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Art News Charts Acquisitions and Sales Speculations Among Mega-Galleries

May 22nd, 2019

A piece in Art News notes the increased pace of acquisition of artists and artists’ estates by Hauser & Wirth of late, and looks at the sizes and purported earnings of each of the mega-galleries. “Gagosian was reputed to gross the most: roughly $1 billion a year,” says writer Michael Shnayerson. “The others were said to be closer to $250 million each, but claimed to do better.”
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Brooklyn Academy of Music Workers Move to Unionize

May 22nd, 2019

Administrative workers and cinema staff at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York are trying to unionize, Artforum reports. “We are here because we believe in BAM’s mission,” the new union’s Twitter account posted last month. “Through unionization, we raise our morale, pride, and job satisfaction. Our union will make BAM stronger, more democratic, and more sustainable. BAM is a cultural institution that stands for freedom of expression, innovation, and open dialogue. However, as administrative staff, we need a truly powerful voice of our own in our workplace.”
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Knight Foundation Gives $1.7 Million to PBS

May 22nd, 2019

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has given a $1.7 million gift to PBS, Art News reports. “This initiative raises the visibility of artists working across the U.S., north to south and east to west, in cities large and small,”says Victoria Rogers, the Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts. “Through its iconic national programming and expanded digital presence, PBS NewsHour’s Canvas elevates art as national news, bringing arts directly to millions of people on their screens big and small.”
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REFERENCE LIBRARY

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 »

AO On-Site – Venice: “May You Live in Interesting Times,” the 58th Venice Biennale, May 10th – 24th, 2019

May 10th, 2019

Tavares Strachan, via Art Observed
Tavares Strachan, via Art Observed

The wait is over, the previews are drawing to a close, and the Venice Biennale is preparing to open to the public this weekend, capping off a long few days of exhibitions and openings across the city.  The main show, May You Live in Interesting Timescurated by Hayward Director Ralph Rugoff, is a sprawling, ambitious show that follows in the tradition of the exhibition’s expansive take on the state of the world, the state of art, and the language of modernity.  Rugoff has taken this challenge up in impressive fashion, combining social awareness, technologically-progressive works and challenging thematics with great style and flair.

Anthea Hamilton, via Art Observed
Anthea Hamilton, via Art Observed

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AO Preview – Venice: “May You Live in Interesting Times,” The 58th Venice Biennale, May 11th – November 24th, 2019

May 6th, 2019

Venice, via Art Observed
Venice, via Art Observed

With the summer months looming and the cities of Europe emerging from the gloom of the continent’s winter season, the month of May marks the opening of the the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale, the crown jewel of the art world’s circuit of international art exhibitions and curated projects. Having run for over one hundred years, the annual exhibition stands among the most important and iconic of shows, filling the Most Serene Republic and its winding streets and alleys with countless shows and projects alongside the main exhibitions at the Arsenale and Giardini. In just a week’s time, the fair will open its doors, and announce the prizes for its best pieces and artists, setting the stage for new artworld stars to blossom under the eye of its jury.

The Giardini at the Venice Biennale, via Venice Biennale Read More »

AO On-Site – New York: NADA House on Governor’s Island, May 2nd – 5th, 2019

May 4th, 2019

Zach Martin at Fisher Parrish, via Art Observed
Zach Martin at Fisher Parrish, via Art Observed

For the last few years, NADA has been instrumental in pushing new strategies and concepts for the exhibition and presentation of work in a fair context, exploring alternatives and options to the large-scale fair model in a market environment that has proved increasingly challenging for smaller art spaces.  Enter NADA House, an opportunity for NADA members to stage a group show in an intimate and unusual setting on Governors Island.  The organization’s second off-site exhibition on Governors Island, the show features 45 artists from NADA Member galleries and non-profits in a new, expanded format across 34 rooms in three historic, turn-of-the-century Colonial Revival houses. With only one or two artists on display in each room, NADA House reflects the camaraderie intrinsic to NADA’s mission, and exemplifies the organization’s adaptive approach to finding new models to present work from its community. Read More »

AO On-Site: Object and Thing Fair at 99 Scott, May 3rd – 5th, 2019

May 3rd, 2019

Richard Hughes, via Art Observed
Richard Hughes, via Art Observed

With the bustling, distributed selection of fairs and exhibition programs spread around New York City over the course of the week, it’s hard to imagine another iteration of the art fair model making a mark on Frieze Week in New York. Yet that’s just what the Object & Thing Fair aims to do, taking over the raw industrial halls of 99 Scott on the borders of Bushwick, East Williamsburg and Ridgewood aims to do. The fair, founded by former Frieze Artistic Director Abby Bangser, is an intriguing reimagining of the art fair, a sort of junior TEFAF that unites art objects, design pieces, furniture and other work under an open-format exhibition plan. Rather than providing the galleries participating with booths, the objects offered are arranged about the space, the result being an imminently browsable, engaging experience. What’s more, the fair is based around a commission model, experimenting with ways to make fairs more affordable and flexible.

