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

Detroit Institute of Arts Scrambling for Major Endowment Drive

November 24th, 2015

Detroit Institute of Arts, via Detroit Free PressFollowing the Detroit Institute of Art’s preservation of its collection as part of the city’s “Grand Bargain” to leave bankruptcy, the museum is facing the challenge of building up a $400 million endowment by the time tax funding expires in seven years.  “Now that we can tell the story about the role we played, along with foundations and the state, in creating and successfully bringing the grand bargain to fruition, that’s an impactful message to take to prospective donors,” says DIA Board Chairman Gene Gargaro. Read More »

Palestinian Artist Sentenced to Death in Saudi Arabia

November 24th, 2015

Chris Dercon and artist Ashram Fayadh, via ArtforumPalestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh has been sentenced to death by the Saudi Arabian government, following the artist’s abandonment of Islam, and his outspoken stance against the national government.  “We condemn these acts of intimidation targeting Ashraf Fayadh as part of a wider campaign inciting hate against writers and using Islam to justify oppression and to crush free speech,” an online petition pushing for his release. Read More »

National Gallery Threatened Over Ownership of Matisse Painting

November 24th, 2015

Matisse's Portrait of Greta Moll, via The GuardianHenri Matisse’s Portrait of Greta Moll is the subject of a lawsuit in the UK, after the sitter’s descendants threatened to file a lawsuit over ownership of the work against the National Gallery.  Moll’s heirs claim that the work was sold from her collection without permission, but the museum states it has no obligation to return it even if these allegations were true.  “If it is true that the painting was stolen in 1947, then the family did suffer an injustice, but not at the hands of the National Gallery, who bought the painting in good faith over 30 years later,” a National Gallery spokesman said. Read More »

Art Market Monitor Traces Cooling Trend for Warhol Prices

November 24th, 2015

Andy Warhol, Silver Liz (Diptych) (1963-1965), via Art ObservedArt Market Monitor takes a look at what it calls a cooling market for Andy Warhol works, noting the trends of expansion and contraction of the artist’s median price over the past decade and a half.  “The Warhol market, and by extension the Contemporary art market, has moved far and fast in a short period,” the article reads.  “Taking time to consolidate would not be a bad thing for art or the art market.” Read More »

Urs Fischer and Tara Subkoff Interviewed in New York Magazine

November 24th, 2015

Tara Subkoff and Urs Fischer, via New York MagazineUrs Fischer and Tara Subkoff are profiled in New York Magazine this week, as the couple reflect on Subkoff’s new film #Horror, which premiered this week in New York, and documents the fraught emotional relations of young children.  “One of the things I love about the movie is its harshness — the harshness of the girls against the other girls, the harshness and brutality, which is not a male brutality,” Fischer says. “The movie reminds me a little of Stand by Me — as a romanticized girl version. Basically, I see your movie as the contemporary-girl version of Stand by Me.Read More »

Gary Hume Parts Ways with White Cube

November 24th, 2015

Gary Hume, via Art NewspaperArtist Gary Hume is parting ways with White Cube Gallery, the Art Newspaper reports, partially due to the artist’s increasingly limited time spent in the UK.  As [he] is spending more time working in the US, by mutual agreement, he will no longer be represented by [us],” says a White Cube spokeswoman, who referred to the relationship between Hume and White Cube as “close and extremely positive.” Read More »

Verona Museum Victim of $16 Million Art Theft

November 24th, 2015

Castelvecchio, via NYTVerona’s Castelvecchio is the victim of a $16 million art heist, after four men entered the museum this past Thursday, making off with a series of works including pieces by Rubens, and five pieces by Jacopo Tintoretto.  Italy’s art theft police task force is leading the investigation. Read More »

Indian Artist Detained, Released After Controversial Installation

November 24th, 2015

Bovine Devine, via BBCAn Indian artist was briefly detained this week in Jaipur, after unveiling a work depicting a cow hanging suspended in mid-air, a work that some Hindu viewers found offensive.  The local police chief who ordered the detainment has been “removed and I have spoken to the artist personally,” Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje says. Read More »

