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Fritz Haeg, Sundown Salon #29: Dancing Convention (detail), 2006

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Art in New York
March 19-April 1, 2008

The commotion that began earlier this month with the opening of the Whitney Biennial 2008 escalates to a full frenzy this week, as galleries, collectors, artists, and curators head to Manhattan for the annual influx of art fairs. In this issue, we hand-pick artists from the Armory Show, VOLTA NY, Pulse, and Scope, while steering you in the direction of a slew of other noteworthy fairs. Beyond the markets, we highlight the ceramics and photocollages of Sterling Ruby and chat with Whitney Biennial curators Henriette Huldisch and Shamim M. Momin about the exhibition's range, installation highlights, and the curatorial spotlight on found materials. For those partial to painting, we recommend Rosson Crow's radiant, large-scale depictions of historic haunts in LA and the flat, graphic acrylic portraits by Brian Alfred in Berlin. Finally, for our media pick, we suggest the catalogue from MoMA's acclaimed exhibition Design and the Elastic Mind.

Büchel Continues MASS MoCA Battle
(New York Times, March 2)
Call it the art-world version of making lemonade out of lemons. Having been successfully sued last September by MASS MoCA to open his unfinished Training Ground for Democracy, a large-scale, site-specific installation, Christoph Büchel has come up with a new project. His newest artwork will be comprised of the paperwork used in the case, and he is demanding that the MASS MoCA allow him to exhibit confidential legal documents. Said Büchel: "This new series of works I have been doing is a kind of physical manifestation of the principle of freedom of speech and expression that the dispute is about."

Koolhaas Reveals Plan for Dubai
(New York Times, March 3)
Starchitect Rem Koolhaas has revealed his plans for a staggeringly massive development in Dubai. The 1.5-billion-square-foot Waterfront City would comprise a dense urban area built on an artificial island, just offshore in the Persian Gulf. The project mixes elements of Koolhaas' "generic city" concept with stunning architectural landmarks, such as an enormous 44-story sphere. The city would form a perfect square, with an elevated public atrium, a souk-like cluster of alleyways, and a waterfront boardwalk surrounding the island.

Nude Self-Portrait Takes Top Aussie Prize
(Sydney Morning Herald, March 11)
Sydney-based artist Fiona Lowry won the $100,000 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize for her self-portrait What I Assume You Shall Assume. Lowry had never before entered the art competition, but her ghostly, red-and-orange airbrush depiction of her naked self in Belanglo State Forest, the site of the notorious "backpacker murders," proved triumphant. In related Australian art news, Del Kathryn Barton nabbed the Archibald Prize for portraiture, while Vincent Fantauzzo's painting of recently deceased actor Heath Ledger went on view in Sydney.

Madrid Gets New Art Center
(, March 3)
The Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen have a new neighbor — the CaixaForum cultural center, which recently opened in the heart of Madrid's art triangle. A former power station, the seven-story space was designed by Pritzker Prize winners Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and will host art exhibitions, film screenings, concerts, and conferences. The structure is capped with corroded cast iron, and the whole building stands on three columns, allowing passersby to walk underneath. The CaixaForum also boasts a 5,000-square-foot vertical garden, designed by botanist Patrick Blanc and stocked with more than 15,000 plants.

Street art is where you find it more »

Iraqi artist claims his Virtual Jihadi was censored more »

Building real-estate value in DUMBO, Brooklyn, via art communities more »

Multimedia artist Mimmo Paladino and musician Brian Eno collaborate for Rome show more »

MGM Mirage wants to make Las Vegas an art destination more »

Ariana Page Russell scratches art from her own skin more »

Rose Art Museum receives contemporary art donations worth over $2 million more »

New Orleans to hold citywide biennial more »

Chanel launches Mobile Art project more »

Former Guggenheim director Thomas Krens eyes new NYC museum possibility more »

Fine art for sale at the notorious Emperors Club? more »

LA bike art tours gathering speed more »

British sculptor Antony Gormley profiled more »

Separated, but still together, Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn unveil new video work more »

A look inside architect Zaha Hadid's home more »

Moti Hasson Gallery's cameo on The Celebrity Apprentice more »

Provocateur-turned-publisher Damien Hirst readies London shop more »

Naoto Fukasawa, a designer's designer more »

Barbican offers "Martian" art show more »

Beijing "art zone" luminary Huang Rui profiled more »

Color-field painting reconsidered more »

When does design become art? more »

Note: Some online publications require registration to access the articles. If you encounter a registration screen, try a shared username and password from BugMeNot.

