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

Art News Explores Controversy Over Helen Molesworth Firing

March 22nd, 2018

Helen Molesworth, via MOCAArt News has a piece exploring the firing of Helen Molesworth at MOCA in-depth, seeking to understand what the museum’s claims that she had been “undermining the museum.” The piece explores a series of public statements and quotes by the curator that were critical of MOCA and its programming choices.  “Everything that happens in museums is a microcosm of what happens in the world,” she says in one quote.  “I’ve been told that I have lot of ‘swagger’—code: gay, code: black. I have been told: Do I have to look at everything through the lens of identity politics?”
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Joan Jonas Profiled in The Guardian

March 22nd, 2018

Joan Jonas, via GuardianJoan Jonas gets a feature in The Guardian this week, as the artist opens her retrospective at the Tate Modern. “When I use a myth or a story or a literary text in my work, I often extract particular passages from a larger narrative that resonates with me,” she says. “In performance, the audience hears the text, recorded in advance or recited in real time, in fragments, and sees components – such as movements, props, drawings and video – that may relate only indirectly to the text. I don’t change the language, but rather I change the context, which opens up the text to different possibilities of meaning. I don’t illustrate; I juxtapose.”
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Marc Chagall Painting from National Gallery of Canada Features in Christie’s May Sale in New York

March 22nd, 2018

Chagall-La-Tour-Eiffel, via Art Market MonitorA 1929 Marc Chagall painting of the Eiffel Tower in Paris is being sold by the National Gallery of Canada at Christie’s this May in New York, and will be used to pay for new acquisitions.  “Filled with an air of sensuous, passionate romance, Marc Chagall’s La Tour Eiffel (estimate: $6-9 million) encapsulates the wonderfully poetic style that emerged in his oeuvre during the 1920s and 1930s,” the auction house said in a statement. “It was during this period that he experienced unprecedented period of happiness, stability, comfort and professional success amidst.”
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Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon, image via National Galleries

b. 1909 in Dublin, died 1992 in Madrid

Bacon was considered a modern artist but did not belong to any particular art movement. He developed his own style of work, often creating scenes involving violence or sexuality.

Bacon is an Irish born painter, who is best known for his nightmarish, grotesque imagery.  He lived a tumulus life, constantly moving, being shuffled around to relatives, a strained relationship with his father, menial jobs, and a severe case of asthma and a violent allergy to dogs and horses.  He was never formally trained or attended any art schools.  

His medical conditions caused him to purchase a medical book on the subject matter diseases of the mouth, which contained images that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Bacon noted that the 1925 silent film The Battleship Potemkin, was highly influential on his work.

His first show was in 1929, which exhibited his rugs and furniture he had created while working as an interior designer.  His later works were an abstraction of the human form. 

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944) via Tate Collection

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944) would be the first forerunner of Bacon’s works that would take the triptych format.   Three panels placed behind heavily gilded frames, an open mouth a reference to the The Battleship Potemkin, and the use of distortion.  

Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent

Study After Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent image via Art Quotes

Bacon also became interested in Diego Velasquez’s work, particularly, his Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1650. Bacon painted a series of Popes, however his version the Pope was more gruesome and nightmarish.

Triptych (1972) via Tate Collection

Bacon destroyed his previous works he did not deem worthy, many ending up with slashed canvases. His relationship with Eastender George Dyer influenced his Triptych (1973), which documents Dyer’s suicide, and would continue to be a theme for his works for the rest of his life. 

Bacon died of a heart attack April 28, 1992 while in Madrid, Spain.