Global contemporary art events and news observed from New York City. Suggestion? Email us.
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Jeffrey Deitch Featured on “Artbound”

June 17th, 2019

Jeffrey Deitch gets a profile in KCET’s Artbound program, spotlighting his recent work, his focus on Los Angeles’s thriving arts scene, and his early days expanding the scope of the contemporary art market.  “Some people say I created a monster because we basically invented the profession of professional art advisory,” Deitch says of his early work.
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CNN Speculates on Location of “Salvator Mundi” Painting

June 17th, 2019

CNN takes a look at the disappearance of Salvator Mundi after its landmark sale last year, noting that the work hasn’t been seen in public since its landmark sale.  “It’s either on the yacht or in a Geneva lock-up, and I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that the yacht is really quite plausible,” writer Ben Lewis said in a phone interview, alluding to speculation that the work is on a luxury yacht belonging to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. “But I would suggest that it may not be the safest environment in which to hang up this picture.”
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Sterling Ruby’s New Fashion Line Profiled in NYT

June 17th, 2019

Sterling Ruby’s new fashion line gets a profile in the NYT this week, as the artist and budding designer traces his experiences with fiber arts and clothing.   “Outside of the logistics of putting together the collection and the garments — in the kind of production of it — I don’t see it as any different to making a sculpture or a painting,” he says.
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

AO Auction Recap – London: Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale, June 18th, 2019

June 18th, 2019

Pablo Picasso, Homme et femme nus (1968), via Christie's
Pablo Picasso, Homme et femme nus (1968), final price: £12,464,250, via Christie’s

With several strong auctions behind them in the past months, the last Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale of the first half of 2019 looked to be a victory lap for Christie’s, a last shot at European collectors after a bustling spring season capped off by Basel and the Biennale. But a last burst of buyer interest wasn’t in the cards this evening, as the London auction house struggled royally over the course of a 34 lot sale that saw 10 of the works go unsold, including several major trophies that drove the sale to an anemic final of £36,413,750. Read More »

AO Auction Preview – London Auction Week: June 18th – 27th, 2019

June 17th, 2019

Fernand Léger, Femme dans un fauteuil (1913), via Christie's
Fernand Léger, Femme dans un fauteuil (1913), via Christie’s

With the hottest months of the year settling in across the US and Europe, the secondary market will get one last chance to catch some heat of its own. Over the course of the next two weeks, the major auction houses will present a final look at the strength of the secondary market before the summer recess, capping off what has been something of a rebound after a few sluggish years of growth from 2017 to late last year. With two weeks of sales lined up in London this month, interested parties should get a look at just how the auction houses will look to keep that momentum going. Read More »

New York – David Shrigley: ‘FLUFF WAR’ at Anton Kern Through June 15th, 2019

June 15th, 2019

David Shrigley, FLUFF WAR (2019), via Anton Kern
David Shrigley, FLUFF WAR (2019), via Anton Kern

In his seventh solo exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery, entitled FLUFF WAR, British artist David Shrigley continues his particular style of wry, surrealist humor through a selection of works, including a large-scale kinetic sculpture, two neon sculptures, and 100 new drawings. Read More »

Basel: Continuing Abstraction, June 10th – 16th at the Soon to Open Gagosian Basel, Rheinsprung 1

June 14th, 2019

Jackson Pollock, Moon Vibrations (1953-55), via Art Observed
Jackson Pollock, Moon Vibrations (1953-55), all images via Andrea Nguyen for Art Observed

Continuing Abstraction is a fitting title for the exhibition just opened at Rheinsprung 1, another pop-up fair exhibition by the mighty Gagosian Gallery that simultaneously serves as the inauguration for its 17th permanent exhibition space worldwide. Marking both an exploration and elaboration on the language of abstraction, both in the past and through today, the show seems to look back at Gagosian’s impact on contemporary art, intertwined with the languages of abstraction that have changed and evolved over the past century. Read More »

AO On-Site – Basel, Switzerland: Liste Art Fair, June 10th – 16th, 2019

June 12th, 2019

B.DONAHUE @ LISTE 2019

Bridget Donahue at Liste, via gallery

Liste Art Fair has returned to Warteck, a former brewery on the banks of the Rhine now serving as an exhibition and performance space, for another year of exhibitions showcasing adventurous and exploratory projects from a range of galleries around the globe. Liste continues to build on its position as one of the central hubs for the week of Art Basel, priding itself on a careful curation of young galleries, dynamic, forward-thinking works, and a roster of performances that remains one of the week’s main draws.

