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


New York – Erwin Wurm: “Synthesa” at Lehmann Maupin Through April 19th, 2014

April 19th, 2014

Erwin Wurm, Kiss (Abstract Sculptures) (2013), via Art Observed
Erwin Wurm, Kiss (Abstract Sculptures) (2013), via Art Observed

Taking up the main room of Lehmann Maupin’s considerable Chelsea gallery, Austrian artist Erwin Wurm is presenting a series of recent sculptural works, continuing the artist’s irreverent and bizarre abstractions of both contemporary materials and the human form.  Short but sweet, Wurm’s show takes on his past approaches to figurative sculpture, and recasts it in an increasingly abstract, yet surprisingly cohesive series of sculptures, using the full body of his work to create new pieces that combine his aesthetic endeavors into more nuanced wholes.

Erwin Wurm, Synthesa (Installation View), via Art Observed
Erwin Wurm, Synthesa (Installation View), via Art Observed Read More »

Antonio Banderas to Play Picasso in Upcoming Biopic

April 18th, 2014

Antonio Banderas, via ComplexActor Antonio Banderas has been chosen to portray Pablo Picasso in an upcoming film by Carlos Saura.  Banderas will act alongside Gwyneth Paltrow, who will play the artist’s longtime muse, Dora Maar.  ”I turned down the chance at one point of playing Mr. Pablo, but the time has come in my life where I understand him better,” says Banderas. “I am nearly at the age he was when those events happened, in 1937, when he was 55 or 56, and I’m getting close.” Read More »

Joan Jonas to Represent USA at Venice Biennale Next Year

April 18th, 2014

Joan Jonas, Mirage, via NYTArtist Joan Jonas will represent the United States at the Venice Biennale next year, the New York Times reports.  The pioneering video and performance artist was selected by the State Department’s bureau of educational and cultural affairs, and will create a site-specific work at the U.S. pavilion.   “Joan has been a visionary for such a long time,’’ says Paul C. Ha, the director of the M.I.T. List Visual Arts Center, and commissioner of the exhibition. “Yet she hasn’t had much exposure in Venice.’’ Read More »

Tauba Auerbach Interviewed in Evening Standard

April 18th, 2014

Tauba Auerbach, via Evening StandardTauba Auerbach is interviewed in the Evening Standard this week, following the opening of her first solo exhibition in London at the ICA.  “I don’t think beauty and complexity are at odds,” she says.  “I feel that I’m more compelled to spend time with objects that I find seductive. I want to examine them and understand them.” Read More »

Jake and Dinos Chapman to Install Dinosaur Sculptures at London’s Hamstead Heath

April 18th, 2014

Chapman Brothers Dinosaur Sculptures, via Ham and HighA trio of sculptures by Jake and Dinos Chapman are set to be installed at Hampstead Heath in London.  The rudimentary sculptures of a group of dinosaurs, titled The good the bad and the ugly, were previously installed at the Gherkin building.  Installed next month, they will constitute the largest piece of public art the park has seen since 2005, when Giancario Neri’s The Writer was placed on view.   Read More »

BP Portrait Award Shortlist Announced

April 18th, 2014

Thomas Ganter, Man with a Plaid Blanket, via The GuardianThe shortlist for the BP Portrait Award has been announced, featuring works by Thomas Ganter, Richard Twose, and David Jon Kassman.  The nominees will be on view at London’s National Portrait Gallery from  June 26th to September 21st, with the winner announced just before the exhibition opens on June 24th. Read More »

Artist Alan Davie Passes Away at 93

April 18th, 2014

Alan Davie, Red Moon (2014), via NYTScottish-born painter Alan Davie passed away last week at the age of 93.  Davie’s expressionistic, abstract canvases earned him considerable attention during the late 1950′s and early 1960′s, and was considered as a major influence on the work of David Hockney.  The artist’s work is currently the subject of a major retrospective at the Tate Britain.  “It’s an urge, an intensity, a kind of sexual need,” Mr. Davie said recently in an interview with The Telegraph. “I don’t practice painting or drawing as an art, in the sense of artifice, of making an imitation of something. It’s something I do from an inner compulsion, that has to come out.” Read More »

New York – Ali Banisadr: “Motherboard” at Sperone Westwater, through April 19th 2014

April 18th, 2014

Ali Banisadr, Ran (2014), all images courtesy Sperone Westwater
Ali Banisadr, Ran (2014), all images courtesy Sperone Westwater

Currently on view at Sperone Westwater in New York is an exhibition of new works by Iranian painter Ali Banisadr.  Entitled Motherboard, the exhibition is Banisadr’s first solo show at at the gallery, and will remain on view through April 19, 2014.

