Global contemporary art events and news observed from New York City. Suggestion? Email us.
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Qatar Museums Employee Recaps Decline of Country’s Art Buying

August 24th, 2016

Qatari Museum, via QuartzFormer Qatar Museums employee Mikolai Napieralski has published an article on Quartz this week, pointing to the end of the country’s oil-boom, a drastically slashed budget, and increasingly conservative leadership as causes for the decline of the Qataris’ presence in the art market.   “These days, the organization is a shadow of its former self, and its international staff—and ambition—are long gone,” he writes.  “And that $250 million Cezanne and the $300 million Gauguin? Your guess is as good as mine.”
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Comedian Vic Reeves to Explore Dada for BBC Four

August 24th, 2016

Vik Reeves, via BBCComedian Vic Reeves will explore the history and legacy of Dada for the BBC this season, exploring the movement on the one hundredth anniversary of its founding.  Martin Creed and Terry Gilliam will join Reeves on the program,  where he will also recreate one of the group’s performances.  “It was the Dadaists who proved the most important (artists),” Reeves said of the movement’s impact on the 20th Century and beyond.
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LA Times Reports on Nazi-Loot Ruling for Pasadena Museum

August 24th, 2016

Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder, via LA TimesThe LA Times reports on the recent California court ruling that the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena does not need to return works to the family of dealer Jacques Goudstikker, after Goudstikker’s firm abandoned claims to the work during the years following the war.  The article also notes that Marei von Saher, Goudstikker’s daughter-in-law and plaintiff in the case, is also the daughter of a Nazi party member, further complicating the situation.  “The court’s decision is based on the merits,” said a statement from the Norton Simon, “considering the facts and law at the heart of the dispute.”
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Steve McQueen Given Fellowship in British Film Institute

August 24th, 2016

Steve McQueen, via The GuardianSteve McQueen is set to be honored with a British Film Institute Fellowship, making him the youngest filmmaker to ever receive that distinction.  “I first walked into the BFI library and cinema 28 years ago,” McQueen says.  “To think that I will now be a fellow and honorary member, with such a distinguished list of people, is mind-blowing. I’m humbly honored.”
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Lucian Freud’s Work at National Portrait Gallery Analyzed by New York Review of Books

August 24th, 2016

Lucian Freud, via NYRBThe New York Review of Books takes a closer look at Lucian Freud’s sketchbooks, unfinished paintings and smaller works, a selection of which are currently on view at the National Portrait Gallery in London, and traces the artist’s process in relation to his life and work.  The piece also reflects on Freud’s close relationship with the institution.
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Smithsonian Writer Challenges Emphasis on Digital Reproduction and Conservation Techniques

August 24th, 2016

Rembrandt, via SmithsonianAn article in the Smithsonian notes the increased inclination towards the recreation or replication of famed works, galleries or exhibition spaces, as well as the use of digital restoration techniques, and questions how these new modes of experiencing art shapes the viewer’s experience.  “If this happens too often, with simulacra so much more convenient to experience, the real version can slump into disrepair and eventually become abandoned,” writer Noah Charney laments.  “Then we may be left with the body, but risk the loss of the most important thing to those who truly know and love art and history: the soul.” 
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Moscow Gallery Faces Backlash Over Works Loaned from Annexed Territory

August 24th, 2016

Ivan Aivazovsky exhibition at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, via Art NewspaperMoscow’s Tretyakov Gallery is drawing fierce criticism after showing a selection of works by Armenian artist Ivan Aivazovsky, on loan from institutions in the annexed region of the Ukraine.  “Due to the gross violation by the Russian Federation of all norms of international law, including those stemming from its occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine, our state is deprived of any kind of oversight over the preservation of cultural property on the temporarily occupied territories, especially those that are an integral part of the museum fund of Ukraine,” the Ukrainian cultural ministry said in a statement.  
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SculptureCenter Fall Season Lands Solo Shows for Aki Sasamoto, Cosima von Bonin 

August 24th, 2016

Aki Sasamoto, via the artistSculptureCenter has announced a strong fall program this week, continuing a focus on female artists. The season is of particular note for the first NYC solo exhibitions for Aki Sasamoto and Cosima von Bonin, with the former presenting a “cycle of performances articulating the stream of consciousness and associations.”
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Tom Wesselmann Profiled in NYT

