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


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 »

New York – Peter Coffin, Agathe Snow, Willy Le Maitre: “The Weird Show” at CANADA Gallery Through April 13th, 2014

April 13th, 2014

Peter Coffin Untitled (Unfinished Hand Holding a Bell Bubble) (2013), via Art Observed
Peter Coffin, Untitled (Unfinished Hand Holding a Bell Bubble) (2013), via Art Observed

Currently on view at CANADA Gallery in New York is a selection of works from Agathe Snow, Peter Coffin and Willy Le Maitre, and featuring a bizarre series of assemblage, sculpture and photography appropriately titled The Weird Show.  Spread out along the gallery’s long, narrow rooms, the group of works on view offer a look at the work of the trio through a similar framework of pastiched cultural formats. Read More »

New York – Sarah Lucas: “NUD NOB” at Gladstone Gallery Through April 26th, 2014

April 13th, 2014

Sarah Lucas, Dacre (2013) via Osman Yerebakan
Sarah Lucas, Dacre (2013) via Osman Yerebakan

Britain introduced many significant female artists in the 90s during its highly touted YBA (Young British Artists) era, woman who presented feminine sexuality not as an object, but as a subject in itself. Commonly interpreted as a tool or a meta for male artists, female sexuality was reformed into ‘a maker’ that creates art alongside a group of female artists (with inspirations from pioneers such as Louise Bourgeois or Georgia O’Keeffe), instead of being the object that the hand works on. Artists like Tracey Emin, Sam Taylor-Wood and Sarah Lucas presented bodies of works that came from the essence of being a woman by explicating femininity in unorthodox ways.

Sarah Lucas, Priapus (2013), Chicken Knickers (2014) via Osman Yerebakan
Sarah Lucas, Priapus (2013) and Chicken Knickers (2014) via Osman Yerebakan Read More »

Guggenheim Museum Troubled Over Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet Work in Bilbao

April 12th, 2014

Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet in Bilbao, via Wall Street JournalA recent installation by Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet in Bilbao, Spain has raised the ire of the Guggenheim Museum.  Depicting the museum’s Frank Gehry-designed facade covered in guns as if it was a battleship, Powered A-Hole Spanish Donkey Sport Dick Drink Donkey Dong Dongs Sunscreen Model has drawn a removal notice from the museum, which claims copyright over the museum’s image.  “We believe that the image displayed on the said property includes connotations that discredit this institution, so we urge you to withdraw the said canvas ASAP,” Alba Urresola, the Guggenheim’s associate director of legal and internal control, said in a notice sent to Bouchet’s gallery.  Read More »

New Documentary Charts Ai Weiwei’s Release from Detention

April 12th, 2014

Ai Weiwei, The Fake CaseA new documentary on Ai Weiwei, The Fake Case, is preparing for release, profiling the artist’s release from his 81-day detention under the Chinese state, the artist’s response after his imprisonment, and his preparation for S.A.C.R.E.D., a series of works that documented his time while he was held without bail for tax evasion, a charge one person in his film notes doesn’t even exist in China.  ”Nobody in China would believe it, because nobody pays taxes in China anyways, so there’s no such thing,” they say. Read More »

My Art Invest Offers Share by Share Ownership of Contemporary Art

April 12th, 2014

Damien Hirst Skateboards, via My Art InvestA new venture has opened its doors in London, allowing interested buyers to purchase shares in art on view, and to take the work home to show for a fraction of each year.  Called My Art Invest, investors can buy shares in works for as little as $8, with share value determined by an artist’s market value, including works by Basquiat and Damien Hirst.  ”We want to democratise art,” says Tom-David Bastok, My Art Invest’s 25-year-old founder. “For me, it’s very, very, very important that everybody can put a foot in the art market.” Read More »

Ai Weiwei Prepares Trio of International Shows for Summer

April 12th, 2014

Ai Weiwei at Brooklyn Museum, via WSJThis spring, three shows of work by artist Ai Weiwei are opening in London, Berlin and New York, with a major retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, an exhibition at Lisson Gallery in London, and the largest exhibition of the artist’s work to date at the Martin-Gropius Bau in Berlin.  The exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum includes the artist’s S.A.C.R.E.D. works, half-sized dioramas depicting his 81-day imprisonment that commanded major critical attention at the Venice Biennale last year.  The exhibitions come with a hope that Chinese tourists may be exposed to Ai’s work outside his own country.   ”Because my work is banned from being shown inside China, the only way they can become aware of it is from the outside,” he said. Read More »

Major Works from Basquiat and Warhol to Sell This May

April 12th, 2014

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1981), via Wall Street JournalSeveral iconic works by both Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat will be at auction this May in New York, the Wall Street Journal reports, including a 1981 painting by Basquiat at Christie’s which has never been resold, and has never before been exhibited publicly.  It is valued at $20 million.  Also on sale is Warhol’s Six Self-Portraits series from 1986, which is valued at $25 million, and is selling at Sotheby’s. Read More »

New York – Rudolf Stingel at Gagosian Gallery Through April 19th, 2014

April 12th, 2014

Rudolf Stingel, Untitled (2010), all images courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Rudolf Stingel, Untitled (2010), all images courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Painter Rudolf Stingel is currently on view at Gagosian Gallery, presenting an exhibition of the artist’s monumental landscapes. Although several of the works were exhibited in 2010 in Berlin at the Neue Nationalgalerie, this exhibition at Gagosian New York represents their U.S. premier.

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Longtime Auctioneer Edward Dolman Returns to Head Phillips

April 11th, 2014

Edward Dolman, via WSJLongtime auction market veteran Edward Dolman is returning from a three year stint at the Qatar Museums Authority to head Phillips, the perennial third-place auction house, and to challenge the long-running dominance of Sotheby’s and Christie’s.  “It’s certainly been tried before,” he said in a telephone interview with the New York Times. “I’ve always thought it would be good for everyone to offer clients more options, especially with the significant growth in the number of collectors there are now from all over the world.”    Read More »