Global contemporary art events and news observed from New York City. Suggestion? Email us.

TEFAF Sees Sale of $12 Million Renoir

March 18th, 2019

A $12.5 million Renoir sold at TEFAF this week, marking one of the fair’s major sales during a strong week.  The fair’s first VIP preview drew 5,000 visitors, with many more expected in the nine days to come.
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Sotheby’s to Offer Monet Haystacks at May 14th Auction in NYC

March 15th, 2019

Sotheby’s will offer Claude Monet’s Meules from 1890 at its May 14th auction in New York, an impressive work carrying a $55 million estimate.  “It is a privilege to present one of Claude Monet’s defining Impressionist paintings in our Evening Sale this May,” says August Uribe, Sotheby’s head of Impressionist & Modern Art. “Monet’s Haystacks series has long served as an inspiration to countless artists since its creation in the early 1890s, and continues to inspire anyone who has viewed one of these canvases first hand.”
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LA Times Charts Klaus Biesenbach’s Love of MOCA Grand’s Architecture

March 15th, 2019

The LA Times has a piece on Klaus Biesenbach’s love affair with the architecture of the MOCA. “Everyone said, ‘Do you like the building?’ ” he says of his first notes on the beauty of the building. “I said, ‘This is such an important piece of architecture, we need to let it shine.’ ”
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Okwui Enwezor Dead at 55

March 15th, 2019

Curator Okwui Enwezor, the critically-precise, adventurous curator who up until recently served as the head of the Haus der Kunst in Germany, has passed away at the age of 55 after a long battle with cancer. “He was one of the leaders of, let’s call it, the free curatorial world—one of the people who believed in intelligence and scholarly research and passion and the power of the curatorial,” says Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the director of the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Italy, and curator of Documenta 13 in 2012. 
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Art Newspaper Charts Cost of Government Shutdown

March 14th, 2019

The Art Newspaper charts the damage and financial cost of the recent government shutdown faced by federal museums and arts institutions. “I think that’s the biggest loss—the public-facing piece,” says Melissa Chiu, the director of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
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Frieze Sculpture Show Comes to Rockefeller Center

March 14th, 2019

The New York Times spotlights the upcoming Frieze New York sculpture show set to open next month at Rockefeller Center in the run-up to Frieze New York.  “The plaza gets half a million people through it every day,” says Loring Randolph, the artistic director of the Americas for Frieze Art Fairs. “There couldn’t be a better place for the artists to have better exposure.”
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Joe Mantello and Stanley Whitney Sit Down in NYT Interview

March 14th, 2019

The NYT sits painter Stanley Whitney down with theater director Joe Mantello to discuss their respective arts and visions this week. “A signature style is a very odd thing now,” Whitney says. “It’s not something people really think is a good idea anymore. They feel it’s a limitation.”
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Stolen and Recovered Willem de Kooning Painting to Be Sent for Restoration

March 14th, 2019

The New York Times reports on a Willem de Kooning work stolen in 1985 and recovered in 2017, stating that it will be shown off before being sent for restoration. “The F.B.I. has kept this an open case,” says Olivia Miller, the University of Arizona Museum of Art’s curator of exhibition. “The painting has been at the museum but it was still considered evidence, so it wasn’t allowed to leave until this past November.”
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Art Newspaper Spotlights Recent Projects by Collector Budi Tek

March 13th, 2019

A piece in The Art Newspaper looks at recent moves by collector Budi Tek in Los Angeles, and asks if the collector might be branching out towards new exhibition ventures. The collector recently posted a photo of himself online looking at a raw space on Chongming Island. 
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Curator Larry Ossei-Mensah Profiled in NYT

March 13th, 2019

Curator Larry Ossei-Mensah is profiled in the NYT this week, as he reflects on his current curatorial vision and interests in artists working today. “People who are looking to instigate a conversation that might not be in the mainstream, voices that might not always have a platform. Because I look at a lot of art all the time, I see a lot of shows, but then there are the things that stimulate me because it’s historic or an artist who is trying to break the form,” he says.
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New York – Ian Cheng: “BOB” at Gladstone Gallery Through March 23rd, 2019

March 13th, 2019

Ian Cheng, BOB (Detail), via Gladstone

Currently on view at Gladstone Gallery’s New York City gallery, artist Ian Cheng is giving the world premiere of his new work BOB (Bag of Beliefs), the first of a series of artificial lifeforms created by the artist.  BOB is presented as an evolving, chimeric serpent, twisting and moving on-screen in a manner that sees him both learning from, and failing in, his new digital environment.  Long a devotee of simulations and learning environments, BOB advances Cheng’s use of these modes to focus on one’s capacity to deal with surprise: the subjective difference between expectations and perception. Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: SPRING/BREAK Art Show, March 6th – 11th, 2019

March 10th, 2019

David B. Smith, via Art Observed

With the annual return of The Armory Show to the Piers on the West Side of Manhattan, so too comes the annual opening of the SPRING/BREAK Art Show, the adventurous, curator-driven program that takes up space at a pop-up location for a week of compelling and unique exhibitions and projects.  The fair’s playful reputation and emphasis on young artists and curators welcomed a striking intersection of styles and practices, yet one that seemed to frequently play on witty inversion or twists on the banal.  Given the size and scale of the proceedings around it, SPRING/BREAK has edged out an impressive niche for itself among the bustle of Armory Week, a space where exploration and adventurousness seem to win out over the sales-focused proceedings of its bigger sister fairs around New York. One can only hope that this sense of the unexpected continues to sit at the core of its mission, offering a refreshing respite from the all too familiar fair fatigue of the week. Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: Independent New York at Spring Studios, March 7th – 10th, 2019

