lundi 30 novembre 2015

London gallery to show recreation of Joan Miró's Mallorcan studio

Brothers Eduard and Jordi Mayoral to create replica of Spanish artist’s purpose-built studio, where Miró was at his most productive
Joan Miró’s Mallorcan studio, designed by the architect Josep Lluís Sert.
When the studio where the Spanish artist Joan Miró lived and worked until his death in 1983 is recreated in the dank darkness of midwinter London, some elements will be missing. The most important is the dazzling Mallorcan light, streaming in through huge windows, bouncing off the steep slope above and the sea far below. Another is the mummified cat hanging on a wall.
The Mayoral brothers, Eduard and Jordi, founded their gallery in Barcelona seven years ago to showcase artists linked to their city, including Miró, who was born there in 1893.
They dreamed up their most ambitious project to reveal something crucial to the artist’s later work, the purpose-built studio in Mallorca , where Miró worked longest and most productively.
The studio’s interior was originally tailor-made for Miró by his friend the architect Josep Lluís Sert via voluminous correspondence from the US where Sert was a Harvard professor at the time.
It is now being recreated through photographs taken in the 1970s by Jean-Marie del Moral, one of the few outsiders trusted to record it, and the memories of the artist’s grandson, the author and art historian Joan Punyet Miró.
Jordi Mayoral said: “We wanted to find a way to make people feel the space, but we hope they will then go to experience the real place in Mallorca.”Pinterest
 Juan Miró in hi Photograph: Alain Dejean/Sygma/Corbis
The studio’s original contents, including a pair of overalls splashed with bright yellow paint – instantly recognisable to any lover of Miró’s work – cannot move. Instead the Mayoral brothers are collecting replicas and will reproduce the paint-spattered canvas serving as a rug, and are trying to find someone to weave a copy of the sinister palm leaf sun-face that hangs from the ceiling, identical to one owned byPicasso.
The brothers will also include original correspondence and 25 paintings and drawings. The issue of how to recreate the double-height rock wall, like something from an archaeology site, is still being debated – Miró, said Punyet Miró, believed art had been going downhill since the cave men.
Two years before his death, Miró fell on the ladder-like stairs connecting the house where his grandson now lives and the studio. He left the beautiful white building and the old house next door, bought when he needed more space, and went to the capital, Palma.
The site, which includes a handsome gallery added after his death, is now a museum filled with deeply personal contents, including half-finished paintings still on their easels or stacked against the walls , comfortable country chairs where he sat contemplating work often left unfinished for years, paint tubes and brushes propped in teacups, toys, local ceramics, and the pebbles and twigs that came back in his pockets from long walks in the surrounding countryside.
Punyet Miró said: “He could make a painting in 10 seconds, but for this 10 seconds, he had thought for a year.”
His grandson recalls the first time he was invited into the studio, on his 10th birthday. “I remember it exactly, the smell of turpentine and linseed oil, of oil paint and acrylic paints, and hundreds and hundreds of works everywhere. I knew, of course, my grandfather was an artist, but after that I was in awe of him.”
Mallorca was the home of Miró’s grandparents, and of his wife, Pilar. He took his family there first to escape the second world war, and then in 1954 bought the house on a steep hillside on the outskirts of Palma.
In 1938, Miró wrote a poignant essay, I Dream of a Large Studio, recalling his early poverty in Paris – “because I was very poor, I could only afford one lunch a week: the other days I settled for dried figs and chewing gum” – and his many cramped and borrowed studios. At the Rue Blomet he painted The Farm, which he sold to Ernest Hemingway, a friend and occasional sparring partner, who dwarfed Miró in unequal combat, and Head of the Spanish Dancer, which went to his friend, Picasso.
Of the studio on Rue Blomet, he wrote: “The windows were broken, and my stove, which cost me 45 francs at the flea market, didn’t work. But the studio was very clean. I did the housework myself.”
When the artist finally acquired his dream studio, it transformed his life and his work, said Punyet Miró. Despite the photographs of an apparently gentle old man, according to his grandson, Miró was a savage, a wolf. He remembers watching his grandfather drawing with such pressure that the pencil snapped.
As Punyet Miró led the way to the second studio, the neighbouring 18th-century stone house that Miró bought in 1959 for more space and more privacy, the museum’s skinny black cat ran over to greet him, twining around his ankles. “This is not a good place for cats,” he said, stooping to pull its ears, “Come, I will tell you a terrible story.”
His grandfather had just such a cat, which liked to follow him into the studio and sit watching him work. One day Miró accidentally locked the cat behind the massive olive wood door and left – for a six-month work tour. The mummified corpse, mouth gaping in a silent yowl of anguish, which he found on his return, still hangs on the wall.
“Terrible, no?” Punyet Miró said, lifting it down and swinging it cheerfully. “You or I, we would throw this horrible thing out in the rubbish. But he kept it – the honesty of life and death, that’s what it meant to him.
“This, to me, is one of the most important places in Mallorca, in Spain, in the world.”
 Miró’s studio, Mayoral will be at 6 Duke Street, London, from 21 January to 12 February 2016 

