Global contemporary art events and news observed from New York City. Suggestion? Email us.
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Jonas Mekas to Show Refugee Photographs at Documenta 14

March 23rd, 2017

A photo by Jonas Mekas, via Art NewspaperJonas Mekas will show a series of photographs at Documenta this summer cataloguing his experience as a refugee fleeing the aftermath of WWII.  “It was a dark, bleak postwar period,” he writes. “These are images out of darkness.”  
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Anselm Kiefer to Receive J. Paul Getty Medal

March 23rd, 2017

anselm-kiefer-via-nytAnselm Kiefer will be honored this year with a J. Paul Getty Medal alongside writer Mario Vargas, honoring his exceptional contributions to the arts.  “We shall honor two of the world’s great artists,” says Maria Hummer-Tuttle, chair of the board of trustees. “Anselm Kiefer and Mario Vargas Llosa are both engaged in big ideas and historic moments, and they share with the Getty a passionate commitment to global culture.”
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Art Newspaper Looks at Potential Impact of French Election on Nation’s Art Market

March 22nd, 2017

Statues of French politicians, via Art NewspaperThe Art Newspaper looks at market health in France, and the possible impacts the coming election could have on its strength in the coming months.  “Within a complicated global context, Paris is doing better than expected, and is gaining strength against other components of the international art market,”says Nicolas Orlowski of Artcurial auction house.
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Stephanie D’Alessandro Takes Over as Modern Art Curator at Met

March 22nd, 2017

Stephanie D'Alessandro, via Art NewsStephanie D’Alessandro has been named The Met’s new Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art.  D’Alessandro previously worked in a similar position at the Art Institute of Chicago.  She will take over for Rebecca Rabinow, who left for Houston’s Menil Collection.  
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Global Sales Down 11% as Art Market Continues to Shrink

March 22nd, 2017

Sotheby's Auction, via CNBCThe global art market has fallen to its lowest point since the financial crisis, with global sales dropping 11% this past year, Bloomberg reports.  “It was quite a challenging year for the art market,” economist Clare McAndrew said.
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Whitney Facing Backlash Over Inclusion of Dana Schutz Painting

March 22nd, 2017

Whitney Museum, via Art NewspaperThe Whitney Biennial is facing criticism from a group of black artists in the U.S. and abroad for the inclusion of a piece by Dana Schutz, featuring a depiction of the dead body of Emmett Till, the young boy brutally murdered after a white woman claimed he whistled at her.  “The subject matter is not Schutz’s,” artist Hannah Black writes of the work. “White free speech and white creative freedom have been founded on the constraint of others, and are not natural rights. The painting must go.” 
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Pace Gallery Set to Open Second Location in Hong Kong

March 22nd, 2017

Hong Kong venue for Pace Gallery, via ArtnetPace Gallery has announced that it will open its second gallery in Hong Kong, located at 80 Queen’s Road in the Central district.  “We hope to create more connection between the contemporary art scene in Asia and the West,” says Pace president Marc Glimcher.
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Whitney Director Adam Weinberg Issues Statement on N.E.A. Funding

March 21st, 2017

Outside the New Whitney Museum, via Art ObservedWhitney Museum Director Adam D. Weinberg has issued a statement on Donald Trump’s proposed de-funding of the NEA, calling for its preservation and a recognition of its vital role in the continuation of the country’s health.  “As an institution specifically dedicated to presenting and discussing contemporary American culture, the Whitney Museum of American Art feels a special responsibility to speak as an advocate for the continuing importance of the NEA and NEH,” he writes. “For institutions large and small, historic and contemporary, throughout the fifty states, and for the public they serve, the NEA and NEH are irreplaceable and must be preserved.”
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Fourth Plinth Commissions Announced for 2018 and 2020

March 21st, 2017

The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist. via BBCLondon’s Fourth Plinth Commission project has announced works for both 2018 and 2020, the BBC reports.  The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist by Michael Rakowitz, featuring a re-creation of a work looted from the Iraq Museum, will go on view next year, while THE END by Heather Phillipson will feature a massive heap of ice cream topped by a fly, and a hovering drone broadcasting from above the work.  “The new commissions will proudly continue the legacy of the Fourth Plinth in putting world-class contemporary sculpture at the heart of London,” says Ekow Eshun, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group.
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Centre Pompidou Planning Pop-Up in Shanghai

March 21st, 2017

West Bund, via Art NewspaperThe Centre Pompidou is planning a pop-up exhibition space in Shanghai’s West Bund cultural district, the Art Newspaper reports.  The potential opening would be part of an ongoing development project aimed at transforming a former industrial section of the city into a “cultural corridor.”
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

New York — Bjarne Melgaard: “The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment” at Red Bull Arts New York Through April 9th, 2017

March 23rd, 2017

Bjarne Melgaard, The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, 2017. Photography by Andre Herrero. Courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York.
Bjarne Melgaard, The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, 2017. Photography by Andre Herrero. Courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York.

For its inaugural exhibition as Red Bull Arts, the multi-purpose art venue in Chelsea has opened its doors for Bjarne Melgaard’s immersive reenactment of a clothing store, titled The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, and furthering the artist’s already well-documented engagements with pop culture, fashion and personal subjectivities over the course of his body of multimedia works.  The Norwegian artist, who has enjoyed tremendous recognition in the U.S. in recent years, especially his psychedelic installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, has brought his own fashion line, which had its European debut at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo last November, to New York.   Read More »

AO On-Site – Hong Kong: Art Basel Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Convention Center, March 23 – 25th, 2017

March 23rd, 2017

Dinh Q Le in the fair's Encounters section courtesy 10 Chancery Lane, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed
Dinh Q. Le in the fair’s Encounters section courtesy 10 Chancery Lane, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed

The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center opened its doors this morning on the first hours of Art Basel Hong Kong, signaling the launch of Hong Kong Art Week in the city, and bringing crowds of collectors, dealers and other art world professionals to bear on the lengthy hallways and aisles of the event.  Marking a distinct focus on the Asian market, the fair boasted an impressive look at the continent’s contemporary arts circuit, with a burst of early sales that hinted at an ongoing willingness to spend at major events.  True to form, the event managed to bring out an impressive list of international VIP’s.  Hans Ulrich Obrist, Melissa Chiu, and Uli Sigg could all be seen wandering the aisles of the fair, as well as Ryan Gander, Rashid Johnson, and Christo, who was presenting a survey of his work at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Francis Picabia at Hauser & Wirth, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed
Francis Picabia at Hauser & Wirth, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed

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London – Ibrahim Mahama: “Fragments” at White Cube Through April 13th, 2017

March 22nd, 2017

Ibrahim Mahama, Non-Orientable Nkansa (2017), via White Cube
Ibrahim Mahama, Non-Orientable Nkansa (2017), via White Cube

Since his step onto the world stage at the 2015 Venice Biennale, artist Ibrahim Mahama has garnered impressive critical attention for his use of reclaimed jute sacks and other cast-off materials.  Drawing on the intersections of capitalist exchange, material decay, and commercial detritus, Mahama’s work uses structure and use as indicators of failed and fluctuating economic systems.  This practice takes on new elements and variations in the artist’s current exhibition at White Cube in London, his first solo exhibition in the UK, and a powerful introduction to the artist’s attentive, challenging body of work.

Ibrahim Mahama, Issaka Tob (2016), via White Cube
Ibrahim Mahama, Issaka Tob (2016), via White Cube

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AO Preview – Hong Kong: Art Basel Hong Kong at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, March 23rd – 25th, 2017

March 20th, 2017

Luc Tuymans, K (2017), via David Zwirner
Luc Tuymans, K (2017), via David Zwirner

Continuing the globe-hopping market events of March this year, collectors, galleries and artists will touch down in Hong Kong for the fifth edition of Art Basel’s fair event in the city, bringing 242 galleries from 34 countries around the globe to the annual sales event.  Marking a strong focus on Asian galleries and artists this year (at least half of the exhibiting galleries are based on the continent), the fair may trace a shift away from globalized networks and towards strengthening national and regional markets.

Vanderlei Lopes, EEDDM II, via Athena Contemporanea
Vanderlei Lopes, EEDDM II, via Athena Contemporanea Read More »

New York – The 2017 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum, Through June 11th, 2017

March 20th, 2017

Raul de Nieves, via Art Observed
Raul de Nieves, via Art Observed

It’s been a long time coming for this year’s Whitney Biennial, an exhibition that has sat on pause for several years as the institution prepared for its move downtown, and got comfortable in its new space in the Meatpacking District.  Opening its first Biennial since 2014, the stage has been set for a particularly timely moment of reflection on both America and its art communities at a time when the national identity has rarely been so fiercely contested and examined.

