A1 News Roundup

Whitney Taps an Art Army for Its 2014 Biennial, Christo Plans World's Biggest Sculpture, and More Top Art News


Whitney Taps an Art Army for Its 2014 Biennial, Christo Plans World's Biggest Sculpture, and More Top Art News
Nicole Eisenman's display at the 2012 Whitney Biennial


Last year the Whitney succeeded in putting on an excellent Biennial by tapping Greene Naftali gallerist Jay Sanders to join museum vet Elisabeth Sussman in organizing the show—an initially controversial decision (an art dealer, gasp!) that yielded a terrific slate of performance-based displays, as well a new staff position for Sanders as the Whitney's first performance art curator. For its next edition, which will be the last in the museum's Upper East Side Breuer building, the Whitney is venturing even further afield by amping up the number of curators to five and picking a slate of "Charlie's Angels"-like diversity: Tate Modern film curator and critic Stuart Comer, painter and Art Institute of Chicago professor Michelle Grabner, and ICA Philadelphia associate curator Anthony Elms, all to be overseen by Sanders and Sussman. So what can we expect from this Atlantic-spanning combine in 2014?

Well, for one thing, expect to see the Biennial's traditional focus on American artists loosened even more than last year's edition, which included such foreigners as über-Teuton Werner Herzog. For another, the last edition's emphasis on studio practice (i.e. new art being made at the time and not yet fully assimilated into the mainstream) will be intensified. The first curator in the Biennial's history to principally identify as an artist (paceRobert Gober, who organized a beautiful mini-show of outsider artist Forrest Bess for his 2012 contribution), Grabner told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Mary Louise Schumacher that she finds shows that originate from a curatorial vision rather than a reportorial attention to cutting-edge studio practice to be "a big problem in the art world." "It is really about illustrating their own ideas... as opposed to being indebted to the ideas of artists," she said. "There is so much interesting practice going on off center." Now that alone is a viewpoint worth looking forward to.


"The long finale of Revenge of the Sith has more inherent artistic value, emotional power, and global impact than anything by the artists you name. It's because the art world has flat-lined and become an echo chamber of received opinion and toxic over-praise. It's like the emperor's new clothes—people are too intimidated to admit what they secretly think or what they might think with their blinders off." — Author Camille Paglia in an interview with Vice magazine about her provocative statement that George Lucas's 2005 film is the greatest artwork of the past three decades


Holy Cow, Christo Plans World's Biggest Sculpture — After a career's worth of ambitious projects swaddling large swaths of the environment (like, say, Central Park) in plastic, the artist is planning his most audacious work yet: a $340 million mastaba made of 410,000 colored oil barrels in an Abu Dhabi desert that will be both the biggest and most expensive sculpture anywhere, dwarfing even the pyramids. (Guardian)

MoMA Bags Rauschenberg's Bird — The museum has won possession of Canyon, Rauschenberg's legendarily controversial 1959 combine featuring a stuffed bald eagle (which makes it a federal crime to sell it), from the Met—which has held it since 2005—by offering the heirs of original owner Ileana Sonnabend an extraordinary package including adding the late dealer's name to the list of founders in MoMA's lobby, making it a centerpiece of the contemporary collection, and staging an entire exhibition around the work. (NYT)

Bob Dylan Opens Second Gagosian Show — The rambling bard with the Lee Van Cleef mustache is following his controversial debut—which featured paintings that turned out to appropriate images by little-known photographers—with a display of 30 even-more-baldly-appropriated silkscreens riffing on the covers of classic magazines like Baby Talk and Playboy. (Capital NY)

Jerry Saltz Takes the Piss Out of Glenn Beck — After the right-wing ideological shock jock thought it would be good idea to mock Obama's values by dunking a statuette of the president in a jar of urine to replicate Andres Serrano's Piss Christ, Saltz—a Beck-tweaker of long standing—pointed out that the TV personality "is an artist; just not in the way he thinks he is." (NYM)

Russia Continues Crackdown on Pussy Riot — Days after one of the three jailed political artists was put in solitary confinement, a Moscow court ruled that Pussy Riot's videos could be blocked from Russian servers as a form of "hate speech." (NYT)

Steve McCurry Shoots a Decorous Pirelli Calendar — The famed photojournalist has taken a different tack from, say, Terry Richardson, in putting together images for the notoriously racy calendar, photographing beautiful women who happen to be wearing clothes (or are pregnant). (Daily Beast)

How to Land a Job in the Art World —Sophie Macphereson, founder of the world's leading art-world recruitment agency, provides 10 tips on how to get an art job that should really be self-evident, people. (Artinfo)

Read a Q&A With Artspace Artist Laura Letinsky The photographer and University of Chicago professor best known for her beguiling still lifes of postprandial disarray talks about her inspirations and love of Garry Winogrand. (Artinfo)

