Scotland-born, LA-based artist Euan Macdonald presents A Little Ramble, a solo exhibition at Western Bridge. The exhibition features video, drawings, photographs, and new two newly commissioned works. "The idea of landscape is a thread that runs through all the work," says Macdonald, not as a scene but as "a changing space to move through in time."
The show's centerpiece, A Little Ramble (2010), brings a full scale replica of a mountaintop into Western Bridge. Realistically rendered by a local scene shop, the mountain is surmounted by a pair of taxidermied mountain goats, frozen in circulation on a looped path around the summit. The work takes its title from a short prose piece by Robert Walser (1878-1956) recounting a trek in the mountains, most likely in Switzerland but unspecified, easily projected onto the landscape around Seattle. "I walked through the mountains today," the account begins. "The weather was damp, and the entire region was gray." The narrator limits himself to the observable, giving little indication of his interior state. The ending asserts the power of the mundane: "We don't need to see anything out of the ordinary. We already see so much."
A mountain encountered inside a gallery is clearly out of the ordinary, but the piece asserts itself as a commonplace despite its uncanniness. The extraordinary is expressed as if ordinary.
Upstairs, in Western Bridge's connected apartment, a smaller sculptural work gives a long view of the same scene. In 98134, (2009) Western Bridge itself is set, as a scale model, atop a large mountain. Drawing from a trope of science fiction, the work shows the building "at the mercy of geological change," in the artist's words, a vision out of J.G. Ballard or Planet of the Apes.
Landscape appears in both the imagery and structure of Selected Standards (2007), an installation of 84 diptychs pairing found sheet music covers with drawings and photographs made or appropriated by the artist. Macdonald came across a box of sheet music for pop standards in a second-hand shop in Los Angeles. The song titles, arranged more or less in the order in which the artist found them, read as a loose narrative. "The narrative is about someone moving to a new place, finding enchantment and then disillusion," says Macdonald. "It's also a narrative about someone falling in love, but it's ambiguous whether it's with a person or with a city."
This narrative connects to the journey taken by the sheet music, mostly published in New York and dispersed around the nation via commerce or migration before arriving in Los Angeles. The titles' narrative connects to the artist's own life in direct ways, and the drawings and photographs draw on a range of themes and subjects that have been significant in his practice, but the work is not autobiographical. Instead, it operates as a pop standard does, as a subjective experience that a mass audience can experience personally, relating to the song's tale (verse) and its emotions (chorus), identifying with the singer or protagonist. "Any of those songs can relate to any number of people," says Macdonald. "Not only are the songs standard but the experience can be standard as well."
The exhibition offers the viewer a series of little rambles, encounters with the familiar--reminders of how much we already see.
FotoFest 2010 Biennial Program and Special Events Announced
FotoFest announces the programs for the United States' largest citywide celebration of photography, the FotoFest 2010 Biennial. Focusing for the first time on the theme ofContemporary U.S. Photography, the Biennial highlights four exhibitions on Contemporary U.S. Photography by invited curators from different regions of the country. These principal exhibitions feature the work of 45 U.S. artists, and are accompanied by a fifth, non-thematic exhibition, Discoveries of the Meeting Place, spotlighting ten artists who presented work in the previous Biennial's portfolio review. FotoFest's exhibitions are joined by more than 80 independently organized photographic exhibitions citywide; forums on contemporary curating; the world's largest portfolio review for artists; an International Fine Print Auction; programs for art collectors; Workshops on online multimedia and social media technologies; films; and public Evenings with the Artists. The full program is available online at http://www.fotofest.org/biennial2010.
