Friday, July 28, 2006

On Mobility until 27.08 De Appel, Amsterdam (NL)

This summer De Appel in Amsterdam shows the last stop of On Mobility, a series of exhibitions realized with the cooperation of European contemporary art institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, initiated by Saskia Bos, former director of De Appel. On Mobility is an ever-changing collection of works by artists that are concerned about recent developments in society. In their work migration and mobility, assimilation and translation, are key issues. They examine and analyse these issues in unconventional and imaginative ways, as demonstrated by two examples chosen from the projects shown in the venue at the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat in Amsterdam. The act of crossing the border from Mexico into the US is known as ‘brinco’, jump in Spanish. Judi Werthein’s ‘crossing trainers’ prepare illegal migrants for this journey. The shoes include useful items such as a compass and a torch, as most of the migrants cross at night. Inside are painkillers, as many suffer aches and injuries during the journey, pockets for money and the insole features a map of the most popular border crossing points for illegal immigrants between Tijuana and San Diego. Embroidered on the heel is an image of Santo Toribo Romo, the official saint of the Mexican migrants, and on the front of the toe in the direction of their dreams is the American eagle. To comment on the contradictions between fashion, manufacture competition, migration and labour flow, Werthein’s sneakers have been sold as unique art objects at the American side of the border. And at the Mexican side they were freely distributed amongst would-be illegal immigrants. The project caused a great deal of controversy in the United States. Werthein was invited for many news and talk shows, but she also received a lot of hate mail. Documentation of press coverage and webforums is included in the exhibition. In De Appel Judi Werthein also realises a Brincoshop. On August 26, the auctioneer of Christie’s Amsterdam will bring the sneakers under the hammer (location De Appel). The profits will go to Casa del Migrante
and Casa Madre Asunta, two shelters for migrants in Tijuana. Inspired by a study trip to India, where the farmers collect, improve and breed the seeds of local rices, cereals and beans, Åsa Sonjasdotter wanted to transfer her experience into the regional conditions in Scandinavia, starting out with farming one of the most common local staple foods; the potato. She planted some traditional varieties, but soon she found out that these old potatoes have a complex story to tell.
In the ongoing project A Potato Perspective, Sonjasdotter explores different aspects of potato, from the cultural historical aspects of potato consumption, to those problems that arise from the regulation of agricultural production and trading, including the fact that when farming old traditional varieties, one can easily break the law, even unwittingly. At De Appel’s roof garden, Sonjasdotter grows a series of traditional potatoes. On August 26 there will be a harvesting event and the public can taste the potato varieties that grew in De Appel.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

"Travesías (Crossings) (MAC) Santiago, Chile

Travesías (Crossings): Chile - Asia Pacific is an innovative bilateral visual arts exchange project fostered by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Santiago, based on Article 10 of UNESCO's Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (adopted by the 31st session of its General Conference, held in Paris on 02 November 2001). The latter stipulates the importance of reinforcing the creative and diffusion capabilities of culture at world level, considering the current imbalance in the flow and exchange of cultural goods at international level, and with the purpose of allowing all countries, "particularly the developing ones and those in transition to development, to establish viable and competitive cultural industries at both domestic and international levels".

Travesías (Crossings): Chile - Asia Pacific comprises the curatorship, management and production of a series of bilateral visual arts exhibitions between Chile and APEC member cultures, to be carried out in a period initially established as five years (2005 - 2010), which would be entrusted to the MAC.

This implies that the works of art sent to Chile from abroad would be showcased at the MAC in Santiago, while those sent abroad from Chile would be exhibited by the network of Centers and Museums of Contemporary Art of each participating APEC Economy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Serge Spitzer and Ai Weiwei until 27.08 MMK, Frankfurt

Our image of China is shaped by a mixture of fascination and skepticism – an experimental combination of authority, Taoism and Modernity.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (born 1957, lives and works in Beijing) stands for a generation embroiled in upheaval. Likewise, the works of US artist Serge Spitzer (born 1951, lives and works in New York) focus not only on the discovery and investigation of »models of reality« but on the use of everyday materials. On the occasion of the »Humanism in China« exhibition, both artists have for the first time joined forces to create an expansive installation entitled »Ghost Valley coming down the Mountain« (2005 – 2006). Visit the site.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Trial Balloons / Globos Sonda until 10.09 MUSAC, León (ES)

