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Antiques Trade Gazette

Nov 02 2016
BADA launches ivory certificates to reassure buyers and stop modern material entering market
The British Antiques Dealers' Association is launching an ivory object certification system for its members, as one response to the government's push for proof of age when pre-1947 worked ivory is sold.
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Blouin Art Info

Nov 03 2016
What To See at the 2016 IFPDA Print Fair
Today marks the opening of the International Fine Print Dealers Association's annual print fair \u2014 the central event of the New York's print week, which kicked off on October 31.
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 08 2016
‘Letting colour loose’: Kenneth Noland’s final paintings come to Pace New York
Kenneth Noland, Into the Cool No.12 (2006), acrylic on canvas (Image: © The Paige Rense Noland, Marital Trust/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Photo by Kerry Ryan McFate and Tom Barratt, courtesy of Pace Gallery)
In 2006, the late painter Kenneth Noland started what would turn out to be his final series. The 15 works, created when the US artist was in his mid-80s, have never been shown publicly before. Next month, they will make their debut at Pace Gallerys 57th Street location in New York (Kenneth Noland: The Last Paintings, 26 January-4 March 2017). Douglas Baxter, the gallerys president, calls the series a radical departure.

Nolandwho became famous in the late 1960s for his brightly coloured concentric circles and shaped canvasescreated the works at his studio in Port Clyde, Maine, where they have remained for the past decade. The palette and style were unlike anything he had ever done before: Noland applied pastel-coloured paint lightly, often leaving behind just a whisper of his trademark circle on the surface of the canvas.

The amazing thing is that these were not shown in his lifetime and hadnt been shown even afterward, Baxter says. (Noland died in 2010.) And here it is: a discrete body of work. In a way, its like hes still alive.

According to Baxter, Paige Rense Noland, the artists widow, always wanted to show these final paintings. But the project fell through the cracks immediately after his death, as the artists estate bounced between galleries before landing at Pace in 2013. The show is due to include around 10 paintings, but all 15 will be reproduced in the exhibitions catalogue.

The art historian William Agee describes the series in a catalogue essay as old age art (work made shortly before an artists death), which he calls a fascinating and still little-explored topic. He writes: If colour bands in Nolands art had once seemed controlled and disciplined, these last paintings bespeak an artist letting colour loose, to fend for itself, to go where it might, with the artist no longer controlling so much as looking on with happy appreciation and pleasure.

Of course, interest in old age art is not always purely academic. Many attribute the spike in attention paid to late work by artists such as de Kooning and Picasso more to market forces than art historical revisionism. (When the best known work by an artist is no longer available, dealers must turn their attention elsewhere.) But Baxter believes Nolands final paintings will be judged on their own merits. In the end, work is meaningful or its not, he says.

For Baxter, Nolands late works carry additional weight because the artistwho was considered by many to be among the strongest painters of his generationwas losing his eyesight at the time. Noland was an extremely gifted painter and at that point in his career, he was very accomplished, he says. Baxter has a theorymind you, its only a theory about what Noland was trying to do as his vision was failing him. He was trying to show people what he saw.

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The Art Newspaper

Dec 08 2016
London's National Portrait Gallery to host first major exhibition of Cézanne's portraits
Paul Cézanne, Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair (1888-90) (Image: © Wilson L. Mead Fund, 1948.54, The Art Institute of Chicago)<br />
A major show on the portraits of Paul Czanne is to be held in Paris, London and Washington, DC in 2017-18. This will be the first ever exhibition of his portraits, in what is a collaborative venture between the Muse dOrsay, Londons National Portrait Gallery and Washingtons National Gallery of Art.

Until now, Czannes portraiture has received surprisingly little attention, so we are thrilled to be able to bring together so many of his portraits, says Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery. These paintings reveal the most personal, and therefore most human, aspect of Czannes art. The lead curator is John Elderfield, of New Yorks Museum of Modern Art.

Czanne painted 200 portraits, with 26 of himself and 29 of his wife Hortense. Around 50 paintings will be coming to the touring exhibition. These include his Self-portrait in a Bowler Hat (1885-86, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, to be shown in London and Paris only), Madame Czanne in a Yellow Chair (1888-90, Art Institute of Chicago) and Boy in a Red Waistcoat (1888-90, National Gallery of Art, Washington). Other loans will be from Brazil, Japan and Russia.

For Londoners, the show will be an unusual opportunity to see Czannes work in depth, since UK museums came late to collecting his paintings, and he is much better represented in French museums. This will also be the first time that the National Portrait Gallery has devoted an exhibition to a French Post-Impressionist.

Czannes Portraits, Muse dOrsay, Paris (13 June-24 September 2017), National Portrait Gallery, London (26 October 2017-11 February 2018) and National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (25 March-1 July 2018)
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 07 2016
Three to see: New York
Andy Warhol, Untitled (1955-67). © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS). Courtesy Westwood Gallery NYC
Get a look at the painter Cecily Browns process in her first solo museum exhibition in New York. The show at the Drawing Center, titled Cecily Brown: Rehearsal (until 18 December), is also the first to focus on her drawings, with around 80 works presented on soft pink walls. Subject matter ranges from animals to close-ups of sexual acts, done in a variety of styles, colour palettes and materials, including watercolour, ink and ballpoint pen. The show is also a romp through art history, with drawings that reflect the influence of Pompeiian murals and artists like Goya, Bosch and William Hogarth.

Brace yourself for an overwhelming experience at Dia: Chelsea with Kulturgeschichte 1880-1983 (Cultural History 18801983, until 29 July), an installation by the late German artist Hanne Darboven. The massive workmade of a whopping 1,590 collaged works on paper in identically-sized frames along with 19 sculptural objectspresents a selective history lesson. Collage items have been culled from sources like the German newspaper Der Spiegel and include photographs of celebrities, calendar pages, postcards and clips from a book on post-war art.

If youre in search of a lighter (and smaller-scale) exhibition, head to Westwood Gallery for Andy Warhol: Drawn to Dance (until 29 December), a show of 49 ink drawings by the artist from 1955-67. The show also includes small drawings Warhol gave to the dancer Lydia Joel when she was the editor-in-chief of Dance magazine. Many of the works, naturally, depict dancers: a ballerina en pointe; jolly groups, holding hands in a circle; a simplified but expressive series of a girl with a ponytai at the barre. The works are arranged in small groups, each with its own quote from the artist, including this bit of wisdom: It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 07 2016
Newly discovered Cubist painting sheds light on friendship between Picasso and Rivera
Diego Rivera's Cubist composition Still-Life with Bottle of Anis and Inkwell (1914-15) is at the centre of a show at Lacma (© Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/ARS, New York, 2016; photo © FABA/Marc Domage; courtesy of LACMA)
Most art historians have dismissed the friendship between Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera as terribly short-lived. According to an account of their first meeting in Riveras autobiography, the Mexican artist went to Picassos studio in 1914 all keyed up, with feelings like those of a good Christian who expects to meet Our Lord, Jesus Christ. But before long, the crisis of faith occurred, with Rivera accusing Picasso of lifting elements from his masterpiece Zapatista Landscape (1915), and no shortage of egotism on both sides fuelling the falling out. 

An exhibition that opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) this week, Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time (until 7 May 2017), complicates this story. The shows main focus is on each artists interest in antiquity, whether Greco-Roman sculpture or Pre-
Colombian art. But the sub-plot is the relationship between the two artistic giants, which curators claim was deeper and longer-lasting than had been previously understood.
 
Most notably, the curators are showing a painting by Rivera, never before exhibited or published, that Picasso kept in his personal collection until his death: Cubist Composition (Still-Life with Bottle of Anis and Inkwell) (1914-15). The exhibitions co-curator Diana Magaloni learned of the existence of the painting from Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, the artists grandson and the paintings current owner, during Lacmas 50th anniversary gala in early 2015.

The fact that Picasso had this painting in his collection for all of these years made us want to do more research on their friendship, and we discovered that they continued to be friends in later years, Magaloni says. Still, there is not much to go on. She does not know whether the painting was bought by Picasso directly from Rivera or through Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, their mutual dealer, or offered as a gift. But she found a couple of letters written in 1949 and 1957 that reflect an enduring relationship between the two artists.

The painting speaks volumes about the influence of Picasso on Rivera, who was five years his junior. The classic-seeming Cubist painting shows a large bottle of Anis in a table-top setting that resembles Picassos collages from the time, complete with a trompe loeil effect of fake wood grain. The canvas also incorporates real sand, a material with which Picasso and Georges Braque were already experimenting.
 
Still, the curator says, the painting has a flair that is all Rivera. The realism of the trompe loeil is masterful, and the colour is much more brilliant than anything Picasso or Braque would have done. 

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The Art Newspaper

Dec 07 2016
How Big Data is set to change the art market
Big data analytics is becoming increasingly important in the art market
In late October, Sothebys announced it had acquired the Mei Moses Art Indices, a database of repeat auction sales that tracks value over time; shortly after, Artnet said it had brought Tutela Capital, an analytics firm headed by Fabian Bocart, into its portfolio, which also includes a sizeable database of auction prices. Each company has different aims, but one thing is clear: data will play a key role in how theyand the art marketmove forward.


Modernising operations

In a 7 November call for investors, Sothebys chief executive Tad Smith described the acquisition (for a sum immaterial to the companys financials) as just one of a number of initiatives to revamp the way the company leverages the information at its disposal. We have developed an extensive customer relationship management programme to take new buyers and make more offers to them, he said. If you underbid for a particular painting in an auction and you dont get it, I would like for you to have an opportunity to buy something very similar within 24 hours, something that is based on a relational database thats the kind of plumbing were developing now.

The Mei Moses indices, in particular, he said, should reassure investors and offer sellers specific data points to build confidence that their picture will do well. Not only that, says Sothebys chief financial officer Mike Goss, the indices will also be useful for setting expectations for consignors and for the houses advisory business.

One criticism of the Mei Moses indiceswhich were developed by Michael Moses and Jianping Mei and examine 45,000 repeat sales in seven categories and one global one using data from auction housesis that the number of works that repeatedly come up for auction is too small to reliably extrapolate to the broader market. Goss acknowledges this shortcoming but says, People like the fact that youre tracking the same work through time. You can always look at [other] data thats more widely available, which we believe are directionally correct. Its a trade-off. Well look at both.

 
The big picture

Evan Beard, the head of the art services division of investment managers US Trust, applauded Sothebys move, and says indices such as Mei Moses can help his private-bank clients understand how art fits within the overall context of their financial life. Historically thats been very difficult, because data has been difficult to come by.

That was one gap Artnet aimed to fill when it revolutionised the field in 1989 with the first online price database, which now has more than 10 million records. By acquiring Tutela, the company appears to be pushing further into analysis and modelling applications. Artnets chief executive Jacob Pabst said in a statement, It opens the door to a whole new world of development possibilities in indices, valuations, and smart algorithms.

All this quantification could spur confidence. Some economists believe the art market is held back by a lack of available, objective information. Those in the know may share a kind of collective knowledge about the state of the market, but with data, Bocart says, we will be better able to quantify at a more granular level what is going on, as well as break the barriers of insider knowledge to allow more people to enter the market.

 
Using data to define risk

Not only might new collectors be encouraged to enter, so would investors. Everyone talks about art as an asset class, Beard says. But art actually does not live up very well to the requirements of an asset class. If valueand therefore riskwere easier to pinpoint, banks and hedge funds might move beyond leveraging art to securitising it. One of Tutelas key offerings is valuation of art for financial applications  that complies with the IFRS 13 standard.

Sothebys Mei Moses and Artnet, however, both rely solely on auction data, and, as Beard points out, auction sales represent only a portion of the market. Well really have something, he says, if someone cracks the code on how you aggregate data in the private market, and how you incentivise private dealers and gallerists to disclose it.
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 07 2016
Christie’s chairman Brett Gorvy leaves auction house to join forces with New York dealer Dominique Lévy
Brett Gorvy (right) announced he will partner with the dealer Dominique Lévy in a new firm to be known as Lévy Gorvy (Photo: Chad Batka)
Brett Gorvy, the chairman and international head of postwar and contemporary art at Christieswho, during his 23-year tenure with the company, pushed totals for the category beyond $984.5m in a single season in May 2015announced he will be leaving, effective immediately, to partner with the dealer Dominique Lvy, in a new firm to be known as Lvy Gorvy.

Gorvy moved from Christies London to lead the New York department in 2000 and has been deputy chairman of Christies Americas since 2007. Under his lead, the department achieved many notable prices, including those for Lucian Freuds Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, sold for $33.6m with premium in 2008, a record for a work by a living artist; $58m with premium for Jackson Pollocks Number 19 (1948), in May 2013; Roy Lichtensteins Nurse (1964), sold for $95.4m with premium in November 2015; and an untitled 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat, which fetched $57.3m with premium this past May. Warhola Gorvy specialtyalso saw new heights, including $71.7m for the artists Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) in May 2007, a record at the time. He manned the phone on behalf of the winning bidders for Mark Rothkos Orange, Red, Yellow, from the Pincus collection, for $86.9m with premium in May 2012, as well as for Picassos Femmes dAlger (Version O) (1955), for $179.3m with premium, in the record-shattering Looking Forward to the Past sale in May 2015.

In a statement, Gorvy said: To those who know me well, you will be fully aware of my profound love for Christies and the deep respect and pride that I have for the international team You can only therefore imagine how difficult and considered the decision has been to take this next step. He adds, I will still have close synergy with Christies, most especially in 2017, as I will continue to work with the postwar and contemporary team on specific exhibition projects and key consignments.

Stephen Brooks, deputy chief executive officer, Christies, said in a statement, As advantageous as it has been to have a Brett inside, it will be equally advantageous to have him as an ally to Christies on the outside.

Foreshadowing his pivot to the gallery world, Gorvy has also expanded the auctioneers private sales business, which some say has blurred the line between auction houses and dealers. Lvy, an established force with galleries in New York, London, and Geneva, represents 14 artists and estates, including Enrico Castellani, Gnther Uecker, Pierre Soulages, and Yves Klein. I am incredibly excited to join forces with Brett, with whom I share a passion for art and a deep love for our profession. This partnership with be a meaningful synergy of ambition and joy, says Lvy. According to a spokeswoman, together, they will continue the gallery business but add a pinnacle level art advisory servicing collectors, artists families, and more. Gorvy will begin on 2 January , at the same time Lvy expands to occupy all three floors of 909 Madison Avenue, the gallery building she had shared with Emmanuel Perrotin since 2013.