FOTOFEST 2010 BIENNIAL GRAND OPENING The FotoFest 2010 Biennial Grand Opening is a free public celebration Friday, March 12, 2010 at FotoFest headquarters and gallery – the site of Whatever was Splendid, one of the four principal exhibitions on Contemporary U.S. Photography at the FotoFest 2010 Biennial. Guests at the Grand Opening will include the FotoFest 2010 Biennial curators: Natasha Egan, Aaron Schuman, Edward Robinson and Gilbert Vicario; many of the 45 exhibiting artists; refreshments and music. Opening Receptions for the other three principal FotoFest Biennial exhibitions occur over the course of the following weeks and will be attended by featured artists and curators.
FOTOFEST CURATORIAL DIALOGUES Examining the role of the art curator is an important part of FotoFest 2010 Biennial programming. The professionals commissioned to conceive the principal exhibitions for the 2010 Biennial are part of a new generation of curators redefining the role of museums and art spaces in terms of their relationship to art audiences, the general public, and other social institutions. FotoFest presents four of the Biennial curators in a series of free Curatorial Dialogues about their roles as interlocutors between art makers and the public, how they see the future of art in institutions, what influences their curatorial choices, who they see as their audiences, and how they and their institutions are using online platforms.
In addition to the four Curatorial Dialogues, FotoFest is sponsoring a Symposium on Contemporary Curatorial Practice with Anne Wilkes Tucker, Charlotte Cotton, Gilbert Vicario and Daniel Joseph Martinez at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 28, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010 - Aaron Schuman, curator of the Whatever was Splendid exhibition at Vine Street Studios, with Madeline Yale, Adjunct Curator, Houston Center for Photography
Friday, March 19, 2010 - Edward Robinson, curator of the Assembly: Eight Emerging Photographers from Southern California exhibition at Williams Tower, with Anne Wilkes Tucker, Curator of Photography, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Friday, March 26, 2010 - Natasha Egan, curator of the Road to Nowhere? exhibition at Winter Street Studios, with Clint Willour, Curator, Galveston Arts Center
Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - Gilbert Vicario, curator of the Medianation exhibition at various locations, with Fernando Castro, Independent Curator and Collector
The Curatorial Dialogues are scheduled to connect with the four Evenings with the Artists Open Portfolio Nights.
FOTOFEST EVENINGS WITH THE ARTISTS FotoFest's Evenings with the Artists Open Portfolio Nights connect the public with the hundreds of artists, curators, and other art professionals visiting Houston for the acclaimed Meeting Place Portfolio Review. The Evenings with the Artists Open Portfolio Nights invite the public to see the work of artists in a festive atmosphere that fosters discussion, exchange and sales.
FOTOFEST FINE PRINT AUCTION Prints from eighty contemporary international and U.S. artists are featured in the FotoFest Fine Print Auction, Tuesday March 23, 2010 at the Doubletree Hotel Houston Downtown. Conducted byDenise Bethel, Sotheby's Senior Vice President and Director of Photographs Department, the auction provides a rare opportunity to encounter and acquire high quality contemporary fine art photography from five continents. The Preview Exhibition is March 3-20, 2010 at Gremillion & Co. Fine Art Inc. and is free and open to the public. There are two additional days of previews at the Auction site, Doubletree Hotel Houston Downtown, March 21-22, 2010. Images, artist biographies and information about the works will be posted on the FotoFest 2010 website athttp://www.fotofest.org/biennial2010/auction. Absentee bid forms are available.
FOTOFEST 2010 BIENNIAL WORKSHOPS FotoFest is sponsoring two Workshops on online multimedia, social media and web-based technologies. The workshops, at the Doubletree Hotel Houston Downtown, bring media and art marketing experts, artists, curators and editors together to share their expertise and experience in art, the internet, social media networks, and multimedia platforms.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | BEYOND PRINT: Creative Communication in the Digital Age Presenters Mary Virginia Swanson and artist Katrina d'Autremont Focusing on how the use of interactive, online marketing tools, and technologies is changing the way artists and arts professionals present their work to the world.
Sunday, March 21, 2010 | MEDIASTORM: Building Multimedia Platforms Presenter Brian Storm, MediaStorm (http://www.mediastorm.com) Shows how top photographers are redefining their work to incorporate audio, animation, and video for distribution across new marketing and art platforms, including broadcast, internet, and mobile media.
