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    Why This Artist Is Deep-Frying American Flags—and Inviting Guests to Bring Their Favorite Seasonings for the Batter

    While many Americans were enjoying Memorial Day barbecues this past weekend, artist Kiyan Williams was concocting a cookout of a different sort: This Sunday at Lyles and King gallery in New York the artist will be frying up some American flags.
    At the event, the artist will be dipping nylon flags that once flew over the U.S. capitol building into spattering pans of oil. Visitors are invited to bring their own regionally-favored seasonings for the batter.
    A dozen previously cooked flags are already installed in the gallery as part of the New York-based artist’s solo show, “Un/earthing.” Crispy as corn dogs, the objects look both delicious and disgusting; more like something you’d find at a state fair than an art exhibition.  More

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    I Went to a Little-Known Biennial in the Foothills of the Dolomite Mountain Range. It Was Nothing Short of Spiritual

    There may be only 24 artists, but the stage to showcase their creations is likely to be one of the world’s biggest: the magnificent Dolomite mountain range in northeastern Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage site with 18 peaks as high as 10,000 feet. Yet the breathtaking landscape is more than just the stage; it is also a backdrop, and a source of inspiration for a range of poetic artworks reflecting on the complex relations between humans and the natural environment.
    “In many cases, you see a mountain or a piece of land literally holding the work,” said Serpentine Gallery ecology advisor Lucia Pietroiusti, who co-curated this year’s Gherdëina Biennale with writer and curator Filipa Ramos. Artworks on show are scattered across various venues in Val Gardena, in the heart of the Dolomites.
    “This is not a biennale of 240 artists. There are 24 practices. You are not looking at curatorial visions. We have some hints and conversations, but it’s the narrative of the artists themselves, and the context that holds them,” Pietroiusti said.
    Eduardo Navarro, Spathiphyllum Auris (2022). Photo: Tiberio Sorvillo.
    Family Business
    Despite being in its eighth edition, the Gherdëina Biennale appears to be the art world’s best-kept secret. Most of the foreign journalists and critics who attended the opening events said they had never heard of the biennale before.
    According to gallerist Doris Ghetta, the show began in 2008 as a parallel exhibition to Manifesta 7, with just five artists. It has expanded gradually over time, and now operates with a €450,000 ($478,957) budget funded by local authorities and through sponsorships.
    The goal, Ghetta said, was “to introduce them to our culture, arts and crafts, languages” and to “give artists the possibility to develop something specific.”
    Angelo Plessas, The Hand of the Noosphere (2022). Photo: Tiberio Sorvillo.
    Some of the participating artists in this edition were brought to the region on research trips over the past year to meet local craftspeople, members of the artistic community, and historians and experts in geology, the natural environment, and mythology.
    Each artist went home with knowledge and connections to create works telling stories of the region, while exploring the possibilities human coexistence with nature. The artists also bonded with each other, forming an intricate network among themselves that mirrors that of the deep roots of trees and plants populating the mountain range. But not all the works on view are new: there are also paintings by the late Etel Adnan and installation works by Jimmie Durham, who died as the exhibition was being organized.
    “The dynamic in which everything happened was much more organic,” said Argentinian artist Eduardo Navarro, who mounted a gigantic sculpture titled Spathiphyllum Auris at the foot of the Dolomites. “Since there was a lack of bureaucracy, it is as if my family was helping me. My family has always been very supportive, in an organic and a very loving way. And this biennale reminds me of that energy.”
    At left, Kyriaki Goni’s installation and video work, The mountain-islands shall mourn us eternally (data garden dolomites) (2022). Photo: Tiberio Sorvillo.
    Memories of the Mountains
    Navarro’s 26-foot-tall, 11,000-pound flower sculpture may be made of concrete, but the artist tried to strip away as many human-made architectural elements as possible. And still, there is a little door on one side that allows visitors to enter and sit inside the belly of the flower, to take a moment to meditate on the sound and energy channeled by the surroundings.
    “When you see a flower, the flower is observing itself, through you,” Navarro said. “You cannot separate things from the universe.”
    The region’s geological history has also inspired Greek artist Kyriaki Goni, who created a video work titled The mountain-islands shall mourn us eternally (data garden dolomites), in which a non-human voice posing as a hybrid indigenous plant addresses humanity about its history, and as an oracle foretells the grim future of the Earth should climate change continue.
    “Place was very much present and important in this biennale,” Goni told Artnet News. “I learned a lot about this place, and this knowledge and experience were infused with the subjects I focus on in my practice.”
