Seth Siegelaub, R.I.P.

18.06.2013

Adrian Piper was his sometime gallery assistant and he’d answer the door in his underpants when he was hosting a show at his apartment. He exhibited radio waves by Douglas Heubler and much else in the way of ephemera and texts. For three short years he did it – curating and publishing - art for art’s sake, an activist of ideas, finished and moved on. Though his departure was the loss of the art world’s, when your done your done. 

Though many of the artists he worked with have gone on to be among the most critically and financially successful artists of the postwar period, Mr. Siegelaub said he had generally not been successful selling their art on a large scale at the time he first showed them. “I was in the research and development department…and I was never in the marketing or sales department,” he said during that panel.    ... weiterlesen

More Basel: A Chest Thumping Good Time

14.06.2013
 Leave the art explication to the pundits: classic Aston Martin on the scene in front of the Three Kings Hotel
Leave the art explication to the pundits: classic Aston Martin on the scene in front of the Three Kings Hotel

No more disclaimers this time around, let’s just jump back into the thick of it, starting—where else?—with more dinners and parties, of course.

During the relentless march of fairs and biennials, the art world resembles a giant mixed cocktail. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it exacerbates the more questionable tendencies of certain fair-goers’ behavior. One thing is for sure, the intensity of it all can really blind people and drive them to extreme forms of action and reaction. And the art crowd is a high-strung lot to begin with. I admit to possibly forgetting that I had kids one night at about 3 a.m. at the Three Kings Hotel, where everyone congregates each night after dinners and parties.  ... weiterlesen

Art Basel Diary

11.06.2013
 The new exhibition hall by the architects Herzog and De Meuron is the new landmark of the Art Basel (photo: dpa)
The new exhibition hall by the architects Herzog and De Meuron is the new landmark of the Art Basel (photo: dpa)

Forget about you, dear reader, how will I manage not to bore myself to tears with this? Art Basel feels like round 87 in a long, drawn-out boxing match and I shudder to think that I have to put fingers to the keyboard so quickly after the last art-fair recap, so let me disclaim myself from the onset. What more could I possibly say that hasn't already been said?

Art fairs seem to mirror the plot of the film Groundhog Day, repeating (and repeating) themselves, with many of the same people buying much of the same art in generic settings indistinguishable from one to the next. Rafael Nadal was depicted on the front page of the Times in an all-encompassing scream of ecstasy and I began the week wondering if I'd encounter anything in the aisles of the fair that would inspire such raw emotion. Probably not, but there were a few notable sightings and surprises. Read about them here, in this diary of the fair (and see images here).  ... weiterlesen

Groundhog Day (Art World Edition)

09.06.2013
(photo: dpa)
(photo: dpa)

Self-centered art collectors, speculators, dealers, and curators travel to Switzerland every June. Their journey is to visit the annual Basel Art Fair festivities. One intrepid participant, who doesn't like the assignment of covering the event or the town, grudgingly has given his report on the festivities time and again. He hits the road back from Basel, but inclement weather shuts down all travel. He is forced to return to the fair and stay another night.

Our correspondent wakes up to find that he is reliving June 11th. The day plays out exactly as it did before, with no one but our art guy aware of the time loop. At first he is confused, but, when the phenomenon continues on subsequent days, he decides to take advantage of the situation with no fear of long-term consequences: he learns secrets from the gallerists and collectors, seduces consultants, steals paintings, parties recklessly, and gets thrown out of the fair. However, his attempts to get closer to the meaning of art, of which he has become obsessed, repeatedly fail.  ... weiterlesen

Frank on Franco: "Psycho Nacirema" at Pace Gallery London

05.06.2013
James Franco (photo: dpa)
James Franco (photo: dpa)

Guess what? I emptied my judgmental mind in an effort to form an entirely clean slate and—it still sucked. When I entered the gallery, the impossibly good-looking artist breezed by, grabbed my arm while looking into my eyes, and said hello as if an old acquaintance; but I still wasn't swayed.

The mise-en-scene was a pastiche set of "Psycho" with the androgynous actor playing Janet Leigh in a series of filmic recreations amidst rooms of blood stained installations and sloppy bad bad-paintings. He sure is in drag an awful lot, perhaps a stint on a Monty Python rehash beckons. The overall aesthetic is east village abortion clinic after a tornado, or a cheesy cliché of the 1980 Times Square show by Colab. Or Courtney Love's bedroom on a Saturday night (another fine, fine artist).  ... weiterlesen

The Value of Nothing: the Selling of Sehgal

03.06.2013
Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni, Venice Art Biennale curator Massimiliano Gioni, British-German artist Tino Sehgal and Biennale President Paolo Baratta pose during the award ceremony at the 55th International Art Exhibition garden in Venice (photo: dpa)
Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni, Venice Art Biennale curator Massimiliano Gioni, British-German artist Tino Sehgal and Biennale President Paolo Baratta pose during the award ceremony at the 55th International Art Exhibition garden in Venice (photo: dpa)

The Golden Lion has roared a silent growl in the name of the winning artist, Tino Sehgal, an artist that sells thin air to people full of wind.

"The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more." This is a 1970 quote by Douglas Huebler, not the rallying cry of the poster people for relational aesthetics, who condemn the overload of things in the world and attempt to sell only non-documented, un-photographed, oral agreements as art. Though it could be. Tino Sehgal, a student of dance and economics, launched the 13th Unilever installation in the Turbine Hall of the Tate in London. The work, entitled, “These Associations” consists of 200 performers or “interpreters” as he refers to them that cluster in groups, file past visitors, and engage them in conversation or recount personal anecdotes, the first such undertaking of performance as art at the museum.  ... weiterlesen

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"Die Kunstwelt ist wie eine Mafia, es gibt ein ungeschriebenes Gesetz des Stillschweigens", sagt Kenny Schachter. Auf seinem Monopol-Blog bringt der britische Kunsthändler Licht ins Dunkle und macht die Mechanismen des Marktes transparent. In englischer Sprache
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