Stephen Ross calls it “my baby.” For the moment, it’s known as the Vessel—or, officially, as Vessel. (Ross longs for the public to give it an affectionate nickname.) One can think of it as a compressed extension of the High Line, or as the site of a perpetual evacuation drill; it’s a proposed future venue for downhill mountain-bike races. Starting sometime next year, it will be open to the public, via free, timed-entry tickets. Ross’s evident delight in the piece—even as some of his associates wonder about its size and purpose, and its cost, which exceeds a hundred and fifty million dollars—derives partly from his confidence that, in time, it will become “the icon for New York,” just as the Eiffel Tower is for Paris. The Vessel is about as wide as it is tall, and will fit nicely into an Instagram photograph.
Picasso painted La Misereuse Accroupie in 1902, and it is currently on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The researchers used a non-invasive technique called x-ray fluorescent spectroscopy to analyze the painting. It turns out that the artist painted his work on top of another unknown artist’s painting of a landscape, and incorporated the landscape’s forms into the woman’s figure. You can sort of see the landscape by flipping the painting 90 degrees to the left.
“The general public tends to assume that contemporary paintings should be easily understandable for anyone with eyes to see them (and for more sophisticated audiences, for anyone who spends time and attention on the work). But this is not the case. Even if you are familiar with the moods, settings and styles of portraits you have previously seen, you are not necessarily equipped to understand Kehinde Wiley’s work.”
David Cannadine points out that the price of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi, which sold for £333m last November, represents over half of central government’s total funding for museums last year. Of 266 museums he surveyed, only half had a dedicated acquisitions budget and in most cases it was less than 1% of their expenditure. The Art Fund report, entitled Why Collect?, calls for a national debate on the challenges over museum acquisitions.
For her most recent large piece for the New York City Ballet, she “has set tens of thousands of balloons, measuring from ten inches to ten feet, throughout the David H. Koch Theater. They scale the building’s exterior and spill into the Lincoln Center plaza. You may even spot them around town, a colorful off-campus salute to NYCB. And because even professionally inflated balloons constantly change their shape and pop spontaneously, her creations will look different if you attend the ballet more than once this Winter Season.”
Conservators had noticed different-colored paint peeking through cracks, but only recently have non-invasive X-rays allowed them to see what lies beneath. “‘This is where technology allows us to get into the mind of the artist, so we can actually understand the creative process of Picasso and how he actually started producing this work of art,’ said Marc Walton of Northwestern University.”
Artist Kyle Langlois, who “has been doing custom airbrush art for 14 years, told me he got connected to Martineau in 2013. ‘He wasn’t too specific or picky,’ Langlois said,’he was hoping I could maybe put a leaf on it for him or something — something to make it Canadian.’ Langlois, who painted the helmet for free because he felt ‘a call to duty’ to assist a fellow Canadian, did a lot more than put a leaf on it.”
The piece, called Remembering, was a response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the thousands of children who died in it because their shoddily built government schools collapsed on top of them. “The kind of authoritarian state we have in China cannot survive if it answers questions – if the truth is revealed, they are finished. So they started to think of me as the most dangerous person in China.”
An independent investigation by the Queens Museum’s board into the handling of an event sponsored by the Israeli government has concluded that “the president and executive director of the museum, Laura Raicovich, and deputy director of the museum, David Strauss, exercised poor judgment,” adding that they “knowingly misled the board, and otherwise failed to comport themselves with the standards consistent with their positions.”
“This agreement effectively allows the museum to do what it always wanted to do,” Nicholas M. O’Donnell, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said by today by phone. “My clients are stunned at the complete reversal by the Attorney General’s office in barely two weeks,” he added in a statement, in reference to an earlier AGO filing that suggested the museum’s “failure to select the less harmful, reasonably practicable, alternative mode of action” could be a breach of fiduciary duty.
“Her style, like The Dinner Party, is flamboyant and groovy and uncategorizable. She wore jeans, a leopard-print silk shirt under a black vest embroidered with sequins and a double strand of gold beads. Her lipstick was purple, her curly hair dyed a reddish-pink, with tinted glasses to match, giving her a dreamy, psychedelic look. But the eyes peering out from behind those glasses were sharp and commanding.”
