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

KAWS Launches Exhibition in Fortnite Video Game

January 18th, 2022

KAWS is launching an online exhibition in the video game Fortnite, as well as one at London’s Serpentine Gallery. “Being able to create works,” the artist says, “and the version that I’m viewing in Brooklyn is the version you could be viewing in India, I just started to get really obsessed with the opportunities within that.”

Read more at The Guardian

Pissarro Work, Formerly Nazi Loot, Heads to US Supreme Court

January 17th, 2022

A Camille Pissarro work looted by the Nazis will head to US Supreme Court to hear a case over its ownership, as the descendants of Lilly Cassirer Neubauer sue for the painting’s return. “This has been three generations of the Cassirer family trying to take back what is theirs,” says attorney Stephen Zack of the US law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

Read More at The Guardian

Jewish Museum Employees Vote to Unionize

January 17th, 2022

Employees at the Jewish Museum in New York have voted to unionize. “The Jewish Museum is aware that staff have petitioned for a union election,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “The Museum greatly values its staff and will respectfully engage in any process that transpires.”

Read more at Art Newspaper

Serpentine Galleries Remove Sackler Name from North Gallery Space

January 12th, 2022

London’s Serpentine Galleries have formally removed the Sackler name from its North Gallery. The museum had faced criticism over its sluggishness to remove the name after fierce criticism and similar moves at other major institutions.

Uffizi Director Charges Museums with Confronting “Toxic” Histories of Society

December 30th, 2021

The director of the Uffizi in Florence has called on museums to take an active role in reconciling the “toxic” past actions of society.
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Governments Look to Regulate NFTs, Cryptocurrency as Markets Heat Up

December 28th, 2021

A piece in the Art Newspaper looks at efforts to begin regulating NFTs alongside cryptocurrencies, and how much catch-up those governments will have to play. “Education is paramount to protect new entrants from falling prey to bad actors, and the online community can contribute to increasing the level of understanding around NFTs,” says Omri Bouton of the London-based media and technology law firm Sheridans. “The industry may also benefit from having standards to allow consumers to quickly identify trustworthy projects.”
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Director Leaves Parrish Museum After Less Than One Year on Job

December 28th, 2021

After less than a year at the Parrish Museum, Kelly Taxter has left. “It was something she worked out with the board as being the right thing to do at this point in time,” says  Parrish board president Mary E. Frank.
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Spain Grants Protected Status To Work Suspected to be Caravaggio Original

December 24th, 2021

Spain has granted protected status to a small work believed to be a Caravaggio original, The Guardian reports. “Elements such as the psychological depictions of the characters, the realism of the faces, the luminous force that illuminates the body of Christ, the interplay of the three characters and the communication it establishes with the viewer make this a work of great artistic interest,” the government said in a statement.
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Art Newspaper Notes Employees Still Negotiating Contract at MOCA Two Years After Negotiation

December 24th, 2021

A piece in the Art Newspaper notes that two years after forming its union, MOCA employees are still negotiating their first contract with management. “I, along with many of my fellow coworkers in the union, felt very disrespected and undervalued by the proposal,” says Anna Marfleet, a member of the union organizing committee. “The fact that the museum spent six months stalling and delaying only to deliver a gravely insufficient proposal really shows how little the museum values the time and labor of its employees, and how unaccountable upper management is to the actual workers that make the museum run every day.”
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Robert Indiana Cases Continue in Court as Firm Alleges Emotional Abuse and Forgery Against

December 24th, 2021

The latest in the ongoing fight over the estate of Robert Indiana accuses Michael McKenzie of forgery and emotional abuse as well as lying under oath about evidence in his possession. “We’ve corroborated every single allegation of wrongdoing against Michael McKenzie,” says the lawyer Luke Nikas, partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
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New York – Arturo Kameya: “En esa pulga se mezcla nuestra sangre / In that flea, our blood mixes” at GRIMM Through January 15th, 2022

January 12th, 2022
Arturo Kameya, Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, but dogs just want to go to outer space (2021), via GRIMM

On view at GRIMM this month in New York, artist Arturo Kameya presents a body of works unified under the title En esa pulga se mezcla nuestra sangre / In that flea, our blood mixes. Featuring a range of new works that expand beyond the narratives explored in the artist’s multimedia presentation currently on view in Soft Water Hard Stone, the New Museum Triennial, the show continues Kameya’s investigation of the plasticity of history and time, revisiting events and narratives through perspectives that are at times contradictory, and through the lens of the personal memories of his upbringing in Lima, Peru.

