Cairo — I won’t lie to you. I was scared yesterday. I got in a fight with a group of passersby in one of the poorest neighborhood in Cairo. The people thought I was reporting for Al-Jazeera, the Qatari-based news channel that has been the target of major government propaganda over the last few days. People were pulling me from my clothes, hitting me on my back and dragging me to the floor until I was saved by a reasonable police officer who pretended to arrest me and my friends to calm the crowds.
Despite Wednesday night’s snow storm, tough cookies crowded the Austrian Cultural Forum to near capacity for Alpine Desire’s opening reception. The wine was gone by 7pm but people stayed. Examining mountain imagery in contemporary art, as well as a few earlier modernist and romanticist paintings, the show wins over its audience not only by exhibiting picturesque (and relatively safe) postcard-like views but also evocations on our darker and quirkier interactions with mountains.
Cairo — As I write this story, I am in my room overlooking the main square of Cairo, ironically called Tahrir Square, which means Liberty in Arabic. The square is buzzing with what news agencies estimate is as much as half a million protesters, chanting together. People want to overthrow the president.
Egyptian people took to the streets demanding the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, their president for the last 30 years. The demonstrations, which started five days ago, are becoming life-altering events to those witnessing it from the ground.
The “Oficina de Gestion de Muros” (Walls Management Office) is an independent Spanish project that fills the empty spaces around the city of Madrid with art. WMO is putting the best street artists on the planet in touch with Madrid locals, neighbors, shopkeepers and businesses alike who have empty walls waiting to be filled with art. For their first project “Medianeras de Madrid”, or Joint Walls of Madrid, they worked with two amazing street artists: Blu and Sam3. Now, they are putting together a listing of artists to collaborate with other wall-owners. The person responsible for founding WMO is Remedios Vincent. I had a chat with Remedios to get to know a little more about this project.
As an adult, I fly back to Las Vegas frequently and I relive my youth by driving around the city in a rent-a-car with my camera in tow capturing the city I once knew. In this piece for Hyperallergic, I am posting photographs from my ongoing photo documentary series consisting of Las Vegas hotel & motel photographs from 2007 to the present.
MoMA photography curator Roxana Marcoci knows that we are experiencing a “renaissance of performance”. The show she has curated in collaboration with Eva Respini, Staging Action: Performance in Photography since 1960, will explore the role of the photographic image in this surge of performative work, both as a document of the performance and as art work on its own. The MoMA exhibition, which opens this Friday January 28, begins in the 1960s at a time when performance began to emerge as a singular field of art based on the carrying out of specific art actions.
At a preview of the New Museum’s George Condo retrospective, I was struck by the painter’s relentless engagement with all sorts of art historical genres, from Baroque portraiture to abstract expressionism and back again. Here’s a photo essay covering the entire Condo exhibition, from the salon style portrait start to the abstract expressionist finish.
Joe Zucker’s solo exhibition A Unified Theory at not one, but two Mary Boone gallery outposts is an affair that stretches from day-glo exuberance to quiet, eloquent historicism. In the gallery’s 24th street space, an exhibition of mosaic works on gypsum sees Zucker breaking down the representational plane into its basic elements. The grids of tinted squares, scratched into stone, come together to form figurative depictions of sailboats and architectural atria. Equally at home in the context of 8-bit pixel culture or Chuck Close’s gridded painting constructions, Zucker’s mosaics engage abstraction without losing an interest in transcendent beauty and joy in artistic materials.
Liveblogging performance art is a little like tweeting a dentist appointment. You go in with some anxiety about the experience, and in the case of the former, you wonder how you will be able to capture all of what you are experiencing but also remain in the moment and engaged even though your mind can wander, distracted by noises, conversations, your own thoughts, and interruptions. When you’re liveblogging you can’t look away, not even if the performer cuts their hand (happened last time and she needed 20 stitches), or pulls out a hypodermic to inject some clear liquid into their cheek (happened this time, thanks Zhennesse). It is an imperfect thing, liveblogging, but I will say it is an exhilarating way to experience performance art.
Last Wednesday the Lesley Heller Workspace in the Lower East Side, opened The Bushwick Paintings, a new group of work by Deborah Brown. The gallery was packed, teeming with people and vibrant paintings.
Brown has been painting urbanscapes for quite some time. Fascinated by the world in which we live our everyday lives, she points out the poetic beauty of the ordinary; antennas, sneakers hanging on overhead wires, lamp posts, and fences are no longer invisible elements of the city, but the main characters in her scenes.
When the VIP (Viewing in Private) Art Fair kicks off this Saturday January 22, there won’t be mad dash of collectors behind the gates, ready to snap up any work on view. The only crush might be an overloaded server or a long login time as patrons struggle to sign in. VIP marks the first digital-only commercial art fair: prospective buyers will simply visit the fair’s website and virtually peruse galleries’ wares for the event’s duration, through January 30. Founded by James Cohan Gallery, directed by Noah Horowitz and Stephanie Schumann and featuring 138 galleries from 80 different countries, of every magnitude from Marianne Boesky to Winkleman Gallery, the VIP Art Fair is a uniquely expansive event. But it’s also not as different as it initially appears.
Jennifer Bartlett’s latest exhibition Recitative at Pace Gallery shows the artist continually breaking down and rebuilding the base particles of art. In the enormous, open gallery installation, enamel-coated steel tiles spaced in rising and falling grids line the exterior walls. Each square holds its own combination of disparate elements of art, remixing line, shape, color and texture into an infinity of combinations. This central installation, “Recitative” (2009-10), is Bartlett’s longest painting composition ever at 158 feet. What at first appears to be a gallery-size abstraction coalesces into a didactic walk-through of art at the atomic level and a joyful celebration of what it means to make a purposeful artistic mark.