In the Air
Art News & Gossip

In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Fiber Art is #Trending at the Armory

One easy way to avoid totally losing your mind at an art fair is to identify some kind of pattern amidst the gloried, sprawling hodgepodge. Often at a fair, big, shiny objects abound — ditto blank canvases, wan abstraction, and works of art that lie underfoot like pieces of debris. Of course, these aren’t so much “trends” as they are just the stock and trade of the biz; an art trend with traction should probably connect somehow with events in the world outside of the fair, however far away that world may seem while trudging the endless aisles. At this year’s Armory Show, however, one repeated feature seemed to fit the bill for true trend status, and that feature was fiber art — though animals, cutouts, and cutouts of animals were contenders, too. (Also, Furbys.) Continue Reading

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Get a Museum (In a Hallway)

When it comes to vicious sports rivalries, perhaps none is quite so well known (at least to those of us who, frankly, don’t devote much brain space to sports rivalries) as the kneecap-busting feud between 1994 US championship figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. And now, thanks to Upright Citizens Brigade comedians Viviana Olen and Matt Harkins, that rivalry will receive its laudatory museum due — in the hallway of a third-floor Williamsburg walk-up. According to a Washington Post write-up, Olen and Harkins were in need of decoration for their apartment and, after watching the ESPN documentary “30 for 30: The Price of Gold” on Netflix, decided that decoration ought to be pictures of their new favorite figure skaters; they posted a Kickstarter page seeking $75 to print posters at Duane Reade. But much like that one dude’s quest for potato salad, their mission received an unexpectedly passionate following. By the time they breached the $1,000 mark, plans for Matt & Viviana’s Tonya Harding & Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum had expanded out into the corridor, which they painted a uniform black, and included eBay-sourced memorabilia, fan art, even some oral history commentary from journalist Lois Elfman. And as of Thursday afternoon, the Kickstarter officially closed with a whopping $2,036 — meaning Harding and Kerrigan will indeed be honored with all the prestige this hallway can muster (and by the sweet t-shirt and button swag gifted to the campaign’s backers, below).

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Colin Chillag Deconstructs Arizona’s Deserts at 101/Exhibit

Aside from the easy targets of Arizona’s political world — most notably the ever-bumbling “Joe and Jan Show,” which incidentally rated its own titular exhibition at Willo North Gallery two years ago — the quotidian splendors of Phoenix are grossly underutilized as a narrative device by talented contemporary artists, especially those who work in any capacity beyond the confines of the Grand Canyon State. However, the desert-inflected abstract realist paintings of Colin Chillag — as featured in his new show “Anti-Realism,” at the West Hollywood gallery 101/Exhibit — are nothing short of refreshing.

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The 2015 Art Basel Galleries List Is Out

It’s here: the list for Basel’s original hometown fair “Art Basel in Basel,” as it’s now officially (if perhaps redundantly) known, has been released in ample anticipation of the fair’s June 18 to 21 runtime. This year promises 283 galleries overall — 222 in the central “Galleries” sector and 61 divvied between Edition, for editioned works; Features, for special curatorial projects; and Statements, for emerging galleries with solo presentations, two of whom will receive the Bâloise Art Prize and accompanying promise of a museum exhibition during the fair. The only thing missing thus far is the low-down on the Unlimited section, curated this year by the Hirshhorn’s Gianni Jetzer; details on the proposed 70-some nontraditional / booth-unfriendly works are apparently forthcoming. But in the meantime, without further ado, check out the extensive list, below.

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Artists Celebrate “Scenes for a New Heritage” at MoMA

“It’s like Chinese Mario,” the young man said, his Red Army avatar hurdling over pixilated, orange flames that expanded across two parallel gallery walls. On Monday night, a small crowd at the Museum of Modern Art gathered around as — mostly men — took turns playing Feng Megbo’s “Long March: Restart,” 2008, which pits the Chinese Communist Party against the Nationalists. The hundred or so tony guests and a handful of artists gathered at the museum to inaugurate the rehanging of the contemporary wing, which has geared itself toward a broader, more global story of art today. (Cue New York Times critic Holland Cotter to rejoice.)

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The Art World’s So Boring We’re Just Shredding Money Now

The Observer reports on what they are implausibly expecting to be “one of the most discussed-slash-controversial artworks of New York’s huge Armory Arts Week” — namely, a collaboration for the SPRING/BREAK art fair between omnipresent Dustin Yellin and Bazaar Teens that involves putting $10,000 in a woodchipper. Long story short: The ground-up cash is then used to compose 8 paintings, priced at $10,000 a piece, the sales of which will “go toward the creation of eight grants for high school seniors interested in pursuing art.” Woohoo! First off, such a project should only serve as a warning to said high school seniors re: whether or not they actually want to dip their toes into such an exhausted pool of faux-sensationalism. At least when K Foundation pulled this shit back in the 1990s they burned a million British pounds on a boat. (Sadly, no high school students benefitted from that one.) The impetus behind the project, evidently, is SPRING/BREAK’s theme this year: “Transaction.” I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that, in honor of that theme, I will personally be staging a groundbreaking project that will certainly be the most discussed and controversial highlight of the coming week: For a mere $20,000, I’m going to have sex with a private collector, on camera, in a hotel room. Who said the art world is out of ideas?

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Instagrams of the Art World: RIP Leonard Nimoy, and More

Kenny Scharf (kennyscharf) gave some love to his “main man,” Mr. Spock — RIP, Mr. Nimoy.

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Eat Pray Thug: Das Racist’s Himanshu Suri Curates Indian Art

You probably remember Himanshu Suri, a.k.a. “Heems,” as half of Das Racist, the New York rap group who hit the Internet running with their single “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” in 2008. From there, they produced three albums’ worth of tracks that took on politics in step with alliterative lists of junk food — a career perhaps best summed up by the cheeky hypnotic loop of a chorus on 2010’s “hahahaha jk?”: “We’re not joking. Just joking, we are joking. Just joking, we’re not joking,” and so on. Now, however, Suri has jumped into the (marginally) more serious business of curating his own gallery show: “Eat Pray Thug,” the same moniker he’s given his forthcoming solo album, which runs through March 10 at Aicon Gallery on Great Jones Street. The multimedia group show of artists with ties to India and Pakistan, including Suri himself, also features a parallel series of live events, including an appearance from Muslim punk band The Kominas on March 7.

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Misreporting of Islamic State Looting Does Damage

A propaganda video released by the Islamic State, or ISIS, purporting to show the systematic destruction of ancient statutes at Iraq’s Mosul Museum circulated widely yesterday, even drawing a statement of condemnation from Metropolitan Museum director Tom Campbell, but experts soon determined that “most, if not all” of the statuary on view at the museum were plaster fakes. Anticipating the possibility of looting or destruction, officials at the Mosul Museum had transported the originals to the Baghdad Museum, London’s Channel 4 reported.

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Arsham, Bordo, and More Contribute to Tribeca Film Festival

Don’t let the name fool you — the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) isn’t just about moving pictures. Or, well, not entirely anyway: Thanks to the festival’s ongoing Artists Awards Program, winners in each of its eight categories don’t just get a trophy, they get to take home a contemporary artwork. And now, we know which artists will be providing the 2015 awards: Longtime contributors Stephen Hannock and Clifford Ross return, joined by newcomers Daniel Arsham, Robert Bordo, Elizabeth Colomba, Prune Nourry, Jean Pagliuso, and Piers Secunda. See below for more images of the works — Arsham’s “Ash Eroded Film Reel” (below) feels especially topical — and/or see for yourself in person at the free public exhibition, held from April 13 to 22 and 24 to 25, 9 am to 5 pm, at the TFF’s 50 Varick Street headquarters.

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