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RIP: Vito Acconci Has Passed Away at the Age of 77

April 28th, 2017

Vito Acconi, via huffington post
Vito Acconi, via Huffington Post

Vito Acconci, the groundbreaking artist, architect and performer whose impact on the field of contemporary art counts among the most influential of the 20th Century, has passed away at the age of 77.  Acconci suffered a stroke this week, from which he did not recover.


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Marciano Art Foundation Prepares to Open in LA

April 28th, 2017

Marciano Art Foundation, via LA MagazineLA Magazine profiles the soon to open Marciano Art Foundation on Wilshire, and the long-running efforts to open the converted Masonic Temple. “I wanted to have a place not just to exhibit art but rather for the artists to come and get inspired and do whatever they want. We’ll just let things happen,” says Maurice Marciano.
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Art Newspaper Examines Art Policies of French Presidential Candidates

April 28th, 2017

Le Pen and Macron, via Art NewspaperThe Art Newspaper profiles the contrasting policies towards the arts of French presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, who are set for a run-off on May 7th.  Macron is pushing to maintain the arts budget, and will embrace EU-centered policies, while Le Pen’s staunch isolationism sees her pushing for increased funds for conservation and a halt to the sale of buildings to foreigners. 
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Frances Stark Profiled in The Guardian

April 25th, 2017

Frances Stark, via GuardianFrances Stark is profiled in The Guardian this week, in which she discusses the state of the contemporary art world, and her recent work orchestrating a version of the Magic Flute for a group of student performers.  “One of the reasons I got really enamored with the Magic Flute,” Stark says, “is that I watched the Ingmar Bergman version with my son, when he was four or five. He was too young to read the subtitles, so I read them to him. When the movie was over – and this is a long opera – he said, ‘Can we watch it again?’” 
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Robert Rauschenberg Profiled in New York Review of Books

April 25th, 2017

Robert Rauschenberg: Persimmon, 1964; from Rauschenberg’s series of oil and silkscreen-ink print paintings in which, Jed Perl writes, ‘photographs of President Kennedy, crowded city streets, space travel, and a nude by Rubens come together to sThe New York Review of books has a lengthy profile on Robert Rauschenberg this week, as the artist’s landmark retrospective prepares to open at MoMA next month.  “I tend to see everything.” Rauschenberg once said, “I always wanted my work—whatever happened in the studio—to look more like what was going on outside the window.”
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Artist Banks Violette Interviewed in NYT

April 25th, 2017

Banks Violette, via NYTThe New York Times has a profile on Banks Violette, an artist who helped define the aesthetics of New York’s downtown art scene during the 2000’s, and who is currently preparing for a return to the art world with a show upcoming at Gladstone Gallery.  The piece traces the artist’s struggles with addiction, and the challenges of being immensely successful at such a young age.  “A lot of it was just being young, being in New York, suddenly having a bunch of attention, suddenly having packed openings, not being able to sleep and working 24 hours a day,” he says. “It wasn’t really even fun. It was more, ‘Hey, we’re super freaked out, let’s get high.’ ”
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Theaster Gates Unveils Proposal for Park in Chicago’s Washington Park

April 25th, 2017

Park Proposal, via DNA InfoTheaster Gates has revealed plans for a theater and park on the University of Chicago’s arts block in Washington Park, turning a series of lots into public space that would increase the usability and safety of the space while providing places for performances and gatherings.  “Right now it’s a place people walk through to get from 51st Place to the bus,” he says.
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Kerry James Marshall Named One of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People for 2017

April 25th, 2017

kerry-james-marshall-via-nytTime Magazine has included Kerry James Marshall among its list of 100 most influential people for 2017, noting the artist’s major retrospective and ongoing contribution to the language of American art.  “For too long, the contributions of black people in American society have been ignored, marginalized and denied. Kerry James Marshall confirms and confronts those depictions and omissions with artistic flair, portraying everyday events in black lives,” former NBA star and collector Grant Hill says of the artist. “He forces people to assess the American experi­ence through the black experience. In so doing, he has established himself not only among the giants of the black art milieu, but as one of the most influential American artists anywhere.”
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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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REFERENCE LIBRARY

Los Angeles – Jimmie Durham: “At the Center of the World” at the Hammer Museum Through May 7th, 2017

