduct original research on contemporary art in a major city, while supported by the organisers of a biennial exhibition. The knowledge and experience of the host and its relationship to the specific locality will provide the resident access to the local art scene, historical records, archives, academic collocutors, and any other support necessary for research.
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Each member Biennial of the European Biennial Network is individually responsible for the resident it will host. The position for which this Open Call is made is the following:
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One three-month residency for an artist/writer/urbanist hosted by the Liverpool Biennial, between 1st May 2009 to 30th August 2009.
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Residency position requirements: Liverpool Biennial is inviting proposals for a 3-month residency period that focuses on the interaction of art in local neighbourhoods particularly on the relation between imagination and a sense of place. The candidate will be based alongside residents in north of the city and conduct his/her project in a manner that recognises residents as the first audience.
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North Liverpool is subject to large-scale regeneration programmes with enormous impact on the build environment and social life. The candidate will be expected to fully engage with these issues in relation to the visual arts ecology of the city.
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The outcome of the research/project will be presented as part of Urbanism 2009, a project initiated by Liverpool Biennial along the Leeds-Liverpool canal for September 2009.
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Applications must be made for the specific residency position. The successful applicant will be selected by the Liverpool Biennial. (Please see Application Guidelines below.)
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The successful applicant will be offered travel to and from their host city and accommodation, as well as a stipend of 1.000 euros per month. Additional funds for equipment and/or transport of work may be available, depending on the specifics of the residency.
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Upon completion of the residency, the resident will be required to produce a text, outlining the basic parameters of his/her research, which will be used for publication by the European Biennial Network.
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Application Guidelines:
Applications must be made by cv and a letter of interest (max. 500 words). There is no special application form. In the letter of interest, the applicant must clearly outline how he/she intends to respond to the requirements of the position.
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Applicants may be requested to provide further clarifications and/or additional material, during the selection process. This will not constitute any indication as to the success of the application.
Generic applications, or ones not clearly relating to the requirements of the position, will not be accepted.
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Applications must be in English.
Although the Liverpool Biennial will be selecting the successful applicant, applications must not be sent directly to the Liverpool Biennial. Any such applications will not be accepted. Applications must be sent by e-mail only (attached as word or pdf documents) to the European Biennial Network: contact@europeanbiennialnetwork.org.

Application deadline: 25th January 2009, inclusive.

The successful applicant will be notified by the Liverpool Biennial, after 15th February 2009.
Only the successful applicant will be notified. We regret that due to the volume of applications expected, we cannot individually reply to each applicant.

Biennial Exchange and Residency Programmewith the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union

Friday, December 12, 2008

End of criticism

Famed movie critic Roger Ebert wrote a penetrating analysis of published criticism. Here's an excerpt:
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"Death to film critics! Hail to the CelebCult!"
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"A newspaper film critic is like a canary in a coal mine. When one croaks, get the hell out. The lengthening toll of former film critics acts as a poster child for the self-destruction of American newspapers, which once hoped to be more like the New York Times and now yearn to become more like the National Enquirer. We used to be the town crier. Now we are the neighborhood gossip.
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The crowning blow came this week when the once-magisterial Associated Press imposed a 500-word limit on all of its entertainment writers. The 500-word limit applies to reviews, interviews, news stories, trend pieces and "thinkers." Oh, it can be done. But with 'Synecdoche, New York?'"
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Read the rest of the article here:
http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2008/11/death_to_film_critics_long_liv.html
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This is not only limited to American press and to movie reviews. The same thing can be said about art reviews. Newspapers often get unqualified writers who know nothing about art to write the art reviews which leads to sensationalizing the artist's work or labeling the artist as 'bizarre'. No wonder artists despise journalists!
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In my experience, many editors don't want their writers conducting any deep-thinking analysis or making any controversial points. Instead, they want to keep the art review light-hearted and focused on how much money the work sold for and which celebrities were in attendance. (YAWN) Editors, and by extension, the readers aren't looking for profound ideas to ponder over.
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I have had many situations where I had to dumb down my writing and delete any thought-provoking ideas. Praise the blog.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Economics 101

The recent Flash Art Newsletter contains this funny tidbit:
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"The Gagosian way - A mail from Larry Gagosian to his staff this November:
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'If you would like to continue working for Gagosian I suggest you start to sell some art. Everything is going to be evaluated in this new climate based on performances. I basically put in eighteen hours a day, which any number of people could verify. If you are not willing to make that kind of commitment please let me know. The general economy and also the art economy is clearly headed for some choppy waters; I want to make sure that we are the best swimmers on the block. The luxury of carrying under-performing employees is now a thing of the past.' "
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www.flashartonline.com

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A fitting image





In this paradoxical age of gluttony and financial strife, this image seems somehow a propos.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Asian Biennial Forum November 14-18

I will be the online moderator for the Asian Biennial Forum on
http://northeastwestsouth.net/site/node/211. So please join us this weekend!
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This is from their website:
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"Asian Biennials
Start: 2008-11-14 12:00
End: 2008-11-18 23:00
Timezone: Europe/Amsterdam
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Asian Biennial Forum at n.e.w.s. has been postponed until November 14th-18th!
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Asian Biennials this year have reached an all-time high, adding to the growing number of Biennials around the world. While many of the biennials focused on proportionally inviting western and 'non-western' artists, transnational interstitiality or using the respective cities as presentation spaces in a neo-liberalist capitalist economies, others addressed the specific terminology that is central to artistic discourse within a globalised world. Many of the contributors to n.e.w.s. have either visited the recent biennials or are themselves participants. Starting with the premise put forth by the Guangzhou Triennial curatorial team 'Farewell to Postcolonialism’, n.e.w.s. would like to contribute to this forward-looking discussion with an Asian Biennial forum where curators, artists and critics share their experiences of the past two months.
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Going beyond academic, institutionalized discourse, n.e.w.s. will be used as a tool bringing together voices from all over the world, those living in different time zones, but gathering virtually for one weekend around the 2008 phenomena of 9 Asian Biennials! Moderated by Susan Kendzulak, contributors will give brief essays about certain topics they find relevant, concomitantly they will comment on the uploaded essays. Trusted readers and subscribers, along with visitors to the site, are not only invited to sign-up as users but encouraged to join in the discussion with their comments and critiques.
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Invited contributors so far: Lee Weng Choy, Sebastian Lopez, Ingrid Commandeur, Rich Streitmatter-Tran, Phoebe Wong, Chantal Wong, Tiong Ang, Thomas Berghuis, Ruben de la Nuez. "

