Massimo De Carlo gallery, which currently has branches in Milan and London, will soon be adding a third location in Hong Kong at the Pedder Building to celebrate the gallery’s thirtieth anniversary. The new space will open on March 21 with an exhibition of paintings by Yan Pei-Ming, right before the start of the 2016 edition of Art Basel Hong Kong.
Hanart TZ and Gagosian’s Hong Kong location are also located in the Pedder Building.
After thirty-six people were killed in a fire that engulfed a warehouse where artists were residing on December 2, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf announced that the city will create more affordable spaces for arts organizations with a $1.7 million philanthropic grant, Rachael Swan of SF Gate reports.
“The arts are at the center of vibrant and diverse communities, and are critical to neighborhood health and wellbeing, yet artists and cultural organizations are increasingly vulnerable to instability and displacement,” Schaaf said in a statement. “This public-private collaboration and investments are aimed at preventing displacement, growing the capacity of the city’s artists and cultural organizations, and enhancing municipal resources for the cultural sector over the long haul.”
The grant, which is funded by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust, will support a two-year pilot program that will focus on helping artists afford their existing studios or find financially sustainable workplaces. The city will also buy property and offer it to local artists at below market rates.
Critics, who disapprove of the mayor’s ties with developers, booed Schaaf at a vigil that took place at Oakland’s Lake Merritt Monday night. In response, Schaaf said, “It’s OK. This city is going to go through a lot of emotions and one of them is going to be anger. It’s my job to hear that and feel that.”
In addition to the grant announcement, Schaaf appointed Roberto Bedoya as cultural affairs manager. He will be responsible for allocating $900,000 in grants to arts organizations. Urban planner Kelley Kahn, a special projects director for the city’s department of economic and workforce development, will take up a new post that will work on preventing displacement.
Rendering of the winning Illuminated River project design. Photo: Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced yesterday evening that a team led by US artist Leo Villareal has won the Illuminated River design competition and will create a public installation that will light up seventeen bridges along the Thames River in 2017. The team includes: lead artist Leo Villareal, lead consultant Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, curator Future\Pace, Atelier Ten, Beckett Rankine, Bradley Hemmings, Core Five, Futurecity, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, Montagu Evans, Pentagram, and Price & Myers.
“We saw an incredible response to this fascinating competition,” Kahn said, “showing that London continues to inspire creatives from around the globe, and is open to all.” He added, “there were some spectacular ideas, and I can’t wait to see the winning design light up the Thames. Huge congratulations to Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands on this fantastic achievement.”
One hundred and five teams in twenty countries submitted proposals for the free, permanent light installation. The six shortlisted concepts were exhibited at the Royal Festival Hall in November.
Known for his “The Bay Lights” project, which lit the San Francisco Bay Bridge for two years, Villareal is a sculptor who has worked with light and computer code for more than a decade. His work is in the permanent collections of New York’s MoMA and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He recently participated in the exhibition “The Light Show” (2013) organized by London’s Hayward Gallery. His celebrated light installation in San Francisco was so popular that it is being revived this year and will remain a permanent addition to the Bay Area skyline.
Villareal said: “I’m delighted and humbled by the fact that the jury went with an artistically-driven vision for the Illuminated River. The whole team shares a belief in the power of large-scale public culture and art to enrich our cities…Our aim is for a lighting masterplan which reduces pollution and wasted energy, is sensitive to history and ecology, and subtly rebalances the ambient lighting on the river to provide a beautiful night time experience for residents and visitors.”
New York’s Christie’s auction house announced today that Brett Gorvy, the chairman and international head of postwar and contemporary art, is leaving after twenty-three years to partner with gallery founder Dominique LÚvy. The flagship Madison Avenue gallery will now be known as LÚvy Gorvy.
The auction house issued a statement that said: “Brett will continue to work closely with Christie’s on special projects and consignments across the twentieth-century field, while operating independently as an art advisor and dealer within the global art market.”
Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president, told Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times that he was sorry to see Gorvy leave. “It’s a loss for us,” he said. “He’s deeply respected both by collectors and the people who have worked with him.”
Gorvy commented: “To those who know me well, you will be fully aware of my profound love for Christie’s and the deep respect and pride that I have for the international team and the shared passion that we have for the extraordinary art that we are fortunate to work with.”
He added, “I am confident in the knowledge that Christie’s has an exceptionally talented team that has proven itself each season to be the best in the industry…It is the right time in my professional life to take advantage of new opportunities, knowing that I will still have close synergy with Christie’s.”
Under Gorvy’s leadership, Christie’s established a substantial amount of specialist expertise in the postwar and contemporary art category. Since he joined the auction house it has netted its highest prices for contemporary works at auction, including the sale $179.4 million sale of Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) in 2015.
“It’s quite a coup,” Mary Zlot, an art adviser in San Francisco, told Pogrebin. The pair “will add that much more firepower” to the marketplace.
Several other auction house executives have recently left to become dealers or run their own businesses, including Amy Cappellazzo, who left Christie’s after thirteen years to launch an art advisory business in 2014, and Sotheby’s auctioneer Tobias Meyer, who resigned to work as a private art adviser in 2013.
At the international level, the department will continue to be led globally by Laura Paulson, Francis Outred, Mariolina Bassetti, and Loic Gouzer, along with Barrett White, Sara Friedlander, Andy Massad, and Koji Inoue in New York; Xin Li and Eric Chang in Asia, and Edmond Francey in London. As previously announced, Alex Rotter will join the department in the Americas in 2017, having left Sotheby’s in early 2016. The global department will continue to be overseen by Jennifer Zatorski, president of specialist art departments.
Director Lisa Phillips and president James Keith Brown of the New Museum have revealed that Isolde Brielmaier, Victoria Mikhelson, and Michael Xufu Huang have joined the museum’s board of trustees, just as the museum nears its fortieth anniversary.
Brielmaier is professor of critical studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts as well as director of arts and culture at Westfield World Trade Center in New York. Mikhelson, who received an MA in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute in London, serves as project manager overseeing V-A-C, a Russian foundation supporting contemporary art. Huang is an art collector and a cofounder of M WOODS, and has been a member of the New Museum’s International Leadership Council.
“We could not be more pleased that these three connected supporters of the New Museum will join our board at this time. Their passion, dedication, and intelligence will strengthen the diverse perspectives we champion,” said Phillips.
Massachusetts’s Worcester Art Museum has announced that Lisa Kirby, the chair of the audience engagement committee and a four-year board member at the institution, was named the next board president. She succeeds Joseph J. Bafaro, Jr. who has completed his term.
“The board plays an important role in the sustainability of the museum—both financially and culturally,” Kirby said. “It is our responsibility, on a high level, to make sure the institution takes care of the collection and, through programming and engagement, remains relevant and accessible to a broad range of people.” As CEO of the Kirby foundation, Kirby has sponsored free admission to the museum for the month of August for the past three years.
In addition to the change of leadership, the institution added five new trustees: Susan M. Bassick, Andrew T. Jay, Dana R. Levenson, Ronald L. Lombard, and Anne-Marie SoulliŔre. Director Matthias Waschek said, “One goal of the museum’s 2020 long range plan is to strengthen our board by growing and diversifying it. I am delighted that our new class of board members will round out existing expertise in finance, art, and not-for-profit management.”
Sophia Kishkovsky of the Art Newspaper reports that Belgian artist Jan Fabre has upset animal rights activists and Russian Orthodox fundamentalists over his exhibition “Knight of Despair/Warrior of Beauty” at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. The show features works made from taxidermied roadkill, such as rabbits, birds, dogs, and cats.
The exhibition, which runs through April 30, 2017, is part of the Hermitage’s project to showcase contemporary art at one of the world’s most renowned classical museums. Fabre intends these artworks to be statements about the horrors of animal abuse. A wall label for the show reads, “Abandoned, starving, hanging around near busy roads, these animals are afforded a final accolade in this art. Like an exorcist, Jan Fabre tries to bring them back to life in a carnivalesque set-up.” The general director of the Hermitage, Mikhail Piotrovsky, said, “Everything is completely clear with Fabre. You don’t have to be a genius to understand what he’s saying, so he definitely does not deserve any accusation of mistreating animals.” Piotrovsky also went on to say that the amount of anger directed at Fabre “has shown the overall level of hatred that exists in Russia, hatred for the other.”
Nonetheless, Fabre’s been in trouble for using animals in his work before. The artist was criticized for tossing cats into the air for a 2012 performance in Antwerp.
Kader Attia, the French artist who recently opened a tri-level exhibition and events space in Paris and was awarded the 2016 Marcel Duchamp Prize, has accused two young French rappers of plagiarism. According to Attia, the silver foil survival blankets worn by the dancers in Dosseh and Nekfeu's music video infringes on his 2007 artwork, Ghost, a large installation of faceless kneeling figures shrouded in aluminum foil (now in the collection of the Pompidou Center.)
Among others, South African artist Kendell Geers has come to the defense of the two rappers. In an open letter to Attia, published by a blog belonging to Le Monde, Geers evokes famous art world appropriators and asks whether Attia “Would...have the books of Burroughs, Debord and LautrÚamont also removed from the library shelves? [And]...empty out the museums of every work by Richard Prince, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Sherrie Levine?”
Describing plagiarism accusations as a slippery slope, Greer writes: “If I were you, I would take it as a huge compliment that young French artists have decided to cut your work up into their online video.”
In response, Kader Attia commented: “As artists, we have to defend ourselves against unauthorized commercial uses of our artworks. We are constantly plagiarized by the music industry, or in advertisement, or fashion. Nobody has asked for my permission to reproduce the artwork Ghost in this video...Regarding Kendell Geers, I am appalled to see he had to resort to such low blows to draw attention to him.”
Attia told artforum.com that he is filing a lawsuit against Universal Music. He said, “I won’t be scared off by nasty comments...I will fight the exploitation of my work.”
Attendance at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach may have dropped—77,000 people visited the five-day fair, compared to over 90,000 who stopped by last year—and its usual quick-fire pace may have slowed, but dealers report that sales remained strong with buyers making more deliberate purchases.
Brussels gallerist Xavier Hufkens said, “The steady flow of visitors and the level of serious collectors this year has allowed us to do very well. We were not overwhelmed with crowds and are very happy to have doubled our business from last year.”
Sadie Coles, the owner of Sadie Coles HQ in London, said, “We had strong sales throughout the week and were particularly delighted to see an exceptional range of collectors from China, South America, and Europe.” She added, “The response to Jonathan Horowitz, who engaged with the political zeitgeist as part of his ‘Dear Ivanka’ social media campaign, was extraordinary. Nova and Positions were also exceptionally strong—the younger generation of galleries put a powerful foot forward this year.”
A number of American galleries and artists seized the opportunity to respond to the United States’ polarizing election results. Los Angeles dealer Susanne Vielmetter featured a large portrait of Hillary Clinton by Karl Haendel, Blum & Poe gallery displayed a large orange lightbox by Sam Durant that read “End White Supremacy,” and Coles sold all five Jonathan Horowitz prints of president-elect Donald Trump golfing titled Does she have a good body? No. Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely, 2016.
After Trump’s triumph, artist Rirkrit Tiravanija created three text-based works that were presented in the booth of New York’s Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. The large canvases include pages from the November 9 edition of the New York Times overlaid with “The Tyranny of Common Sense Has Reached Its Final Stage” in block lettering and all caps. All three works sold.
Reporting from the fair for artforum.com, contributing writer Linda Yablonsky said: “This Miami Basel was all about transactions, not relationships. If you were faced with someone whose political affiliations were anathema to yours, you didn’t encourage extended conversations—about art or politics, or anything. Trumpty Dumpty supporters were loathe to call attention to their politics or engage in any verbal scuffles with dealers, who were just as anxious to avoid confrontation. ‘They just didn’t say anything,’ one dealer told me. ‘They came, they bought, and they went.’”
The fifteenth Istanbul Biennial has announced that its thematic concern, “A Good Neighbor,” will address the notions of homes, neighborhoods, and modes of living in the private and public spheres as well as how they’ve changed throughout the past decades.
A performance involving forty people asking questions about what constitutes a good neighbor kicked off a press conference that the biennial held this morning. Artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, who were selected earlier this year to curate the exhibition, discussed the biennial’s format and introduced its billboard campaign, which was created in collaboration with graphic designer Rupert Smyth. The artists will work with institutions worldwide to put up billboards featuring images and text related to being a good neighbor beginning in March.
Elmgreen told G÷kcan Demirkazık of artforum.com that they were quite surprised when the biennial asked them to curate the show, after having solicited a proposal from them. He said: “If you dare to let us, we will do it.” The biennial will be held from September 16 to November 12, 2017.
Click more for a Q&A between Elmgreen and Dragset and contributing writer G÷kcan Demirkazık.
GÍKCAN DEMIRKAZIK: In previous exhibitions such as “Tomorrow” (2013–14) at the V&A and “The Collectors” (2009) at the Danish and Nordic Pavilions of the fifty-third Venice Biennale, you have created fictional domestic environments to reflect on capital, social structures, and alienation. This time, you have a domesticity invoking title: “a good neighbor.” In what way will your interest in the concept of “home” materialize differently?
MICHAEL ELMGREEN: This time, it is almost a strategy for us to look at things at a micro-level in order to look out at a bigger perspective, and speak about the neighborhood to speak about coexistence in a broader sense. Also about the home—our private sphere—as a vehicle for self-expression where we dare to live out our identities in different ways than when we are in public.
INGAR DRAGSET: There is less focus on the home as a metaphysical dwelling. The title is pointing more toward human exchange or the lack thereof.
GD: Strategies in exhibition-making are an important part of your work as well, especially with your recent show at the Ullens Center in Beijing, where you present artworks in the form of exhibitions. For this biennial, are you thinking of strategies that will circumvent fear—another topic that you talk about frequently in relation to your work?
ME: We hope to curate the biennial almost as if it would be a neighborhood in itself, consisting of diverse identities, allowing the individual artist practices to unfold on their own terms, but at the same time being aware of the context they are a part of, which are the other artists’ works.
ID: We enjoy that curating has this almost performative aspect in the sense that you have to let go of some of the control. Of course, with existing works, you can plan and calculate in a different way and make connections, find parallels or interesting points that bring works together. But with new commissions, of which we have quite a lot, you have to see what happens along the way. We don’t really know until the opening day what is going to be the final result of the curatorial process. But this is very exciting to us. We also initially come from performance—that’s how we started. We have this excitement, as well, in bringing people together in a way as we did in performance projects or theater projects, each with their unique take on the situation, but working toward a common goal.
GD: What kind of discourse will the biennial have, especially given the fact that we are treading on increasingly dangerous lines in terms of artistic freedom of expression in Turkey?
ME: The Istanbul Biennial is an international biennial, so it can be a part of bringing artists from many different countries together: Latin American countries, Asian countries, European. A lot of the challenges that we face today as artists, as citizens, are interconnected. We see many of the same tendencies all around the globe, and a biennial is an important format, in which artists and viewers can meet and discuss and get a sense of togetherness—it is important not to remain isolated, but to strengthen our networks in a world that seems so complex as it does right now.
GD: My last question: What are you doing to be good neighbors to Istanbullites?
ID: Istanbul is very easy to be good neighbors with. It is a very friendly city! I don’t know, do the same as I have always done. Hang out, talk.
ME: Don’t look at these warnings that have been issued on some countries’ websites saying it’s dangerous to come to Istanbul. It’s maybe dangerous for these people who write these warnings to come, but not for you.