Damien Hirst, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, review: this spectacular failure could be the shipwreck of his career

After months of speculation, rumour, and stage-managed hype, Damien Hirst’s latest extravaganza is finally opening in Venice – and, my goodness, it’s enormous.

With 190 works of art, displayed across 54,000 square feet of gallery space, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, as the exhibition is called, is arranged across two venues: Palazzo Grassi, on the Grand Canal, and the city’s old customs house, Punta della Dogana. Both are owned by billionaire French businessman François Pinault, a long-time collector of Hirst’s work.

At the heart of the show – which purports to offer a teasing, riddling, Borgesian experience, posing profound questions about truth and illusion, historical fact and myth, scepticism and faith – is an elaborate fable about an exorbitantly wealthy figure from antiquity called Amotan, who supposedly lived during the first and early second centuries AD.

In fairness, there are flashes of wit, moments of technical virtuosity, and an imaginative vision that, on paper, seems alluring. As a populist fairground spectacle, the show is unmissable.  Ultimately, though, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable offers scale in lieu of ambition, and kitsch masquerading as high art. Perhaps, when the exhibition closes in December, Amotan’s “treasures” should be returned, discreetly, to the bottom of the sea.

‘What Next?’ an Uncertain Art World Asks, Sticking to Proven Brands

LONDON — The art market is almost as old as art itself. But it’s only in the last decade or so, with increased globalization, digitization and the rise of art as a multibillion-dollar investment vehicle, that the market has been viewed as an industry. And where there is industry, conferences are sure to follow.

On Tuesday, the inaugural New York edition of the Art Business Conference was held at the Time Warner Center. Aimed at “senior art market professionals,” the event sold 240 tickets, priced at $275 to $500, to representatives of more than 140 organizations.

“It’s a pause-for-thought day about where the industry is at,” said Louise Hamlin, the British-born organizer of the conference, whose company, Art Market Minds, has been holding similar events in London since 2014. Until recently, art was one of few industries without an annual conference in the United States, she added.

“The worldwide art scene has agreed these are good artists,” said Jean Minguet, an art market analyst at the French auctions database Artprice. “These are safe investments. It’s getting kind of boring.”

But that is the nature of industry. It’s all about global brands.

“Green Imposes Its Discomfiting Mood”: The History of Green and the Work of Bruce Nauman, Brice Marden, and Olafur Eliasson

Textbooks tend to organize art history chronologically. But what if we re-told art history through color instead? Artspace is publishing a series of articles excerpted from Phaidon‘s Chromaphilia: The Story of Color in Arteach one offering a close look into the history of a single color in its relation to art. Last week we examined red, and in this iteration, we look at art history against the grain of green, and the color’s conceptual, psychological and cultural significance in the works of Bruce Nauman, Brice Marden, and Olafur Eliasson.

Green seems to exert charismatic power as metaphor, yet the symbols can be contradictory, depending on cultural and personal context. Green gems depicted in mosaics from Santa Maria Maggiore, for example, could be understood through various lenses: ritual or ethics, optics or magic. Other contexts for thinking about green include the realm of commerce and industry, as explored by Boetti, or the colors of gender bias, which Dumas uncovers in the annals of medical history. Nauman‘s green not only imposes its discomfiting mood on participants but also engages viewers in a sensory experience that demonstrates how eye and brain produce uncanny perceptual effects.

Damien Hirst’s Incredible Shipwreck Treasures Show in Venice

It’s not hard to see why Damien Hirst’s latest project has been hailed as the British artist’s most important to date. And in fact it is so ambitious and such a departure from anything else he has done that it could just be the work that cements his status as one of the greatest artists of his generation. Ambitious, excessive, and audacious at its core, it’s not just one of Hirst’s greatest achievements, it is arguably one of the greatest achievements in contemporary art.

