Art Troupe WIFE Brings Spellbinding Performance To LA’s Hammer Museum

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Step inside the world of WIFE and witness a mystical phenomena. Born of three Los Angeles-based dancers, (Jasmine Albuquerque, Kristen Leahy, and Nina McNeely), she is known as A Trinity of Illusory Performance Makers.

WIFE creates an all senses engaged theatrical experience. If you have seen her live you know it’s a full body—and out of body—experience. Through projected body-mapping animations, sculpture, light, self-crafted music, costumes and choreography, WIFE makes the imaginary a reality. Although, when you’re in her performance presence it feels more like a fleeting moment of surreality—an electric alternate reality you want to stay suspended in.


 

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On Wednesday, June 22, WIFE (represented by Maavven) brings her latest creation, Enter The Cave, to Hammer Museum in LA. Loosely based on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Enter the Cave is a story of transformation and transcendence told through illusion. The performance is meant to rearrange our notions of reality, space, and time.

The free performance begins in the Hammer Museum Courtyard at 7:30PM PST and can be live streamed, here.

Elton John To Auction Off Rare Warhol, Basquiat Collaboration

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Photo via Sotheby’s

After a chance meeting in a New York cafe in 1980, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol went on to conspire on several significant works, until the latter’s untimely death in 1987. One such painting, simply Untitled, will go on the block at the Sotheby’s Paris French Evening sale on June 7.

The current owner of the rather poignantly foreboding artwork (Jean-Michel himself died in 1988), a 1984-1985 acrylic, silkscreen and oil on canvas, signed by both artists on the overlap, is Sir Elton John, along with husband David Furnish. Described as a memento mori—meaning, a cultural reminder of mortality and death’s inevitability—it strikingly exhibits the artistic/psychological frisson and tension that existed between Warhol and Basquiat.

It is expected to fetch upwards of $1,000,000, and the proceeds will likely go to one of the singer’s charitable concerns. Indeed, he and Sotheby’s have a collaborative history of selling off pieces to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

 

Shia LaBeouf is Hitchhiking Across the World (Because Art)

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Photo via Twitter

Throughout May, Shia LaBeouf’s been regularly posting strange coordinates onto his Twitter, only recently providing clarity about his latest artistic endeavor. Along with creative collaborators Nastja Rönkkö and Luke Turner, LaBeouf has embarked on a project called, #TAKEMEANYWHERE, which sees the trio hitchhiking across the world and sharing their locations to followers online.

“From 23 May until 23 June 2016, you are invited to pick up the artists whenever their coordinates above are posted and take them anywhere,” the project’s site explains.

The group, whose journey first began in Boulder, Colorado, can be traced real-time through VICE, and once their hitchhiking adventures close, LaBeouf and his comrades will release a short film highlighting their experience for display at London’s Finnish Institute and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.

Etnia Barcelona Releases New Basquiat-Inspired Sunglasses

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Basquiat’s work was iconic, imbued with a level of unabashed emotion and power that street art hadn’t seen when he first began wreaking havoc on New York in the ’80s. By addressing charged themes like racism, politics and hypocrisy, the young painter gave new depth to graffiti art and infiltrated the world of high-brow aficionados with a personal, outsider approach.

Designer eyewear brand Etnia Barcelona has tapped into this narrative, creating a capsule collection of sunglasses that incorporate Basquiat-inspired motifs through smart, subtle details. An homage to the late visionary, this exclusive release follows the brand’s mission to develop authentic accessories with an eye for key cultural movements in art and photography.

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Four different sunglasses will be available worldwide with patterns based on three original works by Basquiat. Though each individual piece is unique, Etnia Barcelona’s designed the eyewear with three vertices to resemble those hand-drawn, three-point crowns that we’ve grown to associate with Basquiat’s legacy.

