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December 02, 2013
By Sasha Levine | Art

Highlight Reel: Art Basel Miami Beach
Chuck Close

Nothing transforms a city quite like Art Basel, and the upcoming Miami South Beach edition is no exception. Hundreds of events, local restaurant and hotel openings and a slew of surrounding art fairs will pop up this week (December 2–8; artbasel.com). From VIP affairs to the show’s newest sector, here’s a handful of happenings to keep on your radar.

• Don’t miss a new sector of the fair devoted to editioned works, prints and multiples. “We are formalizing something we had already been offering,” says Art Basel director Marc Spiegler. “Editions are a great entry point to collecting because they allow people to collect work by artists at lower prices. And there is a highly specialized collecting scene for multiples.” Thirteen galleries will participate, including Pace Prints (New York) and Niels Borch Jensen (Berlin), with works by Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close (pictured above) and more. 300 W. 41st St., Ste. 214; artbasel.com.

• Fusion MIA Fair will launch its inaugural display of African and Latin artists on December 3 with an invitation-only First Look fête, with music by the Miami Symphony Orchestra. A series of events will follow through December 7, including an awards ceremony and a lecture series. 22nd St. and NW Second Ave.; fusionmia.com.

• As Maserati celebrates the debut of its new Ghibli, it will also host an opening-night VIP toast at the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s new facility (December 5, 7–10 p.m.; 1103 Biscayne Blvd.; pamm.org) and will sponsor a VIP lounge at Art Miami (3101 NE First Ave.; art-miami.com) with events like a symposium on collecting art by women and a brunch for museum professionals and curators.

• On December 4, Berluti CEO Antoine Arnault will unveil the newest collaboration between the men’s fashion house and furniture designer Maarten Baas. The four pieces Baas created for the label include a valet, two mirrors and a chaise longue. The items will be on display at Berluti’s Miami boutique for the duration of Art Basel. 161 NE 40th St.; 305-573-4170; berluti.com.

• A parade of other fairs joins Art Basel, including Scope (December 3–8; scope-art.com), Red Dot (December 3–8; reddotfair.com), PULSE (December 5–8; pulse-art.com) and Design Miami (December 4–8; designmiami.com). Look out for the retrospective of famed fashion photographer Marco Glaviano showing new limited-edition, large-scale versions of his black-and-white images of supermodel Cindy Crawford, now printed on canvas and sprinkled with diamond dust. “I believe that after so many years, these are the most iconic pictures of the supermodel era,” Glaviano says. The opening reception will be held at the dedicated CC Lounge during the Art Miami / Context VIP preview (December 3), and the retrospective will remain on view there for the duration of the fair. 3101 NE First Ave.; art-miami.com.

November 13, 2013
By Nell McShane Wulfhart | Art

Award-Winning Art in Shanghai
HUGO BOSS

The inaugural Hugo Boss Asia Art award, a collaboration between the brand and the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, has high hopes for the future of Asian art. Currently displaying an exhibit of works by the honor’s seven finalists—all based in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong—the museum is backing talent that will no doubt make significant marks in the years to come.

The winner, Kwan Sheung Chi of Hong Kong, collected a stipend of about $50,000 for his stimulating oeuvre of video and installation art. Doing it with Mrs. Kwan…Making Pepper Spray, one of the works on view, is a five-minute video of a woman demonstrating for an audience how to make pepper spray using common kitchen supplies, spoofing cooking shows. The judges chose him for his ability to probe the realities of society via everyday people, “not just wallowing in simple criticism or praise, and not without humor or a sense of poetry either.”

Other finalists include Birdhead, a photography duo whose photos of their hometown (Shanghai) have appeared at MoMA New York; Li Wei, whose I'm Calm is pictured above; and Li Liao a performance artist who for one piece displayed a uniform from a job he took at a factory making parts for iPads, his contract and the iPad he bought with his earnings—a wry commentary on materialism and the ever-widening gap between workers and consumers.

The prize will be awarded every other year from here on out. Through December 8; 20 Huqiu Rd., Huangpu District; 86-21/3310-9985; rockbundartmusuem.org.

November 04, 2013
By Ingrid Skjong | Art

The Ultimate Guide to Picasso
Courtesy of FITZ & CO

A limited re-release of the Zervos Picasso Catalogue—1,500 sets ($20,000 each) of 33 volumes brimming with more than 16,000 paintings and drawings—is bringing back the iconic compendium’s former glory. Distributed by Sotheby’s beginning December 15 (pre-orders [$15,000] are being accepted now), the compilation is a collector’s item and resource for all generations of Picasso devotees.

