In 1960 Yves Klein debuted his 40-minute Monotone-Silence Symphony, a single-toned work conceived 13 years earlier on a beach in Nice. That same year Robert Rauschenberg helped Jean Tinguely set his friend’s famously massive (and short-lived) sculpture, Homage to New York, into motion in the gardens at MoMA.
This week two New York galleries will show the relics of these momentary, sonorous works of art—“happenings,” as they were called at the time.
Klein’s symphony inspires “Audible Presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly” (September 18 to November 16), the inaugural exhibit at the new Dominique Lévy gallery(909 Madison Ave.; dominique-levy.com). It deals in the luminous, monochromatic and audio works of its three featured artists, including a Fontana “portrait” of the Venetian sky, an abstraction of a Roman sunset by Twombly and the first New York performance (currently sold out) of Monotone-Silence Symphony(September 18, 8 P.M.; Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 921 Madison Ave.; eventbrite.com).
Following his Homage to New York moment with Tinguely, Rauschenberg eventually added a rare preliminary sketch by the French artist of the “self-constructing and self-deconstructing” machine to his personal collection. It—along with several other pieces from Rauschenberg’s private compendium and archives—is now on view in “Radio Waves: New York ‘Nouveau Réalisme’ and Rauschenberg” (September 17 to November 2) at Sperone Westwater(257 Bowery; speronewestwater.com).
The two shows seem to demonstrate opposite instincts. Uptown, Klein’s resuscitated symphony upends time with 20 unbroken minutes of unchanging tone (and another 20 of silence) that harkens back 53 years. Downtown, time’s perpetual rush forward gets the attention. Even though Tinguely’s Radio No. 1 (1960) could still be turned on to transform quick-flipping radio signals into unpredictable white noise, that won’t happen here. But Rauschenberg’s Dry Cell (1963) still responds to environmental sound, a metal bobbin spinning in a Plexiglass box, still noting a changing present 50 years later.
Two More to See: “Aldo Tambellini: We Are the Primitives of a New Era, Paintings and Projections 1961–1989” (September 12 to October 19) at James Cohan Gallery(533 W. 26th St.; jamescohan.com) delves into the Italian artist’s performance and experiential installations. And “Rauschenberg and Photography” (through November 2) at Pace/MacGill Gallery(32 E. 57th St.; pacemacgill.com) considers the artist’s relationship with the medium.
From July 9 to 14, more than 6,000 antiques dealers will descend on the quiet New England town of Brimfield, Massachusetts, for the Brimfield Antique Show—one of the world’s largest open-air flea markets. Antiques dealers and collectors are an interesting lot (how many 19th-century bundt-cake pans does one really need?), but this is where the talent behind Ralph Lauren Home—and probably your favorite interior designers—comes to find singular pieces and inspiration, whether it’s a year for vintage industrial or Mad Men modern.
The show, made up of some 21 individually owned and operated fields, extends for a mile along either side of Route 20. Warehouse dealers drive in from all over the country to load up semi trucks, paying cash for birdcages, blown glass, mercury glass, Gustavian chairs, tables, consoles, floor lamps, textiles and other finds. Mary-Kate Olsen has been known to visit the fair to buy jewelry.
It is as much a trade show as a flea market, which means the pickers are professional (tip: get there early) and bargaining is common (open the negotiations by asking if the dealer would be willing to go lower). It also means that the apparent trends at Brimfield—like transferware platters, hurricane lamps or Deco credenzas—will probably show up in stores and shelter magazines later in the year, so a good eye can put you ahead of the curve.
Now in its 54th year, Brimfield happens three times annually (May, July and September). Eighteen of this round’s fields will open on July 9, with a few more following later in the week. The larger public usually swoops in over the weekend, after many of the pros have come and gone. July 9–14; Rte. 20, Brimfield, Massachusetts; brimfieldshow.com.
Last year’s debut of Frieze New York received some 45,000 visitors at 180 booths. This year’s fair (May 10–13; friezenewyork.com) is likely to draw an even bigger crowd to the white tent on Randall’s Island in the East River. Granted, art fairs—especially those to which visitors take a ferry—are more exhausting than movie nights, but the themes of great classics, art gems and contemporary blockbusters play throughout Frieze’s exhibits. Here, we recommend the booths that will transform the fair from crowd-navigation exercise to cinematic experience.
For Fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey
The Film: Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi epic famously begins with man’s first defining discovery of the tool and ends with a world devolved into floating, abstract shapes.
The Fair: An array of roughly hewn tools arranged in a constellation on the outer wall of L&M Arts (B1) is immediately visible from the fair’s north entrance. The artist, Nick van Woert, is interested in Westerns, exploration and the pioneering spirit.
Works from Robert Rauschenberg’s “Glut” series, which recasts scrap metal and signage into new forms, are offset by a meteor-like sculpture at the Gagosian Gallery booth (B59).
Just next door, at David Zwirner (C48), enormous, abstract images (space, lunar surfaces, abstraction driven by camera technology) by Thomas Ruff have a magnetic pull.
For Fans of La Jetée
The Film: This disturbing work by Chris Marker, done almost entirely in still images and set in the apocalyptic aftermath of a nuclear World War III, features a man sent back and forth through time against his will, ultimately witnessing his own death.
The Fair: At Grimm (A6), a Nick van Woert contraption made from exercise machines with strap-in seats and Paleolithic-looking stone weights—part mechanism for self-improvement, part instrument of torture—gives the sense that it’s been set in motion by history.
Just across the aisle at Murray Guy (B5), Zoe Leonard’s arresting photos of animals (dead and alive) transform the natural world into something eerie and strange. Bent, burnt sheets of metal curl on the floor.
Outside Sprüth Magers Berlin London (C6), a Barbara Kruger poster reads “Truth” in bold red letters. Inside, the distorted humanity of George Condo and the history-collapsing collages of Cyprien Gaillard and Jenny Holzer suggest a disturbance of the natural order has already taken place.
For Those Anticipating The Great Gatsby
The Film: Premiering today, Baz Luhrmann’s effort promises to be a sumptuous display of romantic excesses with a tragic end, in which Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) seeks to set-decorate his way into a new identity.
The Fair: At Galeria Fortes Vilaça (C50), Valeska Soares’s work—elegant, partially filled cocktail glasses of every shape and size sitting on a mirrored table—questions whether romantic objects can signify anything beyond the fact of themselves.
The fragility of the worlds we build ourselves is illustrated by Do-Ho Suh’s fine, life-size recreation of an 18th-century apartment, rendered in transparent green fabric at Lehmann Maupin (C11).
The subtle exhibit at Frith Street Gallery (C44) includes vent grills painted silver for a luminescent effect, silver dishes flattened and suspended like mobiles (exquisitely useless) and a condemning archival print from Dayanita Singh’s archive series, in which books lie disorganized and dusty—history ignored.
"Human Nature"/ Photo by James Ewing, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY
From the opening of the New Museum in 2007 to November 2010, the art installation “Hell, Yes!” (2001) affirmed the burgeoning Bowery scene with a lit-up rainbow arc bolted to the museum’s facade. Some were sad to see it go, some called it blasphemous and some called it the curatorial equivalent of “wearing a baseball cap over a wedding veil.” But the artist behind the piece—Swiss-born, New York–based Ugo Rondinone—made a name for himself.
Under the auspices of the Public Art Fund, the sign-maker and sculptor’s most recent body of work was unveiled last week on the plaza at Rockefeller Center. “Human Nature,” a convocation of nine stone figures (each between 16 and 20 feet tall), will stand on their poured-concrete platform through June 7, silently and deliberately provoking 30 Rock’s gilded angels. They simultaneously recall Stonehenge and a comic-book invasion of armless bluestone giants.
Whether they will be embraced or derided remains to be seen, but their rough-cut, primal scale is sure to elicit something. (“It’s Ugohenge. Isn’t that what everyone’s calling them?” said painter Elizabeth Peyton, quoted in The New York Times.) But there is a peace to them, perhaps born of their elemental nature; they are too basic for us to move them, so they move us.
Rondinone’s New York moment will continue through the summer with a similar exhibit called “soul,” opening May 10 at Gladstone Gallery (530 W. 21st St.; gladstonegallery.com), and a video piece at MoMA’s PS 1 (22–25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City; momaps1.org). His work will also appear in Chicago (five large rocks at the Art Institute), Dallas (public installations courtesy of Nasher Sculpture Center) and Zurich (stone giants in miniature at Gallerie Eva Presenhuber). Hell, yes. “Human Nature” will be on view at Rockefeller Center through June 7.
