Earlier this month, the Los Angeles-based artist John Baldessari quietly arrived in New York to get his license renewed. Assuming the reviews are decent for his latest exhibition here, which opened Oct. 19 at the spacious 57th Street gallery of his longtime dealer, Marian Goodman, Mr. Baldessari will, he said, get his “license as an artist” extended. Now 81, he has been going through the process annually (or pretty close to annually, with shows somewhere or another in the world) for many years, and by all appearances, he wears the effort lightly. Sitting in the gallery last week, decked out in the standard art world uniform of all black below his signature white chin-strap beard, surrounded by several of the 13 pieces in his new series “Double Play,” he described to The Observer what’s involved in the license renewal. “The whole test,” he said breezily in his SoCal drawl, “is: can I get away with this?”
After quite a bit of speculation in the art world about where he would eventually show in New York, Danish artist Danh Vo, who was born in Vietnam and is a favorite with critics and curators, will reportedly be represented by Marian Goodman. Artnet first reported the news on Twitter, and Blouin Artinfo’s In the Air blog brought it to our attention.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 12
Lecture: R. H. Quaytman at Dia
A master explorer of institutional history in her painting (she has done work based on the archives of the Whitney and ICA Boston, among others), R. H. Quaytman turns her attention here to Dia, a nonprofit with a legacy that is rivaled in ambition, triumph and drama by few, if any, of its contemporaries. — Andrew Russeth
Dia Art Foundation, 535 West 22nd Street, New York, 6:30 p.m., $6
If you were at the Frieze Art Fair in London last month, you might remember that one of the best displays was Pierre Huyghe’s aquarium featuring a hermit crab the artist got to take on a new shell in the shape of Sleeping Muse, a 1910 sculpture by Constantin Brancusi. The display was a bit out of the way in the Frieze tent, back by the restaurant, but once you found it you were well-rewarded: The Observer spent almost an hour one morning gazing at this obliviously artful crustacean as it skittered along the bottom of its tank, its beady eyes alert, its miniscule legs sweeping plankton–or whatever it is the thing eats–into its mouth with the antic speed of a little motor. If you watched it from certain angles, all you saw was a Brancusi on the move, which seemed like a potent metaphor, for something.
On the one-man market that is Andy Warhol. What a lede! “Sara Friedlander, the 27-year-old head of First Open Sale at Christie’s in New York, has a startling view of American art history. ‘Nothing good was made in the 19th century, nothing really good was made in the 18th century and American art in the 20th century for the first three, four or five decades was very elitist.’” [More Intelligent Life]
Critic Blake Gopnik profiles dealer Marian Goodman, reporting: “[Hirshhorn Museum deputy director Kerry] Brougher says that he’s actually heard Goodman complain when art prices rise.” [Newsweek/The Daily Beast]
Throwback article: critic Peter Schjeldahl on Ms. Goodman. [The New Yorker]