Why settle for an ordinary vacation home when you can have a “baroque event”? Frieze recently visited artist Pablo Bronstein—who you may recall from the mythical architectural history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that he conjured in 2009—on the east coast of Kent, England, where he is embracing a “mid-century, slightly granny” aesthetic and the “pleasurable mess” of baroque architecture. “I think that it has no shame,” he says. “Baroque architecture does everything it possibly can to appeal, to amuse, to impress, to show off, to seem heavy or grand or important. It’s really sort of desperate architecture.” Watch Bronstein discuss art, architecture, taste, and the playful pathos of postmodernism.
(Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)
Cartoonist and graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel (Fun Home, Are You My Mother?) and artist Rick Lowe (Project Row Houses) are among this year’s MacArthur fellows, the annual mix of thinkers, writers, artists, mathematicians, and materials scientists awarded $500,000 in no-strings-attached “genius grants” over five years. “Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life’s work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world,” said MacArthur Fellows Program vice president Cecilia Conrad, in a statement issued today. “Together, they expand our view of what is possible, and they inspire us to apply our own talents and imagination.” Other 2014 fellows include documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, translator and poet Khaled Mattawa, playwright Samuel D. Hunter, and computer scientist Craig Gentry. Meet all 21 MacArthur fellows here.
Michael Heizer is an artist whose work you tend to stumble upon—perhaps literally, in the case of the bewitching ribbons of rusting steel embedded in the lawn of the Menil Collection—and then can’t stop thinking about. He made headlines in recent years during the installation of Levitated Mass (2012), a 456-foot-long slot constructed on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) campus, over which is placed a 340-ton granite megalith. That momentous, paperwork-laden process, which entailed a $10 million, 22-city tour for the boulder and its custom-made trailer, is the subject of a new film by Doug Pray (Art & Copy, Surfwise). Now playing in select cities, Levitated Mass weaves together Heizer’s biography, the dreams of a major museum, and the uniting of a city—all while proving that it is possible to make a fascinating film about a massive rock. Pray (pictured below), who happens to be the son of a geologist, made time between screenings to tell us more about the film and its making.
How did you first encounter the work of Michael Heizer?
Long before I knew about the work of Michael Heizer I had seen Adjacent, Against, Upon on the waterfront in Seattle, and, like millions of others, I’d encountered the smaller, running-water version of Levitated Mass in New York City, but I didn’t swim in it, so to speak. My first full, immersive experience was during the early days of our production on Levitated Mass while we were endlessly awaiting for the rock to get its permits and approvals and to move out of the quarry. I drove out to Mormon Mesa, near Overton, Nevada—about an hour and a half northeast of Las Vegas—and spent a half day walking around and inside Heizer’s massive Double Negative.
When it comes to films about art forgers, woe betide the documentarian who attempts to top Orson Welles‘s delightfully gonzo F is for Fake (1973), which you can—and really should—watch in its mesmerizing entirety at the bottom of this post (what else are late summer afternoons for?). But the directorial trio of Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman, Mark Becker have quite the character in career art forger Mark Landis. After he dupes Matthew Leininger, the intrepid museum registrar will stop at nothing to expose the technically skilled fraudster. The cat-and-mouse game unfolds in Art and Craft, which has been burning up the festival circuit and opens in limited release next month (keep an eye out for showtimes here). Behold the trailer:
An 1870 map of Long Island and the southern part of Connecticut. (Photo: NYPL)
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of: unfettered access to a collection of more than 20,000 historical maps and atlases, oodles of urban data dating from the 19th century (think old NYC building footprints and the equivalent of ye olde white and yellow pages), and your own dedicated patch of the New York Public Library to make sense—and art—out of it all. Such is the premise and promise of the Net Artist Residency program dreamed up by NYPL Labs, the New York Public Library’s in-house digital innovation team, and Electric Objects, emerging maker of nifty computers-cum-digital canvases to display digital images on your walls. The residency, created to “explore the creative possibilities of historical collections and the potential of the EO platform,” is open for applications through August 20. Start thinking in 1080 x 1920 pixels (the slightly goofy extruded-portrait orientation that is the native resolution of the EO1 prototype frame) and browsing NYPL maps for inspiration.
