Linda Yablonsky

  • Left: MoMA curator Stuart Comer and Artists Space director Stefan Kalmár. Right: Dealer Marta Fontolan. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary September 03, 2016

    Passage to Marseille

    STEFAN KALMÁR AND MARTA FONTOLAN wish people in Marseille would listen. The Artists Space director and Gavin Brown Enterprise dealer both sit on a seven-person committee of “artistic” advisers for Art-O-Rama, a pocket-size fair that just celebrated its tenth anniversary in the French port city. “You can see the potential,” Kalmár said, when I arrived the day before the fair’s August 25th VIP opening. Indeed, I would.

    I’d needed persuading. An art fair on the last weekend in August? Give us a break. Then again, it’s in Marseille, where Walter Benjamin became a convert to hashish, Le Corbusier

  • Left: Outside the Deste Slaugherhouse in Hydra. Right: Artist Maurizio Cattelan and collector Dakis Joannou. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary June 30, 2016

    Crab Walk

    AFTER ART BASEL, but before Brexit, there was Greece.

    In this ancient and modern land, root of a glorious past and home to a beleaguered present, collector Dakis Joannou ushered in summer with his annual Deste Foundation weekend (June 19-20) in Athens and on the island of Hydra.

    It was hot.

    On the 18th, temperatures in the capital stuck to a hundred, but it was a dry heat. Tolerable. Thanks to a national holiday that sent residents to island beaches, the city of the Acropolis was a ghost town.

    Radio Athènes founder Helena Papadopoulos easily snared tables for sixteen of us—Greek, American, and French

  • Left: Dealer Esther Schipper with artist AA Bronson and dealer Maureen Paley. Right: Dealer Isabella Bortolozzi and Kunsthalle Basel director Elena Filipovic.
    diary June 20, 2016

    Best in Show

    LIKE THE MOMENT before any big storm, Sunday the 12th of June in Basel was quiet. Of course, this is Switzerland, where the atmosphere is so placid that feathers ruffle only at their own risk.

    Yet risk is the name of the game in the art business, or it used to be, before big money sent it in the direction of safe bets. Take the work that the New York Times anointed as the most talked-about in all of Art Basel—Hans Op de Beeck’s fictional collector’s home at Art Unlimited. Funny thing about that. Of the several hundred people I spoke with during a rain-soaked week at the forty-seventh edition of

  • Left: Dealer Paul Schimmel, artist and Manifesta 11 curator Christian Jankowski, and dealer Nicholas Logsdail. Right: Outgoing ICA director Gregor Muir and collector Kasia Kulczyk. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary June 14, 2016

    Split Decisions

    THIS WEEK THE PROFESSIONAL ART WORLD is a house divided—again. The decision is entirely social: whether to leave Art Basel midweek and be among the first to see the new Switch House at Tate Modern, or come to Basel afterward. For collectors and dealers, each choice has consequences.

    I stopped in London before Basel and got more than I bargained for, beginning with a June 8 benefit dinner celebrating the Institute of Contemporary Art’s seventy years on the Mall.

    Talk about a house divided. Having adopted an “East/West” theme, dinner was in two rooms, upscale and down, separated by a salon where a

  • Left: Ian Alteveer, Metropolitan Museum associate curator of modern and contemporary art, with artist Arlene Shechet, Phillips Collection curator Klaus Ottman, and dealer Leslie Tonkonow. Right: Composer Glenn Branca in performance. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary June 01, 2016

    Tooth or Consequences

    FUND-RAISING SEASON never really ends for nonprofit institutions, but last week the Frick Collection brought a modicum of relief by offering its patrons a nosegay instead of a self-addressed envelope. The gift was the museum’s annual spring garden party, the first I’ve attended. That’s why I didn’t know that three generations of the Town & Country set treat this occasion as an opportunity to wear their West Egg best so New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham will take their picture. “You’re not Bill!” one huffed.

    The dress code was white and gold, so tropical suits dominated, along with frilly

  • Left: Nevada Museum of Art trustee Bill Prezant, dealer Barbara Gladstone, and artist Ugo Rondinone. Right: Artist Jessica Craig-Martin. (Except where noted, all photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary May 17, 2016

    Land’s End

    THE LAST PLACE I expected to see art by Tony Cragg and Jenny Holzer was in downtown Las Vegas. What was I thinking? The whole town is a global city of art—or, rather, artifice. Here’s the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. There’s the Roman Forum, the Doges Palace, a castle for a latter-day King Arthur who gives you easy odds.

    “I think the worst crime you can commit in Las Vegas is irony,” observed artist Jessica Craig-Martin. We were there to document a project by Ugo Rondinone for the Art Production Fund—but first things first. We set to work doing what everyone in Vegas does—kill time.

