Hauser & Wirth returns to FIAC this October with a selection of works on the theme of notions of desire and sexual ambiguity. Built around an intriguing dialogue between the works of Louise Bourgeois and Hans Bellmer, the concept of the booth takes as a point of departure the title, Le Cœur est Là, referencing a series of works which Louise Bourgeois returned to over the course of her career.While Bourgeois and Bellmer lived in Paris in 1938, it is believed they never met. Their approaches have marked differences as well as shared themes – of the body as expressive material, a source of creativity and fertility, ambiguity and eroticism. The concept pays homage to the landmark exhibition ‘Double Sexus’ which was held in Berlin at the Nationalgalerie – Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg in 2010, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus Ohio in 2011.With the participation of Ubu Gallery – who loaned significant works by Hans Bellmer to ‘Double Sexus’ – the booth expands on the topic by creating compelling narratives. The presentation features important works by Franz West, Lee Lozano, Zoe Leonard and others. In two works by Paul McCarthy and Alina Szapocznikow, the human form suggests a trajectory from Hans Bellmer’s illustrated book, ‘Les Jeux de la Poupée’, a collaboration with Paul Éluard for the Surrealist journal Le Minotaure.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac has announced the works it is bringing to FIAC later next week. The fair held in Paris’s Grand Palais will feature works by Jack Pierson, Yan Pei-Ming, and Imi Knoebel, alongside recent works by Robert Longo, Georg Baselitz and Tony Cragg. Coinciding with the survey exhibition Monumental Minimal, on view at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin during FIAC, Ropac’s stand will also present major pieces of Minimal art by Carl Andre (above) and Robert Mangold.
Carl Andre‘s Fifth Copper Square (2007) is the result of a life-long investigation into mathematical structures, geometric forms and seriality. Composed of 25 copper plates, this sculpture embodies the characteristic features of Andre’s work, such as the use of ready-made materials, the employment of modular units, and the articulation of three-dimensionality through a consideration of negative as well as positive space. Considered one of the most important figures of Minimal art, Andre has sought to reduce the vocabulary of 20th-century sculpture to basic forms such as the square.
With classical restraint, Robert Mangold translates the most basic of formal elements – shape, line, and colour – into paintings whose apparent simplicity expresses complex ideas. In his shaped panel paintings, of which Four Color Frame Painting (1985) is a distinctive example, he uses subtle modulations of colour and hand-drawn graphite lines to present the viewer with a meditative experience.
Untitled (X-Ray of A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882, After Manet) (2017), a monumental charcoal drawing by Robert Longo, is a remarkable rendering of Édouard Manet’s last major work. Longo decided to tackle Manet’s masterpiece after seeing an X-ray of the work. The X-ray image offered a window into the past, revealing clues about Manet’s working process and, most intriguingly, the adjustments he made to the barmaid’s position in earlier stages of the composition. Both past and present versions are made visible in Longo’s intricately-detailed depiction, showing the viewer what usually remains unseen and revealing an alternate history.
Providing a preview of the artist’s forthcoming exhibition at the Musée Courbet, Ornans, Yan Pei-Ming’s Portrait de Gustave Courbet (2018) pays homage to the master of Realism. Ming’s monochromatic paintings of epic scale have redefined the traditional parameters of portraiture over the past three decades. The artist believes that portraits have the power to capture and transcend experience and thought. His exhibition at Musée Courbet will coincide with the celebration of the bicentenary of Courbet’s birth in June 2019, before it travels to the Petit Palais and to the Musée d’Orsay.
Galerie Thaddeaus Ropac is celebrating Georg Baselitz’s 80th year with a show of his work from the 1980s at their London gallery during Frieze week. Meanwhile, at the fair, Ropac will feature work by Robert Rauschenberg (above), Adrien Ghenie, Antony Gormley, Oliver Beer, Alvaro Barrington, Daniel Richter coming off a strong auction sale in Hong Kong over the weekend, and Rosemarie Castoro. Here’s Ropac on what they’re bringing to Frieze:
Robert Rauschenberg, Rumor (Spread), 1980
- A clear example of how in his Spread series, started in 1975, Rauschenberg revisits his Combine series, reintroducing daily objects in his paintings, together with all the techniques and elements he kept working on until then.
