Longitudes

Report: Trip to Chicago and Detroit in pictures, 18–25 September 2019

Good morning Chicago!

As we shared in our recent newsletter, in mid-September we had the opportunity to visit Chicago and Detroit, thanks to an invitation from Stephanie Cristello, Artistic Director of EXPO Chicago, who we met last year during the 2018 Amsterdam Art Weekend. As participants of the inaugural collaboration between EXPO CHICAGO and Red Bull Arts Detroit Global Curatorial Initiativea smaller selection of participants had the opportunity to extend their trip to Detroit (21-23 September), in an effort to foster dialogue with the greater Midwest.


18 September 2019: Visiting the Chicago Cultural Center (photo above), the main venue of ‘And Other Such Stories’ the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial curated by Yesomi Umolu, Sepake Angiama and Paulo Tavares. Personal highlights: works by Forensic Architecture, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Theaster Gates, Vincent Meessen, performances by Jimmy Robert, Alexandra Pirici, and the powerful collaboration between the Settler-Colonial City Project and the American Indian Centre. In the afternoon, we visited the Art Institute Chicago and attended a performance by Samson Young at the Chicago Symphony Center.


(Above and below) Museum of Oil— The American Rooms by Territorial Agency on display in the Chicago Cultural Center's Exhibit Hall.
(Above) Work by Oscar Tuazon.
(Above) Work by Clemens von Wedemeyer. 

(Above and below) Room with works by Theaster Gates and Vincent Meessen.
(Above) Works by Wendelien van Oldenborgh (left) and Do Ho Suh (right).
(Above) Movimento Sem Teto do Centro (MSTC) fights on behalf of families experiencing homelessness.
One of the examples of the impactful collaboration between the Settler-Colonial City Project and the American Indian Centre.

The American Indian Centre also contributed with a Land Acknowledgement.
 Performance ‘Descendance du nu (Chicago)’ by Jimmy Robert.

 ‘Re-collection’, 2018–ongoing, a performance by Alexandra Pirici situated in the Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda of the Chicago Cultural Center, a memorial to Civil War veterans.
(Above and three below) ‘In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernist in Mexico at Midcentury’ at the Art Institute Chicago, exploring the impact Mexico had on the lives and artistic practices of Clara Porset, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, Cynthia Sargent, and Sheila Hicks. 
Also at the Art Institute Chicago we were surprised to see that this work by Andrés Jaque on Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona pavilion that recently entered the collection. Can't help to think such work should have been acquired by a Spanish collection, not to mention a Barcelona collecting institution?
A great exhibition with very few photographs by Sara Deraedt at Art Institute Chicago. Since 2008 the artist has been photographing vacuum cleaners as she encounters them in places where they are sold. 
The Flax project started in 2012 by Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma.
Before Samson Young's performance and Q&A at the Chicago Symphony Center.

19 September 2019: Morning session at the Graham Foundation. But first, stop at their beautiful bookstore and their current show by Tatiana Bilbao. In the afternoon, we visited EXPO CHICAGO until we got fair exhaustion and later caught Abraham Cruzvillegas' impressive solo show at The Arts Club of Chicago.

Marking the commencement of the 2019 Curatorial Exchange and Curatorial Forum was a keynote lecture by Artistic Director Zoe Butt from The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Ho Chi Minh City.
Mid-morning tour around EXPO CHICAGO.

One of the best stands was this presentation by Brazilian gallery Bergamin & Gomide, an art and architecture atlas of modernist and contemporary Brazil. Curated by Sol Camacho.
“In/Situ” section curated by Jacob Fabricius (artistic director of the Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark) around EXPO CHICAGO.

We caught ourselves in this picture by Casa Bosques browsing at books in the Index Art Book Fair. 
(Above and below) Solo show ‘The Ballad of Etc.’ by Abraham Cruzvillegas at The Arts Club of Chicago.

