Ask and ye shall retweet
Ever wonder what kind of challenges crop up when installing conceptual art? Or how to secure loans from far flung collections? Or what the weirdest artist’s request might be? On 1 September, your questions could be answered if you take part in the first ever “Ask a Curator Day” on social networking platform Twitter. The event is organised by museum marketing specialist Jim Richardson, who previously launched the popular “Follow A Museum Day” on Twitter in February to boost the public’s appreciation of arts and cultural institutions using the site. Over 300 curators from museums around the world will be available for one on one Q+A’s, or you can post a general question using the tag “#askacurator” and a participating curator will reply. For more info and a list of museums taking part visit www.askacurator.com
Aol gives cash to creatives
Starving artists, get ready for a chance to starve no more. AOL is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by giving away $25,000 grants each to 25 artists, journalists and “innovators” (they sure do like that number). The programme falls under the company's AOL Artists banner, through which they showcase designers and artists. The jury who will decide the winners includes veteran artist Chuck Close, designer Andy Spade (possibly best known for being Kate Spade's husband), and AOL chief Tim Armstrong. The internet company says they were inspired to start the programme by Close's philanthropic work in arts education. But eager creative types in need of cash should hurry; the deadline is looming to submit an application request. Log onto http://aolartists.com by 1 September to register. You'll then have until 20 September to submit your full application.
Stylin' in Siberia
If you happened to be in Siberia this spring (we hear it’s lovely that time of year) you might have been lucky enough to witness the creation of what is reportedly the world’s largest work of art. It was there, on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal that artist Jim Denevan created his nine-square-mile landscape installation, drawing massive circles on the ice using push brooms as brushes. The project was sponsored by twee clothing store Anthropologie, and an exhibition of the project is now on view on the company’s new online art gallery, http://theanthropologist.net. Now that we look at the photos, those assistants are rather fashionably dressed…
Happy 100th Dorothea!
American artist and writer Dorothea Tanning, the wife of late German surrealist Max Ernst, celebrates her 100th birthday today, 25 August. The Illinois-born, New York-based centenarian held a variety of jobs before delving full-time into a career as an artist including operating a marionettes at the Buster Brown booth at the 1933 World Fair in Chicago. She met Ernst in 1942 and married him four years later in a double ceremony with artist Man Ray and model and ballet dancer Juliet Browner. A regular fixture in the art world, she has counted the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Yves Tanguy, Jean Arp and Lee Miller as guests in her home. Renowned for not only for her paintings but also for her poetry and ballet set and costume designs, her work can found in the collections of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New york and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, among others.
Captain Clare aboard the MLA ship
Roy Clare, chief executive of the UK quango Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, served 34 years in the Royal Navy, rising to be Rear Admiral. He therefore reacted with sangfroid to the news that the government is abolishing the organisation he runs. His press announcement was headlined “stormy seas call for cool heads and steady hands”, and he pledged continued support to independent museums to help them “weather the storm”. When we asked Clare whether the government was making a bad decision in abolishing the MLA, his response came as something of a surprise: “I don’t say it is a mistake.” Clare added: “You don’t want to pin your hopes on a quango, but the important point is to continue to invest in culture."
Don't hold back Brooke
Brooke Shields has spoken out about the highly controversial image taken of the Hollywood star as a ten-year-old by New York photographer Gary Gross, which was withdrawn from Tate Modern's "Pop Life" exhibition last year. The provocative picture appropriated by artist Richard Prince, entitled Spiritual America, shows Shields standing naked in a bathtub, with a heavily made-up face and oiled torso. "I loved that because the original photographer [Gross] is now a dog walker: he lost all his money - he's a scumbag. The fact that Richard Prince is making millions from it and that it's so controversial is, to me, the biggest justice," she recently told The Mail on Sunday.
Dead artistic: Bolan, Mercury, McQueen
Dead celebrities (and our rabid fascination with the dazzling deceased) forms the focus of a show of works by UK artist Graham Dolphin opening at David Risley gallery in Copenhagen tomorrow (20 August). Dolphin meticulously re-creates the public shrines and tributes made as memorials to dead rock stars. So pop along and see the back door to Freddie Mercury's garden flat or the tree glam rock star Marc Bolan crashed into in 1977 in west London (a four-metre-high section of sycamore installed floor to ceiling in the gallery, adorned with fan tributes). Dolphin's poignant pencil drawings of suicide notes left by the famous (Virginia Woolf, Alexander McQueen and Hunter S.Thompson) are also on view. But take note star-gazers - "Many of the suicide notes only exist as rumour or as notes on coroners reports. Dolphin improvises them based on the facts he finds, they don't make any claims at authenticity or aura," says a press statement.
Murakami artist gets all theatrical
Word reaches us that a protégé of Japanese superstar artist Takashi Murakami will take centre stage this winter (literally). A newly commissioned installation by artist Rei Sato of Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., the art production company of Murakami, will form the backdrop to Sergei Prokofiev's composition Peter & The Wolf this December at the Peter B. Lewis Theatre in New York. "The audience is invited to view the artwork following the program," according to a press statement (in case you're keen). Sato's project is part of the Works & Process art and education programme at the Guggenheim.
Maybe they like show-off...
The jaunty slogan of the Shanghai Art Fair, which opens next month (8-12 September, is "Make Collecting Artworks Fashionable", a cheeky motto dreamt up by the Shanghai Art Fair Organisation Committee. We were rather taken with the (rather blunt) press release which details how the fair organisers coined the phrase: “In well-received countries, the middle class and the rich will first consider to buy artworks as luxuries when they have owned luxurious houses and cars; they may buy paintings to decorate their homes or to show their wealth accumulation…, by which their taste of life has been lifted to the spirit realm. Maybe they like show-off, while what they would like to shock their friends is that ‘I have artworks of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse…’ they also like to show-off what kind of masters’ artworks they like to collect, classic or contemporary…of course, there is some utilitarian reason behind the collecting of artworks, as artworks can help them avoid inheritance tax or donating artworks can replace paying inheritance tax, or even artworks can be used for granting a loan from banks etc. While connecting with the fine art undoubtedly make their life special and unique."
