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Matt Leines, Fortune Tree (detail), 2006

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Summer of Love
June 27-July 10, 2007

Forty years after hippie counterculture blossomed in San Francisco with a famous summer of liberated love and music, a traveling survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art fêtes the spiritual and psychedelic art of that legendary era. We discuss its look back at the '60s and '70s in connection with the current revival of mind-expanding art, as seen in the works of dearraindrop, Vidya Gastaldon, and Fred Tomaselli, among many others. We interview the collective assume vivid astro focus, known for its colorful, conceptual installations, and highlight the handiwork of Misaki Kawai, who fuses autobiography with pop imagery. Finally, we review a collection of Richard Prince's Hippie Drawings, as well as new exhibitions around the globe, from Marlene Dumas' paintings in Tokyo to the futuristic Hotel Everland in Leipzig.








Art Basel Names New Directors
(ARTINFO, June 12)
Art Basel director Samuel Keller recently announced that he will be leaving his post following December’s Art Basel Miami Beach fair, and that he will be replaced by a triumvirate of new directors. Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, a curator and a senior stateside editor of Parkett, Annette Schonholzer, ABMB’s show manager, and journalist Marc Spiegler will collectively take the reins as Keller undertakes his new role as director of Fondation Beyeler, a private Swiss institution with a modern art collection and educational facilities. In a related story, Art Basel was recently criticized by one curator as having become a consumer-driven "fairorama."

Gehry Backing Off LA Project
(Los Angeles Times, June 12)
Though hired two years ago to design a huge development project along Los Angeles’ Grand Avenue, starchitect Frank Gehry seems increasingly unlikely to see the mixed-use complex — budgeted at $2 billion — to completion. After initially asking for full control over the first phase of the project’s design, Gehry’s firm has ceded the final drawings to HKS Architects, and her landscape architect, Laurie Olin, has already made his exit. While the architect’s designs, which include two L-shaped glass skyscrapers, have been met with enthusiasm and approved by the Los Angeles County Board, Gehry has reportedly clashed repeatedly with the site’s developers.

Mosher’s New Landscape Drawing
(New York Times, June 16)
With a rental car and hundreds of pounds of blue chalk, Eve S. Mosher is making her mark on the Brooklyn landscape. The artist has been laying down a four-inch-wide stripe throughout the New York borough in an effort to bring attention to global warming. Drawing from recent NASA and Columbia University research, Mosher’s new work delineates an area ten feet above sea level — a spot that could be submerged in the aftermath of a major storm. Her discontinuous line will eventually encompass lower Manhattan, beginning at East 14th Street, before looping back into Brooklyn.

Broad on the Overpriced Market
(New York Sun, June 14)
Billionaire businessman and arts patron Eli Broad sat down at Art Basel to discuss the overinflated contemporary art market. Broad thinks that a crash might be coming — one similar to that of the '90s, in which values fell by as much as half. "Some of the new buyers are genuine collectors, and others are buying because it's the socially acceptable thing to do," said Broad. The SunAmerica chairman has put his own money into recent purchases such as an Andy Warhol soup can and a Jeff Wall photograph. In addition, Broad has given a $60 million gift to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for a new contemporary gallery, and Michigan State University to build a new museum.





Saatchi buys student’s entire graduation show more »

Preservationists seek to halt destruction of Breuer skyscraper more »

Double-booked artists liken Gormley sculpture to "an action figure" more »

Getting London’s buildings in shape for the Olympics more »

Hotelier Balazs nabs Prouvé’s prefab Maison Tropicale more »

Atari video-game designs and drawings go on the block more »

Joaquin Phoenix collaborates with photographer and poetry pen pal more »

Mr. brings his anime-influenced Lolita complex to Chelsea more »

Researcher Frankel’s photographs are transforming "the visual face of science" more »

NYC dealers salvage Haring’s Boys’ Club mural more »

Microsoft’s art collection grows with the company more »

An interview with economist and photographer Sebastião Salgado more »

David Hockney blames iPods for taking eyes off of contemporary art more »

