Teddy Cruz, infoSite (detail), 2005

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August 24, 2005

Public art, in all of its ardent manifestations, has a way of surprising and charming its viewers. As the dog days of summer wane, Artkrush considers public interventions between Tijuana and San Diego, discusses a new space for street art in London, looks at a talented team mining the World Wide Web, and exposes some colorfully clad kids in downtown Tokyo. Maintaining a global point of view, we offer a lively mix of reviews, from Paul McCarthy's Lala Land and Patty Chang's Shangri-La to the Tate Liverpool's Summer of Love.

  XLR8R magazine and adidas Originals are proud to present the limited-edition hardcover release of Bedroom Rockers, the groundbreaking chronicle of DJs, producers, and their musical environments. Only available at adidas Originals stores, this snapshot of underground culture won't be available for long. Visit xlr8r.com for more details.

Momart Faces Heat After Disastrous Fire
(The Art Newspaper, August 19)
Artists, gallerists, and collectors are suing art storage and shipping firm Momart for losses sustained after a fire tore through their east London facilities in May 2004. Total claims are estimated to reach £20 million, and plaintiffs include YBA figurehead Damien Hirst and gallerists Victoria Miro and Sadie Coles. Notably, super-collector Charles Saatchi, who lost 140 works from his private collection, is not suing. He has reportedly settled for £10 million in compensation from his insurers.

More Galleries Move In
(Art Info, August 9)
High-profile galleries continue to vie for space in New York's premier arts neighborhood, Chelsea, with several key moves planned for this year. Fredericks Freiser Gallery, one of Chelsea's early settlers, leads the campaign with a move from a sub-street level 22nd Street space to a new 24th Street location. Leo Koenig and Suite 106 are exchanging downtown digs for spots on 23rd and 22nd streets, respectively. Uptown powerhouse Mitchell-Innes & Nash will swoop in on Gorney Bravin + Lee's former 26th Street space, while Danese Gallery has left 57th Street's Fuller Building for a new 24th Street location. Gallerists are eager to tap into Chelsea's energy and its position as an art nexus.

Painters Turn Billboards into Public Art
(The New York Times, August 12)
Hartford-based United Technologies Corporation is sponsoring an unprecedented public art project for downtown Manhattan, commissioning painters to create billboard-sized paintings. The internationally renowned artist Alex Katz is a billboard veteran, having created a Times Square piece in 1977. His new billboard above the corner of Bowery and East Fourth Street will stretch 53 feet. Relative newcomer Lisa Sanditz has a 64-foot-tall spot on Greene and Canal. British painter Gary Hume has the third commission, at West Houston near Wooster Street. The project is rare in the realm of public art, which usually favors sculptural or video installations.

Zaha Hadid in Shape for London Olympics
(The Telegraph, August 16)
After a slow start to her architectural practice, Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid is in top form. Early projects, such as a Hong Kong sports club and a proposed opera house in Cardiff, Wales, never saw fruition. However, Hadid has found widespread recognition after winning the 2004 Pritzker Prize. Now with numerous commissions in the UK, Italy, France, and Dubai, this unconventional and brilliant architect has 100 employees in five international offices. Perhaps her most significant commission to date, though, is her design for an aquatics center housing two 50-meter swimming pools and a diving pool for the 2012 London Olympics.

Ashley Bickerton reinvents Neo-Geo in Indonesia » more

Party pooper Bloomberg busts planned graffiti event » more

Swiss museum withdraws human-fetus artwork from Chinese contemporary exhibition » more

Coop Himmelb(l)au snag American Architecture Award for Akron Art Museum design » more

Japanese artist plans light installation for Afghanistan's Bamiyan Buddha site » more

Calavatra's twisting "Tower of Babel" set to be tallest building in US » more

Lego artists reinterpret contemporary art's iconic works » more

Art wholesalers? Costco offers original Picasso online » more

Art journalist killed in Iraq » more

Artist's sausage yanked from PS1's Greater New York exhibition » more

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

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[ Bridging the Gap ]


Maurycy Gomulicki / Fran Illich / Keller Easterling / inSite_05

The Mexican–American border remains a hotbed of political agitation. For the past 12 years, inSite has provided a creative forum for issues relating to the San Diego–Tijuana border region — the opportunity for artists to cultivate their own branch of international affairs through artistic cooperation and creative innovation.

This year, inSite presents its fifth program of events and exhibitions, consisting of Interventions, Conversations, Scenarios, and a museum exhibition, Farsites. Osvaldo Sánchez curated Interventions, the most classically "public" art of the program; the works are site-specific and grew out of artists' residencies over the past two years. In Dirty Water Initiative, the art collective SIMPARCH placed a small water-purification plant at the walkway between San Ysidro and Tijuana, which will be donated to a small community in Tijuana; Barbosa & Ricalde's Hospitality covers a pedestrian bridge across the Tijuana River with a welcome mat of brightly painted names, to which people are invited to add their names; and Thomas Glassford and José Parral have revivified the ecologically flagging Playas Tijuana tourist corridor with their park, Jardines Playas de Tijuana/La Esquina.

