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December 06, 2012
By Alexandra Wolfe | Art, Miami Art Basel

Art Basel Miami Beach party
Photo by David X Prutting/BFANYC

Art Basel Miami Beach, the behemoth bacchanal that began as a mere art fair just over decade ago, first sprawled into South Beach, then headed across the causeway into downtown Miami, Wynwood and even Bal Harbour. This year it reached a whole new dimension—a digital one, that is. With online platforms finally taking center stage, the fair’s virtual presence is more prominent than ever before.

Last year the concept burst onto the scene with Art.sy’s star-studded Soho Beach House barbecue. Chanel will sponsor the event again this year, with hosts including Wendi Murdoch, Dasha Zhukova, Peter Thiel, Carter Cleveland and Larry Gagosian, and judging by the impenetrable guest list, it appears to be the week’s most coveted invite. But Art.sy isn’t stopping at a beach blowout this year—it has partnered with Design Miami to create an online space where Art.sy’s more than 100,000 registered users and 250,000 monthly visitors can shop the fair. Art.sy’s competitors are in on the act, too. Artspace, an online marketplace for contemporary art, will cohost NetJets’ annual Collectors Cocktail at the Bath Club, and online boutique Grey Area will show off its wares at the Standard Hotel. And even much of the art itself has gone digital, with major installations like InterContinental Miami’s 19-story LED Digital Canvas being unveiled on the hotel’s façade December 6.

December 04, 2012
By Maud Doyle | Art

201212-b-nada-lizzie-fitch-reach.jpg

Courtesy Fitch/Trecartin - New Galerie

In Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the mysterious submarine Nautilus moves unseen, combating the British Empire under the leadership of one Captain Nemo. “Nemo” means “no one” in Latin, an enigmatic self-erasure that marks a fictional character more interested in deeds than global brand recognition. The art fair NADA has taken a similar approach, negating its own brand in favor of, presumably, the young, little-known galleries and artists it highlights. It continues to combat the global establishment December 6 to December 9 at Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach.

Its non-name—which stands for New Art Dealers Alliance—also seems to dismiss the nonserious yada—yada that some might say characterizes Art Basel Miami Beach (held December 6 to December 9 this year). Though there is nothing wrong with a fair that might be described as the social event of the season, according to Heather Hubbs, longtime director of NADA, “people want alternatives.”

Now in its tenth year in Miami Beach, NADA is hardly the slingshot-wielding idealist it used to be, though it remains the only major American art fair operated by a nonprofit. “Our fair is a serious and viable alternative to the main fair, and is no longer viewed as a satellite,” says Hubbs. Referring to NADA’s recent expansion to New York and Cologne, Germany, she adds, “Our success comes from what we do and how we do it, not because we have more shows now.” (Similar to Captain Nemo, NADA’s non-name has become a household one.)

With 22 galleries new to the fair this year, a shockingly high percentage, there is plenty to see. Temnikova & Kasela, an up-and-coming gallery from Tallinn, Estonia, is showing in the U.S. for the first time, along with Bischoff Projects of Frankfurt, Germany, and Kendall Koppe of Glasgow, Scotland. NADA can still claim to expose the underexposed—only now it brings it to a bigger audience. 6701 Collins Ave.; 212-594-0883; newartdealers.org.

November 28, 2012
By Francesca Giacco | Art

20121112-b-coldplay.jpg

Photo by Miller

The members of Coldplay, one of the world’s most popular bands, have extended their creative reach with an exhibit of exclusive artwork, now on display through December 2 at the Camden location of Proud Galleries in London. After holding private shows for Sting and Sir Paul McCartney recently, the gallery continues its focus on musicians.

The works for sale include three original paintings and the 8-by-22-foot graffiti wall that became the cover artwork for Coldplay’s platinum-selling album Mylo Xyloto, as well as signed limited-edition prints of the album art. (This is the first time the wall has been seen in public.) The band created each piece in collaboration with album artist Paris, who has been Coldplay’s artist in residence since 2011. All proceeds will benefit Kids Company, an organization that works to combat child poverty in and around London. Art produced by Album Artists; Chalk Farm Rd.; 44-20/7482-3867; proud.co.uk.