    Ignota, Memory Garden (2022). Commissioned by the Gherdëina Biennale. Photo: Tiberio Sorvillo.
    Spirit, Be With Me
    One key element in the show is spirituality: for its commissions, titled Memory Garden and Seeds, the artist collective Igonta (Sarah Shin and Ben Vickers) installed works in a garden that conjure a healing ritual following the moon’s cycle. The artists also performed live rituals on site.
    Among the most elaborate works is Alex Cecchetti’s SENTIERO, an intimate performance that involved a three-hour hike up the mountains, led by a performer who acts as a guide. During my visit, the performer guided only one or two audience members each time, reciting poems and stories along the way while offering a helping hand from time to time through challenging trails.
    Alex Cecchetti, SENTIERO (2022). Photo: Tiberio Sorvillo.
    Upon reaching the top of the mountain, visitors were offered soup and bread made with local ingredients, conveying a sense of gratitude towards the surrounding non-human species inhabiting the mountains.
    Cecchetti began developing his work after he first set foot in the area last June, and has walked the path multiple times through different seasons.
    “The path is conceived as life itself,” the artist said. “I wanted a shift. I wanted everyone to feel the immortality of life through the dissolving of their individuality. We are nature—we are nature as much as a tree. We cannot be disconnected.”
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    ‘I Think a Lot of People Misjudged Me’: Tracey Emin Opens Up About Aging, Love, and the Art Scenes That Shut Her Out

    It has been just over a year since Tracey Emin was given the all clear from bladder cancer. Following a period of recovery from an extensive surgery, the artist is finally out of bed. So far out of bed, in fact, that I had to trek across a forest in Scotland to meet her.
    We met at Jupiter Artland, where Emin has just opened an exhibition originally slated for 2020 but was delayed—first because of the pandemic and then because she was unwell. The artist was in good form as she posed for photographs perched atop a monumental bronze figure that is being permanently installed in the woodland of the 120-acre sculpture park owned by collectors Nicky and Robert Wilson.
    The exhibition (through October 2) takes its title from the bronze, I Lay Here for You, a female figure lying on her front, hand disappearing between her thighs. Emin chose the site for the work, which is slanted on a hill, its undulations echoed in the forms of the bronze. It feels like a private scene, but the title adds another layer, suggesting the figure lies in wait, which opens up themes of loneliness, and the human longing for partnership.
    Tracey Emin. Photo by Naomi Rea.
    Emin has always been good at carving open spaces to talk about difficult subjects. Her unflinching autobiographical work gives voice to the experience of being a woman, from discovering sexual pleasure to meeting forces that threaten that bodily autonomy, such as sexual violence, shaming, access to abortion, or menopause.
    I wondered about how the sculpture would play with school trips to Jupiter Artland, and how it might open up discussions about masturbation. “It’s kind of useful, isn’t it?” Emin said. “It’s a conversation you don’t really want to have in the classroom. It’s better to have it outside in clear air so the words can go off into the ether, or maybe say nothing and just look at it and think, and it becomes an open subject between friends, then.”
    Tracey Emin, The beginning The middle and The end (2022). ©Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2020. Photo © White Cube. (Ollie Hammock).
    Making and Unmaking the Bed
    Emin became famous for her provocative pit of depression now known as My Bed (1999), which exploded her onto the scene with the YBAs. It prompted a nationwide debate about what art is, which—as I was reminded by a conversation with my taxi driver on the way out of the sculpture park—continues to this day.
    Though Emin’s practice has evolved far beyond the bed over the past two decades, she has returned to the subject among the array of paintings, sculpture, and hand-painted monographs on view in the exhibition.
    In one small painting, Empty Heart, a bed far different from her infamous messy tangle appears, this one pristine, awash in pastel hues. It was the last painting she made before moving out of her old apartment in Fitzrovia, London, after 20 years—she now mostly lives in her seaside hometown of Margate—and after her cancer diagnosis. “It was about leaving, and it was about death as well,” Emin told me. “If I died, everything would have been empty.”
    In a new series of monotypes made during her recovery, the bed motif recurs, but this time it is full of life. When she was ill, the gallerist Carl Freedman (also her next door neighbor in Margate, and a former lover) printed off a series of lithographs of the outline of her bed to help ease her back into work. “So I could have a starting place, and I didn’t have to think ‘oh what am I going to draw?’” Emin said. “I could just draw on the bed.”
    Tracey Emin, Empty Heart (2021). Installation view, “I Lay Here For You,” Jupiter Artland. Photo by Naomi Rea.
