In the Air
Art News & Gossip

In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Met Museum Releases “Artists-on-Artists” Series

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has launched a webseries of artist conversations about works in its collection, with the first “season” of 20 videos released this week. Called “The Artist Project,” the effort features a diverse set of practitioners — both established and emerging, represented in the museum’s collection and not, all selected by the museum’s curators of contemporary art. The initial cohort of 20 artists includes Mickalene Thomas, John Baldessari, Kehinde Wiley, and Natalie Frank, among others.

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Instagrams of the Art World: #TBTs, Good Reads, and More

Designer Tracy Reese (tracy_reese) dug out this decade-old Vogue shot of Studio Museum director Thelma Golden wearing one of her gold dresses, posing for Lorna Simpson and shot by Annie Lebowitz.

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A TEFAF Postscript: First-Timer Cardi Sells Two Major Works

First time TEFAF exhibitor Nicolo Cardi of Milan’s Cardi Gallery sold two impressive, Post-War Italian sculptural works by Arte Povera star Giulio Paolini and the more classic Fausto Melotti at the Maastricht fair which ended on March 22. Paolini’s large-scale assemblage, “L’Indifferent” from 1992, a kind of Duchampian confection of empty picture frames, an easel and a reproduction of a classical painting, sold in the region of its €250,000 asking price, and Melotti’s beautifully composed, freestanding work, “L’Ariete” from 1976, executed in brass, copper, and wispy fabric, sold in the region of its €300,000 asking price.

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MAD Names Shannon Stratton New Chief Curator

Shannon Stratton has been named chief curator at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). Stratton will assume the new role in June, succeeding MAD’s retiring chief curator, Lowery Stokes Sims. “Shannon brings a bold curatorial vision to MAD, combining energetic new thinking with leadership skills honed over twelve years as the founder of a non-profit art space,” Chairman Lewis Kruger said in a statement, referring to Stratton’s work as the executive director of Threewalls, a contemporary art organization in Chicago.

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Guggenheim Foundation Elects Two New Trustees

In an unprecedented marriage of art with commerce, the Guggenheim foundation has announced the addition of Goldman Sachs senior partner Valentino D. Carlotti and private investor David Shuman to its board of trustees. Carlotti, also head of Goldman’s Securities Division Institutional Client Group, previously served as president of the Brazil branch; “his experience in Latin America and as an avid art collector will be a great asset to the Guggenheim,” said foundation chairman William L. Mack and president Jennifer Blei Stockman in a joint statement. Shuman, meanwhile, founded New York–based fund Northwoods Capital Management LLC, and is, according to the statement, “an in-depth collector of both Abstract Expressionism and contemporary painting” with “a thorough understanding of the international art market.”

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Picasso Sculptures Hit MoMA in September

Right on the heels of Christie’s record-price Picasso offering, MoMA has announced a fall 2015 exhibition for the Cubist master — but this time, it’s all about his sculptures. Beginning on September 14, “Picasso Sculpture” will bring together around 150 pieces from international institutions and private collections — including a notable contribution from the Musée Picasso Paris, who are co-presenting the show. Though primarily known for his canvases, Picasso apparently experimented with sculpture throughout his career — and, given that side-project playfulness, “approached the medium with the freedom of an autodidact,” according to the announcement. The works were first exhibited in 1966 at Paris’s landmark “Hommage à Picasso” retrospective at the Grand Palais, then shortly thereafter made their stateside debut at MoMA in 1967; “Picasso Sculpture” marks the artists’s first US sculptural survey since.

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Artist Will Transform Silver Lake’s Doomed “Bates Motel”

Silver Lake’s “Bates Motel” — so called because of its seedy renown and location at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Bates Avenue, as opposed to any official Hitchcockian blessing — has long been a controversial landmark. The property, properly named the Sunset Pacific Motel, didn’t have the most sterling reputation before it boarded up in 2002, and was later flagged by Deputy City Attorney William Larsen, who noted that homeless people out front were intimidating pedestrians into paying $1 or $2 to pass by. In 2009, a city petition for demolition went through, but the owners appealed and tried to sell the property; now, plans are in motion for Frost/Chaddock to build a set of mixed-use apartments in its place as part of a larger development deal, though community members (including Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea) are pushing back. In the meantime, however, French artist Vincent Lamouroux will turn the defunct structure into a work of art — by covering it entirely in white.

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$140M Picasso Leads Christie’s Curated Evening Blockbuster

Setting off the contemporary week of evening sales, Christie’s is staging a curated roster of 20th-century masters with “Looking Forward to the Past” on May 11, led by Pablo Picasso’s spectacular ode to Delacroix, “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”)” from 1955 that is estimated in the stratospheric region of $140 million. It was part of a sweeping suite of fourteen other paintings and almost 100 works on paper the artist completed in a two month spurt, all of it dedicated to Delacroix’s Louvre masterpiece. Christie’s is claiming, and what better way to market a sale, that this Picasso is the most important remaining in private hands.

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Egyptian Museums Head Arrested in Bribery Investigation

The director of Egypt’s museums authority has been arrested on bribery charges, the state-owned Ahram newspaper reports. Ahmed Sharaf, who heads the museums authority within the antiquities ministry, was arrested Monday after allegedly accepting bribes from a contractor working on the restoration of the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo.

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Your Next Dinner Party, Face Off with Kehinde Wiley

So you’ve made plans to invite your five closest friends over for a home-cooked meal, an opportunity to discuss the most pressing artistic matters of the day, like: Is the Björk show really a sign of the apocalypse? Did Jerry Saltz deserve to get temporarily booted off Facebook? Is the best way to insult an artist to insinuate that they are literally a zombie? Somewhere amidst that feverish conversation, after the fifth bottle of prosecco is popped, a guest will inevitably turn the discussion to Kehinde Wiley and his exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Affecting an air of bored indifference you might, quoting Chloe Wyma, say that Wiley merely “feeds our contemporary taste for promiscuous juxtaposition and nobrow pastiche.” One of your dining companions will likely turn the discussion to that super-racist article in the Village Voice, which you haven’t read, really, though you’ve read a lot about it. Soon enough the chatter will crawl into other, non-art-related categories: How much the new season of Girls sucks; if Tinder’s new policy against right-swiping-all will lead to the app’s downfall; that friend of yours who just bought a house in a Brooklyn neighborhood that, two weeks later, was annointed by New York Magazine as the Next Big Thing, thereby ruining it. Continue Reading