Arts

Home Arts

Maurice Berger, critic and curator, has died of complications from Covid-19, aged 63

0

Maurice Berger Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Maurice Berger, the multi-hyphenate art historian, critic, curator and author, has died of complications related to the coronavirus (Covid-19). He was 63.

Berger was born into a Jewish family on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1957, and was raised in a public housing project with a predominantly black and Puerto Rican population. This childhood setting largely nourished his outlook and interests, as Berger would go on to dedicate a huge amount of his lifes work to research on how race plays into currents in the arts, long before such conversations became more commonplace.

Berger received his undergraduate degree from Hunter College before pursuing a PhD in art history and critical theory from the City University of New York, where he studied with the critic and art historian Rosalind Krauss. In 1990 he published the essay Are Art Museums Racist in the September issue of Art in America, in which, as the text puts it, he set out to “examine the complex institutional conditions that result in the exclusion or misrepresentation of major cultural voices in the United States”.

He stated that, “sad to say, with regard to race, art museums have for the most part behaved like many other businesses in this country—they have sought to preserve the narrow interests of their upper-class patrons and clientele. It is the upper-class, mostly white bias that I want to interrogate in order to find out whats going on with whiteness (as the writer Bell Hooks might say) at one of Americas most racially biased cultural institutions—the art museum.”

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

Beginning in 2012, Berger wrote the Race Stories series for The New York Timess Lens blog, where he often drew connections between current events and historically important American photographers like Gordon Parks, Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank. In a pivotal entry from the blog, written in the wake of the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, Berger wrote, “a vast majority of Americans are good people who are clearly repulsed by what that they have witnessed in the photographs of Charlottesville,” adding, “but the very ordinariness of the people these images bluntly represent underscores that bigotry is not solely perpetrated at the extremes and as something exceptional. It is everywhere, having infiltrated every corner of society and culture, in places and institutions on the right, left, and in the middle.”

“As a Jew, I have known anti-Semitism. As a gay man, I have known homophobia,” he wrote in a Race Stories entry titled Using Photography to Tell Stories About Race, “But neither has seemed as relentless as the racism I witnessed growing up—a steady drumbeat of slights, thinly-veiled hostility and condescension perpetrated by even the most liberal and well-meaning people.”

In 2018, the International Center of Photography (ICP) awarded Berger the Infinity Award for his New York Times column. “Im very interested in writing about the things that would normally not be written about, like issues of race that people are uncomfortable with,” Berger said in an interview with the ICP on the occasion of the award. “Photographs are all about focusing, its all about details stilled to one moment, and sometimes, if you capture the right moment, that story—that image—is more valuable than as many words as you could summon. Its why Frederick Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th century, its why the great leader and intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois curated an exhibition on the portrait.

“The camera could be used, not just to sway white peoples opinion—that was maybe secondary—but to allow African Americans, who were under the gaze of a mainstream cultuRead More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Latest Fourth Plinth sculpture—a giant swirl of whipped cream topped with a drone and fly—delayed by coronavirus

0

Heather Philipson with her work THE END (2017), which has had its Fourth Plinth debut delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic © James O Jenkins

The next sculpture lined up for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square is the latest project to fall foul of coronavirus (Covid-19) and has been put on hold. THE END (2017)by UK artist Heather Phillipson, depicting a whirl of cream topped with a drone, fly and cherry, was due to be unveiled 26 March but will now be shown at a later date. The drone perched on the cherry will transmit a live feed to mobile phones.

Londons Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons, says in a statement: “We will support all the individuals and businesses involved in the commissioning, planning and operation of this installation during these challenging times.”

Phillipson told the Financial Times about the motivation behind making the work in the current climate. “Humour requires some kind of critical distance and I didnt feel capable of it at that moment. I wanted to make my own news. I wanted to make a monument to hubris and impending collapse,” she says.

Michael Rakowitz in front of his Fourth Plinth commission, The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, in Trafalgar Square, London Photo: Caroline Teo

Her work is the 13th piece to be commissioned for the prestigious public art platform located in the heart of London. Previous participants include Marc Quinn, Katharina Fritsch and Yinka ShonibaRead More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

The great disruptors: two museum shows look back at New York before the AIDS epidemic and the culture-makers that we lost

0

Dustin Pittman, Red Balloons (1979) features a party-goer at Studio 54 Courtesy of the artist. © Dustin Pittman

Against the exponential spread of coronavirus infection, New York has become a silent fortress of containment. Museums and galleries are closed, restaurants and bars, shuttered. Theaters, movie houses and concert halls are dark, as are sports arenas. Collective cultural production has ceased, while individuals carry on at kitchen tables, online and by Instagram. No one knows for how long. That is the X-factor for a city that is used to epic disruptions. Weve had terrorist attacks, power failures, labour strikes, civil unrest, crime waves, a flood–you name it. Now this.

