An important component of my job is staying on top of emerging artists. The best way to keep tabs on current happenings in the contemporary art world is to experience art in real time. That means studio visits, conversations with artists, and attending art fairs. Spending time submerged in artists’ work, away from my desk, helps to ensure that I’m bringing back fresh new programming to Joslyn. On my most recent trip to New York City, I met with summer 2015 Riley CAP Gallery artist Kon Trubkovich, who is currently completing a series of 48 paintings that he started in 2011. One of those paintings will be featured in Kon’s upcoming exhibition at Joslyn. Kon will be coming to the Museum on August 20 to give a talk in the Abbott Lecture Hall, so mark your calendars! I also found time to meet with fall 2015 Riley CAP Gallery artist Brad Kahlhamer while I was in NYC. Brad recently returned from a residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation on Captiva Island in Florida, where he started working with ceramics. Perhaps his forthcoming exhibition at Joslyn will feature some of his clay creations! Check out my photo diary of my time in the Big Apple.
Phil Willson Curator of Contemporary Art
For 14 years, Joslyn Art Museum’s Contemporary Art Society (CAS) has provided a forum for its members to explore and share in the excitement of modern and contemporary art, in Omaha and around the globe. This photo diary was captured by Karin Campbell, Joslyn’s Phil Willson Curator of Contemporary Art, as a benefit for CAS members. We decided to share it with everyone, as a taste of the types of curatorial insight and interaction CAS members enjoy. For more connections to contemporary art, join CAS today! For details, please contact Erika Conces.
I arrived in NYC on Wednesday morning (May 13) and checked in at my hotel on the Lower East Side. After a quick lunch, I started making my way to the subway to go to the Guggenheim Museum where I was catching the shuttle bus to Frieze Art Fair. As I’m strolling along Houston Street, what do I stumble upon? This stunning sculpture by former Bemis resident and all around excellent person, Jarrod Beck. Great way to start the trip!
A bus full of art world people waiting to head to Frieze on Randall’s Island. I was the only person on the bus wearing a color other than black.
Fiber! There was so much fiber, thread, and textile art at Frieze this year, including this beautifully textured hanging piece by Swiss-born artist Françoise Grossen.
I spent almost six hours at Frieze. Snapping photos of the labels is the only way I can remember everything I’ve seen and liked.
I loved the interplay between the raw weaving and the stark yellow backdrop in this installation by the young (very young…born in 1990) Belgian artist Kasper Bosmans in Marc Foxx’s both.
Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander was included in Life on Mars, the 55th Carnegie International, the big exhibition for which I was curatorial assistant at Carnegie Museum of Art. I adore her work, and this piece at Fortes Vilaça’s booth did not disappoint. Later in the week, I was lucky to see several more at her New York gallery, Tanya Bonakdar. For this body of work, Rivane creates a loose drawing which she then embroiders on to fabric, filling in the negative spaces with saturated colors. Gorgeous!
Fortes Vilaça also featured Erika Verzutti, a young Brazilian sculptor who was in the 2013 Carnegie International. I will admit that the first time I encountered her work, I was not sold on it, but it has been growing on me over time. These floor pieces were great.
These Styrofoam Venus of WIllendorf knock-offs by Mexican artist Damián Ortega made me laugh out loud. Which was a good thing because this was around the time I realized it was blazing hot in the Frieze tent and I needed a little comic relief.
Polish painter Wilhelm Sasnal is one of my favorites. He too was in Life on Mars. He’s known for his muted palettes, and this painting and another of a woman’s back with a long braid were stunning in their simplicity.
Matthew Marks’ booth showcased a brilliant selection from Nan Goldin’s iconic body of work The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. You may recall that several photographs from that series were featured in Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection here at Joslyn.
I couldn’t tear myself away from this quiet series by Serbian artist Mladen Stilinović. His work always makes me look at the world in a new way.
At Gavin Brown’s Enterprise’s booth, artist Jonathan Horowitz set up a factory of sorts. Visitors to the booth were invited to paint an eight-inch black circle on a square white canvas, a task for which one would be paid $20. I did not partake given how crowded it was (although at the time I didn’t know about the $20…may have changed my attitude!).
Iraqi-born artist Hayv Kahraman has become a favorite over the last two years. Maybe she’ll be a Riley CAP Gallery artist in the future…
Was tickled to come across this sumptuous Sheila Hicks wall piece at Sikkema Jenkins’ booth. You might be seeing this piece again in the summer of 2016.