March 9th, 2019

Alexis Smith at Garth Greenan, via Art Observed

Marking its 10th anniversary this year, the Independent NY Art Fair has proven itself as something of a special case in the presentation of an art fair.  Smaller in scale and more focused in terms of its gallery selections, the fair’s presentation feels more like a presentation of a series of small gallery shows run side-by-side.  Offering a more nuanced, mellow browsing experience in conjunction with the fair’s invite-only exhibitor structure and immense glass windows, the fair has built a reputation as a boutique event with impressive draw, with this 10th year only driving that appeal home. Read More »

AO Auction Results – London: Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sales, March 5th – 7th, 2019

March 8th, 2019

David Hockney, Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott (1969), via Christie’s

Following a marathon week of openings and shows between New York and London, the first major Contemporary Evening Sales of 2019 are in the bag, with a trio of sales closing out the week in London with a market picture that seemed relatively strong.  No doubt clouded in some part by the uncertainty of the impending Brexit, the week’s sales still managed to achieve some impressive figures and strong sell-through rates, keeping the uncertainty of the following months alive in the British capital.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Apex (1986), via Sotheby’s Read More »

RIP – Feminist Trailblazer Carolee Schneemann Has Passed Away at the Age of 79

March 8th, 2019

Carolee Schneeman, via Artist

Artist Carolee Schneemann, the artist whose work relentlessly challenged and reframed cultural discourses and taboos around sex, identity and gender, has died at the age of 79.

Portrait Partials, via Artist

Born in Philadelphia, Schneemann studied at Bard in New York, and would continually challenge assumptions regarding her gender as an artist, including a suspension from the school over painting nude self-portraits.  Schneeman would still graduate, and would move to New York, where she became involved in the city’s experimental arts scene.  Exploring performance works, she would challenge the viewer’s engagement with the female body, famously pulling a reel of text from her vagina to read aloud in public for her work Interior Scroll, while another performance, Up to and Including Her Limits suspended her naked from the ceiling of a gallery, swinging about to mark the walls with crayon.

Meat Joy, via Artist

Schneemann would continue to make challenging and confrontational work throughout her career, ultimately receiving the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2017.  “I think I’m stubborn. In the beginning, I had no precedent for being valued,” she told the Guardian in 2015. “Everything that came from a woman’s experience was considered trivial. I wasn’t sure if my work would shift that paradigm or not, but I had to try.”

— D. Creahan
Read more:
Performance artist Carolee Schneemann dies aged 79 [Guardian]

AO On-Site – New York: The Armory Show at Piers 90, 92 and 94 Through March 10th, 2019

March 6th, 2019

Pascale Marthine Tayou, via Art Observed

Considered among New York’s premier art fairs, and a leading cultural destination for discovering and collecting the world’s most important 20th- and 21st-century art, The Armory Show has long figured at the forefront of the city’s annual spring offerings for art exhibitions and shows.  This year, the fair has once again touched down in New York, bringing with it its annual  presentations by leading international galleries, innovative artist commissions and dynamic public programs. Read More »

New York – Jim Shaw: “The Family Romance” at Metro Pictures Through April 13th, 2019

March 4th, 2019

Jim Shaw, The Potato Family (2018), via Metro Pictures

Currently on view at Metro Pictures, artist Jim Shaw returns to New York with a series of five new paintings, united under the name The Family Romance.  Continuing the artist’s penchant for blending personal, political, and surreal narratives, the show traces Shaw’s interests in behavioral psychology and themes surrounding the family unit. Read More »

AO Preview – New York: Armory Week in New York City, March 4th – 10th, 2019

March 3rd, 2019

Alighiero Boetti, Per Nuovi Desideri (1988), via Repetto

As the winter months drags slowly to its conclusion, and the weather shifts into more temperate conditions, New York City will once again step into its role as a central hub of the contemporary art market, and the global art fair circuit, kicking off its string of fairs across the city.  Centering around the annual Armory Show Art Fair on the West Side, the week serves as one of the more important selling weeks of the first half of 2019. Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: The ADAA Art Show at Park Ave Armory Through March 3rd, 2019

March 3rd, 2019

Seth Price at Petzel, via Art Observed

Marking the first entry in the busy weeks of March in New York, the ADAA Art Show opened its doors this week, putting a few days between its own fair and the mass of exhibitors opening their doors in the coming days.  The first week of March is always a packed one for gallerists and artists, with the usual string of exhibitions and openings coupled with the ever-growing number of art fairs taking up space across the city during Armory Art Week.  With that in mind, the ADAA’s attempts at putting some space between its event and the rest of March’s bustling pace has made it a fitting first entry, a considered, careful staging that sets the tone for the days to come. Read More »

New York – Josephine Meckseper: “PELLEA[S]” at Timothy Taylor

March 1st, 2019

Josephine Meckseper, Scene VI (Installation View), via Art Observed

Few artists have continued to explore the overlapping languages of commerce, visual art and the attendant formats of culture that lay somewhere between the two in the same manner as Josephine Meckseper.  Frequently incorporating the languages of commercial display in conjunction with references to film and painting, her works are confounding arrangements of both corporeal bodies and abstracted agents, each contending for the viewer’s attention in strange, often foreign ways. For her current show, on view at Timothy Taylor in New York, the artist brings a set from her own film, PELLEA[S]. Read More »