Details Released for Geoffrey Farmer’s Venice Biennale Project

Allen Ginsberg. A train accident. Intergenerational trauma.

Aspects of all of these elements will converge in Geoffrey Farmer’s upcoming project at the Venice Biennale’s Canada Pavilion, according to details recently released to the media.

A major impetus for the project comes from two photographs forwarded to the artist by his sister in April 2016. Farmer states the impact, and consequent trajectory, of these photos as follows:

The story of my project for Venice begins with these unpublished press photographs from 1955. They depict a collision between a train and a lumber truck halted by a railway crossing sign. There are planks scattered across the foreground and in one of the images, an unidentified boy poses with a half-eaten apple looking stiffly towards the horizon.

What is it with Anish Kapoor and Red?

Learn why the colour signifies home, earth and motherhood for this remarkable sculptor.

While some colours may trigger a wide variety of responses in viewers, red – the colour of human injury – is perhaps the one pigment that almost all of us respond to in the same way. And nowhere is that response more forceful than in the art of Anish Kapoor.

“Kapoor’s reds are intense,” writes Stella Paul in our new book Chromaphilia: The Story of Colour in Art. “For Kapoor, ‘Red is the colour of the earth, it’s not a colour of deep space; it’s obviously the colour of blood and body. I have a feeling that the darkness it reveals is a much deeper and darker darkness than that of blue or black.’ When asked about the colour of his childhood homeland in India, Kapoor commented, ‘I’m sure it’s red’.”

German contemporary art a big draw as artists come to terms with past

Sotheby’s says ‘unprecedented interest’ with buyers tuning in to postwar masters’ attempts to use work to confront history.

For years, contemporary art sales at the world’s leading auction houses were dominated by the works of American and British artists. When it came to eye-watering amounts of money, paintings by anglophone figures including Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Francis Bacon were typically the headline-makers.

But in what has been described as a “sensational development”, Sotheby’s – the highest value auction house for contemporary art sales in London– has said German postwar masters are now defining the scene.  More than a quarter of the 64 lots at Sotheby’s next big sale of contemporary art in March will be masterpieces by the likes of Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Anselm Kiefer – all of which are due to go on public display from 23 February.

“There is an unprecedented interest being shown in German contemporary art,” said a Sotheby’s spokesman. “To have such a representation from one country is remarkable given today’s globalised art world.”

The Controversial Artist Who Just Won’t Go Away

Julian Schnabel has occupied many roles through the years: the default figurehead of the star-studded 1980s art world; the fall guy for that era’s particular brand of monied hedonism; an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker; for some, the greatest painter of his time — and others, the most overrated. He’s experienced ups and downs with critical and public reception: The critic Raphael Rubinstein has praised the “messy grandeur and devotional passion” of his paintings; Morley Safer, in a “60 Minutes” segment from 2008, dismissed Schnabel as the “poster-boy for the Me Generation.” And now, after several years of neglect from American galleries and museums, Schnabel is having a bit of a renaissance, with a recent retrospective at the Aspen Art Museum, a solo show opening this week in New York at Pace Gallery and a new film project about Vincent Van Gogh in the works. At 65, Schnabel has effectively transcended the sea of commentary that has surrounded him for the last four decades. He’s not going anywhere, like it or not.

A Luminous Look at Turner’s Port Paintings

An exhibition at the Frick Collection unites for the first time three of J.M.W. Turner’s 1820s port paintings, created in an age of newly open borders in Europe.

As Ian Wardropper, director of the Frick Collection in Manhattan, remarked at the preview for the new exhibition Turner’s Modern and Ancient Ports: Passages through Time, J.M.W. Turner created his 1820s seascapes at a moment of shifting borders. Travel restrictions due to a fear of invasion had meant that the English Channel could not be crossed between 1797 and 1815, but with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the barriers were lifted. “In celebration of this freedom of travel, he started making these sketches and traveling around the continent,” Wardropper said.

While it’s always a pleasure to take a long look at a Turner painting (if you’re a fan of 19th-century luminosity, that is), any exhibition is necessarily viewed from its current moment. The opening and closing of international borders and the impact of those decisions on art are especially relevant right now, in the wake of Trump’s travel ban in the US and Brexit in the UK. Turner’s monumental port painting of Cologne features a dog and disused fishing net whose solitude is about to be disrupted by a docking boat of well-coiffed tourists. And even as he exhibited this sunset-lit arrival in 1826, many of the old buildings and walls it depicted were being demolished to make way for development.

As Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ Turns 100: 14 Iconic Artworks It Inspired

Discover the enduring legacy of the readymade in works by Manzoni, Koons, Hirst, Emin …

Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain hardly needs an introduction. Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the work was originally submitted for display at the 1917 exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York City. Famously rejected by the committee, Duchamp instead exhibited the work at Alfred Stieglitz‘s studio to much fanfare.

Though the original has since been lost, 17 replicas were produced in the 1960s. Fountain is widely regarded as a seminal work in 20th century art for giving birth to the “readymade,” and has influenced countless artists since.

Here, we take a look at some of the most prominent artworks that have taken their inspiration from the concept of the readymade over the course of the last century.

America After the Fall review – upheaval in the home of the brave

Royal Academy, London
Dance marathons, dustbowl farms, brawling sailors, impoverished cotton-pickers … Adrian Searle takes a journey through 1930s America in a gripping show.

The sedan careers up the hill on a country road, slewing as a truck comes over the rise. We have a death’s-eye view, watching it happen. Everything slows down – a car pootling toward the sedan from behind, the oncoming truck going so fast its wheels have left the road. A storm is moving in, the fence-posts and telegraph poles, like ominous crosses on the hill, rearing.

You don’t expect such graphic, cartoon action from Grant Wood, painter of ruralist, idealised farmsteads and small-minded Daughters of the American Revolution. The last time anything exciting happened was when Wood painted Paul Revere galloping through town and hollering, waking everyone up.

Curated by Judith A Barter of the Art Institute of Chicago, and drawn from many US collections, America After the Fall looks at American painting from the Wall Street crash and the great depression to the second world war. In no more than 50 paintings this fascinating show charts the turbulence of American society, its inequalities and divisions, its fears, fantasies and insecurities, during a period of both national and international upheaval. Sound familiar?

From Seminal Fluid to Sassy Scribbles: The “Non-Art” Works of Marcel Duchamp

Even after digesting this considerable amount of ostensibly transitory disclosure, Duchamp remains an unadulterated, irreverent enigma.

While his readymades are a triumph of pure indifference over taste, admirers of Marcel Duchamp continue to be far from indifferent to this cryptic artist. By offering more than homage, Elena Filipovic’s The Apparently Marginal Activities of Marcel Duchamp, a fascinating and unique new archival-based book on Duchampian ephemera, surpasses the mere addition of hagiographic detail. Illuminating Duchamp’s often accomplished (if subtle) exploits, the book also offers a glimpse into the tension between art as theoretical inquiry and art as institution (what philosophers Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer called the culture industry) by unveiling an eclectic and brilliant range of Duchamp’s innocuous, fragile, and fleeting projects. This is achieved through a richly illustrated and meticulously researched consideration of the fugitive art actions performed by the audacious person named Marcel: his window displays, art dealing, designing of surrealist shows and catalogues, promotional activities, administrative functions, and ambivalent curatorial personae, for example. Yet happily, even after digesting this considerable amount of ostensibly transitory disclosure, Duchamp remains an unadulterated, irreverent enigma — only a much deeper one.

Has the Art Market Become an Unwitting Partner in Crime?

When you sell your home the paperwork details the sale, including your name, and the title search lists the names of the people who owned the property before you. But when someone sells an artwork at auction — even something worth $100 million, much more than your house — the identity is typically concealed.

Oh, the paperwork might identify the work as coming from “a European collection.” But the buyer usually has no clue with whom he or she is really dealing. Sometimes, surprisingly, even the auction house may not know who the seller is.

Secrecy has long been central to the art world. Anonymity protects privacy, adds mystique and cuts the taint of crass commerce from such transactions. But some experts are now saying this sort of discretion — one founded in a simpler time, when only a few wealthy collectors took part in the art market — is not only quaint but also reckless when art is traded like a commodity and increasingly suspected in money laundering.

How the Met’s [1971] Sale of a Max Beckmann Painting Changed US Museums

Beckmann’s “Self-Portrait with Cigarette” belonged to the Metropolitan Museum until 1971, when its deaccession set off a series of disputes that reshaped museum practices.

