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The Art Newspaper

Jul 09 2017
Master forger once foiled by The Art Newspaper reveals his secrets
Notorious forger Shaun Greenhalgh in his Lancashire studio (Photo: Fabio De Paola/REX/Shutterstock)
A fake Gauguin spotted by The Art Newspaper was cobbled together in a shed in Bolton, Greater Manchester, by Shaun Greenhalgh, who has just published his memoirs (A Forgers Tale: Confessions of the Bolton Forger, Allen & Unwin). The notorious faker describes his effort as the worst piece of sculpture I have made as an adult. Using a mixture of clay, earth dug up in the nearby Jumbles Country Park and cigarette ash (in an attempt to get the right surface texture), he fired the sculpture of a faun in three pieces before crudely glueing them together with Araldite.

Greenhalgh took the piece to a well-known London auction house (Sothebys), where it fetched 20,700 in 1994, and the faun was later bought by the Art Institute of Chicago for 180,000. In 2007, after the forgers arrest, Scotland Yard stated that the fake Gauguins current whereabouts are unknown. We then suggested that its detectives might contact the Chicago museum. What happened next? The faun was immediately taken off display and remains shrouded in mystery. 
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The Art Newspaper

Jul 09 2017
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The Art Newspaper

Jul 09 2017
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The Guardian

Jul 09 2017
'The ghetto is the gallery': black power and the artists who captured the soul of the struggle

What part did black artists play in America’s civil rights struggle? They reinvented Superman and took a seven-mile artwork through Harlem. As the Tate tackles this tumultuous era with Soul of a Nation, we meet the show’s star attractions

Can “the soul of a nation” be defined by artists of its most oppressed group? That’s the ambitious goal of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, about to open at London’s Tate Modern. Through 150 artworks and more than 60 artists, the show aims to represent the United States’ ethical, conscious and moral spirit – its soul – through exhibits made by (and about) people who historically had less life, less liberty, and less wealth than their fellow white citizens.

Framing the show from 1963 to 1983, the curators were led by how artists of the time were responding to Martin Luther King’s mission and the rising, more militant black power movement. So the exhibition encompasses a wide variety of works of black subjects and/or created by black artists, from the depictions of protest and music in Roy DeCarava’s stunning black-and-white photographs (Mississippi Freedom Marcher, Washington, DC, and Coltrane on Soprano, New York, both 1963) to an afro-wearing, bespectacled brother crossing his arms against a grey background, as well as a red, white and blue frame in Barkley L Hendrick’s 1969 work Icon for My Man Superman (Superman Never Saved Any Black People – Bobby Seale).

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The Guardian

Jul 09 2017
American Reportage: documenting the American experience – in pictures

American Reportage is a new collective of documentary photojournalists, dedicated to documenting American culture and covering issues central to the social and economic landscape of the country. A selection of work by the founding members illustrates the breadth of their range and experience

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The Guardian

Jul 09 2017
ToGather: Susan Hefuna review – all the world's a cage

Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
Roomfuls of boxes, cases and drawings aim to ‘catch experience’ in these sometimes haunting musings on migration

On the morning I visited ToGather, an exhibition of drawings and installations by the German/Egyptian artist Susan Hefuna at the Whitworth in Manchester, the galleries were eerily quiet. For minutes at a time, I was quite alone with the work, something I found to be disappointing at first. After all, as the show’s title suggests, its subject is people, and all the ways they live, together and apart; it would have been nice to see more of the real thing around. But then, as the emptiness took its effect, I began to be glad of it. Wandering the room in which, for instance, Hefuna has built 13 towers using afaz, the improvised palm wood cubes that are commonly used by Cairo street vendors, it was as if I’d stumbled upon an abandoned city. Here, all around me, were the teetering ziggurats of misery and desolation we see on the television news almost every night. No wonder I jumped at the sudden sound of laughter somewhere far off.

The cases, built of metal and glass, are actually the wheeled, stainless steel carts Cairo street vendors use

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The Guardian

Jul 08 2017
The most intimate moments in art – portrait painters and their subjects laid bare on film and in exhibition
The National Portrait Gallery’s new show surveys the history of old master portraiture, with some surprising insights into the emotional connection between sitter and artist

The artist and the subject of a portrait form a bond like no other. It may come about by chance, perhaps even covertly, with a quick sketch made in passing, or formally, over a series of arranged sittings. Whatever the occasion, the two are then bound together by the portrait.

