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RIP – Filmmaker Jonas Mekas Has Passed Away at the Age of 96

January 23rd, 2019

Jonas Mekas in 1964, via NYT
Jonas Mekas in 1964, via NYT

Film-maker Jonas Mekas, a figure who loomed large in the New York cinematic landscape, and an artist widely considered the godfather of underground cinema, has died at the age of 96.  A founder of both the famed Film Culture magazine and the still operating Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan, his energetic engagement with all aspects of filmmaking helped to nurture the careers of filmmakers like John Waters and Jim Jarmusch, among others.  “Jonas passed away quietly and peacefully early this morning,” the Film Archives wrote online. “He was at home with family. He will be greatly missed but his light shines on.”
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Protests Lead to Calls for Removing Sackler Family Name from Harvard Buildings

January 23rd, 2019

Sackler Protests, via ArtforumFollowing the continued protests against the Sackler Family, a number of politicians and activists are pressuring Harvard to remove the Sackler name from a number of its buildings, including its arts museum. The news comes a day after The Met announced it was reviewing its gift acceptance policies over similar criticism and legal threats.
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Lehmann Maupin Accuses Former Director of Stealing Trade Secrets

January 23rd, 2019

Bona Yoo, Art NewsLehmann Maupin Gallery filed suit against former director Bona Yoo, accusing the dealer of “stealing trade secrets” and altering the gallery’s files before moving on to Lévy Gorvy Gallery in New York as sales director.  “Lehmann Maupin brought this lawsuit purely out of spite towards a former employee who, in Lehmann Maupin’s own words, was ‘a valuable leader at the gallery.’ Ms. Yoo intends to vigorously defend herself against her former employer’s baseless and vengeful claims,” Yoo’s lawyer, Tibor Nagy says.
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Foundation for Contemporary Arts Names 2019 Grant Recipients

January 23rd, 2019

Tania Bruguera at Tate Modern (Installation View), via Art ObservedThe Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York has named 18 artists who will receive unrestricted grants of $40,000, including Tania Bruguera and Mika Tajima. “It’s always an overwhelming but fantastic experience seeing how much amazing stuff is out there that you might not otherwise know about,” says board member Cecily Brown. “One big thing is that [receiving a grant] is a sign of respect from your peers, and hopefully it can really help someone to not do their day job for a while and buy the time to really put into one’s own work. Even just being able to focus on one’s work full-time is a huge difference.“
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Trevor Paglenn’s “Space Sculpture” Remains Undeployed Due to Government Shutdown

January 23rd, 2019

Trevor Paglen, via Art NewsAnother arts project suffering from the US government shutdown is artist Trevor Paglen’s sculpture Orbital Reflector, which remains undeployed more than a month after it was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.  “A division of the United States Air Force known as CSpOC is faced with the task of properly identifying each of those satellites so that they can be tracked as they orbit the earth,” says commissioning institution the Nevada Museum of Art. “Six weeks post-launch, that task is still not complete; only half of the satellites from the launch have been properly identified. Many of the satellites that launched together remain in a cluster and until they separate it is difficult to correctly identify each one.”
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Hauser & Wirth Donates $1 Million to Cal State LA

January 23rd, 2019

Cal State LA, via Art NewsHauser & Wirth has donated $1 million to California State, Los Angeles for the school’s department of television, film, and media studies. “Cal State L.A.’s commitment to civic engagement and public service aligns perfectly with our gallery’s desire to contribute to the communities where we work,” says Marc Payot, vice president and partner of Hauser & Wirth. “We want to support scholarship in all forms, from art historical research and the preservation of artists’ archives, to the efforts of young students seeking to become community activists themselves through the art and films they are learning to make.”
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United States Artists Reveals 2019 Fellows List

January 22nd, 2019

Juliana Huxtable, There Are Certain Facts that Cannot Be Disputed (2015), via Rae Wang for Art ObservedChicago nonprofit United States Artists has released its list of 2019 fellows, each receiving an unrestricted $50,000 cash prize, including filmmaker Nuotama Frances Bodomo (who was featured in ARTnews’s “Africa Now” issue), Juliana Huxtable, Wu Tsang and Simone Leigh
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Met Reviewing Gift Acceptance Policies After Sackler Lawsuit

January 22nd, 2019

Sackler Wing of The Met, via Art NewspaperFollowing the ongoing controversy involving the Sackler family’s gifts to many American institutions and their ties to the drug OxyContinn, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is re-assessing its gift acceptance policy, the Art Newspaper reports. “The Sackler family has been connected with The Met for more than a half century,” says museum president Daniel Weiss. “The Met is currently engaging in a further review of our detailed gift acceptance policies, and we will have more to report in due course.”
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Haus der Kunst Appoints Commission of Experts to Oversee Museum

