Look For Kusama’s Balloon Masterpiece In The Thanksgiving Day Parade

Look For Kusama’s Balloon Masterpiece In The Thanksgiving Day Parade

Who’s joining me this year at the Balloon Inflation event on Manhattan’s UWS on Wednesday, November 27th from 4-7pm?

As many of you know this is one of my favorite “insidery” things to do in NYC. I’m there every year, rain or shine.

and This year will be major!

Yayoi Kusama, one of my favorite artists, has created a special balloon for the 2019 Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Other artists who have participated over the years include Jeff Koons with Rabbit in 2007, Takashi Murakami with KaiKai and KiKi in 2010, and KAWS with Companion in 2012.

artnet.com

I saw the KAWS art balloon in 2012 but had not been aware it was part of the Macy’s Blue Sky Gallery Series (founded in 2005 to highlight contemporary artists). The Kusama balloon will be the eighth in the series and the first by a female artist.

Kusama’s participation in this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off a massive year for the 90-year-old artist.

She has a show of new work opening at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea on November 9. Expect lines around the block to see the debut of her new Infinity Mirrored Room. They’re anticipating over 100,000 people will be standing in line at some point to see it. Instagram will be blowing up. The show at Zwirner will be followed by a major installation at the Bronx Botanical Garden called Cosmic Nature. It is scheduled to run from May 9 – Nov 1, 2020. Pretty sure it will be breaking all attendance records for the Botanical Garden.

Scroll down for highlights from Balloon Inflation over the last several years.
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Donald Judd Interviews: Blunt, Scathing And Brilliant!

Donald Judd Interviews: Blunt, Scathing And  Brilliant!

This was the first Marathon Reading Program I’ve ever attended. It was fantastic. Seven interviews spanning four decades and a diverse range of critical voices. When Fran Lebowitz came to the mike to do the seventh (and last) reading, I was shocked to realize three hours had flown by.

Donald Judd has been one of my favorite artists for years. I’ve made the pilgrimage to Marfa to his Chinati Foundation (mindblowing) and have also taken the Judd Foundation tour of his former home and studio in Soho (a must-see if in NYC, book online).

I also discovered, belatedly, that there is a documentary film that was shown Friday night in conjunction with the reading. I believe it was The Artist’s Studio: Donald Judd by Michael Blackwood Productions which is available on Amazon, Roku, and Apple TV. It’s about 30 minutes long and an absolute must-see if Judd is of interest to you. Trailer below.

Scroll down for more on the reading and the participants. PLUS trailer for the Judd documentary.
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Get Your Portrait Painted! It’s The Ultimate Selfie.

Get Your Portrait Painted! It’s The Ultimate Selfie.

I first wrote about how cool portraiture was getting back in 2017 after I had seen the Alice Neel show curated by Hilton Als at David Zwirner. The Times and I had a major disagreement about it!

“The New York Times called the show nostalgic. I disagree, it feels fresh, young and vibrant to me.”

Irma Zandl, The Opinionator, March 25, 2017

I also wrote at the time that the Neel show would kick off a trend to small-scale portraiture – and especially to portraits that include a more diverse array of people. I was absolutely right about everything except “small-scale.” The new portraiture is anything but small, it’s outsized in every way. And why not?

While there has always been a market for portraits, e.g., Elizabeth Peyton’s have consistently been top sellers, interest in portraiture exploded after the Obama portraits were unveiled in early 2018 partly because the art world loves the Obamas but also because of who they picked to paint them..

Full credit for making portraiture newly exciting has to go to the group of black artists who are working at the forefront of this genre. Artists like Kehinde Wiley (Barack Obama portrait), Amy Sherald (Michelle Obama portrait), Jordan Casteel, Kerry James Marshall, and Henry Taylor among others.

Henry Taylor’s current show at Blum & Poe in NYC was the inspiration for today’s post. “NIECE COUSIN KIN LOOK HOW LONG IT’S BEEN” will be up through November 2nd. I’ve heard that “everybody” now wants to be painted by Henry Taylor.

The show also includes a fantastic large mural that Taylor completed while at Black Rock, Kehinde Wiley’s art residency program in Dakar, Senegal.

Scroll down to see what I’m talking about.
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Native Art And Culture In The Spotlight

Native Art And Culture In The Spotlight

This is shaping up to be a great year for Native American art. I know I’m a tad biased on this, but I’ve never before seen so much interest and enthusiasm for the native arts scene. Looks like the beginnings of a paradigm shift.

What’s happening?
  • Native artists and performers are being featured in major museums including the Whitney Biennial, The Met, Crystal Bridges, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and many more.
  • Collectors are discovering contemporary Native artists, especially those who are breaking with convention.
  • Native art is being considered for public spaces e.g., Brookfield Place is working with Native artists and performers.

Every curator, academic or collector is telling me the same thing: Keep an eye on contemporary Native Art, it’s shaping up to be the next big thing.

Of course, all this new attention creates an element of trendiness which in turn, creates opportunities for blunders, e.g., Dior’s new Sauvage fragrance commercial starring Johnny Depp has been roundly panned as being culturally insensitive. However, Rag & Bone’s new mural at their Houston Street store by Diana Garcia and Alexcia Panay is beautiful (pic below).

Scroll down for photos/images from recent shows plus those opening later this year.

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Puma x Jahnkoy Streetwear Launch: Whoa! THIS Is Fabulous!

Puma x Jahnkoy Streetwear Launch: Whoa! THIS Is Fabulous!

I can’t imagine any other NYFW show delivering as much feel-good energy and unique style as this one. What a great experience. I haven’t hooted and hollered as much in a long time. Thank you, Cynthia Nelson, for the invite.

