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Laurie Simmons, The Characters from the Movie (detail), 2003

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November 2-15, 2005

Performance art takes center stage as we highlight New York's first biennial for performance by visual artists, explore the Kitchen's rich history and renewed vitality with the experimental art center's talented director, consider art in the workplace with a budding Brit, and recall an inspired pageant that moved modern art. And, reviewing shows around the world, we find daredevils and curious lovers in the Far East, sinister spirits in South Florida, psychedelic labyrinths of color in a Swiss gallery, and return to London to explore art and life with a tourist's eye.

  Show the world how you make the ordinary look extraordinary — we want to "See New" through your eyes. Five internationally renowned photographers will judge your picture-snapping prowess and award prizes that money can't buy, like the opportunity to assist one of them on a commercial shoot.

Collectors Keep Frieze Liquid
(Guardian, October 21)
London's Frieze Art Fair has risen to prominence through a new generation of contemporary art collectors. They include 34-year-old Iranian banker Amir Shariat, who owns works by Shirin Neshat and Guy Richards Smit, Miami couple Dennis and Debra Scholl, and Alistair Hicks, Deutsche Bank's London art adviser. Following its conclusion, this year's fair announced an attendance increase of 24% over 2004, attracting art stars as well as Tate Modern donors, who splashed £20,000 for Argentine artist David Lamelas' Time. Meanwhile, hotelier Vanessa Branson got an active, early jump on collecting at the alternative Zoo Art Fair.

Christie's Targets Chinese Market
(New York Times, October 20)
Christie's has announced a licensing agreement with the Beijing-based auction house Forever, making Christie's the first international auction company to capitalize on the fast-growing art market in mainland China. China's top ten auction houses predict collective sales of $1 billion in 2005. Chinese collectors are interested in antiquities and tradition-based contemporary art as well as established international contemporary artists such as Zhang Huan and Cai Guo-qiang. Other recent reports highlight the exciting new art scenes emerging in commercial centers such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

Miami Gallerist Dealt Basel Snub
(Miami Herald, October 24)
Miami gallerist Bernice Steinbaum's rejected application for Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the world's leading art fairs, has raised eyebrows in the Florida art community. One local museum curator suggests rival dealer Frederic Snitzer, who sits on the fair's selection committee, may have opposed Steinbaum's inclusion. Steinbaum plans to protest by giving her clients slippers stamped with her gallery's name to wear at the fair. In related news, Paris dealer Emmanuel Perrotin, a regular exhibitor at the fair, announced the opening of a branch in Miami's Wynwood art district.

Artists on Top Magazine Covers
(CNN, October 17)
Annie Leibovitz's photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone was named the top magazine cover of the past 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Editors. Saul Steinberg's iconic drawing from the New Yorker of the city's West Side in relation to the rest of America was ranked fourth; Andy Warhol on Esquire in 1969 was ranked fifth. A Roy Lichtenstein cover for Time, fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier's portrait of Princess Di, and photojournalist Steve McCurry's famous photo of an Afghan girl were also noted.

Britart bungle in Marrakesh » more

Former Condé Nast editorial director makes move to art publications » more

MaxMara art prize gives women artists a leg up » more

Flagpole installation left hanging by LA city government » more

NY mayor Michael Bloomberg puts art into his administration » more

Centre Pompidou bets on Singapore casino venture » more

Cinémathèque Française seeks new life in abandoned Gehry building » more

Oslo museum's art-theft board game defeated by Scream-ing critics » more

Olafur Eliasson takes on BMW commission » more

Pop art sculptor Arman dies at 76 » 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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[ Performa 05 ]


Ei Arakawa / Peter Coffin / Jesper Just / Annika Eriksson

For those who crave the rarity of live action, Performa 05 promises a 19-day smorgasbord of art performances and related events throughout New York City. Founded by RoseLee Goldberg — art historian, curator, critic, and performance maven — the new biennial features over 90 artists and spans more than 20 venues.

