Linda Yablonsky

  • diary December 05, 2012

    Rainbow Connection

    AT 8 PM last Tuesday, I was in a taxi moving through a light rain to the Standard Hotel. Suddenly, the sky lit up. “What’s that?” said the startled driver. “A rainbow?” It was. A rainbow in the dark—namely Global Rainbow, After the Storm, a public artwork made of laser beams by Yvette Mattern, an American artist who lives in Berlin. For three nights, it would shoot thirty miles from the roof of the Standard across Manhattan to the parts of Brooklyn devastated by Hurricane Sandy. “Beautiful,” the driver said.

    At the Standard, the Art Production Fund, which facilitated the installation, was toasting

  • diary December 03, 2012

    Full Cycle

    THIS WAS ALWAYS supposed to be a big year. The ancient Mayans pegged it as the last gasp of “Baktun 13,” a 144,000-day planetary cycle that will reach its pinnacle on December 21, the winter solstice. Interpreters of Nostradamus, who studied the Mayan calendar, predict that date will bring the end of the world. Don’t hold your breath.

    In the Yucatán peninsula, where December 21 means a fresh start, Baktun 13 is also shorthand for the Fund for the Conservation of the Cultural Heritage of Mayan Villages. Founded by preservationist Claudia Madrazo de Hernández to restore Mayan culture and provide

  • diary November 14, 2012

    New York Groove

    NEW YORKERS LIKE to say they’re tough. They have to be. Some say that’s why big stuff happens there—because the citizens can take it. And come out better for it.

    Consider the humbled art dealers of Chelsea. Just a week after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc throughout the neighborhood, several were ready to open their doors again. They were the lucky ones: Matthew Marks and David Zwirner, who had the resources to speed recovery, and those above street level or outside the flood zone, who just had to wait for electricity to be restored.

    The Drawing Center was in the latter group, and the first to put

  • diary November 12, 2012

    Before the Deluge

    IN MID-OCTOBER, after head-in-the-sand weeks spent at multiple art fairs, it felt natural to seek a little R&R in the country. For me, that country was France—specifically the south of France, and the Provençal city of Arles. I arrived just ahead of other refugees from Frieze London and FIAC, for an October 20th performance by Terry Riley premiering Doug Aitken’s Altered Earth: Arles, City of Moving Images, a gift to the town from collector Maja Hoffmann’s LUMA Foundation.

    The following Saturday night, still exhilarated by this experience of art, music, and patronage, the Los Angeles County Museum

  • diary November 01, 2012

    After the Flood

    THE NEW YORK art business has been a speeding train for so long that it began to seem as if nothing could stop it, or even slow it down. Then came Hurricane Sandy.

    Sandy did it. Knocked out all the power in Lower Manhattan, where most galleries are concentrated. Those in Chelsea took the biggest hit. They didn’t just lose power. Some dealers may lose their galleries as well.

    It started on the night of Monday, October 29. At the peak of the storm, the Hudson River breached its banks and surged through Chelsea Piers, sending an extraordinarily powerful, twelve-foot flume of water down every street

  • diary October 16, 2012

    Hang Ten

    AT THE AGE OF TEN, the Frieze Art Fair has spawned two progeny. The New York offspring, born last May, offered the same looks-like-art collectibles as the London original, but housed them in a better tent. Last Tuesday, the art stork arrived home in Regents Park with a refined historical sibling, Frieze Masters, promising to connect ancient and modern under a single roof.

    Having pretty much vanquished the Armory Show—and absorbed the lessons of New York—Frieze cofounders Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp appeared to many to be pulling a Maastricht. The new fair, directed by Victoria Siddall, put

  • diary October 10, 2012

    Master Minds

    IS THE ART WORLD suffering from collective horror vacui? So it seems every time another big art fair rolls around. No sooner do planes begin to land than the VIP program kicks in, the meetings convene, and the fun begins. This week in London, for example, even before Frieze proper got underway, the social calendar started filling with openings, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners as well as alternate art fairs. (The art world is not a good place for a cleanse.)