August 24th, 2016

Tom Wesselmann, Sunset Nude with Big Palm Tree  (2004), via Art ObservedTom Wesselmann is the subject of a profile in the New York Times this week, tracing the course of his career and his ongoing interests in the mechanisms of pop culture and art history. Of particular note is the artist’s body of self-criticism, published under the pseudonym Slim Stealingworth. “Wesselmann was aware of a relationship between scale and eroticism. Too big a scale and eroticism decreases — perhaps because it is too hard to relate to a 15-foot woman,” he writes of his own compositions.
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Syrian Antiquities Says Three-Quarters of Seized Antiquities in Country Are Fake

August 24th, 2016

A seized, fake mosaic, via Art NewspaperThree quarters of artifacts seized in smuggling raids at the borders of Syria have been identified as fakes, Syria’s antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim says, allaying some fears over illicit digging and sale of artifacts from the country by extremist groups.  “I hope the originals are stopped and the fakes go to the market place,” Abdulkarim says.
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

New York — “Blackness in Abstraction” at Pace Gallery Through August 19th, 2016

August 8th, 2016

Wangechi Mutu, Throw (2016), via Art Observed
Wangechi Mutu, Throw (2016), via Art Observed

Blackness in Abstraction is Pace Gallery’s museum level survey of a candid, simple concept—the use of the color black in art since the 1940’s—stemming from the visual impact of its subject color and spreading toward its various pertinent connotations.  Curated by Adrienne Edwards, the selection, featuring twenty-nine intergenerational artists, puts a particular emphasis on monochromes, yet a broad array of media, including video, sculpture and photography, is available in an exhibition that joins in on the highly populated list of conceptually potent summer group shows.   Read More »

San Francisco – “Plane.Site” at Gagosian Gallery Through August 27th, 2016

August 7th, 2016

Rachel Whiteread, Yellow Edge (2007-2008), via Art Observed
Rachel Whiteread, Yellow Edge (2007-2008), via Art Observed

Continuing its slow but steady expansion around the globe, Gagosian Gallery has inaugurated a new exhibition space in downtown San Francisco, opening a spacious and beautifully lit gallery on Howard Street, just across from the recently re-opened SFMoMA.  Taking the opportunity to flex its roster in its new home, the gallery has curated a strong exhibition, Plane.Site, taking intersections of form, practice and material across a variety of artists from the gallery’s expansive representation. Read More »

New York – “Shapeshifters” at Luhring Augustine Through August 12th, 2016

August 6th, 2016

Kenneth Noland, Adjoin (1980), via Art Observed
Kenneth Noland, Adjoin (1980), via Art Observed © Estate of Kenneth Noland/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY www.vagarights.com

Like many of the forms of 20th Century abstraction, the shaped canvas invites both dedication and constant reinvention, a technical fold in the painterly language that allows an artist to work between the picture plane/mark-making relationship of traditional practice, and the more sculptural elements of the art form that have developed alongside critical reappraisals of the medium since the historical avant-garde.  Twisting the canvas and the artist’s gestural vocabulary around edges and into curious re-examinations of space, it has remained a core element of the craft ever since the advent of minimalism pushed a new language of space both within the canvas, and around it.   Read More »

New York – “Fine Young Cannibals” at Petzel Gallery through August 5th, 2016

August 5th, 2016

InstallationView2-FineYoungCannibals-Petzel
Fine Young Cannibals (Installation View), via Petzel Gallery

Fine Young Cannibals, a summer group show currently up at Petzel Gallery’s 18th street location, is currently undertaking the perpetually ambitious task of examining the current state of painting.  Bringing together work from sixteen different artists, the show poses the question of whether the type of contemporary work sometimes categorized as “Zombie formalism,” borrowing a term first coined by critic Walter Robinson, is purely market driven, or whether the work should be given more consideration.  The pieces on view, which range from challenging formal workouts to coy, momentary operations on canvas, offer an intriguing look at current threads in the painterly discourse, adopting a fairly even-handed approach to the artists on view, and their respective interests.

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Los Angeles – Paul Lee: “Layers for a Brain Corner” at Maccarone Gallery Through August 12th, 2016

August 4th, 2016

Paul Lee, Lung (2016), via Art Observed
Paul Lee, Lung (2016), via Art Observed

Currently on view at Maccarone Gallery in LA, New York-based Paul Lee has brought a series of his enigmatic assemblages to bear on the gallery walls.  The artist, who previously worked between film and photography, has branched out over the course of his career into a wide variety of techniques, formal elements and material engagements, turning his attention here to a minimal selection of objects that allow him to explore a series of visual correlations and systems within Maccarone’s spacious rooms.

