Tagging art in Herford 
MARTa , now that was a strange museum. After arriving there on Friday last for an interview with Cai Guo-Qiang there was an opening on Saturday with a lot of energy. The museum itself is initiated of the kitchen and furniture industry in Herford. They wanted a schaufenster for their collection and for their…furniture (the Name stands for Möbel (German for furniture) ART, and a stands for ambient). They contacted Frank Gerry and then Jan Hoet – the latter one going into retirement after opening the SMAK in Ghent. And he came – saw – and got a heart attack.

319 works of art and more than 180 artist (as far as I could tell from the catalogue) – many contemporary makes this to a rather large art happening for a city of 65.000 inhabitants. So on the opening day; first came the demonstrants – being against the new unemployment- reform of the German state, against one of the ministers (Clement, former minister of this county) and MARTa… there where quite a lot of them occupying the whole street in front of the museum. When they where gone came the visitors, blocking the whole street. All with umbrellas due to rain. And mid amongst them the work of Paolo Chiasera, a statue of Tupac Shakur placed on a pedestal five metres above the mob. Looking great. Then the was the performances.

The exhibition itself is rather good, consisting of many works a lot of them being classics. Unfortunately they are ordered rather good (thorsos over here – holes, that being vaginas or wunds, over here etc.). Anyway. Amanda Coogan sat on a couch for I do not know how many hours looking very painterly. A lovely living painting in her long blue dress. At the same time Lotte Lindner was laying behind Gavin Turks rather boring Che statue (in a t-shirt and jeans on a concrete floor – very cold I can assure) on her back with a lot of potato chips on her head, the bags of spread around her head. It looked great – and one of the other artists commented that it look like the world greatest rock concert and somebody died and in honour all the other present spilled their chips over the deceased’s head like a homage to both the concert and the reaction to it.

MARTa is preformative in its expression of architecture but one cannot move any walls – no matter how curved they are there is no chance in the world to change the rather static and square exhibition rooms. Till Steinbrenner – another performance artist shot a whole in the wall, in the concert hall. We where all waiting for it. We where in there to see it, and still we was taken by surprise as he shot. I was seated up front – expecting him to do this rather sacral and with pathos, going all the way up front. I was sort of hoping for him to shoot the grand standing there – and fantasying of him collaborating with Cai on blowing the grand up with firecrackers. And then I jumped. Till had entered the room (he is about 210cm tall) and shot his bullet into the wall in the middle of the room and was gone before I could react. Just like an assassination in public spaces. There where no real chaos but a lot of confusion.

Talking about confusion. Cai had a project for the opening – blowing up a car with fire works. The only thing was that no one wanted to take responsibility for the security and neither him nor his assistant understood German. The problem where the mob outside. The securities need much more people and a good deal of time. Cai came up with the brilliant idea of just using six guards with a security rope between them giving the car its needed 7 meters distance to spectators. “Oh, that’s a great Idea” the head of security said when he heard about it. So of the car went with a load and many firecrackers and at the entrance there was a series of really loud, colour full and bright explosions. That more or less marked the end of the opening and the party ha begun, a lot of people being very drunk.


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Good for Oslo 
There is a few things going on in Oslo right now – the never ending discussion of the role of the national museum of contemporary art (back in the nineties the discussion was on the german and later Norwegian director, now the museum is restructured and the national museum is including not only the contemporary art museum, but also the designer, architecture, the national gallery and the national museum for arts and craft – I might have forgotten a museum or two...). The discussion now is…the director, this time around a swede.
The critique this time is that he, the director does not know anything about Norwegian art history – and they are forgetting that the national museum of Norway has, to quote Nordgren “the worlds best competence on norwegian art history”. Other news is that the museum has gotten 1.600000 € for the opening of their new pavilion and the exihition Kyss frosken - forvandlingens kunst that is opening end of may in the city centre of Oslo. Today the man himself is having a talk with Norways Urbanist and gonzo writer Erling Fossen in the city of Moss, host of Momentum – the Nordic art festival . This although Momentum are first next year, but due to the celebration of Norways independency of Sweden (1905) – we are 100 years old – they have an exhibition named “Good for Moss” with artist from the city and about the city.