The moment Adolf Hitler’s voice burst over the airwaves one summer night in 1937 declaring steadfast opposition to so-called “degenerate art,” 53-year-old painter Max Beckmann knew his time in his native Germany had come to an end. Finding life under such circumstances increasingly untenable, Beckmann, with his wife Quappi at his side, fled the country that had imbued him with a love of painting, brought him as a volunteer hospital steward to the front lines of World War I, and nurtured his career as an artist — until the ascendency of Hitler’s Nazi regime snuffed out any hope he had of continuing to work in the doomed republic.

Self-imposed exile took the Beckmanns from Germany to Amsterdam, then to St. Louis in 1947, before they finally settled in New York. Here Beckmann, still haunted by his experiences in the war, angry at the post-war excesses thrown in his face daily in Weimar-era Berlin, and withdrawn into his painting practice perhaps more than ever, took on a professorship at the now-defunct Brooklyn Museum Art School.

Inside Wolfgang Tillmans’s Superb Tate Modern Survey

The new show feels unquestionably relevant.

The opening [today] of “2017,” Wolfgang Tillmans’s survey at Tate Modern, is bringing a much needed breath of fresh air to the London museum, and not because recent exhibitions might have been lackluster—on the contrary, the ongoing Robert Rauschenberg retrospective is a triumph, and the recent solos of Agnes Martin and Sonia Delaunay were impeccable, to name a few.

Yet, showing a living and breathing artist who’s making art in response to current events has turned those white walls into a stage that feels unquestionably more relevant.

And if there’s one artist who has been making work about urgent matters, it is definitely Tillmans. His “EU Campaign” posters became the defining pro-Remain, anti-Brexit artwork, ahead of the UK referendum last year. Articulating what many people had in mind but were struggling to find words to express, those posters became emblems, freely distributed and printed, stuck to windows and wielded in demonstrations.

Wolfgang Tillmans review – a rollercoaster ride around the world

Room after room, turn after turn, Wolfgang Tillmans’ Tate Modern exhibition teems with images large and small. Images alone and arrays of larger and smaller photographs, framed and unframed and attached to the wall with bulldog clips, hung high over doorways and shuffled on a table.

A young man’s neck, a knee, a hand stuffed down a pair of shorts. A glimpse of flesh as someone turns. A boy looking at his phone at a London roundabout, a young man in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, all in fuchsia next to his shiny purple car, mobile phone in his hand. A pair of balls and anus, close-up, huge on the wall. A city seen from the sky from an aeroplane window; another city, veiled in pollution. You can get very close or not nearly close enough. Or even too close.

These shifts in distance and proximity, scale and presentation let Tillmans’ photographs, in all their variety, breathe. Such stratagems are familiar from earlier exhibitions of the German artist’s work, but are more than just a way of amassing his material. They take account of our mobility and insatiable hunger for the next thing, in order to slow us down and pay attention.

Why the Upper East Side Is the Best Place to See Art in New York

Artspace Article Published: April 3, 2016:

Stretched out alongside the east flank of Central Park like a satisfied cat lying in the sun, the Upper East Side—longtime home to tycoons and celebrities—is still the most luxe neighborhood in New York City, where foreign billionaires plant their money in $100 million manses and ridiculous trend stories (the Glam SAHMs?) spring from the moneyed elite. But such enclaves often harbor secrets, and this one has a big one: the three dozen blocks between 60th Street and 96th Street have become the best place to see art in New York. 

Now, the best place to see new, cutting-edge, boundary-expanding work? That’s still the Lower East Side. But the Upper East Side is your destination if you want to see art in a context that is both up-to-date but not overly besotted with the contemporary, that is delicate and slow, and where you can encounter wise artworks from across both recent and deeper history, like some gauzy cinematic vision of heaven where Plato and Steve Jobs are having a ping-pong match while Kierkegaard takes bets. And, indeed, on a good, bright, clear day, a walk on the Upper East Side’s gallery circuit offers up a present-day dose of Matthew Arnold’s “sweetness and light.” 

Don’t believe me? Here are 16 reasons to give the neighborhood a second look.

10 of the Most Famous Artist Couples Throughout History

They say that there’s no fate worse than dating an artist. But what happens when one creative falls in love with another? February is here and with it comes the Hallmark holiday that everyone loves to hate. Celebrate the month of Valentine’s Day with our roundup of 10 of the most famous artist couples throughout history. While some went on to live happily ever after, others weren’t so lucky. However, they all have one thing in common: each relationship led the following artists to create some of their best works.

