Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kisito Assangni and Frank Gerlitzki create London performance happening


Kisito Assangni




Frank Gerlitzki












Frank Gerlitzki's mind has a habit of escaping the boundaries of his Guangzhou, China studio.

“In fact, this project [“Free Night of Experimental Performance” curated by Kisito Assangni in London 31 October], which is a no-budget project…I´m the mastermind sitting in my world,” Gerlitzki told me in an interview.

His world expands exponentially.

cat
"Fragmentos" by Frank Gerlitzki

He´s the universal arts mole making and inspiring art without boundaries, spreading from one bus stop to another, traveling the globe.

London´s extension of Gerlitzki´s mind happens at Studio1.1 at 52a Redchurch St., London (www.studio1-1.co.uk) today, 31 October.

The night of Kisito-curated free experimental performances features:

Jenny Hyde
Poppy Jackson
Ane Lan
Nathalie Mba Bikoro
Nathan Walker
Kai-Oi Jay Yung
Oreet Ashery
Benjamin Faga.

Gerlitzki's double-decker performance vehicle XTC (Xiaozhou Transport Company) extends a “virtual communication net connecting art institutes and art lovers around the world,” Gerlitzki said.

“It is an open, experimental art project and part of the SAT—Special Artist Territory—a global idea allowing artistic creation in public spaces.”

What better place than bus stops, bus stations?

Gerlitzki and Assagni practice psycho-geography.

As I sought refuge in Wikipedia to sort out this new dimension of art and perception, I came across a 1959 rant by Guy Debord, an early proponent:

“When freedom is practice in a closed circle, it fades into a dream, becomes a mere image of itself. The ambiance of play is by nature unstable. At any moment, ‘ordinary life’ may prevail once again.


“The geographical limitation of play is even more striking than its temporal limitation. Every game takes place with the boundaries of its own spatial domain.”

Internationally known curator, art critic, and academic and concept artist—Alessandro Rolandi—reviewing one of Gerlitzki's shows, including his paintings—wrote:

Paintings by Frank Gerlitzki
“Getting rid of any sort of indulgence, Frank transforms abject art, non-art and ‘degree-zero art’ into refined instruments to question not only artistic production but the nature of communication itself.”

About Kisito Assangni:

An artist and curator living in London and Paris.  

His exhibitions include:  Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Musee de Arts Derniers, Paris; Arnot Art Museum, New York; the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago; Centre for Contemporary Art, Kiev; Sint-Lukas Gallery, Brussels; Arad Art Museum, Romania; New Art Projects, Beijing.


He founded and curates the Time is Love Screening, an annual international video art exhibition.

About Frank Gerlitzki:

Painter, performance artist, photographer, curator, educated at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris and Atelier of Photography, Goethe-Institut, Lome, TOGO.

He has put up 15 solo shows since 2000 and numerous international group shows in New York, London, Paris,Berlin, elsewhere in Europe and the United States.

In 2003, he established Espace ApArt Gallery in Guangzhou, China.

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

ArtTraveler notes:

After living at the Hotel Queen Mary in Budapest (3.5 stars), I heartily recommend it: old on the outside, otherwise totally modern (23 rooms); 

The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510; www.hotelqueenmary.hu; info@hotelqueenmary.hu.


Visit Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. 



"Spanish Life Stilled" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)




Hungary´s art pros cry foul over €150 million plan to build two museums









Hungarian government plans closing National Gallery, pictured above


New Hungarian arts czar Laszlo Baan´s daydream of a €150 million pair of new museums morphs into a nightmare for the Budapest art establishment as protests mount.
Laszlo Baan

After ViktorOrban´s autocratic far-right government on 20 October gave the green light to Baan´s scheme of a “Museum Quarter” merging the collections of the National Gallery and Museum of Fine Arts, curators, artists, museum directors (except one) cried foul, claiming this is nothing more than a power grab.