Titled “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable,” the new project marks the first time that both of the Pinault Foundation’s Venetian venues, the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, have been dedicated to a single artist. Almost ten years in the making, the exhibition takes its title from the grand narrative around which it is centered – a story that consists of elements of myth, fantasy, and factual history, mixed in the cauldron of Hirst’s overactive imagination.

In an art world era of exhibitions exploring the guilt-inducing but highly important and relevant issues of the refugee crisis, war, famine, migration, poverty, racism, and gender, “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” is somewhat of an antidote to all the doom and gloom. It’s a spectacular and theatrical masterpiece of creative genius that proves that something joyful, whimsical, and indulgent can also be intelligent and intellectual.

Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, exhibition review: A triumphant return from Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst’s triumphant comeback show in Venice is a timely reflection on fakery, belief, truth and absolutes.

Damien Hirst’s new show in Venice, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, is a complicated triumph. The labels for the works on display, dozens of objects, many enormous, depicting mythological beings — monsters, ancient royalty, maiden warriors, three-headed dogs, and suchlike — refer to them in a slightly puzzled or distant way as if only so much can be known. In other words, they’re like the labels in places at the British Museum, and the objects are ‘like’ (if that’s the word) the antiquities you’d expect to find there. 

Recent London Gallery Closures Show Struggle at Art Market’s Middle

Ever since the global financial crisis of 2008 and the art market’s subsequent decline a year later, the middle market has come under increasing pressure. According to economist Clare McAndrew’s Art Market | 2017 report, the middle market—defined for dealers as works priced between $5,000 and $50,000—is the “most difficult segment” in which to operate. Along with thinning sales, galleries have been faced with rising rents and an art market in which commerce is increasingly concentrated during international art fairs rather than throughout the year in traditional gallery spaces. In response, some galleries are closing or changing their model for doing business.

Meanwhile, Anthony Reynolds, who closed his London space in 2015 but maintains all the activities of a primary gallery, exhibited at miart last year. Reynolds’ decision to shut was taken as “a way of encouraging a more flexible approach and a mutually beneficial economic model” according to a statement. In 2017 the gallery is organizing five exhibitions in four countries and taking part in five fairs.

The main reason art fairs are so coveted by dealers, Resch says, is because of the lure of new collectors. “The fundamental problem for galleries is there are not enough collectors, that’s why galleries open and close,” he said. According to his Global Art Gallery Report, 49% of galleries were founded after 2000 and a meager 7% have been open for more than 35 years.

“This might seem like a new problem, but it’s not. Galleries have always closed and new ones have always joined the ranks,” he said.

Damien Hirst: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable review – a titanic return

Art is magical. It is a fairytale. It can make you rich. It can make you poor. It can turn everything you thought you knew inside out and upside down.

It has made Damien Hirst rich, colossally so, and now it has done something else. It has redeemed him. For years he has appeared a figure of strangely wasted and ruined promise, whose commercialism snuffed out his artistic spark. Yet with his exhibition Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, which fills not only a Venetian palace but also the capacious halls of the ship-shaped Punta della Dogana at the mouth of the Grand Canal, the arrogant, exciting, hilarious, mind-boggling imagination that made him such a thrilling artist in the 1990s is audaciously and beautifully reborn.

The young artist who put a tiger shark in a glass tank never died, after all, and we who lost faith in him look like fools for failing to believe.

This fictional museum is not only impressive, but moving. Hirst shares his passion with us. He obviously loves art, loves the dark and inexplicable mystery of it. He communicates, too, a love of history – or perhaps, rather, a love of time. Art is changed by time as wrecks are changed by the sea. Today’s spoon is tomorrow’s wondrous relic.

Will Hirst one day be in the history books as a genius? It looks a hell of a lot more likely after this titanic return to form.