Peter Shire via Art Observed
Peter Shire via Art Observed

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AO On-Site – New York: Frieze New York Art Fair on Randall’s Island, May 2nd – 5th, 2019

May 2nd, 2019

Jaume Plensa at Richard Gray, via Art Observed
Jaume Plensa at Richard Gray, via Art Observed

Marking its newest iteration on Randall’s Island, Frieze New York opened its doors on its VIP Preview today, welcoming a string of collectors, gallerists and artists winding their way over bridges or up the East River by Ferry this morning. The fair opened its doors on the early hours of its first preview day Wednesday, offering an opportunity for collectors and dealers to take a first stroll through the fair without the bustling crowds of the later fair days.  Celebrating its eighth year on Randall’s Island, the fair’s early previews saw a first look at a fair that has come into its own as an anchor of New York’s already packed art scene, and which has become a much-anticipated first hint of the summer months in the city. Read More »

AO Preview – New York: Frieze New York Art Fair at Randall’s Island, May 1st – 5th, 2019

April 26th, 2019

Inka Essenhigh, Untitled (2019), via Kavi Gupta
Inka Essenhigh, Untitled (2019), via Kavi Gupta

With the increasingly packed schedule of the spring art season in New York, attention and anticipation once again turns to the opening of this year’s edition of Frieze New York, set to open its doors in just a few days at its annual haunt at Randall’s Island. This year, as the fair reaches its eighth edition, some adjustments and tweaks to the schedule will look to expand the fair’s offerings and appeal in an increasingly crowded circuit. Read More »

New York – Raqib Shaw: “Landscapes of Kashmir” at Pace Through May 18th, 2019

April 25th, 2019

Raqib Shaw, Lament on Narscissus to Icarus (2017-2018), via Art ObservedRaqib Shaw, Lament on Narscissus to Icarus (2017-2018), via Art Observed

For pure opulence, it’s hard to match the canvases of artist Raqib Shaw. Pulling together disparate traditions in Indian and Western portraiture and epic painting, the artist’s work mines each historical mode in pursuit of a lush, swirling iconography that simultaneously entrances the viewer and overwhelms them with visual excess, a negotiation of forms that encourages a lingering consideration of each work. Read More »

New York – Alec Soth: “I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating” at Sean Kelly Through April 27th, 2019

April 24th, 2019

 Simone. Los Angeles, 2017, Alec Soth, Sean Kelly Gallery                                     Alec Soth, Simone. Los Angeles, 2017 (2017), Via Art Observed

Currently on view at Sean Kelly’s spacious Chelsea exhibition space, photographer Alec Soth is presenting a body of new works. Comprised of recent large-scale color portraits and images of interiors, the exhibition, “I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating,” focuses on Soth’s depiction of the individual, posing questions about what these images reveal about both the sitter and photographer. Read More »

New York – Alicja Kwade: “ParaParticular” at 303 Gallery Through May 18th, 2019

April 18th, 2019

Alicja Kwade, MatterMotion (2019), via 303 Gallery
Alicja Kwade, MatterMotion (2019), via 303 Gallery

Working with concepts of nature, science, philosophy and perception, artist Alicja Kwade’s work draws on complex fusions of phenomena, space and architecture, using these formats to question and explore the natural world alongside humanity’s participation in it. Drawing on reflective elements, spatial inversions and peculiar material juxtapositions, the artist has become renowned for her ability to challenge our most basic logical assumptions. Read More »

New York – Lutz Bacher, Nayland Blake and Vincent Fecteau: “Magic Ben Big Boy” at Matthew Marks Gallery Through April 20th, 2019

April 17th, 2019

Vincent Fecteau, Chorus #1 (1994), via Matthew Marks
Vincent Fecteau, Chorus #1 (1994), via Matthew Marks

Currently on view at Matthew Marks’s spacious West 22nd Street location, a trio of artists, Lutz Bacher, Nayland Blake and Vincent Fecteau (who also takes on curator duties here) have collaborated on a striking and unique investigation of time and history. Meant to serve in part as a re-creation of Fecteau’s first solo exhibition, the show twists a series of diverse narratives and conceptual ties among the artists into a unique interpretation of the past. Read More »