Guggenheim’s Gold Toilet – a Mockery or High Art?

Often described as a provocateur, prankster and tragic poet of our times, Maurizio Cattelan has loudly announced his retirement from art in 2011. By installing an 18-karat solid gold toilet in the Guggenheim Museum in 2016, the artist has officially emerged from his self-imposed retirement, in style. Titled America, the ongoing project has taken up residence in a standard pre-existing restroom on the museum’s fifth-floor ramp, allowing the visitors to use the toilet in much the same way as they would use a normal one. Working in a vein that can be described as hyperrealist, Maurizio Cattelan has created some of the most unforgettable images in recent contemporary art. Sourcing materials from popular culture, history, organized religion or a meditation on the self, his at once humorous and profound sculptures reveal many contradictions at the core of today’s society. Having no formal art training, Cattelan considers himself an “art worker” rather than an artist, which speaks about his propensity for challenging socially ingrained norms and hierarchies. Often uniting humor and the macabre in his practice, he is seen by many as one of Duchamp’s greatest contemporary heirs. With this latest provocative piece, one cannot help but make these parallels. For those who feel that contemporary art often seems like a big hoax where the audience is getting played, the old question “Is it art?” seems legit. [but it isn’t]

What to Make of MoMA’s Stand on Trump’s Travel Ban

This week, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) rehung its prized Modern galleries, swapping out works by greats like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso for works by artists from the Muslim-majority countries affected by President Trump’s travel ban.

It’s not exactly as if MoMA has draped itself in a “Muslim Lives Matter” banner. Still, this rapid response, conceived by curators Ann Temkin, Jodi Hauptman, and Christophe Cherix over the weekend of cresting outrage over Trump’s executive action, stands out as an unusually direct statement on current events for a major art institution—appropriately enough, since this is an alarming time. The Art Newspaper reports that the curators plan to integrate still more works in coming weeks.

The point is this: These artists are important as examples not just because they are very accomplished figures who also happen to be from Muslim-majority countries. Given its proper historical context, their art rebuts the “clash of civilizations” stereotype of Islamic culture as chained to a past that is innately hostile to being integrated into the present.

We can’t have enough of those examples now. MoMA has started a conversation. It seems more urgent than ever not to leave it there.

All the Artists and National Pavilions in the 2017 Venice Biennale

The 57th edition of the Venice Biennale, titled “Viva Arte Viva” by curator Christine Macel, has released the list of 120 participating artists and its national pavilions. “In a world full of conflicts and jolts, in which humanism is being seriously jeopardized, art is the most precious part of the human being,” Macel has said in a statement. “It is the ideal place for reflection, individual expression, freedom and fundamental questions. It is a ‘yes’ to life, although sometimes a ‘but’ lies behind. More than ever, the role, the voice and the responsibility of the artist are crucial in the framework of contemporary debates.” The biennale opens May 13.

In Elegant Reposte to Trump’s Travel Order, MoMA Installs Works by Artists from Banned Muslim Countries

Less than a week after President Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has responded by installing a dozen works by artists from those countries, including the late Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, the Sudanese master Ibrahim El-Salahi, and the young Iranian painter Tala Madani, in the galleries devoted to its permanent collection.

Alongside each work is a placard that reads:

This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on January 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum, as they are to the United States.

Understanding the Painterly Value in Art

What is Value in Art?

Defined as one of the seven elements of art, next to line, shape, space, form, texture, and color, the value in art is a quality or a value of light and dark of a certain shade or tone[1]. This art element is best understood if visualized as a scale or a gradient. In 1907 Denman Ross, American painter, art collector, a scholar of art history and theory, introduced a value scale which is still used today. On such a scale, from the lightest shade, i.e. white to the darkest shade, i.e. black, various shades of gray reside. These shades of gray describe the amount of the dark or light elements of any color and describe its lightest and darkest tones or hues. Such a scale is extremely helpful for painters to identify light, mid-tones, and darks more easily.

Legendary Filmmaker John Waters On the Audacity of Cy Twombly – Video

What is like to live with a work by post-war master Cy Twombly? According to legendary filmmaker John Waters, it’s “great because every day when you pass it you think of his nerve. The audacity of him doing this.” Watch this video to find out more about John Waters’ longstanding admiration for the artist (it is promotional for Sotheby’s, but John Waters is good – and Cy Twombly is great!)

Watch the video, very refreshing!