Christian Tomaszewski rebuilds Lynch’s Blue Velvet more »

Train tunnel threatens Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia more »

Video may be the medium of the moment, but it’s hard to sell more »

NYC’s Creators Series brings together art and tech more »

No love for the new Olympics logo more »

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[ Acid Reflux ]


     

Erik Parker / Alex Grey / Frankie Martin / Isaac Abrams

When a number of social and political forces converged 40 years ago — frustration with an endless war, growing awareness of racial inequality, a rising middle class, and the dissemination of a magic substance called lysergic acid diethylamide — something happened to culture that, by all accounts, you just had to be there for.

That youthquake, centered in San Francisco and turned fab in London and urban in New York, has proved problematic historically precisely because it was predicated on being there. Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era at the Whitney Museum of American Art finally offers the first credible survey of the period's visual topography. The exhibition delivers a sourcebook of visionary artistic practices that have been consistently excised from aesthetic discourse because they run contrary to the academy — and even now resist an institutional setting.

This exhibition was originally organized for the Tate Liverpool by Christoph Grunenberg, whose work with contemporary artists such as Fred Tomaselli and assume vivid astro focus clearly informs his selection of '60s artworks. The summer show at the Whitney Museum is a maximalist freak-out, a nonhierarchical display of populism, and its curatorial openness allows such definitive masterworks as Abdul Mati Klarwein's A Grain of Sand and Isaac Abrams' All Things Are One Thing to come to light alongside works by Lucas Samaras and Jimi Hendrix. With so many young artists currently taking up the visual strategies of this era, these relics of the past gain new importance as breathtaking illuminations of the present.

Taking psychedelic at its literal meaning as mind-expanding, the current artistic generation employs a hybrid style to achieve optimal effect. The tendencies toward the biomorphic, Technicolor, synchronistic, synaesthetic, improvisational, and experiential, which have emerged out of the rubble of ‘60s acid-drenched radicalisms, extend beyond fine art to the freak-folk and nu-rave scenes. Among new psychedelic voyagers, there is not only a strong connection to music but also a general fluidity between mediums.

The most prominent pictorial alchemists today — Hisham Bharoocha, Jeremy Blake, Bjorn Copeland, dearraindrop, Jim Drain, Amy Gartrell, Vidya Gastaldon, Alex Grey, Frankie Martin, Paper Rad, Erik Parker, Ara Peterson, Justin Samson, and Fred Tomaselli — move easily among funky sculpture, homemade craft, trippy drawings, visionary paintings, optic graphic design, hypnotic video, obsessive installation, and (in almost every case) a prevailing fascination with the hallucinogenic properties of collage. Most importantly, however, is the ability of these practitioners to rework recently passé ‘60s tropes — expanded cinema, light shows, retina-searing color schemes, alternative psychological realms, stoner doodles, and hippie customizations — to offer subsequent generations a direct, unmediated access to the imagination that has been too long absent from fine art practices. (CM)

Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era is on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York through September 16.



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Newell Harry: Views from the Couch
Sydney

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Now through June 30

  Australian artist Newell Harry is fascinated by Bislama, the pidgin dialect of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. Based on the artist’s travels, the 18 works in Harry’s debut solo exhibition result from poetic collisions of Bislama with English and Afrikaans, his mother’s native language. Messy black-and-white oilstick drawings and neon sculptures — placed in and around rustic objects, such as primitively ornamented drums and urns, or mounted on walls — spell out ambiguous slogans. A series of pandanus mats, woven by women of Mataso Island to Newell's specifications, are mounted on another gallery wall with the studious air of an ethnographic museum. Each mat’s design incorporates cryptic messages like "Cape Malays / Cape Malaise," and "Stoned Cold Turkey Cape Flats Shacks." (AF)