Glow-getter: Cerith Wyn Evans’ Tate Britain installation is a neon knock-out Read more at http://www.wallpaper.com/art/neon-knock-out-cerith-wyn-evans-writes-with-light-at-tate-britain#cJhxH2wPUWmxJp6Y.99

Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans is more familiar than most with London’s Tate Britain. He strolled its iconic galleries as a guard in the late seventies, while studying at Central St Martins. With a beautiful sense of symmetry, he has returned 40 years later, as a much celebrated artist.

Wyn Evans’ new masterwork, Forms in Space…by Light (in Time), fills and stretches the Duveen Galleries. Annually, Tate Britain invite an artist to develop a work in response to the grand neo-classical hall, that addresses the heritage of the space as a sculpture gallery.

Behold the New Vantablack 2.0, the Art Material So Black It Eats Lasers and Flattens Reality

Artists the world over were instantly captivated three years ago when UK-based Surrey NanoSystems announced the invention of Vantablack, the darkest material ever made. And things continue to get darker: The company has been advancing the technology, and released some astonishing photographs and footage of the pigment in action, which have to be seen to be believed.

A video released last year by Surrey’s scientists shows a “new development of the Vantablack process… a coating so black that our spectrometers can’t measure it!” When a laser pointer is aimed at the Vantablack-coated surface, it vanishes completely, as if no light were touching it at all.

Watch the Video!

Cerith Wyn Evans: Deciphering the Code

Withth two kilometres’ worth of white neon tubing arranged in dazzling arrays of lines and curves high above the Duveen Galleries’ polished floors, Forms in Space… by Light (in Time), Cerith Wyn Evans’s installation for this year’s Tate Britain Commission (of which Sotheby’s is a sponsor) cannot be mistaken for another artist’s work. Born in 1958 in Llanelli, Wales, and now based in London, Wyn Evans has long grappled with light, whether it be a young filmmaker or as a mature artist beaming Morse coding of Welsh literature into the night sky at the 2003 Venice Biennale. He is also participating in this year’s edition of the Biennale, curated by Christine Macel, showing his film Pasolini Ostia Remix, 1998–2003. On an all-out quest for meaning and connection, Wyn Evans interrogates everything from art history and philosophy to musical scores and celestial bodies, translating his findings and visions into such forms as the muticoloured Murano glass chandelier Astrophotography…The Traditional Measure of Photographic Speed in Astronomy…’ by Siegfried Marx (1987), (2006), which flashes his personal literary canon in code. Days before the Tate Commission’s unveiling, Tony Guillan sat down with Wyn Evans to discuss his life, his work and the cosmos.

Cerith Wyn Evans: Forms in Space … by Light (in Time) review – an optical trapeze act

The Welsh artist unveils 2km of neon suspended in mid-air – and it’s an adventure playground for the eyes.

It all begins with a white neon O, hanging above our heads like the shape the lips make before an exclamation. Or a spyglass aimed at the chaos beyond.  Suspended partway down the long Duveen Gallery at London’s Tate Britain, it reminds me most of an acrobat’s ring; the eye swings through it, leaping into a dense tangle of white light that smears the floors with brightness, and seems to fill the space beyond. Cerith Wyn Evans’s Forms in Space … By Light (in Time), the latest annual commission for the Duveen, is less to be looked at than moved through, a work to be paced, walked under, experienced as a journey or a piece of music. What begins as optical confusion unfolds as a sequence of complex manoeuvres, reversals, mirrorings and inversions. If the title sounds a bit dry – like some glum suprematist exercise – the work is anything but.

We have seen a lot of neon in art. Neon heads and neon words in Bruce Nauman; neon obscenities from Jason Rhoades; Ragnar Kjartansson’s Scandinavian Painand Martin Creed’s Mothers. Neon is just a drawing tool. The lights do not go on and off here, though the eye flickers, being sent through hoops and on zooming trajectories. At the rear of the Duveen, at roughly the same height as that first hanging circle, a plain neon rod thrusts towards the wall. An emphatic sudden stop, a gesture arrested, an invitation to reverse.

