Linda Yablonsky

  • Left: Art Production Fund cofounder Doreen Remen and artist Robert Melee. Right: Artist Coco Fusco. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary January 12, 2016

    Early Daze

    AT MIDNIGHT ON DECEMBER 31 the ball dropped in Times Square as usual. Last week, the New York art world met 2016 by waiting for the other foot to do likewise.

    Despite performances to kick up a little fairy dust, the mood was anxious, almost becalmed. Galleries opened shows in what felt like a holding pattern, as if they were planes circling an airport until a threatening storm has passed.

    That would be the real world, which has now surpassed the art world for madness and danger. That’s one reason why we take refuge in art and ideas. The question is whether the market-ready material that is so

  • Left: Aretha Franklin. Right: Author, sociologist, and MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson and former US attorney general Eric Holder. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary November 20, 2015

    Family Portrait

    THE FIRST PERSON I met in Washington, DC, last Sunday night was Eric Holder, former attorney general of the United States. He had just arrived at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, where he would present Aretha Franklin with one of five Portrait of a Nation prizes during the museum’s first American Portrait Gala. The event, which raised a healthy $1.74 million for the museum’s exhibition program, also attracted Holder’s replacement, Loretta Lynch, as well as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

    “No posting!” Justice Sotomayor warned, after posing for my camera. Presumably, she had to

  • Left: David Hallberg in Fortuna Desperata. Right: Artist Bridget Riley and curator John Elderfield. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary November 13, 2015

    Supporting Characters

    PEOPLE WHO THINK movie stars and models bring glamour to the art scene have it backwards. The art world is seductive enough without calling in air support.

    Witness the weeklong start of the fall gala season in New York. On Sunday, November 1, Francesco Vezzoli kicked off Performa 15 as this year’s Anita Ekberg. Recall that in 2009, the late Italian screen goddess was a silent, sometimes somnolent, witness to Vezzoli’s Pirandellian opener for the performance biennial’s third season.

    This time out, the artist followed a gala dinner at the Four Seasons by appearing in the pulpit of Saint Bartholomew’s

  • Left: Dealer Chantal Crousel. Right: Artist Sterling Ruby and designer Raf Simons. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary October 25, 2015

    Meat and Greet

    PARISIANS LOVE THEIR MEAT. Starting with the sliders and champagne served during last Sunday’s lunchtime preview of “Sterling Ruby: Paris,” in the Gagosian Gallery hangar at Le Bourget, some form of animal fat was on the menu at every meal related to the forty-second edition of FIAC (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain).

    Paris is not for the cholesterol-averse. Then again, who goes to an art fair to slim down? The whole idea is to enrich one’s holdings and experience of art and its associations, be they educational, financial, or social. Though shrouded by a chilly gloom throughout the week,

  • Left: Writer Hilton Als and artist Glenn Ligon. Right: Dealer Elisa Uematsu and artist Cerith Wyn Evans. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary October 17, 2015

    Jump Start

    NILSSON’S “JUMP INTO THE FIRE” plays in my head from the start. Over four days in London, the racing pulse of that Goodfellas song underscores the pace of events detonated by the thirteenth edition of Frieze.

    Monday the twelfth is breakneck joy in the trenches of art. It begins at the ICA with the headbanging launch of Zhang Ding’s “Enter the Dragon” (pace Bruce Lee). The black-box theater of this normally sedate institution is alive with the immersive sound of acid punk and electronica—played simultaneously—by Bo Ningen and Powell under flashing strobes and from behind curtains of revolving

  • Left: The Noisettes. Right: Philanthropist Delfina Entrecanales and Delfina Foundation director Aaron Cezar. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary October 14, 2015

    Ante Frieze

    PERHAPS UNDERSTATEMENT comes naturally to the British. Last Friday night in London, for example, Delfina Foundation director Aaron Cezar happily observed the many early birds at his fund-raising exhibition, “Then for Now,” noting that “Frieze starts earlier every year!” It was a full five days before the opening of the fair.

    The truth is that those attending his opening were homies, and that Frieze needs London, and its healthy concentration of wealth, artists, galleries, institutions, and oddments.

    Take the octogenarian art patron Delfina Entrecanales, whose twenty-five-year-old international

  • Left: Fiorucci Art Trust director Milovan Farronato and artist Micki Pellerano. Right: Artist Paulina Olowska. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary October 11, 2015

    Magic Mushrooms

    TAKE ONE HAUNTED HOUSE, a bowl of magic, and a brace of hand puppets. Mix with poisonous mushrooms and an intrepid crew of Polish, Italian, British, and American artists. What have you got? A recipe for chaos!

