BALTIMORE — Walking through the first gallery of Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art at the Baltimore Museum of Art feels a bit like being on a slow rollercoaster ride. On the wall opposite the entrance is Mark Bradford’s “My Grandmother Felt the Color” (2016), a painting of splotchy and mostly subdued hues whose surface has been scored by some sharp utensil so much so it feels like it wasn’t so much painted as wrenched into being. To the right of it I face Bradford’s second piece in the room, “A Private Stranger Thinking About His Needs” (2016) — a cascade of colored ribbons of canvas, twine, and paper from billboards and flyers pulls my gaze all the way to the top of the 28-foot gallery ceiling. Swiveling right again, I encounter Jack Whitten’s “9-11-01” (2006), a work in which catastrophe is made enthralling. I could happily spend hours analyzing it. Then, I take stock of the work in the very middle of the gallery, Martin Puryear’s “Lever #2” (1988-1989) a wooden armature which looks like the found and restored skeleton of a creature from the Cretaceous period.
This layout sweeps me horizontally around the room, and up, up, up to Bradford’s tattersall deluge to splash down into Puryear’s ancient bones. And there’s more. I turn to face the enfilade that leads into the rest of the show and I’m presented with a long passageway with grottos off to the side, out of which peek images of the work of great Black artists I recognize at a glimpse: Glenn Ligon, Alma Thomas, Norman Lewis, and further on, Leonardo Drew, Sam Gilliam, and Shinique Smith. Generations offers an art historical canon to explore, but inside the niches I feel as if I’m at a cookout where most of the people are (extended) family. Most shows can’t or don’t hold these very separate aspects in synchronous rotation: sober assessment of an art-historical lineage and a feeling of intimacy. This one does.
The layout brilliantly matches architectural space to organizing themes; abstraction stretches the viewer not only through space and across materials, but through time as well. The conversations set up between the pairings of artists within each niche are equally fascinating. For example, Shinique Smith‘s textile bundles chats amiably with Kevin Beasley‘s resined rainbow of split ball caps, both buoyantly exuberant in color. Glenn Ligon‘s and Jennie C. Jones‘s works, on the other hand, convey a mutual sense of restraint that operates like a coiled spring. Ligon’s “One Black Day” (2012) and Jones’s series “Composition for Sharps” (all 2010) are joined in the ways they subtly use black materials to differentiate blackness from Blackness. Other personal favorites here include Alma Thomas, Leonardo Drew, and Frank Bowling — all represented well in the exhibition. A bonus was discovering images by Gary Simmons, of serenely apocalyptic burning buildings, which I hadn’t seen before. An extra treat was reading Melvin Edwards’s anecdote about Norman Lewis once telling him to shut up, and then getting to see the works that this contretemps inspired.
Still, the show left me with some questions. I don’t understand why there were cobwebs on Glenn Ligon’s “One Black Day” (2012) when I saw it. Nor why Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, whose work here is mainly portraiture, was included in the show. Also, the show’s closing is much too male-centric with one of the last galleries filled with nine or ten works by men and only three by women — Howardena Pindell, Barbara Chase-Riboud, and Virginia Jaramillo — who are crucial to this historical retelling.
Similarly, Sam Gilliam, who is a towering talent, isn’t well represented by the works here, particularly “Stand” (1973) which looks lifeless, and “Streak of Lightning” (1986), which recalls student work. I’ve seen much better pieces by Gilliam demonstrating what he can do with shaped canvases and color. I think the foundational issue may be that the exhibition was drawn from the collection of Pamela Joyner and her husband Alfred Giuffrida. Limitations on the number of works by both Gilliam and women artists in general might be baked into their collection. This situation is illustrative for me of the conundrum of leaning on major collectors for exhibition support: by lending their works to exhibitions like Generations, collectors are able to make inroads into the canon, to help reorient it to acknowledge that Black artists were at the forefront of abstract art throughout the post-war era, though they were often ignored. Yet, the collectors’ blindspots become glaring under institutional lighting.
Lastly, with its theme of Black artistry constituting a crucial part of the development of abstraction in the US, this exhibition should be significant to the inhabitants of a majority-Black city. Consequently, I wondered why it was ticketed (at $10 for adults), when admission to the museum and all of its other current exhibitions is free. Keeping it free could have been a boon to young adults who might not be able to afford the entrance fee. They too would love to meet the cousins, aunts and uncles they don’t yet know.
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The women of Surrealism, dismissed for decades as muses, are finally attracting scholarly attention as artists in their own right. Celebrated in a host of forthcoming museum exhibitions, their legacy now appears to be challenging the work of the better-known men with whom they shared their lives as artists, and as lovers.
Two survey shows of the movement are due to open in February. Fantastic Women will bring together 260 works by 35 artists including Frida Kahlo, Meret Oppenheim, Leonora Carrington, Kay Sage and Dorothea Tanning at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (13 February-24 May 2020). British Surrealism follows at Dulwich Picture Gallery in south London (26 February-17 May) with around a quarter of its works by women, among them Ithell Colquhoun, Eileen Agar and Edith Rimmington.
Tate Modern, which this year dedicated shows to Tanning and Dora Maar (until 15 March), is planning a major Surrealism exhibition with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, tentatively scheduled for 2021-22, in which female artists are expected to have a strong presence. Also in the frame is a solo show next year for Carrington at Fundacion Mapfre in Madrid and moving on to the Museo Picasso Malaga, which has form—it hosted a major exhibition of 18 female Surrealists in 2017-18.
Experts say the ground is shifting. Surrealism scholar Patricia Allmer, who curated Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism at Manchester Art Gallery in 2009, says the public appetite for these works has grown in the decade since then. “With Angels of Anarchy there were many people who said, why didn’t we know about this work before? And now a new generation of students have studied them, and it has changed their outlook.”
Indeed, David Boyd Haycock, the curator of the Dulwich show, says he does not consider the women of British Surrealism separately—they are included on merit, not to tick a political correctness box. He thinks it may have been easier to be a female Surrealist in Britain than its birthplace in France. Andre Breton, who founded and presided over the movement in 1920s Paris, “trod a strange and paradoxical line between on the one hand embracing freedom, and on the other hand seeking control, including of women”, Boyd Haycock says.
There is good news for museums wishing to cement the place of female Surrealists in their permanent collections. “There may be new work still to find, especially by Carrington who was very prolific,” says the San Francisco- based gallerist Wendi Norris, who this year sold paintings by the artist to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. “Also, we know there are Tannings still to find.”
Like Boyd Haycock, Norris argues that these women stand on their own terms alongside the male giants of their time. That would certainly be music to the ears of Leonora Carrington, to whom I was close in the last five years of her life, and who strongly resisted being pigeonholed as a “woman artist”.
• Joanna Moorhead is the author of The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington (2017)
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Protests, the introduction of Instagram, and social revolution have shaped the art of the past decade. During this period, as art-market trends rose and fell, there were seismic shifts in our perceptions of contemporary art and art history. The 2010s have seen some historic art moments, some of which sparked full-blown movements. Here, we share seven such instances, ranging from momentary fads to lasting developments that will shape the art world for years to come.
In 2016, artist-activist collective the Guerrilla Girls revealed new statistics on representation at European museums. The project, commissioned by the Whitechapel Gallery, found an unsurprising yet overwhelming bias towards Western male artists. And while inequality endures, that doesn’t mean that artists and curators haven’t been raising their voices about it. In the last decade, urgent questions have been put to institutions, such as who gets to be a part of art history? And why?“Art historians and curators have increasingly recognized artists who have been underrepresented in art texts and in exhibitions,” said Gwen Chanzit, the curator of the Denver Art Museum’s groundbreaking “Women of Abstract Expressionism” exhibition in 2016. The show realigned the movement with its female masters—painters like Jay DeFeo, Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner, and Joan Mitchell—who have long been in the shadow of famous male artists, despite contributing with equal voracity to mid-20th-century painting. Many of these artists also had recent retrospectives, and some, like Krasner and Mitchell, set new auction records. “Recognizing works by artists of greater diversity in gender, ethnicity, and worldview has finally become a priority,” Chanzit added.Lee KrasnerThe Eye is the First Circle, 1960“Abstract Expressionism” at Royal Academy of Arts, LondonAll women lineups in particular have been a familiar gallery gambit. Traveling surveys like “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985” and “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–1985” sought to rectify art history’s shortcomings.“I have seen a new awareness, and strong female curators and writers have contributed to a gradual change,” wrote Manuela Wirth, co-founder and president of Hauser & Wirth. The gallery has staged several shows dedicated to women artists, including a sprawling 2016 group exhibition of abstract sculpture that inaugurated its Los Angeles gallery.