- Robert Rauschenberg’s Spreads series consists of around 95 large-scale multimedia works that feature solvent transfer images and patterned fabrics on wooden panels, often in combination with electrical components and unwieldy, three-dimensional objects. Several of the Spreads have drainpipes, gutters or, as in Rumor, a pail suspended from the canvas, which Rauschenberg jokingly said was ‘to contain the excesses’. A lightbulb embedded in the pail is plugged into a socket, activating the work and linking it to the surrounding space.
- Forthcoming exhibitions: Rauschenberg: Spreads, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac London, 20 November 2018); In and About LA, LACMA (August 11, 2018 through February 10, 2019); The ¼ Mile, LACMA(from 28 October 2018 -9 June 2019)
Adrien Ghenie, Untitled, 2018
- In Adrian Ghenie’s Untitled (2018), the facial features have been obliterated, replaced by a repulsive smudge of textures that the artist gleaned from images of pizza, bacon rashers and dried mushrooms. Despite this, the figure is immediately identifiable as Donald Trump by his characteristic, and oft-caricatured, sweep of golden hair, along with his politician’s uniform of white shirt, suit and tie. Trump’s image has dominated the media since his election in November 2016, to the extent that it has become almost self-parodying. At the heart of Ghenie’s portraiture is his fascination with the uniquely human ability to interpret abstract signs and symbols, mentally filling in the blanks so that not only do we read a faceless figure as a portrait, we can even “recognise” its subject.
- ‘I am not painting a portrait in celebration of the subject (Donald Trump) rather, I am interested in the formal “deconstruction” of the portrait. In the 20th century, the people who did this really radically were Picasso and Bacon. They took elements of the face and rearranged it. There is no nose, there is no mouth, there is no eye – no sense of anatomy. The portrait as a landscape, basically.’
Antony Gormley, FRONT, 2016
- A highlight of recent survey of his Polyhedra works at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg, covering an eleven-year-long investigation into the polyhedra as a geometric language for sculpture.
- The cast-iron sculpture FRONT forms part of Antony Gormley’s POLYHEDRA series, begun in 2008, which translates the human form into an accumulation of tightly nested and sharp-edged polygonal cells derived from natural structures. The life-size figure in FRONT leans its upper body against the wall, in a posture that the artist has described as a landslide in human form.
- Forthcoming exhibition: Antony Gormley: Royal Academy (from 21 September – 3 December 2019)
Oliver Beer, Euphoria in the Home, 2018
- The first work to be shown from a new development of his Two-Dimensional Sculptures, in black resin (previously used white gesso) and incorporating laughing gas canisters and ancient ceramic fragments embedded so that only the flat, cut surfaces remain visible, becoming two-dimensional objects.
- Forthcoming exhibitions: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Marais (12 January – February 2019); Quebec Biennale (from 14 February until 15 May); Vessel Orchestra, Met Breuer (2 July -11 August 2019).
Alvaro Barrington, P1, 2018
- A new portrait work by Alvaro Barrington
- “I think Alvaro Barrington is an artist to watch. He is an intense and serious artist who is both of his time but reaches back to artists like Phillip Guston and Joseph Beuys.” Norman Rosenthal
- “I wanted to make portraits that felt informed by early 20th century modernism that also felt new very distinctively me. It’s goes through artists like Basquiat, Giacometti, Dubuffet, Picasso, Matisse, Thornton, in that a lot of the decisions in how the paintings comes together is whorled out through them and a conversation with the yarn, the openness of burlap. Which yarn are placed next to each other…” Alvaro Barrington
- Forthcoming exhibition: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris, Marais, 2019
Daniel Richter, Classic, 2018
- New work by German artist Daniel Richter, who has shaped painting in Germany for over two decades.
- His latest paintings represent the next experimental step in the visual language he’s been developing since 2015, which marked a radical aesthetic shift.
- Classic, shown at Frieze for the first time, depicts transient figures flickering in and out of view, coalescing around an abstracted, skull-like face or an implied erotic act before dissolving again, their splayed legs, gaping mouths and bestial, claw-like feet suggesting ambiguous, episodic encounters.
- Forthcoming exhibitions: Group Show: Draiflessen Collection in Germany (from 14 October); Group Show: Schloss Derneburg at the Hall Collection (with Albert Oehlen); Group Show at EMMA in Helsinki Finland (January 2019)
Rosemarie Castoro, Blue Red Gold Pink Green Yellow Y Bar, 1965
- In line with Frieze’s own focus on female artists this year, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac will be showing a sought-after, rare, large-scale early (1965) painting by Rosemarie Castoro. These are rarely seen on the market, and this work was recently shown as centrepiece at MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona) show. Featuring this work follows Ropac’s acclaimed recent Land of Lads, Land of Lashes exhibition (named after two of Castoro’s large-scale sculptures).
- Castoro is a pioneering female artist whose work from the 1960s and 1970s has only recently been internationally recognised.
- This work did not appear in Ropac’s Land of Lads, Land of Lashes show.
- Rosemarie Castoro’s earliest mature works were paintings composed from tessellated Y shapes that later broke apart into a scatter of bars across the monochrome ground, as in Blue Red Gold Pink Green Yellow Y Bar. Their orchestration across the canvas creates a dynamic sense of movement, recalling Castoro’s dance training, introducing a visual playfulness that enlivens the geometric rigour of Minimalism.
- Forthcoming exhibition: Rosemarie Castoro: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris, Marais (23 February – March 2019)
There’s a show that just opened at Nahmad Contemporary that is as surprising as it is successful at attracting attention. The exhibition is called (UN)COVERED: Miró | Hammons and features the Catalan master’s late body of work called Sobreteixims paired with David Hammons’s Tarp paintings. Paired together, the artists have a strange and unexpected overlap that seems to be exciting a number of gallery goers. The show will run from Sept. 12 to Oct. 27, 2018.
The first to present the works of Catalan master Joan Miró (1893–1983) alongside postmodern American artist David Hammons (b. 1943), the exhibition illuminates the parallel iconoclastic practices of these two seemingly divergent artists whose careers only briefly overlapped. (UN)COVERED: Miró | Hammons highlights the analogous artistic strategies used to subvert traditional aesthetics in Miró’s visceral Sobreteixims (1972-73) and Hammons’ tarp-cloaked canvases (2000s–present). Whether “uncovering” alternative materials or “covering” conventional aesthetics, the works illustrate each artist’s unique formal innovations and conceptual undertakings.
Notably, the exhibition will be the first to present Miro’s Sobreteixims in the United States since Pierre Matisse Gallery’s presentation in 1973 and will feature esteemed works on loan from the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona. A fully illustrated catalogue with scholarly texts by Jordana Moore Saggese and Linda Weintraub will accompany the show.
Joan Miró’s pursuit of artistic liberty was fueled by the major historical events of his time, from World War I and II to the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime. As early as 1927, the artist famously declared an “assassination of painting,” and he committed himself thereon to unrestricted expression. He protested aesthetic norms and rejected technical mastery by rendering disorderly compositions and grotesque figuration, and utilizing unconventional media and supports, such as tar and rope or Masonite and Celotex. In 1970, when Miró began using ready-made materials to create his Sobreteixims, an old Catalan word for a small piece of fabric used as a patch for larger fabrics, he was 77 years old and lived on the island of Mallorca in permanent exile from the Franco regime.Harnessing the automatism of surrealism, he transformed the fibers of found supports—from traditional woven textile to industrial burlap sacks—through systematic destruction and alteration: puncturing and patching, tearing and stabilizing, and burning and extinguishing. The artist applied a range of media and objects to the transformed surfaces, such as acrylic, felt and string in Sobreteixim-sack 12 (1973) and buckets in Sobreteixim 14 (1973). Undulating between the treatment of support and ground, Miró emphasized the “un-covered” background material as much as the foreground. He confounded the customary figure-ground relationship by equating two traditionally hierarchical constituents of painting. Furthermore, Miro democratized his method of construction to defy the canon’s notion of the individual “artist genius”. Precociously postmodern, his Sobreteixims signify the process of their creation through incorporation of the objects used to produce them: brooms, buckets, or skeins of string.
A figurehead in postwar art, Miró established many of the formal innovations of modernist painting and presaged the tenets of postmodernism during the last decade of his career. His spontaneous gestures established the principles of abstract expressionism, a movement that by the time David Hammons began his career had already been recognized as the new standard. It was this newfound canon that Hammons’ work defied as he commenced his career in 1960s America, a period marked by the civil rights movement and parallel sociopolitical upheavals. With particular critique of the art world and its history of racial exclusiveness, Hammons used nontraditional media, from chicken bones to sweatshirt hoods, and charged subject matter, such as slavery and racial slurs, to subvert the institutions perpetuating societal inequalities.
Similar to Miró, Hammons asserted his general disdain for art, proclaiming in a 1989 interview, “I can’t stand art actually. I’ve never, ever liked art, ever.” Palpably rejecting the canon of postwar painting, his ongoing Tarp series, created in his Harlem, NY studio, consist of painted canvases shrouded with frayed and tattered industrial fabrics that he found in the streets. Only through the tears and holes of these dilapidated materials, such as in Untitled (2015), or through the rumpled meshed cloth, seen in Untitled (from Dirty Money series) (2014), does Hammons allow glimpses of painterly brush strokes underneath. He defies the hierarchical preciousness of the medium, covering that which is traditionally exposed and elevating as the focus that which is discarded. Similar to Miró upending the principals of painting, Hammons quite literally denies the canon its traditional viewership.
Multidimensional in form and connotation, Miro’s Sobreteixims and Hammons’ Tarp paintings originate from distinct historical perspectives. Yet, when presented together, striking analogies are evidenced. Through parallel strategies of “uncovering” or “covering” institutional norms with ready-made fabrics, both series merge the material forays of found art with the critical commentary of conceptualism.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac has announced that his London gallery will host an installation by artist Tom Sachs during Frieze Week. Starting on October 5th, Sachs’s studio will issue its own version of Swiss passports to anyone who is willing to pay €20. Oddly, the installation will not accept British pounds or Swiss Francs. Nonetheless, recipients will receive a bespoke Sachs document within an actual Swiss passport cover:
“With this project we break down the borders and eliminate the concept of nationality. This comes at a time where our liberal democracies are being threatened, and oppressed people all over the world live in danger and without refuge. Borders are artificial. They are artificially created by governments and the corporations who control them. Swiss Passport Office represents enforcement of their artificiality, the antithesis of freedom and the movement of people and goods. With Swiss Passport Office every man and woman may be Swiss. “ Tom Sachs
To coincide with London’s Frieze Week, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac London will remain open for 24 hours on 5th October 2018 for the issuing of Swiss passports at American artist Tom Sachs’s Swiss Passport Office installation. Between 6pm on Friday 5th October and 6pm on Saturday 6th October, visitors can be issued with a Swiss passport at a cost of €20 (no British pounds will be accepted). Those wishing to purchase a passport will be photographed and have their name hand typed onto a serial-numbered Tom Sachs Studio passport, stamped with a studio endorsement and entered into the permanent database by the Tom Sachs Studio team. Following this 24-hour period, the Swiss Passport Office installation will remain on view at the gallery until 10th November, but closed for the issuing of passports.