vendredi 27 novembre 2015

Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving, Old and New

New York

Now in its 89th year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a quintessential American Thanksgiving staple. An estimated three million people are expected to venture out to see everything from floats and Broadway performers to marching bands and, of course, Santa. The lineup of balloons includes Paddington the Bear, Snoopy and Woodstock, and the Pillsbury Doughboy, among others. If you’re in New York, the parade begins at 9 a.m. on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at Central Park West and West 77th Street. It will move south on Central Park West, making an eastward turn on Central Park South, then heading south at Sixth Avenue from West 59th Street to West 34th Street before heading west to Herald Square, home to the world’s largest Macy’s store. A word of advice for anyone going to the event: the views on Sixth Avenue from West 34th to West 38th Streets will be limited as space is reserved for media outlets

Looking for something a bit less traditional? At 8 a.m., the Pilgrim Pedal Ride, a family-friendly biking excursion that weaves through Brooklyn and Queens, will begin at East 23rd Street and the East River. The event, run byCity Bike Coach, costs $35 per person, which includes a “sit-down social” breakfast at a Brooklyn diner midway through the ride. The ride is 10 to 12 miles one way and 20 to 24 miles round trip. Registration is online-only and ends at 7 on Thanksgiving morning. If you don’t have a bicycle, you can rent one using Citi Bike, the bike-share program in New York.


The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade brings a creative flair to Chicago’s downtown Loop. The one-mile-long parade will be held on State Street, starting at 8 a.m. at the intersection with West Congress Parkway (near the Harold Washington Library Center) and heading north to Randolph Street. Look for Hello Kitty, Teddy the Turkey, Ballet Folklorico Sones Mexicanos, and a deep bench of marching bands.

After the parade, a nearby option for a classic Thanksgiving meal is Miss Ricky’s, a restaurant at Virgin Hotels Chicago. For $24, you can get a meal that includes turkey, mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing and green beans. Walk a few blocks east to see Chicago’s official Christmas tree at the corner of East Washington Street and Michigan Avenue in Millennium Park. This year’s tree is a 63-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce.


Headed to the South? The Atlanta Track Club is sponsoring theThanksgiving Day Half Marathon and 5K, which begins at 7:30 a.m. at Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves (755 Hank Aaron Drive, SE). Race options include a 50-meter dash, one-mile race, 5-mile race, or a half-marathon, with costs ranging from $20 to $90. Although online registration has closed, you can still register on Nov. 25 at the race number pick-up location at the Big Peach Running Co. (800 Peachtree Street, NE).

Kim Severson, a correspondent for The New York Times, recommends thePonce City Market (675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, NE) for post-Thanksgiving Day activities. The building, occupied by Sears, Roebuck & Company from 1926 until 1987, is now a sprawling complex of dining and shopping options.

“Some of the bigger names in Southern cooking have opened there, including a great little Mexican spot by Sean Brock and Hop’s Fried Chicken, a fried chicken and hot yeast roll stand by Linton Hopkins,” Ms. Severson said. “Shopping includes Southern-made jeans and hats, as well as mall staples like Lululemon and Williams-Sonoma.”

Los Angeles

The Turkey Trot Los Angeles is a five-mile and 10-mile race throughout Los Angeles, offering runners a nice view of the Continental Building, the city’s first high-rise building, Walt Disney Concert Hall and more. Prices range from $20 to $65, for both youth and adult races. There is also a one-mile race for children ages 2 through 12.