Cities including Accra, Addis Ababa, and Lagos gained recognition for their art scenes and new galleries—like Gallery 1957, which opened in Accra in 2016, and Addis Fine Art, which also opened that year, in Addis Ababa. South Africa’s groundbreaking Goodman Gallery opened its first overseas location in London in 2019. We saw the first Nigerian and Ghanaian pavilions staged at the Venice Biennale, in 2017 and 2019, respectively; and the opening of the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world, Zeitz MOCAA, in Cape Town in 2017.
Installation view of “Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui” at the Brooklyn Museum, 2013. Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.Exhibitions by seminal contemporary African artists at Western museums also facilitated more scholarly conversations. In 2013, the El Anatsui retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum positioned the Ghanaian artist as a leader in contemporary art; that same year, Tate Modern’s show of 100 works by Ibrahim El-Salahi promoted the long-underrecognized artist’s contributions to modernist painting. We also witnessed the largest exhibition to date of pioneering West African photographer Malick Sidibé at the Fondation Cartier in Paris in 2017. It has been a breakthrough decade for artists including Ibrahim Mahama, Hassan Hajjaj, Zanele Muholi, and Yinka Shonibare CBE. They’ve not just played a part in reframing the “African” narrative through their work, but have also opened independent spaces and curated shows to support artists from their communities and circumvent structures where racism is still endemic.
4 ImagesView SlideshowThere were losses, too: Curators Bisi Silva and Okwui Enwezor passed away. Their respective pioneering ideas inspired a new generation of artists and changed the dialogue around contemporary art from the African continent, and how it might be presented and perceived.
Many artists painting figures in the 2010s are focused on the forgotten and the excluded, revising portraiture traditions. The influence and dominance of photography in our visual world—and particularly, interest in West African studio photography and the female gaze throughout the 2010s—has also played a significant role in the resurgence of figurative painting.For many younger artists, drawing on personal and found photography is a natural part of their process. British-Nigerian painter Joy Labinjo, a rising star in contemporary painting who just opened her first institutional solo show in the U.K., at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, uses family photo albums as references. Labinjo explained that for her, the figure is “the most natural thing to paint and what I think oil paint was made for.” She added that “it’s a great way to record society.”
Robin F. Williams, Eye on the Time, 2018. Courtesy of Robin F. Williams and P·P·O·W, New York.Brooklyn-based Robin F. Williams, meanwhile, “never chose to paint figuratively,” she said. “I just couldn’t resist it. If painting is in large part about desire, and women are taught to sublimate their desires, then painting exactly what I want to paint is imperative.”
Olafur Eliasson, Your blind passenger, 2010. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy of the Tate.As Instagram paved the way for the experience economy, it drew attention to experiential art. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and video installations encourage visitors to sit, smell, touch, cry, and sleep with art. Some of the decade’s most memorable artworks were experiential: ball pits and massage chairs courtesy of Jon Rafman; Pipilotti Rist’s cocoon-like video installations with cushions and duvets; Kahlil Joseph’s enveloping screens and sounds.The culmination of four years of work, Random International’s Rain Room (2012) first opened in 2012 at the Barbican in London and drew hours-long queues—“which was entirely unforeseen,” said Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass of Random International. The falling water-filled environment became a phenomenon as it traveled to New York, Shanghai, Los Angeles, and Busan, before it was permanently installed at the Sharjah Art Foundation in 2018.
Ceramic artistsView Slideshow7 ImagesCraft techniques are some of the oldest media in human history, but this decade has proved there is still boundless inspiration to be found in them.
Street art went mainstream.
Companion, an inflatable sculpture by artist Brian Donnelly, known professionally as KAWS, is towed through Victoria Harbour before the opening ceremony for its exhibition in Hong Kong on March 22, 2019. Photo by Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images.In the 2010s, we watched street art become the new Pop art. Artists working with super-slick, commercial finesse and mass appeal have emerged and created a schism in the genre, dividing those who have adopted street art as an aesthetic and those who are actually still creating work on the streets. Exhibitions on Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat—arguably the first artists to bring street art into the gallery world—have traced the evolution of the influential art form. Street artists continue to challenge perceptions of art and toe the line between high culture and popular culture.Banksy is by far the most prominent street artist who broke into the mainstream. The politically motivated Bristolian artist became a phenomenon this decade, between his 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop; his dystopian theme park Dismaland, which opened in 2015; and more recently, his auction house stunt in which a £1 million artwork shredded itself upon being sold.
Banksy, Love Is in the Bin, 2018. Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images.Meanwhile, KAWS has taken his monumental versions of his “Companion” toy character to sculpture parks, harbors, and galleries around the world, and Shepard Fairey created posters for the women’s marches. JR made splashy, monumental wheatpastings across the globe—even covering the Louvre’s iconic pyramid—as well as an Oscar-nominated film with the late Agnès Varda.Despite this, street art still hasn’t evolved very far in terms of critical appraisal. MOCA’s 2011 “Art in the Streets” exhibition, curated by Jeffrey Deitch, Roger Gastman, and Aaron Rose, set a precedent for understanding street art and the role it plays in culture. But few shows have continued that investigation.5 ImagesView Slideshow
Gastman did, however, go on to curate “Beyond the Streets,” a group exhibition in Los Angeles and New York. “Many great artists that honed their skills on the streets by doing graffiti and street art have put a lot of focus on their studio work the last 10-plus years,” Gastman said. “They have been able to expand on their ideas and style with the same raw energy as on the streets.”Gastman considers the developments of the past decade as being positive for street art. “Collectors, museums, and the media can’t help but pay attention. But even more importantly, as these artists have grown, so has the scene around them,” he said. “We all grew up, have jobs, and we want to collect what we know and love—and that is not necessarily the art-world norm.”
Zombie Formalism had a moment.
Dan ColenLet’s have a war, 2016GagosianIn a widely read article published in New York magazine in 2014 titled “Zombies on the Walls: Why Does So Much Abstraction Look the Same?” the critic Jerry Saltz brought the art world’s attention to the sticky notion of Zombie Formalism. The term, originally coined by the artist and writer Walter Robinson, applied to a movement that had emerged in the early 2010s. Zombie Formalism was associated with a certain abstract painterly style replicated among young artists to feed hungry collectors who purchased and flipped. In essence, Zombie Formalism was painters painting paintings—or, as Chris Wiley wrote for artnet News, “a new kind of court painting.” Slammed by critics and snapped up by collectors, works by a swathe of male artists such as Lucien Smith, Dan Colen, Parker Ito, and Hugh Scott-Douglas were some of the most sought-after.
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Klaus Littmann, For Forest – The Unending Attraction of Nature , 2019. Photo by Gerhard Maurer.From Times Square in New York to the Parisian gardens of Petit Palais, artists summoned international attention in 2019 through fresh public artworks. The most incisive sculptures, penetrating light installations, and eye-opening murals spurred meaningful discussions around identity, politics, climate change, and community, while, at times, inspiring awe as well. To honor such innovative, impactful artworks, the art-and-design fabrication company UAP recruits a panel of international curators each year to select the best new public works. Here, we share the 2019 list, with insights from the nominating curators on what makes these works so compelling. (To learn more, you can tune into an interactive webinar with UAP’s curators on Wednesday, December 4th at 7 p.m. EST.)
