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Philip Guston, Odessa (detail), 1977

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Art in New York
Feb 21-Mar 6, 2007

As the Armory Show returns for its ninth year, the New York art world lights up for the annual flurry of satellite art fairs, openings, film series, and special events. We interview Armory Show director Katelijne De Backer about the new galleries and unusual installations on her roster this year. Rivaling the Armory's star power is the older Art Show, plus a host of up-and-coming fairs such as Scope, Pulse, DiVA, LA Art in New York, Red Dot, and Fountain. Navigating the dizzying array of events, we recommend highlights from each fair, plus harder-to-find film screenings and panels. With all of New York's galleries and museums showing off their finest, we spotlight the work of French artist Vidya Gastaldon on view at the Swiss Institute and Salon 94, as well as the catalogue for Martín Ramírez's show at the American Folk Art Museum. For information on even more art shows and events in New York this week, check out Flavorpill NYC. Outside of New York, artists take jabs at capitalism: Christoph Büchel constructs a globalization nightmare in London, and Folkert de Jong impales American leaders in Berlin.

  Whether you play music, paint, write, draw, or shoot, have your work seen and heard at Be fun and controversial. Make art. Make fun of art. Make history. Stand for something. Take over the world. Shock. Inspire. Entertain. Set the rules. Be fearless. Be honest. And have a good time doing it.

Doig Priciest Living European Artist
(Bloomberg, February 8)
When the gavel fell on Scottish painter Peter Doig's White Canoe at Sotheby's February 7 auction in London, the work had commanded a price of over $11 million, making Doig the most expensive living European artist. This 1990-91 painting, along with his other depictions of empty canoes, was supposedly inspired by the Friday the 13th film series. Doig, whose works sold for five figures a decade ago, surpassed Lucian Freud, whose painting of a man in a red chair received a bid of over $8 million in 2005. Doig's bidder, whisked away by a Sotheby's representative following the auction, remains unknown. The $90.2 million dollar auction — one of several record-setting auctions that week — also saw career-high prices notched for Gerhard Richter, Frank Auerbach, Andreas Gursky, and the duo Tim Noble & Sue Webster. Gursky's 99 Cent II Diptychon fetched $3.3 million, the most money ever paid for a photograph.

Starchitects Talk Abu Dhabi
(ArchNewsNow, February 2)
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is thinking big. The city recently released extensive plans for the development of a multibillion-dollar, 670-acre cultural district featuring works by world-class architects Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, and Tadao Ando. Gehry's Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will consist of several "rings," which he claims will be able to house art "made on site and of a scale that could not be achieved in other museums around the world." Finally, Hadid's Performing Arts Centre will soar out over the sea, Nouvel's Classical Museum will be topped by a dome that will "let a diffuse, magical light come through in the best tradition of great Arabian architecture," and Ando's Maritime Museum will be an expansive space inspired by the "force and fluidity of Abu Dhabi's wind." The buildings are scheduled to open under a phased program beginning in 2012.

Koons Designs Huge Train for LACMA
(LA Weekly, February 2)
In a recent conversation with Michael Govan of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, artist Jeff Koons revealed plans to construct a monumental sculpture of a train hanging in midair for LACMA's soon-to-be-redesigned entrance. The proposed 161-foot-high work would include an operational replica of a 1943 Baldwin 2900-class steam locomotive in stainless steel and aluminum. Suspended from an enormous crane, the train would actually run three times a day, wheels churning and steam pumping. The museum is looking into whether the physics and tremendous cost of the work are actually feasible. While the piece would not contain a train engine per se, Koons promised that the sculpture would provide "an absolutely authentic visceral experience."

Whitney Taps Curators for 2008 Biennial
(New York Times, February 9)
Having chosen a pair of European curators to shepherd its 2006 Biennial, the Whitney Museum has decided to stick close to home for the 2008 edition. Two Whitney curators, Henriette Huldisch and Shamim M. Momin, will organize the event with the direction of Donna De Salvo, the museum's chief curator. Some outside help is being sought — Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Bill Horrigan, director of the media arts department at the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University, and Linda Norden, a curator who acted as commissioner of the United States pavilion for the 2005 Venice Biennale — will lend their talents to the next Biennial.