For the animal lover, the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (5333 Zoo Drive) is open on Thanksgiving day. At 133 acres, the zoo hosts a diverse array of animals, including koalas, zebras, gorillas, and elephants. Prices range from $15 to $20, with free admission for children under age 2.

The Los Angeles Auto Show is open on Thanksgiving day and runs until Nov. 29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Check out the 2017 editions of various models, from the Ford Escape to the Porsche 911 Targa 4. Prices are $5 to $15, along with a special $85 “Aficionauto Pass” that gives visitors unlimited individual admission and a discount on merchandise.

jeudi 26 novembre 2015

Numero Zero review – ‘the spirit of Borges hovers over Umberto Eco’s latest novel’

Illustration of man reading a newspaperIThe Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco – in what some might consider an act oflèse majesté towards his literary hero, Jorge Luis Borges – gave his murderous blind librarian the name of Juan de Burgos. Literary ghosts have a habit of coming back to haunt the writers who have conjured them on to the page, and the spirit of Borges hovers over Eco’s latest novel – the spirit, but not the letter. Eco has found inspiration, once again, in Borges’s literary inventions, but this time the result is disappointing.
Eco’s unacknowledged starting point is the underlying idea in the short story “Pierre Menard, Author of Quixote”, Borges’s celebrated spoof of poetic truth. “History, mother of truth: the idea is astounding,” writes Borges, tongue-in-cheek. “Historical truth, for Menard, is not what has happened; it is what we deem to have happened.” What we deem to have happened, Eco answers, in the same ironic tone, is what the newspapers tell us has happened. To illustrate his point, Eco builds his plot around the creation of a paper in which news is made up from factual titbits, then fed to an audience of common readers willing to believe all sorts of outlandish scenarios and wild conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, what could have been an entertaining satire of the historian-journalist’s construction of reality becomes a cluttered catalogue of improbable hypotheses and more or less amusing what-ifs, mixed up with the story of a vaguely romantic entanglement between two fumbling reporters.
In order to blackmail a businessman, a con artist decides to create a newspaper financed by that businessman, which, under the appearance of investigative journalism, will invent stories that allude to shady events the businessman won’t want to be made public. “Everything always fits with everything else,” says one of the characters. “You just have to know how to read the coffee grounds.”
The narrator, a sometime translator from German and a ghost-writer of detective stories, is appointed as the chronicler of the newspaper’s creation and foreseen demise. The newspaper is to be published in a series of 12 issues numbered 01 to 012. The plan is that the businessman, who will be shown these issues before anyone else, will realise the danger the pseudo-investigative articles represent for him and his friends, pay the con artist handsomely and put an end to the fictional enterprise. If historical truth can be created, Eco suggests, it can also be conveniently erased. However, as the narrator finds out, convincing fictions can end up spilling into reality, and he himself becomes the victim of what is – perhaps – a real and bloodthirsty conspiracy. Numero Zero has been brilliantly translated into English by Richard Dixon, who has been able to catch the changes of voice and tone of the characters, and find English equivalents for the Italian jokes and wordplay.
For some time now, Eco – inventive novelist, meticulous reader, clever theorist of language and cultural phenomena – has been deeply interested in the popular delusions behind all kinds of conspiracy theories, from those involving theKnights Templar in Foucault’s Pendulum to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion inThe Prague Cemetery. But passions, especially literary ones, can eventually become overwhelming, and in Numero Zero, instead of giving his readers judicious measures of his research into society’s paranoias, Eco fills page after page with seemingly endless lists of divergent historical fantasies. The longest and most complicated one proposes, in excruciating detail, an alternative ending to the fascist reign of Mussolini, an Italian equivalent to the idea that Elvis is alive. Compiling lists is one of the earliest devices of poetic fiction, but it must be justified by the context and not feel as if the author were merely indulging himself.
Telling the story of what might have happened, offering alternatives to accepted historical narratives, can be one of the delights of literary invention, from Malory’s La Morte d’Arthur to Life of Brian and Pierre MenardNumero Zero does not belong to this rewardingly mendacious brotherhood.
 Alberto Manguel’s Curiosity is published by Yale. To order Numero Zero for £12.99 (RRP £16.99) go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.

mercredi 25 novembre 2015

With Modigliani Purchase, Chinese Billionaire Dreams of Bigger Canvas

BEIJING — Even as the cost of his quarry pulled away from the $100 million mark, Liu Yiqian remained calm.