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Border Tuner, U.S.–Mexico border
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, “Border Turner”View Slideshow3 Images
“Border Tuner, a timely and ephemeral light and sound installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, created a unique and powerful platform for interconnectivity and public participation at the U.S.–Mexico border. By melding performance, robotic technology, and social discourse, Lozano-Hemmer’s large-scale installation shared a lesser-told story by visibly highlighting positive counter-narratives about El Paso and Ciudad Juárez’s interdependent culture. A challenging public project to achieve, Lozano-Hemmer’s piece was able to brilliantly and poetically render intimate bridges between strangers standing in two different cities and countries that share so much.”—Nicholas Baume, Director and Chief Curator, Public Art Fund
Simone Leigh, Brick House, New York City
Simone Leigh, Brick House, 2019. Photo by Timothy Schenck. Courtesy of the High Line.“Simone Leigh’s Brick House is the first commission for the High Line Plinth. The work features an imposing 16-foot-tall female figure, notably missing eyes and with hair styled in an afro and cornrow braids. This bust sits atop a solid, skirted form which in turn rests on a square pedestal. Elements of Brick House are inspired by Batammaliba architecture from Benin and Togo, teleuk dwellings from Cameroon and Chad, and the restaurant Mammy’s Cupboard in Natchez, Mississippi. Leigh’s bronze sculpture has absolute mastery over an unforgiving site; it is surrounded by the glass towers of Hudson Yards on one side and hovers above the relentless traffic of 10th Avenue. Brick House, though eyeless, watches over the city below her—a deity-like presence, a force to be reckoned with.”—Julia Friedman, Senior Curatorial Manager at Madison Square Park Conservancy
Kehinde Wiley, Rumors of War, New York City and Richmond, Virginia
Kehinde Wiley, “Rumors of War”View Slideshow2 Images
“Rumors of War is a bronze sculpture created by Kehinde Wiley for Times Square in New York and a future, permanent site at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. The work explores the public art tradition of monuments to male military prowess. A young black man, hair styled in dreadlocks and wearing contemporary garb including a hoodie, sits atop a horse that appears to be mid-motion, its front leg raised and tail flowing in the wind. The figure, turned to the side and pulling on the reins, is completely in control of his steed. Wiley’s sculpture brilliantly gives power and majesty to those rarely featured in the monument genre while also questioning the masculine, state-sanctioned violence celebrated in such memorials. In Richmond, the statue will sit on Arthur Ashe Boulevard, near displays of Confederate statues. As Wiley notes, Rumors of War exposes ‘the beautiful and terrible potentiality of art to sculpt the language of domination.’”—Julia Friedman, Senior Curatorial Manager at Madison Square Park Conservancy
Nell, Eveleigh Treehouse, Sydney
Nell and Cave Urban, Eveleigh Treehouse, 2019. Photo by Nelson Cortez, Mark Pokorny and Juan Pablo Pinto. Courtesy of the artist, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and STATION, Melbourne.“Situated on Gadigal land, Nell’s Eveleigh Treehouse communes with nature, site, and history, with two treehouses on elongated legs that are conjoined by low walkways sitting gently across Eveleigh Green. Over 400 volunteer members of the local community forged individual metal gum leaves with personal inscriptions that Nell transformed into a hospitable cave with curved, arched entrances that resemble a cheeky face. Anthropomorphic and human, Nell invites us into her playground where imagination and ideals, materials and artistry are melded in perfect harmony, adroitly described by her as a ‘secular gum leaf temple.’”—Natalie King, Curator and Editor
Jenny Holzer, Vigil, New York City
Jenny Holzer, “Vigil”View Slideshow2 Images
“Jenny Holzer‘s Vigil is a nocturnal text projection scrolling across the landmark Rockefeller Center in New York, elucidating the horror and devastation of gun violence. I have always loved Holzer’s acerbic and potent aphorisms that take the tempo of our times. The world is a mesmerizing mess, and she confronts the human toll of mass shootings with slogans, poems by teens, testimonies, and alerts such as ‘We were caught in the crossfire. I was shot with an AK-47.’ Over the course of two nights, Holzer’s messaging was prescient with its nightly vigil in New York as part memorial, part campaign, and part plea to stop the carnage.”—Natalie King, Curator and Editor
Xu Zhen®, Evolution-Multi-functional trainer, 2019. Courtesy of Xu Zhen® and James Cohan Gallery, New York.“XU ZHEN® is renowned globally for his apt manipulation of media to create works that provoke social critique through conceptual and pop-like strategies. His latest work, Evolution-Multi-functional trainer, was recently installed in a park in Chongming in Shanghai’s northernmost province, a low-lying alluvial island at the mouth of the Yangtze River. A juggernaut of steel, resin, and paint, the work is an unruly exercise machine that cannot be controlled by the average person, a satire on the exercise equipment installed across nearly every park in China by the government as a biopolitical administrative gesture to improve public health and also the productivity of society. Ironically, the equipment is primarily used by retired elderly, who are seen as ‘unproductive.’ Evolution-Multi-functional trainer comments on the infinite pursuit of power and the human (dis)illusion of becoming a superhero. The futility of this human quest is made further impotent by the installation site at an abandoned (now partially repurposed) facility, juxtaposing our lifespan with the ultimate redundancy of all that we build and create in the greater picture of time and the universe.”—Venus Lau, Artistic Director at K11 Art Foundation
Klaus Littmann, FOR FOREST—The Unending Attraction of Nature, Klagenfurt, Austria
Klaus Littmann, “For Forest”View Slideshow2 Images
“Realizing a thought experiment in spectacular fashion, Klaus Littmann installed a Central European forest in Wörthersee Stadium, Klagenfurt, Austria. FOR FOREST—The Unending Attraction of Nature was comprised of 300 trees erupting from the playing field that constantly changed with the weather and turning of the season. The work drew inspiration from a 1970–71 pencil drawing by Austrian artist Max Peintner, which imagined a time when forests exist only as exhibition objects. Littmann’s installation was equally enthralling and haunting, a timely reminder of the precarious future facing the natural world during the current climate crisis and a rapid increase in deforestation. Viewing the work from the grandstands, it asks if we are content to simply be spectators as our forests are logged and burned or whether more drastic action must be taken to preserve them.”—Nick Mitzevich, Director at the National Gallery of Australia
Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office, In Absence, Melbourne
Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office, In Absence, 2019. Photo by Ben Hosking. Courtesy of Edition Office.
Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office, In Absence , 2019. Photo by Ben Hosking. Courtesy of Edition Office.“An astonishingly beautiful dialogue between artist and architect, In Absence is the National Gallery of Victoria’s fifth annual Architecture Commission created by Kokatha and Nukunu artist Yhonnie Scarce and award-winning Melbourne-based architecture studio Edition Office. Standing at nine meters in height, the timber clad cylinder is at once art and architecture; built and ephemeral. Steel, Tasmanian hardwood, and hand-blown glass come together with a blackened palette ranging from textured, charcoal-stained timber to glossy black glass that exudes a visual darkness and focuses the eye to where light enters the structure from above. Subtle scents of ash are present, adding to the somber and entirely captivating experience of the space.“The temporary work (installed until April 2020) speaks to the Aboriginal history and practices around aquaculture and agriculture, food harvesting and architecture, acknowledging the vast knowledge and skill of First Nations people, which existed long before colonization.”—Natasha Smith and Ineke Dane, UAP Curatorial Team
Rael San Fratello, Teeter-Totter Wall, U.S.–Mexico Border
Rael San Fratello, “Teeter-Totter Wall”View Slideshow2 Images
“Lasting only half an hour and under the watchful eyes of Mexican soldiers and U.S. Border Patrol agents, children played on hot pink see-saws straddling the border wall between the two nations. This brief expression of joy was created by architecture studio Rael San Fratello, a collaboration between Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael. Realizing a sketch made in 2009, Teeter-Totter is one of a series of conceptual works that explore the wall as the fulcrum of economic and political U.S.–Mexico relations. In recent years, the human cost of this physical barrier has become urgently apparent with parents separated from their children and many detained in reprehensible conditions for seeking asylum. By creating a moment of play and joyful connection, the artists articulate the ways in which the actions of these nations can deeply affect the people living on both sides.”—Nick Mitzevich, Director at the National Gallery of Australia
Tomás Saraceno, Aero(s)cene: When breath becomes air, when atmospheres become the movement for a post fossil fuel era against carbon-capitalist clouds, Venice
Toronto Biennial, “The Shoreline Dilemma,” locations across Toronto
Toronto BiennalView Slideshow3 Images
“Co-curated by Candice Hopkins and Tairone Bastien, the inaugural Toronto Biennial used the city’s geographical location on Lake Ontario as a launching point for the overarching rationale ‘The Shoreline Dilemma,’ noting the significant alterations to the site over the past 12,000 years as a result of colonialism and industrialization. The Lake’s ever-shifting boundaries provided a pivotal metaphor from which to explore a central question: What does it mean to be in relation? Presenting Canadian, Indigenous, and international artists within and throughout freely accessible city-wide venues, works included Susan Schuppli’s Learning from Ice (2019–present); Sinaaqpagiaqtuut/The Long-Cut (2019) by Embassy of Imagination; ReMatriate Collective’s banner YOURS FOR INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY (2018); and Lou Sheppard’s audio work Dawn Chorus/Evensong (2019), a sonic harmonization of the urban soundscape with local bird songs.“Cumulatively the Biennial was exemplary of the preeminent voice of Canada’s First Nations creatives in re-carving dominant histories while making paths for future, self-determined narratives in the context of broader global emergencies.”—Natasha Smith and Ineke Dane, UAP Curatorial Team
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated that Venus Lau was the former Artistic Director at K11 Art Foundation. Lau is the current Artistic Director at K11 Art Foundation.