The Hungarian castle on the Buda side of Budapest houses the National Gallery and History Museum

This follows Orban´s February surprise move cancelling plans for a fully-funded €18 million (90 percent EU money), 8,000-square-meter underground expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts in central Budapest.

The 20 October decision mandates closing the Hungarian National Gallery, which houses the Hungarianl collections of about 100,000 pieces.

There´s a groundswell of protest erupting.

All the professionals are against it, an independent Hungarian curator told ArtTraveler.

Heroes Square Budapest Hungary
Heroes Square in central Budapest at city park

  
On 25 October, the Hungarian section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) approved a resolution vigorously opposing Baan´s plan.

“The government´s cultural policy has no concept at all relating to the financing and operation of public collections.


“In this environment [Hungary may soon be another Greece] it is an enormous mistake to close down an institution [the Hungarian National Gallery] and launch an investment probably involving huge sums without any concept, reasoning or exchange of views with the profession whatsoever,” the Hungarian art critics said in a prepared statement.

Budapest museum directors and curators tell me museums are broke, fiscally flat-lined.

Where´s the funding for this dreamscape of a new Museum Quarter in Budapest´s city park at Heroes Square?

No one knows.



Viktor Orban
Few arts professionals believe this Museum Quarter project will ever happen, according to my sources in Budapest.

The government´s 20 October decision to build what Baan calls the "New Gallery" comes with no prior consultations with art professionals, no feasibility plans or impact studies.

What irks the arts establishment: Politicians not arts professionals decided this less than a month after politician turned museum director Laszlo Baan became government commissioner for the new Museum Quarter. (See the Laszlo Baan Chronicles below.)


“The government has provided neither a concept in support of this decision nor any reasoning for it,” according to the Hungarian AICA.


Laszlo Baan
The Laszlo Baan Chronicles

1957                 Communist Hungary adopts Soviet Model, taking Hungarian art from the Museum of Fine Arts, establishing Hungarian National Gallery, a bifurcation of collections.

18 July 1961     Laszlo Baan is born in Budapest.

1980 – 89          Baan studies philosophy and political science at Karl Marx University of Economics, Budapest, earning a PhD degree in political science. He has no prior formal education or training in art or art history. He is a trained and educated, veteran politician and administrator.

1998                 Baan returns to the Fidesz political party and becomes a Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Culture.

2002                 Another change in federal government as democratic socialists head coalition. Fidesz stood in opposition.

2004                Baan, deputy state secretary in the Ministry of Culture, responsible for awarding tenders (appointments) for the Museum of Fine Arts director general, applies for the position and wins it.

4 Sept. 2009     Baan announces that EU agrees to fund 90 percent of estimated 18 million Euro cost of an 8,000 square meter expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts.

May 2010          Viktor Orban´s right-wing government (Fidesz) whips socialists convincingly (two-third majority), gaining control for four years without need for a coalition.

February 2011  Orban´s government kills the €18 million expansion project shortly before the groundbreaking to start work.

14 June - 4 July
                        In politically correct cultural exchange, Orban calls on obscure Budapest Forras Gallery owners to curate huge "contemporary art" show in Beijing in which Baan plays a key role. Baan´s wife, Andreas Batorfi, an amateur photographer, participates in the show that had no printed catalogue. The Chinese will reciprocate in August 2012. Budapest artists, curators and museum directors call the show "scandalous."

18 Aug. 2011    Baan asks Orban´s government for two new museum buildings costing an estimated €150 million, one called the “New Gallery” for Hungarian and European and classical works, the other for primarily Hungarian photography.

3 Oct. 2011       Orban´s Minister of Culture appoints Baan as the Museum Quarter government commissioner, serving with no pay for a term expiring in 2014.

20 Oct. 2011     The Orban government approves plan to merge National Gallery and Museum of Fine Arts into Baan´s “New Gallery,” giving the green light to Baan to proceed with no consultations, risk analysis, impact assessments, basically by executive order.

23 Oct. 2011     German conductor Cristoph von Dohnanyi (of Hungarian origin) cancels two appearances at Hungary´s State Opera to protest right-wing anti-Semitism in Hungary.

