What to Know
Furry animals, mountains of scrap fabric, and banana-shaped benches: there’s no doubt about it, this is Misaki Kawai’s studio. Welcome to Mount Pom Pom, the imaginary mountain from which nuggets of the artist’s crazy imagination explode like confetti.
Artlog stopped by Fountain Thursday as artists and galleries were preparing their booths. We spoke with Gilf!, a street artist whose social and political criticism has found a welcome audience in Fountain visitors. Gilf! first shared a booth with artist Danni Rash last year in New York, then rented her own booths at Fountain Los Angeles and Fountain Miami.
What began in 2006 as three Brooklyn galleries pooling resources to show their artists outside of established fairs has been slowly building not just a fair but a community. We talked with Alex Emmart, curator and co-founder of Mighty Tanaka, a three-years-young Dumbo gallery that first exhibited at Fountain last year. In addition to its booth, Mighty Tanaka is also hosting a collaboration between UFO and Doyle that everyone on site was talking about: a kinetic squid that will be squirting ink (and “making a big mess,” according to the artist).
Christina Ray gave us a preview of Kesting/Ray’s booth at the Fountain Art Fair Thursday, which was also International Women’s Day. Perhaps Women’s Day is the reason we noted that a significant proportion of the artwork in the Soho gallery’s booth was created by female artists.
One of the most talked-about and compelling works at the New Museum’s triennial, The Ungovernables, is Hassan Khan’s video Jewel, a masterful combination of sound and moving image. In the main portion of the video, a fast-paced Shaabi soundtrack (created by the artist) accompanies two men engaged in choreographed dance.
I was skeptical when philanthropist and photographer Elizabeth Jordan asked me to visit Saint Peter’s, a church at 54th St. and Lexington to see her interactive exhibition, Written Offering. When I arrived at the address, I walked past the Citigroup building several times and could not find the church. Cursing google maps and about to give up hope, I realized it was built into the side of a fifty-nine story corporate building.
In the early days, the artist and NYU Professor Michael St. John couldn’t quite figure out “art.” And while he’s certainly established a working solution—having just completed his eleventh solo show in New York—that query continually compels him. “The question of what can be art, or what is art remains a mystery to this day and is always on my mind,” he says. “There is no answer and that’s a good thing.”
Shoplifter invokes themes of beauty, vanity and humor with the textures and colors of hair, both synthetic and human. Her specialty has grown into several high-profile collaborations, like the one with fashion brand VPL or the one with Eli Sudbrack of Assume Vivid Astro Focus for their 2008 installation at the Museum of Modern Art. She often works with fellow Icelander Björk, who also happens to be presenting a brief Biophilia Live residency in New York this month.
Artist Michael Rakowitz channels both our frivolous obsession with food trucks and the heavy political residue of the Iraq War with the latest iteration of his Enemy Kitchen project, a food truck selling Iraqi cuisine. This mobile version of Enemy Kitchen is the result of Rakowitz’s collaboration with Iraqi chefs from Chicago and will be staffed by American veterans of the Iraq War.
Enigmatic and in constant flux, human emotions are not easily grasped, let alone quantified. Yet, the French artist Maurice Benayoun endeavors to do precisely that for the sake of opening new ways of thinking about the world. He tracks worldwide emotional trends and catapults them into the spotlight, juxtaposing real human feelings with the monster known as the global financial system.
A concurrent homage to the past and future of the conurbation, Chris Burden’s Metropolis II (2011) alludes to no one specific region. The Eiffel Tower hugs a familiar Gehry-like building, which is adjacent to a geometric tower like those in Singapore or Dubai—but the automotive hub echoes the stressful, frenetic nature of the artist’s own locality.
Few artists have used mapping as an artistic practice to the effect that Mark Bradford has, weaving the visual and social landscapes of urban societies into the layers of his collage paintings. These paintings, along with works in sculpture and video, will be displayed at a joint exhibition held by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts beginning February 18. This exhibition is a traveling survey of Bradford’s work organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts.