1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair London 2014 – Articles, Reviews, Interviews





How She Did It: The bravest thing I’ve done? Set up an African art fair in London

How She Did It showcases your stories of work success. Here, Touria El Glaoui explains how she used her passion for art to launch an African art fair in London – and says that, in business, nothing ever turns out quite as you expected

Touria El Glaoui, 39, is the Founding Director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, a platform for artists, galleries, curators, independent art centres and institutions dedicated to promoting African and Africa-related art.

Established in 2013, 1:54 takes place annually in October at Somerset House in London, bringing together exhibitors from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, France, Italy, Germany, UK and the US.

El Glaoui, who lives in London, has co-curated several exhibitions with her father, the Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui who was famously discovered and encouraged to attend art school by Winston Churchill.

Here, she explains how she did it.

1:54 draws together galleries, curators, artists, art centres and museums both from Africa and working on Africa-related projects to promote art by established and emerging talent to an international audience.

By taking place during Frieze Week (one of the world’s leading contemporary art fairs), 1:54 builds on the burgeoning popularity of contemporary African art. It presents a rare opportunity to explore the emerging market and acquire works, in an environment supported by some of the most influential people and organisations in the world.

There is also a ‘critical conversations series’ to stimulate discussion and debate with some of art’s most inspirational thinkers. The programme comprises lectures, talks, film screenings and panel discussions.

The Magid Books by Sitor Senghor, an artist appearing at 1:54

What motivated and inspired you to start your business?

Being the daughter of an artist in Morocco, I have always been exposed to art and its discourse. My father encouraged me to engage in a number of art forms. My earlier work allowed me to travel extensively to different African countries, so I would immerse myself in the art scenes and ecology as I went. That’s what motivated me to initiate the fair and give others the chance to delve into the African art scene.

What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?

I piloted the idea to peers and advisors from the art industry to see whether there would be demand. I also did vast amounts of research – knowing your market is vital.

How have you raised awareness?

1:54 had a limited marketing and communications budget. By reaching out to influential people, we attracted press attention. During the week of the first fair, last year, word of mouth seemed an effective tool in propagating excitement, which is turn, encouraged audiences to visit.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

The hardest task has been raising awareness and finding appropriate sponsors to support the project. It’s a process that requires a sensitive and considered approach – targeting the right people, in the right way.

1:54 takes place at Somerset House

How do you overcome challenges?

Discuss and work through the different possibilities. There are always alternatives.

What do you love about running your own business?

I enjoy the autonomy and being at liberty to follow your instincts. I work with a great team who are passionate and very much engaged.

How do you stay motivated through difficult times?

By thinking about the response we’ve already had. Hearing that 1:54 has challenged the perception of contemporary African art and being able to identify more artists working and living in Africa, definitely fuels our impetus.

What advice would you give to other budding entrepreneurs?

Securing a source of revenue, or funding, upfront is more productive than consistently having to find sources along the way (although not necessarily simple). It feeds confidence into your project – for yourself, your team and your customers.

How I did it

One of the artists featured at 1:54, Rotimi Fani-Kayode

When I face a big challenge I…

Break the concept down and think about alternative methodologies and approaches I could adopt.

My greatest fear is…

Losing those that I care deeply about.

The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is…

Initiate 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

If I could go back in time to when I was 20 I would tell myself…

To be true to yourself and do something you love.

I believe…

That the projects your time and energy is invested into should inspire you.

The biggest lesson I have ever learned is…

It doesn’t matter how much you plan, the outcome is always something other than what you anticipated.

My favourite business tool or resource is…

Discussions with professionals and friends from the industry.

My favourite quote is…

By Churchill in response to impending cuts in arts funding to make way for the war effort, succinctly asking: ‘Then what are we fighting for?’

1:54 returns to London on 16 – 19 October at Somerset House.



The four-day event — the largest such fair outside Africa — opens today and showcases the work of over 120 artists in the grand setting of Somerset House in the heart of the British capital in a bid to reach a global market.

Some 27 galleries from around the world are represented at “1:54″ — named after the number of countries in Africa — and the event has doubled in size since it debuted last year.

“What is exciting about 1:54 is showing that Africa is global, we are not in a bubble,” said artist Sokari Douglas Camp, from Nigeria’s Rivers State but based in London.

“I don’t understand why Africa has to be separate, it is part of this planet and has been communicating for centuries,” she added, standing next to one of her steel sculptures depicting a person straining under the weight of a bucket full of flowers.

Cameroonian Adjani Okpu-Egbe, who dreamed of becoming a footballer before turning to painting, believes that the new wave of African artists can be as important as the continent’s superstar sportsmen in raising its cultural profile.

“There are many different things that make us happy and art is one of them,” he said. “Art can reach out as much as football.”

In “The Journey of the Underdog” — painted on four wooden doors — Okpu-Egbe colourfully depicts himself being devoured by a bright red, sharp-toothed monster, meant to represent his domineering father.

‘Great sense of humanity’

As with many artists represented at the fair, the 33-year-old is self-taught, giving the collections a fresh sparkle to western eyes, according to 1:54 founder Touria El Glaoui.

“There is a lot of influence from their life context and you can see that,” she said. “You can understand what you see, it’s not too conceptual.

“They are not trying to be pleasers, they are not trying to comply to a typical group of collectors or institutions, which is amazing.”

On the perils of producing work to impress art’s power brokers, Okpu-Egbe said: “The best way to please people is when you are pleased yourself.

“If you are standing on a strong foundation, you can stretch out your arm and help.”

The painter, who is now based in south London, pinpointed “platforms and resources” as the biggest obstacles facing artists in Africa, calling the dearth of art museums in Cameroon “unbelievable”.

Having established the fair in London, founder Touria El Glaoui, daughter of famous Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui, said there were plans to bring it to New York and Africa itself.

Reflecting the shortage of artistic materials, much of the work on display is fashioned out of recovered materials including charcoal sacks and plastic oil containers, and is heavily influenced by the local environment.

“There is a lot of politics, that are very visible and sensible in their production,” explained the event’s artistic director Koyo Kouoh. “There is a great sense of humanity.

“It’s not about the artist, it’s a very important voice in portraying society.

“The power they (artists) have is to challenge and tease consciousness and I think African artists do that best because the society and environment is so challenging,” she added. — AFP

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/features/article/african-art-fair-in-london-aims-to-add-sparkle-to-western-eyes#sthash.0VXyWz3r.dpuf



Spotlight on African art: an interview with Touria El Glaoui, founder of 1:54 fair

 LONDON  |  16 October 2014  |  AMA  |    |  

In October 2013, Touria El Glaoui founded 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London. The fair is a platform for galleries, artists, curators, art centres and museums and aims to bring art from African artists to an international audience. With the fair’s second edition taking place from 16 to 19 October during the capital’s Frieze Week, AMA spoke to El Glaoui about 1:54 and her vision for the future of African art.

Where did you get the idea to bring African art to London?
I understood there was a very important gap to bridge between African art at auction and artists on the continent and from the diaspora, and the wider contextual framework of art today. I think that there’s not one reason, but several reasons to bring 1:54 to London. When I was travelling to Africa for other jobs, I was seeing some wonderful artists who didn’t get visibility beyond their borders in Africa. Based on what I’ve been doing for my Dad [Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui], I’ve always been surprised that he has had two careers: one in Paris with amazing visibility, with international exhibitions, all over Europe and the US; and another career when he decided to go back to Morocco to become an artist there, which was really different from what he had known in Paris. I put those factors together relating to how important  the visibility of artists from the continent and from the diaspora is, for example. The only way to improve that was to do it somewhere which was already a very international hub, like London.

Is there something particular about London?
During the 12 years that I’ve lived there, London has shown that it has such an international culture, a platform for everything — you have museums already showing amazing exhibitions, there are all types of fairs all year long that are taking place. But I think London is very international; especially when it comes to its openness — there are all these different art fairs specialising in different parts of the world like Pinta for South America, and Art 14 having this Asian angle; those take place in London as well. It just made more sense, from a promotional perspective, for all the artists to be in London.

Contemporary African art is experiencing a period of growing interest at the moment. Why do you think this is happening now?
I believe that it is one of the last continents to be discovered; there has not been this focus on Africa yet, so I think collectors in general have a curiosity and enthusiasm about new talent; young talent and new art. I believe that this is just the normal progression; that at one point the focus will be on Africa, but also that this is happening right now because there’s so much focus on Africa in the media, from an economic perspective — I think both are linked. We have some of the strongest economic growth in African countries right now, and that reflects in the development of different art scenes on the continent and in the diaspora. I really want it to be something that is constant; I don’t like to use the words ‘trend’ or ‘boom’ or creating a ‘buzz’; I prefer to think that this is just a moment that we are having, giving visibility to these African artists; I do hope that it’s not temporary. It correlates to the economic growth in Africa, and the fact that we’re doing this event in an international city like London will give it a lot of focus.

People often talk about ‘African’ art, and as is shown by the fair’s name, Africa is actually this huge number of different countries and cultures — so what’s your take on the idea of a shared African identity?
Actually, I’m not doing it thinking that there’s a shared identity; the name we chose was to remind people that when they talk about Africa — and this is something that I’ve seen for years, people talk about Africa like it’s a big country — there are 54 countries; first of all, people don’t even know there are 54 countries in Africa, but part of the title was really making sure that they understood that we were trying to showcase as many perspectives as possible from this huge continent, and being able to showcase as many exhibitors and artists as possible. We’re really humble about the fact that we’re definitely not conceptualising the fair as ‘African art’; we’re conscious of the fact that it is a question of us giving the spotlight to those artists who have not been given it before. Today we have more than 100 artists at 1:54, and we’re very proud to be able to say that this is a platform where you can see many artists coming from the continent, showing their work. We are not trying to categorise any artist; we just like giving them the spotlight, creating a stronger platform and rebalancing the number of artists being present internationally.

What do you think the future is for the African art market?
In the future I want to see a stronger but steadier market for African artists, from the diaspora and from the continent. I know there is a stronger presence already; I started the project around African artists not just for international art fairs, but also for international exhibitions. I hope that this will be a continued evolution; there are different events taking place that I’m really proud of, for example the director of the next Venice Biennale, Quin Wasabi, will be a Nigerian-born director, which is quite an interesting development for contemporary African artists. I believe there will be a much greater presence of African artists, so I’m very curious about seeing the Venice Biennal this year. We also know that there are a lot of exhibitions taking place in international museums in 2015 that will include contemporary African artists, or that will feature solo shows of African artists. This is what we want the contemporary African art scene to be; part of this international art circus. We don’t want to be ‘the African art fair’, we just want to be a platform for discussion. We have a forum here where African artists are present, discussing contemporary African art and its production on the continent or in the diaspora. We want this to be this international rolling ball where people can experience contemporary African art.

The fair is taking place during the London Frieze week; what kind of opportunities does this give you?
We purposely chose to do 1:54 during Frieze, as the collector base is already present in London for the fair — so for us, there are only benefits. We’re doing it during Frieze so we can open the market to international collectors; we wanted to not only attract African collectors to the fair, but those who may not be familiar with artwork coming from the continent or the diaspora. For us at the moment — we’re a very young fair, this is only our second edition — we only benefit from being at such an event. At the moment I could only tell you good things about this fair taking place around Frieze; since our first edition, they have put us on their VIP website where their VIPs can access 1:54, so we’re really happy with this collaboration and we’re really happy with the people it brings to the fair.

How do you select which galleries you will exhibit?
We have an open call, like all other fairs, in early February, and we ask all the galleries to apply. We have a selection committee that chooses galleries with a contemporary programme; it’s a much smaller scale than other fairs but we have the same selection process. The galleries are led by the artists they present and their contemporary programme.

What do you think the highlights of the fair are going to be this year?
We are increasing the number of galleries: we had 15 galleries last year, we have 27 this year, coming from the continent, so we are really proud of that. There is a small video installation from one artist, we have different presentations from different galleries, so the audience will be able to see a larger portfolio of some of the artists. We also have a book store which we are very excited about, where you’ll be able to find publications on African artists. This is our response to something that we’ve been seeing — we usually have a very hard time finding publications on African contemporary artists or artists from the African diaspora, so we’re really proud to have this new book store. We have extended to a new wing as well, and we are also doing a very strong forum of four days this year, which features amazing artists’ talks and debates on contemporary African art. A lot of people came last year — 6,000 visitors — we got a lot of good press saying that our first edition was really successful, and there was a lot of hope for us. I think people will come again this year, and maybe some of those who weren’t able to see it the first year around.

I think 1:54 has to be experienced; it’s in the beautiful location of Somerset House; I wish everybody could experience it, because it’s quite different to any other fair. There’s an intimacy between the galleries and their rooms, with their artists, with their audience;  it’s quite special, I can’t describe it well enough! There’s such an experience in coming to the fair, seeing all the different works coming from the different countries, coming from the different places in Europe and artists being present to explain their work. It’s a very touching and unique experience.




African Art Fair in London: Africa Set to Launch its Biggest Contemporary Art London UK / Africa News
09 Ekim, 2014 | 16:25

African Art London

African art giant, 1:54 is set to entertain the city of London with its Contemporary African Art Fair which will begin from 16 to 19 October.

This is the second time 1:54 is organizing event of this nature to showcase the world about the best of African art.

The event will be held at Somerset House, a historic building and major cultural arts centre in the heart of the city of London.

The fair will be open to the public from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 October, 2014, from 10am to 6pm daily with special attention to customers who wish to transact business by buying some items.

Prices for arts that would be display are relative cheaper in order to make it moderate for visitors to be able to purchase some to beautify their homes.

Reduced admission fee is also available for 13-18 years and full time students with valid cards but admission for children less than 12 years is free of charge.

In touring the event by visitors, there would be excellent introduction to the exhibitors’ galleries and a convenient way to see a tailored view of the fair in a short visit. Public tours are designed for individuals and groups (10 people or less) and are available on Wednesday – Sunday, 15.00 and 17.00 on daily basis.


Items to be showcase at the event include galleries, artists, curators, art and museums involved in the preservation of African artifacts. The galleries will be limited to only 27 carefully selected best African arts, telling the story of the African people to new international audience.

Officials at 1:54 say the event will also showcase educational and artistic program including lectures, film screenings and panel debates featuring leading international curators, artists and art experts.

The objective of including this educational program is to promote Africa related projects activities aimed at projecting the base value of African art by establishing effective mechanism to take care of emerging African art talents and help connect them to international audience.

1:54 is initiated by market developer, Touria El Glaoui under the auspice of Art Africa Ltd to help in the development of art in Africa.

The origin of African art is estimated to be more than 6000 years old and it started as wood carvings. But contemporary African art is more of the social surrounding including nature, abstract interpretations of animals, plant life, mystery creatures such as dwarfs and natural designs.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News



October 10, 2014 4:20 pm

Sub-Saharan artists making waves

From established figures to rising stars, African art fair 1:54 returns to Somerset House
‘Azonto’ (2013) by Romuald Hazoumè

‘Azonto’ (2013) by Romuald Hazoumè


ast year, among October’s proliferating events and exhibitions in London, there was a smart new kid on the block. 1:54: Contemporary African Art Fair set up shop in the neoclassical apartments of Somerset House, offering a platform to 15 galleries and not-for-profit spaces, with work by 80 African artists. The title hints at the impossibility of representing all 54 countries in one event, but the fair included galleries both in the west and in Africa, showing artists working within Africa and in the wide diaspora.

Some were hesitant. Cécile Fakhoury, based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, who represents the painter Aboudia, whose work is currently on display at the Saatchi Gallery as part of Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, comments: “I was not sure about the project. I want to be a contemporary art gallery in Africa, not necessarily a contemporary African art gallery.”



  • Among 15 galleries only six were from Africa, reflecting the imbalance of power in this nascent market. There were others who, noting the sponsorship of the event by Christie’s, feared that African art might merely be being lined up as a target for the next art investment feeding frenzy.

The fair’s founder is businesswoman Touria El Glaoui, daughter of revered Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui, and she had high ambitions. She asked the Tanzanian-born, RIBA award-winning British architect David Adjaye to design the fair, and put together an impressive series of talks to provide critical context. Hans Ulrich Obrist was in conversation with Berlin-based Nigerian-born performance artist Otobong Nkanga, whom he presented this June in his 14 Rooms at Art Basel; the 2013 Venice Biennale winner of the Lion d’Or, the Angolan artist Edson Chagas took part. As did Chris Dercon, director of Tate Modern, basking in the afterglow of Tate’s 2013 show of its recent purchase, Benin artist Meschac Gaba’s exuberant Museum of African Contemporary Art.

‘Hippo’ (2014) by Ransome Stanley

‘Hippo’ (2014) by Ransome Stanley

With prices congenially low in comparison with elsewhere in London, dealers reported excellent business. Fakhoury comments: “I sold a lot of work. I met many museum curators and many good collectors. You could feel the interest.”

Next week, the fair returns to Somerset House, this time with 27 galleries taking part, 11 from Africa. You will be able to see work by 113 artists from established figures such as Benin artist Romuald Hazoumé, South African Ernest Mancoba (who died in 2002) and London’s Sokari Douglas-Camp, to rising stars such as the Nigerian Peju Alatise (Art Twenty One), Sammy Baloji from the Democratic Republic of Congo (Galerie Imane Farès) and London-based Cameroonian Adjani Okpu-Egbe (Knight Webb Gallery).

1:54 is just one expression of a current ferment of interest in contemporary African art. It has been a slow build. The Goodman Gallery from South Africa, exhibiting at Frieze, has been in existence since 1966, nurturing the careers of both black and white artists. The October Gallery in London was founded in 1979 to bring attention to African as well as other “transcultural” artists. In 2002, the British Museum’s purchase of the “Throne of Weapons” by Mozambican artist Kester led to collaborations with contemporary African artists, while in 2011 Tate launched its African Acquisitions Committee.

‘Untitled Tete’ (2014) by Aboudia

‘Untitled Tete’ (2014) by Aboudia

The touring exhibition Africa Remix (2004-07) showcased figures such as South African photographer David Goldblatt and the Ghanian master El Anatsui, while in 2007, Hazoumé was awarded the Arnold Bodé Prize at Documenta 12, in Kassel, Germany.

Internationally, influential critics such as Okwui Enwezor, now director of Munich’s Haus der Kunst and Simon Njami, curator and co-founder of the art journal Revue Noir, have long fought to create a space for African artists within the global art world. Enwezor’s appointment as curator of the Venice Biennale 2015 is just one indication of the current changed status of African art.

Today, however, it is the market, not just the not-for-profit spaces and museums, that is taking note. Besides the African artists on view at Frieze and Frieze Masters, who include the magisterial South African William Kentridge, African art is on view next week at many other commercial galleries, including the three-year-old Tiwani Contemporary and the brand new Sulger-Buel-Lovell. At Bonhams’s fifth Africa Now sale in May, 10 new records were broken, with Nigerian and Ghanaian artists achieving prices well into five figures. Art fairs in Dubai and Johannesburg have also opened up new markets to African art.

‘Privilege Heritage’ (2014) by Adjani Okpu-Egbe

‘Privilege Heritage’ (2014) by Adjani Okpu-Egbe

But as Ross Douglas, director of the Joburg Art Fair, explains, the key to the transformation has been the beginnings of a local market. Until recently the only country within Africa to have a mature market, of mostly white collectors, was South Africa. Now rising wealth in Nigeria has combined with a growing interest in buying art to stimulate a strong art scene in Lagos, with auction houses, commercial galleries, not-for-profit spaces and the emergence of significant private collections.

At this year’s fair in late August, Douglas says, we began “to get a sense of the pan-African art market”. Besides local collectors, both black and white, there were many Nigerians, with buyers from Zimbabwe, Zaire and Ghana, and “collectors were looking for artists across the African continent”.

Until recently the only mature market was in South Africa. Now rising wealth in Nigeria has stimulated a strong art scene in Lagos

This new pan-African vibrancy is confirmed by Joost Bosland of the highly regarded Stevenson Gallery, which is also exhibiting at Frieze this year: “Increasingly our artists come from all over Africa. Ten years ago none of them were showing.”

Bomi Odufunade, a Nigerian and the co-founder of art consultancy Dash & Rallo, points out that until recently, in the absence of viable internet, mobile phone or even flight connections, it was hard for collectors and artists to connect across the continent. Today, as an art adviser – to Congolese collector Sindika Dokolo, the lead sponsor of 1:54, among others – she encourages her collectors to start locally, then reach out across the continent to the diaspora and beyond. In her view, “this is more representative of how we have all influenced each other”.

Far from being an imprisoning concept, she hopes 1:54 will set both artists and collectors free.


1:54: Contemporary African Art Fair runs October 16-19, 1-54.com




African contemporary art eyes int’l market

LONDON, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) — A major contemporary African art fair kicked off in London Thursday, with dozens of African artists seeking opportunities in Europe and beyond.

The 1:54 African Contemporary Art Fair, one of the largest of its kind held in Europe, featured paintings, sculptures, photography and installations.

The fair comprised 27 selected galleries representing over 100 international artists from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, France, Italy, Germany, Britain and the United States and so on.

Inaugurated in London last year, this year’s fair has doubled in size, aiming to expand the presence of contemporary African art in the international market.

“For a very long time, there was no role for African art in the international art market, but from last year to right now … countries have the exhibitions done with African artists, so I know it is getting stronger and stronger,” said Touria El Glaoui, founder and director of the fair.

Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt, director of U.S. based M.I.A Gallery, which mostly presents contemporary African artists, described the 1:54 as a party for Africa related art to join in the international art market.

After being around with African artists for several years, she decided to devote herself to creating a market for them.

“The people are looking at African contemporary art, is more like they realize that this is a big thing … maybe later there would be a greater demand,” she said, adding that “we are all on the edge and we are waiting for it.”

The organizers are also aspiring to take the fair to other parts of the world, particularly in Asia.

“The Asia market is curious about everything and it is happening in art,” Glaoui noted.

She listed Singapore and Hong Kong as the most probable locations for the fair when it is held in Asia.

Apart from the exhibition, the fair has also created an online platform named “Artsy” to help African artists to gain access to the international market.

Glaoui said the online platform opened the door for African artists to get in touch with the whole world’s collectors.

“For them, it changed everything,” she said.

The participants have also voiced their surprise at the diversity of the African contemporary art on display.

“Just like the artists from many other parts of the world, African artists are talking about gender, political, social, environmental issues and so on. They are a window of the society,” Ibrahim-Lenhardt explained.

“For me, when talk about Africa, it is about the entire human civilization,” said Marcia Kure, a Nigerian artist living in the United States.

The 1:54 African Contemporary Art Fair will be held from Thursday to Sunday in London’s Somerset House.


Frieze Fair London 2014: Articles, Reviews and Interviews


Bloomberg News:

Collectors Get Big Playground at $2.2 Billion Frieze Week

Source: Gagosian Gallery via Bloomberg

Gagosian Gallery at the Frieze Art Fair will show “Gartenkinder,” a children’s playground by Carsten Holler. The… Read More

Source: Frieze, Linda Nylind via Bloomberg

Attendees view works of art during Frieze London on Oct. 19, 2013.

Source: Christie’s via Bloomberg

Peter Doig’s vibrant green basketball court titled “The Heart of Old San Juan” is estimated at 4 million pounds to 6… Read More

Source: Otto Naumann via Bloomberg

Rembrandt’s “Portrait of a Man With Arms Akimbo” has an asking price of $48.5 million at Otto Naumann’s booth at Frieze Masters.

Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park opens tomorrow to select wealthy collectors seeking to snap up artworks by contemporary stars and Old Masters from a Cy Twombly canvas for $24 million to a Rembrandt portrait for $48.5 million.

Coinciding with the fair, Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s will auction 972 works at their day and evening sales estimated at as much as 264 million pounds ($426 million), or more than double the 118 million pounds of art that was sold at the equivalent auctions last year. New buyers “from all pockets of the world” are purchasing art and pushing up prices, said Suzanne Gyorgy, head of art advisory and finance at New York-based Citigroup Inc.’s Citi Private Bank.

“In 2008, when certain parts of the art market were hit hard, the high end still did very well,” Gyorgy said. “Private sales carried on. A lot of wealth is still being created and more wealthy people are becoming collectors.”

The artworks offered at Frieze, auctions, galleries and a half-dozen satellite fairs in 2013 had been estimated at as much as $2 billion last year. Values probably will be about $2.2 billion, or 10 percent higher, this year, according to insurers.

Robust Market

“The contemporary art market is very robust, and the active buyers of art are heavily engaged,” in spending money on these works, said Andrew Gristina, national fine art practice leader at Travelers Cos., which is insuring a number of galleries at Frieze. “The fair remains a popular event and you would expect an equivalent amount of pieces of high quality to be brought there.”

Contemporary-art sales at public auctions globally totaled 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in the 12 months to July 3, up 33 percent from the previous year, according to a report by Paris-based arts data researcher Artprice. The figures don’t include commissions. Similar sales in 2000 were less than $90 million, Artprice said.

“Contemporary art, which used to be the weak link in the art market, is now almost as important as the modern art segment,” Thierry Ehrmann, chief executive officer of Artprice, said in an e-mail.

Frieze, which started in 2003 and expanded to New York in 2012, was the seventh-most attended art fair in the world from the fall of 2013 through June 30, with 70,000 visitors at the London event, according to a report by Skate’s, a New York-based art market researcher.

Giant Mushroom

Frieze said it expects attendance this year to remain at 70,000, with 162 galleries at the main fair. Frieze Masters, a sister event also at Regent’s Park that shows modern and historic works, will have 127 galleries. Last year 152 galleries exhibited at Frieze and 130 at Frieze Masters.

At the main fair, Gagosian Gallery will offer “Gartenkinder,” a children’s playground by Belgian artistCarsten Holler. The installation includes a large-scale die that children can play inside and a giant mushroom that rocks like a toy. Gagosian declined to give a price.

Tanya Bonakdar gallery, based in New York, has a large-scale painting by Danish-Icelandic artistOlafur Eliasson priced from 150,000 euros to 200,000 euros.

Some galleries are likely to get a business boost from artists who have simultaneous museum shows.

Rembrandt Portrait

Eliasson, who created public waterfalls at four sites in New York in 2008, is showing other works at Tate Britain that are inspired by the paintings of J.M.W. Turner. David Zwirner’s booth at Frieze has an $800,000 cloth work by American sculptor Richard Tuttle, whose new piece featuring vast sways of fabrics will be shown at Tate Modern’s massive Turbine Hall starting tomorrow.

One of the most expensive works at Frieze Masters is a Rembrandt 17th century portrait of a man with arms akimbo, being offered at New York’s Otto Naumann gallery for $48.5 million. A Twombly paint, crayon and graphite canvas from 1959 is at Van de Weghe Fine Art for $24 million. A 7,000-year-old figurine of an Aegean neolithic idol is at Rupert Wace gallery for 450,000 pounds.

The major auction houses will offer works by postwar and contemporary masters.

Christie’s kicks the auctions off this evening with the sale of 44 works from the Essl Collection of contemporary art in Austria, expected to fetch as much as 56.8 million pounds.

Richter’s Abstract

The works come from Karlheinz Essl, the founder of hardware store chain BauMax AG, and include coveted German postwar artists. Gerhard Richter’s 1985 red, yellow and green abstract is valued at 7 million to 10 million pounds. Sigmar Polke’s 1975 fiery red portrait “Indian With Eagle,” is estimated at 1.5 million pounds to 2 million pounds. Martin Kippenberger’s 1992 self-portrait is valued at 2.5 million pounds to 3.5 million pounds.

In a separate evening sale on Oct. 16, Christie’s will offer 46 lots with a high estimate of 47 million pounds. Peter Doig’s oil on canvas of a vibrant green basketball court titled “The Heart of Old San Juan” is estimated at 4 million to 6 million pounds.

Phillips’s evening sale on Oct. 15 will be the first in its new London home at 30 Berkeley Squarein the wealthy Mayfair neighborhood. Phillips, owned by Moscow-based Mercury Group, said the sale of 47 lots, featuring works by Christopher Wool, Richter, Damien Hirst and Richard Prince, is estimated to fetch as much as 23 million pounds. Wool’s untitled alkyd and acrylic on aluminum image of black birds is estimated at 1.8 million to 2.2 million pounds.

Sotheby’s evening sale on Oct. 17 has a high estimate of 35.1 million pounds for 59 lots. AFrancis Bacon portrait of a man in a suit is valued at 1.5 million to 2 million pounds.



Eight Photo Discoveries to See at Frieze London and Frieze Masters

Keiji Uematsu, courtesy of Yumiko Chiba Associates
Stone/Rope/Man II, 1974 – Fortuitously, the Japanese sculptor, who is known for his installations that appear to distort gravity or depict magnetic forces, was at the gallery booth as I approached it. Keiji Uematsu said of his photographic work: “I’m interested in changing the relationship of an installation using my body. I want to create work where a lack of a single element will cause the entire structure, the invisible existence of things and their relationships to collapse like a cosmos.” I do hope, that when the relationship between stone, string and motion collapsed, the stone didn’t fall on his head.
Just like every year at Frieze London, the majority of fairgoers were dressed in the obligatory art-fair black. And just like every year, the bigwigs of contemporary photography Wolfgang Tillmans, Ellad Lassry, Ryan McGinley, Andreas Gursky, Jeff Wall, and Thomas Struth were strutting their stuff on the gallery walls. But, among the best-selling greats, were also some unexpected gems – some well-known, others less so. Frieze Masters, showcasing art from ancient to modern and only in its third year, was perhaps the biggest tour de force, with four dedicated photography galleries enticing audiences with works by Lionel Wendt, Keiji Uematsu and Charles Sheeler among others.

“With Frieze Masters we decided from the outset that we would give photography the same platform as painting, drawing and sculpture,” says Victoria Siddall, director of both London-based Frieze fairs. “We felt it was very important not to put the photography dealers into some kind of ghetto as they sometimes are at fairs.”

In this slideshow, I present my favorite picks from across both fairs.

Anne-Celine Jaeger is a contributor to TIME LightBox and the author of Image Makers, Image Takers, published by Thames & Hudson. She previously wrote for LightBox about Jean-François Leroy.

Read more: Eight Photo Discoveries to See at Frieze London and Frieze Masters – LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2014/10/16/eight-photo-discoveries-to-see-at-frieze-london-and-frieze-masters/#ixzz3GJZRsIh3





Barber & Osgerby Reimagines the Frieze Art Fair

London-based designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby are directing their creative talents to a new interior scheme for this month’s Frieze Art Fair in London and a variety of other projects

Oct. 7, 2014 11:13 a.m. ET

DESIGNING MEN | Edward Barber (left) and Jay Osgerby, seated on the Tip Ton chair they designed for Vitra, in their newly expanded Shoreditch offices. Photography by Thomas Giddings for WSJ. Magazine

EDWARD BARBER AND JAY OSGERBY met in 1992 as first-year architecture students at London’s Royal College of Art and became friends almost immediately. A little bored and more than a little underfunded, they jumped when an acquaintance put them up for some freelance work designing a bar. Soon they were skipping classes and running on adrenaline and cigarettes and the occasional round of drinks with the bar owner. (“He was sketchy,” says Barber. “The whole thing was sketchy, actually.”)

Their routine eventually caught up with them.

“I remember one course where we had a morning crit on a project, and we’d been up all night doing the bar,” Osgerby says. “Both of us were standing there, and it was like the firing squad—literally bang, bang, bang. It was awful. Not only did our teachers want to get rid of us, so did everyone in our class. We had jobs, you see.”

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They’re still getting the jobs. Since co-founding Barber & Osgerby in 1996, two years after graduating from RCA, the duo, both 45, have maintained one of the more active design offices in London. Fueled by curiosity about how objects are made and used, they’ve produced a range of work—like the bent-plywood Loop table for Cappellini, the perforated torch for London’s 2012 Olympics and the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, with its convivial, rabbit-hutch lobby—that, while stylistically diverse, always manages to look original and somehow inevitable. Their enthusiasm for research and craft has endeared them to industrial design giants such as Knoll, Vitra and B&B Italia, and the furniture they create for these companies possesses a lucid, streamlined beauty.

FINE LINES | From left: B&O’s projects include a current installation at the V&A Museum’s Raphael Gallery and a limited-edition Iris table for Established & Sons. Courtesy of Barber & Osgerby

Clockwise from top left: Frieze Art Fair; Loop table for Cappellini; coins commemorating the 150th anniversary of the London Underground Courtesy of Barber & Osgerby (loop table, coins); Courtesy of Universal Design Studio

From left: Interior at the Ace Hotel Shoreditch and solar-powered lamp for Louis Vuitton Courtesy of Barber & Osgerby (lamp); Photograph by Mads Perch, Courtesy of Universal Design Studio

This is a busy moment for Barber and Osgerby, with a full spectrum of their work on view across London. First is a new interior scheme for the Frieze Art Fair, held each October in a tent among the ancient oaks of Regent’s Park. Over on Exhibition Road, London’s Science Museum launches Information Age, a 27,000-square-foot permanent gallery, four years in the making, that traces the history of communication over two centuries, from the earliest telegraph receivers to the Soviet BESM-6 supercomputer. Next door at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the designers have temporarily turned the barrel-vaulted Raphael Gallery into an engine room for art, where a pair of massive whirring blades mounted above visitors’ heads reflects Renaissance paintings to the crowd below.

The first two projects are the work of Universal Design Studio, a division Barber & Osgerby launched in 2001 to handle their architecture and interiors practice. In 2011 they complemented Universal with MAP, an industrial design consultancy focused on strategy and innovation. From the beginning, the two have pursued jobs that overstep the neat boundaries of industrial design work, and the firm’s tripartite structure lets them take on projects up and down the supply chain, from conception and planning (the Google Chrome Web Lab in 2012) to the end user (solar-powered lanterns for Louis Vuitton the same year). “In a nutshell,” says Osgerby, “MAP is about thinking, Universal is about building and Barber & Osgerby is about making.”

All three divisions, employing some 60 people, occupy a newly expanded Shoreditch office that meanders through a former warehouse building on Charlotte Road. The principals share a desk in each of the three studios, though they can often be found in one of the basement rooms devoted to model making, a passion for both of them since boyhood. At RCA they developed the habit of drawing opposite each other at the same desk and sequentially folding heavy card paper into experimental shapes. “It was really fraternal,” Osgerby says. “It still is. We both come from families with three boys—I was the oldest and Ed was in the middle—and I think that’s how we’ve managed to get on the way we have.”

Outside the office their lives are notably different. Barber is unmarried, a voracious traveler and a photographer. Osgerby has a wife and three young children and regularly bikes the six miles between the office and his home in Greenwich. And yet they are on a plane together almost every week, sporting identical brown beards and dressed as though from the same closet: jeans, sneakers and loose cotton blazers. (When a new acquaintance mixes them up, Osgerby, the more diminutive, volunteers the mnemonic that “Jay” is shorter than “Edward.”) They juggle factory visits, exploratory meetings and promotional trips, using the travel time to evaluate new jobs and chart the studio’s professional course. As their opportunities have grown, notes Barber, their goals have become more far-reaching. This is especially true in product design: “If you can reinvent an archetype for its function, and not just in a styling way, that’s really something,” he says. “Like the soda bottle to the can—same function, new take. That was reinventing the archetype. That’s big.”

This past summer the studio won a competition for its most ambitious project to date, one that will expose several archetypes to re-examination—the Crossrail train, part of a new high-speed transport line that will hurtle east–west through London and its suburbs in under an hour. It’s a quintessential Barber & Osgerby job: The studio will conceive of not just the train and its contents, but the travel experience as a whole, including acoustics, signage and how people enter and exit the cars.

The Frieze tent, temporary and sprawling at 215,000 square feet, offers an intriguing set of opposites: It’s about creating engagement, not about passing through, and the commission has a budget that is “hilariously small,” notes Frieze co-director Matthew Slotover. It also targets the chauffeur-driven cultural elite—a group the designers have never sought to cultivate—rather than commuters.

“We haven’t wined and dined the art world,” Osgerby says. “We’ve never hung out and been part of the clique—in fact, we’ve never done that with any clique. We’ve just set out to do our own thing.” Perhaps because of that, and despite accolades within the design community (not to mention OBEs bestowed on them by the Crown in 2013), Barber and Osgerby haven’t attained the level of fame that some of their RCA classmates—architect David Adjaye and fashion designer Christopher Bailey, for instance—have.

This doesn’t concern them. They’re less interested in courting status than in the opportunities that tend to float by in its wake. Deyan Sudjic, head of the London Design Museum, believes the pair will make a lasting contribution to the design landscape in a decisively modern way. “They demonstrate a certain pragmatism that was perhaps shaped by their early experiences as students,” he writes in his foreword to the duo’s 2011 monograph.

The designers might put it differently. “We’re over there, beavering away,” Osgerby says. “And people are finally curious.”


The Frieze Effect

As the art world congregates in London for the Frieze art fair, fashion businesses stand to profit.

Frieze art fair | Source: Courtesy

LONDON, United Kingdom — In 2003, the Frieze art fair launched as a modest event in a large tent in London’s Regent’s Park. But twelve years on, the fair and its sibling event, Frieze Masters, attracts 70,000 visitors from around the world and has become the centrepiece of a week-long, city-wide programme of art events. Any cultural organisation that aspires to international status will hold a launch of some kind this week, from the unveiling of Richard Tuttle’s monumental installation at Tate Modern to fly-by-night events in derelict office blocks. As gallerists, collectors, curators, critics, artists and curious civilians converge on London for private views, talks and parties, it can be easy to forget that the increasingly buzzy atmosphere surrounds a marketplace. Frieze exists for the buying and selling of art — and, as it grows, the acquisitive urge of those it attracts has been flowing out of the fair and into the city’s fashion retailers.

“Our customers always love our events during Frieze. It’s our busiest time of the year,” says Adrian Joffe, chief executive of Dover Street Market, whose original store is positioned on Dover Street, in London’s Mayfair, a stone’s throw from a number of blue-chip art galleries. Unlike London Fashion Week, which brings with it an entourage of press and store buyers, Frieze attracts an aesthetically sophisticated, wealthy clientele that makes for an excellent fit with the store, which is run by a subsidiary of Comme des Garçons. “Our customers during Frieze are like the ones that come to us all the time — fashion-forward, independent, creative, curious, cool, strong, interested in art and design, daring, lovely and wonderful — there are just more of them about during Frieze,” added Joffe.

Dover Street Market actively tempts Frieze-goers with a richer-than-usual programme of exhibits and events, which this year includes installations by French artist Nicolas Buffe and designer Ann Demeulemeester, as well as the unveiling of Louis Vuitton’s Icons and Iconoclasts collection, featuring a collaboration with the artist Cindy Sherman.

Dover Street Market's 2013 Frieze window by Rei Kawakubo, featuring the work of Katsuhiro Otomo | Source: Courtesy

The Frieze private view on the Tuesday night of the fair often more closely resembles a long snaking catwalk — or perhaps the red carpet of a film premiere — than an art gallery, peppered as it is with the gorgeous, the extravagant and the brilliantly peculiar. Under the flooding white lights of the big tent in Regent’s Park everyone is on display. But it’s not all about billionaires’ wives wearing 12cm heels and 10cm skirts as they eye up the Oscar Murillos and ponder which will best match their carefully curated scatter cushions. The Frieze effect is also important to fashion brands that court those working in the creative industries.

“Our heads of design Karin Gustafsson and Martin Andersson are always at the fair,” says Atul Pathak, head of communications for COS. “We find that we are fortunate enough see a lot of our collection represented in the outfits of the people in the fair itself. It makes us feel that we are talking to the right audience.” In previous years, COS has supported Frame, a section of Frieze dedicated to young galleries. “We think our customers have a strong interest across the design world and in contemporary art — it feels like it’s integral to the brand.”

For the last few years, the family-run, Italian luxury goods company Etro has launched artist collaboration projects to coincide with Frieze week. This year, they are unveiling an accessory collection created with the Japanese artist Mika Ninagawa, accompanied by celebratory events aimed at those in town for the fair. “We are keen collectors of contemporary and ancient art,” explains creative director Jacopo Etro, adding that, as a house known for its prints and patterns, his family’s interest in art provides it with an important source of inspiration. For Etro, Frieze carries “a particular atmosphere, a moment of sharing and joyfulness, spreading energy and positivity all around the city…. You can feel excitement in the air.” Whilst the house’s artist collaborations are meant to represent a celebration of creativity, Etro is happy to say “that these kinds of projects have a good impact on sales as well.”

The relationship is, of course, a reciprocal one, benefiting not just retailers, but also the participating artists. “The art scene in Britain has changed a lot in recent years,” notes Linda Hewson, creative director of Selfridges. “The fact is that the arts need public and commercial support now more than ever to ultimately reach as wide an audience as possible.” This year, Selfridges’ Old Hotel will act as an off-site project space for Frieze and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, with live events staged by performers including Korakrit Arunanondchai and Boychild. “We go to Frieze every year and have done since its launch,” says Hewson. “It’s part of our cultural research into the global art scene, market and trends. The fair is an important moment on the cultural calendar in London because it creates a buzz of peripheral art happenings and openings.”

Selfridges first hosted an ICA off-site project last year and it drew thousands of new visitors – a much larger audience than would generally visit the cerebral, iconoclastic ICA’s comparatively diminutive galleries on the Mall. Positioning itself somewhere between the glitz of Frieze and the grit of the ICA suits Selfridges well, explains Hewson: “If you consider Frieze as aspirational in terms of the cultural elite who attend and spend, then there is an overlap with our international clientele. If you consider the ICA as being on the knife’s edge of contemporary creativity then perhaps the more pertinent overlap is with our savvy London clientele who relate to such art forms more. But good, even great, exciting art draws audiences from all walks of life.”

