Martin Creed, Work No. 329: Half the air in a given space, 2004

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September 21, 2005

The fall art season is now in full swing, and Artkrush is ready to take you on a whirlwind tour of the best it has to offer. Hop aboard a moving drawing across the US or investigate visual notions of time at the Lyon Biennale. While in Lyon, sit back and enjoy a clever animation, strip naked to join the crowd posing on the banks of the river, or discover a lighthouse. When you're ready to travel further, let your mind wander through a half-dozen lively shows from Tokyo to New York, São Paulo to Munich.

  DIESEL — Fall/Winter 2005
Let your voyeuristic temptations lead you, and unlock the door to a twisted world of hedonistic pleasure pursuits. Explore Diesel's latest guide to successful living at

Scotland in d'Offay Collection Bid
(The Herald, September 6)
Scotland's First Minister, Jack McConnell, is involved in negotiations to bring the famed Anthony d'Offay collection to Scotland. The 65-year-old art dealer's 700-work collection is estimated to be worth approximately £100 million. Successful negotiations would result in a major coup for Scotland, prompting the construction of a new museum in Edinburgh; an old factory in Leith has also emerged as a possible site. The collection includes work by artists such as Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons.

German Art Prize Rivals Turner
(Deutsche Welle, September 8)
Established in 2000 in response to a growing young art scene in Germany, the biannual 50,000 euro Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art is recognized as on a par with Britain's often controversial Turner Prize. Unlike the Turner, however, which is open only to British artists, the Nationalgalerie competition is open to artists of all nationalities. This year's four finalists — John Bock, Monica Bonvicini, Angela Bulloch, and Anri Sala — are all internationally established.

All Aboard Jheon's Moving Drawing
(ARTINFO, September 12)
Korean installation artist Jheon Soocheon's ambitious project to charter a train to travel the breadth of the United States is finally being realized. The work was originally scheduled to take place in September 2001, but it was delayed after 9/11. The 15-car train, draped in white fabric, represents a brush drawing a line across the nation. A host of guests including famed Korean photographer Bae Bien-u, media_city Seoul 2000 organizer Misook Song, pop musician and soundtrack composer Roh Young-sim, and interested members of the public are also on board to document and celebrate the project with panel discussions and other activities.

Charting Course of Art After Katrina
(The New York Times, September 13)
Following Hurricane Katrina's wake, New Orleans's artist community must now decide how to rebuild after the devastation. Sculptor John T. Scott, who left the day the storm hit, may have lost his home and his studio, but his eight public artworks throughout the city survived. Arthur Roger, a gallerist, has set up a temporary operation in Baton Rouge, though he is determined to return to New Orleans. Some artists, such as Willie Birch, worry that reconstruction will result in the loss of the city's soul.

Sir Nicholas Serota steers Tate toward the future » more

Tehran museum exhibits famed collection of modern art for the first time » more

Renoir grandson involved in $1 billion art fraud » more

British firm picked to design an entire Chinese city » more

Australian design hits outback's highways » more

Japanese architect's visionary capsule condo faces demolition » more

Saatchi announces Chapman Brothers sell-off » more

Italian architects unite to fend off foreign "stars" » more

LA cracks down on graffiti-inspired murals
» more

Indian tradition of cow-dung sculpting gets contemporary revival » 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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[ It's About Time ]


Daniel Buren / Bruno Peinado / Brian Eno / Erwin Wurm

Art globetrotters may have year-end calendars chock-a-block with mega fairs and biennials, but the 2005 Lyon Biennale is not to be missed. Artistic director Thierry Raspail invited co-curators and Palais de Tokyo odd couple Nicolas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans to present an exhibition that explores the theme of temporality, titled Experiencing Duration. This Biennale promises to be a time trip that buzzes with the experimental spirit of the '70s.

There are hypnotic and introspective pieces, such as James Turrell's The Wait, an installation where the passage of time becomes a tangible experience as the viewer is plunged into darkness and waits several minutes before seeing a faint light. Conceptual artist Tom Marioni recreates his famous One Second Sculpture from 1969, in which a tightly coiled metal tape is released, instantly snapping from a circle to a line. Art-meets-life artist Sophie Calle teams up with Fabio Balducci to present the video Where and When?, the beginning of a journey on which the artist lets her life be guided by a psychic.

Ambient-music pioneer Brian Eno presents The Quiet Club, a sound and light installation that uses reflecting mobiles. Wim Delvoye shows his unique collection of cheese-spread labels and Internet surveillance of his pig farm in China, where the porkers are pampered and adorned with intricate tattoos. Martin Creed proposes a playful, uncomplicated way of capturing an abstract notion: a room partially filled with pink balloons that carries the subtitle Half the air in a given space.

A younger generation of French artists also present exciting work: Bruno Peinado creates smoke signals on the roof of Lyon's old law court; Melik Ohanian attempts to expand time with his new video, 7 Minutes Before, which consists of seven shots of an accident scene and its seven different realities; and Vidya Gastaldon reveals a mural drawing along with her fantastical Semper Vivum installation, a purple-gray landscape of pebbles and mushrooms made from carefully stitched secondhand textiles that burst into color with psychedelic optimism.

