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From the Archives: Trendsetting Art for 2012

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2012 Highlights
Last year MutualArt made a series of predictions for 2012, so how did we do? We predicted the art world would be highly influenced by non-traditional art, methods and materials. The Google Art Project has forged ahead in 2012 recently adding over 20 collections and the Louvre went ahead with incorporating their Nintendo audio guide. As for our artist highlights, Theaster Gates was a star at the Armory and went on to win several awards..
2012 is just around the corner, and this year the art world is ringing in the new year with an exciting roster of fresh faces and trends, as well a host of events paying tribute to time-tested traditions and established artists. 2012 is all about breaking boundaries - exploring exciting new artistic initiatives and re-examining historic traditions within a modern framework. From the cutting-edge to the controversial, there’s a variety of exciting new art that promises for a truly memorable year.

In this novel new year preview, MutualArt explores the trends already setting the stage for 2012, with a close look the people, events, and innovations that are inspiring them.

louvre artTechnology and New Media: Art in the Digital Age
First up on our list are some serious art innovations, most notably the latest development at the Louvre. Despite being over 200 years old, the Louvre is having no trouble keeping up with trends in technology - in fact, it’s setting the precedent as the first museum to do away with traditional audio guides, teaming up with Nintendo to bring visitors the latest in applied science. Starting in March, Nintendo will supply 5,000 video game consoles to the world’s most-visited museum, to guide visitors in 3D through its historic halls. The consoles will also provide an interactive museum map, commentaries in hundreds of languages, and special kid-friendly content. "Digital development has become a strategic issue for museums," the Louvre's director Henri Loyrette stated at a recent a press conference. "People's habits have changed. But that offers us a huge opportunity to extend the museum's territory, and build a lasting relationship with our visitors." In addition to a revamped website, the Louvre is also offering updated smart-phone and ipad applications to aid visitors in planning their trips.

Also, Google recently launched its Art Project, which allows users to visit museums from all over the world - virtually. The innovative new web tool gives audiences unprecedented access to museums, artworks, and collections of masterpieces, enabling them to zoom in on chosen works, as well as create and share personal art portfolios. And let’s not forget Adobe’s Museum of Digital Media, which holds the unique position of being a virtual venue dedicated to displaying digital art.

2011 Kinetica Art Fair, work by Dianne Harris

Artists who have been exploring the exciting new genre of virtual reality are the Generation Y group, David Kassan (of the iPad portraiture preeminence), and multimedia masters Anaisa Franco and Casey Reas (both of whom are featured on the Creator’s Project site, dedicated to technology, creativity, and culture, and definitely worth a peek). More multi-media artists to check out: Rafaël Rozendaal, Mike Beradino, and Joe McKay, each of whom have “played around” with video games as art. This media has been recognized at major art events as well, The National Apavilion of Then and Now, 2011 Haroon Mirzalike the 54th Venice Biennale, where the multi-sensory media artist Haroon Mirza was awarded the Silver Lion for promising young artist at the ILLUMInations exhibit. (Left: The National Apavilion of Then and Now, by Haroon Mirza, 2011). Museums dedicated exclusively to new media are also springing up all over the world, like Detroit’s Kunsthalle Museum, a multimedia and light-based venue dedicated to highlighting this new art technology; the museum will be hosting its first ever light-biennale in 2012. Other already established new-media events are returning in 2012, such as the Kinetica Art Fair (London in February), which hosts a slew of cutting-edge works based on kinetic, robotic, sound, light-and time-based new media art. (Above center: from the 2011 Kinetica Art Fair, a work by artist Dianne Harris).

