Seeing Old Art in New Ways at the Whitney

Whitney opening

Have no fear, solipsistic Jerry Saltz did find a way to structure his entire essay on the new Whitney museum to foreground himself from the first letter. Nonetheless, the critic makes an extraordinarily important point about the museum, its new location and the opportunities to broaden our experience of art from the fixation on superlative works:

The Whitney knows how to consider new work alongside old, how to throw together pieces produced in entirely different contexts and watch the sparks fly. Freed from the need to consign works forever to, say, a room (or collection) dedicated to Ashcan School painting or Pop, curators could hang a single painting in multiple shows over decades alongside different paintings from different decades each time, and each time prompt a different reckoning — in one case with the use of color, in another the use of line, then gesture, compositional strategies, relation to madness or Romanticism or urban experience, to music, materiality, process, to television or cinema or Continental philosophy. The list will be as long as the curators are creative.

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Arp and the US: A Conference in Berlin, June 22-23

1786 Hans Arp 06

Early this Summer, the Arp Foundation will be holding a conference at the American Academy in Berlin on Hans Arp’s reception among collectors, museums, galleries and artists in the United States. Arp was a key figure for artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Donald Judd who engaged with Arp’s work in an intensive dialogue. Now the foundation is bringing together academics, curators and art market experts to promote new approaches to Arp’s work.

The event opens with an Evening Lecture by Catherine Craft of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. Speakers the next day include Cara Manes (MoMA), Brandon Taylor (Ruskin School of Art, Oxford), Eric Robertson (University of London), Maike Steinkamp (Stiftung Arp), David Nash, (Mitchell-Innes & Nash), Carrol Janis and Arie Hartog (Gerhard Marcks Haus).

For more details on the event see or contact:


Christie’s Calendar Strategy Is All About Commanding the Most Attention

Christie's Gossip

The New York Times wanted a story on Christie’s “controversial” choice to consolidate all of its May sales into one week. Its reporter cast about looking for conflict:

Some experts wonder whether buyers will bother to show up for the first week, even though there will be a schedule of day sales, while others worry that collectors may not be in a buying mood by the end of the second.

But the sources just wouldn’t play along:Continue Reading

LACMA Builds Momentum with More Gifted Art

Vija Celmins, T.V.
Vija Celmins, T.V.

Jori Finkel has the news that LACMA is turning some loans into gifts to match other recent gifts to build momentum for the new building project and the museum’s 50th anniversary:

This weekend the museum announced that it had secured roughly $200 million worth of art as “anniversary gifts,” on top of the $500 million recently pledged by the former Univision chairman Jerry Perenchio.

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Franz Kline at Christie’s in May

Former Sotheby’s Chairman Al Taubman Dies at ’91

Alfred Taubman
Alfred Taubman

The man who bought Sotheby’s as a White Knight only to demand the firm change its forbidding manner and make itself more accessible to luxury buyers has died. Al Taubman deserves a lot of credit for creating the conditions that spawned the current unprecedented expansion of the art market. Here’s how his hometown paper started his obituary:

A. Alfred Taubman’s self-made wealth — as a pioneer who helped revolutionize how America shops — fueled a lifetime of varied philanthropy and support for civic institution and the arts, including his deep commitment to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Taubman, the Pontiac native who helped bring malls to America and who became one of Michigan’s most important donors to museums and universities, died Friday of a heart attack in his home in Bloomfield Hills. He was 91.

Taubman’s impact on Detroit and Michigan is broad and deep. He made direct donations of money and gifts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Michigan, Lawrence Technological University and others.

“Al Taubman changed the way America shops. But his greatest legacy will be how he used his fortune to help people in Michigan and beyond,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a written statement. “He will be long remembered not just for his retail genius, but for the lives he touched through his kindness.”

Taubman: ‘His loss leaves a huge hole in our community’ (Detroit Free Press)

Blue Period Picasso In Rybolovlev’s €1.9bn Collection

Picasso’s ‘Les Noces de Pierrette’

Georgina Adam noticed something in an inventory of the works Dimitri Rybolovlev bought from Yves Bouvier, a lost Picasso. We noticed this bit of simple math: Rybolovlev bought 37 works for €1.9bn or an average price of €51m per work of art.

one forgotten painting to emerge in the Bouvier case is Picasso’s “Les Noces de Pierrette” (1905). According to an article in Le Monde, it is one of 37 works of art in the €1.9bn art collection that Rybolovlev bought from Bouvier. The rather washed-out Blue Period painting last appeared in public in Paris in 1989, at the height of the “Japan boom”, and was sold via a telephone link to Tokyo, to Tomonori Tsurumaki, a Japanese developer, for $51.3m. At the time it was the highest price paid for a work of art at auction. The following year, the Japanese bubble burst and the painting was repossessed by the Lake Credit Company and then went to GE Capital — and all trace of it disappeared. Now we know where it ended up.

The Art Market: Blue Period Picasso emerges  (