Global contemporary art events and news observed from New York City. Suggestion? Email us.
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Art News Charts Acquisitions and Sales Speculations Among Mega-Galleries

May 22nd, 2019

A piece in Art News notes the increased pace of acquisition of artists and artists’ estates by Hauser & Wirth of late, and looks at the sizes and purported earnings of each of the mega-galleries. “Gagosian was reputed to gross the most: roughly $1 billion a year,” says writer Michael Shnayerson. “The others were said to be closer to $250 million each, but claimed to do better.”
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Brooklyn Academy of Music Workers Move to Unionize

May 22nd, 2019

Administrative workers and cinema staff at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York are trying to unionize, Artforum reports. “We are here because we believe in BAM’s mission,” the new union’s Twitter account posted last month. “Through unionization, we raise our morale, pride, and job satisfaction. Our union will make BAM stronger, more democratic, and more sustainable. BAM is a cultural institution that stands for freedom of expression, innovation, and open dialogue. However, as administrative staff, we need a truly powerful voice of our own in our workplace.”
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Knight Foundation Gives $1.7 Million to PBS

May 22nd, 2019

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has given a $1.7 million gift to PBS, Art News reports. “This initiative raises the visibility of artists working across the U.S., north to south and east to west, in cities large and small,”says Victoria Rogers, the Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts. “Through its iconic national programming and expanded digital presence, PBS NewsHour’s Canvas elevates art as national news, bringing arts directly to millions of people on their screens big and small.”
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Kim Gordon, Glenn Ligon, Olivia Marciano Among New Board Appointments at LAXART

May 21st, 2019

Kim Gordon, Zenas Hutcheson, Glenn Ligon, Olivia Marciano and Conor O’Neil have been named to the board of the nonprofit art space LAXART in Los Angeles. “I’m simply giddy—humbled, honored, inspired all at once. These new members heighten our dynamism,” Hamza Walker, LAXART’s director, said in a statement. “Whereas Gordon and Ligon are seminal figures (read rock stars) in the field of contemporary art, Hutcheson, Marciano, and O’Neil mark a new generation of cultural stewardship. They join an already outstanding slate of directors who are our primary supporters and advocates.””
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Nomura Emerging Artist Award Goes to Cheng Ran and Cameron Rowland

May 21st, 2019

Artists Cheng Ran and Cameron Rowland have been awarded the newly launched Nomura Emerging Artist Award, with each of them receiving $100,000.  “It is extraordinary and admirable that Nomura has based this award program on the concepts of change and challenge,” Kathy Halbreich, a member of the prize’s jury and the executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation said. “For the Nomura Emerging Artist Award, the jury has responded by selecting two artists of high purpose, exceptional intellectual ambition, and profound sensitivity to the fast-moving currents of today’s world.”
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Art News Surveys MOCA’s Steps Forward Under Klaus Biesenbach

May 21st, 2019

A piece in Art News this week notes the recent fundraising successes at MOCA, and Klaus Biesenbach’s vision for the museum. “I think the future of MOCA is getting back to serving art and serving community—that’s the message,” says artist and board member Catherine Opie. “It’s all about opening up the museum and what MOCA stood for when it started. I think people are feeling really good about everything. I’ve been trying to take a beat from people I know, people that work inside the museum, as well as the perspective outside of MOCA. I have to say that, so far, everyone’s been giving the thumbs up.”
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Guardian Study Finds 88% of US Museum Collection Holdings Are Men

May 21st, 2019

A survey finds that museum holdings in the U.S. tend overwhelmingly towards white males, with men making up 88% of collection holdings nationwide. The survey breaks down collection data across a range of datasets and reports. 
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British Council Employee Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Spying

May 21st, 2019

Aras Amiri, a British Council employee accused of spying for the UK, has been sentenced to a ten-year prison sentence in Iran. “We are very concerned by reports that an Iranian British Council employee has been sentenced to jail on charges of espionage,” the UK Foreign Office said. “We have not been able to confirm any further details at this stage and are urgently seeking further information.”
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Mitch and Emily Rales Were Buyers for Record-Setting Lee Krasner Last Week

