Category Archives: DESIGN

NICK MAUSS — TRANSMISSIONS CATALOG

I came upon the word transmissions while thinking about how the ethereal, corporeal, and technical dimensions of ballet resonate in the artworks and souvenirs it produces. Transmissions are subject to interference and interruption. Ballets are conveyed to us through mediations, anecdotes, and bodies. And often when I’m watching ballet in its contemporary manifestations, I wonder how these transmissions have occurred.

I started looking into the history of ballet in the twentieth century… Through a web of genealogies, I eventually arrived at the flamboyant intersection of ballet and art in New York, beginning in the 1930s. There the avant-garde experiments of the previous decades in Europe incited a particularly intense cross-contamination, an overt articulation of homosexual erotics long before the emergence of a public language around queerness. Looking at modern American art of this period through the prism of ballet reveals a tangle of interrelationships, collaborations, derivations, and hybrid aesthetic programs that still feel surprisingly contemporary. Nick Mauss*

Two years after the close of TRANSMISSIONSNick Mauss’ multimedia installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art—the museum and Dancing Foxes Press have published an exhibition catalog that beautifully extends the show, combining performance and exhibition images from the Whitney with an extensive selection of new illustrative and textual documentation.

Essays by Mauss, Joshua Lubin-Levy, and exhibition organizers Scott Rothkopf, Elisabeth Sussman, and Allie Tepper—as well as a conversation between Mauss and the dancers who performed during the run of the show—round out this essential volume, a complement to and in dialog with recent catalogs by Jarrett Earnest (The Young and Evil—Queer Modernism in New York 1930–1955) and Samantha Friedman and Jodi Hauptman (Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern).

I drew multiple webs of interrelationships, elective affinities, and echo waves of influence, focusing as much on the social, professional, sexual, and collaborative points of contact as on transhistorical resonances that were in some cases perhaps fantasy—eschewing standard mappings of modern art… [embracing] anachrony and distortion over apparent objectivity…

My decision to insist on ballet as the fulcrum in TRANSMISSIONS was also a response to the ubiquity of postmodern dance derivations within the contemporary museum environment and the reductive version of modernity that these prequalified dance idioms signify and cement. Contemporaneity is reduced to a “look” of modernity. Modernist ballets make for engaging historical documents precisely because their own relationship to history is a kind of suspension of disbelief; they are intrinsically modernist, even if they don’t “signal” modernity to contemporary eyes.— Nick Mauss*

The world of the spectator, the receiver, was a primary lens through which I constructed TRANSMISSIONS, and the flux of the exhibition’s daily audience over the course of two months took on a central role within it. This book is similarly directed at the wholly different—private, rather than social—negotiations of the reader. — Nick Mauss*

NICK MAUSS, TRANSMISSIONS (Brooklyn: Dancing Foxes Press; New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2020).

See Benedict Nguyen on performing in Transmissions.

Listen to Fran Lebowitz and Nick Mauss in conversation on the occasion of Transmissions at the Whitney, 2018.

*Nick Mauss text—from the catalog essay “Gesturing Personae” and TRANSMISSIONS jacket copy—courtesy and © the artist.

