Jeremy Blake Winchester (Detail)

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April 7, 2005

Taking aim with our handheld camera, Artkrush focuses on new video art from a collection of global talents. Exploring psychedelic solutions, we follow the lens down the techno trail, where hacking digital games and scrambling TV signals becomes an art form. Capturing a rush of images, we discover dream worlds and pages filled with multiple characters. Talking heads take us to Milan, COSplayers to Beijing, and punk hijinks to the Amish country. At the end of the day we can only wonder Who's Afraid of Black, White, and Grey? It's a trip!

  Hit the street with the new PlayStation® Portable. With eye-popping graphics, dazzling widescreen LCD, wireless connectivity and the ability to play games, music and movies when and where you want, the PSP™ gives you the freedom to enjoy entertainment on your terms.

Artist Adds Flair to Museum Collections
(BBC, March 25)
British graffiti artist Banksy shocked the New York art establishment when he smuggled his artworks into four high-security museums — the Met, MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, and American Museum of Natural History — installing them in the exhibition spaces. Documentation of the feat was first posted to online street-arts community Wooster Collective.

Murakami Primed for NY Extravaganza
(NY Times Magazine, April 3)
Takashi Murakami's high-profile exhibition at New York's Japan Society will introduce otaku culture to international audiences. Acting as curator, Murakami includes members of his Kaikai Kiki stable of artists and other media fields to illustrate Japan's pathological geek phenomenon. Installations extend to public spaces with support from The Public Art Fund.

Thom Mayne Wins Pritzker Prize
(Wired, March 21)
Thom Mayne, founder of SCI-Arc and Morphosis, has been awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture. He will be honored with a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion. Past recipients include I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and Renzo Piano. The Santa-Monica based architect's ideology-driven projects are distinguished by their angular, unfinished aesthetic.

Marlene Dumas Prices Ballooning
(NY Times, March 27)
Surging auction prices for South-African born artist Marlene Dumas' erotically charged paintings have gained her sudden international attention. 1987's The Teacher (sub a) sold for a record $3.34 million last month. Major supporters include British dealer Charles Saatchi, who is featuring several works in his Triumph of Painting exhibition.

The Met acquires Gilman trove of photos
more »

LA art district revitalizing industrial neighborhood more »

Moscow courts crack down on "blasphemous" exhibition more »

Influx of contemporary art prizes spreads the wealth more »

Basquiat as action figure, accessories not included more »

New York Times critic pans Hirst's latest work more »

Indian Pavillion debuts at Venice Biennale
more »

Artist's iceberg project dares Belfast to think "Titanic" more »

Los Angeles museum director unexpectedly resigns post more »

Terror insurance costs nix planned Turner show more »

Note: Some online publications require registration to access the articles. If you encounter a registration screen, try akreader1 as the user name and password.

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E*Rock / Paper Rad / Takeshi Murata / Ara Peterson

Psychedelic Solutions

While spring may be in the air, it's the summer of love that's on many minds. It's been floating around galleries for a couple of years in the form of happy-go-lucky hippie-style collages, fast-paced digital animations, and psychedelic videos that conjure the Dadaist spirit of Man Ray and Hans Richter. The roots of this current movement lead to Providence, Rhode Island and the artist collective, Forcefield, who came to greater attention in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. There, they exhibited a darkened room full of alien figures in outlandish costumes and hypnotic visuals that subliminally beckoned us to follow in their footsteps.

Quick at their heels came Dearraindrop and Paper Rad, two hyperactive groups made up of individual talents stimulated by creative camaraderie, and assume vivid astro focus, an individual who invites others to be part of his team. Dearraindrop's music video for Neon Hunk and Paper Rad's 21-minute P-Unit Mixtape 2005 combine cartoon graphics with found imagery. Meanwhile, avaf has been lighting up galleries worldwide with computer generated wallpaper, prints and faux-music videos that are often mixed by Bec Stupak of Honeygun Labs. Stupak also made an energetic video for Phiiliip, which was screened at Deitch Projects last fall, and she recently premiered Scissor Friends, a cut-and-paste DVD-zine, at Eyebeam.

Following a technological trail, LoVid scrambles TV signals into hyperkinetic audio-visual performances and Cory Arcangel makes art out of hacked Nintendo games, as well as his computer memory. Arcangel extends this movement west by collaborating with Milwaukee's Frankie Martin, a neo-hippie artist who makes customized sneakers, videos and endless other amusements. Portland is home to E*Rock, a multi-talented artist, who has worked with Mumbleboy, runs a record label, and produces mad-crazy, game-inspired animations to accompany his own music. Further down the coast in LA, Takeshi Murata is dropping hypnotic visuals in motion with locked groove DVDs guaranteed to blow your mind.

