Weekly Roundup

John Baldessari x-mas

John Baldessari, "VISIONAIRE X-MAS" © 2010 Visionaire Publishing, LLC.

Just in time for the holiday season, this week’s roundup brings to you plenty of news, including last-minute gift ideas such as President Obama’s children’s book homage to Maya Lin, John Baldessari’s Christmas vision-aire,  Paul McCarthy’s tide box, Jeff Koons’s body butter and more!

  • President Barack Obama’s picture book, Of Thee I Sing, pays homage to Maya Lin and other Americans who have shaped civic, social, artistic and political foundations of U.S. society.  Obama asks very young readers: “Have I told you that they are all a part of you … Have I told you that you are one of them and that you are the future?”
  • John Baldessari contributed to Visionaire 59 FAIRYTALE, a mini-library of children’s books by contemporary artists and photographers in collaboration with writers.  The series, one of the most highly sought-after fashion and art publications in the world, includes a Christmas-themed print by the artist.
  • Paul McCarthy gives us Low Life Slow Life: Tidebox Tidebook, the publication for the two-part exhibition at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco in 2008 and 2009.  Packaged as an instantly recognizable re-creation of a vintage Tide detergent box circa 1973, the book documents the show and is also presented as an artwork.

  • Jeff Koons collaborated with Kiehl’s to offer a Limited Edition Creme de Corps Whipped Body Butter.  100% of the net profits from the sale of this product will benefit The Koons Family Institute, an initiative of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC).  Kiehl’s also honored the artist with a special holiday event last week and pledged a $225,000 donation to the Institute.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Miniatures, which consists of large-scale paintings from India, including  a reinterpretation of an illustrated manuscript by Shahzia Sikander that reveals the deep impress of the “miniature” upon contemporary artistic practice.  This exhibition is open through April 2011.
  • Barbara Kruger has a new site-specific installation, Circus, for the Rotunda of the Schirn (Germany), including pictures and texts from mass media from which the artist comments on the individual and society, war and violence, but also on popular culture and commercialism. This show will be presented in the Schirn until January 30, 2011.
  • Andrea Zittel exhibits her work in Palazzo Pitti (see video below) that “moves from A to Z,” creating a brand based on initials from her first and last name.  Zittel explores binary, polar opposites such as geometric vs. organic expression in her conceptual artworks.  The “two-faced” aspects of this work are revealed in a variety of forms which include domestic furnishings and dresses that are in a state of continuous alteration.

  • Jenny Holzer went to Portland to cast the words of Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska on the wall of the Portland Museum of Art.  Holzer has borrowed Szymborska’s verse as a way to express outrage.  The artist was in town to deliver a lecture at the museum’s Nelson Social Justice Fund that honors artists whose commitment to social justice is manifested in their work.