Ajay Kurian, Childermass (2017), via Art Observed
Ajay Kurian, Childermass (2017), via Art Observed

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Mexico City — Gabriel Orozco: “Oroxxo” at Kurimanzutto Through March 16th, 2017

March 15th, 2017

oroxxo1c_kurimanzutto_sophiekitching
Gabriel Orozco, installation view, Kurimanzutto, 2017, via Sophie Kitching for Art Observed

Gabriel Orozco’s new solo presentation takes place in Galeria Kurimanzutto, in San Miguel Chapultepec, Mexico DF. The show, which opened last month in conjunction with Zona Maco 2017, sees Orozco exploring a unique two-part exhibition that draws attention to Mexico’s core contemporary culture embedded in the everyday: its Oxxo tiendas, with their cheap consumer goods massively distributed across the country. These retail stores satisfy the daily needs of millions of Mexicans with sodas, snacks, cigarettes, toilet paper, shampoo, condoms, etc… Over the past 40 years, the Oxxo chain, subsidiary of the multinational multi-billion dollar company Femsa, has expanded to over 14,000 locations.

oroxxo8b_kurimanzutto_sophiekitching
Gabriel Orozco, installation view,  Kurimanzutto, 2017, via Art Observed

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New York – Francis Picabia: “Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction” at MoMA Through March 19th, 2017

March 15th, 2017

Francis Picabia, The Adoration of the Calf (1941-42), via Art Observed
Francis Picabia, The Adoration of the Calf (1941-42), via Art Observed

Taking on the endlessly inventive and ever-shifting formal abilities of artist Francis PicabiaMoMA’s current survey dedicated to the painter (and the first of its kind in the United States) has earned almost ceaseless praise, diving deep into the fluid and challenging series paintings, poems, published works, performances and films of one of French surrealisms landmark voices.  Spread across the gallery’s sixth floor exhibition space, Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction (which closes at the end of the week), serves as both a striking introduction and an impressively deep elaboration on the artist’s body of work.  Read More »

New York – Raymond Pettibon: “A Pen of All Work” at the New Museum Through April 9th, 2017

March 14th, 2017

Raymond Pettibon, A Pen of All Work (Installation View), via Art Observed
Raymond Pettibon, A Pen of All Work (Installation View), via Art Observed

Over the past 50 years, few artists have produced a body of work as expansive, multivalent, and formally diverse as Raymond Pettibon, the longtime illustrator whose early work for the Los Angeles punk band Black Flag set the stage for his later career delving into the often elusive, twisting histories of American culture.  Ranging from literary rumination on baseball, surfing and poetry through to comical interpretations of the dark history of the American counterculture, Pettibon’s endlessly evolving body of work, often executed in pen and ink, twists and turns varied histories into an endlessly flowing stream of images, one that often functions as an alternative to the prolific mass media systems of modern American culture.  This restless approach to his craft is on view this spring at the New Museum, where his first major retrospective, A Pen of All Work, has brought hundreds of the artist’s works to bear on the walls of the institution. Read More »

New York – Pier Paolo Calzolari: “And I Say” at Marianne Boesky Through March 25th, 2017

March 13th, 2017

Pier Paolo Calzolari, Untitled (2014-2015), via Art Observed
Pier Paolo Calzolari, Untitled (2014-2015), via Art Observed

Taking over both of Marianne Boesky’s exhibition spaces on West 24th Street in Chelsea, Italian artist Pier Paolo Calzolari is currently showing a wide range of works exploring his specific interpretation of the Arte Povera movement, and his engagement with a broad range of materials that lend each of his works a notable sense of diffusive agency, allowing his chosen materials to function as both subject and object.

Pier Paolo Calzolari, Untitled (Scarpetta) (1994), via Art Observed
Pier Paolo Calzolari, Untitled (Scarpetta) (1994), via Art Observed

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Mexico City – B. Wurtz at Lulu Through April 15th, 2017

March 11th, 2017

B Wurtz Bunch #4 (1996), via Lulu Gallery
B. Wurtz, Bunch #4 (1996), via Lulu Gallery

Opening in conjunction with the broad range of events and projects around the Zona Maco art fair this past week in Mexico City, the Cuauhtemoc-based gallery Lulu has welcomed New York-based artist B. Wurtz to present a body of new works, continuing the artist’s enigmatic engagement with the materiality of the everyday.  The exhibition will remain on view through the middle of April.

B. Wurtz (Installation View), via Lulu Gallery
B. Wurtz (Installation View), via Lulu Gallery

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