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Don’t Miss – New York: Michel Majerus at Matthew Marks Gallery Through April 19th

April 17th, 2014

Michael Majerus, your bad taste (2002), via Matthew Marks
Michael Majerus, your bad taste (2002), via Matthew Marks

Spread over Matthew Marks Gallery’s spaces on 502, 522 and West 22nd Street is an exhibition of works by late Berlin-based artist Michael Majerus.  Presenting over twenty-five paintings and multimedia installations, the show is the most comprehensive of Majerus’s work in the United States as well as the first staged in the country since his life was cut short at the age of 35 by a plane crash in 2002.

Michael Majerus, pornography needs you (2001), via Matthew Marks
Michael Majerus, pornography needs you (2001), via Matthew Marks

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New York – Jordan Wolfson at David Zwirner Through April 19th, 2014

April 16th, 2014

Jordan Wolfson, (Female Figure) (2014), via Art Observed
Jordan Wolfson, (Female Figure) (2014), via Art Observed

How does memory function in the 21st century?  How does nostalgia?  These are questions bound up in the work of Jordan Wolfson, on view now at David Zwirner.  Spread along a series of assemblages, video, and the artist’s notoriously eerie animatronic robot, the show is a striking step for the artist, showing his unique approach to art-making in an ever-stronger expressive capacity.

Jordan Wolfson, Raspberry Poseur (2012), via David Zwirner
Jordan Wolfson, Raspberry Poseur (2012), via David Zwirner Read More »

New York – Heidi Bucher at Swiss Institute Through May 11th, 2014

April 16th, 2014

Heidi Bucher, Untitled (Herrenzimmer), undated via Osman Can Yerebakan
Heidi Bucher, Untitled (Herrenzimmer), (undated) via Osman Can Yerebakan

Known for her ongoing focus on the relationship between the body and architectural space, the late Heidi Bucker is being commemorated with an exhibition at the Swiss Institute. The exhibition, running through May 11th at the gallery’s SoHo space, stands out being the first solo exhibition of the artist in the United States in more than forty years.

Heidi Bucher, Untitled (9 Objects), Ca. 1972-1987. Courtesy Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich
Heidi Bucher, Untitled (9 Objects), (1972-1987), Courtesy Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich Read More »

Third Point Investor Presentation at Sotheby’s Outlines Flaws, Opportunities for Company

April 15th, 2014

Daniel Loeb, via WSJIn a recent investor presentation, Daniel Loeb outlined his five point plan for bringing Sotheby’s back to profitability, pushing his case for allowing Third Point a more vocal position in the company’s proceedings.  Loeb’s plan includes action points on curated auctions and private sales, attacks on the company’s planning on its S|2 Gallery, and inquiries into how to utilize the auction spaces during downtime.   Read More »

Detroit Nears Pension Cuts Deal that Could Spin Off Detroit Institute of Arts

April 15th, 2014

Detroit Institute of Arts, via Detroit Free PressThe City of Detroit is nearing a pension cuts deal which may allow the Detroit Institute of Arts to spin off from city ownership, provided state funding, foundation contributions and Detroit Institute of Arts fund-raising would provide $816 million to reduce potential cuts to city pensions.  The city is sell engaged with talks with representatives from the city’s largest pension funds. Read More »

David Hammons Buys Warehouse Space in Yonkers

April 15th, 2014

David Hammons - Untitled - (2000) - via Ben Richards for Art ObservedFollowing a steady stream of artists moving upstate, David Hammons has purchased warehouse space in Yonkers with the intent to turn the space into a gallery for showing new work.  The news comes after architect and artist Maya Lin purchased space in the town late last year.  ”Now others in the art world want to join the transformation taking place in Yonkers,” Mayor Mike Spano said. Read More »

London – Richard Deacon at Tate Britain Through April 27th, 2014

April 15th, 2014

Richard Deacon, Struck Dumb (1998)
Richard Deacon, Struck Dumb (1998), all images courtesy Tate Britain

Tate Britain is currently presenting an exhibition from Turner Prize-winning sculptor Richard Deacon, primarily composed of large works in wood, contorted steel, and highly glazed ceramics that explores the artist’s ongoing interest in the conflation of industrial, sculptural and art historical influences. The exhibition was curated by Clarrie Wallis, Curator of Modern & Contemporary British Art along with Sofia Karamani, Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art, and is on view through April 27th.