Conversations, a series of discussions and symposia, will be offered periodically throughout the run of inSite_05, and both Farsites and Scenarios provide ample opportunities to participate. Farsites examines thematic offshoots of the inSite project. The exhibition is housed jointly at the San Diego Museum of Art and the Centro Cultural de Tijuana and includes work by Gabriel Orozco, Catherine Opie, Julie Mehretu, Franz Ackermann, Gregor Schneider, Félix González-Torres, Robert Gober, and Thomas Struth. Utilizing less-traditional boundaries, Scenarios features related archives and performances as well as Tijuana Calling, a selection of online work by the likes of Coco Fusco and Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga, addressing border issues in the public domain.

In 1969, during a pointed exchange with Noam Chomsky, Stanley Hoffman pronounced: "What matters in international affairs, alas, far more than intentions and objectives, is behavior and results." Although public art has long been considered an oxymoron, inSite_05 attests to the possibilities for engaging art in an international, sociopolitical context and provoking thought and action. (ML)

The opening weekend for inSite_05 is August 26-28. Events continue through November 13, 2005.

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Janet Cardiff: Her Long Black Hair
New York

Public Art Fund, Central Park
Now through September 11

  Having produced site-specific proto-podcasts for more than a decade, Canadian sound and video artist Janet Cardiff offers up a discursive walking tour of Central Park. Guided by the sound of Cardiff's footsteps, headset-wearing visitors listen to her ambulatory ruminations on photography and memory, which are buttressed by quotes from Kierkegaard and Baudelaire, a retelling of the Orpheus myth, and musical interludes from Nick Cave, who provides the work's title track. Cardiff's almost hallucinatory three-dimensional soundscapes (Eastern State Penitentiary and the Hirshhorn Museum are currently exhibiting other examples) will have you questioning whether those police sirens and bird calls you're hearing are real, while fleeting moments of synchronicity and detachment subtly alter the familiar pathways of Frederick Law Olmsted's urban oasis. (GZ)

Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era

Tate Liverpool
Now through September 25

  Dig out your tie-dyes and rose-tinted lunettes and head over to the birthplace of the Beatles for a total immersion in '60s psychedelia. This trippy exhibition (and equally cool catalog) reveals the counterculture's influence on fashion, design, music, literature, and visual art. Viewers can check out a polychromatic romper-room installation by Verner Panton, imagine themselves in an Ossie Clark black-and-white silk kimono, get lost in the kaleidoscopic paintings of Isaac Abrams, and even take a mental spin in Janis Joplin's flower-powered Porsche. Also on view is guitar god Jimi Hendrix's only known painting. Stumbling through flashes of liquid-crystal projections, with the songs of the Velvet Underground flying through your ears, this is the closest you'll come to the '60s without the use of a time machine. (AK)

Michel Majerus: what looks good today may not look good tomorrow

Stedelijk Museum
Now through October 16

  The Stedelijk presents a dazzling retrospective of a young artist who lost his life in a plane crash in 2002. Michel Majerus had a soft spot for '60s pop art and a keen eye for the visual blitz that saturates our contemporary society — his work incorporates everything from billboards and video games to ad slogans and corporate design. While his installations mix different mediums and styles, his true talent lay in brandishing the paintbrush like a particularly colorful stick of dynamite. In Gemälde, for example, an asphalt floor is surrounded by giant wall paintings of cartoons and massive, graffiti-style compositions which place the viewer smack in the epicenter of a visual explosion. This space-embracing exhibition of video, sculptures, paintings, and prints is a blast to behold. (MS)

Paul McCarthy: LaLa Land Parody Paradise

Haus der Kunst
Now through August 28

  Paul McCarthy has been called a provocateur for his often disturbing — and at times sexually violent and scatological — performances and installations. True to form, this collection of drawings, sculptures, and mixed-media work offers more of the gory, rococo same. A creepy, "breathing," life-size waxwork of the slumbering artist rests close to Pirate Project, an enormous frigate and houseboat displaying the bloody remains of a buccaneer battle. The blossoming balloons crowding the building's exterior provide some much needed levity, and the short film Video Parade proves that McCarthy can amuse as well as horrify. In footage of suspender-and-hat wearing hoofers plodding through a traditional dance, he pays homage to an age-old archetype: the sacred fool. The result shows a darkly jocular sensibility closer to Dada than Clive Barker. (SND)

Note: This show will travel to London's Whitechapel Art Gallery in the fall.

Patty Chang: Shangri-La
Los Angeles

Hammer Museum
Now through October 16

  Entertainingly riffing on the Orientalist notion of an earthly yet inaccessible paradise secluded within the Asian mountain peaks, Patty Chang's video and sculpture installation revisits the James Hilton novel Lost Horizon as well as the Frank Capra film of the same name. Beloved in the 1930s, the book and the film introduced the term "Shangri-La" and its accompanying evocation of eternal youth and communal bliss into the popular vernacular. The prevalence of this Edenic image led a town in China to adopt the name — a blending of reality and wishful creation that Chang plays with by setting her work in the real-world locale. An adjacent gallery displays a sculptural pile of glass-covered wood that has a starring role in the video. (LG)

Note: This exhibition is simultaneously on view at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York through September 10, 2005.