Thursday, November 6, 2008

November 4, 2008




Jacob Lawrence "Play" 1999

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inspiring art quote


I came across this inspiring quote about art and artists that I'd like to share with you.
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Malaysian painter Ahmad Fuad Osman replied to this question:
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"What do you think is the role of a contemporary artist in society?
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My friend once told me that in France, they planted roses outside their grapes farm for wineries to attract insects so that their grapes will be good and healthy for wine making, and I like the idea even though I don’t know if it is true or not.
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To me, in a way, an artists should be ‘that roses’ to his society because they are among others, the one who is really ‘looking and listening’. "
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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cultural Sensitivity: Chen Chieh-jen, AIT & Yu Cheng-ta, Taipei Biennial 2008

Lately Taiwanese artist Chen Chieh-jen has been making local headlines due to his recent protest against AIT (American Institute Taiwan), the defacto embassy, whose official insulted Chen as he applied for a visa to attend the New Orleans Biennial in November as participating artist.
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After the incident, he decided to not follow through and get a visa, but rather make an artwork to protest the shabby treatment Taiwanese often receive at AIT.
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Here is Chen Chieh-jen’s blog in Chinese:
http://ccjonstrike.blogspot.com/
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Chen’s complaint is about the lack of cultural sensitivity of a US official towards a Taiwanese citizen.
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Now let’s switch to the north part of the city at the current Taipei Biennial 2008.
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Young Taiwanese artist Yu Cheng-ta is showing a series of several videos titled “Ventriloquist” in which he asks Europeans, North Americans, Filipinas, and Japanese to repeat what he says in Chinese.
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Since Chinese has 4 tones it is often impossible for the novice learner to speak them correctly. So in these videos, the foreigners are mispronouncing the Chinese words, thus creating different meanings. This is extremely hilarious for the Taiwanese audience, and completely meaningless for the non-Chinese audience.
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Personally, the piece offends me. Probably, because that’s my daily experience, getting laughed and mocked constantly (not only from children) when I say my elementary-level Mandarin which prompts me to quickly switch to English.
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Perhaps I am missing the meaning of Yu’s work and would welcome comments explaining it.
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Otherwise, I ‘read’ it as showing a complete lack of cultural sensitivity, something that Chen Chieh-jen is protesting.
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More details here:

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2008/10/01/2003424720

http://english.rti.org.tw/content/fwFContent.aspx?id=news&RealPath=http%3A%2F%2Fenglish.rti.org.tw%2FContent%2FGetSingleNews.aspx%3FContentID%3D65774%26BlockID%3D31

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"The West Is the Best," says Taipei Biennial 2008




I recently watched Japanese TV news and saw footage from Vietnam and Burma. I then realized to my surprise in all my 13 years living in Taiwan that I never saw footage from Southeast Asia broadcast on the local news.
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Taiwan is really like an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand, with no interest in other nations or ethnicities except its own. This solipsism carries through from the public to the private domain; I don’t know if this stems from arrogance or ignorance though.
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Taiwan has tons of TV channels with around-the-clock news broadcasts which mainly focus on Taiwan. Occasionally there will be mention of the US, Europe, China and Japan, but rarely mention about the Philippines or Thailand.
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This solipsism or lack of curiosity for its regional neighbors can be seen in the Taipei Biennial 2008 that opens this weekend. Out of the 47 participating artists 70 percent are western, mainly European, while less than 20 percent are Asian from China, Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

please stay tuned



Hi faithful readers,
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I apologize for not blogging since August 21st. I'm working on a big research project with a tight deadline, so I can't really spare time to add new posts.
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Please check back after the 15th. Hopefully I can blog about the Asian biennials that are soon to open.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Complex Shit

I can't believe I missed this story.
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At the end of July, Paul McCarthy's house-sized inflatable artwork broke from its moorings, wreaking havoc in Switzerland. The wind carried it away. It downed a power line and broke a window.
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This work was a huge blow-up of dog doo-doo and titled "Complex Shit."
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The performative action of the enormous turd named Complex Shit blowing around in the wind sounds hilarious, but luckily no one was hit by it.
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Read here for more:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7558129.stm

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Art Can Save YOUR Life


Art is truly a life saver, and now research backs that up. No kidding.
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Med students who studied art developed sharper visual perception and made far more accurate diagnoses than the med students without the art training.
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Studying art helped train the students to be better observers and to see things more clearly.
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When budgets are cut for governmental or educational programs, the arts are usually cut first as they are deemed frivolous.
Is a doctor who can examine you with great visual acuity frivolous? Or the doctor who first notices signs of cancer or disease? Hmmm, I think not.
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Read here for the study:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Art breakfast in Taipei


Since the start of the Beijing Olympics, the increase of F16 flyovers in Hualien has greatly increased. My apartment is between the 'hidden' airport and the ocean, so I'm jarred awake early every morning by these supersonic flying machines. Needless to say my nerves are so shattered that I'm taking a 2 week vacation. Out of here.

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So I'll miss this fun art event in Taipei, but I like the idea of a Monday morning coffee and art event.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Origin of biennials


Art biennials originated from the Olympics. However, I take a dim view on the nationalism both events seem to promote.
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The image on the left is the Chinese Taipei Olympic flag and the right image is Taiwan's national flag (which Beijing refuses to let fly).
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So following the world's logic that is dictated by Beijing, should the "Taipei Biennial" be renamed the "Chinese Taipei Biennial?"
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Now that the Beijing Olympics have officially begun, hopefully the incessant F16 flyovers in Hualien can now cease.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Artist rankings

Being house-bound due to a raging typhoon allowed me to catch up on a lot of art reading and research.
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This website www.artfacts.net really made me chuckle as they rate artists with a numerical rating.
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To my great surprise, since I don't have a market, so to speak, I was even on their list. It almost feels like I'm in a popularity contest.

Monday, July 21, 2008

2008 Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition

2008 Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition
第一屆台灣國際錄像藝術展 徵件簡章

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Download your application to participate in a video art exhibition. Deadline Sept 1. http://twvideoart.blogspot.com/
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Presenter: Chiu Tsai-Hsing Culture and Education Foundation
Organizer: Hong-Gah Museum (hereunder referred to as the Museum)
Curators: Sean C.S. Hu and Yung-Hsien Chen
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1. Presenter:Chiu Tsai-Hsing Culture and Education Foundation came to realization with the preliminary proposal brought forth by musician, Ma Shui-Lung. The Foundation started off as a platform for Taiwanese musicians to showcase their works, and the initial core was based on the Spring-Fall Contemporary Music. It then reached out to promote diverse cultural activities, and in the year 1999, the Hong-Gah Museum was established with the principle to promote contemporary and new media arts in Taiwan and also to serve as a multi-functional exhibition venue. Chiu Tsai-Hsing Culture and Education Foundation and Hong-Gah Museum are both founded by Mr. Chiu Tsai-Hsing, and continue to receive high acknowledgements in the fields of arts and cultures, including the 1998 and 2006 National Cultural Benefactor Award’s Special Award and Jury Award from the Council for Cultural Affairs of Taiwan.
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2. Objective:1. The call for entries is initiated by Chiu Tsai-Hsing Culture and Education Foundation and Hong-Gah Museum, and the objective is to encourage creative video works, and by opening to all geographic locations, we anticipate more international artistic and cultural interactions to take place in Taiwan. This international exhibition will be organized biennially with this year being the first.
2. All entries are given special considerations by the curators for exhibiting in this year’s exhibition, titled ”Dwelling”. The contents of the entries should include issues pertaining to city and country landscapes, personal living environments, changes in habitats, community cultures, family attribution, or living environments of the working class or a marriage relationship that could extend to related issues about residence and tenements. The artist must use video as the medium, and the work may progress further on the themed subject through the use of the imagination, documentary, re-composition, editing, animation, and etc…
3. Eligibility:Open to all domestic and international artists 18 years of age or older, working with video art.4. Entry Deadline and Submission:Starting from June 1st, 2008 ~ September 1st, 2008. (Deadline for entry postmarked by September 1st, 2008, no submission will be accepted after).
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5. Acceptance Notification:The entry acceptances will be published on the museum’s website before September 30th, 2008.6. Exhibit Dates:November 8th ~ December 28th, 2008.