  • Left: Artist Gerhard Richter and dealer Marian Goodman. Right: Dealer Helene Winer and New Museum director Lisa Phillips. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary May 11, 2016

    When It Rains It Pours

    THE FIFTH EDITION of Frieze New York arrived last week in a frenzy of the best gallery exhibitions in years. Gerhard Richter? Whoa. Anish Kapoor? Okay, wow. Richard Serra? Gotta say. Josh Kline, Jordan Wolfson, Alicja Kwade, and more. Way more. Way!

    The air was ten degrees cooler than it should have been on Wednesday, May 4, when Frieze opened for VIP previews, raining as usual. Everyone complained. No one stayed home.

    Getting through Midtown gridlock to the East Ninetieth Street ferry for Randall’s Island took an hour. On the ferry, I closed my eyes and tried to imagine it was Venice.

    That didn’t

  • Left: Artist Nicole Eisenman with W magazine editor in chief Stefano Tonchi and fashion designer–collector Miuccia Prada. Right: Choreographer Michael Clark and Artists Space director Stefan Kalmár.
    diary May 06, 2016

    Frieze Burn

    LET’S FACE IT. When Frieze New York comes to town, everything else happens. It’s not that we can’t find openings, parties, performances, sex, politics, bad manners, and good art—even great art—around here at all times. Only that when this week began, more paths crossed in more ways than they ever do when it’s just us folks, and more often than not they were artists.

    Artists Space, in fact, set the tone last Saturday, when it introduced the dapper Lukas Duwenhögger to the scene with “Undoolay,” a fetching retrospective for the German-born, Istanbul-based artist, but his first show in New York.

  • Left: Artist Mickalene Thomas. Right: Artist Tom Sachs, philanthropist Stephanie Ingrassia, and Swizz Beatz. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary April 23, 2016

    On the Ball

    THE KEY WORD for the sixth Brooklyn Artists Ball was vanilla.

    It’s not that Wednesday’s annual gala at the Brooklyn Museum was a white-bread affair. Diversity, if not parity, distinguished the 750 collectors and artist guests. I am referring to the evening’s dress code: WHITE HOT.

    “You’ll see why when we go in for dinner,” said Anne Pasternak of her first gala since becoming the museum’s director. After twenty-five years’ experience heading up fundraisers for Creative Time, Pasternak was accustomed to the rigors of New York social life. But Brooklyn’s requires some getting used to.

    “It’s too early

  • Left: Actors Ande Pramuk and Catalin Jugravu with playwright/designer/director Leila Hekmat and actors Magdalena Mitterhofer and Roman Ole. Right: Glasgow International director Sarah McCrory. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary April 20, 2016

    Seventh Heaven

    NO VIP TOUR. You picked up your map and your program on your own time and devised your own hunt for treasure among the ninety exhibitions and events taking place in the seventh Glasgow International.

    In her second outing as director, former Frieze Projects curator Sarah McCrory worked with a staff of six to construct a bootstrapping, urban exposition in seventy-five sites around this hilly, Charles Rennie Mackintosh–appointed city on the River Clyde. No frills. No usual suspects.

    The biennial revealed itself slowly—not just in art spaces like the Common Guild and the Kelvingrove or Hunterian

  • Left: LACMA director Michael Govan introducing the documentary Look at the Pictures. Right: Dealers Manuela Wirth and Iwan Wirth. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary April 04, 2016

    A Moment Like This

    “IS LA REALLY ON FIRE?” a friend asked the other day. It definitely felt that way a couple of weeks ago, when planeloads of art players joined their counterparts in Los Angeles for a two-day romp through an art scene that seemed to expand with every breath.

    Yet, the new Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel gallery’s inaugural VIP dinner was so exclusive that even a local legend like John Baldessari could not get in. The flummoxed artist stood outside the gallery with Keith Sonnier and Doug Aitken, other rejects, commiserating with his plus-two too many, artist Meg Cranston and print dealer Joni Weyl. “Joni

  • Left: Artists Adam McEwen and Sarah Morris. Right: White Columns director Matthew Higgs. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary March 12, 2016

    Back to Basics

    ARMORY WEEK IS BEHIND US. Art Dubai and Art Basel Hong Kong just ahead. So is MiArt, Art Brussels, and Art Cologne.

    Forget the inner drummer. We now march to the circadian rhythm of fairs, even though a certain homogeneity has settled over them like a net. We know what we’re going to get before we see it. Places may change; faces hardly ever. Can fairs satisfy a longing for the sublime or do they only serve the needs of people who don’t have the time or inclination to see art parked anywhere but in their portfolios? Does art benefit from merchandising or suffer?

    Consider the Independent, whose