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Oleg Kulik, Girl in a Swamp (detail), 1996

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October 19, 2005

All eyes are on London this issue as Artkrush features the best of the Frieze Art Fair, discusses alternative art offerings at the Zoo, zeroes in on a provocative artist exhibiting at -Scope London, reports the controversy surrounding a Trafalgar Square nude, and celebrates the seedy side of the city with a review of a book by two of its defiant young talents. Across the Atlantic, we take a virtual road trip through cities from coast to coast, discovering dangling flames, a gallery filled with water-spurting fish, and an artist who redefines her universe from A to Z.

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Sculpture Stirs Monumental Controversy
(New York Times, October 10)
Marc Quinn's new sculpture at London's Trafalgar Square has stirred public debate since its unveiling. The nude figure, Alison Lapper Pregnant, stands a monumental 12 feet tall. The subject, however, is a pregnant, disabled woman with shortened legs and no arms. Critics deride the work as "smug" and "repellant," while others argue Lapper, an artist, should not be included among the square's memorialized war heroes. Supporters suggest the work displays a different kind of heroism. Artist Quinn states, "I felt the square needed some femininity."

MoMA Lands Developer's Collection
(New York Times, October 12)
The Museum of Modern Art has received a gift of 174 works from the collection of Los Angeles real-estate developer Edward R. Broida. Estimated at a value of $50 million, the gift includes works by painters Philip Guston and Vija Celmins, and sculptor Christopher Wilmarth. Broida will also auction 14 works, including a Rothko and a Brancusi, at Christie's in November. A serious collector since the '70s, Broida once considered opening a museum in SoHo. MoMA is planning an exhibition of the collection in 2006.

Prada's Desert Outpost
(International Herald Tribune, September 30)
Berlin-based duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have installed a Prada boutique in the remote desert of an unlikely arts hub, Marfa, Texas. Prada Marfa is an exacting simulacrum, and it builds upon an earlier 2001 exhibition at gallerist Tanya Bonakdar. It will never operate for business and is intended to remain as a standing sculpture, eventually becoming a ruin. The opening reception, hosted by co-producer Art Production Fund's Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen, attracted big-time art players. Soon after, vandals spray painted "Dumb" and "Dum Dum" on the structure and made off with purses and shoes.

Hadid's Latest Building Shines
(Guardian, October 3)
Pritzker laureate Zaha Hadid is winning high accolades for her design of the Ordrupgaard Museum extension in Denmark. Hadid, known for her brash persona, has exchanged characteristic angularity in favor of lyrical curves. Elsewhere, fellow Pritzker laureates Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron's long-awaited building for San Francisco's de Young Museum also opened, and the visionary Santiago Calavatra's Palau de les Arts, an opera house, was celebrated with a gala inaugural reception in Valencia, Spain.

Stella McCartney sends Jeff Koons down the runway » more

After Cold War, a new landscape for art and architecture » more

European art fair sales indicate bullish close to 2005 art season » more

Young New York gallerist deals his way to heady success » more

Louis Vuitton opens Champs-Elysées flagship store as artistic showcase » more

Berlin Biennale establishes guerrilla Gagosian franchise » more

Hudson River School defines aesthetic for new Harry Potter video game » more

Russian museum removes caviar Virgin Mary from exhibition » more

Patrick Caulfield, pop art pioneer, dies at 69 » more

Takashi Murakami in driver's seat of new Nissan car campaign » 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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[ Frieze Art Fair ]


Yayoi Kusama / Allora & Calzadilla / Rosson Crow / Damien Loeb

Over the past decade, London has become the hot spot for contemporary art and the Frieze Art Fair one of its most anticipated events. Organized by the publishers of the stylish art magazine Frieze, the fair presents more than 150 contemporary art galleries from around the world in London's Regent's Park, which also plays host to 11 sculptural installations, including Atelier van Lieshout's Laocoon, a sexed-up version of the classic Greek work, this time featuring a tangled orgy of abstract figures.

The organizers also commissioned work such as tours and performances for Frieze Projects. Matthieu Laurette's asked fashion experts to conduct tours of the fair, commenting on the attendees' attire rather than the art, while the Interlopers HC, a group of costumed hikers organized by Andrea Zittel, offer advice and assistance to visitors who stray from the path. Frieze Talks serve up Architecture and the Museum, featuring architect Zaha Hadid in conversation with Alice Rawsthorn, director of the Design Museum, London, as well as an impressive panel that includes DIA curator Lynne Cooke and artist Walid Raad of the Atlas Group. Rounding out the special programming, Frieze Music presents a rare performance by avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

It's the art in the hall that attracts most viewers. New York's Daniel Reich Gallery displays Amy Gartrell's pop interpretations of Victorian crafts while D'Amelio Terras offers early, rarely seen, scatter-art sculptures by Tony Feher and colorful, multifaceted abstractions by Joanne Greenbaum (an artist featured in the Saatchi Gallery's The Triumph of Painting). Paris' Galerie Nathalie Obadia presents work by young, allegorical painter Rosson Crow (a graduate student at Yale), and Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin mixes it up with mixed-media work by Lionel Estève and trippy expressionism from Kaikai Kiki star Aya Takano.