FOTOFEST 2010 BIENNIAL CATALOGUE FotoFest is co-publishing the 2010 Biennial Catalogue, with European publisher Schilt Publishing (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). The 500 page, two-volume 2010 Biennial catalogue features more than 300 full-color images and five essays by Biennial curators on Contemporary U.S. Photography. The FotoFest 2010 Biennial Catalogue is available late February 2010 at http://www.fotofest.org.
INSTITUTIONAL SPONSORS (as of January 14, 2010) The Houston Endowment, Inc; Roma; The Brown Foundation, Inc; National Endowment for the Arts; JPMorgan Chase; The Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance; Doubletree Hotel Houston Downtown; Texas Commission on the Arts; The Clayton Fund; Trust for Mutual Understanding; Continental Airlines The Official Airline of the FotoFest 2010 Biennial; The Wortham Foundation; American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP); Iland Internet Solutions; HexaGroup; Vine Street Studios; The Anchorage Foundation.
Dots for Love and Peace (2009), one of only three temporary public art projects worldwide designed by iconic Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, is currently installed on the exterior architecture of City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand.
While City Gallery Wellington regularly showcases contemporary artworks by some of New Zealand and the world's leading artists, this is the first time the Gallery's art deco heritage listed building has become the site for a temporary site-specific public artwork.
Yayoi Kusama is widely respected as an extraordinarily innovative and singular artist, one whose prolific work over the last five decades has influenced generations of artists and designers worldwide. Her signature dots are forever inscribed on the face of contemporary art.
"Dots for Love and Peace (2009) is an intense and unexpected public artwork, and reflects Kusama's obsessive interest in repetition, pattern and colour" says Gallery director Paula Savage. "Blue, yellow, orange, pink, red and green dots in a range of different sizes animate the facade of the building, adding a sense of drama and playfulness to Civic Square. Wellingtonians and visitors to the city alike are intrigued by this joyful work, and each day many passing through the city's public Square stop to capture photographs of themselves posing against the dots."
The scale of the work is immense, covering the entire 52 metre frontage of City Gallery Wellington. Working from the 1930's architectural drawings of the Gallery façade, Ms Kusama created a detailed plan for the public artwork, with exact specifications of colour, size and placement of each individual dot.
"This work has provided a remarkable opportunity for City Gallery Wellington to reach out and connect with a general public beyond the usual Gallery going public," said Gallery director Paula Savage. "I first met with Ms Kusama at Kusama Studio, Tokyo in 2004, beginning the process of negotiating to present her work in New Zealand. We were very excited when the artist agreed to design a new public artwork specifically for the Gallery as well as two new site-specific installations Dots Obsession Day 2009 andDots Obsession Night 2009.
While Ms Savage's relationship with Ms Kusama was the genesis of the work, it was the generous investment and support of sponsors in New Zealand that enabled the Gallery to realize Dots for Love and Peace (2009). Paula Savage says, "The final artwork continues to amaze and captivate all who pass by. Kusama's signature dots will be sorely missed at the close of the exhibition."
The public artwork coincides with the major three-venue exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years which closes at City Gallery Wellington on 7 February 2010. Instigated by the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam and Le Consortium, Dijon, it has travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and City Gallery Wellington, and has been shaped and augmented for each venue. For City Gallery Wellington three new works have been added, thanks to the generosity of the artist and Yayoi Kusama Studio, Tokyo and Ota Fine Art Tokyo.
The exhibition has been curated by Jaap Guldemond (MBvB), Franck Gautherot and Seungduk Kim (Le Consortium), with additional works added for Australasia by Judith Blackall (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney) and Paula Savage (City Gallery Wellington).
