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Pierre Huyghe, A Journey That Wasn't, 2005 (detail)

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December 28, 2005 - January 10, 2006

As families flock to big-budget films during the holidays, we turn our attention to the industry's fine art arena, taking a closer look at the film and video artists who are reinventing the moving image. Have a seat as we present a roundup of the scene's key international players, discuss the medium with a curator of the next Whitney Biennial, introduce a young director's edgy videos, and reconsider Andy Warhol's famous film portraits. Elsewhere, we report on new architectural projects, discover an artist who dresses up to make a point, and expose an anonymous collective that assumes a corporate identity.



  XLR8R is the nation's premier new music magazine. Every subscription copy ships with our amazing INCITE CD, and now Artkrush subscribers can get a year for a mere $10, or two years for a slammin' $20. Just go to xlr8r.com, and enter the code "artkrush" when subscribing. (Offers ends December 31st, and is only valid for US domestic subscribers.)





Thieves Steal Two-Ton Sculpture
(Telegraph, December 18)
Thieves have stolen a two-ton Henry Moore sculpture that was on display outdoors at the artist's former estate. A Reclining Figure dates from 1969-70 and is estimated to be worth £3 million. The thieves reportedly used a flat-bed truck and a crane mechanism to lift the precious object. In a recent development, police have found the truck but are still searching for clues. Commentators suggest it will be hard to sell the stolen artwork and worry it may be melted down as scrap metal.

Serpentine Shifts Summer Pavilion
(Guardian, December 13)
Plans for a grass mountain to be built atop London's Serpentine Gallery have been shelved. Proposed by Dutch architects MVRDV, the mountain would have been the most ambitious project yet in the Serpentine's annual summer architecture pavilion series. The project was discontinued due to practical and financial difficulties. Fellow Dutchman Rem Koolhaas has been chosen to replace MVRDV as the pavilion architect for 2006. The pavilion will be Koolhaas' first built project in the UK.

Photo Show Tests Cuban Tolerance
(New York Blade, December 15)
An exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs at a Havana gallery is a litmus test for Cuba's newfound tolerance of homosexual imagery. Historically, the country has persecuted gay citizens, but the exhibition, which explores a wide range of themes including homoerotic imagery, has been well-received. Contemporary Cuban artists such as photographer René Peña explore similar material in their work. In recent years the Mapplethorpe Foundation has been building the artist's image through a series of international exhibitions curated by high-profile artists, including Cindy Sherman and Brazilian hotshot Vik Muniz.

Storr Joins Philadelphia Museum
(Philadelphia Inquirer, December 9)
Influential critic and art historian Robert Storr, the director of the 2007 Venice Biennale, will join the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a consulting curator. He will work closely with the museum's contemporary curator, Carlos Basualdo, whose show Tropicalia is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the modern art curator, Michael Taylor. Storr had previously been a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and also put together The Devil on the Stairs, a landmark 1991 exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.





Getty gets seminal collection of video art » more

Completion of Zaha Hadid's Roman museum delayed again » more

Small-scale sculptures attract big attention » more

Architect modernizes Mexico City » more

Salcedo and Rugoff win $100,000 Ordway Prize » more

Collector's Christmas tradition delivers art to select company » more

Artist's "orgasm box" in Tate Modern's Wrong Gallery » more

Kilometer-high building planned in Kuwait » more

Chihuly lawsuit fuels debate over copyright enforcement » more

Japanese avant-garde pioneer Atsuko Tanaka dies » 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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[ Moving Images ]


     

Christian Jankowski / Pipilotti Rist / Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler / Lida Abdul

As the funding and distribution channels for what used to be called experimental cinema — the work of Michael Snow, the Whitney brothers, Robert Breer, Ken Jacobs, Stan Brakhage, among others — have increasingly dried up and withered away, the gallery wall and museum hall have become the places to see film and video pieces that will never play at your nearby multiplex. If the history of art in the twentieth century was an ever-evolving encounter with the moving image, then the twenty-first should prove an exciting scene indeed, with film and video art taking on a generative, even dominant, role in aesthetic discourse.