    Emin worked over the lithographs with Indian ink to produce a series of sexy works that she said draw from “wonderful memories” and are about someone who helped her through difficult moments after her surgery, without getting more specific than that. Some are overtly erotic, sexual scenes paired with poetic, confessional, titles like You just kept wanting me. In others, the title jars emotionally with the physical intimacy depicted: a couple spooning, the female figure turned away; Of course I was Hurt.
    Her urostomy bag—a necessity since the cancer surgery removed her bladder, womb, and half of her vagina—makes several appearances. Emin doesn’t shy away from addressing her physical challenges, and emotional hurdles too. She has recently been grappling with a change in how society treats her as she approaches 60 years old.
    “I haven’t had children, but I think [menopause] is a lot worse in terms of pain and misery and suffering,” she said. “At least when you give birth, you have a child. After menopause you just have less, and less, and less, and less. It’s the beginning of the end.”
    The same air of wistfulness that accompanies the bronze outdoors permeates these works. “They are sad, some of them, and it is also a sad story: I’m not lucky in love, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to accept it as it is,” she said, adding, with a twinge of bitterness: “If I was a man I’d still be a catch. I have quite a lot going for me, I think. But as a woman, it doesn’t work that way.”
    Tracey Emin, Because I’m so Fucking sexy. I was born sexy And I will die sexy (2022). Installation view, “I Lay Here For You,” Jupiter Artland. Photo by Naomi Rea.
    As our words wandered in this direction, I felt like shaking her. You’re Tracey Fucking Emin! But where she could have collapsed into self-pity, the conversation turned around. Her confrontation with the cancer also forced her to tackle a deep-seated drinking problem. Now recovered, she has found an emotional level-headedness which has opened up exciting new possibilities in life as in art.
    “If someone thinks that my sexuality is what is between my legs, then they’re wrong,” she said. “I’ve got an amazing imagination, and I’m full of fecundity. I’m alive.”
    This attitude comes to fruit in one of the most powerful monotypes, titled Because I’m so Fucking sexy. I was born sexy And I will die sexy. In it, Emin appears as a lone figure, filling the bed, reclaiming her sexual self.
    Installation view, “Tracey Emin: I Lay Here For You,” Jupiter Artland. Photo by Keith Hunter.
    Legacy Making
    Emin’s personal emotional development has coincided with a critical reassessment of her career, and belated recognition of work that was dismissed when it was first made.
    In recent years, her paintings have been shown alongside those of Edvard Munch; My Bed has been shown with JMW Turner, and people are coming around to some of her more challenging film works. One haunting film on view in Scotland, which is not technically part of the exhibition but a recent acquisition from the owners of the sculpture park, can be heard from the forest. In the 1998 Super 8 film Homage to Edvard Munch and all my dead children Emin is curled up, naked, on the jetty outside Munch’s studio in Oslo, wailing.
    “As an artist, it’s been really difficult for me. I think a lot of people misjudged me, got me wrong,” Emin said. “But I think I feel slowly things are changing for me. People are starting to realize that I wasn’t a screaming banshee. I actually was making some really good points.”
    Still, not everyone has come around. While she is now a towering figure in British art, who has shown in major museums around the world, Emin has yet to get proper recognition in the U.S. Barring one show of neon works at MOCA North Miami, Emin has never had a solo exhibition at an American museum. She puts it down to the conservative powers that be in the U.S. museum world. “The board is never going to clear my work,” she said. “It’s never going to happen.”
    She has felt left out of certain group shows too, including political art shows where she said her abstract, emotional work has been passed over for those that favor figurative, direct statements. “They say my work is not political,” she said. “Give me a show in Texas and tell me whether my work’s political. Go on.”
    Tracey Emin, This is exactly how I feel right now (2016). Installation view, “I Lay Here For You,” Jupiter Artland. Photo by Naomi Rea.
    Elsewhere, she is being recognized through a slew of shows including a solo at Carl Freedman gallery in Margate, and besides Scotland, permanent works are being installed in Israel, and her Sphinx-like, 30-foot-tall, 18.2 ton sculpture The Mother is about to be unveiled outside the Munch Museum in Oslo.
    Back on home soil, she is setting up her own free-to-attend art school in Margate to give opportunity to those who might otherwise have been deprived, and where she intends to pass on her wisdom. “I’ll teach people how to make a living out of their art so they don’t have to do cleaning jobs if they don’t want to,” she said. All this, and making plans to open up her studio complex as a museum after she dies, has her thinking about legacy.
