Ileana Sonnabend and Arte Povera – Edited by Germano Celant

This exhibition catalog reminds us that performance art and some art made from discarded and daily use objects –and ingenuity — began in the 60s as playful investigations of process, concepts, psychology, and aesthetics. I taught intro to Art History for decades when Germano Celant was a star curator in New York and Europe, also often seen in a 20th Century Art film series discussing process-oriented art — for example, Franz Klein painting nude women blue and rolling their bodies on paper – and why this was art. Many artists in the 60s & 70s, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Lynda Benglis, did nude performance art, but it was not necessarily process-oriented. Continue reading

Through the Orbit of Furniture

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Installation photos of APEX: Dawn Cerny, copyright Dawn Cerny, photos courtesy Portland Art Museum

I’m walking amongst a display of furniture— in a way. But these are not actual pieces of furniture. Their names often reference furniture: side table, biblelot cart, gray wardrobe, orange chair. But they do not appear to be useable pieces of furniture. They lean to the side, tower precariously, their uneven surfaces coming to drastic angles, not the usual orthogonal angles we are accustomed to from our household furnishings. Continue reading

Why Ai Weiwei Addresses Human Rights

Ai Weiwei sculpture

Ai Weiwei Circle Fence, 2017 Powder coated mild steel, polypropylene netting Courtesy of the artist Photo: Timothy Schenck, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY On view as part of the citywide exhibition Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, presented by Public Art Fund October 12, 2017-February 11, 2018

Ai Weiwei’s Public Art Fund exhibit employs fences as an extended metaphor for increasing barriers around the world. Three large shapes and over 300 smaller art works — bus station shelters, wall art, and lamp post banners — span the five boroughs. One large work, Gilded Cage, is a dome-shaped bird-cage-like soaring structure with about five subway turnstile mini-structures inside. The cage door faces Central Park as its see-through silhouette displays the Plaza Hotel and luxury Fifth Avenue businesses. As we know, even high end companies in Manhattan have entry level jobs for sales clerks and cleaning people. It’s unlikely the lower-paid employees can afford to live in Manhattan. This cage’s transparency reminds us that street vendors and entry-level employees daily work alongside executives and well-heeled customers and clients. Continue reading

Rodin at the Met: A Century of the Sublime

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Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon) The Thinker Founder: Cast by Alexis Rudier (French) Modeled ca. 1880, cast ca. 1910 Bronze Overall (wt. confirmed): 27 5/8 in., 185 lb. (70.2 cm, 83.9 kg) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Thomas F. Ryan, 1910

In 1877 at the Paris Salon, Rodin’s Age of Bronze was considered so lifelike that skeptical artists and viewers alike circulated the defamatory rumor that Rodin had simply submitted a bronze made directly from a cast of his model, and the sculpture was ignominiously removed from the show.  After the artist subsequently furnished proof that he had indeed modeled the sculpture by hand, it was displayed again the following year, and the work, originally titled The Vanquished, became Rodin’s breakout triumph.  Continue reading

Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts

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Courtesy of the Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco. Photography by Henrik Kam.

Guest curator Mariah Nielson is no stranger to the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design in the Dogpatch District. Her knowledge of the intimate, two room space has enabled the exhibit to offer a substantial source of insight towards the creative practice of architecture and design studios. Nielson selected studios that offer a cohesive pragmatism and exciting diversity by individualized processes for a global impact. Continue reading

The Shapes of Spaces

sculpture

Installation view, Chicago Works: Amanda Williams, MCA Chicago. July 18 – December 31, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Upon first glance, Amanda Williams’s Reliquary 1: To Unlearned People This May Seem to be Full of Nothing and Void of Humanity looks exactly as described in the title. Cut from sheets of plywood, the piece appears like a small house, constructed from panels painted white, and consisting mostly of void, where the wood has been removed. However, on closer examination, one can see that each sheet of plywood is actually a figure — the rectangular holes represent lots, the wood that remains represents streets, and the entire house is folded from the flat surface of a map. This is a house that has been built from a map of Englewood, a neighborhood in South Chicago. Continue reading

Amanda Williams: Chicago Works

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Installation view, Chicago Works: Amanda Williams, MCA Chicago. July 18 – December 31, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Artist and architect Amanda Williams likely never expected her public art project Color(ed) Theory, for which she surreptitiously painted the exteriors of condemned houses in largely vacant Chicago neighborhoods, to garner significant attention.  But in 2015, the Chicago Architectural Biennial highlighted the ongoing project, suddenly giving it a platform with international reach.   In her first solo exhibition, Color(ed) Theory is featured alongside other recent multimedia works by Williams at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Continue reading