Thursday, June 30, 2011

The July 4th Exhibition at Beez and Honey in Trinidad and Tobago

The 4th of July is one of the most important American national holidays. The artists in this exhibition all share something of the independence of America. Kristin Anderson, American, has created a video of a parade in Schoolcraft, Michigan, as well as still prints of scenes from the parade and the blue, white and red flag abstracted into a kaleidoscope, based on images taken on the same day as the parade. Anne Herzog (French) has a collection of small drawings showing the costs of American independence and nationalism; men in army uniforms in the desert somewhere. David Pierre (Trinidadian) offers up watercolors that touch on the effects of immigration and the postcolonial world, both the man-made and natural landscape, as well as the social and psychological landscape, as seen through the lens of America’s influence on the island.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tal Shpantzer at Witzenhausen Gallery NYC and the Hamptons

This artist will be all over NYC and the Hamptons this summer. Showing in Chelsea at Witzenhausen Gallery July 14 to August 12, Tal's work encompasses a range of subjects from the young, the old, innocent and not quite, with a style very much her own. Saturated with color, humor and humanity, her subjects reaffirm a link between the physical and spiritual realms.

Go see more at Art Market Hamptons too.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Juanli Carrion at Y Gallery

Now that the rush is over from the opening night party, come down and see Juanli Carrion's extraordinary work at Y Gallery in video, prints and lightboxes that delight the eye while engaging in serious social commentary. Until July 31.

Back in NYC: Stephen Burks

I've known this artist for years but I guess like any good relationship it only happens when both parties are ready. In Venice and Basel we met and smiled and this time promised to find out WTF each of us was doing in the art world. Yesterday he took me on a tour of his exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and then his first curated exhibition at the Museum of Arts & Design in Columbus Circle.

"Stephen Burks: Man Made" is the first exhibition of design at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Focusing on a creative collaboration between Stephen and his studio Ready Made Projects in NYC with basket weavers in Senegal, the exhibition offers videos about the process of creation, photographs by the artist of locals interacting with his exhibition of works in Senegal, lamps, speakers, tables, chairs and other decorative and functional objects made with the shape and idea of the basket. A series of interactive days where the artist and guests actually created things are over, but the exibition ends on Sunday so rush over there.

At MAD, Stephen has put together an exceptional exhibition of art and design along the idea of the hybrid; i.e. the influence of the ethnic on contemporary art and culture. "Stephen Burks: Are You a Hybrid?" includes work by American Indian artist Brad Kahlhammer, Charles and Ray Eames, Chris Ofili, Isamu Noguchi, Delphine Diallo, many others and by the artist himself. This exhibition goes till October 2, but run to see it!
Stephen Burks, Cappellini Love Table, 2008

Maarten Van Severen, Hybrid Cutlery, 2008

Zwelethu Mthethwa, Untiltled (from the series interiors), 2010

Basel Art Fairs

What can I say about Zurich and Basel? In Zurich my friend Jean Gid Lee's husband German artist Thomas Kiesewetter had a show in the home of the gallerist from Greider Contemporary.  On those previous links you can see the work. There were  parties, of course, and people people people, but lots of nature too; fish in the lake, in the rivers, and trees and sunlight when it was not gray.

Basel was AMAZING. For me the Messe of Art Basel was almost like second home as I lived 10 minutes away. Liste was like my living room where I met people for coffee, a glass of cava, or a sausage :)  as I stayed right around the corner from it. I did many dinners and parties and of course Kunsthalle for dancing but my camera's still broken so there are no pictures unfortunately, except these few from the Iphone.

"Eco gli due pazze" or something like that my friend texted me from his blackberry pic of us (me with Flavia) at Chez Donati the first night in Basel ;)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Anton Ginzburg: At the Back of the North Wind at the Venice Biennale

Palazzo Bollani saw a comprehensive show of Ginzburg's new work. You can read more here. From Anton's website:
In developing this project, Ginzburg embarked on a three-part journey, commencing in the American North West (Astoria, Oregon), continuing to St. Petersburg and then to the White Sea, the site of the Soviet Gulag prison camps.

The exhibition will encompass four rooms and two floors and includes three large-scale sculptural installations, eight site-specific bas reliefs, photography, paintings, a video installation and a series of works on paper.  Serving as the central narrative force for the exhibition, the film is a poetic and evocative record of the expedition to “map the void” and search for the mythological land of Hyperborea, “beyond the Boreas” (beyond the North Wind). 

On the first floor of the palazzo there will be a series of photographs and works on paper, detailing and expanding upon the artist’s travel journal, revealing the process of developing the project, as well as artifacts from the artist’s explorations.

The exhibition, taking a form of the dreamscape, begins in the grand salon with an installation entitled Ashnest. In this work, a serpentine sculpture emerges from a vast, centrally positioned circle of ashes five meters (over 16 feet) in diameter. Sculptural elements, some up to four meters (13 feet) in height, will rise from the circle of ash and debris held by steel rods, traditional to anthropological museum presentations. Fragments of 40,000 year-old mammoth tusks will be juxtaposed and combined with sculptural elements developed from the micro CT scan of the human bone and reproduced in three-dimensional polyurethane structures. In a manner common to scientific practice, these objects will have been made whole based on computerized approximations of their original forms in combination with artistic invention. The resulting sculpture will become the embodiment of an alternative history, and will evoke a palpable sense of the mystery surrounding their origins. Ashnest will convey a feeling of the after effects of disaster and collapse. Eight molded panels, which once framed paintings in the palazzo’s interior, will contain site-specific bas reliefs of geometric masks and abstract motifs relating to the cosmogony of sculptural characters and references presented throughout the exhibition.