Conceptual Art Movement and Examples

The Conceptual art movement is probably the most radical and the most controversial plane in modern and contemporary art. Some artists, experts and art historians even dismiss it as art. Conceptual art is based on the notion that the essence of art is an idea, or concept, and may exist distinct from and in the absence of an object as its representation. Many examples of conceptual art (well-known works or statements) question the notion of art itself. Some conceptual artists believe that art is created by the viewer, not by the artist or the artwork itself. Since ideas and concepts are the main feature of art, aesthetics and material concerns have a secondary role in conceptual art. Conceptual artists recognize that all art is essentially conceptual. In order to emphasize these terms, they reduce the material presence of the work to an absolute minimum – a tendency that some have referred to as the dematerialization of art – which is one of the main characteristics of conceptual art. As many conceptual art examples show, the conceptual art movement itself emerged as a reaction against the tenets of formalism. Formalism considers that the formal qualities of a work – such as line, shape and color – are self-sufficient for its appreciation, and all other considerations – such as representational, ethical or social aspects – are secondary or redundant.

10 Neo DADA Art Pieces that Influenced and Shaped the Groundbreaking Art Movement

Revisiting the irony of the original Dada movement, Neo-Dada was first popularized in the early 1960s. The label has been applied to a wide variety of artistic works, mostly including Junk art, use of found objects and the employment of banal activities and objects as instruments of social and aesthetic critique. The most popular names behind this vast spectrum of art are Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Jim Dine, John Chamberlain, Ray Johnson among many others who have ventured into this ambiguous form of expression. Recently, we’ve addressed the history and the awakening of Neo-Dada, where we’ve explored in-depth exactly how such a movement came to life, and what were the motifs behind it. Many art theorists and critics would say that Neo-Dada styles and ideas affected other artistic forms and movements such as Pop art, Junk art, Fluxus and Nouveu Réalisme, as well as several other contemporary art forms like assemblage, performance and installation. Here, we take a look at the 10 Neo-Dada art pieces that left a significant mark in the development of this movement, and many others.

Dadaist Artists that Change the Course of Art History – 100 Years of DADA

The art movement known as Dada, or Dadaism, has undoubtedly shifted the course of artistic history on multiple fields. Uniting the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, the movement was officially created in Zürich, Switzerland, in 1916 at CabaretVoltaire, and it celebrates 100 years of existence this year. Nurturing many monumental artists and their artwork that started out as a correspondence to the outbreak of World War I, the movement itself supported chaos and irrationality in art, and Hans Richter went as far as to call it not art, but “anti-art.” It was also very unstable as a form, melding into surrealism, while some call it the beginning of postmodern art. Its artists had been on the verge of artistic expression, going towards other ideas and movements including surrealism, social realism and other forms of modernism, which is why some of the Dadaist artists are arguably placed under this category.
We covered the artwork pieces that shaped its successor, Neo Dada, and now we’ll revisit some of the monumental artists that are considered Dadaists, which have changed the course of art history with their work.

A Whole Century Later, The Duchamp Fountain is Still Shaking up the Art World

Can One Make Works That Are Not “Works” of Art?

This was a question asked by Duchamp in his notes from 1913, and remains being the essential question while considering the Richard Mutt Case.

Exactly one hundred years ago, in 1917, the course of art history has been completely changed by a submission of a urinal signed “R. Mutt” for the exhibition of The Society of Independent Artists in New York – a work which we today know as The Duchamp Fountain.

Even though the idea of the exhibition was that every work submitted should be exhibited, and even though Marcel Duchamp himself was a part of the committee, The Fountain remained to be the only work, out of 2,125 others, that wasn’t accepted for the exhibition.

Duchamp’s proxy, Beatrice Wood, published a defense of the work titled The Richard Mutt Case in the May edition of their Dada Journal, entitled The Blind Man.

