In the Air
Art News & Gossip

In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Instagrams of the Art World: HBD Jerry Saltz, Kehinde Wiley, and More

Okay, Klaus Biesenbach (klausbiesenbach) stepped up his Instagram game hard this week. It was achingly, impossibly difficult to choose between this tease of Bjork’s newly restored swan dress and this one in which he lofts “82 white roses – hand delivered” toward the camera as if offering you love itself — but in the end, we had to go with the above image, a birthday missive to Jerry Saltz, which is apparently also an “impersonation as werner herzog and klaus kinski from ‘mein liebster feind,’” which, just, yes.

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Oliver Payne Wants to “Chill Out” With You at MOCAD

Want to chill out and listen to some ambient house music, man? No, it’s not just an invitation from your stoned cousin anymore — this time, the request is coming from 2003 Venice Biennale Gold Lion winner Oliver Payne. On March 5, Payne will take over the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) at 9 pm sharp for a “performance,” which as far as we can tell won’t consist so much of any particular performative actions on the artist’s part as it will a giant listening party for “Chill Out,” the concept album by late-80s British house band KLF. (For those yet unfamiliar, check out its diffuse, sound effect laden 44 plus minutes in full, below.)

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Crucified Pete Doherty Sculpture to Hang in London Church

The “rock star as Jesus” metaphor is a well worn one, to be sure — from David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” to Kanye West’s “Yeezus” to Aldous Snow’s “African white space Christ“ — but now thanks to sculptor Nick Reynolds, things have gotten pretty literal for Libertines frontman Pete Doherty. In 2008, Reynolds, known for his “death masks,” fitted Doherty with a full body cast and transformed his life-size likeness into a traditional white marble crucifix, titled “For Pete’s Sake” (har har), which will now hang at London’s St. Marylebone Parish Church from February 20 to March 17. (Here’s some pictures of forlorn-looking stone Doherty, suspended in all his messianic glory.) The piece joins other crucifixion-themed art for curator Ben Moore’s second annual “Stations of the Cross” exhibition, organized by as a fundraiser for the Missing Tom Fund, named for his brother who disappeared in 2003; after the exhibition ends, the Doherty cross will go on sale for £33,000.

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Mother and Daughter Bring Black & White Gallery to Bushwick

After a two-year interlude, former Williamsburg gallery Black & White will reopen next month a little further down the L line, off the Morgan Avenue stop in Bushwick. Housed in a yellow-brick industrial building with 12 other galleries (including NURTUREart and Momenta Art) as well as artist studios, the space occupies an 800-square-foot, white-cube loft at 56 Bogart Street. “It has no personality whatsoever,” gallery founder Tatyana Okshteyn told us over the phone. “We expect every artist who comes here to change the space.” These transformations, she said, will reflect the gallery’s commitment to fresh, process-oriented works of art. The first such show in the new location, opening on March 6, will be by 84-year-old Russian artist Henry Khudyakov.

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J. Lo Spurs a Homeric Revival

A scene in Jennifer Lopez’s recent box office bomb “The Boy Next Door” has apparently driven a surge of interest in rare copies of Homer’s “Iliad,” the Guardian reports. In a now Internet-famous exchange, J. Lo’s paramour hands her an ornate-looking copy of the epic poem, to which she protests: “Oh my God — this is a first edition? I can’t accept this, it must have cost a fortune.” (His reply: “It was a buck at a garage sale.”) Since the film’s release on January 23, trends in the online books marketplace AbeBooks indicate that the search term “The Iliad, first edition” has risen to the top rank on the site.

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Rosanne Somerson Officially Appointed RISD President

After an extensive international search featuring more than 100 candidates, trustees at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) ended up sticking close to home in their choice of the school’s 17th president: Rosanne Somerson, who has been acting as interim president since January, 2014, after the abrupt departure of her predecessor John Maeda.

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Art+Feminism Stages Second Wikipedia Siege at MoMA

While it remains the most popular encyclopedia today, Wikipedia still reflects certain historical prejudices in its content — and amongst its contributors. A 2011 report, for example, found that less than 10 percent of Wikipedia editors are women. Add that to the scrappy 28 percent of museum solo shows devoted to female artists in the 2000s, and unsurprisingly, the history of women in art on the site is patchwork, at best. Or, in the words of a Facebook post by the activist group Art+Feminism: “Wikipedia’s content and community skews male, creating significant gaps in an increasingly important repository of shared knowledge.” To redress the imbalance, the group will host its second annual “Wikipedia-edit-a-thon” at the Museum of Modern Art. By training more  conscientious editors, they hope to shake up the power structures in the art world, creating entries about feminist subjects that have been largely overlooked.

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Sean Kelly Will Represent Beijing-Based Painter Liu Wei

Following last month’s four-artist signing bonanza — which brought Candida Höfer, Jose Dávila, Sun Xun, and Hugo McCloud onto the roster — Sean Kelly Gallery has announced that it will now also represent Beijing-based painter Liu Wei in the US. (Not to be confused with sculptor Liu Wei, who is still represented by Lehmann Maupin.) Born of the “cynical realism” movement in Beijing’s late-’80s, early-’90s, the artist’s earlier work tended toward the sardonic; he appears to have since toned down his pointedly political themes, swapping in landscape imagery and, as in the above work, text elements inspired by Chinese calligraphy. Liu Wei’s first solo exhibition with the gallery is scheduled for the spring of 2017.

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Artist Files Suit Against Swiss Watchmaker Over Ad

Saudi artist Ahmed Mater has filed an infringement suit against the Swatch Group, parent company of Omega watches, over an advertisement that bears a similarity to his work, reports French newspaper Le Figaro after the story was broken by Le quotidien de l’art. The case centers around a recent advertisement for Omega’s Aqua Terra watches that Mater alleges resembles a piece from his 2012 “Magnetism” series, in which iron shavings oriented around a magnet reference the Islamic Kaaba. A representative of the Swiss conglomerate told Le Figaro that the company is not concerned about the suit, which was filed in Paris’s civil Grand Instance Court.

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Ella Kruglyanskaya Designs Benefit Print for The Art Show

As part of The Art Show’s 27th edition hosted by the Art Dealers Association of America, and in celebration of Henry Street’s Abrons Arts Center 100th anniversary, Latvian-born, New York–based artist Ella Kruglyanskaya has teamed up with Pace Prints to produce an original piece titled “Pears,” pictured above. Proceeds from the sale of its 30 editions — available for $1,500 each from March 3 to 8, both at the fair and online via Paddle8 — will benefit the Lower East Side arts and social services nonprofit Henry Street Settlement. Henry Street will also be hosting its annual silent auction from February 27 through March 8, while over at The Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory, visitors can expect presentations from 72 galleries and a keynote address from New York City Cultural Affairs commissioner Tom Finkelpearl on the evening of March 6.

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