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September 24, 2005

James Elkins Throws Down in the Blogosphere

Erik Wenzel points to a recently-started blog from Art Institute prof James Elkins, created in conjunction with the school's upcoming Visiting Artists Program symposium, "States of Art Criticism" (previously noted elsewhere, with palpable anticipation).

The symposium will take place Monday and Tuesday October 10 and 11, 2005 and is being held in connection with a previous discussion held this past June at Burren College of Art in Ireland, roundtables from both symposia to be published together in forthcoming book from Routledge.

Dr. Jim himself will kick things off on Monday afternoon with a presentation titled "Conditions of Art Criticism," and keynote speaker Hélène Cixous—a feminist, a post-structuralist and a real-life soixante-huitard—will take to the podium that evening with "Arts of Escaping: Simon Hantai, Roni Horn and Other Writers."

Tuesday morning finds a seminar titled "Why Critics Are Not Your Friends," led by Associate Critter—and blinkered and beleaguered blogger—James Panero (who will no doubt be front and center for Hélène Cixous' lecture the day prior). This will be followed in the afternoon by a public roundtable with Michael Newman, Ariella Budick and Lynne Cook. Some ornery old coot from Vegas will cap off day two that evening with a keynote titled "Art After Criticism."

A pair of panel discussions will also be held in the wake of the symposium, featuring Michelle Grabner, Kathryn Hixson, Terry Myers, Lane Relyea, Hamza Walker, Ruth Lopez, Deb Wilk and Elijah Burgher.

Starting next Friday, however, will be a series of preliminary discussions and reading groups for the SAIC community. This is where the blog comes into play, as a preparatory online forum. Elkins leaves the door open, though, for a life for the blog beyond the symposium:

Initially this blog was designed as a place to share questions, thoughts, and discussions concerning the upcoming VAP Symposium. My hope is that after the symposium over, this forum will continue to address important topics in both Art Criticism and the larger artistic world.

That's something we can all look forward to.

"James Elkins Throws Down in the Blogosphere"
Posted by Dan at 11:30 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (2)

September 23, 2005

Munch Arrest?

The BBC reports: "Woman arrested over Scream theft" (via Artcyclopedia).

It's a bit of a mistaken headline, as the woman was actually detained in connection with a Heat-style take down of a currency depot back on April 5, 2004, "the largest and most brutal robbery in Norwegian history." After a daytime street battle that left one police officer dead, the culprits made off with around $9 million.

Aftenposten Norway on this latest arrest:

"The woman sat in possession of money we believe can be traced to the NOKAS robbery," prosecutor Morten Hojem Ervik told news bureau NTB. "She's therefore been charged with receiving stolen property."
Hojem Ervik wouldn't say why police think the money comes from the NOKAS robbery, the biggest and most brutal in Norwegian history. A trial of 13 key suspects in the robbery began Monday, but has been suspended until September 26.

She is being questioned about the Aug 22, 2004 Munch raid (the motive of which, police believe, was to divert resources from the NOKAS investigation) and is reportedly a suspected accomplice in that theft. But Hojem Ervik says, "it's not because of our suspicions in the Munch robbery that the woman was seized."

Also: Following up on our previous post on the matter, the BBC checks in with their price tag on the missing artworks, saying, "the paintings are valued at more than £10m [currently US$ 17.8m]."

"Munch Arrest?"
Posted by Dan at 10:44 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)

September 17, 2005

Artists on the Teevee

Serving up aesthetic delectation in two distinct flavors...

A window to the world

Elsewhere in the country, the third season of PBS' Art:21 apparently kicked off last night. In Chicago it hits WTTW's airwaves this evening at midnight.

The first program of the season (out of four) focuses on "power and its victims" (a timely topic) and profiles Krzysztof Wodiczko, Laylah Ali, Ida Applebroog and Mr. Spectacular himself, Cai Guo-Qiang. David Alan Grier hosts (which sounds pretty alright).

