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Dirk Bell at Kunstverein Braunschweig
22/08/2014
Artist: Dirk Bell Venue: Kunstverein Braunschweig Exhibition Title: NOWhere Date: June 28 – August 24, 2014 Click here to view slideshow Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump. Images: Images courtesy of Dirk Bell; Kunstverein Braunschweig; BQ, Berlin; Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles, London; The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow. Photos by Fred Dott.  […]Contemporary Art Daily is produced by Contemporary Art Group, a not-for-profit organization. We rely on our audience to help fund the publication of exhibitions that show up in this RSS feed. Please consider supporting us by making a donation today. Read full article here

Week in Review: From Frankenthaler to Fortin, Our Top Visual Arts Stories
22/08/2014
Week in Review: From Frankenthaler to Fortin, Our Top Visual Arts Stories— Christopher Kareska reported that Gagosian has organized its first show with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.— Ashton Cooper talked with artistic director Sylvie Fortin about remodeling the Montreal Biennial.— Martin Gayford reviewed “Radical Geometry” at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. — Ashton Cooper interviewed the founders of the forthcoming Honolulu Biennial.— Charlie Fox reviewed Dorothea Tanning's "Web of Dreams" at Alison Jacques Gallery in London.— Ed Schad profiled painter Joe Reihsen for Modern Painters.— The Tom of Finland Foundation tapped ten art stars to judge its 10th annual emerging arist competition. This Week's VIDEOS: brightcove.createExperiences();  Published: August 22, 2014 Read full article here

Strange Lands at Film Society of Lincoln Center
22/08/2014
Strange Lands at Film Society of Lincoln CenterThe shift in science fiction literature around the halfway mark of the 20th century, when a new wave of writers turned away from the “narrow imaginative limits” of the genre in favor of an exploration of the mysteries of the “inner life” — in the words of J.G. Ballard — was a line drawn in the martian soil. Space exploration and the uncertainty of extraterrestrial life were quickly becoming cliché, relics of science fiction’s murky juvenile roots in pulp magazines and dime-store paperbacks. It was time to turn attention from the sky to the ground, where the world was turning out to be just as weird and dangerous as outer space. Science fiction films would soon follow suit. “Strange Lands: International Sci-Fi,” a new series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center opening August 22, maps out a shadowy enclave of the genre’s cinematic history, where the only rule, it seems, was that none were allowed. The peripatetic series hopscotches around Europe with a soft focus on the Eastern Bloc, highlighting a dizzying array of modes that expand the definitions of science fiction. In part, the shift was a bid for greater seriousness. The outer limits charted by science fiction were always in dialogue with a coded present, but the conversation needed to be constructed in new ways. Kingsley Amis, in a widely cited survey of the genre, likened it to jazz and offered a view typical of the period: both popular forms, he wrote, “have thrown up a large number of interesting and competent figures without producing anybody of first rate importance.” Time would prove Amis wrong, of course. Philip K. Dick—whose most prophetic works would be published in the next decade—along with the Ballard, Octavia Butler, Samuel Delany, and many others became celebrated stylists who reshaped the forms science-fiction writing could take and the subjects it could address. Stanislaw Lem and the Strugatsky brothers, writing in Poland and the Soviet Union respectively, were towering figures in Eastern Bloc sci-fi. Much of their work was not recognized in the United States until much later, but they were adapted by the great Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky in two films, now considered classics, released seven years apart — “Solaris,” based on Lem’s novel of the same name, and “Stalker,” based on the Strugatskys’ novel “Roadside Picnic.” The influence of Tarkovsky’s films can be seen across much of the work featured in “Strange Lands,” and his two major science-fiction films — one set in space, the other in a future world that looks like a war torn present — form nice bookends for the work included in the series. All the films are worth seeing (and many of them are so rare this may be your only chance), but here are a few  key titles that really should be seen on the big screen in order to aprreciate their prophetic and zany glory. GROOVIEST PARTY IN THE GDR“In The Dust of Stars,” 1976 (August 23) A candy-colored fantasia produced by East Germany’s DEFA Studios, it concerns a group of space travelers who respond to a distress call from a nearby planet, only to arrive and find that everyone seems suspiciously friendly. The studio only produced four science-fiction films, and this was the final and best one, engaging in its campiness and grandiose vision. “Eolomea” (August 23), another DEFA-produced curiosity, screens in the series as well. LAND OF THE LOST“Morel’s Invention,” 1974 (August 27)“The End of August at the Hotel Ozone,” 1967 (August 28) The two best films in the series present a stark contrast to the decadent DEFA productions. “Morel’s Invention,” an adaptation of Adolfo Bioy Casares’s slim novel of the same name, concerns an escaped criminal — we never learn his crime — who discovers the wealthy inhabitants of a deserted island are strangely disregarding his presence. Produced in Italy and featuring Anna Karina in one of the main roles, this mind-bender features a stunning, almost wordless introduction and demands multiple viewings to navigate its hypnotic maze. “The End of August at the Hotel Ozone” is a forgotten masterpiece of the Czech New Wave, featuring an almost all female cast rummaging through the abandoned countryside after a nuclear attack. Shot in bracing black-and-white and featuring a deft array of compositions, it’s one of the more startling and thrilling films in the series. FUTURE SHOCK“Golem,” 1980 (August 25)“The 10th Victim,” 1965 (August 27) Two visions of the future, both grim (are visions of the future ever not grim?). “Golem,” directed by Piotr Szulkin and produced in Poland, is about a rouge clone who has escaped the scientists who created him. The film has the disorienting influence of Stanislaw Lem while copping some of the visual-paranoia from Orson Welles’s adaptation of Kafka’s “The Trial,” with nods to Tarkovsky in between. “The 10th Victim” is a more opulent affair, starring Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni (sporting a close-cropped, Lou Reed-like blonde hairdo) as participants in a television program that features contestants hunting each other like wild animals. Directed by Elio Petri (who would later on make some of the best poliziotteschi films of the 1970s), the film is prescient in its dizzying-view of the furthest reaches of a media-obsessed culture Published: August 22, 2014 Read full article here