November 15, 2012
By Maureen Cassidy-Geiger | Art

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Roberto Fortuna & Kira Ursem, The National Museum of Denmark

A blockbuster exhibition is winding down at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Simply titled “Bronze,” the show opens with a bang in the form of a fragmentary life-size figure of a satyr dancing with wild abandon; it closes on December 9. The high-energy Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo, Greek and datable to the fourth century B.C., was netted by fishermen off the coast of Sardinia in 1998 and is only one of several incredible loans negotiated by curator David Ekserdjian, whose premise was simple: let three millennia of bronze castings do all the talking (and pack the scholarship into the catalogue). Dispensing with convention, Ekserdjian groups the bronzes according to type—figures, animals, objects (like The Chariot of the Sun, pictured above), reliefs, gods, busts—instead of by chronology or geography, juxtaposing large and small, African and Asian, Ghiberti and de Kooning against dark walls with dramatic lighting to stunning effect. Connoisseurs might grumble, but none will deny that bronze is the new gold. Through December 9; royalacademy.org.uk.

November 14, 2012
By Erin Schumaker | Art

Winged Goddess by Sheila Elias
Image by Sheila Elias

After years of using a paintbrush, Miami-based artist Sheila Elias is exploring a new medium—digital painting on Apple’s iPad. Vividly colorful and full of movement, the large-scale works, printed on canvas and then touched up with paint, appear to be portraits from another world.  

In October, Elias demonstrated her craft during a live event at the Apple Store on the Upper West Side of New York. After showing at Manhattan’s Mayson Gallery, she is taking her series, “iPaint on My iPad,” to Florida for a pre–Art Basel Miami Beach kick-off exhibit starting December 4. (She will also be showing her more traditional works within Red Dot Art Fair, which is part of Art Basel.) We caught up with the artist for insight into her innovative technique.

Q: How is using an iPad to create art different than painting with a brush?

A: I painted these without tools and enlarged abstract shapes that took on mysterious, unnatural forms. The iPad differs [from painting with a brush] because it has impact in the degree of immediate responsiveness. And the final composition is translated to a larger format.

Q: Has it been a difficult transition?

A: I have been painting on my iPad since 2011. Creating on the iPad is different than traditional painting and drawing in that you are confined to the limitations of the app and must expand your abilities to take into account those boundaries.

Q: I noticed that many of your works have mythical or celestial titles—Sphinx and Griffin, Strange Deities, Winged Goddess. How does using technology to create art connect with these otherworldly themes?

A: I love the juxtaposition of antiquities with the modern universe. Painting with your finger is what the cavemen did, and I find it so amazing that today’s technology could relate the past to the present. On view by appointment from December 4 to 9; 1510 NE 130th St., North Miami; 305-892-9198 sheilaelias.com.

November 06, 2012
By Ingrid Skjong | Art

A Conrad Marca-Relli Retrospective in London
Conrad Marca-Relli, Untitled, 1960, collage and mixed media on canvas, 91 x 102 cm, Courtesy Archivio Marca-Relli, Parma

The 60-year career of American artist Conrad Marca-Relli plays out in London as the Ronchini Gallery heads into the final weeks of its exhibit “Conrad Marca-Relli: The Architecture of Action” (through November 24). The first solo show of his work in the UK, it is something special.

“Time has already dimmed the glow of much late-20th century art,” says curator Kenneth Baker. “Marca-Relli’s best efforts still look solid.”

Born in Boston, the artist was an essential figure in the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, along with contemporaries like Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock. Specializing in collage, he used oil paint and other materials (plastic, aluminum, newsprint, fabric) to create periodically colorful, often sizable works that toggled between structural and abstract. The exhibition includes Death of Jackson Pollock, which memorialized the evening Marca-Relli identified Pollack’s body at the scene of the car crash that killed him. Macabre? Perhaps. But also exemplary of how personal Marca-Relli’s art tends to be.

