Dick Bellamy: The Man Hiding at the Center of Everything

He was slight and unassuming with a bushy mop of dark hair and deep circles under his eyes hinting at the alcoholic dissipation of a poète maudit. His voice was a suggestive murmur, both musical and raspy from smoking too much. Most people called him Dick. To friends he would announce himself as George, a mannerism dating back to when he and his father addressed each other as “George” and “Lennie,” after characters in Steinbeck’s Depression novel Of Mice and Men.”

No one knew why Dick Bellamy nicknamed himself after a loser, but perhaps it was a reminder that he was a child of the Depression who had no fear of losing. In every respect, with his deep connections to the world of the Beat poets, writers and jazz, to the artists of Provincetown and the Lower East Side in Manhattan, Bellamy was a free spirit, a quiet catalyst behind the art of the ’60s.

When Dealers, Too, Were Romantics

“Dealers are as important as the artists themselves,” the gallery owner Leo Castelli once said. “Hecannot exist without us, and we cannot exist without him.” Gendered language aside, Castelli’s remark captures the fragile symbiosis between those who make art and those who sell it.

Lately, however, dealers have been having trouble keeping up their end of this relationship — that is to say, just existing. Each month seems to bring a new closing announcementfrom an adventurous small or midsize gallery hobbled by, among other things, rising rents and multiplying art-fair expenses. In August, for instance, the dealer Jean-Claude Freymond-Guth circulated a candid letter announcing the demise of his nine-year-old Zurich gallery — citing, in place of the usual moving-on platitudes, “the consequences for art in an increasingly polarizing society ultimately built on power, finance and exclusion.”

Into this anxious moment comes a wistfully romantic portrait of the postwar dealer Richard Bellamy, a passionate advocate for contemporary art and a notably indifferent businessman.

Rachel Whiteread and Antony Gormley: this week’s best UK exhibitions

Rachel Whiteread

The ghostly power of Whiteread’s casts is one of modern British art’s wonders. Her sculptures – preserving the shapes of lost objects – combine the authority of abstraction with the spookiness of Victorian photographs. Her work has a poetic intensity that has not diminished since she created her now-demolished public sculpture House in 1993. It is very possible her art will survive and be admired when so much else of our time is forgotten.
Tate Britain, SW1, 12 September to 21 January

Rachel Whiteread Talks To Sue Hubbard About Her New Exhibition At Tate Britain

Trying to get hold of Rachel Whiteread to talk about her new exhibition at Tate Britain, her largest to date, is rather like attempting to gain an audience at the White House. The Tate only gives me a strict half an hour but she walks me round the show before it opens as the technicians beaver away, happy that I’m familiar with her work and knew her late mother Pat, a little, herself a serious artist.  She is unpretentious and friendly and when we meet, dressed casually in ubiquitous art black. She’s naturally reticent – blushing a little – when I say I know she hates talking about her work. But there’s also a steely professionalism. When I apologise for taking notes and not using a tape recorder she says: “Oh that’s fine. I write things down too.”

I first came across Rachel Whiteread’s work in the early 1990s. It was intelligent, quiet and thoughtful, at odds with the razzmatazz of many of her contemporaries, the other Young British Artists shocking their way into visibility. In contrast, she was casting the inside of wardrobes, dressing tables, and hot water bottles, that looked like the headless torsos of dead babies. Dreamy, ruminative and poetic her work explored how physical objects acted as Proustian catalysts to retrieve what is so often only half remembered, what lurks just below the plimsol line of consciousness. And then there was House, created in 1993 in a small park in the East End of London, which existed for a mere 80 days. A caste of the last surviving end-of-terrace that was about to be demolished, home of Sydney Gale a former docker, which was a direct connection to an older, disappearing way of life. Using the building as a mould, Whiteread imprinted fireplaces, cornices, and cupboards to create a stark mausoleum that ensnared the ghosts of its past inhabitants like flies trapped in amber. That year she was also the first woman to win the Turner Prize and a few years later made Embankment constructed of 14,000 polyethylene cases of cardboard boxes stacked, one on top of the other, that filled the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern and spoke, obliquely, of global warming. And then there was her controversial sculpture commissioned for the Holocaust Memorial 2000, in Vienna.

Three to see: London (Rachel Whiteread)

From Rachel Whiteread’s mummified air to the burial rituals of the mysterious Scythians.

On very special occasions, Tate Britain’s 1979 extension is opened up into a vast, single, top-lit space. This is the case for Rachel Whiteread’s career survey (until 21 January 2018) of 30 years of work, from breakthrough sculptures made the year after she graduated from art school, to pieces fresh from the studio. Whiteread’s work has been remarkably consistent. For Closet (1988), she cast the interior of a humdrum wardrobe in plaster and covered it in black felt. Ever since, she has been “mummifying the air”, as she once put it. The point of the Tate exhibition, according to its curator, Ann Gallagher, is to show that “through consistency of process, there’s an incredible variation”.