    The permanent bronze works going into the ground give her a sense of validation she hasn’t felt during the fleeting periods of fame that have punctuated her career. “They’re not going anywhere,” she said. And for now, armed with a clean bill of health and emotional steadiness, neither is Emin. 
    “Tracey Emin: I Lay Here For You” is on view through October 2 at Jupiter Artland, Wilkieston, Scotland.
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    Here Are the 82 Artists Participating in the 2022 Berlin Biennale, Curated by Artist Kader Attia

    The 12th Berlin Biennale, curated by artist Kader Attia, announced its list of participants today—just a week before the show opens. The 82 international artists featured in the exhibition will address themes such as global capitalism and decolonialism.
    Among the participants are Forensic Architecture, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Roberto Crippa, Omer Fast, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahman, and Zuzanna Hertzberg, all of whose contributions stem from research into what organizers call “global capitalism’s frantic and destructive race toward production.”
    The exhibition, titled “Still Present!,” takes places across multiple venues throughout Berlin, including the Akademie der Künste, Hamburger Bahnhof, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and Stasi Headquarters.
    “Since the onset of modernity, our planet has endured successive and ruinous changes that have accelerated alarmingly since the start of the third millennium,” reads the curatorial text. “The place to which we have arrived today is not by chance: It is the result of historical formations constructed over centuries.” 
    Exploring the wounds of a society deeply marked by inequality, the Biennale will address the many changes necessary for reconceptualizing the world according to more egalitarian values. 
    “In their egoism, modern Western societies have taken their own liberal character for granted, falsely assuming that the balance between free trade and universal suffrage guarantees a self-regulating system of universal democratic values. The dystopian society we have inherited from this utopian promise produces chaos but denies responsibility for it.”
    See the full artist list below: 
    Alex Prager; Amal Kenawy; Ammar Bouras; Antonio Recalcati, Enrico Baj, Erró, Gianni Dova, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Roberto Crippa; Ariella Aïsha Azoulay; Asim Abdulaziz; Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme; Binta Diaw; Birender Yadav; Calida Garcia Rawles; Christine Safatly; Clément Cogitore; DAAR – Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti; Dana Levy; Đào Châu Hải; David Chavalarias; Deneth Piumakshi Veda Arachchige; Driss Ouadahi; Dubréus Lhérisson; Elske Rosenfeld; Etinosa Yvonne; Florian Sông Nguyễn; Forensic Architecture; Haig Aivazian; Hasan Özgür Top; Imani Jacqueline Brown; Jean-Jacques Lebel; Jeneen Frei Njootli; Jihan El-Tahri; João Polido; Khandakar Ohida; Lamia Joreige; Lawrence Abu Hamdan; Layth Kareem; Mai Nguyễn-Long; Maithu Bùi; Marta Popivoda/Ana Vujanović; Mathieu Pernot; Mayuri Chari; Mila Turajlić; Mónica de Miranda; Moses März; Myriam El Haïk; Ngô Thành Bắc; Nil Yalter; Noel W Anderson; Olivier Marboeuf; Omer Fast; PEROU – Pôle d’Exploration des Ressources Urbaines; Prabhakar Kamble; Praneet Soi; Raed Mutar; Sajjad Abbas; Sammy Baloji; Simone Fattal; Susan Schuppli; Susana Pilar; Sven Johne; Taloi Havini; Tammy Nguyen; Taysir Batniji; Tejswini Narayan Sonawane; Temitayo Ogunbiyi; The School of Mutants (Boris Raux, Hamedine Kane, Lou Mo, Stéphane Verlet Bottéro, Valérie Osouf); Thùy-Hân Nguyễn-Chí; Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn; Uriel Orlow; Yuyan Wang; Zach Blas; Zuzanna Hertzberg.
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    A Raceway on the Roof of a Former Fiat Factory in Turin is Now Home to a Lush Open-Air Art Space

    The Pinacoteca Agnelli art hub is nestled on the top floor of the Lingotto, one of Turin’s most recognizable buildings, a sprawling reinforced concrete and glass structure that is somewhat of a nightmare to navigate.
    The former Fiat car factory, which shuttered in 1982, was once hailed by Le Corbusier as one of the most impressive sights in history. Indeed, it has a particular winning feature: a rooftop pista where new cars were once tested at high speeds along a pair of parabolic bends.
    Four decades later, that test track has now been given a purpose once again. To marks its 20th anniversary, the arts institution has launched La Pista 500, a new public art space that takes over more than a kilometer of the old highway on its roof alongside a revamped program that seeks to redress some of the omissions of its in-house collection. 
