field tripSummer 2007

On the Road with Douglas Fogle
By Douglas Fogle, Curator, 2008 Carnegie International

Where in the world is Douglas Fogle now? Over the past year and a half, the curator of the 2008 Carnegie International has literally trekked the globe discovering the artists and works for next year's  exhibition. Below, in his words, are highlights from his recent adventures.

Top Left: This is an installation view of Frankfurt-based Korean artist Haegue Yang's Sadong 30 (2006). I visited this site-specific work with Eungie Joo, Carnegie International advisory committee member. It was located in an abandoned house in the Sadong district of Incheon, a neighboring city to Seoul. Making sculptural interventions into this decrepit space with lights and geometric origami forms, Yang transformed the melancholic desolation of this space into a site of poetic contemplation. It was quite an amazing experience.
Top Right: That's me "with" artist Takashi Murakami (or, really, with his recently published book). I was invited by Takashi to be a juror for his bi-annual Tokyo art fair, Gesai. It is really a strange combination of a commercial art fair (galleries have booths there) and a more open juried exhibition. Takashi is a huge media star in Japan (remember him from the 1999 Carnegie International?), and this is one of his ways of giving back to younger artists and even self-taught artists.  Anyone who pays the nominal entrance fee can have a booth.

This is a detail of New York-based artist Michael Joo's installation for the Sixth Gwangju Biennale. (Yes, he is Eungie Joo's brother, suprisingly enough.) In Bohdi Obfuscatus (Space Baby) (2005) Joo borrowed a Korean Buddha from a local shrine and encased it in a sphere of video cameras. Paying homage to the pioneering video artist Nam June Paik (who was born in Korea but moved to New York in the 1960s), Joo created a kind of televisual feedback loop, with the Buddha's image being transferred to video monitors all over the room. It shared the grand prize at the Biennale with Beijing-based artist Song Dong's installation (image, upper far right).

This is me in Texas, where everything is a little bit bigger. I'm a few miles outside of Marfa, home of Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation, where the Danish artist duo Elmgreen and Dragset produced their own "land art." In their take on the great earth works associated with artists such as Robert Smithson, Walter De Maria, and James Turrell, they built a non-functional Prada retail store. It is located completely in the middle of nowhere on the edge of endless ranchland. Right before this image was taken, a trucker stopped by the roadside, got out of his truck, walked up, took a look, and asked, "What is that?" I said that it was a public sculpture, to which he replied, "all right then," got in his truck, and drove away.

This is a detail of Beijing-based artist Song Dong's installation Waste Not (2005) at the Sixth Gwangju Biennale. The artist worked with his mother, Zhao Xiang Yuan, to take apart a room of her house and organize all the things that she had obsessively collected over the years. Together they arranged all of these items into a kind of taxonomic collection, including such things as extra bars of soap, saved during the years of scarcity before the liberalization of the Chinese economy, and the shopping bags depicted here. This collaborative work was a way for the artist to help his mother rise out of a deep depression after the death of his father. It shared the grand prize with Michael Joo's installation.

This is Paris-based Chinese artist Shen Yuan's installation The Dinosaur Egg at the Sixth Gwangju Biennale. She employs a Disney-like caricatured Chinese cartoon animal placed around a hand-drawn map of Asia surrounding a giant chocolate egg reminiscent of the German Kinder Egg candy (chocolate eggs with toy surprises inside).

Plastic pigs on a motorcycle in Seoul, Korea. Pretty amazing piece of vernacular sculpture…only it wasn't a sculpture, but someone making a delivery. Sometimes the everyday world can be as beautiful as artwork.

Also in this issue:

Pittsburgh Glass  ·  Time to Play  ·  A New, More Personal Jesus  ·  Mars Comes to Pittsburgh  ·  Special Supplement: Thanks to Our Donors  ·  Director's Note  ·  NewsWorthy  ·  Now Showing  ·  Face Time: Anthony Rothbauer  ·  About Town: Art Imitating Life  ·  Science & Nature: Working the Bones  ·  Artistic License: The Traveling Factory  ·  First Person: A Traveler's Diary  ·  Another Look: Sol LeWitt Drawings