Linda Yablonsky

  • diary May 08, 2015

    Future Past

    ANY GHOSTS FLOATING AROUND contemporary art have a fabulous new piece of real estate to spook. Dubbed the Haunted House by its owners, who sheathed its five stories in twenty-four-karat gold leaf, it’s one of ten buildings on the grounds of a former distillery in Milan that now make up the Prada Foundation. (A new nine-story tower that will house a restaurant and eight floors of exhibition space is still under construction.)

    As the first institution dedicated to contemporary art in the city of La Scala and The Last Supper, it’s a game changer. As the fruit of designer-collector Miuccia Prada’s

  • Left: Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg and collector Anne Bass. Right: Whitney Museum chief curator Donna De Salvo with architect Renzo Piano. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary April 23, 2015

    American Beauty

    IT’S UP. IT’S AMAZING. And it’s never coming down. So said its architect at an exclusive, black-tie dinner this past Monday night, when Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg “delivered” Renzo Piano’s new 28,000-ton baby to the people who paid $422 million for it.

    With a select group of artists in the museum’s collection—think Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Claes Oldenburg, Cindy Sherman, Zoe Leonard, Roni Horn, Wade Guyton—and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, they had already seen for themselves what the rest of the world will know on May 1: that the Whitney has put its money where its heart

  • Left: Dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, artist Laurie Simmons, and Jewish Museum deputy director Jens Hoffmann. Right: Dealers Andrea Rosen and Shaun Caley Regen. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary March 11, 2015

    Coming Up Rosen

    OH, INDEPENDENT! Whither thou goest?

    To Brussels, that’s where, in April 2016. Meanwhile, the 2015 edition of New York’s coolest fair opened last Thursday with a snowstorm and ended Sunday on the cusp of spring—a fitting farewell to Center 548, soon to be yet another soulless condo. Formerly the Dia Center in Manhattan, the building’s airy, unheated floors and impossibly narrow, Flavin-lit stairwells must hold more collective memories of unique art experiences than any other spot in Chelsea. With Moran’s already gone and La Luncheonette about to join it in art-world heaven, conviviality in the

  • Left: ADAA president Dorsey Waxter with Armory Show director Noah Horowitz. Right: Dealer Eva Presenhuber and artist Valentin Carron. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary March 06, 2015

    Spring Forward

    WE HAD SOHO. We had the East Village. We have Chelsea and Williamsburg, Bushwick and Red Hook. What will become New York’s next art neighborhood?

    “I guess all of these artists live in the Bronx?” the actor Alan Alda surmised on Monday, during the cocktail hour for the Bronx Museum of Art’s annual benefit gala. We were far south of that borough, on the outer planet of the Conrad Hotel in Battery Park City. Some of the artist-donors to the impressive silent auction, at least, were from the Bronx, as reported by Alan’s wife, Arlene Alda, an honoree and the author of an oral history, Just Kids from

  • Left: Dealers José Kuri and Mónica Manzutto. Right: Architect Enrique Norten and Zona MACO founding director Zelika Garcia. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary February 15, 2015

    Material World

    A FUNNY THING HAPPENS at art fairs. What you remember is seldom the art. That’s probably because the only context such random displays can give it is social. Thinking back, what comes first to mind is people you met, events you attended, and the city where all of it happened.

    Zona MACO has the good fortune to be in Mexico City. That’s its main attraction. No matter which galleries show up to offer works by what artists, what ultimately resonates are the long lunches at Contramar and warmth of every personal exchange, the museums, the cantinas, the architecture, and the incredible snarl of evening

  • Left: Artist-writer-director John Waters with dealer Marianne Boesky and collector Connie Caplan. Right: Dealer Mary Boone. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary January 14, 2015

    Worlds Upon Worlds

    ALL NEW YEARS FEEL LIKE GOOD YEARS. For a few days 2015 certainly did. Even with the party of self-interest taking control of the United (ha!) States Congress, it arrived full of promise. Then came the Homeland-like January 7 massacre of ten Charlie Hebdo staffers and two cops in Paris. It was a shocking wake-up call to remember that we live in an age of terrorism, that bigotry remains widespread, and that thousands of raised pencils can make as powerful an image as the sight of raised fists.

