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William Christenberry, Ghost Form (detail), 2004

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Alternative Art Publications
December 27, 2006 - January 9, 2007

As an alternative to the established art magazines and the limitations of the commercial gallery world, homegrown art publications are springing up to stimulate critical discourse and showcase the full spectrum of emerging art. Here, we highlight the best new art rags, from the street-art-based ANP Quarterly to the intellectual Dot dot dot, and we profile the young North Drive Press, which creates portable exhibitions. Honoring a lodestar of inventive art publishing, we interview Sina Najafi of Cabinet about the magazine's thought-provoking articles and related exhibitions. Jumping from the printed page to the screen, we review the new media journal Aspect, which releases curated DVDs of video and multimedia work, and survey the best current gallery and museum shows, including a Wolfgang Tillmans retrospective and multipurpose furniture from Droog.

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Cooper-Hewitt Kicks Off Design Triennial
(New York Times, December 15)
Design Life Now, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's third National Design Triennial, is overstuffed with examples of mostly American design that New York Times critic Roberta Smith describes as ranging "from genius to schlock, delightful to dispiriting." The show, which brings together work by 87 participants, presents a comprehensive vision of design and includes examples of everything from fashion to furniture, building materials to children's games, theatrical sets to jewelry, and medical tools to military hardware. Smith culls a few exhibition highlights, singling out Hunter Hoffman's SnowWorld videogame, LifePort's organ transport systems, Judy Geib Plus Alpha's drawstring purses, and iRobot's cleaning robots as standouts.

Leading Miami Art Institutions Merge
(Miami Herald, December 15)
The Miami Art Museum and Miami Art Central recently announced a partnership to increase the number of original exhibitions at both sites as well as to bolster support for the MAM's drive to develop a new bay-front museum. Named MAC@MAM, the initiative is intended to forge closer relations between Miami's art-collecting elite and its public art institutions. The first jointly organized show will be an exhibition of works by artists Peter Friedl and Tacita Dean, which will open January 20 at MAC headquarters. MAM and MAC representatives have stated that the partnership will be re-evaluated in six months to determine whether to continue with a full merger.

NYC Building Says Goodbye to Graffiti
(New York Times, December 14)
Home to some of New York's most vibrant street art for more than two decades, 11 Spring Street, a 19th-century brick building in Manhattan's NoLIta neighborhood, will soon be converted into condominiums. As a means of bidding farewell to the site, the building's owners contacted Marc and Sara Schiller of the Wooster Collective to plan a farewell show that would cover the interior and exterior of the five-story building with a collection of graffiti art from around the world. The show remained up for only a few days before being covered with drywall and was thus "sealed up as an incredible time capsule." The Wooster Collective spent weeks documenting the work in photos and videos, ensuring that contributions by such street art luminaries as Shepard Fairey, D*Face, Jace, and Skewville would not be lost in the rubble of real estate development.

Yale Restores Kahn Art Gallery
(International Herald Tribune, December 14)
Polshek Partnership Architects are receiving high marks for their renovation of Louis Kahn's Yale Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut. The 1953 building's west facade has been restored in order to showcase Kahn's intended play of glass and steel, and a roofed-over exterior courtyard has been opened up, allowing light to filter into the galleries below. New York Times critic Nicolai Ouroussoff likens the gallery's interior spaces to "sacred tombs," calling them a "true revelation" that should be required viewing for "every museum director and curator embarking on a new building project." Yale will next tackle the project of renovating and expanding Paul Rudolph's Brutalist concrete Art and Architecture school, which sits across the street from the gallery.