A great addition to this year’s edition of Frieze was this Tribute to Flux Labyrinth, which was originally conceived in 1975 by George Maciunas in collaboration with a number of other Fluxus artists. As I climbed through this rubber tube rope course and then squeezed through the narrow opening in the pink wall beyond, I thought about the bizarre things I do sometimes in the name of work research.
Lehmann Maupin pulled out all the stops with this Kader Attia piece titled Halam Tawaaf (2008) which features almost 3,000 empty beer cans. The orientation of the cans in the circle inverts the traditional “haram tawaaf,” or the seven circumambulations required of Muslim pilgrims around the Kaaba in the center of Mecca. Rumor has it this work is headed to a major museum’s permanent collection.
A mini version of Kara Walker’s mammie sphinx, which was originally a massive carved sugar sculpture at Brooklyn’s now- defunct Domino factory. Fun fact: the only time I’ve truly been sweaty-palmed when meeting an artist was when I was introduced to Kara. I was completely star-struck. I’d like to say that happened when I first started working in the arts. Nope. It was last year.
On Thursday morning (May 14) I had breakfast at one of my favorite Chelsea restaurants—Cookshop—and then walked the Highline south to the new Whitney Museum of American Art. The Renzo Piano-designed building is not terribly exciting from the outside, but the gallery space is AMAZING. Great light, beautiful flow. Just so good. Here’s a view down the Highline to the museum. Those pink forms creeping up the side of the building are by Mary Heilmann, one of the artists featured in last fall’s Warhol exhibition at Joslyn.
Encountered this lovely bit of street art on a building adjacent to the Highline. Words of wisdom.
The Highline has a fantastic art program which rotates regularly. I liked this installation. And I don’t know who it is because I forgot to photograph the label!
One thing that is spot on about the exterior of the Whitney is the massive terrace on each level. Not a bad view.
Jay Defeo from the Whitney collection. It’s a painting. I’ll leave my comments at that and let you drool.
I was lucky to get to spend much of Thursday with one of my mentors, Heather Pesanti, with whom I worked at Carnegie Museum of Art. She’s now senior curator at The Austin Contemporary, a new museum in Austin, TX. That’s Heather in the black jacket photobombing my shot of Claes Oldenburg and Alex Katz.
Whitney’s George Segal. You didn’t hear this from me, but ours is better!
This is probably the #1 image posted to social media by Whitney visitors. Felix Gonzalez-Torres tumbling down the center stairwell. This was a jaw-dropping moment.
Ida Applebroog at Hauser & Wirth in Chelsea. These precious little sculptures are from the mid-1970s, and I wanted to walk out of the gallery with them!
David Shrigley at Anton Kern in Chelsea. I worked closely with David during Life of Mars. He is the cheekiest of cheeky Brits. I love the dark humor that pervades these crude paintings.
Rivane Neuenschwander at Tanya Bonakdar in Chelsea. I walked into the gallery and learned that these eggs are meant to be worn. So, because I’m exceptionally dedicated to my job…
I put one on to show you all. You’re welcome.
Friday (May 15) took me to a far-flung corner of Bushwick in Brooklyn to meet with fall 2015 Riley CAP Gallery artist Brad Kahlhamer. We hung out in his studio for a while, drinking coffee and chatting about his forthcoming residency in Omaha (starting in early September). Then we went around the corner to stuff our faces at the famous Roberta’s. The best pizza in the world. This is a shot of Brad’s studio.
This inspiration bookshelf in Brad’s studio was like a cabinet of curiosities. Part taxidermy display case, part library.
I found myself with a bit of free time on Saturday morning (May 16), so I headed a few blocks away from my hotel to the New Museum to see the third edition of its Triennial. In truth, much of the work didn’t speak to me, although there were definitely some stand-outs, including two paintings by Avery Singer. Yes, this is a painting, and it’s massive. She’s got some incredible technical skill.
Another moment of interest in the Triennial was this sculpture by French-born artist Antoine Catala. It’s an aquarium with live corral and was originally commissioned by Carnegie Museum of Art for a solo show Antoine did there. Totally weird but addictive.
I recently learned about the work of Nigerian artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, who now lives in LA (and is married to an American, hence the distinctly non-Nigerian last name). She’s quite young and has developed a unique style and visual lexicon. I’d love to see her work in Nebraska some day.
Karin, I hope you continue to keep us informed about what is going on, your trips and comments. Very enjoyable.
I really enjoyed this virtual tour, Karin! You made me feel like I was right there with you…..and I wish I had been. Thank you for bringing all of this to us! Judy Boelts