Dorment Disses Dept of State In an aside from his Tate Liverpool review, The Telegraph’s ruthlessly rigorous Richard Dorment dismisses the US State Department’s Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions: “For the first time ever, an artist who has been dead for more than a decade - Felix Gonzalez-Torres - will represent the United States, presumably because he was the best the commissioners could come up with. If that isn’t a failure of nerve, what is?”
Searle’s no scoundrel In the Guardian’s “Tracey Emin will be representing herself - not Britain,” critic Adrian Searle dismisses artworld patriotism: “Personally I care neither more nor less about the British Pavilion than I do about any other. Tracey Emin should be seen, first and last, as an artist amongst artists, and thought about in those terms. The rest is bullshit.”
Documenta Detective Work Full points to Berlin’s Ludwig Seyfarth, who used old-fashioned reporting - “talking to dealers at the Art Cologne art fair, examining the artists profiled in the recently published Documenta 12 magazine, and scanning news reports and gallery announcements” - to compile his bootleg Documenta artists list for Artnet.de (the official list will only be released June 13). Better-known names include Ai Wei Wei, Johanna Billing, Cosima von Bonin, Emily Jacir, Louise Lawler, Zoe Leonard, Gerhard Richter, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Nedko Solakov, Imogen Stidworthy, and Artur Zmijewski.
Blood money Painter Zhang Xiaogang, quoted in the China Post’s “Art star shrugs at world interest,” re his booming auction market: “Those are paintings that I sold a long time ago. What happens in the market is none of my business… If I was just in it for the money, I would paint “Bloodlines” everyday.“”
Avid for dollars? Brown nose now! The same China Post article quotes Huang Liaoyuan, “a Beijing art critic and gallery owner” (Hello? That’s a fairly cowboy combo), re his countrymen’s current mercantile tactics: “Some Chinese artists are just selling artwork portraying the miserable lives of Chinese people because they feel that’s what foreign buyers want. They are just kissing the ass of Westerners.”
The Gay Straightshooter From the Artkrush Q&A with LA/Berlin dealer Javier Peres: “I am interested in many different things in the world, and artists who share those interests and address them in their work in original and thought-provoking ways intrigue me. If they’re hot — or simply sluts — then that’s even better.”
Banksy=Basquiat? From the Guardian’s When sport met art: Warhol’s unlikely subjects together for the first time: “In August, The Hospital arts centre in London is putting on a Banksy v Warhol show, echoing the 1985 exhibition Warhol v Basquiat, his protege.” Except that the Warhol and Basquiat show included collaborative works. Also, seeing as Warhol’s dead and Banksy’s anonymous, neither artist will be amping up the opening’s star power. Although the precedent there’s not auspicious, either. As Patricia Bosworth once noted in the NY Times, “[Warhol and Basquiat's] joint show at Tony Shafrazi’s gallery in September 1985 was a glittering media event, followed by a wild, noisy party at the Palladium, but the show itself drew universal pans. ‘Everything . . . is infused with banality,’ one critic wrote. ‘The real question is, who is using whom here?’”
Methinks the toffs protesteth too much From the Saatchi Gallery site’s report on the new 20 Hoxton Square project’s opening: “It’s not often you get to purchase a whole building of prime real-estate right in the middle of London’s artworld just so you can support your friends’ artistic bent. But Alex Dellal - who opened ‘20 Hoxton Square’ last Friday - is, after all, the grandson of ‘Black Jack’, the property and gambling tycoon. That’s not to say this is an ex-public school free-for-all… [Co-founder Adam Waymouth says,] ‘Even though this is one of the biggest gallery spaces in London, ironically, we want to be considered as the opposite of the bigger galleries.’… Camilla Al Fayed and Charlotte Casiraghi (daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco) could be spotted threading their way through the crowd.” Let’s recap: Rich kids with prime real estate? Check. Aristo pals at openings? Check. No apparent business plan, or need for such? Check. No clear artistic concept? Check. Yeah, “ex-public school free-for-all” will serve just fine as a thumbnail description.
Dealerspeak, #1 Describing the latest Daniel Edwards sculpture, Paris Hilton Autopsy - which depicts the heiress dead, naked and missing intestines - to E! News, Brooklyn dealer David Kesting said: “I think Daniel is really trying to embrace Paris’ stance against youth drunk driving and the dangers that alcohol presents to young women in our society right now.” Or just build a name by pandering to America’s celebrity obsession. Whatever. Nota Bene: This is the last time I’ll write about Daniel Edwards or Capla Kesting Fine Art. As for Paris Hilton, I’m afraid…
Celebutantes, briefly Here’s a thought for the Gray Lady: If you’re going to lead your Arts, Briefly column with the item “Prosecutors Ask Jail For Paris Hilton,” please call her “singer/actress Paris Hilton” to justify her inclusion alongside legitimate cultural news. Or simply rename the column “Entertainment Today.”
Used Flannel Shirt, est $7,500 -10,000 Singer/actress Courtney Love, quoted in Spinner.Com’s Courtney Plans to Sell Kurt’s Stuff: “I’m going to have a Christie’s auction. [My house] is like a mausoleum. My daughter doesn’t need to inherit a giant Hefty bag full of flannel f*** shirts.” Update: maybe this will become a private-treaty sale.
Political criticism As if dealers spinning conspiracy theories explaining not getting into art fairs did not suffice, Chicago politicos are now weighing in. From the Chicago Sun-Times review of Art Chicago: “On the eve of the fair, Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado released a statement criticizing Kennedy for excluding [Aldo] Castillo, a leading dealer in Latin American art. ‘If Chris Kennedy truly wants to make a difference and put Chicago on the international art stage, then he needs to de-politicize Art Chicago’s selection committee and choose members who truly understand the importance of Latin American art.’” You know, given Team Maldonado’s record re political influence-peddling, maybe he should spare the artworld his advice.