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Kwon Ki-soo, Colour forest (detail), 2006

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New Asian-Pacific Art
March 21-April 3, 2007

Surveying art across Asia, Australia, and the Pacific, this year's Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art brings intriguing contemporary works — often incorporating traditional techniques — to Brisbane, Australia. Among the highlights are Japanese artist Yuken Teruya, who cuts delicate trees from shopping bags, and the Long March Project, a Chinese group that reinterprets Mao's famous march. Our media pick is Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film Mysterious Object at Noon, a fragmented narrative set in rural Thailand, and within our coverage of current exhibitions, we recommend Rachel Harrison's off-kilter assemblages in New York and Allora & Calzadilla's politically charged videos in London.

  Jonathan Rhys Meyers is King Henry VIII as you've never seen him before. With a lust for power and an appetite for love, the young monarch ruled his kingdom as he lived his life — with ruthless abandon. The epic Showtime Original Series The Tudors reveals the untold story of the beloved tyrant whose reign was marked by treachery, betrayal, and intrigue.

Saatchi Launches Chinese Art Website
(New York Times, March 11)
After the instant success of Stuart, his website showcasing student artists, Charles Saatchi is launching Mandarin, a similar site for Chinese art. Designed to give Chinese art students international exposure and a forum for connecting with their peers, Mandarin links to the Saatchi Gallery site, which receives at least six million hits a day. The project stems from Saatchi's long-standing interest in the region and aims to tap the thousands of Chinese artists without gallery representation. Not coincidentally, the first show in Saatchi's new gallery in London will exhibit contemporary Chinese art. Plans to launch sites for India, Russia, Spain, and South America are in the works.

Dubai Holds First Art Fair
(Times Online, March 13)
Held in Dubai in early March, the Gulf Art Fair was the first international art fair to take place in the Middle East. Top galleries from around the world participated, showing art worth a total of $1 billion. While Dubai has welcomed Western culture in recent years, some aesthetic friction was evident; exhibitors only brought artwork appropriate for an Islamic state, meaning no nudity or religious imagery. Many Western works — such as Damien Hirst's medicine cabinet — left viewers puzzled and bored, while Arab, Indian, and Chinese art sold briskly. The event comes at a time when Dubai and Abu Dhabi are competing for cultural cachet — the wealthier Abu Dhabi is currently planning its branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums.

Counterfeit Art Market Booms Online
(Globe and Mail, March 9)
While the prices for contemporary art are rising astronomically, cunning counterfeiters are generating a second, deeply discounted art market. Websites such as, which copy the work of famous and lesser-known artists in a wide variety of styles, are making astonishing profits. Many of these businesses are based in China, with one southern town making $120 million in counterfeit artwork last year. The copyright infringement directly impacts the Western artists whose works are reproduced, as the websites are in English, sell in US currency, and ship internationally. is also more accommodating than most artists, offering to "paint any image, any size."

Gehry Blogs Abu Dhabi Guggenheim
(Guardian Unlimited, March 5)
Always up-to-date with new technology, Frank Gehry has ventured into another digital frontier: the blog. Posting on the Guardian website, Gehry mused on his designs for the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim and deflected accusations that he's "stuck in a groove," promising that the new Guggenheim will be radically different from Bilbao. Although many still appreciate his signature metallic buildings — his recent Stata Center for MIT is drawing praise from students and faculty, and the Weisman Art Museum hired him to expand his seminal 1993 building — others fault them for their insensitivity to context. A new documentary, Brooklyn Matters, chronicles the fierce opposition to a Gehry-designed development in Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards.