March 30th, 2017

Jimmie Durham, At The Center of the World (Installation View), via Art Observed
Jimmie Durham, At The Center of the World (Installation View), via Art Observed

For nearly fifty years, artist Jimmie Durham has worked at a unique junction of material and focus, exploring the modern world through his haphazard material sensibility.  Compiling works from broken planks of wood, reclaimed oil drums, signs, blown glass and other objects, the artist’s assemblages delve into the modern landscape, repositioning one’s perspective on the landscape of modernity, and the often challenging disconnects between human progress and the day to day world.  Currently presenting a survey of his work at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the artist gives the viewer a moment to catch up to the times, bringing together a range of interests in history and politics that constantly undergird his approach to his work.

Jimmie Durham, Homage to David Hammons (1997), via Art Observed
Jimmie Durham, Homage to David Hammons (1997), via Art Observed

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New York – “Alice Neel, Uptown” Curated by Hilton Als at David Zwirner Through April 22nd, 2017

March 28th, 2017

Alice Neel, Anselmo (1962), via Art Observed
Alice Neel, Anselmo (1962), via Art Observed

Drawing on painter Alice Neel’s longtime residence in the northern reaches of Manhattan, David Zwirner is currently presenting a body of paintings by Alice Neel, curated by author and critic Hilton Als, and exploring Neel’s longtime practice in portraiture.  Encouraging an exploration of visual art history and politics, social commentary and painterly craft, the exhibition is a striking exploration of the artist’s work in all of its nuance and power.   Read More »

Los Angeles – Ron Nagle: “Ice Breaker” at Matthew Marks Gallery Through April 8th, 2017

March 24th, 2017

Ron Nagle, Glorious Assemblage (2016), via Art Observed
Ron Nagle, Glorious Assemblage (2016), via Art Observed

Ron Nagle’s miniature sculptures function in part as narrative fragments, scenes and situations held in time and added a certain sense of life and energy by their imaginative, curving forms or remarkably evocative relations of space.  Some conjure the effect of domestic scenes, others a moment of geological rupture, while others present themselves as somewhere between the two, always emphasizing the artist’s patient craft and attention to detail that has made his connections with fellow West Coast artists like Ken Price all the more apparent.  Nagle returns to Los Angeles this spring for a show with Matthew Marks Gallery, bringing a new body of sculptures and drawings created over the course of 2016, once again illustrating these elements in play with his ever-growing body of work. Read More »

New York — Bjarne Melgaard: “The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment” at Red Bull Arts New York Through April 9th, 2017

March 23rd, 2017

Bjarne Melgaard, The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, 2017. Photography by Andre Herrero. Courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York.
Bjarne Melgaard, The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, 2017. Photography by Andre Herrero. Courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York.

For its inaugural exhibition as Red Bull Arts, the multi-purpose art venue in Chelsea has opened its doors for Bjarne Melgaard’s immersive reenactment of a clothing store, titled The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, and furthering the artist’s already well-documented engagements with pop culture, fashion and personal subjectivities over the course of his body of multimedia works.  The Norwegian artist, who has enjoyed tremendous recognition in the U.S. in recent years, especially his psychedelic installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, has brought his own fashion line, which had its European debut at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo last November, to New York.   Read More »

AO On-Site – Hong Kong: Art Basel Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Convention Center, March 23 – 25th, 2017

March 23rd, 2017

Dinh Q Le in the fair's Encounters section courtesy 10 Chancery Lane, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed
Dinh Q. Le in the fair’s Encounters section courtesy 10 Chancery Lane, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed

The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center opened its doors this morning on the first hours of Art Basel Hong Kong, signaling the launch of Hong Kong Art Week in the city, and bringing crowds of collectors, dealers and other art world professionals to bear on the lengthy hallways and aisles of the event.  Marking a distinct focus on the Asian market, the fair boasted an impressive look at the continent’s contemporary arts circuit, with a burst of early sales that hinted at an ongoing willingness to spend at major events.  True to form, the event managed to bring out an impressive list of international VIP’s.  Hans Ulrich Obrist, Melissa Chiu, and Uli Sigg could all be seen wandering the aisles of the fair, as well as Ryan Gander, Rashid Johnson, and Christo, who was presenting a survey of his work at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Francis Picabia at Hauser & Wirth, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed
Francis Picabia at Hauser & Wirth, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed

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London – Ibrahim Mahama: “Fragments” at White Cube Through April 13th, 2017

March 22nd, 2017

Ibrahim Mahama, Non-Orientable Nkansa (2017), via White Cube
Ibrahim Mahama, Non-Orientable Nkansa (2017), via White Cube

Since his step onto the world stage at the 2015 Venice Biennale, artist Ibrahim Mahama has garnered impressive critical attention for his use of reclaimed jute sacks and other cast-off materials.  Drawing on the intersections of capitalist exchange, material decay, and commercial detritus, Mahama’s work uses structure and use as indicators of failed and fluctuating economic systems.  This practice takes on new elements and variations in the artist’s current exhibition at White Cube in London, his first solo exhibition in the UK, and a powerful introduction to the artist’s attentive, challenging body of work.

Ibrahim Mahama, Issaka Tob (2016), via White Cube
Ibrahim Mahama, Issaka Tob (2016), via White Cube

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AO Preview – Hong Kong: Art Basel Hong Kong at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, March 23rd – 25th, 2017

March 20th, 2017

Luc Tuymans, K (2017), via David Zwirner
Luc Tuymans, K (2017), via David Zwirner

Continuing the globe-hopping market events of March this year, collectors, galleries and artists will touch down in Hong Kong for the fifth edition of Art Basel’s fair event in the city, bringing 242 galleries from 34 countries around the globe to the annual sales event.  Marking a strong focus on Asian galleries and artists this year (at least half of the exhibiting galleries are based on the continent), the fair may trace a shift away from globalized networks and towards strengthening national and regional markets.

Vanderlei Lopes, EEDDM II, via Athena Contemporanea
Vanderlei Lopes, EEDDM II, via Athena Contemporanea Read More »

New York – The 2017 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum, Through June 11th, 2017

March 20th, 2017

Raul de Nieves, via Art Observed
Raul de Nieves, via Art Observed

It’s been a long time coming for this year’s Whitney Biennial, an exhibition that has sat on pause for several years as the institution prepared for its move downtown, and got comfortable in its new space in the Meatpacking District.  Opening its first Biennial since 2014, the stage has been set for a particularly timely moment of reflection on both America and its art communities at a time when the national identity has rarely been so fiercely contested and examined.

Ajay Kurian, Childermass (2017), via Art Observed
Ajay Kurian, Childermass (2017), via Art Observed

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Mexico City — Gabriel Orozco: “Oroxxo” at Kurimanzutto Through March 16th, 2017

March 15th, 2017

oroxxo1c_kurimanzutto_sophiekitching
Gabriel Orozco, installation view, Kurimanzutto, 2017, via Sophie Kitching for Art Observed

Gabriel Orozco’s new solo presentation takes place in Galeria Kurimanzutto, in San Miguel Chapultepec, Mexico DF. The show, which opened last month in conjunction with Zona Maco 2017, sees Orozco exploring a unique two-part exhibition that draws attention to Mexico’s core contemporary culture embedded in the everyday: its Oxxo tiendas, with their cheap consumer goods massively distributed across the country. These retail stores satisfy the daily needs of millions of Mexicans with sodas, snacks, cigarettes, toilet paper, shampoo, condoms, etc… Over the past 40 years, the Oxxo chain, subsidiary of the multinational multi-billion dollar company Femsa, has expanded to over 14,000 locations.

oroxxo8b_kurimanzutto_sophiekitching
Gabriel Orozco, installation view,  Kurimanzutto, 2017, via Art Observed

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New York – Francis Picabia: “Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction” at MoMA Through March 19th, 2017

March 15th, 2017

Francis Picabia, The Adoration of the Calf (1941-42), via Art Observed
Francis Picabia, The Adoration of the Calf (1941-42), via Art Observed

Taking on the endlessly inventive and ever-shifting formal abilities of artist Francis PicabiaMoMA’s current survey dedicated to the painter (and the first of its kind in the United States) has earned almost ceaseless praise, diving deep into the fluid and challenging series paintings, poems, published works, performances and films of one of French surrealisms landmark voices.  Spread across the gallery’s sixth floor exhibition space, Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction (which closes at the end of the week), serves as both a striking introduction and an impressively deep elaboration on the artist’s body of work.  Read More »