Christian Zervos, founder of Cahiers d’Art, a preeminent visual-arts publisher and gallery located in Paris, forged a lifelong friendship with Pablo Picasso. That camaraderie paved the way for Zervos, which many consider to be the definitive archive of the artist’s work.

Cahiers d’Art, founded in 1926, was a trailblazer in its day, solidifying relationships with the brightest stars of the 20th-century art world and producing some of the most highly regarded (and visually stunning) art publications. The outfit shut down in 1960. Swedish collector Staffan Ahrenberg took control of Cahiers and its holdings in 2011.

The earliest volumes of the catalog date back to 1932 and full sets are rare, making this incarnation of Zervos particularly special. Published in an English version for the first time, and featuring corrections made to the original text with the help of the Picasso Administration, it is as vast and absorbing as the friendship that ultimately created it. Available at Cahiers d’Art, 14 Rue du Dragon, Paris; 33-01/45-48-76-73; zervos.sothebys.com.

October 31, 2013
By Ana Finel Honigman | Art

Frieze Art Fair
Photo by Linda Nylind

Many who attended the V.I.P preview of Frieze Contemporary and Frieze Masters—the two sibling art fairs held earlier last month (October 17–20) in London’s Regent’s Park (friezelondon.com; friezemasters.com)—whispered concerns that they had missed a secret pre-preview. After all, where were the celebrities? In years past, the event, organized the afternoon before the buzzy opening evening party, was a prime place to spot Kate Moss, Stephanie Seymour, Sienna Miller, Claudia Schiffer, Brad Pitt and similarly art-savvy stars.

This year, however, was all about art stars and their work. Dasha Zhukova and Suzy Menkes were among the insiders to bridge fashion and art, but the biggest name making the rounds was Jeff Koons. The American pop master was spotted among his massive sculptures at the Gagosian Gallery booth, and was one of countless attendees to have his photo taken next to his mirror-polished steel sculptures of a lobster, a kitten and a foil-wrapped chocolate heart. The pieces were rumored to have sold for $30 million.

The inventory at both fairs was worth nearly $2 billion. Frieze Masters covered centuries of art with 130 galleries represented and an emphasis on the secondary market, while the 11th edition of Frieze Contemporary presented the world’s best avant-garde pieces from 152 galleries. Each tent had its own personality; together they formed the top event on the international art calendar. Crowd-pleasers included Eduardo T. Basualdo’s hanging boulder (TEORIA [Theory, 2013]) in the booth of Berlin-based PSM, and Jennifer Rubell’s giant-sized womb in Portrait of the Artist, 2013.

So where were all the celebrities? Many feted Frieze off-site at a gala hosted by fashion designer Sarah Burton at Christ Church Spitalfields. Florence Welch, Kate Moss and Edie Campbell gathered with their art-world counterparts like Tracey Emin, John Currin and Frieze’s founders, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp.

October 09, 2013
By Susan Michals | Art

A New Performing Arts Venue in Beverly Hills
Courtesy of Annenberg Center for the Arts

It can take years to get a project off the ground in Hollywood. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd.; 310-746-4000; thewallis.org) in Beverly Hills—after a series of stops and starts and 17 years in the making—proves just that, opening on October 17 with its own Hollywood unveiling. (Special guests include Robert Redford and Brad Pitt.)

The spectacular building encompasses the original Beverly Hills post office and a new 500-seat theater—all done by architect Zoltan Pali, who was brought in on the build in 2006 and talks here about what the project has meant to him.

Q: What about this was so challenging and time consuming?
A:
Projects like these often take what appears to be some time because of a combination of things. I started working on the project in early 2006, and I must say that even though that seems like a bit of time, it really is not that unusual for cultural projects of this scale. Design was two years, construction was about the same and the entitlement process was about 18 months. There were some gaps in between all that for fundraising and other approvals.

Q: The history of its location is notable.
A:
Pre-2006, it was imagined that the 1936 post office would be transformed into a 500-seat theater while adding a new wing for the studio theater, educational classrooms and administration components. It was my opinion that a better scenario would be to reverse that thinking and actually build a brand-new state-of-the-art theater south of the post office and utilize the post office itself for the [rest]. The 120-seat studio theater fit nicely into the original 1936 mail-sorting room, the classrooms fit nicely into the original loading dock and the administration fit nicely on the second floor, where the postal workers had offices and breakout areas. The old and the new are connected below ground and the basement is utilized for back-of-the-house facilities.