This summer Stanley Tucci’s latest film as a director, Final Portrait, will attempt to reproduce the intensity of such an encounter. Starring Geoffrey Rush as Alberto Giacometti, it tells the story of the great Swiss artist’s attempt to paint a likeness of his friend, the American writer James Lord. The creative process ahead, a flattered Lord is assured, will only take a few hours. What follows, in Tucci’s careful cinematic treatment of Giacometti’s endeavour, is an entertaining collision of two world views, a kind of duel between the sitter and the artist, as the endlessly deferred completion of the portrait takes over their lives.

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The Guardian

Jul 08 2017
Wild exposures: animals photobomb vintage portraits – in pictures

Anja Wülfing has a knack for combining the antiquated with the absurd, painting colourful creatures on turn-of-the-century photos. “Sometimes it’s a detail on the photograph,” says the German painter and graphic designer, “like a haircut, or a facial expression that reminds me of a specific animal.” Wülfing began to introduce these “visitors”, as she calls them, nearly three years ago after finding a vintage portrait of a couple inside an old frame she bought on eBay. “I added oversized birds in between the photographed people and was surprised at how oddly natural it looked,” she explains. “I like the combination of the old and the humorous, the fact, the fiction, and the little feeling of discomfort.”


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The Guardian

Jul 08 2017
The Italian architecture that shaped new world heritage site Asmara

The newly listed Eritrean capital features outstanding examples of experimental building design from the early 20th century

Standing as a startling collection of futuristic Italian architecture from the 1930s, perched on a desert mountaintop high above the Red Sea, the Eritrean capital of Asmara has been listed as a Unesco world heritage site.

Announced as one of a series of new “inscriptions”, which are expected to include German caves with ice-age art and the English Lake District, Asmara is the first modernist city in the world to be listed in its entirety.

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The Guardian

Jul 08 2017
Oakland firefighters in training – in pictures

Becoming a firefighter in Oakland, California, one of the state’s busiest fire departments, requires courage, sweat and unswerving dedication. Photographer Rosa Furneaux followed the city’s latest recruits through their unsparing 18-week training academy as they become the first class to graduate since the ‘Ghost Ship’ fire


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The Guardian

Jul 08 2017
The 20 photographs of the week

The G20 summit in Hamburg, the Iraqi forces’ advance in Mosul, North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile test and protests in Caracas – the news of the week captured by the world’s best photojournalists

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The New York Times

Jul 07 2017
Tech Style: ‘Baby Driver’ Stirs Nostalgia for iPods
No cell service is not a problem for those stubborn holdouts who don’t rely on streaming to get their tunes.
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artforum.com

Jul 07 2017
SLANT: Breaking Tradition
Claudia La Rocco on Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey’s THE SET UP
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The New York Times

Jul 07 2017
Selection From Gurlitt Collection Arrives in Switzerland
About 200 works confiscated by the Nazis from German museums have arrived in Switzerland for an exhibition opening in November.
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artforum.com

Jul 07 2017
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The Guardian

Jul 07 2017
Liverpool is caring for its heritage buildings | Letters
The city’s mayor, Joe Anderson, responds to criticism of dockside redevelopment plans

The article on Liverpool’s world heritage status by Oliver Wainwright (Fall from grace, 1 July) was a poor portrayal of the real situation and of the city’s record. The proposed Liverpool Waters development, by the Peel Group, is not a “stone’s throw” from the Three Graces: it’s half a mile down river. The former Futurist Cinema, on Lime Street, with its “beautiful ceramic facade” had been left derelict for 30 years, posed a danger to the public and needed £11m to save it with no guarantee of an end use.

Liverpool is extremely proud of its world heritage status and the site has never been in a better condition. Since 2012, more than £670m has been invested in historic assets on the site, with 37 listed buildings upgraded and the number of them at risk reduced by 75%. Liverpool has been praised by Historic England and the city has been chosen as a European heritage role model. We welcome Unesco’s decision this week to investigate how the city can manage future developments on the site.

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The New York Times

Jul 07 2017
A Little Cottage Where You Can Smell the Natural History of Perfume
The artisanal fragrance maker Mandy Aftel will let you in for only an hour, to inhale aromas ancient and modern, and send you out with scented keepsakes.
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artforum.com

Jul 07 2017
FILM: Tonight, Atomic
Sarah Nicole Prickett on episode 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return
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The Art Newspaper

Jul 07 2017
Jewellery worth up to £3m stolen from London's Masterpiece fair
Masterpiece takes place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in west London (Photo: Deniz Karagulle)
Londons Metropolitan Police are investigating a major theft from the Masterpiece art fair (29 June-5 July) in Chelsea, west London. The items stolen from the stand of Swiss jewellers Boghossian, based in Geneva and London, are estimated to be worth up to 3m, according to the Evening Standard newspaper. 

There were reportedly no witnesses to the theft, which is thought to have taken place between 5pm on 4 July and 9.30am on 5 July, the fairs final day. The security presence at the venue, in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, included CCTV cameras and bag checks when entering and leaving the premises.    

A spokeswoman for the fair says: Masterpiece is fully co-operating with the Metropolitan Police and we take the security of the fair and the objects exhibited very seriously. Boghossian were not available for comment. 

This years edition of the fair, with 153 exhibitors of fine art and luxury goods, drew a record 44,000 visitors. 
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artforum.com

Jul 07 2017
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The Art Newspaper

Jul 07 2017
Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair does a U-ey to Vauxhall
The founder of the Art Car Boot Fair Karen Ashton (Photo: Nick Cunard)
The annual Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair takes place in its namesake location this Sunday (9 July), eschewing its usual east London stomping ground. This years sale is popping up at The Workshop in Vauxhall, south London, around the corner from Damien Hirsts Newport Street Gallery and Beaconsfield Gallery, both of which will have a presence at the car boot fair. Well-known artists will be on hand to sell their wares at knock-down prices, giving punters a chance to acquire their very own Gavin Turk, Peter Blake, Harland Miller or Bob & Roberta Smith work of art. Among the pieces on sale at the event will be Jeremy Dellers Strong and Stable My Arse posters that appeared in Londonat first anonymouslyduring this years UK election campaign; rose gold necklaces by Gavin Turk in the shape of a London brick; and snakeskin sculptures by Polly Morgan. Entry is 5. 


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The Guardian

Jul 07 2017
'Many see the picture as symbolic of Maradona’s talent and our terror'

Frank Vercauteren and his Belgium team-mates take on Diego Maradona in the 1982 World Cup

I like to think I achieved a little bit during my career: I won league titles, European trophies and was a World Cup semi-finalist. But this photograph is one of the things I’m proudest to have been part of. I have a box of memorabilia and I keep a copy in there.

I know many people see the picture as symbolic of Maradona’s talent and our terror; that he was so good, it needed six of us to stop him. But in Belgium we have our own interpretation. We love this image for very different reasons. We remember how this match really went.

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The Guardian

Jul 07 2017
The grime scene in London and beyond – in pictures

Documenting grime’s emergence from the underground, photographer Paul Hackett finds artists expressing their individuality and solidarity

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The Guardian

Jul 07 2017
Women’s art occupying public spaces in New York City – in pictures

SaveArtSpace is a Brooklyn-based not-for-profit group with a mission to transform advertisement space into public art installations, by and for the local community. Its latest initiative is SaveArtSpace: the Future Is Female, an all-female gallery & public art exhibition in New York City using billboards, phone booths and advertising hoardings

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The Guardian

Jul 07 2017
Wyndham Lewis’s TS Eliot: a jigsaw puzzle of rebellion and radicalism

History remembers the artist as a Hitler sympathiser, but his guiding principle – as illustrated by this portrait, which the RA rejected – was a passion to agitate

Modernist poetry’s lanky luminary TS Eliot looks serious and far from comfortable in Wyndham Lewis’s famed portrait. His face is a jigsaw puzzle of shadowy half-moons and sharp planes. The hands droop from the oversized suit, suggesting the subtle creepiness of a limp handshake.

