Required Reading

Designer (via thisiscolossal.com)
Pawel Piotrowski’s Sandwich Book is an ingenious artist book. (via thisiscolossal.com)

This week, James Turrell explains why his work photographs badly, LA Times hates MOCA’s new architecture show, on Corbusier’s MoMA show, how much does Pandora pay artists, more info on Amazon’s art-selling business, Francesco Bonami hates Ai Weiwei and Banksy, and more …

 I haven’t been able to verify this quote from James Turrell’s appearance on Charlie Rose this past week (since I normally find Rose dull) but this was too good not to share:

Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 9.57.19 AM

 The LA Times critics, whether art or architecture, really like to use LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art as a punching bag. That’s not to say that the museum hasn’t placed the target on itself as a result of their chaotic transitions, dramatic news, and sudden departures but architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne’s latest review is quite a doozy. It begins … :

The new architecture exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art — and we’ll get to its ever-changing title in a moment — is the product of a museum in significant disarray.

… Now that the exhibition has opened at the museum’s Geffen Contemporary branch in Little Tokyo, where it will limp along through the middle of September as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents series, it’s clear that it is the product of an architectural ruling class in Los Angeles that is not so much dysfunctional as increasingly insular.

Meant to celebrate the outstanding built work of the last 25 years in and around L.A., the exhibition instead is marked by fault lines, generation gaps and subtle power plays. It makes clear that the city’s most talented and ambitious young architects are struggling to complete even small projects in an increasingly dense and risk-averse city and step out of the wide, insistent shadow cast by their world-famous older colleagues.

More than anything the show seems confused: about its goals, about its point of view, about how much it wants to reveal to the public.

I suggest reading the whole thing.

 Over at The New Yorker, Alexandra Lange reviews the current Le Corbusier show at the Museum of Modern Art, and she has this suggestion for young architects:

… Le Corbusier understood, as so many younger architects do now, the publicity value of the provocative image, the aggressive quote. Films by and featuring Le Corbusier offer an additional and welcome look at his self-presentation. If current architects take anything from the exhibition — a must-see, despite some critical flaws — it should be the power of those big, gestural drawings, where visual and verbal argument vividly come together.

 Every wonder how much Pandora pays artists for 1,000,000 plays on its streaming music service? Roughly $1,300, but not all of it goes to the musician:


 There’s more information on Amazon’s online gallery, which we reported first back in May. Julia Halperin of The Art Newspaper reports:

Amazon.com is expected to launch an online art gallery later this year. The online retailer of books, electronics and apparel aims to offer over 1,000 art objects from at least 125 galleries, according to dealers who have been approached by the website’s business development group. Amazon executives told one dealer that 109 galleries have already agreed to participate.

… Rather than focus on international, blue-chip businesses, Amazon appears to have targeted smaller dealers, including Eleven Rivington, On Stellar Rays, Vogt Gallery and Zach Feuer.

 Curator Francesco Bonami has some zany quotes in an interview on Artsy (he sounds a little bitter and a tad crazy, if you ask me):

  • Most of the artists I’ve met, they don’t talk too much, they are not very interesting, and often they are even boring. So I don’t understand what this obsession is in the press….
  • Or a horrible example in contemporary art is Banksy. I hate his work…
  • I have this theory, that some art — which is not a matter of importance in the moment that they’re being done — but that some artworks accumulate dust, and some others, patina. So I think Duane Hanson accumulated a lot of dust. When you see sculptures that, you know, belong to a particular moment, they have been important, but now they are dusty.
  • I hate Ai Weiwei. I think he should be put in jail for his art, and not for his dissidence … lukewarm dissidence, because a real dissident, you don’t hear about them any longer, you know? They just throw away the keys.

 In a case of “what year is this”? For the first time in its history, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has organized an exhibition of a living African-American artist, Kerry James Marshall.

 Former US congressman Barney Frank explains the symbolism of his recently unveiled portrait that includes a rainbow flag and a wedding ring.

 From The Wooster Collective:

… [Grey City] was shot over 6 years in the city of Sao Paulo, showing the tension between the amazing street art scene and a law called “Clean City.”

 There’s something shady going on with the New York Public Library, their trustee Stephen Swartzman (of Blackstone), and real estate deals. Hmmmm …

 Gallerist David Zwirner has a fascinating interview over at Spear’s, one of those publications that tries to serve the needs of “high net worth” individuals, and he says some interesting things:

  • “I’ve been reading some articles where mid-size galleries are really complaining about how difficult it is to compete. The big galleries serve a very serious function but they can only serve so many artists. Those [mid-size] galleries have to be strong. That’s a little bit on the local communities to support them. When I was a mid-size gallery and a small gallery, I really got my support from New York. It seems that the audience seems to gravitate towards the galleries that have a little glory attached to their name. That’s too bad.”
  • ” … the two most important art markets in the world are London and New York: New York is a local market, with many important collectors and museums close by, and London is wonderful because it’s a gateway to the rest of the world and especially to Asia.”
  • Art fairs helped the gallery get greater international reach, push their brand and meet new clients, but artists prefer the showcase of the gallery exhibition rather than the art fair, as do collectors, who get to see the work ‘in context’, he said, rather than one piece per artist in a fair-booth group show. The fairs could be useful for ‘seasoned collectors that are looking to fill in gaps’ in their holdings.

 The Cleveland Museum of Art’s North Wing galleries with American Indian and pre-Columbian art, Islamic luxury textiles, and Japanese and Korean art opens today, and Cleveland.com has a slideshow of the treasures you’ll encounter. The write: “The North Wing is the last major element of the museum’s $350 million expansion and renovation to be finished before the entire project is completed in December.”

 BAG Notes gathers some of the most memorable images from this week’s filibuster in the Texas Senate.

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts or photo essays worth a second look.

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