    YES TO ALL by Sylvie Fleury (2022). Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
    Some 40,000 verdant plants share space with the open-air exhibition space, which is now accessible to the public. Works by Shilpa Gupta, Louise Lawler, Valie Export, and Cally Spooner are on view as part of a relaunched program that seeks to highlight female practices. Resting on top of the new entrance to the museum to greet visitors is a work by feminist artist Sylvie Fleury, a large-scale installation exclaiming “yes to all” in red neon letters.
    “The idea really started with the pista and transforming it into a park,” said the Pinacoteca’s president Ginevra Elkann. “We wanted the opportunity to not just be an isolated museum, but be part of a larger reality.” Since opening its doors in 2002, the Pinacoteca Agnelli, which is funded by Fiat, has had a primary mission to present a part of the esteemed private collection of the late Fiat founder Giovanni and his wife Marella Agnelli, who are also Elkann’s grandparents. By and large, though, the museum has remained relatively niche.
    All three grandchildren, including Elkann, are on the museum board, presiding over the family’s impressive collection of artworks including works by Giacomo Balla, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. 
    Agnelli Collection. Courtesy Pinacoteca Agnelli, Torino. Photo: Mybosswas
    Sarah Cosulich, the recently appointed artistic director of Pinacoteca, has been instrumental in setting a revamped agenda for the museum, including building out a more contemporary, international, and public-facing program. The dynamic and esteemed curator brought a wealth of experience from recent stints as artistic director of La Quadriennale di Roma and at Artissima art fair.
    “I loved the idea of working with a museum that has a historic tradition with a collection, and opening it up to the contemporary without forcing it, but trying to create a bridge in the program,” said Cosulich. That is one of the reasons that the rooftop is accessible without needing to gain access to the main collection, and it costs a nominal sum of 2 euros. 
    In an impressively short time-span of six months, the all-female team brought together eight international artists for their inaugural outdoor project which is highlighted by two new commissions, including Cally Spooner’s mesmerizing DEAD TIME (Melody’s Warm Up) (2022), a sound piece where cello exercises from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 are interspersed with the sounds of cars; the work echoes around the car ramp which reacts like a soundbox.
    Beneath My Feet Begins to Crumble (2022) by Mark Leckey. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
    Elsewhere, Mark Leckey’s remarkable video Beneath My Feet Begins to Crumble (2022) is mounted on monumental LED screen, which embraces the parabolic curve of the track and features shifting views of the Alps which transform from sublime snow-filled mountains into a post-industrial barren landscape.
    “The artists were all fascinated by the history of this space—the fact that it’s a place of automobiles but also the place of a factory,” said Cosulich.
    In a reflexively patriarchal country, with the lowest level of workplace gender equality in the European Union, gender politics have been put at the heart of the new Pinacoteca programming, and it is one of its most exciting aspects. Elkann and Cosulich chose to tackle the traditionally male narratives which are seeped into the history of such a building—not just in the car factory itself, but also in the Agnelli collection, which notably only includes male artists.
    Cosulich said the new program will be “opening” the institution up “to presences not usually associated with the space.” This is indeed highly visible, especially in its inaugural solo exhibition, a wildly entertaining and razor-sharp retrospective of the pioneer feminist artist Sylvie Fleury. Its title, “Turn Me On” is a cheeky pun on the eroticism and the production of desire, as well as turning on the ignition a car. 
    View of Sylvie Fleury’s exhibition “Turn Me On.” Photo Credit: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
    On the fifth floor of the Renzo Piano-designed museum where the permanent collection finds its home, the commitment to subvert traditional narratives is also evident in its new show “Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar. A Dialogue with the Fondation Beyeler.”
    The exhibition focuses on Maar’s significant influence on the male painter’s practice, starting off with Picasso’s portrait Homme appuyé sur une table (1915-16) hung in conversation with three works by the artist on loan from the Swiss Fondation Beyeler that all depict artist Dora Maar. On equal footing are Maar’s photographs. It is the first in a series of yearly exhibitions called “Beyond the Collection,” which will use a single work in the collection as critical tool to speak to the absences in the collection.
    Elkann credits the female team for the important transformation taking place at the Pinacoteca Agnelli. “It’s creative, it’s caring, and it looks at the future, the community, and its needs,” she said of the new program. “Bringing together nature and art are essential to the soul. I think we really need that right now more than ever.”
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    In Pictures: The Courtauld’s New Edvard Munch Exhibition Will Unveil a Dozen Works Never Before Seen in Britain

    A show opening today at the Courtauld Institute in London will display nearly a dozen paintings by Edvard Munch that have never been seen by the British public.