25 Oct. 2011     The Hungarian Section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) vigorously protests against arbitrary approval of Baan´s 150 million Euro Museum Quarter.

October 2012    The date Baan had previously estimated the previously planned 8,000-square-meter expansion to the Museum of Fine Arts would be completed.

2013                 The year Baan said he would open international competition for architects and designers for his “New Gallery.”

2014                 Estimated groundbreaking for the “New Gallery” to be located behind the current Kunsthalle (Mucsamok) contemporary art museum at Budapest´s City Park.

30 Nov. 2014    Expiration date of Baan´s appointment as a government commissioner of the “Museum Quarter.”

2017                When Baan estimates his “New Gallery” will be open for business.


The Museum of Fine Arts Budapest at Heroes Square

Museum Quarter Numbers
 
150 million            In Euros, Baan´s current estimated cost of his planned “Museum Quarter.”

45                The percentage of Hungarians willing to replace the democratic system with a right or left-wing authoritarian system provided such a system assures faster economic progress (October 2011 telephone survey of 1,000 people by Nezopont Institute.)

8,000                  In square meters, the size of the funded Museum of Fine Arts expansion that Viktor Orban killed in February.

40 billion     In Hungarian Forints, the current estimated cost of two new art museums in Budapest.

105                  Age in years of the building currently housing the Museum of Fine Arts.



Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

ArtTraveler notes:

After living at the Hotel Queen Mary in Budapest (3.5 stars), I heartily recommend it: old on the outside, otherwise totally modern (23 rooms); 

The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510; www.hotelqueenmary.hu; info@hotelqueenmary.hu.


Visit Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. 



"Spanish Life Stilled" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)



Saturday, October 29, 2011

ArtTraveler photo gallery: Discovering an old Serbian village near Budapest


A fine mist of black soot filled our nostrils on the trudging train making its way Balkan village to Balkan village somewhere in the middle of Serbia.

The coal fueled convoy of windowless wooden carriages full of people, farmers, sheep, children, pigs, and for sure, one young American student art travleler.

The train stopped at every small village along the borders of Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria.

It seems I was on a Disneyland trip through Balkan cultures: Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Croatian villages, different languages, customs and costumes.

This was not so much blending as it was peaceful cultural co-existence, thanks in large part to Josep BrozTito.


My destination: Hlebine, a tiny Croatian village and home to one of the world´s best known naïve painters, Ivan Generalic, with whom I lived for a couple weeks, studying primitive art.

It was the summer of 1965.

But in many ways, only political boundaries changed.

Hlebine, close to the Hungarian border, illustrates the Balkan ethnic cocktail of nationalities, cultures and customs.

And so it was, all this came back to roost this summer when I lived with a Hungarian family in the old Serbian village, Szentendre, 20 kilometers north of Budapest.

A traditional incubator for Hungarian avant-garde and contemporary artists for more than a century, Szentendre´s origins reach deep into Balkan history.

These are a few of my captured memories from this old Serbian village.


"Avant-garde Artist´s Grave"  in museum courtyard Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Mythical Symbol" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Handle Holders" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Our World" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Common Hungarian Icon Symbol II" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Old Happy Walls" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"A Solitary Figure II" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"The Waiters" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Middle Ages Walkway" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Moving Colors" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)


"There´s a Reason Cats are Smarter than Dogs" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"19th C. Christian Symbol" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Christian Symbol" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"If You Look Good, You Feel Good!" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Magyar Marching" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Mythical Symbol II" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Hungarian Still Life I" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Communist Nostalgia" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Hungarian Decorative Door II" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Hungarian Still Life II" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Hungarian Still Life III" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Hungarian Still Life IV" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"There´s a Reason Cats are Smarter than Dogs II" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Art on a Rope" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Hungarian Still Life V" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Robert E. Lee as Hungarian Blacksmith" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

ArtTraveler notes:

After living at the Hotel Queen Mary in Budapest (3.5 stars), I heartily recommend it: old on the outside, otherwise totally modern (23 rooms); 

The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510; www.hotelqueenmary.hu; info@hotelqueenmary.hu.


