Tony Oursler’s alters
One swallow does not a summer make, but London’s dealers will take encouragement from the results of the Lisson Gallery’s recent exhibition of Tony Oursler’s video sculptures, or “alters”, as he describes his haunting multiple personality disorder dummies (closed 24 February). By the end of the second week of the exhibition, eleven of thirteen works has been sold at prices ranging from $16,000 to $32,000, with the remaining pair on reverse. Purchasers included Oslo’s National Museum of Modern Art, three private collectors living in London, and leading Swiss collector Monique Barbier-Muller. Charles Saatchi, who purchased three dummies from the gallery’s previous exhibition in 1994, acquired two further works, “Smoke” and “Years/Months/Weeks/Days/Hours/Minutes/Seconds”, a dwarf dummy in a battered suitcase, the progeny of a liaison, it might appear, between Miss Prism and convicted kidnapper and murderer Michael Sams. In addition, Mr Saatchi has commissioned a third work which will be previewed in “Young Americans: new American art in the Saatchi Collection Part II” (21 March-28 April), which features Oursler with Jacqueline Humphries, Richard Prince, Charles Ray and Kiki Smith.
It’s a busy time for Oursler who has recreated his key alter installation “Judy” (1994) for the Sprengel Museum, Hanover (to 24 April) and will be showing at the San Diego Museum of Modern Art (6 July-20 October) as well as in the forthcoming Sydney Biennial (24 July-22 September).
The last will be first
The last of eight artists to be interviewed by the committee responsible for awarding the contract for a new memorial to Austrian Jewish victims of the Holocaust (see p. 2); Rachel Whiteread was sufficiently despondent with her presentation that, following a night of exploring the bars of Vienna with her fellow competitors, she decided to take the early flight back to London. Only when she presented her ticket at the British Airways check-in desk and her name was recognised did she receive an urgent message to return to the city for a second interview. Apparently all of the committee members, with one exception, believed to have been Simon Wiesenthal, had supported her plan, but a further two hours of deliberation brought the necessary unanimous decision.
In one respect, Ms Whiteread’s victory in Vienna comes at the expense of neighbouring Salzburg where, as the recent winner of the third Eliette von Karajan Prize, she is scheduled to have an exhibition at the end of this month (30 March-20 April). Now it is unlikely that she will have time to make any new sculptures for this occasion and so will be showing drawings and prints ,unless her dealer Karsten Schubert is able to secure loans of existing works. There follows a second exhibition with New York dealer Luhring Augustine (7 May-18 June) for which five new sculptures have been promised, and a survey organised by the Tate Gallery, Liverpool (14 September-23 November), which will be shown at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reína Sofía, Madrid, in early spring 1997.
With so much activity in her career, the publication of a new portfolio of twelve photolithographs by Rachel Whiteread, to be previewed in an exhibition at Karsten Schubert (17 April-11 May), is a timely event for Charles Booth-Clibborn’s Paragon Press. The portfolio, published in an edition of thirty-five and retailing at £4,500, illustrates three East End tower blocks being dynamited. Revenge for Bow Council’s demolition of “House” at the beginning of 1994?
I want to spend
“I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere, with everyone, one to one, always, for ever, now” is the title of Damien Hirst’s sculpture of a ping-pong ball floating on a jet of air, and of a forthcoming autobiographical artist’s book due for publication in September under the imprint of Booth-Clibborn Editions. The publisher is Charles’s father, Edward Booth-Clibborn and the book, 240 pages with 240 reproductions, is expected to retail for £38. The artist, who is working with designer Jonathan Barnbrock and ex-Anthony d’Offay publishing director Robert Violette, will be reviewing his career and a range of other issues in his own words. Even in the conventional format of a pictorial catalogue, Damien will spring a couple of surprises. Spin paintings will spin, and the publication is expected to feature pop-up pages.
Scouting for talent
Leading New York dealer Mary Boone is moving uptown and looking for new artists. In the middle of January, she paid her first visit to London for eight years and visited four studios: Jake and Dinos Chapman, Abigail Lane, Marc Quinn and Jane and Louise Wilson. According to one senior international painter with whom she has worked, the brevity of her skirt is a reliable measure of her interest in an artist’s work, but freezing winter conditions camouflaged her real intentions on this occasion.
Hepworth joins PaceWildenstein
In the second move of her posthumous career, the estate of Barbara Hepworth, which is believed to comprise 250 sculptures, has left Marlborough Fine Art and is joining PaceWildenstein. The agreement will be signed by PW President Arne Glimcher and the estate’s trustees, who include two former directors of the Tate Gallery, Sir Norman Reid and Sir Alan Bowness, at the beginning of this month, and signals a fresh campaign to place Hepworth’s sculptures in important collections in the United States. In preparation for a major exhibition of her work expected to take place at PaceWildenstein’s gallery in Los Angeles at the beginning of 1997, the trustees have been withdrawing loans of material made to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and other museums in Britain. PaceWildenstein already represents the estate of Henry Moore inherited by his daughter Mary and her husband Raymond Danowski, and displayed his works on the public lawns of Beverly Hills nine months ago.
