What It’s Like to Live With Art That Doesn’t Love You Back

At a time when art is as commodified as oil, a few collectors have chosen to buy works that are messy, perishable and threaten to take over their lives. PAUL LEONG, A YOUNG banker who lives in downtown Manhattan, spends an unusual amount of time thinking about square watermelons. He wonders where to get them, […]

Who Are the Most Influential Artists of the Last Century? 26 Industry Leaders Weigh In

Which artist defined the last 100 years—and continues to reverberate in the work of artists today? In 2017, a century since Marcel Duchamp turned a readymade urinal into an artwork, we’ve wondered how to characterize the past 100 years in art, posing challenging questions to some of the industry’s brightest figures: What are this century’s most iconic works […]

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 […]

Tate Modern has finally won me over – with art

Great art museums need great art. That should go without saying, but the new Tate Modern is so architecturally exhilarating that I started to wonder: perhaps you really can have a museum where it doesn’t matter much what’s in it because the experience of walking around is so enjoyable and cool. I love the Switch […]

What Was Fluxus? A Brief Guide to the Irreverent, Groundbreaking Art Movement

Fluxus was a loose confederation of international artists in the 1960s working in performance, painting, sculpture, poetry, experimental music, and even correspondence art (art sent through the postal service). It was often, though not exclusively, political in tone. Fluxus works shared similarities with the “Happenings” of Allan Kaprow, particularly in the way they blurred distinctions […]

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 […]

Can art still shock in the age of the extreme selfie?Can art still shock in the age of the extreme selfie?

Marina Abramović had a gun put to her head. Joseph Beuys shared a gallery with a coyote. But with social media full of shocking images, is it worth today’s artists putting their lives at risk? In 1974, standing expressionless beside a table in a gallery in Naples, Marina Abramović began her performance piece Rhythm 0. […]

Artist Imi Knoebel: ‘If you want to stay alive, you have to do something radical’

He kickstarted German punk, went on a mission to rescue Joseph Beuys and escaped the eastern bloc pursued by guard dogs. In a rare interview, one of Germany’s leading artists relives his extraordinary adventures. Imi Knoebel is surrounded by so many colours he has lost count. “I have 600, maybe 700,” he says. They hang […]

Weight of the World: Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy

There are many sides to the work of the German artist Anselm Kiefer. Those lucky enough to visit his studio complex at Barjac in the South of France encounter a staggering array of installations, underground tunnels, and tottering concrete towers resembling some contemporary equivalent to the fortifications of medieval Tuscany. But wisely, the Royal Academy […]

How to Think About Conceptual Art

There has been a lot of bickering about what Conceptual art is/was; who began it; who did what when with it; what its goals, philosophy, and politics were and might have been. I was there, but I don’t trust my memory. I don’t trust anyone else’s either.  – Lucy Lippard, “Escape Attempts” The term “concept art” […]

How the Düsseldorf School Remade—and Redeemed—German Photography

When reading art history, it’s easy to slip into imagining the artist alone in a dingy garret, awaiting the world to recognize his artistic glory. But the idea of individual genius is somewhat of a romantic conceit. In most cases, artists were also once students, perhaps plodding through school exercises, or emulating a mentor. Take […]

Why Germany would win the World Cup of modern art too

Beuys, Richter, Kiefer, Polke, Ernst … such a formidable lineup shows up British contemporary artists for the commercial, over-hyped and celebrity focused lightweights that they are. Germany has proved its global footballing eminence by winning the 2014 World Cup, yet soccer is just one of many things Germans excel at. There’s also art. What is the […]

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 […]

Sigmar Polke, Bad Ass of German Pop, Rocks MoMA Senseless

In 1976 I found myself in Düsseldorf, one stop on a mission to gather material for a special “European” issue of Art-Rite magazine (which we never managed to put out). One memorable highlight was a Sigmar Polke exhibition at the Frankfurt Kunsthalle. The entryway was blocked off by wood fencing, probably bought at a garden supply store, but visitors could […]

Art Market Analysis: Sigmar Polke vs. Anselm Kiefer at Auction

In the landmark June 2011 sale at Sotheby’s London, 34 works in the collection of German industrialist Count Christian Duerckheim went up for auction, among them seven paintings by the postwar German artist Sigmar Polke (who had died the year before). Of those paintings, one,Dschungel (Jungle) (1967), brought in $9,245,139, sailing past its high estimate of $6.4 million and […]

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. […]

The Art of Curation – Hans Ulrich Obrist

Behind every great artist is a great curator. But what do they actually do? Serpentine superstar Hans Ulrich Obrist reveals the delights and dangers of his craft – while Yoko Ono, David Shrigley and more pick their all-time favourite show. Diaghilev and Cocteau tried to explain what they did with the words: “Etonnez moi!” Astonish […]

Final Ascent: Joseph Beuys and the Languages of Art

Mention Joseph Beuys’ name and the usual iconic gestures come to mind — the objects made from felt and fat; the scribbled-out drawings; the pioneering performances of “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare” (1965) and “I Like America and America Likes Me” (1974) — all of which have borne a profound influence on […]

How Joseph Beuys went from artist to philosopher

These days, when we hear an artist want to change the world, we’re often a little skeptical. Yet for the German sculptor, painter, draughtsman, teacher, theorist and political activist, Joseph Beuys (1921 – 1986), his artistic ambition was almost indivisible from a more concrete ambition to remake society for the better. “Along with protests against the threat […]

Unlock art: A lesson in performance art – video

Crotchless trousers, baths of excrement, John Cage, Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic … in the first of a series of exclusive films with the Tate, in which stars give potted histories of art movements, Frank Skinner opens up the wild world of performance art.