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Center for an Urban Future Completes Report on COVID-19 Impacts to Local Arts in NYC

April 8th, 2020

A new report from the Center for an Urban Future charts the impacts of coronavirus on small arts orgs, surveying a broad range of venues and galleries on the impacts that pandemic-related closures and cancellations are causing. “Small, community-based arts venues are the cultural lifeblood of New York City and cities around the world. But unlike larger institutions and museums, few smaller cultural groups have the benefit of endowments or large donor bases to help cushion the blow as they experience staggering declines in revenue,” says Eli Dvorkin, Editorial & Policy Director, Center for an Urban Future. “Without immediate financial support to offset these losses, there’s a real danger that many of these organizations will not make it to the other side of this crisis. And the loss to our collective cultural lives is incalculable.”
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Whitney Museum Lays Off 76 Employees

April 6th, 2020

The Whitney Museum has laid off 76 employees in response to budget pressure over COVID-19 related closures.  “These are painful difficult times,” said President Adam Weinberg. “I want you to know I am grateful to all of you for everything you have done.”
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NY Botanical Garden’s Yayoi Kusama Show Rescheduled to 2021

April 6th, 2020

The New York Botanical Garden has rescheduled its blockbuster show of works by Yayoi Kusama.  The show will now take place in 2021.
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The Met to Pay Staff Through May

March 31st, 2020

The Met will pay all employees through May, as coronavirus closures continue, the New York Times reports. “Our highest priority remains to support our staff as best we can in helping to keep everyone safe and as financially secure as possible,” says president and CEO Daniel Weiss. “We realize that this announcement of a four-week extension of full salary support does not provide enduring comfort, but at the moment it is the best we can do in a rapidly evolving situation.”
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Hans Ulrich Obrist Calls for WPA-Style Arts Program to Help Economy

March 30th, 2020

Hans Ulrich Obrist has called for a massive public arts program to help jumpstart the arts economy again after the impact of coronavirus, likening the idea to the Great Depression’s WPA.  “With the WPA, they went out into the community: artists got salaries and were able to research and create work during the New Deal era. It gave many people their first real jobs and commissions,” he says.
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David Zwirner Invites Smaller Galleries to Show in Digital Exhibition Rooms

March 30th, 2020

David Zwirner is welcoming a group of 12 small galleries to exhibit in his gallery’s digital viewing rooms, NYT reports. “We are grateful for any and all acts of solidarity in these incredibly difficulty times,” says Oliver Newton of 47 Canal, one of the galleries invited.
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UCLA Hammer Lays Off Part-Time Students

March 26th, 2020

The UCLA Hammer Museum has laid off 150 part-time student employees, in what looks like the first major art world layoffs caused by coronavirus. “We hope that many of our part-time students will return to the Hammer later this summer,” a museum representative said.
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Art Basel Postponed

March 26th, 2020

Art Basel has postponed its June edition, rescheduling it for September. “Art Basel will continue to invest in and enhance its new digital platform – the Online Viewing Rooms – as a way to support galleries and strengthen the art community in these challenging times,” the organization said in a statement. 
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Billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach Says He Received Panic Offers for Works Over Coronavirus

March 24th, 2020

Billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach claims that he has received “panic offers” for works by artists including Monet and Renoir this week at majorly discounted prices.  “This is a difficult time,” he says. “It makes sense for people who want liquidity” to turn to their art collections.
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Fourth Plinth Sculpture Unveiled Delayed

March 23rd, 2020

The unveiling of the next Fourth Plinth sculpture in London has been postponed over coronavirus fears. “We will support all the individuals and businesses involved in the commissioning, planning and operation of this installation during these challenging times,” says London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons.
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

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

February 6th, 2020

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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 »

New York – Robert Grosvenor at Karma Through February 23rd, 2020

February 4th, 2020

Robert Grosvenor, Untitled (2020), via Karma
Robert Grosvenor, Untitled (2020), via Karma

Artist Robert Grosvenor could perhaps best be described as an artist invested in space.  His interests rely not only on how the object exists within it, but equally how the space around an object twists and responds, moves and carves up space.  His sculptures capture a similar idea, pulling the viewer through their specific materiality and unconventional formal language that at one point might incorporate a distinct industrial materiality, while at others moving into a hard-edged, classic minimalism.  Each of the elements of this historical movement’s conceptual interests are there: heft and weight, density, scale, and even color, yet Grosvenor, more and more over the past years particularly, seems to take these principles and turn them towards the everyday, mining the language of the world around him to find new ways to ask similar questions . For his third show at Karma in New York, Grosvenor continues this particular interest in the realm between space and object, presenting a room-sized sculpture that the artist refers to as a “block of water,” as well as a collection of found and variously altered models of aircraft, watercraft, and automobiles.

