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The Distance Within Us - The Press on Anish Kapoor’s Memory at the Deutsche Guggenheim
The Press on The Master of Flémalle and Rogier van der Weyden
Reviews of the 2008 California Biennial


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"Too Much Good Stuff"
Reviews of the 2008 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA)

Until March 15th 2009, the 2008 California Biennial will be on view at the OCMA and in 24 different satellite sites throughout the vast state of California. Sponsored by Deutsche Bank and featuring both lesser known and famous Californian artists, the deliberately regional biennial is a critical and thought-provoking homage to the culture and politics of the Golden State. The reactions in the Californian press were overwhelmingly positive.

Orange County's main regional newspaper, the Orange County Weekly, went as far as comparing a visit to the the 2008 California Biennial with being a child on Christmas morning. The art critic Greg Stacy's verdict: "The place is packed with art, making the previous OCMA biennials look like those sad little deals in which some guy sets up a lawn chair in the parking lot of a gas station and tries to sell framed prints of crashing waves and baskets of kittens." The reviewer especially appreciated the biennial's emphasis on political art, which he found "potent," "startling," and "effective."

Christopher Knight, the Los Angeles Times' art critic, was not completely convinced by the show. Although he saw many fascinating installations, video works, and paintings at the OCMA-he was especially fond of Daniel J. Martinez' animatronic sculpture Ishmael- Knight's impression of the 24 off-site presentations in Tijuana, San Francisco, and L.A. remained ambivalent: "The effort fits the show's loose theme of art's social and political engagements. In effect, though, it dilutes rather than enhances the biennial experience."

On the other hand, The Orange County Register, the region's daily newspaper, found the extended scope of the 2008 California Biennial very appealing. This was one reason why the work of the biennial's "bright young curator" Lauri Firstenberg amazed art critic Richard Yang, who felt that she'd brought "fresh perspectives to the exhibition."

The upscale Californian arts magazine art ltd. was also impressed by the "ambitious, sprawling, defiantly unthemed, and intergenerational" biennial. For the magazine's editor George Melrod, Lauri Firstenberg's work came off as highly innovative. Melrod was amazed by her "thoughtful yet expansive curatorial approach," which seemed "more intimate and experimental than set forth by most museums"-a sentiment that is mirrored by most press reactions to the remarkable biennial. Or, as the Orange County Weekly's Greg Stacy proclaimed, "Too Much Good Stuff!"

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In the Republic of Realism / Friedhelm Hütte on Deutsche Banks Commitment to Art in 2009 / Three American museums unite for a groundbreaking exhibition project / Interview with the new Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong / The Semantics of Crisis: Birgit Brenners analytical installations / Karola Krauss on Imi Knoebel / On the Beauty of the Unfinished - Kalin Lindena / Real Bodys - Interview with Maria Lassnig
On View
Picturing America at the Deutsche Guggenheim / To be a teacher is my greatest work of art / Dani Gal at the Luigi Pecci Centre / Drawing a Tension at the 60 Wall Street Gallery / Deutsche Bank supports California Biennial
TEFAF 2009 / Obituary for Hanne Darboven / Richard Armstrong and Nancy Spector at the Deutsche Guggenheim / Early Netherlandish Masterpieces in Berlin / Cai Guo-Qiang at the Guggenheim Bilbao / Deutsche Bank Supports Thomas Bayrle Retrospective / 60 Wall Street Gallery Shows Immigrant Artists / Youth Art Prize of Deutsche Bank Foundation / Mathias Poledna and Christopher Williams at Bonner Kunstverein / Deutsche Bank Supports Exhibition in the Opelvillen / Newsweek on Cai Guo-Qiangs Head On / Clare Strand at Folkwang Museum
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