The second room will house two marble sculptures, Bone Totem Owl, carved from white Carrara marble, featuring a bronze-eyed owl, and the biomorphic Bone Totem 2, carved from black Belgian marble. Over two and half meters (8 feet) in height the sculptures reference shamanic totems while also drawing on the human bone CT scans represented in Ashnest. This room will also contain two large abstract paintings based on maps of potential locations of Hyperborea.
The last room will contain Hyperborea, a video installation that will document the journey attempting to locate Hyperborea according to its descriptions in literature, newspaper articles and mythology. The installation takes the viewer from the primordial, virgin forest of Oregon, to St. Petersburg and its eroding palaces and haunted natural history museum, and finally to the ruins of the Gulag prisons and archeological sites on the White Sea. Present throughout the installation is a cloud of red smoke that functions both as a metaphor for the exalted self and an expression of the collective unconscious.

The body of work began with the artist’s observation that mythological patterns were undeniably woven into the fabric of everyday reality – specifically in the tension formed between the actual and the potential – and was expanded by the concept of Hyperborea, a mythical region that has been recently claimed to be discovered on the White Sea in northern Russia. Hyperborea was originally described by the ancient Greek writer Herodotus as the land of the Golden Age, and was thought to be a place of pure bliss, perpetual sunlight and eternal springtime. It has been an inspiration for early modernist thinkers such as Nietzsche and Madame Blavatskaya, while acting as a central theme to the early twentieth century St. Petersburg poetic tradition of Acmeism — dealing with the “golden age of man.” Hyperborea continues to excite imagination of global media as the supposed birth-place of numerous cultures and nations.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Black Arch: The Saudi Arabian Pavilion featuring Shadia Alem and Raja Alem at la Biennale di Venezia

Thank God for youtube. Here you get an idea of this wonderful work, one of the best I saw at the Biennale. From Saudi Arabia, by two women; of course ;)

30 Days of Running in the Space: Ahmed Basiony for Egypt at la Biennale di Venezia

Shot by "security forces" during the Friday of Wrath in Cairo in January of this year, Basiony's work lives on. Indeed, knowing his story adds a haunting element to the work, but even without the information about his untimely death at the age of 32 the viewer can feel the importance of this work, its role in revolutionizing a mindset and therefore its enduring qualities.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sigalit Landau for Israel at la Biennale di Venezia

Deadsee. 2008.
Photo © Sigalit Landau, courtesy the artist and Kamel Mennour Gallery, Paris

What a wonderful woman and wonderful works she makes! She could not stop smiling at the party Kamel Mennour threw for her in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, with the Tintoretto's on the floor above blessing her below. Sigalit Landau's work for the Israeli Pavilion took you on a journey (through film, performance, sculpture, installation) that spoke not only of her personal inner world, but through water, soil and salt to the once vast Dead Sea and the conflicts surrounding that region.

Images courtesy

Adrian Villar Rojas for Argentina at la Biennale di Venezia

Big big big BIG concrete. Makes you think of a city. But this exhibition entitled "El asesino de tu herencia" (The murderer of your heritage) by Adrian Villar Rojas took your breath away, yes, almost like in a big city. Monumental in size, these figures made you think of other worlds and universes, while grounding you clearly in this world via the use of ubiquitous concrete!

Lee Yongbaek: Korean Pavilion at la Biennale di Venezia

This artist's oeuvre extended to various media and each section of the pavilion excited the viewer in a different way. From the sounds of shattered glass and mirrors in one room to the hanging flowers of another, one could see that "Love is gone, but the scar will heal", the theme of Lee Yongbaek's exhibition.

Image courtesy:

Stefano Cagol: Concilio at la Biennale di Venezia

Inside the tiny Chiesa di San Gallo near San Marco's square was a piece entitled Concilio by Stefano Cagol. In some ways an extension of his recent exhibition in NYC, Stefano's film of fire and ice was an enthralling commentary on the solitude of man and the power of the elements.

Parties at the Venice Biennale

As usual there were loads of parties (day and night) at the Biennale. I didn't do all, but wherever I was, there I was indeed :)
The Billy Farrell Agency was out there in force and took a couple cute pics of me.

 Outside Julian Schnabel's opening at the Museo Correr.

At Dasha Zhukova's Garage party at the Bauer Hotel terrace.

Thanks guys, Joe Schildhorn and David X Prutting. For more party pics check out more on their site.

Glasstress 2011

In addition to the Pavilions there were several collateral exhibitions and events of a high quality. Glasstress was one of these, with way too much good work to feature here. Visit for more information.
Vik Muniz

The Dutch Pavilion at la Biennale di Venezia: Speech matters

This group exhibition was a pleasure for me, as my foundation in the arts started with words. Kobe Matthys of Agency, gave me the lowdown on what his work, focusing on the issue of intellectual property (hmm, all those words and images in boxes...,) meant.

Diohandi for the Greek Pavilion at la Biennale di Venezia

I loved the minimalist installation by this older female artist at the Greek Pavilion. Working with the original architecture of the pavilion Diohandi transformed both the inside and out into a temple of art, using the elements of light, air, water and earth.

Artur Barrio in the Brazilian Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia

Artur Barrio's work for the Brazilian Pavilion reeked of everything from fish to urine. Like a Latin American Joseph Beuys, drawings, scratchings, installations and other objects throughout the space created a cohesive experience of art that has found full manifestation through able hands.

La Biennale di Venezia: American Pavilion

The New York Times covered this exhibition and though some people said the pavilion was sh*t, I liked it because it was quite refreshing from some of the other over-crowded exhibitions that seemed to be trying too hard to be art.

Images courtesy: Lucy Hogg on