Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for May, 2008

Hyungkoo Lee's "Animatus" in Basel. Yes, Basel!

by Suzanne on May 31st, 2008

Canis Latrans Animatus by Hyungkoo Lee

Ah, my good old Basilea - always a surprise in store. No, don't you worry, this post is not about the upcoming Art Basel - which I've stubbornly and successfully boycotted since 1979 (yay!) - it's about Hyungkoo Lee's Animatus exhibition at Basel's Natural History Museum - hidden away at the steep Augustinergasse leading up to Basel's magnificent Münster.

The museum's special exhibition programme has fascinated me for quite some time now, and I don't know whether it's a good or a bad sign for a city's art "scene" when the most interesting exhibitions are held at science museums. At any rate, it doesn't really matter much to me since I've always liked the presence of pickled, taxidermied and embalmed things around me while contemplating.

And Hyungkoo Lee's works - previously featured here - couldn't have wished for a better surrounding. Not only has the museum allowed his skeletal sculptures of iconic cartoon characters enough space, they also got a team of scientists to reconstruct Canis Latrans Animatus (c.f. image above) and prove that Lee's skeletons are indeed anatomically correct (you can watch a short GIF of the reconstruction process here).

On a side note, I'll be back in Helvetia for a few days in mid-July - mainly to see Sigur Rós in Zurich and the above exhibition in Basel, but please do let me know if you're around too. I miss less than half of you Helvetistani half as much as you deserve. Errm.. no, waa-aaaait. o_O

(Oh, and Jan, I owe you that Cattelan exhibition I/we missed. I haven't forgotten. Let's go to Basel instead!)

Opened: Today, May 31, 2008

On show: May 31 - August 31, 2008

Address: Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Augustinergasse 2, CH-4001 Basel, Switzerland, tel: +41 61 266 55 00 | Map

Download/press area | GIF animation of reconstruction

Artist's website

Many thanks to my amazing mum for letting me know about this exhibition!

Hell. Revisited.

by Suzanne on May 30th, 2008

Fucking Hell by Jake & Dinos Chapman (detail) | Photo by Ben Gurr/The Times

After the Brownlee Brothers and the Brothers Grimm, Jake ("You couldn't fail to see something funny about Hell being on fire") & Dinos Chapman are my favourite creative brothers.

Now that their infamous Hell project (Wurzeltod® posted about its destruction here) has been restored, the masters of hilarious exhibition titles present Fucking Hell and If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be as a double feature at London's White Cube.

The Hell installation features alongside naively picturesque paintings by, yes, Hitler which the Chapman Bros bought anonymously and - similar to their treatment of Goya's war etchings - "improved" with big rainbows and much candy-coloured happiness. Weeeeee!

The press preview was only yesterday and UK media is already obsessed with it - as you can see in the little press section below.

Fucking Hell by Jake & Dinos Chapman (detail) | Photo by Ben Gurr/The Times

On show: May 30 - July 12, 2008

Address: White Cube, 25-26 Mason’s Yard (Off Duke Street), St. James’s, London, SW1Y 6BU, tel: +44 (0) 20 7930 5373 | Map

Preview works | Times slideshow | Guardian slideshow

WurzelForum thread | WurzelFlickr photos



Jake and Dinos Chapman go to work on 'abject' Hitler art (by Ben Hoyle for Times Online)

Hitler gets Chapman treatment as Hell rises from the ashes (by Mark Brown for Guardian Arts)

Is the Chapmans' Hitler stunt simply a bit silly? (by Zoe Williams for Guardian Blogs)

The art of Adolf Hitler - with a little help from the Chapman brothers (by Arifa Akbar for The Independent)

Hell is first great work of the 21st century (by Brian Sewell for This is London)

"Four" at Corey Helford: Opening Reception This Friday

by Suzanne on May 28th, 2008

She Who Gives the Light of Life by Melissa Forman

Hmm... I wish I had Juxtapoz's magical powers to always get high resolution preview pictures for Corey Helford shows before the actual openings, but life not being fair and magical powers rare (Oooh.. neat! It rhymes! O_o), I guess I'll just have to keep stealing their images.