AR: Louise Lawler at Museum Ludwig
22/08/2014
Artist: Louise Lawler Venue: Museum Ludwig, Cologne Exhibition Title: Adjusted Curated by: Philipp Kaiser Date: October 11, 2013 – January 26, 2014 Originally Posted: January 9th, 2014 Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here. Contemporary Art Daily is produced by Contemporary Art Group, a not-for-profit organization. […]Contemporary Art Daily is produced by Contemporary Art Group, a not-for-profit organization. We rely on our audience to help fund the publication of exhibitions that show up in this RSS feed. Please consider supporting us by making a donation today. Read full article here

Christo Rafts the Arkansas, Senior Director Ditches Basel, and More
22/08/2014
Christo Rafts the Arkansas, Senior Director Ditches Basel, and More— Christo Rafts the Arkansas: Christo has taken his first rafting trip down the river that he hopes to cover in nearly six miles worth of fabric. Although he is still battling lawsuits that are attempting to block his Arkansas River project, the artist is working away on the logistical aspects of the work. “We need to install many things, we need to install anchors for the cables,” Christo said. “We need at least three years before the exhibition.” [CBS] — Another Art Basel Executive Departure: Art Basel sees its second executive departure this summer with the loss of  Annette Schönholzer, its director of new initiatives. Schönholzer, who has been with Basel for 12 years, will “pursue other opportunities in the cultural sphere” and act as a consultant for the art fair, according to the Art Newspaper. The news comes after Art Basel Asia director Magnus Renfrew stepped down in July to join Bonhams in September. [TAN] — Morocco Opens Its First National Museum in 50 Years: Morocco’s first national museum in 50 years, the Mohammed VI Musée National d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine, is set to open on September 25. With archaologist and conservator Abdelazzi Idrissi at the helm as director, and curator Mohhamed Rachdi on board, the Rabat museum plans to host exhibitions of non-contemporary art as well, like next spring’s “Medieval Morocco,” a traveling show that opens at the Louvre in October. As for what to expect from Rachdi, he told the Art Newspaper, “My goal is to stage an exhibition that will serve as a model for the museum’s collection and function.” [TAN] — USPS Honors Hudson River School: The U.S. Postal Service will feature four Hudson River School painters — Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Frederic Church and Thomas Moran — on its newest stamps. [Chicago Tribune] — Warhol Reintroduces Father and Son: The son of a bank robber found out his father was part of Warhol’s “13 Most Wanted Men” because it is the subject of a show at the Queens Museum. [NYT] — All of Cindy Sherman’s Wigs: Photographer Leanne Shapton condensed all 156 of Cindy Sherman’s wigs into a 24-second stop-motion video. [T Magazine] — The artist Dread Scott has written a piece responding to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, for the Walker Art Center’s website. [Walker Art Center] — The Getty has hired Jeffrey Spier as senior curator of antiquities and David Gasparotto as senior curator of paintings. [LAT] — LACMA is officially the first museum to join Snapchat. [Hyperallergic]   ALSO ON ARTINFO Polymorphous Perversity in Toontown: John Altoon’s Libidinous Enthusiasms A Sneak Peak Inside Berg’n, a Minimalist Beer Hall in Crown Heights Chicago Gets Eight New Public Sculptures This Week Instagrams of the Art World: Murillo Does the Ice Bucket Challenge, Louis C.K., and More Check our blog IN THE AIR for breaking news throughout the day. Published: August 22, 2014 Read full article here