Censorship, Not the Painting, Must Go: On Dana Schutz’s Image of Emmett Till

Presuming that calls for censorship and destruction constitute a legitimate response to perceived injustice leads us down a very dark path.

The presence of blackness in a Whitney Biennial invariably stirs controversy — it’s deemed to be unfit or not enough, or too much. The current Whitney Biennial is no exception — the art press has been awash this past week with reports of a protest staged in front of a painting of a disfigured Emmett Till lying in his casket and a letter penned by an artist who called for the work to be removed and destroyed. The painter is Dana Schutz, a white American. The author of the letter is Hannah Black, a black-identified biracial artist who hails from England and resides in Berlin. The protestors are a youthful coalition of artists and scholars of color. The curators being called on the carpet are both Asian American. Debates about the painting and the letter rage on social media, to the exclusion of discussion of the many works by black artists in the show, most notably Henry Taylor’s rendering of Philando Castile dying in his car after being shot by police. This multicultural melodrama took a rather perverse turn on March 23, when an unknown party hacked Schutz’s email address and committed identity theft by submitting an apologia under her name to the Huffington Post and a number of other publications; it was printed and then retracted. Up to now, none of Schutz’s detractors have addressed whether they think it’s fine to punish the artist by putting words in her mouth.

Should Art That Infuriates Be Removed?

We all encounter art we don’t like, that upsets and infuriates us. This doesn’t deserve to be exhibited, our brains yell; it should not be allowed to exist. Still, does such aversion mean that an artwork must be removed from view — or, worse, destroyed?

This question has been at the heart of the controversy that has split the art world since the Whitney Biennial opened nearly two weeks ago. The turmoil, which has been excruciating for many people in different ways, centers on “Open Casket,” a painting in the exhibition by Dana Schutz. The work is based partly on photographs of the horrifically mutilated face of Emmett Till lying in his coffin in 1955, about 10 days after that African-American 14-year-old was brutally killed by two white men in Mississippi for supposedly flirting with a white store clerk. The artist, Ms. Schutz, is white, and her use of the images has struck many in the art world as an inappropriate appropriation that, they argue, should be removed.

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.

Her reticence sets her apart from other artists of her generation, with their broadcasting careers and lives that face outwards. “Art was never seen as a career when I was studying. Damien [Hirst] had a lot to do with changing the way people thought about it, with his ability to spin anything. People like Grayson Perry, who I shared a studio with back when he was still struggling, great show-offs who want to be in the media all the time… It’s not for me. Damien is a bit quieter now, but you see the residue of him. Tracey [Emin] too, these are people who have done a lot to be out in the world spinning a tale, making art an attractive proposition.”


Getty Acquires Concrete Poetry by Two Modern Pioneers of the Form

Works by Scottish poet Ian Hamilton Finlay and Brazilian poet Augusto de Campos have joined the Getty’s collection and will go on view in an exhibition opening next week.

Tug, fug, chug, glug — such are the rhyming words used by the writer and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay in “Poem with 3 Stripes,” one of his earliest collage booklets and a playful example of concrete poetry. The book, published around 1963, speaks to Finlay’s interest in tooting tugboats, which in turn reflects his fascination with the sounds of words regardless of their meaning. That emphasis on sound, coupled with the effect of how letters appear as printed graphics, were primary concerns of the makers of concrete poetry, which emerged in the 1950s as an international movement out of South America and Europe.

Finlay’s book is one of a series of concrete poems acquired by the Getty Research Institute (GRI) earlier this month, by the Scottish artist as well as Brazilian poet Augusto de Campos. As the museum’s curator of modern and contemporary collections, Nancy Perloff, told Hyperallergic, “Concrete poems are material objects constructed of component parts that can include letters, words, phonemes, syllables, and typefaces. By rejecting traditional syntax and utilizing graphic space for both structure and meaning, concrete poets made the sound and shape of words their explicit field of investigation. Concrete poetry made language visible.”