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Anselm Reyle, Untitled (detail), 2007

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Basel Art Fairs
May 28-June 10, 2008

In 1970, the first Art Basel presaged the tide of international art fairs that would sweep across the art world in subsequent decades. Today, Art Basel is the largest contemporary art fair of its kind. In this issue of Artkrush, we explore Art Basel 39's high points, including Matthew Marks Gallery's display celebrating revered artist Ellsworth Kelly's 85th birthday, and the premiere of Lawrence Weiner's new art-porn film. Artkrush editor Paul Laster interviews Amanda Coulson about the evolution of the VOLTA fair, and we spotlight the exquisitely painted assemblages of Pierpaolo Campanini at LISTE. Our media pick is a long-overdue study of industrial designer Poul Kjærholm, whose furniture is featured at Design Miami/Basel. Leaving the bustling fairs behind, we look to Madrid for an exhibition of Robert Longo's new charcoal drawings and to Paris for a survey show of Alec Soth's stirring portraits of people and places.

Rauschenberg Remembered
(New York, May 15)
Over the past two weeks, the art world has mourned the passing of artist Robert Rauschenberg. Jerry Saltz called him "the giant" of American art, while his former lover and fellow artist Jasper Johns said, "Rauschenberg was the man who in this century invented the most since Picasso." Time magazine, for which the artist designed a number of iconic covers, said that his work sought to "make the most out of chaos." Rauschenberg, who created the cover art for the limited edition of Talking Heads' Speaking in Tongues album, was also memorialized by musician David Byrne, who wrote: "The love of the world that was in the work was also in the man." In addition, a number of the artist's friends lent their thoughts to an article in Rauschenberg's local Florida paper.

Russian Billionaire Buys Bacon, Freud
(Art Newspaper, May 17)
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was revealed as the mystery buyer of Francis Bacon's Triptych, which sold at Sotheby's for $86.3 million, as well as Lucian Freud's Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, auctioned by Christie's for $33.6 million. The Bacon fetched the highest-ever price for a postwar piece, while the Freud sale crowned the British painter as the most expensive living artist, snatching the title from Jeff Koons. The auction touched off speculation that Freud's Naked Portrait with Reflection could bring an even higher price when it goes on the block at Christie's next month. In a related story, Freud's muse, Sue Tilley, has said that she has turned down numerous offers to pose nude for British tabloids. Abramovich, meanwhile, will be opening the Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow with his girlfriend, model Daria Zhukova.

Turner Prize Shortlist Revealed
(Independent, May 13)
Artists Mark Leckey, Cathy Wilkes, Runa Islam, and Goshka Macuga have made the shortlist for Britain's most renowned art prize. Leckey uses images of famous cartoon characters, including Felix the Cat and the Simpsons, in his installation and performance pieces, and Wilkes recently made a piece involving a mannequin seated on a toilet. Islam creates film and video installations, while Macuga incorporates work by her peers into her own artworks. The list seems to be an effort to end the prize's "male domination," as only three women have won the top honor in 24 years. In a related story, a British critic offered a review of each Turner shortlister.

Israel's Past Decade in Art
(New York Times, May 19)
A new show at the Israel Museum surveys the past ten years of Israeli art, with 60 works — one for each year of the country's history — exploring Israel's tumultuous history and culture. Adi Nes' untitled photographic parody of The Last Supper, Yael Bartana's video of the minute of silence observed each year in commemoration of fallen Israelis, and Ohad Meromi's enormous Boy from South Tel Aviv sculpture are among the exhibit's highlights. The show's curator, Amitai Mendelsohn, commented, "We have entered a kind of dream-come-true period, meaning Israeli art has turned very international without losing its Israeli feel."

Curator Gary Garrels says goodbye to Hammer more »

Rem Koolhaas tapped to design museum for Prada Foundation more »

Van Gogh's last painting? more »

Rising art stars amidst NYC's student shows more »

Paul Sietsema sculpture marries the conceptual with the handmade more »

Tate Modern gears up for graf show more »

Considering the artistry of YouTube more »

André Breton's "Surrealist Manifesto" sells for real money more »

SVA's chair display earns top honors at ICFF more »

Germany to open memorial for homosexual Nazi victims more »

Poland opens first contemporary museum more »

No takers at auction for Louis Kahn's Esherwick House more »

Plans for Ground Zero arts center in disarray more »

Barnes Foundation gets green light for Philly move more »

London gallery displays paper weapons more »

