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Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Amidst Controversy, Brandeis Weighs Renting Rose Collection

A sign erected by protesters on the night of a public hearing at the Rose Art Museum in February of last year. (Sarah Ewick via Bostonist)

Nearly a year and a half after Brandeis came under attack for voting to shore up university funds by closing down and selling off the Rose’s collection, the future of the museum still remains in question. After flip-flopping under pressure on its initial decision, Brandeis’ board is now considering renting out works from the Rose to generate income for the university.

In a press release dated May 28 and first reported by the Boston Globe, Brandeis announced that it was taking steps to “explore a range of alternatives to the sale of art from the Rose Art Museum in an effort to generate value from a portion of the collection while still maintaining ownership of the artwork.” More specifically, University President, Jehuda Reinharz, revealed that Brandeis was already “in discussions with Sotheby’s to solicit advice on non-sale partnerships, lending agreements and other creative solutions in the fundraising arena.”

To be clear, “lending” is less than upfront terminology to describe the potential plan. Simply put, Brandeis may be close to renting out portions of the 7,000+ piece Rose collection for profit.

Though the recent announcement makes sure to clarify that “Brandeis is committed to using a portion of any proceeds it realizes from art in the Rose Art Museum to directly benefit both the museum and the university’s Department of Fine Arts,” this really seems like lip service. It is abundantly clear that the universities’ motivation remains unchanged  – to offset the economic troubles of Brandeis (not the Rose) by leveraging its control over the Rose’s collection as a cash-asset. No one who has been following these developments since last January has any doubt where the majority of any such revenue would end up – with the financially burdened university, and not with the Rose.

Furhtermore, while the university emphasizes that it would “Ideally…continue to own the art but find an innovative way to get value from it,” and that they have “not sold any art since that vote, and will not do so while it examines non-sale alternatives,” no guarantees have been given. In fact, Brandies has already cut a deal with Christies to put works on the auction block, if it ultimately decides to permanently shutter the Rose and deassess the collection.

Lee Rosenbaum (who has been diligently shedding light on the story since its beginning) makes some insightful new suggestions over on CultureGrrl – that preference should be given to Boston-area museums or educational institutions, that under no circumstances should Rose works be lent for private use by collectors or corporations, and that the core collection of important works from the collection should remain on campus, with the right to borrow back works from renters for educational or exhibition purposes.

For those who haven’t been following, the battle over the Rose began in January of last year, after Brandeis’ trustees announced it would close the museum and sell off its $350 million collection to insulate an increasingly threatened university endowment (see our previous reports here and here) which was hit hard by the global recession and Madoff scheme. With the support of every major museum association, The Rose’s board fired back on the grounds that the museum was not a university asset and such action would be in violation of the intentions of the museum’s founders, donors and established ethical codes. Controversy escalated further in July when museum overseers filed a lawsuit (read the full transcript here) to halt Brandeis from moving forward with its plans. While Brandeis has held off selling any art or closing the museum, they did fire the majority of the Rose’s staff, including the museum’s director, who has been outspoken against the university’s actions.

The proposed rental plan is certainly less egregious than the initial move to close the museum and toss its important public collection to the highest bidder. Moving forward, if Brandeis were willing to adhere to some ethical guidelines, like those proposed by Rosenbaum, at least it would allow for the Rose to remain a vital and active public institution, and carry out its original mission, as envisioned by its founders and early benefactors when it opened its doors in 1961.


Monday, June 7th, 2010

LACMA to host Baldessari Retrospective

John Baldessari –Sediment: Leg and Shirt, 2010, Inkjet print and acrylic on canvas. (Image: © Margo Leavin /John Baldessari)

American art icon, John Baldessari, is the subject of a new retrospective set to open at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on June 27.  From pioneering conceptual text-based works of the 1960s, to his photographic amalgamation of film stills that helped to inform the art of appropriation, Baldessari has been at the forefront of multiple contemporary practices. John Baldessari: Pure Beauty will feature over 150 pieces, highlighting early works as far back as 1962, up to his most recent.  The retrospective will also feature a special installation conceived especially for the occasion.

The museum will hold a free conversation with Baldessari and curator Leslie Jones at 2pm, opening day. Tickets for the event will be available on a first-come basis, one hour prior to the program.  In addition, new 324 page exhibition catalog is available now in LACMA’s online shop.