The works in the exhibition reflect upon the ever-fluctuating margins within Lima’s urban middle class community: its aspirations and disappointments, debts and misfortunes, religions and superstitions, farewells and resignations. The exhibition includes works that depict memories of the artist’s childhood home that are recreated with superstitious undercurrents, taking inspiration from diverse sources of his personal archive: family photos, press images, e-commerce sites and more. Various paintings include domestic rituals that feature a Youtube tutorial of a cleansing practice, a tabletop set-up to assist the dead in “crossing over,” and reinterpretations of his family’s furniture topped with offerings of alcohol, souvenirs, medicine and flowers.

Arturo Kameya, Prosperity (2021), via GRIMM

Kameya debuts three paintings in a new series that explore local commercial products borne out of various superstitions. The products chosen for the works are based on cleansing formulas, available in small shops or online, and the images depicted are reinterpretations of Tarot iconography and cleansing bottle labels. Three works from this series are on view as a nod to the popular phrase Salud, dinero y amor.

Arturo Kameya, Afterparty (2021), via GRIMM

The varied motifs explored in the exhibition are encapsulated in the work Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, but dogs just want to go to outer space (2021). The painting depicts a New Year’s lore, in which people set fire to their old belongings to bid farewell to the year that has just passed. The title refers to aspirational desires that differ in each stage of life, that die little by little throughout each year, only to be revived at the beginning of every new year.

Wrapping up a series of works that negotiate personal experience and intricate historical threads, Kameya’s work is on view through January 15th.

– D. Creahan

Read more:
Arturo Kameya: En esa pulga se mezcla nuestra sangre [Exhibition Site]

New York – Lutz Bacher: “The Lee Harvey Oswald Interview” at Buchholz Through February 5th, 2022

January 11th, 2022
Lutz Bacher, The Betty Center (2010), via Buchholz

In 1976, the artist Lutz Bacher was approached to be interviewed for a volume of artist interviews, a young artist who had adopted a masculine, German-sounding pseudonym that covered her work in an air of conceptual mystique. Accordingly, the interview proved to be something of a challenge, breaking apart the artist’s concepts and motives in a manner that would ultimately force some of her underlying concepts into the light of critical appraisal. This awareness led Bacher to try something different, interviewing herself around one of her long-running fascinations, the assassin of President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald. Delving into the conspiracies around Oswald and his convenient murder, the interview was then printed over with a series of photostatic prints.

Lutz Bacher, The Lee Harvey Oswald Interview (Negative) (1976-78), via Buchholz

This work, which would ultimately be called The Lee Harvey Oswald Interview, delves into the collective memory of this formative national trauma, and whose story continues to vex skeptics of the official narrative to this day. In the following decades, Bacher would reiterate The Lee Harvey Oswald Interview in different formats, including not only the photostats, but also as live multimedia performances in the ‘80s. The work is presented this month at Galerie Buchholz in New York this month, gathering all versions of the Interview together for the first time, including the positive and negative photostats, the performance and video versions, materials from the 1984 performance, its appearances in her publications, and a series of pasteups.