Trial Balloons is an exhibition meant to explore the diverse and complex artistic trends currently engaging and concerning a selection of international art practitioners who have been working since the dawn of the current century. This group show, which comprises the work of 48 artists and other creators –including designers, architects, musicians and performers- will occupy all of MUSAC’s halls and exhibition spaces. In the words of Agustín Pérez Rubio, Chief Curator of MUSAC and one of the three curators of this new exhibition, “Through this project, in addition to rejoicing after its first year since its inauguration and celebrating the good results obtained, which are even much better than originally expected, MUSAC aims to make a little more headway without losing sight of its original purpose, its idea of collection; in short, to embrace the museographic plan upon which it is sustained. Thus, embodying quite a venture, Trial Balloons tries to reflect in two directions: on the one hand focusing on the re-generation of the artistic event wherein the museum is the foremost protagonist, and on the other hand, probing our obsessions with everything that is emerging and innovative, the fleetingness and speed characteristic of contemporary society, and more specifically with regard to contemporary art. It is very important that MUSAC, as an institution, endeavours to meet this sort of challenge, being true to the present, and demonstrating itself as a new museum model for the twenty-first century. The project therefore goes a step further by making a self-reflection about the institution as creator of energies and communities within a sector such as art.” The proposal stems from the very definition of trial balloons, non-manned balloons that automatically measure temperatures and winds and provide other environmental data at different altitudes, and from the social and political use of the term, which means to tentatively put forth an idea or anticipated plan to test public reaction. Considering what is inherent in the term and its shifting into other applications, and within the context of some important trends and practices developed over the course of the last five years in the contemporary art world, the curators strive to elaborate, according to Pérez Rubio, “a metaphor that forges paths, experiences sensations, individualises collectives, and once again considers those other realities lost after the years of documentary and verite art. The very atmosphere of the project is that which joins these balloons, taking into account that perhaps the obsession with the new and the conspicuousness of a still unknown present already weighing us down are very much alike, which should rise and grasp these or other ideas, concepts and personalities emerging from the broad scenery of contemporary art”.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's Not a Photo until 26.08 The Chelsea Art Museum, NY

It's not a photo is an exhibition of abstract photography and electronic media. If this sounds like a contradiction, the confusion is intentional. Photography has long passed its status a document of "truth" - the very basic "the camera does not lie." Photography "lies" most of the time; given the ubiquity of photo shop that even the most amateur photographer can use to the conventions within art practice of creating sets that are then photographed as "real" or the "real" shot to look as if it were fake, artifice and manipulation reign.

The group of artists selected for It's not a photo have abandoned representation to focus on the media itself. Like abstract painting, it has become increasingly self- referential, using the freedom of its apparent lack of subject to investigate the tools of its own making - light, paper, chemicals, digital process, j-pegs and the like.

The resulting work is often mysterious, evocative and replete with a sense of haunting beauty.

Artists selected for the exhibition include:
Dimitrios Antonitsis
Jeremy Blake
Marco Breuer
Willa Davis
Bjørn Melhus
David Samuel Stern
Wolfgang Tillmanns
James Welling

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Painting As a Way of Living until 27.08. Istanbul Modern Art Museum

The video programmes at Istanbul Modern aim to present some of the most significantlocal and international productions created in this medium. Through a varied selection, the Istanbul Modern video programmes reveal how certain contemporary artists use new technologies to analyse or represent the aesthetic, emotional and social concerns of the times they are living in. The 4th Video Program at Istanbul Modern will run parallel to the monographic exhibition of works by two major Turkish abstract painters, Fahrelnissa Zeid and Nejad Devrim. Under the title “Painting as a Way of Living” the video works by Lida Abdul, Adrian Paci, Sarkis and Tony Tasset propose fascinating reflections on the practice of painting and reveal how the marvels of the sublime go hand in hand with the simplicity, the difficulties and the tragedies of everyday life. The works by these artists offer new insights into the understanding of how painting as a discipline continues to exist and expand beyond the classical limits of the framed canvas, into new territories, thanks to the use of contemporary media.