    That night in New York, where large public gatherings tend to take place chiefly on the Internet, one of

  • Left: Musician Wayne Coyne with dealer Jeffrey Deitch. Right: Dealer Sadie Coles. (Except where noted, all photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary December 10, 2014

    Islands in the Stream

    LAST WEEK, Miami Beach inspired murder. The killers were the many thousands in town for Miami Art Week—up to 100,000 of them, if you please. Their primary victim was time. Sleep ran a close second. Weapons of choice were beaches, superhigh heels, dinners for everyone you have ever heard of, cocktail parties to promote the self or luxury products to rub into the faces of have-nots, brunches to do the same, invitation-only concerts, dives like Sandbar and Twist, public conversations that breathed hot air into weighty-sounding subjects, and millions of dollars worth of art.

    All of this was obvious

  • Left: Dealer Gavin Brown with collector Adam Kimmel. Right: W Magazine editor in chief Stefano Tonchi, China Chow, actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, and artist Francesco Vezzoli. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary November 18, 2014

    Gallows Humorism

    THE OTHER DAY I heard an artist call November one of the two “big months” for art in New York. The autumn air is crisp, the moon is high, and the prices achieved at auction jump over it. Blue-chip dealers compete by opening big-ticket solo shows aimed at massing collectors, and nonprofits dive into the money pool with fall benefit galas.

    This year, November brought the Independent Projects art fair to a groaning table that literally gave way during “Paradiso,” Performa’s chaotic, November 4 fund-raiser. Despite the serene presence of Kickstarter cofounder Perry Chen among the performance biennial’s

  • Left: Artists Barbara Kruger and Christopher Williams with curator Ann Goldstein. Right: Director Quentin Tarantino. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary November 06, 2014

    Dancing with the Stars

    WHAT HAPPENED TO ART in the twentieth century was film. It gave fine artists a new medium and storytellers a visual language. Today, artists like Steve McQueen make movies, but established moviemakers rarely make art. Not in Hollywood, anyway, where these days the art and film worlds each operate in a separate and unequal universe.

    The seams were plainly showing last Saturday night, when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held its fourth annual Art + Film Gala. Gucci sponsored the evening, which honored Barbara Kruger and Quentin Tarantino. Both marry words to pictures. As Tarantino would tell

  • Left: Prospect 3 Biennial curator Franklin Sirmans with Joan Mitchell Center director Gia Hamilton. Right: Solange and artist Kerry James Marshall. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary October 31, 2014

    Bright Prospects

    THERE’S ALWAYS A GOOD REASON to be in New Orleans. Last weekend, the draw was “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” or P.3, the resonant third edition of the international biennial that Dan Cameron created in 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina doused city and spirit. Under artistic director Franklin Sirmans, P.3 opened with work by fifty-eight artists from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East planted in eighteen venues around town. On Thursday, October 23, a few visiting dealers and collectors joined a veritable congress of American museum curators to track them down.

    During a press

  • Left: Musician Neil Tennant with dealer Maureen Paley. (Except where noted, all photos: Linda Yablonsky) Right: Dealer Marian Goodman. (Photo: Toby Stoneham)
    diary October 17, 2014

    Live and Let Live

    BECAUSE ART FAIRS are truly the context of no context, the best part of Frieze London is what isn’t there. Over the last week, the fair’s greatest by-product has been the surfeit of exhibitions in the city’s galleries and museums. For fairgoers on the prowl, it’s been all about dressing up with everywhere to go.

    With Frieze opening to VIPs on Tuesday, a day earlier than usual, the week began on Monday afternoon with a chops-whetting dash across London from the ICA (for a complex show by Neïl Beloufa), north to the Zabludowicz Collection’s new installation of Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch’s

  • Left: Dealer Sadie Coles with artist Anish Kapoor. Right: Dealer Shaun Caley Regen with artist Matthew Barney. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary October 13, 2014

    First Wave

    FORGET RADICAL THINKING. To be avant-garde today means being first out of the gate. Last Friday in London, for example, the Sadie Coles, David Zwirner, and Herald Street galleries threw the switch on Frieze Week three days early. Absent the nattering crowds and competitive pressures of the art fair, all three openings—for shows by Matthew Barney, Kerry James Marshall, and Ida Ekblad, respectively—were actually fun, and definitely put best feet forward.

    Marshall’s emblematic debut with Zwirner at the dealer’s Grafton Street townhouse made the art of figurative painting seem vital again, even