In case you missed it, a banana duct-taped to a blank wall, that fruit whose peel has been the basis of so much slapstick comedy, sold for no less than $120,000 at Art Basel Miami Beach, the sun-soaked winter outpost of the Swiss art fair. Called Comedian, the sculpture—three editions available—was the creation of the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, who recently had another brush with mainstream press when his full-functioning 18 karat gold toilet, America, was stolen from Blenheim Palace in England less than two months ago. The banana attracted a great deal of attention at the fair, with people lining up to take selfies with the fruit mounted to the wall of the global mega gallery Perrotin. It also attracted, depending on your perspective, vandalism or critical intervention: The performance artist David Datuna ate the banana on Saturday. Comedian was taken down for the last day of the fair because of the disruption it was causing, after which someone used the opportunity to scrawl “EPSTIEN [SIC] DIDN’T KILL HIMSELF” in blood-red paint on the now-bare wall. It was promptly covered up. https://twitter.com/GiancarloSopo/status/1203875430803087367 While Datuna’s performance may appeal to some as a means of pointing out the relative valuelessness of the work, they would be missing the point. Of course Comedian is just a fruit and some household tape. Nobody is meant to believe that the materials are in-themselves valuable beyond their grocery store price points. What is sold to collectors is not duct tape and a banana, but rather a certificate, which presumably includes maintenance instructions. The inherent ephemerality of the fruit is part of the work: owners can change the banana whenever they see fit. Obviously anybody could make this work at home, that's not in dispute. What’s sold, supposedly, is an idea (and the right to resell it). That is to say, that it is not about the objects. Like much art of the past 100 years, which has included urinals, apples, and canned feces as high-value objects, the intention of art like Comedian is to question how value is produced in the context of art. The controversy, mainstream and art world press, and social media presence is presumably as much as part of the work as the banana mounted in almost painterly gesture by a diagonal strip of duct tape somewhere it doesn’t belong. Even if we were to take Comedian at face value, putting decay on display through constantly-rotting produce isn't a new idea, either. Comedian also references the history of Cattelan’s own practice. The 1999 A Perfect Day, a mainstay of art history classes, used a whole lot more tape to attach Cattelan’s gallerist Massimo De Carlo to the wall for an entire day. Now, 20 years later, with a title that suggests a person—maybe himself, maybe his gallerist—perhaps we can see this banana as a stand-in for the body. Or, depending on one's leanings, it might just be rendering all the art system’s actors (this writer included) as charlatans and jesters. Whoever the joke may be on, Comedian is at the very least an ironic critique of the art market. As Jason Farago points out in his "grudging defense" in the New York Times: “[Cattelan’s] entire career has been a testament to an impossible desire to create art sincerely, stunted here by money, there by his own doubts.” By asking so much money for an idea (successfully, at least one edition has sold) that unifies two cheap, common objects, and creating so much controversy along with it, Cattelan attempts to expose the ways value is generated in art, as well as issues of authorship. Of course, at a time of rising inequality and rising seas that threaten Miami Beach, one might not find it so funny and fairly see it as a further indictment of an art system awash in cash, a playground for the one percent. That's what Comedian has to tell us: it’s all a charade, fresh fruit and painted canvas and plain-old dollar bills alike. Regardless, Cattelan will surely be happy to take his 50 percent cut.
Posts tagged with "Galerie Perrotin":
Brooklyn-based artist Artie Vierkant melds photography, commercial printing, and sculpture. For Vierkant, there is no real hierarchical distinction between art experienced in real life or in a photograph. In Vierkant’s post-digital world, 2-D and 3-D, image and object, original and copy, exist on a level playing field. He often takes photos of his installation, modifies them, and repurposes them as new works in and of themselves. Most recently, this has taken the form of an augmented reality (AR) app, Image Object (a term Vierkant termed in 2010 to describe work which “exist[s] somewhere between physical sculptures and altered documentation images”), released in conjunction with his exhibition Rooms greet people by name at Galerie Perrotin on the Lower East Side. Vierkant sat down with the Architect’s Newspaper to discuss the app, the boundaries between 2-D and 3-D, and what augmented reality means for the future of public space. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfq5LJuhF_9/?taken-by=avierkant Architect's Newspaper: Along with your exhibition Rooms greet people by name at Galerie Perrotin in New York, you’ve released an app, Image Object. Can you give us a little background on the app? Artie Vierkant: The app is functionally just a camera app. Part of the idea is for people to take photos and videos with it. For me, that’s just another extension of the work. It started because I realized augmented reality platforms are basically what I do already with the installation view editing in a very simple way. I started playing around with those tools and then realizing that if I applied the same principles as what happened in the installation views, AR could essentially create the exact same aesthetic experience, but perceptually in space, where you could wander through and around the work. It takes the reproduction in a photo on my phone or online or in a book and renders it spatially. AN: Like much of your work, this app troubles the boundary of 2-D and 3-D, perhaps taking it even further than what you've done before. If you're using the Image Object app in the exhibition, there’s a simultaneity between the arts instantiation in the gallery space and in the flat space of your screen. Artie Vierkant: I’m always quite serious about these points of intersection. AN: But, on the other hand, the app works anywhere. You can attend the exhibition without going to the gallery. Artie Vierkant: Or make your own. AN: I was reading somewhere that you said digital space was “susceptible to modification.” How might we think of physical space along these lines? One of the big questions for AR is where the boundaries between physical spatial experience and digital experience are. And if those boundaries even matter. Artie Vierkant: I think it’s becoming increasingly obvious that those distinctions and boundaries don't really matter. So many of these technologies are just prosthetics that extend our regular perceived lived reality. The idea of having two totally separate realms has been long ago debunked. We’re living in an incredibly weird time. AN: The idea of being “post-internet” presented the notion that the internet became so pervasive it just was simply the