    The exhibition traces the Norwegian painter’s development from the 1880s through 18 key works on loan from the KODE Art Museum in Bergen, 11 of which haven’t been shown in Britain. It highlights several themes key to Munch’s rise to fame.
    In Summer Night. Inger on the Beach (1889), for example, one of the painter’s earlier works on display, Munch marks an important shift toward conveying psychological undertones, a style that would come to define his oeuvre. 
    “This is an unprecedented opportunity to see the major works from one of the world’s great collections of paintings by Edvard Munch,” said the show’s curator, Barnaby Wright. “Visitors will find Munch’s seminal early paintings extraordinary, if less familiar.”
    The exhibition ultimately establishes a narrative that connects the trajectory of Munch’s career as a painter, beginning with Socialist Realism, naturalism, and the legacy of French Impressionism, through to the visceral depictions of psychological torment and trauma that he would become known for. 
    Included in the exhibition are numerous works from the “Frieze of Life” series, instantly recognizable for Munch’s rich use of color and composition that reflect the deeply emotional state of the subjects he was portraying. 
    Ultimately, the show presents Munch as perhaps the greatest emo painter of all time (no word, however, in the curatorial text on whether he impacted bands like My Chemical Romance), and it will treat the British public to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many marquee masterworks such as Evening on Karl Johan (1892), Melancholy (1894-96), and By the Death Bed (1895). 
    See images from the show below.
    Edvard Munch (1863-1944), At the Deathbed (1895). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait in the Clinic (1909). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Moonlight on the Beach (1892). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Melancholy (1894-96). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Marie Helene Holmboe (1898). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Morning (1884). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Nude in Profile towards the Right (1894). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Man and Woman (1898). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection
    Edvard Munch, Inger in Sunshine (1888). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, House in Moonlight (1893-95). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Children playing in the Street in Åsgårdstrand (1901-1903). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Evening on Karl Johan (1892). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Four Stages of Life (1902). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    Edvard Munch, Bathing Boys (1904-05). KODE Bergen Art Museum, the Rasmus Meyer Collection.
    “Edvard Munch. Masterpieces from Bergen” is presented in the Courtauld’s Denise Coates exhibition galleries and will be on display from May 27 through to September 4, 2022. 
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    What Does It Take to Create the Bronx Zoo’s Animatronic Dinosaur Displays? The Artist Behind Them Gives Us a Walkthrough

    Look out New Yorkers! This summer, the Bronx Zoo has been overrun by dinosaurs, and it’s an artist who helped bring them to life.
    Artist and illustrator Andrew Minniear is the production designer at Dino Don, the world’s leading dinosaur exhibition company. The founder, Don Lessem, was an advisor on the Jurassic Park films, and has been building full-sized robotic dinosaurs since 2017. And the company estimates some 10 million people have visited its shows over the past 30 years.
    It’s Minnear’s job to help design the mechanical frames for the animatronic dinosaurs, as well as their outward appearance, making sure that the sculptures accurately reflect the current scientific understanding about each dinosaur species.
    He also helps hand paint the hyper-detailed figures, and oversees production at Dino Don’s factory in Zhegong in the province of Sichuan, west central China.
    Andrew Minniear painting a dinosaur animatronic sculpture for the Bronx Zoo “Dinosaur Safari” exhibition. Photo: Andrew Minniear.
    At the Bronx Zoo, visitors to “Dinosaur Safari” will encounter 52 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and pterosaurs (extinct flying reptiles) amid two acres of hardwood forest.
    It’s actually the third time the zoo has played host to life-size dinosaurs, following outings in 2013 and 2019. This year’s event features the classics, like a 40-foot long Tyrannosaurus rex, as well as less famous species such as the flying Quetzalcoatlus, the largest of the pterosaurs.
    We talked with Minnear about what it’s like to sculpt these ferocious creatures.
    A dinosaur model by Andrew Minniear created for the Bronx Zoo “Dinosaur Safari” exhibition. Photo: Andrew Minniear.
    What is your background as an artist, and how did you come to work for Dino Don?
    I went to Grand Valley State University in Michigan and studied art. I graduated in 2010, right around the time of the recession, and trying to found work was tough. I became a caricature artist at Disney World [in Orlando]. That was fun, but it wasn’t making ends meet, so I decided to try teaching English in China. That was eight or nine years ago.