Adan Vallecillo, Saturacion Doble (2019), via Livia Benavides
Adan Vallecillo, Saturacion Doble (2019), via Livia Benavides

Adan Vallecillo, Saturacion Doble (detail) (2019), via Livia Benavides
Adan Vallecillo, Saturacion Doble (detail) (2019), via Livia Benavides

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AO On-Site – Basel, Switzerland: Art Basel Art Fair, June 13th – 16th, 2019

June 12th, 2019


Olaf Nicolai, Big Sneaker (2001), all photos via Art Observed

The first day is in the books as Art Basel has closed its doors tonight on its VIP opening, kicking off a marathon week of sales and shows in style in the Swiss city, and marking another year for the landmark giant of contemporary and modern art selling. Marking the terminus for the first half of the year’s primary market activity, the fair was a strong illustration of just how its impressive scale and appointments has turned the city into a hub for Europe’s network of dealers, galleries, artists and curators. Sightings of arts professionals from Europe and further afield were in ample showing, with Carroll Dunham, Leon Black, and many more wandering across the aisles of the fair, often pausing to greet a familiar face or to consider the pieces hung across the walls of the spaces.

Yoshitomo Nara at Pace
Yoshitomo Nara at Pace

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AO Preview – Basel: The Art Basel Art Fair, June 13th – 16th, 2019

June 8th, 2019

Tom Wesselmann, Smoker #23 (1976), via Almine Rech
Tom Wesselmann, Smoker #23 (1976), via Almine Rech

As the days of summer swing into focus, and the weather grows ever warmer in Europe, the art world once again returns to the home of the Art Basel fair, which opens next week in the Swiss city, held in conjunction with a number of various exhibitions and shows across the city.  Closing out the first half of the year’s major market activities (save a major auction coming the following week in London), the fair offers a last look at the European art market’s health, especially as turmoil and political crisis continues to roil the continent.

Zoe Barcza, Love, Positivity, and DON’T Forget to Take Care of your Health! (2018), via Bianca D'Alessandro
Zoe Barcza, Love, Positivity, and DON’T Forget to Take Care of your Health! (2018), via Bianca D’Alessandro

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New York – Matthew Ronay: “Betrayals of and by the Body” at Casey Kaplan Through June 15th, 2019

June 5th, 2019

Matthew Ronay, Engorged Follicle (Corazonin) (2018), via Casey Kaplan
Matthew Ronay, Engorged Follicle (Corazonin) (2018), via Casey Kaplan

Sculptor Matthew Ronay kicks off his first show with Casey Kaplan this month in New York, Betrayals of and by the Body, a fitting intro to the artist’s expressive sculptural language and his vivid sense of space and form. An adventurous and inventive voice in modern American sculpture, Ronay’s work conjures a range of links and ties between biological processes and transcendent spiritual elements, cells, mandalas, limbs and devotionals are transformed into a fluid structural language. Read More »

New York – Alex Israel: “As It Lays 2″ at Greene Naftali Through

June 4th, 2019

Alex Israel, As It Lays 2, 2019 (Production still with Tom Hanks and Alex Israel), via Greene Naftali
Alex Israel, As It Lays 2, 2019 (Production still with Tom Hanks and Alex Israel) (2019), via Greene Naftali

On view at Greene Naftali’s exhibition space in Chelsea, the Los Angeles-based artist Alex Israel has put forth a selection of new works and a collection of videos that reflect on his practice idolizing and reflecting the dizzying landscape of the Californian metropolis. Trafficking in the seductive, aspirational imagery that characterizes his hometown, Israel’s practice regularly draws on the aesthetics and iconographies so often reserved for commerce and Hollywood, and turns them towards a sort of suspended sense of both propduction and self-mythologization. Read More »

New York – Josh Smith: “Emo Jungle” at David Zwirner Through July 19th, 2019

June 3rd, 2019

Josh Smith, Emo Jungle (Installation View), via Art Observed
Josh Smith, Emo Jungle (Installation View), via David Zwirner

Marking his first solo presentation with David Zwirner Gallery this month in New York, painter Josh Smith has unfurled a sprawling body of new work at the gallery’s Chelsea exhibition space, bringing together a range of new graphical gestures and classic explorations in pursuit of an ever-evolving visual language. Read More »

Paris – Seth Price: “Self as Tube” at Galerie Chantal Crousel Through June 20th, 2019

May 31st, 2019

Seth Price, Self as Tube (Installation View), via Galerie Chantal Crousel
Seth Price, Self as Tube (Installation View), via Galerie Chantal Crousel

Marking an ongoing continuation and elaboration on his recent works dwelling on the body, shared and public space, production and the self, Seth Price has launched a show of new works on view at Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris this month. Featuring a recent series of mixed media paintings and back-lit photographs, as well as a series of light-boxes and light tubes, the show continues Price’s recent work wrapping digital imagery around the bodies and the spaces they share, then translating those images to specific art contexts, forms, and functions.

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New York – Virginia Overton: “Água Viva” at Bortolami Gallery Through June 15th, 2019

May 30th, 2019

Virginia Overton, Untitled (Cement Mixer Water) (2018), via Bortolami
Virginia Overton, Untitled (Cement Mixer/Water Fountain) (2019), via Bortolami

Marking her first solo outing with Bortolami Gallery, the American artist Virginia Overton has brought her unique blend of repurposed materials, ready-made sculptural interventions and a distinct sense of personal history to New York once again. The artist’s transformative capacities with raw materials and her enigmatic sense of shared purpose and convergent social spheres makes for a fascinating and wide-ranging body of work. Read More »

New York – Robert Longo: “Amerika” at Metro Pictures Through May 24th, 2019

May 29th, 2019

Robert Longo, Death Star 2018 (2018), via Metro Pictures
Robert Longo, Death Star 2018 (2018), via Metro Pictures

Over the past few years, Robert Longo’s work has grown increasingly preoccupied with the stature and language of the current American political crisis, exploring gun violence, political absenteeism, police oppression and a range of other cultural motifs indicative of our current political/cultural epoch. Marking a new entry in this ongoing investigation, the artist’s current show at Metro Pictures, Amerika, marks the beginning of a two-part exhibition by the artist and a continuation of his Destroyer Cycle series, an investigation into the politics of power, futility, and aggression. Read More »

New York – Tim Rollins and K.O.S.: “Workshop” at Lehmann Maupin Through June 15th, 2019

May 28th, 2019

Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Akerika - For Karl (1989), via Lehmann Maupin
Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Amerika – For Karl (1989), via Lehmann Maupin

When artist Tim Rollins passed away in December of 2017, the public commemoration for the artist seemed to touch every corner of the art world. Countless figures from across the spectrum of New York’s diverse creative communities paid tribute to Rollins’s impact on New York, and in many cases, personally on their practice, particularly younger artists with experiences either collaborating with him or working closely on past projects. Read More »

New York – Sanya Kantarovsky: “On Them” at Luhring Augustine Through June 15th, 2019

May 24th, 2019

Sanya Kantarovsky, Beach (2919), via Luhring Augustine
Sanya Kantarovsky, Beach (2919), via Luhring Augustine

Luhring Augustine has mounted a show of new works by painter Sanya Kantarovsky this month, the first solo exhibition by the Russian artist with the gallery.  The show, titled On Them, presents vignettes from the lives of a strange group of real and imagined subjects. An anguished killer, a hospice patient, a headless infant accordionist, and a disenfranchised snowman, assembled into a painted tragicomedy, simultaneously unnerving and seducing the audience.

Sanya Kantarovsky, Fracture (2919), via Luhring Augustine
Sanya Kantarovsky, Fracture (2919), via Luhring Augustine

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New York – Frank Stella: “Recent Work” at Marianne Boesky Through June 22nd, 2019

May 22nd, 2019

Frank Stella, Jasper's Split Star (2017), via Marianne Boesky
Frank Stella, Jasper’s Split Star (2017), via Marianne Boesky

Currently on at Marianne Boesky Gallery, a body of recent sculptures by renowned artist Frank Stella presents an intimate look at the artist’s ever-evolving and innovative approach to form. Ranging from the monumental to attentively-rendered small-scalle works, the pieces on view underscore Stella’s ongoing exploration of the spatial relationships between abstract and geometric forms and the ways in which they behave in and engage with physical space.

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AO On-Site – New York: The 2019 Whitney Biennial, May 17–Sep 22, 2019

May 20th, 2019

Nicole Eisenman, via Art Observed
Nicole Eisenman, via Art Observed

Following a wild few weeks between New York and Venice, the pace of the art world has slowed somewhat, and the big apple has had a moment to catch its breath, opening the doors on this year’s edition of the Whitney Biennial.  Often described as a snapshot of art in the United States, the Biennial brings together work by a range of artists across the spectrum of American contemporary practice and in a broad array of mediums. Over the past year and a half, curators Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley crossed the country visiting artists and surveying a broad selection of perspectives and concepts to complete their show.

