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

NYT Notes Generation Gap in Online Art Sales

June 9th, 2020

As art sales go online, the NYT notes an increasing generation gap, with older buyers tapering off their purchases and younger buyers continuing to collect. “The resistance from older collectors is still there,” says Anders Petterson, founder of analytics firm ArtTactic.  “When there is no physical art world, how do you substitute that experience?” he added. “Younger people are a lot quicker to adapt.”
Read More »

Unrest Over Killing of George Floyd Forces Museums to Address Institutionalized Racism

June 9th, 2020

A piece in the New York Times charts pressure on institutions to address problems of systemic racism and injustice in their organizations, collections and programs, following the social unrest caused by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the police.  “I do not think art museums have done enough,” says Chris Anagnos, executive director of the Association of Art Museum Directors. “We have dabbled around the edges of the work, but in our place of privilege we will never live up to the statement that ‘museums are for everyone’ unless we begin to confront, examine and dismantle the various structures that brought us to this point.”
Read More »

Art Basel Cancelled

June 9th, 2020

Art Basel has completely cancelled the 2020 edition of its fair in the Swiss town, after an attempt to move the fair’s dates to September.  “While there are signs of hope as individual countries are coming out of lockdown, the global situation remains precarious, and, unfortunately, too many uncertainties remain to go ahead with the fair,” the organization said in a statement. “These include the health risks posed by large gatherings, the limitations on intercontinental travel, and the unclear Swiss regulatory environment for shows of Art Basel’s size. Given these uncertainties, we believe that the best option concerning the Basel show is to focus on next year’s edition and delivering a fair of the exceptional international quality that the artworld expects.”
Read More »

Blue-Chip Galleries Head East to Hamptons for Summer

June 9th, 2020

A number of galleries are headed to the Hamptons this summer, with Pace, Skarstedt and Sotheby’s all opening branches in the upscale Long Island area.  The move comes as galleries look for selling strategies amidst an art world shuttered by coronavirus.
Read More »

Museum Directors Outline Reopening Strategies in Art Newspaper

May 29th, 2020

A group of museum directors speak to Art Newspaper this week about their plans to reopen, and how they plan to respond to COVID-19 concerns.  The directors detail a range of strategies, from timed entry to controlling flow in and out of galleries.
Read More »

Ai Weiwei Creates Face Masks to Benefit COVID-19 Charities

May 29th, 2020

Ai Weiwei has created a set of surgical masks to aid coronavirus charities. “It is such a waste. There is so much argument around the mask,” he says of the face mask as a cultural artifact of the era. “A face mask weighs only three grams but it carries so much state argument about global safety and who has it and who doesn’t have it.”
Read More »

Adam Lindemann Sues to Break Lease on Venus Over Manhattan Space in NY

May 28th, 2020

Collector and dealer Adam Lindemann is suing real estate mogul Aby Rosen to break his lease on the Venus Over Manhattan space at 980 Madison Avenue in New York, asserting he can no longer due business there due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Is it only the tenant’s responsibility when the tenant can’t use the space as intended or may never be able to?” says Errol Margolin, the gallery’s lawyer. “When you have a gallery opening, you have 500 people. If you have social distancing, how can you have 500 people in the future?”
Read More »

Philadelphia Museum of Art Employees Seek Union

May 28th, 2020

Workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are seeking to unionize, Art Newspaper reports.  “The PMA serves the people of Philadelphia, and it must emerge from the Covid-19 crisis as a safe, accessible and equitable place where all can engage with the arts,” the group of organizers said. “For this to be possible, working people must have a seat at the table in museum decision-making.”
Read More »

2020 Turner Prize Cancelled, Replaced with Artist Support Fund

May 28th, 2020

The Tate has cancelled the 2020 edition of the Turner Prize, replacing it with a little £100k fund to help support struggling artists during the pandemic.”The practicalities of organizing a Turner Prize exhibition are impossible in the current circumstances, so we have decided to help support even more artists during this exceptionally difficult time,” says Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson.  “I think JMW Turner, who once planned to leave his fortune to support artists in their hour of need, would approve of our decision.”
Read More »

Museum of Fine Arts Houston Reopens

May 28th, 2020

Museums are beginning to open again in the U.S., with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston leading the way. “It’s good to be out of the house,” says one visitor. “I’ve been looking for something uplifting, something beautiful.”
Read More »


New York – Andrea Bowers: “Think of Our Future” at Andrew Kreps Through February 22nd, 2020

February 20th, 2020

Andrea Bowers, Ecofeminist Sycamore Branches Women Have Always Thought Like Mountains (2019)
Andrea Bowers, Ecofeminist Sycamore Branches: Women Have Always Thought Like Mountains (2019), all images via Andrew Kreps

Currently on view at Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York, artist Andrea Bowers presents Think of Our Future, a show of new sculpture and wall-mounted works that continue her engagement with online movements, the cultural zeitgeist, and possible expressions of new social modes and possible futures.  Bowers, whose work of late has mined the cultural upheaval and power of the #MeToo movement, here turns in particular to the protests around the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the confrontations between the company building the line and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe that has fought to prevent its construction on tribal lands.

