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Oliver Herring, Pure Sublimation (detail), 2000-01

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Art Meets Dance
September 5-18, 2007

In both performance and video practices, visual artists are increasingly turning to dance as a tool for expression, confrontation, and reconciliation. Whether writhing on the subway, spinning in the snow, or reliving Flashdance, artists are using dance to bridge social gaps and animate public space. We interview Julia Mandle about her fusion of dance, sculpture, and architecture, and we spotlight young videographer Daria Martin, who creates surreal sets and props for her costumed performers. Our media pick is Elinor Carucci's photographic diary of her life as a belly dancer, and we review saucy new exhibitions from Pierre et Gilles in Paris and Josephine Meckseper in Stuttgart.








Kate Moss as Artists' Muse
(The Independent, August 28)
She's been busted for coke, has her own line of clothing, and is one of the most photographed women in the history of the world. She's also emerged as the UK's premier art muse (or harbinger of the death of British art). Now Kate Moss has another place in the sun — at Chatsworth, to be precise. That's where sculptor Marc Quinn's contortionist take on Moss, Myth (Sphinx), currently resides. The yoga-posing, sexually revealing, white-painted bronze statue takes its art-world place alongside other depictions of the supermodel by acclaimed artists such as Lucian Freud, Alex Katz, Gary Hume, Julian Opie, Stella Vine, and Jürgen Teller.

Chinese Artists Get Museums
(New York Times, August 25)
With its national art market exploding, one Chinese province has decided to develop eight new museums, each to be run by an individual artist. Scheduled to open in October 2008 in the city of Dujiangyan, located in the western province of Sichuan, the institutions will be operated by Zhang Xiaogang, Wang Guangyi, Fang Lijun, Yue Minjun, Zhou Chunya, He Duoling, Zhang Peili, and Wu Shanzhuan. The Dujiangyan government will invest roughly $13 million in the new museums, which officials hope will encourage tourism and draw further international attention to China's burgeoning contemporary art scene.

Investigating Prince's Loss
(NYFA Current, August)
Responding to reports that artist Richard Prince's upstate New York studio-cum-artwork Second House had been destroyed by lightning, NYFA Current editor Nick Stillman paid a visit to the tiny Catskills town of Rensselaerville to get the scoop. While Stillman initially thought the story was a ruse — one cannily timed to coincide with the artist's upcoming retrospective at the Guggenheim (which had purchased the property and had been planning on opening it to the public) — he found the house charred, but basically intact. The structure had indeed been struck by lightning, and no traces remained of materials Prince claimed were lost, including books and paintings. A white-trash lawn accessory, an inoperable 1973 Chrysler Barracuda, was in good condition, though infested by wasps.

Praise for Eliasson's Serpentine Pavilion
(Guardian Online, August 24)
Berlin-based Danish artist Olafur Eliasson's architectural installation at the Serpentine Pavilion in London's Kensington Gardens is winning high marks for its dynamic and theatrical qualities. The timber-covered, bronze-colored cone was designed in collaboration with Kjetil T. Thorsen of Norwegian firm Snøhetta and contains a number of soft red balls, a walkway, and multiple viewing areas. The structure is intended to be a "laboratory," where artists, scientists, and academics will lead a weekly series of public experiments through November. In related news, Eliasson and others discuss his work in relation to a survey show at SFMOMA.





Hirst sells diamond skull for $100 million cash more »

Is MoMA squandering its resources? more »

Goldie trades drum 'n bass for graf art more »

Shanghai's art-deco past threatened by new development more »

Spencer Tunick teams with Greenpeace for mass nude photo more »

Eric Fischl proves that there's plenty of life left in painting more »

Regardless of the market's future, galleries continue to open and expand more »

Artist preps St. Louis park of repurposed material more »

Artist shrinks U2, Jeff Koons' Puppy, and Robert Hughes for dioramas more »

María Magdalena Campos-Pons nabs Rappaport Prize more »

Mysterious graf artist Banksy's true identity revealed more »

Office for Metropolitan Architecture alums making their own mark more »

Glass towers springing up in NYC's outer boroughs more »

Farmlab mixes art with eco-politics more »

Artist paints still lifes from Target products more »

A preview of Art:21's new fourth season more »

Collector must remove Anselm Kiefer sculpture from his property more »