20 September 2019: On our last day in Chicago, we joined closed-door presentations by the  2019 Curatorial Exchange participants, moderated by Art Institute Dittmer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Hendrik Folkerts (Above). Later we attended a lunch at EXPO CHICAGO, and in the afternoon took off with a couple of colleagues, to enjoy the impressive wealth of exhibition-centres the University of Chicago campus has to offer: the Logan Center, The Renaissance Society, the SMART Museum, the Oriental Institute, and the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society.

Above: Assemble and Duval Timothy in collaboration with Demond Melancon and the Material Institute, New Orleans, an exhibition at the Logan Center, The University of Chicago.
 (Above and below) LaToya Ruby Frazer's "The Last Cruze" at The Renaissance Society also in The University of Chicago campus. 
 (Above and two below) Michael Rakowitz's work in one of the galleries of the Oriental Institute also in The University of Chicago campus.
(Above and below) Frederick C. Robie House, aka The Robie House, a landmark building by Frank Lloyd Wright on 5757 S Woodlawn Ave, in the University of Chicago campus.
(Above) Exhibition by Martha Rosler at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (also in The University of Chicago campus) centred primarily on her interest in flowers, gardens, and related “green” motifs. 
(Above and two below) "Samson Young: Silver Moon or Golden Star, which will you buy of me?" at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago campus.

University of Chicago campus.
In the evening, we attended the opening of the solo exhibition by Vienna-based artist Sarah Ortmeyer at the project space Chicago Manual Style, curated by Stephanie Cristello, artistic director of Expo Chicago. Latitudes collaborated with Ortmeyer in the 2011 exhibition ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs...’ at Meessen de Clercq, Brussels.

One of the outdoors installations at the MBAD African Bead Museum, Detroit.

21 September 2019: Upon arriving in Detroit in the afternoon, our local host Scott Campbell took us to visit the MBAD African Bead Museum, 18 outdoor installations using iron, rock, wood and mirrors by visual storyteller Olayami Dabls on the corner of Grand River and West Grand Blvd, Detroit. (above and three below)



22 September 2019: (Above and 8 photos below) Morning tour by Laura Mott, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art and Design, and curator of the exhibition ‘Landlord Colors: On Art, Economy, and Materiality’ at the Cranbrook Art Museum. "Materiality, a large-scale exhibition and public engagement series that brings together artworks from five international art scenes that have experienced economic and societal upheaval: Italy (the 1960s-80s), Korea (1970s-80s), Cuba (1990s–present), Greece (2009-present), Detroit, USA (1967-present). The exhibition showcases the work of more than 60 artists from a wide variety of backgrounds to highlight shared themes of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and resistance highlighting seminal historic works and new work from contemporary artists such as Reynier Leyva Novo, Zoë Paul, Kostis Velonis, Matthew Angelo Harrison, and Scott Hocking."

Matthew Angelo Harrison, ‘Dark Povera Part 1’, 2017.
Two chairs by Olayami Dabls of the Dabls’ MBAD African Bead Museum.

Afternoon visiting Red Bull Arts Detroit studio and gallery space. We are taken around their current show ‘Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying’ by the Red Bull Arts Detroit Curatorial Fellow Taraneh Fazeli.
Anders Ruhwald’s installation occupies an entire apartment in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighbourhood. 
In the afternoon we had time to squeeze in a visit to The Heidelberg Projectin the McDougall-Hunt neighbourhood on Detroit's east side. (Above and 10 below) Since 1986 artist Tyree Guyton (1955) has progressively transformed vacant houses and lots on Heidelberg street into one large outdoor installation. Guyton's "grotesque materialism" project is one of the most visited sites in Detroit, attracting 200,000 visitors annually.



23 September 2019: Morning studio visit with artist Matthew Angelo Harrison (no photos), and pm appointment with Executive Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder and current
Ford Curatorial Fellows Jova Lynne and Tiziana Baldenebro of The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, which was in between shows. MOCAD is the keeper of Mike Kelley's ‘Mobile Homestead’"located on the grounds of the museum, it is a full-scale replica of the home in which Kelley grew up: a single-story, ranch-style house in the Detroit suburb of Westland. Kelley, who died in Los Angeles in 2012, sought to ensure that the Mobile Homestead remain relevant to the cultural interests and concerns of its local communities. In that spirit, the home was designed with a detachable facade, allowing it to be driven to neighbourhoods throughout the city, offering public services during its travels."