There is a block party on Mulberry Street this Saturday night. During the day, small, open-air “libraries”—books in high-design shelters—will pop up along the streets around the Bowery. Two days before, the mayors and ex-mayors of cities like Paris, Austin and Miami will discuss how to leverage under-utilized urban resources. At night, murals will appear on the roll-down security gates of Bowery storefronts.
Welcome to Ideas City, the New Museum’s biennial urban-think-tank-cum-street-fair-cum-public-art-intervention launched on the Bowery two years ago. Through May 4 (the event started on May 1), more than 100 projects, installations, conferences and workshops will animate downtown Manhattan—all under the theme “Untapped Capital,” a phrase coined by New Museum director Lisa Phillips. “That idea is the heartbeat of the initiative,” says Karen Wong, cofounder of Ideas City.
“We believe that the cultural sphere is still a relatively untapped source of enormously powerful creative capital,” explains Wong, “especially in its potential to stimulate economic development and foster greater innovation in other fields.”
Here’s the thing about art. And culture. And capital: While the arts provide thousands of jobs in New York (more, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed out in a recent press conference, than there are people in some cities), its world remains largely disconnected from much of urban life and other industries. As a result, the arts universe has grown increasingly introverted (its own fashion, language, parties, prices) and excludes most of New York’s millions. The New Museum itself has taken heat for gentrifying but not integrating into its Bowery neighborhood.
Ideas City could begin to break down some of the barriers between artists, entrepreneurs and citizens. After the 2011 event, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter began working with artist Pedro Reyes to plan public art projects throughout his city. A lawyer and a programmer created 596 Acres, which identifies empty lots throughout Brooklyn (and now New York and the country) and plants them with the help of local residents. And the Bowery Mission began a rooftop-farming project with Whole Foods Tribeca.
Between the workshops and the StreetFest street fair (May 4)—featuring more than 125 ideas and philosophies on every element of urban living—at least one conversation is sure to spark a creative fire. Through May 4; conferences, May 2; all-inclusive pass, $50; for full schedule visit ideas-city.org.
The Tribeca Film Festival, which started on April 17 and continues through April 28, will screen 89 films by both established and emerging directors. While we look forward to features by the likes of Mira Nair and Neil LaBute, we are especially excited to see more from some of film’s freshest faces. Here are five emerging directors to watch for.
Daniel Patrick Carbone (U.S.): Hide Your Smiling Faces Wandering the lakes, fields and forests of the rural American summer, Carbone’s feature-length debut Hide Your Smiling Faces promises a dose of beautiful nostalgia. Two young brothers with lovably unwashed faces grapple with death and loss in the tradition of Stand By Me and the works of director Terrence Malick, creating a film that the Brooklyn director hopes will call up viewers’ own lovably unwashed American childhoods.
Arvin Chen (Taiwan): Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Following Au Revoir Taipei (2010), his charming debut film, Chen presents the North American première of his second romantic comedy, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, in which a married optometrist and the future are not what they seem. Chen lends a glimmer of magic to the ordinary life of the befuddled everyman, wandering through big-box stores and racquetball courts.
Scott Coffey (U.S.): Adult World Coffey, a former actor (he appeared in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Mulholland Drive), had his celebrated directorial debut in 2005 with Ellie Parker, in which an unemployed actress played by Naomi Watts strives to make a life for herself amid the absurdities of Hollywood. For his most recent indie flick—premiering at TFF—Coffey focuses on a remote town in upstate New York, home to a reclusive writer (John Cusack) and an unemployed poet (Emma Roberts) striving to kick-start her career amid the absurdities of her job at a mom-and-pop sex shop called Adult World.
Jessica Oreck (U.S.): Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys In her debut documentary, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (2009), Oreck traced the Japanese love for insects, shifting the ambit of the nature film from creatures-in-wilderness to cultural relationships between people and the natural world. That investigation continues with the TFF world première of Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys, which follows two reindeer-herding brothers, Aarne and Lasse Aatsinki, and their families through the wilds and winters of the Finish arctic. Oreck lived with the siblings for about nine months over a year and a half.
Richard Raaphorst (Netherlands): Frankenstein’s Army Raaphorst, a Danish commercial director, became a genre sensation when the trailer for his zombie flick Worst Case Scenario went viral in 2007. In his first completed feature-length project, the ghoulishly sepia-toned Frankenstein’s Army (pictured above) gives horror buffs a breed of ghoul that predates the retroviruses of AMC’s The Walking Dead. The film depicts a World War II era, when limbs were sewn together and reanimated by mad Nazi scientists.
