Travel: Singapore

It was great to see Art Stage Singapore for a second time this year and spend some time visiting the various exhibitions during Art Week. This trip would have not been possible without the generous hospitality of my hosts, collectors Ryan Su and Adrian Chan. (The Ryan Foundation)

Had a chance to spend a whole day at the wonderful National Gallery Singapore and explore their diverse and extensive collection. Also got a tour of the Asian Civilizations Museum and the fantastic print workshop of STPI

During my stay I also met with some cutting edge authors, such at Christine Chia and photo journalist Aik Beng Chia 

It was a pleasure to visit some engaging gallery shows at the:

Gillman Barracks 

ArtPorters Singapore

ShanghART Singapore

Yavuz Gallery

NTU CCA Singapore

Pearl Lam Galleries

OTA Fine Art

Chan and Hori Contemporary

I also had time to visit some exciting studios and was so inspired to speak with the artists about their work:

Robert Zhao Renhui

Kanchana S. Gupta

Khairullah Rahim

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Travel: Vietnam

This February I had the chance to visit Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tao. I had a great time exploring the coastal town with my brother for a few days, who has lived there since 2015. 

This was my second trip to Ho Chi Minh City and so enjoyed meeting some new artists and several friends. It was a special treat to visit the Factory Arts Centre and get a tour of Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s new installation and film “Empty Forest.” See some of  their links here:

Tuan Andrew Nguyen

Dinh Q Le

Phan Quang

Phi Long Le

Nguyen Du

Nguyen Quoc Chanh

The day culminated with a long scooter ride with Dinh Q. Le, who will be opening a stunning show of new woven photographs that were completed this year at the STPI Residency and opens on March 16, 2018, on our way to a wonderful end of year celebration at MOT+++ hosted by the founder Tran Thanh Ha. It was lovely to meet her again and enjoy an evening of great food and great people.

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Travel: Frieze London

The Frieze week is an amazing time to be London! The fall weather, along with all the new shows ignites an amazing energy across the cith. This year the fair was really at high level, including new work by Jeff Koons, among many others. A special section devoted to feminism of 70’s and its relevance to current day issues of sexuality in western culture. The segment was titled “Sex Work” and included a solo show by the late Birgit Jürgensen, one of my graduate school professors and mentor, presented by Galerie Winter.

I was also able to meet up with several childhood friends and visit a number of studios in London: Anna Freeman Bentley, Nikolai Ishchuk and Hannah Brown.

Notable shows I was able to visit outside of the Frieze fair were Juliana Cerqueira Leite at TJ Bouting and Nick Goss at Josh Lilly

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Jake Ziemann

My first encounter with Ziemann’s work was in the first group show for the launch of HILDE gallery in Mid-City, Los Angeles this winter. His odd ceramic shapes, counterbalances and seeming found building materials intrigued me. I often find myself attracted to objects that are part fabricated, part appropriated, engages with themes that are characteristic of the Zeitgeist. His amorphous hand built ceramic shapes seem to suggest characters….So much so that it feels like if were one to leave the room, they might change into figures in your absence. 

As complete assemblages they seem to teeter between abstract narratives and absurd commentary. The vibrant colors of the painted surfaces of the hand sculpted forms are reminiscent of melting lava, as though a violent act had produced something beautiful. Ziemann sees his work as metaphors for the labor it takes to develop relationships with friends, lovers, and the world around me—a way to formally investigate notions of intimacy, codependency, and vulnerability. Each of these objects played with the notion of counterbalance, some more obviously than others. That idea extends to the materials in how he works with construction material in his base elements, which are contrasted with the sensual, beautiful ceramic objects. 

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Thomas Linder

It was a pleasure to meet Thomas Linder and for him to allow me a brief glimpse of how he works in the studio. Thomas had a recent show at Ibid Gallery in Los Angeles titled “Primary Grid.” Thomas Linder’s artistic process as a sculptor utilizes wood and fiberglass to create paintings and modular sculptures that interact with natural light. The lightness and beauty of the sculpture is how the translucent material is activated by the light to both reflect and project rainbow like planes of color. For Linder, this approach is similar to painting; Wood frames are built, fabric is stretched, and pigmented resin is painted, sprayed, and/or poured. 

The less three-dimensional works use wood strip frames to create cavities for him to pour pigmented resin into. These hand-built, irregular grids loosely reference stained glass windows in how they allow the available light to pass through them. One possible reading is that geometry has been abandoned in favor of a playful, joyful interpretation of abstraction. Linder’s recent work also explores the imagery of his past in the Midwest, which included growing up around greenhouses and experimenting with LED light installations, with materials and colors of Southern California. His oeuvre is heavily influenced by the light and space movement, which blossomed in Los Angeles in the 1970s, but is a departure with its conscious reference to the human hand by how he treats the material. There is a rawness to his objects that clearly implies human imperfection and manual labor. 

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Travel: Hong Kong

This September I was able to visit Hong Kong and explore some of the art scene outside of a typical Art Basel week. My interactions included meetings wth the director of CoBo Social, Selina Tang, as well as Alexandra Seno from Asia Art Archive. It was great to speak with several artists and curators how have witnessed the explosion of the art scene over the last five years. It was particularly valuable to connect with a long time friend Aenon Loo, who is the former director of White Cube HK and has an incredible knowledge of art in the region and beyond. The influence of Western galleries is quite strong, however I am most excited about seeing the private collections that have encouraged various forms of galleries to flourish and many have settled in the new gallery neighborhood of Aberdeen. The night I landed I was able to attend an opening at one of the K11 Foundation galleries, featuring several artists around the them of nature and sustainability, organized by a talented young curator and artist Enoch Cheng. 