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[ New York Fairs ]


Florian Merkel / Ragnar Kjartansson / Hreinn Friðfinnsson / Guerra de la Paz

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, New York's Armory Show ushers in four much-anticipated days of ever-multiplying gallery showcases and events, as well as partner and satellite fairs. With 160 exhibitors from 21 countries ready to show new work by 2,000 living artists at Pier 94, the Armory is poised to break last year's record of 52,000 visitors and $85 million in sales.

ACME., an Armory regular from LA, displays Katie Grinnan's hot-orange assemblage of fragmented cheerleaders, while London's Simon Lee Gallery touts Toby Ziegler's haphazardly painted, angular cardboard sculpture The Liberals. New to the mix, Reykjavík's i8 spotlights Icelandic artists, including conceptualist Hreinn Friðfinnsson and Katrin Sigurdardottir, who constructs large, discrete spaces enclosing delicate, glowing centers. Meanwhile, Guido van der Werve's video Nummer acht, Everything is going to be allright is on view courtesy of Amsterdam's Galerie Juliètte Jongma, another Armory freshman.

Flanked by a gaggle of spin-off events and fairs, the Armory partners for the first time with the New York incarnation of Basel's VOLTA fair. Like the Armory, VOLTA was recently purchased by Merchandise Mart, which organizes fairs and showrooms in Chicago. The inaugural VOLTA NY presents solo projects by 53 artists chosen by 52 galleries. Exhibited by Madrid's Travesia Cuatro, Mexican architect-cum-artist Jose Dávila installs his ephemeral sculptures that gibe art-market consumption. From Dublin, Green on Red offers Niamh O'Malley, an Irish artist who animates static space by projecting video onto painted canvas. LA's Kontainer Gallery hangs figurative paintings of post-Communist subjects by Serban Savu, a member of a new group of Romanian artists based in Cluj. VOLTA NY also includes three independent projects: new paintings from Florian Merkel, artist-designed t-shirts by Imperfect Articles, and DRIFT, a Russian video exhibition that includes work by AES+F and Petra Lindholm.

Miami's annual PULSE Contemporary Art Fair returns north for its third New York edition, with 80 galleries settling in a new location at Pier 40. New York's Envoy Gallery spotlights Kanishka Raja's paintings, which are dominated by Islamic latticework, and Galeria Antonio de Barnola of Barcelona promotes stark landscapes by Chilean photographer Magdalena Correa. For its seventh showing, Scope New York houses 49 galleries in a tent at Lincoln Center. Scope also features a number of projects, including The Green Zone: Under the Banyan Tree, which was constructed from landfill finds by duo Guerra de la Paz, and Carissa Carman's A.T.T. vegetable-oil taxi, which requires riders to barter rather than pay. Meanwhile, in Chelsea, the fourth annual DiVA lures passersby into shipping-container screening rooms with free admission, and rounds out its program with more screenings and discussions at White Box.

For those with extra energy (and cash) to burn, the third LA Art in New York fair imports the West Coast for the Eastern Seaboard's consumption, while Design Miami collaborates with 11 New York galleries to offer modern and contemporary design objects. Elsewhere on the hotel-fair circuit, Art Fair Now and Red Dot Fair eschew curation in favor of sales, while Bridge Art Fair focuses on Asian art and screens videos on green living. Finally, for an edgier affair, explore the Swiss Institute's Dark Fair, with performances, a fashion show, and artists' projects — not to mention glow-in-the-dark basketball — in the absence of any natural or electric light.  - Anna S. Altman

View our list of recommended New York fairs for more details, and for information on other cultural events around the city, check out Flavorpill New York.

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Rosson Crow: Night at the Palomino
Los Angeles

Honor Fraser
Now through March 29

  New York painter Rosson Crow has discovered the secret of LA's magic: sometimes, more is more. Her new large-scale enamel and acrylic paintings, most of which were made in 2007, depict her favorite subject: depopulated interiors of historic, often opulent buildings. Crow expands the emotional and narrative potency of these empty rooms with evidence of abandoned activity and objects belonging to unseen residents. In this series, she depicts seminal Los Angeles locations with well-known histories, such as the late Jason Rhoades' infamous art installation/speakeasy Black Pussy, and the iconic Koenig House immortalized by Julius Shulman. With her exuberant palette and her maximalist, variegated brushwork, Crow invites both the ghosts of the place and the memories of the viewer into the fray.  - Shana Nys Dambrot