Robert Grosvenor, Untitled (2020), via Karma
Robert Grosvenor, Untitled (2020), via Karma Read More »

AO Auction Preview – London Impressionist/Modern and Post-War/Contemporary Sales, February 4th – 13th, 2020

February 3rd, 2020

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

As the first batch of major art fairs gets underway in North America, the secondary market turns its attention to Frieze London this week, as the first test of its health gets underway in the British capital. Kicking off two weeks of auctions at the major auction houses, there should be ample chance for bidders to show just how confident they are on the current state of Britain, its place in the European art market, and how Brexit might have changed those forecasts. With Impressionist and Modern Sales scheduled for this week, and a trio of Contemporary and 20th Century Sales next, the month of February should be an intriguing bellwether for the coming months, and perhaps for 2020 more broadly.

Ed Ruscha, God Knows Where (2014), via Phillips
Ed Ruscha, God Knows Where (2014), via Phillips

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New York – Erwin Wurm: “Yes Biological” at Lehmann Maupin Through February 22nd, 2020

February 3rd, 2020

Erwin Wurm, Urinal (2011:2019), via Lehmann Maupin
Erwin Wurm, Urinal (2011/2019), via Lehmann Maupin

Currently on view at Lehmann Maupin in New York, artist Erwin Wurm brings forward a new body of work that marks an expansion and elaboration on his already precise and peculiar style of sculpture. Titled Yes Biological, the show utilized biological effects and elements to create a new series that pushes the boundaries of sculpture ever further. Read More »

NEW YORK – THEATER OF OPERATIONS: THE GULF WARS 1991-2001 AT MoMA PS1 THROUGH MARCH 1ST, 2020

January 30th, 2020

Jamal Penjweny- Work from the series Saddam is Here
Jamal Penjweny,  Saddam is Here (2010), via MoMA

Military engagement in Iraq over the last 30 years has had a unprecedented impact on contemporary culture and society, with American intervention  in the Gulf and Iraq Wars opening a debate on American values and beliefs, in turn influencing the work of artists around the world. Exploring this concept MoMA PS1 presents Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011, a large-scale group exhibition analyzing the legacy of the U.S. military presence in the region. The exhibition spans four floors, including more than 250 works featuring over 80 artists and collectives, including thirty-six Iraqis and Kuwaitis.

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New York – Noah Davis at David Zwirner Through February 22nd, 2020

January 30th, 2020

Noah Davis Man with Alien and Shotgun (2008), all images via Art Observed
Noah Davis, Man with Alien and Shotgun (2008), all images via Art Observed

In the all-too-short run of his life as both an artist and organizer, Noah Davis was a larger than life energy.  He was a tireless advocate for black arts in Los Angeles, and a relentless energetic painter whose lush figurative style tied together signifiers and concepts from across the expanse of modern painting.  As curator and organizer at the Underground Museum, a black-owned-and-operated art space dedicated to the exhibition of museum-quality art in a culturally underserved African American and Latinx neighborhood, he was a central figure in advocating and advancing the work of his peers and predecessors, creating historical dialogues on the back of his own vision.   This energy serves as the underlying power of his current exhibition at David Zwirner in New York, where the late artist’s work is succinctly summarized and celebrated.

Noah Davis, 1975 (8) (2013)
Noah Davis, 1975 (8) (2013)

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Berlin – Hanne Darboven: “Erdkunde Und (Süd-) Koreanischer Kalender” at Sprüth Magers Through February 26 2020

January 29th, 2020

Hanne Darboven, Erdkunde I, II, III (1986), via Sprüth Magers
Hanne Darboven, Erdkunde I, II, III (1986), via Sprüth Magers

Currently on view at Sprüth Magers in Berlin, the gallery presents a selection of works by Hanne Darboven, the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work at the Berlin gallery.  Compiling her works Erdkunde I, II, III (Geography I, II, III) (1986) and (Süd-) Koreanischer Kalender / (South) Korean Calendar (1991), the exhibition marks the beginning of the gallery’s worldwide representation of the Darboven Estate.  Read More »

New York – Jon Pylypchuk: “Waiting for the Next Nirvana” at Petzel Gallery Through February 29th, 2020

January 28th, 2020

Jon Pylypchuk, Cast your empire on a kingdom of doubts (2019), via Petzel
Jon Pylypchuk, Cast your empire on a kingdom of doubts (2019), via Petzel

On view in its Chelsea exhibition space, Petzel Gallery presents Waiting for the Next Nirvana, an exhibition of new paintings by Canada-born, Los Angeles-based artist Jon Pylypchuk. On view through the end of February, the show draws on his work as a musician, and as an artist, exploring concepts of nostalgia, anticipation, energy, confidence, and, foremost, seductive and rebellious emotion. Read More »

London – Fischli/Weiss: “Should I paint a pirate ship on my car with an armed figure on it holding a decapitated head by the hair?” at Sprüth Magers Through March 14th, 2020

January 27th, 2020

Fischli/Weiss, The Raft (1982/83), via Sprüth Magers
Fischli/Weiss, The Raft (1982/83), via Sprüth Magers

Currently on view at Sprüth Magers’s London exhibition space,  Should I paint a pirate ship on my car with an armed figure on it holding a decapitated head by the hair? marks the fifth exhibition by the pair of Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss at their London gallery. The exhibition presents a concise overview of the artists’ transformations of the commonplace in the form of three seminal works from throughout their collaborative career, a subtle investigation of their core themes in a minimal selection of pieces. Read More »