News: Art Collector Herbert Vogel Dies

Herbert Vogel, who, along with his wife Dorothy, amassed one of the most important collections of Minimalist art worldwide, died on Sunday at the age of 89.

A postal worker and a librarian, the couple used their modest salaries to collect works by artists including Sol LeWittDonald Judd, and Robert Mangold.

A few years ago, the Vogels donated their entire collection to the National Gallery in Washington D.C. The Gallery is exhibiting about 1,000 of the donated works; the other pieces have been distributed in 50-item lots to one museum in each state, a project called Vogel 50×50.

Via: Artnet

Exhibition: Tom Sachs – Space Program Mars

Contemporary multimedia artist Tom Sachs‘ latest exhibit Space Program: Mars opens today at Park Avenue Armory‘s Wade Thompson Drill Hall. The interactive installation presents a meticulously and elaborately staged reproduction of a trip to Mars, with everything from rocket launches to miniature lunar rovers to the massive, life-sized control station with monitors playing live feeds of the various activities going on around the room.

Space Program: Mars runs from May 16th-June 17th, 2012 at Park Avenue Armory

Read on for a detailed account of the exhibition courtesy of ARTINFO.

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Exhibition: Luke Painter’s “Anterior” at Le Gallery

Later this year, in November, members of The Ministry of Artistic Affairs will be visiting the studio of Toronto artist Luke Painter.  Painter’s current exhibition, “Anterior”, is on view at Le Gallery in Toronto.  The show presents a series of mostly very-large drawings made laboriously with india-ink on rich archival paper, all of which display Painter’s impressive use of line as he explores themes of historic architecture and industrialization. Writing in Canadian Art magazine, Mariam Nader discusses how this exhibition “could be viewed as a study of the broader scope of ornamental art history, and the painstaking hours of production as an act of visual research.”

Luke Painter
Le Gallery
1183 Dundas Street West, Toronto
May 2-27, 2012

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Festival: Contact 2012 – Toronto’s Annual Photography Festival

Every year Toronto spends the month of May celebrating photography. Scotiabank CONTACT 2012, the annual festival that brings together a vast series of photo exhibitions, looks particularly great this year. With over 1000 local, national and international artists taking part in shows at more than 200 venues, CONTACT 2012, now in its 16th year, is the largest photography event in the world. For the entire month, participating galleries, stores, restaurants, institutions, and other accessible spaces will explore this year’s theme of “Public” which seeks to challenge the distinctions between our private lives and the public sphere.

With so many photography things going on, trying to figure out what to see can be completely overwhelming. Rather than offer our own list of must-see shows, we thought it might be more useful to provide the following list of links to local media sources offering their own recommendations and previews. Checking out these links will give you a decent lay of the land. You can always filter through CONTACT 2012′s excellent website and pick up the gorgeous programme guide that is available at most participating venues. Or do what we do: spend the weekends over the next month randomly touring galleries and let serendipity lead you the best of the best.

Canadian Art Magazine
View on Canadian Art
The Grid

More images from the festival after the jump: Continue reading

Case Study: The Chinese Art Market Dominates

We all know that China is on the rise and many people believe it could become the largest and most important economy in the world during our lifetime.  What may come as a surprise, however, is the extent to which this country is already dominating the global art market.  ARTINFO published an excellent in-depth article today exploring just how huge the Chinese art market has already become.  ”New tastes, new names, and new modes of operating are in play, and no one seriously interested in the art market can afford to ignore the scene any longer,” it claims.

You can read the article here.  Fascinating further evidence.  Might be time to get that Rosetta Stone

Case Study: New York Magazine’s Art Issue, 2012

This month’s issue of NY Magazine offers an interesting, sassy, tongue-in-cheek examination of the contemporary art world, as seen from New York City.   Positioning itself as a guide for everyone from artists to collectors to help them find their way through a forest of snakes and ladders, the issue presents 18 separate articles that poke fun at the frequent ridiculousness of this sub-culture as much as they explain the mechanics of how it works and expose who is steering the ship.

Our favorite piece from the issue is Jerry Saltz’s saucy expose of how money itself appears to have been the captain in recent years.  ”For nearly ten years, starting in the late nineties, art and money had sex in public,” he writes.  ”Lots of it. And really publicly. Art became news. Prices were equated with artistic value. The highest sellers were seen as the best artists. Galleries got bigger, then became multinational, opening branches here and then in Europe and Asia. ­Wherever money went, art followed (it should be the other way around).”

But not all is lost and, by the end of this entertaining and salty essay, Saltz has firmly taken the position that healing has begun. “While official, moneyed, and institutional tastes dither, as collectors buy what other collectors buy and teachers teach what other teachers have taught, art has crept into and expanded the cracks, opening vents and secret pathways. With money and academics distracted, different artists, ideas, and activities are getting more psychic time and space to root; older and overlooked artists are getting second chances; artists can grow wild again. They are more and more speaking the passwords primeval.”

We hope Saltz is right.  He is usually pretty close.

The entire Art issue of NY Mag can be read online here.

Auction: C Magazine Auction 2012

This coming Wednesday evening, C The Visual Arts Foundation, publisher of C Magazine, will host its 8th annual auction of Contemporary Art. This fundraiser to support the magazine will feature works donated by 60 of Canada’s most interesting contemporary artists. Perry Tung, the auctioneer of Bonhams Canada, will lead the exciting evening’s main event, taking place on April 11th at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). Proceeds raised will support C Magazine operations and programming for the coming year and all participating artists will receive a portion of sales.

On February 29th, members of The Ministry visited Bonhams Canada for a special preview of the works in the auction. C Magazine Editor, Amish Morrell, and Perry Tung of Bonhams, hosted an evening discussion about the important work the foundation does, the works in the exhibition, and how contemporary art auctions work.

The catalog for the auction can be found here.

More information about artists participating in the exhibition and how to buy tickets can be found by reading on. –>

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Case Study: What is an Artist?

What are artists, anyway?

In her excellent new essay published this month in Canadian Art, art critic and author Sarah Thornton seeks to clarify the distinction between artists and craftspeople. Her definition of “artist” posits that the key aspect that separates them from the rest of us is their inventiveness. “Contemporary artists are ideas people,” she explains, “who aspire to originality… The people that society treats as artists are professional thought-provokers who earn the right to be taken seriously through (a) insistent artworks, (b) convincing interpersonal and mediated communication and (c) opportune art-world affiliations.”

This useful (if debatable) essay helps highlight the importance of new ideas and how interesting, fresh concepts inject value to artworks that may not necessarily appear “beautiful” or “difficult to make”.

We recommend reading Thornton’s full essay here and welcome your thoughts at

Exhibition: Rob Carter at Art in General

British-born, New York City-based artist Rob Carter makes works that weave together photography, architecture, history and agriculture.  His images speak about emigration and the immigrant experience and the manner in which strangers plant roots (and ideologies) in strange lands.  In recent years, Carter’s process has involved photographing historically important buildings, creating three-dimensional models from the photos, and then placing these models in living gardens, planted with conceptually relevant seeds that grow through the miniature architectures.

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Case Study: MTV and Video Art

Earlier today, MTV announced a very cool new art initiative.  The music channel will air a series of ten original video art works commissioned and curated by Creative Time and MoMA PS1.  The videos, produced by some of the most exciting emerging artists, will be broadcast on MTV,, and MTV’s Facebook and Tumblr pages starting April 2nd and running through the rest of the year.

Art Breaks, as the series of videos will be known, will access nearly 600 million viewers worldwide, bringing cutting-edge contemporary video art to what could very well be the medium’s largest audience ever.  The series actually harkens back to its pioneering 1985 incarnation of the same name that broadcast TV spots created by a vanguard of downtown artists including clips from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Richard Prince.

The first five artists to participate will include: Rashaad Newsome (2010 Whitney Biennial, Centre Georges Pompidou, MoMA PS1 Greater New York); Mickalene Thomas (Santa Monica Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum); Tala Madani (The New Museum, the Saatchi Gallery, and the Venice Biennale); Jani Ruscica (Centre Pompidou, TATE Modern, and MoMA); and Mads Lynnerup (San Francisco Museum of Art, the Miami Art Museum, and MoMA PS1).   The second group of five participating artists will be announced and debut on-air and online during the summer of 2012.

“We are very excited to be working with MTV,” said Creative Time president and director Anne Pasternak, ”in honoring its iconoclastic and influential roots in introducing cutting-edge art and culture to millions of people around the globe.”

The press release for Artbreaks can be found here.

Case Study: Video Art in the Digital Era

The glorious invention of digital editing software and plasma flat screen monitors in the 1990s injected new life into Video Art, a previously anemic and fringe visual culture format that had always struggled to compete with Painting, Photography, and Film, its more alluring cousins.  Though a few artists working with clunky, low-res televisions and analog recording technologies managed to contribute memorable masterpieces to the canon of contemporary art (Peter Campus and Nam June Paik are the obvious examples), these works belie the fact that early Video Art was challenging for viewers even when the most ‘advanced’ technologies were exploited.

Prone to tape deterioration caused by mechanical friction, difficult to calibrate across environments, limited by awkward cabling and mounting structures, and subject to the basic constraints of simplistic image capture and weak audio fidelity, Video Art languished as the foster-child of the fine arts, largely ignored by major museums and provided shelter mostly by visionary yet funding-challenged new media galleries.  Like Harry Potter living under Vernonand Petunia Dursley’s stairwell, this medium was skinny, self-confidence challenged, visually impaired, and underappreciated, ignorant of the magical power it would soon learn to wield.  Continue reading

Video: Gerhard Richter Painting

One of the world’s greatest living painters, the German artist Gerhard Richter has spent over half a century experimenting with a tremendous range of techniques and ideas, addressing historical crises and mass media representation alongside explorations of chance procedures. Infamously media-shy, he agreed to appear on camera for the first time in 15 years for a 2007 short by filmmaker Corinna Belz called Gerhard Richter’s Window.

Her follow-up, Gerhard Richter Painting, is exactly that: a thrilling document of Richter’s creative process, juxtaposed with intimate conversations (with his critics, his collaborators, and his American gallerist Marian Goodman) and rare archive material. From our fly-on-the-wall perspective, we watch the 79-year-old create a series of large-scale abstract canvasses, using fat brushes and a massive squeegee to apply (and then scrape off) layer after layer of brightly colored paint. This mesmerizing footage, of a highly charged process of creation and destruction, turns Belz’s portrait of an artist into a work of art itself.

Learn more at the film’s official website.