Posts Tagged ‘artists’

Happy news! Artists and the people who love them meet at last, on mutual ground. No more stark, unfriendly gallery spaces where some intern behind the front desk refuses to acknowledge your arrival. No more standing around at openings with a plastic cup of lousy wine in one hand and a gussied-up Ritz cracker in the other, hoping for a chance to speak with the artist. No more stratospheric prices that make you feel like a dwarf star in the vast art world universe. Really? Really! (more…)

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Earlier this spring, as we stepped off the elevator on the top floor of the Whitney Biennial, my company at the museum made the rather amusing but to my mind also very accurate observation that it all looked like “an open studio at an MFA program”. My friend was reacting against the lack of space to move around any one piece, to truly see it and attempt to take it in, without bumping into either people or other works of art. In all, visiting this biennial (as well as the 5 or 6 I’ve seen before this, I should add) is a rather stressful and uncomfortable experience; perhaps especially so for those of us who have the luxury to visit Chelsea weekly and often find ourselves to be the only visitor in a gallery at a time. What’s most annoying to me is that with all the clutter, movement and distracting chatter, it is impossible to establish a new relationship to an artist’s work that I have never seen before. That, it seems, should be one of the biennial’s most important purposes. As it is, it resembles a big, well-attended art fair, both in aesthetics and function, with the exception that sales staff is really hard to come by.



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From the first known map of the trading world (inscribed on a Babylonian clay tablet in 600 BC) to Abu Abd Allah Muhammad al-Idrisi’s 1154 world map, to National Geographic’s rendering of the earth’s ocean floor, cartographic representations have helped us imagine and navigate trade routes, political states, scientific discoveries and geographic territories.

Published maps have typically been the province of dominant cultures. But that is changing. Minority perspectives have exploded, supported by the latest technological developments, popular culture and commercial currents (see “La Frontera,” April 6). Many people—artists or not—have re-imagined their world by way of Google Earth, GPS technology, MapQuest, cell phones, and even their own five senses. (See This American Life.) (more…)

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Art*o*mat is a long-term project of artist Clark Whittington, who retools vintage cigarette vending machines to dispense affordable art objects created by over 400 artists from 10 countries. The machines have the chrome and high polish look of restored vintage cars. Each is unique, beautiful and reminiscent of another era. But they are not collectors’ items; they are dispensers of affordable contemporary art.

Whittington is the curator. Submitting artists must be able to make at least 50 “originals” matching their prototype. Machines are located at colleges, in museums, restaurants and other popular places. Items are generally $5 each, and the artist gets 50% of each sale.

One of the latest additions to the Art*o*mat site is the gift store, where you can purchase an “art o carton,” containing 10 cigarette-pack-sized artworks. The Art*o*mat project is a great example of creative thinking, art advocacy, community building and culture jamming all in one.

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