Any number of lines from the films of Quentin Tarantino (perhaps the Pulp Fictional: “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character” or “Personality goes a long way”?) would look swell sprawled out in Futura Bold Italic by Barbara Kruger. The artist and the filmmaker will come together on November 1 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as the honorees of its 2014 Art+Film Gala, the museum announced today. Further upping the Gucci-backed fete’s cinematic koan quotient will be Leonardo DiCaprio, who is chairing the event with LACMA trustee Eva Chow.
In other exciting film-related LACMA news, the museum is prepping the first major retrospective of the work of Pierre Huyghe. The exhibition, which is being “designed as a single, extraordinary environment,” opens November 23.
Pictured: Barbara Kruger, Untitled (You Are A Very Special Person), 1995
Works by artists ranging from John Singleton Copley and Thomas Eakins to Jasper Johns and Cindy Sherman take to the streets this month with the launch of Art Everywhere U.S. Nancy Lazarus sizes up the coast-to-coast campaign that’s being billed as “the largest outdoor art show ever conceived.”
Art Everywhere U.S. Times Square rendering, featuring Chuck Close’s Phil (1969) and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942).
Can’t make it to a museum this August? Fear not. The art is coming to you thanks to Art Everywhere U.S., an extensive outdoor art show highlighting the nation’s artistic heritage. Throughout the month, images of 58 selected U.S. artworks are being projected on billboards and public spaces such as buses, trains, airports, and movie theatres across the U.S. “This is an unconventional program to promote museum experiences and to encourage the discovery of art history so it becomes part of everyday life,” said Maxwell Anderson, director of the Dallas Museum of Art, at yesterday’s kickoff event. “The goal is to continue the enthusiasm every summer.”
Inspired by the success of the 2013 Art Everywhere UK campaign, Anderson enlisted the participation of four other major U.S. museums: New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Aside from the five partnering museums, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) was also instrumental in launching the initiative, which marks the organization’s largest public service campaign to date.
“I have this idea for a sweet comedy about death. A middle-aged author of e-books, with middling sales, retreats deep into the mountains of Japan to build a grave for his recently deceased father. After getting scammed out of all of his money, he falls into despair, but for some unknown reason he is visited by a savior in the form of a middle-aged woman. And then his divorced wife from ten years ago appears unexplainably too. Then this young woman with whom he spent a single night in a club many years ago is being treated for an incurable disease in the mountainside sanatorium, and she comes to him for emotional support. I’d love to do that story.”
-Artist Takashi Murakami discussing his filmmaking aspirations in a recent interview. Also on his wishlist? “Some form of a collaboration with J.J. Abrams.”
Alex Katz’s 2012 painting Katherine and Elizabeth (Photo courtesy Gavin Brown’s Enterprise)
Worried that the spindly and shape-shifting “W” of the Whitney Museum’s fledgling graphic identity will be insufficient to guide visitors to the door of its new downtown home? Alex Katz to the rescue. The artist (and erstwhile J. Crew model)’s 2012 canvas, Katherine and Elizabeth, will welcome the museum to the Meatpacking District in the form of a 17-by-29-foot billboard on the facade of 95 Horatio Street, located directly across Gansevoort Street from the southern end of the High Line and the Renzo Piano-designed Whitney. Announced today, the public art installation will be the first in a planned five-year series organized in collaboration with real estate developer TF Cornerstone and High Line Art.
Billie Tsien and Tod Williams are heading to the White House. The architects are among the just-announced recipients of the 2013 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. “Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions,” reads the official citation. They will receive their Robert Graham-designed medals (pictured) from President Obama at a ceremony in the East Room on Monday afternoon.
Williams and Tsien will be joined by fellow 2013 medalists artist James Turrell, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, director and Dreamworker Jeffrey Katzenberg, representatives of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, writer Maxine Hong Kingston, musical theater composer John Kander, novelist, poet, and essayist Julia Alvarez, musician Linda Ronstadt, and arts patron Joan Harris.
Watch the ceremony live on Monday at 3:00 p.m. EST here.
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