Marlene Dumas: Broken White
Toyko

Museum of Contemporary Art
Now through July 1

  In Marlene Dumas’ mid-career retrospective of 150 canvases at the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, the South Africa-born artist re-introduces powerful emotions into realist painting with chilling bluntness. In works like Leather Boots, a painting from the artist’s Strippinggirls series, Dumas’ washy application of paint heightens the lurid sexuality of a naked, crouching woman in leather boots. In Broken White, a new work, a closely cropped image of a pale, averted face conceals whether the subject’s expression derives from pain or from ecstasy. Like Dumas’ earlier Death of the Author — in which the pallid head of a corpse is partially obscured by a white sheet — the subtle conflation of death and eroticism electrifies the blanched colors that bleed across Dumas’ canvases. (ASA)





Willam Pope.L: The Black Factory and Other Good Works
San Francisco

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Now through July 8

  Artist-agitator William Pope.L mashes up the issues of race, consumerism, and identity in a novel, populist way. The Black Factory is part itinerant sideshow, part national homework assignment: traversing America with a retinue of young assistants, Pope.L solicits objects that represent "blackness." These objects — action figures, hair rollers, LPs — are used in impromptu performances, archived in a virtual library, or fashioned into new pieces for charitable sale. The exhibition itself is a resolutely unaesthetic installation of the objects, strewn on crude tables or tacked up in Ziploc bags. At YBCA, visitors can watch a large video projection documenting the ambitious traveling project, while near the gallery's entrance, pencils dangle from a wall, inviting visitors to draw or write whatever comes to mind. (SF)

William Pope.L's work is also on view in the exhibition snow, spraypaint, hair, sperm & baloney, which is accompanied by a catalogue, at Kenny Schachter ROVE in London through August 11.





Matthew Stone: FutureHindsight
London

Union Gallery
Now through June 30

  DJ, blogger, and prominent member of the Peckham squat-based collective the Children of !WOWOW!, Matthew Stone explores the disillusioned youth of the 21st century. Although his debut is ostensibly a solo endeavor, !WOWOW! is much in evidence in these dramatically large photographs, along with more than a hint of influence from baroque artists — notably Caravaggio. In With a Splintering Roar He Crashed Through the Ceiling, a starkly illuminated young woman, surrounded by rubble and body parts, gazes upward with a look of astonishment. Meanwhile, Stone’s fashionable cohorts appear collapsed in a pile as burned-out party people in Boneless Bodies Decorated the Ground, Yet Considered Activity Was All Around, the artist’s bleak insight into what the future holds for the nu-rave generation. (LCD)





Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann: Hotel Everland
Liepzig

Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst
Now through August 31

  A one-room hotel out of the pages of Wallpaper*, Swiss design duo Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann’s Hotel Everland is currently positioned on the roof of Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Liepzig's contemporary art museum. A working hotel by night, and open to museum-goers during the day, the shipping container-sized structure sports an enormous panoramic window at one end, a double bed, a fully stocked mini-bar, and bathroom towels that overnight guests are encouraged to take home. First shown on a pier in Yverdon overlooking Lake Neuenburg at the Swiss Expo 02, the fully portable structure boasts curvaceous forms, rich blue carpeting, and plush aquamarine and lime-green décor, evoking the retro-futuristic style of the Jetsons. Next stop for the wandering design project: the roof of Paris' Palais de Toyko. (KG)



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[ Misaki Kawai ]



Misaki Kawai

Each work made by Brooklyn-based artist Misaki Kawai forms part of a grand microcosmic creation. Drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, and video complement one another in Kawai’s colorful, chaotic installations; miniature cars, boats, aircraft, dwellings, and alien landscapes are peopled with a motley cast including cultural icons, robots, animals, and the artist herself. Lovingly (and raggedly) cobbled together from craft materials, Kawai’s teeming environments declare a consciously childlike sensibility. In her recent large-scale installation Space House, John Lennon lives on, languishing in a diminutive jacuzzi while watching television, a minuscule remote at his side; somehow, this impossible situation seems not only feasible, but utterly natural.