Q: What is your favorite area of the new space?
A:
As the architect, it is difficult to answer—it is like asking what part of your child is your favorite part. However, gun to my head, the space along the pedestrian walkway between the old building and the new building is quite compelling to me. It feels very urban. You get the understanding of both buildings and read each one’s individuality and how they relate to each other.

October 09, 2013
By Adrienne Gaffney | Art

Kara Walker Shows in London
Still from Fall from Grace, Miss Pipi’s Blue Tale, 2011

An American art star will be the talk of the British gallery scene when London’s Camden Arts Centre stages the United Kingdom’s first solo exhibition of works by Kara Walker. Opening October 11, the show will introduce the artist’s gripping style and dark explorations of power to an entirely new audience.

Featuring the exquisitely rendered Victorian cut-paper silhouette tableaux that Walker is known for, the exhibit will unite familiar elements and bold new pieces around a theme of white supremacy. In addition to the silhouettes, one of which has been created specifically for Camden, the show will include a series of graphite-drawn book covers representing untold African-American stories and a video installation of her searing shadow play, Fall Frum Grace—Miss Pipi’s Blue Tale.

It is likely that the exhibit, which coincides with England’s Black History Month, will garner controversy; Walker’s previous work has been incredibly divisive even within the African American community. Show curator Sophie Williamson welcomes the conversation. “In the art world we too often show work that is preaching to the converted,” she explains. “Walker’s work doesn’t do this. It poses a lot of quite contentious arguments, even within a liberal, art-world context.”

The artist’s powerfully unflinching method exposes the underbelly of American history, but Williamson has no concern that it will be lost on British viewers. “Her experience is through the eyes of an American black woman, but racial stereotyping and the tensions this creates is something that is experienced by people all across the UK,” she says. “Otherness is different in different locations, but the way that her work approaches it will resonate with audiences wherever you go.” Through January 5; Arkwright Rd.; 44-20/7472-5500; camdenartscentre.org.

September 24, 2013
By Ingrid Skjong | Art

New African Art in Boston
Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Boston

A very special slice of Africa’s artistic heritage has landed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Robert Owen Lehman Collection—the single greatest private holding of works of art from the Benin Kingdom, which was located in present-day Nigeria, dating from the late-15th to the 19th centuries—opened on September 24 as a new permanent gallery.

Joining the MFA’s collection of African art, which began in the 1990s, the 36 works in bronze and ivory include 15 relief plaques depicting rulers, dignitaries and narrative scenes; a variety of bronzes (copper alloy pieces produced and made in a lost wax-casting technique); and two late-15th-­century ivory salt cellars from what is currently Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The Benin Kingdom ruled from the 12th to the 19th centuries, when British forces overtook it and removed thousands of pieces from the kingdom’s palace. “Rare” doesn’t begin to describe the museum’s acquisition. “Visitors will have an intimate look at some of the most exquisitely crafted works created by artists in Africa south of the Sahara desert,” says Christraud Geary, the MFA’s Teel senior curator of African and Oceanic art. “Many of the objects haven’t been on view in decades—and never in Boston.” 465 Huntington Ave.; 617-267-9300; mfa.org.

September 19, 2013
By Susan Michals | Art

Faile Brings Its Street Art to Texas
Couretsy of Dallas Contemporary

Opened on September 21, the exhibit “Where Wild Won’t Break,” at the Dallas Contemporary, put the work of Faile—a Brooklyn-based twosome known for influential street-art collaborations—on display. Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller met nearly 20 years ago and have been working together since 1999, creating everything from large-scale paintings to sculptures to multimedia installations.

Though McNeil and Miller are predominantly known as part of the street-art genre, they have eked out a niche with their dynamic visual imagery to change its perception—which, thanks to fellow artists like Retna and Shepard Fairey and shows like 2011’s “Art in the Streets” at L.A.’s MoCA, has morphed drastically over the past few years.

Going southwest to Dallas was a bit outside Faile’s urban comfort zone of New York, but it also provided a great deal of inspiration. “The theme for the show was greatly inspired by Texas and the idea of the West and westerns,” they say. “Americana and quilt making were also influential, as they are ongoing themes in our work.”

The images created ultimately played out in many different directions. “Faile draws images from our collective visual culture and finds meaning in the clutter of pictures and illustrations,” says Pedro Alonzo, adjunct curator at Dallas Contemporary. “In doing so, they have developed an impressive body of work based on the creation of a unique vocabulary of icons.”

