Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's a small, small world

Well, it wasn't the only thing I came away with while doing the research on CI08. But it certainly did strike me as significant. I didn't tally all of the artists in CI08 whose work appeared at the Tate within the last several years but it certainly seemed that a significant number of the artists had. Small world, isn't it?

A high percentage of the artists included in CI08 work in multiple disciplines. Not all of them, but such a significant portion that I have to take note of it. It belies the conventional wisdom that says that the way to solidify your career as an artist is to focus on one medium, don't you think?

I found, by far, that I appreciated the work of the seasoned artists. Most exhibited a sense of growth in their discipline as well as in their themes and dialogs. But perhaps, since I am a seasoned artist, I find more personal empathy with the continual learning that manifests itself in a varied body of work. Since CI08 is a group show, I don't expect the curator to exhibit a retrospective of each artist. Too bad.

Modern Art Notes interviewed the curator, Doug Fogle, over two posts. This is probably the clearest explanation about the Life on Mars theme that I have seen to date --
I think the best contemporary art takes us to other worlds. It's not a show about extra terrestrials, it's a metaphor. When I discuss the idea around Pittsburgh I have to be extra-clear because the Carnegie has a science center. I always say that the theme was just an interesting way of hooking on to some ideas that could form a bit of structure for the exhibit.

The banner for CI08's blog reads "Are we alone in the universe? Do aliens exist? Or are we, ourselves,the strangers in our own worlds?" Well, okay. So the artists represent alien thought processes, taking us to uncharted territory, to other worlds. But all of the artists in the exhibit are pedigreed and vetted. In keeping with the theme of other worlds within our own, it would have been refreshing to include the work of some artist working outside of this system. It would certainly remove the dialog of self-reference that has become so prevalent in the art sphere.

Interestingly, the CI08 has adopted a lot of social networking components to extend CI08 beyond the region. The blog, of course, has been noted. CI08 has also mounted a Flikr site, with in progress, installation images. (Thanks, MAN. I didn't realize this was up until I read your posts) It is taking a chance, giving CI08 visitors an immediate and intimate way of discussing the exhibit with the curator and staff at the Carnegie Museum. So, make time in your schedule to see the exhibit.

The 55th Carnegie International
Life on Mars
5.3.08 - 1.11.09
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080
Tel: 412.622.3131

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Carnegie International - Richard Wright + Haegue Yang

The Carnegie International opens in just one week. The Post Gazette and the Tribune Review have both published several articles in anticipation of the exhibit. This link is to Google's news service.

Richard Wright

This is pretty much it, people. It's lovely, isn't it? There are actually several artists, writers and musicians sharing this name. An awful lot of search pages to go through.

Haegue Yang

Yang creates mostly installation art. Decidedly delicate installation art that incorporates light and smell. There is an interview on the Walker Arts blog that is pretty well steeped in artspeak. Great images, though.

It's a wrap. These were the last two artists on the list for the Carnegie International. Next up, what has Susan learned from all of this?

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Carnegie International - Rosemarie Trockel + Apichatpong Weerasethakul + Andro Wekua

Rosemarie Trockel Rugs and related works

I love the fact that so many of the artists in CI08 have a varied body of work. Trockel, however, is the first one that includes fiber works in her range. Trockel is exploring feminist and feminine themes in her work. There's a great article in Time Out Chicago that you should read.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul Blissfully Yours

I like to watch what's happening. For instance, I really like watching people pass by and stuff like that and that's why I really like Andy Warhol's films. It's more like watching, kind of observing what's going on, and the audience makes up the narrative themselves. It's more like that. I didn't plan to make a theory or anything except for my interest in observing life... Read the interview


Andro Wekua

Nice post about Wekua --
Andro Wekua’s sculptural figure is like a hybrid mélange between a professional magician that practices the traditional skills of magic and his model, a ritual engagement for him/her self . Read the post

The above image really pulled me in. You want to see some pretty magnificent works, go check out the Flash Art article.

There will be one more post in this series of previews about the Carnegie International. I was getting concerned about having this complete in time for the exhibit, which opens in one week.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Carnegie International - Katja Strunz + Paul Thek + Wolfgang Tillmans

Katja STRUNZ, Germany, b. 1970

There's something really whimsical here. In a ruined sort of way. The King of Hearts comes to mind for some inexplicable reason. You might have the patience to read this ArtForum review. I'm afraid that I don't.

Paul Thek Fishman

Two very interesting sources for this artist. On Clusterflock, a post with links to a few sites that celebrate this artist's work. On Modern Art Notes, an interview with Olga Viso, the director of the Hirschhorn. The discussion opens by addressing the disintegration of the above work.

Wolfgang Tillmans Sportflecken

A friend and I were discussing the way that, in the current art sphere, beauty is equated with decorative. In my mind, many confuse beauty with pretty, which certainly is decorative. Beauty transcends and breathes. Tillmans' photography does exactly that.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Carnegie International - David Shrigley + Paul Sietsma + Rudolf Stingel

David Shrigley

There is an interesting tattoo project on the artist's page, documenting individuals that have had Shrigley's images tattooed on their bodies. While you're at it, check out the rest of Shrigley's site. This guy has a real entrepreneurial spirit.