Beyond Supply and Demand: How Artworks are Priced?

The pricing of artworks is not a simple matter. And while the basic economic principles of supply and demand do still apply to the art market, the factors that contribute to an artist’s “supply,” or the availability of their art for sale, and an artist’s “demand,” or how many collectors are willing to buy their work and at what price, are quite complicated.

Here Artspace breaks down the factors that contribute to an artist’s supply and demand, and thus the price of their artworks.

Rachel Whiteread exhibition review – the secret life of things *****

Sinks, baths, stairs, hot-water bottles, beehives and the space beneath chairs … a walk through Rachel Whiteread’s casts is a journey into a common landscape made strange

Some of her more recent casts of cabins and sheds have been permanently located in out-of-the way places, to be discovered by chance (just imagining them baking in the Mojave desert, or getting soaked in rainswept Norway, is itself a pleasure). Whiteread refers to some of her recent works as “shy sculptures”. Throughout her career, she has shuttled between complexity and simplicity, and between the small and close at hand, to fragments of the larger world – the vacant plinth on Trafalgar Square, a stairwell, a cast of the meeting room in Broadcasting House that inspired George Orwell’s Room 101, which is now installed in Whiteread’s complex and rewarding show at Tate Britain.

Celebrating over 25 years of Rachel Whiteread’s internationally acclaimed sculpture – video

One of Britain’s leading contemporary artists, Whiteread uses industrial materials such as plaster, concrete, resin, rubber and metal to cast everyday objects and architectural space. Her evocative sculptures range from the intimate to the monumental.

Born in London in 1963, Whiteread was the first woman to win the Turner Prize in 1993. The same year she made House 1993–1994, a life-sized cast of the interior of a condemned terraced house in London’s East End, which existed for a few months before it was controversially demolished.

Watch the video.

Rachel Whiteread: thinking inside the box

Once a key part of a generation of artists who transformed east London, the sculptor talks to Eva Wiseman about doll’s houses, her fellow YBAs, and why she left Shoreditch.

It’s 24 years since Whiteread, then 30, cast the last remaining property in a demolished terrace in Bow, east London, in liquid concrete, sparking debates about the upheaval of the East End, the politics of “regeneration”, and the point of contemporary art. On the day in 1993 that Whiteread became the first woman to win the Turner Prize, the decision was made to demolish the house.

The odd thing about what she calls her “shy sculptures” – a cast house on an island in New York, one in Norway, another in Norfolk, two in the desert – is that rather than their massiveness, the inversion makes you realise how small a home is, its limits. Whiteread doesn’t do many interviews, and she is reluctant to talk about something even as dinner-partyish as housing, but she will say: “I’m interested in homes, in the politics of housing, but I’m no expert. I simply think it’s everyone’s fundamental right to have a roof over their head. We should be helping everyone to make a life – London can absorb many groups of people.”

Rachel Whiteread: ‘It’s my mission to make things more complicated’

The eminent artist has placed a cast of a shed on New York’s Governors Island, evoking both Thoreau and Trump – a blow for art that takes the viewer by stealth.

America is a country of imagination and big dreams, some inspired, some twisted. It is the land of liberty, the open and optimistic birthplace of such diverse heroes as Amelia Earhart, Walt Whitman and Muhammad Ali. It is also home to the Unabomber, Donald Trump and Orlando killer Omar Mateen, sometimes a violent and vengeful country.

The artist Rachel Whiteread alludes to these extremes in Cabin, a concrete reverse cast of a wooden shed that will be unveiled to the public on 19 July on Governors Island in New York. “I was really thinking about Thoreau and the American Romantics, as well as the opposite of that – the grimmer, darker underbelly of America and the idea that some lonely person might live in a different way,” she says.

Cabin is the British artist’s first major permanent commission in the US and has been organised by the Trust for Governors Island and its public art program, Art CommissionsGI. It is a site-specific work created for Discovery Hill, one of “The Hills” – a 10-acre addition to Governors Island Park and part of a massive renovation effort to turn this once-military land into a pastoral resource for New Yorkers.

How Artsy finally convinced galleries to sell fine art online

The move online has been one of the critical forces shaping the industry over the last decade, a disruption that happened slowly, and then suddenly. “It’s a huge change in what galleries have done. It’s been the biggest trend in the art market, next to art fairs, over the last ten years,” says Clare McAndrew, a leading art market economist. “The biggest driver is the wider acceptance of e-commerce. This is how collectors buy everything else, so why not art?” After closing their physical space, Weiss and Martinsen focused on crafting an online business, Gates of the West, and cultivating their brand through social media.

