Weekly Roundup

Kara Walker, "A Warm Summer Evening in 1863", 2008. Wool tapestry with hand cut felt silhouette figure, 5' 9" x 8' 2". Edition of 5. ©Kara Walker. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

This week in Art21 artist news we have two tapestry makers, a silk archway, the master of Cremaster, an artist who likes to do laundry, a magical sound installation, environmental issues, creative explosions, and more.

  • Opening January 8 at James Cohen Gallery, Demons, Yarns & Tales features hand-woven tapestries created by thirteen contemporary artists: Kara Walker (Season 2), Shahzia Sikander (Season 1), avaf, Peter Blake, Gary Hume, Jaime Gili, Francesca Lowe, Beatriz Milhazes, Paul Noble, Grayson Perry, Fred Tomaselli, Gavin Turk, and Julie Verhoeven. The exhibition was created by the London-based art organization, Banners of Persuasion, who commissioned each artist to design a tapestry, a medium foreign to his or her usual practice. Walker’s A Warm Summer Evening in 1863 uses an image published in Harpers Magazine during the American Civil War, captioned “The Destruction of the Coloured Orphan Asylum on 5th Avenue.” A black silhouette of a lynched female figure hangs in front of this scene. The exhibition will be on view through February 13.
  • Renaissance Unframed, an exhibition at Carolina Nitsch Project Room in New York, consists of twenty-five encaustic drawings on muslin and two companion bronze sculptures by Season 3 artist Richard Tuttle. Tuttle’s drawings “explore fabric as a medium to receive color and as a tool to direct its movement” and the bronze works “represent the antithesis of the fabric on the wall.” The fabric pieces are rotated every 2 weeks with only five works being shown at a time. The exhibition is on view through January 9.
  • On January 13, Season 2 artist Matthew Barney will speak at the Detroit Institute of Arts and discuss his newest project Khu, a performance and film loosely based on Norman Mailer’s 1983 novel, Ancient Evenings. Barney updates Mailer’s plot from an ancient Egyptian narrative to a present day account of reincarnation and rebirth set in an American landscape. Each chapter will be set in a different city and correspond to the seven stages of the soul’s departure from the body according to Egyptian mythology. The first chapter was performed in Los Angeles in 2007. The latest chapter takes place in Detroit. Barney’s lecture begins at 7pm; a (free) pass is required and can be obtained here.
  • Through January 17, work by Season 1 artist Kerry James Marshall is on view at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art in the exhibition Heartland. The show features site-specific installations and performances as well as drawing, photography, and video by artists and collaboratives working in, and in response to, Detroit, Kansas City, and other cities and rural communities across the region. Also included in the exhibition are artists Carnal Torpor, Compass Group, Cody Critcheloe, Jeremiah Day, Detroit Tree of Heaven Woodshop, Design 99, Scott Hocking, Greely Myatt, Marjetica Potrč, Julika Rudelius, Artur Silva, Deb Sokolow, and Whoop Dee Doo.
  • Gate (2005) by Season 2 artist Do-Ho Suh is now on view in the Los Angles County Museum of Art’s Korean art galleries. Made of translucent silk, the piece is a full-size rendering of one of the gates to the artist’s childhood home in Seoul. Suh’s father, the artist and scholar Suh Se-Ok, built the house based on the design of traditional Korean architecture of the 1880s.
  • Rethink: Contemporary Art & Climate Change (part of the official culture program for the United Nations Climate Change Conference) is a collaboration of the National Gallery of Denmark, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, and Moesgård Museum. The exhibition includes more than 25 artists spread across the four venues. Each space is dedicated to a different theme: Relations, The Implicit, Kakotopia, and Information, respectively. At the Nat’l Gallery of Denmark, A Man Screaming Is Not a Dancing Bear, a 2008 film by duo Allora & Calzadilla (Season 4) presents viewers with three scenes: gently flowing images of a lush river landscape, a dilapidated interior in an abandoned house, and footage of a young man who drums rhythmically on the slats of a Venetian blind. The piece, shot in New Orleans and on the Mississippi Delta, draws attention to the remaining wreckage of Hurricane Katrina. A Man Screaming Is Not a Dancing Bear is on view through April 5. (Note: each theme/venue closes on a different day; check the website for more information.)
  • Season 2 artist Maya Lin unveiled her new video, Unchopping a Tree, in Copenhagen last week. This is the latest iteration of Lin’s larger and last memorial project, What is Missing? The video addresses deforestation prevention and sustainable reforestation to reduce carbon emissions and protect endangered species and habitats — watch it here.
  • In Roberta Smith’s review of Days and Giorni by Bruce Nauman (Season 1) — two sound installations on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art — she writes: “Each piece consists of 14 recordings of seven people reciting the days of the week. Their voices are broadcast from 14 wafer-thin white speakers, around 23 inches square, arranged in seven facing pairs, one for each person’s voice. Each speaker is simply clipped to two wires strung tautly from floor to ceiling. It’s like paintings by Robert Ryman hanging on Fred Sandback’s string sculptures, and the effect is magical. Read more here.
  • “A countdown began two minutes out. 90 seconds. One minute. 50 seconds. 40. 30. And so on. And then: fireworks! And then: fire! The blossom burned, glowing orange against the museum and the now dusky sky, and dark smoke billowed into the air. The crowd oohed and aahed.” Click here to read more about the recent “explosion events” by Season 3 artist Cai Guo-Qiang (as reported by Kris Wilton of Artinfo.com).
  • Season 4 artist Jenny Holzer has shared her morning routine, favorite household chore, travel rituals, and more with Times Magazine. Read her witty profile here.