Global contemporary art events and news observed from New York City. Suggestion? Email us.
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Former Guggenheim Member Speaks Out Against Expanding Guggenheim Project in Abu Dhabi

March 30th, 2017

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, via Art NewspaperThomas Krens, the former director of the Guggenheim Foundation in New York and original leader in the museum’s expansion project, says that the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project should be downsized or postponed.  “The world financial crisis and the Arab Spring has changed the equation radically,” he says. “It may not be such a good idea these days to have an American museum…with a Jewish name in a country [that doesn’t recognize Israel] in such a prominent location, at such a big scale.” 
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Michael Govan Joins Smithsonian Board

March 30th, 2017

Smithsonian Institution, via Washington PostLACMA Director Michael Govan has been invited to join the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents, the Washington Post reports.  The institution’s 17-member Board of Regents includes the chief justice of the United States, the vice president, three members of the House, three members of the Senate and nine citizens.
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Kerry James Marshall Interviewed on NPR

March 30th, 2017

Kerry James Marshall, via NPRKerry James Marshall is interviewed in NPR this week, as he opens his retrospective in Los Angeles, and reflects on the energy and spirit of his works.  “What you’re trying to create is a certain kind of an indispensable presence,” he says. “Where your position in the narrative is not contingent on whether somebody likes you, or somebody knows you, or somebody’s a friend, or somebody’s being generous to you. But you want a presence in the narrative that’s not negotiable, that’s undeniable.”  
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

New York – “Alice Neel, Uptown” Curated by Hilton Als at David Zwirner Through April 22nd, 2017

March 28th, 2017

Alice Neel, Anselmo (1962), via Art Observed
Alice Neel, Anselmo (1962), via Art Observed

Drawing on painter Alice Neel’s longtime residence in the northern reaches of Manhattan, David Zwirner is currently presenting a body of paintings by Alice Neel, curated by author and critic Hilton Als, and exploring Neel’s longtime practice in portraiture.  Encouraging an exploration of visual art history and politics, social commentary and painterly craft, the exhibition is a striking exploration of the artist’s work in all of its nuance and power.   Read More »

Los Angeles – Ron Nagle: “Ice Breaker” at Matthew Marks Gallery Through April 8th, 2017

March 24th, 2017

Ron Nagle, Glorious Assemblage (2016), via Art Observed
Ron Nagle, Glorious Assemblage (2016), via Art Observed

Ron Nagle’s miniature sculptures function in part as narrative fragments, scenes and situations held in time and added a certain sense of life and energy by their imaginative, curving forms or remarkably evocative relations of space.  Some conjure the effect of domestic scenes, others a moment of geological rupture, while others present themselves as somewhere between the two, always emphasizing the artist’s patient craft and attention to detail that has made his connections with fellow West Coast artists like Ken Price all the more apparent.  Nagle returns to Los Angeles this spring for a show with Matthew Marks Gallery, bringing a new body of sculptures and drawings created over the course of 2016, once again illustrating these elements in play with his ever-growing body of work. Read More »

New York — Bjarne Melgaard: “The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment” at Red Bull Arts New York Through April 9th, 2017

March 23rd, 2017

Bjarne Melgaard, The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, 2017. Photography by Andre Herrero. Courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York.
Bjarne Melgaard, The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, 2017. Photography by Andre Herrero. Courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York.

For its inaugural exhibition as Red Bull Arts, the multi-purpose art venue in Chelsea has opened its doors for Bjarne Melgaard’s immersive reenactment of a clothing store, titled The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, and furthering the artist’s already well-documented engagements with pop culture, fashion and personal subjectivities over the course of his body of multimedia works.  The Norwegian artist, who has enjoyed tremendous recognition in the U.S. in recent years, especially his psychedelic installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, has brought his own fashion line, which had its European debut at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo last November, to New York.   Read More »

AO On-Site – Hong Kong: Art Basel Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Convention Center, March 23 – 25th, 2017

March 23rd, 2017

Dinh Q Le in the fair's Encounters section courtesy 10 Chancery Lane, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed
Dinh Q. Le in the fair’s Encounters section courtesy 10 Chancery Lane, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed

The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center opened its doors this morning on the first hours of Art Basel Hong Kong, signaling the launch of Hong Kong Art Week in the city, and bringing crowds of collectors, dealers and other art world professionals to bear on the lengthy hallways and aisles of the event.  Marking a distinct focus on the Asian market, the fair boasted an impressive look at the continent’s contemporary arts circuit, with a burst of early sales that hinted at an ongoing willingness to spend at major events.  True to form, the event managed to bring out an impressive list of international VIP’s.  Hans Ulrich Obrist, Melissa Chiu, and Uli Sigg could all be seen wandering the aisles of the fair, as well as Ryan Gander, Rashid Johnson, and Christo, who was presenting a survey of his work at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Francis Picabia at Hauser & Wirth, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed
Francis Picabia at Hauser & Wirth, via Vivienne Shi for Art Observed

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London – Ibrahim Mahama: “Fragments” at White Cube Through April 13th, 2017

March 22nd, 2017

Ibrahim Mahama, Non-Orientable Nkansa (2017), via White Cube
Ibrahim Mahama, Non-Orientable Nkansa (2017), via White Cube

Since his step onto the world stage at the 2015 Venice Biennale, artist Ibrahim Mahama has garnered impressive critical attention for his use of reclaimed jute sacks and other cast-off materials.  Drawing on the intersections of capitalist exchange, material decay, and commercial detritus, Mahama’s work uses structure and use as indicators of failed and fluctuating economic systems.  This practice takes on new elements and variations in the artist’s current exhibition at White Cube in London, his first solo exhibition in the UK, and a powerful introduction to the artist’s attentive, challenging body of work.

Ibrahim Mahama, Issaka Tob (2016), via White Cube
Ibrahim Mahama, Issaka Tob (2016), via White Cube

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AO Preview – Hong Kong: Art Basel Hong Kong at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, March 23rd – 25th, 2017

March 20th, 2017

Luc Tuymans, K (2017), via David Zwirner
Luc Tuymans, K (2017), via David Zwirner

Continuing the globe-hopping market events of March this year, collectors, galleries and artists will touch down in Hong Kong for the fifth edition of Art Basel’s fair event in the city, bringing 242 galleries from 34 countries around the globe to the annual sales event.  Marking a strong focus on Asian galleries and artists this year (at least half of the exhibiting galleries are based on the continent), the fair may trace a shift away from globalized networks and towards strengthening national and regional markets.

Vanderlei Lopes, EEDDM II, via Athena Contemporanea
Vanderlei Lopes, EEDDM II, via Athena Contemporanea Read More »

New York – The 2017 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum, Through June 11th, 2017

March 20th, 2017

Raul de Nieves, via Art Observed
Raul de Nieves, via Art Observed

It’s been a long time coming for this year’s Whitney Biennial, an exhibition that has sat on pause for several years as the institution prepared for its move downtown, and got comfortable in its new space in the Meatpacking District.  Opening its first Biennial since 2014, the stage has been set for a particularly timely moment of reflection on both America and its art communities at a time when the national identity has rarely been so fiercely contested and examined.

Ajay Kurian, Childermass (2017), via Art Observed
Ajay Kurian, Childermass (2017), via Art Observed

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New York – Francis Picabia: “Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction” at MoMA Through March 19th, 2017

March 15th, 2017

Francis Picabia, The Adoration of the Calf (1941-42), via Art Observed
Francis Picabia, The Adoration of the Calf (1941-42), via Art Observed

Taking on the endlessly inventive and ever-shifting formal abilities of artist Francis PicabiaMoMA’s current survey dedicated to the painter (and the first of its kind in the United States) has earned almost ceaseless praise, diving deep into the fluid and challenging series paintings, poems, published works, performances and films of one of French surrealisms landmark voices.  Spread across the gallery’s sixth floor exhibition space, Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction (which closes at the end of the week), serves as both a striking introduction and an impressively deep elaboration on the artist’s body of work.  Read More »

New York – Raymond Pettibon: “A Pen of All Work” at the New Museum Through April 9th, 2017