The second installment, airing next week, is hosted by Isabella Rosellini (aka, Astrid Weller) and profiles artists who deal with questions of memory: Susan Rothenberg, Mike Kelley, Josiah McElheny and that Dynamo from Tokyo, Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Update: Martin shares his feelings on part one

It's only mostly dead

Anyone thought about ARTSTAR recently?

Well, apparently it's still on.

In fact, at the end of their fall openings review, Richard Holland and Duncan MacKenzie of Bad at Sports promise a forthcoming interview with the show's producer, Chris Sperandio.

So, there's that. And I know I'll be listening.

Still, it's not like anyone's going to actually see the show, right? (Unless they subscribe to VOOM and, I mean, really...)

"Artists on the Teevee"
Posted by Dan at 03:38 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

September 13, 2005

A New Dorkcast, Fresh From the Losernet

Another reason for me to finally join the millennium and get myself an iPod... a brand new Chicago art podcast, Bad at Sports. Catch their feed right here.

They kicked things off last night with reviews of a few fall shows in the West Loop Gate.

I won't be able to give it a listen myself until I get home tonight, but it's bound to easily outshine Lee Siegel.

"A New Dorkcast, Fresh From the Losernet"
Posted by Dan at 10:12 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)

September 12, 2005

'We're selling dreams, Sidney'

A bit of dramatic soothsaying from the internets...

How Art Changed the World by Laurel Guy:

At an art gallery in SOHO... People are milling about, looking at the exhibit. Two stockbrokers standing in front of the same painting suddenly notice each other.
SIDNEY: Harry! Whaddaya know?!
HARRY: You kiddin'? These three day weekends are a killer—
SIDNEY: Yeah, what are we s'posed to do? Good Friday, the market is closed—
HARRY: Thursday afternoon at four, BANG. It stops—for three daysÖno prices. I hate to say it, but I could live at the office, you know what I mean? I got conversation, I got action, I got a chance to make some bucks and I can see my prices go by. What else am I gonna do? So, instead, here I am—
SIDNEY: Same here—same story. Tell me somethin'Öwhen was the last time you were in an art gallery?
HARRY: What? I havenít even LOOKED at a painting in ten years.
SIDNEY: Me neither. Today is the first day—honest to God—I've stepped foot in a gallery since it began. It's crazy, isn't it? I mean, look at what we do every day—
HARRY: Who has time to look at art?
SIDNEY: I mean, BLOOD is coming out of my ears sometimes—Iíve been working so hard.
HARRY: You love it, you slob, you—The market is headed for 20,000—
SIDNEY: Aaah—if only it would last forever—
HARRY: Nothing lasts forever.
SIDNEY: I still remember the day when it all started—do you remember the day?
HARRY: I remember what I was doing the instant it happened—
SIDNEY: Of course you remember—the day MOMA announced that it was going public the phones were ringing off the hook. Someone grabbed me during the day and said, "Dial Charles Schwab, 1-800-SCHWAB," and a voice said, "Welcome to Charles Schwab. If youíre interested in the MOMA IPO, press one." That was when it was clear to me that this was a really big deal.
SIDNEY: People calling to buy shares in Van Gogh—
HARRY: Rembrandt, Picasso, Pollock—
SIDNEY: Monet, Gauguin, Renoir—
HARRY: Warhol—
SIDNEY: Warhol? PssshÖthatís a yo-yo stock—up and down, up and down—
HARRY: That was one crazy week, though wasnít it? First MOMA, then the Met—
SIDNEY: Guggenheim, Whitney, every museum, every gallery—
HARRY: Every artist a corporation—
SIDNEY: When was the last time anyone wanted to buy oil and gas or tech stocks?
HARRY: When was the last time anyone wanted to buy anything—Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Google, Exxon—nobody wants to buy anything but ART—it was plastic in the 60s, tech stocks in the 90s—now itís art.

Read the rest over here.

"'We're selling dreams, Sidney'"
Posted by Dan at 03:59 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (2)

September 9, 2005

The Coming Onslaught

Approaching kick-off time...

... 'tis the season.