    Chaos, in this case, is the wellspring of unconscious desire that fed the second edition of Mycorial Theater, the mycelium of a symposium and retreat organized last week in Rabka, Poland by artist Paulina Olowska and Fiorucci Art Trust curator Milovan Farronato.

    Rabka is a provincial spa town in the Gorce Mountains. It’s about an hour’s drive from Krakow and a few miles from Auschwitz.

  • Left: Artist Adrián Villar Rojas. Right: MoMA curator Ann Temkin (right) with her daughter Rachel Hendrickson. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary September 14, 2015

    New to You

    EVERY SEASON PROMISES the discovery of what’s new. But what can be new in art today? We seem to be in a holding pattern. The new bubbles up from what we missed before, or it introduces the unfamiliar. Both were visible in New York last week, when the fall season opened in a sweat.

    That was partly due to an unseasonable heat wave. The calendar made a contribution too, when Labor Day arrived a week later than usual. Instead of a gradual climb to peak form, well over a hundred galleries opened at the same time as Fashion Week, in the middle of the US Open. As if this convergence weren’t feverish

  • Left: MoMA PS1 curator Peter Eleey and dealer Gavin Brown. Right: Michelle Kounellis, dealer Mario Diacono, artist Jannis Kounellis, and dealer Hilario Galguera. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary July 01, 2015

    Pride of Place

    LAST WEEK—Pride Week in the nation—brought milestones to the New York art world too. The first came on Tuesday, when the New Museum unveiled a scintillating sampler of the late Sarah Charlesworth’s dazzling photographs of perfection. The exhibition was every bit as beautiful and bracing as the so-called Pictures Generation artist was in life. For those of us who saw her through many subjects and over the bumpy roads of love, her first museum show in New York was, as Cindy Sherman put it, bittersweet.

    “It’s hard to know whether to feel good about this or cry,” said New Museum director Lisa Phillips

  • Left: Dealers Chrissie Erpf and Larry Gagosian. Right: Collector Poju Zabludowicz, dealer Iwan Wirth, collector Anita Zabludowicz, and dealer Paul Schimmel. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary June 20, 2015

    Rite of Way

    ART BASEL is code for ritual behavior: nightly revels in the bars of the Kuntshalle and Trois Rois, daily treks to the Schaulager and the Beyeler, deliberate runs for the Messeplatz or an ATM. In between, meetings, meetings, meetings. Lunches. Dinners. Drinks. It’s seductive, and necessary. Almost pagan.

    Last Monday, returning pilgrims arrived in the rainy Swiss city for Art Unlimited, the kickoff for the mighty fair’s forty-sixth edition. Just inside the entrance, the bearded German artist Julius von Bismarck sat at a school desk on a giant, speedily revolving concave dish of concrete, reading

  • Left: Collectors and Garage Museum founders Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova with dealer Larry Gagosian. Right: Garage Mjuseum project architect Ekaterina Gotovatynk with architect Rem Koolhaas.
    diary June 16, 2015

    Paradise Garage

    ONCE KAZIMIR MALEVICH painted his first Black Square—one hundred years ago—art was never the same again. That’s particularly true in postrevolutionary Russia, where any form of revolutionary art either died or went underground once Stalin came in.

    Last Wednesday night in Moscow, it resurfaced—hopefully for good—when the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art opened its permanent home in Gorky Park. Founded, and mostly funded, by collectors Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich, it too could change the future of art in Russia. It may also alter the way we think about museums in general.

    In a city where a

  • Left: Artists Adrian Piper and Glenn Ligon. Right: Venice Biennale artistic director Okwui Enwezor. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary May 12, 2015

    Back to the Futures

    ONCE THE CURTAIN opens on a Venice Biennale, the tourists have to move over to make way for the art gang. The world’s oldest and most important international exhibition attracts an unstoppable force. It takes over restaurants and palazzos for private parties, books every available water taxi, and storms the gates of the Giardini in packs so swift and so vociferously divided in opinion that they would be the envy of barbarians anywhere.

    The upside of opening week at the Fifty-Sixth Venice Biennale was the breathtaking quantity and variety of art going on view at a single moment. The downside was