a tale of a few cities

Help a poor girl out…

The artwork, entitled When It Starts Dripping From The Ceiling, consists of a trough under a wooden tower of slats. Photograph: Bernd Thissen/EPA

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An overzealous cleaner in Germany has ruined a piece of modern art worth over $1,000,000 after mistaking it for an eyesore that needed a good scrub.

The sculpture by the German artist Martin Kippenberger, widely regarded as one of the most talented artists of his generation until his death in 1997, had been on loan to the Ostwall Museum in Dortmund when it fell prey to the cleaner’s scouring pad.

The work, called When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling (Wenn’s anfängt durch die Decke zu tropfen), comprised a rubber trough placed underneath a rickety wooden tower made from slats. Inside the trough, Kippenberger had spread a layer of paint representing dried rainwater. He thought it was art: the cleaner saw it as a challenge, and set about making the bucket look like new.

A spokeswoman for the museum told German media that the female cleaner “removed the patina from the four walls of the trough”.

“It is now impossible to return it to its original state,” she said, adding that it had been on loan to the museum from a private collector and was valued by insurers at €800,000 (1,103,400.00 USD).

She said that cleaning crews had been told to keep 20cm (8in) away from artworks, but it was unclear if the woman – who worked for a company to which cleaning had been outsourced – had received the memo. After reading the above in The Guardian, I was reminded of an article I’d read a couple of years ago about an ‘in demand’ contemporary art restorer.

The Ostwall Museum spokeswoman needn’t get her knickers in a knot, it just so happens that the 2nd sentence into The Art Doctor, an article that appeared in the May 11, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, there is mention of another damaged artwork by Martin Kippenberger and after further reading, its repair. Christian Scheidemann, a conservator of contemporary art who runs a company called Contemporary Conservation has repaired contemporary works by artist as diverse and challenging as Takashi Murakami, Rudolf Stingel, Wifredo Lam, and Paul McCarthy. A few years ago, Scheidemann had to trim a new piece of elephant dung to fill a gap in a Chris Ofili painting.

Dear overzealous (and no-less traumatized) outsourced cleaner, refer the museum to Christian Scheidemann at www.contemporaryconservation.com 

Readers, if you’ve time enough, give the lowly cleaning woman some slack and forward this post to mo@stadtdo.de with ‘Seien Sie gütig zur Dame der macht das Reinigen‘ in the subject line. 

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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

He Xiangyu, Der Tod des Marat

Posted in All is not as it seems., Art, artists, China, Exhibitions, Homage, paris, portraits, RIP, Sculpture, surrealism by petercombe on November 3, 2011

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In an edition of three, “Der Tod des Marat” (“The Death of Marat”) consists of a life-size version of ’s body laying face down on the floor, dressed in a suit. He Xiangyu, an artist represented by Beijing’s White Space Gallery and Galerie LOFT in Paris, reportedly hand-knotted actual human hair onto the plastic and fiberglass effigy to create a representation of the artist plausible enough to shock and offend unsuspecting locals. The sculpture was on view at the Künstlerhaus’s Laden No. 5 exhibition space until November 1. According to Xiangyu, the sculpture was the exhibit was intended to praise Ai’s defiant actions despite the Chinese government’s constant threats of imprisonment. Ai, who helped lead the design at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, remains one of Beijing’s most vocal and outspoken critics.

Passersby are mistaking it for a human corpse, and, not surprisingly, have already alerted local authorities. “Several people had already called within days of the exhibition going up,” said Peter Steger, a spokesman for the police in Bad Ems. A local resident also filed charges for disturbing the peace of the dead, thinking the corpse was real.

Künstlerhaus Schloß Balmoral >

Turner Prize 2011, Karla Black

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

Claude Collins-Stracensky, The Solar Distiller / Fountains

Posted in Art, artists, environmental art, Sculpture by petercombe on September 28, 2011

Top: Claude CollinsStracensky, Energetic Return Part 1, 2010. Photo: Luigi Acerra
Bottom 2: Claude CollinsStracensky, Solar Distiller/ Fountain2011. Photos: CollectiveField

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LA-based Claude Collins-Stracensky takes as his subject the fundamental aspects of the natural world—light, energy, and time—in a practice that embraces a range of mediums.

The Artist is raising funds to construct two public Solar Distiller/ Fountains for this years High Desert Test Sites event which opens October 15 &16 2011. The Solar Distiller / Fountains are a pair of identical glass obelisks that will be placed at different locations in Joshua Tree. The first will be placed in the town of Joshua Tree, and the other on a hiking path deep in the desert.

The ‘fountains’ rethink our understanding and relationship with public sculpture and monument while refining our awareness and relationship with water.  Installed as permanent structures, they will act as markers to the ingenuity and resilience we have for aesthetic adaptation to our environments and circumstances.

Resembling the historical form of an obelisk, the fountains function as public water distillers powered by the sun.  Using the method of vapor distillation, the ‘fountains’ purify liquids such as contaminated water from plastic bottles left in the sun, other “grey waters”, and even human urine are converted into potable H2O.

The top of the obelisk/fountain uses a reflective glass diamond constructed from a two layer food-safe and mirror-coated glass, which will encourage condensation by keeping the top cool, and also allow it to be seen for considerable distances in the desert landscape. The base of the fountains will be clear food-safe glass and will contain a steel “grey water” basin, a collection vessel and a shelf for the vessel to sit above the basin.  All parts will be removable for cleaning and maintenance.  The obelisk structure will stand 44” at its top and with the top removed will enable comfortable adult usage of the components inside.