The new arrangement creates an additional responsibility for Madeleine Bessborough, proprietor of the New Art Centre, who will become the liaison between the estate and PaceWildenstein. She will continue to exhibit Hepworth sculptures in the garden of Roche Court, her home and gallery near Salisbury now open throughout the year. Her last summer exhibition featured “Construction: Crucifixion: Homage to Mondrian” (1966) which was purchased by a private collector in Minnesota for $500,000. In turn, she gains access to the distinguished list of American artists represented by PaceWildenstein, and will include works by Calder, Louise Nevelson, Claes Oldenberg and Jim Dine in her forthcoming exhibition programme.
A slower pace at Pace
The plan to refurbish Wildenstein’s gallery in New Bond Street as the European headquarters of PaceWildenstein has been put on hold. With London director David Grob now spending three weeks of every month in Los Angeles, where PaceWildenstein opened for business in September 1995, the urgency of embarking upon an expensive development has been defused while negotiations with the landlord are conducted. The gallery’s lease expires in 1998, and, speaking to The Art Newspaper as he relaxed in his spanking new office in warm and distant Beverly Hills, Mr Grob mused that he would be willing to look for other premises in London if negotiations were not successful. Another potential obstacle is the reaction of the City of Westminster’s listed buildings department to the radical designs proposed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki whom Mr Grob has retained for the proposed refurbishment. Should agreement be reached by all parties, a realistic opening date might be spring 1998, some thirty months later than the gallery had originally intended.
Lotta Hammer in Fitzrovia
“I’ve lived in a suitcase”, Swedish dealer Lotta Hammer told The Art Newspaper, “but now I’ve found my centre”. Following a childhood spent in Spain, and work experience gained with private dealer Björn Bengtsson in Stockholm and gallerist Luis Serpa in Lisbon, that centre is her own gallery in Fitzrovia, a decision encouraged by her late father, the art collector Gunnar Hammer who launched her interest in the arts by giving her a print by Malcolm Morley for her tenth birthday. Her neighbours are Laure Genillard, Karsten Schubert, Ridinghouse Editions and new partners Tommaso Corvi-Mora and Gregorio Magnani, who will be inaugurating the Robert Prime gallery in the middle of this month. Ms Hammer’s provisional opening date is a week later on 21 March.
Ms Hammer’s gallery is a former hairdressing salon in Cleveland Street, where she occupies the ground and basement floors of two adjacent buildings. Architect Teresa Ashton has been responsible for their reappointment. One of the two spaces will become a non-profit project room to be used by younger international artists for installations, performances, lectures and other activities. The commercial segment of the business will concentrate upon a programme of younger British artists and will be launched by an exhibition of photographs and drawings by Graham Gussin (22 March-27 April). Adam Chodzko has been confirmed as a second artist with whom she will be working. Art critic Andrew Renton, who is one of the selectors of the forthcoming Manifesta exhibition taking place in Rotterdam over the summer, will be curating a series of exhibitions for the gallery.
Lotta Hammer, 51-51a Cleveland Street, London, W1P 5PQ
Well done Chaps
Artist as curator? Step forward Jake Chapman who will be presenting “Some of my best friends are geniuses” (8 March-27 April) at Max Wigram’s Independent Art Space in Chelsea. Mr Wigram modestly describes himself as the event’s facilitator. “I clear up the problems and organise the finance”, he sighed. As the British Council’s Ann Gallagher will remember only too well from their midnight altercations in Venice last summer, when the artist ended up in the police station, problems have a habit of arising whenever Jake or Dinos, the Chapman brothers, are involved.
The friends of the exhibition are Gavin Brown, the brothers’ dealer in New York, David Falconer, Russell Haswell, Tim Sheward, Sam Taylor-Wood, James White and sister Gaby Chapman. Jake and Dinos will be showing a new permutation on their “Siamese Twin” theme.
“I’m making an analogy between hyper-nepotism and genius”, Jake explained on his mobile telephone as he waited for his lunch, adding that “geniuses are a bit dodgy”.
Knot a stitch in time
Jake Chapman’s exhibition celebrates the second anniversary of the Independent Art Space which Max Wigram opened at 23a Smith Street, just off the King’s Road, in February 1994. Over that period, he has supervised eight exhibitions and a series of projects of more modest scale, but still found time to pursue his career as an artist. At the Smart Show in Stockholm (7-10 March) he will be presenting a new version of “Routine for Life: James Bond’s Towel”, a performance in which he is obliged to wrap a towel around his loins. Maureen Paley previewed the video and related photographs of this performance in 1993. “Not a stitch” was Mr Wigram’s confident reply to The Art Newspaper’s enquiry of what he wore beneath the towel, but his legions of gorgeous and adoring admirers will be disappointed by his qualification to that assertion. “It’s the best way to tie your towel, you can play tennis and it won’t slip off”.
Max will be presenting “Mona Looser” at Thomas Nordanstad’s gallery in New York (25 May-20 June), and is planning a spectacular three-day event to take place at the ICA in October. Polished boots and riding crops obligatory, we presume.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Lotta action with Jake and Max'