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Our favorite Los Angeles shows of 2019, brought to you by the writers and editors of Hyperallergic.
This year we’ve grown our Los Angeles list to 20 picks — there’s just so much to highlight! As always, it’s hard to distill our favorite shows in a city so dense with excellent art events. Below are some of the exhibitions that resonated with our writers as the months have gone by, from group shows illuminating California art history to thoughtful retrospectives of local and international artists.
1. With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles
October 27, 2019–May 11, 2020
Curated by Anna Katz with Rebecca Lowery
This is not only a gorgeous show, but also an important one: it is the largest survey to date of the Pattern and Decoration movement in the United States, which spanned the 1970s and ’80s and has long been overlooked for being too decorative, domestic, and feminine in nature. Cognizant of the renewed interest in craft, curator Anna Katz seized on the opportunity to revisit the Pattern and Decoration artists. Befitting of the works on view, the organization of the show and the texts that accompany it are clear-eyed, sensitive, and refreshingly fun. With Pleasure is not to be missed. —Elisa Wouk Almino
2. Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again at the Broad
October 19, 2019–February 16, 2020
Curated by Ed Schad
It’s not surprising that this exhibition is the largest one to date of Shirin Neshat’s work — there are hours’ worth of film and the display stretches across the entire ground floor. Her work, spanning the past 30 years, is stunning and the installation is striking: her large-format, black-and-white photographs impressively dominate the space. Collectively, Neshat’s oeuvre is one of the most poignant expressions of exile and displacement, drawing on Iranian poetry that is translated for English-language readers throughout the show. Eight of her films are on display, and while they require time, they are absolutely worth it. —Elisa Wouk Almino
3. Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite at the Skirball Cultural Center
April 11–September 1
Curated by Kwame S. Brathwaite with Michael Famighetti from the Aperture Foundation and Bethany Montagano of the Skirball Cultural Center
Black Is Beautifulrevealed the context behind the images that popularized a slogan synonymous with Black greatness. Brathwaite’s stunning portraits of Black women in the 1960s and 1970s expanded our definition of beauty, and his images documented the diverse artistic talents that coalesced around Black nationalism. The highlight of the show was its focus on the Grandassa Models, whose images are nearly indistinguishable from present-day editorial photoshoots. The exhibition’s timelessness undoubtedly resonated with younger viewers, and it is my hope that the historical insights presented in the show were viewed in light of the important curatorial strides currently being made in contemporary fashion photography. —Colony Little
4. Something Revealed: California Women Artists Emerge, 1860–1960 at the Pasadena Museum of History
September 29, 2018–April 13, 2019
Curated by Maurine St. Gaudens Studio
This two-part exhibition displayed around 350 artworks by 150 female artists who lived and worked in California between 1860 and 1960. Most of the artists are lesser known, having been obscured by their male counterparts and receiving less institutional support. The display was delightfully eclectic, ranging from self-portraiture to Walt Disney animations. The exhibition grew out of Maurine St. Gaudine’s four-volume book on California women artists and featured historically significant work, including a rare 1890 still life painting by Pauline Powell Burns, the first African American artist to exhibit in the state. —Elisa Wouk Almino
5. Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s at Blum & Poe
Part I: February 14–March 23; Part II: April 6–May 19
Curated by Mika Yoshitake
Parergon cast light on a period of Japanese art history that bridges the austere formalism of mid-century Mono-ha artists with today’s unselfconsciously commercial postmodernists. Curated by Mika Yoshitake, the two-part exhibition featured works of diverse genres, styles, and disciplines, framing installation, performance, and mixed media works in context of a period defined broadly by formal experimentation and political transgression from the margins of Japanese culture. While institutional retrospectives of underground scenes always run the risk of ossifying what was once a chaotic and vibrant period, the exhibition, alongside satellite shows and live performances that took place throughout the city, helped capture some of the energy of a bygone era. —Abe Ahn
6. Nayland Blake: No Wrong Holes at Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), Los Angeles
September 29, 2019–January 26, 2020
Curated by Jamillah James
Few artists are able to tackle weighty and tragic subjects with as much playful wit and humor as Nayland Blake. The work included in their 30-year survey No Wrong Holesaddresses the AIDS crisis, BDSM, America’s painful racial legacy, personal love and loss, with an array of materials from stuffed animals and costumes, to chains, shackles, and even Blake’s sizeable personal record collection. “Feeder 2” (1998) is a life-sized gingerbread house, simultaneously inviting and unnerving, which references both holiday celebrations and the carnivorous witch from Hansel and Gretel. Menace never seemed so delicious. —Matt Stromberg
7. Betye Saar: Call and Response at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
September 22, 2019–April 5, 2020
Curated by Carol S. Eliel
It’s rare that such a small show has such a large impact. But Betye Saar’s limited yet exquisite retrospective has the density and luminosity of a neutron star. Highlighting choice works from throughout her career, Call and Response exemplifies Saar’s ability to reshape the world around her through uniquely configured assemblages. Her notebooks, many on view for the first time, give insight into this important yet all-too-often overlooked artist and her process. While viewers at first might be tempted to wish for a larger selection, and understandably so, it is, in the end, equally if not more gratifying to spend time with the core of Saar’s work that spans the better part of a century. —Lorissa Rinehart
8. David Hammons at Hauser & Wirth
May 18–August 11
This career-spanning show exemplified David Hammons’s cheeky sense of humor and the ways in which he has poked fun at the art world for decades. The exhibition, dedicated to the jazz musician Ornette Coleman, also emphasized Hammons’s improvisational spirit. On the one hand, the lack of exhibition text left some puzzling over the meaning and intention of his works (are those crumpled dollar bills on the floor for the taking?); on the other, it seemed fitting for his art to trick and challenge the viewer. The one installation where context would’ve been helpful was Hammons’s sea of tents — resembling those in nearby Downtown Skid Row. Some noted that the installation, adjacent to a fancy restaurant, became more of a spectacle than anything. Nonetheless, the discomfort and conversation it stirred felt apt in a city and state that are increasingly hostile toward homeless populations. —Elisa Wouk Almino
9. Balthazar: A Black African King in Medieval and Renaissance Art at the Getty Center
November 16, 2019–February 16, 2020
Curated by Kristen Collins and Bryan C. Keene
This is a small but rich exhibition that presents research not widely discussed. Balthazar, one of the three kings who visited Christ, was a Black man from Africa, though artists would not depict him as such until the mid-1400s. The Getty show attributes this shift to the presence of the slave trade in Europe. From illuminated manuscripts to paintings by the likes of Andrea Mantegna and Peter Paul Rubens, Balthazar considers the enslaved people that likely served as models for these artworks and the colonialist history that underlies them. If you make it to the show (and I hope you do) make sure to read the wall text. —Elisa Wouk Almino
1o. Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley at the Autry Museum of the American West
March 31, 2019–January 5, 2020
Organized by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe
Walking into David Bradley’s show, you’ll see saturated colors, busy landscapes, and lots of lively activity. When you look closer at his works (mostly paintings) you’ll find a portrait of the American West that is at turns joyous and damningly satirical. Often focusing his eye on Santa Fe, Bradley comments on the commodification of Native American culture (he is of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe), while also capturing everyday moments along the beach or on a porch. You could spend a long time with each of his detail-packed paintings, which draw on influences as varied as Andy Warhol and Henri Rousseau. —Elisa Wouk Almino
11. LA Blacksmith at the California African American Museum (CAAM)
September 10, 2019–February 16, 2020
Curated by jill moniz
LA Blacksmithtakes as its unique focus the tradition of metalworking among Black artists in the Los Angeles area. The exhibition explores the West African roots of this tradition while also tracing the influence of the Watts Rebellion: in the aftermath of this historic event, artists such as Noah Purifoy and Timothy Washington collected the detritus left on the streets and made striking sculptures. The stunning work on view, by the likes of Alison Saar, Ed Love, Maren Hassinger, and Kehinde Wiley, is elegantly installed and demonstrates a sustained interest in metalwork from the 1970s to the present. —Elisa Wouk Almino
12. Terry Allen: The Exact Moment It Happens in the West at LA Louver
June 26–September 28
