In the Air
Art News & Gossip

In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

What If Classic Paintings Got Modern-Day Hashtags?

When Michel Foucault looked at Diego Velásquez’s “Las Meninas,” he saw the foundations of an intricate theory on objective representation — or, to hear the BBC’s Jason Farago tell it, a ballsy act of selfie-ism. In a piece commemorating the Velásquez retrospective opening this week at the Grand Palais in Paris, Farago writes, “The painting assumes our presence and ignores it at the same time. It is a work of artifice and a slice of life at once. [...] And nothing in ‘Las Meninas’ confirms that double strategy more than the presence of Velázquez himself — a painter, albeit one with favour at court, who had the gall to photobomb a royal portrait.” That astute analysis got us thinking — how might we interpret other classic works of art within the paradigms of modern-day image-making? Below are a few classics given their proper hashtag-laden due.
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Kiev Art Biennale Canceled Due to Political Instability

The Mystetskyi Arsenal museum has canceled the second Kiev Biennale due to the continued fighting between Ukraine’s government forces and Russia-backed militias. “[T]he economic and political situation in our country only becomes more and more complicated,” reads a statement on the museum’s website, adding that this has made staging a biennale “absolutely impossible” as the works of art — not to mention the visitors — would not be secure. Continue Reading

Nam June Paik Works Found at Smithsonian Will Go on View

Two previously unknown works by Nam June Paik, a drawing and a “computer-opera,” will go on view in a forthcoming exhibition, Wendy Moonan reports at Scheduled to open April 23 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, “Watch This! Revelations in Media Art“ will include the unfinished 1967 silent opera, titled “Etude 1″ and consisting of an accordion-folded printout of Fortran computer code, as well as a previously undiscovered “TV Clock.” (Another “TV Clock” work was on view at the Smithsonian in 2013.) The opera was found among seven truckloads of archival materials that the artist’s nephew and executor Ken Hakuta donated to the Smithsonian in 2009.

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Missouri History Museum Cancels Ferguson-Palestine Panel

The Missouri History Museum canceled a panel, originally scheduled for Thursday night, which planned to compare state brutality in Ferguson and Palestine, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Organizer Sourik Beltran, an undergraduate student at Washington University, said he intended for the discussion to connect social justice groups and activists around the world. When he pitched his idea to the museum, he drew the particular comparison between Mexico City’s murdered Ayotzinapa students and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The Missouri History Museum gave Beltran the go-ahead in early February, but a couple of weeks later, Beltran added another political flashpoint to the mix, retitling the event “From Ferguson to Ayotzinapa to Palestine.” Apparently, this was a step too far.

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Instagrams of the Art World: Pi Day, Theremins, and More

Gavin Brown’s Enterprise gallery director Lucy Chadwick (lkchadwick) celebrated Pi Day in supreme style — especially if this picture was taken at 9:26 PM. #neverapologizefornerditude

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Shia LaBeouf Is Live-Streaming His Heartbeat Online

A quick poll: How many of you, on a daily basis, are curious about Shia LaBeouf’s inner organs? Though we would hazard a guess of “not a ton,” those who perked up are in luck. Because now, at, there’s a giant candy-pink jewel-cut heart that purports to pulse to the beat of LaBeouf’s own, as transmitted via a live-streaming heart monitor worn while he attends SXSW. Why, you ask? Well, according to a statement released by the actor-turned-conceptual-shock-jock and his collaborators Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner (previously of the #IAMSORRY performance art debacle), it has something to do with cat whiskers:

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Spring Masters New York Announces 2015 Exhibitors

Following its inaugural renamed outing, Spring Masters New York is back for a second year at the Park Avenue Armory. From May 8 to 12, 48 galleries — roughly a third of them international — will showcase their wares in Rafael Viñoly’s hexagonal booth layout. Highlights so far include a rare Alexander Calder tapestry from Vojtech Blau; Edgar Degas sculptures from Browse & Darby; and works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Auguste Rodin from Bowman Sculpture. Plus, New York–based interior designer Jamie Drake will curate a special booth, modeled after a lived-in space, of objects from throughout the fair. See below for the exhibitor list in full.

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TEFAF Continues to Rack Up Sales

Torso of a Goddess, probably Uma; Cambodia, Angkor Wat style Khmer, 12th century Grey sandstone; Dr. William Price, Amarillo, Texas (acquired in the 1980s).

Classical and contemporary Asian art offerings from London’s Rossi & Rossi attracted new buyers for some of its standout offerings, ranging from a beautifully proportioned carved in grey sandstone 22 inch high “Torso of a Goddess,” described by the gallery as probably Uma and from Cambodia, in Angkor Wat style Khmer that dates from the 12th century, which sold to a new European client near the $55,000 asking price, to a 13 ½ inch high “Seated Buddha” from China, cast in gilt bronze and still bearing traces of paint, dating from the 18th century, which sold to an Asian client already known to the gallery in the region of the $350,0000 asking price. Continue Reading

“Portals” Public Art Project Seeks to Connect Havana and DC

In December of 2014, New York’s Lu Magnus Gallery hosted what appeared to be a gold-plated shipping container — or, rather, a “Portal.” Conceived by Shared__Studios founder Amar Bakshi, the container was equipped with AV equipment live-streaming to an identical site in Tehran, allowing visitors at each location to speak one-on-one with each other for 10 to 15 minutes. “Think ‘Being John Malkovich,’” reads a description on the Portals Kickstarter page — though the actual effect appears to be more akin to your basic “Star Trek”-ian full-body hologram, a Skype session inside the Void. Artists like Titus Kaphar came through to stretch the creative possibilities of the Portal — but the main exchange occurred with over one thousand everyday citizens having everyday conversations, bridging the presumed gap between nations through simple face-to-face dialogue.

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Q&A: Liz Harris (aka Grouper)’s New Mural at Ballroom Marfa

From March 13 to 15, Ballroom Marfa hosted a mini music and arts festival titled “Marfa Myths,” curated by New York record label Mexican Summer. Timed with the opening of the new Sam Falls show, the event drew a gaggle of artists and musicians to the Texas space to perform, including Dev Hynes and Connan Mockasin for a recording residency; Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, who created a “sound bath”; Gregg Kowalsky and his live installation, “Tape Chants”; a short-documentary program; and music from the likes of Iceage, Tamaryn, Weyes Blood, Suicideyear, and more. But one project that caught our eye especially was a semi-permanent outdoor mural in the Marfa Lumberyard by Liz Harris (aka Grouper), a recording artist who melds ambient sounds with graceful melodies, wrapped up in thick, hazy production.

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