A true fusion of substance and style, Etnia Barcelona’s forthcoming capsule sees the release of a fashion film, as well, featuring rapper Oddisee and graphic artist Elle—two contemporary figures who’ve both kept Basquiat’s rebellious energy alive today. Watch, below:

 

Andy Warhol’s Upper East Side Studio Hits the Market For $10 Million

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Photo via Cushman & Wakefield

During the early ’60s, Andy Warhol was working primarily as a commercial artist, having just begun to assert himself as a fine artist and local provocateur. In January 1963, he moved into an Upper East Side studio, his first private space, which was then an affordable fire house, available for only $150 per month. More than half a century later and following years of gentrification, Warhol’s historic site, 159 East 87th Street, is on the market for a steep $9,975,000 and “offers a developer a blank canvass [sic] to create boutique condominiums, a mixed-use rental or a luxury townhouse.” 

Six months before the iconic pop artist moved into his UES space, he’d established a polarizing name with his newly debuted Campbell Soup Can paintings. “In 1963, [Warhol] was only just becoming known as a fine artist, so it’s no wonder he didn’t invest in a fancier studio,” said Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik to Artnet NewsThe building was “a wreck, with leaks in the roof and holes in the floors, but it was better than trying to make serious paintings in the wood-paneled living-room of his Victorian townhouse, as he’d done for the previous couple of years.” Despite the shifty environment, Warhol still managed to create several pieces from his revered Death and Disaster series, as well as portraits of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.

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Brillo Box (Soap Pads), 1964 (Photo via MoMA)

Warhol’s lease ended the following May, more than half a year before he moved into his legendary Silver Factory and unveiled his 1964 sculpture exhibition, Brillo Boxes—work philosopher Arthur Danto labeled the end of art. “What Warhol taught was that there is no way of telling the difference [between art and non-art] merely by looking,” Danto said. “The eye, so prized an aesthetic organ when it was felt that the difference between art and non-art was visible, was philosophically of no use whatever when the differences proved instead to be invisible.”

The two-story building, located between Lexington and Third Avenue, is currently being used for art storage and marketed by Cushman & Wakefield as a “boutique development site”—a far cry from its humble Warholian roots and testament to NYC’s ever-evolving real estate landscape.

Create a City Out of Legos at Olafur Eliasson’s High Line Art Installation

Olafur Eliasson
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Installation view courtesy High Line Art

Everything is awesome! Internationally renowned installation artist Olafur Eliasson is inviting passersby of the High Line to participate in his new work, The collectivity project. The task? Create your vision of an ideal city…with legos.

Open daily from 10am to 7pm until September 30, visitors are encouraged to come, build and rebuild an imaginary skyline with hundreds of white legos at their disposal. When the project opened on May 29, Eliasson collaborated with several Manhattan architectural firms to create a few structures in order to get the ball rolling; all were quickly rebuilt by participants. In a press release, the ultimate outcome of the project is illuminated,

“As the inevitable entropy of the piece begins to soften the hard edges of the designed structures, and mounds of loose pieces gather in the corners between buildings, a beautiful collective creation takes form.”

The utopian vision of the project coupled with the nostalgic materials and relational aesthetics is typical of the Danish-Icelandic artist’s work, highlights of which include 2003’s The weather project,where he turned the turbine hall of the Tate Modern into a simulated atmosphere with humidifiers, lights and mirrors.

You can participate in The collectivity project this summer on the High Line at W 30th St.

 

MoMA Acquires Complete August Sander Photograph Series

August Sander
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“Film Actress [Tony van Eyck]”, 1933 + “Artists’ Carnival in Cologne”, 1931 by August Sander, courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Some new faces are popping up in MoMA after a landmark acquisition of August Sander photographs.

The German documentary photographer began chronicling the lives of the peasant class with stark sepia portraiture after serving in the German military and working as a miner in the early 20th century. Similar to the work Dorothea Lange did in the Dust Bowl, Sander’s work pierces the zeitgeist of a particular society with an anthropological lens.

In a recent milestone acquisition, MoMA can now boast having “People Of the 20th Century” in its entirety. Sander’s pivotal series, a set of 619 photographic prints, contains portraits of the German working class, mixing the faces of draughtsmen, farmers, mothers, soldiers, bohemians, and more in a diverse documentation completed over the period of about 60 years.

MoMA is the only museum in the world that has an entire set of Sander’s work like this, bestowed upon them from the artist’s family. No other can compare.

On the acquisition of some 600 works, Sarah Hermanson Meister, a photography curator at MoMA, exuded her excitement over the phone this morning, “[The 80 photographs the museum previously held] never felt sufficient, now it’s everything we could have dreamed of. [Sander’s] reputation rests on a couple dozen photographs that have become iconic, but with all 619 there are so many surprises.”