    I’ve always been fascinated with dinosaurs, and they have always been one of my favorite subjects to draw. I would share my work on a Facebook group dedicated to dinosaur art. One day, I saw a post asking if there was anyone in the group who lived in China and was familiar with dinosaurs and dinosaur anatomy. It was from Don Lessem, and it turned out he was kind of a big deal in the dinosaur community!
    That was in late 2019. For a year, I was doing the work in my free time when I wasn’t teaching English, until I got the paperwork for a new visa.
    Andrew Minniear painting a dinosaur animatronic sculpture for the Bronx Zoo “Dinosaur Safari” exhibition. Photo: Andrew Minniear.
    What does your job entail?
    I was brought in as a production supervisor. Don was having issues with the quality of the engineering and the appearance of final products for his dinosaurs. The animatronics were performing poorly and also did not look right. These Chinese factories do a lot of domestic business, but the theme parks here in China are not really focused on the scientific accuracy a lot of the time.
    How do you design each sculpture? 
    To produce the best and most realistic animatronic dinosaurs, I start by producing blueprints. No matter how good the sculpting might be, if the proportions are off, the frames won’t fit, so I allow a lot of leeway for the engineers to produce the mechanics.
    I create a digital sculpture using 3-D modeling, and then a rough shape is carved out of foam with a milling machine. Then it becomes much more hands on with manual labor.
    After the mechanical frame is covered with upholstery foam, sculptors will carve the basic shapes and then dedicated artists use these devices that get very hot, and they carve all the details and wrinkles onto the sculpture. We apply nylon and silicon to seal the foam and make a silicon skin, and then it’s sent off to the painters who finish the product.
    A dinosaur model by Andrew Minniear created for the Bronx Zoo “Dinosaur Safari” exhibition. Photo: Andrew Minniear.
    What is the coolest dinosaur to sculpt? 
    Personally, my favorite dinosaur is Carnotaurus. They are very strange—they’ve got very long legs with very small heads with very large horns over the eyes. And their arms are comically small, even smaller than a T-rex, proportionally. They are a weird, frumpy-looking dinosaur that I find rather charming.
    A dinosaur sculpture crosses the Whitestone Bridge to arrive at the Bronx Zoo. Photo: Julie Larsen, ©WCS.
    How do new developments and discoveries in paleontology affect your work? Do you ever have to go back to the drawing board based on new scientific information?
    The things that really affect what we do are specific discoveries like skin impressions that give us a better idea of the outer appearance of the dinosaur.
    A few years ago, an extremely well-preserved specimen called a Nodosaur was found. It died near a salty sea and got buried very quickly in sediment and was basically mummified. It is one of the species I have been basing the reconstructions on.
    And then there’s the Spinosaurus, which was the big bad star of Jurassic Park III. They recently discovered that it has a different body form. Its rear legs are much shorter than previously thought, which suggests an aquatic lifestyle. Its proportions are much more like a crocodile.
    “Dinosaur Safari” at the Bronx Zoo. Photo: Julie Larsen, ©WCS.
    How do you decide what color to paint the dinosaurs?
    If the client has a specific color in mind, we defer to them to create the color guide for the dinosaur. But when I have more creative freedom, I look to birds and even reptiles and amphibians for unusual color patterns.
    There are a handful of very well preserved specimens that have some color information. Some dinosaurs might have had camouflage, such as predators who needed to sneak up on their prey.
    In the end, there is always a little bit of artistic license and give and take that can be had in the business of reconstructing dinosaurs like this—you always want it to look good.
    When it comes to any extinct animal, the art and the science go hand in hand. Don’s priority is to try to make the dinosaurs as accurate as possible. But we have no way to represent these magnificent creatures other than through our imagination and through the work of talented artists who try to bring these creatures back to life, whether that’s on a movie screen or at a museum or a zoo.
    “Dinosaur Safari” at the Bronx Zoo. Photo: Julie Larsen, ©WCS.
    I think that some Millennials who grew up with Jurassic Park have become a little disenchanted with dinosaurs as we’ve come to realize they were more birdlike and maybe less scary. How many of your dinosaurs have feathers? 
    The smaller meat-eating dinosaurs we regularly produce with a feather coating.
    I know some people are enamored by the more traditional, monstrous, scaly versions of the dinosaurs from when we were growing up, but there are plenty of rather intimidating birds. If you’ve ever encountered a large eagle or a cassowary, they are quite intense. I do think dinosaurs look rather look noble with feathers!
    “Dinosaur Safari” at the Bronx Zoo. Photo: Julie Larsen, ©WCS.