Andrea Bowers, Think of Our Future (Installation View), via Andrew Kreps
Andrea Bowers, Think of Our Future (Installation View)

Read More »

Los Angeles – Nicolas Party: “Sottobosco” at Hauser & Wirth Through April 12th, 2020

February 18th, 2020

Nicolas Party, Portrait with Snakes (2019)
Nicolas Party, Portrait with Snakes (2019)

Currently on view at Hauser & Wirth’s Los Angeles exhibition space, the Swiss artist Nicolas Party has inaugurated his representation with the gallery, opening up an impressively arranged exhibition of new works just in time for the bustle of Frieze Week in the Californian metropolis. Born in Lausanne, Party’s figurative technique has earned him critical admiration for his familiar yet unsettling landscapes, portraits, and still lifes, celebrating and challenging conventions of representational painting, taste, and form. Read More »

AO On-Site – Los Angeles: Spring/Break LA at Skylight ROW DTLA, February 14th – 16th, 2020

February 16th, 2020

Jonathan Paul, all images via Art Observed
Jonathan Paul

Continuing its own intriguing and honed perspective on booth its surroundings in Los Angeles and on the model of the art fair, SPRING/BREAK has once again touched down in the City of Angels, launching a supplementary event that offers an ample supply of artists and galleries presenting in a concept that stands as a stark contrast to the traditional fair model.   Read More »

AO On-Site – Los Angeles: Felix LA at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, February 14th – 16th, 2020

February 15th, 2020

Korakrit Arunanondchai at Clearing, all images via Art Observed
Korakrit Arunanondchai at Clearing, all images via Art Observed

As Frieze opens up shop for the week on the West Coast, the bevy of satellite fairs and event openings are underway across the city.  One particular highlight, and also a second-time event for Frieze Week, Felix LA, the joint effort of collector Dean Valentine and dealers Al and Mills Morán, has returned to the rooms and public spaces of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles for the week.  One of the more compelling fair entries of the week, the work’s program, which sees gallerists taking over rooms in the hotel, allows a unique mixture of intimate exhibitions and adventurous concepts that felt well-suited to the well-heeled patrons of the contemporary art market, both looking for a good piece of work and a unique experience shopping for it.   Read More »

AO On-Site – Los Angeles: Frieze Los Angeles at Paramount Studios, February 16th, 2020

February 14th, 2020

Lorna Simpson, via Art Observed
Lorna Simpson, all images via Art Observed

As the early hours of the second Frieze Los Angeles Art Fair draw to a close this evening, and the sun sets over the Pacific, the fair seems to have once again hammered home its vital engagement with the city, and with its thriving art scene, launching another strong event spread across the grounds of the Paramount Studios.   With strong sales reported and an energetic atmosphere across the fair, it would seem that the small-scale and focused approach of the fair had once again seen the fair brand making its case as an arbiter of thoughtful, curated approaches towards the market and its participants.

Read More »

AO Auction Recap – London: Post-War and contemporary Evening Sales, February 11th-13th, 2020

February 13th, 2020

David Hockney, The Splash (1966), via Sotheby's

David Hockney, The Splash (1966), final price: £23,117,000, via Sotheby’s

With the bustle of LA’s numerous art fairs opening their doors across the Atlantic and all the way across the country, one could be understood for overlooking the string of auctions taking place in London this week.  Yet a trio of sales went over all the same this week, testing the secondary contemporary market just as the primary market was having a test of its own in Los Angeles.  The results were mixed, with a number of strong performances, but a sense of stagnation also seems to have set in over some artists, particularly with the future of British trade with Europe looking so unsteady.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Mosque (1982), via Christie's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Mosque (1982), final price:£3,951,729, via Christie’s Read More »

AO Preview – Los Angeles: Frieze Los Angeles at Paramount Studios, February 14th – 16th, 2020

February 10th, 2020

Jeff Koons via Almine Rech
Jeff Koons via Almine Rech

Opening for its second year in the Californian sprawl of Los Angeles, the Frieze Art Fair returns for a second year under the sunny skies of the Golden State.  Taking its place once again at Paramount Studios, the fair has quickly planted its flag as a major part of the early weeks of the annual fair calendar, and has become the flagship fair in the run up to the Armory Show in New York next month.  Read More »

Barbara Kruger Retrospective Set to Open in Chicago this November

February 7th, 2020

Barbara Kruger will launch a major museum survey at the Art Institute of Chicago this November. “Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” is set to run at the Art Institute of Chicago through February 14, 2021, then travel to MoMA PS1 and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, thento London’s Hayward Gallery and LACMA. Read More »

AO On-Site – Mexico City: Zona Maco Art Fair at Centro Banamex, February 6th – 9th, 2020

February 6th, 2020

Ai Weiwei at Lisson Gallery, all photos via Anfisa Vrubel for Art Observed

Zona Maco has opened the doors for its 17th year this week, celebrating the milestone event today with the first day of its VIP preview yesterday at the Centro Banamex.  Offering a look at the stature of the fair in relation to the burgeoning artistic community in Mexico City in relation to the art and artists flying in from around the globe, the fair’s dynamic program included conferences with international guests, a section with specialized publications and editorials, and the widest program of parallel activities with exhibitions at the most outstanding galleries and museums in the country. Read More »

AO Auction Recap – London: Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Sales, February 4th-5th, 2020

February 5th, 2020

Tamara de Lempicka, Portrait de Marjorie Ferry (1932), via Christie's
Tamara de Lempicka, Portrait de Marjorie Ferry (1932), final price: £16,280,000, via Christie’s

With the UK now into its first days of Brexit, attention turned to London this week for a string of Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Sales that looked to take the first test of the market.  Considering the results this week, a path forward seems uneasy but possible, as mixed results between the auction houses made for a series of compelling auctions and unpredictable results Read More »