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Wooster Collective, Photograph of sticker art, 2001-05 (detail)

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December 14 - 27, 2005

First-responders to art-world debacles and triumphs, art blogs are the new source for clever criticism and breaking news. With uncensored commentary, abundant photos, and helpful event calendars, they're an important daily fix for the truly attuned art aficionado. Though Artkrush continually links to these vital sites, we take a moment to examine the genre as a whole with this issue, zeroing in on art bloggers in Australia, the UK, and cities across the US. Delve into what's breaking on the international scene, discover the origin of the world-famous Wooster Collective, check out a young, LA-based blogger with uncanny insight, and feast on Net art that's following blog formats. Heading beyond the ether for new reviews, we find Cindy Sherman taking a seat on a bus, a philosophical explosion in a camouflage factory, and water towers transformed into iconic conceptual art.

  Serious holiday stress requires a serious holiday wine. Stock up on bottles from Rioja, Spain's own Napa Valley, famed for its expressive reds and whites that capture a passion for life, culture, and flavor. Sign up at and you'll be entered to win a guided wine tasting for 20 at your home.

Whitney Biennial Artists Announced
(New York Times, November 30)
Curators Chrissie Iles and Philippe Vergne have revealed their selections for the 2006 Whitney Biennial. The first Whitney Biennial with a title, Day for Night, it is also the first to include artists practicing in Europe — Italian Francesco Vezzoli's lurid Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's 'Caligula' and the Maurizio Cattelan-fronted Wrong Gallery are among the foreign picks. Rirkrit Tiravanija and Mark di Suvero will re-create di Suvero's 1966 Peace Tower. Collectives, such as the Bernadette Corporation, and artists working under pseudonyms, such as Reena Spaulings, were chosen to show another theme in contemporary art, the ambiguous nature of artistic identity.

The State of Architectural Criticism
(Architect's Newspaper, November 16)
Architecture criticism in America is in a bad state. A surprising paucity of major daily newspapers actually maintain architecture critics. Four of the best critics include Robert Campbell of the Boston Globe, a Pulitzer Prize winner; the Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin, a self-proclaimed activist-critic who has collected his writings in a book, Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago; the New York Times' Nicolai Ouroussoff, who takes inspiration from architects such as Thom Mayne; and Christopher Hawthorne at the Los Angeles Times, who is only 35 years old.

Hugo Boss Shortlist Announced
(ARTINFO, December 2)
The Guggenheim Museum has announced its shortlist for the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize for 2006, which provides one winner $50,000 and an exhibition at the museum. The list includes Puerto Rico-based conceptual art duo Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, and absurdist installation artist John Bock, also shortlisted for this year's Nationalgalerie Prize in Germany. Other nominees are Tacita Dean and Aïda Ruilova, both of whom work with moving imagery; Damián Ortega, who creates sculptures and photographs; and Tino Sehgal, who composes ephemeral interventions.

Art Basel Miami Beach Triumphs
(Miami Herald, December 6)
This year's recently concluded Art Basel Miami Beach has been pronounced the best yet, hosting a record 195 exhibitors and 36,000 visitors. An earlier preview predicted $110 million in total sales, and reports from individual gallerists confirm big spending. New York's Friedrich Petzel sold a Georg Herold canvas for $500,000, and Cheim & Read scored $1.5 million for a Joan Mitchell oil. The Art Newspaper suggests Latin America is a new art-market force, with collectors — and artists such as Sérgio Camargo and Carlos Cruz-Diez — having strong showings. As always, there were numerous related parties. David LaChapelle's Taschen book launch was among the highlights.

Simon Starling wins Turner Prize » more

Microsoft honcho's secretive art collection goes on view » more

Sony street campaign draws artists' ire » more

Zaha Hadid's Olympics pool over budget » more

Is New York ready to embrace Tracey Emin? » more

Research reveals artists get more sex » more

Daniel Libeskind contributes to rebuilding of tsunami disaster zone » more

National Gallery's first photo exhibition recreates east London hell » more

Lebanese group confounds lines between art and history » more

Björk and Matthew Barney plan boat voyage around the world » 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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[ Art Blogosphere ]


Matt Brown / Tom Moody / Barry Hoggard / James Wagner

The rapid rise of the blog phenomenon has dramatically influenced politics over the past few years, and now blogs are changing how the art world communicates. Interactive sites, which are devoted to contemporary art and offer news, reviews, gossip, and links, have made art openings as easy to follow as the stock market. The freedom of the blog format also allows "citizen critics" to weave social commentary and personal anecdotes with spontaneous photographs, videos, and relevant links.