Lucian Freud Estate Donates Archive of Drawings, Letters to British Nation

November 23rd, 2015

Lucian Freud Drawing, via Art DailyLucian Freud’s sketchbooks, drawings and letters have been acquired by the UK from the estate of Lucian Freud, allowing the artist’s estate to sidestep its tax bill as part of the country’s Acceptance in Lieu Scheme.  “This rare collection of Lucian Freud drawings and letters provides a fascinating glimpse into the work of one of our most pioneering artists,” Culture Minister Ed Vaizey says.  “Bringing these never seen before treasures into public collections means that everyone can enjoy and see the early beginnings that shaped his most celebrated work.” Read More »

VR App Launches with 3-D Recreation of Cortauld Gallery

November 23rd, 2015

A VR Cortauld Gallery, via TechCrunchThe powerful new WoofbertVR app, used to digitally simulate immersive 3-D environments, has launched with a look into a room at the Cortauld Gallery, where the user can view works by Renoir, Gauguin, and Monet.  “What museums are excited about — among other things — is access,” says co-founder and chief executive, Robert Hamwee. “Pretty soon a kid with the smart phone in India can visit the Louvre.” Read More »

Case Dmitriy Rybolovlev and Yves Bouvier Profiled in Town and Country

November 23rd, 2015

Dmitry Rybolovlev, via Town and CountryAn article in Town and Country chronicles the ongoing case between Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and dealer Yves Bouvier, and the intertwined social and personal histories that underscore the case.   Read More »

Adam Weinberg Receives Insignia of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters from France

November 22nd, 2015

Adam Weinberg, via Crain'sFrance has awarded Adam D. Weinberg, the Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, with the insignia of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.  Weinberg’s work has involved a number of collaborations with French institutions including the Centre Pompidou, Grand Palais, and Le Consortium in Dijon. Read More »

Billionaire Collector Ken Griffin Airs Concerns Over Art Market Health

November 22nd, 2015

Ken Griffin, via CNBCBillionaire hedge fund manager and collector Ken Griffin has stated his concern about the health of the market, as increased focus at the top end of the market has covered an increased price disparity around middle level works.  “We’re seeing the tier one artists with their best works setting all-time record highs,” he said. “But we’re seeing second-tier artists and second-tier works by the best artists starting to slide down in price.” Read More »

HSBC Bank Pulled into Dispute Between Yves Bouvier and Dmitriy Rybolovlev

November 22nd, 2015

Yves Bouvier, via Art Market MonitorThe continuing legal struggle between Dmitriy Rybolovlev and Yves Bouvier has now drawn in HSBC bank, after the bank’s reportage of Bouvier’s name on several accounts further supported allegations of money laundering and fraud.  The bank later reported the inclusion of his name as a “clerical error,” which allowed Bouvier’s release.  Both Bouvier and Tania Rappo, who was also arrested in the case, are now filing suit against the bank. Read More »

Phillips President Michael McGinnis Stepping Down

November 22nd, 2015

Phillips Michael McGinnis, via Art NewsPhillips president Michael McGinnis is leaving the company to pursue interests in the “non-auction side of the art business.”  “My tenure with Phillips has been nothing short of phenomenal, but the time has come for me to broaden my horizons and pursue new challenges,” he says. “So far my entire twenty-two year career has been in the auction business, and it’s time to experience the art industry from a different perspective.” Read More »

MoMA Formally Files Expansion Plans

November 22nd, 2015

Proposed MoMA Expansion, via ArtforumMoMA has officially filed its plans to expand onto the adjoining lot, which formerly housed the Museum of American Folk Art, with the New York City Department of buildings.  The $93 million expansion plan is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Read More »

Robert Smithson Profiled in The Guardian

November 19th, 2015

Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, via the GuardianThe Guardian profiles the work of Robert Smithson this week, particularly his movement from his brash, colorful collage and drawing works of the mid-60’s to the epic land art and natural inversions of masterworks like Spiral Jetty. Read More »