Even a cursory glance at the expanding number of individuals working in film and video reveals a global constellation of discursive artistic practice. Brooklyn's Eve Sussman dialogues with the history of art, bringing seminal paintings to life, while German-born Christian Jankowski uses humor and collaboration to upend expectations of how an artist should interact with the art world. Others upend the narrative expectations inherent in film: Marco Brambilla plunders Hollywood cinema and computer graphics to play with time, and collaborative duo Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler's meticulously set and shot films are fascinatingly elliptical. Britain's Steve McQueen adopts cinema verit� to haunt his viewers with a single scene, whereas Switzerland's Pipilotti Rist favors multimedia installations that explore how the female body and voice are situated in popular culture.

Many artists are also turning to the moving image as a consciousness-raising project. India's Amar Kanwar documents ideological strife in Southeast Asia; Guatemalan artist Regina José Galindo garnered the Golden Lion and considerable buzz at the recent Venice Biennale for her conflation of body art and political manifesto; Kabul-born Lida Abdul recently returned to Afghanistan to film the refugees of that devastated country; and Yang Fudong limns the alienation of China's younger generation.

Far more than producing pretty, flickering pictures, these artists are taking advantage of film and video's dual ability to represent and reshape the way we experience the world, reconfiguring the way we see. (GZ)

A traveling survey of work by Christian Jankowski is on view at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, MA, through December 31. Marco Brambilla opens at Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, on January 13. Hubbard and Birchler are showing at Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zurich, through January 14. Pipilotti Rist is exhibiting at MUSAC in León, Spain, through April 16. Yang Fudong's films and videos continue at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam through January 15.



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Hiroshi Sugimoto: End of Time
Tokyo

Mori Art Museum
Now through January 9

  Not one to shy away from big ideas, Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto investigates notions of perception, memory, and time through his iconic photographs of architecture, dioramas, oceans, and theaters. Although he imposes conceptual constraints upon himself — such as making exposures in cinemas for the duration of an entire film and capturing the world's oceans with the exact same proportions of water and sky — Sugimoto's images transcend his rigid framework to become sublime artworks based on the ephemeral. His portraits of wax-museum figures and recent studies of shadows allude to the timeless struggle to reclaim what is lost to the ages. While other photographers focus on hoopla and spectacle, Sugimoto gives pause, providing a moment for intense contemplation. (CYL)





William Kentridge
Miami

Miami Art Central
Now through March 5

  This retrospective of William Kentridge reveals the South African artist's raw, innovative process of "stone-age filmmaking" and includes drawings, constructions, and books. Since 1989, Kentridge has brought charcoal images to life by filming them in successive stages. 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès is a series of black-and-white film loops featuring the artist, who exudes the restraint and whimsy of an old-time magician. He appears and reappears, levitating bowler hats and book pages, recapturing spilled ink and cast shadows. Concerned with more than simple pleasures, Kentridge balances his delight in the alchemy of the moving image by focusing on the bleakness of his homeland's social and environmental traumas in 9 Drawings for Projection. (MW)





Tamy Ben-Tor: Exploration in the Domain of Idiocy
New York

Zach Feuer Gallery
Now through January 14

  Though the nationalities of Tamy Ben-Tor's heavily accented characters are not always apparent, their personas are jarringly familiar. A veritable one-woman show, Ben-Tor's videos and performances feature her in hilarious disguises, playing individuals grasping so desperately for identity that they morph into stereotypes. A hypochondriac and an angry contractor make up two of the newest portraits, joining Artist in Residence, which features a poncho-clad German künstler dissecting her own inane oeuvre. Girls Beware is an infomercial-style warning about the dangers of being seduced by Arab men, while Women Talk about Adolf Hitler presents a faux-documentary on female responses to Der Führer's psyche and legacy. Transformations occur firsthand when the artist performs live in the gallery each weekend. (SK)





