• Professional Grade

    Brian Sholis on student studios

    Art Basel Miami Beach déjà vu was inevitable at Columbia University’s MFA Open Studios on Sunday, as a flood of dealers and curators—even collectors—journeyed to the far Upper West Side in search of the next crop of bright young things. The fashionably interdisciplinary program has a who’s-who list of faculty (Kara Walker, Rirkrit Tiravanija) and consistently produces successful artists—this year’s Whitney Biennial, which featured alums David Altmejd, Sue de Beer, Banks Violette, and Barnaby Furnas, was practically a class reunion. So interest in the annual sneak peak runs high, to put it

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  • Shill Bill

    Andrew Hultkrans on the Weinsteins at MoMA

    Daring to question the Weinstein brothers of Miramax seems the very definition of leading with one’s chin. Little wonder, then, that when the fearsome moguls of American independent film agreed to be interviewed at MoMA last Thursday night, they chose an interlocutor with chin to spare—the prognathous prince of pulp cinema, Quentin Tarantino. The occasion was the studio’s twenty-fifth anniversary, to be celebrated over the coming months with the screening of fifty Miramax films (including Reservoir Dogs, shown after the discussion), fifteen of which will be donated to MoMA’s film archive.

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  • Wall to Wall

    Ali Subotnick at GBE (Modern)

    Barely a week after the closing of Art Basel Miami Beach, where his giant, tangled roadmap of a wall painting in Gavin Brown’s booth was one of the highlights of the fair, Franz Ackermann managed to pack GBE (Modern) on Saturday night with local and international fans still recovering from their Sunshine State sojourns. It was the opening of “Nonstop HHC,” Ackermann’s first show in New York since 2001, and it found him looking bigger and brasher than ever. A sharp black-and-white photograph of an eye—his own—introduces the show, which pulses with colorful wall paintings and new “mental maps,”

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  • Harvard Bard

    Larissa Harris on Stephen Prina's “Retrospection Under Duress, Reprise”

    “If you’re talking about it, you’re probably not doing it.” Maybe Stephen Prina had this caution in mind when he opted not only to open his exhibition at Harvard’s Carpenter Center with a screening and performance, but to schedule the event at 11:00 PM—a time better suited to action than analysis. Prina is a newly appointed professor and artist/exemplar of the postmedium condition at Harvard’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, the exotically titled studio program where undergrads make art and movies as part of a well-rounded liberal education. By way of backstory, you may recall

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  • Blast from the Past

    Steve Lafreniere on “East Village USA”

    The crush at the New Museum's opening for “East Village USA” was snarly yet fun, a little like being jammed into one of those unisex bathrooms at the Mudd Club, sans vomit. It was Old Home Week for the art world's Class of ‘81, seemingly a less-reserved bunch than one typically encounters nowadays, with air kisses replaced by cries of, “Shit, Anastasia, I thought you were dead!” The flamboyant mob—two glasses of wine were knocked out of my hands in five minutes—was a veritable who's-left of the era. Stephen Tashjian (Tabboo!) provided me with a running commentary worthy of Joan Rivers

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  • International Style

    Brooks Adams at Le Plateau, Paris

    On a freezing December evening, we rose from a winter’s nap and, automatonlike, lumbered out to our Twingo and drove up to Le Plateau for the opening of “Ralentir Vite” (Slow Down Fast), the first exhibition curated by the space’s new director, Caroline Bourgeois. A mixture of altruism and curiosity had led us to brave the cold. The two-year-old venue Le Plateau is one of those alternative spaces that one feels obliged to support, and we were hoping that the advent of Bourgeois would lend some spark to what has been, it must be said, a lackluster program. The drive—up the Canal Saint Martin

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  • House Proud

    Mayer Rus on Terence Riley's fiftieth

    Terry Riley, MoMA's chief curator of architecture and design, bounced back from the cringe-making Starck shindig in twenty-four hours, celebrating his fiftieth birthday at a jolly fête hosted by Patricia Cisneros (philanthropist-socialite), John Keenen (Riley’s business partner), and John Bennett (his “life partner,” to borrow a quaint phrase). The potentates of architecture and design who had been buzzing around the fair all week—and many who flew in to pay their respects to the man in charge of one of the largest and most important museum design collections in the world—converged

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  • Hip Parade

    Brian Sholis at the NADA art fair

    One way to tell that the NADA art fair, now in its second year, is officially on the map: Collectors snuck in Tuesday, two days before the official opening, while galleries were still unwrapping works fresh off the trucks. One way to tell that the NADA art fair is still experiencing growing pains: At the press preview just before Thursday’s opening, many of the booths were still in darkness as electricians made last-minute adjustments. (There were audible cheers whenever a booth’s lights unexpectedly switched on.) Inability to see the art didn’t seem to slow down the buying, though: New York

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  • No Comment

    Mayer Rus at the opening of ICON

    Let's do the time warp—again. On Friday night, a few thousand people turned out for the opening of ICON, a new Miami condo development designed by Philippe Starck and built by developer-slash-collector Jorge Perez. Guests toured the building's lobby, lounge, pool and spa, but, alas, the apartments were not available for inspection. A real estate agent informed me—this is not a joke—that the units come in four conceptual varieties: Culture, Classic, Nature, and Minimal.

    In terms of design, ICON is a pleasant pastiche of Starck’s greatest hits—all perfectly chic, but stale as

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  • High Crass

    Scott Rothkopf on events in Miami

    Day two of the art fair began with a phone call from Yoko Ono. “Hello,” I said tentatively, picking up the receiver. “Hello,” she replied. With the easy part behind us, we talked about the weather. “Is it warm in Miami?” she asked. “Yes,” I answered. “And sunny.” I couldn’t believe it—not that I was actually chatting with Yoko, but that the conversation was virtually indistinguishable from one I might have had with my grandmother. Perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised me, though, since she had absolutely no idea who had answered the ringing phone of her Talking Sculpture, perched on a table

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  • Hans On

    Daniel Birnbaum at Art Basel Miami Beach

    “Hi there,” said John Armleder, the most glamorous-looking art-world denizen since—forever. Looking up at the sky, he didn’t appear to be greeting us—the audience standing expectantly on the grass—but either a passing airplane or (as he explained to me later) the heavens themselves. With his signature braid and dark suit, and shades with one transparent and one dark lens, he looked more like some kind of luxurious pirate than one of Christ’s disciples—but that, it seems, is what he felt like. Now that I think about it, the whole scene had clear biblical connotations. The

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  • Puppet Preview

    Scott Rothkopf at Art Basel Miami Beach

    In a cab from the Miami airport on Wednesday, I got a call from a savvy collector who suggested in not so many words that the art fair was all but over—before it had even begun. And judging from the diffuse energy at the vernissage that night, the prognosis seemed fairly accurate. By that time, any collector worth his fleur de sel had already breezed through the fair, and not during Wednesday’s afternoon “First Choice” preview either. Clearly, “First Choice” was for latecomers only, or, as promotional materials put it, major collectors, museum directors, press, and “special” VIPs. Shopping, it

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