Ironically, two museum exhibitions that opened just before the shutdown look back at New York before AIDS, the pandemic that took away a generation of disruptors we love—artists—well before their time.

In 1977, when Willi Smith was coming of age as a clothing designer, New York was a frontier town of the highest order, a place where people obeyed the laws of chance more than any rules of conduct. The city, suffering from corruption and neglect, looked like hell in daylight. After dark, it came alive in hundreds of clubs and bars. For three years (April 1977 to February 1980), the most hedonistic among them was Studio 54, the midtown dance club that epitomised the social highjinks of the post-Watergate, post-Vietnam, post-recession era. People were desperate to get past its velvet ropes, but the Brooklyn Museums attempt to dress its legacy in institutional splendour falls flat on its lame ass. Visitors arriving after the epidemic subsides will be hard pressed to comprehend what the excitement was all about.

Rose Hartman, Bianca Jagger Celebrating her Birthday, Studio 54 (1977) Courtesy of the artist. © Rose Hartman

The curator Matthew Yokobosky, whose exhibition designs I usually admire, smartly did not replicate Studio, but I dont know what this disappointing exercise in nostalgia is doing in a major museum. The hollow sound of a Spotify disco list, low-quality videos, and overused paparazzi shots of celebrities like Liza, Halston and Andy hardly testify to the irrepressible Steve Rubells mix of society figures, fashion designers, underground personalities and shoe clerks that gave the club its real pizzazz. A plethora of hagiographic, white text on black walls doesnt do the unrestrained design sense of co-owner Ian Schrager justice, either. Theres none of the diamond dust or confetti that rained on dancers coiffed heads. The gigantic crescent moon and cocaine spoon that dropped into view at intervals has been reduced to a sorry poster. The static lighting is terrible. Did no one save any of the elaborate party invitations that have inspired publicists ever since?

In other words, there are few actual artefacts of the club beyond notated guest lists and a few serene designs by Halston and Norma Kamali, but little indication of how imaginatively clubgoers actually dressed. Nor are Studios famously bare-chested busboys in black shorts in evidence. It may be best just to order the exhibition catalogue.

Better yet, after the virus runs its course, head straight to the transfixing Willi Smith: Street Couture at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. From the jump, curator Alexandra Cunningham Cameron re-ignites the reputation of a genius whose synchronous influence on streetwear and its presentation is now so ubiquitous — hello, Supreme! — that his peerless originals, displayed in their proper context, become a bracing lesson in simplicity worth studying in detail.

WilliWear Showoom, SITE, 1982 Courtesy of SITE – James Wines, LLC, Photo: © Andreas Sterzing

It helps that Cameron commissioned SITE, the environmental arts firm whose original partners, James Wines and Alison Sky, worked with Smith on his WilliWear showroom in the Garment Center as well as his Fifth Avenue and Harrods shops, to stage the show. One wends along twisting alleys that mimic construction sites on the street — fashions real runway. No racks here. Smiths basic, almost modular designs dangle from ladders and chain-link fencing, sit on cages or on platforms of reclaimed wood. They date from the 1980s but look as fresh and wearable as they did before companies like the Gap borrowed freely from Smiths aesthetic.

Smith was a star from early on, winning awards and becoming the darling of fashions deciders, but he was no snob. Inspired by the way people he spotted on the street or in clubs put together a look, he made clothes that everyone of any gender could wear and afford. He even drew patterns for home sewing kits, so customers could fashion his slouchy yet tailored clothes in whatever fabrics they chose. This was a downtown guy from Philadelphia, one of many artists who poured into New York in the 1970s and transformed American culture.

Willi and Toukie Smith, 1978 Courtesy of Anthony Barboza, © Anthony Barboza

Today, it might seem normal for a Marc Jacobs to commission an artist to design a backdrop for his runwayRead More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Celebrating a generous donation to the Frick, this booklet pays tribute to the donor and his gift

0

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

The Arnhold family began collecting Meissen porcelain in the 1920s and the heiRead More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Seeking answers from Lacma, Ahmanson Foundation threatens to take its largesse elsewhere

0

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

Long-time patron wants a clear understanding of how a new building can accommoRead More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Art films at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival

0

Hidden Away (Volevo Nascondermi), starring Elio Germano as the self-taught artist Antonio Ligabue

A number of art films that had their premiere at the Berlinale International Film Festival this year (20 February-1 March), should soon start making their ways to theatres—depending on closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the biographic film Hidden Away (Volevo Nascondermi), Elio Germano plays Antonio Ligabue (1899-1965), Italys best known self-taught/naïve artist, who bounced in and out of insane asylums. In a Grand Guignol style that makes subtitles unnecessary, Germano gets his hands dirty in paint and clay and even grunts Ligabue into a romance.