Also, at the same time the former director of Fotogalleriet in Oslo (a foundation and a part of the fine arts photographers association of norway) is opening his new commercial gallery named Standard (Oslo) ) . – the webpage www.standard.no is registrated by the state of Norway and is a information page for standardisation of technical formats in Norway. I haver read the press text for Start Kapital three times and I still don’t get it. Is Knut Knutsen responsible for the standard name of the gallery (I did like the concept he set up on the website for the open studio days of ISCP when he was there last year “common escape routs” or something like this. The whole web site was covered with “going… on holiday” and that sort of things and at the very end;
Eivind Furnesvik… going commercial). I guess the reason is as he himself said, about being able to realize your projects. And this is a very interesting hybrid between the commercial and the institution. There is a lot of criticts and curators out there going commercial, starting up their own galleries for reasons like wanting to be independent of the institutions, wanting to be able to realize projects within a own space witouth being force to always deal with the plutocratic needs of the institution. In Sweden you have natalia goldin gallery / stockholm , in Copenhagen the art historican Birgitte Kirkhoff with her gallery Kirkhoff Contemporary Art that did open directly after her completing her master – and she says it is about being able to work long term with certain artist instead of all the time being forced to the hit and run tactic that drives most institutions – to all the time find and use fresh and newer artists to work with. And also the UKS are opening a Nina Möntmann/NIFCA exhibition callen Opacity, and I have to admit after reading the press text that I often feel a bit lost reading their press releases as well – it often feels like stripped bare philosophical, theoretical themes prose that more or less feels like decoration. But still, there are a few things going on in Oslo this weekend and I would like to be there, also to participate in the Norwegian art critics association – and there receiving my travel grant.







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Kadoya Japan.  
I got a travel grant from the Norwegian Art Critic Association, to go to the island Naoshima (Naoshima ), which is very fucking nice for several reasons.
I do really want to go there to see what the Benesse Corporation is doing out there. This mainly because I am involved as some sort of ‚local producer‘ for my home municipality in the project Art in Nordland-Artistic interruptions (Art in Nordland - Artistic interuption ) in my home county (Nordland in Northern Norway for those who does not know). To take the AiN-project first:
In 1988 AK Dolven a Norwegian artists suggested in a roundtable on something about art (nobody knows anymore what the theme was ) that they should make “a sculpture park” of the whole county (for the record: The County of Nordland is ....square kilometres large and ...kilometres long).Said, done. They initiated a project were each of the 36 municipalities was offered to get a sculpture of a contemporary artist. There was much discussion. There where many voices speaking against it and many tax payers where not that found of that their municipality was going to waste money on rubbish that anyone could produce (to quote my uncle). The project Sculpturescape Nordland was born and was carried out in the years between 1989 and 1999. (Skulpturescape Nordland).

In Naoshima the Benesse corporation have established a art site with close connection to the nature and culture surrounding the space. They have build up a collection of art through thinking site specific, long term culture related in their projects. They are mostly concerned with artist that have the interest to do projects that are rather large and clear cut in their idea of that all works is commissioned should be in direct connection to the island and its culture and hisory. Especially should one mentioned their Art House Project where they buy houses that are not more in use but still is important for the memory of the island itself and ask artist if they can make an artwork out of it. Not restoring the houses, but making art work of the whole house, usually together with an architect. The project is in many ways to discover a community rather than to establish a collection by merely buying art.

The Sculpturescape was a grand success in terms of both artistic development and dialog with the communities. There have been discussed much and some still do not like contemporary art but do admit that this debate going on with neighbours and in the newspapers makes it possible to discuss other sides of a town and a culture than merely the issues dealing with politics, economy, elderly, children and education etc. Thus this the county initiated another project in 2002 / the Art in Nordland thing. At the same time as they wanted to continue their sculpturescape `collection`, they wanted a more flexible approach to the art side and not only sculpture. It did at that point get the largest founding from the state of Norway ever, and could more relay on this rather than seeking sponsors and partners other places.

The Naoshima Art Site is owned and run by Benesse Corporation. A rather large company who does a lot in connection to contemporary art. Since 1995 it gives out the Benesse prize at Venice Biennale.

I am looking forward to see the site itself and talk to the people being involved.
Art, nature and culture is the themes for both places.


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I have no theory about this text (Annika Ström) 
After seeing the Funky lesion exhibition in at BüroFriedrich in Berlin last autumn I have been thinking a little bit about the exhibition. I do not know why. Or I did not know why until I stumbled over the catalogue the other. It seems that not only is there a catalogue, but the exhibition did wander to BAWAG foundation. All the artist talks that I missed out in Berlin (although I not sorry for missing out Münz club this horrible wannabe exclusive but haven’t got the stile club in Hackerse Höfe) are transcribed in this catalogue. I think I love printed matters. Partly because... well I have always read, and almost all I know from art I got from some sort of printed matters. Of all the artist I know I have seen very little in real life. I am the backside of a world that travel. One can travel in mind and text. And thus is Germany a great country, they seem to firmly believe that catalogue and printed matter are almost the main way to communicate.

Didactical lessons
Singing LeWitt is great, I love the work. I do also love Annika Ströms works that tell stories like `this work refers to kosutt`, and I was very confused by my first real encounter with Tino Sehgal where the gallery assistant did fall to the floor in a very fainting out fashion saying something about this is a work by Tino Sehgal etc. etc. And I do like the way Monica Bonvicini asks me to add elegance to my poverty although it is to large here in this installation outside the no not any longer existing Büro Friedrich. The exhibit tried to deal with the fact that a lot of curatorial concepts is no concepts at all and that they merely put together a brand of artist and let them more or less do the work.

