Next week, the rapper and record producer Swizz Beatz will put another part of his life on display, as an art collector and curator at SCOPE Miami. A selection of emerging artists from his Dean Collection (his real name is Kasseem Dean) will be on display, and he’ll also be throwing the artist Swoon a birthday party at a $40 million renovated Miami Beach mansion. It’s a sample of his dedication to art world. “People have this perception of me that because I come from music, they think I am just some famous person who now wants to do art,” he says. “But I bleed this for real.” He and his wife Alicia Keys own a home in New Jersey that he’s nicknamed Eight Acres of Showtime, with works by Ernie Barnes, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol. He paints there, too, but for now he’s still more comfortable promoting other artists than putting on a show of his own work. He spoke to SEEN about why his graffiti tag growing up was “Loco,” choosing buying art over buying a Lamborghini, why he thinks the “art world is the new music world,” and why gallerists are afraid of him.
I paid a visit to gallery situated in a 1960s-era kiosk under London’s Marylebone Flyover, in a subway station run by a vintage Westernwear-wearing cowboy, artist, and gallerist personifying British eccentricity at its best — except for the fact that he hails from Canada. His name is Robert Gordon McHarg III FRSA (Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts, whatever that means). Encounters like this partly account for the difficulty I have reading fiction. For eight years, he’s staged more than 80 exhibits ranging from a rock ephemera library — he’s Clash-obsessed, in particular with Joe Strummer (who died in 2002) — to an upcoming Western-themed vintage clothing pop-up.
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.
On a recent Saturday night, an "incubator-warming” party was held for New INC, the New Museum's mimic of a start-up hub for art, tech, and design. Amid angular Knoll and Vitra furniture alongside whiteboard wallpaper, members who pay between $350 and $600 a month (part-time and full-time, respectively) sipped on sponsored vodka-cognac cocktails mixed with Club-Mate. "This is what all the hackers in Berlin drink," explained Gabe Liberti of Studio Indefinit, which develops sound installations, while waiting in line at the bar. "That was all about yesterday," he offered, "and this is tomorrow."
A Cornish knight, an Irish princess, and the king they both betray by falling in love: For centuries the tale circulated Europe in various forms. But after Wagner’s monumental Tristan und Isolde had its premiere in 1865, his idiosyncratic version seemed to supplant all others. If you know the story today, it’s probably through his music, the epitome of high Romantic sincerity. Still, writes Emma Rice, an artistic director of the Cornish theater company Kneehigh, it was a local story, “asking to be told,” and so she set out to create a less bombastic and more vernacular take, “not an epic tale of grand romantic love held at arm’s length from our own experience, but a tender unraveling of love in all its beautiful and painful forms.” The result, first presented in Cornwall in 2003 and extensively produced on tour since then, is Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult, which has now come to St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. Sweet and enjoyable, alluding to sad things without being sad itself, it’s hardly what you’d expect from the tale, however you spell it.
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.
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.
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”).
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" ... !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.