Maya Lin Awarded First “Portrait of a Nation” Prize by Smithsonian

November 19th, 2015

Maya Lin, via Artforum The Smithsonian will present its first Portrait of a Nation Prize, created “to celebrate the achievements of individuals who’ve contributed significantly to the United States’s cultural imagination” this month, with artist and architect Maya Lin included among the honorees. Read More »

San Francisco’s Public Art Tax Sees City Scrutiny

November 19th, 2015

555 Mission St. plaza, via SF ExaminerSan Francisco’s development tax, which is designed to take a 1% fee from new real estate developments in order to fund public art, is not living up to potential, the SF Examiner reports, as developers are using a loophole merely to place art on the premises of their new buildings. “The Department has limited documentation on the installation of public art in private downtown developments,” a city report reads. “Without public information and documentation the public does not know where all of the art is located and the department does not have a way to evaluate overall if the 1 Percent for Art program is achieving its goals.” Read More »

Telegraph Places Crystal Bridges as Buyer of $7 million Felix Gonzalez-Torres Work

November 19th, 2015

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled, via TelegraphA report by The Telegraph places Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas as the buyer of the record-setting $7.7 million Felix Gonzalez-Torres candy work at Christie’s this month, sold by Dallas Collector Howard Rachofsky.  Read More »

Florence Deriux Joins Centre Pompidou Foundation in New York

November 19th, 2015

Florence Derieux, via artnetCurator Florence Derieux, who previously worked with the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne in Reims, and with Art Basel, has been appointed Curator of American Art, in New York, and curator at large for the Centre Pompidou Foundation and Museum. Read More »

Kim Gordon to Present Turner Prize

November 19th, 2015

Kim GordonArtist, musician and writer Kim Gordon will be present the Turner Prize award on Monday, the 7th of December 2015, at the Tramway in Glasgow.  “Kim Gordon has been at the cutting edge of culture for many years and we are delighted to welcome her to Scotland to present this prestigious contemporary art prize,” says Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts, Creative Scotland, said. Read More »

Olafur Eliasson Pushing for Installation in Paris

November 19th, 2015

Harvesting Ice for Olafur Eliasson's work, Art NewspaperOlafur Eliasson is currently negotiating with French officials to install his massive work Ice Watch at the Climate Change summit in Paris.  The work showcases over 120 tons of ice harvested from Greenland as it melts, a comment on the scale and urgency of climate change.  “It makes global warming manifest and raises awareness of the urgency. It is better than a speech,” says French ambassador to Denmark François Zimeray. Read More »

Francis Bacon Catalog Raisonné Set to be Released Next Year

November 19th, 2015

Study after Velázquez, 1950, via The GuardianThe Francis Bacon catalog raisonné is set to be released next spring, featuring over 100 works never seen publicly before.  “The stuff that has been written about Bacon, some good and much of it less good, is based on about a third of his work,” says art historian Martin Harrison, who has spent the last decade attempting to track down every work. Read More »

New York – Robert Rauschenberg: “Anagrams, Arcadian Retreats, and Anagrams (A Pun)” at Pace Gallery Through December 12th, 2015

November 8th, 2015

Robert Rauschenberg, JayWalk (Anagram) (1996), via Art Observed
Robert Rauschenberg, JayWalk (Anagram) (1996), via Art Observed

Marking the first exhibition of the work of Robert Rauschenberg since the late artist’s Foundation joined Pace Gallery earlier this year (and the artist’s 9th in total), Anagrams, Arcadian Retreats, Anagrams (A Pun) brings a body of Rauschenberg’s later works to the institution’s 25th Street location in Chelsea, documenting the artist’s artistic evolution and interest in increasingly complex methods of dye transfer, plaster and paper in his compositions.