Chuck Close on Colbert
We were surprised to see Stephen Colbert post an update on his Facebook page this afternoon announcing that veteran artist Chuck Close would be on his satirical talk show tonight, Thursday, to “discuss his life and work”. Presumably the appearance is inspired by Chuck’s current exhibition of prints at the Corcoran Gallery, but we are stumped to think what the pseudo-conservative character Colbert portrays could think to ask the famous painter, know for his photorealist and pixelated portraits. If anything, the appearance should help to educate some of Stephen’s less cultured viewers, as can be seen through the comments on Colbert’s profile. “Who the fuck is Chuck Close? What world is he renowened [sic] on? You're getting pretty lame on the guests Stephen, WTFU?” asks one fan, who is quickly mobbed by replies by more savvy followers gushing that Close is “brilliant” and “awesome”. One angry art lover even going so far as to say: “I wish Chuck Close could get up and give you a round house kick to the face.” TV entertainment not to be missed.
UPDATED: A video clip of the interview is now online, Chuck and Stephen are both hilarious:
Dalí's Chinese knock-off
Dalí is known as one of the most forged artists in the world—thanks no doubt to his tendency to sign blank sheets of paper for future prints—but his appeal to copycats has spread so far as to even encompass the small Spanish fishing village where he lived and worked. News comes out of China that a developer is looking to build a replica of Cadaqués, the artist’s hometown, 6,500 miles away in Xiamen Bay. According to London newsaper The Guardian, architects from China Merchants Zhangzhou visited Cadaqués this summer to take measurements and photograph buildings, with construction set to start in a geographically similar site in September or October. Joan Borrell, the mayor of the small town, told the paper he was pleased with the idea: "If they want to imitate you then it means you must have got something right… As with a work of art, seeing the copy often makes you want to see the original. That would be wonderful for Cadaqués and for the whole of the Costa Brava."
Discovering Miami's weird side
If you’ve ever wondered what Miami gets up to during the off season, before the rest of the art world turns its attention to the city for Art Basel in December, the answer is sightseeing. Wacky, artsy sightseeing to be more precise. All this summer, the artist-run space Bas Fisher Invitational has organised “Weird Miami”, a series of day-long bus tours led by local artists, uncovering hidden corners of the city. “We’ll load into the big yellow school bus and be completely at the artists’ mercy!” says Agatha Wara, one of the artists that runs the Design District art space. The first sold out trip in July, hosted by 2008 Whitney Biennial artist Adler Guerrier under the name Untitled (How the other half lives), took visitors around relatively unexplored neighbourhoods west of Wynwood. This weekend, artists Kevin Arrow and Clifton Childree team up for another sold out event teasingly called Goodness Gracious , and the final field trip is scheduled for September, with Christy Gast and Secret Guests. A related exhibition of works by the participating artists entitled “Weird Miami Visitors Center” is on view at the Bas Fisher Invitational until 18 September.
Bruce, Susan and the card-finding duck
Far-fetched exhibition themes no.1,311: "Magic Show" at Cardiff's Chapter Arts Centre (until 12 September) "considers how art and magic often share common ground, and how some contemporary artists adopt the perception-shifting tactics of the theatrical magician to influence the viewer and explore the power of suggestion", according to the press blurb. Twenty-four artists including Bruce Nauman and Susan Hiller get to wave their magic wands in this Hayward Touring Exhibition. But the most intriguing inclusion must be a "card-finding duck - a staple of TV magicians of the 1970s - belonging to Tommy Cooper"....
Hirst's day at the zoo
You’d think an aquarium would be the last venue that would celebrate an artist like Damien Hirst, but the newest exhibition at the Living Coasts zoo in Torquay off the Devon coast pays tribute to the infamous shark-pickler, who is currently showing his Mother and Child Divided in the exhibition “Tamed” at the nearby Torre Abbey (until 30 August). In response, the aquarium has created the sculptural piece Penguin and Food Divided, which according to director Elaine Hayes, “is a commentary on the circumstances that have led to the decline of African penguin populations in the wild.” Marketing manager Stuart Wright, who has a degree in fine art and made the pieces himself, said: “This sculpture presents two industrial, man-made boxes, one containing an African penguin with a chick and the other their typical food source. Isolated and separated by these angular containers, the characters depict the struggle that these animals face every day.” But worry not, animal lovers, no penguins were harmed for this art, the zoo opting to use plush toys instead of preserved specimens.
Liversidge lottery raises a laugh at Jupiter Artland
A talk by witty conceptualist Peter Liversidge on the ups and downs of his colourful career went down a storm on Sunday at the Jupiter Artland contemporary sculpture park near Edinburgh. But the post-lecture raffle proved to be even more entertaining when a chunk of the prints and photographs generously donated by Liversidge were won by none other than the Ingleby family...who run the gallery of the same name in the Scottish capital and represent Liversidge (this TAN correspondent was on hand and can testify that the raffle, run with a sparkling efficiency by Jupiter Artland founder Nicky Wilson, was completely above board, raising an impressive £1,400 for cancer charity Prostate Scotland). Guests were also invited to check out the new commissions on site by Cornelia Parker, Jim Lambie and Nathan Coley. The park, which opened early last year, is run by Nicky and her husband Robert, chairman of Nelsons homeopathy company.