Thus did Mr. Liu manage to secure “it” — an oil portrait of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani — at a Christie’s auction in New York on Nov. 9. During the tense nine-minute sale, he beat out five opponents by offering $170.4 million with fees, thesecond-highest price ever paid for an artwork at auction.“I was on the phone with a girl from Christie’s Hong Kong who was bidding on my behalf, and she kept dropping the phone because she was so nervous,” Mr. Liu recalled in his Beijing hotel room on Friday. “I told her, ‘Why are you so nervous? I’m the one paying, and I’m not even nervous. Just buy it.’  ”

“As soon as I heard that it went to an Asian buyer, I knew it was him,” said Wang Wei, Mr. Liu’s wife, who was in Hong Kong at the time.
Continue reading the main story
“Modigliani didn’t make very many nude paintings, and this is one of his best,” she added. “It was definitely worth it.” Before last week, Mr. Liu and Ms. Wang, both 52, had already made a name for themselves in China’s art circles, he in particular as the most flamboyant of the country’s small group of major collectors. To many, he is the brash former taxi driver turned billionaire who provoked an uproar when he bought a tiny Ming dynasty porcelain cup for $36.3 million at a Sotheby’s auction — and proceeded to be photographed drinking tea from the antique vessel.

Ms. Wang is known as the driving force and general director behind the couple’s Long Museum, which has two branches in Shanghai. Over more than 20 years, the two have amassed an extensive collection of mostly traditional and contemporary Chinese art, much of it on display in the museums.

Days after their latest blockbuster purchase, Mr. Liu and Ms. Wang were back at it, flying to Beijing to attend the fall sales of a top auction house, China Guardian. They said their goal was to transform the Long Museum into a world-class destination that could compete with the likes of the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

And nothing, Mr. Liu said, says world class quite like a Modigliani nude.

“Every museum dreams of having a Modigliani nude,” Mr. Liu said. “Now, a Chinese museum has a globally recognized masterpiece, and my fellow countrymen no longer have to leave the country to see a Western masterpiece. I feel very proud about that.”

He added, “The message to the West is clear: We have bought their buildings, we have bought their companies, and now we are going to buy their art.”

With his acquisition of the nude, a 1917-18 canvas known as “Nu Couché,” that message certainly seems to have gotten across.

“This purchase was a proclamation of his arrival,” said Thomas Galbraith, managing director of auctions at Paddle8, an online auction house. “Anyone in the art world who didn’t know his name knows it now.”

Mr. Liu’s rise is a classic rags-to-riches tale of post-Mao China. Growing up in a working-class family in Shanghai in the 1960s and ’70s, he said, he knew early on that he wanted to go into business. After dropping out of middle school, he began selling leather handbags, and later drove a taxi.

In 1983, he was still eking out a living as a small-time businessman when he met Ms. Wang, who was working as a typist at Shanghai Normal University.

By the late 1980s, with China’s economic liberalization in full swing, Mr. Liu said his fortunes turned as a series of investments he had made began to take off.

Today, he is chairman of the Sunline Group, a holding company based in Shanghai whose interests include chemicals, real estate development and a financial unit. In addition to owning a stake in a pharmaceutical company, he was also an early investor in Beijing Council International Auction, an auction company in the Chinese capital started by one of Ms. Wang’s friends. According to Forbes, his assets in 2015 totaled $1.22 billion.

“His decisions might seem very risky, but people forget he has spent his whole career assessing risk in the capital markets,” said Dong Guoqiang, chairman of Beijing Council and a longtime friend of the couple.

China’s art market was still in its nascent stages when Mr. Liu and Ms. Wang began going to auctions and buying art in the early 1990s. Over the years, what started as a hobby became an obsession.

While Mr. Liu preferred collecting traditional Chinese artworks and objects, Ms. Wang focused on acquiring art from the Cultural Revolution era and, later, contemporary Chinese art and art from throughout Asia. They began to collect Western artists as well, and their holdings now include work from Jeff Koons’s mirror-polished sculpture series.

Several years ago, Ms. Wang, a self-proclaimed “art fanatic,” came up with the idea of opening a museum so they could show their collection to the public. But first, she needed to persuade Mr. Liu.

“All of our friends were buying private planes, and he said he wanted to buy a plane, too,” she said. “I refused. I said let’s just put in some more money and start a museum. It will be good for Shanghai, and it will be good for the country.”