Robert Rauschenberg, Anagrams, Arcadian Retreats, Anagrams (A Pun)  (Installation View), via Art Observed
Robert Rauschenberg, Anagrams, Arcadian Retreats, Anagrams (A Pun) (Installation View), via Art Observed Read More »

AO Auction Results – New York: Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale, November 5th, 2015

November 6th, 2015

Pablo Picasso, La Gommeuse (1901), via Sotheby's
Pablo Picasso, La Gommeuse (1901), all photos via Sotheby’s

The first week of sales is in the books in New York, as Sotheby’s concluded its Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale last night, following up on a somewhat lackluster sale the prior evening with a briskly paced sale and solid results that lost momentum in the late minutes of the event, ultimately selling 36 of 47 lots for a final tally of $306,712,000. Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: RxArt Annual Benefit Honoring Urs Fischer at Stephan Weiss Studio, November 3rd, 2015

November 6th, 2015

Sara Friedlander, RxArt 15th Anniversary
Sara Friedlander

RxArt‘s annual benefit gala took place Tuesday night at Stephan Weiss Studios in the West Village, honoring Swiss artist Urs Fischer. The ceiling was decked out in colorful elephant mobiles designed by the artist, tying into RxArt’s mission of transforming the often sterile halls of children’s healthcare facilities and hospitals into engaging visual environments for young patients.

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New York – Frank Stella at The Whitney Museum Through February 7th, 2016

November 5th, 2015

Frank Stella, Harran II (1967), via Art Observed
Frank Stella, Harran II (1967), via Art Observed

Upon entering Frank Stella’s career retrospective at the Whitney, one is immediately assailed by a flourish of color and form, with the artist’s massive mural work Das Erdbeben in Chili spanning almost the full length of the fifth floor wall.  The show, which marks one of the largest for the artist in the US since his 1987 MoMA Retrospective, is a fitting introduction to his work, spanning his nearly seventy year career. Read More »

AO Auction Recap – New York: Sotheby’s Taubman Masterworks Sale, November 4th, 2015

November 4th, 2015

Frank Stella, Delaware Crossing (1961), via Sotheby's
Frank Stella, Delaware Crossing (1961), via Sotheby’s

The New York auction weeks are underway in New York, following the conclusion of a lackluster sale at Sotheby’s this evening, where the premier works from the estate of Alfred A. Taubman took the block, spread across a 77-lot auction that saw 8 works fail to find a buyer, including several top lots, while reaching an underwhelming auction tally (given the presale estimate of $500 million) of $377,034,000, with a considerable percentage of works selling well below estimate. Read More »

AO Auction Preview – New York: Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sales, November 4th-12th, 2015

November 4th, 2015

Amedeo Modigliani, Paulette Jourdain
Amedeo Modigliani, Paulette Jourdain (circa 1919). All photos by Rae Wang for Art Observed.

A marathon auction calendar is set to open in New York this week, bringing a massive trove of premier works to the city’s top auction houses.  With 7 major sales over the course of the next week and a half, spectators can expect an almost unprecedented number of high value works changing hands, with major records already forecasted to fall during the proceedings at Sotheby’sChristie’s and Phillips. Read More »

Performa Opens in New York

November 3rd, 2015

Richard Bell, Embassy (2015), via Performa
Richard Bell, Embassy (2015), via Performa

Performa, New York’s iconic and ongoing performance art Biennial has returned to the city this month, kicking off this past Sunday with a full calendar of events running through the 22nd.  The 15th edition of the event, Performa is offering a particularly strong calendar of events over the coming weeks, mixing high art stage performances, conceptual exercises, live poetics and confrontational pieces across the city’s range of venues, institutions and galleries. Read More »

London – Liam Gillick: “The Thought Style Meets the Thought Collective” Is On View at Maureen Paley Through November 22nd, 2015

November 1st, 2015

Liam Gillick, A Broadcast from 1887  on the Subject of our Time (1996)
Liam Gillick, A Broadcast from 1887 on the Subject of our Time (1996)

On view at Maureen Paley through November 22nd is a solo exhibition by prominent British conceptualist Liam Gillick, continuing the artist’s vastly interdisciplinary practice mining fluid and interconnected social norms, and scrutinizing the overt or arcane methods that agents of society pursue in response to such dynamics. Read More »

