Monday, May 7, 2018

Thoughts on Being in the Art World Part 2: Curating the Curated Curator


Installation view of group show "Extent" curated by Jill Moniz: A Quotidian Project

Installation view of group show " Public Fiction's The Conscientious Objector" curated by Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey and Lauren Mackler at Schindler House, West Hollywood. 


What is curating? This is a question that needs to be addressed. Recently while watching television, I overheard the announcer state, "a special 3 course meal curated by a chef..." Another time I heard someone say that the towels were specially curated by a certain designer. It seems that word "curator" and the verb "curated" are being used so frequently that it's beginning to lose its meaning. It is the pathetic attempt of the popular culture to elevate everything and anything into art. Despite the Duchampian approach to the concept of art, not everything is art and art can't be everything. I believe that it's time to reclaim the word "curate." Being in the art world means more than just going to galleries and museums to see art. Seeing art is just one step in a million-mile journey. When you start curating, like writing, the engagement with art begins.

So, how can art reclaim the word "curate"? Art can reclaim the word "curate" by asserting meaning into the term. The word cannot be synonymous with word "select." When used in lieu of "select" then towels, meals, dresses, and anything else can be "curated" as if there is an art in the act of selection. The first time I curated a show, I did a studio visit with a prominent artist. This artist proceeded to inquire about what made me a curator. He stated that anyone can curate, but can you "curate" an exhibition where there is meaning to the what is being shown. From that point on I knew that being curator and curating an exhibition would require something more than choosing art that was "cool" or more than the reflection of my personal tastes. The practice of being a curator was about exploring the world and communicating ideas through art.      

When curating art, creating meaning and communicating ideas is essential to any art exhibition. A real curator is more than someone who selects "things" and places them on display. To curate a show, the curator looks at the art, then turns around and looks at the world. The exhibition reflects what is both seen and not seen. The ideas and concepts flow together when art and the artists are brought together to explore ideas, concepts, and the world around. Harold Szeesman recently was the subject of an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles where the museum recreated a 1972 exhibition he curated based on the life of his grandfather, who was a hair dresser. Szeesman took a familial aspect of his life and communicated it as an idea where the boundaries between art, life, personal memory and history are blurred. This is just one example of many. Szeesman had the courage to look at his grandfather and created an exhibition that acted as both an homage and as a work of art. 

The curator is never afraid. As someone in the artworld, a curator looks at a lot of art. When you see an unknown street artist that you love, not only place him in your group show, but include him with artists who are MFA graduates from UCLA, and established artists represented by Gagosian, and any other artists who is within and outside the art world. Then, defend it. Don't back down from your decision. You are the curator, and you are bringing the ideas and concepts that have brought the artists into the exhibition. In 1992, the then curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Paul Schimmel organized "Helter Skelter: LA Art in the 1990s", looking at the state of art in Los Angeles at the turn of the millenium. Schimmel included Robert Williams, the founder of low brow art and Juxtapoz Art and Culture magazine, with artists like Mike Kelley, Charles Ray, and others that were part of the high art scene of Los Angeles. It was brilliant, because with the addition of Williams to exhibition one had a sense that art in Los Angeles was diverse and engaging on many levels. It reflected the zeitgeist of Los Angeles in the late 20th century. I have seen recently a curator included a cult to in a group show about  extraterrestrials and the occult. Curators take the risks and have no fear in the decisions that they make. This willingness adds to the meaning of what a curator does. 

There is definitely a crisis of meaning in the art world today. When too many art experiences focus on "selfies" and other exercises in narcissism, art looses its meaning and ends up communicating nothing. The reason so much can be "curated", because it's about the selector and not about the art. With a curator in the art world, it's about the art and the artists. The art and artists are central. Here's a test. Imagine a group show and take away the curator. Does the art as a whole and together retain it's meaning? Does the group continue to explore an idea, subject, concept, etc.? If the meaning remains, then the curator has accomplished its goal. If not, then the group is just a mere selection and nothing more. I am not completely dismissing a selection versus curating. A selected group of works can sometimes be just as telling as a curated group show.  In general, the truly curated brings meaning to the selected. 


Curating elevates the selection of artwork. It provides the viewer a narrative, or makes a statement through the art that the curator selects. Selecting for the sake of the selector  does not create meaning. I now return to the question at the beginning of this essay, how does the art world reclaim the word "curate" when it is used in every aspect of "selecting" with djs, designers, chefs, book sellers, etc? The word "curate" may have to run its course in the dialog. The current curator has to continue creating exhibitions and shows that say something greater than "this is me" and "this looks cool." Meaning, with elucidation, the work placed together communicates as a whole, and each individually something more than the surface and reflection. Continue to "curate" that communicates depth and the word will then be reclaimed.       