Richard Prince
London

Sadie Coles HQ
Now through January 7

  Having smashed auction records earlier this year when his Marlboro Man homage Untitled (Cowboy) became the first photograph to sell for over $1,000,000, Richard Prince is now officially an art-world heavyweight. Presenting new works in his fourth show at Sadie Coles, the artist continues to regale audiences with his infamous joke paintings. Recasting the raw humor of stand-up comedy, Prince revives well-worn gags by means of appropriation, employing wry wit to mock the sexual fantasies and frustrations of the American public. His sardonic gags jostle for attention with check paintings and hippie drawings in a show that reveals Prince to be a shrewd cultural commentator and an artist much more serious than the jokes he (re-)tells. (HV)





Bernadette Corporation
Rotterdam

Witte de With
Now through January 8

  In an era where urban alienation drives many people to grasp for recognition and fame, one group of artists flies in the face of identity politics. The anonymous international collective known as Bernadette Corporation — recently tapped for the 2006 Whitney Biennial — produces an anarchistic variety of projects, from a fashion line to a documentary about black bloc protest, from publishing a magazine to penning a "collective novel." The show faithfully presents the group's history while highlighting its current work, the four-screen installation Pedestrian Cinema, which upends film norms to display open-ended, happenstance events. Despite the group's secrecy, at the end of the show one leaves wondering not about their identities but about what they will do next. (JG)



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[ Aïda Ruilova ]



Aïda Ruilova

Abrasive compilations of audio climaxes and enigmatic visual snatches, Aïda Ruilova's video pieces assault the senses. Her short videos, featured in the 2004 Whitney Biennial as well as in P.S.1's Greater New York 2005, taunt viewers with their fast-paced brevity. Editing together image after split-second image and then setting the resulting loops to a pounding, atonal score, Ruilova creates visually disjointed works that share the degraded aesthetic of a low-budget horror film. (Ruilova's work is often compared to the vampire flicks of French filmmaker Jean Rollin, who made a cameo in one of her pieces.)

In the dual projection Countdowns — now on view in Times Square and first seen in Lets Go, her recent solo show at Greenberg Van Doren — a repeated sequence of shots are cycled through, each a natural landscape with a number between one and nine centrally located in the image. Using a dramatic zoom in each shot and a gratingly repetitious soundtrack of a drumbeat followed by a ringing cymbal, the loop implies a dénouement that we never witness — after the images descend from nine to one, we find ourselves back at nine and the countdown repeats all over again. In recent articles discussing this work, Ruilova has made allusions to the constant low-level anxiety that characterizes post-9/11 America. But like the loudly tweeting birds that circle around the victim of a fallen anvil in cartoons, Countdowns registers most precisely as an audio-visual equivalent of sensorial confusion. Shock, pain, and trauma are the implied antecedents of Ruilova's evocative and elliptical sequences. (LG)

Aïda Ruilova was recently short-listed for the Hugo Boss Prize 2006. Countdowns continues through March 6, in Creative Time's The 59th Minute series on the giant Astrovision screen in Times Square.



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[ Chrissie Iles ]


     

Jennifer Reeves / Martha Colburn / George Butler / Francesco Vezzoli

Paul Laster interviews Chrissie Iles, Anne & Joel Ehrenkranz Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, about the museum's recent film programs and upcoming Whitney Biennial. Iles is co-organizing the 2006 Whitney Biennial with Philippe Vergne, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

AK: The 2004 Whitney Biennial was full of fascinating film and video projects, from established artists such as Marina Abramović, Jack Goldstein, and Isaac Julien to an exciting group of younger practitioners, including Jeremy Blake, Slater Bradley, Chloe Piene, and Catherine Sullivan. Are there more interesting artists working with moving imagery today than in the past?

CI: The art world of the '70s produced, relative to its modest size, a large number of works in film and video. Three main developments emerged: a process/time-based approach to art making, which involved an unprecedented crossover of disciplines; the emergence of the new medium of video, as an art form and as a community-based practice; and the film installations that grew out of expanded cinema, which threw the conventions of film, the film apparatus, and the viewing conditions into question.