New York – Jim Shaw: “The End is Here” at The New Museum Through January 10th, 2015

October 31st, 2015

Jim Shaw, End Is Here

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New York – Josh Smith: “Sculpture” at Luhring Augustine Through October 31st, 2015

October 30th, 2015

Josh Smith, Untitled, 2014
Josh Smith, Untitled (2014), all photos via Osman Can Yerebakan for Art Observed

Luhring Augustine is currently hosting its sixth collaboration with New York based artist Josh Smith. Having emerged in the early 2000s alongside a group of critically challenging and occasionally irreverent artists including Kelley Walker, Sterling Ruby and Seth Price, Smith is one of the foremost representatives of a genre that delivers spontaneity and audaciousness in presence, yet asserts a depth that is subliminal and immaculate.  Here, the artist takes his signature penchant for deconstruction to one of many natural conclusions, executing minimal compositions that tie his interest in gesture and hand to an almost free-associative exchange with the art historical. Read More »

Los Angeles – Alex Hubbard: “Basic Perversions” at Maccarone Through December 19th, 2015

October 29th, 2015

Alex hubbard, (to be titled) (2015), via Maccarone
Alex Hubbard, (to be titled) (2015), via Maccarone

Maccarone Gallery has tapped Alex Hubbard for its inaugural show in Los Angeles, opening the doors on its impressively spacious South Mission Street exhibition space with a series of large-scale paintings that lean on a diverse set of materials including urethane, resin, and fiberglass in their challenging, polymorphous constructions.   Read More »

New York – Isa Genzken at David Zwirner Through October 31st, 2015

October 28th, 2015

Isa Genzken, Nefertiti Sculpture (2015), via Art Observed
Isa Genzken, Nefertiti Sculpture (2015), via Art Observed

David Zwirner has opened the front door on its elusively large, hangar-style exhibition space on 19th street for a show of new sculptural work by Isa Genzken, continuing the artist’s ongoing interests in the intersections of fashion and sculpture, and an engagement with the  human form in a particularly explicit manner.  The show is the artist’s third with the gallery in 10 years. Read More »

Hong Kong – Nam June Paik: “The Late Style” at Gagosian Gallery Through November 7th, 2015

October 28th, 2015

Nam June Paik, 359 Canal Street (1991), © Nam June Paik Estate, Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery
Nam June Paik, 359 Canal Street (1991), © Nam June Paik Estate, Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

Launching its newly announced representation of the prolific and influential Korean artist Nam June Paik, Gagosian Gallery Hong Kong has opened an exhibition of the artist’s works during the last decade of his life, including a selection of video sculptures, paintings, and drawings that mark a refined yet diverse series of interests and formal languages for the artist, particularly when placed alongside the more classic works on view. Read More »

New York – “Berlin Metropolis: 1918-1933″ at the Neue Galerie Through January 4th, 2016

October 27th, 2015

Berlin Metropolis: 1918 - 1933 (Installation View), via Art Observed
Berlin Metropolis: 1918 – 1933 (Installation View), via Art Observed

Opening its fall exhibition this week, the Neue Galerie looks to Weimar Berlin, with an exhibition that takes an in-depth look at the German capital’s shifting cultural, political and social threads as it recovered from near obliteration into a stable economic power, before descending into the violence and genocide of World War II. Read More »

New York – Billy Childish: “Flowers, Nudes and Birch Trees: New Paintings 2015″ at Lehmann Maupin Through October 31st, 2015

October 26th, 2015

Billy Childish, birch wood (2015)
Billy Childish, birch wood (2015), all photos by Osman Can Yerebakan for Art Observed

Lehmann Maupin’s new 22nd street location is currently hosting  flowers, nudes and birch trees: New Paintings 2015, the gallery’s fourth exhibition of work by British poet, musician, author and artist Billy Childish.  Carrying a certain anticipatory note towards the coming fall weather, Childish’s exhibition manifests a dense feeling of autumn and its occasionally melancholy aura through his distinct painting style. Read More »