Pierre Huyghe, Biennale Sydney 2008




Dear readers,
Thanks for your patience and please pardon me for not blogging for the past couple of weeks.
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In the meantime, several people have contacted me with their art events. One such event is listed below.
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This took place July 9th, so it already happened, yet you may be interested to read about it.
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"Sydney, Australia – The Biennale of Sydney has today unveiled one of its major projects – A Forest of Lines – a 24-hour installation by acclaimed French artist Pierre Huyghe. The artist has transformed the iconic Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House into a living forest with around 1000 trees. Visitors are able to enter the installation and meander through aided by headlights, becoming part of the living art work. The music for the project has been written by Laura Marling and is performed by local musicians.
Photo courtesy Paul Green.

A vodcast featuring 2008 Biennale of Sydney Artistic Director, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, talking about this project can be viewed at: http://blog.bos2008.com/2008/07/03/artist-spotlight-pierre-huyghe/

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Art, with a dash of humor



Martin Creed's new work is a choreographed piece in which every 30 seconds a sprinter runs extremely fast through the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2009 AIR Taipei Open Call for International Residence Projects

This announcement is from Taipei Artist Village:

"Applying Deadline:From now till 2008-8-18 (by postmark)
2009 AIR Taipei Open Call continues focusing on the projects in arts & culture, creative industry, and interdisciplinary and business-arts collaboration, for both international and local artists. This year we will launch a new site in the Yangmingshan National Park , the Grass Mountain Artist Village , which the artists have another option. Combining the two sites, the brand new AIR TAIPEI will continue spreading the art seeds in Taipei .
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Since the establishment of Taipei Artist Village (TAV) in 2001, art exchange between local and international talents has been the most important mission. In 7 years TAV has sent nearly 80 Taiwan artists abroad for residency and over 200 international artists have been in residency in TAV activating in the city corners with art. The application deadline for both domestic and international programs will be August 18, 2008. Please download the application guideline and form from the website: http://www.artistvillage.org/en_artist_apply.php . Application through email is not acceptable. For further inquiries, please call (02)3393-7377 ext 102/105/107/108 or email to artistvillage@artistvillage.org "


Monday, June 23, 2008

mmm, dead artists

Today's NYTimes has a morbid article that discusses how the art market loves artists, especially deceased ones.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/22/arts/design/22spea.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1214229798-33E0YKJUjrF6ZM9IS5k/XQ&pagewanted=all

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Catatonic Baby & Staten Island Politics


Years ago I wrote a musical comedy titled "Catatonic Baby" about a young woman madly in love with a catatonic patient. That was my ideal perfect relationship at that time.


It contained catchy R.D. Laing-inspired lyrics such as:

I love the way
you sit and stare
and act like
I'm not even here.

For 7 years
My heart's been numb
My head gets hot
Coz you're the one

You're my catatonic baby


We performed it at New York's Club 57 and Danceteria in 1982. It was a blend of punk, Leslie Gore and performance art. The male lead who played the catatonic and co-composed the music was Fran Powers. Fran recently made headlines for running against his father Frank Powers in the recent Staten Island elections. LOL


The New Yorker covers this compelling story in their latest issue:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/2008/06/23/080623on_onlineonly_howe

The photo is from Pasolini's classic film Oedipus Rex (1967).







Monday, June 16, 2008

The US's Cultural Policy

U.S. presidents aren't known for their support (and even understanding) of the arts and culture.
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Presidential candidate Barack Obama's policy for the arts sounds innovative and exciting.
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Andrew Berardini posted this on his blog: http://www.theexpandedfield.com/blogs/The_election_1.html
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BARACK OBAMA: A CHAMPION FOR THE ARTS
Our nation’s creativity has filled the world’s libraries, museums, recital halls, movie houses, and marketplaces with works of genius. The arts embody the American spirit of self-definition. As the author of two best-selling books – Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama uniquely appreciates the role and value of creative expression.
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A PLATFORM IN SUPPORT OF THE ARTS
Reinvest in Arts Education: To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great. To do so, we must nourish our children’s creative skills. In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education. Unfortunately, many school districts are cutting instructional time for art and music education. Barack Obama believes that the arts should be a central part of effective teaching and learning. The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts recently said “The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.”
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To support greater arts education, Obama will:
Expand Public/Private Partnerships Between Schools and Arts Organizations: Barack Obama will increase resources for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants, which develop public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations. Obama will also engage the foundation and corporate community to increase support for public/private partnerships.
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Create an Artist Corps: Barack Obama supports the creation of an “Artists Corps” of young artists trained to work in low-income schools and their communities. Studies in Chicago have demonstrated that test scores improved faster for students enrolled in low-income schools that link arts across the curriculum than scores for students in schools lacking such programs.
Publicly Champion the Importance of Arts Education: As president, Barack Obama will use the bully pulpit and the example he will set in the White House to promote the importance of arts and arts education in America. Not only is arts education indispensable for success in a rapidly changing, high skill, information economy, but studies show that arts education raises test scores in other subject areas as well.
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Support Increased Funding for the NEA: Over the last 15 years, government funding for the National Endowment for the Arts has been slashed from $175 million annually in 1992 to $125 million today. Barack Obama supports increased funding for the NEA, the support of which enriches schools and neighborhoods all across the nation and helps to promote the economic development of countless communities.
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Promote Cultural Diplomacy: American artists, performers and thinkers – representing our values and ideals – can inspire people both at home and all over the world. Through efforts like that of the United States Information Agency, America’s cultural leaders were deployed around the world during the Cold War as artistic ambassadors and helped win the war of ideas by demonstrating to the world the promise of America. Artists can be utilized again to help us win the war of ideas against Islamic extremism. Unfortunately, our resources for cultural diplomacy are at their lowest level in a decade. Barack Obama will work to reverse this trend and improve and expand public-private partnerships to expand cultural and arts exchanges throughout the world.
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Attract Foreign Talent: The flipside to promoting American arts and culture abroad is welcoming members of the foreign arts community to America. Opening America’s doors to students and professional artists provides the kind of two-way cultural understanding that can break down the barriers that feed hatred and fear. As America tightened visa restrictions after 9/11, the world’s most talented students and artists, who used to come here, went elsewhere. Barack Obama will streamline the visa process to return America to its rightful place as the world’s top destination for artists and art students.
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Provide Health Care to Artists: Finding affordable health coverage has often been one of the most vexing obstacles for artists and those in the creative community. Since many artists work independently or have nontraditional employment relationships, employer-based coverage is unavailable and individual policies are financially out of reach. Barack Obama’s plan will provide all Americans with quality, affordable health care. His plan includes the creation of a new public program that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health care similar to that available to federal employees. His plan also creates a National Health Insurance Exchange to reform the private insurance market and allow Americans to enroll in participating private plans, which would have to provide comprehensive benefits, issue every applicant a policy, and charge fair and stable premiums. For those who still cannot afford coverage, the government will provide a subsidy. His health plan will lower costs for the typical American family by up to $2,500 per year.
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Ensure Tax Fairness for Artists: Barack Obama supports the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow artists to deduct the fair market value of their work, rather than just the costs of the materials, when they make charitable contributions.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Closing of Florent in New York