Korakrit Arunanondchai and boychild, part of Selfridges' Frieze week live programme | Source: Courtesy, Photo: Charles Roussel

Such off-site projects, performances and events are of increasing importance because the consumer who attends Frieze is, as Hewson notes, looking for something that is one-of-a-kind, unique, experiential.Alexander McQueen, which first became an official sponsor of the fair in 2013, is, this year, putting its name behind Live, Frieze’s inaugural performance art programme. And, for the first time, this year, Gucci is one of the sponsors of the Frieze Masters fair, which is held on a separate site and focuses on historical art.

For both brands, the choice of association is telling. Gucci has allied itself with the talks programme of Frieze Masters, which features names that may be familiar to the brand’s customer base, including South African artist William Kentridge and best-selling author and ceramicist Edmund de Waal. Meanwhile, Alexander McQueen is stepping up to support challenging live art, including an explicit critique of lifestyle branding by the New York-based collective Shanzhai Biennial, which tallies well with the house’s history of spectacular and often provocative shows. “Performance art has had its highs and lows in terms of acceptance and popularity, but it’s certainly the most experimental art practice and there’s a new and rejuvenated energy,” notes Jonathan Akeroyd, chief executive of Alexander McQueen. “As a brand, Alexander McQueen has always been at the forefront of pushing boundaries.”

In describing the fair, Akeroyd makes an important distinction between the convivial, welcoming atmosphere of Frieze and the comparatively quiet formality that many associate with galleries and museums. Part of his intention in supporting Frieze is to help broaden the audience for contemporary art, as well as profit from the crossover potential with the fashion industry. In addition to showing works from the Sadie Coles gallery in a glass vitrine in their Savile Row store, Alexander McQueen will host events that bring together key players from the art and fashion industries.

“Lee McQueen was a big collector and Frieze was always a highlight of his year; he would also ensure that he was always one of the first to visit the fair on the opening day,” explains Akeroyd. “Obviously being a creative company pretty much all of our staff have a high level of interest in the art world and it is great that we all now feel more connected to the fair through our involvement.”




Beyoncé and Jay Z Match During Date Night in London: See the Cute Coordinating Couple!

Beyonce, Jay ZSplash News

Beyoncé and Jay Z are taking London!

The 33-year-old “Flawless” singer and her 44-year-old hubby stepped out in London Wednesday night dressed in coordinating black and white outfits.

For their date night, Bey looked super fashionable in a black and white polka dot skirt and a black and white patterned blouse under a black motorcycle jacket. Beyoncé completed her monochromatic ensemble with black sunglasses, black and white striped heels and hernew blunt bangs. And for her man, he sported black pants and a white hoodie under a black jacket.

Talks about one cute coordinating couple!


Beyonce Knowles, Jay ZNeil P. Mockford/GC Images

As for their outing, Bey and Jay attended the annual Frieze Art Fair together in London’s Regents Park.

Earlier today, Beyoncé and Jay were spotted leaving an art gallery together looking cute and colorful. Bey looked chic in a white skirt that featured a black, orange and blue pattern paired with a black and white top, sunglasses and black heels. Her hubby followed behind her wearing black pants and a gray designer hoodie.

Beyoncé has been out and about a lot since debuting her new bangs the other day. Bey stepped out in Paris Tuesday morning with the surprising new ‘do.



Bloomberg News

Hirst Tops Sales as Buyers Pick $2.2 Billion Frieze Art

October 15, 2014

“Forgings” by American Sculptor David Smith

Mnuchin Gallery sold one of four sculptures from the 1955 “Forgings” series by American sculptor David Smith for $2.5 million at Frieze in London. Source: Mnuchin Gallery via Bloomberg

Damien Hirst, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol works sold for more than $3 million each as wealthy collectors got first dibs at the opening of the Frieze Art Fair in London.

Select guests including billionaire Indonesian collector Budi Tek, who opened a private museum in Shanghai in May, actress Sienna Miller and architect Zaha Hadid packed 162 galleries this week at the main contemporary art fair in Regent’s Park and 127 booths at Frieze Masters, a sister event showing modern and historic works.

Frieze Week is Europe’s biggest concentration of commercial fairs, public sales and gallery shows, offering as much as $2.2 billion of art. Frieze, whose organizers expect 70,000 people to attend the two fairs, runs through Oct. 18; Frieze Masters closes Oct. 19.

Contemporary-art sales at public auctions globally totaled 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in the 12 months to July 3, up 33 percent from the previous year, according to Paris-based arts data researcher Artprice.

Dealers reported brisk sales in the first two days of the fair. Within the first hour of the Frieze Masters preview, Mnuchin Gallery sold one of four elongated varnished steel sculptures from the 1955 “Forgings” series by U.S. sculptor David Smith for $2.5 million to a private collector.

“Americans know David Smith, but we need to broaden his audience,” Robert Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive whose New York gallery specializes in postwar art, said of the artist who died in 1965. “I’ve already had a lot of interest from non-U.S. collectors.”

Many of the bigger sales were at Frieze Masters, which had booths showing works by Francis Bacon, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Old Masters such as Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens.

Warhol’s “The Scream (After Munch),” a 1984 work inspired by the Norwegian artist, was sold by Skarstedt Gallery for about $5.5 million to a private collector.

Formaldehyde Fish

At the main fair, Hirst’s “Because I Can’t Have You I Want You,” a 1993 diptych of glass-enclosed fish in formaldehyde, fetched 4 million pounds at White Cube within minutes of the opening preview. The gallery, with branches in London, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo, also sold a 2001 piece composed of an electric microphone, metal stands and electrical cords by David Hammons for $4 million.

“I can’t keep up with the sales,” said David Maupin of Lehmann Maupin, which sold British artist Tracey Emin’s embroidered calico of a reclining woman in a price range of 120,000 to 175,000 pounds. The New York and Hong Kong gallery also sold Mickalene Thomas’s 2008 work composed of rhinestone-encrusted portraits in the 60,000-to-100,000-pound range.

Kaws’s Creature

“Final Days,” an almost 7-foot-tall black sculpture of a creature with big feet, hands and ears by Brooklyn, New York-based artist Kaws sold for about $300,000 at Galerie Perrotin, which has galleries in New York, Paris and Hong Kong. An almost 10-foot-fall 2014 bronze sculpture of a standing sausage by Erwin Wurm sold for 250,000 euros at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, which is in Paris and Salzburg, Austria.

Sigmar Polke’s untitled 2003 gouache on paper abstract, sold for $800,000 at Michael Werner Gallery of New York and London. New York’s Marianne Boesky Gallery sold drawings and a sculpture by Diana Al-Hadid, who was born in Syria and lives in Brooklyn, made of stainless steel treated with plaster and fiberglass at prices from $20,000 to $120,000.

Brazilian Painter of Visual Experience: Beatriz Milhazes

Brazilian painter Beatriz Milhazes brilliant work as a painter is by definition Post Conceptual Abstraction. Her work comes to form literally with the “return to painting” in Brazil in the 1980’s, after the Conceptual Artist era in Brazil had been fully realized. Milhazes works speak not merely of great visual beauty, but also raw energy orchestrated into a high symphonic episode that moves into both the greatest of dark and light. Mihazes continues to work in her small studio n Rio de Janero even with the call for more and more of her exhilarating and unique works, which get much more down and dirty with pattern and design, and break free into moments of explosive color emanating from what sometimes appears to be the salt of the earth turned into a universe of unequaled delight. I am completely aligned with what I see as Milhazes’ idea that art representing the beauty and pleasure of the world elevates us and brings us out of the darkness that can inhabit one’s life. This is something that I have personally dedicated to pursue in my own life’s work as an African American artist based in Los Angeles.

Vincent Johnson

Brazilian Artist Beatriz Milhazes Takes Center Stage in the U.S.
The artist’s work has been coveted for years by collectors throughout South America and Europe


Associated Press

© Beatriz Milhazes/Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Aug. 28, 2014 4:51 p.m. ET
The Works of Beatriz Milhazes
View Slideshow

Brazilian painter Beatriz Milhazes’s explosive botanical scenes will be on display in her first solo museum show in the U.S. at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Above,’São Cosme e Damião,’ (Saints Cosmas and Damian), 2014 Beatriz Milhazes/James Cohan Gallery, NY

Beatriz Milhazes’s explosive botanical scenes have been coveted for years by collectors throughout South America and Europe, but on Sept. 19, the Brazilian painter will open her first solo museum show in the U.S. at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

The exhibit amounts to an official debut for the museum, the former Miami Art Museum that gained a new name when it moved into a sleek Herzog & de Meuron-designed building last year. PAMM has since held several group shows, but Ms. Milhazes’s “Botânical Garden” represents its first retrospective, organized by its chief curator Tobias Ostrander.

Mr. Ostrander said he chose Ms. Milhazes because her Spirograph-like paintings of overlapping blossoms, stripes and unfurling leaves will likely resonate with audiences in Miami’s climate—particularly the city’s growing Brazilian diaspora.

The 50-work show also comes at a time when the artist appears to be moving away from her signature bouquets toward compositions that feature more geometric shapes and straight lines. “Beatriz’s art was always sensual and dizzying, just sensory overload,” Mr. Ostrander said. “She’s moving more and more toward purely geometric forms.”

From a market standpoint, her decision could be a risk. Over the past decade, major collectors have gravitated toward her more-is-more arrangements—in part because the cheeriness of her canvases seemed to match Brazil’s economic rise. In May 2008, Buenos Aires collector Eduardo Costantini paid Sotheby’s $1 million for her rainbow-hued “Magic” from 2001, tripling its high estimate. That painting will be part of the PAMM show, along with flowery pieces lent by heavyweights like German publisher Benedikt Taschen, Austrian philanthropist Francesca von Habsburg and Washington lobbyist Tony Podesta.

Ms. Milhazes, speaking from her studio in Rio de Janeiro, said her shift toward abstraction is actually her artistic equivalent of coming home—because the story of 20th century Brazil hinges heavily on geometry. Ms. Milhazes, who grew up in Brazil during an era of dictatorship, said her peers rarely got to see much contemporary art. But her mother was an art-history professor, so she learned about Brazil’s latest art trends. Her family revered the Brazilian modernist painters of the 1930s, but the local art scene in the 1960s was all about the Neo-Concrete, a movement that prized art made using principles of geometry or movement rather than covering canvases in brushstrokes. Neo-Concrete stars included Lygia Clark, who cut shards of aluminumn to make origami-like sculptures, and Lygia Pape, who strung rows of gold thread to create obstacle course-like installations.

She knew about these Neo-Concrete artists, but she yearned to paint. Her first artist crush was Henri Matisse. In college, she studied journalism by day but took art classes at night and reveled in making collages from bits of fabric and colored paper. She attended Rio’s carnivals and parades and took inspiration from the effusion of ruffles and undulation. With her parents’ blessing, she started painting flowers with lacy curlicues in hot, Fauvist hues—but “I always felt like an outsider,” she said.

Her painting methods also stood apart. In 1989, she began experimenting with how to create a painting that could ape the stacked look of a paper collage, with some elements hidden behind others. Her eureka moment hit when she used acrylic to paint on a clear sheet of plastic, then used glue and pressure to transfer her designs onto canvas. Sometimes the design flaked, but she liked the decayed look such “mistakes” produced, she said. Nobody in Brazil was applying this decal-like process to fine art, and it became her breakthrough.

She has built a glossary of motifs to lay and overlay, and the PAMM exhibition charts their evolution. In the early 1990s, her works contain tribal references and Baroque designs like ruffles, beads, and flowers; later, she adds Pop elements like hearts, peace signs and fruity headdress shapes that nod to her compatriot Carmen Miranda. The market tends to favor the “exploding circles” series that followed in the next decade, where works like “The Son of London” revolve around blossoming dahlia-like forms.

Two of the three new works in the Miami exhibit hint at where Ms. Milhazes could be headed, led by “Flowers and Trees.” Gone are the frills and fruit, this canvas evokes a forest comprised almost entirely of circles. Ms. Milhazes, a former math teacher, said “there’s always been structure” to her paintings; her new works simply reveal more of the scaffolding.

Aug. 28, 2014 4:51 p.m. ET
The Works of Beatriz Milhazes
View Slideshow

Brazilian painter Beatriz Milhazes’s explosive botanical scenes will be on display in her first solo museum show in the U.S. at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Above,’São Cosme e Damião,’ (Saints Cosmas and Damian), 2014 Beatriz Milhazes/James Cohan Gallery, NY

Beatriz Milhazes’s explosive botanical scenes have been coveted for years by collectors throughout South America and Europe, but on Sept. 19, the Brazilian painter will open her first solo museum show in the U.S. at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

The exhibit amounts to an official debut for the museum, the former Miami Art Museum that gained a new name when it moved into a sleek Herzog & de Meuron-designed building last year. PAMM has since held several group shows, but Ms. Milhazes’s “Botânical Garden” represents its first retrospective, organized by its chief curator Tobias Ostrander.

Mr. Ostrander said he chose Ms. Milhazes because her Spirograph-like paintings of overlapping blossoms, stripes and unfurling leaves will likely resonate with audiences in Miami’s climate—particularly the city’s growing Brazilian diaspora.

The 50-work show also comes at a time when the artist appears to be moving away from her signature bouquets toward compositions that feature more geometric shapes and straight lines. “Beatriz’s art was always sensual and dizzying, just sensory overload,” Mr. Ostrander said. “She’s moving more and more toward purely geometric forms.”

From a market standpoint, her decision could be a risk. Over the past decade, major collectors have gravitated toward her more-is-more arrangements—in part because the cheeriness of her canvases seemed to match Brazil’s economic rise. In May 2008, Buenos Aires collector Eduardo Costantini paid Sotheby’s $1 million for her rainbow-hued “Magic” from 2001, tripling its high estimate. That painting will be part of the PAMM show, along with flowery pieces lent by heavyweights like German publisher Benedikt Taschen, Austrian philanthropist Francesca von Habsburg and Washington lobbyist Tony Podesta.

Ms. Milhazes, speaking from her studio in Rio de Janeiro, said her shift toward abstraction is actually her artistic equivalent of coming home—because the story of 20th century Brazil hinges heavily on geometry. Ms. Milhazes, who grew up in Brazil during an era of dictatorship, said her peers rarely got to see much contemporary art. But her mother was an art-history professor, so she learned about Brazil’s latest art trends. Her family revered the Brazilian modernist painters of the 1930s, but the local art scene in the 1960s was all about the Neo-Concrete, a movement that prized art made using principles of geometry or movement rather than covering canvases in brushstrokes. Neo-Concrete stars included Lygia Clark, who cut shards of aluminumn to make origami-like sculptures, and Lygia Pape, who strung rows of gold thread to create obstacle course-like installations.

She knew about these Neo-Concrete artists, but she yearned to paint. Her first artist crush was Henri Matisse. In college, she studied journalism by day but took art classes at night and reveled in making collages from bits of fabric and colored paper. She attended Rio’s carnivals and parades and took inspiration from the effusion of ruffles and undulation. With her parents’ blessing, she started painting flowers with lacy curlicues in hot, Fauvist hues—but “I always felt like an outsider,” she said.

Her painting methods also stood apart. In 1989, she began experimenting with how to create a painting that could ape the stacked look of a paper collage, with some elements hidden behind others. Her eureka moment hit when she used acrylic to paint on a clear sheet of plastic, then used glue and pressure to transfer her designs onto canvas. Sometimes the design flaked, but she liked the decayed look such “mistakes” produced, she said. Nobody in Brazil was applying this decal-like process to fine art, and it became her breakthrough.

She has built a glossary of motifs to lay and overlay, and the PAMM exhibition charts their evolution. In the early 1990s, her works contain tribal references and Baroque designs like ruffles, beads, and flowers; later, she adds Pop elements like hearts, peace signs and fruity headdress shapes that nod to her compatriot Carmen Miranda. The market tends to favor the “exploding circles” series that followed in the next decade, where works like “The Son of London” revolve around blossoming dahlia-like forms.

Two of the three new works in the Miami exhibit hint at where Ms. Milhazes could be headed, led by “Flowers and Trees.” Gone are the frills and fruit, this canvas evokes a forest comprised almost entirely of circles. Ms. Milhazes, a former math teacher, said “there’s always been structure” to her paintings; her new works simply reveal more of the scaffolding.

131011-beatriz-milhazes-teaseBrazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes poses for a photo in front of one of her paintings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. (Felipe Dana/Ap)

O Artista

Brazil’s Kandinsky: The Riotous Art of Beatriz Milhazes

Oct 13, 2013 4:45 am

With her exuberant murals bursting with Rio de Janeiro joie de vivre, Beatriz Milhazes is winning the art world’s heart.

In a pale lavender blouse under a gray blazer, Beatriz Milhazes is a portrait in understatement. Soft-spoken and with a bonnet of brown curls, she might be a docent or an art teacher on a class tour. But the bustle of museum handlers orbiting around her today and the scrum of reporters and television crews stalking the corridors of the Rio de Janeiro gallery quickly shatter the idyll.

“As a plastic artist you never think you’re going to be in the spotlight,” Milhazes tells The Daily Beast on a recent morning in Rio de Janeiro. We have fled the crowded gallery showcasing her career to a quiet room on the top floor of the Paço Imperial, a 18th century palace converted to a museum in downtown Rio. This is the last in a series of interviews for the week, and Milhazes is savoring the rare moment of quiet. “Now I guess it’s part of my life.”

Judging from the reception in Rio, and beyond, that is unlikely to change anytime soon. For the last two decades, Milhazes has been quietly raising the bar for the Latin American art world. More recently, her paintings have shattered auction records, floored critics, and mobilized dealers and curators from Tokyo to Chicago. In 2009, the Paris based Fondation Cartier dedicated an exhibit to Milhazes. She represented Brazil at the 2003 Venice Biennalle. She designed a wall mural for the restaurant at the Tate Modern and was commissioned to create 19 separate vaulted panels for the Gloucester Road station of the London Underground.

Fortune has followed fame. Her 2001 canvas O Mágico (The Magician), a bold work of deep blues and flying geometric shards, was an art house sleeper for years until Southeby’s sold it in 2008 for $1,049,000, at three times the floor price. In June of last year, O Elefante Azul (The Blue Elephant) auctioned for $1.5 million at Christies and in November, her picture Meu Limão (My Lemon), fetched $2.1 million at Southeby’s, a record for a living artist from Latin America. “She is a leading talent, and a huge influence,” says art dealer Ivor Braka. “There can’t be many examples Latin American artists who have impacted people’s minds and on markets that the way she has.”

The money trail is only one way to plot Milhazes’ career. Working from the same modest studio in Rio’s arbored Botanical Gardens neighborhood, she has spent the last three decades honing her craft. Fiercely single minded, she has painted through the market hype and the stream of visitors who have turned her atelier into a tourist shrine, turning out 11 or 12 pictures a year. Collectors are willing to wait 18 months or more for a new canvas.

Her rise has been described as meteoric, but that is hardly the case. “My overnight success took 30 years,” she likes to say, in a gentle takedown of the hyperventilating art market. “I used to have to go abroad to find collectors and curators. Now they come to the studio. My isolation is gone!”

For those interested in looking at the pictures behind the buzz, the sweep of her work is in full force in the Rio exhibit, a rare homecoming for the wandering artist. The show, Meu Bem (My Dear), which runs through October 27, is a retrospective of her career since 1989, featuring 60 paintings and collages, created out of crochet, lace and silk screens and acrylic paint. Displayed chronologically, each canvas is a starburst of shapes and colors, gathering intensity over the years.

The visual vortex begins even before you reach the main exhibition, as visitors are drawn into the museum rotunda to her giant mobile titled Gamboa 1—a cataract of baubles, orbs, stars, mandalas and cubes tumbling 30 feet from the skylight. Milhazes conceived the piece years ago as a stage prop for her sister, a noted Rio choroegrapher, dangling the sparkling ornaments just above the dancers’ heads. Later, with the help of a famous designer of Carnival floats, she rescaled it as ceiling-to-floor museum installation, transposing the sequined cadences of samba to sculpture.

Inside the gallery, each of the paintings on display has a fissile power of its own. Modinha (Little way) is a storm of arabesques, circles overlapping circles, and horizontal stripes, rendered in a brilliant tropical palette. Tempo de verão (Summer weather) is an eruption of Pop Art-styled stars, hearts and flowers gushing from glowing red and orange beams. The fashion designer Christian Lacroix once called her work a visual Big Bang. Milhazes herself celebrates in the chaos and “claustrophobia” of her works, many of which occupy entire walls.

The colors are rich and riotous, but the impact is complex and disorienting. I took my eight-year-old to the show, and she skipped through the five separate galleries as if on a sugar rush. Critics shoebox Milhazes as a decorative painter at their peril. “Sometimes people just don’t get her. Or they like her work almost for the wrong reasons, because they see it as facile or pretty,” says Braka. “In fact, her work is stunningly beautiful. And it’s not a la mode to be beautiful.”

One of the tropes about Milhazes style is that she is quintessentially Latin American. After all, her paintings at a glance are as big, as noisy and as over-the-top as Brazil itself. Her use of radiant primary colors and rudimentary looking shapes—circles, flowers, mandalas and stripes—flirts with tropical kitsch. “Sitting in gray, overcast London, you can perceive her work as delivering something we could hope for from Latin America,” says Tanya Barston, a curator at the Tate Modern. “As soon as I went to Rio I felt I could understand her work. Her studio is in the botanical gardens. The city of Rio emerges from forest, with exquisite tropical flora and fauna. There is incredible visual pleasure there.”

But that is partly an optical illusion. In Brazil, Milhazes says, serious contemporary artists steered clear of color, the use of which they associated with folk crafts and “low art.” That’s why so much of Brazilian modernism was done in drab, muted tones. Milhazes broke the rules, threw open the blinds and put color on steroids. Her canvases radiate shimmering gold and silver, burning orange, throbbing blues and even fluorescent green. “Color is frightening. Especially green, which has always been a stumbling block for painters. I love it,” she says.

Milhazes eludes tidy stereotypes even as she toys with them. She took the elements of pattern and decoration, a movement once dismissed as frivolous by art critics, and set them on a deliberate collision course. “She’s addressing you bodily,” says Barston. “There is a joyfulness and positivity there, but it’s wrongly interpreted as simplistic. She stands somewhere between tradition and carnival. There are a lot of other things going on in her painting,” she adds.

What distances Milhazes from the Latino cartoon is her willingness to trample boundaries and help herself to what the world serves up. And that in itself is a sensibility rooted in Brazil, a New World culture cooked up—like the national dish, feijoada—from scraps and flavors taken from just about everywhere.

One of her most visible influences is the work of Matisse, from which she learned to appreciate painterly issues of scale and composition. Yet she also proclaims her debt to Tarsila Amaral, the Brazilian modernist, whose work borrows heavily from the brash colors and blunt figures of popular art. Yet another influence is Bridget Riley, the British abstract artist whose storm of shapes and stripes translate vertigo onto canvas.

Pop Art and symbols of commercial culture mingle freely with modernism on her canvases. In one section of the gallery in Rio is a series of her paintings composed of candy wrappers and retail brands emblazoned on shopping bags, a nod to modernism but also to the seductive power of extravagance and consumerism. “I like to draw on elements that shout for attention,” Milhazes says. “They interest me chromatically and culturally, as emblems of exaggeration and extravagance.”

To Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon Guggenheim museum, that makes Milhazes a rebel. “She’s a visual omnivore, she celebrates color and is willing to embrace excess. That goes against the sensibilities of the mainstream, especially the chromophobes. But she’s working with vocabulary we haven’t seen since the early days of abstraction, which takes all the way back to [Wassily] Kandinsky.”

But don’t look to the Rio colorist for a soothing wall hanging. One of Milhazes’ “aha!” moments was when she read a statement by the famous French painter Yves Klein, who mastered painting in a single tone. “Klein said he painted in one color because once you add another, you have conflict,” she says. “That’s when I knew what I wanted and it was the exact opposite. I wanted the conflict.”

Picking a fight on canvas poses its challenges, as Milhazes readily admits. “It’s not easy to have one of my paintings at home, because it crowds out everything else,” she says with a laugh. (Asked if she had any of her own works at home, she smiled. “One, I think. I spend all day surrounded by them.”) At home, “most people, like to sit and gaze at something peaceful and serene, like the sea,” she says. “That’s not my work.”


pulsating brazilian art: beatriz milhazes

Beatriz Milhazes Art London Underground

The colorful fine art of Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes represent much of what we think of when someone mentions Brazil: bright tropical colors; pulsating energy and rhythm of Carnivale; a fluid movement mixed with a carefree passion for life.

Rio de Janeiro is a city that I love and have returned to many times.  There is just something so captivating about the people and the incredible beachside setting.  And when I learned that Milhazes’ studio overlooks the Botanical Gardens in the city, I wasn’t surprised: you can see the inspiration in her modernist still life paintings where floral shapes collide in a frenzy of vivid colors.


Beatriz Milhazes Brazilian Art

Born in Rio in 1960, Beatriz Milhazes has taken the international art scene by storm.  Well-known in Brazil, her first solo show in New York was held in 1996 and her career has been on a sharp rise since she was chosen to represent Brazil at the 2003 Venice Biennale.  This was followed with important commissions for public works in London – including a mural for the restaurant at the Tate Modern Gallery and an incredible series of paintings, which fill the arches of the Gloucester Road Station on London’s Underground (top image).


Beatriz Milhazes Art - Periquita

The contemporary art of Milhazes is often rigidly structured with repeating shapes and geometric patterns strewn across a canvas divided into ordered planes of intense colors.  Periquita (above) and Phebo (below), both of 2004, are a perfect example of her technique.  Rather than paint directly onto the canvas, Milhazes paints her spirals, circles and floral motifs on individual sheets of plastic that are allowed to dry and then carefully peeled off and layered onto the canvas to create a collage.  The overall effect is very flat and devoid of the artist’s brushstrokes.


Beatriz Milhazes Art _ Phebo

Continuing with the collage technique, as a New York City advisor of Brazilian fine art, one of my favorite pieces is entitled Brinquelandia (below) which roughly translates as Playland and is an homage to London’s retail scene with a mix of colorful shopping bags jostling for position amongst her trademark floral petals.


Beatriz Milhazes Art - Brinquelandia

One of Milhazes’ latest ventures has been the creation of fabulous mobiles and three-dimensional artworks (below).  Here we see the forms traditionally associated with her paintings suspended in time and space in a gentle ongoing dance.  They are simply entrancing for anyone who loves her work.


Beatriz Milhazes Art _ Mobile

Unlike other contemporary artists, Beatriz Milhazes actually produces less than a dozen of her soulful Brazilian artworks per year. This makes it difficult for her representing dealers who are limited by her output to mount gallery shows every four to five years. The good news for fans is that she is held in major museum collections.  The better news for collectors of Brazilian art is that her works can also be found through the secondary market via art advisors such as myself.

Richard Rabel, the|modern|sybarite


Centro Cultural Paço Imperial

Beatriz Milhazes at Centro Cultural Paço Imperial

Beatriz Milhazes, Dancing, 2007. Acrylic on canvas, 247 x 350 cm. Private collection. Photo: Ambroise Tézenas. Courtesy of Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain.



Beatriz Milhazes: Meu Bem

August 29–October 27, 2013

Centro Cultural Paço Imperial
Praça XV de Novembro, 48 – Centro
Rio de Janeiro – RJ
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–18h

T 55 21 2215 2622


Beatriz Milhazes is about to hold her first solo show in 11 years in Rio de Janeiro. On August 29, Paço Imperial, a historical building located in downtown Rio, will host the most extensive overview to date of the artist’s production, featuring more than 60 artworks including paintings, collages and prints, as well as a large mobile conceived especially for the space. Curated by French critic Frédéric Paul, sponsored by Banco Itaú and the energy company Statoil, and produced by Base 7 Projetos Culturais, the exhibition Meu Bem will present some of the artist’s most striking works since the late 1980s, coming from various public and private collections in Brazil and abroad. The various events planned for 2014 include the release of the catalog raisonné of her oeuvre in a deluxe edition published by Taschen, a documentary on her career, directed by José Henrique Fonseca, as well as her first traveling show in North America, to be held in a series of museums starting at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

Beatriz Milhazes’s most recent institutional exhibitions in Brazil took place in 2002 (CCBB-RJ) and 2008 (Pinacoteca do Estado – SP). Although the artist has continued to show her recent production in sporadic exhibitions at her gallery in São Paulo, interspersing them with a busy international agenda, Meu Bem (My Dear) is a unique opportunity to take another look at historical works, to learn about the most recent developments of her production, and to identify some common threads, procedures and compositional strategies running through this vast set, which have made it one of the highlights of contemporary art worldwide at this threshold of the 21st century. She has participated in various biennials, such as those of Venice and São Paulo, and has held 30 solo shows in 11 countries, most notably at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon) and Fondation Cartier (Paris), while also participating in dozens of group shows, including The Encounters in the 21st Century: Polyphony – Emerging Resonances, at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa, Japan).

The most evident aspects of her work are its intense relation with Brazilian popular art, the dialogue with segments of applied art, including handicraft and embroidery, as well as a fertile proximity with three important moments in the history of Brazilian art: the baroque, antropofagia, and tropicalism. Other key features of Beatriz Milhazes’s work are the organicity of the forms and the intense chromatic interplay, which establish a relation of complementarity and contrast with an increasingly rigorous compositional structure. “She asserts strong links with European modernity and is on equal footing in the contemporary scene, in which she abolishes the often less than wise codes of abstraction,” explains Frédéric Paul.

It may seem strange to attribute the term “geometric abstraction” to such a sensual painting. But as the artist herself explains, the elements of this more rigorous and formal universe are also part of her repertoire, along with those drawn from fields like popular art and design. Moreover, “in the solitude of the studio, what functions is shape, color, structure, composition: questions clearly linked to abstract painting and geometry. The flower functions as color and as shape,” she adds.




London: Evolutions and Revolutions

Event Date: 12 – 20, 2010

Beatriz Milhazes came of age during a pivotal moment in Brazilian history. Following the collapse of the military dictatorship when vivid imagery and lush colors were being reintroduced into the local art scene, Milhazes absorbed herself in this new opportunity, pushing color and shape to exciting new levels. For her latest exhibition, Beatriz has created five new paintings and a window mural. The works display new movement in her style as she incorporates geometric abstraction, grid-like compositions and neon colors into her art. As always, Milhazes exhibits a profound command over her unique aesthetic and the show is worth checking out if you’re in London. For more info, click here.

Stephen Friedman Gallery
25-28 Old Burlington Street
London W1S 3AN


Beatriz Milhazes

Milhazes is known for her work juxtaposing Brazilian cultural imagery and references to western Modernist painting.
The daughter of a lawyer and an art historian, Milhazes was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960.She studied social communication at Faculdades Integradas Hélio Alonso (FACHA), Rio De Janeiro from 1978 to 1981 and studied at the School of Visual Arts (Escola de Artes Visuais – EAV) of Parque Lage, Rio De Janeiro from 1980 to 1982.

Milhazes has had solo and group exhibitions in a number of museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. From 4-21 July 2009, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris presented a major exhibition of her work.

Milhazes’ paintings are in the permanent collections in many institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Banco Itaú, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Milhazes is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.



Brazil’s top modern artist gets Rio homecoming

Aug. 25, 2013 2:53 AM EDT

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    Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes poses for a portrait in front of one of her paintings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. More than a decade after her last show in her native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s highest-paid artist is gearing up for a homecoming of sorts, a major retrospective spanning most of her 30-year career. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — She’s the toast of New York and beloved in Paris and London, but Beatriz Milhazes thinks there’s no place like home.

More than a decade after her last show in her native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s highest-paid artist is gearing up for a homecoming of sorts, a major retrospective spanning most of her 30-year career. The exhibition, opening Thursday at the Paco Imperial Cultural Center in downtown Rio, brings together more than five dozen paintings, silk screens and collages covered in Milhazes’ signature riot of saturated color, concentric circles, upbeat flowers and meandering arabesques.

“I’ve shown in places that are obviously very exciting for any artist, but in a way showing in your city — I was born here and still live and work here — kind of grabs you more, excites you more, stirs you up more,” Milhazes told The Associated Press in a Friday interview as she supervised the installation of the exhibit, entitled “Meu Bem,” Portuguese for “My Dear.” ”It’s being able to say, ‘Mom, look what I’ve done.'”

Milhazes has plenty to show off. The 53-year-old has exhibited in the Venice Biennial, had a solo show at Paris’ Fondation Cartier and has works in the Reina Sofia National Museum in Spain and New York’s Guggenheim and Museum of Modern Art.

In 2008, her painting “O Magico,” or “The Magician,” sold for more than $1 million, or around four times what was expected, at a New York auction, making her Brazil’s highest-paid living artist. She broke the record again last year when her “Meu Limao,” or “My Lemon,” went for $2.1 million at another auction in New York.

Though she once quipped it took her 25 years to become an overnight success, Milhazes said her slow path to international fame helped her cope with the spotlight.

“The first decade of my career, in the 1980s, was very local. It was only in the 1990s that I started showing work outside of Brazil, first in Latin America, Mexico, Venezuela, and then in New York. Then came Europe and Japan, but all very gradually, little by little,” said Milhazes, running her fingers through curly locks that recall the wavy patterns of her work. “During that process, sometimes I would leave for a bit and spend time in these other countries. But I never cut my ties with Rio. And that was an important decision. I need to feel that link with home, that understanding of what home is.”

Rio, a chaotic, coastal metropolis of 6 million, has informed Milhazes’ work from the beginning. Early collages featured snippets of fabrics culled from the costumes worn in the city’s world-famous Carnival celebrations, and her work still bursts with the swirly paisleys and arabesques that recall the its exuberant vegetation. There’s also something very Rio in her eye-popping palette, with its fiery oranges and yellows that evoke the city’s fierce summer sun, the blue of its limpid skies, the pinks and purples of  ipe trees in lavish bloom.

So alive with colors and shapes, Milhazes’ work seems to vibrate off the wall. “Havana,” a large 2003-2004 acrylic that’s part of the Rio exhibit, keeps viewers’ eyes busy as they jump from the kaleidoscopic flower burst at the center to the peace sign camouflaged amid a patchwork of bright hues to the flitting butterflies, sagging bunches of grapes, droopy roses or piles of tropical fruit.

“Ilha de Capri,” or “Capri Island,” from 2002, explodes with superimposed flower burst and hypnotic bull’s eyes of concentric circles against a background of vertical stripes. Tentacles unfurl from the red-hot core of the 2006 collage “Ginger Candy,” made in part from the flattened wrappers of Chinese sweets.

Though she rejects the word “style,” Milhazes defines her approach to art as geometric abstraction.

“I was always trying to bring together ‘high art’ painting with elements from my own culture here in Brazil. They are two very different worlds,” she said. “To be a proper painter you obviously have to look at the tradition that comes from Europe but at the same time, I didn’t want to stray from my life here in Brazil.”

Instead of painting directly onto the canvas, Milhazes developed a technique in which she uses acrylics to paint shapes onto plastic and then transfer them onto canvas, building palimpsests of intricate layers.

In reproductions, her work can look so perfect it appears computer-generated. But up close, it’s alive with little imperfections that make it even more irresistible to the eye. The paintings’ resined surfaces are strewn with scraps of paint, and traces of lines and smudges of color are still visible beneath layer after superimposed layer.

Frederic Paul, curator of the Rio show, said that despite its festive appearance, Milhazes’ work is fundamentally inscrutable.

“When you look at the paintings from up close, you don’t understand them at all,” he said. “You will never really know Beatriz’ work. You will always discover it.”


“Meu Bem” runs at Rio de Janeiro’s Centro Cultural Paco Imperial from Aug. 29-Oct. 27.



Artista plástica Beatriz Milhazes apresenta suas obras na Galeria Fortes Vilaça

Artista plástica Beatriz Milhazes apresenta suas obras na Galeria Fortes Vilaça
Valéria Gonçalvez/AE Artista plástica carioca Beatriz Milhazes apresenta suas obras na Galeria Fortes Vilaça, em São Paulo


Beatriz Milhazes at Fondation Beyeler

Beatriz Milhazes. Solo exhibition at Fondation Beyeler. Video on VernissageTV: vernissage.tv/blog/2011/02/07/beatriz-milhazes-at-fondati… Foto: Nicolas Rinderspacher.


Art in Review

By Roberta Smith
Published: March 22, 1996

Beatriz Milhazes Edward Thorp Gallery 103 Prince Street SoHo Through April 13

First, a simple assertion: If abstract painting makes a comeback — and it probably will — women will have a lot to do with it. Support for that thought can be found in several SoHo galleries this month, and especially in the singularly impressive solo debut of Beatriz Milhazes, a Brazilian artist in her mid-30’s who was included in this season’s Carnegie International in Pittsburgh.

Simultaneously festive, tawdry and melancholy, Ms. Milhazes’s elaborately patterned paintings have a strange faded glory and a sure intelligence, with a layering of references, forms and colors that keeps the mind in constant motion. Her drifting, spherical patterns often cluster toward the top of her canvases like lanterns (or chandeliers) at a party, or luscious pieces of fruit on a laden tree. They can seem related to the Pattern and Decoration painting of 1970’s artists like Miriam Schapiro and Robert Kushner, or, more recently, the work of Philip Taaffe and Fred Tomaselli. But something in her work’s emotional tone; colors, and thin, shiny surfaces aligns it with the less abstract efforts of artists like Manuel Ocampo and Julio Galan, who also come from Roman Catholic post-colonial cultures.

The list of applied arts, crafts and women’s work evoked by these more or less floral patterns is marvelously dizzying. Without getting too disjunctive about it, they conjure lace making, beading, crocheting, stenciling, open metalwork, furniture decoration, hand-painted signs, wrapping paper and wallpaper. For breathing room, there are flat areas of color broken by bits of drawing that suggest both old, deteriorating walls and modernist monochromes.

Ms. Milhazes’s motifs rarely behave with decorative precision — they aren’t arranged symmetrically, nor do they repeat regularly — which also weighs them toward painting. So does her palette, which is dissonant in both appearance and allusion. For example, in “In Albis,” a deep blackish blue, suitable to depict the robe of the Virgin Mary, jostles a shiny sour green that has the flavor of a backwater saloon, while rosette designs are highlighted with a hot pink that come from a different century altogether.

Ms. Milhazes juggles a lot and drops almost nothing in these paintings. They show an artist looking deep into herself and her cultural roots and figuring what to give painting that it hasn’t quite had before. ROBERTA SMITH


Beatriz Milhazes : Natural forms + rigorous geometry
Beatriz Milhazes
Natural forms + rigorous geometry
Linda Chenit, January 26, 2009
Beatriz Milhazes/Bibi, 2003
Beatriz Milhazes/Bibi, 2003

The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is pleased to present an exhibition of the work of Beatriz Milhazes, one of the most celebrated Brazilian visual artists today. Offering an overview of her work of the past decade, the exhibition will include a selection of large-format acrylic paintings as well as a remarkable new collage that she has created specifically for the show. The Fondation Cartier has also commissioned the artist to produce a special architectural installation for the exhibition. Using a technique closely related to collage, she will apply motifs made of translucent adhesive vinyl directly onto the glass walls of the Fondation Cartier, creating an effect that is evocative of stained-glass. Reflecting her interest both in natural forms and rigorous geometry, this striking installation will enter into a powerful visual dialogue with the architecture of Jean Nouvel and the surrounding garden.

Beatriz Milhazes/Coisa Linda, 2002
Beatriz Milhazes/Coisa Linda, 2002

Brazilian Heritage

The work of Beatriz Milhazes occupies a unique position between Latin American and Western traditions. It is thus not surprising that she showed an early interest in the work of Brazilian writer and poet, Oswald de Andrade (1890–1954) and that of his wellknown companion, the painter Tarsila do Amaral (1886–1973). Andrade’s Manifesto Antropofago (1928) called upon Brazilian artists to develop their own unique culture by “devouring” European styles and melding them with elements derived from local culture. Tarsila do Amaral’s painting expressed this philosophy, combining the bright colors and tropical imagery of Brazil with the surrealism she discovered in Europe. Inspired by her predecessors, Beatriz Milhazes embraces a dizzying kaleidoscope of influences, following an approach that she describes as “culture eating culture.” Her canvases have an undeniably Brazilian flavor, filled with an abundance of brightly colored, highly decorative motifs. Much of the artist’s inspiration comes from the high and low art present in her native country, including sources as varied as ceramics, lacework, jewelry design, carnival decoration, and Colonial baroque architecture.
Beatriz Milhazes/A chuva, 1996

Beatriz Milhazes/A chuva, 1996
Beatriz Milhazes/Yogurt, 2008
Beatriz Milhazes/Yogurt, 2008

The delicate arabesques of tropical flowers and leaves have also found their way into her painting, revealing the artist’s fascination for luxurious vegetation. Other references for these works, which revisit the traditional genres of landscape and still-life, range from the contemplative works of Albert Eckhout – a 17th century Dutch painter who recorded the plants and animals of Brazil – to the modernist landscape designs of Roberto Burle Marx, known for his design of Copacabana beach promenade in 1970.

Beatriz Milhazes/Havai 2003
Beatriz Milhazes/Havai 2003

European Modernism

The paintings of Beatriz Milhazes express many of the formal preoccupations inherent in the history of abstract painting, from the vibrant color of Matisse to the rigorous structural composition of Mondrian. The underlying square fields of color that serve as the background for many of her works and the overlaying motifs, call to mind the work of early modernist abstract artists such as Kupka, Klee, and Léger. The artist has stated: “I am seeking geometrical structures, but with freedom of form and imagery taken from different worlds. Classical music, particularly the opera, as well as popular music such as bossa nova or tropicalia, motivate the “choreographed spontaneity” of the artist’s compositions. Stripes, rays, lines and circular forms evoke a synchronized rhythm while the dynamics of color articulate harmony and dissonance.
Beatriz Milhazes/Beatriz Milhazes

Beatriz Milhazes/Beatriz Milhazes

This clearly relates Milhazes compositions to those of other 20th century masters who have explored the relationship between music and art, such as Kandinsky and Delaunay. The use of intensely vibrant colors, such as fuchsia, gold or orange, endows her canvases with an explosive energy that many have compared to the breathtaking rhythm of fireworks.