This was an exuberant 50-year retrospective of the work of Terry Allen. It showcased Allen’s ability to shift between mediums, incorporating drawing, collage, sculpture, performance, and video — the through-line being his skill as a master storyteller. From early surrealist cartoons, to theatrical pieces, and text-based, expressionistic drawings, Allen’s disparate oeuvre is filled with gamblers, veterans, cowboys, and sparring couples, whom he depicts with pathos, humor, and honesty. The visual work was interspersed with listening stations playing several of his country music albums, beginning with Juarez (1975), a concept album recounting a tragic story of two couples whose travels throughout the American West end in a violent rendezvous. For Allen, visual art isn’t an illustration of the music, but a separate expression of similar ideas. “It’s like the drawings were on one wall, the songs were on the other,” he said, “you’re in the middle and that’s what the piece was about — kind of what happened to you in that middle ground.” There was also documentation of his 1994 piece “Cross the Razor,” which was composed of two vans on either side of the US-Mexico border outfitted with loudspeakers. Anyone could step up onto a platform and say anything they wanted to the other side, thereby creating their own meaning in a very different kind of middle ground. —Matt Stromberg
13. Tony Cokes: Della’s House by Hannah Hoffman Gallery at the House
February 12–March 22
Tony Cokes’s videos are disarming in their simplicity. Sans-serif histories or narratives trail across the screen, set to popular music, and you follow — until some quote or anecdote drops, so full of discriminative irony and illogic it makes you recoil. In Della’s House, his site-specific exhibition by Hannah Hoffman Gallery in architect Paul Williams’s streamlined 1951 Lafayette Square home, it was the fact that Williams, the first black member of the American Institute of Architects, learned to draw upside-down for white patrons uncomfortable sitting next to him. Williams designed landmarks like the LAX Theme Building and celebrity homes for Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball, but couldn’t live in the neighborhoods he built. And so the garbled crooning in the accompanying Radiohead remixes becomes a poignant reminder of productivity familiar to people of color: keep your head down, work twice as hard, be extra polite. Della’s House also featured three older works and two bracing new videos on Aretha Franklin. —Alex Jen
14. American Monument at Beall Center for Art + Technology, University of California, Irvine
October 5, 2019–February 8, 2020
Curated by Kimberli Meyer
In 2018, lauren woods made headlines when she pulled this project from California State University Long Beach, an act of solidarity and protest over the firing of former Museum Director Kimberli Meyer’s firing. A year later, the University of California, Irvine has finally unveiled woods’s ambitious exhibition, a monument to Black lives lost to police brutality. The museum is filled with custom-made records spinning on turntables, each playing a recording of the victim’s confrontation with police right before they were killed. The audio, doggedly gathered from FOIA requests, is constructed from witness recordings, police reports, and court testimonies. When American Monument makes its way to future venues it will grow larger because lauren woods will keep pace with the murders, adding new audio every time another death surfaces. —Renée Reizman
15. Suzan Pitt:Joy Street at Hunter Shaw Fine Art
March 31–May 5
This year saw the passing of artist and animation legend Suzan Pitt, whose 1995 animated short Joy Street served as the crux of her exhibition at Hunter Shaw Fine Art. The film depicts the story of a woman saved from suicide by a fairytale mouse who transforms the uncaring streets of New York City into a tropical jungle so beautiful that upon awakening from her fantastical dream she feels inspired to carry on. In an art world that often prides itself on emotional detachment and intellectual coolness, Pitt’s oeuvre serves the same purpose as the mouse in her story, reminding us not to make work simply for market value or as a demonstration of academic prowess, but for joy. —Jennifer Remenchik
16. Leidy Churchman: For the Moon There Is the Cloud at Gaga & Reena Spaulings Fine Art
November 11, 2018–January 12, 2019
Comprised largely of jewel-hued landscapes, Leidy Churchman’s For the Moon There Is the Cloudwas a reminder of how fresh traditional painting genres can be. However, the works were far from traditional. Churchman’s soft, impressionistic brushwork is intimate and inviting. An extraordinarily gifted colorist, his emerald-green clearings, tinged with golden light, and oceanic blue skies and seas are populated with trees, boulders, and clouds whose quiet life-force suffuses the scenes. A handful of evocative abstract and figurative paintings hinted at a philosophical subtext to the images. Churchman is clearly among today’s most talented painters; For the Moon There Is the Cloud was a beguiling look at his visual worlds and the depth of meaning behind them. —Natalie Haddad
17. Gordon Parks: The Flávio Story at the Getty Center
July 9–November 10, 2019
Curated by Amanda Maddox and Paul Roth
I was struck by this show not because of the images, but rather the discourse around the images and their cultural moment in US history that the exhibition takes pains to recount. While it could be a case study on the limits of liberal documentary (Martha Rosler’s 1981 essay on documentary photography came to mind), it’s also a deep dive into one image maker grappling with the ethics of his work and a lifelong investment in his subject’s life. —Abe Ahn
18. Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye at MOCA Grand Avenue
July 27–September 2
Curated by Amanda Hunt, with the assistance of Alice Teng
Zhen’s gravity-defying choreography is the first piece of performance art MOCA acquired for its permanent collection. Humans become living sculptures frozen in time, turning the split-second moment of falling into a scrutable, enduring motion. Pulled out of Zhen’s native China, the performance takes on new meaning with its American performers floating in baggy hoodies and jeans. Are they victims of violence, or tripped by another ominous force? —Renée Reizman
19. Hugo Crosthwaite: TIJUAS!(Death March, Tijuana Bibles and Other Legends) at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
November 9, 2019–January 4, 2020
I have never before seen an artist who can sidle right up to Goya’s Caprichos or Desastres de La Guerra and not only survive the comparison but generate mutual enrichment. Hugo Crosthwaite’s TIJUAS! at Luis De Jesus presents a breathtaking collection of drawings ranging from small to mural-size, as well as video animations and books, all made over a period of over a decade. Crosthwaite’s work addresses life on both sides of the US–Mexican border where he conveys the feeling of life bottled up beneath a merciless cork, his observations packed with violence, tenderness, pain, boredom, and his mind-boggling draftsmanship. —Daniel Gerwin
20. Mariah Garnett: Trouble at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
February 14–April 14
Curated by Ciara Moloney
Mariah Garnett’s experimental film (which the exhibition is named after) is an intimate re-enactment of family and political histories alongside a fascinating dive into contemporary Ireland. It’s creative nonfiction focused on performative truth over journalistic accuracy. Garnett plays a sympathetic protagonist in her (and her estranged father’s) stories, while I came away feeling both disturbed by and wanting to know more about the Troubles. —Abe Ahn
Genesis Belanger: Coins for the Ferryman at François Ghebaly
May 11–June 15
For her first solo exhibition with the gallery, Belanger presented an array of technically proficient, politically poetic sculptures using materials such as porcelain, fabric, and stoneware. At turns humorously ironic and tragically sincere, the work explored ennui, liminality, and “feminine” consumption, depicting the many objects we mindlessly accumulate in our ongoing attempts at self-soothing and self-care. Smashed cigarette butts, droopy pens, and half-eaten chocolates — the sculptures, much like passengers on the river Styx, feel caught in an in-between state of time. —Jennifer Remenchik
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983 at the Broad
March 23–September 1
Curated by Sarah Loyer
Another favorite of this year, Soul of a Nationat the Broad, topped last year’s NYC list, so we decided to give the spotlight to some of the other fantastic exhibitions that passed through Los Angeles in 2019. But we would be remiss to not mention this historic show tracing the contributions of Black artists from the civil rights movement to the present day. It was especially exciting to see how the Los Angeles iteration focused more deeply on West Coast artists such as Betye Saar, Charles White, and Noah Purifoy. —Elisa Wouk Almino
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the With Pleasure exhibition at MOCA Los Angeles was the first museum survey of the Pattern and Decoration movement. This is incorrect; the Hudson River Museum held a survey in 2008. The article has been updated to reflect that the MOCA show is the largest survey to date.
https://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Shirin-Neshat-Bonding-1995.jpg9501460Brittanyhttp://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/PsychtecturePinkLogo.pngBrittany2020-02-06 22:41:352020-02-06 22:41:35Best of 2019: Our Top 20 Los Angeles Art Shows
Yesterday, Christie’s announced that it would sell a brilliantly colored painting by the artist Alma Thomas at its New York postwar and contemporary evening sale next month. With an estimate of $2.2 million to $2.8 million—and a guarantee—A Fantastic Sunset (1970) is certain to smash the current record for a work by the artist, set just last May when Azaleas (1969) sold for $740,000 at Sotheby’s.
The online catalogue essay for A Fantastic Sunset notes that the work’s only previous owner (besides the St. Louis-based consignor) was a private collection in Philadelphia. While he is not named by the auction house, exhibition books and educational materials reveal the identity of this prior owner: disgraced former entertainer Bill Cosby.
Before he was sentenced to three to 10 years in a maximum security prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004, Cosby and his wife Camille resided in a home just outside of Philadelphia. (Christie’s declined to comment on the painting’s ownership history.)