The films director Giorgio Diritti celebrates Ligabue as a misunderstood and mistreated tactile genius, as the film piles on the clichés about artistic expression and victimhood. Fascists want to punish Ligabue. Dealers want to cheat him. All are shown to have ulterior motives except the artist hugging the farm animals. The camera lingers on Ligabues work, from self-portraits to jungle scenes, plus sculptures slapped together in wet clay, enough to make it likely that Ligabues market will rise.

Also filmed in Italy, the melodrama Pompei, directed and written by Anna Falgueres and John Shank, is set in the modern-day slums in the shadow of Vesuvius. Here, youth turned feral by poverty, scavenge for first loves and for anything to sell, evoking the despair of post-war Italian neo-realism and Luis Buñuels tragic story of Mexican street children, Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned). The location being what it is, these kids sell foraged fragments of antiquities for pennies. A complex set of rules emerges behind the seeming anarchy of parentless children.

Ancient Pompeii is a perennial backdrop for sundrenched “sex and sandals” screen epics. This film, however, will test whether rebellious antiquities thieves can draw a young crowd to cinemas. The Canadian TV heart throb Aliocha Schneider in the cast should help. So should his co-star Garance Marrillier, who played a vegetarian-turned-cannibal in the 2017 gore-fest Raw.

A still from The American Sector, by Courtney Stephens and Pancho Velez

The American Sector, a quirky and improbably cerebral US documentary by Courtney Stephens and Pancho Velez, visits some 75 stelae that were once sections of the Berlin Wall and are now dotted across in the US—from bleak South Dakota to downtown Miami. Collected by American institutions, individuRead More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Genesis P-Orridge, pioneering artist and electronic musician, has died, aged 70

0

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Portrait by Edley ODowd

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the ever-changing artist and electronic musician who decades ago adopted the pronouns s/he and he/r and whose life-long work was to present he/r body and self as a medium, has died, aged 70. The artists daughters confirmed that P-Orridge died at home in New York after more than two years of battling leukemia. S/he had spent the past few years documenting he/r declining health on Instagram, and two days before he/r death, posted a self-portrait with a caption that read: “This is me today waiting to go home…”

P-Orridge was born Neil Andrew Megson in 1950, in Manchester, England. The artist conceived the identity of P-orridge around the age of 15, after encountering the surrealist collages of Max Ernst, which depicted the human form as a fluid entity rather than a predefined one. “We know that Neil Andrew Megson decided to create an artist, Genesis P-Orridge, and insert it into the culture,” Genesis said in a 2018 interview with the New York Times. “Some people take their lives and turn them into the equivalent of a work of art. So we invented Genesis, but Gen forgot Neil, really. Does that person still exist somewhere, or did Genesis gobble him up? We dont know the answer. But thank you, Neil.”

After dropping out of the University of Hull, P-Orridge formed the provocative performance art troupe COUM Transmissions, whose 1976 Prostitution exhibition at Londons Institute of Contemporary Arts was met with such harsh criticism that one member of Parliament famously referred to the group as “wreckers of civilisation”. COUM Transmission transformed into the band Throbbing Gristle, fronted by P-Orridge. The group coined the term “industrial music” to describe their abrasive, discordant tone, and went on to influence a whole genre of electronic performers such as Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, Marilyn Manson, and KMFDM.

A trip to New York in the early 1990s led P-Orridge to identify what become he/r lifes work—the “pandrogyne” project—with he/r wife Jacqueline Breyer P-Orridge, a nurse and dominatrix known as Lady Jaye. The two went through a series of body modifications to physically look more and more like one another.

Breyer P-Orridge, Red Chair Posed (2008), C-print mounted on Plexiglas Image courtesy of New Discretions

“It began as very romantic; instead of having children, what if we made ourselves the new person?” P-Orridge said in a documentary, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. “So we started to have cosmetic surgeries to look more like each other. We got breast implants together and woke up next to each other, holding hands.”

An influence for the pandrogyne project was the “cut-ups” practice of the poets William Boroughs and Brion Gysin, in which the two would collaboratively write and then declare that the resulting work was no longer by the two of them, but by a third mind. “So myself and Lady Jaye said, What if we decided to cut up ourselves, our personalities, our stories, even our bodies, and become a third being that is the two of us as one—that we really are only two halves of this one other being. So we decided to call that pandrogyne,” P-Orridge said in an interview. The project continued even after Lady Jayes death in 2007.