Murata is a grad of the film department at the Rhode Island School of Design, back in Providence. He and two schoolmates — Devin Flynn (his Cat Loop video is riveting) of the band Pixeltan and Noah Lyon, known for his provocative Retard Riot website and revolutionary graphics — are pushing what they call visual bionics from the outside. On the inside track, Jim Drain and Ara Peterson, two former Forcefield members, are breaking down psychedelics for galleries and institutions with a recent show at Miami's Moore Space and upcoming solo shows in New York and San Francisco, respectively. The psychedelic solution is a summer of fun. (PL)

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Candice Breitz: Mother + Father
Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea
Feb 15 - Apr 24, 2005

  Candice Breitz is a master of media manipulation. Appropriating music videos, television shows, and films, she has turned talking heads of mainstream culture into adorable puppets to deliver scripts of her own making. Her newest installation, Mother + Father, presents two parallel groups of plasma screens showing fragments of films remixed to new ends. Famous actors such as Faye Dunaway, Dustin Hoffman, and Steve Martin play parents who drift in dialogue from coherent guidance to total nonsense. Considering Hollywood's stereotypes as a means of social control, Breitz pulls back the curtain to reveal the deception of those we revere. (PL)

Olaf Breuning: Home
Galerie Nicola von Senger
Now through April 30

  Olaf Breuning's Home is representative of a new generation of video arts borrowing from a traditional focus on body and self while incorporating cinematic and music-video production, including fast-paced editing, substantial casts, location scouting, and elaborate set design. The thirty-minute program presents simultaneous large-scale projections, one filmed in black-and-white showing the protagonist-narrator soliloquizing alone in a gaudy hotel suite and the other, in color, representing his imagined travels and adventures. In line with the artist's outlandish aesthetic, joyrides through Pennsylvania Amish country, punk communes, and a bearded cast-away couple all cleverly express a peculiar 21st-century sense of global alienation in the search for both an identity and a place to call home. (AM)

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba
Malmö Konsthall
Now through June 6

  Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba shows two of his celebrated underwater films inspired by Vietnamese oceanic travelers. The first depicts bicycle taxi drivers struggling on the sea floor. The piece links the fates of the local boat people who left the country by perilous means after the war, and the country's old-style population — symbolized by the cyclo drivers — that remained. In the second film, billowing clouds of color swamp a New Year's dragon, carried by seven divers. The dyes emanate from the "Fate Machine," a large orb shooting out small balls of powder. Nguyen-Hatsushiba describes the colored plumes as a metaphor for the departed Vietnamese Diaspora. (SR)

Recent Acquisitions: Slater Bradley's Doppelganger Trilogy
New York
Guggenheim Museum
Now through May 22

  Slater Bradley's fandom for Ian Curtis inspired him to recreate a Joy Division concert with his look-alike, Benjamin Brock, posing as the post-punk legend in a grainy video. In ensuing works, Bradley had Brock play Kurt Cobain and Michael Jackson — treating the pop icons as his ghostly doubles. But he conjures these stars from afar by casting his doppelganger in bootleg-style footage and photos resembling memorabilia. These relics add to fandom's material culture, which the artist represents by magazine tear sheets and a cassette-sleeve mural. For Bradley, these pop artifacts, fictional and real, evoke the eerie presence of the fabled musicians, who infect our pop cultural consciousness, and haunt his own ambivalent sense of mortality. (MW)

Cao Fei: COSPlayers
The Courtyard Gallery, Beijing
Now through April 20

  Cao Fei pays homage to her home city with an action-packed video set in Guangzhou in southern China. Commissioned for the 2004 Shanghai Biennial, the work depicts local teenagers dressed as anime characters (cosplayer is short for costume player) that stalk each other and go toe-to-toe with knives, swords, and scythes. It's as if the kids from Tokyo's hip Shibuya district were suddenly transported to vacant urban sites and left to their own devices. While it comments on a social phenomenon of China's "new generation," it also takes a page out of Mike Davis' urban critique, raising questions about the alienating spaces of contemporary megalopolises. (CYL)

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Kota Ezawa

Kota Ezawa

Kota Ezawa has an eye for the essential. Drawing on well-known films, photos, and found footage, Ezawa creates pared down animation pieces, sifting out visual white noise so that only the brusque gestures and darted glances of the original material remains. The resulting aesthetic is equal parts Warhol and South Park. A bright light in the current West Coast art scene, Ezawa grew up in Germany, studying at the Dusseldorf Academy before relocating to San Francisco's Art Institute in 1994, where he apprenticed with experimental film-master George Kuchar.

