Weekly Roundup

John Baldessari, "Tips for Artists to Sell", 1966-68. Acrylic on canvas, 68 x 56 1/2 in. The Broad Foundation, Santa Monica. © 2009 John Baldessari. Photo courtesy of The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica.

In this week’s roundup you’ll read about a retrospective in the Golden State, a pack of wolves in Singapore, a dreamy gift in Berlin, de-monumentalisation in Italy, Oprah culture the world over, some fresh high-tops at Bloomingdale’s, and much more:

  • The traveling retrospective exhibition, John Baldessari: Pure Beauty, has opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). This is the only West Coast showing and features the greatest number of works (more than 150) of any venue on the show’s tour. “Pure Beauty,” says Leslie Jones, LACMA associate curator of prints and drawings, “explores Baldessari’s lifelong interest in language and mass media culture, which seems increasingly relevant — even imperative — in an era of information and image proliferation.” Beginning with his little-known paintings from the early 1960s, the exhibition features the landmark photo and text works from 1966-68, photo-compositions derived from films stills of the 1980s, irregularly shaped and over-painted works of the 1990s, as well as video and artist books. The show concludes with recent works by Baldessari (Season 5), including a special multimedia installation conceived for the retrospective. Pure Beauty closes September 12 at LACMA, and will then travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • On the occasion of Pure Beauty, Baldessari (working with the art media company ForYourArt) has created an iPad application that lets users rearrange a 17th-century Dutch still-life painting by Abraham van Beyeren. The painting, titled Banquet Still Life, is held in LACMA’s collection. According to the LA Times, Baldessari did another version of the project nine years ago. Learn more about the application at Artinfo.com.
  • Stylus, a new project by Ann Hamilton (Season 1), opens at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts on July 9. Hamilton’s installation was conceived as both “a sanctuary for listening and a laboratory for experiments in collective vocal exercises.” The installation asks the following questions: How do we communicate? What external forces act upon or inhibit our collective need for social contact and response? How are relationships enacted (or not enacted) by the architectural spaces we inhabit? Go behind the scenes of the installation by visiting the Pulitzer’s blog.
  • Head On — a massive installation of 99 life-sized wolves — was created by Cai Guo-Qiang (Season 3) for his solo exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin in 2006. It is now on view at the National Museum of Singapore. Via the museum: “Seen from afar, the leaping wolf pack forms an arc full of force and power, their fierce courage and spirit of warrior camaraderie seemingly serving as a reminder to people: humanity is easily blinded by a kind of collective mentality and action, and is destined to repeat such error to an almost unbelievable degree. The crux of this installation lies just before the glass wall, as the artist reminds people: invisible walls are the hardest to dismantle.” The second and third parts of this installation, Illusion II and Vortex, are also on view. Closes August 31.
  • Text/Weave/Line—Video, 1977-2010, an exhibition of works by Beryl Korot (Season 1), has opened at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. This marks the artist’s most extensive museum project by  to date, featuring six never-before-seen works. Her new pieces reflect an ongoing interest in how our communication tools mirror the way we present and receive information. Among the works on view are Korot’s multi-channel video work, Text and Commentary, which premiered at Leo Castelli Gallery in 1977. Curator Harry Philbrick points out, “Korot was the co-founder and co-editor of the ground-breaking 1970s publication Radical Software, the first magazine to explore the notion of alternative communication systems and formats for conveying information. Today, when new media is an imperative in our connected world, she continues to create fresh work that illuminates the structure of communication.” Continues through January 2, 2011.
  • Dream Passage is the first major retrospective exhibition of works by Season 1 artist Bruce Nauman to be staged in Berlin. Presented by the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart, the exhibition celebrates a new gift to the museum from collector Friedrich Christian Flick: Nauman’s Room with My Soul Left Out, Room That Does Not Care (1984). This “architectural sculpture” has been installed in collaboration with the artist and will now be on permanent display. Other examples of Nauman’s “experience architecture,” also on view, include Corridor Installation (Nick Wilder Installation) (1970), where visitors are recorded by a video camera and then confronted with their own image; and Kassel Corridor: Elliptical Space (1972), created for Documenta 5. Dream Passage closes October 10.
  • Double Sexus, on view at the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg in Berlin, juxtaposes over 70 works by Louise Bourgeois (Season 1) and Hans Bellmer (1902-1975). The exhibition is designed to show their “striking parallels.” The artists never met, but they were both in Paris at the same time: Bellmer came to Paris from Berlin the same year that Bourgeois moved from Paris to New York. The central topics of the exhibition, according to the museum website, are “female fantasies and male fears, the ambiguous nature of everything sexual and the links between eroticism and creativity.” Closes August 15.
  • Through July 10, new works by Raymond Pettibon (Season 2) are on view at Gladstone Gallery in Brussels. In this exhibition, Pettibon continues to use collage, drawing, and painting to conjure earlier established themes and imagery mined from Noir and B movies, cult icons, literature, television, political propaganda, and old comic books. “This broad range of historical references not only foregrounds Pettibon’s own interest in appropriating past visual and literary styles,” states the Gladstone website, “but also invokes the schizophrenic and pathological impulses at work in the American imaginary.”
  • Les Grands Ensembles (The Housing Projects) (1994/2001), an important video installation by Season 4 artist Pierre Huyghe, is on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through October 19. It is included in the special exhibition Contemporary Collecting: Selections from the Donna and Howard Stone Collection. Huyghe’s piece is described as: “a fixed view of two residential towers in a bleak urban landscape, swathed in fog at night. Lacking any signs of human activity, the buildings appear to take on lives of their own as the video’s buzzing electronic soundtrack, composed by Pan Sonic and Cédric Pigot, builds in intensity. Windows in the two façades begin to light up rhythmically and with increasing frequency, as if communicating in some sort of code…”
  • Mark Bradford: Merchant Posters, a new publication from Aspen Art Museum, is the definitive collection of collages that Bradford (Season 4) has been working on since 2006. The book features more than 100 full-color reproductions, as well as essays by Dia Art Foundation Director Philippe Vergne, Los Angeles-based artist and writer Ernest Hardy, Los Angeles-based cultural critic Malik Gaines, and Aspen Art Museum Director and Chief Curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson. Purchase Merchant Posters here.
  • Jenny Holzer (Season 4) is in the New York Times again, most recently for her sneaker project to benefit the Whitney Museum of American Art. “Protect Me From What I Want,” a line from her 1980s Survival series, is printed on canvas Keds sneakers that will be sold at Bloomingdale’s beginning July 8. The black-and-white high-top version retails for $75, low-tops for $70. Read more about Holzer’s project here.
  • Laurie Anderson (Season 1) was also featured in the New York Times last week. The article discusses, among other things, Homeland, the artist’s first album of new material in nearly 10 years. Anderson is quoted as saying, “[The album] came out of frustration from living in this Oprah Winfrey culture where everything is done for you and people are just infantilized. I mean, that show is based on the premise that there’s something wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just a human being. It’s not easy being a human being.”

Note: We will not post a roundup next week, July 5, due to the holiday.