Low marks for Pompidou's survey of video art more »

Rio favela gives rise to an open-air gallery more »

Holzer's San Diego commission draws attention to words more »

Warhol's influence persists and grows more »

A look at Vija Celmins' drawings more »

Council apologizes for erasing Banksy's graffiti more »

Sotheby's plans first Russian contemporary sale more »

Bar of gold stolen from Gary Hill installation in Paris more »

Early work of Richard Prince on display, against his wishes more »

No fine for attack on Duchamp's urinal more »

African Art joins New York's Museum Mile more »

Brazilian arts patron imprisoned for bank fraud more »

Artists use signs by homeless in performance work more »

Floors curve and roll at Hundertwasser's winery more »

Streisand and MySpace chief join LACMA board more »

Hans Wegner, Danish furniture designer, dies at 92 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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[ Fair City ]


Robin Antiga / Candida Höfer / Peter Buchman / Cristina Calderon

It's Armory Show week in New York, and with it comes a smorgasbord of satellite fairs, museum and gallery openings, panel discussions, and special events. While the Armory Show moves to a new location at Pier 94, the venerable Art Show, organized by the Art Dealers Association of America, returns to its usual digs at Park Avenue's Seventh Regiment Armory for the 19th year.

Under the new leadership of Roland Augustine, the Art Show has invited younger galleries such as CRG, D'Amelio Terras, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co. to display fresh, contemporary works alongside modernist masterpieces from longtime gallery members. The ADAA is also presenting a panel discussion at the Museum of Modern Art on "The Museum as Collector," including Tate director Nicholas Serota and Walker Art Center director Kathy Halbreich.

Scope New York reinvents itself for 2007, as well. Last year the fair took place in a warehouse space near the Armory Show, but this year 65 galleries gather inside a 25,000-square-foot tent in Lincoln Center, where standouts include New York's Yossi Milo Gallery, Atlanta's Saltworks Gallery, and Miami's Spinello Gallery. Keep your eyes peeled for spontaneous performances and unusual installations such as the Perpetual Art Machine's display of 1,000 video works by 600 artists, and Top Design contestant Ryan Humphrey's heavy metal-inspired home furnishings. Interviews with art personalities will be webcasted on Vernissage TV, and Culture on the Verge, Scope's opening-night party co-hosted by Beautiful Decay, mixes up the visuals with a slew of local DJs.

Pulse New York returns to the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue, home of the historic Armory Show of 1913, which introduced modernism to New York, and the first occurrence of the present-day Armory fair in 1999. Pulse, which entered Miami's art-fair circuit in 2005, was a lively player in New York last year and brings some of the same great galleries back for this round. Check out Berlin's Galerie Volker Diehl, Amsterdam's Torch Gallery, and San Francisco's Rena Bransten Gallery. Meanwhile, in its second year, LA Art in New York presents galleries from Los Angeles and beyond in two nearby spaces on West 18th Street. JP Morgan Chase is bankrolling its annual museum prize, this year awarded to the UCLA Hammer Museum, which will cherry-pick works at the fair for its collection. We're voting for works by artists who've graced our pages in the past: Shoshana Wayne Gallery's Dinh Q. Lê, Hales Gallery's Spencer Tunick, and Acuna-Hansen Gallery's Carlee Fernandez.

Dedicated entirely to digital and video art, DiVA New York invites viewers to avant-garde screenings at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Battery Park City and shipping containers in various locations between 23rd and 26th Streets. Fountain New York (named for Marcel Duchamp's radical readymade) has christened itself a "guerilla-style" art fair, taking 12th Avenue hostage with bold works and installations from Williamsburg-based alternative spaces such as McCaig-Welles Gallery and Glowlab. Finally, Red Dot doesn't masquerade behind a facade of "curating" — this fair makes selling the clear focus, promising to mark up its gallery walls with those celebratory little stickers. (JK/PL/BR)

From February 23 to 26, the Armory Show takes place at Pier 94, the Art Show at the Seventh Regiment Armory, Scope New York in Lincoln Center, and Red Dot in the Park South Hotel. Pulse New York is held in the 69th Regiment Armory from February 22 to 25, and LA Art in New York is on view at the Altman Building and Metropolitan Pavilion from February 23 to 25. DiVA New York is at the Embassy Suites Hotel from February 22 to 25 and the containers in Chelsea through February 24. Fountain New York runs from February 22 to 26.