An installation of international significance, Swiss Passport Office encompasses contemporary concerns relating to Brexit, Syria and Trump’s immigration policies and their challenge to the notion of global citizenship. “To effect change, we must first imagine the world not the way it is, but the way we want it to be.“ Sachs says.
Josh Baer caused a ruckus a few weeks ago when he commented in his newsletter upon the business practices of Angela Gulbenkian. Now Katya Kazakina and the Bloomberg team have reported out one of the stories Baer alluded to:
Mathieu Ticolat, an art adviser based in Hong Kong, claims his firm paid Gulbenkian $1.375 million for the pumpkin, according to papers filed in the High Court in London. Gulbenkian said she represented the anonymous seller. Two money transfers, in April and May of 2017, were made to Gulbenkian’s account at HSBC in London, according to court papers.
Ticolat’s firm says the pumpkin never arrived. After months of pleading and threatening, he filed the civil suit, which included a motion to freeze Gulbenkian’s assets that the judge granted.
“I got fooled by the name,” Ticolat said by phone from Hong Kong.
The work was sold to someone else in late 2017, but Gulbenkian continued to indicate she was trying to get the work to Ticolat, according to the lawsuit. In the the London High Court this month, Gulbenkian produced an email that she said was from the owner: Martin Winterkorn. A separate WhatsApp message viewed by Bloomberg suggests she was referring to the one-time head of Volkswagen. Winterkorn’s lawyer said in an email that was never the case; the former CEO doesn’t even know Gulbenkian.
There is something about the art market that makes the world’s best news organizations abandon skepticism in favor of hype. Last week numerous observers were struck by the efforts of one newspaper to promote the idea that the art market is driven by financialization and the blockchain without much in the way of solid evidence.
This week, the Wall Street Journal covers the well-plowed ground of Instagram and the art world. These sort of trend pieces are a staple of slow news months in the Summer. But this particular story opens with an vignette that eerily recapitulates one from Bloomberg published in December of 2016. Here’s the Journal’s lead:
As he boarded a plane for Hong Kong in late 2016, Brett Gorvy, then global head of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s, posted an image of a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting on his Instagram feed. Upon landing, he found he had three text messages from clients interested in buying the 1982 work, a portrait of Sugar Ray Robinson and part of an upcoming private-sale exhibition. One client swiftly put the painting on hold and purchased it two days later, reportedly for about $24 million. Today, looking back, Gorvy claims it all happened by accident. His post, he explains, “wasn’t about marketing or selling. It was just like, I’ve got something really special, and I’d love the public to share it.” Despite his demurral, this sale—widely regarded as the first major blue-chip Instagram transaction—signaled the power the app had attained in the art world’s upper echelons, where not so long ago dealers staunchly maintained that no true collector would dream of buying from a jpeg.
How long would you have to go back to find anyone in the art market who might claim that “no true collector would dream of buying from a jpeg”? Ten years? Fifteen years? How long would you have to go back to find skepticism about buying from a transparency? 30 years?
More to the point, if that story about the Basquiat sounds familiar that’s because it got a lot of coverage 18 months ago when it first appeared on Bloomberg:
Shortly before his plane took off from New York last month, Christie’s top dealmaker, Brett Gorvy, posted a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting of boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson on Instagram. When Gorvy landed in Hong Kong 16 hours later, he discovered text messages from three clients asking if the painting was available. One immediately made an offer for the 1982 canvas showing Robinson as a squat, scowling figure. The deal was completed two days later for about $24 million — more than triple the $7.3 million the work fetched at auction in 2007.
Kazakina’s original story was picked up by a number of other news outlets. The Journal mentions none of this. But there’s another layer to this. The story that Gorvy told Kazakina (and that the Journal repeats as if it was news) doesn’t comport with what many in the industry observed during the Hong Kong selling event Gorvy recounted.
