In the Air
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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Is This the Coldest Artwork Ever?

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polar-vortex-klee

As you may have heard, much of North America is currently caught in the chilly swirl of something allegedly called a “polar vortex,” a phrase that is as cool as the tremendous lack of warmth to which it refers — which, for comparison’s sake, is slightly cooler than a polar bear’s toenail. In any event, before our fingers fall off from frost-bite we’ve gone in search of the most chilling artworks we could find, and the one that seems to most accurately reflect our impression of New York City today is Paul Klee’s bleak “Cold City” (1921, above). But in case Klee’s tundra-like metropolis doesn’t send chills down your spine, we’ve included a few more icy artworks below.

polar-vortex-trevelyan

Above: Julian Trevelyan, “Winter,” 1974. (Presented by Waddington Galleries through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975; Tate. © The estate of Julian Trevelyan)

polar-vortex-de-la-joue

Above: Jacques de La Joue the Younger, “Allegory of Winter.” (Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1906; Metropolitan Museum.)

polar-vortex-koons

Above: Jeff Koons, “Winter Bears,” 1988. (Tate / National Galleries of Scotland. © Jeff Koons.)

Honorable Mention: Tavares Strachan’s “The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (Arctic Ice Project).”

— Benjamin Sutton (@bhsutton)

(Top image: Paul Klee, “Cold City,” 1921. The Berggruen Klee Collection; Metropolitan Museum.)

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Comments

  1. I nominate the National Gallery of Art’s wonderful and bizarre “Law of the Wild”:
    http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.52956.html

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