Ben Davis on Burning Man — The art critic and Artinfo editor reflects on his experience at the ecstatic Black Rock Desert jamboree, talking about the art he saw, his experience talking to god, and why the event is in danger of losing its soul. (Artinfo)

Sisters in Art, Kiki and Seton Smith — As part of its "Partnership" series, WSJ. magazine talks to the two artists—who were born into the art world thanks to their father, famed Minimalist sculptor Tony Smith—about their different degrees of fame, lack of sibling rivalry, and closely shared lives. (WSJ)

The Trippy Art Behind The Life of Pi To get visuals for the freakish fish that appear in the film's hallucinatory "Tiger Vision" scene, director Ang Lee turned to none other than the artist Alexis Rockman, who is known for paintings of what he terms "natural-history psychedelia." (NYT)

See Photos From the Performa Gala — On Thursday night the city's performance-art aficionados gathered together for a Dadaist-themed party to raise funds for the biennial, with artist Ryan McNamara literally presiding over the festivities. (Artinfo)

Yoko Ono Releases Dirty Opening Ceremony Line — The Fluxus artist has debuted a "Fashions for Men" collection with the hip clothiers that is rather perverse (in a good way) and features a $200 LED-lit jock strap. (Refinery 29)


Sotheby's Scores $27.6 American Art Sale — Two works by Georgia O'Keeffe led the sale at $4.3 million and $3.2 million apiece, helping the auction overshoot its $24.2 million high estimate. (Gallerist NY)

A Day in the Life of Amy Cappellazzo — If you've ever wondered what the powerhouse chairman of Christie's contemporary art division (whose phone oddly seemed to turn into a loudspeaker during the recent record-breaking auction, allowing bidders to overhear her talking to her client—did anyone else notice that?) does with her time, here's your chance. (WSJ)

Looking at Damien Hirst's Market —Andrew Rice has a terrific piece in Bloomberg Businessweek about the trajectory of the YBA stalwart's prices from his dazzling emergence to his epic $200 million one-man Sotheby's auction to his current status. (Businessweek)

Leonardo DiCaprio Shops for Warhol Page Six reports that the art-loving actor (who attended the recent Christie's contemporary sale, as did Tobey Maguire) was sighted browsing a show of the Pop artist's flower paintings at the Upper East Side's Eykyn Maclean gallery. (NY Post)

Philip Taaffe Signs With Luhring Augustine The highly regarded painter had shown with Gagosian for a decade. (Gallerist NY)

— IN & OUT —

Lisa de Kooning Has Died — The 56-year-old artist and fierce defender of her father Willem de Kooning's estate was found dead in her home in St. John, and police are investigating the cause. (Gallerist NY)

New York Times art critic Ken Johnson has been slapped with a messy petition signed by 1,144 people—including Glenn Ligon, Louise Lawler, and Yale art dean Robert Storr—that accuse him of "replay[ing] stereotypes of inscrutable blackness and inadequate femininity in the guise of serious inquiry" in two pieces. (Gallerist NY)

Google Maps has evolved its service to include the floor plans of major museums including the British Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and more. (NYT)

The NEA has doled out a whole slew of grants to art organizations nationwide, including DIAThe Drawing Center, Skowhegan, the Isamu Noguchi Foundation, and many more. (NEA)

Mexican artist Teresa Margolies has won this year's $64,000 Artes Mundi 5 award, Britain's biggest art prize. (Press Release)

MoMA has acquired 14 video games for its permanent collection, including Tetris, Myst, Pac-Man, The Sims, and cult hit Dwarf Fortress. (Complex)

The Monumenta sculpture exhibition will not take place in Paris next year but will return in 2014 under the artistic direction of noted Russian art duo Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. (Le Monde)

Austin's Blanton Museum of Art has hired former MoMA curatorial assistant and Sol LeWitt catalogue raisonne research director Veronica Roberts to be its new curator of Modern and contemporary art. (Artforum)

Atlantic City is launching a $3 million public-art initiative called Artlantic that will fill the gambling town with work by artists like the Kabakovs, Kiki Smith, Robert Barry, and more. (Artinfo)

Whitney curator and recent Whitney Biennial co-curator Elisabeth Sussman has been named the winner of the $25,000 2013 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence from Bard's Center for Curatorial Studies. (Press Release)

Artist Paola Pivi has been tapped by High Line curator Cecilia Alemani to be the newest commissioned artist at the elevated park, where her billboard-sized photo of zebras in the snow will be on view through January 2. (Press Release)

Elton John dedicated a concert in Beijing to "the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei," later saying "I super like him" on Twitter. (Gallerist NY)

Vito Schnabel is dating Demi Moore now. (Daily Mail)


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