In New York, some art journalists have left print to become prominent bloggers. Tom Moody's site is chock-full of photos, artwork, and funny commentary about new media art. James Wagner, who runs ArtCal with his partner and fellow art-blogger Barry Hoggard, defines his own mix of politics and art criticism on Overseen by the artist Joy Garnett, NEWSgrist melds art and activism for the digerati. John Perreault's Artopia is notable for its un-bloglike reviews — long, thorough, and full of entertaining tangents.

In LA, provides a miscellany of West Coast commentary and traveling reports from fairs and blockbuster shows. San Francisco's hybrid ezine/blog Fecal Face hits readers with loads of video and an inexhaustible link list. The prolific and peripatetic Tyler Green writes Modern Art Notes from DC but files reports from across the country and often dialogues with other blogs, such as Iconoduel, out of Chicago. Down south, Miami-based newcomer the Next Few Hours offers a local perspective on the city's burgeoning art scene, and collector Erik Schneider covers notable museums and galleries in Atlanta.

Although this form of instant criticism is still very much an American phenomenon, the blognosis for international art blogs is good. You can catch different accents on the Sydney-based site the Art Life and Diary of an Art Pimp, out of Melbourne, as well as the UK's Londonist, Things magazine's blog, and Art in Liverpool, the last of which showcases events and opportunities from this future cultural capital. Meanwhile, Artforum's Scene & Herd has become the must-read gossip column of high-profile international shows. (JK)

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Cindy Sherman: Working Girl
St. Louis

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
Now through December 31

  Before her iconic Untitled Film Stills, Cindy Sherman was a student starting to explore the intangible line between self and other. In this exhibition, the photographer presents works from the transitional period between her time at art school and the launch of her career. The Bus Rider series demonstrates Sherman's chameleonic use of costume to embody a diverse range of characters, while Untitled (Secretary) is more personal, alluding to her time as a receptionist at Artists Space. Also debuting is Doll Clothes, a silent, animated film from 1975 that also explores her fascination with fantasy and metamorphosis; Sherman appears as a paper doll that comes to life. (AK)

Thomas Hirschhorn: Utopia, Utopia = One World, One War, One Army, One Dress

The Institute of Contemporary Art
Now through January 16

  At first, dystopia seems like a more fitting description of this visual cacophony. Focusing on the use of camouflage in civilian as well as military life, Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn floods these rooms with camo-tape, camo-fashion, camo-toys, camo-mannequins, and camo-imagery plucked from pop culture. The result is like a tripped-out army-navy store. Amid the chaos of the meandering maze that makes up the gallery space, paper cutouts of slogans such as "An Artist Without Borders" cover the walls and mute the overall visual dissonance by virtue of their philosophical tone. These words alternately clarify and complicate Hirschhorn's cautionary take on contemporary utopia, expressed most simply by the show's subtitle. (YRC)

Banks Violette

Galerie Rodolphe Janssen
Now through January 7

  Banks Violette pushes his sonic sculptural constructions several steps further with his new work, 6-Channel Bleed. A collaboration with musician/composer Stephen O'Malley, the installation is an elegant configuration of salt-encrusted speakers and panels of acoustic foam surrounding an assemblage of Violette's signature slick, black epoxy panes. Low-frequency sound, deflected by the sculpture's many surfaces, creates weighty air pockets viewers can actually feel. Referencing Robert Smithson and Caspar David Friedrich, Violette evokes a rugged glacial landscape, using object-aural relationships to create a darkly mysterious sensation. Graphite drawings also on view allude to death and tragedy (Portrait of Bela Lugosi depicts the actor as Christ), while other, minimal works such as Anthem (twin-suicide) urge us to summon our own disturbing visions. (SK)

Thaddeus Strode: Yellow

Galleria Gió Marconi
Now through January 21

  Known for layering canvases with a mix of mediums from comics to collage, Thaddeus Strode is, above all, a fantastic painter who breathes life into characters from pop culture and fairy tales. In dissolve all the tombs a cartoon blonde pinup meets the sketched form of a knight against a backdrop reminiscent of Joan Miró. In Nature, the skeletal corpse of a revolutionary figure charges alongside an innocent-looking deer, with brash graffiti strokes adding to the work's overall intensity. Equally compelling is Strode's 30-minute trailer — for a film that doesn't actually exist — paying homage to '70s Italian horror movies. Strode's bag of tricks is getting deeper and, in this new series, maybe even a shade darker. (MS)

Bernd and Hilla Becher: Typologies of Industrial Buildings

Hamburger Banhof
Now through January 8

  Water towers, silos, and blast furnaces may not seem like the most exciting objects for contemplation, but viewed through the typological glory of Bernd and Hilla Becher's photographs, these prosaic remnants of the industrial age prove fascinating. The artists' repetitive visual style encourages critical comparison, while nuances in their subjects' architectural designs transform utilitarian banality into monuments to progress. Displayed in gridlike tableaux, the massive, complex structures assume a sculptural elegance, and their influence can be seen in other minimalist and conceptual art. With more than 200 works on display, 40 of which are from the artists' private collection, this show offers a rare chance to see relics of the past in their full archaeological splendor. (HV)

