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Art Books
  • Posted 11/24/14 at 5:25 PM

What the Art Stars Read

The following recommended reading lists have been excerpted from An Ideal Syllabus: Artists, Critics, and Curators Choose the Books We Need to Read, a slender little book published in 1998 by Frieze and edited by our own Jerry Saltz. “Too many syllabuses I gathered from colleagues and art schools all over the country indicated far too solid a consensus,” wrote Saltz in his introduction, “The same authors are prescribed, chapter for chapter, page for page. If everybody thinks differently how come much of what is assigned to students (at every level) is the same? Large doses of Derrida, Baudrillard and Lacan. If art is pluralistic and composing from all over, why are ideas presented as unified and monolithic? Mighn’t there be an array of more private syllabuses out there? So I asked.” We’re glad he did, and now, with the advent of SEEN, we’re doing it again; in the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more recently assembled syllabuses from people we admire and respect. For now, we think these hold up pretty well — see who thinks you need to be reading Raymond Carver and who would be lost without Emily Dickinson.

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  • Posted 11/24/14 at 3:35 PM
  • Art

Sitting for Francesco Clemente

A few weeks ago, Lisa Dennison, the head of Sotheby’s in North and South America, told me that she owned a truly significant work of art — a portrait by Francesco Clemente. Early one morning last week, I went to visit her at home, to find out what it was like for her to sit for it. We sat down in her living room as she told me the story.

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  • Posted 11/24/14 at 11:32 AM
  • Art

Why Terence Koh Quit the Art World

Artist Terence Koh — best known for wearing all white and selling series of his own excrement plated, in gold, for $500,000 at Art Basel, as well as saying things like, “I’m the Naomi Campbell of the art world” — is rethinking his “art is a party” attitude. Or maybe the party was just over. “I recently left all galleries to live on mountain,” he emailed, in his customary child-speak, when asked about where he'd disappeared to. “I donut [sic] have cellphone or read news.” Indeed, Koh is no longer represented by his galleries in New York (Sean Kelly), Paris (Thaddaeus Ropac), or Berlin (Peres Projects, whose owner, Javier Peres, says he initiated the split several years ago: “I closed the door on that chapter and haven't looked back since”).

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  • Posted 11/24/14 at 9:40 AM
  • Primer

A Timeline of the Abuse Charges Against Bill Cosby [Updated]

Thirty years ago this fall, The Cosby Show debuted on NBC, and its star was catapulted into the comedic stratosphere. The timing is prime, then, for the release of a sprawling biography. Written by former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker, Cosby: His Life and Times documents the man’s rise from the Philadelphia projects, while also detailing the creation of his family sitcom and the murder of his son Ennis in 1997.

The book is notable, however, for its complete avoidance of sexual abuse allegations that have dogged Cosby for more than a decade. In a statement to Buzzfeed's Kate Aurthur, Whitaker says, "I didn’t want to print allegations that I couldn’t confirm independently." Regardless, their absence is glaring. Consider the following timeline an appendix to the book.

"Tamara Green, a lawyer, alleges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1970s." »

  • Posted 11/24/14 at 8:00 AM

Lynda Benglis: NSFW 40 Years After Artforum

Forty years ago this month, Lynda Benglis published what is certainly the most famous advertisement in Artforum history. Here, the artist speaks with Bard’s Tom Eccles about the life of that confrontational image.

It's now exactly 40 years since you published the famous image of yourself photographed with the double dildo. It caused a storm among readers of Artforum and its editors and is perhaps one of the most important images of its time, if not the second half of the century. What were you thinking at the time? The work (it's been called an "advertisement," but it is actually an artwork) was situated within the context of Artforum magazine, which was running an article on your work by Robert Pincus written in that month's issue. Prior to this (in April 1974), you had just used, as an exhibition announcement for a show at Paula Cooper Gallery, an Annie Liebovitz photograph of yourself in Betty Grable pose wearing jeans dropped to your ankles. You've called the Artforum image a "centerfold.” Was it directed explicitly at the use of women's bodies in magazines?
I realized the old-fashioned pinup that I did was not clear, as I overheard a woman coming into Paula Cooper's gallery saying, "Who did that to her?" So I wanted an image that "looked back at you" ... !

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20 Years of Street Photos Tell an Amazing Story About Humanity

When the Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom sits down to meet me at a café in Paris, he pulls out a paragraph by the writer João do Rio that he has cut out and stuck into his notebook. It begins:

“In every street, in every city, in one hour you can easily find eight themes. I think I can do that now in every city in the world.” »

  • Posted 11/23/14 at 9:02 PM
  • Art

26 Female Artists on Lynda Benglis and the Art World’s Gender Problems (NSFW)

If you are a young or emergent artist working today, there’s a pretty good chance you hadn’t even been born when Lynda Benglis published her infamously naughty ad in Artforum in November 1974. The legendary work turns 40 this month, and we reached out to 26 female artists — some working in 1974, some born since — to ask what they made of it then, what it means to them now, and how, if at all, they thought the state of gender politics in the art world has changed in the years since.