What's happening to New York City, man?
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I read in today's China Post (here in Taiwan), an AFP story about the closing of the unique restaurant Florent.
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Why would a blog about art discuss a restaurant closing? To have a truly creative environment conducive to art making, you also need cool hang-outs for people to meet and be influenced by each other.
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Here's a NY Times story discussing the importance of the restaurant. The owner Florent Morellet is the son of conceptual artist Francois Morellet. Florent will close the end of this month.
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When I lived in NY as a struggling painter I worked there as a waitress. On various occasions I dressed as a French sailor, a tripping hippy (love child) for Valentine's Day, a suffragette for a feminist political rally plus I got to chat with the people I served such as Elizabeth Murray, Susan Sontag, Leigh Bowery, Roy Lichtenstein, Spike Lee.
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The news reported that the rent went from US$6000 a month to US$30,000 a month. This truly sounds criminal. With similar things happening to the Chelsea Hotel and CBGBs, I really wonder about the cultural life of New York.
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From the NY Times article it seems like a lot of 'Sex and the City' wannabees are dominating New York's cultural life - so a lotta young yuppies demanding macaroni and cheese to consume in their shallow lifetimes sound quite revolting to me.
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C'est la vie.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Creation & Destruction





Beautiful photo of Yves St. Laurent's famous Mondrian dress courtesy of www.studio-international.co.uk

Yves St. Laurent's recent death was discussed in all the major media. One thing many of these obituaries mention is his mental fragility. Robin Givhan of the Washington Post stated:

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"Saint Laurent had a temperament as fragile as a hothouse flower and always seemed just on the verge of nervous collapse. He seemed burdened by creativity and overwhelmed by his success and responsibilities..."

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For such a sparkling genius who worked for decades creating innovative designs and changing history, he also had a negative side to his creative mind.

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That got me to thinking that the flip-side of 'creation' is 'destruction.' And I wonder is that the price to pay for creativity? In other words, the mind that gives you 'creativity' also gives you 'destructive' thoughts. Since they are the exact opposites of each other, they seem to be inseparable.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Beijing's 798 art district gentrifies

So if you only thought gentrification happened in capitalistic art centers such as NY -- you're absolutely right.
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It's again happening in a highly capitalized art city: Beijing.
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Read this AFP news story about how the once-edgy 798 art district is becoming the new Soho.
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080601/lf_afp/lifestylechinaculturearts798_080601023936



Choose by Carl Sandburg

CHOOSE
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THE single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open asking hand held out and waiting.
Choose:
For we meet by one or the other.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Maine's Artallaround



This open call for artists via eflux seems bizarrely interesting. Here is the announcement:


"Call for Artist Project:Art All Around ™

A Unique Arts and Industry Collaboration

Application Deadline: June 25, 2008; Submission guidelines at http://www.artallaround.com/

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Available Cash Prizes: 10,000 USD for 5-semifinalists; one of 5 semi-finalists receives an additional 20,000 USD for one winning design, totally 30,000 USD for grand prize winner; travel and accommodations in Maine, United States for one week for 5 semi-finalists in August, 2008.

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Participants: Everyone of any nationality and of any age. In the case of a group project, the collective must designate one member to represent them.Jurors: Paco Barragán, Independent Curator and Art Consultant, Madrid, Spain; Mark H.C. Bessire, Director and Lecturer, Bates College Museum Art, Maine; Linda Earle, Executive Director of Programs, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; Oliver Kielmayer Director, Kunsthalle WinterthurZurich, Switzerland; W. WestonLaFountain, Gallery Director, The Jameson Art Group; Elizabeth M. Salamone, South Portland Resident, Architect and Designer Liaison Creative Office Pavilion; Alice Spencer, Artist and Co-Founder, Peregrine Press, Portland, ME; Edward Leger, Programme Officer Arts Branch, Province of New Brunswick, Canada; Sener Pasalic,Manager, Natural Gas Desk Marketing, Sprague Energy, Portsmouth, NH.

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Description: The Maine Center for Creativity announces an open call for a juried design competition for a major public art work using Portland, Maine's Sprague Energy Corporation 16 of more than 35 above-ground storage tanks as a canvas. From land, sea and air, the Sprague "tank farm" is a prominent feature on the Portland Harbor. The Art All Around™ competition invites entrants to submit a graphic vision for painting 8 entire tanks (tops and sidewalls, shown in purple on the site aerial map at http://www.artallaround.com/ ) and the tops only of 8 additional tanks (shown in red on the site aerial map at http://www.artallaround.com/ ) within the Sprague tank farm. Approximately a quarter-million passengers travel past on the highway everyday. In addition, everyone who flies into the Portland Jetport sees this site from above.The final site-based project includes a total of 16 tanks. Each entrant will submit 4 JPG images, which represent photographic views of only 9 of the tanks. All entrants will download the same 4 JPG images to alter to present their design entry. There are a limited number of commercial paint colors to use. (See Submission Requirements at http://www.artallaround.com/ ).

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Five semi-finalists will be selected from Stage I of the competition. Stage II will bring the 5 semi-finalists to Portland for a site visit and a more in-depth study of the Sprague tank farm site. The 5 semi-finalists will need to submit a comprehensive design presentation showing how their design will apply to all of the 16 storage tanks. Although Stage I of the competition does not involve submitting designs for all of the tanks to be painted, all entrants should be aware of the fact that the separate tanks will need to work together as an aesthetic whole.