Defying Convention: Urban Art and Nontraditional Media
Some call it vandalism, others say it’s the art of the modern metropolis: Love it or hate it, Urban art continues to cause commotion in the art world, both on the streets and the sale room floor. Alongside street-art-stars like Banksy (whose film “Exit Through the Gift Shop” earned an Oscar nomination in 2010), established greats (Mr.All I Want Is To Not Know Now What I Didn't Know Then (white) by Charming Baker Brainwash, Blek le Rat, Shepard Fairey, Ben Eine) and emerging urban artists (like Ripo, Phlegm, and Herbert Baglione) have been stunning audiences with their street-smart-art. On our watch list for the coming year is Charming Baker, whose edgy prints, sketches, and sculptures truly are charming. (Right: All I Want Is To Not Know Now What I didn't Know Then (white), by the Devilish Mr. Charming Baker) The genre keeps garnering rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, though it has some raving mad! Case in point: the Art in the Streets exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, which stirred up controversy when some claimed it encouraged graffiti and vandalism in the surrounding neighborhoods. Perhaps that was part of the reason the Brooklyn Museum called off its plan to display the show in 2012, although the official reason cited by the venue was financial restraints. At least the museum will hold an exhibit in April honoring the early work of Keith Haring, one of the first creators of pop-street-art, whose iconic work is an inspiration for current urban artists. (Below: Art from the 2011 edition of Project Amsterdam).

NuArt 2011 and amsterdam projectMore good news for 2012 recently came from LA MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, saying he approached a yet-to-be-named art institution in New York about hosting the controversial Street Art exhibition. “We will find a way to bring it to New York,” Deitch said in a recent interview. Outside the US, street art exhibits are doing considerably better: Northern Europe’s infamous NuArt Festival returns once for the third time next September, inviting street-artists to make their mark in Stavanger, Norway. Amsterdam will also host the 3rd edition of its street-art festival, Project Amsterdam, during the first week of September. And several cities across world are becoming capitals for the street-art scene, including Rio De Janeiro, which is home to graffiti collective Nação Graffiti, and the ever fashionable London, where there are literally scores of high-end galleries for the urban-art lover to browse and buy the hottest works in the genre.

Video on Norway's premiere Urban Art Festival, NuArt. David Choe & DVS1 Nuart 2011 from NUART on Vimeo.

Urban art also extends into the planning, design, and installation realms, which brings us to the notable Theaster Gates, an avant-garde emerging artist working in all of the above. Gates training in urban planning and sculpting have garnered the recent Loeb Fellow (at Harvard's Graduate School of Design) plenty of accolades, and he was recently chosen as the commissioned artist for the 2012 Armory Show. Gates seems to be setting the stage for other urban planners to create socially viable art that is both eye-pleasing and useful. Another such example is the still-successful The Heidelberg Project founded by artist Tyree Guyton, who has been using recycled items to rejuvenate his Detroit neighborhood for the past 25 years.

Ghost by  Sayaka GanzPerhaps this trend follows ever-increasing global environmental concerns; more and more artists are “going green” by making art from recycled rubbish. Artists working with this nontraditional media - like trash, scrap metal, and animal parts - are gaining more recognition; aside from the celebrated Tim Noble and Sue Webster duo, there’s Polish sculptor Pawel Althamer, who works with plastic, as well as groundbreaking “ghost” artist Sayaka Ganz (artwork pictured at left) who also employs this malleable media. Works on paper are a hit as well - and we don’t mean traditional sketches. Think of sculptures made from books and paper, like those of British artist Louisa Boyd; or the large-scale paper-building replicas of emerging artist Judith Hoffman. Then there’s food for thought: art from cheese, from chocolate, and even animal carcasses. The multi-faceted food media can be used as both prop and art tool, like with performance artist Martynka Wawrzyniak, who has famously utilized both chocolate and ketchup in the past; there are others with a more “hands on” approach, like food-artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, who uses what others leave at the table. Programs like Pied A Terre’s “Artist in Residence” are gaining increasing popularity (where Hadzi-Vasileva was featured last year, to stunning success), which alludes to the growing taste for unconventional media.

2012’s art scene is rich with novel ideas of artistic innovators who are truly thinking outside the box. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the year....stay tuned!
(Below: Ketchup, by Martynka Wawrzyniak. The artist has also used chocolate in her performance).

ketchup by  Martynka Wawrzyniak

Written by MutualArt Writer Lauren Meir is a revolutionary online art information service which covers the world of art by collecting content about events, venues, artists, articles and auctions from thousands of web sites.
Pawel Althamer
Mr. Brainwash
Tyree Guyton
Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva
Keith Haring
Haroon Mirza
Tim Noble & Sue Webster
Blek Le Rat
Casey Reas