#curating #curate #curateversusselection #itsallabouttheart #communication

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Alex Katz: Cut Outs. Solo exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery New York



At its 27th Street space in New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery presents a solo exhibition of “Cut Outs” sculpture by the American artist Alex Katz. The show features four works depicting Katz' wife Ada and one larger multi-figure work. The works are realized in stainless or porcelain enamel coated steel. Alex Katz: Cut Outs. Solo exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery New York. 515 W. 27th Street, New York, March 8, 2018.

Video courtesy of vernissage TV
https://vernissage.tv/2018/04/04/alex-katz-cut-outs-solo-exhibition-at-paul-kasmin-gallery-new-york/

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"Annihilation" a solo show of works by Vhils, at Over the Influence Gallery, Los Angeles, California


"ANNIHILATION"
A SERIES OF NEW WORKS BY ALEXANDRE FARTO aka VHILS
OVER THE INFLUENCE GALLERY, LOS ANGELES
Opening reception: 22 February, 6-9pm
Exhibition dates: 23 February – 1 April, 2018

Street art can be problematic. The crisis in street art is as old as when it was first being recognized as a viable art within and outside the confines of the art world. As Rene Ricard in his seminal essay, "The Radiant Child" states when he asks the question "Where is Taki?", the problem is that of meaning. The challenge of a street artist is whether it can create work that is beyond the mere image or the expression that is created. Vhils  takes his art to another level by surpassing the image and exploring ideas outside the surface.  "Annihilation" is Lisbon-based artist Vhils, aka Alexandre Farto, first solo show at the new gallery Over the Influence, located next door to Hauser & Wirth, in Los Angeles, California.Vhils is interested in the interaction of humans with both the urban environment and with each other.

The urban environment is place where identities can be both made and destroyed. Thus the idea of "Annihilation" is explored as both a catalyst and preventer. Created from a variety of source materials – including carved wooden doors, acid-etched metal plates, styrofoam dioramas, hand-carved billboards, and newly developed concrete sculptures -, the work presented in "Annihilation" engages the viewer with the urban context. With a particular emphasis on the impact of the metropolitan way of life. "Annihilation" will share the stories of urbanites who give vitality into the densely populated urban epicenter, resonating and reverberating with the human experience of  living in a contemporary megalopolis. The faces in each work appear and disappear within the confines of the sculpture, collages, paintings and materials created for each object. The people shown are not identifiable, yet they are recognizable as people seen in the crowds and on the streets in the city. One of the most interesting works in the show are 3 video pieces set in Hong Kong, New York, and Los Angeles. The videos show the passing of people as they go about the everyday. Faces and people congregate and interact in an urban setting. The city is both a stage and conflict zone where interaction and relationships are negotiated within the confines of the city.      

By using the city as a stage and exploring both intricacies and interrelationships between those that engage  and in the urban environment, Vhils solo show is successful is going beyond the surface of the image. Vhils explores the idea that the metropolis is a place where identities are annihilated, but in the end the trace remains. The faces and the portraits that appear are traces of the people that seen everyday.    

Over The Influence, 
833 E 3rd Street, 
Los Angeles CA 90013
www.overtheinfluence.com
























Monday, February 26, 2018

Amalia Pica: 'Can joy be a form of resistance? (Tate Shots)



Now based in East London, Amalia Pica talks about growing up in Patagonia under dictatorship and how that experience has influenced her work. ​

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Art Palm Springs, February 16 - 19, 2018, Palm Springs,California (Photo Essay)

Over Presidents’ Day Weekend, Art Palm Springs presented nearly 80 galleries from Asia, North and South America, and Europe, that represented more than 300 artists, and brought a world of art to the Palm Springs Convention Center. Since its inception in 2012, the increasingly popular fair has more than doubled the number of attending galleries from just over 30 in its first year to more than 60 in 2017. The show draws thousands of art collectors and patrons each year from around the globe.

Since its early editions, Art Palm Springs has been a draw for curators, collectors, designers and celebrities that include Cheech Marin, Jodie Foster, Alexa Davalos, Udo Kier, Shelby Lynne, Rain Phoenix, and award-winning designers Christopher Kennedy, Dann Foley and Erin Valencich.

The 2018 Artists of the Year honorees are pioneering California artist Ed Moses, represented by William Turner Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, Calif., and Andy Moses who is presented by Melissa Morgan Fine Art in Palm Desert, Calif.

The duo join the ranks of Art Palm Springs’ Artist of the Year impressive list of Post War and Contemporary honorees including Judy Chicago, Mel Ramos, Jennifer Bartlett, Fletcher Benton, Larry Bell, and Lita Albuquerque.