Libeskind discusses revitalizing the New Orleans riverfront more »

Show raises question of Hirst's talents as a collector and curator more »

Calatrava's latest proposal dims hopes for Chicago tower more »

Sotheby's preps contemporary Russian auction in London more »

A look back at the year in design more »

Money talks at Art Basel Miami Beach more »

Two shows spotlight Saul Steinberg's quirky urban landscapes more »

The Bauhaus celebrates 80 contentious years more »

Renewed interest blooms for Francesca Woodman's haunting photographs more »

Pranks and comics dominate holiday art books more »

Roundup of global market finds that art business is booming more »

Denver awards $1.2 million art commission to Dennis Oppenheim more »

Allan Stone, art dealer and collector, dies at 74 more »

Serkan Ozkaya's "scrivener" project makes art out of the front page more »

Architects envision LA of the future more »

Joseph Barbera, animation legend, dies at 95 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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[ Alternative Art Publications ]


Red China Magazine / Lovely Daze / BUTT / Dot dot dot

Even as forecasts of the web annihilating ink-and-paper publishing persist, printed magazines continue to flourish across the distribution scale. Through their timely nature, magazines function as community billboards, topical investigations, group exhibitions, and mini-time capsules — text-and-image manifestations of the zeitgeist. Andy Warhol's Interview spirit lives on in sassy publications like BUTT and USELESS. Seeking alternative avenues, artists reclaim critical discussion in The Daily Constitutional, and, breaking out of the gallery context, Zingmagazine curates visual cross-fertilizations on its eclectic pages. Hybrids of art, photography, and design defy easy categorization in the cordial Capricious and the brainy Dot dot dot, while under the quirky vision of editor Tod Lippy, Esopus casts a wider net to include creative professionals alongside artists and writers, striving towards an unadulterated flow of information.

The zine aesthetic that evolved out of art hothouses like Providence and San Francisco gets the polished treatment in publications such as The Journal, The Ganzfeld, and Loyal Magazine. Eye-popping works are faithfully reproduced, letting readers take home lush images from artists such as Misaki Kawai and Mark Gonzales. Street art gains a cultural context in the deluxe freebie ANP Quarterly, the brainchild of Alleged Gallery founder Aaron Rose. An evolved skateboard-culture zine, Arkitip presents a selection of works for the page by a variety of designers, illustrators, and photographers, lavishly packaged with limited editions.

Since surrealism, artists have employed the periodical as a venue for visual manifestos. The legacy continues with artist-edited journals that communicate their editors' personal visions, transforming each issue into a collaborative project. Painter Peter LaBier handpicks up-and-coming artists like Joshua Abelow to submit portfolios for the poetry-infused Red China Magazine. Edited by Charwei Tsai, Lovely Daze presents loosely themed collections of artists' writings and works in a lovingly produced format. Tsai expands the Lovely Daze community with packed launch events featuring artist performances.

While the Internet provides a malleable outlet for web-savvy artists and writers, online resources like Lulu aid the printing and distribution of pulp-based publications. Spinning a hybrid web, LAB MAG allows visitors to download the PDF version of contributions from artists such as Liam Gillick and Thomas Hirschhorn, as well as the possibility of purchasing the entire issue from Lulu. Bridging the accessibility of the Internet and the physical appeal of the printed page, LAB lets techie and Luddite magazine lovers have their cake and eat it too. (CK)

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Liu Jianhua: Anomalous Thoughts

Galleria Continua
Now through January 27

  Anomalous Thoughts features recent major works by mixed-media sculptor Liu Jianhua, fresh from appearances at both the Shanghai and Singapore Biennales. Two centerpiece installations reflect the artist's continuing interest in issues related to the social transformation of rapidly developing cities like Shanghai, where he is based. Can You Tell Me? presents a group of 50 open books made from stainless steel and engraved with sociological survey-style questions. The monumental quality of this work plays against Reflection-Mirror Illusion's light-hearted duplication of the urban skyline in a 12-meter strip of curving porcelain figurines. Liu's subtle humor is demonstrated in a third installation, Floating Object, which presents a tiny glass Taiwan island with miniature porcelain pandas glued to its surface. (LYH)

Wolfgang Tillmans
Los Angeles

Hammer Museum
Now through January 7

  This major retrospective of photography and video work by Wolfgang Tillmans showcases the German artist's unique approach to multimedia installation, which incorporates diverse images into a cacophonous whole. Tillmans isolates individual people, places, and objects from their original contexts to focus attention on their overlooked beauty. A portrait of director Chris Cunningham displays ingenuous simplicity as image and man remain both elusive and serene. Chaos Cup is a coffee whose black, oily film reflects leafless tree branches that crack its surface, evoking a dry riverbed. This effect of inverted positive and negative space is more pronounced in the sinuous, silky lines of Freischwimmer 15, a mysterious form generated from plain light on paper. (SND)