Oh well... here are the details for Corey Helford's upcoming group show entitled Four featuring the works of.. errm.. five (?!) artists:

Opening reception: Friday, May 30, 2008, 7 - 10 PM

On show: May 30 - June 21, 2008

Featuring: Melissa Forman (c.f. above), Karen Hsiao, Sarah Folkman, Jason Shawn Alexander & Miso

Address: Corey Helford Gallery, 8522 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA, 90232 | Map

Juxtapoz preview

It appears that I just swallowed an itsy bitsy spider. And not even accidentally. Hmm.. o_O

"Maze" by James Jean

by Suzanne on May 28th, 2008

No exhibition announcement for once, but (just) a very seasonal, hauntingly beautiful freshly painted gem by the incredibly prolific James Jean that needs no further introductory words...

Maze by James Jean, 2008

It enthrals and amazes me to see how James can turn a profil perdu of a girl into such a timeless piece by simply adding tiny dark brush strokes to the exact position where I'd expect/hope the eyelashes to be. No micrometre above or below. Geee-eeenius!

I also realised - by looking at her adorable hair - that I have a mildly unhealthy fascination with little girls' hair styles. As a matter of fact, I consider this do to be my absolut dream haircut.

In other totally unrelated news, why is it that no native Englishmen/-women find the ice cream van jingle creepy as hell?! It always evokes this image in my mind's eye. Eeeeek! o_O


Buy prints by James Jean at the WurzelShoppe!

Deborah Sengl at Galerie Deschler, Berlin: Final Days

by Suzanne on May 22nd, 2008

Untitled (from the series Wolfsschafpriester) by Deborah Sengl, 2008

I have this recurring dream where I meet Maurizio Cattelan, Patricia Piccinini, Ron Mueck, Bryan Crockett, Jane Alexander, Gordon Wilding, Margaretha Dubach and Matthew Barney in an empty swimming pool filled with autumn leaves to plan a group exhibition with their works.

Up until the day I first saw Deborah Sengl's grotesque sculptures, I wasn't actually conscious that I ever dreamt such a thing and it was only when I closely inspected the photographs of her current Von Schafen und Wölfen (Of Sheep and Wolves) installation that the beauty of this dream became fully apparent to me.

And isn't that the greatest power behind all inspiring art - that it can breathe life into those subconscious, floating ideas in us?

If you happen to be in Berlin-Mitte before the end of this week, make sure to pay a visit to Galerie Deschler (details below) to see Sengl's hybrid creatures.

Closes: Saturday, May 24, 2008 (other sources say June 7...)

Address: Galerie Deschler, Auguststraße 61, 10117 Berlin, tel: 030 2833288 | Map

"Animal Magic" at Eleven Fine Art, London: Final Days

by Suzanne on May 21st, 2008

Snake-Tailed Skull Ship (detail) by Tessa Farmer | Photo by Suzanne G.

Final week for Londoners to see Animal Magic at Eleven Fine Art in London.

I visited the tiny show myself about a fortnight ago, and the one work that stood out for me was definitely Tessa Farmer's Snake-Tailed Skull Ship (c.f. above).

I don't know whether it was the hot weather or the fact that I visited the enchanting and highly recommendable Amazing Rare Things exhibition before, but Olly & Suzi's paintings left me rather indifferent and despite the fact that I always liked Polly Morgan's taxidermied animals from looking at her photographs, standing face to face with them didn't really impress or inspire me.

However, apart from two rather cringeworthy conservatory faux pas (Farmer's highly fragile mobile-like oeuvre hanging very close to the window front where it's exposed to sunlight and draft whenever someone enters the room and Morgan's dead bird arrangement standing on a wonky pedestal that makes the glass dome and the electrified miniature chandelier tremble with every step) the show is quite nicely arranged and very well documented.

Closes: Saturday, May 24, 2008

Address: Eleven Fine Art, 11 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LX, tel: +44 (0)20 7823 5540 | Map

Preview works

Oh, and guess who's gonna see Indy tonight at midnight?! *cracks whip*

Your Help Needed

by Suzanne on May 18th, 2008

The Fascination of the Pool by Suzanne G.

"Many, many people must have come there alone, from time to time, from age to age, dropping their thoughts into the water, asking it some question, as one did oneself this summer evening.

Perhaps that was the reason of its fascination - that it held in its waters all kinds of fancies, complaints, confidences, not printed or spoken aloud, but in a liquid state, floating one on top of another, almost disembodied. [...]"

(Excerpt from The Fascination of the Pool by Virginia Woolf)

I don't talk about personal matters here very often and I hardly ever ask for anyone's help or any favours - two things that can pretty much be said about me as a person in general.

As a matter of fact, apart from my family and maybe three acquaintances, I haven't told anyone about me moving to Brighton. And just like how I sneak out of parties, vernissages and other so-called "social" events I feel uncomfortable and trapped in, I never said goodbye to anyone back home. I never liked being the center of anyone's attention and it seemed inappropriate to summon old friends I haven't spoken to in years and make a big fuss about my move.

