A1 News Roundup

Analyzing Massimiliano Gioni's Venice Biennale List

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Analyzing Massimiliano Gioni's Venice Biennale List
Massimiliano Gioni

— THE BIG STORY —

The big news last week, leading to endless tea-leaf-reading and launching a thousand frantic hotel reservations, was the release of upcoming Venice Biennale curator Massimiliano Gioni's list for his big show opening in June, which he has already divulged will be themed "The Encyclopedic Palace," after a schema by outsider artist Marino Auriti for a fanciful museum that could contain all human knowledge. For anyone who has been following Gioni's often electrifying curating style—which has yielded big gestures, like mixing old artifacts and new art in the 2010 Gwangju Biennale (sparking a trend that can now be seen everywhere), and the "Younger Than Jesus" meme through his day job at the New Museum—the Venice list is exciting indeed, as it seems to take the au courant but still mysterious idea of outsider art and run with it every which way. 

Now, most artists are "outsiders," of course, in that they've decided to devote their lives to a weird, unconventional career—dubiously "useful" art—but some artists are more outside than others, and it seems that these make up the bulk of this cross-generational list. For instance, there's Carl Andre, a Minimalist legend who has been sidelined ever since the mysterious 1985 death of his wife, the artist Ana Mendieta (though a big 2014 retrospective at Dia:Beacon is expected to bring his work back into the conversation). Then there are classic oddballs like Surrealist doll contortionist Hans Bellmer, wild performance artist John Bock, pervy comix guru Robert Crumb, self-hypnotizer Matt Mullican, spooky just-off sculptor Duane Hanson, and many more—and those are just the professional artists, who pale in eccentricity compared to Swedish art mystic Hilma af Klint, self-taught deaf illiterate James Castle, freak-out musicologist Harry Smith, and Austrian anthroposophy founder Rudolf Steiner (that's right: not Rudolf Stingel… Rudolf Steiner). 

Also, expect to find Shaker gift drawings, "anonymous tantric paintings," Haitian Vodou flags, and other vernacular, ethnographic works. It sounds like a wonderful discursus on the outsider tradition, building on the momentum that area has been gaining in showings like list-member Robert Gober's Forrest Bess display at the last Whitney Biennial, mixing in healthy dose of the also-in-vogue legacy of Surrealism. That doesn't mean there won't be big names, however, and we're happy to report that the following Artspace artists have been selected for the show: George Condo, Trisha Donnelly, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Ragnar Kjartansson, Bruce Nauman, John Outterbridge, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons. See the whole list here.

— QUOTE OF THE WEEK —

"Portraits have never been far from my practice. But this show is a more internal body of work; it’s about my own mental place in relationship to how I want to form the portraits, which lean more to allegory. For years, I’ve been looking at communities in relationship to the politics of representation. And so the departure here is really the void of politics to a certain extent, it’s not necessarily about a representation but more about an internal space and about how we look at work from a cognitive level in relationship to the sublime." — Catherine Opie on her new show at Los Angeles's Regen Projects featuring art-history-inspired portraits of friends and friends of friends, including Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy 

— MUST READ —

National Gallery to Rescue L.A. MOCA? — In light of a potential merger with their local neighbor LACMA, MOCA is reportedly considering a five-year agreement with D.C.'s National Gallery of Art wherein the two institutions would collaborate on programming, research, and exhibitions—though the arrangement would not provide the beleaguered Los Angeles institution with any financial or fund-raising assistance, two areas in which the museum needs the most help. (NYT

NGA to Renovate – In (so far) unrelated news, the National Gallery has also announced a $30 million renovation to their East Building—which houses the museum’s Modern and contemporary art collection—with galleries to begin closing in July in preparation for the planned construction, which will add a rooftop sculpture garden and more than 12,000 square feet of exhibition space. (WaPo)

Harlem Shake Down — The viral sensation “Harlem Shake,” which recently climbed all the way to the top of the Billboard 100 pop chart (thanks in no small part to the addition of YouTube views when calculating the rankings), has been hit with some controversy as the song’s writer and producer Harry Bauer Rodrigues, better known by his recording name Baauer, illegally used samples from two other artists who are now demanding compensation, including the art world’s own Internet sensation: Jayson Musson, a.k.a. Hennessy Youngman, who can be heard on the track urging the listener to “do the Harlem Shake.” (NYT)

SXSW Artist Gives You Something To Do — In an effort to get festival-goers off their isolating smart phones, South by Southwest artist-in-residence Otis Kriegel has covered a wall in thousands of neon sticky notes spelling out the words “TO DO,” inviting attendees to write a task on one piece of paper for someone to later pick up and complete. (Ad Age

Remembering Lisa de Kooning — The NYT's Sunday Styles section has a long and moving piece on the by turns sad, hard, blessed, and exuberant life of Willem de Kooning's daughter, whose death in St. John is still being investigated as a possible homicide (pending forensic-testing reports). (NYT)