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Only one winner will be selected whose vision will be applied to 16 of the tanks. As a result, there will be no multiple winning designs for different tanks and there will be no combining of designs after submission. Note that the winner will not physically paint the tanks or supply the paint for the project. Rather, the winner will only provide the graphic design and specifications. Entrants should be aware that industrial painters ultimately applying the paint to the tanks will not be able to reproduce graphic designs that are too intricate."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

it's a man's, man's world



Previously on this blog, I've discussed how money and price shouldn't determine the value of an artwork. Today, I want to focus precisely on money and the high end earners.
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Record-breaking auction reports often make the headlines. We know that Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Lucien Freud, Richard Serra and Zhang Xiaogang earn top dollar for their art works.
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Hmm! Where are the women artists? Why do we still have gender inequity in the arts?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sold!





Lucien Freud's painting sold at auction for US$33.6 million. That's a lot of dough.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

price versus value


The April issue of Artforum discusses the strange disparity between the prices of today's new art measured against works by masters of the past.
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The example given is Peter Doig's White Canoe (courtesy Artnet, pictured above). It sold at Sotheby's in February 2007 for the price of 5.7 million pounds (approximately 11.1 million US)
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This is contrasted with the work by an Old Master. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, the Venetian fresco painter was famed for his shimmering light and Rococo style. This is the Allegory of Planets and Continents at the Wurzburg Residenz painted in 1750-3.
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And lastly, to compare price. The picture at the bottom left is titled Alexander the Great and Campaspe in the Studio of Apelles. This was sold to the Getty Museum for US$2,202,500 in 2000.
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As you can see the price discrepancy between 11.1 million and 2.2 million may leave you scratching your head - and wondering how prices for art are set.
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As you may also discern a price tag is in no way equivalent to the value of a work of art, in terms of its historical, social and psychological value. Recently a small portion of the world's population is getting extremely wealthy and they are interested in buying art of the moment.

But in the end, it is really time that becomes the ultimate arbiter of value. Of course, it's fun and sexy and a bit celebrity-ish to know these young (and not so young) living artists (mainly male artists) can sell art for such lavish prices. Yet, don't let the price tag fool you into thinking the art work is now priceless.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Jérôme Sans, new director of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art




Today, eflux sent out a press release from the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art to announce Jérôme Sans as the new Director as of March 2008. The announcement comes now, while the appointment started 2 1/2 months ago.
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Sans is no stranger to the Chinese world as he was co-curator of the Taipei Biennial 2000, bringing relational aesthetics-tinged art to Taipei, and he has worked extensively with Huang Yong-ping, Wang Du and the late artist Chen Zhen.
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According to the May/Jun issue of Art Asiapacific, the appointment is somewhat controversial in that Fei Dawei had been "originally introduced as the center's long-term artistic director" and now the center's senior staff doesn't have any native Chinese. Western hegemony?


Friday, May 9, 2008

Art World Bullies





Deprived of cultural stimulation in the small country town in which I live, I often make trips to the great bookstores in the capital city 3 hours away. So I was looking forward to a good intellectual read about art when I settled in on my train ride back home.

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Unfortunately, I had purchased the April issue of ArtForum. The Letters page contains an argument (that's the polite word) between international curators Robert Storr and Okwui Enwezor. ArtForum online wittingly refers to Storr Wars.

To make it short, both curators call each other bullies. So much for intellectual stimulation. It just enhances my theory that the job of 'international curator' attracts, shall we say, a megalomaniac personality, in other words, a bully.

What do you think?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

thar's gold in them hills


PaceWildenstein, a big NY gallery, will open Pace Beijing this August, just in time for the Olympics. The gallery will be located at Factory 798, the famous site that houses 200 galleries in Beijing.
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The photo shows the gallery's interior and is courtesy of: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/arts/design/29pace.html?_r=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gregor Schneider "Dead House u r"




The recent horrorshow news coming from Amstetten, Austria (which is between Linz and Vienna) reminded me of Gregor Schneider's "Dead House u r" that was installed in 2001 in the German Pavilion, Venice Biennale and had won a Golden Lion Prize.
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Funny story: When I saw that installation, I marveled at the braveness of the German Pavilion to exhibit, what I thought, was a re-creation of the Anne Frank house.

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His claustrophobic construction contained secret passages and stairways, sex-slave dungeons, futile doorways and abandoned trash that hinted at a sinister nature of its possible inhabitants.

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Quite chilling. Photos courtesy http://www.portikus.de/

Monday, April 28, 2008

Olafur Eliasson



Danish artist Olafur Eliasson plans to create four roaring, misty waterfalls,

up to 40 meters high, in the East River this summer. One site is under the Brooklyn Bridge.
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Known for his installations that re-create natural phenomena such as sunshine, rainbows and rain, Eliasson's projects are highly sought after.
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Read here for a terrific and intelligent interview:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mobile Art Pavilion for Chanel by Zaha Hadid Architects


Recent deadlines kept me from blogging for over a week. Then I read about the Mobile Art Pavilion for Chanel by Zaha Hadid Architects and felt the urge to blog.
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It's a museum that travels. It was in Hong Kong last month and will next go to Tokyo. Made from fiber-reinforced plastic on a steel support, the pavilion is highly experimental and innovative.
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It features the artwork from 20 contemporary artists who are inspired by Chanel. The artists include Nobuyoshi Araki, Yang Fudong, Yoko Ono, Lee Bul, Michael Lin, Tabaimo, Subodh Gupta, Y.Z. Kami, Soju Tao, Sophie Calle, Loris Cecchini, Wim Delvoye, Leandro Erlich, Sylvie Fleury, Pierre & Gilles, Stephen Shore, Blue Noses, David Levinthal and Stephan Crasneanscki.
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Photo courtesy of http://www.dezeen.com/2008/03/13/chanel-contemporary-art-container-by-zaha-hadid/ More details about the architectural design here.
For further info about the concept and technical details: http://www.chanel-mobileart.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Short quiz: all in a name

Today, for fun, let's have a short quiz.

Guess who the artist is. I will just mention the artist's birth name.

1.Vostanik Manoog Adoyan
2. Samuel Rosenstock

That was a short quiz.