The design of the ‘fountains’ allows grey water to evaporate from the basin and collect on the inner lid of the sculpture.  The condensed evaporation is collected through gravity and funneled into a cup by the ‘V’ shaped inner lid.  Within an hour or so in desert conditions, a full cup of distilled water can be safely poured into your personal water canteen and drunk.  Instruction glyphs etched on the sculptures side will instruct the user on how to interact and use the ‘fountains’.

YOUR CONTRIBUTION will enable the production and exhibition of two unique glass obelisks, which function as solar water distillers. With your contribution the obelisks will be donated to the Joshua Tree community by CC-S and YOU for permanent public use and display.

However ever big or small, your donation will make a significant difference in seeing this project through to completion, and will stand as a new method of producing public art.  Funds over the goal will go towards stipends for the artist and those assisting with the project, and will help fund ongoing projects by CC-S & CollectiveField.  All donations are tax deductable through USA Projects.

See Video here

Christies: Yves Klein, Victoire de Samothrace

Posted in Art, artists, auction, London, paris, Sculpture, Uncategorized by petercombe on September 9, 2011


Yves Klein (1928-1962)
Victoire de Samothrace

Estimate

    £35,000 – £55,000

  • ($55,755 – $87,615)

Incised with the artist’s initials and dated ‘YK 62’ (on the right wing); numbered ‘EA I/XXV’ (on the reverse and the underside of the stone)
dry blue pigment in synthetic resin on plaster with a metal and stone base
19¾ x 10½ x 10in. (50.2 x 26.7 x 25.4cm.)
Executed in 1962, this work is HC number one from an edition of one hundred and seventy-five plus twenty-five HC edited by Galerie Karl Flinker LC, Paris.

I saw this in the Christies window in South Kensington, London this evening. The photo does it no justice at all. Set to auction during their Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on the 14th, Sept., it was a jewel to behold. A heavenly apparition.

Christo talk @ Tate Britain

Posted in Art, artists, Collage, Conceptual Art, environmental art, London, Sculpture, Work on Paper by petercombe on August 17, 2011

Christo, The Mastaba in comparison to the Great Pyramid of Giza (Pyramid of Cheops), Egypt

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I’ve booked my ticket to see Christo talk at Tate Britain. Secretly, I’d love a months long gig working on the team with Christo.

New York-based environmental artist Christo gives a rare talk in London about two works in progress, Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado and The Mastaba, Project for the United Arab Emirates. Christo is renowned for his often controversial public artworks carried out with his late partner Jeanne-Claude. These include the monumental wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont Neuf in Paris, the 24-mile long Running Fence in California, and most recently, The Gates in New York City’s Central Park.

For Over the River, initially conceptualised in 1992, Christo plans to suspend nearly six miles of silvery, luminous fabric panels high above the Arkansas River, along a 42-mile stretch between Salida and Cañon City in south-central Colorado.

The Mastaba has been in development from 1977. This monumental artwork, set in the Abu Dhabi desert, will be made of approximately 410,000 horizontally stacked oil barrels.

In this lecture Christo, who has generously contributed his time, will talk about the concepts behind these two artworks, and the significant process of production and realisation when working on large-scale environmental artworks.

Wednesday 14 September 2011, 18.30–20.00
Tate Britain  Auditorium
£12 (£9 concessions), booking recommended
For tickets book online
or call 020 7887 8888.

Birth of Hirst

Posted in Art, art criticism, artists, Birth of..., Sculpture by petercombe on August 12, 2011

Paul Thek (1933-1988), Untitled (Meat Piece with Flies), 1965, from the series Technological Reliquaries

Ai Weiwei and the Five Finger Discount

Posted in appropriation, Art, auction, China, Conceptual Art, illustration, London, Painting, Sculpture by petercombe on July 19, 2011

Detail of Ai Wei Wei sunflower seeds from the Tate Modern in London

For the eleventh commission in the Tate Modern‘s Unilever Series, Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei had filled the museum’s Turbine Hall with millions of life-sized sunflower seed husks made out of porcelain. The collective effort of a number of specialists from Jingdezhen, China, the hand-crafted seeds were individually formed and painted. Before the museum was alerted to the installation’s dangers of lead paint and silica dust, visitors were encouraged to touch and walk on the carpet of tiny replicates. Before a barrier was erected around the perimeter of the installation, I wondered how many visitors were tempted to pilfer samples of the tiny seeds (see photo above). In February of this year Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening sale in London surpassed the $192,000 estimate, netting $559,394 for a 100-kilogram pile of Weiwei’s seeds. That puts worth of the stolen seeds pictured above at about $33.60.

Raven Row, Gone With The Wind

Posted in Art, artists, Conceptual Art, Group Show, London, Photography, Sculpture, silkscreen, sound art by petercombe on June 30, 2011

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top right, Walter Marchetti, Musica da Camera N° 182, 1989/2011 (photo by Fabrizio Garghetti)
middle, Opening night viewers take in Takehisa Kosugi’s Ear Drum Event, 1962/75 (photo Mandy Williams)
bottom left, Mandy Williams, Lost voices, 2010, Audio installation
bottom right, Walter Marchetti, Musica da camera N° 211, 1990/2011 (photo Rupix)
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Gone With The Wind is curated by Ed Baxter, director of Resonance104.4fm. The London art radio station took its quarters at Raven Row for the duration of the exhibition, broadcasting, and hosting workshops and live events, as well as presenting an ‘overhung’ sound installation – the ‘Resonance Open’ – with contributions solicited from local and international sound artists.

Gone with the Wind remains open until 17 July 2011 at the Raven Row gallery in London.

In-depth Review >

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