If you haven't heard of Sigurður Hjartarson by name, you've probably heard of his penis… museum. Hjartarson and his son Hjörtur Sigurðsson own and manage The Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavik, which has the world's largest collection of penises and related artifacts (283 and counting!). This winter I finally got the chance to visit, along with my good friend Mara. My first surprise was how sleek and modern it looked from the outside: large frosted windows with "The Icelandic Phallological Museum" printed in neat type in various languages, almost in the style of commemorative glass plaques. From a distance, one might mistake the building for an art gallery or office [...]
The House of Terror opened in 2002. Since then, it's become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Budapest. It’s a museum, and it presents the last sixty years of Hungarian history through a mix of exhibits and multimedia displays. It’s also a memorial, dedicated to “the victims of both the Nazi and the Communist terror.” The building that houses it, an elegant 19th century villa, was once the headquarters of both the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian Fascist Party, which ruled Hungary for a few bloody months in 1944, and of the Communist Secret Police, up until the 1956 revolution. Thanks to the building’s history and to the dungeons [...]
In 1628, the Vasa Warship set off on its maiden voyage in Stockholm harbor, aiming towards Poland. Made from the hull of over 100 oak trees, it was outfitted with 64 cannons and had masts over 160 feet high. After traveling 1,300 meters—less than a nautical mile—the ship met a strong breeze, foundered and sank. The Vasa was, in every way, a failure. So of course it has, since 1990, had its own museum, where visitors to Stockholm can go to see what a gargantuan example of 1600s-style hubris looks like. Salvaged from the sea floor in the early '60s, the ship stands at the center of the museum, [...]
I know you were busily reading the newspaper cover to cover this weekend, so you won't have missed the exceedingly important piece by Nicolai Ouroussoff on the Barnes Foundation, the Getty and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: three museums built in America by wackos that have since (after their founders' deaths, of course) been taken astray of their intentions by their current managers. The Barnes (which has on exhibit more Cezannes than you can see in all of France, should that be a thing you would ever want) is currently in the last gasps of a long legal fight, which seems to be ending badly for the [...]
People seem to… like? The Whitney Biennial?? Jerry Saltz is down. Everyone seems generally appreciative. And-oh wait! New Boston Globe art critic SEBASTIAN SMEE IS NOT HAVING IT: "Not only is it incoherent, it is overburdened with art about art, sloppy gestures of pseudo-revolt, dreary and repetitive video art, and arcane conceptualism." He goes on.
The 2010 Whitney Biennial artists have been announced. There's a sort of weird (and unbelievably, unembeddable!) video of the curators reading of the list of names that reminds one, unfortunately, of a prison roll call. Two of our fave ladies are in it, but man, we have not heard of like 44 of these people.
This past Sunday, a crowd of about 200 gathered outside the entrance to a faded-looking building at 7th Street and Columbia in Hudson, New York. They were there for a first public peek at what will be Marina Abramovic's Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art. The building—brick, columned, with "Community Tennis" lettered across its front—seems a long way from what the architectural renderings depict for the future museum, which is a sleek "interactive building" seemingly encased in glass. (The project is led by architects Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas.) The institute is projected to open in mid-2014; for now, this open house would give Abramovic the chance to [...]
You really, really, really want to go see the Carsten Höller exhibition that is opening at the New Museum this Wednesday. We got a sneak peak of the installation and it's bonkers-cakes! Obviously you will want to start on the fourth floor so you can take the chute down through the concrete floor. Also there are like some lights and a bunch of birds (looks like a mobile of bird cages with birds in them) and stuff. (Stuff = "a sensory deprivation pool." Just what the senseless Lower East Side needed.) It's max ridic, as the kids say. HOW MANY HIPSTERS DOES IT TAKE TO JAM UP A [...]
Ooh, the Alexander McQueen show at the Met is now opening earlier for members and staying open later for the general public in the first week in August. Warning: the show allegedly closes August 7! That's soon! (Pro tip: go EARLY. The lines are bonkers.)
The Laurel Nakadate show opens at PS1 this weekend, and I have never "loved" her but when I think about her work, I think maybe she is the artist of our time in many ways? (Or maybe Andrea Fraser is, given that her piece "Untitled," from 2003, was documentation of her having sex with a collector who paid $20,000 for it. ("It" being the piece and the sex; same thing.) Because, what else is there to say?) Nakadate, slightly later, embarked on a great video series where she documented going home with strangers. Anyway, this should be seen! (There's tons of stuff on her website [...]
A big honking Georgia O'Keeffe show opens at the Whitney Museum tomorrow, with 130 objects documenting her abstract work. (The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum hoards 1,149 drawings, paintings and sculptures; her catalogue raisonnÃƒÂ© includes only 821 paintings and 1,137 drawings.) And some people, as they have for the last one hundred years, think this is not a worthy exhibition-pretty much because she is a lady, with lady interests. THAT WAS HER FIRST MISTAKE.
There's not a lot more to say, really? Well, let's start with the good things.
• The attention and pride of place given this year to performance is totally right on, long overdue, etc. And having a strong performance component—Sarah Michelson is exactly the kind of artist who deserves this attention and format—makes it work.
• Having real experts in charge of the film and video component is really worthwhile. That Ed Halter, probably the City's most-informed film-lover, co-headed the moving image program is a terrific thing.
• The installation is nice! Having fewer artists, and not over-including those artists, makes the show very pretty and navigable.
And then [...]
At MoMA, the amount of revenue from admissions (almost $25 million a year, and these are all 2010 fiscal year numbers) is quite nearly equal to the amount approved by the board for yearly spending from their investments. (The museum overall has investments valued at $642 million. You know: 2/3rds of a billion dollars.)
As well, that number is also almost exactly equal to the amount of money the museum spends on curatorial services alone—not even including exhibition costs.
Museums in this way are like newspapers (and maybe colleges as well): the subscribers to a newspaper pay for some of what they "see"—the words and pictures—but don't even [...]
“Leave it as at is,” Theodore Roosevelt once said about the wonders of the Precambrian: “The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”
What a scandal that the institution co-founded by his father—and with Teddy Roosevelt's own outlandish equestrian statue out front, flanked by Red Indians—would prove the great man so pitifully right about history. (And in 2011, no less: the centennial of his legendary Bull Moose break from the Republican Party.)
The World’s Largest Dinosaurs—which opened at the American Museum of Natural History on April 16th and plays (if that can be the word for this inert, child-sneering exhibit) through the year—purports to [...]
In order to really remember anything about an exhibition as big as â€˜Greater New York', you have to forget a lot of it. Though this third iteration of PS1's quinquennial survey is smaller than ever before, it still features 68 up-and-coming New Yorkers spread over four floors. To write a review of all that, you have to forget even more. Attention spans can't accommodate that many artists nor that much art, and neither can word counts or column inches or casual readers.
"I feel that what I've been doing at Deitch Projects is in a way running my own private institute of contemporary art. I've just been using the market system to support it rather than contributions to support it." -Jeffrey Deitch explaining why his gallery is just like the museum he's going to be running.