“Chicago acknowledged that she’d need help to realize her full vision, so she began to enlist research assistants and scores of volunteers to help with production, whether embroidering, painting ceramic plates, or scrawling the names of historical figures onto the 2,304 hand-cast porcelain tiles that would make up the floor. … Some 400 women and men would lend a hand before she completed the work in 1979.”
“Prosecutors allege that Michael Rohana, 24, of Bear, Del., sneaked into the Franklin Institute’s ‘Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor’ special exhibit in December and snapped the thumb off one of the priceless statues inside. With the filched finger shoved in his pocket, he left … the museum that night and kept the clay digit in a desk drawer in his bedroom for more than three weeks.”
“[Krzysztof Wodiczko’s] site-specific work, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988-2000, was restaged for the first time in 30 years on Tuesday and was meant to remain on display for three days … The three-story-tall piece … shows two hands holding a gun and a candle on either side of a row of microphones.”
You can get a diverse audience there — you just have to offer something that they want to do. I think it would be impossible to take the old art museum and somehow magically say, “Now you’re welcome to come and see it.” It wasn’t developed with any input from that audience whatsoever — for instance, nobody on the staff looked like that, and generally they don’t look like that now.
Suzanne Massion is following a path taken by other older artists who, eager to continue creating and attempting to earn a living from art in their retirement, are turning to online sales to supplement or replace their gallery ties. With the change, older artists are having to learn to engage with an ever-widening pool of buyers on the internet. The experience can be unsettling, she said.
“An spokeswoman says that the site will be ‘totally closed from December 2020; the Rue des Palais, Nef [nave] and Grand Galleries will open in the spring of 2023’. During the 2024 summer Olympics, fencing and taekwondo will be held at the historic venue. The closure will, however, cause upheaval in the art fair calendar with three major fairs – Fiac, Paris Photo and La Biennale Paris – forced to relocate to temporary locations for their 2021 editions.”
Is Venable’s vision for his museum misguided, or a clarion call for a struggling industry to cast aside its pieties in pursuit of a purely rational bottom line? As of last October, the Indianapolis Museum of Art has rebranded itself as Newfields: A Place for Nature and the Arts. Admission is no longer free, and your $18 ticket brings you into a wonderland of flowering gardens, foreign delicacies, theatrical performances, cat-video festivals, mini-golf, beer gardens, and, should you be into such things, an art museum, too.
Sonia Boyce: “The recent, temporary removal from Manchester Art Gallery of John William Waterhouse’s 1896 painting Hylas and the Nymphs, which depicts Hercules’s handsome male lover being lured to his death in a pond by seven long-haired, topless nymphs (pubescent girls), was an attempt to involve a much wider group of people than usual in the curatorial process.” And it did.
Calling developer Gerald Wolkoff’s painting over of the famous graffiti murals – with no warning for the artists – “an act of pure pique and revenge for the nerve of the plaintiffs to sue” (what’s more, Wolkoff was an arrogant brat in the courtroom), Judge Frederic Block awarded each artist the maximum legal amount, $150,000, for each destroyed work.
“Ben Enwonwu’s 1974 painting of the Ife princess Adetutu Ademiluyi, known as Tutu, is a national icon in Nigeria, with poster reproductions hanging on walls in homes all over the country. The artist, regarded as the founding father of Nigerian modernism, painted three versions of Tutu and the image became a symbol of national reconciliation. But all three were lost and became the subject of much speculation.” Until late last year, that is.
Holland Cotter: “Not only are the Obamas the first presidential couple of African descent to be enshrined in the collection. The painters they’ve picked to portray them — Kehinde Wiley, for Mr. Obama’s portrait; Amy Sherald, for Mrs. Obama — are African-American as well. Both artists have addressed the politics of race consistently in their past work, and both have done so in subtly savvy ways in these new commissions. Mr. Wiley depicts Mr. Obama not as a self-assured, standard-issue bureaucrat, but as an alert and troubled thinker. Ms. Sherald’s image of Mrs. Obama overemphasizes an element of couturial spectacle, but also projects a rock-solid cool.”
Gagosian’s mortality might even have a silver lining if he can tap the right successor. As Galloway writes, “Dying removes the icon from the inevitable judgment of everyday existence, including aging, and elevates persona to legend—ideal for a brand.” Just think: Louis Vuitton (the company) was founded in 1854. Louis Vuitton (the man) died in 1892. So the brand has been stacking cash for 164 years, and the founder has spent 126 of them stitching in that grand atelier in the sky.