New American Paintings/Blog


Pacific Coast Juror: Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles by openstudiospress

Only ten days are left for artists to apply to our Pacific Coast Competition 2011, which is open through Thursday June 30! (Apply online if you’re an artist in AK, CA, HI, OR, or WA.) We’re thrilled to feature the incredible expertise of L.A.’s Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator at the Hammer Museum, as the juror for the Pacific Coast Competition, one of our most sought-after issues of the year.

I recently caught up with the Los Angeles curator to find out more about her role at the Hammer, her thoughts on living and working in L.A., and her fondness for emerging artists. More of our Q&A after the jump! 

EJG: The Hammer has long had one of the most significant contemporary art programs in Los Angeles. What’s the most exciting thing about what you do at the museum?
AE: There is so much that is exciting at the Hammer, that’s it’s difficult to answer this question. I oversee our Hammer Projects series and also organize a lot of the Hammer Projects shows. We do anywhere from 8-10 of these single-gallery exhibitions a year in different spaces around the museum. The majority of our Hammer Projects focus on a single artist. The shows are tightly curated and usually present new work and are oftentimes the artist’s first museum show. We always have a Hammer Project on and around our large lobby wall, and these projects are particularly challenging and invigorating because they are commissioned new works and oftentimes the artist is pushing and stretching their work in new directions to fill what is a difficult but wonderful space. It’s rewarding to get to be a part of that process.

What role have emerging artists had in your time at the Hammer and in your career?
We are very committed to supporting the work of emerging artists at the Hammer. Los Angeles is a city filled with young artists, many of whom come to L.A. to go to one of the many fantastic art schools and then continue to live in the city. Our Hammer Projects series focuses primarily on emerging artists, and we have had a series of bi-annual exhibitions we call our Invitational that has always included emerging artists (the sixth one, which Douglas Fogle and I organized, was called All of this and nothing and just closed at the end of April). We have also just decided to do a survey of emerging and overlooked artists living in L.A. We are co-organizing this show with LA><ART and it will take place next summer.

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Cassandra Coblentz: Q&A with the West Juror by openstudiospress

One of our most anticipated editions of the year, the West competition of New American Paintings is now open for submissions through April 30. (Apply online!)

The 2011 West Juror is Cassandra Coblentz of Scottsdale, Arizona, where she is Associate Curator for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). A native of Los Angeles, Cassandra has spent her career all across the country, from L.A. to New York, and her years-long focus on museum education has largely informed her practice as a contemporary curator and how she approaches exhibition-making.

New American Paintings /Blog caught up with the Arizona-based curator to talk process, emerging work, and the importance of considering viewership when making curatorial decisions.

Coming from a background in education, does that give you a different approach in terms of your curatorial projects?
CC: It made me very conscious of audience and I think that has shaped who I am as a curator. Working in a place like Scottsdale, Arizona, it’s a different kind of audience than you’d find in L.A. and New York, and I’ve found it most effective to conceive of projects that touch on issues and ideas that are specifically relevant to this community, that give audiences opportunities to connect to the art in meaningful ways.

I also believe strongly in the kind of learning that takes place in a museum. That alone has played a really important role in how I actually curate exhibitions. For me there is a largely educational motivation for the work that I do here. I like the idea that contemporary art can challenging our audience to think critically about the world in which we live.

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Blinky Palermo at the Hirshhorn by openstudiospress

Blinky Palermo, Untitled, 1964 | Oil on canvas, 37 3/8 x 31 3/4 inches. Collection Ströher, Darmstadt. © 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Photo: Jens Ziehe.

The work of German artist Blinky Palermo (1943-1977) can be generally classified into four cohesive groupings: Objects, Stoffbilder (Cloth Pictures), Wall Drawings and Paintings, and Metal Pictures. Like his contemporaries Frank Stella, Robert Ryman, and Richard Tuttle, Palermo interest lied in probing the conceptual limits of painting by exploring unconventional materials, and he did so with an uncommon curiosity for the wide-ranging strategies of his peers and predecessors. Joseph Beuys, his mentor and instructor at the Dusseldorf Art Academy, labeled Palermo’s openness to a variety of media as “porosity.” Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977, currently on display at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., provides an opportunity for closer inspection of the artist’s ambitious technical versatility.  —Matthew Smith, D.C. Contributor

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