[image via www.kunsthandelmeijer.nl/] Vanessa Beecroft (Genoa, Italy, 1969) is an Italian contemporary artist living in Los Angeles. Beecroft is married to sociologist Greg Durkin. They have two sons.
Sudan- Sundance Film Festival, 2008
[image via www.jamati.com ]
Beecroft uses a unique, personal, artistic language. Her work is a complex fusion of conceptual issues and aesthetic concerns, focusing on large-scale performance art, usually involving live female models (often nude).
[via Wikipedia Entry]
"Rarely exhibited in the West, Chinese artist Yao Lu (b. 1967) documents his changing country in atmospheric works that look to the future through the lens of the past. In his first show in the U.S., Yao presented 16 photographs, most circular or rounded windowlike compositions floating on a white ground, 47¼ inches square, with two horizontals measuring 6 and 10 feet across. The neutral backgrounds and compressed spaces suggest traditional Chinese landscape paintings; the works even bear the red signature stamps and collection seals known as chop marks. But these mist-shrouded scenes (ranging from 2006 to ’08) are digitally composed montages of photographs taken by Yao of China’s ubiquitous construction sites and trash heaps.
In these cleverly disguised scenes, Yao subtly critiques China’s willingness to sacrifice its history and despoil the environment in its breathtaking sprint to modernization. Deceptively pastoral scenes of rivers, lakes and mountains blanketed with flora or dusted with snow are, upon closer inspection, ravaged landscapes awaiting development. Lush-seeming hillsides are actually green mesh-covered mountains of debris. A flowing river is revealed to be a road wending around mounds of rubbish, and rocky outcrops are broken chunks of concrete. Some scenes are nonspecific, while the titles of others provide locales—fishing boats near Mount Yu, a house on Mount Fuchun, a spring picnic beside Lake Dongting—all soon to be lost, presumably, to sprawling construction. The lone tree, pagoda or house illustrates not an ideal but the lone holdout still standing in the revision of a national narrative. Yao’s work is akin to that of Masami Teraoka, Yun-Fei Ji, Shahzia Sikander or any number of artists who recycle traditional art forms to suit contemporary themes. With tiny human figures visible in some works, Yao’s pictures also touch on the tradition of the sublime, here with humanity overwhelmed not by nature but by the forces of commerce and “progress.” While many of his compatriots found expression in physical feats or Western modes of representation, Yao’s message seems more poignant and mournful than defiant. His transformation of environmental depredation into nostalgic renderings of natural beauty raises the question of whether the new China, like Yao’s fabricated scenes, is built on falsehood." - Stephanie Cash for Art in America.
Louise Bourgeois in her Brooklyn studio in 1992. Photo courtesy The New York Times. Louise Bourgeois, one of the world’s most celebrated sculptors, passed away today at the age of 98. The news was announced by an Italian foundation preparing an exhibition of the artist’s work in Venice, and was confirmed by Wendy Williams, the managing director of the Louise Bourgeois Studio. The cause of death was heart attack, and occurred at the Beth Israel Medical Center. Bourgeois was a leader of feminist art, and is known most recently for her large-scale metal spider sculptures, as well as psychologically-charged roughly-textured depictions of sex organs.
Bourgeois’s 30-ft spider sculpture outside the Tate Modern in 2007. Photo courtesy the BBC. More text and images after the jump…
Highly influenced by painful childhood experiences, her work explores human forms and emotions. “All my inspiration comes from my childhood, from my education, from France at a certain moment in my life,” the artist once said. The subject of her works expresses namely the betrayal and jealousy she felt as a cause of her father’s affair with the family’s governess.
Photo courtesy The Washington Post.
Born in Paris in 1911, Bourgeois studied at the Ecole du Louvre and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. After marrying American art historian Robert Goldwater, she moved to the US and became a citizen in 1951. She completed her studies at the Art Students League of New York. Although she began with engraving and painting, she worked mostly in sculpture. In 1997 she received the National Medal of Arts, and in 2008 she was presented with the French Legion of Honor medal by French President Nicolas Sakozy. Bourgeois represented America in the Venice Biennale of 1993. In 2000 she created a work for the Tate Modern’s inauguration of Turbine Hall; in 2007 the Tate organized a retrospective of her work which later travelled to the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC.
Until two days ago, she was actively involved in preparations for the exhibition “Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works.” Curated in by Germano Celant in collaboration with Jerry Gorovoy of the Louise Bourgeois Studio, the exhibition is presented by the Fondazione Emilio e Annabianca Vedova. It is to feature little-known works in cloth and sketches from 2002 – 2008, shared foundation president Alfredo Bianchini.
Early in her career, she worked as an assistant in the atelier of legendary French artist Fernand Léger. She was revered by many contemporary artists, includingAntony Gormley and Tracey Emin. Artist Jenny Holzer stated today that she “orbited Bourgeois” and that “my artist friends and I are crying today.” She is survived by her two sons, Alain and Jean-Louis, of Brooklyn and New York; she was widowed in 1973 and her son Michael died in 1990.
Bourgeois in her youth. Courtesy The Washington Post. Related Links:
Louise Bourgeois: Obituary [NY Times]
The Spider’s Web [New Yorker]
Her Sculpture Was Molded by Trauma [Washington Post]
Louise Bourgeois: Interview and Videos [Art:21]
The Art of Louise Bourgeois [The Guardian]
Louise Bourgeois: An Obituary [Art Forum]