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ArtPrize: The People And the Jury Pick Same Winner

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In a remarkable development, the Grand, No. 1 ArtPrize--the open, two-track competition in Grand Rapids--went to the same artist: Anila Quayyum Agha's entry was chosen by both the public and a jury of art experts. Her piece, called Intersections, uses light to project Islamic imagery in shadows.  Or as she wrote: ...the geometrical patterning in Islamic sacred spaces, associated with certitude is explored in a way that reveals it fluidity. The viewer is invited to confront the contradictory nature of all intersections, while simultaneously … [Read more...]

Anselm Kiefer Talks About Beauty In Art

TheMorgenthauPlan

I'd wager that most people don't think of "beauty" when they think of the art of Anselm Kiefer. So when Janne Siren, the director of the Alrbight-Knox Art Gallery, and I met last week, I was surprised by the catalogue he gave me for the Kiefer exhibition that, alas, closed there on Sunday. It was titled Beyond Landscape, and here's part of its description: Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape explores the interplay of history, identity, and landscape in the work of one of the most important artists of our time. Several major works by Kiefer … [Read more...]

A Question to Nobelist Kandel Reveals A Big Gap At the Met

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Last week, I was honored to sit opposite Nobel-prize winner/neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel at a small dinner. Kandel, seeking to understand how memory works, figured it out by studying its physiological basis in the cells of sea slugs. For that, he won the Nobel in 2000. More recently, he has turned some of his attention to art. In 2012, he published The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present. Kandel and his wife, Denise, go to museums a lot. "I would say art is our … [Read more...]

ArtPrize Matures: The People Vs. Experts

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In its sixth incarnation, ArtPrize--the open competition in which the public chooses the winners--is trying a new tack. Not only will experts also weigh in separately--as they have in the past--but also their choice will receive a grand award prize of equal size, $200,000, the same as the public. This is good, more about which in a minute. This year, ArtPrize has 1,536 artist entries, drawn from "51 countries and 42 U.S. states and territories, exhibiting work in 174 public venues throughout the city."  (That's down a bit from last year, … [Read more...]

Crystal Bridges: The Anti-Whitney-Biennial

AMaryKay

Saturday is the day. That's when the art world, which has been wondering what Don Bacigalupi, president of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and assistant curator Chad Alligood have been seeing for the better part of 2013 and much of 2014 on their search for underappreciated artists, will find out. That's when the museum unveils State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now -- their selections. It is definitely an unconventional ride through art in America. I say that even though I haven't seen the show, though the press preview was … [Read more...]

Artisan: Anyone For Fake Wood?

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Or, the more elegant term, faux bois? Faux bois furniture and furnishings are made of concrete to look like real wood. It's a 19th century art that is, in some circles, making a bit of a comeback. False, it seems, lasts longer than the real, which is prone to decay. It works especially well in garden fixtures. Michael Fogg, a Connecticut practitioner of the art, is updating faux bois -- making bonsai tables and chandeliers with slender branches as well as planters and garden furniture. I'm just telling you this because I wrote about the … [Read more...]

“Anonymous” Women, Once Again

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It's that time of year -- actually, it's a little past that time of year -- when the Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation makes public the ten female artists who will receive $25,000 no strings attached, just to support them. This is the 19th set of winners  -- and I was there at the creation, sort of. So I sometimes like to publicize the winners (which were announced on July 2). The awards go to women over 40 "who have significantly contributed to their field, while continuing to grow and pursue their work." This year they are: Janine … [Read more...]

American Art Bonanza Left By Richard Mellon Scaife

JohnKane

Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, scion of two wealthy families, died on July 4, leaving a large art collection -- apparently -- to two small Pennsylvania Museums. Scaife's attorney called the art collection "expansive." And according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- which Scaife owned: The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg and Brandywine Conservancy near Philadelphia will split Scaife's art collection, according to the will. The will allows the organizations to decide how to divide the collection and sets up a rotating … [Read more...]

Back To Koons: More Food For Thought

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So far, the most thoughtful review I've read of the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney is by Thomas Micchelli of Hyperallergic Weekend. It starts well, noting that excepting the vacuum cleaners, "...The rest of the work, however, with few exceptions, reveals itself to be as thin, puerile and derivative as the artist’s harshest critics would expect. But to take Koons’s art to task for the hollowness at its core is shooting fish in a barrel — a truism that leads us nowhere." Most of us have been content to dismiss Koons, blame his fame on … [Read more...]

Koons: One Big Show In More Ways Than One

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I've never seen a press preview like the one I attended today. The Whitney was unveiling its Jeff Koons retrospective. When I arrived, safely 10 minutes or so after the doors opened, the line of press people extended around the corner. Inside was packed too. Some of us went straight to the galleries; then there was a program. After Whitney director Adam Weinberg spoke, Donna DeSalvo, the chief curator and deputy director for programs, and exhibition curator Scott Rothkopf took center stage too -- and then, when it was time for Koons to … [Read more...]

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