Beatriz Milhazes/Ice Grape, 2008
Beatriz Milhazes/Ice Grape, 2008
Beatriz Milhazes/Set design for Tempo de Verão (Summertime),by Marcia Milhazes Contemporary Dance Company, 2006
Beatriz Milhazes/Set design for Tempo de Verão (Summertime),by Marcia Milhazes Contemporary Dance Company, 2006

Artistic Technique

To create this elaborate network of forms, Milhazes has developed a technique that is closely related to monotype and collage. The artist first paints the motifs and drawings of her work on translucent plastic sheets. She then applies them to the canvas and peels the plastic off, superimposing images and colors in a variety of combinations. During the transfer process, part of the motif sometimes tears, leaving portions of itself behind. These accidents create interesting surfaces marred by subtle imperfections. The slow and laborious process leads to rich palimpsests of overlaid images, some fully present, some masked, some only ghostly silhouettes.
Beatriz Milhazes/Taschen Store, New York City, NY, 2007

Beatriz Milhazes/Taschen Store, New York City, NY, 2007

During the past several years, the artistic production of Beatriz Milhazes has continued to expand, recently branching out into arenas such as, theatre sets, site-specific installations, and design work, including fabric and tapestry. She has also created two artist’s books, one in conjunction with the MoMA and one with the Thomas Dane Gallery, London, which explore the realms of printmaking and collage. Through her diversity of practice and multiplicity of sources, Beatriz Milhazes erases all distinctions between the high and the low, the national and the international, the classical and the contemporary, leaving her free to explore the entire realm of visual expression.

Beatriz Milhazes/In My Dreams
Beatriz Milhazes/In My Dreams

Beatriz Milhazes Bio_Express

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960, Beatriz Milhazes entered Rio’s renowned Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage in the early 1980s. She emerged on the Brazilian art scene in the midst of what was known as “the return to painting” of the Geraçao Oitenta (the 1980s Generation), which followed the more austere conceptualist art that dominated the country in the 1970s.

Beatriz Milhazes
Beatriz Milhazes



Beatriz Milhazes

From April 4 to June 21, 2009Born in 1960 in Rio de Janeiro, Beatriz Milhazes emerged on the Brazilian art scene in the mid-1980s. Exhibited in many galleries and several international biennials, her work is represented in the collections of some of the world’s greatest museums.Intricately layered with a profusion of ornamental motifs, her vibrant and hypnotic paintings refer to sources as diverse as the Colonial baroque, high modernism, and popular Brazilian art.
For her exhibition at the Fondation Cartier, the artist presents a focused selection of large format acrylic paintings, chosen from her work of the past decade, as well as a monumental collage created especially for the show. She has also realized a monumental commission for the building’s glass façades. Her striking installations play with natural light to create a powerful visual dialogue with the architecture of Jean Nouvel and the surrounding garden.


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International art fair ArtRio only officially begins next week, but last night was a perfect kick-starter. Hundreds of cariocas and a few out-of-towners gathered downtown to see the largest exhibit to date of legendary artist Beatriz Milhazes.

The high ceilings of Paço Imperial, the Imperial Palace, came to life like never before with oversized paintings and collages that took over the two floors of the historic Portuguese colonial building constructed in 1738. The exhibit, curated by Frederic Paul, runs until October 27 and features 60 works by the artist from 1989 through the present day.

Ever since her painting, “Meu Limão,” or “My Lemon,” sold for a record-breaking 2.1 million dollars at last November’s Sotheby’s auction in New York, Milhazes has been widely recognized as the highest-paid living Brazilian artist in history. Her work can be found in the permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Milhazes’ last exhibit in Rio was in 2002. Eleven years and many international headlines later, she remains true to her origins. “I’m happy. I think it all worked out,” a beaming Beatriz told me after I patiently endured a gigantic line of new and old fans who wanted a photo, a word, or just a moment with the charismatic artist. There was a familiar tone of anticipation in her voice, like that of a young girl right before her first art show in the neighborhood, and it made her all the more endearing. In all these years, Rio has remained her hometown, where she is constantly surrounded by her family and friends.

After two rounds through the exhibit, I returned to the first floor to revisit the larger-than-life four-painting series titled, “Gamboa Seasons: Summer Love, Autumn Love, Winter Love, Spring Love” [pictured]. Milhazes had always wanted to do the traditional four seasons-themed series, but she grew up in Rio, and we don’t really have four seasons here (some say we have two: sun and rain), so the paintings demonstrate instead a “variation of heat.” And there’s no doubt that her paintings warm up the place: On a “cold” winter night (it was 60 degrees—perfect excuse for me to wear my favorite Marni boots and for half of the crowd to pull out their leather jackets), the layered, kaleidoscopic spheres in vibrant, citric colors of “Summer Love” were beyond heart-warming. Definitely worth a second—and third—visit.


Paula Bezerra de Mello

Public Relations Director

Paula Bezerra de Mello is the head of public relations and marketing for the famed Philippe Starck-designed Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro. A Brown University graduate, de Mello started her …



Color Inspiration: Beatriz Milhazes

By evad // April 10, 2008

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1961, Beatriz Milhazes works in the pure aesthetic style of the Pattern and Decoration movement. Influenced by her native land of Brazil, her vibrant and bold use of color and patterns create work that is as much playful, free and psychedelic, as it is geometric, organized and rhythmic.

The Pattern and Decoration movement was not originally popular in the art world because of the movements lack of political statements and stances, “art for arts sake:” “Though playful and innovative, especially in the use of materials, Pattern and Decoration didn’t make much of an impact in the art world. It was dismissed as frivolous, with the work regarded as purely decorative and thus not warranting serious critical or curatorial attention.” (NYT: Fresh Eyes on a Colorful Movement) What was deemed not worth talking about has now gained global visibility since its beginnings in the 70’s and 80’s.

Photo from tate.org.uk

The Decoration and Pattern movement is not completely detached from society and the world around it. I feel the art, and artists involved, take a very positive stance that speaks not from the created politics and mottos of the mind, but from love and the appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us. And this philosophy of focusing more on the pleasures of life, rather than its hardships, is very evident in the shapes, colors and patterns of each of Milhazes’ piece.

Photo from James Cohan Gallery


Many of these explosions of colour originate in her small, compact studio, where she has been based since 1987. It is situated right next door to Rio’s luscious botanical gardens, and, inevitably, the forms and patterns of the flowers – delicate swirls and leaf-like shapes – have found their way into her paintings. She has also “taken advantage of the atmosphere of the city”, with its rich urban mix incorporating chitão (the cheap, colourful Brazilian fabric), jewellery, embroidery and folk art. Other influences range from architectural – the work of Roberto Burle Marx, the landscape architect and garden designer who created the five-kilometre Copacabana beach promenade in Rio – to Pop symbols such as Emilio Pucci fabric patterns. Painterly inspiration comes from the seventeenth-century Dutch artist Albert Eckhout, who travelled through colonial Brazil, and the Brazilian Modernist Tarsila do Amaral, as well as Mondrian, Matisse and Bridget Riley.
In the Studio, tate.org.uk

Photo from James Cohan Gallery

Creative Process

“Evidence of her terms of reference can be found pinned to the walls of her studio – magazine fragments, postcards and pieces of clothing, as well as some of her own drawings.” She begins with an idea of colors and images, but “nothing is clear until the end”. And, maybe surprisingly, Milhazes is “very discipline in her creative routine.” (In the Studio)

She also incorporates a wide range of materials, including many that were original inspirations for the very piece:

In Cacao, for example, the gold foil squares of Ghiradelli chocolates play against the pastel packaging of Lindt, Lacta, and Nestle bars. Milhazes embellishes this brightly patterned surface with yet more floral shapes, here mostly cut from shimmering pieces of holographic paper. While some viewers may blanch at such sensory overload, preferring the relative austerity of a classic Cubist collage, I for one appreciate Milhazes’s decorative indulgence. Like the flowers and chocolates that partially inspire them, her works remain unstinting sources of pleasure.
Art in America, “Beatriz Milhazes at James Cohan”

Selected Work

Mariposa, 2004, acrylic on canvas, 98 x 98 inches Photo from James Cohan Gallery

An explosion of ornament is certainly apparent in Mariposa, where a pink and flesh-toned ground supports dozens of blooming flowers, including a dazzling dahlia whose deep violet core gradually fades to lavender petals. These floral fireworks are anchored on the right by a dark filigree of French curves that transforms the entire composition into a magnificent brooch.
Art in America, “Beatriz Milhazes at James Cohan”

Peace and Love, 2005-2006, Installation, Gloucester Road Tube StationPhoto by paulbence

Entitled Peace and Love, this monumental commission occupies an entire side of the station and creates a visual dialogue with both the architecture and the constant movement of trains and travelers within.

Each of the nineteen vaulted arches on the District Line platform at Gloucester Road contains a part of a dense, tightly-knit composition which skilfully combines many complex elements into an elegantly balanced whole. The work, like the station, has its own rhythm. The images run across the arches, creating their own momentum and mirroring the movement of the passengers and the trains inside the station. The vibrant colour and exuberant shapes within the work keep the viewer’s gaze in constant motion.
-Peace and Love

More Work

Photo from tate.org.uk

Photo from tate.org.uk

Photo from tate.org.uk

Photo by didier

Photo by smallbox

Photo by Bree Apperley

Photo by Bree Apperley

Title Photo from James Cohan Gallery

 Thursday, January 7, 2010

Artist: Beatriz Milhazes

I first noticed the work of Beatriz Milhazes in the March 08 issue of Elle Decor. The article features the Victorian apartment of Rosa de la Cruz Bonfiglio which is steeped in art from painting to drawing and sculpture. Not surprising, Rosa’s parents are major collectors in Miami who have opened their contemporary-art-packed mansion in Key Biscayne to the public.

Courtesy of Elle Decor, below are 2 photos from Rosa’s apartment featuring work from Milhazes.

Artist Beatriz Milhazes was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960. Milhazes has work in the permanent collections of, among others, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I love her use of color incorporating elements of modern design with her own spin of Brazilian culture.


Beatriz Milhazes:
“No Fear of Beauty”

Her opulent compositions have made Beatriz Milhazes one of the best-known Brazilian painters in the world. Matisse, Op Art, the brilliant colors of the carnival-a wide range of influences merge in her stunning paintings. Achim Drucks introduces the artist, who lives in Rio de Janeiro and is represented in the Deutsche Bank Collection.

Beatriz Milhazes, Beleza Pura, 2006; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

Beatriz Milhazes, Beleza Pura, 2006; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
Beatriz Milhazes, Rosa branca no centro, 1997; Deutsche Bank Collection; © Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galeria Camargo Vilaco, São Paulo

Beatriz Milhazes, Rosa branca no centro, 1997; Deutsche Bank Collection; © Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galeria Camargo Vilaco, São Paulo
Beatriz Milhazes, O Pato, 1996/1998; Deutsche Bank Collection; © Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galeria Camargo Vilaco, São Paulo

Beatriz Milhazes, O Pato, 1996/1998; Deutsche Bank Collection; © Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galeria Camargo Vilaco, São Paulo
Beatriz Milhazes, Bala de Leite, 2005; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

Beatriz Milhazes, Bala de Leite, 2005; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
Beatriz Milhazes, O Elefante Azul, 2002; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

Beatriz Milhazes, O Elefante Azul, 2002; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
Beatriz Milhazes, O Espelho (The mirror), 2000; Deutsche Bank Collection; © Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galeria Camargo Vilaco, São Paulo

Beatriz Milhazes, O Espelho (The mirror), 2000; Deutsche Bank Collection; © Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galeria Camargo Vilaco, São Paulo
Beatriz Milhazes, O Sabado, 2000; Deutsche Bank Collection; © Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galeria Camargo Vilaco, São Paulo

Beatriz Milhazes, O Sabado, 2000; Deutsche Bank Collection; © Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galeria Camargo Vilaco, São Paulo
Beatriz Milhazes; Chokito, 2006; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

Beatriz Milhazes; Chokito, 2006; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
Beatriz Milhazes,Nega Maluca, 2006; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

Beatriz Milhazes,Nega Maluca, 2006; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
Beatriz Milhazes, Sul da América, 2002; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

Beatriz Milhazes, Sul da América, 2002; Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
An explosion of form and color; circles of beautiful turquoise and silver surfaces, between them a blossom painted in hues of lilac that looks as though it had been made with a Spirograph set. The 1960s drawing tool also seems to have been used to draw the other violet spirals on the large-scale canvas. More stylized flowers hover around them, curlicues recalling seventies wallpaper; together with discs in orange and gold hues, they partially cover a massive black square-Malevich’s icon of a radically reduced abstraction is on the verge of being swallowed up by a colorful armada of ornamental forms.Beleza Pura, pure beauty, is the title Beatriz Milhazes gave her painting from 2006-it seems programmatic for the work of the artist, who was born in 1960 in Rio de Janeiro. “The word decorative is normally pejorative when it’s applied to art. I don’t have any fear of beauty,” she declared in 2006. Her title also refers to the hit of the same name by the singer Caetano Veloso, one of the chief figures of the Tropicalismo movement of the late sixties. Without being explicitly political, the vital energy of this movement of artists and musicians was directed against cultural monotony as it was propagated by the Brazilian military regime at that time. Folklore elements blended with American and European influences.Her paintings are the product “…of the mad struggle between baroque figuration and rigorous construction,” as Richard Armstrong, the current director of the New York Guggenheim Museum, formulates it. Armstrong was one of the first curators outside Brazil to take notice of the artist. In 1995, he invited her to take part in Carnegie International, the exhibition that led to her international breakthrough. In 2003 she represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale.But Milhazes’s painting with its disappearing black square can also be taken as a reference to another influential artistic movement in the country-Modernismo. One of the most important representatives of this Brazilian answer to the early European avant-garde movements was the writer Oswald de Andrade. In his Manifesto Antropófago (Cannibalistic Manifesto) of 1928, he developed his own, Brazilian version of modernism under the motto “Instead of pushing the foreign away, eat it.” He countered dominant European culture with tropical growth, naivety, savagery, and poetry. He recommended ingesting the most enriching parts of European culture, transforming them, and simply throwing the rest away.This strategy of transformation is crucial to Milhazes’s work. She operates from a variety of sources: along with the most important protagonist of Modernismo, Tarsila de Amaral, whose paintings blend European influences with indigenous forms, she cites Henri Matisse’s cut-outs and color combinations and the dynamism of Piet Mondrian’s late work as sources of inspiration-such as his famous painting Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-43). Op Art influences and the wild fabric patterns of Emilio Pucci collide with decorative motifs from colonial architecture. The floral and plant forms she uses in many of her works-including O Pato (1996/98) from the Deutsche Bank Collection-were not made from nature, but based on various different models including Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits, tablecloths, and the “exotic” jewelry Miriam Haskell made for Carmen Miranda, the “Brazilian Bombshell” who conquered Hollywood in the 1940s and who embodied, in her bizarre costumes and fruit-bowl hats, the exaggerated cliché of the temperamental South American woman. Milhazes re-imports this phenomenon of exoticism, so to speak.The tension in Milhazes’s work is not only between figuration and abstraction, but also between the global and local influences that merge in her work. “I am an abstract painter and I speak an international language, but my interest is in things and behaviors that can only be found in Brazil,” she explained in a conversation with the musician Arto Lindsay. And this can mean the delirium of colors and forms at the Carnival in Rio, the melancholy bossas of Antônio Carlos Jobim, or the wave-shaped patterned promenades the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx designed for the Copacabana beach.To many viewers, her brilliantly colored painting seems typical for Brazil-an error, as Milhazes explains in a catalogue to her project for the Fondation Cartier in Paris: “We don’t have a strong tradition of painting in Brazil, and especially not painting with color. When I became internationally known as a Brazilian painter, the international audience thought that I came out of a strong tradition of Brazilian painting. This is because there is a general lack of information on Latin American art. Due to Spanish colonization, some countries like Mexico or Venezuela have a strong painting tradition. This is not the case for Brazil. The most important and well-known Brazilian art is conceptual and constructivist. There is no special interest in color. Brazil is a colorful country, but its art isn’t. That is why people get confused. I use elements from my culture, and color is one of them, but I’m the only one to do so.”Pink, dusty rose, turquoise, orange-red-her silkscreen Rosa branca no centro from 1997 in the Deutsche Bank Collection is drenched in intense color. A stylized flower appears in the middle, surrounded by circles of pearls and filigree patterns reminiscent of lace tablecloths. Milhazes’s paintings are rarely arranged around a center as this one is, which lends it a kind of quietude. The images usually seem as though one spectacular explosion of color outshone the next, like fireworks. The precise compositions prevent the paintings from falling apart into individual elements; despite all their differences and tensions, they cohere as a whole.This is also due to Milhazes’s unusual working process. She worked with collage early in her career by introducing fabrics into her paintings. In the late 1980s, she began to draw the contours of her flowers and mandalas on transparent plastic foil, coloring them in with acrylic paint and then cutting them out after they dried. She can then shift these forms around on the canvas until they find their final position, where Milhazes adheres them to the surface with the colored side down and then pulls off the plastic backing, which she often uses for other paintings. This is why identical shapes often appear in different paintings. The artist explains: “I like the resulting smooth texture, the way in which the painting seems ‘frozen’ in time. I love painting, but I do not want the texture of the brushstrokes or the ‘hand’ of the painter to be visible on my canvases.”This “anti-expressive” strategy makes her paintings appear cool, while the process of construction remains visible. This process takes place entirely on the canvas; Milhazes does not use sketches for her paintings, and the transference of painted forms doesn’t always go perfectly. The paint tears, or a portion remains stuck on the plastic foil. The resulting irregularities seem like points of erosion and give the surfaces the impression of being weathered. Her canvases recall palimpsests in which multiple layers of time are superimposed.This sets her paintings apart from Bridget Riley’s flawless, purist Op Art compositions. The 2001 Riley show at the Dia Art Foundation left such an impression on Milhazes that she began experimenting with rectangles and straight lines for the first time. Since then, the range of her paintings has expanded further. She’s gone back to her early collages, this time adding variously colored paper to her works instead of fabrics-shiny, metallic-blue candy-wrapper paper, marbled wrapping paper, chocolate wrappers. In this way, she further intensifies the overabundance of visual stimuli that characterizes all her work. She directs the viewer’s gaze around the picture surface, without providing anywhere for it to rest. Milhazes’s paintings hover between a stunning ornamental beauty and an overload of forms, colors, styles, and quotes. It is not the kind of beauty in which the eye can rest, however; instead, it absorbs the gaze and threatens to overpower the viewer.

Modern Motifs, With Echoes of Brazil

Published: October 24, 2008

STANDING in a back exhibition space at James Cohan Gallery in Chelsea, the Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes sounded like a rigorous Constructivist as she discussed her four latest paintings, which were propped against the walls.

Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery

“Popeye” (2008)

Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery

“Summertime” (2004) a chandelier designed as a set piece for her sister Marcia’s dance company. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery

Courtesy Maharam

“Horto,” a textile design.

Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery

“Ice Grape” (2008)

Joao Wainer

Beatriz Milhazes, has a solo show at James Cohan Gallery in Chelsea.

 “This one is based on squares, kind of a grid,” she said, pointing to “Mulatinho,” whose blocks of color are broken up by dots, rippling stripes, paisleylike ornaments, stylized flowers and a piece of carefully painted fruit.

Mr. Cohan, her dealer, who had just walked into the room, started laughing. “You and Mondrian,” he said.

Although Ms. Milhazes clearly considers herself a geometric abstractionist, those are hardly the first words that spring to mind when regarding her work, the focus of a solo show at the gallery.

Squares often come laced with lines and dots, circles frequently mutate into eye-popping targets, and everything is laden with motifs that evoke the multilayered culture of her home, Rio de Janeiro. There are arabesques, roses and doily patterns, borrowed from Brazilian Baroque, colonial and folk art; flowers and plants inspired by the city’s botanical garden, which is next door to her studio; and thick wavy stripes — a nod to the undulating Op Art-inspired mosaic pavement that the Brazilian landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx created in 1970 for the promenade at Copacabana Beach.

Yet Ms. Milhazes, 48, maintains that her compositions are essentially geometric. “Sometimes I put the square behind,” she said, referring to the initial layer of the painting, “and I build up things on top of it. The squares may disappear, but they are still a reference for me to think about composition. And I’ve always been very loyal to my ideas.”

Today her career seems as jampacked as her paintings themselves. In addition to the show at James Cohan, which runs through Nov. 15, her first major career survey is on view at the Pinacoteca do Estado in São Paulo, Brazil. By early November, within a span of a month, three limited-edition projects — a tapestry, a textile design and an artist’s book — will have been issued. She has also just completed a new site-specific window installation for a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. (Sometime next year she will create a similar piece for the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center in New York.)

Then there is “Gamboa,” a sculptural installation that will be unveiled on Nov. 1 at Prospect.1, the contemporary-art biennial in New Orleans. Ms. Milhazes intends to transform one room of a 19th-century mint building into a shimmering chandelier hung with globes and flowers, all of which have been fabricated by workers at one of the many samba schools in Rio.

“It didn’t make any sense to organize a room with paintings,” Ms. Milhazes said of the project. “New Orleans was always about the vitality, the dancing and the music. So I link it — the carnival in New Orleans with the Carnaval in Rio. It will make this kind of dialogue between two cities.”

Growing up under the former military dictatorship in Brazil, Ms. Milhazes did not have access to the mainstream art world. Although Brazil has had an avant-garde art scene since the 1930s, opportunities for young artists in Rio were limited in the early 1980s, when she embarked on her career. Back then Latin American collectors typically focused on work from past eras. “We didn’t have any voice,” Ms. Milhazes said of her colleagues from that time.

For a young painter who longed to see the work of 20th-century masters like Mondrian and Matisse, the situation was especially arid. “Twenty-five years ago, if you didn’t travel, you never would see paintings,” she said. And today, she noted, painting is still only an undercurrent in Brazil’s art scene. “We have strong contemporary art,” she said, “but more in conceptualism and installation. So I am quite isolated here.”

But isolation also helped Ms. Milhazes develop her rather unusual working process. “You don’t have the history on your back,” she explained. She starts by painting with acrylic on sheets of plastic, working motif by motif, creating each image in reverse as if she were making a print.

Once a motif is dry she glues the painted side to the canvas, almost as if it were a decal, and then peels off the plastic to reveal a surface that looks handmade but is nearly unmarked by brushstrokes. Then she continues layering as if she were making a collage. When she developed this method in the late ’80s, she said, “it opened a huge door for me.”

The door opened further in 1992, when the Brazilian curator and critic Paulo Herkenhoff brought three Americans to Ms. Milhazes’s studio: Richard Armstrong, then a curator at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh and now the incoming director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York; Madeleine Grynsztejn, then a curator at the Art Institute of Chicago and now director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; and Fred Henry, president of the Bohen Foundation, a nonprofit group that commissions new works of art.

Mr. Henry soon became a devoted collector, and Mr. Armstrong eventually invited Ms. Milhazes to participate in the 1995 Carnegie International. “That was the opening,” she said. Through the Carnegie, she met a New York dealer, Edward Thorp, who began showing her work in SoHo the next year. Her career quickly became multinational. Now she frequently shows in Europe, especially London, as well as in Latin America, Asia and New York.

Ms. Grynsztejn said Ms. Milhazes’s widespread appeal lies in the fact that she is a “glocal” artist — someone whose work is grounded in the international language of modernism while also firmly rooted in her own place and time. “What I really loved about the work,” she said, “was the way that it merged figuration and abstraction, and even decoration and craft, within the highly intellectual enterprise of formal abstraction.”

She was also fascinated by the strong echoes of local culture in Ms. Milhazes’s work. After leaving the studio, she recalled, “I remember very vividly that when we sat down to lunch, the plastic tablecloth that covered the restaurant tables had the same bright, busy patterns” as Ms. Milhazes’s paintings. Later that day she experienced another jolt of déjà vu while passing the ornamental facade of a Baroque church. At that point, she said, “I understood that that vernacular had infiltrated at a very high level into Beatriz’s work.”

Yet despite the Brazilian feel of her work, there is nothing else quite like it in Brazilian art, past or present, said Adriano Pedrosa, a curator in São Paulo who has known Ms. Milhazes for years. “She seems to have a quite close relationship with Brazilian art history,” he said, “but that’s because she’s appropriating things.”

He also sees her oeuvre as being related to Antropofagia, a Brazilian movement of the ’20s and ’30s whose name means cannibalism. Mr. Pedrosa described it as “this concept where the Brazilian native artist appropriates foreign elements and digests them to produce something personal and unique.”

In fact Ms. Milhazes often says her major influence is Tarsila, a Brazilian painter who came out of that movement, as well as Mondrian and Matisse.

“In the beginning,” she said, “I felt a connection between Spanish Latin American and Brazilian, which is more Portuguese: the Baroque churches, the costumes, the ruffles, things that have volume or a sculptural shape.”

But ultimately, she said, although she wanted to incorporate all those things into her work, “I wanted to put them together based on a geometric composition. Because at the end of the day, I was only interested in structure and order.”

More Articles in Arts » A version of this article appeared in print on October 26, 2008, on page AR22 of the New York edition.


Beatriz Milhazes’ colourful canvasses

The Whitechapel Gallery’s Iwona Blazwick on why she’s co-curating a show by the Brazilian artist

http://www.phaidon.com/resource/ecoveryessisterswhitechapel.jpg&#8221; alt=”Beatriz Milhazes, As Irmas (The Sisters) (2003)<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Multi-coloured screenprint on Waterford 638g paper<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
131.4 x 151.2cm (51¾ x 59 5/8in)<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
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Beatriz Milhazes, As Irmas (The Sisters) (2003)
Multi-coloured screenprint on Waterford 638g paper
131.4 x 151.2cm (51¾ x 59 5/8in)

Windsor Gallery, 3125 Windsor Boulevard, Vero Beach, Florida, 32963

Beatriz Milhazes, O Pato (1996 – 98)

The Whitechapel has always had a strong connection with Brazilian art (the gallery hosted the first UK show by Brazilian visual artist Hélio Oiticica in 1969 and has shown many Brazilian and Mexican artists over the years). With Brazil such a powerhouse at the moment the timing of the new show seems doubly resonant.

Blazwick was introduced to the work of Milhazes at Tate Modern when the artist was commissioned to create a mural at the end of level 7. “It was sensational and spanned the width of the building,” she says. “It’s absolutely extraordinary – a very immersive environment.

“The natural environment is omnipresent in Rio. It’s on the sea, there’s rainforest all around it but there’s also a darkness and an edginess and poverty. Beatriz’s work absorbs and celebrates that as well. She looks at traditional forms you might find in church interiors or peasant fabrics, love of lace and decoration and the excess of Carnival where the super poor become kings and queen for a day – or a week as it happens. You get these amazing head dresses festooned with glitter false eyelashes and all the rest of it. It’s very sparkly, very bling and about a conspicuous display of wealth and she draws that into her work. So there are all these different kinds of influences and an acknowledgement of the darkness of it and the oppressive nature of it.”

Beatriz Milhazes, Noite de Verão (Summer night) (2006)

Beatriz Milhazes, Noite de Verão (Summer night) (2006)

Eagle-eyed Phaidon readers might also spot the influence of Bridget Riley in some of Milhazes’ pieces from around 2003.

“There’s no European art visible in Brazil – no Matisses none of that great early foundational stuff that we’re accustomed to,” said Blazwick. “She only saw it in reproductions when she was at art school, books and magazines. Then the first time she went to New York she saw show by Bridget Riley and Sonia Delaunay. For her it wasn’t a trajectory across the 20th century from Delaunay in 1906 to Riley in 2000 – she saw them in the same time frame and they blew her away. The two bodies of work were profoundly affecting for her. And she discovered the stripe!”

At the time, Milhazes was already pursuing an idea of revolving forms where the viewer’s eye can never rest. “She wants this idea of a very dynamic pictorial surface,” continues Blazwick, “where that idea of revolution on every level is this idea of never having a beginning or an end or a centre. She talks about the eye being constantly drawn back and forth across the surface of her images. And she uses abstract geometry to give it a perspectival depth. She uses what the vertical and horizontal can give in sense of creating a sense of space, of layering of things seen through other things.”

Beatriz Milhazes: Screenprints 1996-2011runs from December 3 – February 28, 2012

Portrait of Beatriz Milhazes by Luis Gomes (2007) Portrait of Beatriz Milhazes by Luis Gomes (2007)
All See All Beatriz Milhazes


Beatriz Milhazes

Milhazes is known for her work juxtaposing Brazilian cultural imagery and references to western Modernist painting.
The daughter of a lawyer and an art historian, Milhazes was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960.She studied social communication at Faculdades Integradas Hélio Alonso (FACHA), Rio De Janeiro from 1978 to 1981 and studied at the School of Visual Arts (Escola de Artes Visuais – EAV) of Parque Lage, Rio De Janeiro from 1980 to 1982.

Milhazes has had solo and group exhibitions in a number of museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. From 4-21 July 2009, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris presented a major exhibition of her work.

Milhazes’ paintings are in the permanent collections in many institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Banco Itaú, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Milhazes is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.



Malba – Fundación Costantini

Beatriz Milhazes at Malba – Fundación Costantini, Buenos Aires
Beatriz Milhazes, Bye, bye love, 2012.

Panamericano. Beatriz Milhazes. Paintings 1999–2012

14 September–19 November, 2012

Malba – Fundación Costantini, Buenos Aires
Avda. Figueroa Alcorta 3415
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Guest curator: Frédéric Paul

Malba – Fundación Costantini is pleased to announce Panamericano. Beatriz Milhazes. Paintings 1999–2012, a selection of about thirty recent paintings by the renowned artist Beatriz Milhazes (born 1960 in Rio de Janeiro, where she lives and works), as well as a scenographic work specially designed for the gallery on the museum’s second floor. This is the first solo exhibit for Milhazes in a Latin American institution outside of her country, and it has been produced entirely by Malba.

Curated by Frédéric Paul, the exhibit focuses on the past ten years of the artist’s work, gathering pieces that are primarily from private and public collections in Brazil and the United States. Among these are two works on loan for the first time from the Guggenheim Museum in New York and one from the Museu de Arte Moderna in São Paulo. The local public will also have its first chance to place in their new context as part of the private collection of Eduardo F. Costantini, two important works, O mágico (2001) and Pierrot e Colombina (2009–10), which open and close this important decade for the artist.

The title of the exhibit, Panamericano, alludes to the to-and-fro between North and South, between new West and old West, a central theme of Milhazes. Exotic outside of Brazil, she continues to be so within it as well, and today she is recognized as one of that country’s most important artists.

“Numerous figurative elements are at play in Beatriz Milhazes’ paintings, but they appear there neutralized in relation to the real, which serves as their model. Her flowers are motifs of flowers. Her fruits are motifs of fruits. And it is without a doubt this reduction of their general form and the elimination of their substance which allow them to interact in the abstract painting with other forms from the decorative realm,” analyzes Frédéric Paul.

For the occasion of this exhibit, Malba has published a 124-page, Spanish-English bilingual catalogue, the first Spanish-language reference publication on a retrospective exhibit of Milhazes’ work. This book contains the essay “Beatriz Milhazes or The Advantages of Never Leaving the Labyrinth in Painting,” by curator Frédéric Paul; as well as the re-edition and the first translation to Spanish of two key texts about the artist: “Beatriz Milhazes – The Brazilian Trove” by critic and curator Paulo Herkenhoff, first published in 2001 for her exhibit at the Ikon Gallery (England) and at the Birmingham Museum of Art (United States), and an interview with fashion designer Christian Lacroix, which was originally published in Beatriz Milhazes/Avenida Brasil (Frédéric Paul ed., Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Centre d’art contemporain, 2004).

The artist
In 2003 Beatriz Milhazes represented Brasil at the 50th Venice Biennale. She also participated in São Paulo’s International Biennials (1998, 2004) and Shanghai, China’s Biennial (2006). Her most recently museum shows include Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo (2008); Fondation Cartier, Paris (2009); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2011), among others. Her works are found in the collections of museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New York and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, in Madrid.


Beatriz Milhazes. Hawaii, 2003. Screenprint. Edition : 40. 52 x 46 in. (132 x 117 cm.). Compliments of Durham Press.

Solo Show
Beatriz MilhazesIssue #84 Mar – May 2012United States, Vero Beach

Whitechapel Gallery
Silvia Medina

Beatriz Milhazes’ pictorial work begins with a confluence of artistic movements in her socio-cultural environment, from Tropicalia to Bossa Nova, dancing to the rhythm of the sublime and exotic beauty of her native Rio de Janeiro. Milhazes recreates the ancestral legacy of Rio’s sweet romanticism, fused to contemporary realities.

Many of the blossoming, colorful, spring-like images we see in Milhazes’ painting originate in her small and compact studio, where the artist, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960, has worked since 1987. It is located right next to the city’s lush Botanical Gardens; inevitably, she finds there the inspiration for her flowery shapes and patterns, her delicate whirlpools, her leaf-like figures.

The artist has also been influenced by the atmosphere of her native city and its rich urban admixture, and her work incorporates chitão (the cheap, colorful Brazilian fabric), jewels, embroideries, and symbols from popular culture. Other influences include architecture—particularly the work of Roberto Burle Marx, the landscape artist and garden designer who created the Copacabana boardwalk—and pop icons such as Emilio Pucci’s fabric patterns. Her pictorial inspiration comes from Seventeenth-Century European artist Albert Eckhout, who traveled through colonial Brazil, and from Tarsila do Amaral, the modernist Brazilian artist, as well as Matisse, Mondrian, Le Parc, Bridget Riley, and Frank Stella.

Milhazes’ flowers are not a commentary on color, print, arabesques, or empty decorations, but on their role rituals, conceptualizing a vital parade of printing in her everyday environment; so, her inspiration emanates from transculturation and its endless aesthetic potential.

Milhazes’ art finds support on the precepts of the serigraphic pictorial tradition and in her experimentation with mixed techniques from contemporary art. Her paintings reveal for us a variety of readings and aesthetic paradigms, establishing a play of conceptualization where her work expresses the fact that description is unnecessary because it can mar the interpretive freedom of the artistic image.

Beleza Pura is the title Milhazes gave painting starting in 2006. “The word ‘decorative’ is usually pejorative when applied to art. I am not afraid of beauty,” she declared that year. The title also refers to a hit song of the same name by Caetano Veloso, one of the central figures in 1960s Tropicalia. While not explicitly political, the vital energy of that movement of artists and musicians was directed against cultural monotony during the military dictatorship in Brazil. Elements of folklore mixed with American and European influences are also present in Milhazes’ work.

Her paintings are the product “…of the crazy struggle between baroque figuration and rigorous construction,” as noted by Richard Armstrong, the current director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Armstrong was one of the first observers outside Brazil to make note of this artist. In 1995, he invited Milhazes to participate in the Carnegie International. In 2003, Milhazes represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale.

Milhazes’ work navigates toward the dancing circle of love. That carnival of passions surrounded by lush beaches and bohemian music, offers us the flavor and versatile rhythms of her tropical Olympus, where Latin America’s magical realism fertilizes the sanctuary she has built, proposing a fascinating mixture where orishás and angels come together in perfect harmony. Milhazes’ carnival is a confluence of poetics that emanate from the soul, evoking the warm lyricism that seduces the glamorous of her inner Rio de Janeiro.

Such glamour is also due to Milhazes’ unusual work process. Early in her career she worked with collages, through the introduction of fabric into her paintings. In the late 1980s, she began to draw the outlines of her flowers and mandalas on a transparent plastic sheet, coloring them with acrylic paint, and then cutting them out after drying. Afterwards she switches these shapes around the canvas until they find their final position; there they are attached to the canvas with the color surface facing down and the plastic cover is pulled away, often to be used in other works.

For the past decade, the range of her paintings has broadened even more. She has returned to her earlier collages, now adding paper in various colors rather than fabric; she uses a shining metallic blue, candy wrappers, marble paper, and chocolate wrappers. In this way, the overabundance of visual stimuli that characterizes her entire oeuvre is newly emphasized. Milhazes drives the viewer’s gaze around the surface of the work, without place for pause. Her works move between great ornamental beauty and an overload of shapes, colors, styles, and artistic assumptions.

Beatriz Milhazes

by Adriano Pedrosa

BOMB 78/Winter 2002, Artists on Artists

Beatriz Milhazes, My Baby, 2000, acrylic on canvas, 70×70”. All images courtesy of Edward Throp Gallery, New York.

Beatriz Milhazes’s paintings are executed in a small studio next to Rio de Janeiro’s luscious botanical gardens. The local flavor found in her work comes not as much from the picturesque location of the artist’s studio, but rather through the asphyxiating quality of her complex and overwhelming compositions, which somehow translate the specific site in which they are produced. Despite the multitude of colors and figures, seemingly appropriated from flora and fauna, populating Milhazes’s canvases, these paintings are above all urban — in a very Carioca fashion. Rio’s long-held image of opulence, epitomized by its beautiful scenery, has become enmeshed with associations of the violence found in its streets. Despite the exuberance and apparent joy in Milhazes’s paintings, they are implacably serious, with more than a dash of irony. It is revelatory to discover that they are not particularly easy to live with, and more than one collector has admitted to being misled by their irresistible lure.

In fact, tropical flora and fauna, Brazilian or not, have made their way into Milhazes’s canvases through several mediating layers and sources other than nature itself — call it secondhand experience in situ. A certain tropical fruit, for example, has been appropriated from the Dutch painter Albert Eckhout (who traveled through colonial Brazil in the 17th century), and rendered in blue.

Milhazes’s painting technique itself has mediating qualities: after painting most of her figures in acrylic paint on sheets of transparent plastic, she considers different possibilities of placement and position before gluing them to the canvas. These paintings are packed with references from high and low origins, both local and international, contemporary and historical: Brazilian Baroque imagery, sixties peace signs, carnival decorations, real and invented pieces of jewelry, embroidery, and lace. Modernism is a strong source here, from Brazilian masters such as Tarsila do Amaral (the leading figure of Brazilian Antropofagia) to foreign ones, such as Mondrian (think Boogie Woogie) and Matisse (especially the cutouts). Decoration is a major concern, again with local and foreign references, from Brazilian midcentury elements (through landscape architect Burle Marx) to more international ones (such as Art Deco motifs). The melting pot of sources from various times and territories is developed further in the making of the paintings, with the different elements either maintaining their characters or losing them in the vast and articulate net of references that make up Milhazes’s particularly New World lexicon. All this through a precisely constructed composition at once tight and tense, and an elaborate play of layers which at times short-circuits the relationship between pictorial background and foreground. A painting by Milhazes is like a rare Amazonian plant, both ravishing and deceiving, full of tricks and treats; as you approach it, you may discover that it is in fact carnivorous, and above all, a creation of human imagination.

Beatriz Milhazes, The Prize, 2000, acrylic on canvas, 39.5×39.5”.


Issue 40 May 1998 RSS

Beatriz Milhazes

Edward Thorp Gallery, New York, USA

Beatriz Milhazes’ work speaks of foreign things in a familiar language. This would perhaps account for much of the recent positive reception of this Brazilian painter in North American and European art circles. Facing one of her works, viewers may be pleased to recognise stereotypical elements that they have more or less carelessly constructed of the tropics (and Brazil stands in here, quite fittingly, for that vast, mysterious and sensual continent).

Milhazes is perhaps the only artist in Brazil to have critically addressed the exotic imagery identified with the country, doing so through the dextrous use of Modernist pictorial language. In her vividly coloured and intricately constructed paintings, Milhazes sets up an engaging play between low ‘foreign’ references and high European language. Figurative and abstract elements appropriated from tropical fauna and flora, folk art and craft, local pop culture, low fashion, jewellery, embroidery and lace, carnival and the colonial baroque are her major thematic sources, though recently Milhazes has also expanded her repertoire to include elements of a more ‘international’ origin (from Art Deco to 50s design motifs). Her palette of dazzling colours and hues could be taken, at a first glance, as being typically ‘native’; unsurprisingly, the use of black and white is scarce. Despite the unexpected colour juxtapositions, the overall result has a tense yet balanced pictorial effect (quasi-symmetry is one of the cunning compositional devices). In front of these carefully packed compositions with their elaborate play between figures, grounds, transparency and superimposition, your eye may wander through (if not fall prey to) labyrinthine trajectories.

It is curious to see how Milhazes’ paintings migrate from her studio in Rio to her gallery in SoHo. At her relatively small work space near the city’s beautiful Botanical Gardens (the flora, the fauna!), the paintings ­ which are rarely larger than 2.5 x 2.5 m ­ invade the compact rooms. There, due to the exiguous space (and far from Edward Thorp’s spacious white cube), the luscious, misleading and engulfing tableaux push you against the wall and force you to inspect the painting’s surface. Milhazes’ technique is to paint onto plastic, peel off the dried acrylic and glue it to the canvas. As a result, the brush strokes are still detectable, yet they have been frozen mid-way through the painting process, bearing a slick yet still gestural, duplicitous character (a feature which distinguishes her work from that of Pittman and Taaffe, two North American painters to whom she has been compared).

Milhazes’ painting bears an uneasy ironic character. In one painting a certain tropical fruit is in fact appropriated from Eckhout ­ the Dutch painter who travelled through Brazil in the 18th century ­ and rendered in blue. One enthusiastic New York reviewer described her paintings as ‘rare Amazonian plants’. But if the works are (stereo)typically Brazilian or Latin American, as Milhazes’ foreign commentators often proclaim, they play off this character with a less picturesque, less Edenic tone. The paintings are full of fictitious elements, small strategic forgeries and seemingly irreconcilable juxtapositions. Above all, they impose a sense of excess and confinement (in form and content) that is enlightening, suffocating and disorienting.