Fasten your safety belts: with more than 60 artists in five venues, collaborative projects, real-time shows in other European art centers, regional art highlights, performances, happenings, and much more, this year's Lyon Biennale is simultaneously taking place in reverse, pause, and fast-forward. Shift into turbo gear and go. (MS)

Sophie Calle's work is on view at Arndt & Partner, Zurich through October 1 and opens at the Portland Art Museum on October 2. A permanent James Turrell Skyspace recently opened at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. Bruno Peinado's solo show opens at New York's Swiss Institute in New York on November 21. Martin Creed's work is on view at Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich through October 22 and opens at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne on October 8. The 2005 Lyon Biennale continues through December 31.

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Miwa Yanagi: The Incredible Tale of the Innocent Old Lady and the Heartless Young Girl

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
Now through November 6

  Miwa Yanagi's latest series of black-and-white photographs, Fairy Tale, draws inspiration from stories by the Brothers Grimm and the magic realism of Gabriel García Márquez's novella The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and Her Heartless Grandmother. Her staged compositions include depictions of Rapunzel's chamber filled with hair and Eréndira held captive in her grandmother's home. Like the work of photographer Anna Gaskell and poet Anne Sexton, Yanagi's images mingle childhood fantasies with issues of age, gender, and death. In Snow White, the titular protagonist confronts her doppelgänger, whose face is worn and furrowed — a death's head full of dark secrets. Though Yanagi covers familiar ground, she dares to venture down a darker and less-traveled path. (CYL)

Isaac Julien: True North
Los Angeles

MAK Center
Now through October 23

  With the grave melodrama found in the works of Caspar David Friedrich, a black peak rises directly from the snowy ground like a mountaintop poking through the clouds. The inversion of perspective, scale, and positive/negative space gives the photographs a dreamlike quality, a formal equivalent to British filmmaker Isaac Julien's real subject: history's tenuous and contentious relationship to the past. The Icelandic landscape's unrelentingly white expanses and starkly silhouetted figures beg to be turned into metaphor. The photographs are stills from Julien's 2004 film based on the story of Matthew Henson, the African-American explorer who accompanied Robert Peary on his famed 1909 North Pole expedition. (SND)

Franz Ackermann: Cosmic Dancer
São Paulo

Galeria Fortes Vilaça
Now through September 30

  German painter Franz Ackermann revisits some favorite themes in his latest Brazilian show: the painter's struggle to break free from the rigid confines of the canvas, and the challenge of translating mental imagery into composition. Ackermann covers three walls of the exhibition with bold graphics, on which he hangs several hallucinatory, riotously colorful large-scale works, and rests an enigmatically painted aluminum cube on the gallery floor. Much of the art is preoccupied with place, architecture, and travel: Mental Maps: Cut Eyes, for instance, is a self-portrait in which the artist's eyes are covered with photographs of urban landscapes. The result is a mysterious melding of the personal and public, a subjective cartography of consciousness. (NM)

Brian Alfred: Paper and Pixels
New York

Mary Boone Gallery
Now through October 1

  Multimedia artist Brian Alfred dedicates this show to getting the small things right. A collection of twenty 10" x 12 1/2" cut-paper collages match a cartoonist's eye for caricature with a painter's appreciation of color and shade. Some pieces are lent portentous meaning through the use of one word, like the misspelled traffic sign in SOTP or a sky written Why?, while other pieces are minutely animated displays of a sunset or a empty elevator. One larger work, Tomorrow Is the Question, is a projected computer animation of a cityscape at dusk. Its seemingly pacific light pulses tease out our anxiety about what the future might bring, leaving viewers to linger over the details in search of answers. (GZ)

Carsten Höller: Logic

Gagosian Gallery
Now through October 8

  For his first major solo show in London, this Stockholm-based artist continues his exploration of the human psyche. Taking a page from Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, Höller creates a psychotropic world with disorienting visual effects. Photographs such as Strabilia Giant Wheel reveal a fairground's kaleidoscopic chaos, while Mirror Carousel situates the viewer in a relentless swirl of reflected movement. In a series of films depicting the upbeat performances of Congolese singer Félix Wazekwa, three overlapping projections flicker in time with rhythmic percussion; the result is jarring yet absorbing. The show is epitomized by its most subtle artwork — two glass snowflakes filled with a secret chemical substance — an apt metaphor for the delicate idiosyncrasies of the mind. (AK)

Sarah Morris: Los Angeles

Now through October 23

  Widely known for her geometrized renderings of flashy metropolises (New York, Miami, Los Angeles), Sarah Morris has also tackled the urban environment and its gleaming facades in a series of film portraits. A disturbing snapshot of Los Angeles in Oscar-prep mode, Morris' latest work gives equal time to Access Hollywood-esque shots of tanned flesh and white teeth on the red carpet and the surgical processes that create and maintain those all-too-perfect attributes. Unabashedly focused on the most affluent and gussied-up section of the city's population, the piece might have been more appropriately titled "Hollywood." But within her narrow gaze, Morris gives a fly-on-the-wall sense of what goes on behind closed French doors. (LG)

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[ Paul Chan ]

Paul Chan

Paul Chan is an artist-activist with a well-trained digital eye. Though his work ranges from video projections of telephone-pole shadows to philosophically altered typefaces to HTML tales of prewar Baghdad, the Hong Kong-born American artist has made his most visible mark with digitized, hyper-colorful, animated films.