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Never-Before Auctioned Jeff Koons Sculpture to Anchor Sotheby’s May Auctions

April 14th, 2014

Jeff Koons's Popeye, via Art DailyJeff Koons’s colorful 2009 Popeye sculpture, never before seen publicly, nor offered at auction, will stand as one of the centerpieces at Sotheby’s May 14th auction in New York, estimated to sell at $25 million.  “The history of Pop Art begins and ends with Popeye,” says Alex Rotter, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Contemporary Art Department.  ”From his first representations by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol in the 1960s, to the present three-dimensional crescendo by Jeff Koons a half century later, this ultimate American hero and self-made man has remained a true icon of both art history and popular culture.” Read More »

Tax Loophole Sees High-Selling Works Exhibited in Oregon for Tax-Free Status

April 14th, 2014

Francis Bacon in Portland, via New York TimesThe New York Times reports on a tax loophole regarding several states where art purchases can be awarded tax-free status if the newly gotten works are first lent to an art museum.  The tax loophole explains why Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud, the most expensive work ever sold at auction, was first exhibited at the Portland Art Museum after its record-setting purchase last year.  “It is an amazing opportunity for these smaller cities to show these works,” says Mack McFarland of the Pacific Northwest College of Art. “But one does have to wonder, doing a cost-benefit analysis on a more global scale, whether or not the tax break for these wealthy collectors is worth it.” Read More »

Corcoran Gallery Dissolution Looks to Take Longer than Expected

April 14th, 2014

Corcoran Gallery, via Washington PostThe recently announced dissolution of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC is looking to take longer than anticipated, NPR reports.  Concerns over the architecture of the space and any intended changes or repairs will require an extensive review process, and the logistics of George Washington University taking over the Corcoran’s art school while the National Gallery of Art takes over the collection.  ”The minute you start touching that building, which is to get the infrastructure of that building straightened out, there will be major ADA problems, Americans with Disabilities Act problems,” says former Corcoran director David Levy, “because that building was built at a time when nobody thought about those things.” Read More »

Growing Market Pays Off for Sketches and Drawings

April 14th, 2014

A Joan Miró Drawing, via WSJThe Wall Street Journal looks at the growing market for prints, drawings and sketches by major artists, which can command impressive sales figures, and have even paid off for many investors in the high-demand state of the current auction market. Prints and sketches by Warhol and Calder, among others, have doubled or tripled in price in a matter of a few years.  ”These are the names everybody knows—they feel safe for people, especially when no one quite knows exactly how long a good run is going to last,” said Meredith Hilferty, director of Rago Arts & Auction Center in New Jersey. Read More »

Tate Britain Director Comes Under Fire

April 14th, 2014

Penelope Curtis, via The GuardianTate Britain head Penelope Curtis is under attack this week by critic Waldemar Januszczak, who has called for the museum director to step down or be replaced, citing low attendance and a series of allegedly poor exhibition plans.  ”I first noticed what an appalling exhibition-maker she was when she co-curated the Modern British Sculpture show at the Royal Academy in 2011,” Januszczak wrote. “It was, quite simply, one of the worst exhibitions I have ever seen. Subsequent shows at Tate Britain have continued the trend.” Read More »

Financial Times Takes a Close Look at the “Art World”

April 14th, 2014

Martin Kippenberger, I hate you, via Financial TimesA recent article in the Financial Times traces the past 40 years of the art market in conjunction with the term “the art world,” and questions the state of the market as the increased focus on art as an investment opportunity continues to drive blue-chip artists to ever-higher sales records. Read More »

New York – Laurie Simmons: “KIGURUMI, DOLLERS and HOW WE SEE” at Salon 94 Through April 28th, 2014

April 14th, 2014


Laurie Simmons, How We See/Look 1/Julia (2014)

Currently on at Salon 94 Bowery is an exhibition of new photos by Laurie Simmons, based on her research on a subgenre of Japanese cosplay called “Kigurumi,” in which characters called “Dollers” or “Kiggers” change their identities, often flipping genders or becoming cartoon characters, by wearing onesie spandex suits and cartoonish masks.

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Guggenheim Forces Removal of Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet’s Bilbao Installation

April 13th, 2014

Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet in Bilbao, via Wall Street JournalThe Guggenheim Museum seems to have won its dispute with Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet. The artists’ Bilbao photo installation (featuring a photo of the museum as a battleship) has been removed removed after the Guggenheim stated its disapproval.  The Guggenheim has stated that it “respects the artists’ rights and it likewise protects its own image rights.” Read More »

Daughter of Paul Eluard Tells of Life Growing Up Among the Surrealists

April 13th, 2014

Salvador Dali and Gala Eluard, via The GuardianCécile Eluard, daughter of surrealist poet Paul Eluard, is interviewed in the Guardian this week, recounting her experiences growing up surrounded by some of the most famous artists of the day, including Max Ernst, Dali, and Pablo Picasso, who would take her to boxing matches.  ”He never got old,” Eluard says of Picasso. “I never felt the 40-odd years between us. We would go and have a swim in Vallauris, I would come and visit him whenever I liked in his studio in rue des Grands Augustins in Paris. He would show me his little sculptures made of bric-à-brac. He was so alive, so earthy, so absolutely not abstract!”   Read More »