Adriano Pedrosa


Issue 161 RSS

Beatriz Milhazes

Paço Imperial, Sao Paulo, Brazil


Beatriz Milhazes Domingo (Sunday), 2010, acrylic on canvas, 2 × 3.1 m

Like it or not, the work of Beatriz Milhazes stands as a defining force in the history of contemporary Brazilian art. While often acclaimed internationally, her large-scale paintings, silkscreens and collages have long been sneered at by critics in her country of birth as frivolous, kitschy compositions grounded in the effects of colour alone, and lots of it. They have often been read – perhaps misread – as the blurry, ebullient aftermath of a carnival parade.

Milhazes has never denied Rio de Janeiro’s famous street parties and the exuberance of Brazil’s biggest national holiday as an inspiration for her work. Nor would it be possible to ignore the abundant colours of Rio’s botanical gardens, just blocks away from her three studios in the city’s lush southern district, where a deep blue sea meets a curtain of sloping green hills.

But Milhazes doesn’t do landscapes, far from it. Her latest retrospective – at the Paço Imperial, the former residence of the Portuguese royal family – makes clear that each canvas is painstakingly constructed. Milhazes’s geometric approach, which is often underappreciated, reveals her work’s deep connection to the matrix of moder-nity’s tropical manifestations. It is clear that her language is anchored in all things superlative: Milhazes likes the excess of gold, as well as the awkward luxury of the baroque churches that dot the hills of Minas Gerais, the southeastern state from where all the precious metals and stones were taken to fund Portugal’s colonial enterprise.

This is where Milhazes often confounds viewers. While she has always claimed to be an abstract painter, this declaration would seem to be at odds with the recognizable forms scattered across her compositions, from the figure of the
dove, fragments of church frescoes and wooden reliefs to flowers blossoming in psychedelic swirls. But these are not representations: Milhazes treats each and every detail – and this is evident in the sweet wrappers that appear in her collages – as a readymade, things uprooted from reality and transfixed in a picture plane that follows a logic of its own.

And it is a rigid, unflinching system. In a way, Milhazes’s paintings seduce the eye with more than their lavish displays of colour. The artist often overwhelms with a hidden mechanism of transfers, painting each layer on separate sheets of plastic that are later applied to the canvas. What seems spontaneous and whimsical is actually precisely calculated, obeying a grid of stripes and squares that has become more evident in her latest pieces but which has been there from the outset.

If this is Milhazes’s major strength, captured well by curator Frédéric Paul in his chronological display of some 60 works, it is also the point at which she comes closest to making a political statement. Together with her contemporary Adriana Varejão, Milhazes dared to break away from the legacy of concrete and neo-concrete art in Brazil, which to this day informs much of the country’s artistic production, diving instead into a hedonistic mass of sensuous forms.

But these lie only on the surface. What Milhazes seems to scream in her compositions is that Brazil was never as unilateral or rigid as the early stages of concrete art appear to suggest. Harking back to Tarsila do Amaral and the anthropophagy move-ment of the early 20th century, the artist fuses two distinct historical periods, the country’s opulent and at once miserable colonial heritage and its post-dictatorship state of tattered populist utopias.

Nothing is as crisp and clear as the concretists would have wanted it to be: flaws poke through the surface of their works, evidence of a social and political reality more concerned with appearance than with a sturdy support structure. Maybe this is why looking at a painting by Milhazes often translates to a guilty pleasure – too much sugar and reverie in a state still struggling with its very building blocks.

Silas Martí



Pérez Art Museum Miami

Beatriz Milhazes at Pérez Art Museum Miami

Beatriz Milhazes, Lampião, 2013–14. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Pepe Schettino.

Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botânico

September 19, 2014–January 11, 2015

Pérez Art Museum Miami
1103 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132


The title of the exhibition references a particular place, while it metaphorically looks to also articulate a dichotomy structured into Milhazes’s oeuvre: a desire for rational order and geometry, confronted with an equally significant interest in sensuality, expression, and emotion. Jardim Botânico is the neighborhood in which the artist’s studio is located in Rio de Janeiro and is named for the turn-of-the-century botanical garden that forms its center. Similar to Milhazes’s practice, botanical gardens are both sensual and structured spaces. They are designed for visual pleasure, romantic sites filled with diverse colors and textures. Concurrently, they are highly organized and architecturally planned, areas for research and objective observation.

The exhibition looks to highlight the significance of Milhazes’s painting process, which evidences this play between order and expression. In 1989, through working with monotype techniques, Milhazes developed her signature painting method in which she paints individual elements in acrylic onto clear plastic sheets, allowing her to manipulate them in a manner similar to collage, testing their placement and layering them on a given canvas. These elements are then covered with an acrylic medium and adhered to the surface of the canvas. Once dry, the plastic sheet is removed to reveal the backside of the paint, with the image presented in reverse. This transfer process is an imperfect one and often bits of the thin skin of paint do not stick to the canvas. The patina that builds from these imperfections constructs rich and irregular surfaces that give the paintings a prematurely aged character. Their surfaces also distinguish these highly structured works from graphic design, with these imperfections humanizing the geometry of the forms that the artist engages, imbuing them with rich metaphoric and emotional undertones.

Curated by PAMM’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs Tobias Ostrander, the exhibition is organized in a loose chronology, with sequential sections focused around particular formal investigations. The selection of works reveals the artist’s trajectory from a focus on more figurative elements in the 1990s, such as carefully rendered lace, textiles, and pearls, up through recent works that evidence her increased interest in the optical effects of pure geometries, emphasizing dense line patterns and interlocking circular motifs. Through its ambitious scale and the importance of the individual works it presents, Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botânico represents the most significant exhibition of this artist to date.

About the artist
Beatriz Milhazes was born in 1960 in Rio de Janeiro, where she currently lives and works. From 1978 to 1981 she studied Social Communication at Hélio Alonso University, Rio de Janeiro. Between 1980 and 1982 she took courses at the School of Visual Arts Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro. Her recent solo exhibitions include Meu Bem, Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro (2013); Beatriz Milhazes, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon (2012); Panamericano, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano, Fundacion Costantini, Buenos Aires (2012); Beatriz Milhazes, Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2011); Beatriz Milhazes, Screenprints 1996–2009, Whitechapel at Windsor, Vero Beach, USA (2011); Beatriz Milhazes, Fondation Cartier, Paris (2009); Beatriz Milhazes—Pinturas e Colagens, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (2008); Beatriz Milhazes, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Bignan, France (2003); Venice Biennale, Brazilian Pavillion (2003); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2001); and Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, USA (2001). Her work is in numerous museum collections throughout the world, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo; The 21st Century Museum of Modern Art, Kanazawa, Japan; and Museo Nacional Reina Sofia, Madrid.

Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botânico is organized by Pérez Art Museum Miami Chief Curator Tobias Ostrander and presented by Itaú. Support is provided by Graff, and in-kind support is provided by Consulate General of Brazil in Miami.


-Vincent Johnson

Los Angeles, California

July 29, 2012

Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

New Abstract Paintings: The Cosmos suite (2012)

Golden Dream (2012), part of the Cosmos Suite of paintings

California Toilet, Filthy Light Switch (2010) by Vincent Johnson. Archival Epson print (Private Collection, Miami, Florida). I provided this image as I realized its clear similarity to Golden Dream, which I completed a week ago in my studio in Los Angeles.

This new painting series is part of my ongoing exploration of painting materials and techniques from the history of painting. The works combine knowledge of painting practices of both abstract and representation paintings. The works concern themselves purely with the visual power that paintings can do through the manipulation of paint. Some of the underpaintings are allowed to dry for months; some of those are built dark to light, others light to dark. None are made in a single setting. Most are worked and reworked using studio materials. Each new series takes a different approach to the painted surface from how the paint is applied, to varying the painting mediums. This suite concerns itself with the layering of paint by building up the surface and altering and reworking the wet paint with studio tools.

Two larger paintings will be completed and photographed on Sunday, July 15, 2012 and posted here.

Vincent Johnson, Grayscale painting: The Storm (2012). Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches, created in studio in Los Angeles, California

Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

Vincent Johnson, Nine Grayscale Paintings, Beacon Arts Center, Los Angeles, (2001). Oil on canvas. Each panel is 20×24 inches.
photograph of silver paint on my hands in studio, Los Angeles, during the creation of Nine Grayscale paintings.
Vincent Johnson – in Los Angeles studio working on Nine Grayscale Paintings, 2011

Vincent Johnson

Los Angeles, California

Vincent Johnson received his MFA in Fine Art Painting from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California 1997 and his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a 2005 Creative Capital Grantee, and was selected for the Baum: An Emerging American Photographer’s Award in 2004 and for the New Museum of Contemporary Arts Aldrich Art Award in 2007 and for the Art Matters grant in 2008, and in 2009 for the Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, Los Angeles. In 2010 he was named a United States Artists project artist. His work has been reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Art in America, Art Slant and many other publications. His photographic works were most recently shown in the inaugural Pulse Fair Los Angeles. His most recent paintings were shown at the Beacon Arts Center in Los Angeles.


Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
10.09. – 05.11.2011The work of Rio de Janeiro born artist Beatriz Milhazes (1960) calls to mind cross-cultural references ranging from local flora, Rio’s urban verve or Brazilian Baroque.
Credits (from top): Beatriz Milhazes – Spring Love, 2010 // Mundy, 2011 // Manjary, 2011 //

Visionary Independent Curator Harald Szeemann: Articles and Interviews


Szeemann’s work

from Domus 898 December 2006

Harald Szeemann. Exhibition Maker, Hans-Joachim Müller, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany 2006 (pp. 168, s.i.p.)

Harald Szeemann reformed curatorial practice. Müller’s book leads us along the great Swiss critic’s intellectual path via his exhibitions.

  • by Maurizio Bortolotti

Harald Szeemann. Exhibition Maker, Hans-Joachim Müller, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany 2006 (pp. 168, s.i.p.)

Harald Szeemann reformed curatorial practice, a job that had been seen in museums for 200 years and was equated with that of the conservator, Alfred Barr having been the leading example for modern art. Müller’s book leads us along the great Swiss critic’s intellectual path via his exhibitions.

Harald managed to grasp certain aspects of contemporary art and create a far more versatile and mobile figure of the “critic” in the modern tradition. One who follows, interprets and defends artists’ projects when they are treading on experimental terrain without knowing exactly which direction they will take. His close bond with the artists of the 1968 generation, which can be epitomised with the names of Joseph Beuys, Mario Merz, Bruce Nauman and Richard Serra – the galaxy of reference for his entire lifetime – helped him create the condition of the independent curator. The person who is able to conduct a relationship with artists as a mediator and communicates with all the other art-world structures and the greater public.

However, he was not only a mediator of the art world. He was also a great interpreter thanks to a visionary capacity that distinguished him from all others, adversaries and imitators alike. He did not see the problem of curating exhibitions as a simple operational matter linked to the practice of organising. Harald had the ability to condense the symbolic force of a work or an object within the exhibition space, constructing exhibitions that were great productions of fantasy: visions of a specific epoch – the art of the second half of the 1960s – but also of a community or a geographic area. He always rejected the concept that art was simply an expression of formal values, the direction in which the art market and museums drove it for structural reasons.

In his work as a curator he managed to create a critical space that was independent of the other art institutions. This is also why he curated many apparently thematic exhibitions in his lifetime that seemed to have little or nothing to do with the artistic debate in course, such as the “Monte Verità” exhibition on the utopian community of Ascona, that on the concept of the total work of art “Der hang zum Gesamptkunstwerk”, and the “visionary” Switzerland, Austria, Belgium series and the “Money and Value” pavilion at the 2002 Swiss exhibition.

It was a method that allowed him to interpret his own times. These were flanked by exhibitions that had a profound impact on the contemporary art debate and changed the course of the history of art, such as “When Attitudes Become Form” and “Documenta 5”, which were followed by the no less important “Machines celibataires” and “Aperto 1980” at the Venice Biennale, plus the more recent ones he curated himself at the 1999 and 2001 Venice biennials.

In his exhibitions Harald always tried to pinpoint the conceptual density of the materials and he had an elevated idea of the avant-garde, able to show the world a different approach to the reality of art. In his work, he always tried to lend substance to artists’ visions and their ability to produce “personal mythologies” as he called them. The exhibitions often became visual routes, created using the artists’ works and objects of strong symbolic worth that were sometimes confused one with the other because of the everyday provenance of both. The aim, however, was always to conceive the exhibition as an autonomous space, a sort of social interstice in which to reconstruct a critical area that reacted to the secularisation of the world. In this sense, he was strongly influenced by the work of Joseph Beuys, at least from the 1970s on. As Müller wrote: “Szeemann thought he was the ‘most important artist since World War II.’ His faith in the (…) social and anthropological responsibility of the aesthetic paradigm and the vital reinforcement of visions was the strongest reflection for those utopias to which Szeemann’s exhibitions tried to lend substance.” (p. 108) The misinterpretations of his work by curators of the 1980s, who wanted to retrieve the European cultural substratum as a reaction to the standardisation and “Americanisation” of the world, were a direct consequence of this attitude.

Harald, however, understood how much the communication dimension had influenced art in the 1990s and with the ideas of “everywhere”, “open” and “audience of humanity” the two biennials of Venice clearly showed how hard he had tried to interpret that element of newness, sometimes with peaks of spectacularisation that were bound to the moment and managed to relaunch the Venetian institution in crisis. If today’s exhibitions have become common critical tools in the artistic debate – albeit often minus the conceptual density that his possessed – we owe much of it to him and are all indebted to him. If I think hard, I can still see his black Mercedes driving into the street for our last appointment in front of his office in Valle Maggia: the great Szeemann will be sorely missed.

Maurizio Bortolotti, Art critic



The show that made Harald Szeemann a star

Biennials and Beyond looks at the exhibitions, curators and artist run spaces that helped make art history

Harald Szeemann, curator of Live In Your Head. When Attitudes Become Form: Works - Concepts - Processes - Situations - Information
Harald Szeemann, curator of Live In Your Head. When Attitudes Become Form: Works – Concepts – Processes – Situations – Information
One of the things we love about art is its capacity to ruffle feathers. Maybe it’s the unresolved punk rocker in us at phaidon.com but the mockery, vituperation – not to mention the occasional dumping of manure outside a gallery entrance – that has accompanied some groundbreaking art shows over the years is all grist to our mill. Which is why we’ve spent the last week ensconced in Biennials and Beyond – Exhibitions That Made Art History 1962-2002, a new book that takes an in depth look at the shows that really did change the course of art.

Last night we were poring over the section dedicated to Live In Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form, the show held at Kunstalle Bern in the spring of 1969.  It was remarkable for a number of reasons not least because in Harald Szeemann, it introduced us to the idea of the curator as we know it today. Here’s a little extract from the book which will explain more.


Belt Piece - Richard Serra
Belt Piece – Richard Serra

As both foundational event and conceptual model, “When Attitudes Become Form” holds a special place in the curatorial imagination. It was the exhibition that brought international acclaim to the most important curator of the post-war period, Harald Szeemann. And it was the show that led Szeemann to re-create himself as an independent exhibition maker, founding a career path that would be followed by generations of curators. “Attitudes” has also come to represent the romantic conception of the curator as inspired partner of the artist, a creative actor who generates original ideas and structures through which art enters public consciousness.

Szeemann was an advocate for the new art that emerged in the 1960s, work grounded in an “inner attitude” elevating artistic prcess over final product. Across the diversity of Conceptualism, land art, American Post-Minimalism, and Italian Arte Povera, he also experienced a desire to be free of a system supplying aesthetic objects for the wealthy. He displayed this attitude and this aspiration by turning the Kunstahlle Bern into a giant artist’s studio, accommodating the practical demands of process -based art through Piero Gilardi’s idea of the exhibition as workshop and locus of discussion.

Capturing the ethos of the 1960s, Keith Sonnier contributed the phrase atop the catalogue page “Live In Your Head”. The catalogue alluded to Szeemann’sprcess as well as to that of the artists, containing the address list he used in New York and letters responding to his invitations to exhibit.


Art By Telephone - Walter de Maria
Art By Telephone – Walter de Maria

The book then goes into fascinating detail regarding the show. Richard Serra splashed lead inside the Kunsthalle foyer, Jan Dibbets excavated a corner of the building to expose their foundations. Michael Heizer smashed the sidewalk outside the museum while Daniel Buren pasted his signature stripes around the town and was promptly arrested for his trouble. Illegality was compounded with the burning of military uniforms outside the museum, which wasn’t part of the show but was associated by the public with it.

The conservative Swiss public did not react well to the show. There was mockery in cartoons  and manure, was indeed dumped at the entrace to the Kunsthalle. Despite positive reviews the museum cancelled Szeemann’s planned Joseph Beuys show. He resigned as director and the rest, as they say, became history.

Check out the book in the store, it really is packed full of fascinating stories and insights into the shows of the time and it’s fast becoming our go to read here at phaidon.com, filling in any gaps in our art history knowledge in an innovative but easy going way. It’s also particularly good on the role of commercial galleries, the influence of museums and corporate groups and the impact of globalisation on the art world.


Biennials and Beyond - Exhibitions That Made Art History
Biennials and Beyond – Exhibitions That Made Art History



Harald Szeemann 1933 – 2005


Remembering the life and work of one of the most influential and imaginative curators of the last century


Richard Serra

For me, since 9/11, there has been a daily ritual commemoration of the dead. I seem to be surrounded by death. Everything seems to make forgetting impossible. There is a growing voyeuristic detailed description of the terror of death via the media; and the more I consume, the less I grasp. Death as an incomprehensible phenomenon has produced a certain numbness in me and then I am told that a friend of mine for over 30 years has died and I am asked to write a few words. Writing is one form to seek compensation for loss. Death is an all too human fact. You don’t only live out your life, you also live out the lives of your contemporaries. Their mortality affects your living, your daily measure.
Harry was a great man who supported art and artists unequivocally his entire life. For decades he was able to pull forth meaning where others would only find absence – that is, he gave all artists the benefit of the doubt. The last time I was with Harry I laughed so hard I cried and that is the way I want to remember him.

Hans Ulrich Obrist

The curatorial work of Harald Szeemann was highly complex and cannot be seen as having just a single aspect. For me his exhibitions in Zurich – and above all Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk (The Tendency towards the Total Work of Art, 1983), which I visited every day while still at school – were formative experiences. This was due in part to Szeemann’s notion of the exhibition as a toolbox, as an archaeology of knowledge in the spirit of Michel Foucault. Whether he was showing Artaud, Gaudí, Schwitters, Steiner or contemporary artists, Szeemann accomplished the rare feat of bridging the gap between past and present. He tested out so many different modes of exhibiting, as well as curating many important solo shows: Beuys, Delacroix, De Maria, Duchamp, Merz, Nauman, Picabia, Serra … The 1985 Mario Merz exhibition, in particular, made a particularly lasting impression: Merz and Szeemann removed all the walls inside the Kunsthaus and displayed the work as an open field, with Merz’ igloos shown in the resulting space as a visionary and Utopian city: La Città Irreale.
Szeemann also saw his exhibitions as an ‘archive in transformation’. To me this was just as representative of his approach as the fact that he worked simultaneously as an independent curator and curator of Kunsthaus Zürich. Another important facet of his career was the way he oscillated between large and small, private and public. After the 1972 Documenta in Kassel, for example, there was the exhibition dedicated to his grandfather, held in a private apartment in Bern, with no hierarchy between the larger and the smaller show – entirely in keeping with Robert Musil’s observation that art can appear where one is least expecting it. Szeemann’s death is a major blow to the art world.

Visionary Belgium by Aaron Schuster

A mescaline-minded poet (Henri Michaux), the self-styled commissar of a bankrupt museum (Marcel Broodthaers), a bungling megalomaniac raised by a Belgian boulangerie owner and a web-footed French prostitute (Dr Evil in Austin Powers), an amateur scientist in tireless pursuit of the Absolute (Honoré de Balzac’s portrait of the Fleming Balthazar Claes) – Belgium, a country of visionaries? Such was the explicit wager of Harald Szeemann in his sprawling show, La Belgique visionnaire. C’est arrivé près de chez nous (Visionary Belgium. It’s in your neighbourhood) on display until mid-May, 2005 in the Victor Horta designed Palais des Beaux Arts. The late curator liked to refer to his method as one of ‘structured chaos’, and that is precisely what is presented here: a highly varied collection of paintings, advertisements, films, sculptures, books, archival materials and installations without any discernible organizing principle except to reveal that elusive quality known since the late 1970s as la belgitude.
The first thing to mention apropos this exhibition is Szeemann’s brilliant insight into which countries constitute the visionary core of Europe – the repository of its utopian longings, twisted dreams and undialectizable contradictions. ‘Visionary Belgium’ is the last in the sequence of three exhibitions, beginning with ‘Visionary Switzerland’ (1991) and followed by ‘Austria im Rosennetz’ (Austria in the Net of Roses, 1996). Here Szeemann’s intuition was spot on: one simply cannot imagine the same treatment of ‘major’ European nations like Germany, France and, in spite of its eccentricities, England, or even Spain or Italy. Visionary potential must rather be sought in the margins of the margins, in the dissident traditions within those countries that already have a ‘minor’ status. In this respect, one should also mention the Balkans, to which Szeemann consecrated the show ‘Blood and Honey’ in 2003. If the title of this latter exhibition cannot help but conjure up clichéd images of irrational violence on the one hand and the poetry of everyday rustic life on the other, this would seem to point to a more general difficulty implicit in the curator’s method. To borrow a term dear to him, this method might be dubbed ‘pataphysical anthropology’: an attempt to discern the ‘spiritual contours’ of a region via an examination of its most extraordinary and even unclassifiable cultural artifacts. As Szeemann understood, such an enterprise is not without dangers, and ‘Visionary Belgium’ sometimes risks becoming a mere ‘cabinet of curiosities’, reproducing the stereotype of Belgians as a darkly quirky, self-deprecating people. To voice another concern: the show also seems more backward than forward-looking, more retrospective in its approach than interested in divining what (if anything) is new and exciting in the Belgian scene.
These critical suspicions aside, ‘Visionary Belgium’ is an extremely rich exhibition. Apart from collecting together works of famous artists like René Magritte, Léon Spilliaert, Paul Delvaux, Félicien Rops, and Broodthaers, and contemporary stars such as Panamarenko and Wim Delvoye (a new upright version of the shit-machine Cloaca 2005), the main merit of the show lies in its unearthing of lesser known figures and events. To mention just a few: an extensive documentation of the avant-garde festival EXPRMNTL held each winter at the seaside resort Knokke from 1949 to 1974; the space reserved for pataphysician André Blavier’s personal library, including Professor Dewulf’s 1950s Debraining Machine; and, a large card catalogue transported from the archives of the Mundaneum in Mons, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine’s early 20th-century utopian project to gather together all human knowledge. Benoît Poelvoorde’s C’est arrivé près de chez nous (1992), an exceedingly noir exercise in black humour, provides the show with its appropriate subtitle though it could have equally been named ‘The major ordeals of Belgium and the countless minor ones’ – a variation on the title of one of Michaux’s drug-inspired books. That major ordeal is none other than the strained existence of the Belgian state itself, a theme that resonates in many of the displayed works. Though the exhibition takes place within the rubric of Belgium’s 175th anniversary celebrations, it is significant that the country cannot commemorate this event without adding ‘and 25 years of federalism’, which is tantamount to simultaneously celebrating one’s birthday and divorce. Indeed, one could argue that the key to both Belgium’s visionary culture and its reactionary politics is precisely its lack of a well-defined centre or strong sense of national identity. It is therefore fitting that what ought to have the centrepiece of the exhibition, James Ensor’s The Entry of Christ into Brussels (1888) is missing; evidently Christ took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Los Angeles (the painting is in the Getty Museum). The absence of this remarkable work, mixing Christian theology with the International, in turn echoes another, more fundamental loss: the demolition of Horta’s La Maison du Peuple in 1954 – Brussels’s lost object of desire. It would hardly be a stretch to surmise that it is the populist socialist vision condensed by these two missing works – the breaking up of the dream of social fraternity – that provides the ultimate backdrop for the multiple visions of Belgium.
Szeemann is perhaps the single figure most responsible for the image we have of the curator today: the curator-as-artist, a roaming, freelance designer of exhibitions, or in his own witty formulation, a ‘spiritual guest worker.’ In a way this shift in the role of the curator makes perfect sense. If artists since Marcel Duchamp have affirmed selection and arrangement as legitimate artistic strategies, was it not simply a matter of time before curatorial practice – itself defined by selection and arrangement – would come to be seen as an art that operates on the field of art itself? Daniel Buren first voiced the critique of this development against Szeemann’s curatorship of Documenta 5 in 1972, and since then the polemic has only gained in intensity. Rather than repeating the same stale scripts, however, what would be useful today, and to my knowledge has yet to be written, is a critical history of curating, a study of the transformations in the manner of art’s staging and public presentation.1 It goes without saying that in such a study Szeemann would figure as one of the grand innovators.

1 One of the most interesting books on this subject is L’art de l’exposition. Une documentation sur trente expositions exemplaires du XXe siècle, Paris: Editions de Regard, 1998

Richard Serra and Hans Ulrich Obrist




The Bias of the World: Curating After Szeemann & Hopps

What Is a Curator?Under the Roman Empire the title of curator (“caretaker”) was given to officials in charge of various departments of public works: sanitation, transportation, policing. The curatores annonae were in charge of the public supplies of oil and corn. The curatores regionum were responsible for maintaining order in the 14 regions of Rome. And the curatores aquarum took care of the aqueducts. In the Middle Ages, the role of the curator shifted to the ecclesiastical, as clergy having a spiritual cure or charge. So one could say that the split within curating—between the management and control of public works (law) and the cure of souls (faith)—was there from the beginning. Curators have always been a curious mixture of bureaucrat and priest.

That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling Commodity, Commodity, the bias of the world—
—Shakespeare, King John1

Portrait of Harald Szeemann. Pencil and Paper by Phong Bui.

For better or worse, curators of contemporary art have become, especially in the last 10 years, the principal representatives of some of our most persistent questions and confusions about the social role of art. Is art a force for change and renewal, or is it a commodity for advantage or convenience? Is art a radical activity, undermining social conventions, or is it a diverting entertainment for the wealthy? Are artists the antennae of the human race, or are they spoiled children with delusions of grandeur (in Roman law, a curator could also be the appointed caretaker or guardian of a minor or lunatic)? Are art exhibitions “spiritual undertakings with the power to conjure alternative ways of organizing society,” or vehicles for cultural tourism and nationalistic propaganda?

These splits, which reflect larger tears in the social fabric, certainly in the United States, complicate the changing role of curators of contemporary art, because curators mediate between art and its publics and are often forced to take “a curving and indirect course” between them. Teaching for the past five years at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, I observed young curators confronting the practical demands and limitations of their profession armed with a vision of possibility and an image of the curator as a free agent, capable of almost anything. Where did this image come from?

When Harald Szeemann and Walter Hopps died in February and March 2005, at age 72 and 71, respectively, it was impossible not to see this as the end of an era. They were two of the principal architects of the present approach to curating contemporary art, working over 50 years to transform the practice. When young curators imagine what’s possible, they are imagining (whether they know it or not) some version of Szeemann and Hopps. The trouble with taking these two as models of curatorial possibility is that both of them were sui generis: renegades who managed, through sheer force of will, extraordinary ability, brilliance, luck, and hard work, to make themselves indispensable, and thereby intermittently palatable, to the conservative institutions of the art world.

Each came to these institutions early. When Szeemann was named head of the Kunsthalle Bern in 1961, at age 28, he was the youngest ever to have been appointed to such a position in Europe, and when Hopps was made director of the Pasadena Art Museum (now the Norton Simon Museum) in 1964, at age 31, he was then the youngest art museum director in the United States. By that time, Hopps (who never earned a college degree) had already mounted a show of paintings by Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn, Jay DeFeo, and many others on a merry-go-round in an amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier (with his first wife, Shirley Hopps, when he was 22); started and run two galleries (Syndell Studios and the seminal Ferus Gallery, with Ed Kienholz); and curated the first museum shows of Frank Stella’s paintings and Joseph Cornell’s boxes, the first U.S.retrospective of Kurt Schwitters, the first museum exhibition of Pop Art, and the first solo museum exhibition of Marcel Duchamp, in Pasadena in 1963. And that was just the beginning. Near the end of his life, Hopps estimated that he’d organized 250 exhibitions in his 50-year career.

Szeemann’s early curatorial activities were no less prodigious. He made his first exhibition, Painters Poets/ Poets Painters, a tribute to Hugo Ball, in 1957, at age 24. When he became the director of the Kunsthalle in Bern four years later, he completely transformed that institution, mounting nearly 12 exhibitions a year, culminating in the landmark show Live In Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form, in 1969, exhibiting works by 70 artists, including Joseph Beuys, Richard Serra, Eva Hesse, Lawrence Weiner, Richard Long, and Bruce Nauman, among many others.

While producing critically acclaimed and historically important exhibitions, both Hopps and Szeemann quickly came into conflict with their respective institutions. After four years at the Pasadena Art Museum, Hopps was asked to resign. He was named director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in 1970, then fired two years later. For his part, stunned by the negative reaction to When Attitudes Become Form from the Kunsthalle Bern, Harald Szeemann quit his job, becoming the first “independent curator.” He set up the Agency for Spiritual Guestwork and co-founded the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT) in 1969, curated Happenings & Fluxus at the Kunstverein in Cologne in 1970, and became the first artistic director of Documenta in 1972, reconceiving it as a 100-day event. Szeemann and Hopps hadn’t yet turned 40, and their best shows were all ahead of them. For Szeemann, these included Junggesellenmaschinen—Les Machines célibataires (“Bachelor Machines”) in 1975-77, Monte Veritá (1978, 1983, 1987), the first Aperto at the Venice Biennale (with Achille Bonito Oliva, 1980), Der Hang Zum Gesamtkunstwerk, Europaïsche Utopien seit 1800 (“The Quest for the Total Work of Art”) in 1983-84, Visionary Switzerland in 1991, the Joseph Beuys retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 1993, Austria in a Lacework of Roses in 1996, and the Venice Biennale in 1999 and 2001. For Hopps, yet to come were exhibitions of Diane Arbus in the American pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1972, the Robert Rauschenberg mid-career survey in 1976, retrospectives at the Menil Collection of Yves Klein, John Chamberlain, Andy Warhol, and Max Ernst, and exhibitions of Jay DeFeo (1990), Ed Kienholz (1996 at the Whitney), Rauschenberg again (1998), and James Rosenquist (2003 at the Guggenheim). Both Szeemann and Hopps had exhibitions open when they died—Szeemann’s Visionary Belgium, for the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and Hopps’s George Herms retrospective at the Santa Monica Museum—and both had plans for many more exhibitions in the future.

What Do Curators Do?

Szeemann and Hopps were the Cosmas and Damian (or the Beuys and Duchamp) of contemporary curatorial practice. Rather than accepting things as they found them, they changed the way things were done. But finally, they will be remembered for only one thing: the quality of the exhibitions they made; for that is what curators do, after all. Szeemann often said he preferred the simple title of Ausstellungsmacher (exhibition-maker), but he acknowledged at the same time how many different functions this one job comprised: “administrator, amateur, author of introductions, librarian, manager and accountant, animator, conservator, financier, and diplomat.” I have heard curators characterized at different times as:
Administrators Advocates
Bricoleurs (Hopps’ last show, the Herms retrospective, was titled “The Bricoleur of Broken Dreams. . . One More Once”)
Cartographers (Ivo Mesquita)
Catalysts (Hans Ulrich Obrist)
Cultural impresarios
Cultural nomads
Diplomats (When Bill Lieberman, who held top curatorial posts at both the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, died in May 2005, Artnews described him as “the consummate art diplomat”)
And that’s just the beginning of the alphabet. When Hans Ulrich Obrist asked Walter Hopps to name important predecessors, the first one he came up with was Willem Mengelberg, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, “for his unrelenting rigor.” He continued, “Fine curating of an artist’s work—that is, presenting it in an exhibition—requires as broad and sensitive an understanding of an artist’s work that a curator can possibly muster. This knowledge needs to go well beyond what is actually put in the exhibition. . . . To me, a body of work by a given artist has an inherent kind of score that you try to relate to or understand. It puts you in a certain psychological state. I always tried to get as peaceful and calm as possible.”3

But around this calm and peaceful center raged the “controlled chaos” of exhibition making. Hopps’ real skills included an encyclopedic visual memory, the ability to place artworks on the wall and in a room in a way that made them sing,4 the personal charm to get people to do things for him, and an extraordinary ability to look at a work of art and then account for his experience of it, and articulate this account to others in a compelling and convincing way.

It is significant, I think, that neither Szeemann nor Hopps considered himself a writer, but both recognized and valued good writing, and solicited and “curated” writers and critics as well as artists into their exhibitions and publications. Even so, many have observed that the rise of the independent curator has occurred at the expense of the independent critic. In a recent article titled “Do Art Critics Still Matter?” Mark Spiegler opined that “on the day in 1969 when Harald Szeemann went freelance by leaving the Kunsthalle Bern, the wind turned against criticism.”5 There are curators who can also write criticism, but these precious few are exceptions that prove the rule. Curators are not specialists, but for some reason they feel the need to use a specialized language, appropriated from philosophy or psychoanalysis, which too often obscures rather than reveals their sources and ideas. The result is not criticism, but curatorial rhetoric. Criticism involves making finer and finer distinctions among like things, while the inflationary writing of curatorial rhetoric is used to obscure fine distinctions with vague generalities. The latter’s displacement of the former has a political dimension as we move into an increasingly managed, post-critical environment.

Although Szeemann and Hopps were very different in many ways, they shared certain fundamental values: an understanding of the importance of remaining independent of institutional prejudices and arbitrary power arrangements; a keen sense of history; the willingness to continually take risks intellectually, aesthetically, and conceptually; and an inexhaustible curiosity about and respect for the way artists work.

Portrait of Walter Hopps. Pencil and Paper by Phong Bui.

Szeemann’s break away from the institution of the Kunsthalle was, simply put, “a rebellion aimed at having more freedom.”6 This rebellious act put him closer to the ethos of artists and writers, where authority cannot be bestowed or taken, but must be earned through the quality of one’s work. In his collaborations with artists, power relations were negotiated in practice rather than asserted as fiat. Every mature artist I know has a favorite horror story about a young, inexperienced curator trying to claim an authority they haven’t earned by manipulating a seasoned artist’s work or by designing exhibitions in which individual artists’ works are seen as secondary and subservient to the curator’s grand plan or theme. The cure for this kind of insecure hubris is experience, but also the recognition of the ultimate contingency of the curatorial process. As Dave Hickey said of both critics and curators, “Somebody has to do something before we can do anything.”7 In June of 2000, after being at the pinnacle of curatorial power repeatedly for over 40 years, Harald Szeemann said, “Frankly, if you insist on power, then you keep going on in this way. But you must throw the power away after each experience, otherwise it’s not renewing. I’ve done a lot of shows, but if the next one is not an adventure, it’s not important for me and I refuse to do it.”8

When contemporary curators, following in the steps of Szeemann, break free from institutions, they sometimes lose their sense of history in the process. Whatever their shortcomings, institutions do have a sense (sometimes a surfeit) of history. And without history, “the new” becomes a trap, a sequential recapitulation of past approaches with no forward movement. It is a terrible thing to be perpetually stuck in the present, and this is a major occupational hazard for curators.

Speaking about his curating of the Seville Biennale in 2004, Szeemann said, “It’s not about presenting the best there is, but about discovering where the unpredictable path of art will go in the immanent future.” But moving the ball up the field requires a tremendous amount of legwork. “The unpredictable path of art” becomes much less so when curators rely on the Claude Rains method, rounding up the usual suspects from the same well-worn list of artists that everyone else in the world is using.

It is difficult, in retrospect, to fully appreciate the risks that both Szeemann and Hopps took to change the way curators worked. One should never underestimate the value of a monthly paycheck. By giving up a secure position as director of a stable art institution and striking out on his own as an “independent curator,” Szeemann was assuring himself years of penury. There was certainly no assurance that anyone would hire him as a freelance. Anyone who’s chosen this path knows that freelance means never having to say you’re solvent. Being freelance as a writer and critic is one thing: The tools of the trade are relatively inexpensive, and one need only make a living. But making exhibitions is costly and finding “independent” money, money without onerous strings attached to it, is especially difficult when one cannot, in good conscience, present it as an “investment opportunity.” Daniel Birnbaum points out that “all the dilemmas of corporate sponsorship and branding in contemporary art today are fully articulated in [‘When Attitudes Become Form’]. Remarkably, according to Szeemann, the exhibition came about only because ‘people from Philip Morris and the PR firm Ruder Finn came to Bern and asked me if I would do a show of my own. They offered me money and total freedom.’ Indeed, the exhibition’s catalogue seems uncanny in its prescience: ‘As businessmen in tune with our times, we at Philip Morris are committed to support the experimental,’ writes John A. Murphy, the company’s European president, asserting that his company experimented with ‘new methods and materials’ in a way fully comparable to the Conceptual artists in the exhibition. (And yet, showing the other side of this corporate-funding equation, it was a while before the company supported the arts in Europe again, perhaps needing time to recover from all the negative press surrounding the event.)”9 So the founding act of “independent curating” was brought to you by . . . Philip Morris! 33 years later, for the Swiss national exhibition Expo.02, Szeemann designed a pavilion covered with sheets of gold, containing a system of pneumatic tubes and a machine that destroyed money—two 100 franc notes every minute during the 159 days of the exhibition. The sponsor? The Swiss National Bank, of course.
When Walter Hopps brought the avant-garde to Southern California, he didn’t have to compete with others to secure the works of Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, or Jay DeFeo (for the merry-go-round show in 1953), because no one else wanted them. In his Hopps obituary, Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight pointed out that “just a few years after Hopps’s first visit to the [Arensbergs’] collection, the [Los Angeles] City Council decreed that Modern art was Communist propaganda and banned its public display.”10 In 50 years, we’ve progressed from banning art as Communist propaganda to prosecuting artists as terrorists.11

The Few and Far Between

It’s not that fast horses are rare, but men who know enough to spot them
are few and far between.
—Han Yü12

The trait that Szeemann and Hopps had most in common was their respect for and understanding of artists. They never lost sight of the fact that their principal job was to take what they found in artists’ works and do whatever it took to present it in the strongest possible way to an interested public. Sometimes this meant combining it with other work that enhanced or extended it. This was done not to show the artists anything they didn’t already know, but to show the public. As Lawrence Weiner pointed out in an interview in 1994, “Everybody that was in the Attitudes show knew all about the work of everybody else in the Attitudes show. They wouldn’t have known them personally, but they knew all the work. . . . Most artists on both sides of the Atlantic knew what was being done. European artists had been coming to New York and U.S. artists went over there.”13 But Attitudes brought it all together in a way that made a difference.

Both Szeemann and Hopps felt most at home with artists, sometimes literally. Carolee Schneemann recently described for me the scene in the Kunstverein in Cologne in 1970, when she and her collaborator in “Happenings and Fluxus” (having arrived and discovered there was no money for lodging) moved into their installations, and Szeemann thought it such a good idea to sleep on site that he brought in a cot and slept in the museum himself, to the outrage of the guards and staff. Both Szeemann and Hopps reserved their harshest criticism for the various bureaucracies that got between them and the artists. Hopps once described working for bureaucrats when he was a senior curator at the National Collection of Fine Arts as “like moving through an atmosphere of Seconal.”14 And Szeemann said in 2001 that “the annoying thing about such bureaucratic organizations as the [Venice] Biennale is that there are a lot of people running around who hate artists because they keep running around wanting to change everything.”15 Changing everything, for Szeemann, was just the point. “Artists, like curators, work on their own,” he said in 2000, “grappling with their attempt to make a world in which to survive. . . . We are lonely people, faced with superficial politicians, with donors, sponsors, and one must deal with all of this. I think it is here where the artist finds a way to form his own world and live his obsessions. For me, this is the real society.”16 The society of the obsessed.

Where Do We Go from Here?

Although Walter Hopps was an early commissioner for the São Paolo Biennal (1965: Barnett Newman, Frank Stella, Richard Irwin and Larry Poons) and of the Venice Biennale (1972: Diane Arbus), Harald Szeemann practically invented the role of nomadic independent curator of huge international shows, putting his indelible stamp on Documenta and Venice and organizing the Lyon Biennale and the Kwangju Biennial in Korea in 1997, and the first Seville Biennale in 2004, as well as numerous other international surveys around the world.

So what Szeemann said about globalization and art should perhaps be taken seriously. He saw globalization as a euphemism for imperialism, and proclaimed that “globalization is the great enemy of art.” And in the Carolee Thea interview in 2000, he said, “Globalization is perfect if it brings more justice and equality to the world . . . but it doesn’t. Artists dream of using computers or digital means to have contact and to bring continents closer. But once you have the information, it’s up to you what to do with it. Globalization without roots is meaningless in art.”17 And globalization of the curatorial class can be a way to avoid or “transcend” the political.

