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Maurizio Cattelan Profiled in NYT

April 24th, 2017

Maurizio Cattelan, via NYTMaurizio Cattelan is profiled in the New York Times this week, as a documentary on the artist hits theaters.  “Underneath it all, Maurizio’s a good person,” says director Maura Axelrod of the artist’s mischievous personality. “He’s not careening through life trying to upset people. His overall approach is playful. Although maybe not the Stephanie Seymour piece. That might be the exception.”
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Magdalena Abakanowicz Passes Away at the age of 86

April 24th, 2017

Embryology 1978-80 by Magdalena Abakanowicz born 1930Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz has passed away at the age of 86.  The artist’s long career frequently challenged the authoritarian regime of Cold War Poland, and the impact of war on the psyche of its people.  “We are finally still questioning our own existence, the problem of our existence,” she once said, “because this is the greatest question and the greatest mystery—existence and sense or non-sense, the extraordinary power of man and his extraordinary weakness.”
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Case Over Pieter Bruegel the Younger Painting Hints at Problems with Painting Valuations

April 24th, 2017

Pieter Bruegel the Younger, via NYTThe New York Times reports on a recent court decision over the valuation and sale of a Pieter Bruegel the Younger the painting, where evidence showed a trend towards auction houses underpricing works so as to win favor from sellers when the works sold at strong prices.  The ruling echoes assertions by the I.R.S. that prices given for artworks are a likely “high abuse area.”
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

Andy Warhol

Biography

“Andy Warhol began as a commercial illustrator, and a very successful one, doing jobs like shoe ads for I. Miller in a stylish blotty line that derived from Ben Shahn. He first exhibited in an art gallery in 1962, when the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles showed his 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1961-62. From then on, most of Warhol’s best work was done over a span of about six years, finishing in 1968, when he was shot. And it all flowed from one central insight: that in a culture glutted with information, where most people experience most things at second or third hand through TV and print, through images that become banal and disassociated by repeated again and again and again, there is role for affectless art. You no longer need to be hot and full of feeling. You can be supercool, like a slightly frosted mirror. Not that Warhol worked this out; he didn’t have to. He felt it and embodied it. He was a conduit for a sort of collective American state of mind in which celebrity – the famous image of a person, the famous brand name – had completely replaced both sacredness and solidity.

Earlier artists, like Monet, had painted the same motif in series in order to display minute discriminations of perception, the shift of light and color form hour to hour on a haystack, and how these could be recorded by the subtlety of eye and hand. Warhol’s thirty-two soup cans are about nothing of the kind. They are about sameness (though with different labels): same brand, same size, same paint surface, same fame as product. They mimic the condition of mass advertising, out of which his sensibility had grown. They are much more deadpan than the object which may have partly inspired them, Jasper Johns’s pair of bronze Ballantine ale cans. This affectlessness, this fascinated and yet indifferent take on the object, became the key to Warhol’s work; it is there in the repetition of stars’ faces (Liz, Jackie, Marilyn, Marlon, and the rest), and as a record of the condition of being an uninvolved spectator it speaks eloquently about the condition of image overload in a media saturated culture. Warhol extended it by using silk screen, and not bothering to clean up the imperfections of the print: those slips of the screen, uneven inkings of the roller, and general graininess. What they suggested was not the humanizing touch of the hand but the pervasiveness of routine error and of entropy…”

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