Nan Goldin: Stories Retold

Museum of Fine Arts
Now through March 30

  Photographer Nan Goldin revisits the deeply personal narratives of her work with her career-spanning Stories Retold exhibition at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts. In an updated version of The Ballad of Sexual Dependency — her landmark slide-projection set to music — edgy, color-saturated photographs depict the private dramas of Goldin and her friends and lovers. In her new series, Goldin montages her old photos into grid compositions, recontextualizing her oeuvre into intimate fragments that explore youth, sex, family, and loss. Sisters, Saints, and Sibyls, a three-screen video installation with narration and music, links the story of the martyred St. Barbara to her sister's suicide and her own struggle with addiction. By elaborating upon her stories, Goldin invests her work with a new breadth of reference.  - Lisa L. Powell

Kadar Brock: You Only Live Once

Angell Gallery
Now through March 29

  Brooklyn-based Kadar Brock uses a medley of oil, acrylic, vinyl, and spray paint for brash and overbearing pictures that pit geometric lines against sloppy blobs and spatters. The paintings' bold, triangular structures appear constantly threatened by disintegration, as every element — textures, thicknesses, garish colors (excepting his monochromes), and incongruous juxtapositions of unlike forms — is designed to clash. Brock's disingenuous titles, such as Night Time Is the Right Time, Midday Morning Mist, and et in arcadia ergo (a signed, paint-splattered wooden bench), beg one to dismiss him outright, but only before his satisfying and surprising aesthetic confrontations catch the eye. His works may be calculated bad-boy provocations, but that doesn't mean interesting formal gestures can't be found throughout.  - Jon Davies

Brian Alfred: Millions Now Living Will Never Die!!!

Haunch of Venison
Now through March 22

  For his first exhibition in Germany, New York's Brian Alfred meditates on his personal artistic development with Millions Now Living Will Never Die!!!. The artist meticulously maps his own diverse influences in a chromatic wall grid of 333 portraits, all executed from found images, in his signature flat, graphic style. There are also digital animations of the portraits playing on three iPods and three back-wall projections, as well as a series of fabricated portrait books and collages, which collectively give prominence to a wide range of figures including friends and family, Chuck Close, Lady Sovereign, Bill Clinton, and Jack Kerouac. Alfred, in focusing attention on creative individuals in a society of cultural consumers, portrays art-making as an open, enlightening process.  - Sarah Stephenson

Steven Parrino

Galerie Andrea Caratsch
Now through April 4

  When painting was pronounced dead in the early '80s, counterculture artist Steven Parrino decided to give it another spin. Raw, bold, and straightforward, the late artist transformed canvases into skewed sculptures. This powerful show of his work boasts several of those large "misshaped" paintings, the radical reinterpretations of earlier minimalist statements. In Scab Noggin, a silver square twists on its frame and hangs with ruched folds. Two aluminum-painted canvases are both entitled Warped Hole and have exactly that cut out of their centers. In Bentoverslime #1, an aluminum, blue-enameled square is roughly bent into a trapezoid, resembling a car hood. In another medium, Parrino's edgy drawing series The End of All Things collides black-marker cartoons of fanged smiley faces with rockets, skulls, and pinups.  - Marlyne Sahakian

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[ Sterling Ruby ]

Sterling Ruby

Sterling Ruby's work vacillates between the fluid and the static, the minimalist and the expressionistic, the pristine and the defaced. Using a range of techniques that includes video art, urethane sculpture, and nail-polish drip painting, the multimedia artist explores the formal qualities of repression and containment. Ruby was born in Germany, but was raised in Pennsylvania, and he received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002 and his MFA from California's Art Center College of Design in 2005. Ruby has exhibited in Europe and North America; at his 2006 Interior Designer solo show at Los Angeles' Marc Foxx, he defaced colorful Formica monoliths with scrawled graffiti — a cheeky slight to minimalism.

Ruby has two shows in New York this month. Kiln Works at Chelsea's Metro Pictures is his first exhibit focusing exclusively on ceramics, which he dominates with bold colors and organic forms. Head Artist (Red) resembles an inverted pelvis, though its bright metallic glazes and roughened surface obscure any human features. Other pieces, such as Bride's Basket with Mortar & Pestle and Astral Manger, evoke domestic life only to hint at interior violence or decay.