Visit Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. 



"Spanish Life Stilled," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)



Friday, October 28, 2011

17 international artists showing mini-art at Art Market Budapest 2011

Igor Metropol´s specially designed installation booth for mini-art Photograph courtesy of Igor Metropol

Mini-art works by 17 international artists appear specially showcased in an architecturally designed wooden booth display at Art Market Budapest 2011 (27 – 30 October) at Millenaris  Park.

Above, examples of the 11 x 11 cm. formatted works on show at Art Market Budapest 2011.

The Budapest-based non-profit cultural organization, Igor Metropol, launched an open call to artists to submit 2D contemporary art no larger than 11 x 11 cm or if 3D, 11 x11 x 11cm.

Curators for the mini-art project Nora Lukacs and Katja Melzer selected the following artists to show and sell their works at the first international Art Market Budapest:

Ana KOMATINA //BiH
Arin ZADOORIAN // IR
Barbara EKSTRÖM // SE
Bettina STEINACKER // DE
TIMKÓ Bibor // H
Catriona FAULKER // UK
SZENTESI Csaba // H
Christopher GARCIA // USA
CSALA Dóra // H+DE
PALATINUS Dóra // H
VARGA Eszter // H
SZÖLLŐSI Géza // H
ANCKARSVARD Jakob // SE
SZABÓ KlÁra Petra // H
Koray KANTARCIOGLU // TR
LUKÁCS CSERNÁTONY László // H
BORSOS Lörinc // H
FRIDVALSZKI Márk // H+AT
BARTHA Máté // H
Naoyuki HATA // JP
Ninoslav KOVACEVIC // CS
SZABÓ Péter // H
SZALAY Péter // H
Peter TRUKENBROD // SE
Preben VAN DER STRAETE // BE
KORALEVICS Rita // H
TÖKMAG Gruppo // H

Gábor BENCSIK (architect) and Melinda MOLNÁR (designer) created the mini-art installation. booth.

Igor Metropol will take 30 percent commission on all sales.
 
The prices submitting artists put on their works so far range from 50 -- 900 Euros, she said.

Rock on and practice peace and love
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

Visit Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. See: www.spanjeanders.nl and www.competafinearts.com.


"Spanish life stilled," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)


ArtTraveler notes:

After living at the Hotel Queen Mary in Budapest (3.5 stars), I heartily recommend it: old on the outside, otherwise totally modern (23 rooms); 

The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510; www.hotelqueenmary.hu; info@hotelqueenmary.hu.
 
Islamic art and design at Granada´s Alhambra, photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)

Contact me at stefanvandrake@gmail.com or by calling (34) 951 067 703, or from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349.

ArtTraveler video offering: A most talented soprano sax player scores coins at Southward Underground Station, London.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Art Market Budapest 2011 thru 30 Oct.

http://www.artmarketbudapest.hu/content/_common/attachments/file3.jpg
Photograph by Gyorgy Toth - Erdesz Gallery, Szentendre, Hungary
Art Market Budapest´s  (AMB 2011) first international art fair opened today (27 October) showcasing 32 Hungarian and 10 international galleries at at the city´s Millenaris Park.

Admission is free. There is no government funding. This is a for-profit happening.

“We´re really satisfied with this year´s fair, our first international one after last year´s pilot edition,” said international relations manager Dr. Zoltan Somhegyi, an independent curator and university lecturer-art historian, AMB 2011's international relations manager.

The contemporary art fair will include a range of installations, 2D and 3D works as well as a number of group and solo projects, Somhegyi told me in a phone interview.
Many of the sculptures will show in a special sculpture garden adjacent Hall B, the main exhibition space at Millenaris Park.