background of our world, not some special, fetishizable thing apart from it. It infiltrated existence. Now everything is passively designed to accommodate our use of the internet, to accommodate computation—possibly without even conscious thought. What sort of spaces and designs can we imagine as AR becomes increasingly high-level and increasingly entrenched? Artie Vierkant: This is what would maybe be the really interesting possibilities with AR. For example, buildings are designed knowing that a certain type of use is going to be predominant within them, but AR actually creates a situation where for the first time you could actually introduce a completely other layer. You could say that that's not totally the case because many things you could physically make, you could waste a bunch of material and resources doing it though. AN: The gallery is almost a perfect metaphor for this though because it is always claiming to be an empty, evacuated space. Artie Vierkant: The white cube will not stop trying to attest that it is a neutral zone or a completely empty space of limitless possibility. Which is obviously false. AN: AR takes that notion of emptiness and asks why bother filling it with stuff when you can fill it digitally. In this way, the gallery is the most extreme test case for the relationship between physical space and AR. Another interesting problem of AR is its relation to the private/public in space. The gallery is a space we occupy with others, but the app’s view of it is limited to our own phones. What does AR mean for public space and togetherness in physical space? Artie Vierkant: I have my own assumptions about how a lot of these technologies will play out and continue to be developed. I don't think that the more utopian options are going to play out in the short term, frankly. Clearly one of the issues that we have right now with "digital space” is its relationship to corporations. Social media space is basically just comprised of huge advertising companies. You could imagine a more egalitarian version of this under capitalism where you're both selling you're both your resources, where you're actively selling your attention and being remunerated for it. AN: Still, that remains capitalism as such, if a less extreme variety of it. Even the more radical proposals that have existed have quickly turned into commercial tools; if late capitalism is good at anything, it's rapidly subsuming anything that was initially meant to oppose it. Artie Vierkant: But, outside of an individualized experience which the market is predisposed to, you could also imagine a very strange reality that would be produced by having an augmented reality share a collectivized experience where you have a separate life over everything or different spaces where you could go into, like a white cube, and could load up some stuff that people have left there. Rooms greet people by name will be on view at Galerie Perrotin until April 8. Image Object will remain downloadable from the Apple App Store. Artie Vierkant: Rooms greet people by name Galerie Perrotin 130 Orchard Street New York, NY Through April 8
Famed mega-gallery Galerie Perrotin made the move downtown from the Upper East Side last April to the Beckenstein Building, an industrial space dating from the 1880s. Fourteen months after construction began, the gallery has finally unveiled all three floors of their new Lower East Side home. Brooklyn-based Peterson Rich Office (PRO) oversaw the 25,000-square-foot, five-story renovation of the building, which includes not only three floors of public exhibition space, but also storage, office and private exhibition space, as well as a street-level shop featuring art books and affordable small editions. While both Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich, the principals of PRO, have developed art spaces with previous firms and have collaborated with galleries like Luhring Augustine to create exhibition displays, this is the first commercial gallery designed by the office. And they hardly started small. By far the largest gallery on the Lower East Side, it is also perhaps the most pronounced. From the outside, a sleek black steel and glass entryway that conforms with Perrotin’s signature look contrasts with the colorful signage overhead—original painting from the fabric manufacturer and wholesaler that historically occupied the building, updated with Perrotin-specific accents. Edged by a black steel stairwell that connects the three floors of exhibition space, each floor is punctuated by its own desk space and entryway, providing a break and lending rhythm to the experience of moving through the galleries. The second-floor gallery, which for its inaugural show displays the work of Brooklyn-based artist Artie Vierkant, is smaller, which principal Nathan Rich suggests is ideal for staging more experimental exhibitions with younger artists. At the top floor, just beyond the landing, one emerges into a vast, light-filled space, where rippling arches are punctuated by the pyramid of a skylight. The dramatic room, with its 20-foot ceilings, required major structural interventions to make it possible. The building originally had a central courtyard, which the architects filled in to create the exhibition space. Since residences still exist above the gallery, this was no simple matter of just knocking down some walls. Besides the obvious engineering challenges, noise disturbance was a concern. To dampen the noise of the falling walls, builders laid a matrix of tires in the center of the space for bricks to fall into. The white columns that remain in the space are the remnants of these original outside walls. Luckily, thanks to its manufacturing past, the building’s floors can withstand tremendous weight for heftier sculptures and installations. Not content to place heavy art low to the ground, PRO developed hidden tracks in the ceilings designed to support substantial projects of up to 3,000 pounds. This load-bearing ability is ideal since the inaugural exhibition of French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel features heavy hanging helixes of glass and metal. Integrating the necessary functional infrastructure, like the hanging tracks, is part of what Peterson refers to as “the ballet of designing an art exhibition space,” where so much has to be made to look like so little, and a great deal of effort goes into making it all seem effortless. PRO’s new Perrotin deftly performs this architectural ballet for a cohesive, and even meditative, experience.
Yesterday, AN reported on the incredible new entertainment complex that millionaire James Goldstein is building next to John Lautner's Sheats Goldstein Residence in Beverly Hills. But even without an adjacent nightclub, the house often hosts splashy events, the most recent of which was the latest art/architecture installation that's part of artist Xavier Veilhan's Architectones series. As he did at Richard Neutra's VDL House and Pierre Koenig's Case Study House 21, Veilhan created several site specific installations for the site, ranging from a life size statue of John Lautner to a series of cords stretching over the home's pool. The project was curated by architect Francois Perrin and organized by Galerie Perrotin.