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Posts By andrea kirsh

James Lee Byars Untitled (‘Performable Scroll’) c. 1967, courtesy Michael Werner Gallery

Performing the dead and other questions around museums and authenticity

[Andrea considers the evolution of art's "authenticity"; museums' fetishistic need to present original works; and the practice of replicating pieces as "exhibition copies". -- the artblog editors] I received notice from MoMA that on August 17 and September 7, the museum is hosting performances by James Lee Byars, in connection with the retrospective of his work at P.S. 1. Since the artist is long-dead, what exactly is the museum presenting? Byars did many performance pieces–indeed, his life sounds like an extended performance. Some of Byars’ performances involved another person interacting with an object of the artist’s making, and Byars donated ... More » »

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Reviews of two books on artists and their studios

[Andrea reviews divergent approaches to documenting artists' processes and workspaces, finding that the second book is inappropriate for young artists, because it will give them unrealistic expectations. -- the artblog editors] Sarah Trigg is an artist who became fascinated with the range of curiosities she found in fellow artists’ studios. Focusing on specific categories, which she terms “mascots,” “collected objects,” “makeshift tools,” “rituals,” “residue,” and “habitat,” Trigg set out to record her visits with 100 colleagues who represent the range of artists working in the U.S. She described her approach as “anthropological”. Trigg knew only a handful of these colleagues ... More » »

Henri Matisse ‘Red Madras Headdress’ (1907) oil on canvas, Barnes Foundation.

Studying Matisse at the Barnes Foundation

[Andrea accesses a behind-the-scenes look at the Barnes Foundation's current Matisse research and conservation projects; she suspects the finished result will offer considerable insight into the artist's technique. -- the artblog editors] I was fortunate to be able to join a group of the Barnes Foundation’s upper-level supporters last week for a preview of the Foundation’s research on its substantial collection of works by Matisse, which includes two paintings essential to understanding the artist’s development: “The Joy of Life” (1905-06), crucial to the artist’s early development, and “The Dance” (1930-33), a mural commissioned by Dr. Barnes for rooms housing his ... More » »

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David Novros mural at Donald Judd’s Spring Street home and studio; the ups and downs of permanently-sited works

[Andrea visits David Novros' recently restored site-specific work, and discusses the pros and cons of creating art destined for one space. -- the artblog editors] In mid-June, I joined a small group to celebrate the recent restoration of David Novros’ untitled mural (1970) at Donald Judd’s Spring Street home and studio, which is under the auspices of the Judd Foundation. It was one of two works–the other a large, light work by Dan Flavin–that Judd commissioned for the five-story, cast-iron industrial building at 101 Spring St., which he purchased in 1968. Judd and Novros both felt strongly that the siting ... More » »

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Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love at the PMA

[Andrea places a retrospective of designer Patrick Kelly's work squarely in context, explaining how Kelly was able to successfully appropriate racist imagery into his work. -- the artblog editors] Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art  (PMA) through Nov. 30, 2014, can be appreciated on several levels: as a display of ebullient, playful clothing; as a source of fashion ideas that, remarkably, would work as well today as they did 30 years ago; as a record of the precocious achievement of a young, African-American designer whose brief career was cut short by his death ... More » »

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The Ukrainians at the DAAD Gallery, Berlin

[Andrea reports from Berlin on a group show centering around political unrest in Ukraine; though some works have a lighthearted touch, their undercurrent remains somber. -- the artblog editors] The most compelling exhibition I saw last month in Berlin was at the gallery of DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst), the German Academic Exchange. The Ukrainians (May 24-June 21, 2014), curated by Bettina Klein, was art from the front lines by a group of artists well-aware of the possibilities and limits of art in the midst of serious, political unrest.   Symbolizing state rhetoric Many of the artists spent time protesting with the ... More » »

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Books on new approaches to art and its institutions, part II

[Andrea reviews two more books; one focuses on artists who eschew the market completely, while another focuses on the effects of travel and displacement on art-making and curation. Read her first installment here. -- the artblog editors] Purposefully missing the market While most artists support themselves with work beyond the art market, this book is about those who have chosen, as their art practice, not to produce objects that circulate within a market economy. It is an extremely welcome and well-researched survey that should be of great interest to both artists, and scholars who are concerned with alternatives to the current winner-takes-all, ... More » »

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Books on new approaches to art and its institutions, part I

[Andrea recommends two books taking a different look at the way art is categorized, displayed, and interacted with, and looks at a similar process currently in action at the Netherlands' Van Abbemuseum. -- the artblog editors] Reclassifying artists This collection of essays is a welcome, clear-eyed, and clearly expressed examination of contemporary art’s production and reception. Ben Davis is committed to and involved in politics that support social change, and skeptical of much of the current rhetoric around art and politics–such as the assumption that collectivism assumes a radical, political stance. A seriously informed, progressive Marxist, Davis defines class according ... More » »

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Drawing closer to uncertainty — Kit White at Andre Zarre

[Andrea examines why painter Kit White has recently radically changed his style--perhaps it's a reflection on his environment. -- the artblog editors] In his recent paintings, on exhibit at Andre Zarre Gallery, New York through May 10, 2014, Kit White has pared his palette back to black, white, and gray. Each of the ostensibly abstract works has a horizon line, so that thinking of them as landscapes doesn’t seem overly interpretive. The artist sometimes drags a thick gray band of paint below the horizon, sometimes bringing it into the upper register as well, where several paintings have a light staccato ... More » »

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“Carrie Mae Weems LIVE: Past Tense/Future Perfect” at the Guggenheim

[Andrea experiences a two-day multidisciplinary event involving music, visual and performance art, presentations, and discussions centering around notable African-American artwork, thought, and creativity]. — the artblog editors] Until this weekend, I’d never experienced crowd fervor aroused for a loftier goal than football. “Carrie Mae Weems LIVE” dramatically changed that. I was challenged, engrossed, stretched, and deeply moved by a showcase of current African-American artists, critics, and scholars. It was a heady experience to be with a majority African-American audience in a major, New York museum for two-and-a-half days that celebrated, discussed and analyzed African diasporic creativity. High time for this ... More » »

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