1. A 20 percent decrease in VIP invitations on the opening day of this annual fair (Oct. 16) was intended to make the atmosphere here somewhat quieter and more conducive to art viewing and buying, but the fair seemed to have the same energy as in past years. The usual power players were on hand, including Greek collector Dakis Joannou, and Norman and Nora Stone, collectors from California. “A higher percentage of the people we invited must have come this year,” said fair co-director Amanda Sharp. Read More
By Sarah Douglas 9/18/13 1:03pm
This week, The Observer published its annual Fall Arts Preview. Click the slide show to find out what shows you won’t want to miss in the city’s museums. Read More
By Sarah Douglas 9/17/13 4:20pm
On Monday evening, a smart but solemn art set, which included Pace Gallery founder Arne Glimcher and his art historian wife, Milly, as well as longtime Art News magazine publisher Milton Esterow, gathered at the Guggenheim to honor the memory of perhaps the museum’s most esteemed director, Thomas M. Messer, who passed away in May. He served at the museum from 1961, two years after it moved to its Frankl Lloyd Wright-designed home, until 1988, and oversaw numerous landmark shows, including an important 1979 show of German artist Joseph Beuys’s work. Read More
A Good Yarn: Artists’ Tapestries Are Popping Up in Museums, but They’re Not Yet Woven Into the Market
By Daniel Grant 8/20/13 6:32pm
Earlier this month, Guild Hall, a nonprofit exhibition space in East Hampton, opened an exhibition of the work of painter Chuck Close. The 27 works in the show all feature his trademark, mostly large-scale portraits of himself or his artist friends. There are ink drawings from the 1970s, several oil paintings, a Japanese-style woodcut, silkscreen Read More
By Sarah Douglas 8/13/13 5:20pm
“Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.” Oscar Wilde’s words come to mind in the presence of sculptures by the late West Coast ceramicist Ken Price, who died in February 2012, while this major retrospective was being planned. Price made modestly scaled sculptures that, for all their meticulous construction, have a pleasurably ludic sensibility. Over the course of a 50-year career, he wove into his clever pieces references to landscape, architecture and the human body; his art is at once familiar and strange. Read More
By Sarah Douglas 6/25/13 12:16pm
The seven-year-old gallery New York gallery Harris Lieberman has closed. The last exhibition at the gallery was that of Armin Boehm, which ended on June 15.
“We had a great seven years,” co-founder Jessie Washburne-Harris told The Observer, “but we decided it was time to make a change.” She added that she and her partner, Michael Lieberman, would “like to thank all the artists and all of our supporters.” Read More
“At Bard,” Tom Eccles announced to his dinner guests on Friday night, “you can think.” The executive director of the college’s Center for Curatorial Studies had preceded this by referring to the college’s Annandale-on-Hudson campus being far–around two hours by car—from the “hothouse” of New York, but the folks who’d come up for the opening Read More
Welcome to His Palace: How Venice Biennale Curator Massimiliano Gioni Is Making Everything Work for Him
By Sarah Douglas 6/03/13 11:26am
The Venice Biennale was the last place I expected to encounter the Hodag. If you attended elementary school in Wisconsin, as I did, you learned about this mythological monster, a hybrid frog-elephant-dinosaur with clawed feet and a spear-like tail. It resided, according to a late-19th-century hoax, in the city of Rhinelander, in the woodsy region that downstaters call “up north.” The Hodag is mentioned on a wall label in the Biennale, next to a cabinet full of woodcarvings—some of animals, others of fantastical beings—by Levi Fisher Ames, who toured his curious carvings around Wisconsin in the 1880s.
Mr. Ames is one of dozens of so-called outsider artists in “The Encyclopedic Palace,” the 55th edition of the Biennale, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, associate director at New York’s New Museum. “People might say it’s the thrift-store biennial,” he told The Observer in an interview in late April, “because there’s a lot of found material.” Like 387 model houses by the Austrian Peter Fritz (1916-92), found by two artists in a junk shop in 1993. Read More
By Sarah Douglas 6/01/13 10:46am
Harald Szeemann’s mother did not approve of “When Attitudes Become Form.” A resident of Bern, Switzerland, where his famous exhibition took place in 1969, she was horrified by “Attitudes” and the controversy it caused. I’m getting all these terrible phone calls, she wrote to her son. You have to stop doing these gag exhibitions.
That letter from Mrs. Szeemann is one of many archival documents on view on the ground floor of the Ca’ Corner della Regina, the 18th-century Venetian palazzo where Germano Celant, curator of the Prada Foundation, has recreated Szeemann’s groundbreaking show, working in collaboration with the artist Thomas Demand and the architect Rem Koolhaas. This may not be the main event in town—that would be the biennale—but still it’s made an impact. On the second of three press preview days, people were lining up outside, bumping umbrellas in the rain. Read More
The Nobel-Winning Novelist and the Sculptor: How Berlinde De Bruyckere Got J.M. Coetzee to Curate the Belgian Pavilion
By Sarah Douglas 5/30/13 5:29am
Several years ago, the Belgian sculptor Berlinde De Bruyckere was driving to her country house in Burgundy, France, when she came across what was left of an enormous tree that had been uprooted by a storm. Last November, she wrote about that experience in a letter to the South African-born, Adelaide, Australia-based novelist J.M. Coetzee. Read More