Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Meet the designers: Kloepfer-Ramsey

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed that we recently got a makeover. You may have wondered whether, from one visit to the next, you actually just witnessed the unveiling of the 2013 Carnegie International’s graphic identity?! And the answer would be yes. Yes you did, and you were among the first to see it.

The design was developed by Kloepfer-Ramsey, a graphic design studio in New York, established in 2010 by Chad Kloepfer and Jeff Ramsey. They work primarily with clients in the fields of art and architecture on print, identity, interactive, and exhibition-related projects. Chad and Jeff sent me this description of the design concept they’ve developed for us:

In working to establish an identity for the show we focused on two of the main themes: play and dissonance. These themes helped create a structure for thinking and form making, in devising a system in which various elements can be played with and positioned in terms of scale, shape, color, placement, and material. By creating a core group of visual shapes, images, and verbal cues the identity starts to take shape through the juxtaposition of these elements, almost like a mood board. Sometimes they come together in very formal, more aggressive arrangements, and at other times less rigid or more open-ended groupings leaving the viewer to make connections between the pieces. This strategy of groupings seemed to align with how the curators were thinking about the artists and their relationship(s) to one another. As the identity starts to react to the forms and content of its application throughout the show, and on the various materials produced, that diversity, or dissonance, is made concrete. Very little is seen as “off limits” for the possibilities of application, since in the end, this helps produce a richer, more varied experience. Overall, the identity is meant to provide a playful and informative counterpoint to the exhibited works.

Check out more of Chad and Jeff’s work on their website.

Tehran is the capital of Iran

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A work by Alexander Calder in front of portraits of Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Hosseini Khamenei at the Tehran Museum of Art

“Why are you in Tehran?,” people in the capital continuously asked me. “Why are you going to Tehran?,” my friends wondered. Well, come to Pittsburgh in October 2013, visit the Carnegie International, and you will know. Until then, travel to Tehran, don’t believe what you read in the papers, or what they tell you on TV and other media. It’s absolutely stunning, it’s way too isolated, it’s not dangerous, it’s big (the metropolitan Tehran counts more than 15m inhabitants), the youth is great, as is suspicion, knowledge, curiosity, and hospitality.

Okay, there is some really bad stuff going on there, and there are not many tourists around, either. So, the first thing I did was walk to the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art built by Iranian architect Kamran Diba and opened in 1977. According to Wikipedia, this great building hosts “the most valuable collection of Western modern art outside of Europe and the United States. It is said that there is approximately £2.5 billion worth of modern art held at the museum.” Entering into the main hall, you could see a mobile by Alexander Calder floating in front of portraits of Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Hosseini Khamenei (see image above). They had their collection of Giacometti, Hamilton, Oldenburg, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Vasarely, and Warhol on display (see images below). While visiting, you were surrounded by a gentle sound (as in many of Tehran’s art galleries) which let me drift away into melancholia. You couldn’t help but wonder what this kind of high-end Western contemporary art was doing in today’s Iran (read here why contemporary art is indeed important in Iran). Out of this bluesy mood I sent a message to Sam Keller, the director of the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland, who initially wanted to travel to Tehran with me. He texted me back that that it was Ernst Beyeler who had sold some of these works to Farah Pahlavi, the Shah’s wife, and responded to my melancholy with “Warhol had the blues.” A few hours later, I learned that there was not too much reason for playing the blues.

Paris in 48

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

View from taxi

In the two free days between Documenta 13, Manifesta 9, and Art 43 Basel, I found myself in Paris, for the first time since I lived briefly in student housing in the Cité International Universitaire in the first months of 2000. Back then, I had one of those brilliant art gallery internships: when there was nothing to do in the office, I was told to go see the museums and galleries of Paris and report back on what was going on. Here I was—12 years later—retracing my steps. First stop: Centre Pompidou to see how they hang the collection; what vitrines, pedestals, and plinths they build; and if the library was still as magnificent as I remember it. Second stop: The Palais de Tokyo for the Paris Triennial, Intense Proximité. The exhibition design was a bit chaotic as the museum is amidst a renovation, but its open plan appealed to me and the chain-link fencing for walls wasn’t half bad, if a bit like being jailed in an art prison.  Third stop: Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris to see a group show of young artists from Mexico called Resisting the Present. A lot of new-to-me work and a worthwhile bookend to my recent trip to Mexico City. Fourth stop: The galleries of the Marais for shows with Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Taryn Simon, and Carsten Höller, among others. Fifth and final stop: A taxi, gazing up through the sun roof, not sure when I’ll be back.

Duncan Campbell

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Installation shot of "Duncan Campbell" showing screen prints (alt)

The other day I did an interview about this blog with Tyler Green of Modern Art Notes, and he was telling me that he thinks one of the things that makes it great is that it doesn’t feel like we’re plugging something. True, we’re usually just interested in sharing what we’re interested in. But now I’m going to actively promote something. Sorry Tyler! I hope you’ll forgive this transgression, because this is important:

There’s about a month left to see new screen prints and three powerful films by Duncan Campbell—Arbeit (2011), Make It New John (2009), and Bernadette (2008)—which are playing on a timed daily rotation in our Forum Gallery. I think people don’t necessarily expect to sit down and watch a longish (39 min., 50 min., and 37 min., respectively) video when they come to a museum, but this is an opportunity not to be missed. The dinosaurs aren’t going anywhere, so if you live in the Pittsburgh area or will be visiting before July 8, please don’t rush past Forum en route to somewhere else—commit a little time to this show.


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.