New York – Robert Motherwell: “Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings” at Kasmin Gallery throug

April 16th, 2019

Sheer Presence Monumental Paintings By Robert Motherwell (Installation View), via Kasmin Gallery

Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings By Robert Motherwell (Installation View), via Kasmin Gallery

There are many moments during Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings by Robert Motherwell, a show of large-scale works by the American master, where one feels inundated with color and line. The artist’s works, either towering over the viewer or stretch across the walls of Kasmin Gallery’s flagship space, are unified under a fitting show title: their magnificent presence often captivates the viewer and pulls them deeper into the space of the canvas, even in the show’s most minimalist approaches to surface. Read More »

AO On-Site – Los Angeles: Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair at The Geffen Contemporary, April 12th – 14th, 2019

April 16th, 2019

LAABF, via Printed Matter
LAABF, via Printed Matter

This past weekend, Los Angeles residents and visitors from far afield flocked to the City of Angels for the annual opening of Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair (LAABF) the West Coast companion fair to the NY Art Book Fair.  Marking a unique and wide-ranging look at the current status of art publishing and printed material.  Free and open to the public, the fair has built a reputation as a leading international gathering for the distribution of artists’ books, celebrating the full breadth of the art publishing community.

Jeffrey Cheung, via Art Oberved
Jeffrey Cheung, via Art Observed

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Paris – Jean-Michel Othoniel at Galerie Perrotin Through June 8th, 2019

April 15th, 2019

Jean-Michel Othoniel, Oracles (Installation View)
Jean-Michel Othoniel, Oracles (Installation View), Photo: Claire Dorn © Jean-Michel Othoniel / ADAGP, Paris, 2019 Courtesy of the artist & Perrotin.

Entering the Paris location of Galerie Perrotin, the viewer is greeted with a series of dazzling sculptures, jagged agglomerations of shining blocks that appear to glow with a colorful energy, spreading across the floor of one room, while in another, dotting the walls, each appearing to emit a gentle, flame-like glow. The works, new pieces by the artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, are a striking elaboration of the artist’s work, continuing his exploration of space and light as innately tied to their generating materials. Read More »

New York – Austin Lee: “Feels Good” at Jeffrey Deitch Through May 18th, 2019

April 12th, 2019

Austin Lee, Feels Good (Installation View), via Art Observed
Austin Lee, Feels Good (Installation View), via Art Observed

Part of a young crop of digital natives exploring convergences between physical and digital art practices, artist Austin Lee’s work feels particularly vivid and important. While earlier generations of artists began their careers sketching on paper, Lee began by using Photoshop and other digital tools to sketch on his computer. His work combines the latest image making technologies with traditional artistic processes. He uses the airbrush and the paintbrush to create luminous paintings that evoke both the light of a computer screen and the bold coloration of color field painting. Read More »

New York – Jessi Reaves: “II” at Bridget Donahue Through May 12th, 2019

April 10th, 2019

Jessi Reaves, Red eyelashes (2019), via Art Observed
Jessi Reaves, Red eyelashes (2019), via Art Observed

On view currently at New York space Bridget Donahue, artist Jessi Reaves has returned to her uniquely inventive turn on sculpture. The show, which draws on the shared languages of design, interior space, domestic languages and the possibilities of these elements to work in tandem, presents a series of floor sculptures and hanging works, investigating and reposing questions of varied histories of making, and how they ultimately converge, twist, and reform. Read More »

New York – Arakawa: “Diagrams for the Imagination at Gagosian Through April 13th, 2019

April 9th, 2019

Arakawa, Diagrams of the Imagination (Installation View), via Art Observed
Arakawa, Diagrams of the Imagination (Installation View), via Art Observed

A founding member of the Japanese avant-garde collective Neo Dadaism Organizers, the artist Arakawa long described himself as an “eternal outsider” and an “abstractionist of the distant future.”  Pulling together a range of elements in contemporary practice, the artist mixed rigorous geometric arrangements with abstract painting and elements of collage, always focused around explorations of the workings of human consciousness, diagrammatic representation, and epistemology.  The artist’s work is currently the subject of a show at Gagosian’s Madison Avenue complex, examining the period in which Arakawa explored a varied body of work in two dimensions, using paint, ink, graphite, and assemblage on canvas and paper, always pursuing multi-layered systems of meaning and understanding that drove at the heart of the human condition.

Arakawa, Diagrams of the Imagination (Installation View), via Art Observed
Arakawa, Diagrams of the Imagination (Installation View), via Art Observed

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