So in 2012, Mr. Liu and Ms. Wang opened the Long Museum Pudong, one of many private museums that have begun in Shanghai in recent years as the local government tries to transform the city into an international cultural capital.

In 2014, they opened a second branch, the Long Museum West Bund, part of a government-sponsored project to develop a waterfront cultural corridor in Shanghai that includes private museums, a large entertainment complex, and soon, the headquarters for DreamWorks’ new Chinese joint venture animation studio.

Exhibitions range from a large show of revolutionary art to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II to a performance-art exhibition curated by Klaus Biesenbach of MoMA and Hans Ulrich Obrist of the Serpentine Gallery in London.

Although they received a discount from the government for the land in the West Bund area, Ms. Wang said, almost all of the operation costs — about $9.5 million for both museums this year, she estimated — are undertaken by her and her husband.

“I think the rest of my life and money will be dedicated to building up this museum,” Mr. Liu said, taking a puff of a cigarette. (The couple plan to open a third branch, in the southwest city of Chongqing, next year.)

Cai Jinqing, president of Christie’s China, said the couple represented the “best example” of this generation of Chinese art collectors.

“They started with collecting what they know, Chinese art, then broadened to Asian art, and are now embracing Western art,” Ms. Cai said.

But few collectors in China publicly flaunt their wealth the way Mr. Liu and Ms. Wang do, particularly as the government wages a crackdown on extravagance. Mr. Liu, who is still an active stock trader, said he was not concerned about the crackdown, stating that he acquired his money through legal and legitimate means.

Many have criticized the couple for profligacy and a perceived lack of taste. In discussions about them, the term “tuhao,” a popular Chinese term for crass nouveaux riches, is frequently tossed around.

“I am definitely a tuhao,” Mr. Liu said defiantly. “But at least this tuhao is bringing a masterpiece back to China for the Chinese people to enjoy.” Mr. Liu said that he had no plans to sell the painting.

There is another, more personal, benefit to the acquisition: airfare. Ms. Wang confirmed that, as in the past, she and Mr. Liu would be using their American Express card to pay for the Modigliani. That way, with the cardholder’s points they accrue, their whole family — the couple, their four children and two grandchildren — can continue flying for free.

“We are on a one-year payment plan for the painting,” Ms. Wang said. “If we had to pay cash upfront, that would be a little difficult for us.”

She added: “I mean, who has the money for that?”

mardi 24 novembre 2015

MIAMI — “Everybody’s always looking for the next art neighborhood,” mused Tony Cho, standing amid the scrum outside Gallery Diet. Taking in the scene at its opening night party here, he motioned to another new gallery across the street, its neon sign punctuating an otherwise darkened stretch of this city’s Little Haiti neighborhood. “It’s going to happen here.”
All the key art world participants were present: affluent collectors, museum curators, local artists and not least, investors like Mr. Cho, chief executive of Metro 1 Properties in Miami and a figure associated with the art-linked real estate surge in the once-industrial Wynwood neighborhood, 30 blocks south.
Signs of Little Haiti’s impending transformation are everywhere. Gallery Diet is one of nearly a dozen art galleries that have relocated fromWynwood to Little Haiti and its adjoining Little River area, including the Michael Jon Gallery (one of only two Miami dealers selected for the annualArt Basel Miami Beach fair in December), as well as the local stalwarts Emerson Dorsch, Pan American Art Projects and Spinello Projects. Some of Miami’s best-known artists have already made the same move, seeking affordable studios, homes or both. Adding a further social element, Wynwood coffeehouse, bar and restaurant owners are also preparing to open spaces in the predominantly working-class Little Haiti.
Continue reading the main story

