The Walker Curates the News: 08.31.15

Takashi Murakami and his Superflat Collection, Photo: Kentaro Hirao, courtesy Yokohama Museum of Art

Takashi Murakami and his Superflat Collection. Photo: Kentaro Hirao, courtesy Yokohama Museum of Art

“After seeing an exhibition of [Shinro] Ohtake’s work in Japan, I became a contemporary artist,” shares Takashi Murakami. “But then I realised that he was imitating [Anselm] Kiefer. So my entire life has been based on a misunderstanding.” Connecting with the man he calls “the symbol of my becoming an artist,” Murakami finally purchased a work by Kiefer, 2010’s Merkaba (chariot), which will be on view this winter as part of an exhibition of Murakami’s personal collection of art and everyday objects at the Yokohama Museum of Art.

  • It doesn’t always have to be poetic to touch us.” Discussing his new book Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century, Creative Time chief curator Nato Thompson offers a defense of the didactic, challenging the notion that ambiguity is key to “good art.” “Ambiguity has a profound role to play in the world. It’s just an aesthetic form that is very vulnerable to the conditions in which it is displayed. It’s not that it’s not inherently important, but that it’s open-endedness can be used against it.”
  • Back in the US after eight months confined to Cuba, Tania Bruguera discusses her experiences in Havana, as well as her new projects—an installation using her confiscated laptop and a video based on her sessions with a therapist who specializes in Stockholm syndrome.
  • When he lived in Los Angeles, Fritz Haeg couldn’t stop thinking about urban (and suburban) greening. Now, as owner of the 35-acre parcel in remote northern California that was once home to the Salmon Creek Farm commune, he’s interested in “the DNA of urbanization and how we self-organize.” Here freize catches up with Haeg and former Salmon Creek communards.
  • After MoMA put its collections database on GitHub last month, the statisticians at FiveThirtyEight began running the numbers, charting everything from the prevalence of large-scale paintings in the collection to the age of acquired works.
  • Two decades after he first conceived of the project, Cai Guo-Qiang has at last realized Sky Ladder in his hometown of Quanzhou. A gift for his grandmother’s 100th birthday, the work, completed last month, featured a 1,650-foot stepladder structure outfitted with fireworks and lifted into the sky by helium balloons.

Follow Art News From Elsewhere on the Walker Art Center homepage or via @walkermag, the Walker’s editorial Twitter feed.