Meister also remarked on a sense of completion within the context of other works in MoMA’s collection, namely those of Walker Evans and Eugène Atget, two other important documentary photographers who influenced and were influenced by Sander. “These three figures can be now be understood completely in one institution.”

The Lost Lectures Returns to NYC — But We Don’t Know Where Yet   

Lost Lectures NYC
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Last year’s Lost Lectures. © Tod Seelie, courtesy Hyperallergic.

Originating in London, “The Lost Lectures” — a series of unexpected events hosted in a secret location — is returning to New York City for its second installment this Friday.

Aimed at taking intellectual discourse outside of institutional settings like corporate-fueled buildings or universities, the Lost Lectures NYC, co-sponsored by Brooklyn-based art blog Hyperallergic, will include guest speakers, art installations and performances in a yet-to-be-announced location (though it’s promised to be at most a 40 minute journey from Union Square).

Highlights of last year’s Lost Lectures included Amanda Lepore discussing having the “most expensive body on earth,” an impressive performance by Brooklyn-based dancers Flex is Kings, and musical sensation Blood Orange (AKA Dev Hynes).

 

Diana Al-Hadid

Artist Diana Al-Hadid photographed by Sarah Trigg. Courtesy Hyperallergic.

This year’s installment boasts Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino unveiling never-before-seen material, a top secret performance from indie filmmaker Josephine Decker, and a talk with internationally renowned visual artist Diana Al-Hadid.

Naturally, free beer will be provided by Brooklyn Brewery (and coconut water from ZICO if you’re on the wagon).

If you’re an urban explorer with a thirst for alternative events, it’s definitely worth checking out. Ticket holders will be informed of the location tomorrow.

ARTNews Calls Out Rampant Sexism in the Art World: Everything You Need to Know

ARTnews June 2015
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Where are all the great women artists? The gender gap in the industry may have reduced in size over the years, but as ARTnews’s June 2015 issue points out, there’s still rampant sexism in the art world.

Curator Maura Reilly begins by breaking it down numerically and structurally in her article “TAKING THE MEASURE OF SEXISM: FACTS, FIGURES, AND FIXES”, from the amount of press women artists get to museum representation statistics. For example, since 2007 only 29% of solo shows at the Whitney Museum went to women. She continues,

It’s not looking much better at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2004, when the museum opened its new building, with a reinstallation of the permanent collection spanning the years 1880 to 1970, of the 410 works on display in the fourth- and fifth-floor galleries, only 16 were by women. That’s 4 percent. Even fewer works were by artists of color. At my most recent count, in April 2015, 7 percent of the works on display were by women.

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Feminist collective The Guerrilla Girls’ “Report Card” from 1986 takes galleries to task over how many women they represented. Pussy Galore’s 2015 version show how much (and how little) has changed in 29 years.
©1986 GUERRILLA GIRLS; ©2015 PUSSY GALORE

 

Theorist Amelia Jones argues that women (as well as artists of color and queer artists) are allowed into the hegemony of the art world so long as they ape the identities and roles of straight white male artists; the purported archetype of the “artist genius”. It may behoove those on the fringes to eschew this institutional authority and develop spaces outside to foster a new kind of art world. Jones says,

While not disregarding the potential importance of large museum exhibitions and programming in foregrounding feminist goals, artists, and movements, I find […] more modest venues more creatively vital at this moment for achieving feminist goals.

She cites the Blk Grrrl Book Fair, an LA-based event this past March which combined artworks, poetry, performance and more from anti-racist, radical feminists, as “the art world I want.”

Linda Nochlin, in many regards the progenitor of the feminist art movement, spoke with Maura Reilly for the issue, touching on everything from her hatred of Tinker Bell to the landscape of feminism in the arts today:

It is undeniable that both institutions and education have changed a great deal. M.F.A. programs are now comprised of 60 percent women students. There are courses on women artists, feminism and art, contemporary women artists, etc., at major institutions of learning. This would have been unheard of in my day.

Check out all of the art world feminist goodness in the June 2015 issue of ARTnews.