So once I realised that what kept me there was nothing that wasn't either portable, recoverable, replaceable or - let's face it - a mere illusion, I booked a flight, packed my suitcase, and one chilly early morning, locked the door behind me and left.

I lived in England before and it has always been a country - maybe because of its insularity - that strangely reminded me of my home (as I wished it to be) - no matter how geographically and climatically different it is from mountainous Switzerland. There's something odd and archaic that binds these two countries together. Maybe because we're both geographically lacking (and forever subconsciously missing) something that the other one has in abundance (mountains / the sea). There seems to be an obscure magnetic force to explore one another. After all, the first ascent of the greater Swiss peaks have been achieved by mainly Englishmen (Sir Alfred Wills, Sir Leslie Stephen, Edward Whymper, et al.) whereas - on the other hand - explorers from Alpine countries have often been deeply intrigued and possessed by the idea of reaching the deepest parts of the seas (Jules Verne, Jean-Luc Jacques Piccard, et al.).

Errm... yes... I admit that this is a very fantastic and fanciful theory that definitely needs more evidence to be corroborated.

Blue & Green by Suzanne G.

Aaaaanyway, so I've lived here for two months now; sharing my everyday joys and problems with the person I love and things have been rather exciting and inspiring so far.

However, there's one thing that's far from perfect: I'm unemployed.

To this day, I've sent out over a hundred applications to galleries, art bookshops/publishing houses and museums in both London and Brighton and apart from 4 negative replies, I haven't gotten any feedback whatsoever.

It basically feels like my skills and knowledge of contemporary art (that doesn't suck) are not really needed here. Brighton is so focused on fast-food entertainment and trivial tourism that it simply has too few galleries, whereas London's art scene is being more and more L.A.ified and obsessed with hiring fashionable part-time models for their galleries rather than art enthusiasts like me.

I might be an communist idealist when it comes to how I wish the art world would work, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that it always nearly kills me to walk into galleries and see staff seemingly not care about the art they exhibit and/or lack any knowledge about the artists they represent. It hurts not to be able to work in a field I have vast knowledge of and that has eventually become the essence of my life.

I suppose I hoped that I'll eventually get lucky and find someone who appreciates my skills, but I guess that was rather illusory of me and it's about time to face the facts: I need to pay my bills and the rent.

So here I am, humbly asking you, gentle reader, for your help in finding me a job.

My ideal habitat would be a small-to-medium sized gallery dealing with lowbrow / underground / outsider / surreal pop art. I know that England is not the Bay Area, but I'm still hopeful that there are galleries in central/southern England that aren't overly commercial and that I haven't unsuccessfully applied to yet.

With six months' experience in working for one of the world's top galleries (Hauser & Wirth) - not to mention all the no-/low-budget film/art/new media festivals I volunteered for and will continue to do so - I'm used to long working hours without breaks, intravenous coffee, payment in art magazines, and co-workers at the border of madness and/or ingenuity - who am I to judge?

I have a keen eye for discovering young talents, I can carry twice my weight, I have a six-pack and I don't fart.

I also worked many years as a legal secretary and PA and am very familiar with everyday office work that demands a great deal of organisation, versatility, responsibility and self-sufficiency.

Moreover, despite being very efficient and fast at solving problems, I have the patience, intuition and (scientific) endurance of a yogi when dealing with difficult people or tasks.

So if you happen to know anyone in the Brighton/London area in need of a highly dedicated, enthusiastic gallery/art bookshop/
museum assistant with a deep passion and hunger for arts and a vast knowledge thereof and who - despite not having a BA or an equivalent degree - has spent almost 1/3 of her life in academic circles studying - amongst others - archaeology, ancient history, art history & media studies - please get in touch with me via comment or email so that I can send you my CV and testimonials.

Thank you kindly for your attention - every tip is deeply appreciated.

- S.

Blaschka Glass Models & Photographs Touring Germany

by Suzanne on May 17th, 2008

© Leopold & Rudolf Blaschka | Photograph by Heidi & Hans-Jürgen Koch

The incredibly detailed and highly fragile tentacled glass invertebrate models (and photographs thereof) created by Leopold (1822 - 1895) & Rudolf (1857 - 1939) Blaschka's supernaturally gifted hands are currently touring Germany's natural history museums.

