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


AO On-Site – Paris: FIAC at Grand Palais and (OFF)ICIELLE at The City of Fashion and Design, October 22nd-26th, 2014

October 24th, 2014

Outside the Grand Palais for FIAC, via Art Observed

Outside the Grand Palais for FIAC, all photos via Art Observed

As the doors to one fair close, another set has opened on the opposite side of the English channel.  Paris’s FIAC is now in full swing after opening its VIP preview yesterday at the Grand Palais, packing in guests to view the fair’s deep selection of works from Europe and abroad.  Read More »

New York – Jim Shaw: “I Only Wanted You to Love Me” at Metro Pictures Through October 25th, 2014

October 24th, 2014

Jim Shaw, The Deluge (2014)
Jim Shaw, The Deluge (2014), all images via Osman Can Yerebakan for Art Observed

With a humorous wit and sarcastic tone, Jim Shaw has been mining the deep archive of Americana for decades, uniting the supposedly separated elements of high and low culture into comic pieces that carry a deeply caustic undertone. The artist’s newest show at Metro PicturesI Only Wanted You to Love Me, continues this trend, featuring acrylic on muslin works that pull from expansive investigations of visual representation through strong symbolism and appropriation. Read More »

New York – Richard Prince: “New Portraits” at Gagosian Gallery Through October 25th, 2014

October 23rd, 2014

Richard Prince, Untitled (Portrait) (2014), Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photograph By Robert Mckeever.
Richard Prince, Untitled (Portrait) (2014), Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photograph By Robert Mckeever.

Currently on view at Gagosian Gallery’s smaller galleries at 976 Madison, Richard Prince’s new set of Instagram-culled pieces are nearly as potent in exposition as they are in person, a series of images pulled directly from the social media app’s user accounts, and blown up to immense scales, full-sized canvases that command the attention of viewers passing by on the street outside. Read More »

Nicholas Serota Tops Art Review Power 100 Rankings

October 23rd, 2014

Nicholas Serota The annual Art Review Power 100 Ranking has been published, with Tate Director Nicholas Serota topping the list.  Serota is followed close behind by David Zwirner (who maintains his number two ranking from last year) and Iwan Wirth.  Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, last year’s number 1 entry, has been placed this year at 13th. Read More »

MOCA Elects 4 New Board Members as Confidence Grows

October 23rd, 2014

Mark Bradford, via LA TimesIn another sign of increased confidence in new Director Philip Vergne, MOCA has added 4 new seats to its board of trustees, among them artist Mark Bradford, public policy strategist Heather Podesta, and art collector Cathy Vedovi.  “I don’t get the feeling that this is the new MOCA, and we don’t want to talk about the old MOCA,” says Bradford.  “It feels like we’re here now, and we’re moving forward, and we have a history.” Read More »

Marina Abramovic Profiled in W Magazine

October 23rd, 2014

Marina Abramovic, via W MagazineW Magazine has published a profile on artist Marina Abramovic, as the artist prepares to open her newest exhibition Generator at Sean Kelly in New York, focused on depriving visitors of any sensory input.  “Ten years ago, this kind of project is not possible,” Abramović says. “Now it is, because human beings need so much to be with themselves, especially in New York, where everything is so much about audio and visual consumption.” Read More »

NYT Profiles Warsaw’s Leto Gallery

October 23rd, 2014

Marta Kolakowska, owner of the Leto Gallery, via NYTThe New York Times profiles Leto Gallery, an upstart Polish exhibition space run by Marta Kolakowska, which is committed to challenging projects and a committed interest in social themes.  “I think it is important what Marta is doing in terms of Polish art but it is also a bit of fun,” says artist Konrad Smolenski, who works with the gallery and represented Poland at last year’s Biennale.  “With her, it is not about selling but building strong connections to people and being honest with what we are doing. That is something that I really appreciate and I cannot imagine a different kind of relationship with a gallerist.” Read More »

New York – Marcel Dzama: “Une Danse des Bouffons (A Jester’s Dance)” at David Zwirner through October 25th, 2014

October 23rd, 2014

Marcel Dzama, Une Danse des Boffons (still) (2013), via Art Observed
Marcel Dzama, Une Danse des Bouffons (still) (2013), via Art Observed

Marcel Dzama’s latest film, Une Danse des Bouffons (A Jester’s Dance) (2013), is on view now at David Zwirner’s 525 and 533 West 19th Street spaces, marking the premier showing of the film in the United States.  The exhibition, featuring a number of collaborations and multi-media projects, includes a 7-inch vinyl release of the film’s soundtrack, with haunting, largely instrumental music by members of the band Arcade Fire.