Museum director Johnetta Cole, Bill Cosby, and his wife, Camille, at the November 2014 opening of “Conversations: African and American Works in Dialogue” at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC.
The work is included in the book The Other Side of Color: African American Art in the Collection of Camille O. and William H. Cosby, Jr., which detailed the massive 300-work trove of work by black artists that the Cosbys amassed over decades.
Much of that collection was pledged to the Smithsonian, and in 2015, the Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, staged “Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue,” a blockbuster show that featured 62 works from the collection and was funded by the Cosbys—though at the time the museum was accused of hiding the source of funding.
As the show opened, the Smithsonian faced backlash from critics who smelled pay-for-play, and chastised the museum for not addressing the fact that more than 50 women had at that time accused Cosby of sexual assault. (As Christopher Knight wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Watching an art museum shoot itself in the foot is painful. Watching it then deny responsibility for the mess it has made is exasperating.”)
The work also appears in educational materials intended to teach young visitors to the exhibition about the works on display. One such lesson plan featuresA Fantastic Sunset as its lead image, and clarifies below that it is from the “Collection of Camille O. and William H. Cosby Jr.” (The connection was first spotted on Twitter by Greg Allen.)
While such materials show that Cosby owned the work up until the exhibition closed in 2016, the provenance listed by Christie’s suggests he has sold it since then. It’s not the only work the disgraced entertainer has offloaded amid mounting legal trouble: In November 2018, two months after he was sentenced for sexual assault, it was revealed that Cosby and his wife were selling art to pay for legal fees, including two works by Thomas Hart Benton that could be worth as much as $14 million.
Alma Thomas’s painting will be sold at Christie’s New York the night of November 13. The artist’s work has been gaining attention in recent years, although her secondary market has ample room to grow. The Obamas mounted a number of her works at the White House during their administration and, more recently, Thomas was the subject of an exhibition at Mnuchin Gallery in New York. The Chrysler Museum of Art in Virginia is currently preparing a Thomas retrospective due to open in 2021.
https://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/alma-thomas-chrsities.png388385Brittanyhttp://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/PsychtecturePinkLogo.pngBrittany2020-02-06 22:23:202020-02-06 22:23:20An Alma Thomas Painting That Is Set to Break Records at Christie’s Was Previously Owned by Bill Cosby
Installation view of Galerie Joseph Tang’s booth at FIAC 2019, Paris. Courtesy of Galerie Joseph Tang.Otherworldly assemblages of foam, silicone, and other materials fill the booth of Paris’s Galerie Joseph Tang; many pieces beckon visitors with their saturated shades of red and purple. The works are by the sculptor Daiga Grantina, who continues to draw upon her longstanding interest in light—how it either passes through the startling cuts and scrims in her work, or bounces off the thickly applied coats of resin that make them glow. The artist, who is currently featured in the Latvian pavilion at the Venice Biennale, is also in the midst of preparing for a solo show early next year at the New Museum in New York. Her works at FIAC, which range from freestanding sculptures to wall-mounted works, are priced between €9,000 ($9,900) and €15,000 ($16,500).
Lafayette Sector, Booth G04
With works by Barbara Kapusta and Zsófia Keresztes
Installation view of works by Barbara Kapusta and Zsófia Keresztes, in Gianni Manhattan’s booth at FIAC 2019, Paris. Photo by Romain Darnaud. Courtesy of the artists and Gianni Manhattan. The Austrian gallery Gianni Manhattan has organized a two-artist booth around the theme of imaginary bodies. The most immediately striking works are Hungarian artist Zsófia Keresztes’s delirious sculptures of highly evolved—or possibly mutated—human forms finished with pastel-hued mosaics. Though they appear playful, each sculpture also features metal bars or spikes, evoking the potentially dark turns that imaginary bodies can take. Displayed on a monitor set amid Keresztes’s sculptures is a digital animation work by the Vienna-based artist Barbara Kapusta. In the piece, translucent human forms flap, flop, and collapse—ominous counterpoints to Keresztes’s jubilant figures.
With works by Damien Deroubaix, Mark Dion, Marcel Van Eeden, and Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige
Mega-fairs on the scale of FIAC can sometimes feel like a giant Wunderkammer, but Paris’s In Situ – Fabienne Leclerc has encapsulated and exaggerated this feeling in its booth. The featured artists all have pseudoscientific or taxonomic sensibilities. The Lebanese duo of Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, for instance, created a photographic timeline of trash in Tripoli stretching back 25 years. Mark Dion’s large-scale diorama of urban fauna (including pigeons, rats, and a cat on the prowl) facing off in an alleyway was a crowd-pleaser at Wednesday’s preview. Such enthusiasm may have stemmed from the familiarity of the scene—the work, from 2017, is titled Paris Streetscape.
Installation view of Jennifer Guidi, “11:11,” in David Kordansky’s booth at FIAC 2019, Paris. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery.David Kordansky’s startling, circular booth—its walls and floors were blackened to create a temple-like space amid the chaos of the fair—is an appropriately transporting environment in which to look at Jennifer Guidi’s suite of new works on paper. All 22 pieces, priced at $30,000 each, were sold by the end of the VIP preview. Drawing on ancient iconography, celestial phenomena, and the transcendentalist modernism of Agnes Pelton, the works are colorful and luminous little wonders. Their enigmatic symbolism refers to the passage of time and mythology. These new works mark a return of sorts to Guidi’s earlier figurative work, but they also conjure a kind of mystical timelessness that evokes Hilma af Klint.
Installation view of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise’s booth at FIAC 2019, Paris. Photo by Marc Domage. Courtesy of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York/Rome. In just about any other art fair booth, Cy Gavin’s large figurative paintings—some of them featuring startling figures rendered in bold hues—would be the main attractions. But in Gavin Brown’s Enterprise’s two-artist booth, they play a supporting role to a group of elegant and slightly science-fiction sculptures by Rachel Rose. Sitting atop pedestals, each one depicts a human egg the moment after it’s been fertilized, rendered in glass. Some of the works are transparent, others milky, with geodes and other stones embedded within the glass. Though very different from the fantastical videos for which Rose is best known, these sculptures have her characteristic high-gloss production quality and flair for seductive surfaces.
With works by Alexander Calder, Jean Cocteau, Alberto Giacometti, Yves Klein, Fernand Léger, Man Ray, Henri Matisse, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, and Edward Quinn, among others
Installation view of “Artists on the French Riviera,” in Gagosian’s booth at FIAC 2019, Paris. Photo by Zarko Vijatovic. Artwork 2019 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy of Gagosian.Gagosian is flexing its muscles and preaching to the choir with a Francophilic FIAC booth devoted to the many modern artists who have spent time on the Côte d’Azur, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Alexander Calder, and Yves Klein. The booth’s distinctive design is based on the interior of the Villa Santo Sospir near Nice, complete with replicas of the murals that Jean Cocteau created there during his stays in the 1950s and ’60s. The facsimile of a domestic space, complete with a mantlepiece and rattan seats, makes for an uncharacteristically homey setting in which to take in all the blue-chip works.
https://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/H23PXIJH.jpg8121200Brittanyhttp://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/PsychtecturePinkLogo.pngBrittany2020-02-06 22:17:442020-02-06 22:17:44The 10 Best Booths at FIAC
Urs Fischer coyly titled his new exhibition, now on view at Gagosian in Paris, “Leo,” and the announcement contained no information apart from a vague image of a torso facing another body. But if you look closely at that torso, you’ll figure out that it is a very, very famous torso—and there’s no mistaking that the “Leo” of the show’s title refers to the Oscar-winning actor, environmental activist, and art collector Leonardo DiCaprio.
At last night’s opening at Gagosian’s space on Due de Ponthieu, steps away from the Tuileries gardens, a thick crowd of Parisians and people in town for FIAC flooded the entryway, trying to get a glimpse of what exactly the Fischer was doing with the star of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Upon entering I witnessed a scrum of people huddled around the statue installed at the center of the gallery. I sifted through the people—including Larry Gagosian himself, surrounded by collectors such as Delphine Arnault and Maja Hoffmann, artists such as Marcus Jahmal and Jean-Marie Appriou, curator Francesco Bonami, dealers Bill Powers and Sadie Coles, and a man rocking bonkers-awesome Rick Owens high-heeled boots—and saw that the focus of the oohs and ahhhs was one of Fischer’s wax figurines, which are activated by lighting a candle on the top of the head. This melts the material, and the work of art eventually gets reduced to a pool of wax splattered on the floor.