Further downtown, in SoHo, the Drawing Center showcases Ruby's fascination with the act of mark-making in CHRON. Mapping (Pink) navigates the tension between cartographic precision and expressive drips of luridly sanguine nail polish, and a collage entitled Prison links geometric formalism to oppressive confinement, as bright neon lines radiate from the image of a prison cell. However, despite his grim themes, Ruby's energetic and wide-ranging works reveal a young artist exulting in his freedom to deny the boundaries of any single medium or movement.  - Adam Eaker

Kiln Works runs at Metro Pictures through March 29; CHRON is at the Drawing Center through March 27.

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[ Henriette Huldisch and Shamim M. Momin ]


Lucky Dragons / Jennifer Montgomery / Roe Ethridge / Rita Ackermann

Every two years, New York's Whitney Museum of American Art surveys contemporary American art with a lively, sprawling, and often-controversial exhibition. This year's Whitney Biennial affords 81 artists individual spaces to display new work or create site-specific installations at the museum; it also provides installations and programming at the nearby Park Avenue Armory. Artkrush editor Paul Laster recently chatted with Biennial curators Henriette Huldisch, assistant curator at the Whitney, and Shamim M. Momin, associate curator at the Whitney and former branch director and curator of the Whitney Museum at Altria, about the exhibition and the current modes of American art.
AK: Is there a theme to the Whitney Biennial 2008?

HH: No, although the biennial is not and has never been a grab bag, either. The goal is to strike a balance between inclusively representing art made in the United States over the last two years and organizing a large group show with some formal and thematic coherence. So we didn't set out with a theme in mind that we then tried to illustrate, but rather looked at as much work as we could and began to isolate strands of ideas and congruent kinds of work that emerged over the course of our research.

AK: How many cities and artists did you visit to assemble the exhibition?

SMM: I don't think we have an exact count of the artists, but we must have easily done hundreds of studio and gallery visits in the eight months of research time. Also, while we began working exclusively on the biennial in January 2007, it's not as if we began from a blank slate; both of us, as contemporary curators, are constantly looking at shows, visiting artists, and thinking about what we find significant in the contemporary scene. As for where we went, we traveled to many different cities in the States, as well as to other places that were important to the communities of artists we were talking to, including Mexico City, Vancouver, and Berlin. And of course, we did the European rounds last summer, both to see artists, and for the significant international shows, to examine different curatorial approaches against our own.

AK: Who are the oldest and youngest artists in the show, and how does their work relate or differ?

keep reading the interview »

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  Design and the Elastic Mind
Paola Antonelli, Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Peter Hall, and Ted Sargent
Museum of Modern Art

Design and the Elastic Mind, a dynamic survey of contemporary design at New York's Museum of Modern Art, comprises a wide breadth of inquiries: expansive gallery displays of objects and installations, an online exhibition with 300 projects, a two-day conference, and a striking catalogue. The catalogue focuses the multitude of experiences, easing one's comprehension of design advancements in the realms of technology, science, and society. Exhibition co-curator Paola Antonelli sets the stage with her essay about the designer's new role as interpreter — rather than mere shaper — of scientific and technological innovations. Hugh Aldersey-Williams examines curiosity as a motivating factor in design discoveries; Peter Hall looks at diagrams, maps, and visualization tools as a means to filter and comprehend information; and Ted Sargent discusses nanotechnology. Each essay concludes with a portfolio of design objects and concepts, such as FRONT's Sketch Furniture, in which freehand sketches provide the basis for furniture forms, and James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau's Smell +, which allows blind dates to smell one another before meeting.  - Paul Laster

Design and the Elastic Mind is on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York through May 12.

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Cover Art
Fritz Haeg
Sundown Salon #29: Dancing Convention, 2006
Los Angeles, July 9, 2006
Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
All Rights Reserved

Paul Laster

Deputy Editor
Joel Withrow

News Editor
Greg Zinman

Reviews Editor
H.G. Masters

Contributing Editors
Jennifer Y. Chen
Shana Nys Dambrot
Sarah Kessler
Doug Levy
Andrew Maerkle
Mark Mangan
Bryony Roberts
Marlyne Sahakian
Peter Stepek
Sarah Stephenson

Jon Davies
Adam Eaker
Lauren McKee
Lisa L. Powell

Mailer Design
Jessica Bauer-Greene
Mark Barry

Anna S. Altman
Anjuli Ayer
Adda Birnir
Morgan Croney
Andrew Steinmetz
Daphne Yang

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