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Travel: Taipei

This was my second trip to Taipei and it was real honor to be invited by Patrick Sun to experience the historic opening of “Spectrosynthesis” at Taipei MOCA. The exhibition was three years in the making and features a diverse group of Asian contemporary artists around LGBT themes in Asia. Sun’s passion as a collector has included becoming an advocate for the gay community in Asia by supporting many gay artists through his Sunpride Foundation, which in many regions still face systemic oppression and discrimination. MOCA Taipei is the first institution in Asia to acknowledge the contributions of the LGBT community in the art world and how significant they are. Many works in the exhibition were loaned by the Sunpride Foundation Collection. The event included lots of great food, opportunities to connect with artists and collectors from around Asia and a dazzling performance (literally) by Ming Wong and Cheng-Ta Yu. Patrick Sun is an amazing host and generous patron! The beautiful exhibition was curated by Sean C.S. Hu

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The Marciano Art Foundatio

The Marciano Art Foundation opened this spring. The collection is composed of 1,500 works from 200 plus international contemporary artists and is shown in the newly renovated, monumentous former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple, designed Millard Sheets, in Beverly Hills. The first show “Unpacking” was organized by Philipp Kaiser and will be on view for the next year. There are two underlying themes to the show, one that relates to showcase how artists process their creation and the other to emphasize the artists archaeological impulses. 

The most impressive work in mind in the commissioned, large scale installation by Jim Shaw, titled “The Wig.” The installation highlights the artists engagement with social, political and spiritual histories of a diverse America. 

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Travel: Brussels

To cap off my month long art adventure in Europe, I went to Brussels primarily to interview art collector Alain Servais for PARNASS art journal. This was only my second trip to Brussels and really enjoyed it. The interview with Servais was a tremendous experience, it is so invigorating to be around someone who is so passionate about art and has an internal drive to keep pushing their own boundaries as a collector. 

In particular I love the fact that he is very present in the public sphere and contributes by giving lots of talks and interviews, as well as writing articles, such as “Art in the Shadow of the Art Market Industrialization.” 

In addition, Servais makes parts of his collection available at the Loft in the northern corner of Brussels. The current exhibition was curated by Dragos Olea from Apparatus 22.

Among many galleries like Clearing that I find impressive, my favorite experience was going to the Wiels Center for Contemporary Art

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Travel: Venice

I remember attending the Venice Biennale for the first time in 1993. Although I had been there as a tourist in my youth, it was a transformative experience to see so much high caliber art from around the world. This may have subconsciously been what triggered my interest in contemporary art beyond Berlin and NYC. I traveled there with my then grad school professor Arnulf Rainer.  

This year’s biennial in many ways was not particularly revolutionary, however there was so much powerful work to see, particularly walking through the international pavilions is so rewarding even in hot, humid weather! One of the standouts this year was the performance in German pavilion by Faust, Jr., the Austrian pavilion presenting Erwin Wurm (interactive sculpture) and Brigitte Kowanz, as well as the American pavilion artist Mark Bradford. The installation I was most captivated by was the work of Carlos Amorales in the Mexican pavilion.

 

In addition to the main show of the Biennale and the Arsenale, there were fantastic installations around the city tucked away in various mansions and palaces; Truly breathtaking. And just being in Venice feels like you are in an important place. 

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Travel: Vienna

It was really meaningful to spend a long weekend in Vienna with Karlheinz and Agnes Essl, and re-visit the city where I spent much of my childhood. They have known me since I was born and I went on my very first studio visit with them in 1986. They have been mentors, friends and clients, and have really accompanied my life in the art world at every stage. For this I am grateful and so admire how they have dedicated their life to support art in Austria and around the world! This spring they announced that their collection will be on loan to the Albertina for 25 years. The collection will open at the newly renovated Künstlerhaus in 2019. 

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Travel: Münster

The Münster Sculpture Projects began in 1977 and is presented every 10 years. It has created as an amazing forum for public sculpture and brings an exciting group of artists together to challenge our notion of art in the public space. The project has been offering a special exhibition experiences throughout its 30 year tenure: Artists develop site-specific works for Münster—sculptures, but also video installations or performances. These projects inscribe themselves in the city’s structural, historical and social contexts, while simultaneously transgressing its boundaries. The artistic explorations are as much concerned with global issues as they are a reflections on the concept of sculpture in relationship to public and private space. The curatorial team consists of free-lance curator Britta Peters of Hamburg, the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur curator of contemporary art, Marianne Wagner, and the exhibition’s artistic director Kasper König. 

One of my favorite works, by Gregor Schneider "N. Schmidt, Pferdegasse 19, 48143 Münster, Deutschland," definitely had the longest wait times to get in! His strange, empty apartment was created on the top floor of the museum, with access from the street only. Light, smells, lack of sound all set the viewer up for a mind altering experience. Entrance was one person at a time.

Pierre Huyghe, After ALife Ahead, dug up the floor of an indoor skating rink was an impressive immersive feet, but failed to convey his ideas with the distraction of peacocks and fish tanks that seemed way overwrought. 

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