Category: Video

Damien Hirst's new website features live streaming art-making

March 23, 2012 |  7:00 am

Screen Shot 2012-03-22 at 11.02.42 PM
Ever wanted to watch a great artist (or his assistants) mid-masterpiece? Damien Hirst recently launched a new website showing his team at work in his studio.

The backdrop of the site features a live feed of what appears to be a couple of young English blokes at work on a piece similar to Hirst's pinwheel paintings.

Those who tune in have the options of two views, from the front and overhead, while pair work (rather nervously) at a circular table in front of the lens.

The website,, also has links to Hirst's exhibitions, projects and shop, as well as a series of videos featuring the artist. Not surprisingly, Hirst was nowhere to be seen in the live feed. 

The camera seems to be on 24/7. When we tuned in after hours, there was nothing to watch except a dark studio with a cart of supplies in the corner, which as you might expect, is even less exciting than watching paint dry.


British artist Damien Hirst to build 500 eco-homes

Art Review: Damien Hirst at Gagosian gallery

--Jamie Wetherbe

Photo: A screenshot of Damien Hirst's darkened studio being streamed on his website. Credit:

Art review: Natalie Bookchin at LACE

March 22, 2012 | 10:00 am

Natalie Bookchin, "Now he's out in public and everyone can see"
A murmuring 18-channel video installation by Natalie Bookchin at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions is an affecting meditation on perceptions of race, specifically concerning African American men. The subject is socially, politically and emotionally fraught, and its charged complexity is prone to artistic treatments that are rote or sentimental. Bookchin deftly avoids those traps.

The video installation comes from a documentary tradition. Documentaries are always socially minded, and this work does not turn away from grim realities; they include statements and assumptions by and about fellow human beings -- black, white, Asian and Latino; male and female; young, middle-aged and old -- that can make you wince. But it is the opposite of sensationalist. Instead, the Los Angeles artist fashions a slowly unfolding, non-linear narrative that quietly haunts the imagination.

Absorbing the installation takes time, since the initial encounter is disorienting. The large rear gallery at LACE is dark, with 18 flat-screen monitors suspended in space around the room. At any given moment, most of the screens are also dark; intermittently they light up in dispersed groups of two, three or more with brief bursts of talking heads -- sometimes ranting, sometimes questioning, always earnest.

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Artist Sarah Sze will represent U.S. in 2013 Venice Biennale

February 24, 2012 |  8:45 am

Sculptor and installation artist Sarah Sze has been tapped to represent the United States at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts, which is commissioning the work, announced Sze’s installation “Triple Point” will be constructed to interact with the '30s Palladian-style U.S. Pavilion, designed by architects William Adams Delano and Chester Holmes Aldrich, without actually changing it.

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Monster Mash: Nick Jonas back on Broadway; 'Book of Mormon' plea

January 24, 2012 |  7:50 am


Climbing the corporate latter:
Pop star Nick Jonas suits up to play Broadway's next J. Pierrepont Finch in "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying," following Darren Criss' popular limited run. (Playbill

Sold out: Lawmaker pleads for Colorado homeboys Trey Parker and Matt Stone to extend "Book of Mormon" run in Denver. (Denver Post)

Money matters: The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society wins in dispute with "Spider-Man" producers. (Playbill

Crystal ball: Leaders in entertainment, academia and marketing gathered to predict what Broadway will look like in 2032 at the one-day inaugural TEDxBroadway. (Associated Press)

Spidey fashion sense: A cape made of spider silk — thanks to artist Simon Peers, designer Nicholas Godley and more than a million hard-working insects — goes on display at London's V&A museum. (The Guardian)

"Follies" follies: Even with a high demand for tickets, the critically acclaimed "Follies" ended its Broadway run without turning a profit. (New York Times)

Save the last dance: Financial woes postpone Oakland Ballet Company’s spring program. (Oakland Tribune)

Common ground: A museum devoted to Civil War, civil rights could come to North Carolina. (Fayetteville Observer

Stage hands: Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton have been tapped to host this year’s Olivier Awards. (Theater Mania

Passing: John Levy, first prominent African American jazz manager, dies at 99. (Associated Press

Also in the L.A. Times: Mark Swed reviews the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra's performance of Mahler "Rescurrection"; highlights from this year’s Hollywood Bowl lineup.

