Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for the Curiosa & Forteana category

Julie Heffernan's "Infinite Work in Progress" at Oklahoma City Museum of Art

by Suzanne on March 2nd, 2012


Self Portrait as Post Script by Julie Heffernan, 2007, oil on canvas, 67 x 56 inches - click to enlarge

Announcements of new Heffernan shows (thank you, Phantasmaphile!) are always a good excuse for me to go for a dive in the endless pool of her archived works - and realise that Booty (see image above and below) remains my favourite series to date.

And although I'm not entirely sure which of her flora-and-fauntastical self-portraits will be on show at the Infinite Work in Progress solo show, the well-chosen title and the fact that there's over 20 works on display both suggest that the probability that you'll get to see something from the Booty series is mathematically speaking relatively high.

I know I normally tend to post free exhibitions here but yes, I would still say that it's worth the $12 (OUCH, Y THOUGH?!) admission fee.

Details below.


Self Portrait as Spill by Julie Heffernan, 2007, oil on canvas, 68 x 60 inches - click to enlarge

On show: Feb 16 - May 13, 2012

Address: Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, USA, tel: (405) 236-3100 or (800) 579-9ART, email: info@okcmoa.com | Map

Hours: Tue - Sat: 10 AM - 5 PM, Sun: 12 - 5 PM

Admission: $12

Press release

WurzelForum discussion

Allison Schulnik's "Mound" at Nerman Museum, Overland Park, Kansas

by Suzanne on February 28th, 2012


Still from Mound video by Allison Schulnik, 2011 - click to enlarge

I don't think I ever had a) an exhibition announcement for Overland Park, Kansas and b) so little information on a show as there seems to be neither preview nor press release for Allison Schulnik's Nerman Museum show so I guess it's just an uhmm.. exhibition of Allison Schulnik's video work? Yay. ¬_¬

From the three images on the museum website, all I can gather is that more recent works will be on show as the pictures are all stills from her Mound video that the museum recently acquired and which you can see below.

So if you're planning to check it out, do share your impressions so I can update this post.

On show: Jan 13 - Apr 1, 2012

Address: Nerman Museum, Second Floor Galleries, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS 66210, USA, tel: +1 913.469.3000

Hours: Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat: 10 AM - 5 PM, Fri: 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun: 12 - 5 PM

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Witch House 101

by Suzanne on February 22nd, 2012

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you this important intergalactic message from the data highway/PoE:

20 Most Popular Posts on Wurzeltod in 2011

by Suzanne on December 26th, 2011

To wrap up 2k11 on the Wurzelblog, I decided to post the 20 articles you guys liked best - according to likes, shares and reactions - and I must say, you've got a rather amazing and futureproof taste in the arts, people.

Many thanks for taking the time to submit stories, comment and interact in the past year(s).

(In order of popularity and ordered into rather random categories. Click on images to read stories.)

JAPANOPHILIA

ART FEATURES & REVIEWS

HISTORY & SCIENCE

INTERNA

(Late) Crismis YouTube Special

by Suzanne on December 25th, 2011

Please excuse the lack of updates in the recent past, gentle reader. It's due to very bad internet access that pretty much only allows me to update my Facebook with the usual award-winning and highly offensive daily dose of anti-information.

Anyways, because this is an oh-so special time of consumerist rubbishness, I decided that I should really annoy you and your family with some very obnoxious LOLmas videos for absolutely no reason.

Featuring an awesome Jewish kid, a very disappointed non-Jewish kid, Heino, as well as Irish and 3D creepiness. Thanks to PoE for the inspiration and beautiful and very talented Suzanne Walsh for the Moving Crib video from her homeland.

Enjoy.

Oh, and if you made it this far without an intracerebral hemorrhage, I suggest you now lock yourself in a pitch-black room with this video projected onto all four walls. Then swallow the key.

Merry Whatever from Wurzeltod. x

"Surrealismus in Paris" at Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Basel

by Suzanne on November 19th, 2011


La poupée by Hans Bellmer, painted wood, papier-mâché, mixed media, 1935/36, 61×170×51 cm, courtesy Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, photo © Collection Centre Pompidou/Vertrieb RMN/Georges Meguerditchian/ProLitteris - click to enlarge

I dislike the way big art metropoleis *cough* London *cough* always label their sell-out shows *cough* Leonardo da Vinci *cough* as "Shows of the Century" when - IF you can afford the outrageous admission prices at all - these shows are normally so totally overrun you really can't appreciate the art or are even given a specific time slot and need to get the hell out after 30 minutes. Trust me, I know. I actually went to the last "big da Vinci thing" in London a couple of years back but I can't even recall whether it was at the V&A, the Royal Academy or the British Museum. All I remember is that I COULDN'T SEE SHIT and people had the NERVE to bring their Dan Browns along. Jesus Christ.