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Jitish Kallat: Rickshawpolis Part 3

Gallery Barry Keldoulis
Now through February 24

  Jitish Kallat's Rickshawpolis Part 3 explores the hustle and bustle of contemporary India with decorative paintings, mixed-media sculptures, and conceptual photographs. The show offers audiences a wry view of Indian life and culture, fusing elements of traditional Indian art with imagery of a brand-obsessed present. Pushing a maximal aesthetic, Kallat creates swirling paintings and sculptures, like the cast-resin depiction of a traffic jam on a bridge. The most successful works — such as the painting Rickshawpolis (the dented chariot) 6 — conflate the human body with mangled machinery to create metaphors for the physical and psychological effects of India's megacities. (AF)

Peter Doig

Ballroom Marfa
Now through February 28

  Trinidadian artist Che Lovelace and Scottish painter Peter Doig organize weekly film screenings in Port of Spain, Trinidad, with Doig creating hand-painted posters for each event. These quick, expressionistic signs are looser than Doig's epic paintings, which are also sometimes inspired by film. Ballroom Marfa's exhibition includes more than 80 posters, which often fixate on a famous, narrative scene: a disembodied ear floats on a washy, blue ground for David Lynch's Blue Velvet. The poster for Gus Van Sant's Elephant features an elephant head with a distended trunk, while Capote portrays a cockeyed Truman with hat aslant. With Jonathan Meese, Doig also created an oddball, antebellum campsite in the gallery's courtyard for the opening-night performance. (HGM)

Marc Newson
New York

Gagosian Gallery
Now through March 3

  Marc Newson has molded playful, bulbous forms in metal and plastic for two decades, designing everything from chairs and watches to cars and jets. Now, fresh from winning the Designer of the Year award at Design Miami, Newson is getting serious in a solo show at the Gagosian Gallery, where he's translating his vision into marble. The chairs and tables here have the futuristic forms of extruded metal, but they're cut from blocks of white and grey stone. Varonai Shelf, in White Carrara marble, has an airy, honeycomb structure that defies the stone's weight. The side galleries hold nickel surfboards and furniture made from linen-resin composite; across the street, Sebastian + Barquet displays Newson's record-breaking Lockheed Lounge from 1986. (BR)

Christoph Büchel: Simply Botiful

Hauser & Wirth Coppermill
Now through March 18

  Simply Botiful, Christoph Büchel's second exhibition with Hauser & Wirth, brings the dark side of globalization to London's East End. The Swiss artist's penchant for immersive, full-scale installation is used to great effect in transforming the multistory Coppermill warehouse: empty offices become sex workers' bedrooms and archaeological libraries, while loading zones and storage units are filled with derelict refrigerators and computer parts. A small hole in the corner of a Portakabin leads to a series of cramped, subterranean chambers, filled with Islamic prayer rugs and lined with pages torn from porno magazines. Disturbing, inflammatory, and undeniably compelling, Büchel's exhibition holds a mirror to our politically abject times. (TC)

Folkert de Jong: Der Falsche Prophet

Peres Projects
Now through March 3

  Standing on slats of pink and blue Styrofoam, the 30-some figures in Folkert de Jong's installation Der Falsche Prophet (The Wrong Prophet) at first resemble zombies from a cheap horror movie, oozing Day-Glo foam and dripping liquid plastic. But on closer inspection, this B-movie turns realistic — the wildly colorful, disjunctive forms are actually masterful portraits referencing early explorers, Otto Dix, US political heroes, and classic Disney characters. Perched on stakes or stacked on towers of pastel-colored WWI helmets, books, and geometric forms, the disembodied heads exist in an eerie limbo between military decoy and frozen jack-in-the-box. Mutilating the icons of western "progress," the installation mocks any sense of modern triumph. (CR)

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[ Vidya Gastaldon ]

Vidya Gastaldon

Geneva-based French artist Vidya Gastaldon creates microcosms of hallucinatory, saccharine symbols with her sculptures, drawings, video animations, and prints. Working with mediums traditionally associated with feminine labor, such as knitting, sewing, and crocheting, Gastaldon continues the tradition of feminist trailblazers like Judy Chicago, Mary Kelly, and Rosemarie Trockel, but consciously avoids overt political statements.

Eastern religion and new-age spirituality are dominant themes in Gastaldon's work — especially the idea of transformation. In her sculptures, yarn and thread form mountainous cones and internal organs, while her drawings depict mystical creatures with exaggerated smiley faces that morph into fantastical landscapes. Gastaldon's embrace of spirituality and psychedelia is genuine, but she also explores mankind's darker side through her allusions to nuclear destruction and the pervasive imagery of mass marketing.