Check your answers on David Cotner's recent newsletter from http://www.hertz-lion.com.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yokohama Triennale 2008

I love images as much as you do, but sorry I don't have a photo to post.
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Here's info from the Yokohama Triennale press release via the newsletter from e-flux.com. This is one of the Asian exhibitions on the Art Compass 2008. Will there be score cards to rate which is the most exciting/banal/relevant/shocking/entertaining/costly biennale? Or perhaps a treasure hunt, i.e. find a drunken artist at the opening to talk to, etc.
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YOKOHAMA TRIENNALE 2008“TIME CREVASSE”13 September - 30 November 2008http://yokohamatriennale.jp
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Artistic Director:Tsutomu Mizusawa (Chief Curator, The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama)
Curators: Daniel Birnbaum (Rector of the Städelschule Art Academy and Director of the Portikus, Frankfurt am Main); Hu Fang (Artistic Director of the Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou); Akiko Miyake (Program Director, Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) Kitakyushu); Hans Ulrich Obrist (Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects, The Serpentine Gallery, London); Beatrix Ruf (Director, Kunsthalle Zürich).
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Yokohama Triennale, Japan’s largest international exhibition of contemporary art, is proud to make further announcements to present Yokohama Triennale 2008, its 3rd exhibition taking place from September 13th to November 30th. Established in 2001, the Yokohama Triennale has become a forum for new cultural production in the contemporary art scene. Featuring works by some 70 artists from approximately 30 countries and set in the cosmopolitan port city of Yokohama, Japan, this year’s exhibition aims to reaffirm the boundless energy that art affords us. The exhibition will greatly take advantage of Yokohama’s social and geographical characteristics as well as the unique spaces of the venues to display an incredible array of works by various international artists, many of which incorporate performance-like elements that bring out the physicality of their creations. Symposiums, workshops, and various other opportunities for interaction and exchange will be held in conjunction with the exhibition, providing further points of encounter for people, art, and the host city.Yokohama Triennale 2008 aims to tie in with the Sydney, Shanghai, Gwangju, and Singapore biennales, all of which will be held around the same time as the Yokohama Triennale.
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Under the banner Art Compass 2008, plans are under way for a worldwide publicity campaign and Grand Tour program encompassing all of these international exhibitions.Says Director Tsutomu Mizusawa on the theme “Time Crevasse”:“Art shakes up our everyday perceptions. It gives us glimpses of the ‘abyss’ we normally fail to notice, or perhaps pretend not to notice. It can horrify us, give us courage, console us, or provide us with what we need to face life. Art arises when we confront that abyss squarely and, by waiting attentively at the edges of ‘time crevasses,’ we scrupulously register various forms of mutual differentiation - individual or social differences, differences of nationality, gender, generation, ethnicity, religion, and so on-including the particular circumstances in which we ourselves are currently situated. Art has the power to dispel the temptation to let ourselves fall into such crevasses. It is also an act of bridging those gaps so that people can communicate and interact through them.”
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As the Yokohama Triennale 2008 prepares to kick off this autumn, it will offer an opportunity for honest reevaluation and reaffirmation of art’s essential value and power today and in the future. This forum for artistic expression will be maintained not only for the sake of mere novelty to be consumed like information, but rather so that, by confronting and accepting the myriad ‘crevasses’ etched in their histories, people can work toward achieving a better mutual understanding of a deep and far-reaching kind.
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Venues: Central and Waterfront Sites in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan- Shinko Pier Exhibition Hall- Red Brick Warehouse No.1- NYK Waterfront Warehouse (BankART Studio NYK)and others
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Organizers- The Japan Foundation - City of Yokohama - NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) - Asahi Shimbun - The Organizing Committee for the Yokohama Triennale ContactE-mail: PR@yokohamatriennale.jpYokohama Triennale Officec/o The Japan Foundation Ark Mori Bldg 20F 1-12-32 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-6021, Japan

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sydney Biennale 2008

Sorry, no image for today. I want to post the info for every upcoming biennial/biennale in Asia this fall that composes Art Compass 2008. Here's the press release announcing the Sydney Biennale. I like how it connects the past to the present. For further info see http://www.bos2008.com/page/media_releases.html
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Revolutions – Forms That Turn, which runs from 18 June – 7 September, is an experimental curatorial project aiming to create a constellation of historical and contemporary artworks. These explore the impulse to revolt, the etymology of ‘Revolutions’ (re-volvere), as well as the gap between associations with the first part of the exhibition title (‘revolutions’) and the second (‘forms that turn’).
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Under the artistic direction of international curator, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the artists, thinkers, filmmakers and writers who will participate in the 16th edition of the Biennale of Sydney celebrate, investigate and re-think the concept of ‘revolution’. The project explores the relationship and gap between ‘revolutionary art’ and ‘art for the revolution’; the space between formal experimentation and artistic intent – the impulse to revolt in both art and life.
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Artists whose practice emerged in the 1960s and 1970s will prepare new works for exhibition alongside seminal artworks by early twentieth century revolutionary artists such as Aleksandr Rodchenko and Kasimir Malevich.
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The exhibition will also feature major new projects by William Kentridge and Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, as well as new works by younger artists such as Qiu Anxiong, Gerard Byrne, Pierre Huyghe, Renata Lucas, Susan Philipsz and Michael Rakowitz.
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This edition of the Biennale of Sydney will also include more works by Australian artists than any previous one, including Vernon Ah Kee, Destiny Deacon, Simryn Gill, Shaun Gladwell, Rosemary Laing, Tracey Moffatt, TV Moore, Mike Parr, Stuart Ringholt, Julie Rrap and theweathergroup_U.

Monday, March 31, 2008

SINGAPORE BIENNALE 2008

This fall will see several art biennials in Asia coinciding. Organizers call it Art Compass 2008, and art lovers can visit Sydney, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and Fukuoka.

Some of these cities are releasing their artist lists. The following is from the press release for the Singapore Biennale 2008. For more info http://www.singaporebiennale.org/
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SINGAPORE BIENNALE 2008
11 September – 16 November 2008
(Vernissage: 9 – 10 September 2008)
Wonder

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The Singapore Biennale 2008 (SB2008), Singapore’s premier international contemporary visual arts event, will open to the public from 11 September to 16 November 2008. Organised by the National Arts Council, the Biennale will feature a total of more than 50 artists and art collectives from over 36 countries and regions including Singapore. Following the critical success of SB2006, this second edition will continue to be the significant cultural event that brings visual arts into the daily lives of Singaporeans.
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THEME
SB2008, through its theme WONDER, proposes to investigate the articulation and creation of marvels, riddles and illusions in our world today. Its conceptual scope issues a challenge to the contemporary world, a world that no longer questions choices, nor allows for things and events to awe us. Through contemporary art, Wonder calls on us to question and be curious; to reach beyond the surface, surpassing the apparent and to allow ourselves be surprised, awed, tantalised and challenged. All of which is an aperture to the World.
"The artworks selected or to be newly developed with the artists, will attempt to cut through the fabric of the politically and socially constructed and perceptual limits, of our world," Artistic Director Fumio Nanjo remarks. "These call upon us to question and be curious, to punch through surfaces of what is apparent so that we can be surprised, tantalised and challenged at what is revealed or presented. Consequently, some of these works also engage our minds and our senses upon terrain that is unexplained, unfamiliar and, at times, seemingly consistent with trickery, or present things of unutterable beauty, that we are held at awe in their presence."
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ARTISTS, ARTIST COLLECTIVES AND ARTWORKS
This exhibition will showcase an illustrious list of established and emerging artists whose works engender wonder about the world we live in. The present artist list includes artists from Asia, Middle East, Europe and the Americas, such as Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Deborah Kelly, Isak Berbic, Hans op de Beeck, Anthony McCall, Isaac Montoya, Faisal Samra, Fujiko Nakaya, Ki-bong Rhee, and Felice Varini, to Southeast Asia and Singapore, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan,
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Heman Chong, Shubigi Rao, Tang Ling Nah and Willy Koh and Sherman Ong. All produce sharp, wonderful work that provide apertures and prisms of possibilities and hope, through which we can gaze at the world.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