The father and son duo received the Artist of the Year Award during Art Palm Springs that took place February 16-19, 2018. Arts Patron of the Year Award will be presented to during the Black Card Opening Night Celebration on February 15 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

More information is on the website at www.art-palmsprings.com.

As the list of Art Palm Springs participating galleries continues to grow, the initial group of galleries committed to participate in the 2018 art fair includes:

A Gallery / Allen + Alan Fine Art (Salt Lake City, UT)
Adamar Fine Arts (Miami)
Addison Rowe Fine Art (Santa Fe, NM)
Arcadia Contemporary (Los Angeles)
Arteria, Bromont (Quebec, Canada)
Artspace Warehouse (Los Angeles)
Axiom (Santa Monica, CA)
Bruce Lurie Gallery (Los Angeles)
C. Grimaldis Gallery (Baltimore, MD)
Charlotte Jackson Fine Art (Santa Fe, NM)
Christopher Martin Gallery (Dallas, TX)
CMay Gallery (Los Angeles)
Concierge Fine Art (Minneapolis, MN)
David Klein Gallery (Detroit, MI)
Edward Cella/Michael Solway (Los Angeles)
Galleria Moro (Maracaibo, Venezuela)
Gallery K.A.G. (Annapolis, MD)
Gallery Lee and Bae (Busan, S. Korea)
George Billis Gallery (New York City)
Hohmann (Palm Desert, CA)
J. Willott Gallery (Palm Desert, CA)
Jane Kahan Gallery (New York City)
Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Jorge Mendez Gallery (Palm Springs, CA)
LewAllen Galleries (Santa Fe, NM)
Maria Elena Kravetz Gallery (Cordoba, Argentina)
McNabb Martin Contemporary (San Diego, CA)
Melissa Morgan Fine Art (Palm Desert, CA)
Nancy Hoffman Gallery (New York City)
Peter Blake Gallery (Laguna Beach, CA)
Peters Projects (Santa Fe, NM)
Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery (London)
Sloan Fine Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Sponder Gallery (Boca Raton, FL)
ten|Contemporary (Grass Valley, CA)
Thomas Paul Fine Art / J Cacciola Gallery, (Los Angeles)
Travelogues Fine Art Consulting (Placitas, NM)
Wallspace (Los Angeles)
William Turner Gallery (Santa Monica, CA)





Ed Moses and Andy Moses

Ed Moses

Ed Moses

Ed Moses

Ed Moses

Ed Moses

Ed Moses
Andy Moses

Andy Moses

Andy Moses
Andy Moses

Ed Moses
















Max Pechstein




Hung Liu









John Miller


Lynn Aldrich





Helen Pashgian

Tony Delap 









Betsy Enzensberger












Katherine Gray







Cherie Benner Davis

Cherie Benner Davis

Cherie Benner Davis






















Andy Warhol



Chris Truman



Chris Truman

Chris Truman




Howard Hodgkin


Richard Diebenkorn

Sam Francis





Andy Warhol









Hung Liu



















Hung Liu




Talia Shipman

Kim Schoenstadt

Hung Liu



Picasso and Julian Opie

Julian Opie















#Alan Fine Art #AdamarFineArts #AddisonRoweFineArt #ArcadiaContemporary
#ArteriaBromont  #ArtspaceWarehouse #Axiom #BruceLurieGallery #CGrimaldisGallery #CharlotteJacksonFine Art #ChimentoContemporary #ChristopherMartinGallery #CMayGallery #Concierge Fine Art #David Klein Gallery #EdwardCella #MichaelSolway #GalleryKAG #GalleryLeeandBae #GeorgeBillisGallery #Hohmann #JWillottGallery #JaneKahanGallery #JonathanNovakContemporaryArt #JorgeMendezGallery #LewAllenGalleries #MariaElenaKravetzGallery #McNabbMartinContemporary
#MelissaMorganFineArt #Nancy Hoffman Gallery #PeterBlakeGallery
#PetersProjects #RebeccaHossackArtGallery #SloanFineArt
#SponderGallery #tenContemporary #ThomasPaulFineArt  #JCacciolaGallery
#TraveloguesFineArtConsulting #Wallspace #WilliamTurnerGallery #EdMoses #TonyDelap #WilliamDekoonig #AndyMoses #CherieBennerDavis #howardhodgkin #artpalmsprings #picasso #julianopie #taliashipman #hungliu #helenpashgian #lynnaldrich #palmsprings #palmspringsartscene

Thoughts on Being in the Art World Part 2: Curating the Curated Curator

Installation view of group show "Extent" curated by Jill Moniz: A Quotidian Project Installation view of group show "...