Ettore Spalletti – ETTORE SPALLETTI

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November 11 2011 – ongoing
Galleria Lia Rumma – Via Vannella Gaetani 12, Naples

One day I saw Spalletti arranging his easels in the studio in a different fashion. I asked him why. He replied that he was working on the exhibition for the Lia Rumma gallery in Naples. He wanted the space to be emptied and the ?oor to be washed. I observed him as he walked around the studio in search of light and shadow as if he was trying to find an image and then liberate himself from it the very next moment. The geometry of the studio gradually was decomposed by the regular edges of the easels. I felt that he had already de?ned a sequence although I still could not understand it. Spalletti prepared the paintings meticulously. The rear of the painting was covered because he does not like smudges. He paints with the canvas placed horizontally; he explains that in this way the paint can be spread on more evenly: “the paint is spread, it dries, thickens and settles”. (more…)

Ryan McGinley – Wandering Comma

November 24 – December 22, 2011
Alison Jaques Gallery, 16-18 Berners Street, London W1T 3LN

In the Wandering Comma exhibition, Ryan McGinley’s explores his most impressive styles;  Black and white portraits, and the radiance of spontaneity in nature.

“My photographs are about removal: bringing people to nondescript locations, to places that aren’t recognizable, removing their clothes, capturing them with a very limited style palette. I try to think about how timelessness, isolation, and style interact.” Ryan McGinley, Artforum, September 2010

For his first London exhibition since his celebrated ‘Moonmilk’ series, Ryan McGinley has assembled seven new photographs, all in the largest format the American artist has yet worked in. Scale is one of the central variables in McGinley’s practice, as each photograph taken is initially printed in an array of sizes in order to fix the exact dimensions that allow the image to speak most effectively to the viewer. All prints in other sizes are then discarded. McGinley rarely produces his artworks at this 280 x 180 cm format, the maximum size, and only does so when the photograph truly calls for a vast canvas – an expanse that demands a heightened scrutiny from the viewer, as it does more attention on the part of the artist. (more…)

Jonathan Meese – Hot Earl Green Sausage Tea Barbie (First Flush)

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November 4 – December 23, 2011
Bortolami Gallery – 520 W 20th Street – New York

Hot Earl Green Sausage Tea Barbie (First Flush) is conceived as a continuation of his current Total Self-Portrait show at GEM (Museum voor Actuele Kunst) in The Hague, Netherlands. The exhibition includes a large-scale installation in the main space, in which photographs, posters, painted panels, bronze sculptures, paintings and wooden structures, act as a contemplation of himself as artist, a personal exploration of his assumed role. Since Meese’s days as a student, performance and installation have been a pivotal part of his art, both formally and in content, always related to theater and film. His installations have been platforms for his ideas about the autonomy of art, which he expresses in the ubiquitous term “Dictatorship of Art.”

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Lost in Nollywood

text and video by Michele Manfellotto

Dutch multimedia artist duo Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen made a trip to Lagos to shoot a video on the Nigerian movie industry, the so-called Nollywood, which appears to be second only to Hollywood and Bollywood.

Last week I was in Amsterdam so I got the chance to join Sander and Witte’s “Lost in Nollywood” night hosted by Lost & Found at the SMART Project Space, featuring trailers and clips from popular Nigerian films.

In the curators’ words: “The Nigerian film industry is the third largest in the world, releasing onto the home video market approximately 1,000 movies each year. Movies are produced and marketed in the space of a week: low cost equipment, actors cast the day of the shooting, ?real life? locations. They continue to fascinate audiences; stars are local actors, plots confront the viewer with familiar situations of romance, comedy, witchcraft, bribery, prostitution. The narrative is overdramatic, deprived of happy endings, tragic. The aesthetic is loud, violent, excessive; nothing is said, everything is shouted”.

To get what they are talking about just watch this clip that was screened in the show, a trailer for the movie called “Hitler”:

Apart from the obvious weirdness of the whole thing and the psychedelic taste of some ultra lo-fi film tricks that these movies sport all the time, I was most impressed because what we have here is an unstoppable and definitely original folk experience.

The video above is my private memory of that night, one long take in which a filmmaker and his first actress talk of their lives in cinema.

Carola Bonfili – Multiverse Tree

Multiverse Tree is a new work by Carola Bonfili, a cement sculpture that duplicates an ancient dead olive tree which stands on the bank of a small lake in an old farmhouse in Puglia, Italy.

In Carola’s own words, the work recalls the idea of parallel universes typical of authors such as J.G. Ballard or Philip K. Dick. The sculpture/installation, curated by Ilaria Bonacossa, is accompanied by an audio piece specially composed by Matteo Nasini, an artist and musician with whom Carola Bonfili has already collaborated for ‘Roomates / Coinquilini’ at MACRO Museum in Rome.
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Harald Szeemann in context

An international conference curated by Stefano Chiodi, Salvatore Lacagnina and Henri de Riedmatten

Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 November 2011
Fondazione Querini Stampalia (Auditorium G. Piamonte) - Campo Santa Maria Formosa - Venice

Click here for the complete program.

Ten years after the last edition of the Venice Biennale directed by Harald Szeemann, the anniversary that coincides with the nomination of a new Swiss curator at the helm of the oldest international kermesse of contemporary art, the Istituto Svizzero di Roma has organized an international conference, divided into two days and 4 sessions, that analyzes the personal and cultural experience of Szeemann, the new figure of curator that through him was validated in the international field between the Sixties and Seventies and its evolution within the contemporary art system.

Through the contribution of 10 international scholars and critics, “Harald Szeemann in context” critically reflects upon the dual nature of the profession of “independent curator” and a professional linked to institutions, two activities that in Szeemann have always run in parallel – as the intervention of Tobias Bezzola demonstrates, focusing on the years at the Kunsthaus Zurich (where Szeemann had been nominated independent curator in 1981) –  but it does not leave out the theme of the legacy that the activity of Szeemann represents for the new generation of curators, a topic examined by Philip Ursprung, Beat Wyss and Bice Curiger within their respective contributions.

A second part of the conference represents the results of the research by young scholars, carried out in Szeemann’s archives, directly on documents and original sources (Mariana Roquette Teixeira, Pietro Rigolo and Lara Conte) following a historical-artistic methodology, necessary to portray Szeemann beyond the myth.

With regard to the recent acquisition of Szeemann’s archives by the Getty Research Institute, Glenn Plillips describes the context of the Getty Center and the process that precedes the access to the archive.

The conference closes with a look at the current situation and the directions that the curatorial practices have taken more recently (Mary Anne Staniszewski, Michele Dantini).

At the Venice branch of the ISR, a selection of documentaries on Szeemann with interviews with artists and the curator, from the best known When Attitudes Become Form to the exhibitions from 2000 onwards, will precede and conclude the study days dedicated to the greatest exhibition maker.

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