Weekly Roundup

Cao Fei, "Whose Utopia", 2006. Color video, with sound, 22 min. Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director’s Council and Executive Committee Members, and Sustaining Members, 2007.130.

In today’s roundup, you’ll read about rabbits and cracked eggs, love in the Ole South, community art making in the Twin Cities, an amusement park in Paris, a family of photogenic dogs, artists in avian form, a sliced car on the move, and a few big awards, among other things:

  • The short list for the 2010 Hugo Boss Prize has been announced and Season 5 artist Cao Fei is one of this year’s finalists. In a new video about the award, Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and chair of the jury, explains that the prize was created in 1996 to “honor innovation in contemporary art, and to single out artists who were creating truly inventive works of art.” The biennial award is administered by the Guggenheim Foundation and juried by an international panel of museum directors, curators, and critics. The prize sets no restrictions in terms of age, gender, race, nationality, or medium, and the nominations may include established individuals as well as emerging artists. The 2010 prize carries with it an award of $100,000. The prizewinner will be selected and announced in November 2010, and the artist’s work will be presented in a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2011. Previous winners include Art21’s Matthew Barney (Season 2), and Pierre Huyghe (Season 4).
  • South African Projections, an exhibition of four short animated films by Season 5 artist William Kentridge, opens at The Jewish Museum, New York on May 2. The films — Johannesburg—2nd Greatest City after Paris; Mine; Monument; and Sobriety, Obesity and Growing Old — all revolve around two fictional Jewish characters, the bloated industrialist Soho Eckstein, and the vulnerable artist Felix Teitelbaum. They begin as alter egos of each other and exchange attributes as the sequence progresses. “The characters,” according to the museum, “metaphorically play out the social, political, and moral legacy of apartheid as they go about their lives.” The films are hand drawn using a process that Kentridge calls “Stone Age.” He creates large-scale charcoal drawings which he then erases and redraws, filming them in the process of transformation. South African Projections will be on view through September 19. (Kentridge’s solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York closes May 17.)
  • Slow Fade to Black, a solo exhibition of works by Season 5 artist Carrie Mae Weems is up at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York through May 22. Through paintings, videos, and photographs, Weems presents the “burning saga of Mandingo, love, longing and the relations of power, miscegenation, and masochism simmering in the Ole South.” In this tongue-in-cheek historical drama, Weems aims to open and close the door on the past while imagining the future.
  • Sexuality and Transcendence — a major group exhibition featuring works by Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, Cindy Sherman (all Season 5), Jenny Holzer (Season 4), Hiroshi Sugimoto (Season 3), Louise Bourgeois, and Matthew Barney (both Season 1), among others — is on display at the PinchukArtCentrethe in Kiev, Ukraine. The show addresses artistic approaches to and the tension between “raw sexuality and sublime transformation into transcendence.” A total of 150 individual works, many of them never shown publicly until now, are spread across twenty rooms and four floors. A large group of works by Koons form the backbone of the exhibition. Highlights include Koons’ early icon Rabbit (1986); the sculptures Cracked Egg (1994-2006), and Blue Diamond (1994-2005) from the “Celebration” series; and the unveiling of his new sculpture Balloon Rabbit. According to the press materials, “Koons’ contribution acts like a mini-retrospective on the theme that forms the core of his whole oeuvre, namely, the ambivalent relationship between sexuality and transcendence.” The exhibition continues through September 19. Peruse the online photo gallery here.
  • Photographs and videos by Season 1 artist William Wegman are on view at the newly refurbished City Art Centre in Edinburgh. This show is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, Scotland’s largest annual festival of visual art. William Wegman: Family Combinations focuses on the artist’s famous family of Weimaraners. Featuring more than 60 works, the exhibition illustrates the family tree of Wegman’s muse Fay and her offspring. The show consists of Polaroids, chromogenic, silver gelatin and digital prints, as well as a selection of video clips from Sesame Street. This is Wegman’s first comprehensive solo show in Scotland.
  • On May 1, Season 4 artist Pierre Huyghe will present his performance piece A Live Situation (2009-10) at Le Jardin d’Acclimatation, a children’s amusement park in Paris. At the far end of the park  stands an empty building that was once a folk museum. An “identity crisis” led to its closing. Huyghe’s live experiment occupies this building and involves about thirty players. Some take the part of personnel: director, guard, archivist, receptionist, etc. Others, the “interpreters,” play out situations and stories of historical significance or from recent pop culture. Also involved are “authors of culture” and specialists from different fields; they perform in the roles of, for example, actor, model, singer, comedian, magician, mentalist, hypnotist, jurist, or lawyer. This project has unfolded over the course of one year and changes with every presentation. This will be the third and final episode.
  • Season 2 artist Kiki Smith is featured in the new documentary film The Red Birds, in which director Brigitte Cornand imagines fourteen of her female artist friends in avian form. Reviewer Jeanette Catsoulis wrote this in the New York Times: “Matching voices to species — like the whiskey tones of Louise Bourgeois to the distinctive cardinal — [Cornand] layers interview fragments over rustic images of flocking and flying. Casting a playful eye on a serious topic — the relative invisibility of female artists in our culture — Ms. Cornand cannily keeps her subjects off camera and her lens on their feathered representatives. As each woman relives obstacles on her road to success, birds waddle, perch, peck and paddle, their serenity a balm to memories of conflict and self-doubt.” The Red Birds is only showing at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan.
  • Barbara Kruger (Season 1) has a new self-titled monograph published by Rizzoli USA. This is the most comprehensive volume on Kruger’s work to date. The book explores the past thirty years of her practice, and includes contributions by Miwon Kwon, Martha Gever, Carol Squiers, and Hal Foster. Designed to embody a manifesto-like aesthetic, the book presents “bold spreads” of the artist’s large-scale works and public projects, and many previously unpublished works.

  • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has received a major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to commence work on the Panza Collection Conservation Initiative. The first phase of the Initiative is a three-year project to evaluate Minimalist, Post-Minimalist, and Conceptual works in the collection, focusing on four key American artists: Bruce Nauman (Season 1), Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Lawrence Weiner. You can view the Panza Collection here. Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, the man for whom the collection is named, passed away over the weekend. Read about his life and legacy in the Los Angeles Times.