JAHNKOY (Maria Kazakova) is a Brooklyn-based visual artist who was born and raised in Siberia. This “craftivist,” as she calls herself, has entered into a partnership with PUMA to launch ME$$ENJAH, a premium ready-to-wear capsule collection of hand-crafted garments, accessories, jewelry and shoes embellished with beading, hand stitching, and vinyl application.

The project “ME$$ENJAH” aims to re-establish cultural wear and reintroduce traditional ways of dress in contemporary language. The artist wishes to raise public awareness on the necessity to restore artisanship and sustainability of the way that we consume and produce our clothes to inspire the World’s population to wear and cherish cultural clothing as well as to remember the importance of adornment and spiritual role of the garment in the human life.

Bravo to all involved but major shout out to Nathan Trice for his spectacular choreography!

Scroll down for pics and video from this inspiring, high-energy show!!

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ARTECHOUSE NYC. Best Digital Art In The World

ARTECHOUSE NYC. Best Digital Art In The World
ARTECHOUSE is a new age art mecca dedicated to groundbreaking artists who work at the intersection of art, science, and technology.

I visited on Saturday. Highly recommend. Not sure where I would place it in the pantheon of art. I’m currently thinking it might be the next generation of street art with tech replacing wheatpaste!

Every city has a destination for fine arts, theater, music, and film. Our goal is to be the home in those cities for innovative, 21st-century art. A place where one can always get inspired, educated, and empowered by exploring the latest and the best works of art and tech.

Sandro, Founder and Art Director

After opening in Washington DC in 2017 and Miami last year, ARTECHOUSE has finally made it to NYC.

Their first exhibition, Machine Hallucination by Refik Anadol debuted this week in the former Boiler Room space in the Chelsea Market.

“Machine Hallucination” introduces New Yorkers to Refik Anadol, the Turkish-born, LA-based media artist, who has pioneered the aesthetics of machine intelligence. His body of work positions creativity at the intersection of humans and machines.

  • Machine Hallucination is an immersive, digital experience utilizing machine learning and algorithms built on a data set of more than three million images representing various architectural styles and movements.
  • As the machine generates a data universe of architectural hallucinations in 512 dimensions, it begins to explore the ways in which knowledge can be experienced spatially.

Know Before You Go

Order your tickets ($24 per person) online and be on time but be prepared for tech glitches (see below). After waiting for 20 minutes for the first slot of the morning, I asked them to rebook me for 12 noon which they were more than happy to do (and they gave me a free drinks ticket good for a mocktail at their bar).

  • The exhibition is not recommended for individuals who are sensitive to bright or flashing lights. I’m not especially sensitive to lights but there were a few times when I had to shut my eyes so as not to get dizzy.
  • Due to the complex technology employed, the installation may require unplanned maintenance; this may result in delays for visitors or in the cancellation of a visit (but you’ll get a refund).
  • Participants thought to be unstable or under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be admitted and will be requested to leave!?!

Scroll down for videos and photos from my visit.

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Governor’s Island Art Fair: A Must-See This September

Governor’s Island Art Fair: A Must-See This September

Governor’s Island is one of my favorite “getaways” and it’s right in Manhattan. A hidden gem for biking and walking, it also has the best views of the city.

For the last 12 years, I’ve always headed to Gov Island for what I consider to be one of the best art fairs in the city – one that’s run by, and for, artists.

This year it opened on Sunday, September 1st and will run through September 29th (weekends only). If you’re in NYC this month, put it on your calendar, you’ll thank me.

The fair is held in several of the Colonel’s Row Buildings with each artist assigned a dedicated space allowing them to create a totally immersive experience.

I checked it out on the opening weekend and although I went specifically for the art fair, there were so many other random discoveries, e.g., the Queen Mary 2 was docked in Red Hook, with Candace Bergen and Meryl Streep (celebrating her 70th) on board. The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus was also hosting its/ annual Unicycle Festival.

Scroll down for a look-see of all that Governor’s Island has to offer.

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2019 Whitney Biennial: Is This The Most Lackluster Show Ever?

2019 Whitney Biennial: Is This The Most Lackluster Show Ever?

 

What happened this year? Obviously, PC-washing art makes for a dull show. And with activists now running the museum, this may very well be the last Biennial (and if not, it should be).

 

As a long-time member of the Whitney, I am annoyed and nonplussed that the museum has allowed this to happen. No backbone. I’d like to see every trustee and board member resign in protest against this “tainted money” witchhunt. Let’s see how the provocateurs manage to keep this, or any museum, afloat.

And I wonder if the artists who asked to withdraw their work will now allow the activists to vet all their future (and past) collectors to make sure only those deemed pure enough will be allowed to acquire their work?

At the moment, it feels more than a bit hypocritical, like having their cake and eating it too. Once the artists milked the biennial for everything it had to offer, they dropped out. They’ve gotten their press, their Instagrams, their sales.

UPDATE: As of Sunday morning, all the artists were back in since Kanders had resigned.

I predict, however, that given how easily the activists were able to manipulate the Whitney to do their bidding, this is not the end of their protests. Ken Griffin, the trustee and hedge-fund billionaire who resigned for a nano-second last week, might yet get another chance to resign, this time perhaps he’ll not waffle on his decision! Giving money, giving time, serving on boards, philanthropy in general should not end up being an exercise in humiliation.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m agitated about this! Warren Kanders is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s coming.

Any trustee or company whose wealth comes from doing business with the government or the US military should consider themselves fair game. As is any company supplying police cars (watch out Ford Foundation!) or consumer goods companies like Coca Cola who use plastic bottles or make sugary, unhealthy beverages. The list of targets goes on and on.

Very challenging times ahead for cultural institutions. I see pink slips coming.

 

In the meantime, scroll down for photos from this year’s bland biennial (with three notable exceptions).

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