Art to the people
My first encounter with Bonvicini is now a good 4,5 years back when Jonas Ekeberg decided to stop doing magazines and do some curatorial big shot projects instead and established Oslo Kunsthall in autumn 2000. Among those working together with him on the project was Gardar Eide Einarson and Matias Faldbakken. They wanted to make a fully fluid art space in Norway that where going to be a intravenous injection of really fresh contemporary art. The first exhibition was Bonvicini and and her hous wife fucking video. I did not like it at all, but it was a very nice combination of hard architecture and feminism. I still think it is rather boring but well made. Anyway, the Kunsthalle did not manage to keep its budget and Ekeberg was fired. They did change directors a lot and in 2003, or was it 2002? It was closed down. So much for using social democracy and its money to make international art for Ekeberg (he later on got to do the national touring exhibition of Norway celebration exhibition called art to the people and last time I checked I did an exhibition on social democracy for apexart in NY. )

Going back to the overfilled exhibition of Heiser – the catalogue is of course published by the Revolver Archiv für aktuelle Kunst and it is rather well made, not better made than any other catalogues in Germany but they make rather good catalogues in general in this country. Reading through it it occurs to me that the problem is not to curate or not or to become static or not, but it is very important that one might be able to see some other points of view before there is any option to curate. To curate is like writing with other peoples texts, who much do you want to appropriate and do you want your text to stand alone with no one others than your statements. There is possible to use everything as a illustration, and I find discussing curatorial aspects through an exhibition is rather clever but maybe a bit boring.


Thing
The exhibition feels a bit overstated, I do not like to be told that it is clear that someone is telling me in what direction I am going to see the different works in. Run home and tell everyone that it is not need for curating unless you want to give the artists space to move.
As Steven Soderbergh said saying: `I need the actors too move as freely as possible, and thus I have to tell them exactly what to do` is something that one could also say about this exhibition. It is well staged and well over-conceptualised. Is there another art exhibition we need? said Maria Lind in an essay as she was working for Moderna Museet in her time. Meaning shure we do, we just have to re/write the concept and change the exhibition place a little bit.





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Never Mistake Motion For Action 
Det er merkelig dette med kunstkritikk i Norge. Det er mange som skriver kunstkritikk på siden av å gjøre andre ting, eller for lettere kunne gjøre andre ting. Entanglements kan man si på engelsk – på norsk å gå amok i et vannglass. Man kan si at det er en veldig enkel grunn for hvorfor man skriver om kunst i tillegg til det man aller helst vil gjøre (lage kunst, selge kunst, lage utstillinger etc.) – det betaler seg – ikke mye, men litt + at det er mulig å gjøre seg selv synelig i landskapet. Det store problemet er at man har veldig mange spillere og en ekstremt små bane – og når ballen begynner å rulle, da ruller han for hele personen; både kunstneren, kritikeren og kuratoren. De fleste lar to tredjedeler av disse rollene da falle vekk og konser på det de virkelig har lyst å gjøre, mens andre fortsetter å jobbe videre full fremmad i alle retninger. Det er ok. Det er også ok at man poingterer dette ved å si ”ja, han er bestekompisen min”, ”jeg gjorde hans første utstilling” etc. Dette var veldig typisk for norge og oslo på nittitallet.

I dag virker det å være litt mer rolig. De som er kunstnere, har påbegynt eller fullført en kunstutdannelse som skriver om kunst (meg inklusivt) gjør i all hovedsak ikke kunst lengre (ja, jeg har vært med på to ustillinger de to siste årene, begge organisert av Josefine Lyche). Det er en slags insevrelse av horisonten når man lager utstillinger, stiller ut hos galleriene, blir utstilt av de samme – som en selv da skriver om. Det er rettogslett en vanskelig og ufruktbare jord å dyrke kunstkritikk i.

Løsningen er ikke tilsynelatende lett å finne. Det ene er å søke flere eksterne samarbeidspartnere, det andre er å kunne skrive uten trykk utenifra – og det er denne delen av det å skrive jeg har lyst å skrive om her.
Jeg har startet en blog – om du leser dette er det mest sansynlig at jeg har fortalt deg om at dette stedet eksisterer og gitt deg instrukser om hvordan du kan finne det. Det er min blog, og jeg vil ha tid til å utvikle min egen måte å skrive på her før jeg lar andre mennesker slippe til. Dette er delvis fordi jeg jobber nå hele tiden opp mot deadlines og det er skjelden at jeg får 100% rom til å skrive hva jeg vil (de har alle sammen restriksjoner) - jeg vil skrive om kunst – og jeg vil ha tid til å utvikle en stemme som ikke er avhengig av hva andre synes om den til enhver tid. Den vil gi en frisone for å lufte ut ideer om skriving og kunst – og ting og tang (utstillinger) som jeg ikke har mulighet til å prøve ut andre steder. Den vil utvikle seg, det vil ta tid, og jeg kommer til å mulighet til å tenke på et type kunstspråk som jeg kommer til å trenge for å kunne gjøre dette stuntet som jeg nå er i gang med: skrive om kunst.
ja vi elsker

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