A sculptural model of San Francisco built from cookware more »

A look back at Gallic punk artists more »

Photographer Leigh Ledare's unsettling portraits of his mother more »

Art Institute of Chicago president and director James Cuno profiled more »

Proposals for Ebbsfleet Landmark sculpture fail to make the grade more »

A new art district sprouts up in London more »

Sir Norman Foster redesigns rejected Manhattan project more »

New Orleans building project highlights socially responsible design more »

Experimental New York gallery comes to an intended end more »

New US Embassy in Berlin called an "architectural disaster" 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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[ Art Basel 39 ]


Thukral & Tagra / Tillman Kaiser / Ruud van Empel

While last year's Art Basel overlapped with that rare convergence of the Venice Biennale, documenta, and Skulptur Projekte Münster, the 2008 edition stands alone as the summer's premier European destination for art. Beyond the main attraction, burgeoning satellite fairs bring even more energy to the Swiss city.

Art Basel is composed of nearly 300 galleries, which, arriving from locations as far-flung as Milano and Mexico City, present works from more than 2,000 artists, ranging from the 20th-century canon to postmillennial upstarts. In honor of his 85th birthday, Ellsworth Kelly is in attendance as New York's Matthew Marks Gallery presents a selection of the iconic minimalist's drawings and sculptures. With a youthful flair, Air de Paris shows punkish pieces by readymade "collective" Claire Fontaine and shape-shifting conceptualist Liam Gillick. Breezing in from the north, Galerie Anhava of Helsinki showcases contemporary Scandinavian artists Anne-Karin Furunes, Hreinn Fridfinnsson, and Pertti Kekarainen, while Tokyo's SCAI the Bathhouse highlights established international figures, such as Kenneth Anger and Jenny Holzer, alongside Japanese assemblagist Tsuchiya Nobuko, adventurous photographer Naoki Ishikawa, and splashy pop painter Dzine.

Breaking free from the typical art-booth format, the fair's Art Unlimited program presents more than 60 large-scale, multimedia works created by artists hailing from 23 countries: luminous filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul brings work from Thailand; the playful Yangjiang Group represents Guangzhou, China; and Karen Kilimnik mines American pop culture. Under the Public Art Projects banner, Dan Graham, Subodh Gupta, and Isa Genzken treat Basel's citizens and fair visitors to unexpected pieces throughout the town, while Art Film screens Lawrence Weiner's second excursion into experimental pornography as well as Chiara Clemente's Our City Dreams, a documentary about five female artists from New York. Returning to the fair after being displaced by last year's Artists Records feature on sound recordings, the Artists Books exhibition features pulpy products by Maurizio Cattelan and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

For tireless art pilgrims, a strong set of alternative fairs lies just outside the borders of Art Basel proper. LISTE: the Young Art Fair lives up to its name with 64 up-and-coming galleries from 22 countries, while SCOPE Basel offers sneak peeks at cutting-edge talent. VOLTA4 adds two new events — the Paper Project and Outdoor Sculpture Project — to its usual selection of established gallerists and fresh artists, and Hot Art Bâlelatina focuses on Latin-American artistry. Finally, if all that walking leaves you yearning to sink into a chair, head toward Design Miami/Basel, which displays high-end designer furniture spanning from the classic to the futuristic.  - Samantha Culp

Art Basel 39 runs from June 4 to 8. LISTE, SCOPE Basel, and Hot Art Bâlelatina are on view from June 3 through 8, VOLTA4 from June 2 to 7, and Design Miami/Basel from June 3 to 5.

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  Hideaki Kawashima: wavering

Tomio Koyama Gallery
Now through June 7

Tokyo-based painter Hideaki Kawashima's latest series of ten works on canvas is a continuation of his profound journey toward a personal revelation of the self through Buddhism. In Kawashima's calm, soft-hued Floater, the levitating character's heavy-lidded eyes meld into shining strands of luscious, white hair that stream from the face like tentacles. There's a mysterious openness to these portraits, and once the impulse to call them cute subsides, the beatific, somewhat ominous gaze of these subtly deranged subjects leaves one feeling scrutinized by a host of unearthly beings. Though Kawashima draws his aesthetic from anime and manga, at the core of his work lies a confrontation with internal anxiety and identity.  - Vicente Gutierrez

  Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger
New York

American Folk Art Museum
Now through September 21

New York's American Folk Art Museum brings together 11 contemporary artists from all over the world who have been influenced by the visionary self-taught artist Henry Darger. Darger's epic paintings of the Vivian Girls — the abolitionist heroines of his fantastical writings — hang beside the younger artists' work on two floors. Some exhibit obvious relationships with the Chicago recluse, such as Justin Lieberman, who overlays Darger's backgrounds with images of nudes and young beauty queens, and Anthony Goicolea, who recreates Darger's imagery in photographs. Others, including Amy Cutler, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and Grayson Perry, display similar interests in myth-making, queer affect, and utopian striving. By highlighting the outsider artist's growing influence on contemporary art, Dargerism challenges the art-historical canon, as it considers the aesthetic possibilities of narrative, struggle, and transgression.  - Thomas Lax

  Robert Longo: Intimate Immensity

Galería Soledad Lorenzo
Now through June 7

Film director and New York art-world darling Robert Longo emerged in the '80s with his obsessively appropriated images suffused with menacing darkness. The 19 large-scale charcoal drawings that comprise Longo's current show in Madrid juxtapose the heads of sleeping children with interstellar scenes and careful renditions of other artists' works. In Untitled (Louie), a child's face is nestled against a background of enveloping black, his features rendered mask-like by sleep, or death. The child's sculptural resemblance becomes even more explicit when viewed alongside Longo's depiction of Constantin Brancusi's Sleeping Muse I. The painstaking draftsmanship only adds to the sense of alienation, a reminder of the artist's constant mediation between the viewers and what they see.  - Adam Eaker

  Alec Soth: The Space Between Us

Jeu de Paume
Now through June 15

Alec Soth's 71 large-format photographs at Jeu de Paume reveal an artist in transition. Images from Soth's well-known series of the American heartland, Sleeping by the Mississippi and Niagara, are accompanied by selections from his recent photo suites Dog Days, Bogotá and Paris Minnesota. Often compared to Robert Frank for his cross sections of daily life, Soth also evidences Diane Arbus' searching eye, which, not finding what it sought, stumbles onto something better. His city scenes from Dog Days, Bogotá — intended to be a picture book for his adopted daughter — focus on stray dogs and street portraits, with images steeped in generosity, hope, and melancholy. Untitled 06, Bogotá's abandoned puppy lingering over broken eggshells is so desperate, yet tender, it could bring one to tears.  - Erin Cowgill

Alec Soth also has work on view in solo shows at Berlin's Galerie Wohnmaschine, through June 28, and c/o Berlin, through July 13.

  Tatiana Trouvé: Density of Time

Johann König
Now through June 14

Italian-born Tatiana Trouvé, the winner of the 2007 Prix Marcel Duchamp for emerging artists, uncovers the contradictions inherent to spaces and objects in Density of Time, her first solo exhibition at Berlin's Johann König. In Trouvé's Polder sculpture series — named for low-lying wetlands contained by dikes — everyday items, including a chair and charred snooker cues, are suspended in mid-fall. The artist runs copper piping from gas canisters into the wall in Untitled (Gas Bottles), and a bronze rope sustains the arc of a swing in Untitled (la Corde); these forms appear again in seven pencil drawings. Elsewhere, four walls outfitted with miniature mock doors, green Plexiglas panes, and angled mirrors allude to hidden interstices. Trouvé's artistic combinations form fetish-like objects that evoke mysterious narratives.  - Sarah Stephenson

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[ Pierpaolo Campanini ]


Pierpaolo Campanini

A graduate of Bologna's Accademia di Belle Arti, Pierpaolo Campanini has quickly become one of the most fascinating Italian artists working with paint. When asked why he painted at the 2003 Premio Furla exhibition, he replied, "Because through painting I try to gain an understanding of things." Acute observation is evident throughout his work. In his dominant style, Campanini constructs lyrical sculptural forms out of ordinary objects, which then become the subject of photorealistic, unconventional still-life paintings in oil and tempera.

For his break-out 2002 solo show at Milan's Galleria Francesca Kaufman, Campanini painted arches of fabric and tensile wood frames in the shape of a proscenium. This motif conveyed homespun, puppet-show handicrafts, as well as a certain monumental air, with its virtuosic brushwork and precise attention to shadow and texture. Campanini had hit upon his poetic lynchpin: objects emerging from a dark background that fluctuate on the canvas in a surreal suspension of context.

