Lanky Martin Creed was standing on the first floor of Hauser & Wirth gallery on the Upper East Side, dressed in lightly paint-splattered, black pants that rose up just above the ankles and an ever-so-slightly mismatched navy shirt, his frizzy gray hair pulled into a ponytail and his face covered by glasses so large they looked like protective eyewear. He was laughing enormously about—something. With apologies to our brothers and sisters across the pond, his giggles were punctuated with bursts of indecipherable Scottish twang, made all the more difficult to discern by the presence of his parents, making use of their own heavy slurs. This was somehow appropriate, though, because “what is he trying to say” is a frequent starting point for the uninitiated in conversations about Mr. Creed.
Last Tuesday night, as the Museum of Modern Art’s glitzy annual film benefit was starting up on 53rd Street, British artist Isaac Julien was in Chelsea, dressed to the nines, pacing the floor of Metro Pictures gallery. The benefit was in honor of his longtime friend and artistic collaborator Tilda Swinton, but he wasn’t ready to leave—last-minute edits to his exhibition kept him striding everywhere but the door. Read More
A few years ago, the Chelsea art dealer Derek Eller and the publisher and curator Dan Nadel were discussing artists they loved when they landed on the name Karl Wirsum, a storied Chicago figure known for cartoon-like drawings and paintings. Mr. Wirsum had been making work for almost half a century and showed regularly in the Windy City, but he hadn’t had a New York exhibition in two decades. “How come we never see Karl Wirsum shows in New York?” they recall thinking.
And so they paid him a visit at his Chicago studio. “One day, I asked him if he had any sketchbooks,” Mr. Nadel told The Observer in early October, “and he started pulling out these mountains of books that had these incredible drawings in them.” They were filled with sketches for illustrations he did for Playboy and portraits of women and animals that mixed dashes of ancient and non-Western cultures, insects, vintage toys and Americana of every kind. Wild stuff. “With most people, you wouldn’t hide them away in sketchbooks,” Mr. Nadel laughed. Read More
The British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro died of a heart attack on Wednesday in London. He was 89. Through his work and his teaching, Caro influenced an astounding number of artists over many decades, including a few one might not at first expect. Read More
‘In Search of Vanished Blood’: Nalini Malani on Her Career, the Indian Art World and Bringing Her Documenta 13 Piece to New York
A year after its debut at Documenta 13, in Kassel, Germany, Indian artist Nalini Malani’s haunting sculpture and video installation, In Search of Vanished Blood, has arrived at Galerie Lelong. The shadow play, as the artist terms her ambitious multimedia pieces, consists of five painted mylar cylinders that rotate like Buddhist prayer wheels, projecting a diaphanous web of imagery onto the surrounding walls. Cassandra, the Greek mythological prophetess who is condemned to see the future but never be believed, takes center stage in the work, embodied in a young woman on whose face sign-language symbols flicker like warnings. It’s painfully beautiful, suggesting the sort of dream that would shake you awake with horror and awe. Read More
One day the artist Chris Burden was poking around eBay, looking at meteorites. “I was buying little ones and stuff, and all of a sudden I see this one, the biggest meteorite I had ever seen for sale,” he told me earlier this month at the New Museum, the day after a retrospective of more than 40 years of his art opened there. “And there was free shipping, you know?” He paused. “What, a 400-pound meteorite? Free shipping? I’ve never seen one that big. So I bought the meteorite with no idea what I was going to do with it whatsoever, and then I started thinking.” Read More
My name is Joshua Smith. I live in New York and I make monochrome paintings. Recently a number of people have asked my opinion of a new show from a painter about a decade older than I am, Josh Smith, whose new exhibition at Luhring Augustine happens to incorporate a lot of monochrome paintings.
I first learned of Smith when I was a 20-year-old photo student visiting PS1 on a date about 10 years ago. I stumbled upon the work, something like six drawings with his name scrawled lyrically across the paper: JOSH SMITH, which is also my name. Of course it’s a common name but it was still a treat. For super-specific reasons it made me feel part of the work, in the way I feel about Wolfgang Tillmans or Felix Gonzalez-Torres, artists whose own biographies are beautifully incorporated into the content and messaging of their work. Read More
Easily the best known South African artist working today, William Kentridge is once again having a moment in New York. Read More
If you’ve been following our coverage of Marina Abramovic’s Kickstarter, which hopes to spur construction of a Marina Abramovic Institute for performance art, then you know she could use a little help on the donations front. In fact, with 17 days to go she has not yet raised even 40 percent of the $600,000 she’s asked for from her fans around the world. Read More