The Folly Tree Arboretum is a collection of rare and unusual trees intent on showcasing nature’s sense of humor.’ – What a brilliant project.
From J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s Hairstyles series amassed over 30 years in Nigeria. “All these hairstyles are ephemeral,” he said. “I want my photographs to be noteworthy traces of them. I always wanted to record moments of beauty, moments of knowledge.”
10. Artist CHEN ZHOU and designer XANDER ZHOU’s short fashion film “YES!”
9. Jiang Pengyi
Everything Illuminates, No. 4
Archival inkjet print
8. MIP: Museum in Progress
‘…A museum in the newspaper then. If that is not nonsensical. The epitome of all that is transitory asserting itself as a receptacle for art. What about the ideals of the museum, “Collect, study and preserve”? Is a museum not a holy place with thick walls, a bulwark against the speed of change of our time? This is obviously not the ideal of museum in progress. This museum is not looking for the homage of a dusty posterity. It ignores the march-past of history and concentrates on having an effect now…. Not least the triumphal march of the global media should have made us aware that aesthetic power now increasingly requires action and directness…’
7. Maurizio Anzeri’s embroidered photographs
6. Herb and Dorothy
5. A cover design:
VAROOM – published by The Association of Illustrators.
4. The Venice Effect
Curators of the Biennale have always played down its impact on the art market, but the two go hand-in-hand
By Olav Velthuis
Published online in The Art Newspaper, 3 Jun 11
When the Venice Biennale was founded in 1895, one of its main goals was to establish a new market for contemporary art. A sales office assisted artists in finding clients and selling their work, a service for which it charged 10% commission. The office was successful: by the end of the first edition, more than half of the works exhibited had been sold. The organisers earned so much in commissions that they were able to donate a handsome amount of cash to charity.
Sales remained an intrinsic part of the biennale until 1968, when leftist students and intellectuals sought to occupy the Giardini’s exhibition grounds as part of their widespread revolt against bourgeois culture. They vilified the biennale as a playground of the rich that promoted the commodification of culture. During their occasionally violent clashes with the police, students carried posters with slogans like “Biennale of capitalists, we’ll burn your pavilions!” and “No to the biennale of the bosses.” Their protests did not go unnoticed, for the biennale’s board decided to dismantle the sales office. Commerce was now taboo in the Giardini. While many of the achievements of 1968 have since been discarded, the biennale’s ban on sales remained. Its commissioners and curators have time and again framed the exhibition as a locus for experiment rather than commerce, elaborating on the fundamental differences between the institution and the art fair, and downplaying its impact on the market. For instance, when Daniel Birnbaum, director of the 2009 edition, revealed the list of artists he had invited to the Arsenale, the president of the biennale, Paolo Baratta, emphasised that the director’s job is “not to give the latest quotation on the market for contemp-orary art”.
But if past attempts to ban commerce from the biennale have been serious, they have also been in vain. For instance, in 2007, London’s White Cube gallery had sold the majority of the works by Tracey Emin in the British pavilion (seen on p21) before the biennale had even opened officially. In the same year, the French super-collector François Pinault snapped up a series of paintings by Sigmar Polke in the Padiglione Italia, much to the dismay of some museum directors, who, as Pinault put it mischievously in a recent interview with the Financial Times, arrived “un peu après”.
No matter how hard its curators have tried to deny it, the biennale’s impact on the art market is notable: showing in Venice speeds up sales, gets artistic careers going, cranks up price levels and helps artists land a dealer ranked higher in the market’s hierarchy. While business may be conducted in a more circumspect way than at an art fair or in a commercial gallery, and money may not be changing hands in the Arsenale or the Giardini, the market is never asleep. During the biennale’s opening days, dealers such as Berlin- and London-based Sprüth Magers, with five artists in Venice this year, or Zurich-based Eva Presenhuber (seven artists in this year’s edition), will be gauging how deep the interest is in specific works on display, calculating the best way to “place” pieces in the hands of trusted collectors or schmoozing with museum curators. To exploit the Venice Effect, numerous others exhibiting at the biennale, among them, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla (Lisson Gallery) and Barbara Visser (Annet Gelink Gallery), will have works for sale at Art Basel, the world’s most important modern and contemporary art fair, which opens its doors only a week later (15-19 June, pp15-18). Their dealers’ credo: “See it in Venice, buy it in Basel.”
So what causes the Venice Effect? The easy answer is that showing in Venice is widely perceived as a signal of artistic quality, lending legitimacy to an artist’s oeuvre and therefore contributing to shaping collectors’ tastes (read: their willingness to pay for art). In this respect, Venice is, of course, far from unique.
Read the rest of the article here.
3. Zygmunt Bauman’s ‘Liquid Modernity’:
Zygmunt Bauman, one of the most prominent creators of the concept of post-modernity and an influential social thinker, reaches in his new book to the source of the concept of culture, analyses the processes is has been undergoing and identifies threats and opportunities for its development in the future. He also explains how the modern culture is determined by the pace of changes in the reality around us, in particular market mechanisms, economic situation and the continuing globalisation, but above all the compulsive and obsessive “modernisation”. Professor Bauman says, “compulsive and obsessive ‘modernization.’” “Culture today consists of offers, not prohibitions; propositions, not norms,” he writes. “It has no ‘populace’ to enlighten and ennoble; it does however have clients to seduce. Seduction by contrast to enlightenment and ennoblement, is not a one-off, once and for all task, but an open ended activity. The function of culture is not to satisfy existing needs, but to create new ones. (…) Its chief concern is the prevention of satisfaction (…) which would leave no room for further, new and as yet unfulfilled needs and whims.”
Read more here
2. “ART WRITERS, ink.”
Robert Storr: ‘sepie in nero’
‘Being part of the dialogue is what drives us; figuring out how to give our ideas weight and our words bounce is the political, intellectual and literary challenge confronting us whenever we set to work.’
In his final column for Frieze, Robert Storr reflects on what it takes to be an art writer.
Read it here.
1. First + is a great photo still from Self Unfinished, a performance by Xavier Le Roy at ICA Boston 02/04/2011: