Archive for May, 2012

Anahuacalli

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Like a Mayan pyramid, the Anahuacalli Museum rises from a dense, old neighborhood in the southern environs of Mexico City, a good 1.5-hour taxi ride from your next destination (unless it’s Frida Kahlo’s house and collection a short distance away). Anahuacalli houses Diego Rivera’s collection of pre-Hispanic art and artifacts in glorious display cases spread across mostly small dark rooms made of volcanic stone with mosaicked stone ceilings (and some floors) that weave together symbols of the Teotihuacan culture with the occasional hammer and sickle. Rivera with his friend, the architect and muralist, Juan O’Gorman conceived of the design, although Rivera didn’t live to see its completion. This spring, Kurimanzutto gallery hosted an exhibition of British artist Sarah Lucas’s bodily assemblages made of mostly nylon pantyhose and cotton stuffing contorted and placed on pedestals of stacked adobe bricks, all sourced in Mexico. It’s hard to imagine anything looking bad in Anahuacalli—the name means “House of Energy,” and the feeling of walking through its many halls as you ascend its four floors is one of effervescence met with an air of solemnity.

 

ART HK

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

I arrived in Hong Kong after a 24-hour trip from Miami (Miami to LA, LA to Hong Kong). I checked into my hotel around 10:00 PM, and finally made it out to find a late dinner around 11:00. I slept well…until I was awoken (on the 19th floor of my hotel) by celebrating Chelsea football (soccer) fans in the streets at 6:30 in the morning. Congrats, Chelsea, on the Champions League win…and for waking me up. This felt like a uniquely Hong Kong post-imperialist situation. At 11:00 AM I made my way to Art HK. A few British dealers were bleary-eyed in sunglasses, slouching in their booths. I had a crazy day of running around trying to see this enormous fair in six hours. At 2:40 I did a talk with writer HG Masters at the Art Asia Pacific booth. I was followed by artist (and Pittsburgh resident) Bill Kofmehl. Out of 35 talks, over four days, there were 6 people from the US. Two out out of six were from Pittsburgh…not bad! I got to see and talk with many galleries new to me over the course of the day.

 

Miami (in the off-season with Ragnar Kjartansson)

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

I have just begun a month-long research trip that began in Miami, will end in Basel, and in-between will take me to Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Shanghai, Zagreb, Berlin, Kassel, and Paris. And maybe a mining town in Belgium. This trip began in a humid, sultry fashion in Miami, where the CMA’s exhibition, Ragnar Kjartansson: Song, was opening at MoCA North Miami (it goes to ICA Boston in December). I’d never been to Miami outside of December, during Art Basel, and it was nice to see the city as it normally is, without the thousands of art world characters floating around. I had a great few days down there and was reminded of the strong artist community. Thursday evening was Ragnar’s opening—the installation was impeccable. And Ragnar, in true Ragnar fashion, made everybody happy. I had an 8:00 AM flight the next morning, which I miraculously made, and then spent the next 22 hours en-route to Hong Kong. I don’t recommend that to anyone…

Oi, Inhotim

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The night before my trip to Instituto Inhotim, I flew into Belo Horizonte, the nearest city in the southeastern region of Brazil known as Minas Gerais. The next morning’s journey southward began on a big highway that led to small windy, dusty streets through the town of Brumadinho, to the gates of a former farm now home to Brazil’s largest contemporary art sculpture park-cum-botanical garden. Although normally packed with visitors on the weekends, Inhotim was quiet—it was Mother’s Day. Good for me because there was lots to see. I met my guide Juliana at the visitors center just before 10 AM with the stated desire to see everything. She looked doubtful, but we would try. We set off with a quick pace over a small bridge on a green lake dotted with white swans. I’m not too familiar with the indigenous natural landscape of Brazil (it was only my second trip), but as much as it was beautiful, I could tell this was likely not natural. Indeed, nothing about Inhotim is quite natural, and that is just the beauty of it.

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David Weiss

Monday, May 21st, 2012

One half of the incredible duo Fischli/Weiss, David Weiss succumbed to cancer this past month. Peter Fischli and David Weiss began collaborating in 1979, and they participated in the 1988 and 2008 Carnegie Internationals. Weiss was present at both exhibition openings, and I’ve heard very fond remembrances from many current and former CMA staff. Look for The Way Things Go (part of the CMA’s collection, and called “one of the most acclaimed art films of the late 20th century,” by the NYT‘s Roberta Smith) to be on view in our “Fountain Gallery” (outside the Scaife restrooms) in the coming month. You can read the Times‘s obituary here.