The official programme finished and we had time to visit the Michigan building on 220 Bagley Avenue (above and two below) which was designed for Detroit philanthropist and movie theatre tycoon John H. Kunsky. It opened in August 1926 with the film "You Never Know Women" with Florence Vidor and Lowell Sherman, and could seat over 4,000 people who enjoyed a programme of five shows daily. It hosted live performances by The Marx Brothers, Betty Grable and Bob Hope, and many others. The theatre was built on the site of the small garage where automobile industrialist Henry Ford built his first automobile, the quadricycle (the garage was later disassembled and moved to The Henry Ford Museum in the nearby suburb of Dearborn). It closed in 1976 after operating as a nightclub named The Michigan Palace. In 1977 the building's owners paid $525,000 to gut the theatre and build a three-level, 160-space parking deck inside it. The site of Ford Motor's birthplace replaced by a movie theatre, reclaimed by the automobile.


Evening walk to see Canada on the other side of the river.

24 September 2019: (Above and below) On our last day, we visited the Detroit Institute of Arts, home to Diego Rivera murals and an impressive 19th and 20th Century collection. The "Detroit Industry" murals (1932-1933) were conceived by Diego Rivera (1886-1957) as a tribute to the city's manufacturing base and labour force of the 1930s. Rivera completed it in 11 months and was paid a 20,000 U$ fee. Rivera's murals show the automobile manufacturing process, Coaltulicue (the Aztec goddess of creation and war), the production of the 1932 Ford V-8, personnel involved in the industry as well as managers and Henry Ford, giving all of them equal stature.


Our last expedition was to John K. King Used & Rare Books on 901 W Lafayette Blvd, holding over a million books in stock. No computer search, just browsing.


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Report: Liverpool Biennial 2018 "Beautiful world, where are you?" in photos



The Liverpool Biennial 2018: Beautiful world, where are you? (14 July – 28 October 2018) presented the work of over 40 artists in locations across Liverpool including public spaces, civic buildings and the city’s leading art venues: Blackburne House, Bluecoat, FACT, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool John Moores University’s Exhibition Research Lab, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, the Oratory, the Playhouse theatre, RIBA North – National Architecture Centre, St George’s Hall, Tate Liverpool, Victoria Gallery & Museum (University of Liverpool), public spaces and online.

The 2018 edition was curated by Kitty Scott (Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario) and Sally Tallant (Director, Liverpool Biennial) with the Liverpool Biennial team.

The following texts are from the Liverpool Biennial website. All photos by Latitudes.

Above and below. Banu Cennetoğlu's "The List" on a 280-metre hoarding on Liverpool's Great George Street.

Compiled and updated each year by UNITED for Intercultural Action, an anti-discrimination network of 550 organisations in 48 countries, "The List" traces information relating to the deaths of more than 34,000 refugees and migrants who have lost their lives within, or on the borders of Europe since 1993. Since 2007, in collaboration with art workers and institutions, Banu Cennetoğlu has facilitated up-to-date and translated versions of "The List"  using public spaces such as billboards, transport networks, and newspapers. An updated edition of The List is presented on Great George Street in Liverpool and can be accessed online at guardian.co.uk. Copies of "The List", which were distributed by The Guardian newspaper on World Refugee Day on 20 June, are also available at exhibition venues.

Installed on a 280-metre hoarding on Liverpool's Great George Street, "The List" has been vandalised twice since the biennial opened in July. Cennetoğlu decided not to install it for a third time, leaving the ripped remains as a “reminder of the systematic violence exercised against people”. 


Mathias Poledna at The Oratory.

Screened within a specially designed structure, Mathias Poledna’s new film "Indifference" (2018) further advances his exploration of modernity’s visual imaginary. The work is set against the backdrop of early 20th-century European history, a period of traumatic modernisation and conflict.