This new paradigm is powering the success of Artsy, a New York City-based startup that this morning announced it had raised $50 million in fresh venture capital. The company’s offering is far more open and approachable than the traditional art world. Every piece is available through a search engine that can filter by style, time period, or price. The service uses algorithms to understand what kind of art appeals to users and then recommends other works they might enjoy, or buy. Instead of the rarefied, sterile walls of a Chelsea gallery, users swipe to browse. Artsy makes shopping for art as unassuming, and as pedestrian, as using Tinder.

Geoffrey Farmer @ the Venice Biennale 2017

How a violent collision forged Geoffrey Farmer’s fountain for the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

In 1990 Geoffrey Farmer started writing notes to strangers on public buses. In those days, in Vancouver, buses issued paper ‘transfers’, a time-limit punched into its thin newsprint, which enabled passengers to change buses and continue their journey. Farmer rode the bus with an old typewriter on his lap, rolled the transfers into its creaky frame and tried to write a tiny note-poem for a stranger before he or she alighted. One of them read, ‘I can see the dog you / are hiding in your bag. / I wish we were in Paris. / Thank You, / A Stranger’. The slumber of the daily commute was ruptured by a random act of empathetic weirdness.

Notes for Strangers, created while the artist was a student at Emily Carr College of Art & Design, heralded a set of ideas that Farmer has been working on for almost 30 years: ephemerality, chance encounters, connections across space and time, a desire to communicate. Yet, less than a year later, his worldview was changed completely: between 1990 and 1991 Farmer attended the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). The models he’d encountered at art school in Vancouver, where detached intellection was prized above all else, were exposed as a particular, limited way to be an artist, rather than the only way. When I talked to Farmer about his plans for the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, it was not the pavilion or even the work that first came to his mind, but a series of vivid recollections of that transformative year.

IMAGE: Geoffrey Farmer, Notes for Strangers (detail),1989/1990, small typewriter, six typewritten notes on paper, transfer ticket, shelf with Plexiglas top, notes, 15 × 9 cm (each). Collection of Laing & Kathleen Brown,Vancouver


The innovative, iconoclastic curator Walter Hopps (1932-2005) was one of the most influential figures in mid-to-late-twentieth-century American art. He founded his first gallery in L.A. at the age of twenty-one and, at twenty-four, opened the Ferus Gallery with the artist Ed Kienholz, where they turned the spotlight on a new generation of West Coast artists.  Later, in the sixties, at the Pasadena Art Museum, Hopps mounted the first American museum retrospectives of Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell. For “The Dream Colony: A Life in Art,” out on June 6th from Bloomsbury, the New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman, who worked with Hopps in the nineteen-nineties on the art and literary magazine Grand Street, edited and adapted his interviews with the artist and editor Anne Doran. In this excerpt, Hopps describes meeting two little-known artists who would become leading figures in the field.

Toward the end of the fifties, the art world had begun to divide.  Abstract Expressionism was still alive and well, but some of the new artists were starting to look for different ways to proceed.  Robert Rauschenberg emerged, inspiring two of his contemporaries, Jasper Johns and Cy Twombly.  And then we began to encounter the next wave: a new form of image-based art that would eventually be called Pop, and a new era of abstraction.  While looking for artists to show at the Ferus Gallery, Irving Blum and I had met an art dealer named David Herbert, who had worked for the Poindexter Gallery and Betty Parsons and Sidney Janis, and was setting up his own gallery in New York.

‘People Are Too Stupid for Great Art’: Painter Markus Lüpertz on Why the Avant-Garde Will Always Fail

You’re often viewed as controversial—especially in Germany—because of your willingness to address difficult subjects, both in the content of your work and the press. How do you deal with that perception?

I can’t really comment on my reputation because the reputation is in no way justified. I’m a peaceful, happy, cheerful, elderly gentleman, except for the fact that I like to be argumentative.

When I present public artworks there’s always someone who’s against it. I heard that my sculpture was tarred and feathered in Salzburg, for example. What should I say about that? If I was there I’d have punched him in the head, but seeing as I wasn’t, there’s nothing I can do. Nobody touches my work in my presence or else I’ll beat him to death. That’s just my nature. I don’t care if it’s the emperor of China or if its Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’ll come from behind with an iron rod. I’ll get him down.

But that’s not the problem. My concern isn’t to provoke people, my concern is to deliver quality, that’s all I can do. Sometimes it makes me feel ill, or unloved. I put all my passion and commitment into it, at the very least you should respect my work, even if you don’t like it. But people are too stupid for art, for great art. You can write that in bold letters: The people are too stupid for great painting.

