Archive for November, 2008
Crowds queued up in record numbers to see Murakami at MoCA last year, but not to donate funds...
As we reported last week, Los Angeles institution MoCA (The Museum of Contemporary Art) is poised to become one of the city's first cultural casualties as a result of the crippling economic crisis now upon us. That is, until this weekend when THE NY TIMES reported that ELI BROAD, the billionaire philanthropist who is one of this city’s biggest arts patrons, has offered $30 million to help rescue the financially beleaguered Museum of Contemporary Art if the museum’s trustees and other patrons also step up their donations. The offer, made in an op-ed article published Saturday in The Los Angeles Times, is the first concrete proposal to be made public since the museum disclosed this week that it was facing a financial crisis. The museum’s endowment has fallen as much as 75 percent from its high several years ago, to less than $10 million, as the museum has repeatedly dipped into its permanent funds to pay for operations, said people who had been briefed on the museum’s finances but who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the situation. In the article, Mr. Broad said that his Broad Art Foundation would invest $30 million “with the expectation that the museum’s board and others join in this effort to solve the institution’s financial problems.” Read more HERE.
Speaking of "Street Art," the ever-elusive phantom that is the underground art world's "Damien Hirst," namely BANKSY, has just released a silk-screened print of an image from his recent swing through New Orleans. Produced by UK print house PICTURES ON WALLS, the signed and numbered edition cashes out at a very hefty £450 GBP (approx. $670 USD), making us hope that in these economically dire times, the proceeds from this very politically-motivated image are being donated to a local New Orleans charity, although no information to confirm this has been released.
As we previously reported, the November 2008 issue of ART NEWS cover story on "Street Art" is surely a high-profile indicator that the genre's 15 minutes in the limelight are winding down. Now the article by Carolina Miranda—Tracing the careers of SHEPARD FAIREY, BARRY McGEE, SWOON, and BLUE as case studies—is posted online HERE for all to read for the nice price of "free." It's a good thing too cuz the rest of the mag is as drop dead boring as all the other ones are.
Postmodern neoclassical painter KEHINDE WILEY wears his vintage European aesthetic influences on his sleeve, and in "Fallen," Wiley's new show of massive-scale (up to 25 feet!) oil paintings at downtown NYC's DEITCH PROJECTS, his inspiration has never been more literal. Based directly on a wide variety of classical European paintings and sculptures by old masters like Diego Velasquez, Jean-Antoine Houdon, Auguste Falguiere, and Stefano Maderno, the "fallen" heroes of Wiley's new series mimic their source poses almost exactly albeit in the ultramodern context of the urban hip-hop vernacular of urban Manhattan. Wiley's own explanation for the series is really quite simple: "Down is an answer to the negative views of young black men in American society. It recognizes an idiom that can be seen from a distance as a negative form transformed into something more fabulous and joyful." To give Supertouch readers a better insight on Wiley's process, the works from his new series have been presented below alongside their classical source material for closer comparison. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Painter KEHINDE WILEY's use of highly detailed floral motifs as backgrounds for his intricate portraits is legendary, and now the artist has translated this inspiration literally into a new line of clothing that will be making its commercial debut at the end of the year. Speaking to GQ magazine, Wiley explained: "In Nigeria I bought these amazing fabrics from open-air markets. I brought them back, photographed and sourced them for painting, then wondered what to do with them. I ended up working with the designer DAPO JAMIU-SOYOYE. You know that Michelin Man-style puffy coats? We made a series of those out of the fabrics and are going to sell them in a pop up store in New York in December '08 or January '09." HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Following what seems to be a realistic pledge by President Elect BARACK OBAMA to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison camp immediately after taking office in 2009, we thought it was the perfect time to present Australian artist COLIN SUGGETT's new sculpture "The Mickey," that addresses the issues of the documented torture there with some decidedly dark Pop overtones. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
You thought the Big 3 and the retail world at large were the only ones feeling the pinch in this rock bottom economy? It seems the country's major cultural institutions are feeling the pinch as evidenced by news this week that LA art museum MoCA (The Museum of Contemporary Art) is facing dire financial straits going into 2009, having burned through $20 million in unrestricted funds and borrowed $7.5 million from other accounts to stay afloat. This week Museum Director JEREMY STRICK said MoCA is now seeking large cash infusions from donors, and is contemplating the possibility of merging with another institution or sharing its collection of almost 6,000 artworks. Unlike private collectors who can offload prime artworks in times of crisis, institutions are bound to keep their holdings safe for viewing in the public domain. Unlike the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) which is funded largely by the county, MoCA receives minimal government funding and relies on donors to pay about 80% of its expenses. The museum's annual budget has grown to exceed $20 million, and as a result of the current economic crisis, MoCA's investment portfolio has been greatly diminished and donor generosity has largely dried up, adding to the grim outlook for 2009's operational forecast. Ironically, last year saw one of the museum's largest draws ever with the opening of TAKASHI MURAKAMI's "© Murakami" retrospective exhibition that featured a LOUIS VUITTON pop-up shop in the gallery that, by special agreement with the museum, was allowed to sell its high-priced Murakami branded wares (generating millions in the process) without sharing a penny with the institution itself. Perhaps as a result, MoCA has just announced that the institution's satellite Geffen Contemporary exhibition space (which is leased from the city for $1 a year, which played host to Murakami's exhibition and is leased from the city for $1 a year, is being closed for six months in an attempt to cut costs and avoid permanent shuttering. Said Strick of the crisis, "All the possibilities being explored involve MoCA retaining its identity, continuing its program, expanding its collection, [but] I think it is time for this city to step forward and offer the kind of financial support commensurate with the work being done." Read more about the situation HERE.
In MoCA fundraising news, look for an incredible new print of a previously unseen new artwork by LA painter MARK RYDEN to be available for sale shortly with all proceeds being donated to the museum. Stay tuned to ST for more details...
"The artist's job is to be a witness to his time in history."
Here at Supertouch we get sent a LOT of reader photos of art tattoos, but this week's BARRY McGEE half sleeve takes the cake. And since we're talking about Mr. TWIST, let's have a look at the rare walk-through the reclusive artist filmed in conjunction with his recent show under the pseudonym "Lydia Fong" at cutting edge San Francisco gallery RATIO 3:
Supertouch buddy and self-proclaimed "voice of a generation" KANYE WEST has upped the ante on his highly anticipated new album "808s & Heartbreak" by drafting fast-rising Pop Art star KAWS to design a custom cover available exclusively on the iTunes version of the album dropping Tuesday, November 25th, and in stores on December 16th as a sepcial Christmas edition of the record.