Has Robert Mapplethorpe’s Moment Passed?

The photographer’s once-taboo images have lost their power to shock, and feed into outworn stereotypes, a critic argues. Thirty years after Robert Mapplethorpe’s death, the legend still obscures the photographs. His demise at 42 from AIDS, during the height of the American epidemic, gave a tabloid stamp to the authenticity of his sexually transgressive art. And right […]

Basquiat’s Memorial to a Young Artist Killed by Police

Distraught over the death of the graffiti artist Michael Stewart, he repeated, “It could have been me.” “Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: The Untold Story,” at the Guggenheim, is a small but timely and often surprising powerhouse of a historical show pegged to a not very good scrap of painting by a star-dusted name. The exhibition includes photographs, […]

Antony Gormley Celebrated With Royal Academy Solo Show

In September 2019, the Royal Academy of Arts will present a solo exhibition of the internationally acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley (b. 1950), the most significant in the UK for over a decade. The exhibition will bring together both existing and specially conceived new works for the occasion, from drawings and sculptures to experiential environments, […]

What Makes Museums Great?

Money, morals and metrics In such stormy times, what does it mean for a museum to be successful? For this, our 101st issue of In Other Words, we asked directors around the world how they evaluate achievement. From balancing the books to broadening the conversation; from creating communities to provoking public debate, museums have complex […]

‘Jean-Michel Basquiat’ at the Brant Shows His Bifurcated Life

A few years ago, a plaza in Paris was named after the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Brooklyn-born painter who became a global sensation in the early 1980s and died at 27 of a heroin overdose. No similar honor has been bestowed upon Basquiat by the City of New York. However, the opening of the Brant Foundation Art […]

Five Artists Who Have Changed the Way We See Neon

Seedy motels, fast food joints and the romantic underbelly of urban life are all synonymous with the warm artificial glow of neon. Since the 1920s, the commercialization of “liquid fire” has seen countless industries quite literally put their name up in lights, and although other more high-tech forms of illumination are now available, no other […]

We’ve Been Looking at Jean-Michel Basquiat All Wrong. He Was a Conceptual Artist, Not an Expressionist—and Here’s Why

An exhibition at the Brant Foundation’s New York space reveals how much he had in common with Jenny Holzer and Hans Haacke. Over the years, the biggest fans of Jean-Michel Basquiat have had a strange way of showing their affection: They’ve just about drowned him and his work in tired romantic clichés. He’s supposed to be a […]

Brant Foundation Opens Its New Manhattan Space with a Basquiat Bang

The East Village edifice—a former power substation and studio of contemporary artist Walter De Maria—was renovated by architects Gluckman Tang “[Jean-Michel] Basquiat did most of his painting in a ten-block radius of here,” says the founder of the Brant Foundation, Peter Brant, gesturing out the large plate glass windows of the foundation’s new East Village […]

Jasper Johns Stays Divinely Busy

A gallery exhibition in Manhattan gives the truest picture of the artist, at 88, who is continuing to work and innovate. At 88, Jasper Johns is not slowing down. After spending more than six decades cultivating an extensive and influential body of work, he continues to be relentlessly productive and inventive. His art has sometimes been […]

Robert Ryman, Minimalist Painter Who Made the Most of White, Dies at 88

Robert Ryman, one of the most important American artists to emerge after World War II, a Minimalist who achieved a startling non-Minimalist variety in his paintings even though they were mostly white and usually square, died on Friday at his home in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. He was 88. His death was announced on Saturday […]

The rise and fall and rise of Patrick Painter

In the wake of a torrential downpour in early January, a sizeable and slightly random group of artists, collectors and art-curious celebrities descended upon the L.A. Convention Center for an “opening night premiere party”—hosted by Mad Men star Jon Hamm—celebrating the 23rd edition of the L.A. Art Show. Inside this somewhat inscrutable international sprawl, stateside […]

Meet Warhol, Again, in This Brilliant Whitney Show

A sweeping retrospective shows a personal side of the Pop master — his hopes, fears, faith — and reasserts his power for a new generation, Holland Cotter writes in his review. Mr. Paradox, who never left, is back. Although, technically, “Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again”at the Whitney Museum of American Art […]

Why now, man? Bruce Nauman at MoMA

As Bruce Nauman’s touring retrospective opens at MoMA, Jonathan T.D. Neil interrogates why the American artist remains so relevant today. Why Nauman? For anyone familiar with Bruce Nauman and his wellestablished place in the history of contemporary art, the answer, ‘Because it’s Bruce Nauman’, will suffice. But what will follow, inevitably, are explanations that, since […]

Bruce Nauman Reappears: Pay Attention

“Disappearing Acts” lets us see with clarity where the artist stands and why he is pertinent to our wrenching moment. If art isn’t about life and death, and the emotions and ethics that surround them, what is it about? Style? Taste? Auction results? Some artists focus on those, but the most interesting head for the uncool existential […]

How Does the Art World Live With Itself?

The lush new art-world documentary The Price of Everything shows us a system so waist-deep in hypermarketing and excess that it’s hard to look at art without being overcome by money, prices, auctions, art fairs, celebrities, well-known artists, and mega-collectors who fancy themselves conquistadors. In this, it’s a lot like most recent accounts of the art world […]

NYT Review: ‘The Price of Everything’ Asks $56 Billion Questions About Art

“There are a lot of people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing,” the art collector Stefan Edlis remarks in Nathaniel Kahn’s new documentary. The words, unattributed in the film and the source of its title, come from “Lady Windermere’s Fan” by Oscar Wilde, where they supply the definition of a cynic. But […]

Georg Baselitz: Only in Art the World is Whole

“The most intact world is the world of art. Nothing is better or more interesting to me than paintings.” Renowned German artist Georg Baselitz looks back on his life, his roots and inspirations, and considers where he is at today. “Obsessiveness is a distinctiveness. You always face considerable resistance. You consciously have to take the […]

How to Fall in Love With Art

Art is good for you. But it’s not spinach. Its purpose is not to make you healthier or wiser — although that could happen along the way. The reason to nourish a relationship with art is the same as the reason for bonding with other people: to feel more fully human. Just like friendships or […]

Avant-Garde Psychopathology by Donald Kuspit

“I am sick of the art-adoration that prevails among cultured people, more in our time than in any other:  that art silliness which condones almost any moral or intellectual failing on the artist’s part as long as he is or seems a successful artist.  It is still justifiable to demand that he be a successful human being […]

Yves Klein: Blenheim Palace’s fusty furnishings feel the shock of the blue

Ai Weiwei’s crabs, Lawrence Weiner’s texts, Michelangelo Pistoletto’s smashed mirrors and Jenny Holzer’s redacted military documents have all given the baroque pile of Blenheim Palace – home to the dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill – a jolt over the past few years. Inviting living artists to insinuate their works into this world heritage site, […]