Posts Tagged ‘gareth harris’

Gareth Harris of the Financial Times writes that foundations set up by successful artists or their estates are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the art world.

“ ‘Artist-endowed foundations are the sleeping giants of philanthropy,’ says András Szántó, a New York-based analyst and cultural consultant. Indeed, these charitable foundations, endowed by an artist with assets (archives, property and art among them) used for the public good, are quietly but dramatically changing the US art landscape through their grant-making programmes, scholarship, research activities and contributions to museum collections. …

“The greatest challenge, for a start-up private operating foundation,  [according to Christy MacLear, the Rauschenberg Foundation’s executive director], is making the transition from an unregulated art industry player to a highly regulated non-profit entity.

“Such sticky issues aside,” Harris continues, “artists’ foundations could, one day, match or even top government funding for the visual arts in America.

“Szántó stresses that their full impact is yet to be felt. ‘With an unprecedented cohort of well-to-do painters and sculptors among the older generation,’ he says, ‘the golden age of artist foundations may yet be ahead.'”

The Andy Warhol Foundation’s Joel “Wachs, meanwhile, is evangelical, declaring: ‘Successful artists have a unique opportunity to support those artists that come after them.’ ”

Read more in the Financial Times.


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I like reading about street art and what motivates the creative outbursts. I have blogged on this before (Slinkachu, Banksy).

The Art Newspaper recently did quite a long feature on street art inspired by (and inspiring) the Arab Spring.

Anny Shaw and Gareth Harris interview “Hans Ulrich Obrist of London’s Serpentine Gallery, who is chairing a discussion on art patronage in the Middle East as part of a summit at the British Museum and the Royal College of Art (12-13 January).”

” ‘What is interesting to see in Egypt, and in all these countries, is that artists are not only going out into the city, they also become agents of change in society. … If you think about it in terms of the Russian Revolution and Mayakovsky saying “the streets are our brushes, the squares our palettes,” it’s about art going beyond the museum and blurring the boundaries between art and life.’

“Obrist also notes that there is a long-standing tradition, particularly in Egypt, of contemporary artists using the street to mount performances or install works. Indeed, several contemporary Egyptian artists, including Susan Hefuna and Hassan Khan, have used the city as a site for their work, both before and in response to the uprising. …

“As Anthony Downey, the director of contemporary art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, editor of ibraaz.org and a speaker at the summit says, the region has ‘antecedents in graffiti-based pro­tests,’ citing those against the Shah of Iran before his flight from Tehran in 1979 and the graffiti and posters used in Beirut during the civil war in Lebanon.”

What a hoot that this art has been taken up by auction houses like Sotheby’s! But on the whole it’s good for the artists. I know what a great moment it was when the favela artists from Brazil were able to sell their work in the movie Waste Land.

Read more here.


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About a year ago we had the great pleasure of attending a panel discussion featuring Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature. We took our seats at the New Yorker magazine’s lecture series, and because I had read his novel Snow, I was expecting someone quite dour and grim.

Instead he was hugely entertaining and funny as he talked about literature and his latest project, creating a museum to replicate one he had invented for his 2008 novel, The Museum of Innocence.

Writes Gareth Harris in the September 2010 Art Newspaper, “Turkey’s most famous living novelist is holding a pair of dentures in a room packed with ephemera reflecting everyday Turkish life of the past three decades. Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2006 and author of My Name is Red (1998) and Snow (2002), is standing among a sea of objects—sewing machines, clocks, soda-bottle tops, buttons, lottery tickets, china dogs, birdcages, cigarette lighters and false teeth—that will soon go on display in The Museum of Innocence, a four-storey building in the Çukurcuma neighbourhood, central Istanbul. This venue, not just a chamber of curiosities, is the real-life incarnation of the museum painstakingly assembled and detailed in his book The Museum of Innocence (2008).”

I expect that, for someone who has read the novel, the museum experience will be both delightful and unnerving. I know I felt delighted and unnerved years ago after reading a nonfiction book about a Rhode Island community and then trying to reconcile the characters who had seemed so real with the people who had been described. Storybook characters coming to life. At first the real people seem shadows. Then as you get to know them, the storybook characters become the shadows, superficially imagined imitations.

April 30, 2012, update here.

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