January 22nd, 2019

Haus der Kunnst, via Art NewspaperMunich’s Haus der Kunst has appointed an expert commission to oversee programming and strategy following turbulent months after the departure of Okwui Enwezor. The commission will “support the curatorial team and play an advisory and monitoring role concerning both content and feasibility of planned projects,” according to a statement. 
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Open Letter Implores New Museum to Allow Employee Union

January 22nd, 2019

New Museum, via Art NewsA group of artists, intellectuals and professionals have published an open letter asking the New Museum to allow its employees to unionize, leading the New Museum to step back and allow the process.  “We respect our employees’ right to self-organize and will respect whatever decision they make,” the museum said in a statement. “We will continue to work together to advance the museum’s special mission.”
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

New York – Lena Henke: “Germanic Artifacts” at Bortolami Gallery Through February 16th, 2019

January 17th, 2019

Lena Henke, Germanic Artifacts (Installation View), via Art Observed
Lena Henke, Germanic Artifacts (Installation View), via Art Observed

Currently on view at Bortolami Gallery this winter, artist Lena Henke has opened her first solo exhibition with the space, delving back into her ongoing exploration of diverse historical convergences, cultural forms and the history of sculpture as both aesthetic field and technical necessity. Read More »

New York – Rodney Graham at 303 Gallery Through February 23rd, 2019

January 16th, 2019

Rodney Graham, Tattooed Man on Balconey (2018), via Art Observed
Rodney Graham, Tattooed Man on Balcony (2018), via Art Observed

Artist Rodney Graham returns to 303 Gallery this month, bringing with him a new series of works that blend together his ongoing investigations of the iconography of various social spheres with a body of works that simultaneously seem to blend his constructed worlds with the space of the viewer.  The show, which opened this past week, includes both lightbox works and paintings, each informing a shared space that Graham allows to float in a certain degree of indeterminacy.

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New York – Charles Long: “Paradigm Lost” at Tanya Bonakdar Through February 9th, 2019

January 15th, 2019

Charles Long, Paradigm Lost (Installation View), via Art Observed
Charles Long, Paradigm Lost (Installation View), via Art Observed

On view at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York, artist Charles Long has rendered an impressive and intricately immersive installation on the lower floor of its two-floor space, part of a body of work that the artist has created over the last year.  Continuing a studio output that charts interrelations between the vernacular interests and modernist leanings of the twentieth century with more recent adventures into spatial arrangements, psychological personae and historical deconstruction, his exhibition poses a poetic socio-political examination of our present moment, to nuanced and playful ends.
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New York – Josef Albers: Sonic Albers at David Zwirner Through February 16th, 2019

January 13th, 2019

Josef Albers, Study for Homage to the Square (1964), via David Zwirner
Josef Albers, Study for Homage to the Square (1964), via David Zwirner

Delving into the varied psychological and ephemeral aspects of Josef Albers’s practice, and his strong affinity for music, David Zwirner’s current exhibition at its 20th Street location, Sonic Albers, is a flowing, fluid affair.  Taking a far-reaching look at often overlooked prominence of music in both the artist’s sites of personal inspiration, and on the material aspects of his practice, Sonic Albers features a selection of paintings, glassworks, drawings, and ephemera from throughout Albers’s career, including a number of the album covers he designed in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Read More »

New York – James Welling: “Transform” at David Zwirner Through February 16th, 2018

January 11th, 2019

James Welling, Chemical (2018), via David Zwirner
James Welling, Chemical (2018), via David Zwirner

Over the course of the last decade, photographer James Welling has branched out into a series of more experimental modes of image production, often welcoming degrees of abstraction and indeterminacy into the creation of his photographic images.  Using unorthodox photographic procedures in conjunction with varied processes that see his works moving between abstraction and representation, his recent series of work are emblematic of the breadth of his ongoing experimentation with the conventions and materials of photography. Read More »

Richard Deacon: “House & Garden” at Marian Goodman Through February 16th

January 10th, 2019

Richard Deacon, House & Garden (Installation View), via Marian Goodman
Richard Deacon, House & Garden (Installation View), via Marian Goodman

Drawing together a body of new photographs, ceramics and sculpture from the past year of artist Richard Deacon’s ever-evolving studio practice, the current solo show at Marian Goodman Gallery, House & Garden, explores relationships between materials and processes, representing innovations in Deacon’s thinking about sculpture, and the relationships of image to surface, object making to the pictorial, and sculpture to the plinth, all notions that have been present in his work and are at the nexus of his steadfast interest in a multiplicity of modes of production. Read More »

New York – Hilma af Klint: “Paintings for the Future” at the Guggenheim Through April 23rd, 2019

January 9th, 2019

Hilma af Klint, Paintings for the Future (Installation View), via Art Observed
Hilma af Klint, Paintings for the Future (Installation View), via Art Observed

