a tale of a few cities

Elmgreen & Dragset’s Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 Unveiled

Posted in architecture, Art, artists, Installation, Photography, pictures, Public Art, Sculpture by petercombe on February 23, 2012

Artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset have become the latest contemporary artists to unveil a public sculpture on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. ‘Powerless Structures, Fig. 101’ depicts a classically proportioned young boy atop a flat rocking horse.

The plinth, built in 1841, was originally designed to host a bronze equestrian statue of King William IV designed by architect Sir Charles Barry.  Organisers said that, after 170 years, “Elmgreen & Dragset have completed the process by presenting a new take on the tradition of equestrian statues, directly engaging with the history of the plinth itself”.

Michael Elmgreen (Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (Norway) are a collaborative artist couple who live and work together in Berlin. Their work often takes the form of a wittily subversive intervention or mise-en-scène. They are critical of contemporary art institutions, and restrictive viewing of the white cube viewing space. The duo have held solo exhibitions at galleries including the Serpentine and Tate Modern, in London, and The Power Plant, in Toronto.  As a duo, the artists – who will exhibit at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in autumn 2013 – are known for works including Prada Marfa, a full-scale replica of a Prada boutique in the middle of the Texan desert.  

Although I like Elmgreen & Dragset’s work, I wish Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s proposal had been chosen. Their’s featured a working cash machine embedded within the plinth which, when accessed, would have triggered a functioning pipe organ set on top of the plinth, to play throughout Trafalgar Square.

Elmgreen & Dragset’s Powerless Structures, Fig 101, replaces Yinka Shonibare’s large-scale Nelson’s Ship In A Bottle.

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[youtube http://youtu.be/watch?v=dLGj7lxwjNk&w=720&h=450]

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Elmgreen & Dragset’s Fourth Plinth

Posted in Art, artists, Installation, London, Photography, pictures, Public Art by petercombe on February 22, 2012

The unveiling of London’s Fourth Plinth, Powerless Structures, Fig 101‘ by Scandinavian artistic duo Elmgreen & Dragset starts tomorrow at 9:00am (GMT), in Trafalgar Square.

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Michael Rakowitz, Climate Control, 2000 – 2001

Michael Rakowitz

Climate Control
2000 – 2001
Galvanized steel ductwork, fans, timers
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY
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Most museums and exhibition spaces have a central climate control system for maintaining the standard temperature and relative humidity (r.h.) necessary to preserve art works on exhibit. P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center lacks such a mechanism and, during the winter, turns its radiators up to 90˚F, ignoring the institutional standard of 68˚ – 72˚F. The dry heat of the radiators engenders a relative humidity reading of approximately 11%, potentially damaging to objects like paintings or prints, which require stabilized environments of between 40% – 50% r.h.
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In order to lower the temperature of the Special Projects room to which it is confined, Climate Control, an apparatus consisting of ductwork and fans, incorporates the existing radiator system on the interior of the building with the cold winter temperature outside. The resulting maze of ductwork features a central absurd element: the continuous duct which travels outside the windows and then directly back in, visible from the street. An internal humidifier feeds off moisture in the air and maintains a relative humidity of 20%, in keeping with the standard for exhibiting artworks made from galvanized steel. While the system is adjustable and can maintain a stabilized environment for the display of even delicate works on paper, there is no space to exhibit other art: Climate Control completely engulfs the room. The result is an absurd machine built to maintain itself. – Michael Rakowitz
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I first heard of Chicago-based artist Michael Rakowitz through his collaborative project “Spoils,” a culinary/art experience utilizing plates found in Saddam Hussein’s fallen palaces and held at Park Avenue Autumn this past October. After doing a few searches, I discovered his 2001 Climate Control installation at P.S.1 and was really taken by the Rakowitz’s clever use of space.
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I wouldn’t be surprised if Rakowitz’s Climate Control spurred the installation of a climate control system at P.S.1, albeit slowly.
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Martin Boyce wins Turner prize 2011

Posted in architecture, Art, art criticism, artists, contests, Installation, Sculpture by petercombe on December 5, 2011

Martin Boyce was today presented with the £25,000 award at a ceremony at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead during a live broadcast of the award ceremony on Channel 4, (UK). In his acceptance speech he thanked his art school, saying: “When education is going through the wringer, it is important to acknowledge the value of teachers.” Nick Serota said: “Boyce has consistently reinvented the language of early modern art. But he makes work that doesn’t depend on an understanding of early modern art: it is beautiful and arresting in its own right.”

This year’s £25,000 prize is sponsored by Channel 4, with £5,000 each for the other shortlisted artists. The prize is awarded to a British artist under fifty for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding 4 April 2011. The winner was decided by a jury of Katrina Brown, Director, The Common Guild, Glasgow; Vasif Kortun, Platform Garanti, Istanbul; Nadia Schneider, freelance curator; Godfrey Worsdale, Director, BALTIC and Penelope Curtis, Director of Tate Britain and Chair of the Jury. Turner Prize 2011 is connected by Nokia, presented by Channel 4 and supported by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Arts Council England.