Considering their myriad examinations of mass culture, do McNeil and Miller have a favorite piece in the exhibition? “Between the two of us there were a few specific images that were favorites,” says the pair. “ Almost Midnight, Where the Hammer Drops and Werewolves of Laredo.” Giddyup, indeed. Through December 22; 161 Glass St.; 214-821-2522; dallascontemporary.org.

September 17, 2013
By Ingrid Skjong | Art

Mars Gallery Celebrates Chicago Art
Courtesy of Mars Gallery

A trailblazing force in the Chicago art world for 25 years, Mars Gallery—the studio and gallery space of Pop artist Peter Mars, located in the West Loop district—opens a retrospective exhibit on September 19 showcasing works by the notable artists that have shown within its walls.

“Mars came to define the style of a West Loop gallery,” says co-owner Barbara Gazdik. “A more laid-back, approachable gallery to both artists and collectors—exhibition space often being a timber loft instead of white cubes and wine-and-cheese openings frequently turned into late-night bashes.”

The new exhibit features a mix of pieces, including modern and retro Pop, figurative paintings, items of Outsider Art by the likes of Howard Finster and Lee Godie and a few collaborative pieces by Peter Mars and local musician/visual artist Wesley Willis, who died in 2003. The gallery will hold its official anniversary party on September 26, and tours of Mars’s studio are available upon request.

Tireless advocates for Chicago and its artistic reach, Mars plans to continue in the West Loop, which attracts a younger, quirkier brand of art dealer. And though the next 25 years will no doubt hold change, a solid foundation is already in place.

“No one will ever have a conversation about the Chicago art scene of the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s without including a discussion of Mars,” says Gazdik. “We exhibited more up-and-coming Chicago artists over the past 25 years than any other gallery in the city. Hundreds of artists cut their teeth here—in some ways it’s a right of passage.” Through October 19; 1139 W. Fulton Market; 312-226-7808; marsgallery.com.

September 13, 2013
By Maud Doyle | Art

Two New York Gallery Shows Not to Miss
Jean Tinguely © 2013 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris

In 1960 Yves Klein debuted his 40-minute Monotone-Silence Symphony, a single-toned work conceived 13 years earlier on a beach in Nice. That same year Robert Rauschenberg helped Jean Tinguely set his friend’s famously massive (and short-lived) sculpture, Homage to New York, into motion in the gardens at MoMA.

This week two New York galleries will show the relics of these momentary, sonorous works of art—“happenings,” as they were called at the time.

Klein’s symphony inspires “Audible Presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly” (September 18 to November 16), the inaugural exhibit at the new Dominique Lévy gallery (909 Madison Ave.; dominique-levy.com). It deals in the luminous, monochromatic and audio works of its three featured artists, including a Fontana “portrait” of the Venetian sky, an abstraction of a Roman sunset by Twombly and the first New York performance (currently sold out) of Monotone-Silence Symphony (September 18, 8 P.M.; Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 921 Madison Ave.; eventbrite.com).

Following his Homage to New York moment with Tinguely, Rauschenberg eventually added a rare preliminary sketch by the French artist of the “self-constructing and self-deconstructing” machine to his personal collection. It—along with several other pieces from Rauschenberg’s private compendium and archives—is now on view in “Radio Waves: New York ‘Nouveau Réalisme’ and Rauschenberg” (September 17 to November 2) at Sperone Westwater (257 Bowery; speronewestwater.com).

The two shows seem to demonstrate opposite instincts. Uptown, Klein’s resuscitated symphony upends time with 20 unbroken minutes of unchanging tone (and another 20 of silence) that harkens back 53 years. Downtown, time’s perpetual rush forward gets the attention. Even though Tinguely’s Radio No. 1 (1960) could still be turned on to transform quick-flipping radio signals into unpredictable white noise, that won’t happen here. But Rauschenberg’s Dry Cell (1963) still responds to environmental sound, a metal bobbin spinning in a Plexiglass box, still noting a changing present 50 years later.

Two More to See: “Aldo Tambellini: We Are the Primitives of a New Era, Paintings and Projections 1961–1989” (September 12 to October 19) at James Cohan Gallery (533 W. 26th St.; jamescohan.com) delves into the Italian artist’s performance and experiential installations. And “Rauschenberg and Photography” (through November 2) at Pace/MacGill Gallery (32 E. 57th St.; pacemacgill.com) considers the artist’s relationship with the medium.

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