Anyways, so thankfully, there's always the smaller, quieter places that put on masterpieces of curating in the middle of nowhere - pretty much overlooked by the international media.

Well, one such tremendous art historical chef-d'oeuvre of a show is currently taking place at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen near Basel.

It's devoted to Surrealism in Paris and features some of the most outstanding works of the one art movement that will never ever die.

Amongst the usual suspects that I won't even bother mentioning here because the Beyeler is pretty notorious for its huge collection of surrealist art, you will meet the conjoined limbs of Hans Bellmer, the giant eyes of Paul Delvaux, the apocalyptic dreamscapes of Max Ernst and the sculptural synaesthesia of Méret Oppenheim.

Yes, I know right?! o_O

The exhibition looks also very stunning from an interior design point of view and a lot of effort, time.. and obviously money.. has been spent to contextualise and document the pieces. Definitely one to check out if you're in Switzerland.

Surrealismus in Paris runs until the end of January 2012. Details below.


Der Gegenpapst by Max Ernst, oil on canvas, 1941/42, 161x127 cm, courtesy Peggy Guggenheim Collection, photo © David Heald/The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation/ProLitteris - click to enlarge

On show: Oct 2, 2011 - Jan 29, 2012

Address: Fondation Beyeler, Baselstrasse 101, CH-4125 Riehen, Basel, Switzerland, tel: +41 - (0)61 - 645 97 00, email: info@fondationbeyeler.ch | Map

Hours: Mon - Sun: 10 AM - 6 PM

Admission: CHF 25.– (but special deals with public transport!)

Introduction | Preview | Press images

WurzelForum discussion

Les Deux Garçons at Jaski Gallery, Amsterdam

by Suzanne on November 19th, 2011


L'Éphémère tangible by Les Deux Garçons, taxidermy, mixed media, 2011, 116 x 85 x 30 cm - click to enlarge

We're staying in Taxidermistan for yet another blog post. This time, we're revisiting the Dutch taxidermy artists Les Deux Garçons who I featured waaaaay back in the olden days in both the Porcellana Nervosa and Taxidermia Wurzeltodensis threads because they are so damn awesome.

And well, the two brothers have been busy since then and are currently showing brand new works at Jaski Gallery in Amsterdam. From what I understand, only the first 10 pieces of this preview will be on display (actually, I reckon it's probably everything that's dated with 2011) but I'm convinced you won't be disappointed if you enjoy the sickly sweet branch of taxidermy art.

Oh, and if you happen to have the... errrm... modest amount of €12,500 in your wallet, you can even purchase the title piece of this exhibition: L'Éphémère Tangible (see top image).

On show until November 27. All details below.


L'Étonnement by Les Deux Garçons, taxidermy, mixed media, 2010, 50 x 50 x 40 cm - click to enlarge

On show: Nov 12 - 27, 2011

Address: Jaski, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 29, 1017 DB Amsterdam, The Netherlands, tel: 020-6203939, email: info@jaski.nl

Hours: Mon - Sun: 12 - 6 PM

Preview

WurzelForum discussion

Margaretha Dubach's Mice Museum at Naturhistorisches Museum, Bern

by Suzanne on November 18th, 2011


Peek into a scene of Margaretha Dubach's Mice Museum, photo by Andi Teuscher - click to enlarge

I'm not sure how many of you remember my appeal to save the beloved Mice Museum that I posted back in March this year.

Well, good news is it's been saved. And that means all of Margaretha Dubach's original 22 display cabinets with taxidermied and skeletal mice telling the story of Otto Maus - who happens to be Hieronymouse's cousin - and the phantasmagoria and nightmares he encounters after being chased away for stealing pudding.


Peek into a scene of Margaretha Dubach's Mice Museum, photo by Christian D. Link - click to enlarge

The mice are now in the capable paws of Christian D. Link and the little furry friends are currently on show at Naturhistorisches Museum in Bern, Switzerland, where they will remain on display until January 2012 - I will try to drop by with Hieronymouse himself early next year. He does miss his Emmentaler. And his family.

Details below. For a little video overview (in German) of the original Mice Museum click here.