Pure Beauty first debuted at the Tate Modern, London, in October 2009, before traveling to the Museu d’Art Contemporani in Barcelona. After LACMA, the exhibition will continue on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, this coming October.

Baldessari also has a new series of photographic works, entitled Sediment, on view through July 10 with Margo Leavin, Los Angeles. A work from the series is pictured above.


Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Out of the Blue, Into the Air :: Yves Klein Retrospective at Hirshhorn

Yves Klein, Le Saut dans le vide [Leap into the Void], at 5, rue Gentil-Bernard, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France, October 1960. © 2010 Artists Rights Society(ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo by Shunk-Kender, © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Courtesy Yves Klein Archives.

It is astounding that there hasn’t been a significant showing of Yves Klein in the U.S. for nearly three decades – almost as many years long as the artist’s short life.  The fatal heart attack suffered by the 34 year old in 1962 signaled the end of a creative career that came and went in under a decade. Still, with little reference to anything that had come before, Klein’s contributions helped inform the transition from modern art’s focus on the tangible, to contemporary conceptual concerns with the theoretical.

The Hirshhorn Museum’s (Washington D.C.) current retrospective is a appropriate homage to such an important figure. Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers, includes major examples from every aspect of the artist’s career, including his Anthropometries, Cosmogonies, fire paintings, planetary reliefs, blue monochromes, sponge reliefs, “air architecture,” and immaterial works.

As crucial as his physical forms, are the ideas Klein communicated through bold and and acutely self-aware manifestos, personal notes, letters and interviews. Here, the museum has resurrected the artist-philosopher, allowing Kelin to share his own story and and ideas through a spirited and dynamic timeline that effectively aggregates multiple online social and media platforms. “We felt it was essential not only to present Klein as the maker of beautiful objects but also as a thinker, a philosopher who paved the way for future generations,” says exhibition co-curator Kerry Brougher, chief curator and deputy director of the Museum.

Selection from Yves Klein: The Blue Revolution. Director: François Lévy-Kuentz. Courtesy Yves Klein Archives. Coproduction © 2006 MK2TV, Le Centre Pompidou, Y Amu Klein/Moquay in association with France 5. Video © 2007 Le Réunion des musées nationaux—EDV 288

Visit the Hirshhorn now until September 12, and access the museum’s social media archive and interactive timeline here

Also essential are the online Yves Klein Archives and Pompidou’s archive of their 2007 exhibition.

Read on for more images Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Exhibition, History, Museums, Uncategorized | Comment now »


Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Big Week for Fairey Amidst Growing Controversy

Art of Elysium’s 2010 Heaven Gala (Image via Art of Elysium)

It wouldn’t be a week without some sort of news from the Shepard Fairey camp, and this one is jam packed.

Fairey was named Visionary of the Year and lent design and decoration to children’s charity The Art of Elysium’s 2010 Annual Heaven Gala (pictured above). Fairey is participating in their annual benefit auction, and has donated several items to the fundraising event. The most exciting lot is a personal portrait sitting with the artist.  The winning bidder will be entitled to a visit with Fairey for a photo shoot, which the artist will use to create a one of a kind 30″ X 44″ mixed media canvas. The prize is valued at $30-$40,000 for the in person sitting and final artwork (or $20-$30,000 if photos are sent). Other lots include unique 40″ x 60″ canvas depicting his Burmese Monk image, estimated at $20,000, and a rather quirky one of a kind collaged 7 foot lamp, valued at $7,500 (both pictured below).  Both the portrait sitting and Burmese Monk can be bid on live via CharityBuzz until March 4, 12pm EST. If interested in the lamp, download an absentee bid form here

The opening of the third and final stop of his museum retrospective, Supply and Demand, set record attendance numbers at the Cincinatti Contemporary Arts Center this past week. Naturally, while in town, Fairey and crew were also out making their mark on the streets. (Lots more photos of the exhibition preparation, opening celebration, and outdoor campaign at the end of this post.)

(All museum and street images via Obey Clothing)

Next, Fairey’s design firm, Studio Number One, has lent their hand to titling sequences for the new Basquiat feature film, which can be seen in the trailer below.