2008 Taipei Biennial Press Release

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Concept for 2008 Taipei Biennial
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The 6th Taipei Biennial, like our lives, is uncertain, fragmented and fragile. The project does not have a single theme, but a constellation of correlated themes, most of which address the chaotic states of things in this time of globalization.
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The exhibition engages with the city of Taipei in various ways. It does not only take place in the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, but also within the urban spaces. There will be performative works and interventions in the city, some will be documented and reconfigured in the exhibition venues. The exhibition venues will include the Beer Brewery that has been on an extended process of transformation from Taiwan's first beer factory as a production and distribution site built during the Japanese occupation, to a state monopoly, privatization, rebranding and finally relocation of it out of the city center. While the factory's history may represent a classical example of a post-industrialized city anywhere in the world, the exhibition is interested in seeking the nuances and specificities within the general. The brewery's daily operation will go on during the exhibition run, and its space will be utilized as a real place rather than an insular exhibition zone. In addition, the curators plan to utilize a number of advertising boards in the city, spreading around, and coming into view when you least expect it.
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The city does not only refer to a physical site, the museum, where the art of the day turns to and reflects on, but also to other spaces, mental sites where discussions pertaining to globalization and its discontents, the states of things and the opportunities of change are at the core of the daily life. These are the places that artists learn from and feed-back to. For example, the impacts and import of globalization in Taipei or the transformations effecting the mobility of people and the conditions of labor are questions that art is interested in. While art does not have answers to these questions, it has the capacity to reflect on them from different angles, ask different questions and sometimes focus on individual moments. As with the approach of the biennial, no story is infinitely singular. One's story in Taipei links to other places in Asia and the globe. Hence, the exhibition focuses on issues such as globalization and its resistances, the neoliberal habitat, mobility, borders, divided states and micro-nations/states, urban transformations, informal economies, politics, and the war condition. Each focus comes with many other questions, for example, the mobility of a tourist, a temporary worker or a foreign bride are certainly not the same, not even similar. Towards this end, the Biennial has been commissioning as many new works as possible and/or asking the artists to rethink and adapt previous projects in the light of Taipei. There will also be existing works juxtaposed against the new ones. The exhibition will also have thematic compilations and farcical and biting videos. By means of these projects the curators and artists will show the diverse opportunities that this Biennial is capable of creating and responding to.
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List of the Participating Artists in progress (as of March 28, 2008)
Lara Almarcegui Netherlands) Yochai Avrahami (Israel)Matei Bejenaru (Romania) Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkacova omania) Democracia (Spain) Didier Fuiza Faustino (Portugal) Mieke Gerritzen (Netherlands)Shaun Gladwell (Australia)Nicoline van Harskamp (Netherlands) Oliver Ressler (Austria) & Zanny Beggs (Australia) Mario Rizzi (Italy) Katya Sander (Denmark) Saso Sedlacek (Slovenia) Superflex (Denmark) Bert Theis (Italy) Nasan Tur (Germany)Wong Hoy-cheong (Malaysia)

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Value of Art



Money seems to be a good standard to use when comparing hotels, property, vehicles, careers, etc., but it seems to be an inadequate standard to use for valuating art.
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Does a high price tag for an art work automatically imply that the value of that work is intrinsically higher?
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Since art and relating to art is so subjective it seems frivolous and absurd to equate it with money.

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Let’s compare this to a car. Cars can be objectively judged according to its construction, its speed, mileage, safety, style and brand. A suitable price can be accorded to it. A Jaguar will always cost more than a Mazda, for example. It can generally be agreed that these prices in relation to each other are logical and reasonable.

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But in art, however, the logic of the market is really not suitable, nor does it match Art. Then by what standards do we set the value for art? Personally, I think it should be by spit. The more you salivate over an artwork, the higher the value.
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One gallerist was upset to find that a Jeff Koons work cost more than an El Greco and he sought to change the art market. Read about Larry Salander's story here: http://nymag.com/news/features/45324/

What do you think?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Taiwan's current art situation


On Saturday, Taiwan had its presidential election and the clear winner was Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT party with 58 percent of the vote.
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Today's news says that it is expected that foreign investors will pour 300 billion NT$ into the local stock market.
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So how will this affect the arts in Taiwan? When I look back at old copies of the Taipei Times newspaper circa 2000, there were usually a couple art reviews every week reflecting the then-vibrant art scene. In the past few years, as I'm one of their arts contributing reporters, it's been difficult to come up with noteworthy shows to review on a regular basis. Coming up with one a month was often stretching it.
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Even though artists were still creating, the exhibition scene was rather dormant. Funding seemed to focus on traditional expression such as puppet shows and wood carving, with barely any support (financially or space-wise) for the more experimental and the more contemporary. My guess is that people were not feeling so secure to spend money for art exhibitions and were waiting for the presidential elections while holding on to their money.
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Now with the new President, whose daughter, Lesley Ma Wei-ching, works in Cai Guo-qiang's studio in NY, perhaps there will be a sudden flourishing of arts in Taiwan.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We and Me

Our societies and education systems put more emphasis on the left brain rather than the right brain. We line up in rows, memorize info by rote.
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Painting, singing, playing music and teaching those things to children are often downplayed.
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Please check this site and watch the 18 minute video of passionate speaker neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor. After you've wiped away your tears, you will probably change your life.
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http://www.artsjournal.com/artfulmanager/main/081589.php

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Art = Smart

If you've had training in the arts: visual, music, dance, performing, etc. then you are well aware of how you're utilizing all your faculties.