Rene Dubos’s old directive to “think globally, but act locally” (first given at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972) has been upended in some recent international shows (like the 14th Sydney Biennale in 2004, and the 1st Moscow Biennial in 2005). When one thinks locally (within a primarily Euro-American cultural framework, or within a New York-London-Kassel-Venice-Basel-Los Angeles-Miami framework) but acts globally, the results are bound to be problematic, and can be disastrous. In 1979, Dubos argued for an ecologically sustainable world in which “natural and social units maintain or recapture their identity, yet interplay with each other through a rich system of communications.” At their best, the big international exhibitions do contribute to this. Okwui Enwezor’s18 Documenta XI certainly did, and Szeemann knew it. At their worst, they perpetuate the center-to-periphery hegemony and preclude real cross-cultural communication and change. Although having artists and writers move around in the world is an obvious good, real cultural exchange is something that must be nurtured. Walter Hopps said in 1996: “I really believe in—and, obviously, hope for—radical, or arbitrary, presentations, where cross-cultural and cross-temporal considerations are extreme, out of all the artifacts we have. . . . So just in terms of people’s priorities, conventional hierarchies begin to shift some.”19

The Silence of Szeemann & Hopps Is Overrated

‘Art’ is any human activity that aims at producing improbable situations, and it is the more artful (artistic) the less probable the situation that it produces. —Vilém Flusser20

Harald Szeemann recognized early and long appreciated the utopian aspects of art. “The often-evoked ‘autonomy’ is just as much a fruit of subjective evaluation as the ideal society: it remains a utopia while it informs the desire to experientially visualize the unio mystica of opposites in space. Which is to say that without seeing, there is nothing visionary, but that the visionary should always determine the seeing.” And he recognized that the bureaucrat could overtake the curer of souls at any point. “Otherwise, we might just as well return to ‘hanging and placing,’ and divide the entire process ‘from the vision to the nail’ into detailed little tasks again.”21 He organized exhibitions in which the improbable could occur, and was willing to risk the impossible. In reply to a charge that the social utopianism of Joseph Beuys was never realized, Szeemann said, “The nice thing about utopias is precisely that they fail. For me, failure is a poetic dimension of art.”22 Curating a show in which nothing could fail was, to Szeemann, a waste of time.

If he and Hopps could still encourage young curators in anything, I suspect it would be to take greater risks in their work. At a time when all parts of the social and political spheres (including art institutions) are increasingly managed, breaking out of this frame, asking significant questions, and setting the terms of resistance is more and more vitally important. It is important to work against the bias of the world (commodity, political expediency). For curators of contemporary art, that means finding and supporting those artists who, as Flusser writes, “have attempted, at the risk of their lives, to utter that which is unutterable, to render audible that which is ineffable, to render visible that which is hidden.”23

This essay will be included in the forthcoming Cautionary Tales: Critical Curating
Edited by Steven Rand and Heather Kouris, published by Apex Art. It will be available by January 2007.


1 Shakespeare, The Life and Death of King John, Act II, Scene 1, 573-74. Cowper: “What Shakespeare calls commodity, and we call political expediency.” Appendix 13 of my old edition of Shakespeare’s Complete Works, edited by G. B. Harrison (NY: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968), pp. 1639-40, reads: “Shakespeare frequently used poetic imagery taken from the game of bowls [bowling]. . . . The bowl [bowling ball] was not a perfect sphere, but so made that one side somewhat protruded. This protrusion was called the bias; it caused the bowl to take a curving and indirect course.”

2 “When Attitude Becomes Form: Daniel Birnbaum on Harald Szeemann,” Artforum, Summer 2005, p. 55.

3 Hans Ulrich Obrist, Interviews, Volume I, edited by Thomas Boutoux (Milan: Edizioni Charta, 2003), pp. 416-17. Hopps also named as predecessors exhibition-makers Katherine Dreier, Alfred Barr, James Johnson Sweeney, René d’Harnoncourt, and Jermayne MacAgy.

4 In 1976, at the Museum of Temporary Art in Washington, D.C., Hopps announced that, for thirty-six hours, he would hang anything anyone brought in, as long as it would fit through the door. Later, he proposed to put 100,000 images up on the walls of P.S. 1 in New York, but that project was, sadly, never realized.

5 Mark Spiegler, “Do Art Critics Still Matter?” The Art Newspaper, no. 157, April 2005, p. 32.

6 Carolee Thea, Foci: Interviews with Ten International Curators (New York: Apex Art Curatorial Program, 2001), p. 19.

7 Curating Now: Imaginative Practice/Public Responsibility: Proceedings from a symposium addressing the state of current curatorial practice organized by the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, October 14-15, 2000, edited by Paula Marincola (Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, 2001), p. 128. Both Szeemann and Hopps passed Hickey’s test: “The curator’s job, in my view,” he said, “is to tell the truth, to show her or his hand, and get out of the way” (p. 126).

8 Carolee Thea, p. 19 (emphasis added).

9 Daniel Birnbaum, p. 58.

10 Christopher Knight, “Walter Hopps, 1932-2005. Curator Brought Fame to Postwar L.A. Artists,” Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2005.

11At this writing, the U.S. government continues in its effort to prosecute artist Steven Kurtz for obtaining bacterial agents through the mail, even though the agents were harmless and intended for use in art pieces by the collaborative Critical Art Ensemble. Kurtz has said he believes the charges filed against him in 2004 (after agents from the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Depeartment of Defence swarmed over his house) are part of a Bush administration campaign to prevent artists from protesting government policies. “I think we’re in a very unfortunate moment now in U.S. history,” Kurtz has said. “A form of neo-McCarthyism has made a comeback. . . . We’re going to see a whole host of politically motivated trials which have nothing to do with crime but everything to do with artistic expression.” For the latest developments in the case, go to caedefensefund.org.

12 Epigraph to Nathan Sivin’s Chinese Alchemy: Preliminary Studies(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968).

13 Having Been Said: Writings & Interviews of Lawrence Weiner 1968-2003, edited by Gerti Fietzek and Gregor Stemmrich (Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2004), p. 315.

14 Hans Ulrich Obrist, “Walter Hopps Hopps Hopps—Art Curator,” Artforum, February 1996.

15 Jan Winkelman, “Failure as a Poetic Dimension: A Conversation with Harald Szeemann,” Metropolis M. Tijdschrift over Hedendaagse Kunst, No. 3, June 2001.

16 Carolee Thea, p. 17 (emphasis added).

17 Carolee Thea, p. 18.

18 With his co-curators Carlos Basualdo, Uta Meta Bauer, Susanne Ghez, Sarat Maharaj, Mark Nash, and Octavio Zaya.

19 Hans Ulrich Obrist, p. 430.

20 Vilém Flusser, “Habit: The True Aesthetic Criterion,” in Writings, edited by Andreas Ströhl, translated by Erik Eisel (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2002), p. 52.

21 Harald Szeemann, “Does Art Need Directors?” in Words of Wisdom: A Curator’s Vade Mecum on Contemporary Art, edited by Carin Kuoni (New York: Independent Curators International, 2001), p. 169.

22 Jan Winkelman.

23 Flusser, p. 54.



David Levi Strauss



Barry Barker
Flash Art n. 275 – November – December 2010 






TO REFLECT UPON an exhibition that took place over 40 years ago is a strange and salutary experience, and I am grateful that I still have the faculties to recall “Live in your Head: When Attitudes Become Form,” the exhibition I visited at the Institute ofContemporary Arts in London in September 1969. During the late ’60s through the mid-’70s, it was often considered inappropriate or irrelevant to critically refer to an artwork’s context or its authorship. It was the time of the “death of the author,” when any understanding of the work of art was to come solely from its own presence, withoutreference to metaphor, biography or any other outside circumstances. It now seems commonplace to consider the context of a work of art, which could be said to carry at least fifty percent of its meaning, whether it is relating to its materiality, physicality in terms of place, or social and cultural position. Looking back on this exhibition, context seems especially relevant.

From top left: (1, 7, 8, 9, 11) Live in your Head: When Attitudes Become Form. Installation views during the opening event at Kunsthalle Bern, 1969. © Kunsthalle Bern,Bern. (2, 3, 4, 5, 10) Live in your Head: When Attitudes Become Form. Installation views of the exhibition during the opening event at Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany, 1969. (6) Live in your Head: When Attitudes Become Form. Harald Szeemann during the opening event at Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany, 1969; sitting in the audience: Paul Wember, Director of Kunstmuseen Krefeld in 1969. (12) Live in your Head: When Attitudes Become Form. Paul Wember and artist Sarkis with two of the artist’s works during the opening event at Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany, 1969; on the wall,Robert Morris, Batteries with Ripples, 1964; Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany, 1969.
In 1968, the I.C.A. had moved from a small space in Dover Street to larger premises in the Carlton House Terrace, which backed on to the Mall, the road that leads to Buckingham Palace. This juxtaposition — the home of the British monarch close by what was meant to house the UK’s cultural avant-garde — was itself a paradox. This was the first time I’d visited this new I.C.A., but I had read and to some extent seen much of the work in “Attitudes” while traveling, and therefore was familiar with many of the artists in the exhibition. I walked down a few steps into an open, modestly largespace; it was obviously not an industrial space and bore the signs of being the ex-stables and coach house for the above apartments’ grand occupants of 18th-century aristocracy. The exhibition was curated and selected by the late Harald Szeemann, at the time director of Kunsthalle Bern, where the exhibition was first shown. The title was interesting in itself, as it implied the bringing together of ideas and thoughts, and their ability to inspire the formation of a material presence. Though in some instances they did the opposite, staying in the realms of language, or existing as works that — to quote the front of the catalogue — “live in your head,” which was the original title of ArthurMiller’s play Death of a Salesman (1949). The exhibition was conceived and curated notas a means of defining or fixing the art of its time, but the absolute opposite: to open up the concept of art and to change human perception of contemporary art as it was then understood. To quote Szeemann in his introductionto the catalogue, “In order to entertain certain ideas we may be obliged to abandon others upon which we have come to depend.” This exhibition was and still is a prime example of a curator responding to the work of contemporary artists, letting the artists provide the initiative rather than the curator imposing their personal theories or worldview, as often happens today. The subtitle to the exhibition, “Works-Concepts-Processes-Situations-Information,” in many ways describes its contents. These works asked spectators to join the artist in stepping outside their comfort zone — to allow

their consciousness to be realigned with a new order of things.

This was a time when many artists, writers and gallery directors, whether working withinan institutional or private context, found themselves in a world in which their vocation and even their aspirations no longer fit happily within a traditional definition of art or culture. There appeared to be a chasm between language, ideas and the world. Protests against the Vietnam War were at their height both in America and Europe. Lacking a fixed cultural order in equilibrium with the past, artists found themselves in a place of disenchantment. In a positive sense, however, it was also a time of discussion, idea exchange and information. The world was becoming a smaller place; every artist and thinker felt that there were many ideas and places to explore, yet they in turn had something to contribute to the cultural life of a global environment. It was in this spiritthat Szeemann researched and brought to light artistic developments of a younger generation. “When Attitudes Become Form” traveled from Kunsthalle Bern to the Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld (Germany) to the I.C.A. London like a caravan traveling through a cultural desert from one oasis to another, picking up more local goods as it went along. It was brought to London on the initiative of the late Charles Harrison, who was a writer, freelance curator and assistant editor of the magazine Studio International.Harrison was approached by the sponsor of the exhibition, cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris, who offered to finance this ‘caravan.’ At the time, Harrison was planning an exhibition of his own, but he lacked funding. So instead he agreed to bring “Attitudes” to the I.C.A. if he could add his own selection of British artists, such as Victor Burgin (though he did not include the Art & Language group, which he was associated with). At that time, the I.C.A.’s director had little experience with visual art, let alone contemporary visual art (his discipline was in the theater), and so the institution accepted the show mainly for financial reasons — in other words because it was more-or-less free. Still, Harrison resented not being able to curate his own show, so much sothat when Harald Szeemann came to London for the opening, Harrison is quoted as saying that he “hardly talked to him.”

From top left clockwise: JOSEPH BEUYS, Jason, 1961. Live in your Head: When Attitudes become Form. installation view at Haus Lange Krefeld, 1969. ROBERT MORRIS, Felt Piece no. 4, 1968. GILBERTO ZORIO, Untitled (Torcia), 1969. JANNIS KOUNELLIS, Senza Titolo, 1969. All courtesy Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Germany.Photos: Archive Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Germany.
As soon as I saw the exhibition laid out before me I felt the mixed emotions of beingcaptivated and disappointed at the same time. As I came down the steps, on my left was a series of sacks that contained different kinds of grains [Jannis Kounellis, untitled, 1969]. Some visitors took handfuls and chewed them while viewing the exhibition and others threw them on the gallery floor. Some artists were invited by the sponsor to come to London and install their work; one of them was Reiner Ruthenbeck, from Germany, and it was his piece that drew my attention next, which consisted of tangled wire amid a pile of ashes [Aschenhaufen III, 1968] and was said to be about German war guilt. Ger Van Elk was invited to London to shave a cactus, which was filmed and then placed forlornly on a low brick wall in the gal lery [The Well Shaven Cactus, 1969]. JosephKosuth put statements in several of London’s local newspapers.

As for the disappointments, there were many. The installation of Eva Hesse’s works

somehow did not look convincing; it was some years later that Harrison admitted he

hadn’t installed them correctly through lack of instructions. Another disappointment wasthat Lawrence Weiner’s ‘wall removal’ [A 36 x 36 Removal to the Lathing or Support Wallof Plaster, 1968] was not ‘installed.’ However, the one major omission was of a work by an artist who we all wished to know more about at the time: Joseph Beuys. Beuys had been invited to the exhibition, and he offered a new work comprised of a Volkswagen Microbus and twenty-two sleds with fat and felt [Das Rudel (The Pack), 1969]. The I.C.A. could not afford the transport cost, so the British  Public lost out on seeing this major 20th-century work for the first time. In his introduction to the exhibition, Szeemannstated: “The exhibition appears to lack unity.” “[It]…gathers a number of artists whose work has very little in common yet also a great deal in common.” In hindsight, his remarks are understandable because the exhibition reflected so many different directions that were subsequently categorized as conceptual art, minimal art, arte povera, land art and installation art. One unifying aspect was the radical economy and simplicity of the artworks’ means and materials. Artists used common materials such as rope, wood, canvas, photocopy and language, often to greater effect than today’s artists who spend huge sums of money on fabrication.

In Bern, the exhibition so outraged the Swiss public that a few days after the opening

protesters placed a pile of dung in front of the Kunsthalle’s entrance. Yet in London

the attitude to the show was one of indifference; as long as there was no public fundingit could be happily ignored. I have come to believe that the Swiss public resented thefact that the exhibition had an English title together with the fact that it was sponsoredby an American company (Szeemann had already been accused by the Kunsthalle’s board of trustees of not showing enough Swiss artists). A month after the closing of the exhibition, Harald Szeemann resigned, going on to develop a more nomadic mode of working that has come to define much of today’s curatorial practice.


Barry Barker is a curator and writer based in London. He is Fellow of the University ofBrighton, UK. Amarcordis a new series of feature articles where Flash Art Internationalinvites writers and curators to discuss landmark exhibitions from the past.

Special thanks to Karin Minger of Kunsthalle Bern, and to Dr. Sabine Röder and Volker Döhne, respectively Curator and Photographer, of Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Germany.



The man who turned everything into art

Did Harald Szeemann single-handedly invent the idea of the contemporary curator? Three new books make the case

It is now widely accepted that the art history of the second half of the 20th century is no longer a history of artworks, but a history of exhibitions,” states—rather provocatively—the introduction to Harald Szeemann: Individual Methodology. A concomitant phenomenon is the emergence of a new profession, namely that of the curator, and Harald Szeemann (1933-2005) is often credited with inventing the job.

Between 1957 and 2005, the Bern-born Szeemann organised a staggering number and variety of exhibitions, working in close collaboration with artists, exploring new forms of displaying art, redefining the role of the museum and ultimately expanding the notion of art. In 1961, he was appointed director of the Kunsthalle, Bern, where he staged monographic and thematic shows of contemporaries as well as displaying the art of the mentally ill and science fiction paraphernalia. His activity there culminated with the groundbreaking and controversial “When Attitudes Become Form” (1969), which saw Michael Heizer smash up the pavement outside the museum, while inside Richard Serra flung hot lead against the wall. The show eventually triggered Szeemann’s resignation. He went freelance, founding the deliciously named one-man band Agency for Intellectual Guest Labour, which applied to the museum the system of guest performances familiar to him from an early spell as a one-man theatre. He was appointed general secretary of Documenta 5 (1972), displayed his hairdresser grandfather’s belongings in his own flat (1974) and embarked on a series of highly original and ambitious thematic shows including “The Bachelor Machines” (1975), “Monte Verità” (1978) and “The Penchant for the Gesamtkunstwerk” (1983). From 1981 until 2000, he also held the position of permanent independent collaborator at the Kunsthaus, Zurich. In the 1980s, he staged a series of “auratic” sculpture exhibitions as “poems in space”. The 1990s saw him in great demand as an organiser of large-scale international surveys (including the 1999 and 2001 Venice Biennials) and striking out further afield, for example to Eastern Europe’s emerging contemporary art scenes. His last exhibition, “Visionary Belgium” (2005), was the

third in a trilogy of “mental-spiritual” country portraits

after “Visionary Switzerland” (1991) and “Austria in a Net

of Roses” (1996).

Next to works of art, object categories that found their way into Szeemann’s thematic shows included puppets, robots, machines, magazine covers, banknotes, propaganda, advertising, comics, personal memorabilia, utopian project documentation and architectural models—a real “Wunderkammer” which triggered free association and flash-like insights, making his exhibitions journeys through one’s own head as much as physical walks through space.

Despite this approach—more reminiscent of cultural anthropology than art history—Szeemann always held on to art’s position as an irreducible other, something different and apart. Not for him the equation of art and life or art’s immediate social and collective relevance, sought for and conjured by so many of his contemporaries. Accused by some of reverting to “art for art’s sake”, he countered with the primacy of the non-collective utopias he termed individual mythologies and his view of art as “a sum of narrations in the first person singular”: a reflection of his fascination both with those at the margins and resisting socialisation (outsiders, freaks and monomaniacs as much as artists) and with the notion of intensity, which served as the main criterion of his “tirelessly working art metabolism” (to

a traditional art history of

great masterpieces, he thus preferred an “art history of intensive intentions”).

Beginning in 1973, he put his Agency at the service of a Museum of Obsessions—his own as much as those of artists and creators. Indeed, so strongly did he extol the exhibition as a medium of expression rather than a merely mediatory activity that some accused him of turning it into a work of art, using the individual works on display as so many “touches of colour”. While Szeemann refuted this status as an artist, he did claim that of an author, staging deeply subjective shows.

Indeed, with its subtitle Catalogue of all Exhibitions 1957-2005, Harald Szeemann – with by through because towards despite flirts with the format of the catalogue raisonné, with over 150 entries which list information about catalogues, admission figures, tour venues and related events as well as reproducing selected press articles and exhibition reviews, interviews, exhibition floor plans, installation views, catalogue covers and exhibition posters, catalogue texts, Szeemann’s correspondence (including an irate letter from feminist art critic and curator Lucy Lippard), photographs with family and friends, and Szeemann’s own contemporary and retrospective notes and commentaries (the publication was originally conceived and produced in cooperation with Szeemann, and in view of his annotations’ lively, insightful and richly anecdotal character, one wishes they were even more numerous). An extensive bibliography completes the volume. Maybe the most telling document is Szeemann’s original address-list of artists in preparation for “When Attitudes Become Form” which, coupled with his travel diary, brings to life his frantic pace of studio and gallery visits. Editors

Tobia Bezzola and Roman Kurzmeyer, who both knew and collaborated with him on numerous projects, have compiled a dazzling panorama

of planet Szeemann.

While the Catalogue relies mainly on primary source material, Harald Szeemann: Exhibition Maker provides a more interpretive and discursive account of the curator’s career, organised along a general chronology but zooming in on major exhibitions, elegantly leaping from milestone to milestone and laying bare with fascinating clarity the internal logic driving the progression of Szeemann’s body of exhibitions. Art critic Hans-Joachim Müller also knew and worked with Szeemann, and this is a tender and incisive portrait by someone who candidly admits falling under the spell of “the maelstrom of Szeemann’s exhibitions, the fatal attraction of his fantasies, discoveries, assertions, these panoramas that he unfolded like paper scenes”. Interwoven with well-chosen photographs, this is a dense, beautifully composed text, which makes it the more

a pity that the English trans­lation should be so strangely inconsistent, at times elegant, at others all but incomprehensible.

Finally, Harald Szeemann: Individual Methodology, the result of a research project of the International Curatorial Training Programme of Le Magasin, Grenoble, is the first in a series of curatorial notebooks developed jointly with the Department of Curating Contemporary Art at London’s Royal College of Art and was conceived as a companion to the Catalogue. The programme’s eight participants were granted access to Szeemann’s archive, located since 1986 at the Fabbrica Rosa near Locarno in Switzerland, which also functioned as the Agency for Intellectual Guest Labour’s headquarters: 300 sq. metres of structured chaos consisting of books, press clippings, correspondence, project documentation and objects assembled relentlessly since the early 1960s and kept in part

in empty wine cases of Szeemann’s favourite Merlot. Based on partly unpublished documents and interviews with close collaborators, the publication analyses the archive and the Agency as twin tools of Szeemann’s curatorial practice and examines in detail two of his projects, Documenta 5 (1972) and the Lyon Biennial (1997). The photographs of the archive are particularly engrossing.

Together and on their own, these three felicitously complementary publications function as fascinating insights into the universe of a man for whom each exhibition was an opportunity to create a temporary world and who still towers over the profession he pioneered.

Maud Capelle


June 2001 – Vol.20 No.5

Here Time Becomes Space:
A Conversation with Harald Szeemann

by Carol Thea

Harald Szeemann is a standard-bearer of change within the European curatorial tradition. He holds degrees in art history, archaeology, and journalism. Between 1961 and 1969 he served as director of the Kunsthalle Bern. Since he declared his independence by resigning his directorship in 1969, he has become one of the most important and active international independent curators, organizing such major exhibitions as “When Attitudes Become Form” (1969), “Happening and Fluxus” (1970), Documenta 5 (1972), “Bachelor Machines” (1975), “Monte Verità: Mountain of Truth” (1978), “Charles Baudelaire” (1987), and “Austria in a Lacework of Roses” (1996). He co-organized the Venice Biennale of 1980, where he created the Aperto, an exhibition for younger and emerging artists. Since 1981 he has been an independent curator affiliated with the Kunsthaus Zurich. He was the director of the 1997 Lyon Biennale, a commissioner of the 1997 Kwangju Biennial, and has been director of the Venice Biennale in 1999 and 2001. His exhibition in the Italian Pavilion of the Biennale, “The Plateau of Mankind,” officially opens June 9th and closes November 4th.

Collaborative work by Barry McGee, Stephen Powers, and James Todd. Artists chosen by Harald Szeemann for the 2001 Venice Biennale exhibition, “The Plateau of Mankind.”

Carolee Thea: The artist’s work is a seismograph of change in a society. When contemplating an exhibition, the curator must have a finger on this pulse, on the collective concerns of the moment, as well as on the more individual ones that inform an artist’s narrative.

Harald Szeemann: Yes, I also think that the curator has his own evolution. When you’ve been doing exhibitions for 43 years, you come to a certain point: the facteur Cheval said that with 43 years a human being reaches the equinox of life and can start to build his castle in the air, his “Palais idéal.” From this moment on, even if you do a show with contemporary artists, you want it to be not just a group show but a temporary world. And maybe this is why my exhibitions become bigger—because the inner world is getting bigger.

It is true that the changes you see with artists’ works are the best societal seismographs. Artists, like curators, work on their own, grappling with their attempts to make a world in which to survive. I always said that if I lived in the 19th century as King Ludwig II, when I felt the need to identify myself with another world I would build a castle. Instead, as a curator I do temporary exhibitions. We are lonely people, faced with superficial politicians, with donors and sponsors, and one must deal with all of this. I think it is here that the artist finds a way to form his own world and live his obsessions. For me, this is the real society.

View from the 1999
Venice Biennale.

CT: At the end of the 19th century there was a schism between art and technology; at the end of the 20th century there was a reunion. Aside from pragmatic information, the Internet has become a fantasy, a dream machine for the wired masses and a catalyst for globalization. What do you think about the effect of this technological revolution?

HS: This new technology makes an illusion of globalization, but again it creates a social split between those who can use it and those who cannot. In art we still have to go see the original object and discuss it with the artist. New technology does not know how to deal with the erotic element, with art that is spatial. This was always a problem. Think of Robert Ryman: he was always reproduced badly, but the originals are beautiful. We’re finally very old-fashioned—we must go around looking at originals. This is absurd, but it’s beautiful. When I was a student, hundreds of us had to go through the same books to find certain masterpieces; we marked our findings with pieces of paper. With the Internet, it is easier not to have to look through a thousand books—wonderful! But with art itself, we must go to the three dimensions.

View from the 1999
Venice Biennale.

CT: Mass production has been encroaching on the handmade for more than a century and was anointed into the art culture by Duchamp and Warhol. Now, in the computer age, the reproduction, the virtual, and the fictive have encroached further as products of information.

HS: Globalization would be perfect if it brought more justice and equality to the world, but it doesn’t. Artists dream of using computer or digital means to have contact and to bring continents closer. But once you have the information, it’s up to you what you do with it. Globalization without roots is meaningless in art.

CT: Do you mean, by “roots,” the individual narratives within the global village?

View from the 1999
Venice Biennale.

HS: Well, yes. An artist like Jason Rhoades uses technology, but he brings it into the service of the personal, as in the evocation of his father’s garden. The art is a new interpretation of something that possesses him. Also, a lot of things on the Internet are verbal. Only five percent is visual. The majority of people look through the ear. The Internet is good for information, but it never replaces eye contact. It also overloads you with a lot of trash. In a recent interview, Jeff Bezos defined the Internet as a narrow horizontal level of competence over all industrial fields. He compared it with electricity at the beginning of the 20th century, increasing speed for some things while revolutionizing others. Also, the digital image has extended possibilities. For me it is mainly information, but not art in itself.

CT: Jason’s accumulations come across as a trash heap that camouflages a narrative.

View from the 1999
Venice Biennale.

HS: That’s what I like about his work: he’s not isolating an object, ambiguous objects, “polybiguous” objects—he’s showing us that we all have the obsession to consume. All these objects in a structure are his obsessions. It’s no longer Duchamp’s pissoir, which is isolated. Accumulations were a revolt against Duchamp, but then, they too became objects, a strategy to make a new object—as in Jason’s case, albeit a temporary one. Of course you have inner rules, like a museum of obsessions in your head. Then there are the freedoms or constrictions that we have from place to place. For instance, I can work in the North as a freelance curator, but in the South, I must accept the position of director, as in the case of the Venice Biennale.

CT: You are considered the first independent curator. How did this occur?

HS: It was a rebellion aimed at having more freedom, because I already had eight years as Director of the Kunsthalle in Bern. Well, I was director, but we didn’t say director. We wanted to open up the institution as a laboratory, more as a confirmation of the non-financial aspect of art. Then I curated Documenta 5, which is considered the end of a career.

View from the 1999
Venice Biennale.

CT: Yes, to curate this exhibition, more than others, is to open oneself up to enormous scrutiny.

HS: Frankly, if you insist on power, then you keep going on in this way. But you must throw the power away after each experience, otherwise it’s not renewing. I’ve done a lot of shows, but if the next one is not an adventure, it’s not important for me and I refuse to do it.

CT: Conceptually oriented installation art and the foregrounding of the histories of exhibition spaces suggest a democratization of art challenges the museum’s elitism. In 1986 you took over unconventional, frequently gigantic venues: former stables in Vienna, the Salpetrière hospital in Paris, the palace in the Retiro park in Madrid. You invited artists to set up dialogues between their work and the chosen spaces.

Work by Maaria Wirkkala. Artists selected for the 2001 Venice Biennale exhibition, “The Plateau of Mankind.”

HS: In Venice I was glad I had white-cube spaces, but I also had the Arsenale, where the artists had to accept the historical space as it was. From the space problem came the question of the demand for objectivity and intervention, and how to give life to memory. During the last number of years in Venice, this was all about the survival of the institution of the Biennale. If you stay only in the Giardini, you maintain the nationalist aspect; for the institution to survive the 21st century, new spaces were needed.

CT: What does it mean to be Director of the Biennale after being an independent curator for so long?

HS: In Venice, only when you are Director can you show what you want. In ’95, I wasn’t Director and the planned exhibition “100 Years of Cinema” didn’t take place. I worked for the Biennale in different years; in 1975, I did “Bachelor Machines.” Of course, the contracts never came on time; I had to get money from a bank, and I paid the interest. Finally, I gave all museum contracts to the bank, and the museum paid the sum, which was 15,000 Swiss francs, directly to the bank. There are the usual delays in Italy with contracts, so we first started the exhibition in Bern, although it was produced for Venice. At this time I was taking over new spaces for art, specifically the Magazzini de Sal, the Salt Depository. In 1980, there were five curators. The theme was the ’70s. At that point I told them that we were in a moment when things were changing, so let’s not stop with Stella and the German painters. I told them we had to do Aperto or I would leave. The Aperto was not just a salon for artists under 35; I showed Richard Artschwager and Susan Rothenberg, Ulrike Ottienger and Friederike Pezold.

CT: The 1999 Aperto did not seem to focus only on young artists. Louise Bourgeois, Dieter Appelt, Dieter Roth, Franz Gertsch, and James Lee Byars were among your choices.

Work by Gerd Rohling. Artists chosen for the 2001 Venice Biennale exhibition “The Plateau of Mankind.”

HS: The Biennale of 1999, d’APERTtutto, was more in the spirit of the first Aperto, not limiting “young” to artists under the age of 35. I have always thought that if biennials wanted a future, they should emulate the structure of Documenta. And today, the oldest biennial—in Venice—when faced with so many biennials, should be the youngest.

CT: At Documenta, finally, does the curator have autonomy from the bureaucratic duties?

HS: Until 1968, there was a huge Documenta council; its founder, Arnold Bode, was a “degenerate” painter under Hitler. They wanted to show Germany what it missed in the “thousand years” of Nazism. After 1968, the council became quite absurd. They were missing many important issues, and for this reason they asked me to be the artistic director. All the former Documentas followed the old-hat, thesis/antithesis dialectic: Constructivism/Surrealism, Pop/Minimalism, Realism/Concept. That’s why I invented the term, “individual mythologies”—not a style, but a human right. An artist could be a geometric painter or a gestural artist; each can live his or her own mythology. Style is no longer the important issue.

Work by Joseph Beuys. Artists selected for the 2001 Venice Biennale exhibition, “The Plateau of Mankind.”

CT: In 1969 you curated the exhibition “When Attitudes Become Form: Live In Your Head.” It presented for the first time in Europe artists such as Beuys, Serra, and Weiner. With this exhibition, the process of creation was recognized as a work of art. It was also at this time that you became an independent curator.

HS: Yes, it was in March, only a couple of months after the end of Documenta 4, when I curated “When Attitudes Become Form.” How can you do this big exhibition, Documenta 4, and miss showing the works of new artists? So I did it in Bern in March. Of course, this made a big impact. Then I was asked to do the next Documenta with my own strategy. I dissolved the committee. It costs a lot to convene a committee of 40 people, and half are never present, anyway. Also it’s cheaper when one person travels to see colleagues and explore what is new in their region.

Documenta became the first of this new style. It became the image of the curator, a show by an author. In Venice, I also felt that we needed a good start like in the ’60s and ’70s—a complete change of structure—so I suggested that we adapt to this new system in 1999. I dissolved the national spatial unity of the Italian pavilion, causing a lot of trouble in Italy, where it was felt that a foreigner was destroying their country. But the artists preferred this. They didn’t like being only with Italians. They wanted to be with their international colleagues, where they learned more and were more competitive.

Work by Hans Schmidt
and Erich Bödeker.

CT: After suffering the difficulties of the bureaucracy, why do you feel that in 1999 and 2001 you were able to take the position of Director of the Biennale?

HS: Even though I am an independent curator, I took on the directorship because Venice is worth making the effort. The structure goes from a state organization to a foundation, and you’re always faced with the bureaucratic structure and financial problems. Now the Biennale is not only the visual arts; it incorporates architecture, film, theater, dance, and music, and there is enough space in the Arsenale to include the other arts. The Biennale is interested in continuity and collaboration among the arts, not only in isolated big events; it will become a laboratory and a place of creation. This is the future.

Yet it’s always the same in Venice: They promise you the space on January 10th and give it to you on May 10th. They’re renovating, patching all the walls and opening the roof. When all is done, you will be able to walk through from the Corderie to the Artiglierie. And now they’re restoring Isolotto, the location of Serge Spitzer’s installation Re/Cycle(Don’t Hold Your Breath) (1999). This installation was fascinating. Where once to see art only frontally disgusted everyone, now some artists with a theatrical touch show in spaces where you can see only a frontal view from the entrance.

Work by the Cracking Art Group.

CT: How will the 2001 Biennale differ from that of 1999?

HS: When you work with artists for 40 years, it’s no longer just a collaboration, but a going-together. Perhaps this will be an opportunity to show artists who were important figures from the late ’60s on. But there are also two, new, theater-like spaces, so you can play on the notion of performance. I have proposed to begin with two buildings that will form an international exhibition, a “Plateau of Mankind”: half-theatrical and half-projected. The entrance to the exhibition will be given a large space that will cover theater, social problems, all the races, what man can do to man, and then you are free again to give another accent, one from your unconscious. There are other ways of describing globalism, of being together. For instance, in old Paris, the Ballets Russes was a collaboration between artists, including Diaghilev, Picasso, Picabia, Satie, and Nijinsky.

CT: Does this early 20th-century model influence the way you will choose your artists for the Biennale?

Work by Niele Toroni.

HS: Well, I’m a European. It’s very strange that when you do an exhibition like the Biennale, you have only four months to make the show. So you cannot normally travel around the world. You go to the artists you want to show; you visit them and discuss the space, or you have them come. I did make lightning trips and discovered some things at the last minute, like the two Serbians, Tatiana Ristowski and Vesna Vesic. The Serbs were despised people in the world. It was like being in a second stage of seismographic culture. In the end, you must leave yourself open—to keep spaces free and to make room for surprise.

CT: Creating such a large exhibition is like making a film, but in compressed time.

HS: I was glad when people said that the exhibition was cut like in film. It really did correspond.

CT: What are some of the ideas for the new Biennale?

Work by Maurizio Cattelan.

HS: Well, I call it a “Plateau of Mankind.” So it is less a theme than a mood that gives to each art and artist the freedom of expression. The narrative will be, again, a walk from one surprise to the other.

CT: Last year, there was a lot of walking involved, but this was mitigated by surprise.

HS: Although one brain imagines the structure and themes, the walking leaves people free to decide the distance they want to take—an inner one or outer one. It’s another way of walking. In the cinema you are sitting and with video you can stand, but if it’s too long, you just sit. Exhibitions have a lot to do with space; the freedom is the space. In Parsifal, Wagner says, “Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit” (Here time becomes space).

This interview appears in different form in Foci: Interviews with 10 International Curators, a series of interviews by Carolee Thea published by Apex Art Curatorial Program in 2001. Several of the interviews appeared first in Sculpture.

Sculpture Magazine Archives

From: Artforum International | Date: 11/1/1996 | Author: Obrist, Hans-UlrichHarald Szeemann began his career as a curator, which spans more than 40 years, when he took charge of the exhibition ‘Dichtende Maler/Malende Dichter’ at the Museum in St. Gallen in Switzerland in 1957. Until 1969, he was the director of the Kunsthalle Bern, where he organized 12 to 15 exhibitions each year during his eight-year stint. He was responsible for transforming the museum into a venue which brings together emerging European and American artists.Ever since he “declared his independence” by resigning his directorship at the Kunsthalle Bern in 1969, Harald Szeemann has defined himself as an Ausstellungsmacher, a maker of exhibitions. There is more at stake in adopting such a designation than semantics. Szeemann is more conjurer than curator – simultaneously archivist, conservator, art handler, press officer, accountant and above all, accomplice of the artists.

At the Kunsthalle Bern, where Szeemann made his reputation during his eight-year tenure, he organized twelve to fifteen exhibitions a year, turning this venerable institution into a meeting ground for emerging European and American artists. His coup de grace, “When Attitudes Become Form: Live in Your Head,” was the first exhibition to bring together post-Minimalist and Conceptual artists in a European institution, and marked a turning point in Szeemann’s career – with this show his aesthetic position became increasingly controversial, and due to interference and pressure to adjust his programming from the Kunsthalle’s board of directors and Bern’s municipal government, he resigned, and set himself up as an Independent curator.

If Szeemann succeeded in transforming Bern’s Kunsthalle into one of the most dynamic institutions of its time, his 1972 version of Documenta did no less for this art-world staple, held every five years in Kassel, Germany. Conceived as a “100-Day Event,” it brought together artists such as Richard Serra, Paul Thek, Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Joan Jonas, and Rebecca Horn, and included not only painting and sculpture but installations, performances, Happenings, and, of course, events that lasted the full 100 days, such as Joseph Beuys’ Office for Direct Democracy. Artists have always responded to Szeemann and his approach to curating, which he himself describes as a “structured chaos.” Of “Monte Verita,” a show mapping the visionary utopias of the early twentieth century, Mario Merz said Szeemann “visualized the chaos we, as artists, have in our heads. One day we’re anarchists, another drunks, the next mystics.” Szeemann’s eclectic, wide-ranging shows evince a boundless energy for research and an encyclopedic knowledge not only of contemporary art but also of the social and historical events that have shaped our post-Enlightenment world. Indeed, in the last few years he has mounted a number of shows that reflect his penchant for mixing artifact and art, combining as they do inventions, historical documents, everyday objects, and artwork. Two of the largest offered panoramic views of his home country and the one across the Alps: “Visionary Switzerland” in 1991 and “Austria im Rosennetz” (Austria in a net of roses), which recently opened at the Museum fur Angewandte Kunst in Vienna.

Szeemann now divides his time between the Kunsthaus Zurich, where he occupies the paradoxical position of permanent freelance curator, and the studio-cum-archive he calls “The Factory,” located in Tegna, the small Swiss Alpine town where he lives. What follows is a record of the conversation I had with Szeemann last summer, in which he reflected on his more than forty-year career.

HANS-ULRICH OBRIST: Until 1957 you were involved in theater. Then you began organizing exhibitions. What prompted this transition?

HARALD SZEEMANN: When I was eighteen, I started a cabaret with three friends, two actors and a musician. But around 1955, sick of intrigues and jealousies, I began to move away from ensemble work until I was doing everything by myself – a one-man style of theater that reflected my ambition to realize a gesamtkunstwerk.

At the time I had already been visiting the Kunsthalle Bern for five years. Bern is a small city where everyone knows each other, and when Franz Meyer (he took over as director from Arnold Rudlinger in 1955) was asked if he knew anyone who could show Henry Clifford, then director of the Philadelphia Museum, around Switzerland, he proposed me, knowing my interest in all the arts, but particularly in Dada, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. We visited museums, private collections, and artists; it was a wonderful month of “vagabondage.”

In 1957 Meyer also suggested me for an ambitious project, “Dichtende Maler/Malende Dichter” (Painters-poets/poets-painters) at the Museum in St. Gallen. Four people were already working on the show, but the two main directors had health problems and the other two were reluctant to take on an exhibition of this size alone. So they asked Meyer if he knew someone who could take care of the contemporary section, and he said, “I only know one person. It’s Szeemann.” I was the ambitious understudy who ended up getting the main part.

The intensity of the work made me realize this was my medium. It gives you the same rhythm as in theater, only you don’t have to be on stage constantly.

HUO: What drew you to contemporary art to begin with?

HS: Until I was nineteen I still wanted to be a painter, but the Fernand Leger exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bern in ’52 impressed me so much that I said to myself, “I’ll never get that good.” Through Rudlinger’s exhibitions – ranging from Nabis to Jackson Pollock – at the Kunsthalle Bern, one could really learn the history of painting. He was the first to show contemporary American art to a European public and later, when he became director of the Kunsthalle Basel, he bought paintings by Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Franz Kline, and Barnett Newman for the Basel Kunstmuseum. He was friends with many artists – Alexander Calder, Bill Jensen, and Sam Francis – and through him I met a lot of artists in Paris and New York. In Bern he did a series of exhibitions called “Tendances actuelles 1-3″ (Contemporary tendencies, 1-3), a splendid survey of postwar painting from the Paris School to American abstraction. When he moved to Basel he had more space and more money, but his real adventure was in Bern.

Meyer served as director until ’61. He mounted the first exhibitions in Switzerland of Kasimir Malevich, Kurt Schwitters, Matisse’s cutouts, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, and he showed Antoni Tapies, Serge Poliakoff, Francis, and Jean Tinguely. By the time I took over the Kunsthalle in ’61, I was faced with this venerable past, so I had to change direction.

HUO: You wrote that Bern was something like a “situation.” A kind of “mental space.”

HS: I found art to be one way of challenging the notion of property/possession. And because the Kunsthalle had no permanent collection, it was more like a laboratory than a collective memorial. You had to improvise, to do the maximum with minimal resources and still be good enough that other institutions would want to take on the exhibitions and share the costs.

HUO: In the ’80s the Kunsthalle became more structured. The exhibition program was reduced from more than a dozen exhibitions a year to between four and six. And the introduction of “midcareer retrospectives” turned the Kunsthalle into an extension of the museums themselves – its elasticity was lost.

HS: Yes, everything was flexible, dynamic, and then suddenly everything changed. To hang an exhibition, to produce the catalogue, used to take us one week, and then suddenly you needed a four-week period between shows to photograph everything; with this slower pace came institutional pedagogies, restoration, and guards. In the ’60s we had none of this. For me, if there was a pedagogy it was about the succession of events; documentation was not important.

My approach attracted a younger public and a very young photographer named Balthasar Burkhard started to document exhibitions and events, not for publication but just because he liked what I did and what was happening at the Kunsthalle. That’s how I prefer to work. Actually I stopped publishing catalogues and just printed newspapers, which were anathema to the bibliophile collectors.

HUO: And that worked out?

HS: Of course. the Kunsthalle had an exhibition program but it also welcomed all kinds of participation. Young filmmakers showed their films, the Living Theater made its first appearance in Switzerland there, young composers performed their music – groups like Free Jazz from Detroit played – young fashion designers showed their creations.