Raised in Osaka, Japan, Kawai learned the art of needlework from her mother, a professional seamstress and puppet maker. Her knowledge of traditional craft practices intersects with a lifelong investment in pop figures and hippie heroes, lending her work its postmodern bite. A visit to Kawai’s studio, currently flooded with brightly saturated paintings of varying shapes and sizes, reveals a budding interest in portraiture. Some of these new images represent stock American personae: a young sailor with eyes both vacuous and friendly or a pinup girl with legs spread and small yellow cats playing about her thighs and ankles. One larger work features Kawai’s rendition of Jackie Chan, with an oversized, longhaired lapdog hovering at his feet. Typical of Kawai's work, this fantastical combination pushes even the most major of celebrities out of orbit. (SK)

Misaki Kawai’s Space House installation is on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston through July 8, and her paintings can be seen in the group exhibition Homegrown at New York’s David Krut Projects through July 28. Kawai's work can also be seen in The Ganzfeld 5: Japanada!, published by PictureBox Inc, in association with Gingko Press.



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[ assume vivid astro focus ]


     

assume vivid astro focus

The artist collective assume vivid astro focus burst onto the art scene in 2001, spreading its love of free expression through provocative, colorful conceptual installations and videos. Artkrush editor Paul Laster talks to the two core avaf members about their relationship to the Summer of Love — both the exhibition and the spirit of the '60s — and their current show at John Connelly Presents in New York.
AK: What does the Summer of Love symbolize to you?

avaf: Contrary to what people think, we don't feel particularly related to the Summer of Love era. From that period, we're more interested in the street manifestations for various political causes: women's and gay rights, protests against racism and the war in Vietnam, etc.

The Summer of Love era symbolizes a burst of hippie utopias that had reflections throughout the whole world, but the reality was much more layered. That general time does represent the birth of many political fights and beautiful struggles against ruling powers, but those movements were rather naïve. The '70s and '80s solidified those revolutions in many ways, but nothing's finished yet.

AK: Are there any artists from the Summer of Love exhibition or from the late '60s and early '70s that directly influence your work?

avaf: One of our main influences from that time — though not represented in the show — is the Cockettes. Our video Walking on Thin Ice is an homage to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s '80s disco song, Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" video, and the Cockettes. Joshua White, who's part of the exhibition, gave us some of his original light show footage to use in that video — he's another link to that time for us.

It's difficult for us to relate to one single era, artist, or movement. Our influences vary according to each project's concept and change significantly over time. It can be medieval unicorn tapestries one day, Memphis and the Cockettes the next, and then Urs Fischer, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Gelitin the following week.

We most relate to the accumulation of information in some of the works in the Summer of Love show. We work with a zillion layers of concepts and visuals. Today, we have much more access to information. We believe in sharing and digging, not expanding our minds with drugs. Our drug is the Internet.

AK: When the Summer of Love exhibition opened at the Tate Liverpool in spring 2005, avaf was commissioned to create a project to complement it. Can you tell us about that companion show and its evolution through your practice?

keep reading the interview »


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  Hippie Drawings
Richard Prince
Hatje Cantz

One of the luckiest artists alive, Richard Prince has made his career and fortune re-photographing magazine advertisements and retelling jokes in paintings and drawings. Equally gifted at designing his own artist's books and exhibition catalogues, Prince fills this volume with his free-spirited, figurative hippie drawings, prefaced with a cover photo of the artist in 1969 as a longhaired, bearded hippie and accompanied by Richard Brautigan's offbeat 1958 poem "The Galilee Hitch-Hiker." Childlike in portrayal, Prince's colorful characters look crazed but cheerful as they flash peace signs, dangle smokes from their grinning mouths, and assume yoga positions. Drawn with ink, acrylics, markers, and crayons between 1996 and 2000, these works owe as much to the work of '80s art stars Jean-Michel Basquiat, Donald Baechler, and Martin Kippenberger (to whom the book is dedicated) as they do to Prince's uninhibited mind and hand. (PL)

A comprehensive survey of Richard Prince's work opens at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on September 28.



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Cover Art
Matt Leines
Fortune Tree, 2006
Watercolor and ink on paper
11 x 8 1/2 in./ 27.9 x 21.6 cm
Courtesy Galleri Loyal, Stockholm
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