Read More »

Hong Kong – Sterling Ruby: “VIVIDS” at Gagosian Hong Kong Through October 25th, 2014

October 22nd, 2014

Sterling Ruby, SP288 (2014), Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio and Gagosian Gallery.
Sterling Ruby, SP288 (2014), Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio and Gagosian Gallery.

Declared ‘one of the most interesting artists to emerge in this century’ by Roberta Smith, Sterling Ruby has become one of the major fixtures among West Coast artists after leaving the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 2005. The L.A. based artist, who is known for his large scale ceramic or bronze sculptures and ambitious installations challenging the limits of artistic production (his first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth was on view in Chelsea this spring after the artist joined the gallery roster), is presenting VIVIDS, his spray paint works on canvas at Gagosian Hong Kong.  This exhibition is another addition to Ruby’s recent series of projects in Asia, which started with an exhibition at Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo, and will continue with the Gwangju and Taipei biennials, alongside an upcoming exhibition at the Ullens Center in Beijing. Read More »

New York – Genieve Figgis: “Good Morning, Midnight” at Half Gallery Through October 25th, 2014

October 22nd, 2014

Genieve Figgis, Our First Party (2014)
Genieve Figgis, Our First Party (2014), All images via Osman Can Yerebakan for Art Observed.

Following her American debut at Harper’s Books in East Hampton this past summer, Genieve Figgis moves to the Upper East Side for her first New York City show at Half Gallery. One of the recent rising stars of the art world, the Dublin native received major international attention with her unearthly depictions of aristocracy’s heydays, maneuvering between an impressionistic figurativeness and bold abstraction. In Good Morning, Midnight, the artist continues her ambitiously exhilarated portrayals of joyous escapism. Read More »

Monet Painting Could Break Record for Artist at Sotheby’s New York

October 21st, 2014

Alice Hoschedé au jardin, via The GuardianSotheby’s Impressionist sale in New York this November is anticipating record numbers for a 1881 Claude Monet painting, already estimated to achieve $35 million on the auction block.  “It truly is the ultimate trophy painting: dappled sunshine, lovely garden and a pretty woman in a white dress, it’s got everything you would want in a Monet,” says Sotheby’s Impressionist expert Peter Hook. Read More »

The New York Times Reviews the Legal Battle Between Ron Perelman and Larry Gagosian

October 21st, 2014

Ron Perelman, via New York TimesThe New York Times takes an in-depth look at the ongoing court battle between Ronald Perelman and Larry Gagosian, noting the immense legal fees that the collector has racked up (over $3 million) in his ongoing battle over the sale of a Cy Twombly work he claims was fraudulently overpriced, and Gagosian’s subsequent lawsuits over his failure to pay.  “Ron Perelman’s disingenuous claims that he is a crusader are nothing more than a cover for the fact that he is a notorious bully with a well-known history of filing meritless litigations who once again won’t pay what’s owed,” says Gagosian’s lawyer, Matthew S. Dontzin. Read More »

AO Recap and Photoset – London: Frieze Art Fair at Regent’s Park, October 15th-18th, 2014

October 21st, 2014

Alexandrea Da Cunha at Thomas Dane, via Andreay Nguyen for Art Observed
Alexandrea Da Cunha at Thomas Dane, all photos via Andrea Nguyen for Art Observed unless otherwise noted

The last hours of Frieze London have come and gone, with a sizable portion of the $2.2 billion in works on sale changing hands over the course of the week, with a number of noteworthy sales, performances and events capping the fall art staple. Read More »

Gagosian Gallery to Represent Estate of Walter de Maria

October 21st, 2014

American sculptor Walter De Maria, via LA TimesGagosian Gallery has announced that it will represent the estate of artist Walter de Maria, continuing a relationship the artist had with the gallery during his life, showing there several times.  The gallery’s first step is assisting in establishing a Foundation to oversee his estate and work.  “Walter so wished to establish his own foundation, but sadly, he did not accomplish this during his lifetime,” says Elizabeth Childress, former director of the artist’s studio. “It is an important step to have as a protection and a promotion of his legacy.” Read More »

Paul McCarthy Installs Controversial Sculpture in Paris, Attacked by Onlooker, Sculpture Ultimately removed

October 21st, 2014

Paul McCarthy's Tree at Place Vendome, via BBCContinuing what could arguably be the most controversial series of Christmas-themed public artworks, Paul McCarthy this past week installed Tree, an enormous inflatable sculpture on Place Vendome in Paris that bears a striking resemblance to both a Christmas tree or a sex toy.  The work has already garnered considerable controversy, with one man slapping McCarthy as he viewed the work.  “Does this kind of thing happen often in France?” McCarthy reportedly asked shortly after being attacked.

Since being installed, the sculpture has been repeatedly attacked by vandals, and has ultimately been removed from Place Vendome.
Read More »

Christie’s CEO Steven Murphy Interviewed on Bloomberg TV

October 21st, 2014

Steven Murphy, via BloombergIn an interview with Bloomberg, Christie’s chief executive officer Steven Murphy has commented on the ongoing growth of the contemporary auction market, noting that sales are only increasing, and that Christie’s is increasingly focused on digital auctions.  “We have 14 exhibition spaces around the world where we exhibit the art, and we’ve really grown our accessibility to clients through the online experience,” he says.  “What brings the most consignments is the number of buyers.” Read More »

Frank Gehry Meeting with MOCA About Possible Renovation

October 21st, 2014

Frank Gehry, via Art NewspaperFrank Gehry is reportedly in talks with Philip Vergne and the rest of the MOCA board regarding a potential renovation of the Geffen Contemporary branch in downtown Los Angeles.  “It is a priority and a necessity to make the Geffen a true public space and to use the plaza and the canopy as a civic, urban and spontaneous gathering place for our visitors and for the citizens of downtown. It should be a town square,” Vergne says. Read More »

AO Auction Recap – London: Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale, October 17th, 2014

October 21st, 2014

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1981), via Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1981), via Sotheby’s

This past Friday, Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale concluded the week of auctions during Frieze Week in London, with a £28,203,200 final tally.  Following the results of the previous two evenings, the sales were relatively staid affairs, with few works exceeding their original estimates.

Read More »

Set of Cindy Sherman “Film Stills” Heading to Auction at Christie’s

October 20th, 2014

Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Still #17” (1978), via NYTNext month, Christie’s New York will place a landmark set of 21 “Film Stills” by Cindy Sherman on sale, a set of works from early in the artist’s career that carries an estimate of $6 million – $8 million.  The stills were originally collected by curator by Ydessa Hendeles, who sold them in turn to industrialist Mitchell P. Rales, who noted his intent to keep the works together as a set.  “We are deep into Cindy’s work and will continue to collect it,” he says. “Ydessa did a fabulous job putting it together, and it would be almost impossible to replicate it today.” Read More »

W Magazine Looks Inside the Finnish Retreat of Anita and Poju Zabludowicz

October 20th, 2014

Anita Zabludowicz, via W MagazineW Magazine takes a look at the remote art colony and sculpture park established by collectors Anita and Poju Zabludowicz in the Gulf of Finland.  “They really support artists before they break through,” says curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, codirector of London’s Serpentine Galleries. “It’s a form of patronage.” Read More »

Artists Design Their Own Ads in New York Times

October 20th, 2014

Barbara Kruger for the New York Times, via NYTIn a special feature, The New York Times has invited 15 artists to create imaginative advertisements for themselves as they might run in the newspaper, with submissions from Jenny Holzer, Carol Bove, and Francesco Vezzoli, whose particularly bizarre ad offers a body double of himself as a sexual partner.  ‘‘I immediately felt that it would be hilarious to see a real/fake prostitute ad in the pages of the most respected newspaper in the world,” the artist writes. Read More »

Essl Collection Sale Nets £46.9 Million

October 18th, 2014

Sigmar Polke, Indian With Eagle via BloombergChristie’s auction of works from the Essl Collection launched Frieze week last night in London, with the 44-lot sale attracting £46.9 million in sales, within the estimate for the evening.  The exhibition cover lot, Gerhard Richter’s Netz, failed to sell at auction, but ultimately sold privately after the auction for £5.5 million.  “Through the proceeds of this sale, the long-term future of the Essl Museum is now secured,” Karlheinz Essl said in a statement. Read More »

New York — Jonathan Monk: “I went to school with someone called Jonathon Monk” at Casey Kaplan Through October 18th, 2014

October 17th, 2014

Jonathan Monk, A Copy of Deflated Sculpture No. 1 (2009-2014), all photos via Casey Kaplan
Jonathan Monk, A Copy of Deflated Sculpture No. 1 (2009-2014), all photos via Osman Yerebakan for Art Observed

Appropriating the works of the lead players of Conceptual and Minimal art with an allusive wit, the British artist Jonathan Monk is known for adding his own accent to the often trenchant dynamics of the art world.  In his current show at Casey Kaplan, however, Monk embarks on an autobiographical investigation, reminiscing and eventually interpreting his artistic relation with various other artists. Read More »

AO Auction Recap – London: Christie’s Contemporary Evening Sale, October 16th, 2014

October 17th, 2014

Joe Bradley, Untitled (2011), via Christie's
Joe Bradley, Untitled (2011), via Christie’s

Last evening, Christie’s auction house closed its first auctions of the fall season in London, a successful affair that saw only 5 of the 46 lots on sale go unsold, with a final sales tally of £40,344,500, settling firmly into the auction house’s estimated £32 million to £47 million sales range. Read More »