-- Jamie Wetherbe

Photo: Singer/actor Nick Jonas as Link Larkin performs during the 2011 production of "Hairspray "at the Hollywood Bowl. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times


'Super 8' the video art exhibition. High concept? Yes. Movie tie-in? No.

July 7, 2011 |  6:30 am

Video art is notoriously hard to show in art galleries. It can hog a lot of space, its sound can spill over into other rooms, and its equipment can be cumbersome (though lighter and cheaper with every year).

And that's not considering challenging content, like Brazilian artist Tunga's recent video of a bizarre, alchemy-fueled sexual encounter that makes David Lynch movies seem sweet and straightforward by comparison.

So when gallery owner Christopher Grimes had the idea of doing a broad sampling of international video art in his space in Santa Monica, he wanted to make the format, if not the content itself, more accessible. And he came up with a festival-style program as a way of working around the gallery's space limitations.

Starting Friday, the Christopher Grimes Gallery is presenting eight weeks of video art programming, each week featuring work from a different city curated by a different artist.

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Art review: Ori Gersht at Angles Gallery

June 16, 2011 |  7:20 pm

Known for his photographs of exploding floral still lifes, Tel Aviv-born, London-based Ori Gersht now takes a quieter, but no less probing tack. A survey of the artist’s work from the last five years is currently on view at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, but his latest exhibition at Angles Gallery brings together two very recent bodies of work that both circle around the specter of World War II.

Last year, Gersht traveled to Japan to photograph the iconic, yet short-lived cherry blossoms. Signaling the arrival of spring, the blossoming of these trees is celebrated with picnics and festivals. Bursting into paroxysms of pink and white flowers for only a couple of weeks, they are national symbols of evanescence and rebirth. Gersht worked mostly at night, using a digital camera especially sensitive to low light. The resulting images are eerie, often ghostly, and in some cases, breathtakingly beautiful.

While lovely images of cherry blossoms are hardly surprising, the artist approached the subject from two directions. He created large, dramatic photographs that summon the graphic clarity of Japanese woodblock prints enhanced with an unnatural, almost mystical glow. Despite their eerie stillness, these images seem to confirm the resilience of the cherry blossom as all-purpose national symbol. Its transience was used to justify sacrifice in World War II; its annual flowering symbolized renewal in the aftermath.

Gersht also printed more intimate images, in particular, close-ups of the blossoms, which are much grainier. They evoke pointillism, but also, more aptly, low-resolution digital files in which solid colors effloresce into their constituent reds, greens and blues. This texture reads like video static, suggesting that while the wide shot may project an uncommon beauty, up close the view is unearthly in a different way. This visual pollution serves as an analogue for the nuclear contamination that the cherry blossom’s beauty conceals. Although Gersht was referring to the lasting effect of post-World War II fallout — his project was completed in 2010 — the work takes on additional bittersweet resonance in the wake of recent events.

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Art review: 'Marco Brambilla: The Dark Lining' at Santa Monica Museum of Art

June 15, 2011 |  7:17 am


 "Sea of Tranquility," the hypnotizing single-channel video at the start of the Marco Brambilla survey exhibition at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, is and isn't what its title says. A dramatic, silvery landscape does show the famous broad plain of that name on the Earth's moon; to see it, however, leaves a viewer anything but tranquil.

The Sea of Tranquility is the site where Apollo 11, the American manned lunar module, touched down in July 1969. The first time Earth-bound humans stepped onto another natural satellite, the event also marked the climax of the furious "space race" between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Brambilla's three-minute computer-generated video is a time-lapse study of the landing craft, the Eagle, and the American flag that the crew planted beside it. The artist started with an image first broadcast on television, removed voices from the original radio transmissions to create a crackling soundtrack of static, beeps and buzzes, then compressed time to show the Eagle and the flag disintegrating into rubble and tatters. Days, even years, zoom by in speeding flashes of traveling sunlight.