VIDEO: The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec at MoMA
22/08/2014
VIDEO: The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec at MoMANEW YORK — After more than 30 years, the Museum of Modern Art brings together over 100 original prints and posters from legendary post-impressionist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), in “The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters.” Organized thematically, the exhibition focuses on the Parisian life and its inspiration for Lautrec’s myriad of posters and illustrations, depicting his observations of politics and the rise of popular entertainment such as cabarets and café-concerts in the late 19th century. “In his practice, he really is an observer,” said Sarah Suzuki, Associate Curator at the Department of Drawings and Prints at MoMA. “All depicted with a gimlet eye. There is not really a gloss.” From rare color posters portraying Jane Avril and her performance at the Jardin de Paris to his pivotal portfolio of 12 works Elles (1896), which captures the quiet moments of brothel workers pinning their hair or having coffee in the boudoir, Lautrec found inspiration from all walks of Parisian city life, despite his aristocratic background. The exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street in Manhattan, is open now through March 22nd. Published: August 22, 2014 Read full article here

David Hartt at Carnegie Museum of Art
22/08/2014
Artist: David Hartt Venue: Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Exhibition Title: Stray Light Date: May 11 – August 11, 2014 Click here to view slideshow Full gallery of video, images, press release and link available after the jump. Video: David Hartt, Stray Light, 2011. HD video file, 12 minutes, 12 seconds.   Images: Video and images courtesy of the […]Contemporary Art Daily is produced by Contemporary Art Group, a not-for-profit organization. We rely on our audience to help fund the publication of exhibitions that show up in this RSS feed. Please consider supporting us by making a donation today. Read full article here