In collaboration with the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, the American light artist James Turrell has created his largest-ever walk-in light installation in a museum context: an 11-metre-high, "space within a space" structure that covers a floor area of 700 square metres and reaches up to the glass roof of the museum. One of Turrell's Ganzfeld Pieces, it is a hollow construction divided into two parts. The two interconnecting chambers – the Viewing Space and the Sensing Space – are both completely empty and – a new feature of this type of work – flooded with slowly changing coloured light. The Kunstmuseum is showing The Wolfsburg Project along with a number of Turrell's other works in the most extensive exhibition by the artist in Germany to date.
Visitors can enter the piece via a steep ramp that leads down from the upper floor into the Viewing Space; immersing themselves in a "sublime bath of light", they can experience with all their senses how the architectural elements of the space dissolve in this homogeneous visual field, creating a sense of perceptual disorientation. While the light reveals and refers to nothing beyond itself, surface qualities interact with those of colour and space to create an atmosphere that completely envelops the spectator and stimulates the senses. Viewers become submerged in a mysterious, painterly world of pure light. Turrell describes this as "feeling with your eyes", an experience he regards as not just aesthetic but also spiritual.
This exhibition is supported by Volkswagen Financial Services. Zumtobel's innovative lighting solutions enable James Turrell's artistic vision to become reality.
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts announces the exhibition, Urban Alchemy/Gordon Matta-Clark, on view October 30, 2009 - June 5, 2010.
The artist Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978) used neglected structures slated for demolition as his raw material. He carved out sections of buildings with a power saw in order to reveal their hidden construction, to provide new ways of perceiving space, and to create metaphors for the human condition. He spoke of his work as an activity that attempted "to transform place into a state of mind by opening walls." When wrecking balls knocked down his sculpted buildings, little remained. He took photographs and films of his interventions and kept a few of the building segments, known as "cuts." They include a section of an apartment floor (Bronx Floors: Double Doors), three parts of a house near Love Canal (Bingo), a window from an abandoned warehouse on a pier in New York City (Pier In/Out), and the rooftop corners of a house in New Jersey (Splitting: Four Corners). For this exhibition, the Pulitzer has borrowed these very cuts from The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and from the private collection of Thomas and John Solomon. The Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark and David Zwirner, New York, also lent nearly fifty photographs, while the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, provided numerous works on paper, including eleven drawings. Two of Matta-Clark's films, Fire Child and Conical Intersect, are also on view, offering a means to understand better the performance aspect of his art.
The placement of Matta-Clark's work in the exhibition spaces designed by Tadao Ando at the Pulitzer encourages new ways of looking at art, architecture, and the urban environment. Ando's pristine building not only heightens the roughness of Matta-Clark's cuts, but it will also recall the artist's lost interventions. Both he and Ando sought to break the visual and metaphorical boundaries normally associated with the architectural "box" by allowing light to penetrate spaces in unexpected ways.
Reminiscent of an alchemist, Matta-Clark pursued the transmutation of a discarded object into something filled with "hope and fantasy." He was deeply concerned with the abandonment of buildings and the fate of urban communities. He became socially and politically active during the 1970s and wrote that he focused on buildings, "for these comprise both a miniature cultural evolution and a model of prevailing social structures. Consequently, what I do to buildings is what some do with languages and others with groups of people: I organize them in order to explain and defend the need for change."
The exhibition programming, entitled Transformation, connects the artist's social activism to present-day St. Louis. The Pulitzer, in collaboration with the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, has organized programs that build upon Matta-Clark's desire to imbue abandoned objects, buildings, and parcels of land with new meaning. The Pulitzer hopes to help carry Matta-Clark's legacy into the 21st century and to inspire a new generation of social activism through creative acts. An interactive web presence will reflect this community-driven programming athttp://mattaclark.pulitzerarts.org/transformation
Through art exhibitions, programs, collaborations, and exchanges with other institutions, the Pulitzer aims to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of art and architecture and is a resource for artists, architects, scholars, students and the general public.