Meanwhile Tokyo's Tomio Koyama Gallery and Taka Ishii Gallery exhibit British automobile fancier Jeremy Dickinson and Japanese erotic photographer Nobuyoshi Araki (the subject of a current Barbican Art Gallery survey), respectively. And from São Paulo, Galeria Fortes Vilaça brings Vik Muniz's photographs, including one of his new "pictures of junk," Narcissus, and funky, abstract sculptures by Ernesto Neto.

As one might expect, London is well represented with some 30 galleries. Sadie Coles HQ shows a new bed sculpture by YBA bad girl Sarah Lucas, whose traveling retrospective opens at the Tate Liverpool later this month. Lisson Gallery screens Allora & Calzadilla's politically charged Under Discussion, which premiered at the Venice Biennale this year, and Gagosian Gallery, whose East End outpost is currently trumpeting Gelitin's outrageous Sweatwat, displays large canvases by the formidable painter Jenny Saville. (PL)

The Frieze Art Fair takes place at Regent's Park in London October 21-24.

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Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin: The Now People, Part Two: Life on Earth
New York

Matthew Marks Gallery
Now through October 22

  You can never trust the faces presented by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Their glamorous, deceptively classical portraits are altered in the photographic process, and the works in this exhibition are additionally interrupted or physically pierced by scrap-metal sculptures made in collaboration with Inez's uncle, Eugene van Lamsweerde. Sexual and power politics are pushed to the fore with depictions of extreme states of rapture, beauty, and implicit violence, where men's mouths are grafted on young girls' faces and nudes sport grotesque heads. The exhibition overwhelms from the start — an entire wall is covered floor to ceiling with more than 500 of van Lamsweerde and Matadin's collaborations, perfectly setting the show's uncanny tone. (JG)

Teresita Fernández

Fabric Workshop and Museum
Now through November 12

  While in residence at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Teresita Fernández risked the wrath of Zeus by setting out to capture the dynamism of an essential yet deadly element. The result is the quiet monument, Fire: two concentric rings of thousands of airbrushed silk threads suspended in the middle of the room. The work — vaguely reminiscent of her 2001 Bamboo Cinema installation at Madison Square Park — combines the formal vocabulary of Fernández's architectonic, minimalist installations with intense, vivid colors rarely seen in her prior works. Up close, individual strands become visually kinetic, giving way to colored abstraction. Like fire itself, however, these flames are best seen from a distance. (NB)

Bruce Nauman

Donald Young Gallery
Now through October 22

  From the beginning of his career, Bruce Nauman has been a fish out of water: content to follow his idiosyncratic muse through varying media — performance, video, sculpture — as he interrogates the artist's role in society. His latest installation literalizes this displacement with three fountain sculptures. The largest, One Hundred Fish Fountain, evokes Nauman's Midwestern upbringing and features cast-bronze fish from Lake Michigan suspended over a shallow pool of water, each connected to plastic tubes that pump water through holes in their sides. The other two works, both titled 3 Heads Fountain, refer to his 1966 homage to Marcel Duchamp, Self-Portrait as a Fountain, and make for a riveting display, suffused with nostalgia and bittersweet humor. (AF)

Andrea Zittel: Critical Space

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Now through January 1

  Conceptual artist Andrea Zittel reacts to issues of desire, need, and self-reliance by positing her work as a brand. In her first museum retrospective, Zittel targets myriad facets of contemporary life. Her A-Z Homestead Units are presented as alternative model homes and offices, her faux-futuristic A-Z Escape Vehicles conflate luxury with fears of cataclysm, and her handmade A-Z Uniforms tweak the foibles of fashion (she herself wore a single uniform for six months) while maintaining real-life functionality. Stealthily maneuvering between commodities and objets d'art, Zittel's vision remains clear — to create her own universe, and then inhabit it. (RC)

Note: The exhibition travels to the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York in January 2006. A comprehensive catalog has been published by Prestel.

Franz West: Sale
Los Angeles

Gagosian Gallery
Now through October 22

  Sculptor Franz West began his career in Vienna in the mid-'60s, when Actionism — a movement centered on performative anti-object art — was at its height. His early work was a formalist response to the movement, engaging in abstraction and linguistic theory. In his new show, the most compelling pieces are collages that play up the resemblance between food and human genitalia while commenting on the ways capitalism harms personal relationships. With scatological visual puns embedded in unevenly painted passages, the pieces both analyze and amuse. Also on display is a bloated, 12-foot-long polyester loveseat, which combines Duchampian, surrealist language with shiny American tackiness. The overall sensibility is commedia dell'arte povera — whimsically expressing disdain for art-world materialism. (SND)

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[ Alex McQuilkin ]

Alex McQuilkin

Intimate and abrasive, the work of Alex McQuilkin is a study in apathy at close range. Rouged lips and nubile physiques are the aesthetic candy that lure viewers — but the payoff is anything but pretty. A recent graduate of NYU and still in her mid-twenties, McQuilkin created a sensation at the 2002 Armory Show, where her video Fucked sold out, then garnered more press when one purchased copy was confiscated by Belgian police who mistook it for child pornography.

