Posts tagged ‘New York’

Notes from Art Basel Miami Beach 2011

I’m starting to emerge from the haze of overstimulation and lack of sleep that is the Art Basel Miami Beach experience. This year Lekha Hileman Waitoller and I from the Museum went with a group from the School of Art that included Adriene Jenik, Director;  two faculty members, Susan Beiner and Mark Pomilio; and eight graduate students from a variety of media,  funded by a local donor. The benefit to all of us — particularly the grad students — is tremendous, as we fanned out all over the city to visit art fairs, private collections, museums, special installations and exhibitions. We noticed a number of trends, in particular painting that utilizes a range of processes and materials, and may not use paint at all, and text-based work diagramming systems and worlds, like the art world or the war.

Here are my highlights:

  • De La Cruz Collection, a spectacular building that rivals any museum and was thoughtfully installed with groupings of international contemporary works, dominated by paintings, that explored media and process
  • Pulse fair, established international galleries who represent edgier contemporary artists, I took copious notes and photos
  • Seven, an offshoot fair/installation by seven New York galleries, with, among other things, a small installation of new drawings and photographs by Anthony Goicolea, who will be in our Performing for the Camera show this spring
  • Bass Museum of Art’s perplexing exhibition of sculptor Erwin Wurm, which stays with me
  • the chance to spend time with work by two of the most important women artists of the twentieth century: at the Miami Art Museum Faith Ringgold’s paintings from the 1960s and 70s exploring race relations, and several installations in the private collections of Ana Mendieta’s performance videos and photographs
  • the main fair, Art Basel, which seemed livelier this year in terms of the art shown and the crowds and had great programs (we saw the Russian installation artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, among others)
  • the video programs in the pods at the main fair — which I immediately photographed for our installation crew — and projected at night outside on one of the largest screens that I have ever seen
  • and, finally, the opportunity to meet and connect with artists, curators, collectors and gallerists from across the country.

–Heather Sealy Lineberry, Senior Curator and Associate Director

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December 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

Defending Diablo

NOTE: This is a composite photo-illustration of an anaconda by PR Assistant Karen Enters, not an actual representation of Diablo…

Last month, I defended Diablo in front of Arizona State University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Diablo is the 6-foot Anaconda snake that will inhabit one of Juan Downey’s sculptures for the fall exhibition The Invisible Architect.

I have done a lot of things as a contemporary art curator, especially as the role has become more collaborative in the creative process and with the community. I have worked with artists on site-specific installations inside and outside of the Museum, commissions, residencies and socially-engaged work. (John Spiak’s blogs on this site about Gregory Sale’s Social Studies project are a great example.) But this is the first time that I’ve had to defend a live animal “protocol” or investigate the eating (and defecating) habits of large snakes.

We will be borrowing Diablo from the Phoenix Herpetological Society, and they will be caring for him throughout the exhibition and have fully vetted his three-month habitat.

Curiosity and spectacle aside, the reason that I’m doing this is because it is a very powerful piece. Downey first installed the work in 1973, and it was originally produced for a show at The Americas Society in New York. The snake lives during the exhibition on a spectacular hand-drawn map of Chile and is a reference to the North American multinational copper company the Anaconda Mining Company. Anaconda was active in Chile before the nationalization of mining in Chile, which is one of the factors that led international business and its governmental surrogates to eliminate elected democratic president Salvador Allende and replace his government with the Pinochet military regime.

Over the next few months, we’ll be building the platform for the piece and finalizing the exhibition design towards its opening in late September. Many thanks to Lekha Hileman Waitoller, curatorial assistant, who has been managing this effort. She has an interesting new line on her resume.

–Heather Sealy Lineberry
Senior Curator and Associate Director

August 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm


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