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The Guardian

Jul 07 2017
Portrait power, black power and flower power – the week in art

Old masters spill their secrets, America makes a fist of its history and New Order say it with roses – all in your weekly dispatch

The Encounter
This exhibition of portrait drawings made from life by the likes of Holbein, Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt is a chance to get close to the creative processes of some of the greatest artists in history. It homes in on the magical way great portraits preserve people who lived long ago.
National Portrait Gallery, London, 13 July – 22 October.

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The Guardian

Jul 07 2017
Maria Balshaw, the first woman at the top of the Tate: 'We need to speak to the whole of society'

The terror attacks, Grenfell Tower, the election: the Tate’s new boss has not had a quiet easing-in period. But she’s determined to make the galleries central to these tumultuous times

Maria Balshaw, newly appointed director of Tate, has been in post for just three and a half weeks when we meet. Despite nursing an ill-timed broken arm, a yoga injury (“someone was doing a handstand and they fell on top of me”), Balshaw is on fine form. Reflective and precise, she wears her position of influence in the art world with grace – and a silk printed Duro Olowu kimono.

Ordinarily, the new head of a national arts institution might expect to spend their first few weeks figuring out internal politics and memorising names, but what might have been Balshaw’s easing-in period has included the Borough Market terror attack, a snap general election, the Grenfell Tower fire and the Finsbury Park mosque attack. Before that, there was the Manchester Arena bombing, significant for many reasons, but also because Balshaw has come to London after 11 years at the forefront of Manchester’s arts scene, where she was the director of the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester City Galleries, as well as director of culture for Manchester city council.

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The New York Times

Jul 07 2017
Telling Each Other Secrets in Pictures
The Metropolitan Museum of Art commissioned 12 artists, paired together, to communicate using visuals for five months. Two paired artists discuss their experiences in this 360 video.
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The Guardian

Jul 07 2017
Whales at the Natural History Museum: this week’s best UK exhibitions

Skeletons and skulls reveal the secret lives of the biggest animals on Earth. Plus: the influence of surrealism and the legacy of Bonnie Prince Charlie

Nothing gets you closer to an artist than the intimacy of a drawing. To look at one by Da Vinci is to see his mind and hand at work. This exhibition of portrait drawings by some of the greatest ever artists is an encounter both with genius and the faces of people who lived up to 500 years ago. Hans Holbein’s drawings of Tudor Britons are spookily exact, like Renaissance photographs, while Rembrandt’s make you cry. The stuff of magic.
National Portrait Gallery, WC2, 13 July to 22 October

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The Guardian

Jul 06 2017
All aboard Warpaint's world tour – in pictures

From cramped buses to Icelandic spas, the four women of experimental indie rock band Warpaint have tasted all sides of life on the road. Tour manager Robin Laananen captured it all through her camera, and shares her inside story

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The New York Times

Jul 06 2017
Art Review: An Exhibition Worth Thousands of Words
In “Talking Pictures” artists converse in image, by cellphone, in a challenge established by a Met Museum curator.
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artforum.com

Jul 06 2017
DIARY: Under Pressure
Arielle Bier at Art Night in London
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The New York Times

Jul 06 2017
Art and Museums in NYC This Week
Our guide to new art shows, and some that will be closing soon.
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The Art Newspaper

Jul 06 2017
Adjusted to fit: on Louise Lawler at MoMA
Louise Lawler, (Andy Warhol and Other Artists) Tulip (1982). (Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures. © 2017 Louise Lawler)
Its a tight, close-up, black-and-white shot taken with a wide aperture, and the print itself is small: just three by six inches. In the centre of the picture is an ashtray, and inside it, a book of matches. Across the book, three unpunctuated words appear in sharp focusWHY PICTURES NOWwhich brings into relief the focal blur from which the phrase emerges. There is no way to tell whether the capital emphasis is orthographic or typographic: the typeface used is Copperplate Gothic, a 1905 font for which there exists no lower case. The letters appear obliquely, as the closed matchbook is propped up at an angle on the side of a spotless glass ashtray. This luscious photograph, diminutive in scale and wide in aspect ratio, formally cool and collected, essentially noir in content and cinematic in width, contains two further surprises. On the bottom of the ashtray, in riotous cursive script, the first three letters of Hotel are clearly legible: Hot. And the whole thing, in its nondescript position along the second wall of Louise Lawlers survey at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), is framed in a slender rectangle of outrageous canary yellow.