NE. 71ST ST.
‘Little Haiti’
There is a novel twist to this exodus from Wynwood, however. Many art world denizens are buying their buildings instead of renting them, despite the attraction of Little Haiti and Little River rents that top out at $15 a square foot. Artists and gallery owners are drawing on the painful lessons of the past decade’s explosive growth, when many were priced out of the once-cheap industrial zones in Wynwood that had been the area art scene’s center.
The game-changing nature of this shift — a break from the traditional rootlessness of the bohemian art class — is not lost on Nina Johnson-Milewski, director of Gallery Diet. When Mr. Cho warmly clasped her shoulder and teased: “Congratulations! You’re a developer now,” Ms. Johnson-Milewski looked slightly taken aback. She wryly corrected him: “I’m a micro-developer.”
Labels aside, Ms. Johnson-Milewski said she realized what’s truly at stake: control. “It’s not just about avoiding having your rent jacked up,” she explained. “Ownership symbolizes independence, and for those of us who produce culture, longevity.”
The artist Randy Burman at an opening party for "100+ Degrees in the Shade," a survey of art from south Florida. CreditRyan Stone for The New York Times
Longevity can be a novel concept in a city like Miami. The 2002 arrival of Art Basel Miami Beach transformed the area, once derided as a cultural backwater, into a feverishly developing destination for art. Scores of galleries sprang to life in Wynwood, helping to create an American art mecca, behind only Los Angeles and New York.
Wynwood pioneers moved into a down-on-its-heels warehouse district and invested their sweat equity, only to find themselves priced out of the neighborhood they helped make so attractive. Wynwood rents fetch upward of $60 a square foot, triple that of just four years ago; spacious warehouses can command $100,000 rental fees during Art Basel for corporate product introductions and media events. Art may remain part of the marketing of Wynwood, used to sell everything from cocktails to condos. But almost all the galleries that put it on the cultural map are gone.
Buying property in a new neighborhood instead of renting may not exactly smack of storming the barricades, but it is increasingly deemed the only way for art workers to break a vicious cycle of art-powered gentrification.
Nina Johnson-Milewski, director of Gallery Diet, which recently moved from the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami to the Little Haiti neighborhood. CreditRyan Stone for The New York Times
“When our openings started filling with 17-year-olds looking to get drunk, I knew it meant collectors weren’t going to come to Wynwood anymore,” said Karla Ferguson, director of the Yeelen Gallery.
A move to Little Haiti beckoned as her husband, Jerome Soimaud, already spent his days painting finely detailed portraits of the area’s residents. Among the few who owned their Wynwood galleries, the couple said they sold their property for $323,000 and went from 1,100 square feet to 13,000 square feet.
Emerson Dorsch was another of the rare winners in Wynwood who bought its building — a onetime crack house purchased for $120,000 and turned into a vital focal point for emerging talent. This year, the gallery’s directors, Brook Dorsch and Tyler Emerson-Dorsch, his wife, sold their nearly 13,000-square-foot property for $3.05 million, with talk of a Manhattan restaurateur moving in. They promptly sank a good chunk of their windfall into a new Little Haiti space set to open next spring.
An installation at the Yeelen Gallery. CreditRyan Stone for The New York Times
“Little Haiti makes me hopeful that there’s still a few places where small-business owners can exist,” Ms. Emerson-Dorsch said.
Little Haiti is hardly an empty vessel awaiting Wynwood’s refugees. Although Haitians are no long the predominant residents of Little Haiti, as they were during the 1980s when thousands fled the notorious Jean-Claude Duvalier regime, the neighborhood retains a strong emotional hold among the island’s diaspora in South Florida. Religious festivals and Haitian roots music concerts draw hundreds from all across Miami. Yet akin to the recent efforts of New York developers to rechristen part of the often-stigmatized South Bronx as the more market-friendly “piano district,” several of Little Haiti’s larger real estate players are adamantly referring to their holdings as part of Little River, or as Lemon City, the area’s largely forgotten name dating to the late-19th century.
Carl Juste, a founder of the Iris PhotoCollective, in Little Haiti, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for The Miami Herald, finds the renaming ludicrous. “If you walk down Northeast Second Avenue,” he said, referring to the neighborhood’s main commercial strip, “you can hear Haitian music and smell griot,” a signature Haitian pork dish. “When was the last time you walked down Northeast Second Avenue and saw someone trying to sell you lemons?”
An outdoor space showcases artwork at Gallery Diet in Miami, which recently moved to the Little Haiti neighborhood. CreditRyan Stone for The New York Times
For the painter Edouard Duval-Carrié, who bought a home and studio in Little Haiti, the key to both the survival of a vibrant Haitian culture and a healthy local art scene remains property ownership. Mr. Duval-Carrié ticked off a dozen nearby studio inhabitants originally from Argentina and Colombia right alongside those from Port-au-Prince. But he worries that too many are still renters and easily pushed out. With speculators snapping up prime parcels, he wonders, is it already too late for a critical mass of property-owning artists to cement themselves into Little Haiti?
To that end, Mr. Duval-Carrié hopes the nonprofit ArtCenter South Florida, which runs a complex of subsidized artist studios on Miami Beach — and where he first landed upon arriving in Miami in 1992 — will relocate to Little Haiti, acting as a tipping point to guarantee that artists permanently remain part of the neighborhood fabric.
ArtCenter bought one of its properties in 1988 for $684,000 and recently sold it for $88 million, giving it the comfort of an endowment larger than any other museum or visual arts organization in South Florida. It has opened a temporary exhibition space in Little River, but board members are split. One camp seeks to buy a new building in the Little Haiti area and repeat its model of providing artists with affordable studios, perhaps adding a residential component. The other faction is mulling breaking with its ownership ethos, instead managing a studio complex that the developer Moishe Mana is building in Wynwood, part of a project stretching across 24 acres and including shops and luxury condo towers.
It is a case of more money, more problems, said ArtCenter’s executive director María del Valle. “We need to do this right,” she said. “I’m not going to allow someone to make a return of 200 percent in one year off of the ArtCenter.”
Ms. del Valle has hopes that the constant jockeying between real estate agents and artists in Miami will work in art’s favor.
“I wish we could spend less time thinking about real estate,” she said with a sigh, “and more time thinking about art.”