Alexander Rotter, who left Sothebys as global co-head of contemporary art earlier this year, will assume the title of chairman of postwar and contemporary art, Americas, in March, alongside international chair Laura Paulson.
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 06 2016
Mapplethorpe Foundation honoured by HIV/Aids non-profit
In May 1988, ten months before he died of complications of HIV/Aids at the age of 42, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to protect his work and to raise funds for research on the disease. This evening, 7 December, the Aids research and activism non-profit Acria will honour the foundations efforts at its annual holiday fundraising dinner in New York. Acria is also holding an online fundraising auction that ends tonight at 10:30pm, hosted by Paddle8, which includes a Mapplethorpe work, Flower (1986), donated by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation (est. $20,000), and a 368-page book of photographs and illustrations of flowers by the late artist (est. $295). Other artists represented in the auction include Ross Bleckner, Nan Goldin and Jasper Johns.
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 05 2016
Sotheby’s buys Orion Analytical lab in fight against art fraud
Jamie Martin, the head of Orion Analytical, is now Sotheby’s director of scientific research
Sothebys has bought Orion Analytical, the specialist, high-tech scientific research firm with extensive expertise in provenance research and investigating high-level forgeries. The head of the firm, the scientist James Martin, has been appointed director of the newly created scientific research department at Sothebys. Martin, who has collaborated with Sothebys for the past 20 years, has taught at the Getty Conservation Institute and the Smithsonians Museum Conservation Institute. He has also conducted high-profile art fraud investigations for the FBI, playing a leading role in investigating the fake Abstract Expressionist paintings sold through the now-defunct Knoedler Gallery in New York.

Technical analysis has always formed a part of the way we look at paintings we are researching for sale, but to now have someone of Jamies standing in-house, with access to such a wide array of diagnostic techniques and such a deep understanding of this ever-more complicated area, will be hugely beneficial, says Alexander Bell, the co-chairman worldwide of Sothebys Old Master painting department.

Bringing provenance and authentication expertise in-house is no doubt the result of several high-profile forgery cases that have sent shockwaves through the market, especially the Old Master sector. In 2011, Sothebys privately sold a portrait of an unknown man believed to have been by Frans Hals in good faith to the Seattle-based collector Richard Hedreen for $10m. It was consigned by the London dealer Mark Weiss, who had bought it from the French-Italian dealer Giuliano Ruffini for 3m. Orion Analytical was called on to investigate the portrait this year and concluded that it was a forgery. Sothebys immediately rescinded the sale and reimbursed the buyer.

Sothebys move has been met with approval from the trade. This will give Sothebys a slight edge in terms of confidence in the Old Masters market place, which relies on buyers believing a work to be what the label says it is, says the Edinburgh-based art historian and dealer Bendor Grosvenor. The Dutch Old Masters dealer Johnny Van Haeften, who is closing his gallery this month to focus on brokerage and consultancy, says that Sothebys is trying to protect itself, its vendors and its buyers and attempting to avoid any future misunderstandings. Any advances in technology have got to be applauded. He adds, although Old Master forgeries are relatively few and far between, I can understand why it [Sothebys] is doing this. 

Hugo Nathan, of the London-based art advisory firm Nathan Beaumont, calls the move another example of Sothebys forward-thinking CEO [Tad Smith] taking an aggressive line in the acquisitions market, hoarding as much talent as he possibly can under one roofhis roof."

Earlier this year, Sotheby's bought Art Agency, Partners (AAP), the art consultancy run by the former Christies employee Amy Cappellazzo, as well as Adam Chinn and Allan Schwartzman, for $85m, signalling the auction houses interest in diversifying its services, including consultancy and brokering. Just a few weeks ago, the auction house announced that it had bought the Mei Moses Art Indices, a data-driven art market analytics tool that compares the strength of art against other asset classes. Access to this database will now be granted only to Sothebys specialists and their clients.
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 05 2016
Artists should give proper credit to Hollywood
Jordan Wolfson’s Colored sculpture (2016) is now on show at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (Image: Dan Bradica. Courtesy of the artist, Sadie Coles HQ, London, and David Zwirner, New York)
This month, Europeans can see for themselves what the fuss over the US artist Jordan Wolfson is all about. The centrepiece of Wolfsons exhibition, which has just opened at Amsterdams Stedelijk Museum (until 29 January), is a new robotic marionettea wild, gap-toothed Howdy Doody lookalike that alternately swings through the space and violently careens or crashes onto the floor. In February, this trickster will be replaced by Wolfsons 2014 shocker: an ugly-sexy robotic woman who puts on a mesmerising show by issuing orders, gyrating and making intense eye contact.

According to the Stedelijk website, both presentations revolve around Wolfsons spectacular animatronic creations: robotic human figures, seductive yet repulsive, which interact with the viewer using motion-sensor technology.

The statement runs long but it never identifies, not even in the fine print, the co-creator of these must-see works. Nor do earlier press releases from Wolfsons gallerist David Zwirner, who helped front the sizeable production costs.

The artists unsung collaborator is Spectral Motion, a Hollywood special-effects studio that specialises in building roboticas opposed to digitalmonsters and zombies for Hollywood movies. It has created hellhounds for Hellboy, fighting machines for Robot Combat League and a wildly expressive troll for Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters.

Based in Glendale, the studio is so important to Wolfson that he moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2013 to be closer to its experts. Not only did the engineering team programme his creatures to create their most startling moves, but they also helped to shape the look and feelthe very aestheticof the work.

Not just assistants



In the case of the 2014 sex doll, which took nine months to create, lead engineer Mark Setrakian gave her eye-tracking software, 48 different motors and a vacant sexpot look, loosely modelling her on the Holli Would character from the movie Cool World. The team even nicknamed her Holli before she acquired the more canonical-sounding name Female Figure.

This is not a case of an artist hiring assistants to paint hundreds of spots on canvas or sending a maquette off to a foundry. There is no work of art to speak of until the artist and studio begin working together. The genius of animatronic sculpture depends on lifelike movementbut the real geniuses who bring the sculptures to life barely get any credit. So why not? With very few exceptionsthe Broads website is onemost museum and gallery statements and, for that matter, interviews and reviews fail to identify the studio, let alone describe its contribution. So why is this?

Of course, there is a long history of visual artists downplaying their debt to Hollywood creatives, and vice versa. But this particular oversight is not just restricted to Wolfson, who in my experience mentions the studio without fully acknowledging his dependence on it.

It has the makings of a larger art market cover-up. David Zwirners decision not to publicise the studios role surely helps to ensure that these works of art seem more original or valuable than the latest Hollywood zombies. The art press tends not to find technology as sexy as the story of the boy-genius artist wrestling with his demons. And most collectors dont seem to care.

They might even assume that this is just standard operating practice for conceptual art. But this is not old-school conceptual art. It is a new breed of kinetic sculpture that gets its punch from an engineers ability to transform an inert sculptural object into an aggressive subject.

The same kind of erasure happened recently when Kanye West commandeered Los Angeless Blum & Poe gallery one weekend to debut Famous, a silicone sculpture of West, Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, Donald Trump and Bill Cosby in the ultimate TMZ moment: naked and in bed together. The mere whisper that this work was being offered for sale in the vicinity of $4m set off a storm of press. Yet no articles ascertained who gave the sculpture lifeeach figure appeared to breathebeyond nodding to the involvement of Donda, Wests secretive creative company. Do they really have an animatronics expert on staff? Mentioning Donda in this case served to deflect proper credit instead of giving it.

More transparency



We also tend to short-change the collaborators on Paul McCarthys sex machines, such as his raucous Train, Mechanical (2003-09), a sculpture of two George W. Bush figures penetrating pigs. Fortunately, the video series Art21 interviewed Jon Dawe, the mechanical designer who worked for McCarthys studio for nearly ten years and helped to create the porcine political satire.

If only there were more transparency from Wolfsons dealer and the curators. Its not too late for the Stedelijk. It could acknowledge Spectral Motions role online or in exhibition materials. Let visitors know: Wolfsons monsters have Hollywood in their DNA and zombies in their family tree.

The Stedelijks response



Jordan Wolfsons animatronics are fabricated with the expertise of a team of state-of-the art special-effects technicians. In his animatronic sculptures, Wolfson is combining existing techniques. There is no inventing or reinventing of technologies. Thus the involvement of the experts in his view is a technical thing. There is no role of the technicians in the artistic process, which is entirely based on Wolfsons vision. Just as in the case of a technically complex video installation where the artist is assisted by audiovisual technicians, it is not common practice to mention them on the gallery walls. Wolfson, however, does credit the special-effects technicians in his publications, such as exhibition catalogues.


Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, co-curator with Beatrix Ruf of Jordan Wolfson: Manic/Love and Truth/Love at the Stedelijk
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 05 2016
Sofa so good for Nouvel
Abu Dhabi-bound: one of Jean Nouvel’s stylish seats (Image: © Luc Boegl)
Jean Nouvel is going to be exceptionally busy in the foreseeable future, with two museums designed by the French starchitect due to open in the Middle East. The National Museum of Qatar is one of Nouvels humongous Gulf projects, while the other, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, is scheduled to open at some point next year. The latters distinctive latticed roof can be seen from a distance on Saadiyat Island, but Nouvel has also revealed the chic furniture that will fill the new institution. In an interview with Le Monde, he discusses his new exhibition at the Muse des Arts Dcoratifs in Paris (until 12 February 2017), saying that visitors can sit on black leather sofas, part of the LAD Line series, which are destined for the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 04 2016
The year in museums: the building boom and the expanding canon
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's new wing. © Henrik Kam
In an exclusive report in the April issue, The Art Newspaper reported that in the US alone close to $5bn had been spent on museum expansions between 2007 and 2014. Worldwide, we calculated an $8.9bn outlay by 75 museums in that period, which coincided with a devastating and prolonged global recession. 

That boom goes on: 2016 saw numerous landmark buildings open or re-open their doors. In the US, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) opened its rippling, gleaming white $305m extension, designed by the Norwegian firm Snhetta, after a three-year closure. It is now the largest museum of Modern art in the US, with 170,000 square feet of exhibition space. 

Meanwhile, the David Adjaye-designed National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian Institution, opened next door to the Washington Monument, in September, at a cost of $540m. Arguably one of the best loved museums of the year, architecturally at least, was Marcel Breuers 1966 Whitney Museum building, now lovingly restored and occupied by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the Met Breuer. As many observers noted, Breuers inverted ziggurat in concrete and granite was being cared for by its new tenants as if it were itself a work of art. 

While some commentators have wondered whether donor fatigue might halt the museum building boom, major expansions under way at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art suggest that the major museums at least seem likely to propel it into the 2020s.

In Europe, the key building opening was undoubtedly Londons Tate Modern Switch House, an 11-storey extension clad outside in brick and dominated by raw concrete within. Critics were universal in their praise for Herzog & de Meurons 260m creation. But they were more equivocal over the displays within, reflecting the expansion of the Tates collection into geographical areas such as Latin America and Africa, which were until recently largely neglected by museums of Modern art. 

The Tate is the global standard bearer for a process of rewriting the canon of art history that in 2016 feels more palpable than ever. In appointing Frances Morris, who was previously director of its collection of international art, as the director of Tate Modern, the museum is indicating that buying and showing art, not constructing buildings, will be its focus from now on. 
MoMA also sought to reinforce its aims to look beyond Europe and North America in telling the story of Modernism. It is no longer acceptable not to cast your net wide and include the various ways in which Modernisms have flourished, the museums director, Glenn Lowry, told The Art Newspaper in our November issue (for more on the expanding canons of Modernism, see Museums, p16).

Meanwhile, the rise of private museums goes on. Both the Broad in Los Angeles and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris have proved as popular as many major public museums. The Broad announced in September that it had had 820,000 visitors in its first year and the Vuitton foundation, which attracted 1.2 million visitors in its inaugural year, is pulling huge crowds for its Shchukin Collection show. 

But, as we revealed in June, the field of private museums is under scrutiny in the US, especially ones that are less public than the Broad. The Senate Finance Committee in the US sent a letter to 11 museums set up by collectors asking about their opening arrangementssome require advance reservations or open for just 20 hours a weekin response to concerns that they are exploiting generous tax breaks. 

The Guerrilla Girls, the artists and activists who have long held up a mirror to the museum worlds inequalities, told us in October that the rise of the private museum is a little creepy What kind of a story can be told by art that costs the most, and art thats chosen by a handful of very homogeneous people? The history of art and the record of our culture should be much richer than that. 
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 04 2016
Young blood for Old Masters
Young and well-heeled, but will they buy? The next generation of potential collectors at Colnaghi’s new gallery in St. James’s
Analysts are often quick to label Old Masters a dying branch of the art market, blaming generational changes in taste, a shrinking pool of dedicated collectors and the rarity of top-quality works for this perceived decline.

However, recent dealer activity in Londons traditional Old Master strongholds of Mayfair and St Jamess seems to suggest that the narrative is one of adaptation and change, rather than decline.

Johnny Van Haeften, the stalwart Dutch Old Masters specialist, is closing his gallery on Duke Street in December, after almost 30 years of trading, to continue his work from his west London home with a particular focus on burgeoning Chinese appetite for the genre. When the gallery closes Ill be free to travel more and Ill focus on brokerage, advisory and consultancy. His departure will send ripples throughout Londons traditionally slow-paced and close-knit Old Masters community, but then so will the new and energetic younger dealers who are either setting up shop in the area or expanding existing operations.

Symbolising this changing of the guard, the young Italian dealer Fabrizio Morettiwho is just over 40 but has been trading since he was only 22has bought Van Haeftens space and the building next to it, formerly Derek Johnss Old Master gallery, to form a large, single space.

The merger of the younger Spanish dealers Jorge Coll and Nicols Corts with Colnaghi, one of the worlds oldest surviving commercial art galleries, has resulted in a large new gallery on Bury Street; meanwhile, Lullo Pampoulides gallery opened in Mayfairs Cork Street before the summer. It is run by Andreas Pampoulides, a former director of Coll & Corts (prior to the Colnaghi merger), and the Old Masters specialist Andrea Lullo.

