Singer/pianist/lyricist/composer/performance artist Amanda Palmer, a.k.a. Amanda Fucking Palmer or AFP, is the epitome of an American indie artist. She’s bold, unapologetic, bisexual, with awesomely hairy armpits and actual pubic hair. She organized an unbinding flash mob wedding between her and writer Neil Gaiman in 2010, then made it legal in 2011 in a private ceremony hosted by literary power couple Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon. Unafraid of addressing provocative issues, she’s fought against Prop 8 and blogged about her own abortion and date rape.
A few weeks back we found ourselves at a county fair witnessing the live birth of a calf (as one does). It was equal parts fascinating, horrifying and beautiful and reminded us of exactly how animalistic the human birth experience can be. But where humans get forceps or perhaps a c-section when things get tricky, this poor calf was pulled out with a heavy metal chain tugged on by three burly farmers. The crowd at the fair oohed and aahed with each contraction as if they were at a fireworks display, while a moderator encouraged us all to be as quiet as possible because, you know, the cow didn’t exactly give her permission for us all to be there and we were probably a tad distracting…
This past weekend marked the end of the Manchester International Festival, a biennial, artist-led event that has, in the past, played host to artists like Matthew Barney and Olafur Eliasson, among others. This year performance artist extraordinaire, Marina Abramović, took to the stage for a run of six theatrical performances of “The Life and Death of Marina Abramović.”
Gestalten’s latest release, “Urban Interventions” is really just a nice way of saying pranks. Artsy pranks, in this case. Simple, clever, public attention-getters like a banner on the side of a building that reads: The secret of happiness is t- before the rest is torn off. Like all good art there’s something deeper at work, but the important thing about these pieces is that they’re fun and playful, like the giant wad of gum stretched out between two buildings.
In the MoMA’s Atrium Marina Abramovic sits at a wooden table dressed in a high-necked, long-sleeved navy blue dress that gathers in a pool of fabric at her feet. She’s lit on all sides by 5ks – big, bright, hot lights. Her face is serene and statuesque, her gaze completely focused, and you’re welcome to take the chair on the other side of the table and sit with her for as long as you like.
Meanwhile the rest of her retrospective, “The Artist is Present,” is happening upstairs, and really, it’s a happening.
Traverse Temporal Gyrus at The Guggenheim. Photo credit: Celia Quinnette
Upon entering the psychedelic bat cave that was Traverse Temporal Gyrus (the latest installation at The Guggenheim from Animal Collective and film artist Danny Perez), you were immediately bathed in a surreal environment of swirling sound and floating images. The museum was abuzz last night as fans crowded in for this special one-day collaborative exhibit. Selling out almost instantly, The Guggenheim had to add an earlier show to accommodate the spiked interest.
I’m not sure if this awesome story is well known out in LA, but I had never heard of this until reading about it on GOOD, which they called “L.A.’s single greatest secret.”
At the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale which opens this Sunday, thirteen American artists (John Baldessari, Tony Conrad, Spencer Finch, William Forsythe, Guyton/Walker, Richard Harrison, Joan Jonas, Sherrie Levine, Arto Lindsay, Gordon Matta-Clark, Amy Simon, and Pae White) will show their work and compete for the much coveted Golden Lion. Among the…