Critic Michael Kimmelman leaves New York more »

Christie's auction infuriates artists more »

Russian oligarchs' wives want art galleries more »

Seattle critic trades art for reviews more »

Debate rages over "Desert Louvre" more »

Second Life recreates political strife more »

Calatrava unveils plans for Chicago spire more »

Adobe creates software to detect manipulated photos more »

Picasso paintings stolen from his granddaughter's home more »

Bio-artists merge science and art more »

Banksy mural accidentally destroyed more »

Architecture for Humanity launches online network and major prize more »

Baltimore museum director starts a blog more »

Architects favor walls for security more »

Imprisoned Black Panther designs dream house more »

Antony Gormley's naked men allowed to stay more »

Brice Marden discusses his retrospective at SFMOMA more »

Spielberg collection harbors stolen Rockwell more »

Modernist landmark by Paul Rudolph endangered more »

Cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard dies at age 77 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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[ APT5 ]


Michael Parekowhai / Sivaimauga Vaagi / Jackie Chan / Masami Teraoka

Since 1993, the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art has showcased recent art from Asia and the Pacific, including Australia, bringing worldwide attention to the region's contemporary and traditional practices. For this year's show, the Queensland Art Gallery and its new Gallery of Modern Art — designed by the Australian firm Architectus — are currently housing the work of 37 individual artists, filmmakers, and performers, as well as two collaborative projects.

With GoMA accommodating the Australian Cinémathèque, there is a new emphasis on Asian-Pacific filmmakers. In works by Chinese video-artist Yang Fudong, individuals negotiate alienating cityscapes. Though these characters are isolated in monotonous office buildings or in city gardens, glimpses of Shanghai's architectural feats hint at a sense of place. Meanwhile, Jackie Chan fills monitors and projection screens with an installation of his films, but we only catch glimpses of the Hong Kong action star — and his fusion of Peking Opera and kung fu — as he flies through the scene.

The polymorphic comic characters of Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho climb the gallery walls in a large mural and appear again in his smaller embroidered works. Other artists using the fabric medium include more than 19 women in the Pacific Textiles Project. Working from across the South Pacific, their labor-intensive, hand-stitched quilts and woven pandanus mats depicting royalty and Christian worship are imbued with vibrant colors and adaptive tradition.

Artists such as Masami Teraoka and Nusra Latif Qureshi engage traditional techniques with contemporary imagery. Teraoka draws on Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints to frame traditional geisha figures situated amidst condom wrappers and lubricant tubes. Pakistani-Australian Qureshi employs her formal training in miniature painting to present silhouettes with a contemporary aesthetic that suggest contexts for her female protagonists.

Two contrasting landscape painters, Yoo Seung-Ho and the Madarrpa leader Djambawa Marawili, are highlights of the exhibition. Yoo creates landscapes from thousands of minute Korean characters, while Marawili's bark paintings consist of intricate crosshatching. Other juxtapositions in the Triennial work on a more discordant level. The presentation of New Zealander Gordon Walters' paintings next to Michael Parekowhai's sculptures highlights the issues surrounding postcolonial and cross-cultural art practices; Maori motifs appropriated by Walters are later recaptured in Parekowhai's work. The discursive tension also reminds the viewer that the placement of a regional art festival in an Australian institution remains contentious. (EB)

The Fifth Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art continues at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia through May 27.

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Hélio Oiticica: The Body of Color

Museum of Fine Arts
Now through April 1

  Dedicated to transforming color into space, late Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica receives his first comprehensive retrospective with The Body of Color at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts. In his White Series, Oiticica manipulated the tone and brush strokes of white pigment on canvas and cardboard to demonstrate his theory that painting can manifest itself as a unique moment in the perception of time. Grand Núcleo (Grand Nucleus), a suspended large-scale wood construction, invites viewers to move through its panels to experience color as a physical environment. Oiticica's color theories climax with his Parangolés, bright cloth capes that give the sense of color in motion. (LLP)

Rachel Harrison: If I Did It
New York

Greene Naftali Gallery
Now through March 31

  The world is full of things to look at, but few are as rewarding as Rachel Harrison's current show of photographs and lumpy, asymmetrical monoliths. Simultaneously formal, narrative, and conceptual, her bricolage of absurd props — thermostats, lottery tickets, taxidermied poultry — and carved Styrofoam blocks slathered with bright plaster are caricatures of entertainers, theorists, and explorers. Johnny Depp — a swarthy, abstract jumble — is unadorned except for a small gold earring. Nearby, a spray of foam packing peanuts trails Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a clothed mannequin wearing a Dick Cheney mask back-to-front to Janus-like effect. Harrison's sharp, playful memorials provoke discussions about context, consumerism, universality, beauty, fame, politics, and the nature of seeing. (LC)

