The Year Observed
It’s been brutal trying to whittle down a “best of” list for 2013, but the top slot? That’s easy: the New York art world’s recovery after Hurricane Sandy. It’s astounding to think back to October 2012, when galleries were flooded and art was destroyed, when artists and art handlers, dealers and interns could be found without electricity, carrying soggy works from basements, tearing out drywalls and trying to figure out what to do next. The entire foundation of the art world felt threatened. But galleries dug out. They raised money to help dealers who had suffered losses, and by January most of the affected ones were up and running again.
That experience colored the year for me, as I suspect it did for others. I can’t prove empirically that the art world got any nicer, but it felt like a sense of camaraderie grew out of it. It made an already strong year in art feel just a little bit stronger.
This modest survey of German painter Sigmar Polke’s photography includes portraits of several Afghan men leaning on a Jeep next to a mud-brick wall; a picture of a teapot pouring crumpled paper into a cup; a picture of Polke’s studio furniture arranged in a sculptural installation; and pictures of Polke’s own collages “Polke’s Whip” and “Menschenkreis.”
Geometry is destiny, at least in the work of Peter Halley, whose Day-Glo prisons, cells and conduits have been familiar icons since the mid-’80s. Mr. Halley has proved to be reliably consistent, from his choice of acid-hued paints to his use of Roll-A-Tex, a gritty product that lends his work an architectural edge. At first glance, the artist’s airy studio at 526 West 26th Street, filled with rows of colorful paint containers surrounded by canvases in various stages (and dominated by a huge classical cast of Poseidon that Mr. Halley acquired from the Athens Museum), could be a day-care center for child prodigies. But Mr. Halley, 57, who recently stepped down as director of Graduate Studies in Painting at Yale, has an enviably stable midlife career.
“Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost,” the writer Henry James once advised. It has not been lost on us here at The Observer, where we carefully scrutinize the tiniest changes in branding, that what was formerly known as Gagosian Gallery is now known simply as Gagosian.
Already on the Read More
In the case in which art superstar Richard Prince and his agent, megadealer Larry Gagosian, and Mr. Gagosian’s gallery were all found to have jointly infringed the copyrighted images of photographer Patrick Cariou, their appeal of the U.S. District Court’s March decision is having some trouble getting off the ground.
That’s because Mr. Cariou has Read More
On a breezy evening in late June, visitors to an opening at the Orchard Street gallery Untitled looked confused. But it wasn’t the art—a monochromatic white painting by veteran Swiss avant-gardist Olivier Mosset paired with depictions of buckets and paint-splattered rags by young talent Haley Mellin—that was confusing them. It was Read More
By now the chances are good that you’ve heard about the new reality show Gallery Girls, which promises to put the art history majors who sit behind desks at galleries under the Real Housewives/The Hills/PoweR Girls microscope. The show is being developed for Bravo by Magical Elves, the company that makes Top Chef, Project Runway Read More
The Michael Werner Gallery has settled its lawsuit with Carnegie Museum trustee and collector James H. Rich. The lawsuit involved a painting by Peter Doig that was sold to Mr. Rich in 2004 and was supposed to have passed into the collection of the Carnegie Museum. “Due to a misunderstanding,” according to the latest Read More
In the 19th century, Great Britain used gunboats to address its trade imbalance with China. It must have seemed clear enough who was doing what to whom. But in the 21st century, things are more complicated. The gunboats remain ready, but the more visible weapons—if they are weapons—have so far been children’s television characters. In Read More
Claustrophobia isn’t quite the right word when the tunnels go on forever. Using the endless and endlessly unwelcoming tiled surfaces of the New York City underground, George Tooker’s painting Subway gets at a dread that seems, despite its broad resonance, particular to the year in which it was painted, 1950.
A woman in a red Read More