Wednesday December 6, 2006

Images from Art Basel 2006

Lots to get to here. The show seems to get a little more tame every year, but there’s still lots and lots to see. Here’s a few things that jumped out at me; I’m going to give the artist’s name if I have it, the gallery’s name if not.

Jacob Hashimoto. A sculpture of cocktail umbrellas connected by string, 4 levels deep.

Candida Höfer really came into her own this year. This one was my favorite in the show. (Yes, I’ve got glare. It’s going to get worse.)

Handwriting-styled neon was ubiquitous. This piece consists of the first four lines of “Dumb,” apparently based on a scan of Curt Kobain’s diary. The words flashed on and off individually at the speed he sang the lines. Like, um, deep. Dude. (neugerriemschneider, Berlin)

A brass Donald Judd. Probably the first piece of his I’ve really appreciated. Note to gallery: please wipe the top off with a soft lint-free cloth; it’s dusty!

A John McLaughlin painting from 1957. You’re seeing some cracks in this reproduction, but actually it had a lovely texture.

Another blinking-lights sculpture. This one is from Sicardi in Houston. Maybe they play 3-D chess on it.

The same gallery had a number of optical-type works. The sides of the shapes on this one that face away from the front are painted different colors, so that the piece is monochrome except for the little triangular shadows (it’s a subtle thing).

Romare Bearden, stellar in color.

A fantastic piece from the early life of Gregory Crewdson. How he gets those points of light in the photo is a mystery. Then again, the same is true of his more recent work.

Carl Andre intended for these to be walked on, but the galleries generally don’t feel the same way.

In an effort to counteract the anomie-inducing effects of So. Much. Freaking. Art., the organizers peppered the show with “Art Kabinets,” little mini-shows which are at least internally curated. One of these is dedicated to William Wegman. In this photo series he builds a box in John Baldessari’s studio. (Overheard price: $85,000 — CHEAP!! )

A detail from another of the pieces, in which he glued down postcards, and then completed a painting to join them into a composition. Wegman went on to make silly dog photos. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)(Sorry, there I go ruining art for people.)

Collage and electrical tape on wall. (Arnaud, São Paulo.)

Doug Aiken has been one of my favorite artists for years, and he totally saved the day. I’m going to show you three pieces, but this one was my favorite. Unfortunately, you’ll have to go see it yourself, because it faced the food court, and the glare is decimating it.

Nevermind, right? But this 5-channel video piece showed surveillance footage of empty buildings into which individual animals had snuck.

If I read the label correctly, this artist would like to be known as “MR.” On the off chance that that’s incorrect, I’ll just say that it’s Lehmann Maupin gallery, New York. Another neon piece in the background, this time by Tracy Emin. What it says is not important.

You saw the chrome floor earlier? This place had a bathroom-tile floor, with several big bath-themed paintings to match. I really like this one. (Note: I’m getting better with the color time on my new camera, but I really botched it on some of these and couldn’t even save them in Photoshop.)

The second Aiken. This one has polished stainless steel hexagons that slowly shift over time.

When digital meets paint, the results are often not pretty, but this picture probably suffers unfairly for being dragged back into a computer. In person it really had some potential.

A photo of a man’s profile A picture of a man’s profile made by photographing guys with and without shirts sitting on the beach.


I love this ballpoint pen drawing on folded paper, but I lost the name of the artist. Anyone?

Damien Hirst, w00t! These are real cigarette butts which he put out in rows, and then (‘m guessing) had assistants glue down in exactly the same position. Mental.

Another Hirst. Real butterflies were most definitively harmed in the making of this artwork.

Installation by Richard Jackson. Now this is more like it, Basel. Some giant cartoon ducks shitting out paint through hoses into buckets. Life sized (the toilets, not the ducks), natch. (Not right now, but if you don’t see it in person come back later and try clicking it; I might link it to a bigger version.)

A whimsical sculpture with real plates and bowls. (OMR, Río de Janeiro.)

Just like some stuff can’t be photographed, some stuff just sits around and waits for a camera to complete it. Can you figure out what’s happening here? (Lisson, London.)


Wolfgagn Tillmans. Rockstar.

More photography: Eric Baudelaire. This was one of a stellar group of four.

The best color-period Cindy Sherman photo I’ve ever seen.

OK, I’m beat. More tomorrow morning.

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  1. Ellen Woodrow    Tue Jan 9, 01:37 AM #  

    My favorite piece was a painting of a girl in a white wig with candy on it, and she is holding a piece of candy above her head, gazing at it. It was stunning, and I did not write the name of the artist or gallery! I thought it would be in the catalog, but was not. If you know the name I would really appreciate it!