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla

Whitechapel Gallery
Now Through March 25

  Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla's interdisciplinary practice takes an unusually intimate perspective on postindustrialism's political, social, and environmental effects with four short films at London's Whitechapel Gallery. In Returning a Sound, a man retrofits his motorcycle with a military trumpet to produce a free-jazz anthem as he traverses sections of Vieques, Puerto Rico, that were once restricted by the US Navy during its 60-year occupation. Under Discussion finds the son of a fisherman/activist motoring an upside-down conference table past Vieques' new luxury resorts and along fishing routes still depleted by past US military exercises. Rooted in performative whimsy, these mappings proffer small but potent reclamations of expropriated space. (TC)

Crystal Crunch

Perugi Artecontemporanea
Now through March 25

  After taking over Tokyo's Watari-um Museum last winter, artist couple Taylor McKimens and Misaki Kawai now divide and conquer Padua's Perugi Artecontemporanea. McKimens, who creates lumpy, oozing, comic-inspired installations and has curated exhibitions such as Stranger Town at New York's Dinter Fine Art, presents Crystal Crunch, a group of nine artists riffing on similar themes. Amy Lockhart's small paintings of angular, strong-boned women clash with Matt Leines' mythical, masked creatures while Eddie Martinez's Guston-eyed girls adorn the inside of a giant cardboard cereal box, printed with a "Crystal Crunch" logo. Amid this constellation of playful and menacing characters, an energetic, orange-faced figure blasts through a brick wall in Kawai's adjacent installation, Big Break. (AA)

David Salle

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Now though March 23

  In the '80s, David Salle was associated with a bombastic set of neo-expressionist painters; his large, figurative canvases juxtaposed pop-culture pastiche with art-historical snippets. The eight recent paintings at Thaddaeus Ropac all share a new visual trope: a Dalí-esque color swirl that obliterates the canvases' subjects. In The Party, a disfiguring maelstrom, set against a monochrome background of seashells, twists a face into an unrecognizable, Munch-like Scream; salmon steaks lifted from a Goya painting and a dessert from a Thiebaud still life hover incongruently in the foreground. In Evolution, another delirious mash-up, Salle combines an African mask, two tulips, a black-and-white figure, and a whirled cartoon vixen. (HGM)

A recreation of David Salle's 1977 installation Bearding The Lion In His Den is on display at Deitch Projects in New York through March 24.

Streams, torrents, lakes, glaciers, rocks, waterfalls, steep slopes, cliffs, peaks, firs, beeches, stumps, wind, storms, snow, sunrises, and sunsets, for example.

Now through March 24

  Merging landscape painting with architecture, the PROGRAM project space has invited nine Berlin-based painters to conjure alternate realities on its gallery walls. Working with an assigned horizon line, the artists each create wildly different scenes, with surprising overlaps along the borders. Leigh Bridges plays with perspective, making white trees appear to move through an ethereal, yellow haze. Ethan Hayes-Chute disrupts a peaceful sea colony with monumental splashes. In a side alcove, Brent Wadden's geometric polygons crawl across the walls and echo the bright, triangular forms of Markus Shimizu's painted column in the larger room. In this panorama of styles and methods, each wall opens up a different illusory space, connecting to the others in a web of visual association. (BR)

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[ Yuken Teruya ]

Yuken Teruya

For his Notice-Forest sculptures, Yuken Teruya cuts and folds minutely textured trees from paper shopping bags, which are then cantilevered from gallery walls like delicate dioramas. Suites from the series have included bags from luxury companies including Louis Vuitton and the ultimate icon of global plebeian culture, McDonald's. In Teruya's work — a unique blend of poetry and critique — processed paper is reborn, and natural beauty is coaxed from handcrafted material waste.