Throughout this, Genesis was also making sculptural and collage works that explored the some of the same questions posited by pandrogyne. An exhibition of these pieces was held at New Yorks Rubin Museum in 2016, and a review in the New York TimesRead More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

New York galleries start to close due to coronavirus concerns

0

The Pace headquarters at 540 West 25th Street in Manhattan © Thomas Loof/Pace Gallery

Several galleries in New York, including Pace and Hauser & Wirth, will temporarily close starting on Friday due to recent developments surrounding the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement, Pace says it is "looking into creative ways to engage audiences digitally" during the closure. The gallery will continue scheduling private viewings on a case-by-case basis, will remain open in London and Seoul, and will have special opening hours in Hong Kong. "While we firmly believe that communal engagement with art is crucial in these challenging times, our first priority is to take every possible measure to ensure the safety of our visitors, artists and staff," says the statement. The gallery's forthcoming programmes have been postponed.

Hauser & Wirth will close its New York and Los Angeles locations and has suspended all of its public programming. Its London, Somerset and Zurich spaces will remain open, while its Hong Kong and St. Mortiz locations will be open by appointment only. In a statement, the gallery says it has "halted all global and transcontinental travel by its partners, directors and staff" and that employees are working remotely. "In the locations where our spaces remain open to the public, we have created split work schedules so that staff can alternate days working remotely and minimize exposure," it says.

Venus Over Manhattan will also close temporarily. The gallery "will hopefully reopen soon", says the dealer Adam Lindemann. Read More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Dallas Art Fair and Paris Photo New York postponed due to Covid-19

0

Wishbone, 1977, J.B. Blunk. Exhibited with the Landing at the 2019 Dallas Art Fair Photograph by Silvia Ros

As more and more institutions close their doors, and as major art world gatherings are postponed and cancelled, Paris Photo has opted to delay what would have been its inaugural New York edition and the Dallas Art Fair its 12th annual edition. Dallas has rescheduled from 16-19 April to the first week of October, while Paris Photo New York, which was also slated for April, has yet to announce its new dates. The sweeping closures and cancellations come on the heels of the virus being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and as government leaders encourage the public to avoid large gatherings and unnecessary travel.

“The Dallas community has been overwhelmingly supportive of our decision to reschedule, as we must do what we can to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. While it was a hard decision to make, the fair will go on,” says Kelly Cornell, director of the Dallas Art Fair. She adds that “the health and well-being of the Dallas Art Fairs gallerists, visitors, and staff are our top priority”. IRead More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Activism, spirituality and a “prayer wheel made of cum rags” in Sex Workers exhibition in New York

0

Pluma Sumaq's Nuestra en la Arena (Our Blessings in the Sand) Jonna Algarin Mojica

An exhibition opening in New York this week aims to use art to challenge “simplistic and stereotypical ideas around sex work and sex workers”, says Sebastian Köhn, one of the organisers of the show and the project director of the Open Society Foundations, a New York-based civil justice organisation. Sex Workers Pop-Up, on view from 10-15 March at 9 West Eighth Street, features installations, photographs, drawings and others works by more than 20 artists, most who are sex workers themselves.

Among the highlights is the immersive installation Invocation (2019) by the Japanese-American artist Midori, which debuted in the exhibition On Our Backs: the Revolutionary Art of Queer Sex Work at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art last year. It consists of a hemp structure suspended from the ceiling and interwoven with objects donated to the artist by current and former sex workers. Visitors are invited to enter the cocoon-like piece, which is “like a prayer wheel made of cum rags”, the artist says. The work “tells tales of labour, craft, a life spent entertaining and also the division between the public and the private”, she says.

The grass-roots organisation Red Canary Song is presenting the multimedia work Mouth of the Coalmine (2018), which deals with the plight of a 38-year-old sex worker named Yang Song who fell to her death during a raid at the Queens massage parlour where she worked in 2017. “Yang Song was persecuted by the police and suffered a lot of the conditions that migrant labourers and sex workers are forced to suffer under extreme surveillance and decriminalisation,” says a member of Red Canary Song. The work comprises news clippings and photographs of street protests organised by the group as well as objects associated with massage parlours such as candles and an incense burner.

The artist Pluma Sumaq has devised an altar called Nuestra en la Arena (Our Blessings in the Sand) (2019). The installation fits into the Ifá religious tradition and is devoted to the deities Yemaya and Oxum, who “represent the river and the ocean and the inner abundance that we all have”, the artist says. The work includes the names of various US-based sex worker activists, objects traditional to the Ifá belief, and money to symbolise the spiritual idea of infinite wealth. The work is “dedicated to people who have been stigmatised for the way they earn income”, the artist says. “Even if people dont agree with our choices, were still here living purposefully and are supported by our spirituality.”

The New York-based artist Sun Kim has created an installation comprising various red umbrellas suspended from the ceiling that references the work Prostitute Pavilion by the Slovenian artist Tadej Pogacar. In the original work, which was shown at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001, Pogacar collaborated with sex workers to organise a march through the streets in which participants yielding megaphones and red umbrellas aimed to draw attention to thRead More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

the art news paper

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Popular Posts

My Favorites