Hot and cold, noir and yellow, small and wide, cursive and uppercase, centred and notthis tiny yet flamboyantly dialectical photograph is the titular anchor of this long-overdue exhibition of Lawlers four-decade career. To linger on her placid photo-conceptualism is to find oneself awash in detail. There are no strident positions in Lawlers work. Indeed, even in her anti-war positions (against Vietnam and Iraq, for example) the approach is more mordant than politically militant (one announcement card for a gallery event in 2003 drily promises No drinks for those who do not support the anti-war demonstration). But irony is less a language than an inflection in the way Lawler speaks. A compulsively funny, self-aware, near-fatalism suffuses her work, which documents the circulation and display of a certain body of high-profile (and financially viable) Euro-American Modernism.


Deadlocked at the end of the 20th century, art (like capital or ideology) would seem for Lawler a fait accompli; it is already made, now it can only circulate. This sensibility is imbued by the market froth of the late 1970s and 1980s, the period in which Lawler emerged as an artist in New York. Then, as now, circulation was king. But in circulating through domestic interiors, auction houses, museums, galleries, magazines, films and advertisements, art, Lawler shows us, grows monstrous and strange, twisted and blurred. It is knotted in and by the world.

Such a sprawling endeavor invites freewheeling associations. Here is another: in the film based on Bret Easton Elliss American Psycho (2000), there is scene of Wall Street anthropology in which bankers compare business cards. Paul Allen's has Copperplate Gothic as the font, which the filmmakers picked after their production designer recalled that a certain successful downtown gallery used the font for its logo. Although no account names it, the gallery in question must be Mary Boone's, who by 1981 was renovating a truck garage to fit her stable of big, bad painters not far from where Lawler had her first exhibition with Metro Pictures in 1982.

Lawler is no stranger to these linkages between culture and industry, art and capital. In 1982, she photographed works by artists including Robert Longo and Frank Stella at the brokerage firm Paine Webber. At least four images result, including Arranged by Donald Marron, Susan Brundage, Cheryl Bishop at Paine Webber, Inc., NYC (Adjusted to Fit) (1982/2016) and Untitled (Reception Area) (1982/1993). It's at least four because the first work belongs to Lawlers Adjusted to Fit series, where she torques and stretches pictures to fit exhibition walls, so that a single photograph comes to have infinite permutations. The series is an elaboration of the anamorphismthe warpingthat Lawler first introduced in her paperweight works of the early 1990s. In those, a crystal dome sits atop one of her photographs, so that the underlying image is distorted when viewed from above or flickers in bulbous fragments or vanishes entirely, depending on ones vantage point.

Stepping back into the wider arena of the exhibition, we recognise that Louise Lawler has designed a business card for Dan Graham (1979), announcement cards for exhibitions, invitations, posters, postcards, publications, gift certificates, miscellaneous stationery and matchbooksso many matchbooks. Much of this ephemera is in the last of four galleries of Lawlers exhibition, dominated by displays of her printed ephemera. Before that, there are dozens of her photographs of works by other artists, stretched-to-fit wallpaper versions of those photographs, a handful of paperweight sculptures and a suite of collaborations with artists including Cameron Rowland, Allan McCollum and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The title of one work offers a self-consciously comedic summary of Lawlers method and the influential community to which she belongs. It is named The Presentation of a Photograph of Louise Lawler Presenting a Work of Lawrence Weiner Presented by Documenta 7 Based on a Photograph Used by October Magazine to Illustrate an Article by Benjamin H. D. Buchloh to Participate in an Exhibition at Franklin Furnace Curated by Robert Barry and Viewed by a Public (1983).

