This Week in the Art World
Art Basel 2015. Photo by Alec Bastian for Artsy.
This week the art world hightailed to Switzerland for Art Basel, LISTE, and Design Miami/ Basel. We were on the ground at the three fairs and shared our highlights: 15 booths not to miss at Art Basel, a tally of what sold during the fair’s first two days, and a rundown of its Unlimited and Statements sections; a look at LISTE’s longtime support for emerging artists and galleries in the fair’s 20th year, seven of the hottest artists at this year’s edition, and 12 works you can nab there for under $5,000; five up-and-coming designers showing at Design Miami/ Basel, and a report on the Brad Pitt-sparked trend of collecting houses.
Elsewhere, this week Anish Kapoor’s sculpture Dirty Corner (2015) at Versailles, which has become informally known as “the queen’s vagina” and has only been on view for 10 days, was vandalized. Authorities quickly removed the spray paint from the 200-foot-long steel sculpture. Meanwhile, at St. Anne’s Church in Dresden, Marlene Dumas is legally painting an altarpiece to replace the current one, which was damaged during World War II. (via The New York Times; the Observer)
New York has seen a busy week, beginning with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) announcing the creation of a public art program that will commission iconic public works for four Brooklyn locations thanks to a $3.5 million donation from Robert W. Wilson. The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CSS Bard) announced a major expansion, which will double the volume of the institution’s library to be designed by New York firm HWKN. Meanwhile, Gavin Brown has announced that he is moving his gallery from its West Village location to a former brewery on 126th street in Harlem. And in Queens, nine graffiti artists are suing the owner of 5Pointz for having his realty company whitewash their murals without notice in 2013. The complete archives of OK Harris Gallery, which span over half a century and include works by Andy Warhol and John Chamberlain, were donated to the Smithsonian Archives of American Art this week. (via ArtForum; design boom; the New York Times; Hyperallergic)
According to Giving USA’s annual report on contributions, arts philanthropy rose by 9.2% in 2014, with donations totaling $17.2 billion—the largest increase of any category. It implies an upturn recognition of the arts, which is mirrored by the $8.3 million budget allocated to the California Arts Council on Tuesday, an increase of more than $2 million from this past year. (via the L.A. Times)
Awards and grants given this week include: the Prix Meret Oppenheim 2015, which was awarded to artists Christoph Büchel and Olivier Mosset, curator Urs Stahel, and architect duo Staufer/Hasler; the list of Swiss Art Awards was released, including Mathis Altmann, Andreas Dobler and Gilles Furtwängler, among others; The National Portrait Gallery awarded its BP Portrait Award 2015 to Israeli artist Matan Ben-Cnaan for Annabelle and Guy (2015); the Studio Museum in Harlem released the names of its new artists-in-residence, Jordan Casteel, EJ Hill, and Jibade-Khalil Huffman. Pew Center for Arts and Heritage awarded project grants to Hank Willis Thomas for a recreation of a city block through photographs at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and Cai Guo-Qiang for a collaboration with Association for Public Art which will feature 27 interactive kinetic sculptures on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, among others. Meanwhile, in his hometown of Quanzhou this week, Cai Guo-Qiang realized the explosion performance Sky Ladder (2015) after three tries in the past 21 years—an iteration of which he also did at MOCA, Los Angeles in 2012. (via ArtForum; Blouin; ARTnews)
Positions have shifted around the world in the past few days, as biennale curators have been announced and museum directors appointed; the Marrakech Biennale announced that its sixth edition, “Not New Now,” is to be curated by Reem Fadda, who is currently associate curator of Middle Eastern art for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The curator for the 2016 edition of the Portland Biennial of Contemporary Art has also been revealed this week to be Michelle Grabner, artist, chair of painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, and co-curator of the 2014 Whitney Biennial. The Albany Museum of Art has officially named Paula Bacon Williams as its new Executive Director, who has served as the museum’s interim director for the past nine months; while the curator of the Hammer Museum, Allison Agsten, is to be the director of a forthcoming contemporary art and design museum in Los Angeles, which is set to open in four to five years. Also in L.A., art collector Elaine Wynn and longtime board member Antony Ressler have been elected as the two new board chairs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (via ArtForum; ARTnews; the New York Times)
Protests at major institutions in New York and London have continued this past week, as MoMA employees hand-delivered a letter to director Glenn Lowry mere days before the union negotiation deadline, and the activist group known as Liberate Tate staged their 14th performance, covering the floor of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with quotes about climate change as a protest to the museum’s sponsorship by oil and gas company BP. (via Hyperallergic; ArtForum)
Off the Grid: A New Agnes Martin Biography Explores the Reclusive Artist’s Life (via ARTnews)
“MoMA Acquires the Rainbow Flag,” and “A Conversation with the Artist Who Made it” (via MoMA, brain pickings)
“US arts funding by the numbers” (via The Art Newspaper)
“Building an airship with Chris Burden” (via the Los Angeles Times)
“Blurring the Museum-Gallery Divide” (via the New York Times)
“Painting’s First Time in New York? No Way, No How, Says Brooklyn Man” (via the New York Times)