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Friday 24th February 2012Takashi Murakami's Film About the Japanese Tsunami is in Production

Takashi Murakami is a Japanese artist most famed for his work with Louis Vuitton, his fantastic character creations, and his exhibitions in places like the Brooklyn Museum and at the Chateau De Versaille. 
 
Now, fans of the artist can expect to see Murakami on the big screen, in a fantasy film named, Jellyfish Eyes. The film is to be based on the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011, and follows the story of a young boy who is forced to move to an experimental city where each child is paired with a small monster. 
 
Murakami made a start on the Jellyfish Eyes project over 10 years ago, as a full cg animation film, but after a while the project was shelved for a later date. 
 
The project was revived in 2011 when Murakami was introduced to Yoshihio Nishimura (who is listed as Producer, Screenplay and Assistant Director for the film), while working on visuals for a column in the art magazine Geijutsu Shincho. It was Nishimura's advice and talents that help kick start the project again for Murakami. 
 
Since then, Japan has had to pull together in the wake of a huge tragedy. The earthquake, and subsequent tsunami of March last year, have left Japan with a lot of questions, and the Japanese people with a lot of hard work ahead of them in rebuilding what was lost. For that reason, the film has become a part of communicating that event and connecting with people around the world on a subject that is close to Murakami's heart. 
 
On the Jellyfish Eyes website, Murakami has said:
 
"I am someone who often has trouble communicating with people. It is for that reason that I became an artist, the overwhelming urge to share my heart with those around me through my work. I feel that it is the same for all people who create for a living. We imbue our soul in our works, exhaust ourselves day and night, and it is only then that we obtain even a fraction of the social interaction that most people achieve. In the end, however, this is our only way to communicate with society. 

That is why we have no choice but to join hands and weave a single message together"
 
Murakami's message ends with a note that full production on the film has started, and he thanks everyone for their continued support. 
 
For more information, and up to date information about the movie, visit the Jellyfish Eyes website, and take a look at the video below, where Murakami speaks to Artinfo about the project.
 

Posted on February 24th 2012 on 10:40am
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Wednesday 22nd February 2012The Guggenheim in Berlin is to Close Down

 
It was a very sad day when we read that the Deutsche Guggenheim exhibition space in Berlin is scheduled to close at the end of 2012, after 15 years in existence. 
 
The space was opened in partnership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and the Deutsche Bank, with the role of developing a scene for contemporary art in Berlin. A decade and half after opening its doors, it can safely be said that the Deutsche Guggenheim resides a city that is now considered to be one of the most vibrant places for contemporary art in the world. 
 
Richard Armstong, the director of the Guggenheim Foundation, said in an interview in the New York Times that, “Since 1997, when Deutsche Guggenheim was established under the leadership of Thomas Krens, its program has played an essential role in the development of contemporary art in Berlin. Berlin today is a very different city from what it was when we began. We feel the time is right now to step back and re-examine our collaboration to see how it might evolve.”
 
2012 will mark the end of the contract in Berlin, which lends itself to the timing of the closure, but we can't help but wonder whether recent economic trends have a hand in the decision making in Berlin. 
 
Over the past 15 years, the Guggenheim has held 57 exhibitions, with 1.8 million visitors having crossed the threshold. It also commissioned 17 artists to create new works which were debuted at the Deutsche Guggenheim, amongst which were works by Anish Kapoor, James Rosenquist, Gerhard Richter and John Baldessari. 
 
Despite the closure of the Deutsche Guggenheim, this doesn't seem to be something that is about to become a Guggeheim trend. The foundation, which has a sizeable international network of museums is hoping to embark on a new project in the Finish capital of Helskinki. An announcement is expected from the Guggenheim once they have gotten the green light from the Helsinki City Council. 

Posted on February 22nd 2012 on 02:33pm
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Tuesday 21st February 2012The Whitney Biennial Meets the New Museum Triennial

In New York City, you are rarely stuck for something to do, especially if you're an art lover. However, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New Museum are about to make it even easier for you to get your fill of culture, if you happen to be in town this March. 
 
For the first time ever, the Whiteny Biennial and the New Museum Triennial will be on view at the same time. The New Museum's second Triennial opened last Wednesday, and the Whitney's 76th Biennial will open on March 1st. 
 
Both the Triennial, and the Biennial, are considered important yard sticks where the state of contemporary art is concerned. What makes this match up really interesting is the fact that each institution has a very different contemporary art mission, and that their respective curators are bound to have very distinct thoughts and outlooks on how contemporary art should be exhibited, explained and appreciated. 
 
The shows will certainly be different in the fact that the New Museum is committed to an internationally showing of contemporary art, while the Whitney is, as it says on the tin, dedicated to American art.  
 