Commissioned work includes Jesper Just's noirish True Love Is Yet to Come, which features a male singer interacting with life-sized projections of members of the Finnish Screaming Men's Choir. Also promising titillation, though refusing to go all the way, is Francis Alÿs' Rehearsal II, a fragmented musical striptease rehearsal. Pablo Helguera's less salacious but equally provocative one-act opera is repeatedly interrupted with self-analytical theorizing and discussion; in contrast, Tamy Ben-Tor enacts a character-driven critique of Western liberal thought in her schizophrenic Exotica, the Rat, and the Liberal.

Audience participation is key: Clifford Owens makes performance documentation out of recorded studio visits with critics, curators, and collectors, and Michelle Handelman invites viewers to achieve well-being by guffawing until their sides split at her Laughing Lounge. Meanwhile, Viennese art collective Gelitin spend a full week inside a "sealed chamber of creativity" within which items or concepts inserted by viewers are mysteriously replicated.

The Swiss Institute goes epic as well with 24-Hour Incidental, a noon-to-noon mélange of collaboration and machination by an international, cross-generational set of artists, including Yoko Ono, John Armleder, Koo Jeong-A, Peter Coffin, and Piero Golia, who resolves to sleep for the show's entirety. Artists Space presents an extensive series of evenings that will feature the enthusiastic and unpredictable Ei Arakawa, aspiring country-western celebrity Larry Krone, and endurance-testing Mary Coble, among many others. Participant Inc.'s lineup is locally focused, featuring standouts Derrick Adams, Rafael Sánchez, and Los Angeles legend Vaginal Davis.

Anthology Film Archives programs performance-based film and video work by Michael Smith and disappeared Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader, nicely complementing Christian Marclay's Screen Play at Eyebeam — a film of found footage and computer animation projected to live musical accompaniment. Performa is even on the airwaves: Performa Radio features audio works by visual artists broadcast on WFMU and Internet coverage by WPS1.

If all that isn't enough to get you out, Marina Abramović does the classics at the Guggenheim. Her Seven Easy Pieces re-creates seminal performances by Vito Acconci, Gina Pane, and Bruce Nauman, among others, and includes the premiere her own new work. (SK)

Performa 05 takes place in New York, November 3-21. Go to flavorpill NYC for a quick summary and links to more information.

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Li Wei: Illusory Reality

Marella Gallery
Now through November 15

  Channeling the renegade bravado of Zhang Huan and Ma Liuming, his predecessors in Beijing's East Village, daredevil artist Li Wei pits himself against natural forces. Upping the ante in his new series of photographs, A Pause for Humanity, he poses with his young family on scaffolding high above urban development outside Beijing — tourist snapshots from the edge of a cultural wasteland ruled by luxury villas and multi-use complexes. Other recent pieces, such as Freedegree over 25th Story, which shows Li Wei getting kicked off a rooftop by an office worker, blend edgy cynicism with playful humor. He exposes rifts in China's rapidly transforming social fabric and limns a vision of a nation where both illusion and reality exist out on a limb. (AM)

Tim Noble & Sue Webster: The Joy of Sex

Kukje Gallery
Now through November 6

  The sculptures, neon signs, and 40 drawings in Tim Noble and Sue Webster's new exhibition may be vivid, but they're hardly revolutionary. Illustrations and manuals about erotic pleasure have existed for thousands of years, the Kama Sutra being a prime example. Borrowing their title from the well-known book, Noble and Webster — a real-life couple — redefine and update this genre with works based on their personal "experiences" in swanky hotels around the globe. The images are graphic, but they are also surprisingly understated and genuine. In one drawing, The Safer Sex, Webster puts a condom on Noble while their bodies are entwined. It is a tender depiction of the timeless act of lovemaking, revised for the modern world. (YRC)

Diego Singh: Rid of Me or The Exorcist

Fredric Snitzer Gallery
Now through November 7

  A rising star in the burgeoning Miami art scene, Argentine-born Diego Singh has fused his prodigious draftsmanship with imagery from horror films, the pantheon of Japanese ghosts and demons, and a post-punk, goth sensibility to create work that is both lush and sinister. The six mammoth drawings in this exhibition, which takes its title from a song by PJ Harvey and the landmark scare-flick, assume the authority of pagan altarpieces. The inverted cross informs the structure of these works, in which the background is propelled forward and the foreground recedes. Depicting an anti-paradise that seems equally inspired by Hieronymous Bosch and Frank Frazetta, Singh's sinewy line and smudgy atmospheres reveal and conceal his imagined world's dangerous and sensual inhabitants. (MW)

Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist's Eye

Hayward Gallery
Now through December 11

  Our vast planet seems so much smaller nowadays, a point driven home by this exhibition, in which 50 international artists explore how a place can seem at once familiar and alien. Swiss installation artist Thomas Hirschhorn's Chalet Lost History collects a jumble of uncanny objects from around the world in a meditation on the darker side of the tourist trade. Conceptualist prankster Maurizio Cattelan, on the other hand, investigates displacement in Hollywood, a photograph depicting the legendary sign looming over a Sicilian landfill. Doug Aitken's video installation The Moment displays a fractured simultaneity by using mirrors to incorporate viewers into its many screens — perfectly capturing the disorienting experience of being a stranger in a strange land. (AK)

Erik Parker: On the House

Gallery Bob van Orsouw
Now through November 19

  A self-described blue-collar painter, Erik Parker is known as an archivist of contemporary culture, mapping out societal undercurrents while mixing in painted text like a hip-hop MC spitting rhymes. His new series of paintings is charged with hallucinatory forms and psychedelic labyrinths of color. In Comfort Level the painter mourns the recent death of his grandfather: an old man with hanging pink flesh catches paisley puss spurting out of his head. In Just Like Your Dad, a dragon-like form, standing in for Parker's parents, belches flames onto a figure symbolizing the artist. Introspective and personal, Parker's work delves into the deepest corners of the psyche. (MS)

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[ Carey Young ]

Carey Young

Carey Young draws inspiration from her time spent working at an international consulting firm to address the growing interdependence of artistic and commercial expenditure, uniting corporate culture and contemporary art in works that span a variety of media. Adopting legal jargon and business strategies to create projects such as Optimum Performance (2003), produced specifically for the Whitechapel Gallery, Young implicates her audience in boardroom politics.

Young's Terms and Conditions (2004) sees the artist abandon the office in favor of a countryside locale. Appearing to make reference to the idyllic surrounds, Young's speech is actually an amalgam of disclaimers taken from online sources — her allusion to the "site" is a clever inference of both painterly landscape tradition and Internet domain.

Using humor to lighten otherwise serious subjects, Young explores our increasingly litigious society, often involving the audience directly in her performances. She previously collaborated with the noted intellectual-property lawyer and art law expert Massimo Sterpi to create a series of Disclaimers (2004), which playfully question relationships between artist, viewer, and artwork.

Young first rose to prominence with Everything You've Heard is Wrong (1999), a video of the artist explaining corporate-style communication at Speakers' Corner, London. She recently showed The Representative (2005), a portrait piece about the anonymity of call-center operatives, at IBID Projects' booth at the 2005 Zoo Art Fair in London. In projects that focus on language, training, and performance, Young uses interventionist strategies to advance the idealistic Beuysian notion of social sculpture, as distinctions between artistic and business concepts of performance break down. (HV)

Performa 05 presents Carey Young's Consideration at Paula Cooper Gallery. Her work is also on view in the traveling British Art Show 6 at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, through January 8, 2006.

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[ Debra Singer ]


Bill Shannon / Tracy and the Plastics / Michael Smith / Robert Melee

Paul Laster interviews Debra Singer, executive director and chief curator of the Kitchen, about the experimental art center's rich history and exciting future.
AK: What is the Kitchen's mission, and how do you currently select artists and events in relation to it?

DS: The Kitchen is a nonprofit arts organization that was founded in 1971 by Woody and Steina Vasulka as an artist collective where video artists, experimental composers, and performers could get together and share ideas and present their work to one another. This seemed particularly important at that time as the various emergent forms and styles of new, visionary work within the fields of dance, music, literature, video, and film were not really being embraced by mainstream institutions. Through the decades, the Kitchen provided key early support to many figures and groups who have gone on to make significant contributions to postwar American art and performance histories, including Vito Acconci, Trisha Brown, Charles Atlas, Arto Lindsay, Lucinda Childs, Karen Finley, Gary Hill, Elizabeth Streb, Bill T. Jones, Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, Miranda July, Christian Marclay, and board members Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, and Meredith Monk — among many, many others.

