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

UK Appoints Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal

May 21st, 2020

The UK has appointed Neil Mendoza as Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, overseeing the country’s response to the coronavirus’s impact on the arts. Mendoza previously led a review of England’s museums three years ago, offering recommendations on how to further bolster the arts institutions in the country.
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Austrian Culture Minister Resigns

May 20th, 2020

Austrian culture minister Ulrike Lunacek has stepped down after fierce criticism of the government’s arts-sector pandemic response.  “This is not worthy of one of the richest countries in the world,” she said of the current state of the country’s artists.
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Damien Hirst Speaks on His Working During Lockdown in The Guardian

May 20th, 2020

Damien Hirst has an interview in The Guardian this week, as he charts his experience during lockdown, and how it has affected his work. “I used to listen to music a lot when there was more activity and people,” he says of his experience working alone. “The paintings are going more successfully, which is really strange. Maybe it’s my focus, maybe that’s why I’m not playing the music. I’m kind of getting lost in the paintings.”
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LA City Council Redirects Developer Fees to Emergency Arts Grants

May 19th, 2020

Los Angeles City Council has approved a measure to redirect developer fees to into emergency arts grants, the LA Times reports.  “This includes tiered grants of between $500 and $2,000 for individual artists, with the highest amounts reserved for artists who are full-time freelancers, and therefore “more vulnerable in an economic downturn,” The COVID-19 Emergency Response Program text reads.
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Arts Sector Employment Shrinks by Over 50%

May 19th, 2020

A look at unemployment and income data by FiveThirtyEight shows that the U.S. arts sector has suffered a contraction of over 54% since the beginning of lockdowns.
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Guggenheim Keeps Growing Tomatoes During Lockdown

May 19th, 2020

The Guggenheim is closed, but its installation of blossoming tomatoes, part of its last show before lockdown, Countryside, The Future, is still growing, yielding pounds of fruit each week from an installation on Fifth Ave.  “This tomato-growing module couldn’t just be turned off with the lights,” says curator Troy Conrad Therrien. “We brought the exhibition to the street, and the street is still accessible.”
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Venice Biennale Postponed

May 19th, 2020

Heading off logistical and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, the Venice Biennale has postponed its next two editions, moving its architecture show to next year, and the next iteration of its art exhibition to 2022.  “I hope that the occasion will mark a new celebration of togetherness,” says curator Cecilia Alemani, “a new sense of participation and communion.”
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Mayors of Major U.S. Appeal to Congress for More Arts Funding

May 14th, 2020

A group of mayors from major US cities have appealed to Congress for more funding support for the arts. “This is about individuals—artists and cultural workers alike—whose livelihoods are being threatened if not already irrevocably impacted,” the letter reads. “This is also about the soul of our communities: It is the arts that make each of our communities unique. And it is the arts that will help our communities survive and thrive economically.”
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Former Paddle8 CEO Sued

May 13th, 2020

Valentine Uhovski, former CEO of Paddle8, is being sued for alleged misuse of company funds in the days before the online auction house declared bankruptcy.
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MoMA Cuts Budget by $45 Million

May 13th, 2020

MoMA has cut its budget by $45 million, seeking to reduce its operations in the face of coronavirus.  “We will learn to be a much smaller institution,” says Glenn Lowry. 
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

New York – Michael Williams: “Opening” at Gladstone Through April 25th, 2020

March 12th, 2020

Michael Willams, Curb Your Enthusiasm (2020), via Gladstone
Michael Willams, Curb Your Enthusiasm (2020), via Gladstone

Comprising a new body of works that continues his approach towards brightly colored and texturally rich compositions, artist Michael Williams returns to Gladstone Gallery this month.  The artist, whose work often explores narrow corners and specific emotions drawn from the experience of the world, exhibits a selection of works that continue and expand his vocabulary. Read More »

New York – Michael E. Smith at Andrew Kreps Through March 28th, 2020

March 11th, 2020

Michael E. Smith (Installation View)
Michael E. Smith (Installation View)

Currently at Andrew Kreps Gallery, a line of floor-fans run in a single file through the doorway of the main gallery space, emitting a slight whine that makes the presentation of the work all the more illusive.  Unable to tell if the fans are on or if there is some other element emitting the sound, the arrangement conjures a strange sense of animated material, a sort of life outside the human body that makes the viewer question just what they are viewing.  So goes the work of artist Michael E. Smith, whose arrangements frequently mine this sort of uncertainty from the familiar objects of the world around us. Read More »

New York – Christopher Williams: ‘Footwear (Adapted for Use)’ at David Zwirner Through April 18th, 2020

March 10th, 2020

Christopher Williams, Footwear (Adapted for Use) (Installation View), via David Zwirner
Christopher Williams, Footwear (Adapted for Use) (Installation View), via David Zwirner