Finally, the controversy over Fairey’s Obama portrait continues. The artist is now the subject of a federal grand jury criminal probe. Authorities are investigating whether Fairey violated federal laws prohibiting evidence tampering and perjury in connection to his copyright battle with the Associated Press. In October the artist released a public statement admitting, “in an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images.”  As noted by Copyrights and Campaigns, the criminal investigation hinges on whether or not Fairey (along with his wife) violated 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(c)and 1621. Section 1512 makes it a crime to “alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the integrity or availability of the object for use in an official proceeding,” while section 1621 declares that any person who “willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true…is guilty of perjury and shall, except as otherwise expressly provided by law, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

Fairey has filed an injunction hoping to postpone the civil suit with AP. The injunction argues

“Plaintiffs submit that there is a compelling case for postponement. Mr. Fairey is now the subject of a criminal investigation…It appears that the AP is, at minimum, encouraging and supporting that criminal investigation. Mr. Fairey’s criminal defense counsel believes that a deposition at this time would prejudice him and impair council’s ability to properly represent Mr. Fairey. Therefor, if a deposition does take place while the criminal investigation is pending, counsel would advise Mr. Fairey to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.”

While we here at TAC have supported Shepard’s fair use claims in creating his Obama portrait (which now sits in the National Portrait Gallery), we will wait for the facts to further develop before weighing in on the separate criminal investigation, and confine our comments to reporting the findings as they emerge.

Read on for more pictures from Cincinnati opening night and installation Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Artist Talk, Benefit+Fundraiser, Events, Exhibition, Graffiti, Legal, Museums, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Big Week for Fairey Amidst Growing Controversy


Friday, February 26th, 2010

Rubell Collection to Expand to D.C.

The recently sold Randall School building was purchased from the by the Rubells in partnership with the Telesis real estate firm from the Corcoran School and Museum. The joint venture will see the site developed into a new Rubell museum, a hotel, and private residencies. (Image via)

Famed Miami based collectors Don and Mira Rubell have just announced plans to open up a new museum in Wasington D.C. to showcase their ever expanding collection of contemporary art. The location will serve as a satellite to their Miami museum, and was purchased for $6.5 million from Corcoran College and Gallery of Art in partnership with real estate investment firm, Telesis. Part of the building will also be developed into a hotel and private residences.

This isn’t the Rubell’s first foray into the D.C. area. In 2002, the couple bought the Capitol Skyline Hotel. The seven story building was designed by their friend, architect Morris Lapidus, known for the Fontainebleau Hotel and other Miami Beach properties. Around the same time, they began focusing on D.C. artists. “The reason we even bothered to find a business [in D.C.] is that the art is amazing,” noted Mera Rubell in a December interview with Art in America. “A hotel is a natural place to create a kind of home. I want artists there—it’s exciting for my existence here whenever I’m here.”

(Image: Jenny Yang via Art in America)

The Corcoran is slated to host an exhibition organized by and culled from the Rubell’s collection. 30 Americans focuses on African American artists in the Rubell’s personal collection and was first on view at their private Miami museum in December of 2008.  Last week, Tyler Green’s Modern Art Notes raised concern over the arrangement. Clarifying that works in the exhibit are owned by the Rubell family and not by their foundation, he notes:

“The last line of the Washington Post story on the deal is a classic case of burying the lede: “Officials said the exhibition is not related to the sale.” Really? When an art-museum-and-school is preparing to exhibit a family’s private collection at the same time it is cutting a real estate deal with the owners of that collection (and curator(s) of the show), the arrangement deserves significantly more journalistic examination than a toss-off at the end of a story.”

Spokespersons for the Corcoran affirm the exhibit and property sale are not related. Yet, if the recent hoopla over the New Museum’s upcoming exhibit of museum trustee Dakis Joannou’s personal collection is waranted, perhaps the Rubell’s dealings with the Corcoran are also worth further examination.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Ed Templeton Rising

Internationally recognized for his painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography, skate-icon and artist Ed Templeton has several significant projects in the works.

Most immediately, Templeton opens a new photo exhibit at Roberts + Tilton (Los Angeles) this Friday, Feb. 26. The works on display are culled from the artist’s personal archives, and were shot spontaneously from the inside of cars over a span of 15 years. Speaking of the project, Templeton says, “I never went out driving just to shoot pictures. Each one of these was shot going from point A to point B for some other reason, organically; they represent the in-between. Most of it is from my frequent visits to LA from my home in Huntington Beach, 1 hours’ drive south. But there is also a lot from taxi rides in Paris, Moscow, London, Barcelona, and St Petersburg.”