With one foot planted firmly in the grounds of contemporary art, Ezawa began dipping his toes into the shallow waters of pop with The Simpson Verdict, a digital animation projection of the trial of the century — or at least the 90s. Retaining the soundtrack of the filmed courtroom footage, Ezawa abstracts Simpson, his lawyers, and the other principles into brightly colored planes, their reactions abbreviated into jerky movements of betraying emotion.

Moving his magnifying glass from human behavior to the history of art, Ezawa's work currently at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, On Photography, features 20 iconic photographs (from Matthew Brady to Nan Goldin) presented as a slide installation. In that and other recent works such as Lennon Sontag Beuys, now on view at the Warhol Museum, and Who's Afraid of Black, White and Grey, a cacophonous three-minute retooling of the Richard Burton/Liz Taylor classic, Ezawa displays a sly flair for packaging complex art historical discourse in seductively simple wrappings. (LG)

Leigh Goldstein is a freelance writer and executive assistant for exhibitions in the Department of Film and Media at the Museum of Modern Art, where she recently co-organized Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Projects Recorded, 1969-1998.

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Jeremy Blake

Jeremy Blake

Shana Nys Dambrot interviews artist Jeremy Blake, whose trilogy Winchester is currently on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Jeremy Blake is young, hip, and new media savvy, but don't hold that against him. He's an auteur belonging to a lineage of storytellers that makes use of every available voice and viewpoint. The mysterious saga of the Winchester Mystery House proved an ideal platform for Blake's dynamic, dreamlike imagery.
AK: Do you feel more creative affinity for painting or drawing?

JB: I feel the most affinity for painting, and it informs everything else I do. Drawing is actually the key, though. It kept me entertained as kid; I was an only child, and I did it every day.

AK: Who are some poets, writers or visual artists that you identify as inspirations; or is your hybrid style more of a take on the broader culture at large?

JB: David Berman is a poet and a friend of mine. He has a book called Actual Air and a great band called the Silver Jews. I like [the artists] James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Mike Kelley, David Reed, Laura Owens, and Dario Robleto. I like detective fiction. I like to read horoscopes because they are honestly the best option if you're forced to think within the framework of a deterministic system. I like some of Robert Altman's movies so much that I watch them over and over; and also the movie The Big Lebowski. I like the book The Power Broker by Robert Caro about Robert Moses, the city planner. It's a great study of how power is accumulated and maintained. I pull from everywhere, as you say.

AK: There is a strong psychedelic aesthetic in the work that suggests the inner world, the world of the imagined...

JB: Psychedelia is the first style of art that reached me, via record covers. People think of it as weak because it's supposedly non-intentional or fluid; but if it's used for a reason, as I think it is in my Winchester series, it unleashes a powerful rush of images. Ultimately I'm interested in how cultural influences settle into the subconscious and begin to articulate an inner world. I use somewhat well known personalities to inform the psychology of each DVD piece, for example, Sara Winchester. It's a nontraditional, psychological form of portraiture — one that utilizes an array of different media to give a dream world real staying power.

Jeremy Blake is a painter and digital media artist. He has shown in galleries and museums worldwide. His work resides in the collections of numerous museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Blake has designed cinematic sequences for such films as Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love and created a series of album covers and inserts for Beck's CD, Sea Change.

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Anthony Goicolea
By Anthony Goicolea, Jane Harris
Twin Palms Publishers

Digital whiz Anthony Goicolea has quietly established himself as one of the premier artists working in photography and video today. This monograph includes reproductions from his 1999 series, You and What Army, staged "ensemble" self-portraits combining occult undertones with pubescent whimsy, through to 2002's Land. A companion DVD contains the artist's sophisticated oeuvre of video works, such as Act of Contrition, an uncanny reinterpretation of Catholic ritual, and the mesmerizing Snowscape, a collapsing 360-degree tour of desolate tundra. A studio interview with revered film director Gus Van Sant provides further insight into Goicolea's restrained yet highly suggestive approach to composition and narrative. (AM)

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Cover image
Jeremy Blake, Winchester, 2002 (detail)
Courtesy Feigen Contemporary, New York

Paul Laster
Shana Nys Dambrot
Andrew Maerkle
Mark Mangan
Shiraz Randeria

Chris Elam
Mark Barry

Lisa Cooley
Tim Evans
Leigh Goldstein
Allison Kave
Jessica Kraft
Jane Lerner
Christopher Y. Lew
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Michelle Weinberg
Matt Wolf

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Sameer Shah

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