“It´s a real great achievement in this time of crisis, and I am particularly happy with a huge 25 percent from outside Hungary.”
http://www.artmarketbudapest.hu/content/_common/attachments/file4.jpg
"Lenin" by Sam Havadtoy B55 Galeria
Galleries from London, Austria, Romania, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia join the Hungarian galleries, all but three from Budapest.
Another feature: The Hungarian Museum of Photography presents part of its vast collection, plus fine art photography from participating galleries and the Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design.
One of wow-factor artists showing and visiting the fair: Oleg Kulik, who according to AMB´s 20 October news release, "became world famous by his scandalous performances and video arts...."
More than 20 arts groups will occupy smaller booths--publishers, magazines, promotions.

One of the first Hungarian galleries to register is the internationally known Erdesz Galeria & Design in Szentendre, about 20 kilometers north of Budapest.
http://www.artmarketbudapest.hu/content/_common/attachments/preview15.JPG
Millenaris Park, site of Art Market Budapest 2911
I wrote about this gallery and its artists before and after its 8 July opening of contemporary artists while living in Hungary for six weeks this summer.

The Art Market Budapest 2011 jury includes: Soraya von Studenberg, advisor to Sotheby´s and Uniqua; Flash Art Magazine editor and Prague Biennale curator, Nicola Trezzi; Lorand Hegyi, director of Sant Étienne´s Museum of Modern Art, and Gabor Gulyas, director of Budapest´s Mucsarnok-Kunsthalle.

Somhegyi, curator for one of two featured Roma contemporary art exhibits--Roma Art Project--said his will display Roma works from private collections, the other, works from a Budapest gallery specializing in Roma art.
 
Panel discussions are also scheduled on Roma contemporary art.

The story behind AMB 2011

Art Market Budapest 2011 succeeds a pilot endeavor launched in only six weeks last year in a new and vacant office complex.
http://www.artmarketbudapest.hu/content/_common/attachments/yan_yeresko_arikupsusgallery1.jpg
Work by Yan Yeresko - Ari Kupsus Galelry
Somhegyi said at the end of August 2010, a colleague of his received a call that an ideal space to show contemporary was available for free.

Could they quickly put up an art fair of new and emerging contemporary artists?

Why not?

In six weeks, 12 to 14 Hungarian galleries exhibited contemporary works.
“It was our pilot edition,” said Somhegyi.
 

A work by Tamas Dobos, courtesty of Erdesz Galeria & Design, Szentendre
As soon as the pilot ended, the international version entered planning stages, which picked up speed in March.

Serving as the fair´s patron, former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, Nancy G. Brinker, provides high profile coupled with many international art connections.

Nancy G. Brinker, patron for Art Market Budapest 2011


Brinker collects Hungarian art.

Another feature of the fair is the role of the non-profit cultural engine based in Budapest, Igor Metropol.

It plans to show small format works (10 cm x 10 cm or 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm for 3D) within an architecturally designed display for 17 art works, said Igor Metropol co-curator Nora Lukacs. Her partner in this effort is Katja Melzer.

Igor Metropol and UAA (Association of Anonymous Artists, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina (www.uaa.rs.ba/) cooperated in promoting this project.

The cultural non-profit will take 30 percent commission on all sales.
The prices submitting artists put on their works so far range from 50 -- 900 Euros, she said.

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler
http://www.artmarketbudapest.hu/content/_common/attachments/janeugenvasile_calinagallery.jpg
Work by Jan Eugen Vasile - Calina Gallery

ArtTraveler notes:

After living at the Hotel Queen Mary in Budapest (3.5 stars), I heartily recommend it: old on the outside, otherwise totally modern (23 rooms); 

The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510; www.hotelqueenmary.hu; info@hotelqueenmary.hu.

Check out a sculpture or mosaics workshop or walking tour in our beautiful mountains. 


"Walking the Walk," near Canillas de Albaida, Andalusia Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2007)
  
Contact me at stefanvandrake@gmail.com or by calling (34) 951 067 703; from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349.

"BUDA" Photograph by Matthew Z. Zomick (2011)