Polymorphous Perversity in Toontown: John Altoon’s Libidinous Enthusiasms
22/08/2014
Like most of the handful of people who had even heard of John Altoon, for a long time I was under the impression that he was merely a footnote figure in the history of the legendary Ferus Gallery stable that produced such 1960s L.A. art stars as Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, and Ed Moses. He lived large, drank, chased the ladies, met Picasso, got committed to a mental hospital, and died young of a massive heart attack. He was on the cover of Lawrence Lipton’s Venice Beach beatnik exposé, The Holy Barbarians. He made cartoonishly explicit Pop art paintings and drawings, chock-full of genitalia, but was left in the dust by his arguably more talented and ambitious comrades. As more attention gets paid to his work, though—culminating in his first major retrospective, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through September 14 (traveling to the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in October), and the simultaneous publication of two substantial catalogues—it has come to light that Altoon was, in fact, the linchpin of the Ferus scene, the bigger-than-life artist whom all the others emulated; whose untimely escape-aroo was also the death knell of a utopian—if dysfunctional—pocket of artistic autonomy. And he was a better painter than most of them. In the wake of a series of shows at the Box, Nyehaus, Luise Ross, and Mary Boone in New York, public perception of Altoon’s artistic range has expanded exponentially. Until recently, two bodies of work—his elegantly cartoonish pen-and-ink erotic scenarios and his proto-slacker biomorphic abstract paintings—have claimed most of the scant attention directed toward the L.A. native’s oeuvre. As persuasive and prescient as these works are, they become all the more remarkable in light of two other phases of his aesthetic evolution: his masterful and utterly sincere abstract expressionist period and his perversely compelling illustrational figurative works, which emerged from his on-again, off-again career in advertising. Born in 1925 to Armenian immigrant parents, Altoon earned a scholarship to the Otis College of Art and Design with his prodigious drawing chops, but his education was interrupted by World War II and a stint as a U.S. Navy radar technician. On his repatriation, he studied commercial illustration at the Art Center School on the G.I. Bill, then transferred to the fine art program at the Chouinard Art Institute (later CalArts). In the early ’50s, he moved to New York to pursue commercial illustration and fell in with the Ab-Ex crowd (Gorky and de Kooning seem to have made big impressions), who pushed him to explore areas outside the comfort zone of his consummate draftsmanship. While few works survive from his NYC sojourn (he was in
the habit of destroying large swaths of his copious output), Altoon’s Ab-Ex period lasted until about 1960, and the paintings that survive are revelatory. Mother and Child, 1954—the second-oldest painting in the LACMA show—is an exquisite, umber-toned homage to de Kooning that rivals the master, from a time when that actually meant something. The ghost of Marsden Hartley
and foreshadowings of early Georg Baselitz animate the cascading striped shingle-explosion of his Untitled, 1960. LACMA curator Carol Eliel notes the connection to Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase in her catalogue essay, a lineage that resurfaces under more uncanny circumstances later in Altoon’s career. After a few years in the Big Apple, Altoon was awarded a grant that enabled him to travel to Spain and devote himself
to his painting. It was here, on Majorca, that he claimed to have encountered Picasso, who is said to have anointed Altoon’s precocious drawing skills, but not his painting. I’d always heard that Picasso never returned to Spain after Franco took over in 1939, but it’s the myth here that counts (Altoon’s later, erotically charged work has frequently been compared to Picasso’s late sex-crazed outpourings), years after their alleged encounter. And time and space have a way of warping in the presence of schizophrenia. Whatever else actually transpired in Europe, Altoon eventually experienced some sort of mental breakdown and had to be escorted home to recover in his parent’s house in L.A. He found his feet quickly—landing a teaching gig at Art Center, hooking up with Kienholz and Walter Hopps, and soon finding himself the poster boy for the quirky DIY era of the original Ferus Gallery of the late ’50s. It is from this period that most of his stunning Ab-Ex pieces survive. But his mental health and the twin creeping menaces of Pop art and the sexual revolution shifted his paradigm for good. In 1962 Altoon split up with his Hollywood-starlet wife, Fay Spain, and started hearing the voice of God telling him to “destroy all art on the face of the earth,” according to his psychoanalyst, Milton Wexler. He was then to “teach little children how to create art that was genuinely fine and noble.” Wexler took Altoon on as
a patient after the troubled genius tried to put his calling into action in the gallery row along La Cienega Boulevard. Luckily, his posse subdued him before he could smash things up. Then, in 1963, in a fit of paranoia, he locked himself in his studio. He
was committed to the State Mental Hospital in Camarillo, where he is said to have been given electroshock treatment. Altoon and Wexler had daily sessions for many years, and much of the psychosexual content of the artist’s best-known work can be traced to the psychotherapeutic process. But as the comprehensive exhibition and catalogue—as well as the massive new book deriving from the 2010 Nyehaus survey show, which includes bound-in facsimiles of several historical publications—attest, his work had already begun mutating away from the serious formalism of his abstract oils. As early as 1959 we see him exploring mythological and sexual imagery in his large ink drawings, and by 1960 he has begun his “trip series,” which initiated his strategy of assembling rebuslike sequences of ambiguous biomorphic shapes floating or piled up in blank white spaces. But 1962–63 seems to have been the year Altoon kicked into high gear on all fronts, including his “Ocean Park” and “Hyperion” series of mixed-media abstractions and the beginning of blurred boundaries between his commercial illustration and his fine art. Altoon was renowned for his rapid-fire drawing skills, knocking out stylish renderings of swinging consumers living the good