Artist's sites always give me a greater sense of how an artist perceives themselves. Shrigley strikes me as a man with a sense of humor.

Paul Sietsma Still from "Empire"

It helps if you are nearly as versed as Mr. Sietsema in the theories and influence of Clement Greenberg, the most powerful American art critic of the 20th century, or immersed in experimental film. Many people are. Everyone else will have to get by on the artist's dollhouselike model rooms and his outsiderish, language-crazed drawings. Roberta Smith, Art in Review
There is another Frieze review of Sietsema's work here.

Rudolf Stingel

Okay. Wow. Seriously beautiful.

Roberta Smith review here. Here's one that I am looking forward to seeing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Carnegie International - Wilhelm Sasnal + Thomas SCHÜTTE + Ranjani Shettar

Wilhelm Sasnal Girl Smoking (Anka)

You can see more of Sasnal's smoking girls on his MyGallery page. But I thought the following quote on Raster was interesting --
Sasnal in a painter of the present day, his works often differ so much from each other that one could suppose they had been painted by numerous artists. However all of them share a common deep sensibility of the author which reflects both political, moral and aesthetic aspects of reality. Read more

Okay, you sort of get the gist. If you scroll down the page you'll see some examples of what the article means. I would say that Sasnal tends toward the narrative. Also, that the work seems highly polished.


Well, um. It definitely fits the theme of CI08's Life on Mars.

Ranjani Shettar Just a Bit More

Nothing ever goes away on the internet. This is from 2004 --
According to Douglas Fogle at the Walker Art Center, "The organic qualities of Shettar's work might be profitably read in the art-historical contexts of Arte Povera artist Marisa Merz, postminimalist sculptors of the same period such as Eva Hesse, Brazilian Neo-concrete artist Lygia Clark, or Argentinean artist Gego. Each structure invokes a shelter that is poetically suggestive of our oneiric ability to invest spaces with our own desires and phenomenological memories." Read more

Okay, artspeak aside, this is lovely. So were many of the other works that I saw. I am looking forward to what Shettar will bring to CI08.

Friday, April 18, 2008

We're Back

Yes, we still dig Pittsburgh art.

It's been a few months since we have posted any news about the Pittsburgh art scene. There have been several things happening in our lives that have taken precedence. I started a couple new jobs. John is back in his studio, creating beautiful works.

But this long and dreary winter is over and somehow I feel like we are at a point of light.

Hello all. We missed you.

The Carnegie International - Rivane Neuenschwander + Noguchi Rika + Manfred Pernice + Susan Philipsz

Rivane Neuenschwander I Wish You a Wish

Maybe its the ribbons; this work seems to me to be particularly feminine. Everything that I've seen so far has a feeling of beautiful, saturated color, very soothing. There is a review on Frieze that discusses Rivane Neuenschwander's themes in detail.

Noguchi Rika Works from the Sun

Japanese photographer. There is an interesting post on Tokyo Art Beat about an exhibit that this piece was in. There are also several works on the Asian Photography Blog. Very beautiful work, nicely varied. I think that this artist is one whose career you could follow and see continual growth and change.

Manfred Pernice

No No No. Seriously.
Manfred Pernice could be called a memorialist of the forgettable. This makes him an apt if obvious choice for the New Museum’s current ‘Unmonumental’ exhibition, but renders his new show, ‘diary,’ at Anton Kern curiously anomalous. It seems unusual, after all, that an artist known for refiguring the quotidian and anonymous structures of modernism should fly under such an ostensibly autobiographical banner. Read the rest of the Frieze review.

Susan Philipsz

Sound artist. Here are some thoughts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Carnegie International - Barry McGee + Mario Merz + Marisa Merz + Matthew Monahan

Barry McGee, image from Fragmented blog

Street art, a touch of graffiti. There are a lot of images in the e-sphere for Barry McGee's work. Not much criticism, though.

Igloos. More igloos. Even more igloos.

So, do you think an igloo is in store for CI08?

Marisa Merz

Marisa Merz was born in 1931. The images that I have found reflect a varied artistic practice, ranging from drawing to kinetic sculpture. Isn't that wonderful?

Matthew Monahan

Okay, so Matthew Monahan is known mostly for his sculpture. But this image really spoke to me. So, it might not be representative of what you will see at CI08. Also, see this page.

That's it for today's preview of CI08. More to come. Make sure your voices are heard on the Life on Mars blog.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Carnegie International - Friedrich Kunath + Maria Lassnig + Sharon Lockhart + Mark Manders

Just a few pictures today. I am not even halfway through the artists roster. I am leaving shortly for an open model session, too.

Friedrich Kunath Finding your feet again

One comment: Kunath seems to be another artist working in several mediums.

Maria Lassnig Untitled (Horizontally on Two Crutches)

More at Serpentine Gallery. Very disturbing work.

Sharon Lockhart The Testing of Assumptions

Photography, mostly. But I thought that these were cool.