Naturally this provoked reactions. The local newspapers accused me of alienating traditional audiences, but we also attracted a new audience. The membership increased from about 200 to around 600, with an additional 1,000 students paying a symbolic Swiss franc to belong. It was the ’60s and the zeitgeist had changed.

HUO: Which exhibitions influenced you most as you were starting to curate your own shows?

HS: Well, I already described some of what I saw in Bern and in Paris. Also very important was the German Expressionism show in 1953, “Deutsche Kunst, Meisterwerke des 20 Jahrhunderts” (German art, masterworks of the twentieth century), at the Kunstmuseum Lucerne, and, of course, in Paris ” Les Sources du XXe siecle” (The sources of the twentieth century, 1958), and the Dubuffet retrospective at the Musee des arts decoratifs in 1960, as well as Documenta II in ’59, curated by its founder, Arnold Bode. I also visited a lot of studios – those of Constantin Brancusi, Ernst, Tinguely, Robert Muller, Bruno Muller, Daniel Spoerri, Dieter Roth, among others. I saw the most fabulous show of Picasso in Milan in 1959. From the beginning, meeting artists and looking at important shows was my education – I was always less interested in formal art history.

Of my peers, I admired Georg Schmidt, director of the Kunstmuseum Basel until 1963. He was absolutely focused on quality, able to choose the work he wanted for his collection and to incite fabulous gifts like the La Roche collection. But I also admired William Sandberg, director of the Stedelijk Museum until 1963, who was Schmidt’s opposite. Sandberg was obsessed with information. Sometimes he exhibited only part of a diptych, for instance, or left a good work out of the show altogether because it was reproduced in the catalogue. For him ideas and information counted more than the experience of the object.

In a sense, I combined both approaches in my shows to achieve what I like to think of as selective information and/or informative selection. This is how I view my Kunsthalle years. In putting together an exhibition, I took both connoisseurship and the dissemination of pure information into account and transformed both. That’s the foundation of my work.

HUO: Tell me more about Sandberg.

HS: Amsterdam in the ’60s was the meeting point, the whole art world converged in the Stedelijk cafeteria under a mural by Karel Appel. Sandberg was very open-minded. He let artists curate exhibitions such as “Dylaby” with Tinguely, Spoerri, Robert Rauschenberg, and Niki de Saint Phalle; he was enthusiastic about new artistic directions: kinetic art, the California “light sculptors,” new synthetic materials. When Sandberg left, Eduard de Wilde took over and painting filled the Stedelijk. De Wilde was much more conservative.

I also have to mention Robert Giron, who had been exhibition director at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels since its inception in 1925, an exemplary institution. Everyday at noon curators, collectors, and artists met in his office to exchange the latest art-world news. When I met Giron, he had been running the Palais for forty years and he said, “You are too young, you’ll never hold up as long as me.” But out of my generation and the next, I’m the only one still going. It gives me pleasure.

HUO: What about Johannes Cladders, the former director of the museum in Monchengladbach?

HS: Cladders was always an idol for me. I knew him when he was still in Krefeld. He did not rely on grand gestures. He had a love of precision but precision based on intuition. His first space was an empty school building on Bismarck Street. It marked a great period. James Lee Byars presented a golden needle in a vitrine, the windows to the garden were open, the birds were singing. Sheer poetry. And Carl Andre did a catalogue in the form of a tablecloth. I asked Cladders to participate in Documenta V. He said, Okay, but I won’t take over a section, I’ll just work with four artists – Marcel Broodthaers, Joseph Beuys, Daniel Buren, and Robert Filliou – and integrate them into the rest of the show. It was his way of working. This was a period when everybody was fighting to establish the significance of their institutions. In the late ’60s, art and culture started to be promoted by politicians and it became important which party you belonged to, especially in Germany. Cladders established his importance quietly, with artistic deeds at the museum in Monchengladbach, while the nearby Dusseldorf Kunsthalle did it with power plays.

HUO: You said you went to Amsterdam every month. Were there other places you visited regularly?

HS: Yes, there was an itinerary of hope and ambition: Pontus Hulten’s Moderna Museet, in Stockholm; Knud Jensen’s Louisiana, near Copenhagen; and Brussels. In 1967 Otto Hahn wrote in The Express magazine: “There are four places to watch: Amsterdam (Sandberg and de Wilde), Stockholm (Hulten), Dusseldorf (Schmela) and Bern (Szeemann).”

HUO: At the Kunsthalle Bern you not only organized thematic exhibitions but also many solo shows.

HS: The Kunsthalle was run by artists – they were a majority on the exhibition committee, so I had to deal with a lot of local art politics. There were Swiss artists I loved – people like Muller, Walter Kurt Wiemken, Otto Meyer-Amden, Louis Moilliet – but in my view they were not well-known, so I organized their first solo shows. I also showcased international artists: Piotr Kowalski, Etienne-Martin, Auguste Herbin, Mark Tobey, Louise Nevelson. Even Giorgio Morandi had his first retrospective in Bern. I usually did a thematic exhibition first – for example “Marionettes, Puppets, Shadowplays: Asiatica and Experiments,” “Ex Votos,” “Light and Movement: Kinetic Art,” “White on White,” “Science Fiction,” “12 Environments,” and finally, “When Attitudes Become Form: Live in Your Head” – with both established and emerging artists, and then showed single artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Max Bill, Jesus-Rafael Soto, Jean Dewasne, Jean Gorin, and Constant. It was logical for a small city to do it this way, to alternate between solo and group shows. In a couple of exhibitions I showed the work of young artists – young British sculptors or young Dutch artists.

HUO: You mentioned “When Attitudes Become Form” which was a landmark show opost-Minimalist American artists. How did you put it together?

HS: The history of “Attitudes” is short but complex. After the opening in the summer of ’68 of the exhibition “12 Environments” (which included works by Andy Warhol, Martial Raysse, Soto, Jean Schnyder, Kowalski, not to mention experimental film and Christo’s first wrapped public building), the people from Philip Morris and the PR firm Rudder and Finn came to Bern and asked me if I would like to do a show of my own. They offered me money and total freedom. I said, Yes, of course. Until then I had never had an opportunity like that. Usually I wasn’t able to pay shipping costs from the States to Bern, so I cooperated with the Stedelijk, which had the Holland American Line as a sponsor for transatlantic shipping, and I only had to pay for transport in Europe. In this way I was able to show Jasper Johns in ’62, Rauschenberg, Richard Stankiewicz, and Alfred Leslie, and many more Americans later on. So getting this funding for “Attitudes” was very liberating for me.

After the opening of “12 Environments,” I was traveling with de Wilde (then director of the Stedelijk) through Switzerland and Holland to select works by younger Dutch and Swiss artists for two group shows devoted to each nationality that took place in both countries. I told him that with the Philip Morris money I intended to do a show with the light artists of Los Angeles: Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, Doug Wheeler, Turrell. But Edy said, “You can’t do that. I’ve already reserved the project for myself!” And I responded, “Well, if you reserved that idea when’s the show?” His was still years down the road, but my project was for the immediate future. It was July and my show was scheduled for March.

That same day we visited the studio of a Dutch painter, Reiner Lucassen, who said, “I have an assistant. Would you be interested in looking at his work?” The assistant was Jan Dibbets, who greeted us from behind two tables – one with neon coming out of the surface, the other one with grass, which he watered. I was so impressed by this gesture that I said to Edy, “Okay. I know what I’ll do, an exhibition that focuses on behaviors and gestures like the one I just saw.”

That was the starting point; then everything happened very quickly. There is a published diary of “Attitudes” that details my trips, studio visits, the installation process. It was an adventure from beginning to end, and the catalogue, discussing how the works could either assume material form or remain immaterial, documents this revolution in the visual arts. It was a moment of great intensity and freedom, when you could either produce a work or just imagine it, as Lawrence Weiner put it. Sixty-nine artists, Europeans and Americans, took over the institution. Robert Barry irradiated the roof; Richard Long did a walk in the mountains; Mario Merz made one of his first igloos; Michael Heizer opened the sidewalk; Walter de Maria produced his telephone piece; Richard Serra showed lead sculptures, the belt piece, and a splash piece; Weiner took a square meter out of the wall; Beuys made a grease sculpture. The Kunsthalle became a real laboratory and a new exhibition style was born – one of structured chaos.

HUO: Speaking of new structures for exhibitions, I wanted to ask you about the Agentur fur Geistige Gastarbeit (Agency for spiritual guest work). I know that it served as a kind of base from which you mounted a number of significant shows in the early ’70s, but I’m unclear how the agency was founded.

HS: “When Attitudes Become Form” and the following exhibition “Friends and their Friends” provoked a scandal in Bern. To me, what I was showing were artworks but the critics and the public did not agree. The city government and the parliament got involved. Finally they decided that I could remain the director if I didn’t put human lives in danger – they thought my activities were destructive to humankind. Even worse, the exhibition committee was mainly composed of local artists and they decided that from now on they would dictate the programs. They rejected the Edward Kienholz show and the solo show of Beuys, to which he had already agreed. Suddenly it was war, and I decided to resign, to become a freelance curator. It was during that period that the hostility to foreign workers began to manifest itself; a political party was even founded to lower the number of foreigners in Switzerland. I was attacked since my name was not Swiss but Hungarian. In response, I founded the Agentur fur Geistige Gastarbeit, which was a political statement since the Italian, Turkish, and Spanish workers in Switzerland were called “guest workers.” The agency was a one-man enterprise, a kind of institutionalization of myself, and its slogans were both ideological “Replace Property with Free Activity” and practical, “From Vision to Nail,” which meant that I did everything from conceptualizing the project to hanging the works. It was the spirit of ’68.

Since I wasn’t under contract at the Kunsthalle, I was free from my duties in September of ’69 and then I immediately began a film project called “Height x Length x Width,” with artists such as Bernhard Luginbuhl, Markus Raetz, and Balthasar Burkhard. But soon offers to do shows started arriving at the agency. I organized an exhibition in Nuremberg “The Thing as Object,” 1970; in Cologne, “Happening and Fluxus,” 1970; in Sydney and Melbourne, “I Want to Leave a Nice Well-Done Child Here,” 1971; and, of course, Documenta V.

HUO: Let’s talk about your 1970 exhibition “Happening and Fluxus” in Cologne. In this exhibit, time was more important than space. How did you decide on this approach?

HS: During the preparation of “Attitudes” I had long talks with Dick Bellamy at Leo Castelli about the art that preceded what I had grouped under the rubric “Attitudes.” Of course Pollock was evoked, but also Alan Kaprow’s early Happenings and Viennese actionism. So when I was asked by Cologne’s cultural minister to do a show, I thought, This is the place to retrace the history of Happenings and Fluxus. Wuppertal, where Nam Jun Paik, Beuys, and Wolf Vostell had staged events, was nearby. So was Wiesbaden, where George Maciunas organized early Fluxus concerts, and in Cologne itself Heiner Friedrich promoted La Monte Young. I chose a three-part structure. Part one was a wall of documents that I put together with Hans Sohm, who had passionately collected the invitations, flyers, and other printed materials that related to all the happenings and events in recent art history. This wall of documents divided the space of Cologne’s Kunstverein in two. On each side, there were smaller spaces where artists could present their own work – this was the second part of the show. All kinds of gestures were possible: Claes Oldenburg put up posters and publications, Ben Vautier did a performance piece in which he provoked the audience, Kudo imprisoned himself in a cage, and so on. A third part consisted of environments by Vostell, Robert Watts, Dick Higgins, as well as Kaprow’s tire piece. To cap it all, there was a Fluxus concert with Vautier, Brecht, and others, as well as happenings inside and outside the museum with Vostell, Higgins, Kaprow, Vautier, and of course Otto Muhl and Hermann Nitsch.

During the preparations, I felt something was lacking. So a couple of weeks before the exhibition opened, I invited, against Vostell’s wishes, the Viennese actionists – Gunter Brus, Muhl, and Nitsch – to add some spice to what was in danger of becoming a reunion of veterans. It was the first public appearance of the Viennese and they took full advantage of the opportunity. Their spaces were filled with documents concerning the “Art and Revolution” event at the University of Vienna which was followed by a trial. Brus, Muhl, and Oswald Wiener were given six-months detention for degrading state symbols. Their sentences were later reduced except for Brus’. It was after that that Brus and Nitsch emigrated to Germany and founded the “Austrian Exile Government” with Wiener. Their films for sexual freedom and body-oriented art, and their performances caused a scandal.

It was all very messy. Vostell who had a pregnant cow in his environment was forbidden by the Veterinary Institute to let her give birth. So he wanted to cancel the show. But finally after a night of discussion we decided to open. Since the exhibition was upsetting the authorities, it had to open and stay open.

Beuys was not in the show, but of course he came knocking on the museum’s door in the name of his “East-West Fluxus.” The same happened in “Attitudes” with Buren. Though I didn’t invite him, he came and glued his stripes throughout the streets around the Kunsthalle.

HUO: But Buren was invited to Documenta?

HS: Yes. And of course I knew that he would put me on the spot by choosing the most problematic locations for his striped paper. He was very critical of Documenta. He said curators were becoming superartists who used artworks like so many brushstrokes in a huge painting. But the artists accepted his intervention, which took the form of discrete white stripes on white wallpaper. It’s only in retrospect that I heard that Will Insley was offended by the wallpaper along the base of his huge utopian architectural model. Beuys participated with his Office for Direct Democracy, where he sat throughout the run of Documenta discussing art, social problems and daily life with visitors to the show. He chose the well-known medium of the office to show that you can be creative everywhere. He also intended by his presence to abolish political parties, to make each man represent himself.

This was the first time that Documenta was no longer conceived as a “100 Day Museum” but as a “100 Day Event.” After the summer of ’68, theorizing in the art world was the order of the day, and it shocked people when I put a stop to all the Hegelian and Marxist discussions. With Documenta, I wanted to trace a trajectory of mimesis, borrowing from Hegel’s discussion about the reality of the image [Abbildung] versus the reality of the imaged [Abgebildetes]. You began with “Images That Lie” (such as publicity, propaganda, and kitsch), passed through utopian architecture, religious imagery and art brut, moved on to Beuys’ office, and then to gorgeous installations like Serra’s Circuit, 1972. You could lie down under the roof and dream to a continuous sound by La Monte Young. All the emerging artists of the late ’60s were present. And their works formed an exhibition that included performances by artists such as Vito Acconci, Howard Fried, Terry Fox, Byars, Paul Cotton, Joan Jonas, and Rebecca Horn. I also decided to use only the two museum spaces and forget about putting up sculptures outdoors. The result was a balance between static work and movement, huge installations and small, delicate works.

I always felt that it was the only Documenta possible at that time, though during the first two months the reception in Germany was devastating. In France they immediately grasped the underlying structure of moving from the “reality of the image,” such as political propaganda, to “imaged reality,” Social Realist work or photorealism, for example, to “the identity or non-identity of the image and the imaged,” Conceptual art, loosely speaking. I also wanted to avoid the eternal battle between two styles, Surrealism versus Dada, Pop versus Minimalism, and so on, that characterizes art history, and so I coined the term “individual mythologies,” a question of attitude not style.

HUO: Your notion of an “individual,” self-generated mythology began with sculptor Etienne Martin.

HS: Yes, this expression was born when I organized an Etienne-Martin show in 1963. His on-site sculptures called “Demeures” (Dwellings) were for me a revolutionary idea, though the surfaces were still in the tradition of Rodin. The concept of “individual mythology” was to postulate an art history of intense intentions that can take diverse shapes: people create their own sign systems, which take time to be deciphered.

HUO: What about Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipe (Anti-Oedipus)? Did it influence your way of conceiving Documenta V?

HS: I only read Deleuze for “Bachelor Machines,” not before. I’ve never read as much as people think I have. When I curate exhibitions I barely have time to read.

HUO: After Documenta, you founded what you called the Museum of Obsessions. How did it come about and what was its function?

HS: I invented this Museum, which exists only in my head, to give direction to the Agentur fur Geistige Gastarbeit. It was Easter ’74 and the agency had already existed for five years. Documenta had been a brutal exhibition: with 225,000 visitors, fragile pieces were easily damaged if you did not pay attention. I reacted to that by organizing a very intimate exhibition in an apartment called “Grand-Father,” which consisted of my grandfather’s personal belongings, and the tools of his profession – he was a hairdresser, an artist. I arranged these things to create an environment that reflected my interpretation of who he was. I have always maintained that it is important to try new approaches.

In “Bachelor Machines,” for instance, the show was slightly different in each museum to which it traveled. New things were constantly added, in tribute to the various towns where the show was held: it went from Bern, to Venice, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Paris, Malmo, Amsterdam, and Vienna. After Documenta, I had to find a new way of doing exhibitions. There was no sense in proposing retrospectives to my colleagues at the institutions; they could as easily do these shows themselves. So I invented something else. In the Museum of Obsessions I settled on three fundamental themes, metaphors that had to be given visual form: the Bachelor, la Mamma, and the Sun. “Bachelor Machines” was inspired by Duchamp’s Large Glass and similar machines or machinelike men, such as those in Franz Kafka’s short story “In the Penal Colony,” Raymond Roussel’s Impressions d’Afrique, and Alfred Jarry’s Supermale le Surmale, and it had to do with a belief in eternal energy flow as a way to avoid death, as an erotics of life: the bachelor as rebel-model, as antiprocreation. Duchamp suggested that males are only a projection in three dimensions of a four-dimensional female power. I therefore combined works by artists who create symbols that will survive them – like Duchamp – and those artists who have what I would like to call primary obsessions, whose lives are organized around their obsessions such as Heinrich Anton Muller. Of course, I also wanted to abolish the barrier between high art and outsider art. With the Museum of Obsession, the word “obsession,” which from the Middle Ages up to Jung’s “individuation process” had negative connotations, came to stand for a positive kind of energy.

Another exhibition in this series was “Monte Verita,” which embraced the themes of the “Sun” and “La Mamma.” Around 1900 a lot of Northerners traveled South to realize their utopias in the sun and in what they considered a matriarchal landscape. “Monte Verita” near Ascona, Italy, was such a place. Many of the representatives of the greatest utopias went there: the Anarchists (Bakunin, Malatesta, Guillaume); the theosophists; the creators of paradise on earth in the form of botanical gardens; the life reform movement, which considered itself an alternative to both communism and capitalism; then the artists of Der Blaue Reiter; the Bauhaus; the revolutionaries of the new dance movement (Rudolf Laban, Mary Wigman); later on El Lissitzky, Hans Arp, Julius Bissier, Ben Nicholson, Richard Lindner, Spoerri, Erik Dietmann. Ascona is actually a case study in how what are now fashionable tourist destinations get that way: first you have romantic idealists, then social utopias that attract artists, then come the bankers who buy the paintings and want to live where the artists do. When the bankers call for architects the disaster starts. When I did the show with the subtitle “Local Anthropology to Form a New Kind of Sacred Topography,” there was another goal: to preserve the architecture on Monte Verita, which, though it only covered a twenty-six year span, presented an entire history of modern utopian architecture. The life reformers who wanted to get back to nature built huts, the theosophists attempted to eradicate the right angle, then there was the crazy style of Northern Italian villas, and finally the rational style of the Hotel Monte Verita (first drawn by Mies van der Rohe but executed by Emil Fahrenkamp, who built the Shell Building in Berlin).

“Monte Verita” involved about 300 people who were either represented individually or in one of the sections, each devoted to a particular utopian ideology: anarchy, theosophy, vegetarianism, and land reform, to name only a few. You can imagine how much research it involved. Even during the exhibition new documents and objects kept arriving. To deal with them, I bought a bed made by an anthroposophical sculptor (who had worked for Rudolf Steiner’s first Goetheanum) where I put all the newly arrived objects and letters before they were integrated into the show, in which documentation was grouped thematically, while the artworks were hung in a separate space.

HUO: Did “Monte Verita” map psychogeographical connections?

HS: It helped me to retell the history of Central Europe through the history of utopias, the history of failures instead of the history of power. Looking at Hulten’s great shows at the Pompidou, I realized that he always chose an East-West power axis: Paris-New York, Paris-Berlin, Paris-Moscow. I chose North-South. It was not about power but about change and love and subversion. This was a new way of doing shows, not only documenting a world, but creating one. Artists were especially comfortable with this approach.

HUO: After “Monte Verita” you did “Gesamtkunstwerk”?

HS: Yes, needless to say a Gesamtkunstwerk can only exist in the imagination. In this exhibition, I started with German Romantic artists like Runge, a contemporary of Novalis and Caspar David Friedrich, and the architects during the French Revolution; then I included works and documents relating to major cultural figures like Richard Wagner and Ludwig II; Rudolf Steiner and Vassily Kandinsky; Facteur Cheval and Tatlin; Hugo Ball and Johannes Baader; Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet and Schwitters’ Cathedral of Erotic Misery; the Bauhaus manifesto “Let’s build the cathedral of our times”; Antoni Gaudi and the Glass Chain movement; Antonin Artaud, Adolf Wolfli, and Gabriele D’Annunzio; Beuys; and in cinema Abel Gance and Hans Jurgen Syberberg. Once again it was a history of utopias. In the center of the exhibition was a small space with what I would call the primary artistic gestures of our century: a Kandinsky of 1911, Duchamp’s Large Glass, a Mondrian, and a Malevich. I ended the show with Beuys as the representative of the last revolution in the visual arts.

HUO: Since the ’80s you’ve focused on several big retrospectives which you organized for the Kunsthaus in Zurich: Mario Merz, James Ensor, Sigmar Polke, and more recently, Cy Twombly, Bruce Nauman, Georg Baselitz, Serra, Beuys, and Walter De Maria.

HS: Again I was lucky. After ten years of thematic exhibitions I felt the need to return to the artists I had always loved. When Felix Baumann, director of the Kunsthaus in Zurich, gave me a job with the museum, I was able to offer artists a large retrospective or a special installation in one of the biggest exhibition spaces in Europe. Of course, I tried to make the shows as splendid as I could. Actually Serra and De Maria each did site-specific installations: Twelve Hours of the Day, 1990, and The Zoo Sculpture, 1992, respectively. With Merz we pulled down the walls and all his igloos formed an imaginary city. Having worked with these artists at the end of the ’60s, it was great to do major exhibitions with them all these years later. After a twenty-four-year wait, I was able to realize the Beuys exhibition in 1993. I secured most of his important installations and sculptures. The show was my homage to a great artist: I had always thought that after his death one ought to make an exhibition reflecting his concept of energy, and I was pleased when his friends who came to the show told me they felt like Beuys had just emerged from one of his sculptures.

HUO: How significant have group shows been to your curatorial practice?

HS: In 1980 I created “Aperto” for the Venice Biennale to show new artists or rediscover older ones. In 1985 I felt that a new kind of “Aperto” was needed, there was still a predominance of “Wilde Malerei,” and I wanted to introduce the somewhat forgotten quality of silence. The show I mounted was called “Spuren, Skulpturen, und Monumente ihrer prazisen Reise” (Traces, sculptures and monuments of their precise voyage) and it was introduced by Brancusi’s Silent Muse, Giacometti’s Pointe a l’oeil, and Medardo Rosso’s Ill Child, and included sculptures by Ruckriem, Twombly, and Tony Cragg at the end of the space, works by Franz West, Thomas Virnich, and Royden Rabinovitch in the center, and in triangular rooms works by Wolfgang Laib, Byars, Merz, and Tuttle. It was sheer poetry. This show was followed in Vienna by “De Sculptura,” in Dusseldorf by “SkulpturSein” (To be sculpture), in Berlin by “Zeitlos” (Timeless), in Rotterdam by “A-Historical Soundings,” in Hamburg by “Einleuchten” (Illumine). In Tokyo by “Light Seed,” in Bordeaux by “G.A.S. (Grandiose, Ambitieux, Silencieux).” As you can see, the titles of the shows became very poetic. They don’t weigh on the artists and their works.

HUO: You have gone back and forth, working both inside and outside official institutions. What’s made you keep a foot in each world?

HS: I wanted to organize noninstitutional exhibits but was dependent on institutions to show them. That’s why I often turned to nontraditional exhibition spaces. “Grand-Father” was done in a private apartment and “Monte Verita” in five locations never before used for art – including a theosophical villa, an ex-theater, and a gymnasium in Ascona – before it traveled to museums in Zurich, Berlin, Vienna, and Munich.

HUO: These shows demonstrate another tendency of your exhibits in the ’80s: an increasing number of shows in unusual exhibition spaces.

HS: Yes, absolutely. The shows I did in the ’80s were sometimes the first contact the local public had with new art, so by necessity they were group shows. At the same time, I looked for spaces that would be an adventure for the artists. These exhibitions also allowed younger artists to show internationally for the first time: Rachel Whiteread in Hamburg, Chohren Feyzdjou in Bordeaux. It’s not a coincidence that they’re mostly women. I agree with Beuys that at the end of this century culture will be the province of women. In Switzerland most Kunsthalle curators are young women and Pipilotti Rist and Muda Mathis are the liveliest artists. Their work has a truly fresh and courageous poetic aggression.

HUO: What about your current project “Austria im Rosennetz” (Austria in a net of roses) which just opened at the MAK in Vienna? How does it relate to the exhibition you did in 1991 on Swiss culture, “Visionary Switzerland”?

HS: “Visionary Switzerland” coincided with Switzerland’s 700-year anniversary. At the center of the show was the work of great Swiss artists such as Paul Klee, Meret Oppenheim, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Giacometti, and Merz, juxtaposed with material on those who wanted to change the world such as Max Daetwyler, Karl Bickel, Ettore Jelmorini, Emma Kunz, Armand Schulthess, and, of course, Muller’s autoerotic machine and Tinguely’s art-producing machines, surrounded by the work of artists like Vautier, Raetz, and so on.

This exhibition traveled to Madrid and Dusseldorf and was perceived as an homage to creativity rather than as a “national” exhibition. One thing that came out of it was the Swiss Pavilion of the World Exhibition in Seville 1992, where I replaced the Swiss flag with large banners by Burkhard showing parts of the human body representing the six or seven senses, and created a circuit of work that integrated information, technology, politics, and art, which began with Vautier’s painting La Suisse n’existe pas (Switzerland does not exist) and ended with his Je pense donc je suisse.

The minister of culture from Austria saw these events and asked me if I would do a spiritual portrait of Austria. I called it “Austria im Rosennetz.” It’s a huge panoramic show of another Alpine culture. Austria is a complex place, once an empire with a flourishing capital where East met West, it is now a small country. In the Museum fur angewandte Kunst, I begin with a room that examines Austria’s dynasty; the second room has portraits by Messerschmidt juxtaposed with Arnulf Rainer’s overdrawings of those photographic portraits and Weegee’s photographs. In the third room are the now classical Austrian artists and architects of the Vienna Secession. The fourth and fifth rooms are devoted to narrative, showcasing works by Aloys Zottl, an unknown nineteenth-century animal painter, Fritz von Herzmanovsky-Orlando, who wrote the book Gaulschreck im Rosennetz (Terror of the horses in the net of roses), Richard Teschner’s marionettes, and, finally, the carriage that transported the body of Crown Prince Ferdinand, who was killed in Sarajevo. The entrance hall is a kind of Wunderkammer with Turkish relics and Hans Hollein’s couch from 19 Bergasse, where Freud practiced psychoanalysis. The upper floor shows Austrian inventions: Auer’s lamp and its use by Duchamp; Madersperger’s sewing machine with Lautreamont’s poetic image and Man Ray’s The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse, 1920; Franz Gellmann’s World Machine with Tinguely’s late multicolored and brightly lit sculptures. Three screening programs are devoted to Austria’s influence on Hollywood: Erich von Stroheim, Fritz Lang, Michael Curtiz, Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi, and many others (all of whom emigrated), and Austrian experimental film (Peter Kubelka, Kurt Kren, Fery Radax). The seats in this cinema are a work by Franz West who is represented throughout the show along with other contemporary artists: Maria Lassnig, Eva Schlegel, Valie Export, Friederike Pezold, Peter Kogler, Heimo Zobernig, and Rainer Ganahl, to name a few.

HUO: Given a century in which the exhibit is more and more of a medium, and more artists claim that the exhibit is the work and the work is the exhibit, what would you say are the turning points in the history of mounting exhibitions?

HS: Duchamp’s Box in a Valise was the smallest exhibition; the one Lissitzky designed for the Russian pavilion of the Pressa in Cologne in 1928, the largest. During Documenta V, I did a section “Museums by Artists” with Duchamp, Broodthaers, Vautier, Herbert Distel, and the Mouse Museum by Oldenburg, which I think was important. The master of the exhibition as medium is, for me, Christian Boltanski.

HUO: Which artists of the ’90s interest you?

HS: I appreciate the intensity of Matthew Barney, although having seen his show in Bern I prefer his videotapes to his objects. I also like younger video artists such as Pipilotti Rist and Muda Mathis.

HUO: I know you have a huge archive. How do you organize the information you need for your work?

HS: My archive changes permanently. It reflects my work. If I do a solo show I make sure to have all the documentation on the artist, if it is a thematic exhibit I keep a library. My archive is a function of my own history. I know that I do not have to look for Wagner under the letter W, but under “Gesamtkunstwerk.” I also sort museum collection catalogues by location, in order to have a mental portrait of the institutions. My archive is a collection of several libraries. There is one for Ticino, which originally grew out of “Monte Verita,” one for dance, film, and art brut; of course there are multiple cross-references. The most important thing is to walk through with closed eyes, letting your hand choose. My archive is my memoir, that’s how I look at it. Too bad I cannot walk through it any more. It has become so full. Like Picasso I would like to close the door and start another.

HUO: Despite the current increase in information about art via the Internet and other media, knowledge still depends a lot on meeting people. I see exhibitions as a result of dialogues, where the curator functions in the ideal case as a catalyst.

HS: The problem is that information can be retrieved via the Internet, but you have to go to the site in question in order to see if there is something behind it, whether the material has enough presence to survive. The best work is always the least reproducible. So you speed from one studio to the next, from one original to another, hoping that some day it will all come together in an organism called an exhibition.

HUO: In the ’80s hundreds of new museums opened their doors. But the number of significant venues did not increase. Why do you think that’s the case?

HS: Whether a place is significant or not still depends on personality. Some institutions don’t show courage or love for art. For many new museums today all the energy and money goes toward hiring a “star” architect and the director is too often left with spaces he doesn’t like and no money to change them. High walls, light coming in from the ceiling, a neutral floor are still the best bet and the cheapest one. Artists usually prefer simplicity, too.

HUO: By establishing structures of your own, you initiated a practice which only in recent decades has come to be called curator or exhibition organizer. You were a pioneer.

HS: Being an independent curator means maintaining a fragile equilibrium. There are situations where you work because you want to do the show though there’s no money and others where you get paid. I’ve been very privileged all these years since I’ve never had to ask for a job or a place to exhibit. Since 1981 I’ve been an independent curator at the Kunsthaus in Zurich, which has left me time to do shows in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, Bordeaux, and Madrid, and to run the museums I founded on “Monte Verita” with no state funds. But of course you work harder as a freelance curator, as Beuys said: no weekends, no holidays. I’m proud that I still have a vision and that, rarer still, I often hammer in the nails. It’s very exciting to work this way, but one thing is sure: you never get rich.

HUO: Felix Feneon described the role of the curator as that of a catalyst, a pedestrian bridge between art and public. Suzanne Page, a curator at the Musee d’art moderne de la ville de Paris with whom I often collaborate, gives an even more humble definition. She defines the curator as a “commis de l’artiste.” How would you define it?

HS: Well, the curator has to be flexible. Sometimes he is the servant sometimes the assistant, sometimes he gives artists ideas of how to present their work; in group shows, he’s the coordinator, in thematic shows, the inventor. But the most important thing about curating is to do it with enthusiasm and love – with a little obsessiveness.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist is a Vienna-based curator currently living in London

above copied from: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-18963443.html

Miami Art Basel Countdown Report 2014

EVERY YEAR EVERYTHING CHANGES FOR MIAMI ART BASEL AND ITS SATELLITE FAIRS AND MONSTER PRIVATE COLLECTION SHOWS AND SMALL BUT AMAZING MUSEUM SHOWS. This year may be more different than any we’ve seen since Fireplace Chats began going to Miami for Art Basel starting in 2005. First off is the return of the art fairs to from Miami to Miami Beach. The Pulse Fair is the most recent to decamp from Miami and will be centrally located south of NADA (which moved from Miami to Miami Beach a couple/three years ago). The Scope Fair is spending its second season in Miami Beach in South Beach; not far away is the Untitled Fair, which debuted on Miami Beach and remains there with an even more potent program than ever before. Art Miami and its Context Art Fair, and its Miami Beach fair – Aqua Art Miami, together offer over 200,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space for during Art Basel Miami Beach 2014. Miami Project fair still has serious game in Miami, and is joined this year by the newest Miami art Fair: Concept Art Fair. The guaranteed superb museum retrospective experience will be of the work of the leading abstract painter in South America, Beatriz Milhazes, at PAMM. The brand new ICA Miami, formed by the former board of North Miami MoCA, will have its debut show in the Design District. North Miami MoCA will have a show by a Nigerian artist curated by an African art scholar. According to the NYTimes, Mana (the massive full service contemporary art venture in Jersey City  has invested in group of buildings covering five blocks, Mana will host an art fair in Miami in December. The several private collection exhibitions are described in the Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 press release:

“Reflecting the show’s long-term impact on the local art scene, South Florida’s leading
museums and private collections will again time their strongest exhibitions of the year to
coincide with Art Basel. Visitors from across the world will have an opportunity to view the
city’s internationally renowned private collections.
The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation
(CIFO) will show ‘Impulse, Reason, Sense, Conflict/Abstract Art in the Ella Fontanals-
Cisernos Collection’, featuring works exhibited for the first time at the CIFO Art Space.
‘Beneath The Surface’ at the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space will include
work by Félix González-Torres, Wade Guyton, Rob Pruitt, Dana Schutz and
Kelley Walker, among others.
The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse will celebrate
its 15th anniversary with an exhibition of work by Pier Paolo Calzolari, John
Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer,
Donald Judd, Anselm Kiefer, Jannis Kounellis, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Mario
Merz, Joan Miró, Isamu Noguchi, Michelangelo Pistoletto, George Segal, Richard
Serra, Tony Smith, Do-Ho-Suh, Franz West and others.
The Rubell Family Collection
will present ‘Collection Overview/50 Years of Marriage’.”

looking forward to seeing you all there in sun and fun Miami Beach and Miami! Vincent Johnson Los Angeles http://www.vincentjohnsonart.com



Pérez Art Museum Miami mounts colorful solo show from Brazilian painter Beatriz Milhazes
10/10/2014 6:13 PM 10/10/2014 6:13 PM
vizarts10122 vizarts10121
From left to right: ‘Férias de Verão,’ 2005. Collection of Catherine and Franck Petitgas. ‘Feijoada,’ 2010. Collection Beatriz Milhazes. ‘Chora, menino,’ 1996. Colección Patricia Phelips de Cisneros, Caracas and New York.
From left to right: ‘Férias de Verão,’ 2005. Collection of Catherine and Franck Petitgas. ‘Feijoada,’ 2010. Collection Beatriz Milhazes. ‘Chora, menino,’ 1996. Colección Patricia Phelips de Cisneros, Caracas and New York.ORIOL TARRIDAS PHOTOGRAPHY
Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botânico, Milhazes’ solo show at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, is both a beautifully perfect title for the exhibit, and a misleading one as well.

The Brazilian painter has been popular for a couple of decades in Latin America and Europe, but this is her first U.S. museum survey, making it a bit of a coup for both PAMM and Miami. The more than 50 mostly large paintings simply burst from the walls in the several galleries they cover, with their outrageously bright colors and tropical flora imagery. It does feel like you are engulfed in a botanical garden, surrounded by shapes and hues that seem to have an organic life of their own and spiwll out from their canvases.

But these lovely paintings, with all their obvious decorative flourishes, start to become far more formal, less “wild,” when observing them closely, and especially as you move from early years to the most recent creations. The contrast becomes more intriguing as you dig deeper into Milhazes’ garden.

She is in fact intentionally playing with tension. She’s embracing her tropical environment — Jardim Botânico is the name of her neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro — and heritage, which includes the unique Brazilian cultural mix that has resulted in the exuberant carnival traditions and vibrant music.

But Milhazes is also schooled in the Modernist (and at times much more rigid and minimalist) trends that overtook European and Latin art during the 20th century. And then she plants textural, architectural and Pop culture elements into her yard, making her work more complex than what first meets the eye.

That’s why botanical is an essential part of the title: Her works are a framed study of detailed, specific bits and pieces that make up a micro-world, and not really an overflowing bouquet or untamed landscape.

The earlier works, made in the 1990s, start in the first room — where you can see the development of the mixture of abstract and literal detail colliding and taking on its own morphed form. Some of these can look like tapestries or jewelry — broaches and necklaces — with clear references to lace and ruffles and an almost Baroque-like imagery. One good example is Santo Antonio, Albuquerque from 1994; the pink, lavender and baby blue coloring is somewhat gentle, with a patterning that looks like doilies woven together with jeweled chains and interspersed with flowers and decorative knick-knacks.

It was at this time that Milhazes was inventing her own technique to make these paintings, which while feeling loose with their hyper-bright color schemes and elaborate interpretations, were actually precise in their composition. She didn’t leave the signs of brush-strokes behind after she applied a decal-like process to the creation of her works: She would paint on plastic sheets and then transfer the image to the canvas, layering them one on top of another, as though leaving layers of skin on the final product. That small touch, adding the collage element to all of her works, is what makes them less free-form and exploding than it seems from a distance. They are specimens, both natural and man-made.

Milhazes moved toward abstraction in the next decade, with circular and linear geometric designs becoming more prominent. Geometric abstraction has a long history in South America, so this too can feel part of an organic progression.

Flores e Arvores from 2012-2013 is an almost 3D culmination of all these influences, the huge painting truly leaping from a wall that seems trying to hold this kinetic, kaleidoscopic vision in. There are vertical and horizontal lines crossing over spheres and bubbles with more distinct motifs still popping through, in turquoise, yellow, pink, orange and purple coloring. These later works are more mural-like than confined to framed painting.

Like in any other garden, botanical and otherwise, there are surprising imperfections that also appear, marring in a good way. Milhazes suggests with these intentional markings that, mirroring nature, even the most gorgeous creations have flaws.

If there is a flaw in this exhibit, it is that even the lushest of gardens often need to be trimmed; at some point the number of psychedelic canvases sprouting from the galleries gets a little redundant. But Milhazes’ style and culturally influenced aesthetics are a fine fit for Miami, which is one reason why PAMM Chief Curator Tobias Ostrander picked her for this high profile solo outing. Milhazes combines references that reflect those of the multicultural New World, from Colonial Baroque to African rituals, from formal European artistic traditions to North American Pop culture. It’s a mix that Ostrander thought would resonate well in this cosmopolitan capital on the Caribbean rim, filled with people from points all over, and growing as an arts destination.

In fact, this is the first major in-house exhibit organized by the new museum and not brought in from elsewhere, which is a welcome trend. It will be the featured exhibit during Art Basel Miami Beach.

On your way in or out, don’t miss the new installation at PAMM on the ground floor, taking over from the Hew Locke piece comprised of dozens of colorful model boats and ships that helped inaugurate the museum. Hard to fill those shoes. But the monochromatic pieces from Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes, so different in tone from both Locke and Milhazes, nonetheless tie into the vision of the museum.

Antunes based these minimalist sculptures made of dark wood, brown leather and brass chains, on Brazilian architecture both Modernist and Afro-Brazilian. The linear meshes, weaves and planks that come down from the ceiling form a subtle maze through which you can quietly maneuver. It becomes immediately clear what a nice dialogue this installation has with another art asset here — the superb architecture of the Herzog & de Meuron building itself. Without screaming, they both stand handsomely and inviting.

Appropriately enough, the installation is called “a secluded and pleasant land. In this land I wish to dwell.”