Update: Paul Klein offers the early skinny

"The Coming Onslaught"
Posted by Dan at 02:37 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (2)

September 7, 2005

Those Kooky Teutons

Roy Lichtenstein: Nudes in MirrorIt was not yet a year ago that we saw a controversial German art exhibition struck by a bizarre iconoclastic attack.

This past Saturday found a far less contentious exhibit playing host to an incident of its own, as an unnamed German woman took a knife to Roy Lichtenstein's Nudes in Mirror, on display at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Vienna. (Hat tip, DC Art News.)

From the Associated Press:

VIENNA, Austria—A visitor to an art museum in western Austria pulled a pocket knife from her purse and repeatedly slashed a painting by U.S. artist Roy Lichtenstein worth millions of dollars, a police spokesman said Sunday.
The woman, a 35-year-old German from Munich, was visiting the Kunsthaus Bregenz exhibition "Roy Lichtenstein _ Classic of the New" Saturday afternoon when she vandalized the painting "Nude in Mirror." She made four cuts in the painting, each measuring about 30 centimeters, police spokesman Thomas Prodinger said.
The painting, owned by The Rush Family Collection in New York, had been insured for US$6 million, he said.
A museum visitor and an employee held the woman until police arrived. She scratched a police officer in the face and bit another in the leg during questioning, Prodinger said.
"She bit him hard, like a dog, causing a flesh wound" he said in a telephone interview.
The officer with the bite wound had received medical care, he added.
The woman had been examined by a court psychiatrist, but no details from that examination would be made public at this stage, Prodinger said.
The woman did not speak much with officers and had not offered any explanation for her behavior beyond indicating that she thought the painting she had attacked was a fake. She faces charges of causing grave property damage, a crime that carries a punishment of up to five years in prison. She could later face additional charges because of the attack on the officers, Prodinger said.
Her purse contained a can of red spray paint and a screwdriver, Prodinger said.
Sunday was the last day of the special exhibition, which opened in mid-June. It features 41 works created from 1961 to 1995 by the late pop artist and had been organized in cooperation with The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, The Estate of Roy Lichtenstein and the New York galleries Gagosian and Sonnabend, according to the museum's Web site.
No one answered museum phones on Sunday, and phone and e-mail messages requesting comment were not immediately returned.
Bregenz, the capital of Austria's westernmost province, Vorarlberg, is located about 700 kilometers west of Vienna.

This is hardly the first time a painting of a nude has been the object of iconoclastic fury and, in such affairs, it's usually not such a tough hop, skip and jump to likely motive. But we find an odd wrinkle in this case in the attacker's stated claim (or, if you prefer, excuse) that she attacked the painting because it's a forgery. (Which rationale led, by the way, to my favorite headline from the incident: "Sceptical gallery-goer slashes Lichtenstein painting." So the woman's a connoisseur! ...If a tad critical at that.)

What an apparently benign motive behind such a violent and obviously premeditated act.

Was this really unrelated to the painting's sexual content? (It may not necessarily be the artist's most patently erotic work, but to a more delicate or traditional sensibility...)

Was this woman simply bothered by the commodity fetishism that she might feel has irrationally attached to an inauthentic artifact?

Or is she just deranged?

"Those Kooky Teutons"
Posted by Dan at 12:48 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)

September 3, 2005

Disbelief Heaped Upon Disbelief

President George W. Bush, September 2, 2005 (via Making Light):

The good news is—and itís hard for some to see it now—that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lottís house—he's lost his entire house—thereís going to be a fantastic house. And Iím looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)

* * *

I'm frankly too devastated by the constant flow of news from the continuing human tragedy on the Gulf Coast to really say much.

About all I can muster is to urge you to please continue to be generous with your donations (in spite of the fact that Homeland Security is refusing to allow the Red Cross into New Orleans on the logic that it would just encourage the refugees to stick around—I suppose it's just a bunch of welfare queens left, all looking for a free lunch).