This spring, Christopher Williams presents his ninth solo show with David Zwirner gallery, entitled Footwear (Adapted for Use). The new body of work reflects the artist’s continued interest in how meaning and information are structured through the processes of staging and adaptation. The exhibition references a wide array of source material like Ikea catalogues and airplane magazines, and features new photographs, hand-painted signs, sculptures and videos, all of which engage with postwar material and cultural histories.  Read More »

New York – Sinead O’Dwyer: “In Myself” at Waves and Archives Through April 3rd, 2020

March 9th, 2020

Sinead O'Dwyer, In Myself (Installation View), via Waves and Archives
Sinead O’Dwyer, In Myself (Installation View), via Waves and Archives

Currently on view at New York’s Waves and Archives, artist Sinead O’Dwyer presents a selection of new works, returning to her nuanced silicone works alongside work created for an upcoming performance at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  The exhibition, which marks the artist’s first in New York, makes for an engaging entry in her body of work, and look at her intricate incorporation of human bodies and synthetic materials. Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: Spring/BREAK Art Show, March 3rd – 9th, 2020

March 6th, 2020

Michael A. Robinson
Michael A. Robinson, all images by Elisa Etrari for Art Observed

As The Armory Show returns to the Piers on the West Side of Manhattan, so too comes the annual opening of the SPRING/BREAK Art Show, the adventurous, curator-driven program that takes up space at a pop-up location for a week of compelling and unique exhibitions and projects.  Read More »

New York: Independent NY at Spring Studios, March 6th – 8th, 2020

March 5th, 2020

Bianca Beck at Rachel Uffner, all images via Art Observed
Bianca Beck at Rachel Uffner, all images via Art Observed

Kicking off the 11th year of operation, Independent NY has once again touched down at Spring Studios in Tribeca, once again opening the doors on its take on the presentation of an art fair.  Smaller in scale and more focused in terms of its gallery selections, the fair’s presentation feels more like a presentation of a series of small gallery shows run side-by-side, with ample space and a mellow browsing experience that draws strength from the fair’s invite-only exhibitor structure and immense glass windows, underscoring its reputation as a boutique event with impressive draw.

Clementine Keith-Roach at P•P•O•W
Clementine Keith-Roach at P•P•O•W

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Ao On-site – New York: The Armory Show At Piers 90, 92 And 94, March 5th-8th, 2020

March 4th, 2020

Austin Lee at Jeffrey Deitch, via Art Observed
Austin Lee at Jeffrey Deitch, all images via Art Observed

Considered among New York’s premier art fairs, and a leading cultural destination for discovering and collecting the world’s most important 20th- and 21st-century art, The Armory Show has long figured at the forefront of the city’s annual spring offerings for art exhibitions and shows.  With its first day of sales in the bag, the fair is once again showing why its impact and stature cannot be ignored. Read More »

RIP – Performance Artist Ulay Has Passed Away Aged 76

March 2nd, 2020

Ulay
Ulay

Performance artist Ulay has passed away after a battle with lymphatic cancer this week in Ljubljana, Slovenia, aged 76. Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: ADAA’s The Art Show at Park Ave Armory, February 27th – March 1st, 2020

February 28th, 2020

Carla Accardi at Andrew Kreps and Bortolami, via Art Observed
Carla Accardi at Andrew Kreps and Bortolami, via Art Observed

The first entry in what’s sure to be a bustling week spanning the end of February and start of March in New York, the ADAA Art Show has opened its doors at the Park Ave armory again this week, offering an early start on the mass of exhibitors opening across the city in the days to come.  With its usual focus on tightly-curated programming and laser-focused booth concepts, the show once again offering an impressive opening note on the week, with packed hallways and excited buyers buzzing about the aisles.

Paul Fagerskiold at Peter Blum, via art Obsered
Paul Fagerskiold at Peter Blum, via art Obsered

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Los Angeles – Hank Willis Thomas: “An All Colored Cast” at Kayne Griffin Corcoran Through March 7th, 2020

February 26th, 2020

Hank Willis Thomas, People just like to look at me (Spectrum IX) (variation without flash) (2019), via Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Hank Willis Thomas, “People just like to look at me” (Spectrum IX) (variation without flash) (2019), via Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Currently on at LA heavyweight Kayne Griffin CorcoranHank Willis Thomas marks his first solo exhibition with the space with An All Colored Cast, an exploration of color theory, popular culture, the development of Pop Art, Color Field painting, Minimalism, and the Hollywood film industry. In this new body of work, Thomas examines the portrayals of gender, race, and identity through the lens of film, performance, and color motion pictures.

Hank Willis Thomas, "People just like to look at me" (Spectrum IX) (variation with flash) (2019), via Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Hank Willis Thomas, “People just like to look at me” (Spectrum IX) (variation with flash) (2019), via Kayne Griffin Corcoran

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