Today the Kitchen's mission is still closely related to its original purpose: to provide innovative artists working in the media, literary, and performing arts with exhibition and performance opportunities to create and present new work. It is very much a space by artists, for artists. Artists themselves make up a significant percentage of our audiences. There is also a tradition of artists serving as our curators. This is still true today, although the structure has changed. Previously, there would be individual curators in each particular discipline that would select the artists in each of those fields. Now, in response to the multiplicity of approaches prevalent within and between any given discipline, we put together each season many different guest curators. These are often more established artists selecting either more emerging figures or peers whom they think are under recognized. We also now invite emerging curators to organize events, so there is a platform for many exciting new curatorial voices

AK: How did your time as a branch director and associate curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art prepare you for your role at the Kitchen?

DS: I worked at the Whitney Museum for seven years, and when I was first hired at the museum, it was as a performance curator. I produced the Whitney Museum at Altria's Performance on 42nd series for many seasons. In that role, I presented many works by choreographers, composers, and performance artists who had previously performed at the Kitchen, such as Sussan Deyhim, Koosil-ja Hwang, Christian Marclay, Dean Moss, Marina Rosenfeld, Elliott Sharp, Yasunao Tone, and Stephen Vitiello, among many others. I also started a performance series uptown that focused on music and literary events. In this Friday-night series I presented a broad array of music by figures such as Susie Ibarra, Raz Mesinai, Jim O'Rourke, Tracy and the Plastics, and Imani Uzuri, whom I have also recently worked with at the Kitchen. There was also the 2002 Whitney Biennial, which featured sound installations by Maryanne Amacher, Gregor Asch, Miranda July, Meredith Monk, and Tracie Morris — all of whom are also artists who have a history of presenting work at the Kitchen. So there has always been a strong connection between the types of performance figures I worked with at the Whitney and those that present work at the Kitchen.

AK: If you could only choose three milestones from the Kitchen's rich 34-year history, what would they be?

keep reading the interview »

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  Francis Alÿs: The Modern Procession
Francis Alÿs and Anne Wehr
Public Art Fund

Relocating to Queens was a temporary move for the Museum of Modern Art, but Francis Alÿs, a Belgian artist living in Mexico City, saw it as a momentous occasion. Alÿs marked the 2002 move with an elaborate procession — part religious ceremony, part performance-art event — from MoMA's soon-to-be-expanded Midtown digs to the renovated factory in Queens. Escorted by attendants spreading rose petals, police officers on horseback, and a marching band, a troop of carriers transported replicas of iconic works by Picasso, Duchamp, and Giacometti — as well as living artist Kiki Smith herself — over the river to MoMA's sparse quarters. Three years later this impressive book — with an accompanying DVD — provides a fascinating, close-up look at the planning, unfolding, and documentation of a truly historic project. (PL)

Performa 05 presents Francis Alÿs', Rehearsal II, a live performance, at the Slipper Room on November 17. Alÿs' Seven Walks, sponsored by Artangel, continues in London through November 20.

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Cover Art
Laurie Simmons
The Characters from the Movie (Two Puppets/Living Room), 2003
Flex print
Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York
All Rights Reserved

Paul Laster
Andrew Maerkle
Shana Nys Dambrot
Allison Kave
Melissa Lo
Greg Zinman
Shiraz Randeria
Marlyne Sahakian
Nikki Columbus
Jocelyn K. Glei
Mark Mangan

Naomi Beckwith
Yng-Ru Chen
Rachel Cook
Lisa Cooley
Tim Evans
Annette Ferrara
Jules Gaffney
Leigh Goldstein
Sarah Kessler
Jessica Kraft
Christopher Y. Lew
Natasha Madov
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts
Hannah Vaughan
Michelle Weinberg

Anjuli Ayer
Morgan Croney
Bryony Roberts

Mailer Design
Jessica Bauer-Greene
Mark Barry

Christopher Elam
Mark Barry

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