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

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.


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.


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 ) and the tops only of 8 additional tanks (shown in red on the site aerial map at ) 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 ).


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.


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.
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.
Hmm! Where are the women artists? Why do we still have gender inequity in the arts?

Friday, May 16, 2008


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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.


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.
The photo shows the gallery's interior and is courtesy of: