Art in Print

Alex Chinneck interview: 'I’m never going to get to make all my ideas and that terrifies me'

'Fighting Fire With Ice Cream' is Alex Chinneck’s latest piece, a five-meter-high tree wrapped in 1,200 lights that are trapped inside a resin ice-cube the size of a two-story house. It appears to melt into the Granary Square fountains at King’s Cross and after a four-week build using two tonnes of material, the installation came as a mad rush. 
“We had about 25 people there who worked 30 hours straight. It’s almost something you’d need to make three times so by the fourth you’d worked out how to do it.”
The piece, which will be in place until January, is the latest of Chinneck’s public art, which the sculptor dubs a “reimagination of the world around us”. His previous projects, always large and always temporary, have filled feature pages and Instagram feeds alike. The projects have increasingly captured the public imagination and swept around the internet, even if the man himself seems largely to have avoided the limelight. “We never ever set up to create something that goes viral. I think that conceptually cheapens things too much,” he insists.
Chinnick’s loyalties clearly lie with his audience rather than the art world. “What I do has a responsibility to the public and it needs to deliver an experience. […] I think galleries are real temples for art and I love them, but typically, irrespective of where you are, you’re dealing with four white walls.”
“I probably have about 10 projects on the go at the moment, working into 2019.” He won’t be taking time off for Christmas, driven because “I’m never going to get to make all my ideas and that terrifies me.”
Via Evening Standard

Public funding for arts still skewed towards London, report says


 Too high a proportion of public funding is still going to London-based arts organisations and museums, which are in a far better position to increase revenue from other sources, a group of MPs has said. A report published on Thursday by the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) select committee examines support for the arts outside the capital and while it welcomes signs of a shift towards the regions.
Arts Council England (ACE) is distributing a lower proportion of lottery money to the capital – 40% in 2014 and due to be 25% in 2018 – and it announced spending plans for 2018-22 that include an additional £37m to increase the proportion of spending outside the capital. But it still gives nearly half of its current £1bn grant in aid to London.
MPs do not set a figure, but say the current spending is disproportionate and call for a “better regional balance”, particularly because cultural organisations in London have more opportunities to increase alternative revenue streams – with sponsorship and philanthropy – than those in the regions. The call comes against a backdrop of falling local authority spending on arts and museums, with a survey last year estimating that one in five regional museums has either closed or will close.
The report recommends action from a number of bodies. The government, it says, should consider how to incentivise greater corporate sponsorship and regional philanthropy, and also consider expanding existing tax breaks for the cultural sector and simplifying Gift Aid.
The report was welcomed by ACE’s chief executive, Darren Henley, who said “The coming year will see continued pressure on local authority funding for culture and it is good to see these challenges acknowledged. We will continue to work closely with local partners to forge new relationships and ways of delivering arts and culture across the country.”
Via: The Guardian

Sandy Nairne portrait at NPG is by American artist Chuck Close

A huge portrait of the former director of the National Portrait Gallery, Sandy Nairne, is to be the first important work by American artist Chuck Close to enter a public collection in Britain.
Close is one of America’s most influential portrait artists, known for his gigantic mosaic-patterned works, which he paints from photographs.
But his subjects are mostly American, meaning there is no example of his work in the NPG. Nor is there any in other British collections.
Nairne was a successful and respected director of the gallery between 2002 and 2015, overseeing a rise in visitor numbers by a third to 2 million a year. Before that he was director of programmes at Tate, closely involved in the creation of Tate Modern with Nicholas Serota.
Close, aged 76, has made portraits of subjects including both Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Cindy Sherman, Carly Simon, Brad Pitt and Laurie Anderson. In 1988 he was paralysed because of a spinal artery collapse. Since then he has worked using a brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm.
Nairne’s successor, Nicholas Cullinan, said: “This wonderful portrait represents both a fitting tribute to my predecessor, Sandy Nairne, and a striking example of contemporary portraiture.”
The portrait can be seen in Room 33 of the gallery.
 Via: The Guardian 

The Perils of Order, Taken to the Extreme


For the German artist Hanne Darboven (1941-2009) order and disorder were moral conditions, grounded in the catastrophe of Nazism and the Holocaust, and they infused her labor-infused art – which consist in endless pages of handwritten words, equations, and dates, framed and displayed in room-filled installations. Her magnus opus, “Kulturgeschichte 1880-1983”, a rhythmic composition of more than thousand collaged sheets, is now on view at the Dia Art Foundation in Chelsea, Manhattan.
The re-emergence of this massive chronicle, which Darboven worked on from 1980-1983, is one of the events of the season. Like all her works, it reveals the power as well as the danger of using systems to make sense of something unfathomable: in this case, the history of an era we hoped would be the last to witness a world war.
The 1,590 framed sheets in strict order absorb a century’s worth of high and low culture, glued into collages. Mixed in are obscure calculations (the artist frequently wrote out dates in numerals and summed their digits) as well as even more cryptic alphanumeric notations, sometimes just the lowercase letter U.
Accompanying the sheets are 19 sculptures, ranging from a smiling cardboard robot to a statue of Bismarck and his dog. The soundtrack of one of Darboven’s musical compositions provides the beat.
No secret code unlocks the artwork., it functions through slippages and surprises, personal additions and mysterious emendations. In her hands, the past becomes tangible through the tandem operations of order and disorder. The wonderment the visitor may feel before it derives from much more than the massive scale. It comes, rather, from the commitment with which Darboven defended the values that matter in culture: values of openness and reflection, values too often taken for granted.
Via:  The New York Times