The Saint Louis Art Museum announces the October 19 opening of Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning and American Art, 1940–1976, the first major U.S. exhibition in 20 years to re-examine Abstract Expressionism and the movements that followed. Prior to traveling to St. Louis, Action/Abstraction opened May 4 at The Jewish Museum in New York. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y., is the exhibition’s third and final venue.
Beijing-based artist Cao Fei (born 1978) is fusing fantasy with the contemporary Chinese city in her construction of RMB City, an experimental art community in the internet-based virtual world of Second Life. Second Life was conceived as a platform for participants to create a parallel reality in which to live out their dreams, and 14 million people worldwide have registered since it launched in 2003. Each user is represented by an avatar, a digital figure that they can customize and control.
Dreamland: Architectural Experiments since the 1970s is an exhibition of works drawn from the MoMA collection of Architecture and Design that explores the ways in which the singular landscape of New York has inspired architects since the 1970s with visions of utopia. The city has served as a model for architectural projections and reflections, and also as a metaphor for the complex relationship between the limitations of reality and the infinite possibilities of architectural thought. On display through October 27, 2008.
Through September 28, 2008, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) presents the exhibition Frida Kahlo. Organized by world-renowned Frida Kahlo biographer and art historian Hayden Herrera, the presentation will include approximately 50 paintings from the beginning of Kahlo’s career in 1926 to her death in 1954. The San Francisco presentation is organized by John Zarobell, SFMOMA assistant curator of painting and sculpture.
While concentrating on Kahlo’s hauntingly seductive and often brutal self-portraits, the exhibition also will include those particular portraits and still-life paintings that amplify her sense of identity. The peculiar tension between the intimacy of Kahlo’s subject matter and the reserve of her public persona gives her self-portraits the impact of icons. As her practice progressed, her images grew in confidence and complexity, reflecting her private obsessions and political concerns. Kahlo struggled to gain visibility and recognition both as a woman and an artist, and she was a central player in the political and artistic revolutions occurring throughout the world.
The exhibition also will feature photographs that once belonged to Kahlo and Diego Rivera from the Vicente Wolf Photography Collection, many of which have never before been published or exhibited. Emblematic images of Kahlo and Rivera by preeminent photographers of the period (Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Gisele Freund, Tina Modotti, Nickolas Muray) will be on view alongside never-before-seen personal snapshots of the artist with family and friends, including such cultural and political luminaries as André Breton and Leon Trotsky. These photographs—several of which Kahlo hand-inscribed with dedications; effaced with self-deprecating marks; and kissed, leaving a trace of lipstick—pose fascinating questions about an artist who was both the consummate manufacturer of her own image and a beguiling and willing photographic subject.
During her lifetime, Kahlo was best known as the flamboyant wife of renowned muralist Rivera. Today she has become one of the most celebrated and revered artists in the world. Between 1926, when she began to paint while recuperating from a near-fatal bus accident, and 1954, when she died at age 47, Kahlo painted some 66 self-portraits and about 80 paintings of other subjects, mostly still lifes and portraits of friends. “I paint my own reality,” she said. “The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to.” Her reality and her need to explore and confirm it by depicting her own image have given us some of the most powerful and original images of the 20th century. Paradoxically, her work allowed her to both express and continually fabricate her own subjectivity.
Kahlo was born in 1907 in Coyoacán, then a southern suburb of Mexico City. Three years after the 1925 bus accident, she showed her paintings to Rivera. He admired the paintings, and the painter, and a year later they married. Theirs was a tumultuous relationship: Rivera once declared himself to be “unfit for fidelity,” and Kahlo largely withstood his promiscuity. As if to assuage her pain, Kahlo recorded the vicissitudes of her marriage in paint. She also recorded the misery of her deteriorating health—the orthopedic corsets she was forced to wear, the numerous spinal surgeries, plus a number of miscarriages and therapeutic abortions. Her painful subject matter is distanced by an intentional primitivism, as well as by the canvases’ small scale. Kahlo’s sometimes grueling imagery is also mitigated by her sardonic humor and extraordinary imagination. Her sense of fantasy, fed by Mexican popular art and pre-Columbian culture, was noted by surrealist poet and essayist Breton when he came to Mexico in 1938 and claimed Kahlo for Surrealism. She rejected the designation but clearly understood that doors would open under the surrealist label—and they did: Breton helped secure exhibitions for her in New York in 1938 and Paris in 1939.
Soon after Kahlo returned from attending her Paris show, Rivera asked her for a divorce. They remarried a year later. In the second half of the 1940s Kahlo’s health worsened; she was hospitalized for a year between 1950 and 1951, and in 1953 her right leg was amputated at the knee due to gangrene. Her insistence on being strong and joyful in the face of pain sustained her, however; she drew a picture of her severed limb in her journal and wrote, “Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly?”
