Case Study: Alice meets The Clock

This past weekend was one of closure for several shows on offer within Toronto’s artistic programme. The Clock, Christian Marclay’s champion effort to evoke the romantic and elusive nature of time as regarded through the cinematic lens, saw its final moments at The Power Plant on the evening of Sunday, November 25. The single channel video and sound work is cleverly comprised of film clips displaying timepieces – analog wristwatches, digital alarm clocks, and the sundials of bygone days—as well as less obvious indicators of time’s passing, such as burning cigarettes and changing clothing. Over the course of Marclay’s 24 hour film loop, these fragments of cinematic history trace every minute, inscribing images on the rote of daily living. When Eastern Standard Time registered midnight last Sunday, the collaged narrative concluded with a coordinated time stamp of 12 AM. Luckily for Canadians, omnipotent art lovers Jay Smith and Laura Rapp facilitated the National Gallery’s purchase of one of six editions of the art work, guaranteeing that it will only be a matter of time before The Clock strikes again.

Christian Marclay’s appropriation of Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last, 1923
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Case Study: Christo’s $350million Sculpture in the Desert

Christo, known for his massive installation projects such as the “Surrounded Islands”, “Wrapped Kunsthalle”, and “Umbrellas”, is now closer than ever to realizing what will almost certainly be the largest and most permanent project of his career.  “The Mastaba”, a flat-topped pyramid made of 400,000 multi-coloured oil barrels, will be installed in the desert 100 miles south of Abu Dhabi.  At an estimated cost of nearly $340,000,000, The Mastaba will be taller than taller than the Great Pyramid in Egypt and become the world’s largest permanent man-made structure.

There is an argument to be made that this project is going to be one of the most important and awesome cultural expressions of the 21st century, perhaps a defining moment of the entire modern era.  But the flip side of that same argument would suggest that, at a time when billions of people are starving and the oil industry inspires wars and environmental degradation on a colossal scale, this is an quixotically ridiculous and utterly wasteful idea bordering on international criminality and insanity.

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Case Study: Toronto’s War on Graffiti Gets Increasingly Ridiculous

In their most recent effort to extend the spindly arms of bureaucracy to every conceivable aspect of the city while simultaneously proving just how out of touch they are, Toronto’s City Council will call a meeting of the newly formed “Graffiti Panel” (…seriously) to discuss whether certain murals will be allowed to remain on the private property on which they were painted. If it is deemed that the works in question are cases of vandalism and not art, they will promptly be painted over. The fact that the graffiti in question is on buildings whose owners either commissioned or entirely appreciate the work on their walls seems to be of little to no consequence for the Panel, who will debate the aesthetic value of the pieces in a meeting on November 2.

Click here for an article by the Torontoist and to see photos of the pieces in question.

Case Study: Art Fair Expense Breakdown

Artinfo published a breakdown of some of the various expenses associated with participation in an art fair, comparing booth prices for several events (the upcoming Toronto Art Fair not included) along with estimated costs for things like hotels, airfare, and art shipping costs. The resulting figures are, like anything else to do with contemporary art, staggering, but unsurprising. For an up-and-coming artist or gallery, is the exposure garnered through participation in an art fair worth the hefty price tag?

Read on for the full write up, courtesy of Artinfo.

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Case Study: Pixmaven’s Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator

“…With regard to the issue of content, the disjunctive perturbation of the spatial relationships brings within the realm of discourse the distinctive formal juxtapositions…”

Art history majors, MFA students, and general art snobs, rejoice! Website Pixmaven has come up with a brilliant algorithmic solution to all of your art-critiquing needs. Just enter any sequence of 5 numbers into it’s Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator and you will find yourself with a ludicrously-worded description that is so convoluted and wordy it will leave even the most discerning of critics in awe of your mastery of the fine art lexicon, or at the very least, distract them from your lack of knowledge with a smokescreen of big words.

Case Study: Eric Clapton’s Richter at Auction

It appears that in addition to being one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Eric Clapton is also a savvy art investor. At Sotheby’s Fall sale of Contemporary Art this coming October 12 in London, the rock legend will sell a painting by Gerhard Richter. With an expected hammer price of $14-19 million, his profit will be exceptional since he purchased it and two other Richters at Sotheby’s for $3.4 million in 2001.