Appropriately titled, Fucked consists of the artist, shot mostly in close-up, applying makeup as she is rhythmically thrust forward by a headless torso whose grunts seemingly chronicle an escalation to climax. While copulation is implied, the piece is frankly unsexy. McQuilkin may look like a Lolita, but the empty stare with which she fixes the camera is anything but come-hither. Coupled with the heated groans that punctuate the soundtrack, her face is disturbingly, almost comically, devoid of any emotion. Instantly recognizable to anybody who's glimpsed a similar expression firsthand, her face clearly registers a wish for her partner to finish already.

In subsequent pieces McQuilkin has shown an evolving interest in cinematic setups and shot construction, the best example being her playful sendup of Spaghetti Western-style gun-slinging, Get Your Gun Up, but she's most adept when exploiting the emotional power of the close-up. Shown last March at Marvelli Gallery in New York, McQuilkin's most recent work, Test Run, is a single, head-on shot of the artist completely submerging her face in water. She is holding her breath, motionless, and there's a moment where the emotional death in her expression seems to have become a literal one. But then a few reassuring bubbles emerge, and we know that we too can go back to breathing. (LG)

Galerie Adler, Frankfurt, presents Alex McQuilkin's work at the -Scope Art Fair in London October 21-24.

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[ Soraya Rodriguez ]


Izima Kaoru / Melanie Carvalho / Paul Johnson / Adam Neate

Allison Kave interviews Soraya Rodriguez, director of the Zoo Art Fair, about the success of the London art scene, the value of grassroots, and mixing art with animals.
AK: You're now approaching the sophomore year of the Zoo Art Fair, after an incredibly successful debut. What initially inspired you and David Risley to create a fair — in a zoo! — devoted to emerging, London-based galleries and artists? And what led you to widen your scope this year to include participants from across the UK?

SR: Frieze Art Fair was a key motivator, having successfully managed to regularly bring the entire art world to London. We thought that it would be good to see what London could offer this crowd. At the time lots of new spaces and arts professionals were doing fantastic things, and we felt that they needed to be seen. The fair aims to be curated and focused; it seemed logical to start with London in the first year, and this year to widen that net to the UK, because great things are happening outside London, too. For the location, David and I decided that the fair would have to be within walking distance of Frieze. My friend suggested I go to the zoo, as they had certain rooms for hire. We pressed the bell at Prince Albert Gate, and from the moment we went in we just couldn't stop laughing at how good it would be.

AK: How was the overall response to last year's fair? Is there anything you've changed or improved for this year?

SR: The exhibitors got a lot out of it, not just in terms of sales but also in networking, getting shows for the artists, and being invited to other fairs such as Liste, Nada, and Frieze. Generally things happened and connected through the various layers in the way we hoped it would.

AK: You run a project called The Great Unsigned, which acts as an agency for artists who do not have commercial representation. Who will you be featuring at this year's fair, and what led you to start this program?

SR: I started the agency at the same time as setting up Zoo because having worked at MW Projects (now Max Wigram Gallery) for three years, seeing the evolution of a gallery, I began to understand its administrative and financial commitments. The agency allows me to curate and promote unrepresented artists, without the long-term obligations of a gallery. I now run it with Irene Bradbury who is artist and museum liaison at White Cube. Artists will include Athanasios Argianas, Sarah Pickering, and Doug Fishbone, amongst others.

AK: David Thorp, your co-curator from last year's Great Unsigned installation, has selected artists for a special project entitled ZOO Portfolio. Who are some of the artists featured in the edition, and what is the overall theme of the portfolio?

keep reading the interview »

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Oliver Payne & Nick Relph
Kerber Verlag

Winners of the Golden Lion Award for young artists at the 2003 Venice Biennale and nominated for the 2002 Beck's Futures award, British filmmakers Oliver Payne and Nick Relph have been collaborating since the late '90s. Their films and videos, made in a variety of appropriated and innovative styles, capture the pulse of contemporary London. Driftwood, the video that first brought them critical acclaim, documents skateboarding in London's South Bank whereas Gentlemen portrays public toilets and touristy Carnaby Street through the blurred imagery of bright lights and glitter. In Taschen, the duo hijack a publisher's corporate identity to bombard us with page after page of stills, snapshots, digital doodles, and collages, juxtaposed with essays and interviews that reveal an unruly, non-art attitude from two highly perceptive artists. (PL)

Oliver Payne & Nick Relph will have work with Herald St at the Frieze Art Fair.

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Cover image
Oleg Kulik
Girl in a Swamp, 1996
Color photograph
Courtesy XL Gallery, Moscow
All Rights Reserved

Paul Laster
Andrew Maerkle
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Allison Kave
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