    Lisson Gallery was first out of the gate with a very VIP preview of Anish Kapoor’s new monochromatic accretions and extrusions in both of

  • diary October 06, 2012

    Tortes Reform

    IT’S CURIOUS HOW OFTEN the international art caravan skips Vienna. With its Baroque palaces, splendid museums, luscious Sacher tortes, and an artistic legacy that stretches from the Wiener Werkstätte to Franz West, this imperial city has all of the elements that usually attract visitors to an art fair from far and wide.

    Yet on the eve of Viennafair’s September 19 opening, Russians made up the core of a formal VIP dinner in the Albertina’s opulent Hall of the Muses. Chief among them were developer Dmitry Aksenov and art-investment enthusiast Sergey (“Skate”) Skaterschikov, the pair who bought

  • diary September 28, 2012

    Making History

    DATELINE: BERLIN. It’s Wednesday, September 12. Assignment: the German capital’s inaugural Art Week—not to be confused with Berlin Art Weekend, run by and for local galleries. Art Week has been conceived by a consortium of eleven organizations that include KW, the Akademie der Kunste, the Nationalgalerie, and two art fairs. They are (uppercase) PREVIEW BERLIN, once a satellite of the failed Art Forum Berlin, and (lowercase) abc art berlin contemporary, the five-year-old fair currently directed by dealers Guido W. Baudach and Alexander Schröder. New exhibitions in galleries and museums across

  • diary September 11, 2012

    Legends of the Fall

    THE FALL ART SEASON got underway in New York against some heavy competition: Fashion Week in the streets, the Democratic Party convention in North Carolina, and Madonna at Yankee Stadium. Despite it all, the art world kept to its own universe. As usual.

    Tuesday evening, as Michelle Obama prepared to command televisions across the land, the Swiss Institute held an invitation-only dinner to preview Olaf Breuning’s new half-hour film, Home 3: Homage to New York. The work is a commission from the Métamatic Research Initiative, the foundation created by Dutch collectors Allard and Natascha Jakobs out

  • diary July 20, 2012

    Board Walk

    THE LOS ANGELES ART WORLD is no different in summer than the art world is anywhere else. What does it do? It goes to the beach—namely, Venice Beach. At least, it did last weekend, when Hammer Museum curator Ali Subotnick staged a three-day, outdoor extension of “Made in L.A.,” the museum’s current show of new homegrown art, along the boardwalk.

    Over the same few days, galleries in Culver City and elsewhere mounted the sort of group shows that are a dog-days tradition everywhere. Starting the week’s engines on July 10, the Venice branch of New York’s L&M Arts opened “Mash Up: Collage from 1930 to

  • diary June 28, 2012

    Room and Bard

    THE CENTER FOR CURATORIAL STUDIES at Bard College is in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. That’s a couple of hours’ drive north of New York City. But the city is to artists and curators what the Hudson River is to wet. It’s the talent pool. So last Thursday, CCS Bard’s twentieth anniversary weekend began with a benefit exhibition at Luhring Augustine Gallery in Manhattan.

    Artists are asked for donations to benefits so often, it’s a wonder some have any work for their galleries to sell. This time out they certainly did not hold back. Organized by CCS Bard director Tom Eccles and graduate program director

  • diary June 16, 2012

    Portrait of a Lady

    AT 6 PM on Monday, June 11, the sun is still high over the Messeplatz in Basel, and we’re two hours into the opening of Art Unlimited, the kickoff event for Art Basel 43. In his inaugural turn as Unlimited curator, Swiss Institute director Gianni Jetzer has set in motion a fair that will prove big, brand-conscious, and bonkers.

    Half the convention center plaza is fenced off for the construction of new buildings, while the Schaulager museum, closed for renovation, takes up more real estate with a satellite space designed to look like home by Herzog & de Meuron. There’s no one in it, but outside

  • diary June 13, 2012

    Sunday Best

    THE ART WORLD loves its rituals and one of them is Contemporary Art Day in Zurich. A kind of Vorspeise served on the Sunday before the große Fressen that is Art Basel, it attracts collectors, dealers, curators, and artists en route to the main event—many from Documenta 13 in Kassel, the icebreaker of many a conversation to come.

    Held this year on Sunday, June 10, the day began with breakfast at the Baur au Lac, the 150-year-old grand hotel of choice. Carroll Dunham was at one table. Beth Rudin DeWoody and her fiancé, photographer Firooz Zahedi, were at another. Collector Howard Rachofsky was at

  • diary May 10, 2012

    Space Jam

    THURSDAY, MAY 4TH. The calendar is daunting—and impressive. Frieze New York is underway, the contemporary auctions are just ahead, and tonight, with so many visiting collectors and curators around, more than fifteen galleries in Manhattan are opening new shows, with dinners to follow. Creative Time is holding its annual benefit gala at Roseland. Artists Space is hosting a party at SubMercer, as it is every night for the run of Frieze. The New York art world is a horn of plenty and the whole town is digging in.

    Rachel Harrison is heading toward Greene Naftali. It’s still early, only a few people

  • diary May 04, 2012

    Treasure Island

    THEY TOLD US it would be big but it wasn’t. It was huge—a mile-long tent that snaked along the East River on Randall’s Island, home to a kids’ soccer stadium and a hospital for the criminally insane. What better place for the first Frieze New York?

    Ever since Frieze cofounders Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp chose the site for the London fair’s New York sibling, people have been calling them mad. Who would go to this remote and seemingly sinister place? How many people had even heard of it? No one knew how to get there. And if people did go, how long would they want to stay? Wasn’t Armory Arts

  • diary April 26, 2012

    Women First

    EVERY APRIL brings out the benefits of being in the art world. Or rather, spring is the season of gala fund-raisers for the nonprofits that feed the public artworks that have yet to disappear into private collections. This year’s starting events gave the stage to the proverbial powers behind the throne: the women who rescue our society from total male domination.

    On Monday, April 16, Yvonne Force Villareal, Doreen Remen, and Casey Fremont Crowe—the couture-friendly troika that direct the Art Production Fund—seduced five hundred artists and collectors into donning cowboy hats and boots, and getting

  • diary April 19, 2012

    Dallas Cowboys

    ALL I EVER KNEW ABOUT DALLAS WAS DALLAS, the soap opera of the 1980s, when the city itself was actually quite depressed. These days that business-friendly town is as awash in money and power as the fictional J.R. Ewing ever was. It has a mess of Fortune 500 companies, more shopping malls than any other city in the country, the Texas Rangers, and George W. Bush. It also has a concentration of collectors who are mad for contemporary art.

    Last week, on the occasion of the fourth Dallas Art Fair and the first Dallas Biennale, they opened their homes (and in one case their closets) to visitors from

  • diary April 08, 2012

    Bard Mitzvah

    THEY CAME FROM AMSTERDAM, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Dallas, and New York. They included artists, dealers, and collectors, but primarily they were those often neglected, sometimes maligned, and—unless employed by the Gagosian Gallery—usually underpaid brainiacs known as curators. For the twentieth anniversary of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, that only made sense.

    But the big draw for the 360 nonprofit banner wavers gathered at Capitale on the Bowery last Wednesday night was the guest of honor, Ann Goldstein, who was to receive the new Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial

  • diary March 10, 2012

    Variety Show

    ARMORY ARTS WEEK in New York is not Miami Basel. The air isn’t balmy, the parties aren’t excessive, the product promotions are chill, and the art fairs—at least ten this year—are just another weave in the fabric of New York life. That leaves the art world to ogle itself without pesky intrusions from celebrities, who largely stayed away this time around.

    To start the week’s engines, the intrepid nonprofit Art Production Fund chose last Monday night to unveil its latest public commission: Josephine Meckseper’s Manhattan Oil Project, featuring a pair of full-scale pump jacks working the ground of