This gorgeously aestheticized picture of natural decay is overlaid with poignant spiritual reverberations -- ashes to ashes, dust to dust -- while speaking of socio-cultural transformations as well. An astounding human accomplishment goes to rack and ruin, as surely as the Parthenon fell from breathtaking utilitarian grace into a poetic shambles.

Brambilla is a Romantic poet here, as obsessed with wreckage as Wordsworth and Shelley were in writing, or Piranesi and J.M.W. Turner in pictures.

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Marco Brambilla, in town for show at Santa Monica Museum of Art, reflects on Kanye West's power

May 20, 2011 |  5:01 pm

“The Dark Lining” at the Santa Monica Museum of Art represents Marco Brambilla's biggest museum exhibition to date as well as the first public showing of his new 3D video “Evolution.” But it doesn’t include the video he made that got the most small-screen play last year: his music video for Kanye West’s hit “Power" (shown above).

Curator Lisa Melandri says, “I actually never considered [including] it, because I felt it was Marco’s vision in the service of a particular product as opposed to completely an autonomous artwork. You’re given the music and given the personality, Kanye West, and I don’t think of it as the same process.”

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Art review: Robert Seidel at Young Projects

April 28, 2011 |  4:45 pm

Seidel chiral-poster-A3 
Robert Seidel’s first solo show in the U.S., at Young Projects, is an immersive experience, a sensuous dip into light, color, movement, sound and change. The show contains a dozen short videos and video installations by the German artist, dating from 2002 to the present. Some appear on monitors, some on screens or walls, and some are projected onto paper sculptures. Whether you watch a single piece from start to finish or wander continually among them, the effect is largely the same and largely intriguing.

Individually, and as a group, the pieces unfurl painterly impressions and inky, calligraphic hints. They comprise a fluid archive of sensations. “E3,” the earliest work in the show, is a three-minute sequence of chromatic progressions and dissolutions, pulsing mutations in red and black. The action speeds up and slows down, the imagery swelling and contracting in a compelling, richly disorienting fashion. This is animated painting of the most ephemeral sort, yielding neither narrative nor finished image, but an ongoing chronicle of form in motion.

Seidel infuses digital media with the authenticity of the handmade mark, and further grounds his work in references to nature, whether through bird sounds or the paper sculptures that resemble feathers and shells or are based on pathways of burrowing bark beetles. Where they are combined, the objects and projections integrate awkwardly, though brief, mesmerizing passages occur when colored light dances through the sculpted or laser-cut paper. Seidel’s stream of visual consciousness is well worth dipping into.

-- Leah Ollman

Young Projects, Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., (323) 377-1102, through May 14. By appointment on Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Image: Robert Seidel, Chiral, Young Projects

Got (Concert) Milk?

April 13, 2011 |  5:00 am

How do you grow your audience?

It's the million-dollar marketing question with a brand-new answer: milk.

This short film was the basis of the 2010-11 season marketing campaign by Konzerthaus Dortmund in Germany. There's no cursive writing, no roses and not a hint of romanza in sight. "We wanted to get young people interested in what we are doing, so we had to change our image,"  the concert hall's PR head, Jan Boecker, told Culture Monster.

The need to attract a younger audience is something North American marketers are obsessed with, but surely in Europe they don't have to worry about such things?

It turns out they do.

Dortmund is a classical music marketer's nightmare. Located in the middle of Germany's industrial heartland, this former coal and steel town is only just starting its transition into the education and IT sectors. While there has been an orchestra and opera house in town for about a hundred years, the concert hall was only built in 2002. Most of the 580,000 people living in Dortmund prefer watching soccer anyway. Even if they didn't, concert halls in Essen and Cologne are less than 60 miles away.

Konzerthaus Dortmund (KD) is a first-rate concert hall but, on top of everything else, has to struggle against being the new kid in town. Capital costs, energy bills and salaries are covered by money from the town of Dortmund but the programming budget depends on ticket sales.

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