Shepard Fairey evades the long arm of the law more »

Thai art gaining international attention more »

Three Austin homes become mini-museums more »

Abstract painter Edward Avedisian dies at 71 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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[ Art and Dance ]


     

A.L. Steiner / My Barbarian / The Dazzle Dancers / Yinka Shonibare, MBE

When the pioneers of the Judson Dance Theater — including Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown, and Meredith Monk — deconstructed dance into disjointed, mechanical, and sometimes aggressive gestures in the '60s, they released its potential to be a confrontational and shocking art form. While contemporary choreographers continue this legacy, a new generation of visual artists is also turning to unconventional dance as a medium for expression. Situating performances in unusual settings or merging them with video art, these artists mine the cathartic power of dance to challenge myriad political and social issues.

A number of international artists are staging dance in public spaces to call attention to existing social dynamics. Swedish artist Klara Liden moves wildly through a Stockholm subway car in her 2003 video Paralyzed, challenging the impassivity of the stone-faced riders around her. In the 2002 video Rebels of the Dance, the Turkish artist Fikret Atay films two boys performing a traditional Kurdish dance in an ATM lobby, probing culture clash in the Turkish city of Batman. Belgian conceptual artist Francis Alÿs staged a rehearsal for a striptease in front of a public audience for Performa 05, but intentionally thwarted a climax. Earlier this year, Tino Sehgal undermined the conventional museum experience by enlisting dancers to surround and engage with viewers at London's ICA, creating entirely fleeting and undocumented experiences.

Some visual artists and choreographers are generating dance works specifically for video, eschewing interactivity in favor of mediated motion. German multimedia artist Oliver Herring convinces strangers to improvise movements on handmade sets for his videos and photographs. Currently on view in documenta 12, Canadian Luis Jacob's A Dance for Those of Us Whose Hearts Have Turned to Ice video displays an earnest dancer flailing in the snow, seeking to melt the hearts of jaded artists and art viewers. Prodigiously talented Miranda July — of 2005's Me and You and Everyone We Know — mixes dance, art, and video, most recently in a Blonde Redhead video, for which she holds one-second dance poses. For the tragicomic video C.L.U.E (color location ultimate experience), photographer A.L. Steiner and the troupe robbinschilds chronicle two women in color-coordinated outfits roaming natural and industrial landscapes.

Taking costuming and performance to the next level, several artists play up the theatrics of dance. Known for refashioning historical figures in pseudo-African fabrics, Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare staged a Swedish masked ball with ornate batik costumes for his first film, Un ballo in maschera (A masked ball) and re-imagined Swan Lake with one white and one black ballerina in Odile and Odette. American painter Karen Kilimnik realized her dream of choreographing and designing a professional ballet with the 2007 show Sleeping Beauty + Friends. Flaunting a more DIY aesthetic, the LA-based group My Barbarian performs spectacles with elaborate costumes, such as You Were Born Poor & Poor You Will Die and Gods of Canada. Most freewheeling of all, the Dazzle Dancers is an outrageous New York collective, often nude and covered in glitter and paint, that undermines traditional sexuality and gender roles with its flamboyant performances. (BR)

Karen Kilimnik's solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami opens September 7; My Barbarian performs on September 22 at El Matadero in Madrid; Francis Alÿs — Politics of Rehearsal opens on September 30 at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; Tino Sehgal is included in the Tate Modern exhibition The World as a Stage opening on October 24; and Luis Jacob — A Dance for Those of Us Whose Hearts Have Turned to Ice opens at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in Vancouver, BC on October 26.



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Florian Maier-Aichen
Los Angeles

Museum of Contemporary Art
Now through September 30

  Though Florian Maier-Aichen's latest collection of hyper-picturesque landscape photographs shares a superficial resemblance to the heroic naturalism of Ansel Adams' prints, the German-born photographer is primarily concerned with subverting photographic conventions. The strikingly lush photograph of an Alpine peak The Best General View exemplifies Maier-Aichen's penchant for altering and exaggerating color, contrast, and sharpness, aligning him more with Alfred Stieglitz or Saul Leiter, who were heavily influenced by abstract painting. Above June Lake, an aerial composition of red treetops and snow-capped mountains, becomes as expressionistic as an Arshile Gorky canvas. The hazy, haunting, black-and-white seascape of Untitled (Santa Monica Bay) exhibits less attention to minute detail, further showcasing Maier-Aichen's painterly sensibility and interest in creating versions of his own utopia. (AT)