Nick Mauss, Transmissions, Whitney Museum of American Art, March 16, 2018–May 14, 2018; exhibition catalog, Whitney and Dancing Foxes Press, 2020, from top: installation view, Whitney, 2018, photograph by Ron Amstutz; Carl Van Vechten, Janet Collins in New Orleans Carnival, 1949, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; George Platt Lynes, Tex Smutney, 1941, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University , Estate of George Platt Lynes; Transmissions performance photograph of Quenton Stuckey, March 13, 2018, by Paula Court, with Gaston Lachaise, Man Walking (Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein), 1933, at left; Dorothea Tanning, cover of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo’s 1945–1946 program, Artists Rights Society, New York / ADAGP, Paris; installation view, Whitney, 2018, images on scrim, Lynes, Ralph McWilliams (dancer), 1952, Lynes, Tex Smutney, Carl Van Vechten slideshow on rear wall, dancers Brandon Collwes, Quenton Stuckey, and Kristina Bermudez, photograph by Amstutz; dancers Arthur Mitchell and Diana Adams, and (seated) George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky during rehearsals for Agon, 1957, choreographed by Balanchine for New York City Ballet, photograph by Martha Swope, Jerome Robbins Dance Division; Bermudez (left), Burr Johnson, Nick Mauss, and Fran Lebowitz, May 9, 2018, at the Whitney, photograph by Court; Pavel Tchelitchew, Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein, 1937, oil on canvas, collection of the School of American Ballet, courtesy Jerry L. Thompson; Louise Lawler, Marie + 90, 2010–2012, silver dye bleach print on aluminum, Whitney, courtesy and © the artist and Metro Pictures; (Mauss printed Lawler’s image of Marie, Edgar DegasLittle Dancer Aged Fourteen, circa 1880, on the Transmissions dancers’ white leotards); Lynes photograph of Jean Cocteau, Bachelor magazine, April 1937; Transmissions performance photograph by Paula Court; Paul Cadmus, Reflection, 1944, egg tempera on composition board, Yale University Art Gallery, bequest of Donald Windham in memory of Sandy M. Campbell, courtesy and © 2019 Estate of Paul Cadmus, ARS, New York; Cecil Beaton, photograph of poet Charles Henri Ford in a costume designed by Salvador Dali, silver gelatin print, collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody; artworks by Pavel Tchelitchew, John Storrs, Elie Nadelman, Gustav Natorp, and Sturtevant, and photographs by Ilse Bing, arranged in front of Mauss’, Images in Mind, 2018, installation view, Whitney, 2018, photograph by Amstutz; Mauss’ re-creation of costume designed by Paul Cadmus for the 1937 ballet Filling Station (choreographed by Lew Christensen), fabricated by Andrea Solstad, 2018, and Nadelman, Dancing Figure, circa 1916–1918, installation view, Whitney, 2018, photograph by Amstutz; Man Ray, New York, 1917 / 1966, nickel-plated and painted bronze, Whitney;, courtesy and © Man Ray 2015 Trust, ARS, New York / ADAGP, Paris; Mauss and Lebowitz in conversation at the Whitney, 2018, photography courtesy and © Izzy Dow; Murals by Jared French exhibition brochure, Julien Levy Gallery, 1939; Transmissions performance photograph of Anna Thérèse Witenberg, March 13, 2018, by Court; Dorothea Tanning, Aux environs de Paris (Paris and Vicinity), 1962, oil on linen, Whitney Museum of American Art, gift of the Alexander Iolas Gallery; Maya Deren, The Very Eye of Night (1958, still), 16mm film, Anthology Film Archives, New York.

MYRNA BÁEZ

Myrna Báez was a painter and printmaker and one of Puerto Rico’s key twentieth-century artists.

A catalog of her 1982 exhibition at El Museo del Barrio in Manhattan is now available, courtesy of the museum.

MYRNA BÁEZ—DIEZ AÑOS DE GRÁFICA Y PINTURA 1971–1981

El Museo del Barrio, New York City.

Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Myrna Báez, Diez años de gráfica y pintura 1971–1981, El Museo del Barrio, May 28, 1982–August 14, 1982, from top: El Espejo, 1978, acrylic; Ramón, 1974, acrylic; Bambú, 1977; acrylic; El Comedor, 1976, acrylic; Desnudo frente el espejo, 1980, acrylic. Images courtesy and © the estate of the artist and El Museo del Barrio.

EILEEN GRAY

The Bard Graduate Center Gallery presents a virtual tour of their current exhibition EILEEN GRAY.

Curated by Gray expert Cloé Pitiot, this is the first comprehensive exhibition in the United States of the work of the pioneer designer and architect.

See link below for details.

EILEEN GRAY

Bard Graduate Center Gallery

New York City.

Eileen Gray, from top: Tempe a Pailla, Castellar, France; dressing cabinet in aluminum and cork, 1926-29, courtesy and © Centre Pompidou; Au Cap Martin Roquebrune, 1926–1929, from L’Architecture Vivante, no. 26, courtesy and © Centre Pompidou, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Paris, Eileen Gray collection; exhibition pavilion, final design, 1937, composite plan, section, and elevation, pen and ink (and inscription by Le Corbusier in red and orange crayon) on tracing paper, courtesy and © Victoria and Albert Museum, London; dining room serving table, 1926–1929, courtesy and © Centre Pompidou; Transat chair, 1926–1929, varnished sycamore, tubular steel, synthetic leather, courtesy and © Centre Pompidou; Berenice Abbott, Eileen Gray, 1926, courtesy and © the National Museum of Ireland; extendable metal wardrobe at Tempe a Pailla, 1934; dressing table, circa 1920; breakfast table, 1927; E 1027, courtesy and © Centre Pompidou, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Eileen Gray collection.