    Was there a formative dinosaur experience for you? 
    My father took me to see Jurassic Park when I was seven years old, and it sparked my fascination with dinosaurs and special effects.
    And I always loved visiting museums and seeing the bones of these creatures. We have universal mythologies of dragons and monsters and things, but they were fictitious. To see the dinosaur skeletons, to see in some sense these dragons and monsters were real at some point in our distant history, really captured my imagination.
    “Dinosaur Safari” at the Bronx Zoo. Photo: Julie Larsen, ©WCS.
    It’s so fulfilling to produce these animatronics. I hope that sone of my enthusiasm for the subject bleeds through and inspires the younger generation and their passion for science and history.
    What do you think seven-year-old Andrew would have thought if he knew he would grow up to be a professional dinosaur sculptor, bringing these animals back to life? 
    My little head would have exploded!
    “Dinosaur Safari” is on view through October 30, 2022 at the Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York.
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    In Pictures: See Robert Rauschenberg’s Surprisingly Minimalist Sculptures That Are Causing a Buzz at Gladstone Gallery

    Co-organized with the Rauschenberg Foundation, Gladstone Gallery’s exhibition “Robert Rauschenberg: Venetians and Early Egyptians, 1972–1974” caused an unexpected buzz during Frieze New York, presenting rarely shown Minimalist sculptures by the artist better known for his mixed media canvases. But should we be surprised?
    The show coincided with Thaddeus Ropac’s sale at Frieze of Wall Pond/ROCI MEXICO (1985), a large-scale wall piece made of found fabrics on which Rauschenberg silkscreened photographs he took during a research trip to Mexico, for $3.5 million. Clearly, collectors are starting to look beyond the obvious in the oeuvre of this beloved artist. 
    While the art world’s focus seems to have only been on his combines paintings and silkscreen works in recent decades, Rauschenberg was always a kind of seeker, pushing boundaries and looking for the next phase of his art.
    “He intentionally stepped out of the scene because I think that he couldn’t get his work done, basically, and he was an artist who worked every single day, seven days a week—always,” Julia Blaut, the senior director of curatorial affairs at the Rauschenberg Foundation, told Artnet News. “I would say he was really looking for the things that were going to continue to provide challenges, and if he knew he could do something well, he wasn’t going to keep doing it.”
    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (Early Egyptian) (1974). © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, courtesy of the foundation and Gladstone Gallery. Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS). Photo: Ron Amstutz.
    The show, running in conjunction with exhibitions at Mnuchin Gallery in New York and at Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg, caught the eye of many key observers in town for Frieze new York.
    “We were really bowled over at the foundation,” Blaut said. “We know the work well, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen it sort of properly installed and and given this kind of space. It just really has room to breathe. I feel like the Gladstone exhibition gives the work that opportunity to be appreciated.”
    Rauschenberg created these works on Captiva Island, off the southwest coast of Florida, in the 1970s, after a fire caused massive damage at his home in New York. While the sculptures share many familiar materials and motifs found in his paintings, they lean towards Minimalism in a way that Rauschenberg’s other works don’t.
    “He was always looking for the next challenge, and I think the work his peers were making at the time gave him permission to explore what art could be,” Blaut said. “The whole Post-Minimalist aspect of these works is an announcement of his engagement with that movement.”
    Rauschenberg’s influence on contemporary sculpture is clear to see, but it is perhaps even more obvious when looking at this period of his work.
    “We’re thrilled with the attention the show has been getting from the press,” Blaut added. “But it’s the attention from the artists that seems to be the greatest indicator.  His ongoing importance to working artists is really the most heartening taking takeaway for us.”
    See images from the exhibition below.
    “Robert Rauschenberg: Venetians and Early Egyptians, 1972–1974” is on view through June 18, at Gladstone Gallery, 515 West 24th Street and 530 West 21st Street, New York.
    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (Venetian) (1973, detail). © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, courtesy of the foundation and Gladstone Gallery. Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS). Photo: Ron Amstutz.
    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (Venetian) (1973). © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, courtesy of the foundation and Gladstone Gallery. Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS). Photo: Ron Amstutz.
    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (Venetian) (1973). © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, courtesy of the foundation and Gladstone Gallery. Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS). Photo: Ron Amstutz.
    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (Venetian) (1972). © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, courtesy of the foundation and Gladstone Gallery. Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS). Photo: Ron Amstutz.
    Robert Rauschenberg San Pantalone (Venetian) (1973). © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, courtesy of the foundation and Gladstone Gallery. Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS). Photo: Ron Amstutz.
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