Droog Design: Simply Droog: 10 + 3 Years of Creating Innovation and Discussion
New York

Museum of Arts & Design
Now through January 14

  In 1993, designer Gijs Bakker and art historian Renny Ramakers began selecting simple, practical objects that had undergone revelatory transformations for inclusion in their brand, Droog Design. "Droog," meaning "dry" in Dutch, suggests both austerity and wit. The objects showcased in this three-floor exhibition are laid out in imaginary, alternative living spaces and range from counterintuitive inversions to cheeky innovations. For ultimate protection against the elements, there's Joost Grootens' Bulletproof Sleeping Bag, while Tejo Remy created a dresser out of assorted found drawers he strapped together. Another whimsical item, Maartje Steenkamp's children's high chair, comes with a saw and sandpaper so that parents can shorten the chair as the child grows older. (HGM)

Spank the Monkey
Gateshead, UK

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Now through January 7

  Spank the Monkey sprawls from the gallery to the streets, bringing together 22 international artists spanning the street-influenced and fine art worlds. Inside, visitors dodge by Barry McGee's overturned truck and a skate ramp, where they're invited to grind over Groovisions' multicolored, generic smiling Chappie faces. Outside, the giant squinty eyes of an Os Gemeos face peer from the length of a building as part of the show's series of public interventions. Also included are works by Aya Takano, known for her doe-eyed waifs inspired by manga and images of Japanese courtesans, and Banksy, who presents one of his doctored-up masterpieces, this time a portrait of a gentleman with pie in his mug. (AC)

A substantial full color catalogue is available from Die Gestalten.

Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

Galerie Guy Bärtschi
Now through January 13

  Collaborators Jennifer and Kevin McCoy use live-feed cameras to transform miniature dioramas into cinematic projections, recording clichéd imagery and text with theatrical flair. In Special Things, 16 wire-suspended cameras hang from the ceiling, capturing Hallmark-styled tableaux, such as two children playing with a butterfly. In contrast, the tangles of cameras surrounding the complex sets of Scary Things II and Double Fantasy IV (God) capture and project morbid footage of hospital patients and screaming children. Like video-installation artist Jon Kessler, the McCoys offer the chance to witness three-dimensional reality become two-dimensional mediated imagery, turning the filmic process inside out to reveal its deceits. (BR)

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[ North Drive Press ]

North Drive Press

North Drive Press, conceived by childhood friends Lizzy Lee and Matt Keegan as an exhibition valise, functions as a mobile show in which art is presented with related texts and interviews. Released in the summer of 2004, NDP #1: Summerkit is a brown vinyl pouch featuring posters of work by young artists that can be cut up and rearranged, interviews between artists, and the text of a panel discussion. For NDP #2 (June, 2005), the editors switched to an art-book-sized cardboard container sealed with a paper sleeve. Keegan invited artists to contribute an interview, a multiple, or both. While each edition has no declared topic, its contents — posters, photos, and small objects — share a witty informality.

NDP #3, with Sara Greenberger Rafferty joining as an editor, is bound with an electric blue ribbon of tape and unfolds like a chest. Of the three issues, it most clearly resembles Marcel Duchamp's Green Box, a pile of facsimiles of notes and photographs about his The Large Glass. As in previous NDP issues, CDs, LPs, stickers, and small objects from dozens of artists are packaged alongside collegial interviews and a roundtable discussion (On the Proliferation and Collapse of the Moving Image) that reads like a youthful October forum. The hermetic quality of NDP's box format makes it a treasure chest for art admirers, and its art world insularity mimics the feel of many recent galley exhibitions — a measure of NDP's success as a portable art venue. (HGM)

North Drive Press is currently on view in the Megazines exhibition at New York's Visionaire Gallery through January 5.

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[ Sina Najafi ]


Lotte Reininger / Astley D.M. Cooper / Joana Hadjithomas & Khali Joreige / Arthur Mole & John Thomas

Paul Laster interviews Sina Najafi, editor-in-chief of Cabinet, about the magazine and its books, artists' editions, curated shows, events, and multidimensional website.
AK: Can you tell us about Cabinet's history and format?