What:S ‘Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botânico’

When: Through Jan. 11

Where: Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

How much: $16

Info: http://www.pamm.org

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/visual-arts/article2668218.html#storylink=cpy


Miami and Miami Beach Art Fair Guide Online Guide to Miami Art Week 2014

Information about the art fairs and art events taking place in Miami and Miami Beach between December 1 – 7, 2014. The week is commonly known as Miami Art Week. Approximately twenty art fairs participate, positioned in the area between Miami’s Wynwood Art District, Downtown Miami and Miami Beach. For the second year running, Art-Collecting.com will be offering a Day-by-Day Event Guide for Miami Art Week, with a wealth of information to make the experience fun, productive, and otherwise sublime. A special new section for evening and party planning will be included in the 2014 edition. The Day-by-Day Event Guide will become the “online go-to” guide for Miami Art Week! We’ll continue to update this guide and web page through November 29th. Below, you’ll find brief descriptions of the art fairs, including locations, hours, admission prices, and special events. If possible, plan on spending at least four days at Miami Art Week, as the week is flush with opportunities to mix, mingle; and, of course, feast one’s eyes on an incredible array of great art! Not only are the art fairs vibrant and engaging in of themselves, but related events occur at local art museums, private collections, non-profit art organizations, galleries and artist studios. An overview: Art Basel Miami Beach – held at the Miami Beach Convention Center is the largest art fair of the week, featuring more than 250 top galleries from around the world. Design Miami (a major design fair) takes place right next to Art Basel. Satellite art fairs: Scope Miami, Pulse, Select, NADA, and Untitled are also in Miami Beach and actually on or near the beach; enjoy the ocean view!. Hotel-based art fairs in Miami Beach include Ink and Aqua. Art Miami – held in Miami’s Wynwood Art District, is the most established art fair in Miami; it’s been around for years. Miami Project, Context, Spectrum, and Red Dot art fairs and many of Miami’s top art galleries are located in Wynwood. One can easily spend two days in the area and still miss a lot! Concept Fair is new for 2014 and it’s located at Bayfront Park. Miami River Art Fair is at the Miami Convention Center – James L. Knight Center, located in the downtown Miami. Free Shuttles – We highly recommend the free shuttle services offered by art fairs, especially when traveling between Miami and Miami Beach, and between downtown and Wynwood. Our Getting Around Town section in the Day-by-Day Event Guide will be the definitive companion for anyone navigating and schedule your weeks activities! Miami Beach Art Fairs Art Basel Miami Beach   |   Aqua Art Miami   |    Design Miami   |   Ink Miami   |   NADA Art Fair PULSE Miami   |   SELECT Fair   |   Scope Miami   |   Untitled. Miami Art Fairs Art Miami   |   Art Spot   |   Concept-Fair   |   CONTEXT   |   Fridge Art Fair   |   Miami Photo Salon Festival   |   Miami Project   |   Miami River Art Fair  |  Red Dot Art Fair  |  Spectrum

Art Basel Miami Beach 2013 logo Art Basel Miami Beach December 3 – 7, 2014 Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach https://www.artbasel.com/ Art Basel Miami Beach is the most important art show in the United States, a cultural and social highlight for the Americas. Leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa show historical work from the masters of Modern and contemporary art, as well as newly created pieces by emerging stars. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, films, and editioned works of the highest quality are on display at the main exhibition hall, while ambitious artworks and performances become part of the landscape at nearby beaches, Collins Park and SoundScape Park. Art Basel is comprised of multiple sectors, each of which has its own selection process and committee of experts, who review applicants and make the final selection of show participants. The seven show sectors offer a diverse collection of artworks, including pieces by established artists and newly emerging artists, curated projects, site-specific experiential work, and video. Galleries: The largest sector with more than 200 of the world’s leading Modern and contemporary art galleries – from North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. They display paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, prints, photography, film, video, and digital art by over 4,000 artists. Nova: Designed for galleries to present one, two or three artists showing new works that have been created within the last three years, the Nova sector often features never-before-seen pieces fresh from the artist’s studio and strong juxtapositions. Positions: This sector allows curators, critics, and collectors to discover ambitious new talents from all over the globe by providing a platform for a single artist to present one major project. Edition: Leading publishers of editioned works, prints, and multiples exhibit the results of their collaboration with renowned artists. Kabinett: Participants are chosen from the Galleries sector to present curated exhibitions in a separately delineated space within their booths. The curatorial concepts for Kabinett are diverse, including thematic group exhibitions, art-historical showcases, and solo shows. Public: This sector offers its visitors a chance to see outdoor sculptures, interventions, and performances, sited within an open and public exhibition format at Collins Park (2100 Collins AVE) near the beach. Public Opening Night, Dec. 3, 8:30-10pm. A special evening program with live performances, as part of the Public sector. Film: The Film sector presents works in two venues: inside the Miami Beach Convention Center, and in the outdoor setting of SoundScape Park where works are shown on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center. Selections include works by some of today’s most exciting artists from Latin America, the United States, Europe and Asia. Survey: Survey presents precise art historical projects that may include solo presentations by an individual artist, or juxtapositions and thematic exhibits from artists representing a range of cultures, generations, and artistic approaches. Magazines: Art publications from around the world display their magazines in single-magazine stands or the collective booth. Editors and publishers are often present at the show. ADMISSION $45 (One Day), $100 (Permanent Pass), $32 (evening ticket after 4pm) $30 Students and Seniors with ID, and and Groups of ten or more $55 Combination Ticket for Art Basel and Design Miami HOURS Thursday December 4th, 3pm – 8pm Friday, December 5th, Noon – 8pm Saturday, December 6th, Noon – 8pm Sunday, December 7th, Noon – 6pm Art Basel Conversations | Daily at 10am Art Salon | Daily 1pm to 6:30pm EVENTS Visit the Art Basel Miami website for a full listing of daily Special Exhibitions and Events. Wednesday, December 3rd, 11am – 8pm Private View (by invitation only) Thursday, December 4th, 11am – 3pm Vernissage – Private View (by invitation only) Shuttle Bus Service The show has organized a shuttle bus service for visits to the museums and collections in Miami. The pickup location is directly across the street from Hall D of the Miami Beach Convention Center. https://www.artbasel.com/ Press and Media coverage about Art Basel Miami Beach None listed at this time up arrow

Aqua 14 logo AQUA 14 Art Miami December 3 – 7, 2014 Aqua Hotel, 1530 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 http://www.aquaartmiami.com AQUA 14 Art Miami will celebrate its tenth consecutive installment this December. It is one of the best fairs for emerging art during Miami’s Art Week. Over the years, the fair has been recognized for presenting vibrant and noteworthy international art programs with a particular interest in supporting young dealers and galleries with strong emerging and early-to-mid-career artists. Set within a classic South Beach hotel with spacious exhibition rooms that open onto a breezy intimate courtyard, Aqua’s surroundings will certainly be a favorite gathering spot not only for fun and relaxation during the busy week but also as a place to exchange and disseminate new contemporary art ideas. And with its close proximity to Art Basel and continuous shuttle service to Art Miami and CONTEXT Art Miami, Aqua Art Miami will transform into one of the top attended satellite art events for collectors, artists, curators, critics and art enthusiasts alike. Aqua Art Miami will feature 47 dynamic young galleries from North and South America, Europe and Asia; and innovative special programming including performance art, new media and solo installations. With this commitment to artistic excellence, along with building a dynamic young marketplace with new and increased opportunities around marketing and audience services, The classic South Beach boutique hotel has breezy, spacious rooms surrounding an intimate courtyard. A great place to relax and socialize during Miami Art Week. And Aqua Hotel is located within walking distance of Art Basel, just south of the bustling Lincoln Road restaurant and shopping area. 2014 Aqua 14 Exhibitors ADMISSION $15 One day fair pass (Aqua Only) $75 Multi-day fair pass (Aqua, CONTEXT and Art Miami) $10 Students 12-18 years and Seniors HOURS Thursday, December 4th, Noon – 9pm Friday, December 5th, 11am to 9pm Saturday, December 6th, 11am to 9pm Sunday, December 7th, 11am to 6pm EVENTS Wednesday, December 3rd, 4pm – 11pm, VIP Preview. Access for Art Miami, CONTEXT, and Aqua Art Miami VIP Cardholders & Press http://www.aquaartmiami.com Press and Media coverage about Aqua Art Fair None listed at this time up arrow

Design Miami logo Design Miami/ December 2 – 7, 2014 Meridian Avenue and 19th Street, Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach http://www.designmiami.com/ Design Miami/ is the global forum for design. Each fair brings together the most influential collectors, gallerists, designers, curators and critics from around the world in celebration of design culture and commerce. 2014 Highlights Will be added when then information is available. The program of exhibitions presented by carefully selected galleries from Europe, the United States and Asia will be enriched by a dynamic series of design talks, site-specific installations and satellite events. For details of Design Miami’s cultural programs, including Design Talks, Collaborations, and Design Satellites. Swarovski Crystal Palace will be back for the seventh consecutive year as a main sponsor of Design Miami/. ADMISSION General Admission: $25 Students and Seniors (with ID): $29=0 Combination Ticket for Design Miami/ and Art Basel $55 (at ABMB) Tickets are valid for one day only. HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd, 10am – 8pm Thursday December 4th, 10am – 8pm Friday, December 5th, 11am to 8pm Saturday, December 6th, Noon to 8pm Sunday, December 7th, Noon to 6pm EVENTS Tuesday, December 2nd, Noon – 6pm Collectors Preview Tuesday, December 2nd, 6pm – 8pm Vernissage http://www.designmiami.com/ http://www.designmiami.com/designlog/ Press and Media coverage about Design Miami/ None listed at this time up arrow

Ink Miami logo INK Miami Art Fair December 3 – 7, 2014 Suites of Dorchester, 1850 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139 http://www.inkartfair.com INK Miami is a contemporary art fair held annually in December during Art Basel Miami Beach. The Fair is unique among Miami’s fairs for its focus on contemporary works on paper by internationally renowned artists. It is sponsored by the International Fine Print Dealers Association and exhibitors are selected from among members of the Association for their outstanding ability to offer collectors a diverse survey of 20th century masterworks and just published editions by leading contemporary artists. Since its founding in 2006, the Fair has attracted a loyal following among museum curators and committed collectors of works on paper. If you’re looking to purchase prints or works on paper, you should plan on attending this small art fair. This fair is located just a few blocks from the convention center and Art Basel Miami Beach. 2014 Ink Miami Exhibitors ADMISSION Free, No Charge HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd, Noon – 5pm Thursday, December 4th, 10am – 5pm Friday, December 5th, 10am – 8pm Saturday, December 6th, 10am – 8pm Sunday, December 7th, 10am – 3pm EVENTS Preview Breakfast, Wednesday, December 3rd, 10am – 11:30am http://www.inkartfair.com Press and Media coverage about Ink Miami Art Fair None listed at this time up arrow

NADA Art Fair logo NADA Art Fair – Miami Beach December 4 – 7, 2014 The Deauville Beach Resort, 6701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33141 http://www.newartdealers.org Founded in 2002, New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) is a not-for-profit collective of professionals working with contemporary art. Our mission is to create an open flow of information, support, and collaboration within our field and to develop a stronger sense of community among our constituency. NADA’s fair is held in parallel with Art Basel Miami Beach and is recognized as a much needed alternative assembly of the world’s youngest and strongest art galleries dealing with emerging Contemporary Art. It is the only major American art fair to be run by a non-profit organization. Our international group of members includes both galleries and individuals (art professionals, independent curators, and established gallery directors). The various perspectives and ideas offered by our diverse roster creates a network which, at its most basic, is a resource which people could contribute to and take as much (or as little) as they are inclined. The benefits for some may be a matter of business, for others a source of intellectual or aesthetic stimulation. To date, our initiatives have succeeded on two fronts: making the contemporary arts more accessible for the general public, and creating opportunities that nurture the growth of emerging artists, curators, and galleries. Our EVENTS have included: artist talks/gallery walks with critics and curators; benefits in support of charitable institutions; members-only seminars to stimulate dedication and ethics in our profession; and an annual art fair in Miami, which is held in December and is free and open to the public. Don’t plan on walking to this art fair, look for the free shuttle service near Art Basel Miami Beach. The pick-up and drop-off is at 17th and Washington, near the southeast corner of the convention center. Shuttle service begins each day at 10:30am. 2014 NADA Exhibitors ADMISSION Free and open to the public HOURS Thursday, December 4th, 2pm – 8pm Friday, December 5th, 11am – 8pm Saturday, December 6th, 11am – 8pm Sunday, December 7th, 11am – 5pm EVENTS Thursday, December 4th, 10am – 2pm, Opening Preview by Invitation http://www.newartdealers.org Press and Media coverage about NADA Art Fair – Miami Beach None listed at this time up arrow

Pulse Miami logo for 2013 PULSE Miami Indian Beach Park 4601 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL December 4 – 7, 2014 http://www.pulse-art.com PULSE provides a unique platform for diverse galleries to present a progressive blend of renowned and pioneering contemporary artists, alongside an evolving series of original programming. The fair’s distinctive commitment to the art community and visitor experience makes PULSE unique among art fairs and creates an art market experience that is both dynamic and inviting. The Fair is divided into two sections and is comprised of a mix of established and emerging galleries vetted by a committee of prominent international dealers. The IMPULSE section presents galleries invited by the Committee to present solo exhibitions of artist’s work created in the past two years. In addition, PULSE develops original cultural programs with a series of large-scale installations, its PULSE Play video lounge, the PULSE Performance events. The PULSE Prize is awarded in New York and in Miami to one of the artists presented in the IMPULSE section. 2014 PULSE Miami Exhibitors ADMISSION General Admission $20 Students and Seniors $15 MultiPass (4 day) $25 2013 HOURS Thursday, December 4th, 1pm – 7pm Friday, December 5th, 10am – 7pm Saturday, December 6th, 10am – 7pm Sunday, December 7th, 10am – 5pm EVENTS Thursday, December 4th, 9am – 1pm, Private Preview Brunch (Invitation only) Complimentary Shuttle Service: PULSE will offer a shuttle service operating between Art Basel Miami Beach and Pulse Miami Beach. Shuttles will run from 9am to 8pm http://www.pulse-art.com Press and Media coverage about PULSE Miami None listed at this time up arrow

Scope Miami 2013 logo Scope Miami Beach December 2 – 7, 2014 910 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139 http://www.scope-art.com SCOPE Miami Beach’s monumental pavilion will once again be situated on historic Ocean Drive to welcome near 40,000 visitors over the course of 6 days. Over 100 Exhibitors and 20 selected Breeder Program galleries will present groundbreaking work, alongside SCOPE’s special programming, encompassing music, design and fashion. Long-established as the original incubator for emerging work, SCOPE’s Breeder Program celebrates its 14th year of introducing new galleries to the contemporary market. VH1 will also be presenting the ultimate mash-up of music, pop culture and nostalgia for adults who still want to have fun. There will be some great music on Miami Beach. The tickets are difficult to get but you can sill enjoy the music from the beach for free. Juxtapoz Magazine will curate and present a selection artworks. Juxtapoz Presents galleries embody the New Contemporary that is SCOPE’s hallmark and add a singular dynamism to the Miami Beach 2014 show. Juxtapoz will also release a special edition SCOPE newspaper featuring coverage of the Juxtapoz Presents programming. Scope will also feature a curated exhibition of artworks from Korea. SCOPE Miami Beach opens on Tuesday, December 2, to welcome VIPs and Press at its First View benefit, and will run December 2 – 7, 2014. 2014 Scope Exhibitors ADMISSION General Admission $30 and Students $20 Free for VIP cardholders Brunch, Tuesday: $150 First View, Tuesday: $100 HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd, 11am – 8pm Thursday, December 4th, 11am – 8pm Friday, December 5th, 11am – 8pm Saturday, December 6th, 11am – 8pm Sunday, December 7th, 11am – 8pm EVENTS Tuesday, December 2nd, Noon – 4pm, Platinum VIP First View. Tuesday, December 2nd, 4pm – 8pm, General VIP and Press First View. Friday, December 5th, 8pm – 11pm The Official VH1 + Scope Party (by invitation and confirmed RSVP only) http://www.scope-art.com Press and Media coverage about Scope Miami Beach None listed at this time up arrow

Select Contemporary Art Fair SELECT // CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR 72nd Street and Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL December 2 – 7, 2014 http://www.select-fair.com SELECT is pleased to announce its new location at 72nd Street and Collins Avenue in a grand-scale 40,000 sq/ft tent structure. We have selected this location for its multi-use capabilities, which include an adjunct amphitheater for performance and nightly music programming. The fair will have ample parking across the street and is a short walk from the neighboring NADA art fair. SELECT will evolve its vision of presenting 50 + cutting edge international galleries through the curatorial direction of Tim Goossens. Previously the Assistant Curator at MoMA PS1, Goossens is the Curatorial Director of envoy enterprise in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a Curatorial Advisor at the Clocktower Gallery, and serves on the curatorial advisory committee of SoHO House New York. Additionally, he maintains a roster of independent curatorial projects. SELECT will be held at 72nd street and Collins Avenue, just three blocks from NADA along the sands of beautiful North Beach. Our location has perks such as, beach front views, an attached parking lot, and an amphitheater for music and arts programing. We are conveniently located at the end of the John F Kennedy causeway (route 934), allowing for easy visitor access for clients moving back and forth from the beach to Wynwood. Shuttle: Free shuttles will be running between SELECT (72nd and Collins) and the Convention Center (17th and Washington). 2014 Select Miami Exhibitors ADMISSION Free Entry HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd: 11am – 8pm Thursday, December 4th: 11am – 8pm Friday, December 5th: 11am – 8pm Saturday, December 6th: 11am – 8 pm Sunday, December 7th: 11am – 6pm EVENTS Tuesday, December 2nd, 4pm – 8pm, VIP and Press Preview www.select-fair.com Press and Media coverage about SELECT Art Fair None listed at this time up arrow

Untitled Art Fair Miami Beach 2013 logo UNTITLED. December 1 – 7, 2014 Ocean Drive and 12th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139 http://art-untitled.com/ UNTITLED., is a curated art fair and is back for it’s third year, running December 1 – 7, 2014, in the heart of Miami Beach’s South Beach district at Ocean Drive and 12th Street. UNTITLED., the international art fair launched in Miami Beach in 2012. UNTITLED.’s curatorial approach to the traditional art fair model places an emphasis on the viewer’s experience by contextualizing the artworks exhibited at each booth. The fair presents a selection of international galleries and not-for-profit spaces, positioned side by side to create a less segregated fair installation. UNTITLED. 2014 is presented in a temporary pavilion on South Beach designed by internationally recognized architecture firm K/R, led by John Keenen and Terence Riley. The 60,000 square feet floor plan complements UNTITLED.’s curatorial approach and creates an exceptional viewing experience with abundant natural light and an open ocean view. The fair is located directly on the beach in the South Beach district at Ocean Drive and 12th Street, providing a quintessential Miami Beach event. 2014 Untitled. Exhibitors ADMISSION General Admission: $25, 4-day pass $30 Discounted Admission (Seniors and Students): $15 Miami Beach residents: $15 Groups of 15 or more: $15 per person Children under 12: FREE HOURS Wednesday, December 43rd, 3pm – 7pm Thursday, December 4th, 11am – 7pm Friday, December 5th, 11am – 7pm Saturday, December 6th, 11am – 7pm Sunday, December 7th, 11am – 4pm EVENTS Monday, December 1st, 6pm – 9pm, Vernissage. Tuesday, December 2nd, 1pm – 3pm, Press Preview. Tuesday, December 2nd, 3pm – 7pm, VIP Preview. http://art-untitled.com/ Press and Media coverage about Art Untitled Art Fair None listed at this time up arrow

Miami Art Fairs

Art Miami logo graphic Art Miami December 2 – 7, 2014 Midtown Miami | Wynwood, 3101 NE 1st Avenue, Miami, FL 33137 http://www.art-miami.com Known as Miami’s premier anchor fair, Art Miami kicks off the opening day of Art Week – the first week of December when thousands of collectors, dealers, curators, and artists descend upon Miami. World-famous for its stylish gallery-like decor, its outstanding quality and extraordinary variety, Art Miami showcases the best in modern and contemporary art from more than 125 international art galleries. Art Miami maintains a preeminent position in America’s contemporary art fair market. With a rich history, it is the original and longest-running contemporary art fair in Miami and continues to receive praise for the variety of unparalleled art that it offers. It is the “can’t miss” event for all serious collectors, curators, museum directors, and interior designers providing an intimate look at some of the most important work at the forefront of the international contemporary art movement. Ample and convenient parking is available through the use of a four-story parking garage with 2,000 spots, located directly across the street from the Art Miami Pavilion as well as valet parking. A network of complimentary shuttle buses will run round-trip service between Art Miami, Aqua, and Art Basel Miami Beach. 2014 Art Miami Exhibitors ADMISSION $35 one day, $75 multi-day pass, $15 Students 12-18 years and Seniors A One Day Fair Pass provides admission to Art Miami and CONTEXT Art Miami Fairs. A Multi-Day Pass provides admission to Art Miami, CONTEXT Art Miami and Aqua Art Miami Fairs. HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd, 11am – 7pm Thursday, December 4th, 11am – 7pm Friday, December 5th, 11am – 8pm Saturday, December 6th, 11am – 7pm Sunday, December 7th, 11am – 6pm EVENTS Tuesday, December 2nd, 5:30pm – 10pm, VIP Preview (Access for Art Miami VIP Cardholders and Press http://www.art-miami.com Press and Media coverage about Art Miami None listed at this time up arrow

ArtSpot Miami 2014 logo ArtSpot Miami 2014 December 3 – 7, 2014 3011 NE 1st Avenue at NE 30th St, Miami, FL 33137 http://www.aldocastilloprojects.com/ No details at this time. ADMISSION Not available at this time HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd Thursday, December 4th Friday, December 5th Saturday, December 6th Sunday, December 7th EVENTS None listed at this time http://www.aldocastilloprojects.com/ Press and Media coverage about ArtSpot Miami 2014 None listed at this time up arrow

Concept Art Fair logo Concept-Fair December 2 – 7, 2014 301 Biscayne Blvd. (Bayfront Park), Miami, FL 33132 http://www.concept-fair.com/ Inaugural Edition, Contemporary art fair featuring exclusively modern works from 1860-1980 including painting, sculpture, photography, design and objet d’art. Miami will focus on “fresh to market” blue chip secondary market works and modern contemporary masters. Limited to approximately 80 carefully selected dealers, it is designed as a sophisticated, elegant waterfront oasis for collectors during the frenetic Art Basel Week. This will be a fair for the serious collector and connoisseur presented in a relaxed, waterfront location adjacent to the Perez Art Museum Miami, Frost Museum in proximity to all major downtown hotels and the Brickell financial center, the second largest banking capital in North America. Our goal is to present a new fair at the “next level” from current December fairs. Uniquely, the hours will be until 9 pm creating a later “Miami Time” venue for collectors after the closing of other December fairs throughout the city prior to Miami’s later dining times. 2014 Concept Exhibitors ADMISSION One Day Ticket $15, Multiple Day Ticket $25 HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd, 1pm – 10pm Thursday, December 4th, 1pm – 10pm Friday, December 5th, 1pm – 10pm Saturday, December 6th, 1pm – 10pm Sunday, December 7th, 1pm – 7pm EVENTS Tuesday, December 2nd, 6pm – 8pm, Preview Tuesday, December 2nd, 8pm – 10pm, Collectors Invitational (Invitation only) http://www.concept-fair.com Press and Media coverage about Concept None listed at this time up arrow

Context Art Miami logo CONTEXT December 2 – 7, 2014 Midtown Miami | Wynwood, 3101 NE 1st Avenue, Miami, FL 33137 http://www.contextartmiami.com/ CONTEXT along with the 25th edition of Art Miami will commence on December 2, 2014 with CONTEXT Art Miami’s highly anticipated Opening Night VIP Preview to benefit the Miami Art Museum (PAMM. The 2012 benefit preview attracted 11,000 collectors, curators, artists, connoisseurs, and designers and the fair hosted a total of 60,000 attendees over a six-day period. This immediately reinforced the CONTEXT fair as a proven destination and serious marketplace for top collectors to acquire important works from the leading international galleries representing emerging and mid career cutting edge works of art. The combined exhibition space of CONTEXT and Art Miami will increase the overall roster of galleries to 190 participants and cover 200,000 square feet. Ample and convenient parking is available for both fairs through the use of a four-story parking garage with 2,000 spots, located directly across the street from the CONTEXT and Art Miami Pavilions as well as valet parking. A network of complimentary shuttle buses will run round-trip service between Art Miami, CONTEXT, Aqua Art Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach. 2014 CONTEXT Exhibitors ADMISSION $35 one day, $75 multi-day pass, $10 Students 12-18 years and Seniors Tickets are sold online one month prior to Fair dates and onsite at the Box Offices during show hours. A One Day Fair Pass provides admission to Art Miami and CONTEXT Art Miami Fairs. A Multi-Day Pass provides admission to Art Miami, CONTEXT Art Miami and Aqua Art Miami Fairs. HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd, 11am – 7pm Thursday, December 4th, 11am – 7pm Friday, December 5th, 11am – 9pm Saturday, December 6th, 11am – 7pm Sunday, December 7th, 11am – 6pm EVENTS Tuesday, December 2nd, 5:30pm – 10pm, VIP Preview (Access for Art Miami VIP Cardholders and Press http://www.contextartmiami.com/ Press and Media coverage about CONTEXT Art Fair None listed at this time up arrow

Fridge Art Fair Miami 2014 logo Fridge Art Fair December 2 – 8, 2014 300 SW 12th Ave. (Corner of SW 12th Ave. & SW 3rd St) Miami, FL 33130 http://www.fridgeartfair.com/ Fridge Art Fair is pleased to announce that its second Miami edition will take place at the Good Wall / Conch Hill Market, 968 Calle Ocho, Miami, Florida from December 2 – 8, 2014, thanks to major sponsorship by the Barlington Group and media sponsorship by Miami Art Scene. Once again, Founding Director Eric Ginsburg, a noted painter in his own right (mainly for his soulful portraits of dogs), will lead the Fridge team. “People should not be afraid to go and see art, and it should not cost a fortune,” said Ginsburg. “I want people to be happy, we want everyone from all walks of life to come to this fair and say, ‘that was really cool!'” In that spirit he has subtitled this edition “De Staatliches Bauhaus Rijpe Mango Editie.” Cara Hunter Viera of Fridge will serve as producer, Miami Art Scene’s Kat Wagner joins Fridge as fair as head curator for the Miami Edition and NYC based curator writer and dealer Linda DiGusta, co-director of Fridge 2014 in New York, stays on the team as curatorial consultant. Major sponsors are the Barlington Group, an urban development company committed to revitalizing neighborhoods within Miami’s the urban core. And, The Miami Art Scene, an influential art portal covering local, national and international art news and information. Exhibitor applications still being accepted. ADMISSION Not available at this time HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd Thursday, December 4th Friday, December 5th Saturday, December 6th Sunday, December 7th EVENTS Tuesday, December 2nd, VIP Preview & Opening Gala, at the Ball & Chain – Miami’s Famed Cotton Club – Circa 1957 http://www.fridgeartfair.com/ Press and Media coverage about Fridge Art Fair None listed at this time up arrow

Miami Photo Salon Festival MIAMI PHOTO SALON FESTIVAL December 2 – 5, 2014 Cuban American Phototheque Foundation, 4260 SW 74 Ave. Miami FL. 33135 http://www.miamiphotosalonfestival.com/ Miami Photo Salon – December 2 to 5, is an International Fine Art Photography Festival that takes place yearly during Art Miami week. Local and international photographers will showcase and exhibit work in a salon-style venue, in Downtown Miami where foot traffic between 13 visiting art fairs will bring to the area 75000 visitors, meaning artists participating will get in front of a huge audience, at a time when Miami is hosting the most important international art event in the world. For those interested in collecting photography, artwork is of the best quality, as MPSF art fair committee had selectively invited excellent artists, and it is possible to attend a VIP opening night preview on December 1st. 2014 Miami Photo Salon Festival Exhibitors ADMISSION One Day Ticket – $15 Students and Seniors – $10 Preview Ticket and Multi-Day Pass – $50 HOURS Tuesday, December 2nd, 11am – 9pm Wednesday, December 3rd, 11am – 7pm Thursday, December 4th, 11am – 10pm Friday, December 5th, 9:30am – 7pm EVENTS Monday, December 1st, VIP Preview 6:30pm – 10pm Friday, December 5th, 6pm Award Ceremony and Closing Remarks http://www.miamiphotosalonfestival.com/ Press and Media coverage about Miami Photo Salon Festival None listed at this time up arrow

Miami Project logo MIAMI PROJECT December 2 – 7, 2014 NE 29th Street and NE 1st Avenue, Miami, FL 33137 http://www.miami-project.com/ Miami Project will return to the Wynwood Art District from December 2 to 7, 2014. It will again present a selection of historically important and cutting-edge contemporary work side by side, with a unique emphasis on the strength of individual exhibitors’ programs irrespective of their primary focus. Sixty galleries from across the United States will show at the fair. Galleries that represent prominent estates like those of Larry Rivers and Robert Mapplethorpe will exhibit next to those showing today’s most exciting young artists. Work from the historic avant-garde will inform and contextualize the best examples of contemporary practice. Galleries are curated into Miami Project based on a serious commitment to important living artists; extensive involvement with remarkable estates; and the strength of their program generally. The fair’s emphasis on presenting quality works in an intimate setting won over its 20,000 visitors last year, and the 2014 edition will again be boutique-scale, allowing for comfortable viewing in a relaxed atmosphere. Miami Project is housed in a deluxe, tent with soaring cathedral ceilings erected especially for the fair. It will feature roomy aisles and extravagant lounges for a pleasant visitor experience. Located at NE 29th Street and NE 1st Avenue in Miami. Miami Project is presented with support from the Wall Street Journal, Luxe magazine, Perrier, the Midtown Doral, Porcelanosa, New Amsterdam Vodka, and Shellback Rum. 2014 Miami Project Exhibitors ADMISSION One Day Ticket – $25 Multi-Day Pass – $40 Preview Ticket and Multi-Day Pass – $50 HOURS Tuesday, December 2nd, 5:30pm – 10pm Wednesday, December 3rd, 10am – 5:30pm Thursday, December 4th, 10am – 7pm Friday, December 5th, 10am – 8pm Saturday, December 6th, 10am – 7pm Sunday, December 7th, 10am – 6pm EVENTS Tuesday, December 2nd, 5:30pm – 10pm, Miami VIP Preview http://www.miami-project.com/ Press and Media coverage about Miami Project Art Fair None Listed at this time up arrow

Miami River Art Fair logo Miami River Art Fair December 4 – 7, 2014 Miami Convention Center @ James L. Knight Center Downtown – Brickell Financial Area 400 SE Second Ave, Miami, FL 33131 http://miamiriverartfair.com/ The third edition of the Miami River Art Fair, an international, contemporary art fair, will take place at the Downtown Miami Convention Center inside the James L. Knight International Center in Downtown. MRAF is providing a unique fair-going experience during the art fair season as the only waterfront art fair. Miami River Art Fair is featuring both an indoor booth setting at the Riverfront Hall of the Miami Convention Center and the one-of-a-kind Riverwalk Sculpture Mall, which is featuring monumental sculpture on the banks of the historic Miami River with a presence of monumental sculptures from Italy, France, Cuba, Colombia, Korea, Spain and a special presentation from Mexico. The Miami River Art Fair will feature galleries and projects with artists from all around the globe. The Miami River Art Fair paves the way for the arts in our financial district as the pioneer art fair of the Downtown Miami – Brickell areas during the winter art fair season. The City of Miami welcomes the Miami River Art Fair as a herald for the revitalization of the Lower Miami River district, the city’s waterfront destination of the twenty-first century. Please join us as we celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Miami River Art Fair and the Opening Night Preview on December 4. Guests will enjoy Italian Limited Edition Organic Wine and exclusive performance uniquely created for the evening. Funds raised at the event support the Little Dreams Foundation who was established by Orianne and Phil Collins in February 2000. Its mission is to fulfill the dreams of young aspiring talent without the means to achieve their goals. Special Collectors’ Preview: December 4th, 4:00 – 6:00pm, $200 per guest. The exclusive first opportunity to preview and purchase works of art at the fair. Guests are also invited to stay for the Opening Night Preview form 6:00 – 11:00 pm. Opening Night Preview Benefiting Little Dream Foundation 6:00 – 7:00 pm, $100 per guest. Meet LDF’s celebrity mentors as Phil Collins, Romero Brito, David Frangioni among others godparents, sponsors and technical advisors. The 100% proceeds supports the Little Dreams Foundation The Miami River Art Fair 2014 is endorsed by the City of Miami, the Miami River Commission, the City of Miami Beach, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Art Deco Preservation League. Miami River Art Fair complimentary Shuttle Service to transport passengers to other Art Fairs. 1) Every 30 minutes between The Miami River Art Fair and Miami Beach Convention Center. 2) Every 30 minutes between The Miami River Art Fair and Midtown Miami. Shuttle stop in front of JLK Center. 2014 Exhibitors – Not yet available ADMISSION FREE with online registration Complimentary Admission with Art Basel and Miami Art Fairs VIP Pass Complimentary group guided tour with online registration HOURS Thursday, December 4th, 7pm – 11pm Friday, December 5th Noon – 8pm Saturday, December 6th, Noon – 8pm Sunday, December 7th, 11am – 6pm EVENTS Thursday, December 4th, 4 – 6pm, Special Collectors Preview Thursday, December 4th, 6 – 11pm, VIP Opening The event will also support and raise funds for the Little Dreams Foundation, established by Orianne and Phil Collins in February 2000. Its mission is to fulfill the dreams of young aspiring talent without the means to achive their goals. http://miamiriverartfair.com/ Press and Media coverage about Miami River Art Fair 1) Virtual tour of 2013 edition of Miami River Art Fair 2) The Miami River Art Fair has been featured in over 50 international publications to date and in over 15 local, national and international local broadcasts, press interviews and video coverage segments. Here’s the link : http://miamiriverartfair.com/press-coverage/ up arrow

Red Dot Miami 2013 logo Red Dot Art Fair December 2 – 7, 2014 3011 NE 1st Avenue at the corner of NE 31st Street, Miami, FL 33137 http://www.reddotfair.com/ Red Dot Art Fair is pleased to announce its 8th edition and return to the same prime location in Wynwood Art District in Miami, December 2- 7, 2014, concurrent with Art Basel Miami Beach. Building upon its reputation as a diverse fair, Red Dot will offer a unique selection of approximately sixty galleries exhibiting painting, sculpture, photography and fine-art objects. The opening reception on Tuesday, December 2nd, will benefit Center for Autism & Related Disabilities of Miami. Red Dot Art Fair strives to create a fair specializing in emerging, mid-career and established artists that present work of lasting value. The luxurious layout of the fifty thousand square foot tented venue will provide visitors with a sophisticated and friendly environment to view artwork presented by galleries and dealers. Red Dot is excited about being part of Miami’s vibrant art scene and its great fabric of galleries, museums and cultural institutions. 2014 Red Dot Exhibitors, not yet available ADMISSION One Day Ticket – $15 Week Pass – $25 HOURS Tuesday, December 2nd, 6pm – 10pm Wednesday, December 3rd, 11am – 5pm Thursday, December 4th, 11am – 6pm Friday, December 5th, 11am – 8pm Saturday, December 6th, 11am -8pm Sunday, December 7th, 11am – 6pm EVENTS Tuesday, December 2nd, 6pm – 10pm, Opening Reception http://www.reddotfair.com/ Press and Media coverage about Red Dot Art Fair None listed at this time up arrow

Spectrum logo 2014 Spectum Miami Art Show December 3 – 7, 2014 3011 NE 1st Avenue at NE 30th St, Miami, FL 33137 http://spectrum-miami.com/ No details at this time. ADMISSION General Admission $10 Opening Preview + 5 Day Show Pass $25 VIP Special Events Evening Pass – Includes special events & drinks (Dec. 4, 5, 6 – 6pm-10pm) $10 Students/Senior Admission $7.50 HOURS Wednesday, December 3rd, 6pm – 10pm Thursday, December 4th, 1pm – -9pm Friday, December 5th, 1pm – 9pm Saturday, December 6th, 1pm – 9pm Sunday, December 7th, Noon – 6pm EVENTS Wednesday, December 3rd, 6pm – 10pm, Opening Preview http://spectrum-miami.com/ Press and Media coverage about Spectrum None listed at this time up arrow     === MIAMI NEW TIMES

Art Basel Miami Beach’s 13th Edition Prepares to Break Records

By Carlos Suarez De Jesus Published Tue., Sep. 30 2014 at 1:15 PM

Courtesy of MDC Museum of Art and Design
Shen Wei will present his first U.S. museum show at MOAD.

This year, our fall Arts & Eats Guide lists all that’s timeless and fresh in Miami, from visual art to delicious food. Theater, dance, music, and drinks all make a much-needed appearance throughout the season as well. Pick up one of our printed guides Thursday, October 2, where you’ll find profiles, interviews, and detailed event calendars to guide you through the upcoming cultural season.When Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) blitzes into town December 4 though 7, the event will likely break attendance records. For its 13th edition, ABMB will boast 267 of the planet’s top international galleries, selected from 31 countries, that will exhibit 20th- and 21st-century works by more than 2,000 artists at the Miami Beach Convention Center and various venues throughout the city. The zenith of Miami’s cultural calendar, Basel transforms our peninsula into a rambling art installation, with upward of 20 satellite fairs and scores of related events, including outdoor murals, installations, and pop-up shops mushrooming from South Beach to Wynwood, Little Havana, and Pinecrest. See also: New Bass Museum Curator of Exhibitions Reflects on Miami’s Artistic Boom The main event at the convention center, now recognized as the art world’s biggest block party, is expected to draw about 50,000 international visitors and generate close to a half-billion dollars in sales over its four-day run, according to experts. This year marks an increase of nine galleries from last year’s roster, including a whopping 90 galleries from New York City. By comparison, the Magic City’s booming arts scene will have a paltry presence, with the Fredric Snitzer Gallery returning to ABMB’s centerpiece Galleries section, while downtown Miami’s Michael Jon Gallery will make its debut in the fair’s Nova section at the convention center. It’s no surprise Snitzer’s gallery is returning. The owner has been a staple of ABMB since its inception and is a member of the fair’s selection committee. Michael Jon’s selection, however, has raised eyebrows among local dealers because the space is relatively new to a South Florida scene that, for the most part, is steaming over the repeated lack of local representation at ABMB. Also making its debut is Survey, a new sector of the fair boasting 13 select galleries that will feature art-historical projects ranging from solo exhibits to thematic showcases. New York’s Andrew Edlin Gallery will present a two-artist focus on the works of Henry Darger and Marcel Storr, ranking among the top offerings in the section. Special sectors will also showcase performance art, video art, public projects, and upstart galleries. The Positions section will feature 16 curated solo booths, including a meditation on “architectural destruction” by Syrian artist Hrair Sarkissian, who is represented by Greece’s Kalfayan Galleries. Among ABMB’s popular sectors is Public, an outdoor sculpture showcase organized by Public Art Fund director and chief curator Nicholas Baume, whose inaugural effort last year was hailed as one of the fair’s top attractions. Another returning crowd favorite is ABMB’s Film sector, in which curators David Gryn — the director of London’s Artprojx and Zurich collector This Brunner embrace the theme of playfulness for this year’s edition. Gryn will present more than 70 films and videos by an international compilation of artists. The works will screen at Miami Beach SoundScape on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center. This year’s satellite scene is expanding to downtown Miami with the inaugural edition of the Concept-Fair at Bayfront Park, where 80 exhibitors will feature blue-chip modern works from 1860 to 1980, including painting, sculpture, photography, design, and objets d’art in a tranquil setting far from ABMB’s more frenetic scene. The event will be housed in a $3 million spaceship-like circular tent with unobstructed views and a translucent ceiling designed to illuminate the artworks under South Florida’s tropical sunlight. Meanwhile, the 305’s top museums will trot out their best shows of the year to seduce visiting art-world cognoscenti and local Basel enthusiasts.

Photo by George Martinez/gmartnx.com
Art Basel Miami Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 2013

For its first anniversary, Perez Art Museum Miami’s (PAMM) Basel bash December 4 will feature a time-based art presentation by Future Brown with Kalela, an underground DJ supergroup. The museum will also unveil a commissioned work by Mexico City-based artist Mario Garcia Torres, whose project “incorporates photography, film, and objects that explore notions of South Florida as a site for withdrawal from society for the purpose of artistic creation,” according to the museum.PAMM also will display “Jardim Botanico,” the first major retrospective of Brazilian abstract painter Beatriz Milhazes. The artist is known for her complex and disorienting compositions bursting with wild, decorative patterns typically rendered in a glowing tropical palette. Both the Frost Art Museum and Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) will showcase influential Chinese artists in their marquee matchups. The Frost has lined up Wang Qingsong, one of China’s top talents, who has earned international raves for his innovative approach to photography. The artist, who began his career as a painter, picked up the camera in the late 1990s and now works in documentary and staged photography, computer-generated images, and sculpture. His solo, “ADinfinitum,” will feature expansive images capturing his homeland’s epic transformation brought on by booming globalization. At the historic Freedom Tower December 5, MOAD will partner with MDC Live Arts to present “Shen Wei: In Black, White, and Gray.” The artist’s first U.S. museum show will be dedicated to a solo series of paintings in collaboration with site-specific performances. Chinese-born, New York-based Shen Wei is a choreographer, director, dancer, painter, and designer who achieved fame as the lead choreographer for the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The artist, who has earned acclaim for his cross-cultural, bold movement-based spectacles, will premiere a suite of 11 theatrical and kinetic paintings while choreographing interpretive performances based on these works, resulting in a series of five public performances. If you visit the Bass Museum of Art December 4, you’ll have to navigate through a maze-like Gregor Hildebrandt installation made from hundreds of strips of tape gathered from video cassettes of the Jean Cocteau classic Orpheus. The meandering opus will be part of “One Way: Peter Marino,” a sprawling exhibit opening a window on the noted American architect and luxury designer’s multifaceted relationship with art. Marino, whose pioneering cross-disciplinary practice fuses art, architecture, fashion, and creative spatial design, has long been recognized for commissioning original artworks for his architecture and design. In addition to Hildebrandt’s shimmering tape passageways will be major installations by Guy Limone, Farhad Moshiri, Jean-Michel Othoniel, and Erwin Wurm. Works from Marino’s personal collection will include paintings by Loris Gréaud, Keith Haring, Richard Serra, Rudolf Stingel, and Andy Warhol. The exhibition will also feature sections dedicated to pop art, iconic portraiture, the German spirit, and photography. Marino worked closely with Jerome Sans, the exhibit’s curator, to strike a thought-provoking balance between his architectural work and designs, personal collection, and recent edition of cast-bronze boxes that will be showcased. Last year, North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) drew sizable Basel crowds for notorious British artist Tracy Emin’s first U.S. museum solo show. But this December marks a major litmus test for MOCA, which has been involved in a yearlong controversy. The museum’s board of directors filed a lawsuit against the City of North Miami in April before leaving MOCA with part of its collection and the city hiring a new director. On December 2, the embattled museum’s new administration will open “Shifting Paradigms: The Work of George Edozie,” signaling an institutional shift in focus while hoping MOCA’s fresh direction inspires crowds. Curated by Nkiru Nzegwu, professor of Africana studies at Binghamton University in New York, the exhibit seeks to “articulate and draw attention to the occurrence of a millennium shift in the epistemological paradigm of art-making and interpretation” while opening “MOCA, Art Basel, and the world to a new way of thinking and being in the world as truly universal,” says Babacar M’Bow, the museum’s new director. Edozie, a Nigerian artist who explores themes of identity in his narrative-based works, will present 50 works making their U.S. debut, including a series of freestanding sculptures constructed from fabric that will form his exhibit’s central installation.



