Notorious VIP: After a Stumble, an Online Art Fair Embraces Its Tech Side

A screen capture from VIP 1.0.

Let’s assume for a moment that Amazon.com is the best way to sell something to someone else online, the Platonic ideal of website retail. Imagine a version of Amazon.com that exists for just one week a year and requires you to have a little instant message conversation with a salesman as the first step to any transaction. If he likes you, or you’re known to him, he might take you to a “private room,” identical to any other inventory page, but where they keep the really good thriller novels. Fair warning! This version of Amazon.com has a reputation for being a little quirky technically as well. The chat function isn’t reliable, and the whole site once had to be taken offline for several hours, during that week of its existence. Read More


Original Prankster: Francis Picabia at Michael Werner Gallery

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Francis Picabia, Printemps, 1942-1943

The French artist Francis Picabia made art critics apoplectic. “There cannot be anyone alive who does not think that at one or more points in his career Picabia produced some awful work,” John Russell proposed in The New York Times in 1979.

It is Picabia’s late work that has always rankled most deeply. Here is critic Hilton Kramer on the occasion of the Guggenheim’s 1970 retrospective: “The last three decades of Picabia’s production are among the saddest of modern times.” Mr. Kramer added, in another piece, “Many of the late works in the show are positively embarrassing.” And Vicki Goldberg in 2003: “Too much of the late work is every bit as boring as it looks.” Read More