Yayoi Kusama and the Amazing Polka-Dotted, Selfie-Made Journey to Greatness

The artist of “Infinity” rooms has become an Instagram darling.  But two new gallery exhibitions in New York show that she’s much more than that — an almost frighteningly fertile talent. Sometimes I think Yayoi Kusama might be the greatest artist to come out of the 1960s and one of the few, thanks in part […]

Coming Face to Face With Jimmie Durham

The sculptor’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum is a “brilliant, half-century-long act of politically driven self-invention,” our critic writes. “I feel fairly sure that I could address the entire world if only I had a place to stand,” the peripatetic American artist Jimmie Durham said in the 1980s. Now he has that place: the fifth […]

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, […]

Where the Wild Things Are: China’s Art Dreamers at the Guggenheim

BEIJING — The signature work at “Art and China After 1989,” a highly anticipated show that takes over the Guggenheim on Oct. 6, is a simple table with a see-through dome shaped like the back of a tortoise. On the tabletop hundreds of insects and reptiles — gekkos, locusts, crickets, centipedes and cockroaches – mill about under […]

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 […]

Ellsworth Kelly, Abstract to the End

On the eve of his 90th birthday in 2013, Ellsworth Kelly told me that working in his studio in Columbia County was “as exciting for me as ever.” “I have had some physical challenges related to aging, though I accept it,” the painter said. “But it has given me an added surge for continuing to […]

An Artist’s Mythic Rebellion for the Venice Biennale

Mark Bradford’s concern: How can he represent the United States when he no longer feels represented by his government? Sitting on a crate, his long legs extended, Mr. Bradford, 55, was confronting a pressing concern beyond exhibition plans: How can he represent the United States abroad at a time when — as a black, gay […]

Art Goes Political, but Will That Fly on the London Market?

This will be remembered as a year when art got seriously political. The Whitney Biennial in New York and the inaugural Athens edition of Documenta are just two of the high-profile exhibitions trying to convey and confront the tumult of our times. Dana Schutz’s painting “Open Casket,” showing the mutilated corpse of Emmett Till, the […]

Vito Acconci, Performance Artist and Uncommon Architect, Dies at 77

Vito Acconci, a father of performance and video art and a shamanistic, poetic, deeply influential force on the New York art scene for decades, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 77. Some performances might have gotten him arrested, though Mr. Acconci also seemed to possess the instincts of a cat burglar. In one of […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

In the Caves of Ancient Humans, Stories Told Dot by Dot – Pointillism?

In 1884, Georges Seurat strategically placed dots atop a canvas, leading people to believe they were looking at an image of park-goers lounging along the Seine River in France. The technique was known as pointillism, and it seemed new at the time. But 38,000 years ago, people living inside caves in southwest France were doing […]

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 […]

Here Comes the Whitney Biennial, Reflecting the Tumult of the Times

FOR the first time in 20 years, the lead-up to the Whitney Biennial coincided with the presidential election, a background that could not help but inform the selection of artists and artwork that will be on view when the biennial opens on March 17, the first in the museum’s new downtown building. “An election year […]

How the Artist Adrian Ghenie Became an Auction Star

Many say it was the 2011 exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi museum in Venice that first ignited art buyers’ interest in a young Romanian artist named Adrian Ghenie, whose heavy palette-knife paintings are haunted by historical figures like Stalin, Hitler and the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Then, in 2015, Mr. Ghenie drew more attention when […]

Mark Rothko’s Dark Palette Illuminated

One evening in 1968, Mark Rothko regaled the art dealer Arne Glimcher, who had dropped by his studio on his way home from Pace Gallery in New York, with the story of a visit from a collector that day. Pointing to an enormous painting of dark blue and black rectangles floating on a deep burgundy […]

Kerry James Marshall’s Paintings Show What It Means to Be Black in America

People say we’re in the middle of a second civil rights movement, and we are. The only surprise is that the first one ever ended. The artistKerry James Marshall was there for it. He was just a kid then, born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1955. But kids take in a lot. He was in Birmingham […]

For Art Dealers, the Place to Be Is Still London

These are early days, but the Hieronymus Bosch vision of a socioeconomic apocalypse that many feared would follow Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the European Union has yet to materialize.  True, the pound has lost about 10 percent of its value against other major currencies, and a huge amount of political uncertainty still remains, […]