Suki Seokyeong Kang at Bluecoat

Conceived as a visual translation of the Korean musical notation ‘Jeongganbo’, Land Sand Strand is a new multi-part installation by Suki Seokyeong Kang. The work transforms the exhibition space into a grid. Building on the concept of the hwamunseok – a traditional Korean woven mat, interpreted as the minimum space provided for each individual in society – it is activated by performers and the audience. The choreography, inspired by the Spring Oriole Dance and traditionally performed on the hwamunseok, is shared with visitors. The movements on the mat serve as the blueprint for the wider installation consisting of painting, sculpture and video.

Brian Jungen at Tate Liverpool.

Brian Jungen carves ‘feathers’ from the soles of Nike trainers to create a series of sculptures that resemble Cheyenne-style war bonnets. These headdresses, familiar from countless Westerns, address a long history of conflict and the lingering effects of colonisation. They signify the strength and pride of indigenous people today.


Duane Linklater at Tate Liverpool.

The sculptural works of Duane Linklater consider the notions of cultural loss, social amnesia and identity from the perspective of the indigenous peoples in Canada. Commenting on the economy of the fur trade, they suggest that animals, even in death, might retain their spirits or selfhood beyond the value they possess as commodities.






Haegue Yang at Tate Liverpool.

Haegue Yang presented her sculpture series "The Intermediates" (2015-ongoing) in Tate Liverpool's Wolfson Gallery. Made from artificial woven straw, The Intermediates allude to both traditional arts and crafts techniques and modern industrial production methods. Representing figures and sites from folk tales and ancient traditions, they question definitions of ‘paganism’. Yang’s environment for these works includes recordings of wildlife taken from the British Library’s sound collection, a wallpaper juxtaposing pagan traditions and modern history, and suspended ribbons that evoke folk traditions such as maypole dancing. Her multisensory, hybrid environments suggest fleeting connotations of time, place, figures and experiences that connect ‘folk’ traditions and contemporary culture.



 Not as part of the biennial programming, but this conversation coincided with our visit. 

The White Pube's Zarina Muhammad and Gabrielle de la Puente were in conversation with Tate Liverpool's new director Helen Legg about their origins as "embodied art critics", their practice and the challenges art criticism presents today. 

Aslan Gaisumov at St George’s Hall

Tracing the struggles and turbulent histories of the Chechen people, Aslan Gaisumov’s most recent work Keicheyuhea (2017) follows the artist’s grandmother as she returns to her lost homeland in the mountainous scenery of the North Caucasus for the first time since the displacement of her family 73 years earlier. 

Naeem Mohaiemen at the St George’s Hall.
  
Screened in the courtroom at St George’s Hall is "Two Meetings and a Funeral" (2017), a three-channel film by Naeem Mohaiemen – currently nominated for the Turner Prize 2018. The work revisits the Cold War-era power struggles between the political coalitions of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The project navigates alliances of convenience made during Bangladesh’s fight for UN recognition, as well as parallel decolonisation struggles in Palestine-Israel, the Portuguese colonies and South Africa.

At the Victoria Gallery & Museum. Part of "Worlds within worlds" section. 

Display of the Brendel Plant Models of World Museum anatomical models of plants, made for display and teaching purposes by the Berlin firm of R Brendel & Co in Germany around the turn of the 20th century.


Francis Alÿs' paintings at the Victoria Gallery & Museum. 

Francis Alÿs presents a selection of postcard-size paintings from the 1980s to today under the title Age Piece. Executed in the tradition of classic à plein air painting, these works allude to the condition of global tourism in the contemporary art scene. Many of the paintings were done while scouting new locations for future film projects, often in conflict zones such as Israel and Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Plateau.

Five bench-like sculptures can be found on the plateau behind the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. For this new commission, Ryan Gander dissected a model of architect Frederick Gibberd’s modernist cathedral into a series of simple ‘building blocks’. The blocks were then reassembled into different configurations by schoolchildren from Liverpool: Jamie Clark, Phoebe Edwards, Tianna Mehta, Maisie Williams and Joshua Yates. The maquettes that Gander and the children created have been reproduced on a larger scale to produce this new public seating arrangement within the cathedral grounds. This presentation is part of a larger project, Time Moves Quickly.

 John James Audubon at the Central Library.

One of the only 120 complete edition copies of The Birds of America by John James Audubon at the Central Library. The 19th-century book contains exquisite illustrations of a wide variety of birds of the United States.

Paul Elliman's work at Exhibition Research Lab.

Paul Elliman presents the "Vauxhall Astra 2020", the forthcoming and newest model of a car available since 1979 when General Motors launched the Vauxhall/Opel Astra, now the only car produced at Ellesmere Port. The Astra 2020 is offered as a constellation of raw materials, half-a-dozen boulders and rock-like lumps of the car’s constituent parts at original scale, made of steel (iron ore), glass, plastic, aluminum, rubber, and electrical components.


Mohamed Bourouissa has created a garden working with local people, gardeners, school pupils, teachers and artists. The artist was inspired by a garden made by a patient of the psychoanalyst and writer Frantz Fanon at the Blida-Joinville Psychiatric Hospital in Blida, Algeria. Fanon’s patient created the garden as occupational therapy, reflecting the organisation of his mental space through its structure. Bourouissa researched and learned the patient’s approach to botany, architecture, and therapy in order to create a similar garden in Liverpool. The garden has been conceived as a space of ‘resilience’. Some of the plants are native to Algeria and others have healing effects. A film documenting the garden and its evolution is presented at FACT.


Very close to Bourouissa's Resilience Garden is Assemble's ongoing project at Granby's Street.

Assemble's ceramic workshop in Granby Street, "a manufacturer of architectural ceramics, based in Liverpool and established in 2015. The workshop is part of Assemble's ongoing involvement with the Granby Four Streets neighbourhood."

Work by Taus Makhacheva at Blackburne House.

Taus Makhacheva has created a ruin-like sculptural installation that serves as a spa, in collaboration with artist Alexander Kutovoi. The installation incorporates ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) techniques and video.


RELATED CONTENT:
  • Report from Athens: "AGORA", 4th Athens Biennale 2013 4 November 2013
  • (Post 1/3) The 55th Venice Biennale: "The Encyclopedic Palace" in pictures and as seen by the critics, 1 June–24 November 2013 9 June 2013
  • (Part 2/3) "The Encyclopedic Palace", 55th Venice Biennale in tote bags 14 June 2013
  • (Post 3/3) The 55th Biennale di Venezia: National Pavilions and Collateral Events in pictures and as seen by the critics, 1 June–24 November 2013 17 June 2013
  • Manifesta 9, "The Deep of the Modern", Genk, Belgium, 2 June – 30 September 2012 in pictures and seen by the critics 12 June 2012
  • dOCUMENTA (13) in pictures & as seen by the critics, 9 June–16 September 2012 12 June 2012

Latitudes in the 'OMONOIA' Summit of the Athens Biennale 2015–2017

1960s view of Omonoia Square (Concord Square) in Athens – one of the many views of the site shared in this Flickr.

Latitudes will participate in one of the three panels that will comprise a two-day International Summit (18–19 November) that initiate the next two years of activities of the next edition of the Athens Biennale, titled “OMONOIA” (Concord). Intuitive towards the institution of biennales, the Athens Biennale intends to revise its identity and bridges the past with the present and the future by merging the fifth edition (2015) with the sixth (2017). 

The Summit is framed within the "Synapse 1: Introducing a laboratory for production post" the first synapse of what will be an ongoing series of events that will run over the next two years. 

The first day (18 November, 9:30–20h: National Theatre – New Rex, 48 Panepistimiou ) of the Summit will be organised under three panel discussions – Alternative Economies, The Performative in the Political, Rethinking Institutions. See the programme here.

The second day (19 November 2015, 9:30–20h, Bageion, 18 Omonoia Square) will host a series of working groups between scholars, self-organised initiatives, cooperatives and activists as well as an open assembly that will summarise the proceedings and discuss potentials for the future.