Given this ferment of (re)production, it is no surprise that Lawlers work has been interpreted through Walter Benjamins essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935). That reading, by Rosalind Krauss in a 1999 essay, accurately situates the conditions within which Lawler has worked. But we would do well to remember another point made by Benjamin in his earlier essay, A Short History of Photography (1931). Recounting the French physicist Franois Aragos 1839 speech on the uses of Daguerres then-seismic invention, Benjamin notes that Arago articulated this novel technologys potential use in the construction of historical memory. After photographing the stars, Arago proposes that we turn Daguerres camerae obscurae downward. Here, Benjamin writes, we find the idea of establishing a photographic corpus of the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

This is an intended procedure in Lawlers work, which does, to some degree, record a historical corpus. For her, joining a gallery meant inheriting a readymade heritage not unlike the one made imperially available to Daguerre. But that earlier will toward total knowledge is gone; Lawler is much more uncertain than Arago was, and much more circular. In one of the few published interviews she has given, Lawler describes her process basically as an act of documentary feedback. A gallery generates meaning through the type of work it chooses to show," she told Douglas Crimp of her first exhibition at Metro Pictures. "I self-consciously made work that looked like Metro Pictures.

In 1981, Crimp, one of Lawlers most prominent interlocutors, wrote: What Lawlers photographs have shown is that institutional critique not only may be leveled at the impulse toward making picturesWhy Pictures Nowbut can take the form of a picture. This is one of the least convincing yet common claims about Lawlers workthat it is a form of institution critiqueand it is unconvincing for a very simple reason: Lawler operates within a closed system of production, circulation and display; it's not in the outside position of critique, but the inside position of embodied reflection. The effect of this move can be critical, but it is not critique. Rhea Anastas moves the question along in her contribution to the MoMA catalogue: I wonder whether Lawlers reflexivity may be working differently, now that the conditions of the artists own reception are in forward motion at varying speeds or scales. (The catalogue is rich, as is much scholarly writing on Lawler, and it follows an imporant 2013 October Files collection of critical writing on her work.)


Speaking of institutions and conditions of reception, it is worth attending to the ways in which MoMA's interpretation of Lawlers work has changed between 1987 (when it held her first solo show at the museum) and 2017. In a brief essay by MoMAs Cora Rosevear for Lawlers 1987 exhibition, the artist is said to use already existing works of art to supply insight into the external conditions of art display. This remains an essential summary of Lawlers procedure, which the museum still recognises. For the current show, curators have even allowed her to supply wall labels offering a sketchy and incomplete list of the corporate, institutional and individual owners of each edition, underlining her imbrication in the system that is the subject of her work.

But in the 1987 MoMA exhibition, no clear mention was made of Lawlers feminist implications. The bibliography accompanying that show's catalogue did include Craig Owenss 1983 essay The Discourse of Others: Feminists and Postmodernism, but nothing more. This is one key way in which the museum has changed the way it presents her work. In the new exhibition, the point is made on the very first line of the very first wall text: "For the past forty years, Louise Lawlers witty and slyly feminist work has raised questions about the cultural circumstances that support arts production, circulation, and presentation."

In her essay for the catalogue, MoMA photography curator Roxana Marcoci adds significantly to the feminist account of Lawlers practice. While a number of feminist discussions of Lawlers work have appeared since Owens, Marcoci provides a vital and comprehensive reading. Lawler has positioned her feminist work in relation to the economies of collaboration and exchange throughout her career, Marcoci writes, noting especially her dedication to undermining the idea of stand-alone authorial recognition. But given Lawler's habit of rigorous institutional accounting, a discussion of how her feminism was elided by the museums 1987 catalogue (which, in its first paragraph, compares her to three tangentially relevant men: Michael Asher, Daniel Buren and Dan Graham) would have been good revisionist practice.

There are afterlives in Lawler, not only in the sense that forms by other artists survive in her work, but also that images, including her own, are necessarily seen through the metabolism of their circulation. When she stretches or torques her pictures for her wallpapers, she stresses the point. So it is not the mere corpus of cultural artifacts on hand but its metabolism that mattersthe way art moves and is consumed, the way it breathes (ventilation is a recurrent feature in her photographs of interiors, as in a 1996 photograph of stacked ducts titled HVAC). Lawlers scope is canonicalshe generally looks to the established Post-war vision of Euro-American art historybut her method is anti-canonical, and in the slippage between these two lies much of her work's value, and its complications.

Mostafa Heddaya is a writer, editor and doctoral student in the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton


Louise Lawler: Why Pictures Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, until 30 July
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The Art Newspaper

Jul 06 2017
First renowned, then overlooked, now rediscovered: on Edme Bouchardon
Edme Bouchardon 1698-1762: Une ide du beau was the catalogue for the recent exhibition at the Muse du Louvre, which has been translated as Bouchardon: Royal Artist of the Enlightenment for the exhibition that has transferred to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (until 2 April). Thanks to its thorough coverage of his life and work, they may be regarded as a monograph on this gifted sculptor and draughtsman, especially when taken with Juliette Treys new catalogue of the Louvres huge holdings of Bouchardons drawings. The Getty edition of the exhibition is accompanied by a more narrative monograph written by douard Kopp and focussing on Bouchardons drawings, The Learned Draftsman: Edme Bouchardon.

Hardly a household name today, in his lifetime Bouchardon was regarded by many critics in France as the greatest sculptor of his age. He is often cited as a precursor of later 18th-century Neo-Classicism but, as the catalogue demonstrates, this is perhaps a simplistic assessment, and certainly by no means the whole picture. Born in Chaumont in the Haute-Marne, Bouchardon spent nine formative years at the Acadmie de France in Rome, before returning to France, where he settled in Paris and was quickly appointed sculpteur du roi.

Bouchardon lived something of a charmed life, singled out for favours by the directors of the Academy in Rome, once in Paris quickly elected a member of the Acadmie Royale and actively supported by those leading lights within the citys artistic and intellectual circles, the comte de Caylus and Jean-Pierre Mariette.

Bouchardon adopted an ascetic lifestyle entirely dedicated to his art; he seems to have been successful enough not to have been over-hampered by the necessity to take on whatever work he could find. On the contrary, he took an almost obsessive care over the preparation and finishing of his work, from his drawings to more important commissions, notably the great bronze equestrian statue of Louis XV, destroyed in 1792, apart from the kings right hand. This surviving fragment is remarkably finely worked for a sculpture originally some 30ft or more from the ground. It bears out the comment of one of those less well-disposed towards Bouchardon, the engraver Charles-Nicolas Cochin, who wrote that the sculptor had wanted his monument to be filed down and chiselled all over, and finally finished off as if it were some piece of goldsmiths work.

Bouchardons approach to preparing his monument of the king can be seen in dozens of preparatory drawings, including some anatomical studies of horses that anticipate those of George Stubbs. His drawings in fact form as important an element of his achievement as his sculpture. Their flavour is much the same as that of the sculpture; highly inventive, carefully conceived and finished, extremely graceful and beautiful, if on occasion a little bloodless. His most famous sculpture today, a sinuous and highly sophisticated marble statue depicting Cupid fashioning a bow from Hercules club, was criticised by contemporaries for the coldness of its execution; perhaps this was one of the reasons it displeased Louis XV, who had it moved from Versailles to a corner of the Chteau de Choisy.

Like the painter Franois Boucher, with whom there are some parallels, Bouchardon was especially interested in the dissemination of his work through the medium of engraving. Many of his drawings were published in this way, including two suites of vases and the remarkable five suites of the Cries of Paris, the preparatory drawings for which reside in the British Museum. Entirely lacking in the romantic sentimentality often associated with this type of subject, these fine works show a deep sympathy for the poorer classes of the city.

Bouchardon was not an especially prolific sculptor. As with most French sculptors from before the Revolution, some of his most important works, notably the Louis XV monument, have been destroyed or otherwise lost. Fortunately, two of his main achievements in Paris do survive in situ, the enormous Fountain of the Four Seasons on the rue de Grenelle, and the series of over-lifesize statues of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Apostles in the church of Saint-Sulpice. Those of Christ and the Virgin demonstrate, in their quiet intensity, Bouchardons gifts as a sculptor at their best. He was a brilliant portrait sculptor, but made rather few portrait busts, mostly in Rome, including a remarkable group of British subjects. The busts of the connoisseur and spy Baron Philipp von Stosch, the Scottish aristocrat John Gordon of Invergordon, or Madame Vleughels, wife of the director of the French academy in Rome, are quite exceptional for their remarkable sense of presence. The catalogue is written by a team of leading scholars whose contributions are well integrated with one another. It begins with a series of essays dealing with Bouchardons life, the context within which he was working both in Rome and in Paris, and the collecting of his works. The main catalogue is divided into sections partly determined by the chronology of his career, partly by types of work, for example book illustrations or religious sculpture. Major single projects such as the Cries of Paris, the rue de Grenelle fountain or the Louis XV monument are the subject of dedicated chapters. A chronology at the end provides a useful summary of the sculptors career. With illustrations of excellent quality, Bouchardon is well served by this fine catalogue which, with its comprehensive survey of the life and work, should win new admirers for this innovative and most interesting artist. For those readers who prefer a more narrative approach to his life and work and are interested in Bourchardon the draughtsman, douard Kopps publication makes an excellent alternative.