Takeshi Murata: Black Box
Washington, DC

Hirshhorn Museum
Now through September 9

  Video artist Takeshi Murata blends animation, electronic music, and found images to create hypnotic digital works. The Hirshhorn Museum presents three of Murata's short pieces, which each required nearly a year to complete. In Pink Dot, the most recently realized, an electric-pink sphere surges to techno beats before melding into footage of Sylvester Stallone's Rambo while its psychedelic background periodically dulls from hot hues to lush jungle greens. Monster Movie borrows the furry goon from the 1981 B movie Caveman; the creature repeatedly rises from neon mire, writhes about, and returns to a sea of churning colors. Cone Eater, named for the retinal photoreceptors, recalls dripping sherbet — like Murata's other intricately altered videos, the hallucinatory fields of color are in constant flux. (LM)





Nalini Malani
Dublin

Irish Museum of Modern Art
Now through October 14

  Among contemporary Indian artists, Nalini Malani is distinguished by her preoccupation with the politics of gender. Her current exhibition of recent and older works at the Irish Museum of Modern Art includes 15 paintings on Mylar, rendered in the traditional technique of reverse painting. These works depict female icons from literature and religion, showing both the historical plight of women and moments of escape. In Appeasing Radha, figures from the tale of Radha and Krishna intermingle in a primordial garden of delight, the pleasures of the female characters overt. Malani's most striking work is her five-channel video installation Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain, which intersperses images of violence with corporate logos and Hindu deities. Accompanied by an anguished monologue, it dramatically highlights the abuse of women during India's 1947 Partition. (LV)

Nalini Malani's concurrent exhibition at Chicago's Walsh Gallery continues through October 6.





Pierre et Gilles: double je
Paris

Jeu de Paume
Now through September 23

  In a retrospective of exaggerated excess at Paris' prestigious Jeu de Paume, Pierre et Gilles' 30-year-long fantaisie fantastique of exploding color, kitsch, and homoerotic imagination receives a thorough survey. The couple, pooling its talents in photography (Pierre) and painting (Gilles), makes idealized portraits of celebrities, neighbors, friends, and themselves, addressing audiences and subjects alike with an erotic humanism. Created through an elaborate technical process, the duo's unique painted photographs draw on pop culture, mythology, religion, and history for visual references. In Les Cosmonautes, the two are dressed as space explorers, nestled in a field of plastic flowers; in another piece, contemporary art magnate François Pinault is costumed as Captain Nemo. (EC)





Josephine Meckseper
Stuttgart

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
Now through October 28

  German-born artist Josephine Meckseper's mirrored vitrines of lingerie-clad mannequins, magazine advertisements, and other eclectic consumer products fuse the slick aesthetics of product display with an incisive critique of our culture's exorbitant materialism. In a mid-career retrospective of 150 works at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Meckseper's diverse projects — window displays, films, photographs, and paintings — appear side by side. Editor-in-chief of FAT magazine, the CalArts grad is as engaged with earnest activism as with advertising; in her installation 64 Summit, mannequins with designer jeans around their ankles wear antiwar placards around their necks. The photograph Pyromaniac 2 depicts an attractive model provocatively holding a lit match between her lips: a sultry image with aggressive undertones. (HGM)

Josephine Meckseper's concurrent exhibition at Stuttgart's Galerie Reinhard Hauff continues through October 13. A catalogue of her work was published by Sternberg Press in 2006.



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[ Daria Martin ]



Daria Martin

If there's one artist in the London scene who best merges art and dance, it's filmmaker Daria Martin. Martin films actors interacting with unusual moving sets and props accompanied by eerie soundtracks, creating surreal, melancholy tableaux. In her early films, her subjects form geometric, modernist-inspired compositions, while in more recent projects, she explores new territory; in 2004's Soft Materials, naked dancers mirror and react to the movements of artificially intelligent robots.

