Thursday, December 18, 2008

Everything Must Go!

Freelance curator Rachel Higgins has taken the notion of the art market to its logical, yet ludicrous, conclusion. Having leased space in what is widely regarded, locally, as a “dead mall”, Birmingham’s slowly declining Century Plaza, Higgins has selectec a group of artists to utilize a retail space from December 20 to January 3.

On her website,, Higgins observes, “In an American landscape full of abandoned malls, EVERYTHING MUST GO is an attempt, not to revitalize these structures,
but to embrace the playful fantasy that the empty mall offers as a social space.”

The exhibition will feature a total of twenty artists, most working solo in the space for a single day.

This follows in the tradition of Claes Oldenburg’s Mott Art store, Rikrit Tiravanija’s gallery as performance/serving space works, and a range of other historical precedents. What will be most intriguing is the response of the local audience, who, often removed from complex questions and issues of contemporary art, may find Everything Must Go precisely the manifestation of holiday cheer and economically depressed ennui that will make this season all the better.

For further information visit Higgins’ site, or follow her link to Ceci Moss’ recent article on

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Five Faves 2008

1. Melissa Dadourian: This Brooklyn based artist’s large scale installations recontextualize our understandings of the representations of women. Made painstakingly, laboriously, and seemingly effortlessly, her works expand our understandings, both intellectually and physically, of what it means for women to represent women in the present age.

2. Bentzon Brotherhood, Rapper’s Delight: Take a stone rap classic by the Sugarhill Gang and break it down with incredible jazz piano. My favorite new purchase from Turntable Lab, it shows that just when you thought classic meant cliché something like this comes along and stands your expectations on their heads. Great for DJ sets, and I’m pretty sure it’s a floorfiller.

3. Zhang Huan, Pace Wildenstein, May 2008: Take the fantastic Pace spaces in Chelsea and fill them with works of wonder. Zhang Huan’s works seemed unexpected and unbelievable, subtle and base in precisely the same moment. Let the intricacy of the works in Blessing be almost overshadowed as you walk across the seemingly precarious elevated walkway and gaze down on the ash that is making up Canal Building in its 19 by 59 foot glory. The materials themselves seemed to be solid, the ash standing as a huge block of concrete with a delicate drawing overlaid.

4. Ricky Gervais: Apart from creating The Office, he was also the creative genius behind Extras, that short-lived series on HBO about the journey from nobody to somebody and back again. Leads to the rather more surreal scene of him humorously cajoling Steve Carrell for the Emmy he’d won the previous year. With US network television seemingly struggling, and many suggesting that even cable has lost its luster, Gervais’ heartwrenching and humorous forays into the flabby Everyman seem even more sublime.

5. The Getty, Los Angeles, Summer 2008: When you can walk into a gallery and have a Bill Viola video work juxtaposed with relevant historical painting, you know someone’s been applying their critique of institutions theory. When you continue through the same building to experience Nicole Cohen’s site specific, period-inspired genius, you understand curatorial practice. In almost every respect the Getty shows unexpected restraint. And when you ride the tram down to the parking lot, you can marvel at the mid-century modern neighborhood nestled across the freeway. Unanticipated architectural context anyone?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Got Sand?

Given the volatilities of the art market, perhaps the best option for new collectors hesitant to purchase speculatively would to acquire the new Ed Ruscha beach towel. Perfect for Art Basel Miami Beach last week (and one can only speculate that it littered the sand behind the hotels on Collins Street), this sixty by seventy inch colossus of American art can only be described as a bargain! Other choices include sand stoppers by Julian Schnabel, Raymond Pettibon and Karen Kilimnik.

Available at Target, while supplies last. Order online.