Teruya first garnered international attention in 2002 when he won the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum's Emerging Artist Award. Subsequent inclusions in the 2005 Yokohama International Triennale and Greater New York at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York have enhanced his reputation.

For his current solo exhibition, New York's Asia Society commissioned Teruya to create a piece in response to a Ming-dynasty jar. Teruya has cut outlines of fish — akin to the koi adorning the jar — from five orange plastic bags, which surround the antique vessel. In Poi, the artist has suspended secular tokens of modern life — including a coupon, a credit card, and coins — in delicate nets used for catching fish in a Japanese game. Teruya also displays the paper stencils used to create the accompanying bingata, a kimono dyed in a traditional Okinawan technique. At the Fifth Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Australia, alongside pieces from Notice-Forest, curators have selected Teruya's 2002 You-I, You-I, an earlier bingata whose decoration points to the American military's ongoing residence on Okinawa. (HGM)

Yuken Teruya's work is on view through May 27 at the Fifth Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, Australia. Free Fish: The Art of Yuken Teruya runs through April 29 at the Asia Society in New York.

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[ Long March Project ]


Fu Xinmin / Qin Ga / Li Shurui / Sui Jianguo

Inspired by the historic Mao Zedong-led Long March — the Red Army's grueling 6,000-mile retreat across China from pursuing Nationalist forces — the Long March Project was founded in 1999. In 2002, it enacted The Long March: A Walking Visual Display, a series of performances and interventions at sites along the Red Army's original route. In 2003, the 25000 Cultural Transmission Center (the Long March Space) was established in Beijing as a dynamic exhibition space. The Long March Project also continues to participate in international exhibitions and is included in the Fifth Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. Artkrush reviews editor Andrew Maerkle spoke with founder and chief curator Lu Jie about the project's history and current activities.
AK: What is the inspiration behind the Long March Project?

LJ: Recalling the Red Army's historic Long March, China is now on a new Long March, experiencing rapid change in geographic and social landscapes and artistic expression. The Long March Project seeks a new approach to contemporary art, using China as a platform. Participants work together with local communities, exploring the relationships between individual and collective, theory and practice. Unlike an art collective, the Long March is not composed of core participants; rather, it is an ongoing art and curatorial project, which I started and continue to serve as chief curator, and from 2002-03 the artist Qiu Zhijie was co-curator.

AK: What is your view of the conditions for contemporary art in China today?

LJ: Contemporary Chinese art is developing with great diversity and inspiration, but with the current period of success, there are also concerns about the market's influence on art, exhibitions, and opinions. While still taking advantage of the market's positive aspects, how do we maintain artistic originality and an engagement with society in an atmosphere of consumerism and transformation?

This context is also indicative of a greater uprooting of contemporary Chinese art as it moves further into the international system — an unmooring from history, tradition, and the creative capacities of folk culture. The Long March looks to re-establish these connections. For example, the painter Yang Shaobin's 800 Meters Under is a two-year, nine-month project involving coal mines and the history and current state of industrialization in China.

AK: Did your Long March interventions in 2002 reflect a specific moment in recent Chinese art history?

keep reading the interview »

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  Mysterious Object at Noon
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Influenced by exquisite corpse drawings he discovered while studying film at the Art Institute of Chicago, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's first feature film explores a concept of multiple, sequential contributors. Shot in his native Thailand over a three-year period and released in 2000, the 85-minute black-and-white film strings stories from different narrators into a surreal tale. The movie begins with a young woman recalling the tragedy of being sold as a child. Asked if she has any other stories — real or fictional — she begins a story of a boy in a wheelchair and his teacher. This recurring narrative becomes woven into a documentary road picture of rural Thailand, where the villagers share other fictions that add to the film's sublime structure. (PL)

Thirteen Apichatpong Weerasethakul films — including the acclaimed Tropical Malady and Syndromes and a Century, his latest — are being screened at the Fifth Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, Australia through May 27.

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Cover Art
Kwon Ki-soo
Colour forest, 2006
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas stretched over board
71 1/4 x 89 1/2 in./181 x 227 cm
Courtesy the artist
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Paul Laster

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