Hauser & Wirth New York unveiled its new branch gallery last week in conjunction with the opening of the exhibit “Dieter Roth. Björn Roth,” which showcases the work of the prolific Swiss father-and-son team.
The gallery (also Swiss) was founded in the early 1990s and began occupying London with several outposts in the new millennium. A mainstay of art fairs worldwide, where it displays tastefully dressed booths, the gallery features names like Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse and Henry Moore that balance its contemporary collection of artists, including Roni Horn and Caro Niederer.
Marching steadily westward, Hauser & Wirth established its New York base uptown in September 2009 and recently took over the 24,700-square-foot space that was once home to the Roxy, the legendary roller rink and discotheque (where, incidentally, Keith Richards met Patti Hansen). Hauser & Wirth believes that its new 18th Street location, designed by architect Annabelle Selldorf, will be one of the grandest galleries in New York—though no promises as to whether its former matchmaking powers will extend to its now demure white walls.
“Dieter Roth. Björn Roth” itself, however, may be draw enough. New York Times art critic Roberta Smith once described Dieter as a “performance artist in all the mediums he touched.” (He played materials—paint, sculpture, texts, found objects, prints, film—like instruments in concert.) Dieter regularly collaborated with his son, Björn, who teamed up with his own sons, Oddur and Einar, to construct the latest iterations of Roth père’s never-ending tower projects. The works appear with more than 100 objects created since the late 1970s, from simple paintings to the floor of an artist’s studio raised to vertical as a painting-cum-screen-cum-sculpture.
Dieter also designed several working bars over the course of his life (he died in 1998), so Björn fashioned one for Hauser & Wirth. It will serve patrons coffee and liquor until long after the show has closed and the set readies for another artist’s conquest. Through April 13; 511 W. 18th St.; 212-790-3900; hauserwirth.com.
Late last year, 70 highly coveted magnums of Les Clos Pompadour Champagne by Pommery arrived at Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits on Park Avenue. Going for approximately $520 a bottle, the sparkling wine is the only portion of the 3,000 bottles of Les Clos Pompadour produced this year that will reach the United States.
In case you missed it, we recommend heading to the Pommery Estate in Reims, France, where tastings are offered year-round. An unusual, annually developed show of contemporary art also occupies the estate’s historic landscape, with much of the same elegant mischievousness that a magnum of Champagne brings to a party in a Manhattan apartment.
This year Bernard Blistène, director of cultural development at Paris’s Centre Pompidou, curated Expérience Pommery. Rather than using existing works, the estate—under Blistène’s guidance—commissioned artists such as Piero Gilardi, Haim Steinbach, Alicja Kwade, Huang Yong Ping, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Richard Fauguet, Anita Molinero and Davide Balula to create new, site-specific works. Blistène spoke to us about creating a contemporary show in a historic space.
Q: How were you introduced to Expérience Pommery?
A: I followed the Pommery Expériences from the beginning. Each time I was struck not by the audacity, but by the freedom that Nathalie Vranken—wife of Pommery’s proprietor, Paul-François—gives the curators she invites. It seemed to me that one could recognize in that freedom the state of contemporary creation.
Q: What did you enjoy about curating this exhibition?
A: I have organized numerous exhibitions in historical buildings, such as the Château at Chambord or the Conciergerie [the old palace and prison] in Paris, but the cellars in Reims are unique. It goes without saying that the idea of white cube has been questioned for many years—but here you will find, perhaps, its antidote or its opposite. I believe that there is no experience of art without drama, and this place offers a drama that most places with which we’re familiar cannot.
Q: Sculpture parks like Storm King in the United States or Gibbs Farm in New Zealand have grown increasingly popular in recent years—clearly contemporary art loves a landscape. Do you think exhibits on private estates will become more common?
A: After the skepticism—or even moral indignation—that contemporary art generated originally, today it creates curiosity. This is partly due to the influence of institutions like the Centre Pompidou, but also largely because of individuals, at the same time or after Vranken, who realized that art should be shared and taught.
Q: Where were some of your favorite installations?
A: The artists invited to this anniversary exhibit have occupied a lot of corners. Art is in the trees, the rooftops, the staircases—regardez bien!