Peek into a scene of Margaretha Dubach's Mice Museum, photo by Franz Rindlisbacher - click to enlarge

On show: Nov 9, 2011 - Jan 29, 2012

Address: Naturhistorisches Museum, Bernastrasse 15, CH-3005 Bern, Switzerland, email: contact@nmbe.ch, tel. +41 31 350 71 11 | Map

Hours: Mon: 2 - 5 PM, Tue - Fri: 9 AM - 5 PM, Sat - Sun: 10 AM - 5 PM

Press release

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Impressions of "Essence of Edo-Tokyo" featuring Ryo Arai at ICN, London

by Suzanne on November 17th, 2011


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

Although I missed the opening reception for Ryo Arai's show at London's ICN Gallery, I did manage to check it out after a fantastic Liberty Snake ZeroZeroNain organised by Misanthropop that saw some of London's best post-punk DJs and connoisseurs come together.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

Anyways, after admittedly being initially a bit disappointed that the sculpture on the exhibition flyer was not actually on show, everything completely made up for that slight flaw. So much so that this is hands down my favourite London show of 2k11 after Charles Matton's Enclosures at All Visual Arts earlier this year.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

It was tricky to capture all the details of the gorgeous papier-mâché texture of the sculptures in the photos but I hope you nevertheless enjoy these impressions of the show.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

What's more is that the ICN staff was extremely sweet, helpful and very knowledgeable and I purchased an absolutely gorgeous and apparently out-of-print Ryo Arai monograph for as little as a handful of sushi.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

East London can be glad to have this magical new place delivering so much Japanese ocular and culinary goodness to the area.

Essence of Edo-Tokyo will remain on view until this Saturday, November 19, so do go check it out if you're in London.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

A Mid-November Dance with Death

by Suzanne on November 16th, 2011


Pest from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 - click to enlarge

"I cook doom in the air and what breathes has to die."

It's this time of year again - a time of such enormous transformation and transmutation in nature - when I find myself doing strange and silly things like obsessively reading the Nibelungen or losing myself in Skyrim because of some ominous melancholy and a deep longing for being reunited and rot away with the earth, the elements, of sinking, of dissolving, of dreamless thankful sleep.

And I really miss how this time of year feels like in my homeland. I miss the magic of how the mist and will-o'-the-wisps rise magnificently over the frosty fields and graveyards, how the forests creak with the cold like old bones, how the crows complain over the lack of grains, how the dormice hurriedly prepare their beds of leaves for a harsh winter.


Jungfrau from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 - click to enlarge

"Youth, so fiery, with cheeks so red. So blissful is love - so hideous is death."

I miss the lake steaming in the morning, I miss still gasping at that fierce, majestic and omnipotent ancient natural fortification wall, the Alps, putting on its snowy white coat under the absolutely colourless and closed heavens even though I have seen its sight a million times. I miss the smell of bonfires and the sound of whips cracking in the clear glassy evening air. I miss hearing cowbells and spotting lanterns dancing like fireflies in the distant dark.

But mostly, I miss hiding in the medieval section of libraries hugging the radiator and a cup of really shitty instant coffee, completely immersed in studying Totentänze only to be thrown out at closing time and walking home aimlessly and hurt and finding myself in front of the Spreuer Bridge - that illustrated passage over the river Reuss talking to me so vividly from 1630 via the playful and treacherous skeletons of Caspar Meglinger.


Deliquent from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 - click to enlarge

"One death as retribution for the other. So does both justice and crime serve me."

Growing up in Catholic Switzerland meant I've seen A LOT of danse macabres in my early childhood and by the time I moved to Protestant Basel to study, I was ready for their more scientific, demystified and bürgerliche understanding of the dance of death. I can't say I understood it at first - I felt it was sorely lacking in the flamboyant Baroque accusatory celebration of decadence and the deadly sins. Protestant Totentänze are never about a sexy death. What I saw was a way more silent and depressing death. Anonymous diseases finishing people off from within instead of inebriated tomfoolery until the very end and very dull modest existences just being blown out rather than the grotesque fights for life and death seen in Catholic cycles.

It took a short train journey in 2002 from Basel to the university library of Freiburg im Breisgau (it's a fucking Goth uni - the art department was literally in the catacombs) to rekindle my love for the Totentanz. It was there where I found a copy of the Leipzig Todtentanz für alle Stände (Dance of Death for all Classes) - excerpts of which you can see here.


Handwerker from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 - click to enlarge

"This house that you have built for yourself - let me see whether it fits you."

Todtentanz für alle Stände was conceived by Carl Merkel and the woodcuts are by the absolutely fantastic Johann Gottfried Flegel. It was published in Leipzig in 1850. You can read the entire book here. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried when I first saw these - the carefully selected botanic symbolism of each and every scene relating to the trade or rank of the portrayed person, the way scenes turn into ornament, ornament into filigree and finally filigree into calligraphy. A whole world opened itself up to me when I first saw these and I hope you will appreciate getting lost in them too. I'm sorry I couldn't make the English translation rhyme like the German original - it would take me ages to do it gracefully.

I would like to thank my dear friend Peacay from BibliOdyssey for making me remember this very special Totentanz. You have no idea how much finding this on your blog means to me, PK.

How lucky we are to walk amongst the proud dead.


Künstler from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 - click to enlarge

"All your hopes and aspirations were in vain - but now death is fairer than life."