“Borrowed” Art Gets Show — For “Thanks,” his new group show at Lu Magnus Gallery about the ways in which artists crib ideas and inspiration from each other, artist and curator Adam Parker Smith used unusual means to acquire works for the exhibition: he stole them, surreptitiously absconding with everything from paintings to personal articles during studio visits with other artists (he plans to return them after the show). (Art in America)

Ai Weiwei Rock and Roll All Night — After realizing that he “had never really listened to music or sung,” naturally Ai Weiwei decided to record a heavy metal album, which will include a song about restrictive firewall practices enforced by the Chinese government. (NYT)

Now This Is Hilarious — Have you ever noticed that Kim Kardashian, expectant girlfriend of rap mogul Kanye West (who says he dresses “for my man way more than for myself”), looks and dresses A LOT like Marina Abramović? (Daily Beast)

“They are in a state of Orwellian dysfunction” — So says Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco curator emeritus Robert Flynn Johnson of the turmoil that has seized the organization (which consists of the beloved de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor Museum) since the death of its longtime director and firing of a top curator. (NYT

Spooky CIA Conspiracy Art Is Actually True — Anyone dubious about Garrett Pruter's installation at Armory Week's Spring Break outlining the CIA's alleged 1953 murder of Frank Olson, a scientist who became unsettled by the government's secret biological-warfare atrocities he witnessed in Project Artichoke, should check out this article about a new lawsuit that Olson's family has filed against the CIA. (Guardian)

— ART MARKET —

TEFAF Notches Major Sales — The extremely tony Maastricht fair (oysters are served during the vernissage) saw megacollectors and museum representatives alike picking up big-ticket Old Master and more recent works from a c.1630 Jacob Jordaens painting for $6.5 million to a 1988 Christopher Wool for $1.4 million. (Artinfo

See 10 of the Fair's Best Booths — According to Artinfo's Coline Milliard. (Artinfo)  

Celebs Turned Out in Maastricht — The luminaries attending the fair included Kanye West, Ronald Lauder, Qatar powerhouse Sheikh Saud al Thani, and more. (Bloomberg)

Meet an Art Advisor to the Stars — The New York Times profiled Maria Brito, Artspace's own frequent collaborator, about how she goes about buying art by emerging talents for celebs like Sean "Puffy" Combs and Gwyneth Paltrow. (NYT)

Frieze New York 2013 Talks Announced — The Frieze Talks program for Frieze New York’s second iteration has been released and it contains more than a few intriguing lectures and panels, including Douglas Crimp discussing the 1970s New York art world, musician John Maus on songs that have influenced him, and Joan Jonas reflecting on over 50 years of pioneering performance and video art. (Press Release)

First Vine Artwork Sold — The popular influence of the video looping program Vine has apparently spread to the art market, as a video created by New York-based artist Angela Washko became the first to be sold, going to Dutch art advisor and collector Myriam Vanneschi during the Moving Image art fair. (Guardian

Chinese Art Spending Has Really Plummeted — A study commissioned by the European Fine Art Foundation and compiled by the widely respected Clare McAndrew, founder of the Arts Economics consulting firm, estimates that art sales in China fell by 24 percent in 2012, with Chinese auction sales falling even further, dropping 30 percent and back into second place behind the United States in the art-market rankings. (Reuters

Gagosian Settles Suit — The superdealer has settled with collector Jan Cowles (for the second time, the last in 2011 to the tune of $4.4 million!) in their dispute over a Lichtenstein painting that the gallery unlawfully sold to collector Thompson Dean, and the confidential deal will allow Dean to keep the painting. (Artinfo and Kelly Crow's Twitter)

Elad Lassry Joins 303 — The much-buzzed-about artist, who recently presented work at both the Kitchen and the High Line, has signed on to be represented in NYC by 303 Gallery, who also signed the up-and-coming artist Jacob Kassay last month and is expanding its premises. (Gallerist)

Jerry Saltz Recalls His Armory Week Favorites — The ever-engaging critic's list of highlights included a few wonderful pieces we overlooked in our own roundup, but also includes a number of ones we loved too, like the Martin Wongs and Louise Lawlers at the Art Show, and Meleko Mokgosi's piece at the Armory. (NYM)

— IN & OUT —  

The New Museum has evolved its board leadership by making Saul Dennison (board president since 1999) the new chairman, naming James-Keith Brown (a trustee since 1998) as the new president, and welcoming four new trustees to the board: Toronto developer Hank Latner, Russian Novotek gas mogul Leonid Mikhelson, collector Gael Neeson (one half of a Chigaco art power couple with Stefan Edlis), and Credit Suisse president José Olympio Pereira. (Press Release)

Trina Gordon is joining Andrea Rosen Gallery as a new director largely involved with sales and working closely with the gallery’s artists, coming to the gallery after years of working at D’Amelio Terras. (Press Release)

William Wegman shot a tremendously endearing ad for ultra-trendy Swedish clothiers Acne. (Artinfo)

Watch a video tour of the Whitney's much-acclaimed survey at work by long-overlooked artist Jay DeFeo, including her masterpiece, The Rose. (Artinfo)

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