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Learning to draw helps you with spatial ability while learning to play a musical instrument aids you in long term memory that you can apply to other areas of study.
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Well, a new science study came out that asks: Are smart people drawn to the arts or does art make people smarter?
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Read here for the details:
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304150459.htm



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shanghai Surprise


photo courtesy of: http://www.china.org.cn/entertainment/2008-03/08/content_11961803.htm


Bjork's shouting of "Tibet" at the end of her song in Shanghai didn't go over so well in China. As the Ministry of Culture says Tibet is an inalienable part of China.
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Can artists create change in China? Please stay tuned.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mutterings by R.D. Laing

My neck is on the guillotine the blade comes down
my head goes this way the rest goes that
which side will I be on?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Live in the Moment: Tino Sehgal's staged art

Here's an environmentally-friendly artist who makes work that is exhibited and collected but the work is immaterial: Tino Sehgal.
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He creates situations in which a group of people carry out his verbal instructions by using their voices, movements and interaction with the audience. When his works are sold there are no written receipts, catalogues, photos or any documentation whatsoever. The works exist in the moment only.
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Tino Sehgal is based in Berlin and is currently exhibiting older works at Magasin 3 in Stockholm
such as This Is New in which a museum attendant reads out the daily news headlines to visitors.
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One of his previous works, This Success/This Failure was where a group of children tried to get the visitors to join them in their games. It's interesting to see that cultural meaning can still be produced in such an ethereal way.
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http://www.magasin3.com/

Monday, March 3, 2008

freelance writing vs. independent curating

To sell stories to magazines, a freelance writer needs to find a new spin, a new angle, or new research to create something fresh that hasn't been published before. Since magazines usually publish similar topics such as dieting for a woman's mag, the pressure is on to put the topic in a different light in this highly competitive field.
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Let's compare this to the independent curating of biennials, which are those mega-exhibitions that take place in various cities around the world as a way to boost international recognition for the host country and to merge global ideas with the local. A biennial is usually designed by one, two or a team of recognized independent curators who first come up with a theme and then invite internationally-renowned artists along with the city's own artists who are perhaps not as well-known. This is what's called in art circles as "dialogue."
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Lately, take a look at any city's biennial, and it seems like a similar list of artists (Yawn) appear along with a similar scheme of themes such as 'war is bad', 'colonialism brings problems' and 'personal identity defines one's politics.'
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The excuse in the art world was that not many people get to travel to all the world's biennials, so this was the chance for these non-travelers to see and learn about these new ideas in contemporary art.
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Isn't this getting incredibly tiresome though? Can independent curators try to come up with new spins and fresh angles such as freelance writers?

There will be a whole slew of biennials in Asia during September of this year: Singapore, Taipei, Gwangju, Shanghai, Sydney, plus the Yokohama Triennial. Let's see if any of these exhibitions will be a pleasant surprise or the same-old.


Friday, February 29, 2008

Cai Guo-Qiang's Retrospective at the Guggenheim



Cai Guo-Qiang's recent retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum is naturally generating lots of press.
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In response, I post a bit from my Master's thesis Borrowing the Enemy's Arrows: Strategies of Contemporary Chinese Conceptual Artists where I discuss one of Cai's works:
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Globally aware, many Mainland Chinese contemporary artists capitalize on the Oriental stereotype that is projected onto them and reflect it back to the Western art world....
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Cai Guo-Qiang’s installation Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows (1998) perfectly illustrates this intelligent strategy. For the Inside Out: New Chinese Art exhibition at P.S. 1 in New York City in 1998, he installed a life-sized boat made of rice straw from his hometown, Quanzhou, an ancient seaport. Suspended from the air, the boat was pierced with a multitude of arrows and a People’s Republic of China flag, attached to the stern, waved frantically in the breeze produced by an electric fan.
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The work is based on a third century Chinese tale. A famous general, in knowing that he did not have enough arrows to win an imminent battle, sent out three hundred boats of straw filled with straw figures. To the enemy, the boats and figures seen through the mist seemed real enough and they attacked, shooting hundreds of arrows that pierced through the straw boats. The general recovered the arrows that were embedded in the boats to defeat his foe (Gao, Inside Out 34).
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Here, Cai uses a traditional Chinese narrative to create multiple layers of meaning: historical, cultural, theoretical and autobiographical. The boat symbolizes the female and the piercing arrows the male gaze. Also, in exoticism, the “other” is seen as female while the “self” is male. This piece is effective because it is normally exhibited in a Western exhibition space where figuratively, Cai, like the general, strategically takes the art world’s arrows to his great advantage. The boat of arrows then becomes a metaphor for Cai’s art practice, as he reflects and deflects the image of Asian artist that is projected upon him by the Western art world.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Július Koller at Musée Rochechouart






An exhibition that opens at the Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art on March 1st will feature the work of Slovak artist Július Koller who died last year.
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Koller saw the utopian possibilities inherent in art. In the '70s, he founded the UFO Gallery Ganek on the Ganek Peak of the Upper Tatras Mountains in Slovakia. Koller's gallery was inaccessible to reach, so the gallery became a fictive reality and a shared dream amongst artists. This intrigues me as the Tatras Mountains are where my ancestors come from, so this fabled area is my Avalon.
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Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart, http://www.musee-rochechouart.com/

Lars Laumann, 5th Berlin Biennial





Lars Laumann, Still, Berlinmuren, 2008, Video, 32 min, English, loop, color, sound Courtesy: The artist, 5th berlin biennial for contemporary art

The 5th Berlin Biennial curated by Adam Szymczyk and Elena Filipovic opens April 5.

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One of the works to be included is a new film by Lars Laumann titled Berlinmuren and which tells the actual story of Eija-Riita Berliner-Mauer, a Swedish woman who married the Berlin Wall in 1979 and also changed her name.

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A brief internet search only brings up a smattering of articles that discusses this woman's erotic love for this concrete wall. They don't explain if she's ever consummated the wedding (or how). Or if this is a post-modern ironic gesture or a real heart-felt sentiment. It looks like she might have a thing for plastic bags too!

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If you know more about this, please comment.


Monday, February 25, 2008

NY Philharmonic in North Korea


The news services are reporting this latest cultural development.


The NY Philharmonic arrived in North Korea today for a performance scheduled tomorrow.




What do you think? Is this an effective form of cultural diplomacy?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23330636/

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Add Oil


You may be wondering why the title is "add oil" along with a photo of pumping gas. In Chinese, when you are cheering someone to win the race, you'll shout "jia-you, jia-you" which literally means 'add oil.'
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The Taipei Fine Arts Museum which hosts the Taipei Biennial finally did something that I've been bitching about in print for years. See http://www.culture.tw/ and the Opinion section for my previous comments.
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They finally unstuck their head out of the sand! Recently, the TFAM invited the organizers of the Shanghai Biennial and Guangzhou Triennial to work on a cooperation between all the big biennials taking place in Asia in September 2008. So after all these years, I say "Jia you." Way to go!
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This is also a form of soft politics in which a museum in Taiwan is closely collaborating with two museums in China. This really warms my heart, confirming my belief that art can be a way to peace.
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Additionally Taiwan's Council for Cultural Affairs sponsored website http://www.culture.tw/ has recently been denied future funding as the pro-mainland KMT-dominated legislature, which decides on Taiwan's budget, deems that the promotion of "Taiwanese" culture is against their best interests. Although, the KMT is not exactly promoting/funding Chinese art here either.
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And remember, Taiwan's history as a Japanese colony that was never a communist state created a vastly different cultural climate from the mainland. Politics aside, personally I think this culture which is nostalgic and wistful in nature is quite fascinating and should be funded and promoted.