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

NYT Looks into Ouster of Cooper Hewitt Director Caroline Baumann

February 17th, 2020

The Cooper Hewitt’s ouster of director Caroline Baumann is profiled in the NYT this week, as some point to controversy behind her wedding and a perceived conflict of interest in her work with a wedding dress designer. “I know the circumstances of the investigation that led to Caroline’s dismissal and I must say I am appalled that this was its conclusion,” says philanthropist and Cooper Hewitt Board Secretary Judy Francis Zankel. “I have been working with her long enough to know without a doubt that she has been unfairly accused and unjustly judged.”
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Dawoud Bey Interviewed in The Guardian

February 17th, 2020

Artist Dawoud Bey gets a profile in The Guardian this week, as he opens a retrospective at SFMoMA. “What I hope to create is work that makes it apparent that black people exist not only in a social world,” Beys says at the press preview for the SF Moma opening, “but they also have rich interior lives as human beings.”
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Artist Pyotr Pavlensky Arrested in Paris

February 17th, 2020

Artist Pyotr Pavlensky is once again facing possible imprisonment over his recent stunt leaking a politician’s sex tape. “[Candidate Benjamin Griveaux] despises his constituents,” the artist says in a statement. “He was the only candidate to use his family to promote a political image. He told a big lie; he began his campaign with a big lie.”
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LA Times Charts Demise of Marciano Foundation

February 17th, 2020

The LA Times has a piece this week on the closure of the Marciano Foundation, noting issues with unionizing labor alongside organizational breakdowns and a lack of internal structure. “[Maurice Marciano] didn’t really know how expensive it is to run his own private museum,” says an unnamed source. “He did it in a very generous, very first-class generous way.”
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MoMA Hires Top SFMoMA Curator

February 14th, 2020

Clément Chéroux, senior curator of the photography center at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, is heading to MoMA’s to serve as the museum’s chief curator of photography. “It was a pleasure to work at SFMOMA for three years and to have the support of a fantastic Bay Area photo community,” Chéroux said in a statement. “I am very excited to be part of the energy of the new MoMA and to work with the team and collection to develop great projects.”
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James Turrell’s Roden Crater Gets $3 million Pledge from Online Gaming Billionaire

February 14th, 2020

Billionaire Mark Pincus, founder of online gaming firm Zynga, has pledged $3 million to James Turrell’s Roden Crater project. “The project itself feels, to me, like modern-day pyramids,” he says. “The ambition and scale and scope of it is something that has the potential to be something that people, many generations from now, will be able to experience and get something amazing from—maybe something beyond what we can imagine today.”
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Private Museum Closings Explored in Art Newspaper Piece

February 14th, 2020

A piece in Art Newspaper asks why so many private museums are already shuttering. “It’s more fun building a museum and a collection and opening it than running it,” says Adrian Ellis, the founding director of AEA Consulting.
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Heiress and Art Benefactor Anne Marion Has Passed Away at Age 81

February 14th, 2020

Oil and ranching heiress Anne Marion, founder of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico has passed away at the age of 81. “Anne Marion was one of the most generous, admirable, and inspirational people I have ever known,” says Marla Price, director of the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, where Marion was an active benefactor. “Her great leadership and generosity to the museum has continued until the present, and her loss is heartbreaking for everyone involved with the Modern.”
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Russian Artist Pyotr Pavlensky Wades in Parisian Mayoral Elections, Causing Candidate’s Resignation Over Explicit Video

February 14th, 2020

Russian provocateur and artist Pyotr Pavlensky, whose prior stunts involved setting the doors of a Russian security organization aflame, has taken reportedly taken responsibility for interfering in the Parisian mayoral elections, leaking compromising sexually graphic videos of candidate Benjamin Griveaux online. “He is someone who is always playing up family values, who says he wants to be the mayor of families and always cites as examples his wife and children. But he does the opposite,” Pavlensky is quoted.
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Yayoi Kusama to Show Infinity Rooms in London

February 14th, 2020

Yayoi Kusama will stage another major show of her Infinity Rooms at the Tate Modern this May, the museum has announced.  The show will feature two such works as well as documentation of early performance pieces by the artist. 
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

AO On-Site – Los Angeles: Spring/Break LA at Skylight ROW DTLA, February 14th – 16th, 2020

February 16th, 2020


Jonathan Paul, all images via Art Observed
Jonathan Paul

Continuing its own intriguing and honed perspective on booth its surroundings in Los Angeles and on the model of the art fair, SPRING/BREAK has once again touched down in the City of Angels, launching a supplementary event that offers an ample supply of artists and galleries presenting in a concept that stands as a stark contrast to the traditional fair model.   Read More »

AO On-Site – Los Angeles: Felix LA at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, February 14th – 16th, 2020

February 15th, 2020

Korakrit Arunanondchai at Clearing, all images via Art Observed
Korakrit Arunanondchai at Clearing, all images via Art Observed

As Frieze opens up shop for the week on the West Coast, the bevy of satellite fairs and event openings are underway across the city.  One particular highlight, and also a second-time event for Frieze Week, Felix LA, the joint effort of collector Dean Valentine and dealers Al and Mills Morán, has returned to the rooms and public spaces of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles for the week.  One of the more compelling fair entries of the week, the work’s program, which sees gallerists taking over rooms in the hotel, allows a unique mixture of intimate exhibitions and adventurous concepts that felt well-suited to the well-heeled patrons of the contemporary art market, both looking for a good piece of work and a unique experience shopping for it.   Read More »

AO On-Site – Los Angeles: Frieze Los Angeles at Paramount Studios, February 16th, 2020

February 14th, 2020

Lorna Simpson, via Art Observed
Lorna Simpson, all images via Art Observed

As the early hours of the second Frieze Los Angeles Art Fair draw to a close this evening, and the sun sets over the Pacific, the fair seems to have once again hammered home its vital engagement with the city, and with its thriving art scene, launching another strong event spread across the grounds of the Paramount Studios.   With strong sales reported and an energetic atmosphere across the fair, it would seem that the small-scale and focused approach of the fair had once again seen the fair brand making its case as an arbiter of thoughtful, curated approaches towards the market and its participants.