March 14th, 2017

Raymond Pettibon, A Pen of All Work (Installation View), via Art Observed
Raymond Pettibon, A Pen of All Work (Installation View), via Art Observed

Over the past 50 years, few artists have produced a body of work as expansive, multivalent, and formally diverse as Raymond Pettibon, the longtime illustrator whose early work for the Los Angeles punk band Black Flag set the stage for his later career delving into the often elusive, twisting histories of American culture.  Ranging from literary rumination on baseball, surfing and poetry through to comical interpretations of the dark history of the American counterculture, Pettibon’s endlessly evolving body of work, often executed in pen and ink, twists and turns varied histories into an endlessly flowing stream of images, one that often functions as an alternative to the prolific mass media systems of modern American culture.  This restless approach to his craft is on view this spring at the New Museum, where his first major retrospective, A Pen of All Work, has brought hundreds of the artist’s works to bear on the walls of the institution. Read More »

New York – Pier Paolo Calzolari: “And I Say” at Marianne Boesky Through March 25th, 2017

March 13th, 2017

Pier Paolo Calzolari, Untitled (2014-2015), via Art Observed
Pier Paolo Calzolari, Untitled (2014-2015), via Art Observed

Taking over both of Marianne Boesky’s exhibition spaces on West 24th Street in Chelsea, Italian artist Pier Paolo Calzolari is currently showing a wide range of works exploring his specific interpretation of the Arte Povera movement, and his engagement with a broad range of materials that lend each of his works a notable sense of diffusive agency, allowing his chosen materials to function as both subject and object.

Pier Paolo Calzolari, Untitled (Scarpetta) (1994), via Art Observed
Pier Paolo Calzolari, Untitled (Scarpetta) (1994), via Art Observed

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Mexico City – B. Wurtz at Lulu Through April 15th, 2017

March 11th, 2017

B Wurtz Bunch #4 (1996), via Lulu Gallery
B. Wurtz, Bunch #4 (1996), via Lulu Gallery

Opening in conjunction with the broad range of events and projects around the Zona Maco art fair this past week in Mexico City, the Cuauhtemoc-based gallery Lulu has welcomed New York-based artist B. Wurtz to present a body of new works, continuing the artist’s enigmatic engagement with the materiality of the everyday.  The exhibition will remain on view through the middle of April.

B. Wurtz (Installation View), via Lulu Gallery
B. Wurtz (Installation View), via Lulu Gallery

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Los Angeles – Terence Koh: “sleeping in a beam of sunlight” at Moran Bondaroff Through March 11th, 2017

March 10th, 2017

Terence Koh, Sleeping in a beam of sunlight (Installation View), via Art Observed
Terence Koh, Sleeping in a beam of sunlight (Installation View), via Art Observed

When Terence Koh announced his sudden return from Upstate New York for a show in Manhattan last year, few could anticipate the artist’s intricate clusters of collaged material, soundscapes, and of course, his Bee Chapel, an immense hive installed inside a wax structure viewers could sit inside and listen to the insects buzzing drones.  So when the artist announced a second show in Los Angeles, and took up residency inside the rooms of Moran Bondaroff, one expected something of a second shock inside the sun-filled gallery space.

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AO Auction Results – London: Phillips 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, March 8th, 2017

March 8th, 2017

Christopher Wool, Untitled (1989), via Phillips
Christopher Wool, Untitled (1989), via Phillips

Taking its turn after a consistent offering yesterday at Christie’s, Phillips held its spring 20th Century Sale at its 30 Berkeley Square this evening, a 30-lot affair that saw a less measured evening by comparison, underscoring the auction house’s continued efforts to compete alongside the auction house giants, and the challenges it still faces in competing against these marquee sales . Scaling its offering back in comparison with full 60-lot offerings at the other sales, the house managed to move its premier works, while occasional struggles in placing lots overshadowed some of its larger successes.  The sale saw 5 lots go unsold over the course of the evening, not counting two withdrawn lots, bringing a final tally of £14,660,000.   Read More »

AO Auction Results – London: Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale, March 7th, 2017

March 7th, 2017

Mark Rothko, No. 1 (1949), via Christie's
Mark Rothko, No. 1 (1949), via Christie’s

Following a few days pause for collectors to recover from the busy rush of Armory Week in New York, Christie’s has kicked off another week of major sales in London this evening, concluding its Post-War and Contemporary Evening offering with an unexpectedly energetic outing.