After exhibiting for several years, Gastaldon's career finally caught fire in 2006 with solo gallery shows in Zurich, London, and Paris, a spot in Art Basel's Statements section, and a solo museum exhibition in Switzerland. The full range of Gastaldon's work is currently on view in her solo exhibition Stop Believing, Start Knowing at the Swiss Institute in New York. The title raises age-old questions of faith and knowledge, evoking spiritual rites of passage and quests for certainty and understanding. Its implied assertion is an excellent expression of Gastaldon's oeuvre, in which all of the Earth's elements are connected in a seamless interchange of organic energy. (AK)

Gastaldon's work is on view in New York in Stop Believing, Start Knowing at the Swiss Institute through March 10 and the group show Hello I'm Crashing at Salon 94 through March 20.

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[ Katelijne De Backer ]


Mustafa Maluka / Andrew Guenther / Pipilotti Rist / Koichi Enomoto

The Armory Show: The International Fair of New Art, founded in 1994 by four adventurous New York art dealers — Pat Hearn, Colin de Land, Matthew Marks, and Paul Morris — as the Gramercy International Contemporary Art Fair at the Gramercy Hotel, is now one of the world's preeminent art fairs. Artkrush editor Paul Laster talks to the Armory Show director, Katelijne De Backer, about the history of the fair and this year's event.
AK: You've directed the Armory Show since 2000; before you stepped in, how were you prepared to take the reins of such an enormous production?

KDB: For nine years, I worked in London as a producer/director for two weekly alternative music shows, 120 Minutes and Alternative Nation, at MTV Europe. Believe it or not, producing a television show is comparable to producing an art show; they require the same attention to detail and ability to bring together innumerable creative elements.

AK: During its history as the Armory Show, the fair has evolved in a number of ways — moving from the Lexington Avenue Armory to a tent at the Javits Center and then to two parallel piers in Midtown. How is the fair changing now?

KDB: The fair is under one roof at Pier 94, which is very exciting. It's refreshing to bring a new layout to galleries and visitors. Each year we offer something different, which is always based on our ability to capitalize on existing opportunities. We're bringing in our own caterer this year, which we haven't been allowed to do in the past; Danny Meyer's catering company, Hudson Yards, will provide all the food. It's the same company that's behind notable New York restaurants including Tabla, Gramercy Tavern, and Blue Smoke.

AK: In past years, some galleries have astounded viewers with the inventive use of their space — Deitch Projects transformed its booth into the ESPO Bakery in 2005, and Lehmann Maupin presented a tiki-hut installation by Ashley Bickerton in 2006. What are some of the standout displays that visitors should anticipate this year?

keep reading the interview »

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  Martín Ramírez
Brooke Davis Anderson
Marquand Books, in association with the American Folk Art Museum

A Mexican immigrant who fell on hard times during the Depression, Martín Ramírez spent his last 32 years in Californian mental institutions before dying at DeWitt State Hospital in 1963. While hospitalized, he drew on scraps of paper, which he often pasted together to form larger works, repeating variations on favorite subjects such as riders on horseback, trains in tunnels, Madonnas confronting the viewer, and detailed surrealist landscapes. In the early '50s, Tarmo Pasto, a professor of psychology and art at Sacramento State College, met Ramírez and immediately recognized his talent. Pasto encouraged the self-taught artist and arranged acclaimed exhibitions — in 1968, Pasto sold nearly 300 of Ramírez's works to dealer Phyllis Kind and artists Jim Nutt and Gladys Nilsson, after Nutt discovered the drawings while teaching at Sacramento State. Over time, Kind brought Ramírez to the attention of the art world, showing his drawings at her galleries in Chicago and New York. This scholarly book, which accompanies a remarkable traveling exhibition, examines the artist's work, his family history, his artistic development in seclusion, the myths about his life, his cultural identity, and the debate over whether he should be recognized as an outsider or modern artist. (PL)

Martín Ramírez is on view at the American Folk Art Museum in New York through April 29 and opens at the Milwaukee Art Museum on October 6.

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Cover Art
Philip Guston
Odessa, 1977
Oil on canvas
68 x 77 in./ 172.7 x 195.6 cm
Featured in the Art Show
Courtesy L&M; Arts, New York
All Rights Reserved

Paul Laster

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Jennifer Y. Chen
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Andrew Frost
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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.

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