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  • Posted 11/23/14 at 8:00 PM
  • Books

The Strand’s Stand: How It Keeps Going in the Age of Amazon

Walk into the Strand Book Store, at East 12th and Broadway, and the retail experience you’ll have is unexpectedly contemporary. The walls are white, the lighting bright; crisp red signage is visible at every turn. The main floor is bustling, and the store now employs merchandising experts to refine its traffic flow and make sure that prime display space goes to stuff that’s selling. Whereas you can leave a Barnes & Noble feeling numbed, particularly if a clerk directs you to Gardening when you ask for Leaves of Grass, the Strand is simply a warmer place for readers.

In the middle of the room, though, is a big concrete column holding up the building, and it looks … wrong. It’s painted gray, and not a soft designer gray but some dead color like you’d see on a basement floor. Crudely stenciled signs reading BOOKS SHIPPED ANYWHERE are tacked to it. Bookcases surround the column, and they’re beat to hell, their finish nearly black with age.

This tableau was left intact when the store was renovated in 2003. Until then, the Strand had been a beloved, indispensable, and physically grim place. Like a lot of businesses that had hung on through the FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD years, it looked broken-down and patched-up. The bathroom was even dirtier than the one in the Astor Place subway. You got the feeling that a lot of books had been on the shelves for years. The ceiling was dark with the exhalations from a million Chesterfields. There were mice. People arriving with review copies to sell received an escort to the basement after a guard’s bellow: “Books to go down!” It was an experience that, once you adjusted to its sourness, you might appreciate and even enjoy. Maybe.

Why is there still a Strand Book Store? »

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 6:37 PM
  • Art

24 Hours in the Art World: The Sleepover Edition

Remember the terror and joy of freshman lock-ins? Well, the art world is having its equivalent tonight, courtesy of Creative Time, where 200 pajama-clad party people will descend on Neuehouse for a 24-hour sleepover. Word currently being passed around is proper dress code includes “designer sweats, sloth onesies, health goth, pj's, and even birthday suits.” Also, unlike high school, where sleeping bags and adult chaperones were the evening’s entertainment, the run-of-show reads more like a Burning Man than Bayside High. 

For starters, there will be a re-creation of Salvador Dalí’s infamous dinner parties, following his obscure, limited-edition, 136-recipe book Les Diners de Gala. Then Andrew Kuo and Mike Boner are teaming up as the duo Hex Message, which Kuo says is “close friends making a racket,” probably on par with your high-school punk band. Following this will be Tom Sach’s "Space Program: Mars" Red Beans and Rice, where the NASA-loving sculptor will wheel around a food cart filled with red beans and rice (which — fun fact! — follow Louis Armstrong’s own recipe and are the traditional meal consumed by the NASA launch crew whenever they send a successful mission to space). Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman have also put together a film program that includes a variety of shorts — from early Walter Ruttmann and Hans Richter abstract films to an amateur ethnographic film. Most of these are from film prints from the collection of David Hollander, founder and co-director of Cinemarfa. For those who survive the evening — and staying is not required; one can come and go as one pleases — at 6 a.m., Grey Area is sponsoring a yoga session, and then the cult-y downtown favorite Dimes is catering breakfast. 

Will there be any actual sleeping involved? Creative Time has secured a few dozen “deluxe cots” and pillows and blankets, as well as toiletry kits from Aesop, ensuring that halitosis and under-eye bags don't spoil the fun, unlike the high-school principal. 

For those with sleepover fright, tomorrow at 9 p.m. the events ends with a dance party with sets by Chairlift's Caroline Polachek and artists Matt Jones and Kadar Brock. 

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 5:42 PM
  • Art

Dan Loeb Rolls Sotheby’s and Its CEO

Six months ago, Sotheby’s chief executive Bill Ruprecht welcomed the billionaire investor Dan Loeb — his largest shareholder and vituperative critic — into his York Avenue office for a joint interview with The Wall Street Journal. Loeb had just agreed to quiet his campaign for internal changes at the 270-year-old auction house in return for three seats on the company board. Like a pair of boxers who had just gone the distance, both men sported some bruises. Loeb had publicly called for Ruprecht’s ouster, while Ruprecht — in an email that became public in a related court proceeding — had referred to Loeb as “scum.” But they were determined to make a public show of reconciliation.

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  • Posted 11/21/14 at 5:23 PM
  • Art

Listen to Cory Arcangel’s Piano Dances

There are other names that come more readily to mind when one thinks of compositions for the piano: Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Debussy. And while the world of classical music tends to remain entrenched in an era long gone, there have been some undeniable additions to the piano canon with the advent of electronic keyboards — from everyone and everywhere like Madonna to Detroit techno — however flimsy a contribution they may be. Leave it to wunderkind artist Cory Arcangel to consider this more closely with a set of new compositions entitled “24 Dances for the Electronic Piano,” which he recently released on SoundCloud and will be performed tomorrow night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with pianist and accomplished composer Chris d’Eon.

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SEEN in the Studio: Kalup Linzy

Kalup Linzy is the first in our series of visits to artists’ studios by Sarah Trigg, author and photographer of STUDIO LIFE: Rituals, Collections, Tools and Observations on the Artistic Process. She also happens to be the photo editor of SEEN. Born 1977 in Clermont, Florida, Kalup Linzy is a visual artist working in video and performance.

