Bridget’s Bardot, 2009, a Ganzfield space by James Turrell. Part of the artist’s solo exhibitionJames Turrell: A Retrospective, at the L.A. County Museum of Art. Opens Sunday. (Copyright James Turrell. Photo by Florian Holzherr.)
Lost in L.A. at the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery is good for a variety of reasons. Foremost among them: the collection of religious ephemera gathered and displayed by L.A. artist Jim Shaw. The show is in its last weekend. You’ve got through Sunday.
Last month, Jonathan Jones wrote a cranky screed in the Guardian criticizing MoMA’s decision to acquire 14 video games. It was titled, “Sorry MoMA, video games are not art.” It’s an all kinds of ranty thing in which he goes on about why video games can’t possibly be art. (Neglecting to mention that the games were acquired for the museum’s design collection.)
Interestingly, in this CBC debate with John Maeda, Jones admits that the last video game he likely experienced was Pong. Glad to see his opinions come from a deep well of considered experience.
Nice piece in ARTnews on the ways some arts institutions are engaging military veterans — as both viewers and subject. Makes me wish I coulda seen Krzystztof Wodiczko’s Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection, in Union Square. Looked incredibly moving…
Like the use of the word ‘gina in this review of Huma Bhabha’s work at PS1.
Some interesting thoughts from the Getty’s James Cuno on how art historians and curators are not quite taking full advantage of the power of the Web.
Which brings me to the Closer to Van Eyck project which he describes in his essay. It looks super cool — and I love it when institutions make stuff like this publicly available — but it’d truly be harnessing the power of the web if there were a version that would allow tagging (in the same way Flickr photos or Soundcloud files can be tagged by the public).
The NYT runs a vomitous piece on why rich people think the art market is great great great, letting the idea that Art Basel has turned Miami around socially and economically go totally unchallenged. (I guess the reporter missed the Census stats about declining median income in Miami-Dade and the city’s 18% poverty rate.)
Speaking of which, a nice response to the rich people mumbo jumbo from Art Fag City…
Compact Object (Konpakuto obuje), 1962, by Nakanishi Natsuyuki. Bones, watch parts, hair, eggshells and other objects embedded in polyester. Part of the exhibitTokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Opens Thursday, in Midtown. (Image courtesy of MoMA.)
A dredging operation in New York Harbor in August of 2010. The regular dredging of the harbor — to allow commercial vessels to navigate the rivers — make the city more susceptible to violent storm surges. (Photos by C-M.)
The more I look at images of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the more I think about a startlingly prescient exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art during the summer of 2010. Organized by architecture and design chief curator Barry Bergdoll, Rising Currents examined New York City’s vulnerability to rising sea levels and storm surges. For the exhibit, Bergdoll gathered teams of architects and designers to study the city’s infrastructure and propose changes.
In August of that year, I joined a group of architects and designers on an evening boat tour to study some of the at-risk sites in question, including Red Hook and the banks of the Gowanus Canal (areas which have since been devastated by Sandy). Many of the proposals that day emphasized “soft” infrastructure, such as the restoration of wetlands and seeding of oyster beds in the harbor, that could filter water and serve as wave attenuators in the event of large storms. (The Harbor was once filled with oyster beds — but overfishing and dredging have destroyed these.) As we discussed the eventual possibility of catastrophic storms and rising sea levels, the air was warm and the water in New York Harbor resembled glass. It was difficult to believe that any of this could happen any time soon. Yet, it did.
As New York rebuilds, it would be wise to go back and examine the findings from this exhibit. According to the New York City Panel on Climate Change, sea levels will rise approximately two feet in the next fifty years. By the end of the century, those numbers could be as high as four to six feet. This could place some areas of the city permanently underwater. And there’s no telling what would happen in the event of a storm.
As Bergdoll says in the short bits of audio I’ve embedded in this post, New York, like Venice, is a city that is in the water. Yet the city, so often, seems to be divorced from this reality. (Something that was made all too clear when I paddled around the city’s waterways with artist Marie Lorenz.) There is water all around, yet access to it is limited. Wetlands struggle to survive at the fringes. Vast tracts of condos were once patches of swamp. In all its fantastic urban artifice, sometimes it can be easy to forget that New York is really just an island — one that is more vulnerable than anyone would like to think.
The first thing that entered my head when I stood in front of Marcos Zimmermann‘s astonishing silver gelatin portraits of nude working class men from South America was, How the heck did he get these guys to do this? This is not a part of the world known for embracing male nudity (especially in traditionally modest societies like Bolivia). The answer to my question was pretty simple, however: Zimmermann paid his subjects — all working class men who needed the money. It was well worth it. Best known for his dramatic landscape photographs, the Argentinean photographer manages to capture these men at their most vulnerable, but also their most powerful.
The photos are on show as part of the exhibit Desnudos Sudamericanos, at Couturier Gallery in Los Angeles, through April 17.
Top to bottom:Mario, changador, Mercado Rodríguez, La Paz, Bolivia (2006); Pablo y Marino, malabaristas callejeros en una casa tomada, San Isidro, provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina (2002); Muchachos en una terraza, Favela Cantagalo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (2006). (All images courtesy of Couturier.)