Though the piece, an abstract canvas called “Abstraktes Bild (809-4)”, is not expected to set a record for paintings by Richter (currently $21.8 million), it is considered equal in quality to the best works by the artist currently held in museums around the world. The fact that the provenance will include ownership by Clapton will make it that much more desirable.

I wouldn’t mind owning the Richter, but I’d still prefer to have a few of Clapton’s guitars.  Just sayin’.

Case Study: Artist Residencies at Artscape Gibraltar Point

Artscape at Toronto Island’s Gibraltar Point is now accepting submissions for their thematic residency program. Each two-week residency is mentored by a different contemporary artist, curator or critic, and gives the artist the chance to expand the scope of their practice through a variety of activities including independent studio time, lectures, and group discussions.

Read on for a link to apply and for more information on the different sessions, courtesy of Artscape Gibraltar Point.

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Case Study: An Elderly Woman’s Misguided Foray into Art Restoration

Staff members of the Santuario de Misericodia church in Borja, Spain came across a rather unpleasant surprise in the archives of their art collection early last week.

A 19th-century painting by Elias Garcia Martinez, ‘Ecce Homo,’ had been amateurishly “restored” by an elderly woman who evidently has had zero formal training in visual art.

The noncommissioned touch-ups to the painting involved completely painting over the face of Jesus, obliterating any semblance to a recognizable human face.

The case is being taken in rather good humour because it is thought that the woman had set out with the best of intentions and only wished to bring the painting back to it’s former glory, not to destroy it; it has even sparked a petition to save her version of the work from being properly restored.

Click here for a report from The Guardian detailing the case.

Exhibition: BIGart at Navy Pier

Chicago’s Navy Pier has partnered with Gagosian Gallery to present BIGart, a free outdoor  exhibition along the waterfront. Featuring towering sculptures by the likes of Roy Litchenstein and Nancy Rubins, among others, and a pavement mural by Steed Taylor, the exhibition at the pier’s Gateway Park runs until October.

BIGart at Navy Pier
600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL

Case Study: Saatchi’s 100 Curators 100 Days

An exciting initiative has just been launched by Saatchi’s online gallery: Each day over the course of the next 100 days, they will be unveiling a new collection of 10 pieces selected by top curators from all over the world. Saatchi has long been a leading organization in the democratization of art ownership and this latest project, developed by Saatchi Gallery London director Rebecca Wilson, is a fantastic way for artists to garner recognition on an international scale and for art enthusiasts to discover inspiring works from all four corners of the globe.

Click here to keep up to date on the daily collections and to learn more about the project.

Case Study: Gustav Klimt, The Musical

The tumultuous life of virtuoso painter Gustav Klimt is being written into a musical. The womanizing Austrian Symbolist would have turned 150 years old this July; the musical, opening this September, is meant to be a celebration of his life and work. If you understand German, check out the trailer after the jump.

Gustav Klimt: Das Musical runs from September 1-October 7, 2012 at Vienna’s Künstlerhaus.

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Case Study: Historians Claim Discovery of 100 Unseen Caravaggio Paintings

Art historians in Italy are claiming they have discovered 100 previously unseen works by Caravaggio, one of the great master painters of the Renaissance. In an article published in the UK’s Telegraph, it was stated that the historians have been working secretly for the past two years rigorously analyzing the pieces for similarities to known Caravaggio paintings, and are now sure enough in their findings to assert that the 100 works were in fact painted by him. They believe them to have been created during his early years  as an apprentice under the Mannerist painter Simone Peterzano, between 1584-1588. If found to be genuinely authentic, the sketches and paintings have an estimated worth of well over 800 million USD.

Read on for an article from The Telegraph debating the possible authenticity of these findings.

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Case Study: The Gallery of Lost Art

Art meets intrigue at The Gallery of Lost Art, the latest project recently launched by the Tate. From Kahlo’s missing painting The Wounded Table to de Kooning’s erased Untitled drawing, the online exhibition  features art pieces enshrouded in mystery, mishaps and misfortunes. Like the pieces in the exhibit, the website itself will also disappear, scheduled to be taken offline in a year.

Read on for information about the project and a link to the site.

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