lundi 23 novembre 2015

‘Photo-Poetics: An Anthology’ Features 10 Artists at the Guggenheim

Lisa Oppenheim’s “The Sun Is Always Setting Somewhere Else.”CreditLisa Oppenheim/Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
As photography disperses in an ever more granular way into daily life — through phones, social media, ubiquitous screens — artists are hauling the medium back into the studio to see if it can be reconstituted into something more tangible. Sara VanDerBeek once described how she created an object, captured its image and “then, through the process of making a final print, framing it and hanging it on the wall,” rendered the image “an object again.”

Ms. VanDerBeek is one of 10 artists in “Photo-Poetics: An Anthology,” an exhibition that tries to wrap its arms around the increasingly amorphous subject of photography’s future in art, at the Guggenheim Museum. Over 70 works are featured, by Leslie Hewitt, Elad Lassry, Ms. VanDerBeek and more. All are seeking, as the curators write, “an image imbued with poetic and evocative personal significance — a sort of displaced self-portraiture — that resonates with larger cultural and historical meanings.” (Through March 23,

jeudi 19 novembre 2015

The future is round: why modern architecture turned doughnut-shaped

Whenever I draw a circle, I immediately want to step out of it,” Buckminster Fuller once said. Unfortunately, the public thought the same when the architect tried to flog them his circular houses. But if we’re not living in circles in the 21st-century, we’re increasingly finding ourselves working in them. The circle is emerging as a key modern form for office buildings and a way of organising people. Stepping out of them may no longer even be an option.