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[ Paper Rad ]

Paper Rad

Paper Rad rules! Brother and sister Jacob and Jessica Ciocci and their pal Ben Jones formed the artist collective in 2001. They first started making waves a couple of years ago in a string of mixed-media, DIY-spirited group shows, live performances, video screenings, and internet projects, such as their online video for Mixel Pixel and their Save the Raves spotlight page at Turbulence.org.

Everything the team touches is colorful and cool. They have a knack for making simple, entertaining, low-tech art — from hand-drawn Howard the Duck comics and digital Gumby cartoons to mp3 files of their experimental music and animated videos for other acts — including a tribute to the '60s psychedelic group Bubble Puppy. A puppy of another sort, their carefree cartoon character Tux Dog, is the subject of his own open-source web project hosted by Electronic Art Intermix (EAI).

Two of their musical groups perform regularly in galleries and festivals: Dr. Doo (Ben's madcap act — Ben just made a music video to celebrate Pac-Man's 25th anniversary) and Extreme Animals (David Kidney and Jacob's band, which Paper Rad describes as "no doubt meets dasFX meets 'push it' meets teletubby jam band in the forest"). Paper Rad recently explored the animal theme further, with a mechanized sculpture composed of furry creatures and a wild GIF animation for RHIZOME Artbase 101, a group show currently at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. (PL)

Paper Rad recently collaborated with Cory Arcangel for the show Super Mario Movie at Deitch Projects. Extreme Animals is currently on a West Coast tour and will be playing the Catch That Beat Festival and Burning Man. Paper Rad, B.J. and da Dogs, a book compilation of their work, will be published this fall by Picture Box and distributed by D.A.P. Paper Rad is represented by Foxy Production.

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[ D*Face ]

Mr. Jago / Jeff Metal / Jeff Metal / Astek

Allison Kave interviews D*Face, a London-based artist and founding member of the Outside Institute, about the role of urban art today.
AK: What are the origins of the Outside Institute?

D*F: It goes back to my work within the street as an artist, and my travels in Europe and America. Everywhere I went I met creative individuals who were on the same wavelength. As we worked collectively, I kept thinking that we need a public space where this work can be shown, an environment with limitless boundaries. Once you put work in a gallery, people start to view it differently. But I want to flip it — so as not be constrained by a traditional gallery format. We have a space that presents itself that way, but it is totally open, just as it is in the streets.

AK: What was the idea behind the These are a few of our favourite fiends exhibition?

D*F: The influence of graffiti is vast. It appears in so many different ways — from fashion, to graphic design, to animation. With Fiends, we wanted to show what's happening in the UK right now — a handful of people who are doing stuff that may or may not be street art or graffiti but is inspired by graffiti. We had Beneine, who pushes the boundaries of letterforms, alongside Paris Hair, showing animations, someone else doing sculpture-based work, and a tattoo artist — all these different avenues. At the Outside Institute, we want to represent all areas of urban art.

AK: Do you see the next show, Ol' Skool Legends, as an educational exhibition, introducing the New York origins of graffiti to a UK audience?

D*F: That's precisely it. Our inaugural show was of new work by Seen, and a lot of my younger friends had never heard of him — I couldn't believe it. Pulse, who's one of the oldest UK writers, said that he knew all of these original guys. We set up the show as an educational one. For example, you've got Cornbread — when I mention the name, nobody knows him. But once you explain the work, people understand his influence is massive — absolutely undeniable.

AK: We can't talk about urban art in the UK without talking about Banksy. His work is overtly political — especially his recent Gaza Strip project and his museum infiltrations.

keep reading the interview »

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Fresh Fruits
Shoichi Aoki
Phaidon Press

Gwen Stefani nails it when she sings, "Harajuku girls, you got the wicked style." No doubt that's something photographer Shoichi Aoki has known for a long time. Aoki began photographing the colorfully clad youth in the Tokyo shopping district in 1994 and first published the pictures in his monthly street-fashion magazine, Fruits, three years later. Fresh Fruits documents the best of Fruits from 1997 to 2002, when the scene was flourishing. Gothic Lolitas and Clockwork Orange-style droogs parade alongside kimono-layered femmes fatales and steel-studded punks. The subject's age, clothing sources, and fashion point of view, which accompany each snap, lend insight into the eye-popping personas and DIY-styles on display. (PL)

Note: A traveling exhibition of Shoichi Aoki's photographs, Fruits: Tokyo Street Style, is on view at Te Manawa in Palmerston North, New Zealand, from September 10 to November 27, 2005.

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Cover image
Teddy Cruz, infoSite (detail), 2005
Proposal sketch for the San Diego information center
Courtesy estudio teddy cruz and inSite_05
All Rights Reserved

Paul Laster
Andrew Maerkle
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Allison Kave
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