50 + 50 — CHOUINARD TO CALARTS

50 + 50—A CREATIVE CENTURY FROM CHOUINARD TO CALARTS is an artist-led scholarship endowment initiative and exhibition series anticipating the fiftieth anniversary of California Institute of the Arts and the centenary of Chouinard Art Institute, which was founded in 1921.

Fifty artist alumni will participate in the five-year program. The first group of artists includes John BaldessariAnne CollierLaddie John DillJoe GoodeNaotaka HiroTony OurslerGala Porras-KimStephen PrinaBarbara T. Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems

The inaugural group of works were on view this spring at Redcat, and can now be seen in the Frieze Viewing Room, the virtual gallery space of Frieze New York 2020.

And check out the CalArts Expo 2020.

From top: Barbara T. Smith, Invisible, 2018, blown glass, water, and cotton rope; Carrie Mae Weems, Queen B, 2018–2019, archival digital print; Gala Porras-Kim, Composite Artifact, 2019, Southwest stone, foam, acrylic paint, metal, wood. Artworks photographed by Joshua White. CalArts, unknown photographer, circa 1971–1972, black and white photograph, courtesy and © California Institute of the Arts Archives Photographic Materials Collection. Anne Collier, Aura (John Baldessari 2003), 2018, C-print, courtesy of the artist. Images courtesy and © the artists and published for CalArts by Lisa Ivorian-Jones.

IMAGINE LACMA

If [Peter Zumthor’s] new design is built, LACMA can no longer be associated with other encyclopedic museums in the United States that shaped their collections in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum. Zumthor’s diminished plan would force it to shed the encyclopedic collections that are the very soul of the museum. It commits the original architectural sin of narcissism, of architecture for the sake of architecture.

This let-the-public-chew-concrete moment is all the more shameful because LACMA has gone ahead with demolition just as COVID-19 has taken over the country, state, county, and city, closing down all but essential activities. The administrations of two other museums under construction in Los Angeles — the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park — have had the common decency to stop construction, admitting they are non-essential projects, and, hence, not worth risking the health of construction workers. Under the phony pretense that it suddenly cares for the public after having ignored public opinion for over a decade, LACMA claims its intent is to infuse (mostly public) money into the local economy, as though suddenly this deeply selfish boondoggle had an altruistic purpose: job creation. — Joseph Giovannini*

As an imaginary counter to what Giovannini calls LACMA director Michael Govan’s “fait accompli,” the Citizens’ Brigade to Save LACMA accepted proposals from twenty-eight international architectural firms and collections, choosing six final designs in two categories: “Existing Buildings” and “Ground Up.”

The six designs are by Barkow Leibinger, Berlin, with Lillian Montalvo Landscape Design; Coop Himmelb(l)au, Vienna; Kaya Design, London; Paul Murdoch Architects, Los Angeles; Reiser + Umemoto, New York City; and TheeAe (The Evolved Architectural Eclectic), Hong Kong.

See link below for details.

LACMA not LackMA

*Joseph Giovannini, “Demolition Under Cover of Covid-19,” Los Angeles Review of Books, May, 1, 2020.

This week, Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight won the Pulitzer Prize for his series of articles criticizing Zumthor’s design and Govan’s advocacy of it.

From top, designs by: Re(in)novating LACMA, by Reiser + Umemoto, New York (2); Unified Campus, by Paul Murdoch Architects, Los Angeles (2); HILLACMA, by TheeAe (The Evolved Architectural Eclectic), Hong Kong (2); LACMA Wing, by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Vienna; Reimagining / Restructuring, by Saffet Kaya Design, London (2); Tabula LACMA, by Barkow Leibinger, Berlin, with Lillian Montalvo Landscape Design (2). Images courtesy and © the architects and the Citizens’ Brigade to Save LACMA.