Those who buy them—and they sell for almost as much as $1 million—can get the whole thing refabricated at cost ($50,000, in 2017) and delivered back to their home, ready to be melted again, and ordered again, and melted again, ad infinitum.
The work in the gallery. Photo: Nate Freeman
And, indeed, the man melting in Paris was Leo DiCaprio. That night the lit candle had taken off some of Leo’s forehead, and by today Leo’s skull is probably gone. Intriguingly, Leo isn’t depicted solo, but with his parents, George DiCaprio and Irmelin Indenbirken, who divorced when Leo was 1 year old. He was mostly brought up by his mom, who often accompanies her son to awards ceremonies and, sometimes, art openings. Intriguingly, in the sculpture, mom and dad are each interacting with a different Leo: from that very, very famous torso springs not one but two Leos, each with a full Leo head ready to be melted down. With his mom, he’s embraced in a bear hug and has plastered across his face that goofy Leo smile that’s known around the world. With his dad, Leo’s staring off into the distance—a distant Leo, an introspective Leo.
I wanted to ask Fischer about the twin Leo heads, but he had wandered off from his own opening, as he does from time to time, a studio manager explained. He actually just went a block away, to a cafe where the crowds at the show were still visible, to chat with Jasmine Tsou—the proprietor of New York’s beloved JTT gallery, where Fischer had a brief but brilliant pop-up show in 2017.
Fischer eventually came back to the gallery, and we found a spot to chat. “Leo initially approached me to do a portrait—some people approach me, you know,” Fischer said. “I know him, and I know everybody that I make the portraits of in one way or another. And I thought for a second, and I asked if he could do it with his parents. He said yeah, he was totally game, it was cool all the way. We all met, and we tried to figure out, and we went in with an open mind.”
I asked if Leo had seen pictures of the work (sadly, the real Leo was not present at the opening to pose alongside the wax Leo, which is actually bigger than the real one by about a foot.) “I don’t know if the parents saw it but, but I sent him photos, while it was in the process, and when it was finished,” Fischer said.
A view of the smiling Leo head. Photo: Nate Freeman.
While the work at the gallery is for sale, Leo commissioned it from Urs and will receive an artist’s proof, as is customary for those who the artist depicts in wax. The images were drawn from real interactions between the three of them, as they all posed for the artist together and he created scans of their interactions.
Fischer’s wax sculptures have always been conceptual works that acquire power as they disappear—and the process of destroying the thing and then buying a new version of the work for a fraction of what the original version of the statue cost is a pretty great commentary on this whole business—but this disappearing double-portrait makes for one of the best shows up in Paris right now because it achieves another kind of transformation. Here, Fischer has rendered one of the most recognizable faces in the world, the face of Leo, into a child of divorce, into something as simple as the son of a mother and a father.
“It’s like all of us—we all have parents, man, like it or not,” Fischer said. “Sometimes we like them and sometimes we don’t. That’s kind of how it goes.”
Artists are picky people. The objects they live with — furniture, artifacts, ceramics, works by other artists — are usually carefully chosen, and they look it. They highlight an artist’s personal or aesthetic connections (or both), and clarify the nourishment objects can give us. Two exhibitions in two downtown galleries, a few blocks apart, make this point in a fruitful reciprocity.
One show is “A Specific Eye: Seven Collections,” at Demisch Danant, a design gallery at 30 West 12th Street. The other is “Siobhan Liddell: Nobody’s World,” the main attraction at Gordon Robichaux, a gallery of contemporary art at 41 Union Square West, as well as the first New York solo in nearly a decade of the multimedia savant Siobhan Liddell, who paints and sculpts, among much else. The shows have Ms. Liddell and two other artists in common, but more than that, they form a meditation on some of the ways artists sustain themselves and their art.
For “A Specific Eye,” Suzanne Demisch and Stephane Danant invited four artists or artist-couples, an artist’s estate and two dealers to choose some cherished artifacts, mementos and occasional works of art to display at the gallery, mostly on tables from its examples of French postwar design. (Three participants brought their own furniture, too — remember, I said artists are picky.)
The exhibition exudes stylish domesticity and suggests a cabinet of wonders. It’s like being in the homes of people with intriguing taste. You want to look around.
The groupings cross several cultures, starting with Americana, in a lively exhibition of mostly 19th-century paintings, objects and Gothic Revival furniture from the estate of the photographer Saul Leiter, followed by a more homogeneous sight: a row of six distinctive sculptural heads and busts from the dealer Frank Maresca. The artist Ugo Rondinone presents his collection of 17 pint-size scholars’ rocks from China and Japan atop a stainless steel table from 1968 by the French designer Maria Pergay (still working at 88); they resemble a diminutive limestone forest on a high plateau.
In a living-room-like arrangement of furniture — including another Pergay table — the sculptor Huma Bhabha and the painter Jason Fox have clustered choice travel souvenirs and personal keepsakes that take us from ancient Rome to Karachi, Pakistan, where Ms. Bhabha was born, to Southeast Asia. The photographer François Halard trains his camera on the layered displays of artifacts and photographs in his home in Arles and places four of these images in close quarters with African sculptures and delicate ceramic bowls, one from East Persia dating to around 1000 AD.
The least familiar material may be that of the dealer Jason Jacques: gleaming vases by the polymath artist Galileo Chini, and the luxurious enameled boxes of the metalsmith Alfred Daguet. These Art Nouveau objects have an appropriate setting in a large 19th-century glass-front bookcase provided by Mr. Jacques.
The artists Robert Gober and Donald Moffett have orchestrated the most complex, suggestive and close-packed display at Demisch Danant on a thick-topped oak refectory table, as well as the floor and adjacent walls. Photographs and ephemera, art and artifacts (including some Native American stone tools) form an intricate rebus, a double self-portrait and an American history lesson rolled into one, with a thrift-store portrait of Abraham Lincoln (signed A.L.S.) flanked, as if by sconces, by two ropelike knots of yellow ceramic by Ms. Liddell.
Ms. Liddell’s artworks involve little in the way of fine materials or recognizable skills, while being visibly handmade. Her exhibition at the gallery of Sam Gordon and Jacob Robichaux is, as usual, a menagerie of disparate, modestly sized, oddly poetic things spread about the space, and it feels initially a little like stepping into an aquarium.
In addition to ceramics, her sculpted materials tend toward cheap: paper, wire, string, plastic cups. A found image and object coalesce beautifully in “Feather Moon,” whose soft-looking foreground turns out to be a feather laid on top of a photograph of the moon, then rephotographed. She favors leaf forms, some wrought large in papier-mâché. For a small wall piece titled “This Century,” clay glazed blue and white is awkwardly wavelike and serves as a pedestal for a glossy digital postcard of a conch shell, all shiny and pink inside. In the relatively refined “Silver and Blue,” whorls of tiny scales of paper are glued to canvas and spray-painted; it suggests a lunar weather system or eccentric fur pelt and looks different from every angle.
The gallery’s office holds a bonus: a grouping of small works by 15 artists assembled by Ms. Liddell, Mr. Gordon and Mr. Robichaux. It includes paintings, sculptures and drawings by Mr. Gober and Mr. Moffett, Leidy Churchman, Sue Tompkins and Beverly Buchanan, among others. I could imagine them gathered even more closely together around a table at Demisch Danant.
https://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/03designart4-superJumbo.jpg13652048Brittanyhttp://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/PsychtecturePinkLogo.pngBrittany2020-02-06 21:56:452020-02-06 21:56:45Art Is Where the Home Is
These emerging artists work in all manner of media, from ceramics to textile to painting.
As the art world descends on Miami for the annual Art Basel Miami Beach fair and the accompanying constellation of fairs and parties, there can be a lot of noise to distract you from the main event. To keep your focus on the art—and, more specifically, emerging artists worth knowing—we’ve pulled out a few buzzed-about rising talents you should make sure to seek out at the fair this year. Just don’t blame us if you can’t get off the wait list to buy.
Amaoko Boafo, Golden Frame (2018). Courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles and Marine Ibrahim, Chicago.
Who: The Ghanian artist just had his first US solo show this year, but he is already being treated as the country’s biggest talent since Ibrahim Mahama.
Based in: Vienna
Notable Resume Lines: After his January 2019 show at Roberts Projects in Los Angeles, word spread quickly, and he was picked up for representation by Mariane Ibrahim, a leading dealer of African artists who this year moved from Seattle to Chicago. More recently, it was announced that Boafo had been offered the star-making residency slot at the Rubell Family Collection, and as a result of the resultant buzz, one of his works was offered at the ICI benefit in a charity auction, where it went for $46,000 over an estimate of $10,000.