The aim of the Summit is to promote transnational knowledge-exchange and consider common grounds among academics, artists, activists and initiatives involved in practices of commoning, urban welfare and grassroots participation and kickstart the urban laboratory that the Athens Biennale aims to become for the next two years.

#AB5to6
#ΟΜΟΝΟΙΑ
#AthensBiennale


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Report from Athens: "AGORA", 4th Athens Biennale 2013

The former stock exchange displayed nine digital price boards, a work by George Harvalias.

The tumultuous events of the last years in Greece have seen hundreds of thousands of people rallying, striking and rioting to protest the waves of austerity measures imposed on the debt-stricken country. Protestors have repeatedly clashed with police, lives have been lost, unemployment has skyrocketed, and the government warned in 2010 that the nation was "on the brink of the abyss". This year's Athens Biennale set itself the courageous task of asking, "Now what?". Taking its cue from the notion of the agora as a place of gathering and collaborative reconciliation, the Biennale transposed an ancient discursive framework onto the holy mess of the present. Its bitingly resonant main venue was the former Athens stock exchange, not quite a ruin, but a scarred shell of a building in the centre of the city.



  
The main hall of the former Athens stock exchange building on Sofocleous Street. This neo-Classical building opened in 1876 and was the trading floor for shares listed on the ATHEX exchange until it moved to another venue in July 2007. The nine digital price boards (the actual boards of the former exchange) was a work by George Harvalias, perhaps the touchstone of the biennial. It reproduced the share prices from the last day's trading in the building in 26 June 2007 when prices were near their peak value, with no sign of the subsequent catastrophic market crash to come. 


 






The text work on the balcony of the stock exchange hall was part of series entitled "New Behavioral Notes" (2012) by Dimitris Dokatzis, an Athenian artist of the same generation as Harvalias born in the 1950s. The words read "Money – Money! That is always the danger with you", a fragment taken from an Agatha Christie novel.



Among the younger generation of Greek artists and the more veiled comments on the financial crises, Constantinos Hadzinikolaou showed "Peacock" (2003–13), a Super 8 loop of a male Peafowl's extravagant courtship display.

One of at least three Spanish artists in the Biennial (besides Catalans Núria Güell and Ester Partegàs), Fernando García-Dory focused "on Pacific, Caribbean and Mediterranean islands as semi-enclosed ecosystems that stage the classic neo-liberal drama in which local economies succumb to the promissory spectacle of worldly paradise."

The guts of the Biennale were a series of discussions, workshops and roundtables, and on 12 October 2013 the main venue hosted a fascinating, sobering and graph-filled economics conference, featuring blue-chip economists from around the world including Heiner Flassbeck, Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Poka-Yio, Biennale co-founder and co-director introduced the conference (photographed above). 


Paolo Manasse, Professor of Macroeconomics and International Economic Policy at the University of Bologna.


This year's biennale is fully online and can be followed on twitter #AB4AGORA, facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vimeo and YouTube platforms. Alternatively, for an overview of what's coming up, check out the biennale calendar.

AB4 was put together by a large group of contributing curators and collaborating correspondents as well as through an open call for projects. One of the features of the exhibition was the presence of a number of artists from Chicago, reflecting the engagement of Stephanie Smith, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. (Stephanie was a contributor to the Latitudes-edited "Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook"). Among them, Geof Oppenheimer stood out with his "Reversals" (2013) new work which grew out of the sifting of archival advertising and press images to comprise ambiguous montages of economic affluence and political intrigue (photographed above). 



At the Contemporary Art Meeting Point (CAMP, on 4 Eupolidos & 2 Apellou str.), material related to four decades of socially engaged art in Chicago was presented under the name "Never the Same", the archive led by Daniel Tucker and Rebecca Zorach (photographed above). 



Of the artists more familiar from the better-worn paths of contemporary art, Gabriel Kuri presented "Quick Standards" (2005), which comprised four emergency blankets taped on wooden sticks.