Kahlo had her first exhibition in Mexico in 1953. Defying doctor’s orders, she attended the opening and received guests while reclining on her own four-poster bed. Because she could not sit up for long and she suffered severe effects from prescribed painkillers, her paintings in the period from 1952 to 1954 lost the jewel-like refinement of her earlier works. Her late still lifes and self-portraits—many of which proclaim Kahlo’s allegiance to Communist doctrine—testify to her passion for life and her indomitable will, however.
Frida Kahlo brings together works such as Henry Ford Hospital (1932), depicting the artist’s miscarriage in Detroit (a first in terms of the iconography of Western art history), and The Broken Column (1944), painted after she underwent spinal surgery. It also includes self-portraits such as Me and My Doll (1937) and Self-Portrait with Monkeys (1943), both of which explore the theme of childlessness. The artist’s suffering over Rivera’s betrayals is reflected in paintings like her masterful double-portrait The Two Fridas (1939); created during her separation and divorce from Rivera, the work presents a powerful depiction of pain inflicted by love and Kahlo’s divided sense of self. Collectively, these images suggest the extent to which, for Kahlo, painting served as catharsis, as well as an opportunity to redefine and critique modern bourgeois society.
Collectors of Kahlo’s work can be found around the world—the paintings in the exhibition come from some 30 private and institutional collections in France, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. Several paintings have never before been on public view in the United States. Two of the most important and extensive collections of Kahlo’s work—the Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño Collection in Mexico City and the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Modern and Contemporary Mexican Art, currently housed in the Centro Cultural Muros in Cuernavaca—have loaned some of their most treasured Kahlo paintings to the exhibition.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated 304-page catalogue featuring more than 100 color plates, as well as critical essays by Herrera, exhibition co-curator Elizabeth Carpenter, and Latin American art curator and critic Victor Zamudio-Taylor. A separate plate section is devoted to works from the Vicente Wolf Photography Collection. The catalogue also includes an extensive illustrated timeline of relevant socio-political world events, artistic and cultural developments, and significant personal experiences that took place during Kahlo’s lifetime, along with a selected bibliography, exhibition history, and index.
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Aicon Gallery, New York, presents a group show of contemporary Pakistani miniaturists; artists Ayesha Durrani, Ahsan Jamal, Amjad Ali Talpur, Farida Batool, and Sumaira Tazeen. These artists are being presented for the first time at Aicon Gallery, though many of them have exhibited internationally already. This exhibition is a collaboration with Canvas Gallery, Karachi. On view through 30 August, 2008.
As the Chinese government attempts to control the country’s image during this summer’s Olympics games, censors have forced two art galleries to delay the openings of their shows, Bloomberg reports. Galleri Faurschou postponed a show of work by Andy Warhol of Olympic athletes that was set to open this weekend, because censors felt it was inappropriate to exhibit foreign artwork during China’s biggest public event. Xin Beijing Art Gallery canceled a show of oil paintings by Ma Baozhong, because censors did not like his depictions of the Dalai Lama and former president Jiang Zemin.
I AM searching for a new art gallery in central Shanghai called Bund 66. Its name stakes a claim to the majestic 19th-century river-fronted Bund which is now home to glamorous shops, bars and restaurants. But its address is 66 Nanjing Road East, around the corner, once Shanghai’s most fashionable shopping street but now bland and dismal. Inside a 1930s art deco office building, a fifth-floor door has a small sign saying Bund 66. I push it open to reveal a large white space, a vase of lilies and a pretty girl behind a black desk. I am attracted by a spare, abstract work, a few hieroglyphic marks on a white canvas, and ask the price. It’s $3000.
Read the rest of this interesting article at The Australian
As previewed recently, Parisian boutique colette teamed up with GAP to produce a concept store in New York City. Opening September 6th, 2008 the shop will run its course for an entire month, eventually closing up on October 5th. For every week, there will be new limited items exclusive to the concept store. colette has now launched the official website as well as featured the wide range of brands and collaborations that will be available at the store, including the likes of: Neckface, Eric Elms, ESPO, Converse and so forth.
A complete set of Andy Warhol’s silkscreen and acrylic paint “Athletes” series will go on show at the Faurschou gallery in Beijing on 26 July in an exhibition timed to coincide with the Olympics… Their display in China, along with other Warhol portraits of celebrities such as Michael Jackson, represents the first major show by the artist in mainland China where his market has never been tested.
Via: The Art Newspaper