“Memories?” asks Jonas Mekas, the Lithuanian-born, 90-year-old filmmaker from off screen in the opening of Outtakes from the Life of a Happy Man. “They say my images are memories. No, no, no. It is all real, what you see.” Called the “godfather of American avant-garde cinema,” Mekas premiered Outtakes earlier this month at London’s Serpentine Gallery (Kensington Gardens; 44-20/7402-6075; serpentinegallery.org) for his eponymous and long overdue retrospective (on view through January 27, 2013).
Outtakes will unspool alongside six other films and walls of photographs, poems and installations culled from 64 years of work—from the hundreds of binders and boxes that line the walls and windowsills of his New York studio to his thousands of hours of film. “If It Moved, Jonas Mekas Shot It,” read a headline in The Times when the retrospective opened. And he did: John Lennon’s birthday parties, Salvador Dalí’s happenings, friends at dinner, a baptism, a cat.
Over the title card of As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, he reflects, “I have never been able, really, to figure out where my life begins and where it ends.” A light flashes on and dims in a window. He confesses that he wanted, at first, to make meaning by giving order to the moments he caught, these seemingly random glimpses of lives led. But then, “I gave up. And I began splicing them together by chance, the way I found them on the street.”
A more traditional form of collection is on view at the Michael Hoppen Gallery (3 Jubilee Pl.; 44-20/7352-3649; michaelhoppengallery.com) in “Finders Keepers” (through January 31, 2013), which features three floors of 130 photographs from the private collection of director Hoppen. It is the largest public exhibition the gallery has put on to date. “I found these images in markets, other dealers, auctions, meeting families of photographers and, of course, pure chance,” he explains. They are hung with notes that describe the incidents surrounding their creation (“A large stag hangs outside an ice-cream parlor somewhere in the Midwest”) and the encounters that led Hoppen to find them (“When I took over the lease at 3 Jubilee Place in Chelsea in 1984, I was clearing out an old cupboard there and came across a group of pictures”).
“I am always looking for interesting things to look at,” says Hoppen. “Pictures that change my point of view or inform a particular attitude. For the show I wanted to select mostly unknown pictures.” Some moments in these images are caught at random—a powerful mobster or an image of nude legs in the sun by Jacques Henri Lartigue—but most are artful, staged scenes, like the anonymous portraits of boxers or chimney sweeps and Richard Avedon’s Dovima with Elephants.
There is something delectable about seeing it, the same naughty delight one would get from riffling through the file cabinets of a museum. The show neither fears the grotesque nor disdains beauty, but it delights in surprise: Garry Winogrand’s Park Avenue, New York involves a convertible, a fashionable couple and a monkey.
As Mekas puts it in Outtakes, “I like what I recorded with my camera… Why else would I show it, share it with you? I like these images. This reality of images.”
In Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the mysterious submarine Nautilus moves unseen, combating the British Empire under the leadership of one Captain Nemo. “Nemo” means “no one” in Latin, an enigmatic self-erasure that marks a fictional character more interested in deeds than global brand recognition. The art fair NADA has taken a similar approach, negating its own brand in favor of, presumably, the young, little-known galleries and artists it highlights. It continues to combat the global establishment December 6 to December 9 at Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach.
Its non-name—which stands for New Art Dealers Alliance—also seems to dismiss the nonserious yada—yada that some might say characterizes Art Basel Miami Beach (held December 6 to December 9 this year). Though there is nothing wrong with a fair that might be described as the social event of the season, according to Heather Hubbs, longtime director of NADA, “people want alternatives.”
Now in its tenth year in Miami Beach, NADA is hardly the slingshot-wielding idealist it used to be, though it remains the only major American art fair operated by a nonprofit. “Our fair is a serious and viable alternative to the main fair, and is no longer viewed as a satellite,” says Hubbs. Referring to NADA’s recent expansion to New York and Cologne, Germany, she adds, “Our success comes from what we do and how we do it, not because we have more shows now.” (Similar to Captain Nemo, NADA’s non-name has become a household one.)
With 22 galleries new to the fair this year, a shockingly high percentage, there is plenty to see. Temnikova & Kasela, an up-and-coming gallery from Tallinn, Estonia, is showing in the U.S. for the first time, along with Bischoff Projects of Frankfurt, Germany, and Kendall Koppe of Glasgow, Scotland. NADA can still claim to expose the underexposed—only now it brings it to a bigger audience. 6701 Collins Ave.; 212-594-0883; newartdealers.org.
American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement