• Fast Company

    Gracie Hadland around Frieze LA

    LAST SUNDAY NIGHT, the eve of Frieze Week in Los Angeles, people spilled out of the gallery Gattopardo into a strip mall parking lot for a reading celebrating a new collection of writings by Giovanni Intra, published by Semiotext(e). The late artist and writer was one of the founders of the gallery China Art Objects, which in the late ’90s was crucial in putting LA back on the art-world map. He died at the age of thirty-four of an overdose and a certain scene dissolved with him. Those in attendance, some who had slept with him, done drugs with him, or worked for him, hadn’t gathered in a while.

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  • Naked and Famous

    Hiji Nam around downtown Manhattan

    THE SWISS INSTITUTE opening for Ser Serpas and Alfatih took place one day after January 24, which a friend told me had officially been declared the most depressing day of the year. I shared this with gallerist Maxwell Graham, who immediately brightened up. “That makes so much sense!” he beamed. I had the same reaction. After weeks of January melancholia, I felt a fever break last Wednesday. Others seemed to feel it too: Despite a torrential downpour, the Swiss Institute was packed—a reassuring affirmation that we do live in bodies, after all, and that these bodies live in a social body with a

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  • Office Politics

    A California state senator mounts an exhibition affirming trans lives

    WHEN LESBIAN AUTHOR and educator Diana Cage asked me if I’d like to accompany her to the opening of a “trans art show” at the offices of California State Senator Scott Wiener, I jumped at the chance. I have a soft spot for art presented outside the sanctioned white cubes of museums and galleries, but an official government site comes with its own baggage, its own set of priorities and prohibitions that an exhibit would have to grapple with. Diana and I had no clue what we were going to find, and that made the evening feel like an adventure.

    Presented on the occasion of Trans Awareness Week, “

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  • Never Enough

    Kaitlin Phillips around the 20th Art Basel Miami Beach

    LARRY GAGOSIAN DIDN’T FLY DOWN for the twentieth anniversary of Art Basel Miami Beach. This was described to me by Vanity Fair’s art reporter Nate Freeman as “gossip.” And perhaps, were I an art reporter, it would strike me as such.

    At a cocktail party for the gallery, Derek Blasberg—Gagosian employee and career walker to underweight celebrities—was in his element, padding around Karlie Kloss’s twenty-three-million-dollar mansion barefoot. He joked about accidentally picking up plantar warts from the floor. “Europeans say it in a sexier way: verruca.” (Whether this is suspicious or not, I shan’t

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  • Max’s Hammer

    The banal spectacle of buying a Beckmann

    IT TOOK TWO MINUTES and forty-eight seconds to settle on twenty million euros as the hammer price of the most expensive artwork ever sold in Germany. It was a self-portrait by Max Beckmann from 1943 that hung behind an impressively soft-spoken auctioneer on Thursday night. A piece of theater at once slight and dumbfounding, it was all very German. Grisebach, it said on the lectern in red sans-serif font that recalled the logo of the Deutsche Bahn. It is an unlikely house for such a sale, the kind usually taken to Manhattan or Mayfair. But we were in Charlottenburg, and the room was packed.

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  • Plus Ça Change

    Inside Art Basel’s bustling new Parisian fair

    CORSETED IN CONSTRUCTION SITES, Paris may be visibly bracing itself for the 2024 Summer Olympics, but there’s been another kind of restructuring going on in its art world. While the city has nourished (or indulged) its homegrown scene for decades, the recent arrival of blue-chip transplants like Gagosian, Zwirner, and soon, Hauser & Wirth (which is plotting an Olympic-scaled takeover of a hôtel particulier) has ushered in the much-ballyhooed resurgence of the city as an international art hub. More specifically, the continental set see it as an alternative to London in the post-Brexit world (a

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  • Herding Katz

    Linda Yablonsky at the opening of “Alex Katz: Gathering”

    LAST FRIDAY EVENING, a sudden commotion interrupted the opening of “Alex Katz: Gathering” at the Guggenheim Museum.

    It was not a protest or a stunt. Just as outgoing director Richard Armstrong informed the New York Social Diary photographer Jill Krementz that the ninety-five-year-old artist was not expected to appear, he materialized—seemingly out of nowhere—on the bottom ramp of the rotunda. Once spotted, the sound of applause and cheers erupting in the lobby gained decibels as the hundreds of people on the upper tiers joined a spontaneous demonstration right out of Hello, Dolly!

    Looking swell

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  • Just Like Heaven

    A new lease on life for Belgium’s Royal Museum of Fine Art

    IT WAS DURING THE PRESS PREVIEW of Antwerp’s newly reopened Royal Museum of Fine Art, and we were in front of one of Berlinde de Bruyckere’s almost-human lumps, poignantly placed in front of Antonello Da Messina’s 1475 picture of Jesus and his fellow convicts similarly twisting in agony. “Flesh on pole! How very Flemish!” remarked the man next to me, and, as I would find out at lunch, he was right. For fashion in Flanders is for small servings of raw animal: thinly sliced scallops, ceviche, carpaccio, and steak tartar, one after the next, presented as the set menu to parties of thirty and more.

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  • Stranger Than Fiction

    Agnieszka Gratza at LIAF and the 2022 Bergen Assembly

    LYING JUST NORTH of the Arctic Circle, Bodø is the gateway to the Lofoten peninsula. A regional hub, the town is gearing up for its stint as the European Capital of Culture in 2024. A two-and-a-half-hour layover at Bodø airport en route to Svolvær—the headquarters of the Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF)—left me with enough time to take in the opening ofBodø Biennale, coinciding with LIAF’s. The airport is, after all, only a fifteen-minute walk from the city center.

    Curated by Elise Cosme Hoedemakers and Hilde Methi, who was the chief curator of LIAF’s last edition, the inaugural Bodø

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  • Open City

    Rejection and rebirth in New York

    A LOT WAS GOING ON LAST WEEK. The opening of the season sloughed off the last couple years’ tentativeness for something that verged on overcompensation. Wednesday, for example, was VIP day at the Armory Show and Independent 20th Century. Thursday saw the Wolfgang Tillmans opening at MoMA; a reception for Nan Goldin at the Swedish Consulate in honor of her exhibition at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet; various downtown gallery openings and fêtes by and for places like Company, Essex Street/Maxwell Graham, Derosia, and Housing, the last at newly designated hotspot Skinos; and a rave, loosely defined,

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  • Politics by Other Means

    On the front lines of Ukraine’s art world

    A FEW DAYS before his battlefield death, the French poet and World War I soldier Charles Péguy wrote that “Homer is new this morning, and perhaps nothing is as old as today’s newspaper.” Hidden within his immortal sentiment is a question I was confronted with over and over while attending the opening of two exhibitions, one nested inside the other, in an embattled Kyiv: How do representations of war in journalism and art compete as means to draw attention to conflict and the plight of citizens?

    “Russian War Crimes” and “When Faith Moves Mountains” opened in mid-July at the PinchukArtCentre, a

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  • Spoor de Force

    Eva Díaz at the World Perfumery Congress

    A FEW WEEKS AGO, I mentioned I’d be attending the World Perfumery Congress—WPC—to a colleague.

    How very David Foster Wallace of you, he said, teasingly.

    It’s not a cruise! And I’m taking O Chem!

    I was WPC-bound to investigate an often-implicit presupposition in the history of aesthetics and reinforced nearly every day in the “fine” arts: that the authority of visual judgment ranks above all in a hierarchy of the senses, with sound as runner-up. I was there to explore how studying a nonvisual experience such as olfaction could help explain the overvaluation of certain experiences in culture (vision

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