Laing Brown on Collecting Contemporary Art

Sunday  May 28  2:00 – 3:30 – New Media Gallery Talk

Laing Brown Talk: Collecting Contemporary Art

New Media Gallery is delighted to welcome Laing Brown who will share his extensive experience, personal insights and passion for art in an enjoyable and accessible talk: Collecting Contemporary Art.  Laing lays out the 10 RULES for collecting  contemporary art, and will speak to why collecting contemporary art is so worthwhile.
A noted art collector, Laing and his wife Kathleen have more than thirty years experience in collecting contemporary art, travelling worldwide to work with leading gallerists, dealers, auction houses, corporate and private collections, public museums and other art professionals. Their devoted support of the visual arts is longstanding. Laing is currently a Board member and Chair of the Acquisitions Committee for the Audain Art Museum and a trustee of the Jack & Doris Shadbolt Foundation. Previous posts held by Laing include eight years as an external, expert advisor for contemporary, international art to the National Gallery of Canada Acquisitions Committee, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Vancouver Art Gallery and President of the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver (CASV).  Laing is currently CEO of BrownArtConsulting, Inc.

The art buyer’s dilemma: How to pass on your collection

Art collectors face a dilemma as they update their estate plans: What to do with a collection that is potentially worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars?

Whether they’ve bought the pieces as an investment or to fuel a passion, collectors heading into their retirement years are trying to figure out whether to sell the works they’ve accumulated for a potential profit, pass them down to the next generation or donate them to charity.

It’s a financial decision as well as an emotional one, says Gary Brent, chairman and co-founder of Toronto-based HighView Financial Group, which works with high-net-worth (HNW) investors, some with art as part of their asset mix.

How to see Marcel Duchamp – with MoMA curator Ann Temkin

Published on 20 Apr 2017

One hundred years ago this month, Marcel Duchamp changed the art world forever by unveiling Fountain—a urinal presented as a “readymade” work of art. MoMA Chief Curator Ann Temkin explains how Duchamp forced us to rethink the role of art and the artist.

Watch the video!

Ellsworth Kelly, Abstract to the End

On the eve of his 90th birthday in 2013, Ellsworth Kelly told me that working in his studio in Columbia County was “as exciting for me as ever.”

“I have had some physical challenges related to aging, though I accept it,” the painter said. “But it has given me an added surge for continuing to create new work.”

Kelly developed his rigorous approach to abstraction as a young artist in 1948, pivoting away from the psychologically charged paintings of the Abstract Expressionists who dominated the New York scene. He went to Paris for six years and began isolating interesting shapes he found in plants, buildings, shadows and reflections — which he then blew up in scale and painted in flat, monochromatic hues.

While artists, including Monet and Picasso, have often had a dramatic shift in their late work, Ann Temkin, the chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, was struck by how “remarkably true” Kelly remained to the vocabulary he had established seven decades earlier.

A. R. Penck, Neo-Expressionist Painter Whose Work Reflected on the Postwar German Condition, Dies at 77

In 1985, A. R. Penck told curator Klaus Ottmann that he didn’t miss East Germany, where he had been born in 1939 and from which he was exiled in 1961. East Germany, Penck said, “disappeared in a black hole”—it was totally behind him. But, of course, his homeland and everything he lost when he left it stuck with him for the remainder of his life, which ended Tuesday when the Neo-Expressionist artist died at 77 of “a lengthy illness.”

For the past five decades, Penck explored how signs, numbers, and symbols could become abstraction. Like his Neo-Expressionist colleagues Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorff, and Markus Lüpertz, Penck relied on a style that appeared childlike, even at times resembling cave paintings and outsider art. His paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures attempted to find a universal language—one that could address the trauma, sadness, and loss that followed World War II but that would also affect viewers beyond Germany.

Louise Lawler’s Beguiling Institutional Critique

I remember when photographs by Louise Lawler, currently the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, first hurt my feelings, some thirty years ago. They pictured paintings by Miró, Pollock, Johns, and Warhol as they appeared in museums, galleries, auction houses, storage spaces, and collectors’ homes. A Miró co-starred with its own reflection in the glossy surface of a museum bench. The floral pattern on a Limoges soup tureen vied with a Pollock drip painting on a wall above it. Johns’s “White Flag” harmonized with a monogrammed bedspread. An auction label next to a round gold Warhol “Marilyn” estimated the work’s value at between three hundred thousand and four hundred thousand dollars. (That was in 1988. Today, you might not be permitted a bid south of eight figures.)

Art often serves us by exposing conflicts among our values, not to propose solutions but to tap energies of truth, however partial, and beauty, however fugitive; and the service is greatest when our worlds feel most in crisis. Charles Baudelaire, the Moses of modernity, wrote, “I have cultivated my hysteria with terror and delight.” Lawler does that, too, with disciplined wit and hopeless integrity.