Three sculptures in a new show at the Serpentine Gallery bring this looping train of thought to mind. They’re not really sculptures, more architectural models of the headquarters of three institutions: the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, funky online retailer Zappos in Las Vegas, and Apple’s new campus, currently under construction in California. Each model has been tipped on its side, to accentuate the fact they are all circular.
This is more than just a coincidence. The models are by Simon Denny, a New Zealand artist who tackles the culture, impact and jargon of new technology. Previously, he’s made works that honour the tech maverick Kim Dotcom and mock the garish graphics of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) internal communications, as revealed by the Snowden leaks.
GCHQ 1 by Simon Denny, 2015.FaceboTwitterPinterest
 GCHQ 1, 2015, by Simon Denny. Photograph: MMB - Modellbau Milde Berlin/Galerie Buchholz
Now, Denny is scrutinising how similar hacking culture is to “contemporary radical management practices”. Chief among them is “holacracy”, or rather, Holacracy® – a public idea that’s also a privately owned concept, which is about right for this strange new world.
For those not up on their radical management slang, Holacracy is a “complete system for self-organisation” that replaces traditional hierarchies with a supposedly more efficient system of autonomous teams of employees called “circles”. “More like a city and less like a top-down bureaucratic organisation,” is how Zappos chief Tony Hsieh put it earlier this year. (Though he’s still the boss, so it’s not entirely un-hierarchical.)
 GCHQ in Cheltenham, AKA ‘the Doughnut’. Photograph: Alamy
Zappos, now owned by Amazon, is the biggest company so far to adopt Holacracy. It abolished all job titles and managers in late 2014, just as it moved into its new HQ, formerly Las Vegas City Hall. Zappos is the epitome of the trendy tech startup made good. Its motto is “deliver WOW through service”. It talks of its workforce in terms of “community” and “family”. And its circular campus is like a management diagram writ large.
Over at Apple, it’s a similar story. Their new campus, designed by Norman Foster and due to finish next year, is an elevated, four-storey, minimalist ring, utterly of a piece with Apple’s sleek products. Apple has not explicitly adopted Holacracy, but its innovation-seeking methodology has much in common with it. “The concept of the building is collaboration and fluidity,” an Apple exec told local planners. “We wanted this to be a walkable building – that’s why we eventually settled on a circle.”
Against all expectations, GCHQ is also flirting with Holacracy. It even won a business award last year for “creating the right environment for innovation and collaboration” (even if the creators themselves could not be identified). Former hackers as well as government suits roam the curved corridors of “the Doughnut”, as GCHQ’s base is known. This is not unusual, shows Denny. Big organisations are increasingly adopting the techniques of hackers, such as “hackathons”, where employees are encouraged to be playful, creative, even subversive. “Today, commercial organisations and hacking groups deploy a mixture of top-down and bottom-up techniques: a tension designed to enable directed, effective activity and also maintain the messiness necessary for the next thing to emerge,” he says.
Top-down and grassroots, private and public, secrecy and transparency, democratic freedom and Orwellian control – Denny’s work warns us that the boundaries are no longer visible.
All of this might sound eerily familiar to readers of Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel The Circle. The story takes place at a fictional boundary pushing West Coast social media outfit – a walled garden of cutting-edge tech, employee benefits and great parties. But those high principles of “transparency” and “openness” start to get sinister, to the point where workers are endorsing Animal Farm-style slogans such as “privacy is theft” and “secrets are lies”. Eggers never really describes the architecture of The Circle, only hinting at “brushed steel and glass” and a vast, rambling campus where “the smallest detail had been carefully considered”.
 Zappos 1, 2015, by Simon Denny. Photograph: MMB - Modellbau Milde Berlin/Galerie Buchholz
Architecture has always reflected its creators’ power structures, though for most of western history it’s taken a more classical form. See Giuseppe Terragni’s rigorously ordered 1930s Casa Del Fascio, commissioned by Mussolini as the National Fascist Party headquarters – a perfect half-cube. Or Terry Farrell’s monolithic MI6 building in London (the one James Bond’s enemies seem to love blowing up). But Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas was one of the first to apply this new circular logic – to the HQ of CCTV, the Chinese state broadcaster. Rather than a skyscraper, he folded the building back in on itself to create a gigantic loop, in the name of operational efficiency.
That’s not to say that all circular buildings represent some emergent 21st-century order. It is interesting, though, that past precedents have usually been buildings designed for spectatorship: sports stadiums or, more resonantly, panopticon prisons, where inmates’ cells are arranged in a ring so they’re visible to guards in a central observation tower. Take away that tower and you have the Apple campus.
“Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible,” Paul Klee once said. For many artists today, surveillance has become central to that mission. As well as Denny you could include those who are turning surveillance infrastructure against itself, such as Jill Magid, who co-opted Liverpool’s citywide CCTV network for her art, and James Coupe, whose video installation Swarm used surveillance algorithms to “profile” gallery visitors, then composite them into demographically similar groups. Or Mishka Henner, who creates aerial images of sites like US military bases using Google Earth.
 GCHQ 3 Agile/Holacracy Workspace, 2015, by Simon Denny. Photograph: Galerie Buchholz
But perhaps the leader in this field is Trevor Paglen, best known for his ultra-long-range pictures of “secret” US military sites (as featured in Laura Poitras’s Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour). Paglen has also shot spy satellites in the night sky, projected absurd NSA and GCHQ codenames on public buildings, and photographed idyllic locations, including a deserted Long Island beach, that conceal major internet and surveillance infrastructure. “I try to learn how to change my own vision,” he says, “so that when I walk around every day, I can see the fact that this is happening – because these are often abstract things – then try to show people how to see them.”
Paglen also made a short film on a surveillance flight around GCHQ’s “Doughnut”, which played before Citizenfour in cinemas last year. Its name – what else? – is Circles.