Lutz Bacher, The Lee Harvey Oswald Interview (Positive), (1976-78), via Buchholz
Lutz Bacher, The Lee Harvey Oswald Interview (Positive) (1976-78), via Buchholz

Each iteration was considering a new, unique version of the work, with the artist introducing various threads and variations on the understanding of the interview and her interests in both Oswald and the obfuscation of her own identity in turn. In Oswald, Lutz would find something like a cypher for her own conspicuously displaced subjecthood, and an example of how unknowability can provoke desire, intrigue, and speculation. In the Interview, she focuses on theories of Oswald having body doubles, and much in the same way, her work ultimately takes on a series of those same body doubles, mirror images of the work that seem to function in unspecified variations.

Lutz Bacher, The Lee Harvey Oswald Interview (Negative) (1976-78), via Buchholz

Taking the artist’s work as a jumping off point to explore her formative ventures into identities and bodies, generative projects and the hazy, nuanced understanding of the artist as operator and creator, the show is a fascinating look into Bacher’s work. This is perhaps best seen in The Betty Center, the preserved collection of her writings, sketches, and collected materials, assembled in a series of binders the artist has designated a work in its own right. Musing on the full scope of her work, the show seems to look at Bacher from both her early works, and her final pieces.

The show closes February 5th.

– D. Creahan

Read more:
Lutz Bacher at Galerie Buchholz [Exhibition Site]

New York – Etel Adnan: “Light’s New Measure” at The Guggenheim Through January 10th, 2022

January 6th, 2022
Etel Adnan, Untitled (1985), via Art Observed

Over the course of a lifetime that spanned almost a century, Etel Adnan expressed her prodigious creative and intellectual vision in many forms. In addition to being a visual artist, she is a renowned poet, a prominent journalist, and the author of one of the defining novels of the modern Arab world. Adnan’s biography is notable for its rich convergence of cultural influences. She was born in Lebanon to a Greek mother and Syrian father; grew up speaking French, Arabic, and Greek; and as an adult lived for extended periods in Lebanon, the United States, and France. She began to paint in the late 1950s, while working as a professor of philosophy in Northern California. It was a period when, in protest of France’s colonial rule in Algeria, she renounced writing in French and declared that she would begin “painting in Arabic.”

This winter, the Guggenheim celebrates the late artist with an expansive exhibition of her work, centering in particular around her voluminous body of paintings. Created sitting at a desk with her small canvases laid flat, she would apply pigments directly from the tube, using a palette knife to render compositions of radiant immediacy. Flat planes of color and gentle hues made for striking interpretations of landscape, drawn often from her time gazing out her Sausalito, CA window to view Mount Tamalpais. Long considering herself a painter most intimately tied to the history and culture of California’s landscape and abstract painters, despite her international background and time spent living across a range of cities and nations, Adnan fills her canvases with a lush color and careful balance.

Etel Adnan, Untitled (2012), via Art Observed

Simple geometries recur throughout her work: a red square anchoring abstract forms, a bright circle for the sun, horizontal bands that suggest the sky over the ocean. Despite their modest scale and formal economy, her paintings and drawings are potent visualizations of the sensations of memory and momentary perception that shape inner life. It’s a striking note, considering the history of the artist’s life, and the political realities of her work and experience, to see works that exude an almost confrontational calm and repose, as if the artist ‘s work speaks most loudly in its belief in peace.

The exhibition closes January 10th.

Etel Adnan, Untitled (1965), via Art Observed

– D. Creahan

Read more:
Etel Adnan: Light’s New Measure [Exhibition Site]

New York – Darren Bader: “The American Express Holiday Show” at Harkawik Through January 6th, 2022

January 4th, 2022
Darren Bader, AES-PoPRS5 (2021), via Harkawik

On view this month in New York, the ever-enigmatic Darren Bader has put on a new show of work at Harkawik, continuing his playful repositions and deconstructions of his materials and their cultural assumptions. Continuing his plundering and extraction of the meanings and understandings of the objects he selects and suspends in a constellation of signs and symbols, the show offers a new set of works by the artist.