It’s been a long time coming for the Swedish painter Hilma af Klint.  Born in 1862 in Stockholm, her works during the years leading up to and after the turn of the 20th Century marked an increasingly surreal departure from the studied realism of her peers, and into a state of abstraction the made her a leading voice in the development of the language and practice of modernism. Yet af Klint’s work is also frequently held aside from her peers of the era, that is, until now, with an ambitious and thrilling Guggenheim exhibition aiming to put her work back into its proper historical and aesthetic context. Read More »

Paris – Michael Hezier at Gagosian Le Bourget Through February 2nd

January 8th, 2019

Michael Heizer (Installation View), via Gagosian
Michael Heizer (Installation View), via Gagosian

Spanning the breadth and depth of the artist’s work in both sculpture and land art, Gagosian’s Paris in Le Bourget is currently presenting a body of work by Michael Heizer that moves from 1968 to the present.  Over fifty years, Heizer has redefined the very idea of sculpture in his explorations of size, mass, and process. His earth-moving constructions, paintings, and drawings explore the dynamics of positive and negative space.  With this show, the magnitude and nuance of his work is allowed to breathe at scale, presenting a body of works that underscore his evolution and incorporation of increasingly complex methodologies into his practice. Read More »

London – Robert Rauscheberg: “Spreads 1975-83” at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Through January was 26th, 2019

January 7th, 2019

Robert Rauschenberg, Palladian Xmas (Spread) (1980), via Ropac
Robert Rauschenberg, Palladian Xmas (Spread) (1980), via Ropac

Over the course of his career, Robert Rauschenberg occupied an almost innumerable series of critical and theoretical positions in the practice and production of art objects, often bounding from material to material and technique to technique in bounds that often moved beyond the scope of any single artists entire oeuvre.  His relentless interest in particular with the picture plane itself, and its capacity for interruption or disruption through the inclusion of ready-made objects, collaged pieces and even the scraps of other paintings, Rauschenberg produced what could best be considered as a career in a constant state of flux caused by its own movements.Robert Rauschenberg, Rodeo Palace (Spread) (1976), via Rauschenberg Foundation
Robert Rauschenberg, Rodeo Palace (Spread) (1976), via Rauschenberg Foundation

This winter, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in London is presenting the artist’s iconic Spreads series, reflecting on the artist’s work pioneering new ways of painterly construction while remaining focused on his own painterly language.  The large-scale Spreads encapsulate many of Robert Rauschenberg’s best-known motifs and materials, and the twelve works from the series―the largest of which stretches to over six metres wide are presented alongside a series of paper collages from the same era.  In the Spreads the artist’s familiar motifs from his object-laden Combines is reprised, incorporating car tires, doors, bedding and other materials in conjunction with fabric materials and canvas, all conspiring to create a dense, multilayered series of materials that challenges and reframes the canvas as a collecting pool for both materials and ideas, reference systems and the objects that contain them, all negotiating within the canvas as one potential conclusion of the project of the 20th Century avant-garde.Robert Rauschenberg, Rumor (Spread) (1980), via Ropac
Robert Rauschenberg, Rumor (Spread) (1980), via Ropac

Rauschenberg himself was well aware of these conversations of object and image, referring to the “Spreads” as both a negotiation of history and “something you put on toast.”  The language of his materials laid across the canvas negotiate with their mode of presentation, ultimately creating even more dense linguistic networks alongside the concepts explored within the works themselves.  Rather than a purely retrospective exercise, the development of his Spreads is also suggestive of a more complex relationship between past and present, integrating not only elements from his earlier work but also reflecting changes in his life, his practice and in contemporary art at the time. Rauschenberg’s use of fabric color blocks in his Spreads not only represented a shift in his color palette from the urban experience of New York to the bright oranges, pinks and yellows of life in Florida, but also engaged with recent artistic developments such as Color Field painting and Minimalism, incorporating references to a new generation of artists.

Robert Rauschenberg, Spreads 1975-1983 (Installation View), via Ropac
Robert Rauschenberg, Spreads 1975-1983 (Installation View), via Ropac

This series of works, a vast trove of historical touchstones and concepts united by Rauschenberg’s hand, makes for a striking investigation of the artists’s work, and his vantage point from the vanguard of 20th Century art.

The show closes Janaury 26th.

— D. Creahan

Read more:
Thaddaeus Ropac [Exhibition Site]

Los Angeles – Bridget Riley: “Painting Now” at Sprüth Magers Through January 26th, 2019

January 6th, 2019

Bridget Riley, Quiver 3 (2014), via Spruth Magers
Bridget Riley, Quiver 3 (2014), via Spruth Magers

Comprising work made between 1960 and the present, Bridget Riley: Painting Now at Sprüth Magers LA surveys the development of the British artist’s career-long exploration of looking and seeing in relation to the capacities of painting and picture making. Her work, consisting of tightly-interlocked bands of color and explorations of the potential for relief and tension in the presentation of visual stimuli, is presented here in its development of optically-elusive, challenging pieces, ones that make the viewer acutely aware of the act of looking. Read More »