Brooklyn-based artist Jacob Krupnick had the opportunity to spend the day after the Art Basel Miami Beach fair closed inside the convention center dodging forklifts and documenting the breakdown of the fair. “It’s that rare moment when lots of valuables are at risk and in motion,” he told me over email. “The amazing piles of crates and packing materials make it hard to pin down what, exactly, an art piece is. (One forklift operator pointed at a stack of shipping containers he’d arranged, and said without sarcasm: ‘This is my art.’)” [PHOTO SERIES]
New Museum Director Lisa Phillips Explains Decision to Show Wojnarowicz Video
When the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced that it would be removing “A Fire in My Belly,” a David Wojnarowicz video work, from its Hide/Seek exhibition due to Republican political pressure, the art world rushed to the work’s defense. Among the first art institutions to respond to the scandal was the New Museum. In a press release on December 6, the museum announced that it would be displaying the video in its lobby “as an act of solidarity with the many artists whose rights of expression continue to be limited by misinformation and fear.”
In a Hyperallergic-exclusive Q+A with New Museum’s director Lisa Phillips, the director explains how the museum reacted to the initial controversy and how the decision was made to display the censored video in the lobby.
Need Your Condo Decorated? Jessica Snow at Jen Bekman
There are condos going up all over Williamsburg, facades decked out with panels of bright colors that bring to mind a sort of yuppie Piet Mondrian: sickly oranges, pea greens and off-reds, all surfaced fiberglass matte and smooth. All those bare walls seen through the under-construction picture windows must need something to hang on them, right? In the burgeoning gallery scene on the Lower East Side, Jen Bekman has an answer: anemically pretty, blandly abstract paintings by Jessica Snow.
Miami Basel 2010 Proves Market is Back!?
The vibes being sent up North from Miami to the now-snowy climes of New York City over the past week have carried with them a message: the contemporary art market may just be back into something like its previous swing.
Gleaned from tweets, news pieces written from flashy parties and a newfound sense of optimism, is this intuition of market return reality, or just self-fulfilling prophecy? Check out a collection of picks, pics, links and insights into Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 below.
Hyperallergic T-Shirts Now Available
Remember that little contest we had back in October to determine which design would be chosen for Hyperallergic’s very first t-shirt? Well, Duncan Alexander’s “T-shirts are the new galleries” took first prize, and now it’s for sale! The t-shirt, made out of a comfy 100% cotton (I can attest, I’m wearing one now), features Alexander’s slogan in our signature Hyperallergic font, and is made for those self-deprecating situations when a snarky dig at the contemporary art world is just what you need.
Two Kinds Of Abstraction At On Stellar Rays
An exhibition of LA-educated artists Brody Condon and Jen Liu at Lower East Side gallery On Stellar Rays showcases two different methods of abstraction. Beyond abstracting painting to an ever-flatter surface, artists use their work to flatten visual and symbolic content as well. In the work of Condon and Liu, the emotional and social connotations of material and subject matter are altered and re-used into sculptures that question fixed meanings. Where Condon goes for the jugular in his video work with abstractions of luscious color and light, Liu plays with symbolism in her work, appropriating images and then abstracting from their literal meanings.
Taking Notice of Scope Miami
SCOPE is the art fair that many people like to disparage but this year’s installment was quite good and worth a trip.
Housed in a large tent near the Art Miami and Red Dot art fairs and, as always, attached to Art Asia, the greater prominence ensured more foot traffic than last year (two gallerists told me sales and traffic were better this year) and the lofty space made it much more conducive to looking at art.
Nada is Miami Beach’s Lower East Side
Tired of all the chatter about Nada being the next big thing, I decided to see if this year’s display would be everything the PR and press promised it would be.
Honestly, it was. Even if the solo artist booths in Richelieu hall were generally a little dull and pedantic, the Napoleon hall was filled with a diverse range of work from galleries that obviously loved what they do.
I found the painting at Nada particularly strong and it was nice to see a love of color in so many that ranged from large-ish-scale abstractions to small intimate pieces with rich surfaces. The tread for most of these paintings is that they tended to be done in a gestural mode of representation veering towards the abstract, but I can live with that.
Not Drinking the Kool-aid at Wynwood Walls
I really don’t know what happened to Wynwood Walls, but this year’s event was a major let down after last year’s fun-filled festivities. If last year’s evening bash was an unexpected mix of murals, Sissy Bounce, and bold-faced art names, all organized by Jeffrey Deitch, the current director of LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art, this year’s event is reputedly the work of Deitch’s “ghost” dealer, Kathy Grayson, whose The Hole Gallery has been trying to fill the gap left by Deitch. This was opening night and it felt like a casual block party. Maybe it was the new restaurant that sits on the corner of the property that reigned in the freak antics, but the energy was unfortunately more subdued than I expected.
Aqua Returns to Miami Beach
After a stint in what felt like rather cramped quarters in Wynwood last year, the Aqua art fair returned to Miami Beach in a more relaxed setting — that even had a water feature — but the whole affair did feel a little underwhelming. I’m not a big fan of looking at art in hotel rooms since their low ceilings make everything feel cramped but that’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of good things to see on both levels of the complex.
While Aqua is normally known to be heavy with West Coast names, there were galleries from all over in the mix, including — from what I could tell — quite a few from Canada. Here is a selection of what I saw.
By Self-Censoring, Smithsonian Betrays Art’s Integrity
When I saw that the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery chose to remove David Wojnarowicz’ “A Fire in My Belly” from its Hide/Seek exhibition following Republican political pressure, I was embarrassed and a little confused for the museum. Isn’t it the job of the art world to stand up to those who essentialize art as “offensive” or “degenerate,” and represent the minority who find little voice in the mainstream outside of art? By choosing to self-censor rather than bear out a media storm that has now turned against the museum, the Smithsonian sets a precedent by which art exhibitions can be compromised piece by piece simply because their imagery may be disagreeable to some.
Rawson Projects Takes Root on Bedford Avenue
On November 11, a small gallery opened its doors on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and caused a ripple of excitement in local art circles. Not only was this one of the first galleries to open on Bedford for ages but many people are taking it as hopeful sign that some energy was returning to a neighborhood that used to be a central part of New York’s art world dialogue.
Named Rawson Projects, the small gallery consists of Christopher Rawson, Julian Calero, and James Morrill. Their first exhibition, Fingers in the Sun, features the work of local painter Sam Martineau and it is a smart show filled with works that are nuanced and almost impossible to capture in photographs.