Darren Bader, AES-PoPRS7 (2021), via Harkawik

The result are a series of slippages between the object and the complex series of assembled cultural meanings and backdrops to leave the viewer to negotiate. Equal parts absurd and cryptic, the works force a delving into the artist’s own logic of assemblage, without ever implying that this might even be a workable course of action. Rather than work against this logic, one can allow themselves to float in and out of the artist’s works, allowing the cultural signifiers and constructions to take on their own meanings, or to slowly fade into the ether, a fascinating point that underscores Bader’s ability to pose questions and leave them hanging.

The show closes January 6th.

Darren Bader, AES-RS1 (2021), via Harkawik

– D. Creahan

Read more:
Darren Bader: The American Express Holiday Show [Exhibition Site]

New York – Keith Mayerson: “My American Dream: This Land is Your Land” at Karma Through January 8th, 2022

December 30th, 2021
Keith Mayerson, Dr. Martin Luther King and Family (2021), via Karma

On view this month at Karma in New York, painter Keith Mayerson introduces his most recent entry in his ongoing series This Land is Your Land, a body of work that sees the artist reflecting on American history and culture as a way to look for new horizons and possibilities.

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RIP – Painter Wayne Thiebaud Has Passed Away at the Age of 101

December 28th, 2021

Wayne Thiebaud, Hot Dog with Mustard (1964), via Acquavella
Wayne Thiebaud, Hot Dog with Mustard (1964), via Acquavella

Painter Wayne Thiebaud, for his colorful works depicting commonplace objects—pies, lipsticks, paint cans, ice cream cones, pastries, and hot dogs—as well as for his landscapes and figure paintings–all of which served as early salvos in the development of modern pop art, has passed away at the age of 101.   Read More »

London — Anicka Yi: “In Love With the World” at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall Through January 16, 2022

December 27th, 2021

Anicka Yi-Turbine Hall-Tate Modern
Anicka Yi, In Love With the World (2021) All images by Aidan Chisholm for Art Observed.

Setting forth her floating biomorphic machines, artist Anicka Yi has reinvigorated Turbine Hall as visitors return to the iconic London site after a two-year pandemic-induced pause. The latest Tate Modern Hyundai Commission, In Love With the World explores the nexus between nature and technology, integrating the biological and the algorithmic. Read More »

New York – Robert Janitz: “Library of a Dream” at Canada Through January 22nd, 2022

December 21st, 2021

Robert Janitz, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 2 (2021), via Canada
Robert Janitz, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 2 (2021), via Canada

Currently on at Canada Gallery in New York, artist Robert Janitz returns to his particular style of abstraction, utilizing unique tools and techniques to create geometrically-inspired, colorful compositions. The artist, who has long used loping, gestural forms in his work, here draws new inspiration from the confines of the canvas as a defining element in the production of the pieces. Read More »

London – David Shrigley: ”Mayfair Tennis Ball Exchange” at Stephen Friedman through January 8th, 2022

December 20th, 2021

David Shrigley, Mayfair Tennis Ball Exchange (Installation View), via Stephen Friedman
David Shrigley, Mayfair Tennis Ball Exchange (Installation View), via Stephen Friedman

Approaching Stephen Friedman’s Mayfair gallery, one is greeted with a large glowing green neon reading “Mayfair Tennis Ball Exchange.” Just beyond the glass, row upon row of gentle green orbs peer back at the viewer, making up artist David Shrigley’s newest exhibition at the gallery. The show, which shares the title with that neon work, makes for a fascinating look at relational work and simple, comical iterations, long a hallmark of the artist’s work. Read More »

New York – Alex Katz at Gladstone Through December 18th, 2021

December 16th, 2021

Alex Katz, Yellow House (2020), via Gladstone
Alex Katz, Yellow House (2020), via Gladstone

At the age of 94, Alex Katz is still painting, creating more works in his signature style of elevated coolness. The artist, who continues to paint between Pennsylvania, Maine and New York, marks his first exhibition this month with Gladstone Gallery, where he opens a show of 7 new landscapes that underscore his continued exploration and misery of light, space and balance. Read More »