By modernising their presentation and rethinking their business approach, these dealers are adapting in ways that some of their elders have been reluctant to do. Theres a lot to learn from the contemporary art worlds organisation and attitude, says Jorge Coll. The older generation of [Old Master] dealers had it easy because the trade was less transparent and export laws were less stringent. When you operate under those conditions for so long, you start to get comfortable.

The good old days in which dealers could buy works at auction and sell them straight to clientswith a substantial mark-upare long gone. Well-informed private collectors are now a dominant force in the auction room, and the market is more transparent than ever.And unlike in the contemporary world, new clients do not grow on trees.

When were not participating in a major fair, we will aim to organise an event of our own each month, such as pop-up exhibitions in the United States, Coll says. We realise that collectors need memorable and educational experiencesmuseum trips, dinners and tours with curators. Its expensive but we want clients to realise that were not just sitting and waiting for them in the gallery, he says.

The slick dcor and modern lighting at Lullo Pampoulides and Colnaghis new spaces arent just for show: they serve to create a familiar environment for the new generation of collectors. We want the gallery to feel more like a beautiful contemporary apartment, Andrea Lullo says. This is only a recent development for many Old Master dealers. People imagine our galleries as still being decorated with austere, green velvet curtains, says Van Haeften, known for his experimental approach to presentation.

Incomplete data


Van Haeften and Coll estimate that gallery sales account for roughly half of the market, but because analyses must rely on auction results, public records tell only part of the story. And in a category where the top lots are as rare as they are expensive, the presence, or absence, of even one major painting is enough to skew figures for an entire year.

The latest Tefaf market report points to a 33% drop in the value of Old Masters sold at auction in 2015, but figures do not take into account the extraordinary year that was 2014, according to Alexander Bell, the co-chairman of Old Master paintings at Sothebys. We had works from the estates of the Duke of Northumberland and the Earl of Warwick [and a record-breaking Turner, Rome from Mount Aventine, which sold for 30.3m with fees]. Comparing 2015 to that year will always look bad. Its frustrating that what comes to auction in a single year is treated as a barometer for the whole marketits not.

Next years report might read differently simply because it will factor in Christies sale of Rubenss Lot and his Daughters, which sold in July, at Christies first-ever Classic Week, for 40m with fees, the highest auction price ever paid for an Old Master painting.

As Colnaghi demonstrated at Tefaf in March by selling 12m worth of Old Masters on opening day, the category isnt history just yet, despite the negativity that often surrounds it (both from commentators and from the more old-fashioned dealers themselves). Its like this for every generation, says Lullo, of Lullo Pampoulides. Even when my father started dealing in Old Masters, in the 1970s, the older dealers were already telling him the market was dead.

Still, the fact remains that the collector base is not nearly as broad as that for modern and contemporary art. Says Van Haeften, We have just over 3,000 collectors on our books who are mostly, but not exclusively, interested in Dutch and Flemish masters, and thats taken 40 years to accumulate. And, unfortunately for holders of second- and third-rate stock, they are only interested in top-quality works. If you buy the right thing you cant go wrong, Coll says.
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Dec 03 2016
Unseen Basquiats make debut in Miami
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Neptune (around 1979-81) (Image: © Nicole Neenan, courtesy of The Bishop Gallery)
A controversial collection of more than 30 works created by Jean-Michel Basquiat when he was homeless and possibly using drugs are on public display for the first time, at the X Contemporary satellite fair (until 4 December). The group of paintings, drawings and collages was created between 1979 and 1981 in the Manhattan apartment of Basquiats friend Lonny Lichtenberg, a well-known drug dealer also known as Neptune, King of the C (cocaine).

Al Diaz, the curator of the show, who was part of the Samo graffiti collective along with Basquiat, says that the works tell a hidden story. There were a lot of drugs and a dark side to that lifestyle, he says. Works of art were often exchanged by artists for drugs.

Diaz, himself a former addict, says that the Basquiat estate is averse to anything drug-related and will probably disregard the works. The collection has not been authenticated because the Basquiat authentication committee was disbanded in 2012, says a spokesman for the fair. The estate did not respond to requests for comment.

The works, many of them sketches of heads, were created using cheap materials such as pencil and crayon on paper or rough wooden blocks. They were done at a time when Basquiat didnt have a studio, which makes them more authentic, in my view, Diaz says. According to the curator, Lichtenberg sold the works to a friend three decades ago and they have only been seen by a handful of people. They are available through Brooklyns Bishop Gallery; prices range from $150,000 to $3m.
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Dec 03 2016
Kounellis rides into town but the horses stay in New York
Photo marilyn loddi; courtesy of The Margulies Collection
Jannis Kounellis: Paintings 1983-2012
Until 29 April 2017
The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse
www.margulieswarehouse.com

Last summer, Gavin Browns Enterprise enthralled New York with its presentation of Jannis Kounelliss 1969 work Untitled (12 Horses). This impressive piece of relational aesthetics involved 12 horses tethered to the gallerys walls (as well as many attendants to look after them, to say nothing of the bales of hay).

Interest in Kounellis has hardly waned since the Greek artist emerged as a major figure in the Arte Povera movement in the late 1960s. However, his star has been rapidly on the rise since his show at Tate Modern in London in 2009. During Art Basel Miami Beach, the Margulies Collection warehouse in Wynwood, which presents a rotating display of art from the collection of Martin Margulies, is showing a presentation of work by Kounellis that is sure to be a must-visit for fairgoers.

The collector balked at bringing Untitled (12 Horses) to Miami, despite the large number of visitors it drew at Gavin Brown. New York is used to stuff like that, Margulies says. If he had staged the work in the warehouse, he told Kounelliss studio, Id have a line of animal protesters all over the place!

Instead, Marguliess exhibition features seven major works by Kounellis made between 1983 and 2012. The collector wanted to limit their number to prevent them from overwhelming each other. Many are monumental, including Untitled (1985-97), a sculptural painting made from steel I-beams and railway sleepers, which dominates an entire wall of the warehouse.

The show also complements work by Kounelliss contemporaries on view elsewhere in the warehouse, including Cy Twombly, Richard Serra and Anselm Kiefer.

Kounellis considers his worksmade with materials including burlap, jute, charcoal and copper potsto be paintings, and has always described himself as a painter. But Margulies says he was drawn to their obviously sculptural nature. Recently, the warehouse has featured other Arte Povera artists, including Pier Paolo Calzolari, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mario Merz and Alighiero Boetti.

Although these artists share a common interest in humble materials not typically associated with fine art, they all had a different vocabulary, Margulies says. While Calzolari worked with frost, for example, Kounellis is known for using fire and live animals in his work (though not at the same time, animal rights advocates will be pleased to learn).

All seven works in the warehouse exhibition are in the Margulies Collection. Katherine Hinds, its curator, says some of the paintings have been in the collection since the 1980s, but that in putting together the show, she learned new things about the artist, especially his unique sense of materials.

Theres no intimidation there, she observes. Kounellis is not afraid to use iron panels in lieu of paint or fill bags with charcoal. Often, the true composition is hidden. In Untitled (2002), the work that uses the charcoal: You cant really tell the material that is in the bag until you read the label and read the story about the search for fuel and the memories of the miners who have foraged for these basic materials since the beginning of civilisation.

Although Kounelliss anti-luxury, quotidian materials might seem at odds with Miamis bling aesthetic, the city is taking to his work: attendance figures for the show, which opened in October, have been strong, according to Margulies. I think that in the 16 years weve had this warehousethis is the best work weve ever done here, he says.
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Dec 02 2016
Good art in bad taste: art that mixes high and low culture at the fair
Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, Maze of Quotes (2016), at Fondation Beyeler’s stand at Art Basel Miami Beach 2016 (Image: © Vanessa Ruiz)<br />

Toiletpaper magazine at Fondation Beyeler


This absurd domestic interiorthere is an alligator (or crocodile?) that greets you outside the bedroomis also overloaded with bucatini pasta that is made fresh daily and strewn about the stand, which some visitors have even tried eating. The installation, called Maze of Quotes (2016) and designed by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari (the founders of Toiletpaper magazine), makes close associations between death and domesticity, as evidenced by a tombstone in the stand. Its funny, but its a bit disturbing in a provocative way, says Angelika Bhler, the Beyelers head of events and public programmes. The stand is not for sale but the magazine is available for purchase through the foundations website.


Katherine Bernhardt at Xavier Hufkens


This untitled, 120in-tall work on canvas from 2016 by the US artist Katherine Bernhardt shows a grinning Pink Panther with a cigarette lingering in the corner of the frame. The dealer Hester van Royen was unsure what it is supposed to symbolise but confirmed that the work sold on the opening day of the fair. Although she declined to name the price, similar works in size and subject by Bernhardt have sold for around $65,000.


Wong Ping at Edouard Malingue


This makes me uncomfortable, one visitor was overheard saying in this stand dedicated to the Chinese artist Wong Ping. It is covered with deceptively cute pink carpeting and beckoning cat figurines, but the paws have been replaced with penises and an animated film deals with themes like prostitution and impotence. The film, Jungle of Desire (2015), is for sale for $10,000.


Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg at Gi Marconi


Nearly 30 anthropomorphic sculptures of various foods and animals by Nathalie Djurberggrimacing bananas among themare presented in this stand alongside a cartoonish musical soundtrack by Hans Berg. Everyone, big and small, has loved the characters, says the dealer Esther Quiroga. The entire installation is for sale for $95,000 and some of the sculptures will be included in a short forthcoming film by the duo called The Lights of an Undirected Mind (2016).


Aaron Curry at Michael Werner


Science fiction meets the historic avant-garde in this painting, called Dark Matter Matter (2016), by Aaron Curry. The work (priced at $95,000) mixes pop culture references (Star Trek comes to mind) with higher artistic references, such as Picasso, says the dealer Gyonata Bonvicini. The shaped canvas also recalls mid-century work by American Abstract painters like Charles Hinman, but a figure resembling Felix the Cat on the upper right side of the picture brings a humorous quality to what may otherwise look like serious abstraction.
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Dec 02 2016
Berlin returns Nazi-looted sculpture to Jewish publisher’s family
Reinhold Begas, Susanna (1869-72) (Image: © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie  / Andres Kilger)
A marble sculpture called Susanna by Reinhold Begas, on display in Berlins Alte Nationalgalerie, has been restituted to the heirs of a Jewish media mogul whose most prestigious newspaper was forced to close when the Nazis seized power.

The sculpture, dating from 1869, will remain on loan to the Berlin museum for now, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation says.

Rudolf Mosse was one of the three richest men in Berlin at the turn of the 19th century. His palatial neo-Baroque home on Leipziger Platz was filled with paintings, sculptures, antique furnishings and tapestries. His collection included works by Max Liebermann, Carl Spitzweg, Wilhelm Leibl, Hans Makart and Adolph Menzel.

Mosses flagship publication was the liberal, non-partisan Berliner Tageblatt newspaper, a staunch advocate of democracy even before the Weimar Republic. After his death in 1920, Mosse bequeathed his estate to his daughter, Felicia Lachmann-Mosse. His powerful publishing house was managed by his son-in-law Hans Lachmann-Mosse.

Under the Nazis, Berliner Tageblatt quickly became a symbol of the hated Jewish press. Felicia and Hans Lachmann-Mosse fled to Switzerland in 1933 and later emigrated to the US. Their possessions, including the inherited art collection, were seized and sold at auction in 1934. The family had no share of the proceeds.

The Mosse Art Restitution Project was set up by the family's heirs in 2012 to trace the missing works. The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation returned eight works in 2015, including a monumental lion by the artist August Gaul.

Other artworks recently restituted include a painting by Carl Blechen that the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe agreed to buy back from the family in June, after identifying it as Nazi loot in 2014. In October, the Jewish Museum in Berlin returned an oil sketch by Anton von Werner. It was a preparatory work for a large painting showing Mosse hosting a dinner party that was commissioned in 1899 for his dining room.
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Dec 02 2016
Political critique pays off for galleries
Jack Pierson, Capitalist Decadence (2016), at Richard Gray’s stand (Image: Vanessa Ruiz)
The effects of Donald Trumps shock election to the US presidency may not be fully felt in the art market for several months, but dealers at Art Basel in Miami Beach are taking a pre-emptive approach, filling their stands with overtly political works that respond to the prevailing climate of uncertainty. And despite noticeably thinner crowds at this years fair, the strategy appears to be paying off.  

Sadie Coles sold Jonathan Horowitzs photograph featuring Trump playing golf to the New York-based adviser Lisa Schiff for $12,000 on the opening day. Does she have a good body? No. Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely (2016) riffs on a comment that Trump made about the reality TV star Kim Kardashian in 2013.

Political works painted on newspapers by Rirkrit Tiravanija also proved a hit on the first day at the stands of Gavin Brown and Pilar Corrias. Brown sold all three pieces created by the Argentinian-born artist in response to Trumps victory (priced at $90,000 each). Each work bears the slogan: The tyranny of common sense has reached its final stage. The New York dealer says that the works are more of a comment on the cultural climate than the political climate.

Corrias sold a work for $130,000 made in the same style: Untitled (do we dream under the same sky/June 25, 2016), painted on pages of the Sun newspaper from the day after the UK referendum on European Union membership. The London dealer says she is in the process of selling other works in the same series.

Portrait mash-ups



Most dealers reported sales to collectors from the Americas, but a German buyer snapped up one of Armin Boehms new canvases, created specially for the fair. The Brain Manipulation Conference (2016), priced at 26,000 at the Zurich gallery Peter Kilchmann, depicts mash-ups of political leaders: Trumps face fused with Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin spliced with Bashar Assad. The collector was specifically looking for a work that documents this moment in time, Kilchmann says.
Serious subjects

At Leo Xu Projects, the political conversation extends to Chinas strict internet censorship laws. The Shanghai dealer sold an installation by the activist aaajiao to a New York collector for $24,000. Gfwlist (2010) continuously prints an encrypted roster of websites. Xu says that collectors are not just plumping for beauty but are engaging with serious subjects.

Galerie Gmurzynska, meanwhile, pays homage to the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Organised by the curator Norman Rosenthal, the stand has been designed by Picassos son Claude. Several works by Varvara Stepanova, priced between $100,000 and $300,000, were sold on the first day. Sales have been primarily to European collectors, which is surprising in Miami, says Mathias Rastorfer, the gallerys co-owner.

Although Trumps election could benefit the commercial art worldhis win has seen the stock market rally and his proposed tax reforms are expected to benefit high net-worth individualstrade insiders remain nervous. Its not as frantic this year, says the New York dealer Sean Kelly. [For works priced] under $250,000, people are happy to make decisions, but over that, they are hesitating. As another dealer notes: Major things are selling for relatively major money, but floors are being tested more than ceilings.


A taxing question


The newly nominated US secretary of the treasury, Steven Mnuchin, did little to allay the fears of dealers and collectors when he revealed some early details for tax plans under president-elect Donald Trump. Mnuchin told CNN on Wednesday that Americans will see the largest tax change since Reagan, including fewer deductions for the wealthy.


The New York-based dealer Sean Kelly says that it will be a real concern for the institutional art world if tax incentives to gift works are removed or amended, while the American Alliance of Museums says in a statement: Tax reform has emerged as one of the new administrations priorities and the president-elect has proposed significant changes to itemised deductions that could significantly reduce charitable giving.


Mnuchin has implied that tax breaks for donations to charities would remain but others would be capped. There is a precedent: during the Reagan administration, the 1986 Tax Reform Act limited the amount of money that collectors could deduct in exchange for donating works of art.

Additional reporting by Gareth Harris
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Dec 02 2016
Drag Queens, alien robots, BBQ and beer, plus more Miami gossip
DJ Lady Bunny (Image: © Art Basel)

Lady Bunny, alien robots, BBQ and beer



Wednesday evening marked the public opening of Public, Art Basel in Miami Beachs annual sculpture garden in Collins Park. Visitors took refreshments from Rob Pruitts Stretch, Grill and Chill (2016), a vintage white limousine ingeniously converted into a barbecue at one end and a beer cooler at the other. (Crisps could be had by reaching into one of the windows.) The normally peaceful park was transformed into a raucous scene by Naama Tsabars Composition 18 (2016), a sound piece in which three all-female bands competed for dancers attention by playing over each other. This was rounded out by Lady Bunnys gloriously tacky Intergalactic Disco (2016), presented by the legendary drag queen herself. The queue for the dance went deep into the park, but inside Publics curator, Nicholas Baume, could be seen boogying to Robin Thickes Blurred Lines with one of the alien robots in attendance, who boasted coloured lights on their fingers and were resplendent in silver sequined body suits.


Thinking with the wrong head



Beth DeWoody got Zika, Joel Mesler said in room 1245 of the Deauville hotel on Thursdaythe site of a secret show for the Estate of Joel Mesler. The prehumous artist was not referring to the microcephaly-inducing, mosquito-borne virus itself, but to a painting the collector bought in his show (all priced to move at $6,000) that features a swimmers arm and the word Zika. If Art Basel week seems quieter this year, how much of this can be attributed to fears of the illness, the effects of which are often misunderstood? Doesnt it cause the testes to shrink? Mesler asked David Feldman, a doctor and collector who acquired Meslers Sigmund Freud-related work. In that the brain of some men is located in the testes? Dr Feldman retorted. Then yes; otherwise, no. Hearing the exchange, a 20-something female attendant said: Im never having childrenever.


Unlucky for some



The final day of an art fair is usually the quietest time for galleries, with some dealers looking a little glassy-eyed after days spent manning the stands. But one dealer has come up with a novel way of lightening the mood. Katharine Overgaard of New Yorks Franklin Parrasch Gallery beats the boredom with her own version of bingo, giving an arty twist to the numbers game. Throughout the week, I identify trends or types of visitors; this week, for instance, I saw a man in a silver sequined blazer, so Ill add sequins to the board, she says. The game is proving popular; last year, she gave out 40 copies of the bingo card. In Miami, board shorts are also a popular entry, she notes.


One cool Katz



The Edition hotel was home to at least seven parties on Wednesday night, and amid all the hustle and bustle (plus a performance by the singer Nelly Furtado), you might have missed the coolest person there. The 89-year-old artist Alex Katz was spotted drinking in the lobby from the depths of a high-backed chair. Katz was there for a party to promote his collaboration with the clothing giant H&M, an appropriate partnership given his popularity with hipsterseven if the artist himself is a long-time J. Crew model. The Katz swag (T-shirts, mostly) is being advertised all over town, mostly with a 2012 portrait of a shaggy Gavin Brown that gives the New York-based dealer a 1970s, Bob Seger vibe. What made Katz choose his dealer as a subject? The same reason I choose anyone, Katz said from his chair. He has an interesting face.


Its five oclock somewhere



Dealers at Art Basel in Miami Beach work hard for their money, so its no surprise that some feel like taking a well-earned, behind-the-scenes break. Eivind Furnesvik of Oslos Standard gallery revealed that the backroom store on his stand is laden with a smorgasbord of goodies, including a carefully chosen selection of refreshing beverages. Five oclock is beer oclock, he says, pointing out the treats hidden away behind closed doors. And we always assumed that there was just great art tucked away in those cubby holes.
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Dec 02 2016
Sales Points: Art Basel in Miami Beach
Kenneth Noland’s large-scale painting Mach II (1964) has found a new home after 50 years (Image: © Vanessa Ruiz)

Growing Paine


The monumental version of Roxy Paines latest stainless-steel tree, Compression (2016), sold for $2m at Paul Kasmin Gallery to a US collector with plenty of public space. The maquette is on show at the stand.




Marshall parts with his curtain girl


A US collector at the top of a long waiting list bought Kerry James Marshalls Untitled (curtain girl) (2016), a painting on vinyl of a young woman parting a star-spangled beaded curtain, from Jack Shainman Gallery for $600,000. The work comes straight from the in-demand Chicago artists studio. Marshalls solo show is now on view at New Yorks Met Breuer (until 29 January 2017).



Sold at the speed of sound


Kenneth Nolands large-scale painting Mach II (1964) was first snapped up by a collector in the year it was made, from a show of Colour Field works in New York, and has been in the same collection until now. It was bought for $2m through Acquavella by a major US collector.



Can I get a witness?


Sanford Biggers refers to the Black Panthers, the Jackson Five and African carvings in his powerful piece Witness (2016), which Marianne Boesky Gallery sold to a US museum for $55,000. The five small figures, covered in roofing tar mixed with sequins, cast a long shadow on the gallerys stand.

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Dec 02 2016
The Florida island that revived Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg, courtesy Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
When Robert Rauschenberg arrived on the tiny island of Captiva, Florida, in 1970, he was worn out by life in New York. His star turn in the 1964 Venice Biennale made him famous. But he was lonely, depressed and drinking much more than he was working. Everything was falling apart, he said in a later interview. There was such an abundance of bad news.

As Calvin Tomkins wrote in the book Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg, the critical rap is that he stopped breaking new ground around 1965, well before he moved permanently to Florida. But a survey opening this week at Tate Modern in London (1 December-2 April) seeks to disprove that assumption.

The show, which travels to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2017, re-examines the artists oeuvre. Curators draw a straight line between Rauschenbergs early work and the art he made in Captiva, his home from 1970 until his death in 2008. Both bodies of work have been overshadowed by the muscular combines, his best-known works. But they illustrate his lifelong commitment to redefining painting.

The foundation of my work


Was a postcard-perfect islandjust over one square mile in size, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexicoan escape hatch that revived Rauschenbergs career? Captiva is the foundation of my life and my work, the artist wrote to a Florida journalist. It is my source and reserve of my energies.

It is not difficult to see the appeal. On a recent visit to Rauschenbergs compound, which is now maintained by his foundation, dolphins swam just off the shoreline, grapefruit trees were heavy with fruit and seashells studded the white sand. The island has no streetlights and is home to fewer than 600 year-round residents.

This oasis must have felt especially invigorating to Rauschenberg in 1970, when the optimism of the early 1960s had been eroded by one crisis after another: the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, race riots across the country, the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam. The artist recalled feeling exhausted by the relentless focus on world problems [and] local atrocities. The curator Achim Borchardt-Hume, who organised the survey at Tate Modern, says: Something was definitely coming to an end. Captiva allowed him to start again.

Rauschenberg had begun to visit Captiva a few years earlier, but only for short spurts. Now, he settled into a house facing the beach and started drawing. For the first time since 1964, Tomkins wrote, Rauschenberg was turning out a great deal of new work.

Waste and softness


Before he left New York, Rauschenberg had been spending much of his time on Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT), a foundation he co-founded to foster collaboration between artists and engineers. In Captiva, the artist yearned for something different: to work in a material of waste and softness, he wrote.

He began manipulating cast-off cardboard boxes into geometric wall sculptures, many of which will be included in the travelling survey. Subsequent series were inspired by his packed international travel schedule, but they were always assembled with materials that surrounded him in Florida, such as driftwood, mosquito nets and sand. The island shifted his approach to materials and his way of working, Mark Godfrey writes in an essay for MoMAs catalogue.

Captiva also brought him back to basics. As a student at Black Mountain College, Rauschenberg had volunteered to collect garbage on campus, which he would often re-use in costumes. He was always testing and combining materials in search of new possibilities, says Leah Dickerman, who is organising the presentation at MoMA.

Over the next 35 years, as prices for his work rose, Rauschenberg became the largest private landholder on Captiva. At the time of his death, he owned more than ten buildings and a stretch of undeveloped jungle. (After Hurricane Charley charged through Florida in 2004, Rauschenberg demanded that his trees be replanted first, and any property damage could be dealt with later.) Rauschenberg assembled a cast of assistantsmostly locals who were hired after a brief conversation that convinced him they would get alongto help him take full advantage of new printing technologies. One assistant recalls the joy the artist took in calling the company Epson to ask outlandish questions, like how to print on silk.

A new generation


After Rauschenberg died of heart failure in 2008, it was not difficult for the leaders of his foundation to decide what to do with Captiva. Rather than turn it into a museum, which would be impractical considering its remote location, they decided to see if its spirit of experimentation would carry over to a new generation. We brought ten people down as a pilot programme, says the foundations director Christy Maclear. We wanted them to be inspiredbut you cant engineer that.

At the end of the programme, the foundation asks participants if they would have preferred a $50,000 grant to their stay in Captiva. All of them said they preferred the residency, Maclear recalls. Since 2012, Captiva has hosted 250 residents, chosen by a rotating, anonymous selection committee. They receive a stipend, lodging in one of Rauschenbergs buildings for five weeks and meals cooked by a chef-in-residence.

Several of the artists assistants remain on staff to help the residents experiment with printmaking using Rauschenbergs own printers and presses. Carrell Courtright, a studio supervisor for the foundation, says: We still take great pleasure in calling up Epson and stumping them.

Art for the ears, eyes and body


Curators pick their favourite lesser-known Rauschenberg works



Leah Dickerman, curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Oracle (1962-65)
You might hear this installation before you see it. Rauschenberg collaborated with a team of engineers to conceal five radios inside assemblages made from a car door, a ventilation duct and other industrial metal objects. The work uses a transistorised wireless microphone systemcutting edge for the timeto emit the steady hum of AM radio. The title, Oracle, is fitting because the work combines cast-off parts of machines with hints of our technological future, Dickerman says. While on display in its permanent home at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the work spouts French. During its tour to London, New York and San Francisco, it will tune into local English-language stations.

David White, senior curator, Rauschenberg Foundation
Glacier (Hoarfrost) (1974)
Rauschenberg never shied away from an experiment with new materials. He was inspired to create this series after he noticed faint traces of source images showing up on the cheesecloth used to clean his lithography stones. He aimed to capture a similar ghostly echo by transferring images from newspapers and magazines onto delicate fabric with solvent. With the slightest breeze, the fabric begins to dance. In this example, Rauschenberg goes one step further by tucking a pillow behind the fabric, a reference to one of his most famous combines, Bed (1955). He kept finding new ways to make a painting, White says.

Achim Borchardt-Hume, director of exhibitions, Tate Modern, London
Backdrop for Glacial Decoy (1979)
From the late 1970s to the early1990s, Rauschenberg made sets for the New York-based choreographer Trisha Brown. This four-screen projection features several hundred black-and-white photographsmostly landscapestaken near his home in Captiva. The project marked Rauschenbergs return to photography, a medium that fascinated him as a young artist. As the slides fade in and out, four dancers move across the stage in such a way that you never know how many there are, Borchardt-Hume says. Theres no music; all you hear is the click of the slide projector.
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Dec 02 2016
Tate Britain decks the halls with festive tree
Never mind the pine needles: Tate's arty Christmas tree by Shirazeh Houshiary (Photo: Joe Humphrys © Tate)
The Christmas countdown has begun at Tate Britain in London, which returned to its tradition of festive artists commissions on 1 December. Iranian-born sculptor Shirazeh Houshiary has suspended a Christmas tree over the sweeping spiral staircase in the rotundathe gallerys first since 2011, when work began on its 45m makeover by architects Caruso St John. Forgoing the usual baubles and tinsel, Houshiary has turned her tree upside down and covered its roots in gold leaf to take earth back to heaven. More than the risk of falling pine needles, the installation invites visitors to contemplate the spiritual side of contemporary art, Tate says. A new collection display in the nearby Duveen galleries, Sculpture as Object, spotlights symbolically charged works by Houshiarys 1980s contemporaries, including Anish Kapoors pure pigment pieces and Antony Gormleys trinity of human figures. Visitors this weekend (2-3 December) can also look forward to a programme of torchlight viewings of Tates collection of Turners and pop-up performances of Christmas music from the English National Opera chorus. 

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Dec 02 2016
Art History A-level back on the curriculum
Students will be able to take Art History A-levels again (Image: © Royal Academy of Arts)
The British artist Jeremy Deller declared that yesterday was a good day for art and culture following an announcement that art history will remain on the English college curriculum. Thanks to a campaign by leading figures in the art world, including Deller himself, the English exam board, Pearson, will introduce a new art history A-level from September 2017. The move comes after widespread protest from the art community following the announcement by the London-based AQA exam board that it was axing the art history A-level in 2018.
 
The campaign to reinstate the art history A-level, which was led by the Association of Art Historians and supported by arts institutions including The Courtauld Institute of Art, the National Gallery, and the Royal Academy of Arts, was launched over fears that that the exclusion of art, music and drama at A-level would have long-term negative consequences for the arts and creative industries in England. In October, more than 200 academics and art professionals, including the Tates outgoing director Nicholas Serota and the artists Anish Kapoor and Cornelia Parker, wrote an open letter to express their grave concerns over the decision.
 
Rod Bristow, the president of Pearson in the UK, says, the response from the public, from teachers and from young people shows many people have a real passion for these subjects. We're happy to help make sure they remain available. The UK's culture minister, Matt Hancock, who assisted with the campaign, wrote on Twitter that he was thrilled saying it was crucial that students get [the] widest range of subjects to choose from.
 
Low uptake of the AQA art history A-level, with only 839 students sitting the exams this summer, as well as the specialist nature of the topics, the range of options, [and] difficulties in recruiting sufficient experienced examiners were cited as the reasons for the ending the qualification, said Kevin Phillips, the chief executive of AQA, in a statement in October. Pearsons art history A-level is subject to final accreditation by the UK governments Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation.
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The New York Times

Dec 02 2016
Royal Academy of Arts Will Stage Show of Charles I’s Collection
The show will open in 2018 — the museum’s 250th birthday — and bring together Renaissance art and 17th century works from the collection.
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The New York Times

Dec 08 2016
Harper Lee’s Legacy Would Expand Under Plan for Town Square
This proposal suggests that an area of Monroeville, Ala., should be a full-on tourist attraction, including replica “To Kill a Mockingbird” homes.
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The New York Times

Dec 01 2016
Art Review: Diving Into Movie Palaces of the Mind at the Whitney
“Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, means to dismantle the cinematic givens we take for granted.
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The New York Times

Dec 01 2016
What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week
From Africa, two shows featuring photographers. A range of works by the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. And a historical exhibition at Elizabeth Dee.
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The New York Times

Dec 01 2016
Art Review: Josef Albers’s Science and Soul of Seeing
Albers, a painter best known for his devotion to color, also developed an interest in black and white, as two exhibitions illustrate.
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The New York Times

Dec 07 2016
The Best Art of 2016
Looking back at the season, in light of a presidential election.
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The New York Times

Dec 06 2016
Guggenheim Unveils New Works & Process Lineup
The coming season of this series includes the Broadway divas Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, and new ballets by Alexei Ratmansky.
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The New York Times

Dec 02 2016
Critic's Notebook: The Hillary Clinton Selfie as Political Salve, or Weapon
Some supporters of the Democratic candidate have found comfort in Mrs. Clinton’s makeup-free look and comfortable demeanor, while others remain stung by the loss.
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The Art Newspaper

Dec 01 2016
Expert Eye: Harry Cooper
Franz West, Untitled (2010) (Image: © Vanessa Ruiz)
Art-historical references abound at Art Basel in Miami Beachif you know where to look. When we took a tour of the fair with Harry Cooper, the head of the department of Modern art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, history seemed to be his guide as he selected some of his favourite works on show. Cooper had the chance to present a more comprehensive narrative of 20th- and 21st-century art with the opening of the National Gallerys expanded East Building this autumn. You have to see art in development over time, with movements responding to one another, Cooper told us in September. And in each work we discussed at the fair, he noticed allusions to earlier traditions.


Dana Schutz

Expulsion (2016)

Petzel
The first thing I noticed is that you can smell the paint; its still that fresh, Cooper says, pointing to still-wet sections of a work by Dana Schutz. But the historical reference also caught my eye. It reminds me of the Masaccio expulsion, he says, referring to the Florentine masters fresco in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence, which was painted around 1425. In the figure on the left, he sees what looks like an escapee from Picassos Les Demoiselles dAvignon, with all that warm fleshiness and those sharp angles. But maybe the best part is the insects at the bottom. They look like they come out of a late work by Philip Guston.


Stuart Davis

Corn Shocks, Tioga, Pennsylvania (1919)

Menconi + Schoelkopf
Early in his career, Stuart Davis was enthralled by Vincent van Gogh, but it wasnt just a phase, Cooper says. The US painters early interest in the Dutch post-Impressionist never deserted him, partly because Davis was a landscape and still-life painter. But he worked even more quicklytheres a lot of wet-on-wet technique in this paintingwhereas Van Gogh made most of his paintings more deliberately. Although this work speaks to Daviss burgeoning self-confidence, it left significant room for growth. This one is still a little immature, Cooper says. The yellow/purple complementarity is straight out of a textbook, and that warm brown chimney is more naturalist, an anomaly, as if out of a painting by Robert Henri [one of Daviss teachers].


Joan Semmel

Untitled (2016)

Alexander Gray
To see someone drawing beautifully from the figure is a rare thing in contemporary art, Cooper says. Theres a level of abstraction that enters into this because of the cropping. The body leaks out onto the page, and the negative spaces inside are the ones that are defined. It reminds me of Matisse. He used to get so close to his models that he was practically on top of them. In Semmels case, she was often her own model, taking photographs of herself, but this drawing has none of that flat feeling of copying a photograph. She has internalised the sense of the body.



Martin Puryear


Niche (1999)

Matthew Marks
Puryear is such a serious, thoughtful artist, and this unusually large-scale drawing is powerful, Cooper says. It almost feels like something you can walk into, with this three-dimensional niche in a wall, and yet its hard to tell if its convex or concave. Only the lines that run across give you a sense of perspective. So, with that ambiguity, it is much more than just a sculptural study. The artist often defamiliarises vaguely recognisable objects and this one almost seems like a head, with that bulbous shape, Cooper says.


Franz West

Untitled (2010)

David Zwirner
Irreverence and playfulness are the qualities we most associate with Franz West. Yet this sculpturewhich Cooper grants has something radically informal or unfinished about itleans towards figuration. It feels like a head or a helmet, like theres some skeletal structure underneath, or some anatomical form. In that way, its very traditional, implying an interior through the surface alone. Cooper also sees something darker in this papier-mch, gauze and steel sculpture. Theres a sense of German Romantic suffering to it, the curator says.


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Dec 01 2016
Royal Academy to reassemble Charles I’s art for blockbuster anniversary show
Anthony van Dyck's Triple Portrait of Charles I (1635-36) (Photo: the Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
The Royal Academy of Arts in London (RA) plans to celebrate its 250th birthday in 2018 with a blockbuster show on the art collection assembled by Charles I. 

The Stuart king was one of the greatest English royal collectors, patronising some of the finest artists of his time. However, his unpopular religious policies, his attempt to rule without parliament, and his imposition of illegal taxes resulted in the English Civil War. The Parliamentary forces won, and Charles I was executed in 1649. The kings paintings were then sold off and dispersed. Research is now under way to identifyand then borrowrediscovered works from his collection. These will be shown alongside well-known masterpieces from the kings holdings, including works by Van Dyck and Titian.

An exhibition on Charles I, one of the most important British regal patrons, might seem a natural project for the Royal Collection, but it has a policy of not borrowing works for display. Since loans would be essential for the show, the RA and the Royal Collection are collaborating on what is effectively a joint project. The exhibition will be presented in the RAs galleries at Burlington House from 27 January to 15 April 2018.

The co-curators, Per Rumberg of the RA and Desmond Shawe-Taylor of the Royal Collection, are leading the search to identify paintings formerly owned by Charles I. Documents in national and royal archives record around 1,200 paintings, of which nearly 200 were reacquired by his son, Charles II. A further 120 have been identified by art historians in other collections. The location of the rest is unknown. The majority have only vague inventory descriptions in official records and, while some may have been destroyed, most have presumably survived, although their royal provenance has been unrecognised. The hope is to add several new discoveries to the show.

The exhibition will show around 100 paintings, with half coming on loan from the Royal Collection. These pictures mainly hang in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court. Although the loan list has not yet been finalised, it will include key Van Dyck portraits. Examples still in the Royal Collection include The Greate Peece (1632), Charles I with M. de St Antoine (1633), the Triple Portrait of Charles I (1636) and The Five Eldest Children of Charles I (1637). Other likely loans include a Rubens self-portrait (1623) and Holbeins Noli Me Tangere (1528). Discussions are also under way on the nine-strong set of Mantegnas Triumphs of Caesar (about 1492) from Hampton Courtwhich would be a coup for the show, since their size and importance means they are rarely lent.

The remainder of the show will consist of loans from major European and US museums. The Louvre in Paris has around 20 paintings from the collection of Charles I, and the Prado in Madrid has around 15. Titians are likely to be requested from both venues, such as the Prados Emperor Charles V with a Dog (1533). The Raphael Cartoons of Saints Peter and Paul for tapestries woven in around 1640 at Mortlake in present-day west London may well be requested from the Mobilier National in Paris.

The Van Dyck portrait of Charles I and Henrietta Maria (1632) at Kromeriz in the Czech Republic would also be important. Loan requests are likely to be made to Londons National Gallery for Correggios School of Love (about 1525), Rubenss Peace and War (1630) and Van Dycks Equestrian Portrait of Charles I (about 1638). The RA show will also include a cabinet room, mainly with miniatures, all from the Royal Collection, as well as several sculptures.

The Charles I show is due to coincide with the opening of the RAs major building development to celebrate the anniversary of its creation in 1768. This will involve the refurbishment of its Burlington Gardens building just to the north of the main Burlington House, and there will be a direct walkway linking the two.

The Royal Collection will be mounting its own parallel show on Charles Is successor monarch, entitled Charles II: Art & Power, at the Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace from 8 December 2017 to 13 May 2018. Charles II became a great patron, partly to glorify the restored Stuart monarchy, and his works have remained in the Royal Collection.
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Dec 01 2016
Art Basel price points: works for every budget
Margot Bergman

Portrait (2013), $8,000, Corbett vs Dempsey

One of a number of strong figurative painters whose work is on show at the fair, Margot Bergman repurposes portraits found in flea markets and thrift shops, transforming the subjects into something deeply uncanny.




Liza Lou

Untitled #9 (2011-12), $120,000, Lehmann Maupin

The South African artist, known for her use of craft materials, wove together glass beads to create this 50-inch wall piece. Her first exhibition with Lehmann Maupin Hong Kong is due to open in January 2017.






Alighiero Boetti


Mappa (1989-94), more than 15m,
Tornabuoni Art
This monumental embroidered map, which took five years to complete, is the last work the Italian artist madeand the only one with a pearl woven into the fabric. The buyer must agree to lend it to a show at the Cini Foundation during the Venice Biennale next year.
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Dec 01 2016
What is the role of the liberal biennial in a conservative world?
Tavares Strachan’s You belong here (2014), part of Prospect in New Orleans. Photo: © Joseph V. Grey
The first Whitney Biennial opened in New York on 22 November 1932 in a climate of healthy liberal optimism. Two weeks earlier, the Democratic nominee for president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had defeated the incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in a landslide. In a radio message just after his victory, Roosevelt heralded a national victory for liberal thought and promised an orderly recovery to a nation still deeply mired in the Great Depression.

The director of the Whitney Museum of American Art at the time, Juliana Force, echoed his enthusiasm on the occasion of the institutions inaugural survey of American art. An increasingly liberal spirit has broadened the scope of these exhibitions, she told the New York Times, so that in recent years they have assumed greater importance to both artist and public.

Model under stress


Such idealism is difficult to imagine today, as right-wing politicians gain influence around the world. The election of Donald Trump, the unfolding of Brexit and forthcoming presidential elections in Austria (4 December) and France (23 April 2017) put stress on liberalism and, by extension, on the modern biennial model, which values a broad and diverse presentation of ideas. In an increasingly illiberal world, what use is a biennial?

According to Fred Bidwell, the chief executive of the forthcoming Front International in Cleveland, there has never been a better time to organise such shows. Front is one of four new biennials due to launch in the US over the next few years. The trend is the subject of a talk today at Art Basel Miami Beach. Two days after the US election, I met Jens Hoffmann, one of our artistic directors, Bidwell says. And the first thing out of his mouth was, we need to do this now more than ever.

But biennials are not inherently tied to liberalism. The first such show, which opened in Venice in 1895, was organised to commemorate the wedding anniversary of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy. The king, far from being progressive, was a right-wing nationalist and imperialist. Three years after the show, he decorated one of his generals for massacring 80 striking workers in Milan who were protesting the escalating cost of bread.

In 1930, Benito Mussolini transferred directorship of the biennale from local authorities to his central government. For the next several editions, the show became an explicit celebration of Fascist populist values and was integrated into what Mussolini called a move toward the people. Film, music and decorative arts were given pride of place as a way to appeal to the common man rather than the elite.

Only after the end of the Second World War, with Fascism in defeat and liberalism in assent, did biennials change tack. In Germany in 1955, Arnold Bode founded Documenta as an explicit critique of German political history. The inaugural show focused on the many forms of Modernism that Hitler had labelled degenerate. Around 570 Fauvist, Cubist and Expressionist paintings and sculptures by nearly 150 artists were installed with little regard to a works national origin, thereby underscoring the universal sweep of Modernism.

This global liberalism, however, is not the model for most American biennials. There never was a particularly internationalist perspective in the US in terms of large-scale exhibitions, says Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, who organised Documenta in 2012 and the Istanbul Biennial in 2015. This is partly a product of the countrys size. In the US, cultures and traditions are dispersed across 3.8 million square miles of land. It makes sense to start at home.

Pride of place


This remains the case for the countrys newest biennials, which often grow from and focus on local communities. The idea behind the Honolulu Biennial, which has its first edition next year, is to focus on how the Hawaiian landscape generates regional culture. Were looking at this place and trying to understand how it shapes who we are, says the shows curator, Ngahiraka Mason. Creative practice comes out of the influence of geography. Thats the thing that shapes you.

But culture also shapes its surroundings. In the 1960s, American artists took to working on a massive environmental scale. Projects like Robert Smithsons Spiral Jetty (1970) and Michael Heizers Double Negative (1969) brought art to desolate placesan approach that Neville Wakefield, the artistic director of Desert X in Palm Springs, hopes to reawaken with a series of commissions. The works should be in some way generated out of the conditions of the place, as opposed to some of the cut-and-paste versions we know of public sculpture, he says.


What can a biennial really do?


How artists work is one thing, but the real political question for any biennial is its organisational model. Prospect New Orleans, which opens its fourth edition next year, takes place across various existing sites in the city. This kind of multi-institutional show is more complex than even the most ambitious single-venue exhibition, and the approach says much about its aims.

Everything we do relies on deep and trusting relationships, says Brooke Davis Anderson, the shows executive director. We delve deeply into every neighbourhood and by default rely on our partnerships. The last edition, which opened in 2014, took place in 18 venues and included 58 artists. There is a pluralist liberal model at work here: although the exhibition had a single artistic directorFranklin Sirmans, now the director of the Prez Art Museum, Miamiit was, like all biennials, too large to fit a single vision.

This model also carries risks. Sprawling biennials often struggle to find clear curatorial footing. Any show that includes both the Minimalist sculptor Larry Bell and the political group Occupy Museums (as the forthcoming 2017 Whitney Biennial does) will find it practically impossible to maintain a clear position. With liberalism now under assault, big, bold, clear ideas are more necessary than ever. This is not a curatorial responsibility per se, but it is a responsibility of citizenship in an increasingly illiberal world.

Talk on new biennials in the US, Art Basel in Miami Beach, Miami Beach Convention Center, 1 December, 6pm

Where it all began: two landmark US biennials



The first periodic contemporary art show in the US opened in Pittsburgh in 1895. The Annual Exhibition, as it was then known, was founded by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie as a way to make the Steel City into an art centre. His intention was to exhibit what he called the Old Masters of tomorrow, and early iterations of the show included works by then-radical artists like Henri Matisse, who won the exhibitions top prize in 1927. Now known as the Carnegie International, the show opens its 57th edition in 2018 under the artistic directorship of Ingrid Schaffner. 


The Whitney Museums annual show, which launched in 1932, focused more specifically on American artists. Significantly, organisers jettisoned the jury system and instead invited a group of artists to self-select what paintings (the only medium included in the inaugural show) they wanted to include. Each artist is his own jury, the New York Times reported at the time. The focus on American artists, like the focus on paintings, has since relaxed: Kuwait, Iran and Vietnam are among the countries of origin of artists included in the next edition, which opens in May 2017.







New US biennials and triennials


Front International, Cleveland, 
July-September 2018
Desert X, Palm Springs, 
25 February-20 April 2017
Honolulu Biennial: Middle of Now | Here, 
8 March-8 May 2017
Detroit Biennial
Dates TBD
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Dec 01 2016
Double Dutch at the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum
Christie van der Haak’s installation More Is More on the façade of The Wolfsonian–FIU (Image: Lynton Gardiner, courtesy of The Wolfsonian-FIU
Modern Dutch Design More is More
Until 11 June 2017
Wolfsonian-FIU
www.wolfsonian.org

Miami Beach is home to the largest collection of pre-war Dutch design and decorative art outside The Netherlands, at the Wolfsonian-FIU museum. The institution has highlighted this strength with an exhibition featuring around 200 pieces from its holdings, including furniture, posters and decorative objects, and a handful of loans.

The show looks at major Dutch design groups including the Nieuwe Kunst, which was connected with the British Arts and Crafts Movement; the Amsterdam School, more of a home-grown movement; and the minimalist, primary-coloured work of De Stijlprobably the best-known of the three, due to its links with abstract art and Bauhaus, says the shows curator, Silvia Barisione.

Though Barisione wants to emphasise the geometric style of Dutch design, she also points to the social engagement of the artists and architects. Members of the Nieuwe Kunst and Amsterdam School were essentially socialists, but [working] for a rich clientele, she says, although they also contributed to low-income housing and other civic projects. Modern graphic design was also a way to promote social change, such as a poster designed by Jan Toorop for the proto-feminist National Exhibition of Womens Labour in 1898, or to present a progressive image for businesses, such as an advertisement for the Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam for colonial imports of coffee, tea and tobacco (1930).

The countrys colonial ambitions also influenced the iconography, styles and techniques of Dutch Modern designers and artisans, including the Batik wax-resist dyeing method frequently used by Nieuwe Kunst artists, or references to Indonesian architecture in furniture by the architect and designer Michel de Klerk. A limited-edition living room set by him is a centrepiece of the exhibition. Among the more whimsical objects on show is a miniature mosque that was an advertising display from around 1893 for JW Smitt Tea and Coffee, which imported goods from the East Indiesand built mosques in Indonesia as a sign of tolerance, though in the Moorish rather than the local style.

Concurrently, the museum has brought its exploration of Dutch design up to the present with More Is More, a series of site-specific installations by the Hague-based artist Christie van der Haak. Her work has the natural and geometric principles that were used by members of the Niewe Kunst as well as the much more colourful and exuberant lines from the Amsterdam School, says Sharon Aponte Misdea, the museums deputy director of collections and curatorial affairs.

Van der Haaks highly elaborate work involves motifs, hand-drawn and coloured with gouache, then digitised and enlarged onto vinyl. She has taken over the museums lobbyone big feast of patterns, the artist sayswith intricate designs fixed to the floor, ceiling and the full height of the walls. Van der Haak has also covered part of the exterior of the museums 1926 fortress-like Mediterranean-revival building (originally constructed as a storage facility for wealthy seasonal residents) asking you to come inside and take a look, she says. At night, the museum is projecting an animated video that layers Van Der Haaks patterns on the north facade.

Van der Haaks work is consumed with this intersection between continuity and invention, or reinvention of the past and the present, says Misdea, adding that this is an aim the Wolfsonian shares. Im hoping that we can, through both the contemporary work and the [Modern design] exhibition, help our visitors think about that intersectionso that were not a museum full of static objects, but things that are part of a longer trajectory of changing narrative.
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Nov 30 2016
Gun fired at Arthur Rimbaud sells for €434,000
The gun Paul Verlaine used to shoot his lover, Rimbaud, up for auction at Christie’s Paris (est €50,000-€70,000). Courtesy Christie’s
The gun that the poet Paul Verlaine used to try to kill his lover, the poet Arthur Rimbaud, sold at Christies, Paris, on 30 November, for 434,000 with fees, more than six times its upper estimate of 70,000. The one-of-a-kind piece, arguably one of literary historys most famous weapons, was modestly priced and sparked a lengthy bidding war before selling to an anonymous buyer over the phone.

After running away from Paris together to find refuge in London, the pair fought so much that Verlaine left for Brussels. Rimbaud, however, followed him there and the couple continued to fight. It was then that Verlaine bought the gun, on the morning of 10 July 1873. In a drunken rage, he fired two shots at Rimbaud, who had just announced he was leaving for Paris, though he only managed to graze Rimbaunds wrist.

The Belgian police soon arrested them both. Rimbaud spent ten days in hospital, while Verlaine was sent to jail for two years, the sentence no doubt aggravated by the homosexual nature of their relationship. The original police statements and depositions are now kept at the Royal Library in Brussels.

The tempestuous and sometimes violent relationship between the older (and married) Paul Verlaine and the young enfant terrible of Symbolist literature, Arthur Rimbaud, lasted the first half of the 1870s. Not only did it help inspire some of their greatest work, but their tortured story also helped establish them as one of the most fascinating couples in literature.

It is not the only famous guns to have fetched an eye-watering price at auction. A colt revolver belonging to the famous bank robber Butch Cassidy sold for $175,000 with fees at California Auctioneers in 2012. The writer Ernest Hemingway was known for his love of guns, though he later used one to commit suicide. His double rifle sold in 2011 at James D. Julia auction house in Maine for $340,000 with fees. The former US president Theodore Roosevelt was so fond of hunting that he and his party reportedly killed more than 10,000 animals during an African expedition that began in 1909. A shotgun that was part of this questionable mission sold for $862,000 with fees in 2010, also at James D. Julia auction house.
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Nov 30 2016
Museo del Prado’s director Miguel Zugaza steps down after 15 years
Miguel Zugaza (Photo: © Ignacio Hernando Rodríguez, courtesy of the Museo del Prado)
The director of the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Miguel Zugaza, is to leave next year to return to his previous role in charge of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. In a resignation letter addressed to Spains minister of education, culture and sport, Zugaza said that after 15 years he considers the goals established during [his] term of office to have been fulfilled.

The Prado is now embarking on a new and exciting phase in anticipation of its 2019 bicentenary, Zugaza says. Last week the museum announced plans for a new wing designed by the British architect Norman Foster and the Spanish architect Carlos Rubioits second major building project after the 22,000 sq. m extension by Rafael Moneo in 2007. The Prado has enjoyed an exceptional year in 2016 thanks to its landmark Hieronymus Bosch exhibition, which attracted a record attendance of almost 590,000 visitors. 

The Spanish newspaper El Pas describes Zugaza as one of the most longstanding, diplomatic and effective managers in the recent history of Spanish culture and as the mastermind behind the 200-year-old institutions dramatic modernisation. Besides the Moneo-designed extension, Zugaza oversaw a transformation in the museums legal status in 2003, increasing its independence from the Spanish government and introducing a series of modernising initiatives. In the face of a deep recession, the Prado opened a new research and conservation centre in 2009 and extended its opening hours to seven days a week in 2011.

Zugaza now plans to resume his former position at a much smaller institution, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. A proud Basque, he was the director there between 1995 and 2001. His successor at the Bilbao museum, Javier Viar Olloqui, is due to retire next year.
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Nov 30 2016
Artist Sun Xun communes with nature for new commission, plus more Miami gossip
Sun Xun, Reconstruction of the Universe (2016) (image: Vanessa Ruiz)

The answer is blowin in the wind



That surfside structure between the W hotel and the bar Free Spirits that resembles the skeleton of a beached whale is, in fact, the Beijing-based artist Sun Xuns commission for the luxury Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet. Reconstruction of the Universe (2016) is an impressive installation-cum-dance floor featuring bamboo and a 3D film meticulously animated with woodcuts by a team of 100. (The awls they used to make the film are jammed, perhaps cathartically, in one of the structures columns.) Sun visited Miami just once in the year-and-a-half since he received the commission; he finds the city boring, but says the work was still a product of its location. You get here, you get a feeling and you start thinking, he said in an interview. You talk with the sky, with the trees, with the ocean, with the beach. Soon you will get somewhere very important. You will get an answer. They will tell you what you should do.



Feel the Burn(ing Man) at Art Basel



There are striking similarities between Art Basel in Miami Beach and the Burning Man festival in the Nevadan desert: both take place in exotic locales, both involve bouncing around various camps and participants are expected to be freaked out by some kind of titillating performance or installation. The long-time Burning Man artist Laura Kimpton made her Miami debut last year at the SLS Hotel. We really activated the space like its never been activated before, said her manager, Elizabeth Bettie-June Scarborough. (Kimpton will make her debut at the Venice Biennale next year as a representative of Burning Man, showing a 16ft-tall bust of a topless woman with the head of a monkey.) This year, the artists work is being shown in five spots around Miami, most prominently in the Magic City sculpture park. Kimpton says she strives to remind us all of our animal nature, which is why she was happy to be able to burn one of her sculptureshowever brieflyin Miami last year. Sadly, pyrotechnics are not planned for 2016.

Not so Standard?



Even in supposedly chill Miami, gallery dinners too often consist of rubbery chicken and long conversations with the dullest collectors on Earth. But Los Angeless MAMA gallery out-chilled even the most chill of Miami vibes, with an evening picnic at the Standard hotel in honour of the artist Jordan Sullivan, who is soon to open a show at the gallery. Guests sat on AstroTurf and debated which meditation app is the best (Headspace is largely hype, apparently; those in the know use Insight or Calm) before dining on food prepared by the LA restaurant Alma. Later, a performer gave a rendition of the Animals 1960s classic House of the Rising Sun, performed on a saxophone and garter belt-strapped synthesiser. Was all this very strange, even for Miami? Almas Ashleigh Parsons said that at 7pm the night before, the couple next to her in the hotels hammam were thrown out for having sex in one of the bathtubs. But you know, she said, if youre day-drinking, 7pm is really like 2am.


Koons: undressed to impress



There are all sorts of racy works in Desire (until 4 December), a show at the Moore building in the Design District, co-organised by the dealer Larry Gagosian and the art-world stalwart Jeffrey Deitch. Diana Widmaier-Picasso, the granddaughter of the Spanish artist, has brought together works by more than 50 artists that explore Modern and contemporary approaches to eroticism in art. More prudish visitors might be shocked by Richard Princes Spiritual America (1983), a highly provocative image showing a ten-year-old Brooke Shields naked and heavily made up. (Tate Modern withdrew the piece from an exhibition in 2009.) A visitor to the private view was also taken aback by Jeff Koonss physique, as seen in his 1991 sculpture DirtyJeff on Top (1991). The piece, on loan from a private German collection, shows the athletic artist having sex with his ex-wife, La Cicciolina. And Koonss virile appendage certainly got the crowds talking at the VIP preview, with one guest overheard exclaiming: That is one mighty fine wiener hes got there.


Anti-anti-Trump



The art collective T.Rutt ran into a spot of bother with its anti-Trump art earlier this month, when the Red Dot art fair in Miami changed its mind about displaying works by the group that poke fun at the president-elect. The artists David Gleeson and Mary Mihelic, who make up the collective, have criss-crossed the country in a reclaimed Trump campaign bus emblazoned with T.Rump. T.Rutts other potent piece, Flag desecration artwork (2016), incorporates the infamous leaked comments made by Trump, including the highly inflammatory statement: Grab em by the pussy. According to Hyperallergic, Eric Smith, the president of the Redwood media group, which runs Red Dot, said he had decided to pass on both the bus display and flag. But the artists have headed to Miami anyway, parking the bus in a courtyard at NW 24th Street at the intersection with North Miami Avenue, with the flag on show around the corner at Conception Art Fair. Lets hope The Donald doesnt pop in to Art Basel in Miami Beach any time soon.

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Nov 30 2016
Van Gogh Museum criticises experts for 'easygoing attitude' towards authentication
The battle between the Van Gogh Museum and two of the most experienced experts on the artist has intensified. This follows publication of the book, Vincent van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook, which was released by Abrams on 15 November. It reproduced 65 drawings said to have been done in 1888-90.

The museums latest statement on 29 November criticises Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov (the author) and Ronald Pickvance (who wrote the foreword) for their excessively easygoing attitude... towards questions of authenticity. It says that the sketches were not made by Van Gogh and are much later imitations of Van Goghs drawings by someone inspired by reproductions.

The museums specialists go through the evidence, pointing to problems over the type of ink, the apparent discolouration of the ink, the sort of pen or brush used, topographical errors in the sketches, the style, the order in which the disbound sketchbook has been reconstructed and the lack of a firm provenance.

On the provenance, Welsh-Ovcharov cites as key evidence a diary notebook apparently used in the Caf de la Gare which records that Van Gogh gave the sketches to the caf owners Joseph and Marie Ginoux. The museum statement reveals that in 2012 it was shown an entry dated 19 June 1888, stating that the owner has placed the painters bedroom furniture in the hallway and would like to see you. However, this sheet was not published in the new book, which instead reproduces another page dated 10 June with virtually the same phrase. It would be very curious for the same phrase to be repeated nine days later in the diary and the museum experts therefore conclude that the notebook is unreliable.


The Art Newspaper can disclose that as early as February 2010, more than three years before Welsh-Ovcharov became involved, images of the 19 June page were being shown to specialists. Welsh-Ovcharov apparently only learned about the 19 June page earlier this month and now says that it was inadvertently kept by the family of the sketchbook owner, but it does not change the analysis or my conclusion.

The Van Gogh Museum statement concludes that the new book raises more questions than it answers and it calls on Welsh-Ovcharov and Abrams (along with the French publisher, Seuil) to provide a clear and open response. Until then, we see no point in a scholarly debate and our contribution to the debate ends here.

Martin Bailey is the author of Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence (Frances Lincoln)

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Nov 30 2016
Argentina’s art scene comes to the fore in Miami
Top of the heap: the Argentine artist Matías Duville’s Arena Parking (2016) is on display in the fair’s Public sector this week (Image: Vanessa Ruiz)
VIPs on the hunt for the next big thing at Art Basel in Miami Beach would do well to train their eyes on Argentina. As the Prez Art Museum Miami presents the first US survey of the Mendoza-born Modernist Julio Le Parc and the Buenos Aires-born developer Alan Faena unveils his new cultural centre in Miami Beach, the country seems poised for a breakthrough.

It is not all down to luck. Argentinas newfound presence in Miami is part of a concerted effort by galleries, government officials and philanthropists to carve out a place for the country in the international art scene.

Until now, Argentinas artists and galleries have been a comparatively minor presence in Miami. Although international dealers bring biennial regulars such as Toms Saraceno to the fair, the weak peso has been a barrier for many homegrown dealers. Mexico and Brazil are so present in the contemporary art conversation, but thats not the case for Argentina, says the collector Federico Castro Debernardi, who created the Fundacin Arte in 2014 to address this imbalance.

Taking its turnat last



Judging by the historical offerings at Art Basel, the ongoing reappraisal of regional Modernisms is finally turning to Argentina. Jorge Mara, of Galera Jorge Mara-La Ruche in Buenos Aires, says that during his seven years participating in the fair, we have seen changes in perspective and appreciation of Modern Argentine artists. In the past, most of Maras sales in Miami were to institutions; this year, US collectors placed reserves on paintings by Sarah Grilo ($50,000-$150,000) before the opening, a development he calls unprecedented.

Several international galleries are presenting work by Argentine artists. Espaivisor of Valencia is showing Graciela Carnevales El encierro (Confinement) (1968). Forty photographs document a performance in which the artist locked an audience inside an empty gallery to protest against repression by the government. Espaivisors co-director, Mira Bernabeu, calls it one of the most important works in the history of Latin American art and is offering the final two full editions (priced from 125,000).

Londons Stephen Friedman Gallery is showing work by Manuel Espinosa, a pioneer of Concrete art who, unlike his contemporary Le Parc, was not shown widely outside Argentina during his lifetime. At Art Miami, Cecilia de Torres of New York is exhibiting paintings by the abstract artist Ins Bancalari.

Contemporary dealers have had a harder time breaking through. Nora Fisch, one of seven Argentine dealers at Untitled, is bringing paintings by Juan Tessi, who showed at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires this year. He has this amazingly complex, mature approach, yet he costs about the same as a recent graduate from Columbia [University], Fisch says.

Recipe for success



There are encouraging signs. After almost 12 years of protectionist policies that resulted in an economic crisis, Argentina elected Mauricio Macri, a market-minded reformist, as president in 2015. His administration sees the arts as a potential economic engine. This year, 43 dealers formed an alliance, Meridiano, partly to lobby for revisions to tax policy.

Historically, artists were seen as potential enemies, Mara says. The government has done a lot in the short time that it has been in power to repair that mutual distrust. Six of the seven galleries at Untitled received government funding for their stands, and Buenos Aires launched a partnership with Art Basel earlier this year; the city is paying the firm to advise on cultural programmes.

The mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodrguez Larreta, is due to take part in a panel at the fair on Thursday about the citys efforts to cultivate a cultural economy. The cultural consultant Andrs Sznt, who is moderating the discussion, says: To integrate into the international art world, you need strong institutions, strong artists, collectors who are able to give that initial boost and a regulatory environment that invites the art trade. Argentina fulfils only the first three, he says, but it does have a sense of momentum. It reminds me of Eastern Europe after 1989that sense of turning the page.

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Nov 29 2016
Why I like Art Abu Dhabi more than Art Basel in Miami Beach
The Guggenheim's Alexandra Monroe and interpreter next to Have a Banana at Abu Dhabi Art
I wonder whos really enjoying themselves at Art Basel in Miami Beach today. Art is supposed to enlighten, uplift, stimulate, delight, provoke or improve us. Dragging oneself around thousands of works of art in random competition with each other is the worst possible way to have any of these experiences.

Fairs coarsen my perceptions so that I end up remembering things that are either very big and red, very astonishing or very unpleasant, while refined, quiet works of art fade into the background. Imagine trying to introduce the subtle grey lines of Agnes Martin to the public at an art fair.

Besides, much contemporary art needs explaining, but you either get no explanation or a sales girl sidling up to you in department store mode, which makes me mutter, Just looking, and move on.

Abu Dhabi Art is quite different. I cant think of any other fair where Id see mega-dealer David Zwirner bending over to explain Minimalism to a seven-year old girl, as I did a few years ago there. The latest edition, from 16 to 19 November, was small (35 galleries compared to Art Dubais 94 and Art Basel Miami Beachs 260 plus). The dealers who came were mostly repeat visitors who had built up a regular, faithful clientele, so there was little pressure on them and conversation flowed as a result.

Fair conversations

I had a good gossip with Michael Findlay of Acquavella Galleries, present for the fourth time, about Warhol in 1980s Italy when he was unfashionable, and about local taste and knowledge. He said, Emiratis travel a great deal, and everyone knows Picasso and Warhol, while Basquiat has the highest recognition factorbut even someone like Wayne Thiebaud isnt unknown).

Had he sold, I asked (it was day three): Not yet, he said, But we keep coming every year, and I can tell you that we dont bother with places where we dont sell. He always brings a taster of all their holdings from the late 19th-centurya Degas this yearand Modern through to contemporary.

At Beiruts Agial Art Gallery I had an even longer gossip with my friend Saleh Barakat, who said that the crisis had affected the big institutional sales, but that he had sold in the $15,000-20,000 bracket. He told me about the extraordinary by-blow of the Lebanese civil war, which was the three-foot tank made by Ginane Makki Bacho in her kitchen from the fragments of the bomb that destroyed her house: It was a very personal bomb, he said dead-pan. 

Arabic calligraphy, still not collected by the Tate because they dont consider it truly contemporary, is developing in ever more subtle and ingenious ways. He had a minimalist painting by the Lebanese art critic and poet, Samir Sayegh, that looked like just a coloured band traversing the canvas, but a flourish above and below turned it into the word hub, love.

With Robin Start of Londons Park Gallery, an old hand at the market in the region, I heard about the fakes of Middle East Modern art being made in Iraq today; journos love skulduggery so I filed this tidbit away for future use.

Local heros

At Londons October Gallery, we talked about mysticism because they had a large calligraphic banner from the series of 99 dedicated to texts by the 14 Sufi masters.

This series won the Jameel Prize for its author, the Algerian Sufi artist Rachid Korachi, whose strand of gentle Islam is at the opposite end from Isil-style fundamentalism. He is known in the UAE for having decorated a carriage on the Dubai elevated railway, so the banner and his ceramics were attracting a lot of attention.

Another, even greater local hero was for sale on Sean Kellys stand; Idris Khans layered panes of glass with superimposed lettering or numbers, priced at 75,000, could have sold many times over because he is the creator of the spectacular war memorial next to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, inaugurated on 30 November.

Dubais Cuadro Gallery had two stands and its owner, the curator Bashar al Shroogi, took me through a proper little retrospective he had mounted of the very sensitive, home-spun, Emirati land artist Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, who rarely comes down from his remote mountains of Khor Fakkan where he makes art in sympathy with the surrounding landscape, such as the coral stones bound together with lava by wire made of local copper. Very Arte Povera, you might say, except that he evolved his own art without ever having heard of the movement.

Dont mention the wars

From Turin, another repeat exhibitor, Giorgio Persano, nearly always has some actual Arte Povera artists and Minimalist art, and for two years, the Lebanese artist, Zena El Khalil, who also has a big following as a blogger. Her 140 small wooden boxes are burned with Arabic words that are a mantra against the brutality of war: Land-Honour; Compassion-Forgiveness; Honour-Land; Compassion-Love; Love-Forgiveness. This work, which was one of the very few at the fair to be even tangentially about the ghastliness beyond the frontiers, sold to a member of the ruling house. It is as though the mere mention of the wars might shake the local peace.

Leila Heller of New York and Dubai gave a splendid dinner during the fair in her Dubai gallery, where she was displaying that grand old classic, Frank Stellas wall sculptures from the 80s at $1m each, but in Abu Dhabi Art her works were mostly under the $100,000 mark: richly textured and colourful pieces by the Egyptian Ghada Amer, the Iranian Marcos Grigorian, and the Lebanese Nabil Nahas, to mention only some artists from the region.

Have a banana

The Italian Galleria Continua (of San Gimignano, a small Tuscan hill town, and Beijingthe most opposite addresses you can imagine) was behind the unmissable performance work: tons of bananas covering the floor, flanked by formal garden vases. Eat a banana, toss the skin in a vase and reflect on death and decay were the artist Gu Dexins instructions.  Alexandra Munroe, the senior advisor on global arts to the Guggenheim Museum in New York , was its curator.

The two big changes in the Abu Dhabi art scene since 2009

Munroe commented on how much had evolved here since her last visit only two years ago. One of the biggest changes since Abu Dhabi Art started in 2009 is that artists from the region are no longer a specialist field, handled mainly by galleries from the region, but are internationalised and part of the Euro-American scene as well, acquired by museums such as the New York Guggenheim.

The Egyptian artist, Wael Shawky, currently the subject of big exhibition at the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, was for sale with Londons Lisson Gallery, and the Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi, who did one of his bloody flower paintings on the floor of the roof garden of the Metropolitan Museum in 2013, was on Thaddaeus Ropacs stand.

Brigitte Schenk of Cologne was showing the famous early video work by Saudi artist Abdulnasser Gharem, Al Siraat, and she told me that he was preparing for his exhibition in 2017 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
 
The other big change is that local support for Abu Dhabi Art has grown year on year, helped by the fact that its venue, the Manarat al Saadiyat, is one of the few places other than malls or mosques in which to hang out. Its actually fun. Emiratis, both sheikhs, sheikhas and commoners, and ex-pats flock with their children to see the art, do a painting class, eat street food from the stalls, and listen to music that is edgy but not rebarbative. 

The most committed go to the talks by art world celebs: this year they included the international curator Okwui Enwezor; David Adjaye, architect of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC; the Arte Povera artist Giuseppe Penone, who is making a 16-metre tree sculpture for inside the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Julia Peyton Jones, former director of Londons Serpentine Gallery and the impulse behind the 16 temporary pavilions by great architects that have gone up there, year by year, since 2000. 

The guest impresarios of artistic happenings were, as in previous years, the irrepressible Fabrice Bousteau, editor of Beaux Arts Magazine; and the Egyptian curator, Tarek Abou El Fetouh, who organised events reaching out from the fair to the citys water front.

A change of director for Abu Dhabi Art
 
Abu Dhabi Art would not have happened without Rita Aoun. It was she who conceived of it as not just an art fair, but a complex cultural happening, and it has been she who has cajoled the international art stars and thinkers to come to Abu Dhabi and take part.

She is executive director for culture of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Cultural Authority, and 2017 will be a busy year because the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be opening, so she has now passed responsibility for Abu Dhabi Art to Dyala Nusseibeh, who began her career with the Saatchi Gallery in London, and in 2013 launched the Istanbul art fair. As Michael Findlay said, Emiratis are not blas. There is no cynicism here; they thank us for bringing the art to them. Nusseibeh can build on this well disposed public, the growing and ever more educated creative energy, not to mention the excitement the Louvre Abu Dhabis inauguration next year will arouse.
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Nov 29 2016
Vizcaya, then and now
© Bill Sumner; courtesy of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
When the industrialist James Deering bought 180 acres of seaside land in Miami in 1912 to build a winter home, the south Florida city was far from fashionable. Miami at that time was like a frontier, says Gina Wouters, the curator of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, an extravagant mansion modelled after an 18th-century Italian villa that is now a National Historic Landmark. Most of Deerings wealthy peers were building their Florida snowbird homes further north in Palm Beach, Wouters says. There was no precedent [in the area] for this grandeur.

But Deering had a vision, and on Christmas Day 1916, he and his guestsall dressed as Italian peasantscelebrated the opening of his new home, designed by Paul Chalfin, Francis Burrall Hoffman and Diego Suarez. It had 34 rooms decked out with contemporary American art and a mixture of European antiques, and ten acres of formal pleasure gardens, dotted with follies.

Deering was no purist in his approach to collecting art and decorative objects, or how it was displayed at Vizcaya, says Wouters. It was definitely created as a home for enjoyment, not as a museum to house [the collection], she says. The estate eventually became a museum in 1935 and retains much of Deerings original furnishings.

To mark its 100th anniversary this year, Vizcaya has commissioned a series of installations from 11 Miami-based artists that aim to re-create or re-imagine elements of the historic estate in a show organised by Wouters, titled Lost Spaces and Stories of Vizcaya (until October 2017). Amanda Keeling has made a neon light installation of a Latin quote on the east faade of the main house that reads: Take the gifts of this hour. Put serious things aside. There is little documentation about Deerings pleasurable life at Vizcaya, and even less on the servants who lived there year-round, so the artist David Rohn made 16 portraits of former staff, which are hung throughout the roomsthe most provocative of the works, Wouters says.