life. When he turned this same skill set to lay bare the hidden persuaders at work in advertising, he produced one of the
most idiosyncratic and provocative bodies of work of the Pop era. Untitled (F-8), 1962–63, is a prime example. From the waist up, all is as it should be: a stylish, soft-focus model type
in a pumpkin-orange ensemble swivels away from her southern gentleman friend, who’s lighting up a White owl–brand cigar from a prominently displayed box hovering between them. All that’s missing is the slogan (usually lettered on commission by Ed Ruscha) and some generic ad copy and it would be camera-ready. Below the belt, all hell breaks loose. Not only are both of our young professionals buck naked, but their genitals are full and frontal! The rug is pulled out from under the gauzy dream of consumer heaven, and we see that sometimes a cigar isn’t just a cigar after all. And when Altoon got hold of an airbrush, it only got sicker. These works—and his output as a whole—are hard to contextualize art historically. Affinities abound; Gorky and Picasso are frequently cited. Homeboys Sam Francis and Craig Kauffman. The perverted airbrush advertising imagery has the queasy softness of Richard Hamilton’s concurrent domestic pastiches, while the lighthearted bacchanalian tableaux conjure the improbable specter of late Renoir. Altoon’s biomorphic abstractions have the paradoxical funny-page solidity of Peter Saul and Philip Guston when rendered in oils; the pen and airbrush versions often bring Sigmar Polke’s drawing style to mind. Altoon’s final innovation came as his tumultuous life seemed to be settling down under the influence of his second wife, Babs. While the former prodigy’s elegant penmanship had played an important part in his work all along, in 1966 he embarked on the overdrive production of ink drawings straight from his id: hilariously monstrous cartoons of human-animal hybrids engaged in all manner of sexual escapades; a giant penis on a roller
skate proffering a bouquet to a despondent naked lady; a sexually indeterminate figure roasting a shish kebab over the flame-engulfed lower torso of a naked lady in a bathtub—the stuff that dreams are made of. Even more remarkable is the fact that they were rendered in a sophisticated modern cartooning style, fully informed by the erudite traditions of Saul, Steinberg et al, but exhibiting a sexual frankness that was only just percolating in the nascent underground comix scene in San Francisco. This explicitness began to leak into Altoon’s other work, particularly the ongoing series of goofy, candy-colored organic pile-ups on white grounds that now began to enclose small rectangular frames—like windows or video monitors—containing erotic figurative ink drawings. Several of these have an eerie similarity to the reclining nude in Duchamp’s final work, Etant donnés, which wouldn’t be made public until July 1969—five months after Altoon’s death from a massive coronary. It was also one of these hybrid portals that made a fan out
of a young Paul McCarthy, who saw it reproduced in Art in America in 1966 (and who has recently been doing his own nightmare variations on Etant donnés). “It was,” he recalls, “‘Wow!’ Altoon was, all of a sudden, one of my favorite artists.” McCarthy’s ongoing enthusiasm has been a major factor in Altoon’s revival, and the former’s 1996 installation Yahoo Town, featuring roboticized Western-themed mannequins (with a few animal-headed grotesqueries for good measure), is clearly a curdled theme-park homage to the original L.A. bad-boy artist’s late suite of erotic Cowboys-and-Indians drawings. Still, there’s something strangely untransgressive about Altoon’s work, no matter how kinky it gets—and it gets pretty kinky! Ultimately, the artist’s unrestrained eroticism reaches back to invigorate even his purely formalist abstractions, testifying to an inherent sensual continuity between the language of color and shape and the pictorial representation of flesh; between the creative act and the voyeur’s gaze—a concept with which Duchamp was all too familiar. In one of several brief artists’ essays included in the LACMA catalogue, Monica Majoli observes that Altoon’s work “hints that at the base of the creative impulse is an artist’s sexual pleasure [that] intimates a continuum between sexual gratification, sensuality, and artistic fecundity.... in sexualizing both the making and the looking at an image, Altoon implicates himself and foists his viewer into the discomfiting role of conspirator.” Discomfiting perhaps, but there’s a disarming innocence
to his indiscriminate eroticism that validates the entire world with the undifferentiated libidinous enthusiasm of a newborn. What’s not to love? A version of this article appears in the June 2014 issue of Modern Painters magazine. Polymorphous Perversity in Toontown: John Altoon’s Libidinous EnthusiasmsSelect Photo Gallery: Slideshow: John Altoon Retrospective at LACMA Published: August 22, 2014 Read full article here

14 Rooms: Interview with Choreographer Rebecca Davis
22/08/2014
Choreographer Rebecca Davis was responsible for the choreography of Marina Abramović’s piece Luminosity, and Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s work ... Read full article here

Brice Dellsperger at Team Gallery
21/08/2014
Artist: Brice Dellsperger Venue: Team Gallery, New York Exhibition Title: Body Double: Vous N’en Croirez Pas Vos Yeux Date: June 8 – August 1, 2014 Click here to view slideshow Full gallery of videos, images, press release and link available after the jump. Videos: Body Double 1, 1995. Single-channel color video, 48 seconds, repeated. After Dressed to Kill (Brian […]Contemporary Art Daily is produced by Contemporary Art Group, a not-for-profit organization. We rely on our audience to help fund the publication of exhibitions that show up in this RSS feed. Please consider supporting us by making a donation today. Read full article here

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