AMMpro subscribers know that Christie’s sold the work for a price below the $24m claimed. It’s not uncommon in the art market to see sellers claim asking prices as purchase prices. But one might expect the Wall Street Journal would have the institutional knowledge to put the story in context. We should add that there were many market participants who observed the selling of the work. Those witnesses have offered information that puts Gorvy’s claims into doubt. Gorvy is a private dealer cultivating clients. There’s nothing wrong with his trying to put his best case forward for his ability to sell works for clients.
What’s remarkable here is how quickly and without reflection or reporting the press repeats these claims.
How Instagram Became the Art World’s Obsession (Wall Street Journal)
Thaddaeus Ropac has what he believes to be the only Robert Rauschenberg combine work available on the art market priced at $8.5m, the assemblage was on loan to a major German museum for many years prior to this. In addition, Ropac will bring a Georg Baselitz work, A Fractured Dog, Upwards, with an asking price of $3.5m, as well as, Robert Longo’s Death Star II priced at $1.5m. Here are Ropac’s descriptions of the works:
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is proud to present at this year’s Art Basel a rare work from Robert Rauschenberg’sradically inventive and much sought-after Combine series (1954-64), in which his compositions are a synthesis of sculpture and painting. ‘Slug’ of 1961, from this celebrated series, was previously on loan for four decades at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Germany.
Alongside new works by Georg Baselitz, a historic painting from the artist’s seminal Fracture series will feature. Ein zerrissener Hund, aufwärts [A Fractured Dog, Upwards], painted in the revolutionary year 1968, exemplifies the series that heralded the artist’s typical inversion of the motif.
Marking a rare appearance for works by Joseph Beuys at Art Basel, the artist’s early sculpture Junges Pferdchen [Young Horse](1955/86) comes directly from the artist’s estate and has only recently been exhibited for the first time as part of our London gallery’s current show Joseph Beuys: Utopia at The Stag Monuments. The wax figure of a horse in one half of an opened plaster cast was completed by Beuys shortly before his death.
From a news series of works by American artist Elizabeth Peyton, her painting Hanyu (Yuzuru Hanyu) will debut at Art Basel. Her portrait of the Japanese figure skater captures the perceptible intimacy with which she depicts individuals to whom she is particularly drawn, whether friends and acquaintances, individuals she finds interesting, or historical figures who have made a strong impression on her.
Robert Longo is represented with a powerful new work Death Star II (2017/18), his large-scale planet-like sculpture consisting of 40,000 glinting bullet-cartridge cases – the number of deaths by shooting in the USA over the last year. The statistic assumes a poignant form, addressing the crucial debate about gun violence today. With Death Star II Longo takes a position both as an artist and a citizen, pledging to give 20 per cent of the sales of this work to the movement to end gun violence Everytown for Gun Safety.
German artist Wolfgang Laib presents a site-specific installation of his work. You will go somewhere else (1997/2005). Seven enigmatic wax boat-like forms, perched on wooden battens, almost as out of reach seem to file through the space. Reflecting Laib’s temporal exploration of how the present holds the future, his vessels float in the air and invite the viewer to detach themself from earthly preoccupations and to meditate on the voyage to unknown destinations.
Hauser + Wirth has released its packing list for Art Basel ahead of next week’s fair. The dealers will set up in booth D10 where works by Joan Mitchell, Composition (1969), above, will be on display. This example from her Sunflower series has a $14m asking price. It will hang alongside Louise Bourgeois‘s Three Graces from 1947 which has a $4.75m asking price. Arshile Gorky‘s 1929 still life is on offer for $8.5m
At the Unlimited sector, Hauser & Wirth will present major, large-scale works and installations by Dan Graham, Rashid Johnson, Guillermo Kuitca,and Lygia Pape. At Parcours, Pierre Huyghe’s installation ‘Exomind (Deep Water)’ (2017) includes elements both living and inanimate, chaotic and confined; various flora and fauna comprise Huyghe’s environment, with a centerpiece a concrete cast of a Japanese sculpture.
Hauser + Wirth 2018 Art Basel Catalogue (Downloadable PDF)