Where to See It: In addition to work on view at the Rubells’s space, Mariane Ibrahim will be bringing a solo booth of his work to Art Basel Miami Beach. The new works are large-scale portraits presented against monochromatic backgrounds.
What to Look Out for: He often makes bold portraits of friends in Accra and Vienna, including the author and musician Steve Mekoudja. He hit his artistic stride three years ago, when he began rendering his compositions with paint-dipped fingers rather than brushes. The effect hovers between figuration and abstraction.
Prices: His works at Mariane Ibrahim are priced between $15,000 and $45,000.
Fun Fact: Boafo worked as a pallbearer in Ghana to help put himself through art school. He was first brought to the attention of Robert Projects by another one of their artists, Kehinde Wiley, who found Boafo’s work on Instagram. Wiley was so taken by it that he brought it to the attention of his dealers, who quickly arranged for a solo show, purely over email.
Up Next: In 2020, Boafo will have a solo show of brand new work at Ibrahim’s gallery in Chicago and will be included in a group show at Marianne Boesky in New York.
Woody De Othello
A work by Woody De Othello. Courtesy of the artist, Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco and KARMA, NY.
Who: Still south of 30 years old, this ascendant Miami-born sculptor has become known for comically surreal ceramics of oversized household objects, which usually look to be in the process of melting, sprouting cartoon limbs, or both. Think Dali’s ThePersistence of Memory adapted for Nickelodeon.
Based in: Oakland, California
Notable Resume Lines: De Othello currently has a solo exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art (through April 5, 2020), and, in February, the San Francisco International Airport unveiled three of his new bronze sculptures permanently installed on its remodeled observation deck. His work was also featured in the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts in Slovenia this year, as well as the inaugural Front Triennial in Cleveland in 2018.
Where to See It: Art Basel’s new Meridians section as well as the main gallery section, where his work will be presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery and Karma.
What to Look Out for: Cool Composition, De Othello’s contribution to Meridians, recalls the Miami summers of the artist’s youth, where the box fan was the nexus of home life and his Haitian-descended family told tales of spirits inhabiting everyday objects. The installation consists of a giant bronze fan—sagging from exhaustion, or perhaps bending down to whisper secrets—surrounded by a set of life-size stools and citrus trees. His dealer’s booths will host wall sculptures of telephones, vents, and clocks, along with freestanding sculptures and works on paper.
Prices: De Othello’s works are priced between roughly $8,000 and $15,000.
Fun Fact: De Othello is a CrossFit die-hard.
Up Next: 2020 will keep the artist busy with a solo show in esteemed Mexico City project space Lulu, a residency at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and a solo booth with Jessica Silverman at Art Basel Hong Kong.
Who: This 29-year-old artist, born in Cape Town, South Africa, has earned an enviable reputation—fast—for his Surrealist, otherworldly depictions of life in post-apartheid South Africa.
Based in: Los Angeles
Notable Resume Lines: Ndzube, who holds has a BA in fine art from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, was featured in this year’s Lyon Biennale and the Curitiba Biennale in Brazil. But his big break in the US came last year, when the Rubell Family Collection featured a large display of his work during Art Basel Miami Beach. At the 2018 Armory Show in New York, his solo presentation at Nicodim Gallery was an instant hit and sold out within the first hour of the VIP opening.
Where to See It: Stevenson Gallery’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach
What to Look Out for: Some of Ndzube’s most compelling works are inspired by “swenking,” an informal contest in which working-class Zulu men face off in a combination of fashion show and dance-off. Ndzube works on linen with a variety of paint and found objects.
Prices: Works currently range between $18,000 and $50,000.
Fun Fact: While in the studio, the artist often gives his works-in-progress nicknames after people in the art world or his own social circle (unbeknownst to them).
Up Next: Ndzube has a solo show coming up at Stevenson in Johannesburg in 2020 (his first in that city) and another at the Denver Art Museum in 2021 (his first institutional US solo exhibition). Next summer, he will co-organize a show with Nicodim Gallery’s Ben Lee Ritchie Handler at Harper’s Books in the Hamptons.
Tau Lewis, Harmony (2019). Photo courtesy of Cooper Cole Gallery and the artist.
Who: The self-taught, 26-year-old artist uses textile, sewing, carving, and assemblage to create figures that look as if they have stepped out of a dream and into your space.
Based in: Toronto, Canada
Notable Resume Lines: Lewis has been included in exhibitions at the New Museum and MoMA PS1 in New York as well as this year’s Yorkshire Sculpture International at the Hepworth Wakefield in London. She was also the subject of a solo exhibition at the Atlanta Contemporary in 2018.
Where to See It: Cooper Cole will present a solo booth of the artist’s work at Art Basel Miami Beach.
What to Look Out for: Lewis is best known for her soft sculpture and quilts.
Prices: $10,000 to $50,000
Fun Fact: Lewis scours Salvation Army shops on her travels to find the textiles she uses in her work.
Up Next: Next year, the artist will have a solo show at Cooper Cole, a solo museum show at Oakville Galleries in Ontario, and will be included in an exhibition at the Hammer in Los Angeles.
Nona Faustine, Fragment of Evidence, Statue of Liberty (2019). Photo courtesy of Two Palms, New York.
Who: The 43-year-old African American photographer became something of a viral sensation on the strength of her powerful self-portraits, in which she wears only white heels and poses at sites in New York linked to the slave trade, offering a powerful reminder of the city’s dark history and the economies it was built on.
Based in: Brooklyn, New York
Notable Resume Lines: This year alone, Faustine was one of 10 winners of both the inaugural Colene Brown Art Prize and the prestigiousAnonymous Was a Woman grants. She also received a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship for Photography and was a finalist in the Outwin Boochever Competition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. A graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, Faustine got her MFA from the International Center of Photography/Bard College program, also in New York.
Where to See It: New York print studio Two Palms’s Art Basel booth.
What to Look Out for: At the Two Palms print shop, Faustine has produced her first-ever silkscreens, based on her 2016 series “My Country.” Each image in the series features an instantly identifiable US landmark that has been partially obscured by a fuzzy black or red stripe. (The first image was taken serendipitously, of the Statue of Liberty as seen behind a bar on the window of the Staten Island Ferry; Faustine then began putting tape across her camera lens to replicate the effect.) Each image questions the official version of American history, asking the viewer to consider reframing American identity to be more inclusive and less colonial. The work is all the more timely now, given the continued attention being paid to US monuments and their representation of the nation and its people.
Prices: $8,500 unframed
Fun Fact: Kehinde Wiley selected Faustine as one of the inaugural participants in Black Rock Senegal, his multidisciplinary artist residency in Dakar.
Torey Thornton, (How literal you want, me? Dirt’s foundational and socially homogeneous overlap, which mirrors all skins, sampled, which also appear as topographical tea perspectives, with twister as a social teacher and presenter of various discomforts depending your space)(eg: my one hyper key as appetizer) (2019). Image courtesy of the artist and Morán Morán, Los Angeles
Who: The artist, still not yet 30, has become a favorite among brainy dealers and collectors for their paintings made atop paper, wood, and slatted panels—materials the artist chooses because they are populist, rather than elitist. More recently, Thornton has begun to explore installation and sculpture as well.
Based in: Brooklyn, New York
Notable Resume Lines: Since graduating from Cooper Union in 2012, Thornton has developed a resume any young artist would envy: the artist had a solo show at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo and was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Thornton’s work has also been acquired by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.
Where to See It: The new “Meridians” section of Art Basel Miami Beach.
What to Look Out for: How literal you want, me?… in Meridians, a brand new painting presented by Morán Morán, is eight feet tall and almost 12 feet long—the artist’s largest work to date.
Prices: Thornton’s works range from $40,000 to $100,000.
Fun Fact: Thornton’s sense of humor and poetry is evident in their titles, such as First, After I saw Elvis Look At Me And Imagined Him Looking and What Angel Do You Look Towards When You Are Damning Your Tears, Sweet Sis.
Up Next: The artist will have a solo booth at the Independent art fair in New York with Morán Morán next year as well as solo shows with Morán Morán and Essex Street Gallery.
https://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Amoako-Boafo-Cobalt-Blue-Earring-2019.-Courtesy-of-Mariane-Ibrahim-830x1024-1.jpg1024830Brittanyhttp://psychitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/PsychtecturePinkLogo.pngBrittany2020-02-06 21:16:392020-02-06 21:16:39The Class of 2019? Meet 6 Fast-Rising Artists Having Star Turns at This Year’s Art Basel Miami Beach