Since the early '90s, when cinema became a major preoccupation for artists, film and video installations have proliferated. The film and video art of the '90s emerged in the context of cinemas closing down and classic, silent, and '60s/'70s Hollywood cinema gaining popularity. The current situation shows an even more diverse approach to the moving image, as artists appropriate and reclaim the white walls of the galleries. Within this diversity, a nostalgia for a cinema that appeared to be vanishing has been replaced by a desire to make cinema, and an unprecedented number of artists are making serious films, with a passion for, and knowledge of, film history that is complex and deep. There are currently many approaches to installation in the galleries, and 16mm film loop works are now commonly seen in galleries and museums, though museums have to learn not to be afraid of them, and should collect them more. I find it interesting that this has occurred at the same moment that painting, sculpture, and performative/time-based works are all thriving, as a result of the intensely active art market. One medium is not dominant over another, and painting is not, as in the '80s, eclipsing film. This is a healthy situation.

AK: Since the last Biennial, you've organized several film and video programs at the Whitney — premiering video pioneer Bill Viola's Five Angels for the Millennium, which the Whitney purchased together with the Tate Modern and Centre Pompidou, and presenting the current retrospective of filmmaker Morgan Fisher. What have these two diverse artists contributed to contemporary filmmaking?

CI: Viola and Fisher represent two high moments of the '70s in video and film. Bill Viola's '70s videotapes and installations were among the most important works in video to be produced in that decade. Influenced by two major artists of the period, Peter Campus and sound artist David Tudor (Viola participated in Tudor's Rainforest), Viola's work formed a bridge between the conceptual practices of the '70s and the '80s' preoccupation with narrative forms. Like Viola, Fisher also emerged in the '70s and produced a body of work in film that bridged conceptual art and structural film, but he formed a new narrative language in the late '70s and early '80s that relates to Jack Goldstein on the one hand and Anthony McCall on the other. Fisher's work has also always appropriated and critiqued elements of the craft of Hollywood film, from its aspect ratios to the technical structure of its dramatic narrative form.

AK: The museum also presented two other remarkable shows during this time. Small: The Object in Film, Video, and Slide Installation, which was organized by Whitney assistant curator Henriette Huldisch, addressed sculptural relationships between the material object and moving, projected imagery. Meanwhile, WAR! Protest in America, 1965-2004, curated by you and artist Sam Durant, offered cinematic antiwar statements of protest and civic unrest. Have these contrasting aesthetic viewpoints influenced your choices for the 2006 Whitney Biennial?


keep reading the interview »


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  Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures
Mary Lea Bandy and Klaus Biesenbach
KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures illustrates a selection of the 500+ Screen Tests that Warhol made from 1963 to 1966 as well as several of his non-narrative, black-and-white silent films. Making films about duration and endurance, Warhol simply set the lights and let his stationary camera capture the action — or lack thereof. In this exhibition catalogue the film portraits are represented by multiple-page spreads. Edie Sedgwick and Dennis Hopper glance this way and that, an exotic Donyale Luna primps her hair, and Jane Holzer brushes her teeth. Kiss, a 1963 film portraying assorted couples locking lips, is illustrated across 20 consecutive pages, while Blow Job (1964) portrays an actor's face expressing various states of ecstasy. The book's straightforward, full-frame images and typewritten texts truly capture the anti-art, anti-film style of an enticing body of work. (PL)

Andy Warhol's films are currently being screened in exhibitions at the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, DC, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the State Russian Museum in Moscow.



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Cover Art
Pierre Huyghe
A Journey That Wasn't, 2005
Production still
Performance on the Wollman Ice Rink, Central Park, New York
Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Photo: Tom Powel Imaging
All Rights Reserved

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

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


  Production
Anjuli Ayer
Morgan Croney
Bryony Roberts

Mailer Design
Jessica Bauer-Greene
Mark Barry

Founders
Christopher Elam
Mark Barry

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