Next up , Templeton’s photography will be included in the 2010 Photography Biennial at MAMAC (Liege, Belgium), which runs Feb 28 – April 25. Lastly, his first solo museum exhibition, The Cemetery of Reason, opens at S.M.A.K. (Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art) in Ghent, Belgium on April 2, and will include works across multiple disciplines.

Ed Templeton – The Duality of Femininity, 2009 (Courtesy of Roberts + Tilton and Tim Van Laere)


Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Marcel Dzama at Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art

Marcel Dzama – On the banks of the Red River, 2008 (Collection Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal)

In the past several years, Canadian-born Marcel Dzama has moved beyond the playfully sadistic ink and watercolor illustrations that he gained such a strong reputation for. Since relocating to New York in 2004, the Winnipeg native has expanded on his mythical narratives with film, sculpture, and diorama. Steeped in violence and moral decay, these works are metaphor for the human condition, and, as if picking up the reigns from Henry Darger, are as disturbing as they are humorous.

Dzama returns home with a new exhibit at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. While several pieces on display first appeared in his 2008 showing with David Zwirner (NY), Of Many Turns is the largest exhibition of Dzama’s works ever organized by a museum, focuses on the artist’s recent multidisciplinary accomplishments.

All images courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York except where noted.

Marcel Dzama – Of Many Turns
Feb. 4 – April 25
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
185, Sainte-Catherine Ouest
Montréal, Québec H2X 3X5

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Artist Talk, Exhibition, Museums, Uncategorized | Comment now »


Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Details of Controversial Koons-Curated Joannou Exhibit Emerge

Jeff Koons’ One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985) was the first major art acquisition by collector Dakis Joannou, and the only piece of the artist’s work to be shown in the collector’s forthcoming New Museum survey, Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection (Image: the Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens)

The New Museum of New York has just released the details of an already debated exhibition of works from the treasure chest of billionaire collector Dakis Joannou.  Though parts of the collection have previously been on view at Joannou’s own DESTE Foundation in Anthens, as well as in Paris and Vienna, the upcoming New York exhibit has skeptics voicing concerns of nepotism. Critics say the show is an obvious conflict of interest, arguing that Joannou, who is one of the museum’s trustees, could easily see the notoriety and value of his collection catapult.

Titled Skin Fruit, the show, which runs March 3 – June 6, will include 100+ works by 50 international artists, selected from the Joannou Collection by guest curator, Jeff Koons (whose work will also appear in the exhibit). Koons’ very first solo showing with a museum was held at the New Museum in 1980, when his Hoover vacuum cleaner installation was displayed in the windows of their former 5th Ave. location.  The artist has also been heavily supported by Joannou, who owns 40 of Koons works, along with his 2008 yacht commission.

For more thorough investigative journalism regarding the debate over the exhibit, check out the always enlightening Culturegrrl here

The 50 selected artists are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »


Thursday, February 11th, 2010

MOCA Cleveland Hosts Major Survey of Contemporary African American Art

Romare Bearden, Conjur Woman, (Image: © Romare Bearden / R.T. Miller Jr. Fund, 2001 Collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum)

In a critical event, MOCA Cleveland is currently playing host to the first ever public survey of contemporary African American art in the Ohio region. From Then to Now : Masterworks of Contemporary African American Art, features 27 artists, sourced from important regional collections – The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, the Akron Art Museum, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Progressive Corporation, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Kara Walker, Untitled, 1998, (Image © Kara Walker / Collection of the Progressive Corporation)

Beginning with works from pioneering figures of the 1970s and 80s, such as Romare Bearden and Alma Thomas, From Then to Now continues to the present, with prime examples of works by artists including Lenardo Drew, Alison Saar, Willie Cole, David Hammons, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, René Green, Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley.  TAC applauds MOCA Cleveland and curator Margo Ann Crutchfiel for presenting this unprecedented exhibition.

Kehinde Wiley, Passing/Posing, (Image: Collection of the Progressive Corporation, Mayfield Village, OH.)

From Then to Now : Masterworks of Contemporary African American Art
Jan 29 – May 9, 2010
MOCA Cleveland
8501 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106

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Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has just launched an online reading room, where they are gradually making available a full range of electronic facsimiles of museum publications spanning their history. LACMA’s initial offering comprises ten early exhibition catalogues, mostly from the 1960s, and serves as an invaluable academic resource.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in History, Los Angeles, Museums, Publications | Comment now »