We were very grateful to curator and art historian Christoforos Marinos and his partner Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (co-founder and co-director of the force that is the Athens Biennale) for helping us in setting up some impromptu meetings with some impressive artists while we were in Athens. We managed to meet Vangelis Vlahos, Kostis Velonis, Rallou Panagiotou, AlexandrosTzannis, Kernel (an artist/architect curatorial collaboration of Pegy Zali, Petros Moris and Theodoros Giannakis) and Dora Economou


(Above) Kernel (Pegy Zali, Petros Moris and Theodoros Giannakis) at the café of the Athens Biennial.

Apart from the Biennial, elsewhere in Athens, the Deste Foundation/Dakis Joannou Collection presented "The System of Objects", a show inspired by Jean Baudrillard's 1968 book of the same name. Curated by Andreas Angelidakis with Italian curator Maria Cristina Didero, the show extended over densely-installed rooms which were, as Angelidakis suggested "a little bit like floating down that river of the internet... Cypriot antiquities float alongside major installations by Maurizio Cattelan, paintings by Jeff Koons and worn out red vinyl tights from American Apparel? A seminal Archizoom chair from 1968 floats next to a painting by a Cypriot artist given to Dakis ages ago? Really?".
 

 

And of course what visit to Athens could ignore the treasures of the National Archaeological Museum? Of the objects on show, the finds from the Antikythera shipwreck were perhaps the most astonishing. Dated to 60–50 BC, they came from what experts believe was a freighter packed with Greek art headed to Italy. Ancient reminders from the dawn of the art trade, the antiquities – half consumed by the sea – were brought together for the first time in a special exhibition. 


 


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All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
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Manifesta 8, 2010, in Murcia?

 

Hot on the heels of Manifesta 7 which took place throughout the Trentino-South Tyrol region of northern Italy this summer and autumn, the applications for host city for the 8th edition of this European Biennial of Contemporary Art - Manifesta 8 would take place in 2010 - closed a little more than a month ago. According to the Polish newspaper Gazeta, the contenders in what increasingly feels like an Olympics-style bid, are ... Gdansk, Poland; Riga, Latvia and Murcia in Spain. The same paper reports that the Polish bid was someway short of the 3.3 million Euro price tag.

In contrast, the southern Spanish city of Murcia, doubtless keen to shake off its image of golf resorts and vegetable growing, is seemingly very flush with money for contemporary art. Rather improbably, the city already has something of a track record for bringing home major projects and attracting some big names. And as many in the arts seem to be cutting budgets in credit crunch times -- not least the State-funder SEACEX who recently announced a 22% cut in its provision for Spanish artists abroad -- Murcia seems to be spending and investing in contemporary art more than ever.

Earlier this year the city staged Estratos, (see posts from 03.02.08 and 28.05.08) a twenty-artist project curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, the first 'PAC' (Proyecto de Arte Contemporáneo) a biennial-like format alongside residencies and exchanges supported by the Region of Murcia. Anish Kapoor's 'Islamic Mirror' curated by Rosa Martinez, continues at the Santa Clara Convent until January 2009 (organised by Culture and Tourism Department of the Region), and in May the SOS 4.8 Festival, with curators including Rirkrit Tiravanija was also funded by the Region. With the debacle of Manifesta 6 and the dispersed and difficult to navigate recent edition, what is clearly going to be a well-financed bid from an ambitious Murcia (with the 2nd 'PAC' already in place for 2010, and doubtless supported again by the communications skills of Urroz Proyectos), will surely take a lot of beating. And rumours are already beginning to circulate that a decision has already been made. We'll find out shortly before Christmas.

––

UPDATE:

The Region of Murcia's selected "en diálogo con África del Norte" as the host of Manifesta 8. There will be a presentation on the 11 February, at 14h at their Stand de la Región de Murcia in ARCO, Madrid. See e-flux announcement (11/02/09)

[Image: http://flights.jet2.com/Murcia/weather.htm]

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Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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Latitudes
2005—2019