Jeremy Warren is a specialist in European sculpture and in the history of collecting. He wrote the catalogues of the Wallace Collections Italian and of the Ashmoleans Medieval and Renaissance sculpture

Edme Bouchardon 1698-1762: Une ide du beau

Guilhem Scherf, Anne-Lise Desmas, douard Kopp and Juliette Trey


Somogy/ditions du Louvre, 448pp, 49 (hb)



Bouchardon: Royal Artist of the Enlightenment


Guilhem Scherf, Anne-Lise Desmas, douard Kopp and Juliette Trey; translation by Anne-Lise Desmas


Getty Publications, 448pp, $79.95 (hb)



The Learned Draftsman: Edme Bouchardon


douard Kopp


Getty Publications, 336pp, $64.95 (hb)
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The Art Newspaper

Jul 06 2017
David Hockney gallery opens in Bradford ahead of artist’s 80th birthday
Inside the David Hockney Gallery, Cartwright Hall, Bradford (Photo: David Lindsay)
The city of Bradford is honouring its most famous artist son, David Hockney, by opening a permanent gallery in Cartwright Hall today (7 July) dedicated to the veteran painter. The launch of the Hockney Gallery, which will house the artists early sketchbooks and family photography albums, marks his 80th birthday on Sunday (9 July). 

The new space will house the largest collection of work dating from Hockneys time as a student at Bradford School of Art (1953-57), before he moved to London in 1959. Early series of prints such as The Blue Guitar (1977) and A Rakes Progress (1961-63) will also go on show. 

Le Plongeur (1978), a large-scale piece made from coloured paper pulp, will be displayed alongside archive photos documenting how the images were made. IPad pictures made in Bridlington in 2010 are also included along with personal photo albums showing family snaps dating from the 1960s to the 1980s. 

The documentary maker Bruno Wollheim will also unveil a new 20-minute film drawn from footage shot accompanying Hockney between 2003 and 2006. A spokesman for Hockney tells The Art Newspaper that the artist is currently in Los Angeles and does not intend to attend the gallery launch.

A retrospective of Hockneys works that ran at Tate Britain earlier this year was seen by 478,082 visitors, making it the gallerys most popular exhibition ever. The show opened at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in June (until 23 October).

   
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The Art Newspaper

Jul 06 2017
Hockney topples Hirst as Tate’s most popular living artist
One of David Hockney's works at Tate Britain (Photo: © Tate)
Tate Britains recent David Hockney retrospective (9 February-29 May), has become the Tate groups most popular ticketed solo exhibition by a living artist. With a total of 478,082 visitors (4,346 a day), it eclipsed the previous record holder, Damien Hirst, whose show drew 463,087 people (2,912 a day) to Tate Modern in 2012. Hockney was in such high demand that in March the London museum extended its opening hours to 10pm every Friday and Saturday, and until midnight on the exhibitions final weekend.

The show looks certain to boost Tate Britains overall visitor numbers for the year, which have declined from more than two million a year during the mid-1990s (before Tate Modern opened) to 1.1 million in 2016. However, the exhibition fell short of the 600,989 visitors (7,512 a day) who crammed into Hockneys A Bigger Picture show at Londons Royal Academy of Arts in 2012. It also failed to clinch the title of Tates most popular show ever, which remains Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs at Tate Modern in 2014, with 562,622 visitors (3,907 a day).
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