The Evolution of Art: Artworks That Advanced Our Understanding of the Medium, Part I

Today, art can be almost anything. But there was a time in the not-so-distant past when abstraction was inconceivable, and it was believed that art could only represent something that already existed in the real world. There was a time when an object couldn’t be considered art unless it showed evidence of the artist’s touch. And until […]

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 […]

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 […]

Odd Man in: The Sculptor Robert Morris, at 86, Is Still Blazing Trails

During his long, illustrious career, Robert Morris has constructed sculptures that startle, question, challenge and flout expectations. Since the early 1960s, he has made, in a range of materials, spare, geometric forms; Dada-like objects; ephemeral works; land art; environments with sound systems that play scripted narratives; proto-selfies; dramatic pastel pictures with elaborate sculpted frames; performance […]

Like LeWitt and his meticulous instructions for creating his works, Sandback didn’t so much make things (at least not the things he eventually exhibited) as plan them. His sculptures, when they left the studio, consisted of configurations, measurements, and ratios, along with specifications for the type and color of the yarn or elastic that would […]

10 Extraordinary Sculptures That Tackle Life in the 21st Century

Sculpture has gone through a plethora of transformations in the modern era, from Rodin’s emotionally charged, erotic figures in the 1880s, to Judd’s geometric, stoic forms of the 1960s, to the current anything-goes approach of contemporary sculptors. Naturally, the best (or at least best-remembered) artists use their work to respond to the pressing political and […]

Can a Giant New Museum Make San Francisco an Art Capital?

If you build it, they will come. Or that’s what the board at the San Francisco Museum of Art is betting on. This week, the 81-year-old institution opens its doors after a three-year renovation, gifting the West Coast with a world-class collection that would make MoMA blush. Sure, you can see Richard Serra in New […]

10 things to know about Yayoi Kusama

Florence Waters takes a closer look at the life and work of the woman behind the dots — the world’s most popular artist of 2015. Illustrated with works offered in our forthcoming Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions in London. 1. Painting became an act of rebellion for Kusama when she was just a child. Her […]

Review: Drips, Dropped: Pollock and His Impact

Any exhibition of older art drawn from a museum’s permanent collection is a palm held out for us to read, a snapshot of the museum’s sense of its role over time, its present ambitions and its view of art history. Place two such exhibitions side by side and an especially intense and revealing frisson can […]

Some Thoughts About Richard Serra and Martin Puryear (Part 2: Puryear)

From the outset of his career, Puryear refused to give up what he knew and studied in order to align his work with the prevailing aesthetic. Some people believe they should do whatever it takes to fit in, while others accept that they will never fit in and do not try. There is the assimilationist […]

Some Thoughts About Richard Serra and Martin Puryear (Part 1: Serra)

Quotes from Richard Serra: “Art is not democratic. It is not for the people.” “My sculptures are not objects for the viewer to stop and stare at. The historical purpose of placing sculpture on a pedestal was to establish a separation between the sculpture and the viewer. I am interested in creating a behavioral space […]

10 of Art History’s Most Important (and Now Defunct) Galleries

As a business model, the art gallery occupies a unique position. Functioning as the bridge between art’s existence as a commercial enterprise and its role as a philosophical pursuit, a gallery, unlike other businesses, has a measure of success that is completely divorced from its financial earnings: by championing important artists, and putting on daring […]

The ABCs of Sol LeWitt’s Art

No one could blame you for expecting conceptual art to be cold, impenetrable, and impassive; nor for noticing that the genesis of conceptualism, which pared the artwork down to its most basic forms, only shortly preceded the general explosion of the art market in the West. Rising prices, ironically, seem to have coincided with diminishing forms. […]

Strong and Steady Sales Continue at Art Basel

BASEL, Switzerland — The sales register continued to ring for modern and contemporary art at the 45th edition of Art Basel, though at a slower pace than the frenetic action on Tuesday and Wednesday, when attendance was limited to VIP card holding guests. Some seasoned observers say Basel is a one-day fair, meaning a lot of […]

10 Exhibitions That Changed the Course of Contemporary Art

If the title of Jens Hoffmann‘s latest exhibition. “Other Primary Structures,” rings a bell, it’s because it’s a revisiting one of the most important American art exhibitions of the 20th century: “Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculptors,” the 1966 exhibition organized at the same museum by the pathbreaking curator Kynaston McShine that changed the aesthetic course of American art. […]

Why has looking at art in Britain become a snob’s rite of passage?

To have “taste” in art and know a bit about it is part of the battery of glib accomplishments that mark out the elite from ordinary folk. This hateful art snobbery has nothing to do with a true love of art – it is just about being able to talk the talk. The French sociologist Pierre […]

Parents of the Judd-Climbing Kid Speak

Remember the kid who climbed on the Donald Judd sculpture at the Tate Modern? Well, her parents have taken to the London Evening Standard to set the record straight. They want the world to know that their daughter, Sissi Belle, was only on the sculpture for a matter of seconds and meant no harm — and that the nine-year-old […]

Our nine-year-old was just being ‘anti-establishment’, say parents of girl who climbed on $10m Tate Modern sculpture

The fashion-designer parents of a young girl who shocked art-lovers by climbing on a multi-million pound sculpture at Tate Modern today said their nine-year-old daughter was simply being “anti-establishment.”  “It’s not right, but they were just interested. Their only crime was to be seduced by a ladder of jewel-coloured shelving. Sissi has always been anti-establishment […]

What NOT to Do with Kids in a Museum

Bushwick gallerist Stephanie Theodore is at the Tate Modern today and spotted this hilarious/sad/incredible/unbelievable (so many mixed emotions) scene of parents allowing their child to use a Donald Judd sculpture as a … er … a bunk bed.  In response to my question of whether she actually took this almost-hard-to-believe scene she responded: yes.  I told […]