Mark Manders Inhabited for a Survey

Installation art, you can see more on his page.

The CI08 opens in three weeks. On May 2.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Carnegie International - Thomas Hirschhorn + Richard Hughes + Mike Kelley

Continuing with the catalog of CI08 artists we have Thomas Hirschhorn

Thomas Hirschhorn Unfinished Walls

Installation artist. More specifically, working with detritus. Looks like he is talking about consumerism in this particular piece. There is a great review by Jerry Saltz here. He is much more measured than I am and seems to be willing to take his time and really delve into this artist's work.

Richard Hughes

A sculptor, using many different mediums. In doing a quick search, I found at least two artists with the same name, a writer and a number of others. I am assuming it is this Richard Hughes because his work has been presented at the Tate. Seriously, I can't believe how many of the artists for CI08 have been presented at the Tate.

Mike Kelley Memory Ware Flat #18 (detail)

Ooohhh! Shiny!

Okay, that wasn't nice. First reactions and all. In looking at some of the gallery sites where Kelley's work is represented, I did notice that this artist is practicing pluralism. With a vengeance! I'm curious to see what he presents for CI08.

On another note, the CMOA has put up a Life on Mars blog, with a lot of stuff in the sidebar. It has tons of links to the artists in the exhibit. Hey, maybe I should have checked before I started posting on this, huh?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Carnegie International - Peter Fischli & David Weiss + Ryan Gander + Daniel GUZMÁN

Peter Fischli and David Weiss: Suddenly this

Peter Fischli & David Weiss have been collaborating since the 1970's. from Wikipedia -
For their work, they make use of a large bandwidth of artistic forms of expression: Film and photography, art-books, sculptures made out of different materials, and multimedia-installations. They adapt objects and situations of the everyday life and place them into an artistic context — often using humour and irony. Read more

The Wikipedia article didn't mention whimsy, so I will. The above image is from a retrospective at the Tate. There are additional images on the site. I'm curious to see what will be presented by this duo because of the assertion that the artists work in a number of materials. I work that way myself, but I don't always exhibit the experiments that I do in mediums with which I don't have a high degree of competence. I find that experimenting in other mediums freshens my approach.

Ryan Gander @ Store Gallery - She Walked Ahead, Leading Him Through a Blizzard of Characters

There is a review by Brian Sholis that might shed some light on Gander's work. I found very little written about his work, really. He seems to be concentrating on installation/site specific pieces. He had early success in his career, exhibiting at the Tate in 2006. (As an aside, I can't believe how many of the artists I've looked into were shown at the Tate.) These are pretty quiet pieces, as you can see from the Store Gallery catalog link. Sharon Butler has an article in The Brooklyn Rail that addresses this much more eloquently than I can.


There is a really great review by Jessica Berlanga Taylor in Frieze Magazine of Daniel Guzman's work.
By deconstructing the wealth of images that surrounds him, Guzmán moves away from the artifices of Western civilization towards what lies within himself and is natural to all humans: the ongoing search for the powerful energies that permeate our existence.

Again, this is another artist that works in multiple mediums. But these feel large, even though I can't find a scale reference in what I was able to find online.

To be continued.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Carnegie International - Vija Celmins + Phil Collins + Bruce Conner

"Untitled (Web), by Vija Celmins, oil on canvas, 15 1/4 by 18 inches

Vija Celmins was born in 1939, She has been creating prints and paintings for decades. Interestingly, I found when looking for images for this artist that the same group of images were used. This one is from the 2002 Whitney Biennial. The images that I had found were of work clustered in the late 60's - early 70's. The above painting was done in 2000. The works that I saw were amazingly consistent, given that they spanned nearly forty years. I know that's not the most important thing about this artists work. Just sayin'.

Phil Collins - baghdad screentests 2002 - Courtesy Kerlin Gallery
From the Tate site - For the return of the real / gercegin geri donusu 2005, originally commissioned by the 9th Istanbul Biennial, Collins invited people who felt their lives had been ruined by appearing on talk-shows and makeover shows to tell their extraordinary stories at a press conference. Furthermore, Collins hired a director of a Turkish reality TV show to conduct hour-long interviews with the participants. By putting these individuals under scrutiny once again, Collins makes the ethics of further exploitation one of the main subjects of the piece. Read more

Huh. Okay.

Bruce Conner - Luke
From Artopia - Conner was born in 1933, and Luke in its present form is one of those career-confirming mature works of art. And although we may yearn to see some of the artist's moldering assemblage sculptures -- using nylon stockings among other things -- Luke in the meantime will send you running to your local video store's avant-garde section to catch up on this West Coast artist's masterful found-footage films. Read more

Okay, so that's a wrap for today. Out of the seven artists that I have looked into, four of them create video art. That doesn't necessarily mean that the work included in CI08 will be video work, but I am starting to wonder. There are still over thirty artists to look through. I will say again that I am not a big fan of video art. What I'm wondering though is if this is what is seen as contemporary art right now.

The website for the CI08 has not been updated yet, by the way.