Born in San Francisco, Martin attended Yale University for her undergraduate studies and earned her MFA at UCLA in 2000. Her debut film and first in a trilogy, 2000's In the Palace records a series of scenes performed on a cage-like set — a steel version of Alberto Giacometti's 1932 sculpture The Palace at 4 A.M. In the trilogy's midpoint, 2001's Birds, women with colorful headdresses perch on minimal sets, while the camera pans from left to right and circles in balletic arcs. Closeup Gallery, from 2003, completes Martin's modernist homage; the kinetic, abstract compositions manifest her ambition to make "magic acts that show how the trick is done."

A prolific collaborator, the Beck's Futures-nominated artist has worked with fashion designer Hamish Morrow, '60s actress Rita Tushingham, and composer and musician Zeena Parkins, demonstrating her ability to mix mediums and ideas. The ambitious Wintergarden from 2005 takes Greek goddess Persephone as its inspiration, with dancers recreating her story at Sussex's starkly modernist De La Warr Pavilion — combining dance, mythology, and architecture to stunning effect. Never repetitive and always unexpected, Martin's films represent mixed media at its most inspirational and thought-provoking. (LCD)

Daria Martin's new film Harpstrings and Lava premieres at S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Brussels in October and makes its US premiere this fall as a part of Performa 07 in New York. A monograph of her work was published by JRP Ringier in 2006.



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[ Julia Mandle ]


     

Julia Mandle

New York performance artist Julia Mandle works in a variety of media and with numerous collaborators to create provocative social and political interventions. Her site-specific engagements provoke viewers to pause and reflect on the content, their surroundings, and their own lives. Artkrush editor Paul Laster recently visited Mandle in her studio at the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn to discuss performances, projects, and work process.
AK: What initially motivated you to create work that mixes performance, movement, and design?

JM: It just fit — it's the way I experience the world. I grew up in a museum where my father worked, so learning about history, tragedy, and ideas through a blending of art forms, as in the galleries, was totally commonplace for me. I wasn't ever comfortable or capable of making the choice between "visual art" or "design" or "dance." Often, people have misunderstood me as a choreographer, but I'm not. "Performance art" is probably the best term, but I never perform… so it gets confusing for people, which is fine.

AK: Early works such as When, performed in the window of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and Six Square, which had dancers manipulating the movable facade of New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture, used creative forms to confront the public in unexpected ways. What were you trying to convey with these performances?

JM: Both were interventions of a sort: When intervened in the rush of Broadway to remind people of natural time, and Six Square intervened in the passing of passersby to remind them of an architectural landmark. Both performances occurred in the interstices between public and private spaces, and within that, using costume, I joined the female body to rotating architectural planes.

When was commissioned by the New Museum for a show critiquing the West's relationship to aging, and so I tried to reveal our anxious relationship to time. I slowed down the viewers long enough to perceive "change," which is the basis for time perception. Six Square created a building ritual motivated by the initial design principles of Vito Acconci and Steven Holl, who wanted to dissolve the boundary/skin between art gallery and pedestrian space. Holl invited me to create this performance, and I was interested because I had rarely seen the gallery used in its full capacity, especially at night. We brought in lighting design and essentially unfolded the space until it and all the performers were red and exposed.

AK: In Variable City from 2003, you collaborated with an urban designer, a choreographer, and a team of other specialists to create a work that questioned the public about the history of a commercially transformed area of downtown Brooklyn. Can you tell us about the impetus for that project and how it may have differed from your other works?

keep reading the interview »


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  Diary of a Dancer
Elinor Carucci
steidlMACK

Moonlighting as a belly dancer, photographer Elinor Carucci turned her camera on herself (with the aid of an assistant) and her audience to present a behind-the-scenes perspective of this highly popular form of dance. The Israeli-born Carucci had been a Middle-Eastern dancer for several years prior to making her pastime a documentary project, which took three years to complete in and around New York. Mixing normal 35mm shots with wide-angle views, Carucci beautifully portrays private scenes of arrival and departure, solemn moments of preparation and repose, and the rapture of the communal performance. Children are shown admiring her ornate dress while adults are caught paying tribute to her flirtatious moves by showering her with dollar bills and joyfully joining in the dance. (PL)

A solo exhibition of Elinor Carucci's photography opens at the Art Academy of Cincinnati's Convergys Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 11.



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Cover Art
Oliver Herring
Pure Sublimation, 2000-01
Video still
DVD, 00:27 min.
Courtesy the artist and Max Protetch Gallery, New York
All Rights Reserved

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