An article in the March 9, 2017 Arts section of the New York Times by reporter Jason Farago, discussed the fascinating upcoming exhibition at the Whitney Museum, which runs from March 17 through June 17. The show is overseen by two relatively young curators, which adds a hip flair to the Biennial this time. They worked closely together and have chosen 63 artists’ works scaled down from over 100 in past Biennials.
The Whitney’s Biennial took three years to develop. The last Biennial took place in 2014. However, with the move to 99 Gansevoort Street near the High Line, the exhibition took longer to mount this time.
As it is expected from the Biennial, economic themes are very much in evidence. Moreover, portraits of immigrants, both legal and illegal, by the Mexican born artist Aliza Nisenbaum are presented and no doubt will attract much attention.
Aliza Nisenbaum, La Talaverita, Sunday Morning New York Times, 2016. Oil on linen
Prominently displayed and already awakening curiosity are large red laminated glass boxes by the artist Larry Bell
Artists of all ages will be represented, including the 87 year old Jo Baer
Jo Baer, Dusk, 2012. Oil on canvas
It appears that a great deal of effort was expended to mount the exhibition. I hope to visit the Whitney in coming weeks with Paul and on our way there, to get some nice views and a little exercise on the High Line.
An article in the New York Times on February 22nd by Robin Pogrebin discussed Damien Hirst’s upcoming exhibitions in Venice opening April 9. Hirst who was born in 1965 is one of the group called Young British Artists and became very popular in the 1990’s. His work commanded very impressive prices at his peak. A diamond encrusted skull sold for $100 million dollars.
But at various times, he has flooded the art market with masses of artwork that diluted his prices. He had an exhibition that depressed his prices on the day that Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy.
Some of his collectors feel he has turned against them by flooding the market with his works. In 2008 he went behind the back of his galleries, Larry Gagosian in New York and White Cube in London and offered masses of works through Sotheby’s. This end-around ended up depressing the market for his work and owners of his works were upset. He is reputed to be worth $350 million dollars, so he doesn’t have to worry about money. One of his problems is that he is so prolific that the art market is unsure how much is behind the curtain, so to speak. In 2012 he took over all 11 of Gagosian’s galleries to offer a retrospective of his spot paintings.
The Venice exhibitions will be at two locations owned by the French billionaire, Francois Pinault, who also owns Christie’s auction house. Mr. Pinault owns a number of Hirst artworks and there is speculation that he might be sponsoring the exhibitions to increase the value of his holdings. The art world will be watching to see how the reaction to Mr. Hirst’s will either revive or deflate his standing. It appears that controversy adds to the excitement in the art world.
This sculpture was installed in Doha, Qatar. The baby is 46-foot tall anatomicly correct boy and is placed in front of Sidra Medical and Research Center devoted to women’s and children’s health.
A chapter in a remarkable art fraud came to an end this week, when a dealer from Long Island was sentenced to time served. She could have been sentenced to over 15 years in prison, but will only be subject to 3 years of supervision with the first 3 months of home detention. The fraud involved over $80 million dollars and brought down the venerable art dealer, Knoedler&Co.
The dealer, Glafira Rosales, who is 60, was able to keep the scheme alive for over 15 years. The fake works were painted by a Chinese immigrant who was adept at copying various styles of artists such as Jackson Pollack, Willem De Kooning and Mark Rothko. The copier, Pei-Shen Qian, has since fled to China as has Ms. Rosales’ former boyfriend, Jose Diaz, who fled to Spain. Mr. Diaz’ extradition has been stymied.
Pei-Shen Qian said he was “stunned’ so many people were fooled by his work
The fraud came to light when Domenico De Sole, the former chairman of Gucci and present chairman of Sotheby’s sued Knoedler over his purchase of a fake Mark Rothko painting that he had purchased for over $8 million.
The lenient sentence was granted on the basis that Mr. Diaz was the mastermind of the fraud and he physically abused Ms. Rosales. On the surface one can wonder if she got off lightly.
Salmagundi Club in New York is opened to all artists and it hosts exhibitions of paintings of new members every year and few times a year for members. The club’s membership consists of artists and art patrons. It was founded as the Salmagundi Sketch Club in an artist’s studio in 1871, by artists who were not yet accepted into polite New York society, but were well behaved despite a somewhat bohemian lifestyle.
In 1917 the Club purchased a lovely brownstone at 47 Fifth Avenue at 12th street in New York City.
Last week we visited the Salmagundi Club to see an exhibition of paintings by new members. The invitation came from my fellow artist Chrissanth Greene-Gross. We met interesting artists there like Dorothy Lorenze, Todd Casey and others.
Members are primarily from the city and surrounding suburbs. Some notable individuals have been granted honorary membership such as Winston Churchill.
In reading New York Magazine, I noticed an advertisement for an exhibition of Francis Picabia at the Museum of Modern Art through March 19th 2017. It piqued my interest in learning more about this artist.
Picabia (1879-1953), the great modern artist, was born in Paris to a Cuban father and French mother. He worked across various mediums and styles and was involved in many groups from Cubism and Surrealism to Impressionism to become one of the leaders of the Dada movement. Picabia traveled to New York in 1915 where Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer and gallery owner, exhibited his works. He was instrumental to popularizing the art of the European Avant-garde in the United States. His work was inspired by Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Rene Magritte and others.
While living in the South of France during the World War II, he created paintings of nude female images. It was a new aesthetic direction which he copied from commercial illustrations. Some of them, such as La brune et la blonde, make reference to the tradition of the classical nude in painters like Courbet and Ingres.
Picabia’s famously said: “If you want to have clean ideas, change them like shirts”. His career as a whole challenges familiar narratives of the Avant-garde. It seems like an interesting exhibition to turn up at.
Before Thanksgiving we were able to visit German painter Max Beckmann exhibition at the Met.
It is covering his time in St. Louise and New York City before his death in 1950. He suffered a fatal heart attack on his way from his apartment on the West side to exhibition of his Selfportrait in Blue Jacket at the Met. His bold brush strokes covey so much meaning. You can feel his vitality and love of life. He painted over 60 self portraits and there were 7 or 8 hanging. The portraits of his second wife, Quappa, were lovingly done.
On Friday evening we had dinner with Andrew Lattimore and his wife Donna, in Cold Spring. It is about an hour drive north from Bronxville. Andrew, my painting instructor, is always interesting, and thought provoking and the dinner at Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill was enjoyable. Also the wine list was quite extensive.
After discussing the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s current exhibitions with Andrew and Donna we decided to go late Saturday afternoon. Maybe because it was later there were big crowds.
Valentin de Boulogne (1591-1632), French artist, took Carravaggio’s use of live models even to a higher level of realism. His naturalistic paintings of dramatic events and deep humanity of his figures are quite captivating. He had his stable of models, including himself, that reappeared in numerous canvasses. Majority of his paintings are in private collections, it is why it was fascinating to see them in one place. Valentin is little known, because his career was short-lived-he died at age 41-and his works are so rare.
Just recently, in October, MOMA received donation of 102 works by 37 Latin American artists. Among the artists represented in the gift are Lygia Clark, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Gego, Helio Oiticia, Lygia Pape, and Jesus Rafael Soto. Supporting art from Latin America, museum had already two solo exhibitions of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
Diego Rivera’s fresco “Liberation of the Peon”1931
Philadelphia Museum of Art as well turned to Mexico’s art and opened an exhibition “Paint the Revolution”. Mexicos long-standing president, Porfirio Diaz, was thrown out of the office in 1911. Several years later in 1914, revolutionary art came to the forefront with artists such as Francisco Goitia showing the horrors of war. Diego Rivera weighed in on the subject while he was living in Paris.
Juan Soriano “The Dead Girl” 1938
Several different groups of artists sprang up and stirred things up by forming competing groups such as Stridentism (rejecting nationalist art), Contemporaneos (art for art’s sake) and Muralists
Frida Khalo “Selfportrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States”1932
This exhibition makes a good case for visiting Philadelphia’s Museum of Art.
We just returned from an exciting trip exploring New Orleans. Beginning from the Louis Armstrong airport in New Orleans and all around the town you feel the sculpture and art are the part of history and a form of entertainment here.
Though the city suffered and still hasn’t fully recovered from the Katrina storm, historical architecture is still intact. It has taken the city a long time to bounce back from the devastation the hurricane caused.
The Cabildo building, built in the baroque style, is located in the French Quarter neighborhood, were our hotel was located, was the seat of government in New Orleans during the Spanish colonial period, and it is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed.
Next to the Cabildo was the St. Louis Cathedral. A beautiful structure that is well maintained. At night from the back of the Cathedral there is a huge shadow of Jesus reflected from a statue in the foreground. It was quite impressive.
“Dressed” food? It means everything in it! For example the famous Po’Boy with different fillings was invented in New Orleans. The City is famous for its food, especially the seafood and shell fish. One restaurant, Casamentos only serves oysters served raw or cooked in a variety of ways. The creole cooking was a bit spicy for my taste. We enjoyed walking to see a lot of the sights and got some good miles in.