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AO Auction Recap – London: Post-War and contemporary Evening Sales, February 11th-13th, 2020

February 13th, 2020

David Hockney, The Splash (1966), via Sotheby's

David Hockney, The Splash (1966), final price: £23,117,000, via Sotheby’s

With the bustle of LA’s numerous art fairs opening their doors across the Atlantic and all the way across the country, one could be understood for overlooking the string of auctions taking place in London this week.  Yet a trio of sales went over all the same this week, testing the secondary contemporary market just as the primary market was having a test of its own in Los Angeles.  The results were mixed, with a number of strong performances, but a sense of stagnation also seems to have set in over some artists, particularly with the future of British trade with Europe looking so unsteady.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Mosque (1982), via Christie's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Mosque (1982), final price:£3,951,729, via Christie’s Read More »

AO Preview – Los Angeles: Frieze Los Angeles at Paramount Studios, February 14th – 16th, 2020

February 10th, 2020

Jeff Koons via Almine Rech
Jeff Koons via Almine Rech

Opening for its second year in the Californian sprawl of Los Angeles, the Frieze Art Fair returns for a second year under the sunny skies of the Golden State.  Taking its place once again at Paramount Studios, the fair has quickly planted its flag as a major part of the early weeks of the annual fair calendar, and has become the flagship fair in the run up to the Armory Show in New York next month.  Read More »

Barbara Kruger Retrospective Set to Open in Chicago this November

February 7th, 2020

Barbara Kruger will launch a major museum survey at the Art Institute of Chicago this November. “Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” is set to run at the Art Institute of Chicago through February 14, 2021, then travel to MoMA PS1 and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, thento London’s Hayward Gallery and LACMA. Read More »

AO On-Site – Mexico City: Zona Maco Art Fair at Centro Banamex, February 6th – 9th, 2020

February 6th, 2020

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Ai Weiwei at Lisson Gallery, all photos via Anfisa Vrubel for Art Observed

Zona Maco has opened the doors for its 17th year this week, celebrating the milestone event today with the first day of its VIP preview yesterday at the Centro Banamex.  Offering a look at the stature of the fair in relation to the burgeoning artistic community in Mexico City in relation to the art and artists flying in from around the globe, the fair’s dynamic program included conferences with international guests, a section with specialized publications and editorials, and the widest program of parallel activities with exhibitions at the most outstanding galleries and museums in the country. Read More »

AO Auction Recap – London: Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Sales, February 4th-5th, 2020

February 5th, 2020

Tamara de Lempicka, Portrait de Marjorie Ferry (1932), via Christie's
Tamara de Lempicka, Portrait de Marjorie Ferry (1932), final price: £16,280,000, via Christie’s

With the UK now into its first days of Brexit, attention turned to London this week for a string of Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Sales that looked to take the first test of the market.  Considering the results this week, a path forward seems uneasy but possible, as mixed results between the auction houses made for a series of compelling auctions and unpredictable results Read More »

New York – Robert Grosvenor at Karma Through February 23rd, 2020

February 4th, 2020

Robert Grosvenor, Untitled (2020), via Karma
Robert Grosvenor, Untitled (2020), via Karma

Artist Robert Grosvenor could perhaps best be described as an artist invested in space.  His interests rely not only on how the object exists within it, but equally how the space around an object twists and responds, moves and carves up space.  His sculptures capture a similar idea, pulling the viewer through their specific materiality and unconventional formal language that at one point might incorporate a distinct industrial materiality, while at others moving into a hard-edged, classic minimalism.  Each of the elements of this historical movement’s conceptual interests are there: heft and weight, density, scale, and even color, yet Grosvenor, more and more over the past years particularly, seems to take these principles and turn them towards the everyday, mining the language of the world around him to find new ways to ask similar questions . For his third show at Karma in New York, Grosvenor continues this particular interest in the realm between space and object, presenting a room-sized sculpture that the artist refers to as a “block of water,” as well as a collection of found and variously altered models of aircraft, watercraft, and automobiles.

Robert Grosvenor, Untitled (2020), via Karma
Robert Grosvenor, Untitled (2020), via Karma Read More »

AO Auction Preview – London Impressionist/Modern and Post-War/Contemporary Sales, February 4th – 13th, 2020

February 3rd, 2020

David Hockney, The Splash (1966), via Sotheby's
David Hockney, The Splash (1966), via Sotheby’s

As the first batch of major art fairs gets underway in North America, the secondary market turns its attention to Frieze London this week, as the first test of its health gets underway in the British capital. Kicking off two weeks of auctions at the major auction houses, there should be ample chance for bidders to show just how confident they are on the current state of Britain, its place in the European art market, and how Brexit might have changed those forecasts. With Impressionist and Modern Sales scheduled for this week, and a trio of Contemporary and 20th Century Sales next, the month of February should be an intriguing bellwether for the coming months, and perhaps for 2020 more broadly.

Ed Ruscha, God Knows Where (2014), via Phillips
Ed Ruscha, God Knows Where (2014), via Phillips

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