1. Museums Getting Increasing Funds From Private Galleries
Although it’s common practice for galleries to provide scholarly and artistic support to museum’s exhibiting work by the artists they represent, in the face of decreasing corporate donations, nonprofit museums have begun to depend more on these galleries for funding as well.
With gallery donations ranging from a reported $5,000 to $200,000, critics of the practice fear it will lead to biased museum exhibiting and prevent artists with less affluent galleries from being exhibited. Lawrence Luhring of Luhring Augustine gallerytold The New York Times that, “It’s really gotten out of hand. It’s the brazenness of it — just the expectation of ‘How are you going to contribute?’” However, some supporters of the process feel that it is just, as galleries benefit from the increased respect and prices an artist enjoys after a museum show. Jeffrey Deitch, art dealer and former director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles argued, “Museums are giving these galleries the best platform in the art world for free, where they can sell work to their clients on the walls of the greatest museums. If the galleries can contribute, why not?”
2. Syrian Refugees Connect With Country’s Culture Through Art
In a refugee camp in Northern Jordan, a new art initiative has taken form: Art from Zaatari. As profiled this week the in The Guardian, a group of artist refugees within the camp have come together to create models of the cultural landmarks they left behind when they fled their war-torn cities.
Although the refugees only have access to basic tools and materials that can be sourced nearby, the project has allowed them to reconnect with symbols of their native culture — many of which are threatened by the very violence the refugees sought to escape. Ahmad Hariri, a 31-year-old computer engineer who fled Syria in 2013, convinced seven artists among the camp’s over 80,000 inhabitants to form Art from Zaatari, explaining: “We chose this project to draw attention to what’s happening in Syria, as many of these sites are under threat or have already been destroyed. It felt like a good way to get the message out, because art is a language that doesn’t need to be translated.” (Read more about the project in The Guardian.)
3. New York’s Amrory Show
In its 22nd edition (and first without formidable former director Noah Horowitz) this past week, New York City’s Armory Show enjoyed both significant sales and attendance.
Among the 205 international dealers present, some of the most notable sales were those of three abstract Jackie Saccoccio paintings from 11R gallery, Tim Taylor Gallery selling two Richard Patterson paintings for six-figures each and the purchase of Bosco Sodi and Chiharu Shiota pieces from Blain Southern gallery (which also seemed to have one of the most photographed pieces with Sislej Xhafa’s Wyatt and the Sky). Sean Kelly Gallery also sold out of all editions of Kehinde Wiley’s sculptureBound. However, the most signifcant aspect of the fair was its engaging exhibition of African art. Featuring work from Kapwani Kiwanga, François-Xavier Gbré and Dan Halter, the fair authentically engaged with themes throughout African art and culture that are often overlooked and showed awareness of a new generation of African artists.
4. Photos of New Met Breuer Released Prior to Opening
Ahead of its public opening on March 18, the Met Breuer has released photos of what guests can expect from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s takeover of The Whitney Museums of American Art’s former Upper East Side location in New York City.
The new satellite location, six blocks away from the Met’s primary campus, will house the museum’s contemporary and modern art collection for eight years as it completes construction on a new wing for contemporary art. In the meantime, the Breuer location will offer guests a new open-air plaza, restaurant and ticketing area. However, upon moving into the landmark building, designed by Marcel Breuer in 1966, the Met focused on restoring and preserving the iconic structure, rather than renovating it. The architectural firm for the project — Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners — explained: “The overall goal has been to approach the restoration as Breuer himself would have, carefully preserving the authentic patina of aging materials and allowing visitors to understand and appreciate the building’s evolution over time.” (See more photos at Dezeen.)
5. Silencing Implications of the Knoedler Gallery Trial
Although the recent Knoedler Trial has settled (though may soon be revisited, following an extradition order for one of the partners in the forgery scheme), the trial may pose much larger implications for the art world. In an environment where increased legal liability has already made it difficult to find experts willing to authenticate works, the Knoedler case may force art historians to be even more cautious.
The court proceedings cast a very public light on the defunct Upper East Side Knoedler Gallery, the forgery ring it became a part of and the process of art authentication. Brought against the gallery by a collector who bought an ultimately fake Rothko painting, the case relied heavily on expert testimony; inclduing that of David Anfam, one of the 12 experts that Knoedler’s leadership cited as having “viewed” the Rothko piece. He explained that there will be resonating effects from this reliance on the artist’s catalogue raisonné: “The Knoedler case is almost certain to have a gagging effect at the workaday level on anyone preparing catalogues raisonnés. If you fear that perfectly honest, casual remarks may be twisted to bear upon authenticity in a way that they were never intended to, then this alone will tend to silence scholarly discourse and debate.”