Hear Meryl Streep Belt ‘Stay With Me’ From Into the Woods

More promos from Into the Woods equals more singing. Good! They're certainly pushing Meryl Streep's turn as the Witch, whose "Stay With Me" is as moving as it is flattering to Streep's vocal range. The singing starts at 1:03; the despair is as good as it gets.

Is the Hugo Boss Prize Really Better Than the Turner?

There was an intimate pre-party event last night at the Wright — the Liam Gillick–bedecked restaurant at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum — during which select members of the media were given advance word on the winner of the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize. The catch? “The news of the winner is confidential for another 56 minutes,” explained Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong. None of the invited press were allowed to divulge the name of the honoree until the official announcement was made, as it would be nearly an hour later to the assembled crowd, including Kehinde Wiley, Emma Sulkowicz, Margot Robbie, Kate Bosworth, and Neville Wakefield, and other expensive-looking people milling around the central rotunda.

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3-Sentence Reviews: All Hail Susan Te Kahurangi King

Susan Te Kahurangi King, Drawings From Many Worlds curated by Chris Byrne
Andrew Edlin Gallery, 134 Tenth Ave.
Through Dec. 20
With this debut solo show, a star is born at Andrew Edlin, a gallery that, like Kerry Schuss and White Columns, is known for integrating self-taught outsiders and so-called "real" artists to tremendous eye-opening and art-world-changing effect. Here, savor New Zealander Susan Te Kahurangi King's tightly knit, meticulously rendered, webbed, and woven multicolored drawings — finely composed fields of cartoony characters, slopping abstract spaces that pour from one side of the paper into piles of figures that turn into strange landscapes of the mind. When the great "outsiders" James Castle and Morton Bartlett came to light only about ten years ago, their works were sadly dispersed to the four winds, so let's hope that a few smart local museums purchase large caches of this work so that it might be relished in public for years to come.

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Lisa Spellman Is a National Treasure

This year, one of the greatest New York gallerists of our time and continuous force for artistic good Lisa Spellman celebrates her 30th anniversary. It's rare for a gallery to stay completely relevant and totally vital for 30 straight years. Spellman has one of those few galleries. Since 1984, her 303 Gallery named after its first address at 303 Park Avenue South (it's now a gym, like everything) and also referencing Alfred Stieglitz's legendary "Intimate Gallery," located in Room 303 of the Anderson Galleries — has been a space that proves that a small room can change the way we see the world, truly. I remember going there in the 1980s and listening to this super-alert, classic, uptown-meets-punk girl telling me about art that I'd never heard of in ways that made total sense, that seemed important, and altered the ways I understood photography.

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  • Posted 11/21/14 at 12:18 PM
  • Art

Look! Jackie O on the Art Scene Back in 1966

The Whitney Museum has vacated the Breuer Building and is preparing to move downtown to the Meatpacking District. SEEN was at the Whitney's last big hurrah on Museum Mile earlier this week, where we spotted these amazing photos of the Whitney's inaugural gala, back in 1966. In some ways, not much has changed (New Yorkers still like an excuse to get dressed and liquored up), but in other ways, we can't help but feel nostalgic for a time when Jackie O might have showed up looking fabulous and when you could (possibly) afford a great Frank Stella.

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 12:14 PM
  • Art

A Brief History of Butts in Art

News flash: Kim Kardashian didn’t invent the butt. Follow behind as we take a quick spin through the (admittedly quite Eurocentric) tale of Butts in Art History. Anne Hollander, author of Seeing Through Clothes, which rocked both academia and the art-aficionado world when it was published in 1975, thinks a lot about nudity. She observed: “Buttocks, like other projects, were assimilated into total harmony. But they were obviously also admired separately.”

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  • Posted 11/21/14 at 10:00 AM
  • Art

How Awkward Is It to Sit Next to Larry Gagosian at David Tang’s Birthday Party?

I was a last-minute stand-in for an ill guest at David Tang’s 60th-birthday party on Tuesday at the Dorchester Hotel, where he is also the proprietor of the restaurant China Tang. It was a celebrity smorgasbord I was not prepared for, and let me report, swinging London is as swinging as ever. Kate Moss, Michael Caine, Tom Jones, the Goldsmith clan, Christiane Amanpour — I kept turning my head sideways trying to determine who she was, the only guest who seemed out of context. There should be a Shazam app to recognize people.

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  • Posted 11/21/14 at 8:20 AM
  • Art

Why This Famous 73-Year-Old French Artist Hadn't Been Back to NYC Since He Lived Here in 1979

Ever since Perrotin Gallery moved to the Upper East Side last year it has become a landing pad of sorts for the Gallic set, ever more so since the Pop-oriented dealership (Emmanuel represents  Takashi Murakami, Kaws, and Pharrell in Paris, FYI) has focused most of its programming on French modernists overlooked by the American market. Recently, the 73rd Street space foisted Pierre Soulages and Germaine Richier onto the New York landscape, which was met with a bit of eye-rolling (since, after all, one often remains in obscurity for a reason).

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