Paul Lee, Either Side of the Night (2016), via Art Observed
Paul Lee, Either Side of the Night (2016), via Art Observed

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London – Francis Alÿs: “Ciudad Juárez Projects” at David Zwirner Through August 5th, 2016

August 2nd, 2016

Francis Alÿs, Paradox of Praxis 5 (2013), via David Zwirner
Francis Alÿs, Paradox of Praxis 5: Sometimes we dream as we live & sometimes we live as we dream Ciudad Juárez, México (2013), via David Zwirner

This month, Francis Alÿs returns to London for his first exhibition in the city in over 15 years, opening his third exhibition of work with David Zwirner Gallery.  Focusing on the intense political history and narco-violence that has plagued the North Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez for over a decade, the artist’s particular investigative style leaves the experience of this corruption and murder-torn border town distinctly inconclusive, a point that only contributes to the already tragic nature of its story.

Francis Alÿs, Untitled, 2013 via David Zwirner
Francis Alÿs, Untitled (2013), via David Zwirner

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Watermill, New York – “FADA House of Madness”: The 23rd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit, July 30th, 2016

August 2nd, 2016

House (2016)
Christopher Knowles, House (2016), via Art Observed

A staple of the summer arts calendar, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center hosted its annual benefit and auction this past weekend, bringing a score of artists, benefactors and revelers to the center’s scenic Long Island property.  Launching the event in collaboration with the Bruce High-Quality Foundation, which seems to be slowly but surely returning to a more concrete, object-oriented practice after several years almost exclusively focused around the BHQFU, the event featured As We Lay Dying, a new selection of works and performances spread out across the Watermill grounds, executed in conjunction with a series of sound installations by composer and artist Anohni. Read More »

New York – Richard Serra on View at Gagosian Gallery Through October 22nd, 2016

July 29th, 2016

Richard Serra, NJ-1 (2016), via Art Observed
Richard Serra, NJ-1 (2016), via Art Observed

Spread across both of Gagosian’s Chelsea exhibition spaces, Richard Serra’s immense spatial investigations have returned to New York City, marking a continuation and expansion of the artist’s already tightly honed sculptural language.  Consisting of a total of only four works, the gallery is showing Serra’s immense rolled steel work NJ-1 in its 21st Street space, while giving over its 24th Street gallery to a trio of Serra’s pressed steel installations, a pairing that sees him returning to his precise visual vocabulary while pushing its expressive limits.

Richard Serra, Every Which Way (2015), via Art Observed
Richard Serra, Every Which Way (2015), via Art Observed Read More »

Paris – Alex Katz: “New Landscapes” at Thaddaeus Ropac Through July 30th, 2016

July 28th, 2016

Alex Katz, Fall (2015), via Thaddaeus Ropac
Alex Katz, Fall (2015), via Thaddaeus Ropac

Continuing his recent surge of output, Alex Katz has brought a new series of landscapes to Thaddaeus Ropac’s Paris Marais exhibition space.  Bringing his attention yet again to the landscapes of Maine, the artist’s work here presents his calm, subdued style in a fitting conversation with the untouched curves and lines of Northern New England.

Alex Katz, New Landsacpes (Installation View), via Thaddaeus Ropac
Alex Katz, New Landsacpes (Installation View), via Thaddaeus Ropac

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New York – “Goulding the Lolly” at Gavin Brown Through July 30th, 2016

July 28th, 2016

Brian Belott, Untitled (After Guston) (1995), via Art Observed
Brian Belott, Untitled (After Guston) (1995), via Art Observed

Gavin Brown’s 291 Grand Street location is playing home to the gallery’s summer exhibition this month, a cunning and often comical play on art history curated by painter Brian Belott.  Inviting a group of artists to take their own improvisational runs on various artists from the last 100 years of painting and sculpture, the show plays on the memory of Glenn Gould, whose own takes on popular figures and music themes equally expressed his own artistic brilliance.

Bobo, The Legendary Impetus Behind Wegmans (2016), via Art Observed
Bobo, The Legendary Impetus Behind Wegmans (2016), via Art Observed

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