Critics and insiders watching the sale had said little on the auction house’s offerings this week, other than its focus in recent sales on Asian bidders, instead focusing primarily on the high percentage of guaranteed lots in Sotheby’s competing offering tomorrow night.  Even so, Christie’s carried its own trove of guarantees, with at least 5 works promising third-party guarantees before the sale.  The strategy seemed to pay off, as the evening’s lots moved swiftly and without issue, with only 3 lots failing to find a buyer, and ultimately bringing the sale to a final tally of £96.3 million.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, The Beautyful Ones (2012), via Christie's
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, The Beautyful Ones (2012), via Christie’s Read More »

AO Auction Preview – London: Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sales, March 7th – 8th, 2017

March 7th, 2017

Mark Rothko, No. 1 (1949), via Christie's
Mark Rothko, No. 1 (1949), via Christie’s

With the proceedings of the Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale concluded this past week, attention turns to London’s Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sales, as a trio of auctions will look to test the waters in the early months of 2017.  Boasting an impressively strong focus in particular on German art, the auction houses will seek strong results in a market that has seen noticeably turbulent, unpredictable results in the past months.  Yet a recent bump in the London art market, driven by the weak pound, may see some unexpected results for the week’s offerings.  Either way, the week should see each auction house battling it out for market share through aggressive guarantees.  Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: NADA NY at Skylight Clarkson North, March 2nd – 5th, 2016

March 5th, 2017

NADA, via Art Observed
NADA, via Art Observed

One could have been mistaken for assuming there wasn’t much a NADA New York fair during Armory Week could add to the already broad scope on both the city’s art scene and the international network that the week’s many fairs and openings already offered.  Yet at the same time, NADA seems to have long prided itself on its surprises, and its first edition in Tribeca (away from its usual haunt at Basketball City on the Lower East Side) made for a timely update on the fair’s already sterling reputation in the art fair circuit.

Joani Tremblay at Projet Pangee, via Art Observed
Joani Tremblay at Projet Pangee, via Art Observed

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New York – Sascha Braunig: “Shivers” at MoMA PS1 Through March 5th, 2017

March 4th, 2017

Sascha Braunig, Hide (2015), via Art Observed
Sascha Braunig, Hide (2015), via Art Observed

Currently on view on the ground floor of MoMA PS1, painter Sascha Braunig has compiled a body of work from the past five years of her practice, showcasing the range and depth of the artist’s investigations into the painted canvas, and her investigations into the act of portraiture.  Working through a wide range of visual materials, Brauning’s swirling, twisting confrontations with the history portraiture, and modes of understanding the human form itself, open an intriguing dialogue with the Mark Leckey exhibition just upstairs, and underscore Brauning’s imaginative practice.

Sascha Braunig, Warm Leatherette (2015), via Art Observed
Sascha Braunig, Warm Leatherette (2015), via Art Observed

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AO On-Site – New York: SPRING/BREAK Art Fair at 4 Times Square, February 28th – March 6th, 2017

March 4th, 2017

The Pursuit of It by Nicole Grammatico and Christina Papancolaou, via Art Observed
The Pursuit of It by Nicole Grammatico and Christina Papancolaou, via Art Observed

Marking a curator-first approach to the art fair format popping up around New York this week, the sixth installment of SPRING/BREAK Art Show opened Tuesday, February 28th at 4 Times Square, a departure from its usual space at the James A. Farley Post Office midtown.  Drawing on a similar concept from last year, where rows of offices allow small-scale exhibitions spread throughout the fair, SPRING/BREAK continued the mission of its founders Andrew Gori and Ambre Kelly, a diverse, freewheeling look at the varied aspects of the city’s young arts community. Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: ADAA’s The Art Show March 1st – 5th, 2017