For his 2005 Kaufman show, Campanini abandoned the arches in favor of more free-form assemblages. Amalgamations of sticks, fabric, wire-frames, stencils, and other assorted materials revealed the artist's keen eye for composition. Campanini tailored the proportions of each canvas to the size of the sculpture and — to give the series a uniform aesthetic — used electric lighting to lend the subjects an eerie, unnatural hue. A 2007 show at Corvi-Mora in London largely developed this theme, with several assemblages resembling dressmaker dummies.

At his spring 2008 show at LA's Blum & Poe, Campanini's historical influences came to bear on five large-scale paintings. Citing a futurist manifesto in the accompanying text, the exhibition stressed the artist's elaborate process. Additionally, he introduced a series of photogravures, titled La Meteorite di Renazzo, that was inspired by an astrological intervention not far from his birthplace in Cento, Italy, where he currently lives and works.  - Chiara Agnello and Joel Withrow

Galleria Francesca Kaufman exhibits Campanini's work at LISTE in Basel from June 3 to 8.

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[ Amanda Coulson ]

From top: Anton Henning / Melanie Schiff / Rachel Owens
View more images »
VOLTA executive director Amanda Coulson came to contemporary art through a somewhat circuitous route: she studied 16th-century Venetian painting at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts and then worked as a research assistant at Wildenstein before becoming an editor at tema celeste and a critic for Frieze and Modern Painters. Artkrush editor Paul Laster recently spoke with Coulson about the VOLTA art fair's short history and its promising future.
AK: How did you first get involved in the art-fair business?

AC: My whole life seems to revolve around art fairs: I met my husband, Uli Voges, who's a dealer with the Frankfurt-based Voges + Partner Galerie, at an Art Chicago, back in its heyday. And then, when Art Cologne was still a happening place, we were sitting around with Friedrich Loock from Galerie Wohnmaschine in Berlin and Kavi Gupta from Chicago and talking about the state of affairs at that time — that there were either mega-blockbuster shows, or old fading behemoths. And that's how the idea and founding team of VOLTA came together.

When VOLTA started, there wasn't yet the explosion of auxiliary events and — from the perspective of the founding galleries and myself — there was a specific niche in Basel that wasn't being catered to. Going to the major fairs was mostly like checking off a hit list: "Oh, nice new Thomas Demand; lovely Mona Hatoum." And LISTE, back then, had a very strict age policy for galleries. A lot of more mature dealers who were still working with emerging artists were somehow not being serviced, and there's something to be said for dealers who refuse to work with established artists or secondary markets and are still surviving as time goes on.

AK: Do you still go out in the field, visiting galleries and art fairs?

keep reading the interview »

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  The Furniture of Poul Kjærholm: Catalogue Raisonné
Michael Sheridan, Poul Kjaerholm, and Hanne Kjaerholm
Gregory R. Miller & Co.

Poul Kjærholm is widely recognized as one of the most innovative furniture designers of the 20th century. Inspired by the designs of Gerrit Rietveld, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Charles and Ray Eames, the Danish-born Kjærholm's sculptural pieces refined historical models and utilized natural, finished materials. This catalogue raisonné provides a long-awaited and in-depth study of Kjærholm's furniture oeuvre, produced between 1948 and 1980, the year of his death. Architect Michael Sheridan, who curated the 2006 Kjærholm retrospective at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, charts the designer's course — from his celebrated Element Chair (PK 25), which was first produced in 1951 (when he was still a student of designer Hans Wegner and architect Jørn Utzon) to the PK 22 Lounge Chair, which riffs on Mies van der Rohe's famous Barcelona Chair, and the PK 80 Daybed, which elegantly furnishes the public seating in the galleries of New York's Museum of Modern Art.  - Paul Laster

Poul Kjærholm's designs are on view at R 20th Century's booth at Design Miami/Basel from June 2 to 5.

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Cover Art
Anselm Reyle
Untitled, 2007
Mixed media on canvas and acrylic glass
56 1/3 x 47 2/3 x 7 1/3 in./ 143 x 121 x 18.5 cm
Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York, Beverly Hills, London, and Rome
All Rights Reserved

Paul Laster

Deputy Editor
Joel Withrow

News Editor
Greg Zinman

Reviews Editor
H.G. Masters

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

Chiara Agnello
Samantha Culp
Adam Eaker
Vicente Gutierrez
Thomas Lax
Lauren McKee

Mailer Design
Jessica Bauer-Greene
Mark Barry

Anna S. Altman
Morgan Croney
Andrew Steinmetz
Daphne Yang

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