Simone Leigh, via Art Observed
Simone Leigh, via Art Observed

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AO Auction Recap – New York: The Impressionist and Modern Evening Sales, May 13th-14th, 2019

May 15th, 2019

Claude Monet, Meules (1891), via Sotheby's
Claude Monet, Meules (1891), final price: $110,747,000, via Sotheby’s

It’s been a wild week so far the world’s financial elite, especially in New York, where the stock market has plummeted over fears of an ongoing trade war with China and the attendant tariffs that implies. Yet that didn’t seem to deter the city’s auction houses from swinging for the fences and connected, as Christie’s and Sotheby’s capped a pair of wildly impressive sales that saw both auction houses notch some strong figures, and some major auction records, including a new world record for Claude Monet at Sotheby’s last night. Read More »

AO On-Site – Venice – Luc Tuymans: “La Pelle” at Palazzo Grassi Through January 6th, 2020

May 13th, 2019

Luc Tuymans, La Pelle (Installation View), via Art Observed
Luc Tuymans, La Pelle (Installation View), via Art Observed

Continuing its string of landmark exhibitions running concurrently with the spectacle of the Venice Biennale, François Pinault’s Palazzo Grassi has opened the doors on a major exhibition dedicated to the works of Belgian painter Luc Tuymans. Considered among the most influential painters of his generation, Tuymans has been dedicating himself to figurative painting since the mid-1980’s, and has regularly reinvented both himself, and the potentials for the medium, over the course of his work. Drawing from a range of sources and iconographies, his pieces at the Palazzo Grassi offer a welcome respite from the throngs outside, and the bustle of the early days of the Biennale. Read More »

AO Auction Preview – New York: Impressionist/Modern and Post-War/Contemporary Evening Sales, May 13th -16th, 2019

May 12th, 2019

Robert Rauschenberg, Buffalo II (1964), via Christie's
Robert Rauschenberg, Buffalo II (1964), via Christie’s

The show previews, VIP openings and special presentations of the 58th Venice Biennale are now in the bag, and the art world has returned to business as usual this week, returning to New York for a string of auction sales that will offer a grounding take on the market, and a look at how the following weeks may have affected both single artists and the overall health of art world economics at the top of the market.

Amedeo Modigliani, Tete (1911-1912), via Christie's
Amedeo Modigliani, Tete (1911-1912), via Christie’s Read More »

AO On-Site – Venice – Adrian Ghenie: “The Battle Between Carnival and Feast” at the Palazzo Cini Through November 18th, 2019

May 12th, 2019

Adrian Ghenie, The Wall (2019), via Art Observed
Adrian Ghenie, The Wall (2019), via Art Observed

Marking the 2019 seasonal opening of the Palazzo Mini gallery in Venice, artist Adrian Ghenie and Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery have brought a selection of new paintings to show in the space. Marking a new step in the artist’s continued exploration of the nuances of power, masculinity and politics in both the contemporary era and the annals of history, the new show stages a set of works notable for their portrayal of modern political crises, clashes of personality, and the framing of power.

Adrian Ghenie, Figure With Dog (2019), via Art Observed
Adrian Ghenie, Figure With Dog (2019), via Art Observed

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AO On-Site – Venice: “Liberty,” Martin Puryear at the US Pavilion Through November 24th, 2019

May 11th, 2019

Martin Puryear, Liberty (Installation View), via Art Observed
Martin Puryear, Liberty (Installation View), via Art Observed

Walking up the pathway to artist Martin Puryear’s installation at the US Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, one is greeted with a dazzling, and perhaps equally foreboding work. The piece, Swallowed Sun (Monstrance and Volute), stages an immense grate before the doors of the pavilion, a beautiful, carefully arranged grid that references sun streaming down, until one passes behind the work to see a black, serpentine form apparent “swallowing” the sun whole. Read More »

AO On-Site – Venice: Cathy Wilkes at the British Pavilion of the Venice Biennale Through November 24th, 2019

May 10th, 2019

Cathy Wilkes, Untitled (2019), via Art Observed
Cathy Wilkes, Untitled (2019), via Art Observed

Within the grand architecture of the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, artist Cathy Wilkes, born in Northern Ireland, has orchestrated a somber, quiet affair, moving the viewer through an occasionally disquieting, frequently challenging arrangement of narrative fragments and installation pieces that draw on the long echo chamber of history. Presenting an arrangement driven by both tension and reflection, the artist’s work is a particularly striking entry in what has been a consistently strong series of outings in recent years for the British Pavilion. Read More »

AO On-Site – Venice: The National Pavilions at the Venice Biennale Through November 24th, 2019

May 10th, 2019

Renate Bertelmann at Austrian Pavilion, via Art Observed
Renate Bertelmann at Austrian Pavilion, via Art Observed

As the crowds wound their way over from the crowded halls of the Arsenal, the Giardini, the second section of the Venice Biennale was underway in La Serenissima this morning. Flocks of visitors to the winding paths and green hills of the park, where the long-held exhibition spaces bearing the names of their countries are spread across . The environment gives a well-separated browsing experience, where each artist is provided carte blanche to realize their vision inside the space, often responding to architectural elements or working in direct opposition to the spaces themselves. Read More »