Martin Boyce’s group of works include Do Words Have Voices 2011, a sculpture inspired by a library table designed by Jean Prouvé for the Maison de l’Etudiant in Paris, and Beyond the Repetition of High Windows, Intersecting Flight Paths and Opinions (A Silent Storm is Painted on the Air), an architectural intervention made for the exhibition. Suspended from the ceiling, the leaf-like forms are drawn from the designs of Jöel and Jan Martel for the 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. Boyce has created the most intellectual of the installations in the sense that it is possible to make sense of the artist’s clues and fetishistic references to the history of Modernist design through the work that satisfyingly creates a dialogue to itself and the space. For this installation, the concrete trees of Joel and Jan Martel reappear as graphic motifs and as quasi-Etruscan typefaces developed by the artist. The room contains a series of interrelated objects that repeat the lozenge shapes in the form of a table, bin, typography, mobile and other elements. A rectangular 8×4’ picture with the title Petrified Songs created typographically with metal letters echoes works by Frank Stella and Joe Tilson; a ceiling of white painted coated aluminium fins echoes iconic modern Italian design; a wooden rhomboid library desktop set within a steel frame and scratched with the artist’s invented alphabet references a Jean Prouvé design; a Calderesque mobile with perforated triangular sails/leaves in shades of black, blue, pink, yellow and green; a red distorted rhomboid waste bin with a fabric liner; four mock air vents are set in the wall echoing the art-deco typography; 100 or so brown paper leaves scattered on the floor are an origami version of the ceiling fins.

Turner Prize 2011 ExhibitionBALTIC Centre for Contemporary ArtSouth Shore Road, Gateshead. NE8 3BAOpen daily 10.00 – 18.00 except Tuesdays 10.30 – 18.00. Admission free. 21 October 2011 – 8 January 2012.

2011/2001

Peter Combe Parallels, Maurizio Cattelan: All, Guggenheim Museum, 2011/Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I couldn’t help but see the parallels.

Thanks to @Guggenheim for sending this blogpost into the Twittersphere, and to SFMOMA for featuring it on their blog.

Update Nov 28: Sadly the @Guggenheim Ow.ly link has now now fails since I changed my Blog URL a few days ago not realizing previous incoming links would fail. I did however get a hefty 1,000 very appreciated hits before the change.

 

 

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2011 Turner Prize Finalist, Martin Boyce

Posted in Art, art criticism, artist statement, artists, contests, Installation, Sculpture, Tate, video by petercombe on November 3, 2011

Turner Prize 2011, Karla Black

Posted in Art, art criticism, artist statement, contests, Installation, Sculpture, Tate, video by petercombe on October 30, 2011

Ai Weiwei’s Guerilla Proclamation at the 54th Venice Biennale

Posted in Conceptual Art, guerilla art, Installation, performance art, Photography, text by petercombe on June 4, 2011

Marc-Antoine Léval‘s latest guerilla stunt outside the entrance to the 54th Venice Biennale. I’ve always liked the humour and brazen nature of (aka “The Immaterial Art Emperor”Léval’s work. This particular performance prompted voices of disapproval from a morally and politically correct crowd, “Ai Weiwei did not authorize this!”  Just the sort of participation the work demands.

Anish Kapoor, Leviathan

Posted in architecture, Art, Installation, Interiors, paris, Photography, Sculpture by petercombe on May 13, 2011

Each year the Ministère de la Culture et Communication invites a leading artist to create a work that responds to the exceptional architectural space of the Grand Palais in Paris. The sheer monumental scale of the building provided the inspiration for Monumenta.
This year, Indian-born, British-based artist Anish Kapoor has created a temporary, site-specific installation (much larger than his Marsyas, 2002, installation in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern) inside the nave of the glass-domed hall. The space was originally unveiled at the 1900 universal exhibition. For its fourth edition, after guest artists Anselm Kiefer, Richard Serra and Christian Boltanski, it has been the turn of Anish Kapoor to meet the challenge with a brand new work for the 13,500 m2 space.

Visitors to the Grand Palais will first use a revolving door to enter inside ‘the belly of the beast’, a four-chamber balloon, bathed in red light, which the artist says he hopes has a cathedral-like quality. I am reminded of Niki de Saint-Phalle’s Hon, 1966, Moderna Museet, Stockholm which I compared to an earlier architectural collaboration between Kapoor and Amanda Levete Architects (the Monte St Angelo Subway station in Naples). It is as if the interior of Kappor’s Leviathan presents a womblike element or some sort anatomical organ system.

Once you enter the second part of the exhibition, the exterior of the sculpture appears to bear no relation to the interior. They co-exist simultaneously. That’s what the work is about,’ says Anish Kapoor.

‘I think there is no such thing as an innocent viewer. all viewing, all looking comes with complications, comes with previous histories, a more or less real past. abstract art and sculpture in particular, has to deal with this idea that the viewer comes with his body, and of course memory. memory and body come together in the act of looking. I’m really interested in what happens to meaning in that process: as memory and body walk through, take the passage through any given work, something happens, something changes.’
Anish Kapoor

The cost of this exhibition is estimated around 3 million euros. 

Anish Kapoor was born in Bombay in 1954. He lives and works in London.

John Baldessari, Your Name in Lights

Posted in Art, Conceptual Art, Gif, Installation, text, type by petercombe on May 7, 2011

John Baldessari Your Name in Lights: Register now and your name will appear in lights on Museumplein in Amsterdam.

The Holland Festival and the Stedelijk Museum jointly present the interactive artwork Your Name in Lights by John Baldessari, one of America’s best-known Conceptual artists. This extraordinary artwork will be installed on Museumplein from June 1 to 26, 2011. Your Name in Lights draws on our society’s obsession with celebrity and recalls Andy Warhol’s oft-quoted statement from 1968, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Inspired by historic markers of show-biz celebrity, such as the neon lights on Broadway and the marquees of Hollywood cinemas, Baldessari offers spectators a chance to seize 15 seconds of fame by presenting their names on a 30-metre L.E.D. screen. Your Name in Lights premiered as the 23rd Kaldor Public Art Project, in collaboration with the 2011 Sydney Festival; its appearance in Amsterdam is the second and only other planned presentation of the work.
Register here and your name will appear in lights at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

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