The construction and materials of the home are very well documented, though, right down to the Tiffany hardware used for an intricate and playful latticework swing in the gardena nod to the Rococo exuberance of Fragonards painting The Swing (around 1767)which was unfortunately destroyed in the 1926 hurricane. Wouters was very disappointed that no compelling proposals emerged to re-imagine this lost bit of Vizcaya, but hopes that the structure will eventually be permanently re-created, as it was.

1. East front
Deering wanted the villa to be seen and approached from the water, so the Biscayne Bay-facing east faade is the most monumental.



2. The swing

A drawing of the swing built out of Tiffany-made parts that previously stood in the Vizcayas Fountain Garden.

3. Moat
Workers digging a moat around Vizcaya during the villas construction. Since the native coral stone is very porous, it did not retain water and was a failure, Wouters says. It was a fabrication like almost everything else at Vizcayaan artifice.

4. Jai Dit
Inside the East Loggia overlooking the gardens is Amanda Keeleys Jai Dit (2016) neon installation, which translates a Latin motto by the Roman poet Horace on the sundial above the balcony on Vizcayas east faade. The light work reads: Take the gifts of this hour. Put serious things aside.

5. East Loggia
How the East Loggia looked around 1926, several years after it had been finished. The galleon suspended from the ceiling is a recurring motif in the villa.

6. The Barge
A boating party approaches Vizcayas Bargea massive aquatic sculpture designed by Sterling Calder, the father of the mobile designer Alexander Caldersome time around 1920.

7. Tea House
The Venetian-style Tea House in the villas gardens.
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Nov 29 2016
From ‘fiasco’ to hero: the rise and rise of Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly is now so revered that it is difficult to imagine a time when his work prompted derision. But when he first showed his painting cycle Nine Discourses on Commodus (1963) at the Leo Castelli gallery in New York in 1964, critics dismissed them. Among the most strident was Donald Judd, who was then helping define Minimalism as the next great American art movement. Noting that it had been three years since Twombly, by then based in Rome, had last exhibited in New York, Judd wrote: Twombly has not shown for some time, and this adds to this fiasco. He added: There isnt anything to the paintings.

In an excellent essay in the catalogue for the Centre Pompidous new career survey, the first major posthumous show of Twomblys work, Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, writes that the savaging of the nine paintings by New York critics was a chauvinistic response to an expatriate sending exports from old Europe. Even Twomblys dealer Castelli reflected later that the paintings were Europeanised and preciousespecially in a US art scene in thrall to Pop and Minimalism.

It is precisely because of Twomblys unique combination of European sensitivity and American bravura that the Nine Discourses are celebrated today. His work is seen as a link between the heroic past and the more uncertain present. The works in that series, which tell the story of the murder of the Roman emperor Commodus in AD 192, reflect Twomblys deep engagement with the classical world after he moved to Rome in 1957. But they were also made in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, in a phase in Twomblys painting that reflected a broader anguish indicated by his use of blood-red colours.

More than half a century after their creation, the Nine Discourses are one of three painting cycles at the heart of the Pompidou show. The two others are similarly inspired by the ancient world: Fifty Days at Iliam (1978) is a ten-painting installation from the Philadelphia Museum of Art based on Homers descriptions of the last 50 days of the Trojan War; the other series, Coronation of Sesostris (2000), from Franois Pinaults collection, is also in ten parts and is named after the Egyptian pharaoh described by Herodotus. Though made across 40 years, they each contain the hallmarks of Twomblys style, with moments of violent expression and lyrical reverie, graffiti-like scrawls and sensuous impasto. This sublime meeting of poetry and paint marks him out as one of the indisputably great painters of the latter half of the last century, and the first decade of this one.


Cy Twombly, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 30 November-24 April 2017
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Nov 23 2016
National Gallery's acquisition of Pontormo portrait under threat
The National Gallery’s purchase of Pontormo’s Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap (1530) may have hit a snag (Image: DCMS)
The National Gallery in London is facing a hurdle in securing a Jacopo Pontormo portrait after raising more than 30m to acquire it. The American owner, who bought the painting last year and then applied for an export licence to bring it to the US, has not yet accepted the gallerys offer to match the price he paid for the work, although he is obliged to do so under UK export regulations.

Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap (1530), depicting the Florentine aristocrat Carlo Neroni, was sold last year by the Earl of Caledon, going to an anonymous foreign buyer for 30.7m. The Art Newspaper has identified the new owner as Tomilson (Tom) Hill, the New York hedge fund banker at the Blackstone Group, who has recently emerged as a major art collector.

After purchasing the painting, Hill or his agent applied for a UK export licence. This was deferred by the UK government in December 2015 to allow a British buyer the chance to raise funds to acquire the work. After strenuous efforts, the National Gallery succeeded in finding the money required to secure the purchase. Since the usual tax concession was not available, because of the way the US sale had been made, the Treasury eventually offered a special grant of nearly 19m to cover the extra cost. Grants were also awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund. The gallerys 30.7m matching offer was made just before the export licence deferral ended on 22 October.

The owners apparent delay in accepting the matching offer may be due to changes in the dollar-sterling exchange rate. Hill bought the Pontormo last year when the value of sterling against the dollar was much higher. Accepting a 30.7m matching offer would now involve a loss of around 5m, because of the British currencys steep fall in value, particularly following the Brexit referendum.

All foreign buyers facing deferred UK export licences face the risk of exchange rate losses (and they would be unlikely to voluntarily return any gains made if exchange rate fluctuations went the other way). What is unusual in this case is the combination of the high price of the work and the fact that this year the sterling exchange rate has fallen much more than the usual currency fluctuations, which means the loss is very high.

The foreign buyer made a commitment to accept a matching offer when the Pontormo case was considered by the Export Reviewing Committee on 14 October 2015 and this was reiterated in writing by the owner last April. The National Gallery is still waiting to hear whether Hill will accept its matching offer. If he decides not to abide by his commitment, he will have to keep the painting in the UK. Neither the gallery nor Hills office were willing to comment.
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Nov 23 2016
The colossal public sculpture show that the UK forgot
In 1971, organisers of the City Sculpture Project invited 24 artists to submit models for possible construction and public installation in one of eight cities across the UK. They had whittled down their list from around 200 artists, and finally selected 14 works to be put in cities including Birmingham and Liverpool. For six months, the sculptures (by artists such as Barry Flanagan, Nicholas Monro and Liliane Lijn) were kept in situ, after which each city could then elect to buy the work and make it a permanent fixture. None did. The sculptures were debated, ridiculed, some were even vandalisedand all were removed by Christmas 1972.

It was incredibly ambitious, partly successful and partly failed, says Jon Wood, the curator of a forthcoming show about the project. It was an unusual project from the outset with a very small team running it.  

The scheme was the brainchild of Jeremy Rees, the founder of Bristols Arnolfini gallery, who worked closely with the curator Anthony Stokes to develop the idea and secure funding from the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation and the Arts Council.

Rees wanted more cutting-edge sculpture out there being discussed, Wood says. One departure from tradition was that the artists were asked to make site-specific proposals. At the time, that concept that were now more familiar with wasnt on everyones lips, Wood says. It was challenging for some of the artists, who were used to making whatever sculpture they wanted. It was also challenging for the public, who were asked to work out what these weird and wonderful things were doing in relation to their town.


One of the best-known commissions was Monros 5.5m-tall King Kong (1972), which was positioned beside Birminghams Bull Ring shopping centre, one of the first American-style malls to be built in the UK. There was a campaign in Birmingham to keep King Kong, Wood says. A lollipop lady put a pound down to start it off because she said: I walk thousands of children across the pedestrian crossing to school and they all talk about King Kongthey love it. The campaign was unsuccessful and the sculpture was bought by a car salesman who displayed it on his forecourt.

If nothing else, the show generated conversation. There was a lot of press coverage but it was what youd expect: What a waste of money or what on earth is that?, Wood says. The two works installed in Cambridge, by Flanagan and Brower Hatcher, were both vandalised. It was a bit of student japes, coupled with an old-fashioned dislike of contemporary sculpture, Wood says.

The show in Leeds, which opens in November, will include two of the original works from the project: Monros King Kong and William Turnbulls Angle (1972), as well as a number of original maquettes and archival documents. Three of the participating artists Garth Evans, Peter Hide and Hatcherhave agreed to remake models for the show.

Was the project really a failure? It was a shame that cities didnt buy them, Wood says. It was a different environment then; there wasnt all the money and interest in contemporary art. In some ways it may have been ahead of its time, taking place five years before the first Skulptur Projekte Mnster in 1977, Wood points out. Id like to think people today would be a lot more open to it.


City Sculpture Projects 1972, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 24 November- 19 February 2017
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Nov 23 2016
Japan pledges $11.4m for mosaic conservation project in Hisham’s Palace in Jericho
The mosaic floor at Hisham's Palace. Courtesy of the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
Conservation work has begun on one of the Middle Easts largest mosaics. The project to restore the nearly 1,300-year-old, 827 sq. m carpet mosaic in the hammam (public bath) at Hishams Palace complex near Jericho, in Palestines West Bank, is expected to cost at least 1.235bn (around $11.4m).
 
The project, funded by the Japanese government, launched on 20 October with a ceremonial unveiling of the mosaic, which has been hidden under protective layers of fabric, soil and sand since it was excavated in the 1930s. As well as the actual conservation of the mosaic, the initiative also includes a new structure that will be constructed to protect the site from the elements. The [conservation] phase will continue for at least two months and the floor will be covered partially during this period, says a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.


 
The palace complex was built in around AD734 during the Umayyad period. It is renowned for its hammamone of the largest in the regionas well as for its elaborate decoration, which includes stucco carvings, sculptures and, of course, mosaics. Its Tree of Life mosaic, which depicts a lion attacking a gazelle under a fruit tree, is considered to be one of the most accomplished of its period. According to the Ministry of Tourism in Jericho, Hishams Palace is visited by around 200,000 tourists a year. The hammam, which is currently not part of the palace tour, will be open to visitors once the project is finished.
 
The project is part of a wider Japanese programme to assist tourism development and sustainable economic growth in Palestine and in the Jordan Valley. The Asian countrys collaboration with Palestine began in 2010 and has included training courses in tourism and cultural heritage. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, building work on the site will start in May 2017. A spokeswoman from the Japanese embassy in Israel says that works are due to be completed in September 2018.
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Nov 23 2016
Tate Modern launches ten-day live art exhibition in the Tanks
Artist Isabel Lewis hosts an occasion in Berlin in 2015 (Photo: Vitali Wagner © Tanz im August/HAU Hebbel am Ufer)
Tate Modern is launching a ten-day exhibition of live art in and around its subterranean Tanks space next spring. The BMW Tate Live Exhibition (24 March-2 April 2017), which will be held annually, will mix installation, performance, video and sound works, marking a "new departure in the concept of the art exhibition", the organisers say. 

The project is an "essential cornerstone" of Tates ambition to "become a museum of the 21st century", said Tate Moderns director of exhibitions, Achim Borchardt-Hume, at a press conference today (23 November). It follows the opening of the Tanks in summer 2012 as the worlds first museum galleries dedicated to performance, film and installation. BMW has sponsored the Tate Live series of performance commissions and live-streamed online broadcasts since 2012.

Participating artists in the first exhibition include Fujiko Nakaya, Isabel Lewis and Ian Cheng. The Japanese-born artist Nakaya will create fog sculptures from water vapour during a daily performance on the terrace on top of the Tanks. The Dominican-American artist Lewis will host a series of her multisensory "occasions", combining music, dance, food, drink and scents. 

Cheng, who is based in New York and is known for his digital and virtual reality projects, "is experimenting with a new work that has a live presence", says Catherine Wood, Tates senior curator of performance. Meanwhile, the Italian music producer Lorenzo Senni will unveil a new light and sound piece. "He treats sounds like artists treat language," says Andrea Lissoni, the senior curator of film and moving image. 

The programme will have a "dual texture", Wood says. "Well be in installation mode during the day and events mode in the evenings." Asked about the idea of audience participation, she says that "can be a terrifying prospect at places like the theatre, but this is more ambient, and about creating an environment that is shared". 
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Nov 23 2016
Bauhaus centenary in 2019 will be marked by events across Germany and beyond
A Bauhaus party in the restaurant Ilmschlösschen near Weimar on 29 November 1924 (Image: Louis Held, 1924. Klassik Stiftung Weimar)
The 2019 Bauhaus centenary celebrations are set to include two new museum openings in the pioneering design schools home cities of Weimar and Dessau, jubilee exhibitions, an opening festival in Berlin and a Grand Tour of Modernism to encompass 100 destinations around the country, the organisers have announced.

The new Bauhaus Museum Weimar, a glass cube set on a concrete pedestal to be built on the edge of the Weimarhallenpark, is designed by the Berlin architect Heike Hanada with a budget of 22.6m. The new Dessau museum, a metal rod encased in glass designed by Barcelonas Gonzalz Hinz Zabala, will offer 2,100 sq. m exhibition space for the Bauhaus Dessau Foundations extensive collection. Both will open in 2019. In Berlin, the Bauhaus Archive will be extended by a new, five-storey glass tower set to open after the festivities in 2021.

Berlins Bauhaus Archive, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar have long since reached their limits in terms of space given increasing visitor numbers, growing collections and the demands of contemporary museum work, says the Bauhaus Association, the organisation coordinating the centenary plans.

The opening festival in Berlin in early 2019 will focus on contemporary performance art, theatre and music inspired by Bauhaus masters including Oskar Schlemmer, Lyonel Feininger and Lszl Moholy-Nagy, the organisers say.

The Grand Tour of Modernism, linking 100 Bauhaus-relevant locations in Germany, is conceived as a precursor to a Europe-wide Route of Modernism from 2020. The tour will be accompanied by a guidebook and an app to help Bauhaus fans navigate the route by train, car or bicycle.

In the run-up to the centenary, a touring show will also visit Mumbai, Kyoto, Hangzhou, Lagos, Moscow, Sao Paulo and Boston in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, the show will open in Berlins Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
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