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[ The Flog ]


Though in technology and format the Flog resembles a commonplace blog (first-person, diaristic narrative; complete archives; infinite scroll; lots of pictures), in character it is much more like travel writing, chronicling an artist's movement through the landscape of the LA art world using a combination of photographs, citations, and personal impressions an artist's movement through the landscape of the LA art world. As an accomplished artist herself — her own work is linked from the site and demonstrates the same penchant for eclecticism and visual puns as her curation of the Flog coverage — Fette (a talent this fresh requires no surname) is a source who can be trusted, a filter who pronounces no judgment beyond what is interesting and what is not. This distinction is what makes her work a resource, not just a journal.

The exhibitions she selects for the calendar and those covered in more depth in the main section are overwhelmingly LA-centric, with occasional Bay Area coverage and posts once or twice a year from Seattle. But the extensive use of images (both artwork and event photos) and the diligent eclecticism of her content — from the ethereal painting of LA's Tony de los Reyes to Billy Shire Fine Art's recent group show of East Coast artists to an interview with Bay Area painter Alika Cooper — provide a useful survey of exhibitions for the benefit of anyone interested in what goes on there. A typical posting will have at least half a dozen photographs of installations and individual works, as opposed to a print magazine's usual one or two, making full use of the web and keeping the educated, international reader in mind. (SND)

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[ Marc and Sara Schiller ]


Wooster Collective

Paul Laster interviews Marc and Sara Schiller, founders of the Wooster Collective, about their renowned street-art blog.

AK: When did you start the Wooster Collective, and what motivated you to focus on graffiti and street art?
MS: The idea to start the WC began just after 9/11. At the time we were living in the West Village in Manhattan. We had just gotten a puppy — our beloved Weimaraner, Hudson. Because the dog needed to be walked so many times each day, we began exploring our neighborhood and learned every block of downtown New York. What we discovered was that every single block of Lower Manhattan was exploding with street art. But at the time not many people were aware of it. We realized that all you needed was to become more aware of your surroundings. It was like another layer to the city opened up for us. I then bought a digital camera and began documenting every piece of ephemeral art that I could find. After a year we had documented thousands of pieces. We first uploaded them as a simple image gallery.
SS: In late 2002 Marc became obsessed with blogging software and weblogs. Over Christmas in 2002 we decided to start a weblog. It officially launched in January 2003. Next month will mark the third anniversary of the Wooster Collective weblog. Its growth has been completely organic. It grows from word of mouth only. Even the press it has received has come from word of mouth. Every day we're shocked at how big it's become. It was never our plan or intention to try to grow it beyond it being for our friends.
AK: Where do your entries originate? How many artists and different countries have you documented on your blog?
MS: Too many to count. We receive over 300 emails a day filled with art from all over the world. Russia, Iran, London, Chile . . . The emails come from literally every country in the world. In the last three years we have probably showcased over 2,000 artists in more than 500 cities around the world.
SS: The truth is that we're not all that good at keeping up with it. The volume is immense. It's a good thing, but we worry a lot about too many emails going unanswered. It's the biggest downside of the whole thing. People think that there are employees and that we have an office filled with people working on staff. But in reality it's just Marc and me trying to do as much as we can in the limited amount of time that we have.
AK: The Streetsy and INKEDblog sites that you are currently sponsoring are fascinating. What other graf and street-art sites have you featured in this way?

keep reading the interview »

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  Sound Blog by Soyoung Park, Diary of a Star by Eduardo Navas, and Data Diaries by Cory Arcangel

Since 1996, has been the premier website for innovative web-art projects by international artists. Rhizome boasts 1,500 projects, an archive of 2,500 articles, two regular email publications, online exhibitions, and shows at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, which formed an affiliation with the site in 2003. More than just a weblog on new media art, Rhizome hosts several projects in its online archive, the ArtBase, that comment on the prevalence of web diaries and blogs. Soyoung Park's Sound Blog presents letters to an imaginary lover with ambient sounds recorded from her daily life. Diary of a Star by Eduardo Navas appropriates selections from The Andy Warhol Diaries — weaving the pop artist's entries into a blog format and adding commentary based on information gathered while looking for links. Cory Arcangel's Data Diaries offers a month's worth of hard-drive data run through a QuickTime software program designed for media authoring. The results are chaotic, pixelated videos that delight the eye as much as they rile the ear. (PL)

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Cover Art
Wooster Collective
Untitled, 2001-05
Photograph of anonymous sticker art
All Rights Reserved

Paul Laster
Andrew Maerkle
Shana Nys Dambrot
Allison Kave
Melissa Lo
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Mailer Design
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Mark Barry

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