In his panoramic animations Chan culls from a rich array of sources, from outsider artist Henry Darger and surrealist poet and painter Henri Michaux to rapper Jadakiss and playwright Samuel Beckett. In Happiness (Finally) After 35,000 Years of Civilization, Chan computerizes Darger's hermaphroditic Vivian girls and morphs the late artist's soldiers into cell phone-carrying suits. The girls party in a dance hall of excess, but soon a woeful battle of wills perpetrated by the suits wreaks havoc on the Vivian idylls.

My Birds . . . trash . . . the future, featured at the Lyon Biennale, is a bright, flatly colored apocalyptic vision set against the backdrop of a lone gnarled tree and — depending on which side of the double-screen you watch — either a gradated rainbow or smoking sky. Corpses hang from nooses and lovers coo, as flapping birds and couples who communicate via mathematical equations visit the scene. Biggie Smalls even makes a deft appearance.

With elegant sleight of hand, Chan creates foreboding worlds of pleasure fraught with melancholy and destruction while maintaining a silver lining of hope. (ML)

Paul Chan's work is on view in Greater New York 2005 at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center through September 26 and in Momentum 5: Paul Chan at the ICA Boston through January 16, 2006.

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[ Spencer Tunick ]


Spencer Tunick

Paul Laster interviews Spencer Tunick about his work and his participation in the Lyon Biennale, where approximately 1,500 people took part in an installation on September 11, 2005.
AK: You've come a long way since your renegade days in the early '90s, when you were documenting installations of nudes in the streets of New York in black and white, yet you still stage your events at the break of dawn. What is it about people and places at that time of day?

ST: Nothing happens artwise or otherwise at these hours. It's a time of day that if people gather, they will have an experience that's sensitive, sensual, and extremely intimate. That intimacy can remain constant, even if the numbers reach into the thousands. For me, this can only happen at dawn.

AK: In the second HBO documentary about your work, Naked World, you have difficulty recruiting volunteers to pose naked in Paris. A young woman states, "We are very open-minded about nudity in art and very narrow-minded with nudity in normal life." How have things changed since that was shot in 2001? How was it working with the people in Lyon?

ST: Four years ago I started to work with cultural institutions on a more visible level. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal, and SITE Santa Fe commissioned projects in 2001, and many more have followed. I think people's knowledge of my work at an institutional level, as well as my position as an invited artist of the Lyon Biennale, gave confidence to the new French participants. This confidence, an intellectual association, brought more people to the Lyon installation than I had expected, some 1,500 of them!

The people of Lyon are very independent. It's a good trait in life, but it didn't make my task of organizing them any easier. The outcome was wonderful, but it took a long time to get the undressed participants into position. Maybe it was the language barrier or communication difficulties, or maybe it was their independence, but eventually it came together.

It took six months of planning in New York and three visits to Lyon to organize the Biennale commission, which involved two days of live installations. On the first day, I assembled the largest group at a shipping dock with stacked, multicolored cargo containers and another group on a peninsula, where the two major rivers of the city converge. The second day was more intimate: 300 participants were installed on a bridge, and there were two additional setups within walking distance. These second-day installations are becoming more frequent, as they enable me to make works that are less democratic than the initial installation, which incorporates thousands of people. Big is not always better.

AK: The Lyon Biennale was your third installation in Europe this year. How did it compare with the earlier projects at BALTIC The Centre for Contemporary Art in the UK and Corpus 05 in Belgium? How does creating work in Europe differ from working on projects in the US?

keep reading the interview »

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Olafur Eliasson: Your Lighthouse
Jonathan Crary, Holger Broeker, Richard Dawkins, and Annelie Lütgens
Hatje Cantz Verlag

Celebrated for The Weather Project at the Tate Modern, where he used lights, mirrors, and fog to transform the museum's massive hall into an artificial outdoor environment, Olafur Eliasson creates interventions that accentuate the act of perception. This stunning book catalogs Eliasson's light works from 1990 — such as Mental, in which a floor-to-ceiling mirror doubles a room while a drumming sound simulates the artist's heartbeat — to 2004, when the artist created a dozen projects, including the mesmerizing Frost Activity at the Reykjavik Art Museum and The Inverted Shadow Tower, currently on view at the Lyon Biennale. These four projects and others — 138 in all — are documented with photographs and descriptions and discussed in essays exploring the nature and context of the work. (PL)

The Light Setup, a survey of Olafur Eliasson's works from 1997 to 2005, can currently be seen at the Lund Konsthall and Malmö Konsthall in Sweden.

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Cover image
Martin Creed
Work No. 329: Half the air in a given space, 2004
Pink 16-inch balloons
Dimensions variable
Installation view at Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw April 2004
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Zürich and London
All Rights Reserved

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