Before Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen sent his version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream to the auction block at Sotheby’s New York in May, where it sold for $120 million, he spoke to the press about what he thought the work meant. At the time, Mr. Olsen’s pronouncements sounded, at least to me, a little bit off. The Scream, we’re all taught, is about existential angst, the individual crying out, alone in the universe, but Mr. Olsen, who’d lived with the work his entire life, had a more expansive view. Read More
Last Thursday, as one of several photographers pointed his lens, two grown men posed by their paintings, shyly smiling and giving no indication whatsoever that they were the reason everybody was gathered. They were young street artists, Iranian siblings ICY and SOT, whose exhibition of around 30 paintings, titled MADE IN IRAN, spent just three days in the Open House Gallery on the Bowery last week.
“They’ve been in New York less than a month,” Mona Dehghan, the artists’ PR rep, told us. “They have been arrested and the like back in Iran for what they do. Expressing yourself creatively is still something that is not fully understood, so to do it illegally on the street is a definite no-go. They are here seeking asylum.” Though they shouldn’t forget that graffiti is a punishable crime here too, they moved to a country where street art is considered high art. Street art’s prominence in the gallery scene has gone hand in hand with the increase of economic disparity in the West, as rebellion and anarchy are suddenly exciting prospects. People such as Banksy and Dan Witz have wrenched street art’s reputation and dragged it from the alleyways, and we asked the artists if the fame of these other artists has had a positive or negative effect on their own careers, especially considering we had heard more than one attendee utter the phrase “It looks like a Banksy.” Read More
Exit the Deciders: What Will the Recent Disbanding of Authentication Committees Mean for the Art World?
The Warhol Authentication Board is disbanding. So is the Basquiat Authentication Committee, and the Dedalus Foundation, which opines on would-be Motherwells.
And there are whisperings that others are not far behind. Read More
Old New York is still all around us, if you know where to look. At least, that’s the idea that Frank Jump is selling. Read More
Josephine Halvorson makes small artworks that have a huge impact. Why do viewers stop dead in their tracks in front of her pieces—humble oil paintings that are descriptive close-ups of such unlikely subjects as a machine valve, crumbs in a cake pan or the blocked window of a salt-water taffy shack—and then linger there?
To some, this reaction might seem puzzling, because—although Ms. Halvorson, 30, at times resists the label—her work is realistic, at the very least in the sense that she sets up her easel in front of real things in the physical world and paints what she sees. A new exhibition, her second solo show at Chelsea gallery Sikkema Jenkins, opened last Friday. Read More
On Sunday, the protesters in Zuccotti Park were heartened to see a plane dip and soar, forming the phrase “Last Chance.” This was obviously an attack on Wall Street! City Councilman Peter Vallone – who has a history of dealing harshly with street art – saw this “sky graffiti” as a form of terrorism. “The arts are supposed to generate conversation but not apprehension and fear,” he told reporters.
People at Occupy Wall Street also freaked out, assuming that the person writing (perhaps Anonymous?) was championing their cause. (Except for the one person who thought it was Bloomberg’s message to the protesters.)
So it must have been a letdown to learn that the writing had nothing to do with the Occupy Wall Street movement. It was a private arts project commissioned by the High Line, as we reported yesterday. So why did Occupy Wall Streeters read so much into a bunch of clouds? Read More
“I’ve never done a hotel fair before,” Petra Leene, the director of Amsterdam’s Amstel Gallery told us, sitting on her bed in a room on the second floor of the Capitol Skyline Hotel, in Washington, D.C. “I thought the purpose of a hotel fair was that you slept in your room. I didn’t know!”
It Read More
The New York Times has called our attention to the dubious authenticity of some of Bob Dylan’s paintings in The Asia Series. As we noted in our review of the show, the press release calls the show “a visual journal of his travels” and comprises “firsthand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture Read More
Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction in London on October 13, which falls on the week of the Frieze Art Fair, will have “an offering of artworks by younger artists including Jacob Kassay,” according to a press release.
That Mr. Kassay’s name is so prominently featured (in that introduction, no other “younger artists” are mentioned) is no Read More
A $1 million Renoir painting plucked from a Houston home by an armed robber earlier this month remains at large, and local police officials now tell press that they believe that the work may be on its way out of the country. Details for the reasoning behind that suspicious have not been released. Read More