Bass Museum’s New Curator of Exhibitions Reflects on Miami’s Artistic Boom

By Carlos Suarez De Jesus Published Tue., Sep. 30 2014 at 12:11 PM

Photo by Cristina Lei Rodriguez
Jose Carlos Diaz of the Bass Museum.

This year, our fall Arts & Eats Guide lists all that’s timeless and fresh in Miami, from visual art to delicious food. Theater, dance, music, and drinks all make a much-needed appearance throughout the season as well. Pick up one of our printed guides Thursday, October 2, where you’ll find profiles, interviews, and detailed event calendars to guide you through the upcoming cultural season. Jose Carlos Diaz is a pioneer. He helped transform Wynwood from a decaying warehouse district to a booming hothouse for creativity. Born in Miami, he’s one smart guy. In 2003 he turned his own apartment into the “Worm-Hole Laboratory.” It became a rehearsal space and home for cutting-edge art. Then he left town for five years, earning a master’s degree from the University of Liverpool and serving as a project coordinator during the 2010 Liverpool Biennial. In October of last year, he was named the Bass Museum of Art’s curator of exhibitions, just in time for the museum’s 50th anniversary. New Times recently caught up with the dark and handsome 36-year-old to ask about his new job and his views on how much the local art scene has changed. New Times: Where did you grow up? Jose Carlos Diaz: I was actually born in Miami and grew up in Northern California in Stockton. When did you become interested in art? My mother is an artist, so I have always been interested in art, but I also attended after-school art classes as a teenager. Visiting my local museum in Stockton ignited my interest in art and museums in general. You launched Worm-Hole Laboratory in 2003 in your tiny Edgewater apartment building [the Carolyn]. Can you tell us what inspired your mission and a little about the project? I had just finished my curatorial internship at the Rubell Family Collection. There I had learned so much about curating but did not have enough professional experience to become a museum curator or the funds to open my own gallery. The idea was to use my apartment as a rehearsal space. Miami is very entrepreneurial, so I just ran with it. Essentially, it became nomadic because I did not know how long it would last in the apartment or if other opportunities would emerge. One of the things I remember is that after you opened, you ran up a raft of shows in very rapid succession. How has Miami’s scene changed since then? Today it seems like there are so many galleries in Wynwood and the Design District, but it’s interesting to see how others have moved beyond these boundaries and are launching in downtown, west of Wynwood, and more northbound. It’s also amazing to see so many institutions celebrating anniversaries: the Bass, ArtCenter, Locust Projects, PAMM… Time flies, and it is great to see our roots grow deeper. Your apartment was so tiny. How did you manage to shoehorn group exhibits and other events into the space while continuing your daily affairs? I had an empty apartment, various part-time jobs, and lots of ideas! Miami has often had allure for young artists, so inviting someone to exhibit work in Miami never seemed to be a problem. I am not so sure I could do it now. Many of the artists you first exhibited at your space went on to become established Miami names. How did you find these artists? Who were some of the artists who caught your eye early on? I meet most artists through studio visits. I’m a natural people person, so if I connect with the art and the artist, often interesting ideas blossom. Diego Singh, Pepe Mar, and Cristina Lei Rodriguez were some core inspirations. Pepe and I both studied in San Francisco and we moved the same year. I met so many people from 2003 onward. Many artists I met back then are still making interesting work. I always admired the House and the artists involved. Actually, Martin Oppel and Daniel Arsham from the House launched Placemaker later. A decade later I have Martin in one of my shows, so that’s pretty cool.

Carlos Betancourt’s Amulet for Light in “Gold” at the Bass Museum of Art.

Some of your nomadic shows helped cement Wynwood’s nascent scene. How has the area changed since those times, and do you think it still has a future as an incubator for serious curatorial projects, or has that time come and gone? It’s really amazing to leave a transforming neighborhood and return five years later to see it as a true destination filled with galleries, restaurants, and people walking through the streets. Miami is always in motion, and spaces likeGucciVuitton are creating a lineup of shows that I would never conceive. I like that! They’re really thinking outside the box!Back in the early days of Art Basel Miami Beach, you curated a Christmas tree for the Frisbee art fair. Can you tell us about your artsy tree-trimming project? Not many people remember that! Jen Denike and Anat Ebgi, who were active in Miami, invited me to do a project. With little funds and the holidays approaching, I thought ornaments could be interesting since they are so sculptural. I bought a plastic light-up Christmas tree and asked artists to mail me their ornaments. I still use it as my Christmas tree. How has Basel changed since then, and what unifying or long-term impact has it had on Miami’s art scene? Art Basel Miami Beach continues to bring the international art world to Miami Beach. Satellite fairs, fringe projects, and exhibitions orbit that particular week, but I think since the earlier years, Miami is good at being active at showing great exhibits year-round. Lots of wonderful programming takes place too. In 2005 you co-curated “Hanging by a Thread” at the Moore Space, then run by Silvia Karman Cubiñá, who is now your boss at the Bass. What is it like working for her? I have always admired and looked up to Silvia as a mentor, so to work with her is really a dream come true. She has an impeccable eye for great art and curating excellent shows. I’m inspired! Before joining the Bass as the museum’s curator of exhibitions, you worked at the Tate Liverpool. Can you tell us about your experiences at that institution and some of the projects you were involved with there? I was quite lucky to move to a city that was once home to Henry Tate. Although Tate Liverpool is smaller than Tate Modern and Tate Britain, it pre­sents world-class exhibitions, both modern and contemporary, and rotates works from the Tate permanent collection. I was able to work with the collection and also assisted on Charline von Heyl’s solo show and a special project called The Source, which was a large outdoor pavilion by Doug Aitken filled with his video conversations he recorded with leading figures in the creative sector, like Tilda Swinton and Jack White. It was a huge AV challenge installing the work, but very rewarding! From that I curated a show tracking the last 25-year history of Tate Liverpool. Your first curatorial effort for the Bass, “Gold,” marks the museum’s 50th anniversary and is currently on view. How long did you work on your official Bass debut show, and what are some of your favorite works on display? I worked on the exhibit for about a year. As you can imagine, I really love all the works! The online new-media projects, by Patricia Hernandez and Yucef Merhi, are always in a state of flux, and I love that. One continues to monitor the price of gold, and the other, by Patti, is selling a virtual island for bitcoins, a type of online currency unregulated by the government. Anyone can access these works from home [at simulatingvalue.com and quetzalcoatl2012.net]. Silvia has turned the museum’s profile around in short order, giving visiting and local artists a platform to exhibit projects in conjunction with older works in its collection. What’s the importance of this approach in terms of education? Our museum has a permanent collection that really allows us to go beyond and explore many areas. In fact, we have had real success focusing on fashion: Just last spring, Harold Koda curated a show about the subject matter found in Dutch vanitas-style paintings by pairing haute couture with contemporary works also addressing the same themes. What are some of your plans for the Bass, and what role does the museum fill on an institutional scene that has radically changed in the past year? I am working on some exhibitions and projects for the future. Many are a surprise! What can you reveal about yourself that readers might not know? I have a twin brother who won the Latin Grammy last year for best children’s album [Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band].



Art Basel in Miami Beach Launches Art Historical Sector

Benjamin Sutton, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Art Basel in Miami Beach (ABMB) has established itself as one of the world’s foremost art fairs for all things brand new and cutting edge, and now the mega-fair is carving out some space for art history with its new “Survey” sector. Set to debut during this year’s edition, running December 4–7 (see “Art Basel in Miami Beach 2014 Boasts an Intimidating 267 Galleries“), the Survey section will boast 13 mini art historical presentations, including 9 solo exhibitions and 4 thematic shows. The inaugural lineup of Survey presentations will highlight lesser-known artists and movements. São Paulo’s Galeria Bergamin will showcase the work of Brazilian painter Alfredo Volpi, who was especially influential in the middle of the 20th century. Paris’s Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois will showcase two sculptures from around the same period by Niki de Saint Phalle, while Garth Greenan Gallery‘s solo presentation of paintings and sculptures by Paul Feeley will span the early-to-mid 1960s. New York gallery Menconi + Schoelkopf is bringing photographs and paintings by the Canadian-born American Ralston Crawford, one of the leaders of the Precisionism movement. Another New York gallery, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, will show pieces spanning the decade between 1969 and 1979 by conceptual, minimalist, and land art figure Michelle Stuart. Works from roughly the same period by the Chilean Lotty Rosenfeld, including photo, video, and slides, will be displayed by Valencia’s espaivisor. James Fuentes Gallery, meanwhile, will display Fluxus artist Alison Knowles’s Big Book, a walk-in, book-shaped installation that made its debut in 1966. Galleri Bo Bjerggaard will present an exhibition of the Danish sculptor Poul Gernes’s work, co-curated by Gernes’s youngest daughters. Rounding out the solo presentations is Japan’s Y++ Wada Fine Arts, which will show dystopic and melancholy paintings by Tetsuya Ishida. The group shows in Survey boast a similarly eclectic selection. Perhaps most intriguing will be Cecilia de Torres, Ltd‘s exhibition of Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres-García’s self-titled constructivist art movement and workshop the Taller Torres-García, which spanned the 40s and 50s. New York’s Broadway 1602 will bring together works by four women artists who got their start in the 60s and 70s: the late French conceptualist Gina Pane; the New York-based sculptor and painter Rosemarie Castoro; the Brazilian artist Lenora De Barros; and Lydia Okumura, the Japanese-Brazilian artist known for her minimalist site-specific installations. New York-based Outsider art dealer Andrew Edlin will present a two-artist show juxtaposing works by Henry Darger and Marcel Storr. And finally Vienna’s Charim Galerie will show works by three of the Vienna Actionists: experimental feminist filmmaker Valerie Export; conceptual artist Andrei Monastyrski; and early Action painter Alfons Schilling.


ICA Miami Launch is Yet Another Reason to Leave New York in December

Pedro Reyes, Sanatorium Just in case you needed an excuse to make a trip to Miami this winter, the new Institute for Contemporary Art, Miami will open to the public on December 2 with exhibitions by artists Pedro Reyes and Andra Ursuta. Ms. Ursuta’s collection of new work includes Soft Power 1 and 2 (2013), huge sculptures of fists made from quilted comforters. Mr. Reyes’ installation, Sanatorium, will transform the museum’s second floor into a clinic where non-professionals will interview, diagnose, and provide visitors with one of 16 types of therapy, like Gestalt or hypnosis. First staged at the Guggenheim in 2011, it’s a “democratization of therapy, a ‘psychological first aid,’” according to a statement from Reyes on his website. The Mexico City-based artist will be on hand to train volunteer therapists and pass on suggestions for visitors’ treatment during the exhibition’s opening week, which coincides with mega-show Art Basel Miami Beach from December 4 through 7. “The exhibitions will seek to create a unique experience that’s both complementary to and distinct from the fair, and the city,” ICA Miami deputy director and chief curator Alex Gartenfeld told The Observer. ICA Miami’s opening comes after a dramatic spat between the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami and the City of North Miami. In August, some MoCA staff announced their departure from the museum and their plans to reopen as ICA Miami in the Design District’s Moore Building. Mr. Gartenfeld explained that ICA Miami hopes to set itself apart from the city’s art scene by focusing on emerging and experimental artists and commissioning new works. The opening exhibitions are also making use of the museum’s new 12,500-square foot space in the Moore Building, donated by Miami Design District Associates. Ms. Ursuta’s installations will be integrated into the architectural details found throughout the former furniture showroom’s atrium gallery, added Mr. Gartenfeld. Last week ICA Miami rounded out its leadership with the appointment of new interim director Suzanne Weaver, the former curator of modern and contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. Ms. Weaver replaced Mr. Gartenfeld, who has moved into the position of deputy director and chief curator after previously serving as interim director of MoCA. The inaugural exhibitions will run from December 3 to March 2015 and will be free to the public. Mr. Gartenfeld wouldn’t give specifics on how long admission will remain free, but said only that visitors wouldn’t have to pay as long as the museum stays in the Moore Building.

Peter Marino, Still In Leather, Details the Mammoth Exhibition of His Collection

“One Way: Peter Marino” opens at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach on December 4.

Peter Marino (Photo courtesy Patrick McMullan) It’s always nice to see someone like Peter Marino walk into a fancy party, like he did at a dinner in his honor given by Design Miami Tuesday night, with all the suits and swanky dresses. This is because Peter Marino—the architect responsible for dreaming up most of the world’s high-end boutiques, who is also a designer, muse, motorcyclist and major collector—eschews anything that could be called “fancy” in favor of leather on metal on leather. His outfit for the evening: a leather vest pricked all over with metal studs, leather wristguards with metal spikes, a leather hat with a metal skull, a strand of leather hanging from his neck which holds some metal knives, leather belt, metal belt buckle, metal knuckles with skulls, leather pants, leather boots. All the leather is always black. He’s a great person to honor with a dinner, because he comes complete with three different modes of personality. Sometimes he prefaces everything with a long “Dude…” and sometimes he affects a strong British accent for no reason in particular. He also likes to refer to himself in the third person—not as “Peter,” as one might think, but as “The Pedro.” And then there’s his art collection. He’s got a thing for Renaissance Bronzes—he’s got 36 of them. He’s bought scores of Warhols, hordes of Hirsts, and many, many Mapplethorpes. Peter Marino owns so many Anselm Kiefers that Anselm Kiefer refers to Peter Marino’s house in Aspen as “The Anselm Kiefer Museum.” And this—this collection as loud as his outfits—is the reason for the dinner where he can totally disregard any sort of dress code. In December, the Bass Museum of Art in Miami will open “One Way: Peter Marino,” the first major review of his mammoth collection and his contributions to the world of fashion, architecture, and design. More on that in a second, but first I have to describe my first interaction with Mr. Marino, at the dinner Tuesday. You see, the star architect was not always the jet-setting man in black, the dynamo creator of designer stores, the guy ensuring that the ritziest of retailers could corral the shopper’s eye directly to the products upon entering the store. He was once Pete Marino from Queens, living in squalor and worshipping Warhol, who gave him his first work and exposure. “Dude… I’m just inviting all my friends for a free meal!” he said, swinging one leather-clad arm toward the two tables. (This would be Dude Peter, but he switched to British Peter later in the night, and other people were worried if The Pedro would come out, too). “I just ate at Tad’s Steakhouse for 11 years,” he bellowed. “99 cents a steak! I would just inhale them, and then I would go and stuff them in my pockets, just stuffing all these steaks in my pockets. Here he made some furious swooping motions with his arms toward himself, as if stuffing his pockets full of steak. His current pants were way too tight to have pockets, but the extra-beefy mental image of steaks in leather pockets was a nice one. “When Tad’s closed, I starved for two years,” he went on. “Look, dude… when people ask, ‘Isn’t it nice to have money?’ I’m like, dude… that was like two years ago!” The dinner continued on well into the night, and then, the next morning it was more Marino: he gave a chat in the offices of Peter Marino Architect, which naturally is very, very high up in a Midtown East building. My ears popped on the elevator zooming up, then I was lead past Warhols and Tom Sachs-drawn guides and Han Dynasty vases and Richard Princes and so on and so forth. He was talking about “One Way: Peter Marino,” and once again he had on more leather than all the biker bars in Detroit, and once again he was surrounded by guys in suits, and it didn’t matter. At least he called upon British Peter for the occasion. (Wherever was The Pedro, I wondered.) It was an attractive room, with models and drawn plans for private home commissions—homes in Lebanon, Star Island, Southampton, Sagaponack—and a view of that much-questioned skyscraper, One57, as cranes bring materials up to its peak. Mr. Marino went about describing what sounds like it will be one of the most talked-about things going on during Art Basel Miami Beach. There’s a room of Marino-designed bronze boxes, the walls all made of black leather. There’s a multi-part opera that Mr. Marino made in collaboration with Francisco Clemente and Dior designer Raf Simons. Also in the mix was Jérôme Sans, the co-founder of Palais de Tokyo in Paris and former editor-in-chief of L’Officiel Art, who curated the show. He was video chatting in from France, as one does. “I’m going to give a physical walkthrough of the show and then Jérôme is going to make sense of it all,” he said. He began by showing off the catalog, which had along its spine—what else?—a black leather clasp studded with metal. “Just in case the people didn’t know who the show was about!” Mr. Marino said. There are five commissions in the show. The first is by Gregor Hildebrandt, and it’s on the outside of the building. “I was like, how can that go over the outside of the building? Because I’m not crazy about the way it looks,” he said, to the slight consternation of Silvia Cubina, the executive director of the Bass Museum, who was standing right next to him. The Hildebrand work is a giant portrait of Mr. Marino. “You’ll see it from airplanes 38,000 feet in the air,” he said. He ran through a few more plans for other rooms in the exhibition—a lot of Mapplethorpes, a skeleton wearing a lot of leather called Peter Marino in 100 Years—and then turned it over to Mr. Sans, who began speaking of the show in his own style, one that was slightly more elliptical than that of the punchy, loud Mr. Marino. “The show has this life, and this presence, this skin, and it is going into the future, and the future cannot exist without the past,” the floating head of Mr. Sans said. “I love hearing that the show actually makes sense!” Mr. Marino said at the end of Mr. Sans’ remarks. Then, before everyone was to walk back out through the Hirst-heavy hallways and pieces of antiquities at every corner, someone asked which artist he first bought when he began collecting. “Warhol,” he said, in that put-on British accent. “I know that sounds very chic and all, but I was working for him, and he gave me a painting. He helped me out. One day he gave me a check and said, ‘If you’re smart, you won’t cash that, because my signature is going to be worth more than the check itself.’ But I was broke, so I cashed it. And what do you know! Andy was right.”

NADA Miami Beach 2014 Will Be the Anti-Art Basel

Rozalia Jovanovic, Wednesday, September 3, 2014


NADA Miami Beach 2012 Opening Preview The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) has just announced its exhibitor list for the 12th edition of NADA Miami Beach. The art fair, which will take place from December 4–7 at the Deauville Beach Resort, will feature over 90 exhibitors with a little over 40 from New York, and including 36 international galleries, along with 15 exhibitors that are new to the fair. There are around twenty New York exhibitors that are not returning this year, including Churner + Churner, James Fuentes, the Hole, Horton (which merged earlier this year with ZieherSmith), Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, Joe Sheftel, Kerry Schuss, Simone Subal, Kate Werble, Feature Inc. (the gallery’s founder, Hudson, died earlier this year), Andrew Edlin, Clifton Benevento, the Still House Group, Know More Games, Recess, and Devon Dikeou. Some, like Clifton Benevento and Simone Subal, are doing Art Basel in Miami Beach this year. Some are not making it to Miami at all this year. Kate Werble said she is attending two fairs in Europe in October—London’s SUNDAY Art Fair and the new FIAC satellite (Off)icielle—and her gallery just underwent an expansion. Some New York galleries that did not partake last year but are exhibiting this year are Bodega, Chapter NY, the Lodge Gallery, Grand Century, Koenig & Clinton, Kai Matsumiya, Simon Preston, Regina Rex, and Tomorrow. “Galleries apply to multiple fairs with multiple types of projects,” Maggie Clinton of Koenig & Clinton told artnet News. “The project we applied with to Art Basel Miami Beach was waitlisted.” While the gallery has participated numerous times in NADA Miami Beach, it did Art Basel Miami Beach last year. This year, it is participating in NADA and Untitled. But she said that their decision about which fairs to attend related more to the formats of the various fairs. “I think that NADA is an excellent format for emerging artists. Untitled is really great for curatorial projects. We have an artist that will be featured at the fair, and it’s the type of project that could not be shown at any of the other fairs.” Other advantages NADA has over the larger fair? “You’re not going to see way too much stuff,” Clinton said. “There’s not a huge discrepancy between larger booths and smaller booths.” While she noted the benefit of the larger audience at a larger fair, she said there was less chance of falling victim to so-called “fairtigue.” “You also have this moment in between, because of the architecture, to just have a coffee, and stop and see more art.” Without further ado, here is the list: Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada The Apartment, Vancouver Andersen’s Contemporary, Copenhagen, Denmark Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn, Estonia High Art, Paris, France Future Gallery, Berlin, Germany Natalia Hug Gallery, Cologne, Germany, Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne Germany Linn Luhn, Dusseldorf, Germany Galerie Max Mayer, Dusseldorf, Germany Galerie Parisa Kind, Frankfurt, Germany Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City, Guatemala Tempo Rubato, Tel Aviv, Israel Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia, Italy Frutta, Rome, Italy, Federica Schiavo Gallery, Rome, Italy Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Luxembourg, Luxembourg Lulu, Mexico City, Mexico Rob Bianco, Oslo, Norway Aoyama Meguro, Tokyo, Japan Kayokoyuki, Tokyo, Japan Misako & Rosen, Tokyo, Japan Mujin-To Production, Tokyo, Japan XYZ Collective, Tokyo, Japan Roberto Paradise, San Juan, Puerto Rico Sabot, Cluj-Napoca, Romania Truth and Consequences, Geneva, Switzerland Glasgow International, Glasgow, UK Ibid, London, UK Kinman, London, UK Seventeen, London, UK Rob Tuffnell, London, UK Rod Barton, London, UK The Sunday Painter, London, UK Jonathan Viner, London, UK Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK 247365, New York, Brooklyn, New York Clearing, New York, Brooklyn, New York The Journal Gallery, Brooklyn, New York Courtney Blades, Chicago, Illinois Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, Illinois And Now, Dallas, Texas Bill Brady Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles, CA Thomas Duncan, Los Angeles, CA Francois Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, CA International Art Objects Gallery, Los Angeles, CA Overduin & Co, Los Angeles, CA Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA Tif Sigfrids, Los Angeles, CA Young Art, Los Angeles, CA Locust Projects, Miami, FLA The Green Gallery, Milwaukee, WI David Peterson Gallery, Minneapolis, MN Alden Projects, New York American Contemporary, New York Nicelle Bauchene Gallery, New York Bodega, New York Brennan and Griffin, New York Callicoon Fine Arts, New York Canada, New York Lisa Cooley, New York Chapter NY, New York Independent Curators International (ICI), New York Eleven Rivington, New York Derek Eller, New York Thomas Erben Gallery, New York Essex Street, New York Zach Feuer, New York Foxy Production, New York Laurel Gitlen, New York The Lodge Gallery, New York Grand Century, New York Jack Hanley Gallery, New York Invisible-Exports, New York JTT, New York Karma, New York Koenig & Clinton, New York David Lewis, New York Magic Flying Carpets, New York Marlborough Chelsea, New York Martos Gallery, New York Kai Matsumiya, New York P!, New York Eli Ping Frances Perkins, New York Simon Preston, New York Regina Rex, New York Sculpture Center, New York Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York Tomorrow, New York White Columns, New York Creative Growth, Oakland, CA Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA ===

Suzanne Weaver Will Lead Miami’s New Contemporary Art Museum

Sarah Cascone, Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Suzanne Weaver. Photo: Gesi Schilling, courtesy Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Miami, founded by the former board of trustees and staff of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in North Miami (see “MOCA North Miami Closes in Controversy“), is making a fresh start in its new Miami Design District home with Suzanne Weaver, who has been appointed the reborn institution’s interim director. A 20 year art world veteran, Weaver has previously held curatorial positions at institutions such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. Alex Gartenfeld, who had served in an interim capacity as director since September of 2013, following the departure of Bonnie Clearwater, has been promoted to deputy director and chief curator. He joined the museum in May of 2013 as a curator. The new ICA Miami looks to move past its troubled MOCA North Miami past, which saw the city fail to provide funding and led to a heated battle over museum leadership (see “The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami Sues City For Breach of Contract” and “Racist Taunts Escalate MOCA North Miami Feud“). It will open in the the Design District’s Moore Building in December, presumably just in time for Art Basel in Miami Beach festivities (see “Art Basel in Miami Beach 2014 Boasts an Intimidating 267 Galleries“). The interim space, provided rent-free by Miami Design District Associates while the board of trustees seeks a new permanent home, measures 12,500 square feet. “We are thrilled to be welcoming Suzanne Weaver as our new interim director, whose talent, enthusiasm, and professional experience will be an invaluable asset as the museum continues to grow,” said Ray Ellen Yarkin, co-chair of the ICA’s board, in a press release. “It is truly an honor to work with such a highly talented and committed Board of Trustees and staff to launch a new museum of contemporary art dedicated to quality, excellence, and rigor,” added Weaver. “Together, we will create an institution that will be an important addition to Miami’s dynamism internationally and make a lasting mark on the intellectual, cultural, and artistic life of the region.” ==

SCOPE Bringing 111 Galleries to Miami in December

Sarah Cascone, Friday, September 19, 2014 Scope Miami Beach. Photo: Scope. Not to be outdone by Art Basel in Miami Beach, PULSE, NADA, and UNTITLED., the venerable SCOPE art fair, now in its 14th year, has announced its exhibitors for its 2014 Miami Beach edition. A total of 111 galleries will be on hand, representing 27 countries and 48 cities. The fair runs December 3–7. With a focus on emerging artists, SCOPE will once again feature its Breeder Program, which provides an important showcase for new commercial galleries. The fair will also introduce a FocusKorea section, a collaboration with the Galleries Association of Korea sponsored by the Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (similar to the Korean section at this summer’s Art Hamptons, as reported in “Hamptons Art Fairs Target Hipster Collectors with Edgy, Nostalgic Artworks“). This year, SCOPE will partner with Juxtapoz Magazine in what is being described as “an exploration of the New Contemporary.” As part of “Juxtapoz Presents,” Kimou “Grotesk” Meyer will design and create an interactive newsstand installation inspired by old Brooklyn, and based on Meyer’s 2009 cover for Juxtapoz. The stand will sell artist-made goods, magazines, as well as the new book, Juxtapoz Hyperrealism. Here is the full list of SCOPE Miami Beach 2014′s participating galleries:

ACE Gallery | Los Angeles Andenken | Amsterdam Art Park Gallery | Seoul Art Projects Gallery | Hong Kong Artside Gallery | Seoul Asterisk Projects | Brooklyn AUREUS Contemporary | Providence Baiksong Gallery | Seoul Barbarian Art Gallery | Zurich Galerija Bastejs | Riga Beautiful Asset Art Projects | Beijing Tally Beck Contemporary | New York Gallery Bhak | Seoul Gallery Biba | Palm Beach Black Book Gallery | Denver blunt | Toronto Bon Gallery | Seoul Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts | Binghampton C-Arte | Buenos Aires C.A.V.E. Gallery | Venice Beach Callan Contemporary | New Orleans Lawrence Cantor Fine Art | Venice Chalk Horse | Sydney Chandran Gallery | San Francisco CHUNG Art Gallery | Seoul Chung Jark Gallery | Seoul Dorothy Circus Gallery | Rome Elizabeth Clement Fine Art | Danvers & New York Ethan Cohen Fine Arts | New York Collage Habana Gallery | Havana Contempop | Tel Aviv Copro Gallery | Santa Monica Corridor Contemporary | Tel Aviv DECORAZON | London Dubner Moderne | Lausanne E3 {a small gallery} | Ostend Faur Zsófi Galéria | Budapest Fifty24MX | Mexico City The Flat – Massimo Carasi | Milan Forré & Co. Fine Art | Aspen Emmanuel Fremin Gallery | New York Fresh Eggs | Berlin Gallery G-77 | Kyoto Gana Art | Seoul Gauntlet Gallery | San Francisco Gallery Godo | Seoul Galerie Frédéric Got | Paris Joseph Gross Gallery | New York Mark Hachem | Paris & New York Hashimoto Contemporary | San Francisco Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Art | New York Kashya Hildebrand | London Kirk Hopper | Dallas Dan Hort Projects | New York Inner State Gallery | Detroit JanKossen Contemporary | Basel K + Y Gallery | Paris Kallenbach Gallery | Amsterdam Jacob Karpio Galeria | San Jose Keumsan Gallery | Seoul L’inlassable | Paris La Ira de Dios | Buenos Aires Labartino | Miami Jonathan LeVine Gallery | New York Life as a Work of Art | New York Long Sharp Gallery | Indianapolis Luster | Brooklyn Galerie Magenta | Antwerp Magpi Projects | New York Primo Marella Gallery | Milan Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art | Salzburg & Vienna Miami’s Independent Thinkers | Miami Mighty Tanaka | Brooklyn Mirus Gallery | San Francisco Mordekai | New York Leila Mordoch Gallery | Miami NextArt | Budapest NUNC Contemporary | Antwerp Ohshima Fine Art | Tokyo OTCA | London Galleri Oxholm | Copenhagen Pabellón 4 Arte Contemporáneo | Buenos Aires Paik Hae Young Gallery | Seoul Paradigm Gallery | Philadelphia Parlor Gallery | Asbury Park Pavleye Art & Culture | Prague Phone Booth Gallery | Long Beach Project Gallery | Los Angeles Pyo Gallery | Seoul RARE | New York Red Corridor Gallery | Künzell Red Truck Gallery | New Orleans Duane Reed Gallery | St. Louis Rush Arts Gallery | Brooklyn Gallery Shilla | Seoul Shirin Gallery | Tehran & New York Stick Together | Amsterdam StolenSpace | London TBD Independent Projects | Key Biscayne Thinkspace | Los Angeles Tribe13 Gallery | Redwood Valley Vertical Gallery | Chicago Vice Gallery | Miami Vogelsang Gallery | Brussels Gallery on Wade | Toronto Wallplay | New York Waltman Ortega | Miami & Paris Wanrooij Gallery | Amsterdam Wellside Gallery | Seoul White Walls | San Francisco Woolff Gallery | London Wunderkammern | Rome Yellow Peril Gallery | Providence 55bellechase | Paris == ARTNET NEWS

UNTITLED. Lines Up 96 Galleries for Third Edition

Sarah Cascone, Tuesday, September 9, 2014 2014-july-22-untitled-miami-new As if Art Basel in Miami Beach‘s impressively long list of exhibitors wasn’t enough to look forward to this December (see “Art Basel in Miami Beach 2014 Boasts an Intimidating 267 Galleries“), there are also the event’s numerous competing satellite fairs, which are also beginning to announce their 2014 line-ups. The third edition of UNTITLED. (running December 3–7) has just unveiled plans to feature work from over 200 emerging and established contemporary artists represented by 96 galleries and non-profit art organizations from 18 countries, as well as 16 cities in the US. The fair will be hosted in a temporary beach-side pavilion designed by K/R architects under John Keenen. With a newly expanded curatorial team comprising artistic director Omar López-Chahoud and curators Christophe Boutin and Melanie Scarciglia, UNTITLED. will host a series of conversations, performances, and events, as well as special projects (see “Miami’s UNTITLED. Fair Adds Curators, Gets New Tent“). As part of the special projects series, Paul Ramírez Jonas will present his volcanic rock and cork sculpture, Publicar V (2010), while French conceptual artist Mathieu Mercier has created a series of new works for the fair, to be shown by New York’s Denis Gardarin Inc. New York non-profit gallery carriage trade will present Cutting Through the Suburbs, a multimedia project memorializing 1970s suburbia and featuring works by Gordon Matta-Clark, Bill Owens, and James Wines/SITE Architects & Howard Silver. The fair is also partnering with online art service Curiator, which will allow UNTITLED. visitors to peruse the fair’s offerings online, creating digital collections, both in the two-week period leading up to the annual event, for VIPs, and during its run, for all guests. Here is the full list of UNTITLED. 2014′s participating galleries: (+) R – Barcelona Ada – Richmond, Virginia Adn Galeria – Barcelona Andrew Rafacz, Chicago Arroniz – Mexico City Artag – Helskinki Art Nueve – Murcia, Spain Arts & Leisure Gallery – New York Asya Geisberg Gallery – New York Bitforms Gallery NYC – New York Bravinlee Programs – New York Carriage Trade – New York Carrie Secrist – Chicago Casa Maauad – Mexico City Cindy Rucker Gallery – New York Cirrus Gallery – Los Angeles, California Cristin Tierney – New York Curro & Poncho – Jalisco, Mexico De La Cruz Projects – San José, Costa Rica Diablo Rosso –Panama City Denis Gardarin Inc. – New York Denny Gallery – New York Document-Art Gallery – New York Espacio No Minimo – Guayaquil, Ecuador Formato Comodo – Madrid, Spain Fredericks & Freiser – New York Fridman Gallery – New York Galería Bacelos – Madrid Galeria Espacio Minimo – Madrid Galería Juan Silió – Santander, Spain Galería Nora Fisch – Buenos Aries Galeria Pilar – São Paulo Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran – Montreal Galerie Laurent Godin – Paris Galerie Richard – New York Galerie Thomas Fuchs – Stuttgart, Germany Gallery Sinne – Helsinki González Y González – Santiago Halsey Mckay Gallery – East Hamptons, New York Henrique Faria Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires Hionas Gallery – New York Inman Gallery – Houston Island Press – St. Louis Jack Bell Gallery – London Johannes Vogt Gallery – New York Johansson Projects – Oakland, California Josée Bienvenu – New York Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Gallery – New York Koenig & Clinton – New York Kravets Wehby Gallery – New York Kristen Lorello – New York Lawrie Shabibi – Dubai Little Big Man Gallery – San Francisco Longhouse Projects – New York Lora Reynolds – Austin Lucia De La Puente – Lima Luis De Jesus Los Angeles – Los Angeles Lvl3 – Chicago Makebish – New York Maloney Fine Art – Los Angeles Marisa Newman Projects – New York Marso – Mexico City Max Estrella – Madrid Microscope Gallery – Brooklyn Mite – Buenos Aires Mkg127 – Toronto Monique Meloche – Chicago Mulherin – Toronto Narrative Projects – London Nathalie Karg Gallery – New York Nueveochenta – Bogotá, Colombia Parisian Laundry – Montreal Present Company – Brooklyn Projektrom Normanns – Stavanger, Norway Richard Heller Gallery – Santa Monica, California Rincón Projects – Bogotá, Colombia Romer Young Gallery – San Francisco Ronchini Gallery – London Royale Projects: Contemporary Art – Palm Desert, California Salon Dahlmann – Berlin Sandra Gering Inc. – New York Sic Helsinki – Helsinki Site:Lab – Grand Rapids, Michigan Steve Turner Contemporary – Los Angeles Steven Zevitas – Boston Susan Inglett – New York Taymour Grahne Gallery – New York Threewalls – Chicago Today Is the Day Foundation – New York Universal Limited Art Editions – Bay Shore, New York Upfor – Portland, Oregon Vigo Gallery – London Western Exhibitions – Chicago Y Gallery – New York Zieher Smith & Horton – New York Zürcher Studio, – New York   ==

Announcing PULSE Miami Beach Artists and Exhibitors
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PULSE Contemporary Art Fair is pleased to announce the artists and galleries exhibiting at PULSE Miami Beach 2014. The fair, in a new custom-designed venue on Indian Beach Park, will feature work from over 150 cutting-edge artists presented by a select group of exhibitors from Asia, Europe and the Americas.”As we move into the tenth year of PULSE, we are focused on celebrating artists, who are the core of the fair and the indeed the industry as a whole,” says Director Helen Toomer. “We are excited about our move to mid-Miami Beach and our newly-designed exhibition space that will compliment the presentation and discovery of these artists’ work and we look forward to welcoming the international arts community to our new home.” Read more about PULSE’s tenth year in Miami in the New York Observer and scroll down to read the full list of artists and exhibitors.
PULSE Miami Beach 2014
PULSE Miami Beach at Indian Beach Park. Rendering courtesy of PULSE Contemporary Art Fair.
PULSE Miami Beach 2014 Artists & Exhibitors – (Learn more hereArt Mûr, Montreal, Canada: Jinny Yu Ballast Projects, New York, NY: Russell Tyler (POINTS) Beers Contemporary, London, UK: Faig Ahmed | Janneke Von Leeuwen | Tony Romano | Pawel Sliwinski Black & White Gallery/Project Space, Brooklyn, NY: Michael Van den Besselaar Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York, NY: Yorgo Alexopoulos | Edward Burtynsky | Jim Campbell | Robert Currie | Airan Kang | Jimmy Nelson | Jose Parla Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, New York, NY: Yapci Ramos CC Gallery, Berlin, Germany: Maya Hayuk Danziger Gallery, New York, NY: Christopher Bucklow | Susan Derges | Hendrik Kerstens | Karen Knorr | Jim Krantz | Corinne Vionner Davidson Contemporary, New York, NY: Kiel Johnson | Darren Lago | Sam Messenger | Thomas Witte | Ghost Of A Dream De Buck Gallery, New York, NY: Simon Vega | XOOOOX De Soto Gallery, Venice, CA: Amelia Bauer | Brian Paumier | Ramona Rosales (IMPULSE) DIA Galería, Mexico City, Mexico: César López-Negrete | Ricardo Paniagua Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, OR: Ann Hamilton | Sean Healy | Isaac Layman | Julia Mangold | Anna Von Mertens Front Room Gallery, Brooklyn, NY: Mark Masyga | Sasha Bezzubov galerieKleindienst, Leipzig, Germany: Corinne von Lebusa | Christoph Ruckhäberle Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal, Canada: Jean-Sébastien Denis | Alexis Lavoie | Yann Pocreau Gallery Joe, Philadelphia, PA: Mia Rosenthal gallery nine5, New York, NY: Soojin Cha | Jessica Lichtenstein | Ignacio Muñoz Vicuña Gallery Poulsen, Copenhagen, Denmark: Barnaby Whitfield | Aaron Johnson | Jean-Pierre Roy | Eric White Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA: SuttonBeresCuller | Chris Engman | Margie Livingston | Whiting Tennis GUSFORD | los angeles, Los Angeles, CA: Genevieve Chua (IMPULSE) Heskin Contemporary, New York, NY: Doreen McCarthy | Jennifer Riley Horrach Moya, Palma de Mallorca, Spain: Aníbal López | Jorge Mayet  | Joana Vasconcelos Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, CA: Jim Campbell | Jay DeFeo | Jutta Haeckel | Emil Lukas | Marco Maggi | Andrew Schoultz James Harris Gallery, Seattle, WA: Karin Davie | Gary Hill | Alexander Kroll | Cameron Martin | Alwyn O’Brien | Akio Takamori junior projects, New York, NY: Guy C. Correiro | Stuart Elster (IMPULSE) LAMONTAGNE GALLERY, Boston, MA: Gil Blank | Jeff Perrott | Joe Warwell LA NEW GALLERY, Madrid, Spain: Cristina de Middel | Santiago Talavera | Jorge Fuembuena LMAKprojects, New York, NY: Jonathan Calm | Popel Coumou | Claudia Joskowicz | Erika Ranee LYNCH THAM, New York, NY: Carlo Ferraris | Walter Robinson (IMPULSE) MA2Gallery, Tokyo, Japan: Ken Matsubara Miller Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA: Evelyn Rydz | Nathalie Miebach | Deb Todd Wheeler New Image Art, West Hollywood, CA: Cleon Peterson | Retna | Maya Hayuk Nohra Haime Gallery, New York, NY: Natalia Arias Nuova Galleria Morone, Milan, Italy: Felix Curto | Mariella Bettineschi | Domenico Grenci | Sadegh Tirafkan Paci contemporary, Brescia, Italy: Michal Macku | Teun Hocks Patrick Heide Contemporary, London, UK: Pius Fox | Hans Kotter | Reinoud Oudshoorn | Dillwyn Smith Paul Loya Gallery, Los Angeles, CA: Tom Fruin Philip Slein Gallery, St. Louis, MO: Andrew Masullo | Gary Stephan | Chuck Webster | John Zinsser Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, UK: Sue Arrowsmith | Jonathan Delafield Cook | Claire Kerr | Susan Derges | Sandra Kantanen | Jorma Puranen Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA: Dawoud Bey | Joe Cunningham | Bovey Lee | Nathan Lynch | Vik Muniz Rick Wester Fine Art, New York, NY: Alyse Rosner | Laurie Lambrecht | Lilly McElroy ROCKELMANN&, Berlin, Germany: Florian Japp | Jeffrey Teuton (IMPULSE) Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica, CA: John Mills Rosa Santos, Valencia, Spain: Andrea Canepa SENDA, Barcelona, Spain: Oleg Dou | Anthony Goicolea | Sandra Vásquez de la Horra | James Clar Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CA: Phil Argent | Kathy Butterly | Rachel Lachowicz | Izhar Patkin | Berverly Semmes | Michal Rovner | Kiki Smith Schroeder Romero, New York, NY: Lisa Levy Shulamit Gallery, Venice, CA: Kamran Sharif | Shahab Fatouhi | Tal Shochat Sienna Patti Contemporary, Lenox, MA: Lauren Fensterstock | Susie Ganch taubert contemporary, Berlin, Germany: Adrian Esparza | Markus Linnenbrink | Markus Weggenmann | Beat Zoderer | Jan von der Ploeg | Dionisio González | Sylvan Lionni Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York, NY: Arahmaiani | Heri Dono | FX Harsono | Agus Suwage Uprise Art, New York, NY: Eric LoPresti | Erin O’Keefe Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA: Tm Gratkowski WAGNER + PARTNER, Berlin, Germany: Erwin Olaf | Mona Ardeleanu | Peter Dreher | Ruud van Empel WATERHOUSE & DODD, New York, NY: Kim Keever | Jean-François Rauzier | Xavier Guardans X-Change Art Project, Lima, Peru: Alessadra Rebagliati | Ana Cecilia Farah| Marian Riveros | MOHO Collective (POINTS) Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY: Marco Breuer | Lorenzo Vitturi | Alison Rossiter | Matthew Brandt | Assaf Shaham YUKI-SIS, Tokyo, Japan: Katsutoshi Yuasa | Kohei Kawasaki (IMPULSE) Zhulong Gallery, Dallas, TX: Alexander Gorczynski | James Geurts (IMPULSE)

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