To encourage folks toward such generosity, various bloggers are offering personal incentives to anyone who donates $100 or more to hurricane relief:

Chicago's own fabulous Brian Ulrich is offering a signed 11x14 photograph of your choice...

Crooked Timber's Ted Barlow will burn you a custom mix CD...

...and Asymmetrical Information's Jane Galt will send you a homemade pound cake by mail (and further offers to write a blog post on any subject of your choice if you give $250)

So give and then give some more.

"Disbelief Heaped Upon Disbelief"
Posted by Dan at 09:31 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)

September 1, 2005

It's On in Tehran

This past Monday, the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art opened an exhibition entitled "Modern Art Movement," for the first time bringing together virtually their entire collection of Western art, much of which has been in storage since the ouster of the Shah.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art: Modern Art Movement

From Reuters (via linkfilter):

Spanning the 1870s to the late 1980s and boasting works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock, the "Modern Art Movement" exhibition contains some paintings not shown since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
"This is the first time we have ever displayed the collection together," Alireza Samiazar, director of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, told Reuters.
"It's a sensational show for all of us and, considering the political situation, it could be quite a controversial show as well," he said.
Religious conservatives, led by new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have swept reform-minded politicians out of power in elections over the last three years, raising fears that a tentative liberalization in the arts will soon be reversed.
The museum's highly-valuable collection of Western art, which numbers around 150 paintings, was largely amassed during the 1970s by Farah Pahlavi, wife of the late Shah of Iran.
The works by artists such as Rene Magrite, Vincent Van Gogh, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali and others were briefly put on display when the museum opened in 1978.
But the Shah's fall in 1979 saw most of them locked away in a vault by Iran's new Islamic leaders who were opposed to Western cultural influence and "immoral" art.
For more than 20 years most of the collection never saw the light of day.
The exhibition marks another bold move by the museum which last year hosted a British sculpture exhibition featuring works by Damien Hirst and Henry Moore and this year loaned a Francis Bacon painting to the UK which had been locked away since the revolution.
But, Samiazar said, with the recent change in government in Tehran, it would probably be his last act in charge of the museum.
"I don't think they want me to stay and if they wanted me to I don't think I would," he said.

Browse the collection online here.

Three works from the collection will not be on view. A Francis Bacon is on loan to an exhibition currently at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Two other paintings won't be shown due to "Islamic limitations"—a semi-nude Renoir Gabrielle and André Derain's The Golden Age:

André Derain: L'Age d'Or

In his exhibition note, Edward Lucie-Smith offers the following:

The non-Iranian section of the collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is surely one of the great surprises of the international museum world. Running from the 1870s to the end of the 1980s, it offers a panorama of the chief developments in Western painting and sculpture from the rise of Impressionism to the triumph of Minimalism. The most important art movements are illustrated with a series of masterpieces that any museum in the world might envy. This is clearly the most important collection of the art of this period outside of Western Europe and North America. Russian museums possess great masterpieces dating from before the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, but they are of course completely lacking in paintings and sculptures which illustrate later developments, such as the Surrealism of the period between the two World Wars, and the Abstract Impressionist and Pop Art movements which flourished in the years immediately following World War II.
The collection has two areas of particular strength—a group of masterpieces from the Post-Impressionist and Cubist epochs of French art, and an in-depth representation of American paintings and sculpture from the time when New York was the creative focus of the whole art world.
The inheritors of the world's ancient civilization, such as that of the Iranian plateau, have sometimes complained, with good reason, about the way the treasures bequeathed by these have been plundered to fill the great museums of the West. These works of art have, however, not simply been trophies, they have had a vivifying effect on the cultures to which they have been transported. The collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is perhaps the first which attempts to reverse this process. It makes available to a non-western public the great achievements of European and North American art, created during the recent historical period when western influence was, for both good and ill, paramount throughout the world. The works are not offered for purposes of imitation, but for their own sake, as major achievements of the human spirit, attempting to speak a universal language. The Museum acts as custodian of these works, not simply for the Iranian people, but for the whole of mankind.

"It's On in Tehran"
Posted by Dan at 02:11 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)