“Collectors who own examples of [his] work—especially from the ’50s and early ’60s —tend to be passionately attached to it,” says Baker. “People who remember it mainly from seeing it in reproduction are often struck, as am I, by the assertiveness of the work’s physical presence and texture.” Through November 24; 22 Dering St.; 44-20/7629-9188; ronchinigallery.com.

October 17, 2012
By Erin Schumaker | Art

Women Dominate the Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Art Museum/ Frida Kahlo

Women are taking the Seattle Art Museum by storm with a wide-reaching exhibition of 125 works produced from 1909 to 2007—and created solely by female artists. “Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris” (through January 13) is a survey culled from a much-acclaimed show that closed at the Centre Pompidou in 2011 after a two-year run. Centre Pompidou is a mash-up of vibrantly hued pipes constructed in the heart of Paris, and its unconventional design turned the world of museum architecture upside down when it was built in 1977. Similarly, “Elles” hopes to challenge the male-dominated art-history discourse by focusing on feminism and women’s issues in art.

The exhibition will present the work thematically, featuring contributions to modernism, abstract expressionism, performance art and activist work, and highlighting artists like Sonia Delaunay, Frida Kahlo, Cindy Sherman and Tania Bruguera. “Other exhibitions specifically exploring female artists and feminism have been organized in recent years, but ‘Elles’ is distinctive in its broader historical scope,” says associate curator Marisa C. Sánchez. “The art collection at the Centre Pompidou is uniquely rich, allowing for a survey of art made by women artists that few, if any other, museum collections would have the depth to organize.” Through January 13, 2013; 1300 First Ave.; 206-654-3100; seattleartmuseum.org.

October 16, 2012
By Maud Doyle | Art, Exhibitions

Drawings at the Morgan Library & Museum
© Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

“This is a collection that was created in a time of stress and continued throughout times of stress,” says Jennifer Tonkovich, a curator at the Morgan Library & Museum, describing the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, one of Europe’s most distinguished collections of drawings. Now through January 6, 2013, the Morgan is hosting a selection of those pieces in “Dürer to de Kooning: 100 Master Drawings from Munich.” Rarely seen works on this side of the Atlantic, ethereal in their mastery and purpose, they tease the entire collection, which is comprised of an unimaginable 450,000 sheets.

The works themselves get under your skin. The soaring Bavarian Baroque design in the trompe l’oeil ceiling of a southern church by Melchior Steidl; the vibrant color in Nude Girl in an Interior by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (pictured above); the studied diplomacy of a portrait by Reubens of the Duke of Lerma, upended by his collage-style use of Charles V’s head as placeholder for the Duke’s; the beauty of Pontormo’s hooded figures drawn in red chalk; Matthias Grünewald’s extraordinary portrayal of a Bavarian woman in prayer, fingers resting patiently at the bottom of the frame.

Many of these drawings were saved from history. Before the entire collection’s 50th birthday in 1794, the works moved away from French Revolutionary forces and out of harm’s way for the first time. In July 1944, drawings not evacuated from Neue Pinakothek, the only museum in Munich to remain open during World War II, were bombed. A third of the collection, nearly all of the pieces from the French and British schools, vanished in a brightly illuminated act of irony.

These 100 sheets have total clarity of vision, revealing the ages of humanity without the scrims of politics or history. Die Brücke, a movement founded in Dresden in 1905, contributes German expressionism using gesture and color. A 1925 portrait by Rudolf Schlichter shows the subject’s exquisitely modeled features, none idealized, rendered in simple pencil. And an extraordinary painted image by A.R. Penck is “…not unlike Outsider Art,” observes Tonkovich. “He’s completely self-taught. Unlike [fellow painters] Polke and Baselitz, he didn’t get out of the GDR.”

Penck sent his modern work—which was not sanctified there—over the wall, showing it under pseudonyms in the west. The Morgan showcases a piece called I and the Cosmos: black sky, blank spots for stars, one ill-proportioned red figure looking up in profile, the only apparent feature his eye. It, like the exhibit, is unforgettable. Through January 6, 2013; 225 Madison Ave.; 212-685-0008; themorgan.org.