SN: The nonprofit that publishes Cabinet was founded in 1999 by artist Brian Conley and myself, and the first issue appeared in December 2000. The magazine has remained pretty much consistent since. Some of our regular columns have changed, but we've more or less had a similar mix of interviews, artist projects, and essays by artists, writers, and academics. There's a catchall section, a set of columns, the occasional audio CD, and a themed section. Past themes have ranged from the concrete, such as "Animals" or "Horticulture," to abstract notions with a long lineage in philosophy, such as "Evil" or "Chance," to topics that ought to have a sociology but don't — for example, "the Enemy," where there is no such thing as Enemy Studies and no one great book that examines how we've thought about the enemy historically.

AK: What is Cabinet's mission?

SN: Cabinet was founded around three distinct missions, which we hope resonate productively against each other. First, we wanted to have a magazine that reflected how artists thought about the world around them and had the same diverse subjects that you might find on the bookshelves of artists today. That's why a history of urban warfare is as likely to appear in our pages as a history of the doughnut; we call ourselves an "art and culture" magazine, but we try to operate with as expansive a definition of those words as possible. The exuberance that artists bring to their work is something we wanted to have in the magazine, and we're not afraid of having the serious next to the humorous or even the absurd, even though some people imagine this means that the serious is not being taken seriously — we obviously disagree! Another characteristic of this approach is that it is less concerned with judging what is good or bad or with policing the boundary between in or out; rather, it's about trying to better understand the ambient culture. Our gambit is that this better understanding is always "critical" in that it helps reveal the contingencies behind the world as it exists today and that knowing things could have been different is crucial for believing that things can be changed for the better.

keep reading the interview »

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  ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art
Michael Mittelman, Liz Nofziger, and Meghan Tomeo
ASPECT Magazine

A biannual DVD magazine of new media art, ASPECT was founded by artist and educator Michael Mittelman with the goal of sharing time-based media with a large audience at an affordable price. The first issue featured artists from the 2003 Boston Cyberarts Festival, and each thematic volume since has presented five to ten experimental works with informative commentaries by leading new media curators such as Bill Arning, Marisa Olson, and Christiane Paul. Volume 5 focused on "Joie de Vivre" (the joys of life), Volume 6 turned its curatorial eye "On Location," and Volume 7 — "Personas and Personalities" — tapped into issues of identity, including dream-like videos by Anthony Goicolea and Christian Jankowski. The just-released Volume 8 highlights early works by masters of new media such as Cai Guo-Qiang, Joan Jonas, and Tony Oursler. ASPECT's comprehensive website provides short clips and descriptions of every artwork, but the real entertainment starts when you throw one of their fascinating issues into a DVD player. (PL)

Coming full circle, Boston's Axiom Gallery presents Works from ASPECT Magazine during the next Boston Cyberarts Festival in April.

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Cover Art
William Christenberry
Ghost Form, 2004
Featured in Esopus, Issue 2
Pop-up sculpture
Courtesy Esopus
All Rights Reserved

Paul Laster

News Editor
Greg Zinman

Reviews Editor
Andrew Maerkle

Production Editor
Bryony Roberts

Contributing Editors
Jennifer Y. Chen
Shana Nys Dambrot
Jocelyn K. Glei
Allison Kave
Sarah Kessler
Doug Levy
Mark Mangan
Marlyne Sahakian
Peter Stepek

Alexandra Chang
Catherine Krudy
Carol (Yinghua) Lu
H.G. Masters

Anjuli Ayer
Morgan Croney
Jules Gaffney
Lauren McKee

Mailer Design
Jessica Bauer-Greene
Mark Barry

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About Us
Artkrush is a twice-monthly email magazine, featuring current news, people, and events in the international art community. All stories and links are pure editorial, never paid advertisements.

In addition to this twice-monthly digest of the visual arts, Flavorpill also publishes ten other email magazines, covering NEWS, BOOKS, MUSIC, FASHION, and cultural events in six cities — NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, CHICAGO, MIAMI, and LONDON.

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