March 4th, 2017

Richard Diebenkorn at Van Doren Waxter, via Art Observed
Richard Diebenkorn at Van Doren Waxter, via Art Observed

Returning to its home base at the Park Avenue Armory uptown, the ADAA’s The Art Show offers a moment to reflect amid the massive offerings of contemporary work spread out across the city.  It is one of the few fairs dedicated not only to recent practices, but equally to a longer view of Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art in relation to even broader historical analogs.  This focus, in combination with a more selective, curatorial approach to the fair itself, and the more restrained atmosphere of the location, gives the Art Show its own appeal, one that presents itself as equally withdrawn from the broader bustle of the art world outside its walls, and more richly engaged with the history of the field that has ultimately produced the work spread across New York this week.

Noam Rappaport at James Fuentes, via Art Observed
Noam Rappaport at James Fuentes, via Art Observed

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AO On-Site: Independent NY at Spring Studios, March 2nd – 5th, 2017

March 2nd, 2017

Independent NY, via Art Observed
Independent NY, via Art Observed

Marking its eighth edition and second in its new home at Spring Studios in Tribeca, Independent NY opened shop this afternoon for another year operating in conjunction with the high-end glitz of the Armory Show several neighborhoods to the north.  Offering a more nuanced, mellow browsing experience in conjunction with the fair’s invite-only exhibitor structure and immense glass windows, the fair has built a reputation as a boutique event with impressive draw, with this year only strengthening that appeal. Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: The Armory Show, March 1st – 5th, 2017

March 2nd, 2017

Armory Show, via Art Observed
Armory Show, via Art Observed

The doors are open and the 23rd edition of The Armory Show is underway in New York, kicking off the annual hustle and bustle of the March art calendar and its increasingly loaded week of fair sales, openings and events.  Spread out across the lengthy convention center spaces on Piers 92 and 94 on Manhattan’s West Side, the fair, Benjamin Genocchio’s first as director, seems to have taken advantage of the fresh start afforded by its new leader.

Yayoi Kusama's Platform Installation, via Art Observed
Yayoi Kusama’s Platform Installation, via Art Observed

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AO Auction Recap – London: Sotheby’s Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Sale, March 1st, 2017

March 1st, 2017

Gustav Klimt, Bauerngarten (Blumengarten) (1907), via Sotheby's
Gustav Klimt, Bauerngarten (Blumengarten) (1907), via Sotheby’s

Following a strong outing by Christie’s this week in London, Sotheby’s has taken its turn at the Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist markets, capping a tightly-run sale this evening that continued a week of unexpectedly strong outings for both auction houses, ultimately tallying a final of £177,022,250 for the auction house’s Impressionist and Modern sale (with 4 lots going unsold over the course of the evening), and £17,671,250 for its Surrealist sale shortly after (which saw only 2 lots go unsold).   Read More »

AO Auction Recap – Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale, February 28th, 2017

February 28th, 2017

Paul Gauguin, Te Fare (La maison) (1892), via Christie's
Paul Gauguin, Te Fare (La maison) (1892), via Christie’s

As New York City gears up for the rush and bustle of Armory Week, London has its own series of sales in swing, opening two weeks of major evening sales this evening with an impressively steady outing at Christie’s that offered some reassurance for towards alarmists and critics of the market’s current strength and consistency.  The pair of sales, kicked off by Impressionist and Modern works, and capped with a brisk sale of Surrealist pieces shortly after. Read More »

AO Preview – New York: Armory Week in New York, February 28th – March 5th, 2017

February 28th, 2017

Armory Show, via Armory Show
Armory Show, via Armory Show

Returning once again to the spacious halls of Piers 92 and 94 on Manhattan’s West Side, the Armory Show will open its doors this week in New York City, bringing the landmark art fair back for its 23rd year.  Marking its first year with former artnet head Benjamin Genocchio at the helm, the fair will continue its tradition of sales, talks, and projects spread across the piers, joined by an increasingly expansive series of events around the city at large.

Alex Katz, Vivien (2016), via Peter Blum
Alex Katz, Vivien (2016), via Peter Blum

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