October 10, 2012
By Ingrid Skjong | Art

Everyday Africa
Shoeshine boys in Toumodi, Ivory Coast. March 2012. Photo by Austin Merrill.

Aware that most images involving Africa depict a stereotypical—and often highly distressed—image of life on the continent, photographer Peter DiCampo and journalist Austin Merrill set out to shift the perception. Zeroing in on the richness of everyday moments, and capturing them casually with their iPhones, the two amassed a collection of photographs—some of which are on display in “Everyday Africa,” showing through October 19 at the VII Gallery in Brooklyn—that present Africa in a different light.

“We’re not ignoring war or any other kind of bad news, because that’s a part of what happens in Africa, too,” says Merrill. “But it’s not what we’re focusing on. [We want] a local restaurant, a musical performance, the stores, the offices, the people—the things that fill our lives every day, no matter where we are.”

Both photographers are no strangers to Africa, having been Peace Corps volunteers there (DiCampo in Ghana, Merrill in Ivory Coast). Merrill, a journalist with a focus on African culture and politics (and currently an editor at Vanity Fair), spent more significant time in Ivory Coast in subsequent years. There with DiCampo in March, on a reporting trip backed by a grant from the Pulitzer Center, the two found themselves snapping photos with their iPhones using Hipstamatic and liking the results. DiCampo broached the idea for “Everyday Africa.” “The fact that we were taking photographs on such an accessible device fit right into the everyday nature of the project,” says Merrill.

The compelling photos have a familiar feel that goes beyond the filters: Kids shoot mischievous looks with universal resonance. A woman hangs laundry in a shaft of sunlight. A giraffe towers calmly over a seated man. (Check out more on the project’s Instagram feed @everydayafrica, which collects daily posts from iPhone photographers in multiple African countries.)

The pair would like to continue the program by photographing every country on the continent, involving more contributors (Africans included) and possibly doing a book. Till then, “Everyday Africa” will carry on, showing a less-extreme side of a nation. “My hope is that, if nothing else, people will leave the exhibit finding that they’re thinking about Africa in a new way,” says Merrill. Through October 19; 28 Jay St., Brooklyn; 212-337-3130; viiphoto.com; everydayafrica.tumblr.com.

October 09, 2012
By Maud Doyle | Art

Frieze Masters Debuts in London
Courtesy of De Jonckheere

Frieze—the youthful contemporary art fair come to save us from its more overblown predecessors—has had a big year. It inaugurated Frieze New York in the spring, and opens Frieze Masters today on the opposite end of Regent’s Park from where the now-classic Frieze London sits.

More than 90 galleries will show at Frieze Masters, standing shoulder to shoulder in a temporary space designed by Annabelle Selldorf, displaying great artworks of every era, from antiquity to the 20th century. Such staple modern and contemporary galleries as Gagosian, Pace and Acquavella will show alongside heavy hitters from, one might say, other museum departments, such as Galerie Meyer Oceanic Art of Paris and Daniel Katz, whose London gallery is more neoclassical manor-house-library than white cube.

Paris’s Galerie 1900–2000 specializes in dark, heady works of Surrealism, while London’s eminent Colnaghi gallery (established in 1760) will show treasures from its sepia-tinted collection of unimpeachably beautiful European paintings. “We want people to see works with fresh eyes,” says Victoria Siddall, the new fair’s director. “A gallery that shows 1960s minimalism might be next to a medieval gargoyle, and we hope that they both benefit from these unexpected encounters.”

At the Talks element of the fair, contemporary artists like Cecily Brown and Luc Tuymans will speak with curators about the historic collections of the National Gallery and the Louvre, seeking to articulate continuity between the art of the past and the work of the moment—or even to blur the distinction altogether. And for those who don’t care to make the 15-minute trek from one end of Regent’s Park to the other to see both Friezes, a fleet of BMWs will be available to ferry visitors back and forth. October 11–14; Regent’s Park, Gloucester Green; friezemasters.com.

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