The New Museum's Triennial is titled The Ungovernables, which is a direct reference to the 1976 student uprisings in South Africa, but its curator, Eungie Joo is quick to suggest a more general theme of organised resistance. Either way, the show is coated with political commentary in a very direct way. 
 
The Whitney, on the other hand, notoriously sticks to a far more general scattering of works, that don't adhere to any specific theme. While politics may cling to some of the works that are to be included, it doesn't define a show which is more about exploring the multifaceted nature of the contemporary art scene. 
 
If you're interested in contemporary art, then you cannot go wrong by making sure that you visit both the New Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art over the next few weeks. 

Posted on February 21st 2012 on 04:26pm
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Monday 20th February 2012The Second Edition of the Future Generation Art Prize Launches Online

The second edition of the Future Generation Art Prize has been launched online, with a $100,000 reward up for grabs if you're an artist, under the age of 35. 
 
The Future Generation Prize is funded by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation from the Ukraine, and aims to unearth a new artistic talent that can be advised and nurtured to succeed in today's art world.
 
Speaking at a conference earlier this month, Pinchuk (pictured above) said “With our prize, we don’t want to reward the past, but we want to inspire and present the future. We want to act as social investors into the arts. Our prize is the equivalent of an incubator or, if you wish, an accelerator for start-up businesses.”
 
Any artist, up to the age of 35, from anywhere in the world, can apply to win the $100,000 prize, a fact which was praised by Guggenheim Director Richard Armstrong, and member of the prize board, when he said that the award is “not only generous, it's efficient and egalitarian... Anyone with access to a computer can put his or her work on view and be considered.”
 
As well as being able to receive advice from the likes of Armstrong, there are also four established artists on the prize board, who are to act as mentors to the prize winner, namely; Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Andreas Gursky and Takashi Murakami. 
 
The prize will hopefully give a potentially great artist, the means and support to reach their full potential, with the money going towards helping them do things that they maybe couldn't have before hand. The winner of the first Future Generation Prize was Brazilian artist, Cinthia Marcelle, who used the prize money to get more people involved in what she was doing, and to pay them better wages.
 
Anyone up to the age of 35 can apply online to be considered for the prize up until the 6th May 2012. You can do so by visiting the Future Generation Art Prize website. You have to be in it, to win it, so give it a try, and good luck!
 

Posted on February 20th 2012 on 11:09am
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Monday 13th February 2012Selling Art Online Proves A Success for VIP 2.0

 
VIP 2.0 is the second edition of the VIP Art Fair, an event that has made a serious mark as a leading online platform for contemporary art.
 
The VIP Art Fair is a 100% online, with VIP 2.0 having taken place earlier this month. The event saw 160,000 visitors, from 155 countries, viewing 1.5 million website pages. Collectors and visitors to the event had to register to view the online art marketplace, and to take part in the VIP 2.0 experience.
 
As well as allowing galleries to showcase their works in a sophisticated, fair-like manner online, the VIP Art Fair also offers an interface through which collectors can build and maintain relationships with galleries and dealers, and so producing a successful place where art can be enjoyed and purchased online.
 
The VIP Art Fair brings together 135 galleries, from 35 countries, with 1,500 works, from 1,100 artists. The benefits of the VIP Art Fair being online, have been solidified by reports that galleries have been able to acquire new client-bases in new geographical locations, and have been able to promote their artists' work across the globe.
 
The technical developers at the VIP Art Fair have been very clever in putting together the online engine that makes all of this possible for the galleries. VIP 2.0 saw 54 video and new media works, which were streamed on the website, 400 paintings hung in virtual gallery booths, 300 sculptures, all shown with multiple views, and perhaps most impressive of all, 78 museum-scale installation works that took advantage of the unlimited space that the internet allows. 
 
The VIP Art Fair team did an amazing job at working on the technology for the fair in the run up to VIP 2.0 and have easily shown that selling art online is incredibly viable. For VIP 2.0, they made sure to have a strong community-focus for the whole project, encouraging social media sharing and interaction between the users and galleries. 
 
For an art-hungry, internet savvy audience, the VIP Art Fair also offers a wealth of new material to get your teeth into, and figures show that people really took advantage of that. In just a matter of days, there had been around 9,050,000 artwork views, with visitors making repeat visits, and even being able to save their favourite works within their own account. 
 
The huge success of VIP 2.0 this February has meant that the VIP Art Fair has high hopes for the series of events that they are going to be holding throughout the year, including VIP Paper from 19th - 21st April, VIP Photo from 12th - 14th July, and VIP Vernissage from 20th - 22nd September. 
 
If you're interested in being part of the wave of visitors turning to the VIP Art Fair as a way to view and buy art online, then don't forget to sign up on the VIP Art Fair website.  

Posted on February 13th 2012 on 01:39pm
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