Closing tomorrow at Technische Sammlung in Dresden, the show entitled Gläserne Geschöpfe des Meeres will travel to Reutlingen, Bremen and finally Munich (c.f. dates and locations below).

Even though - as far as I understood the announcement - the exhibition will mainly focus on Heidi & Hans-Jürgen Koch's photographs of the glass sculptures, a few very delicate Blaschka sea creatures have been loaned from Museum für Naturkunde Berlin to go on show.

This is a very rare opportunity to see them in all their otherworldly fragility and delicacy.

Exhibition Dresden: Closing tomorrow, Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Location: Technische Sammlung Dresden

Exhibition Reutlingen: July 10 - October 19, 2008 | Location: Naturkundemuseum Reutlingen

Exhibition Bremen: November 15, 2008 - January 15, 2009 | Location: Ãœbersee-Museum Bremen

Exhibition Munich: February 12 - April 30, 2009 | Location: Museum Mensch & Natur München

Art Magazin review

Catalogue: Blaschka. Gläserne Geschöpfe des Meeres by Heidi und Hans-Jürgen Koch. Hamburg: Verlag Dölling & Galitz 2007.

Find out more about the Blaschkas:

Blaschka-Haus e.V. - Blaschka Association in Dresden

Out of the Teeming Sea - Cornell University's website on Leopold & Rudolf Blaschka's glass invertebrate models

The Glass Aquarium - Blaschka article by the Design Museum

Botanical Wonders - Article by the Corning Museum of Glass about the Blaschkas' Harvard Glass Flowers

The Glass Menagerie - Frieze feature on the life and work of the Blaschkas

Flowers Out of Glass - Beautiful article by Nancy Marie Brown

Sea Creatures of the Deep - Nice picture gallery of the Blaschka glass models

The Blaschka Marine Invertebrates - William Warmus article about the Cornell Blaschka collection

Glass Jellyfish, Squid, Flowers & Other Marvels... - Thread over at the ever educating WurzelForum®

Markus Schinwald at Migros Museum, Zurich: Final Days

by Suzanne on May 15th, 2008

© Markus Schinwald

... and finally a finissage announcement for all my beloved Löwenbräu folks back home in good old Helvetia...

Young Salzburg-born Markus Schinwald's solo exhibition at Migros Museum Zurich closes this Sunday, May 18, 2008.

Sadly, I never had the time to check out this exhibition before I left for England, and to be honest, I still don't have the slightest clue which of Schinwald's oeuvres/installations are on show and whether it's worth seeing at all - but the flyer (c.f. image above) was one of my favourite flyers back in 2007 and that sure means something.

As a matter of fact, it even had the great honour to hang next to Kristian Burford's exhibition poster for MagroRocca - featuring a half-naked, half-dead woman with an orange plastic tourniquet slipping off her arm.. so.. errm.. yes.. anyway.. what I'm trying to say is that if you don't like the exhibition, feel free to sue Wurzeltodâ„¢ and/or at least steal a pile of those amazing flyers.

However, if you're likely to be intrigued by the disfiguration of historic paintings, by prosthetics in art, by the uncanniness of the human body as it forever floats between life and death, endothermia and waxiness, I think you'll enjoy the show.

Closes: Sunday, May 18, 2008, guided tour at 3 PM same day

Address: Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Limmatstrasse 270, 8005 Zurich, Switzerland, tel: +41 44 277 20 50 | Map

Press release | Catalogue by JRP Ringier

... and for no particular reason: Beautifully illustrated Cabinet article about the Zander Institute

Yinka Shonibare MBE at James Cohan, NY: Final Days

by Suzanne on May 15th, 2008

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Asia), by Yinka Shonibare MBE, 2008 (après Goya)

Final chance for New Yorkers to see Yinka Shonibare MBE's glorious Prospero's Monsters exhibition at James Cohan Gallery.

Named after a character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the sculptures and photographs focus on the dark sides of the Enlightenment, colonialism and imperialism and show disability and mutilation where historiography wants us to see progress towards "civilisation".

Shonibare says:

"I think the search for authenticity in culture is a noble one, but actually, in reality, it's very rare to find a culture that hasn't evolved as a result of influences from other cultures."

If you can't attend the show, make sure to watch the gallery's short video interview with the artist. It informs you - inter alia - where in London Shonibare buys the gorgeous fabrics to dress up his beheaded mannequins.

Closes: Saturday, May 17, 2008

Address: James Cohan Gallery, 533 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001, tel: 212 714 9500

Installation views | Selected works | Video interview