May 21st, 2019

The collector couple Emily and Mitchell Rales were the buyers of Lee Krasner’s The Eye is the First Circle (1960) last week at Sotheby’s, which set a record of $11.7 million for the artist.  WSJ reporter Kelly Crow broke the news on her Instagram. “We weren’t sure we’d get it,” Rales told her. “We’re so happy.”
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The Guardian Tours the Savitsky Museum in Uzbekistan

May 21st, 2019

The Guardian has a piece on the Savitsky Museum in Nukus, Uzbekistan, which holds a collection of avant-garde masterpieces rescued from the Staling regime in Russia.  The works were taken by Igor Savitsky, an electrician who fled Russia with the works in tow.
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

AO On-Site – New York: Frieze New York Art Fair on Randall’s Island, May 2nd – 5th, 2019

May 2nd, 2019

Jaume Plensa at Richard Gray, via Art Observed
Jaume Plensa at Richard Gray, via Art Observed

Marking its newest iteration on Randall’s Island, Frieze New York opened its doors on its VIP Preview today, welcoming a string of collectors, gallerists and artists winding their way over bridges or up the East River by Ferry this morning. The fair opened its doors on the early hours of its first preview day Wednesday, offering an opportunity for collectors and dealers to take a first stroll through the fair without the bustling crowds of the later fair days.  Celebrating its eighth year on Randall’s Island, the fair’s early previews saw a first look at a fair that has come into its own as an anchor of New York’s already packed art scene, and which has become a much-anticipated first hint of the summer months in the city. Read More »

AO Preview – New York: Frieze New York Art Fair at Randall’s Island, May 1st – 5th, 2019

April 26th, 2019

Inka Essenhigh, Untitled (2019), via Kavi Gupta
Inka Essenhigh, Untitled (2019), via Kavi Gupta

With the increasingly packed schedule of the spring art season in New York, attention and anticipation once again turns to the opening of this year’s edition of Frieze New York, set to open its doors in just a few days at its annual haunt at Randall’s Island. This year, as the fair reaches its eighth edition, some adjustments and tweaks to the schedule will look to expand the fair’s offerings and appeal in an increasingly crowded circuit. Read More »

New York – Raqib Shaw: “Landscapes of Kashmir” at Pace Through May 18th, 2019

April 25th, 2019

Raqib Shaw, Lament on Narscissus to Icarus (2017-2018), via Art ObservedRaqib Shaw, Lament on Narscissus to Icarus (2017-2018), via Art Observed

For pure opulence, it’s hard to match the canvases of artist Raqib Shaw. Pulling together disparate traditions in Indian and Western portraiture and epic painting, the artist’s work mines each historical mode in pursuit of a lush, swirling iconography that simultaneously entrances the viewer and overwhelms them with visual excess, a negotiation of forms that encourages a lingering consideration of each work. Read More »

New York – Alec Soth: “I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating” at Sean Kelly Through April 27th, 2019

April 24th, 2019

 Simone. Los Angeles, 2017, Alec Soth, Sean Kelly Gallery                                     Alec Soth, Simone. Los Angeles, 2017 (2017), Via Art Observed

Currently on view at Sean Kelly’s spacious Chelsea exhibition space, photographer Alec Soth is presenting a body of new works. Comprised of recent large-scale color portraits and images of interiors, the exhibition, “I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating,” focuses on Soth’s depiction of the individual, posing questions about what these images reveal about both the sitter and photographer. Read More »

New York – Alicja Kwade: “ParaParticular” at 303 Gallery Through May 18th, 2019

April 18th, 2019

Alicja Kwade, MatterMotion (2019), via 303 Gallery
Alicja Kwade, MatterMotion (2019), via 303 Gallery

Working with concepts of nature, science, philosophy and perception, artist Alicja Kwade’s work draws on complex fusions of phenomena, space and architecture, using these formats to question and explore the natural world alongside humanity’s participation in it. Drawing on reflective elements, spatial inversions and peculiar material juxtapositions, the artist has become renowned for her ability to challenge our most basic logical assumptions. Read More »

New York – Lutz Bacher, Nayland Blake and Vincent Fecteau: “Magic Ben Big Boy” at Matthew Marks Gallery Through April 20th, 2019

April 17th, 2019

Vincent Fecteau, Chorus #1 (1994), via Matthew Marks
Vincent Fecteau, Chorus #1 (1994), via Matthew Marks

Currently on view at Matthew Marks’s spacious West 22nd Street location, a trio of artists, Lutz Bacher, Nayland Blake and Vincent Fecteau (who also takes on curator duties here) have collaborated on a striking and unique investigation of time and history. Meant to serve in part as a re-creation of Fecteau’s first solo exhibition, the show twists a series of diverse narratives and conceptual ties among the artists into a unique interpretation of the past. Read More »

New York – Robert Motherwell: “Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings” at Kasmin Gallery throug

April 16th, 2019

Sheer Presence Monumental Paintings By Robert Motherwell (Installation View), via Kasmin Gallery

Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings By Robert Motherwell (Installation View), via Kasmin Gallery

There are many moments during Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings by Robert Motherwell, a show of large-scale works by the American master, where one feels inundated with color and line. The artist’s works, either towering over the viewer or stretch across the walls of Kasmin Gallery’s flagship space, are unified under a fitting show title: their magnificent presence often captivates the viewer and pulls them deeper into the space of the canvas, even in the show’s most minimalist approaches to surface. Read More »

AO On-Site – Los Angeles: Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair at The Geffen Contemporary, April 12th – 14th, 2019

April 16th, 2019

LAABF, via Printed Matter
LAABF, via Printed Matter

This past weekend, Los Angeles residents and visitors from far afield flocked to the City of Angels for the annual opening of Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair (LAABF) the West Coast companion fair to the NY Art Book Fair.  Marking a unique and wide-ranging look at the current status of art publishing and printed material.  Free and open to the public, the fair has built a reputation as a leading international gathering for the distribution of artists’ books, celebrating the full breadth of the art publishing community.

Jeffrey Cheung, via Art Oberved
Jeffrey Cheung, via Art Observed

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Paris – Jean-Michel Othoniel at Galerie Perrotin Through June 8th, 2019

April 15th, 2019

Jean-Michel Othoniel, Oracles (Installation View)
Jean-Michel Othoniel, Oracles (Installation View), Photo: Claire Dorn © Jean-Michel Othoniel / ADAGP, Paris, 2019 Courtesy of the artist & Perrotin.

Entering the Paris location of Galerie Perrotin, the viewer is greeted with a series of dazzling sculptures, jagged agglomerations of shining blocks that appear to glow with a colorful energy, spreading across the floor of one room, while in another, dotting the walls, each appearing to emit a gentle, flame-like glow. The works, new pieces by the artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, are a striking elaboration of the artist’s work, continuing his exploration of space and light as innately tied to their generating materials. Read More »

New York – Austin Lee: “Feels Good” at Jeffrey Deitch Through May 18th, 2019

April 12th, 2019

Austin Lee, Feels Good (Installation View), via Art Observed
Austin Lee, Feels Good (Installation View), via Art Observed

Part of a young crop of digital natives exploring convergences between physical and digital art practices, artist Austin Lee’s work feels particularly vivid and important. While earlier generations of artists began their careers sketching on paper, Lee began by using Photoshop and other digital tools to sketch on his computer. His work combines the latest image making technologies with traditional artistic processes. He uses the airbrush and the paintbrush to create luminous paintings that evoke both the light of a computer screen and the bold coloration of color field painting. Read More »