Monday, November 2

Kasmin Now Represents George Rickey
Kasmin gallery in New York now represents American sculptor George Rickey, who died at the age of 95 in 2002. Rickey is best known for his monumental abstract sculptures—“useless machines,” as he called them—whose movements were guided by changes in air currents. The gallery will present two simultaneous exhibitions of work by the artist in fall 2021, starting with the installation of nine large-scale sculptures along Park Avenue, as part of a public art program organized by the Sculpture Committee of the Fund for Park Avenue in collaboration with NYC Parks. Also on display will be three works on view from Manhattan’s High Line. Eric Gleason, senior director at Kasmin, said in a statement, “George Rickey is a singular entity in the history of 20th-century sculpture, and his numerous innovations within the realm of kinetics helped to create and define a … Read the rest

Sindika Dokolo, a key African art collector who earlier this year faced widespread allegations of corruption, has died at 48. Outlets based in Angola, where Dokolo was based, reported that he died after suffering an embolism while diving in Dubai.

Within the African art world, Dokolo had been considered a towering figure who was leading a fight to repatriate looted objects in Europe and helping kickstart a market on the continent. But a scandal in January tainted that reputation, leading various figures in the international art scene to attempt to distance themselves.

In 2020, Dokolo and his wife Isabel dos Santos, who Forbes has ranked as two of the richest people in Africa, were the subject of an investigation following the leak of 715,000 emails and documents showing how dos Santos built an empire worth $2 billion. That cache of documents, known as the Luanda Leaks, revealed that … Read the rest

Upon the sudden death of Remedios Varo in 1963, her peer André Breton noted that death made the painter “the sorceress who left too soon.” It was a fitting way of bidding goodbye to Varo, whose faith in magic, mysticism, and the power of nature inspired her fantastical, allegorical work. She died at the height of her success—her posthumous retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City in in 1971 surpassed attendance records at the institution for shows by Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

In death and life, Varo was defined by her Surrealist associations. After fleeing her native Spain, the French poet Benjamin Péret introduced her to the Parisian avant-garde crowd, whose members she exhibited and studied alongside. Varo worked within a psychoanalytic framework, but her approach left little to accident or automatism. She was a meticulous architect of dreamscapes, planning well in advance the Read the rest

As cultural institutions in parts of Brazil begin to reopen, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo announced that it would stage a new in-person exhibition in November that is related to its larger group biennial show postponed until next fall.

The new show, titled “Vento” (“Wind” in English), will run from November 14 to December 13 at the biennial’s traditional home, the Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo in São Paulo’s Parque do Ibirapuera. The exhibition will be free to the public but will require visitors to book tickets in advance.

“Vento” will feature a group of 21 artists, including 10 artists who have just been added to the biennial exhibition. They are Alice Shintani, Ana Adamović, Eleonore Koch, Gala Porras-Kim, Jacqueline Nova, Koki Tanaka, Luisa Cunha, Melvin Moti, Musa Michelle Mattiuzzi, and Paulo Nazareth, who will stage a streamed performance in the pavilion on November 13. Other artists included in “Vento” are … Read the rest

“If the Leader Only Knew” (2014). All images © Hank Willis Thomas, shared with permission

Through his bronze sculptures and public installations, Hank Willis Thomas (previously) examines history’s repetitions. The Brooklyn-based artist critically considers identity, social justice, and pop culture by visually weaving together the remains of the past that surface in present day. “Art is a platform where histories meet,” he tells Colossal.

Thomas’s sculptural pieces include a series of hands clenching a barbed wire fence, an oversized hair pick lodged into concrete, and a gleaming basketball balancing on players’ fingertips. No matter the medium, the interdisciplinary artist begins by examining advertisements and archival images and the messages those contain. “The transfer of a photograph into a three-dimensional expression allows the viewer to delve within a photograph and form an intimate understanding of the ideas it represents. That relationship inspires critical thought about the viewer themselves and … Read the rest

On Wednesday, Art Basel launched the second iteration of its revamped digital fair, “OVR,” which features six-work presentations from 100 galleries. In its first wholly digital endeavor, the fair placed a focus on work made in 2020. For this edition, named “OVR:20c,” Art Basel has spotlighted art made in the 20th century.

“Art Basel, as an entity within the art world, is known not just for contemporary work but also for historical work,” Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director, told ARTnews of the digital experiments that have replaced the now-canceled main Swiss fair. “I’ve always felt that the historical material is important in terms of grounding the contemporary material, and the contemporary material is important in making the historical work feel topical.”

This second version of Basel’s online concept saw sales trickle in more slowly compared to its counterpart in September. In both editions, mega-galleries like Hauser & … Read the rest

Full image of “Project Orion.” All images © Matt Harbison, shared with permission

For the past five years, Chattanooga-based astrophotographer Matt Harbison has poured more than 500 hours into capturing the minute details of the Orion constellation, an immense undertaking that’s culminated in a stunning 2.5 gigapixel image. In its entirety, “Project Orion” is composed of 2,508 individual shots meticulously stitched together into a fiery, star-studded mosaic.

In a statement about the monumental project, Harbison writes that his fascination with the neblua began in childhood during camping trips and Boy Scout excursions and later, as he drove to high school and college. Orion “was always there, seemingly inconspicuous.  I have always felt a connection to this cosmic way-finder. Big decisions and events in my life came and went, yet those stars seemed to always find their way into my consciousness,” he says.


A close-up of “Project Orion”

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In a shocking last-minute move, the Baltimore Museum of Art has “decided to pause” its plans to sell three works from its collection with Sotheby’s, according to a press release. The news was announced by the Maryland institution just two hours before two of the works were expected to hit the auction block in New York.

In a release, the museum said that the decision was made following “a private conversation between the BMA’s leadership and the Association of Art Museum Directors,” a prominent industry group that offers recommendations about deaccessioning. Previously, members of the BMA’s leadership had staunchly defended the plan in the face of a mounting outcry that resulted in a call for a formal investigation and the resignation of two board members.

The museum had previously planned to sell works by Brice Marden, Clyfford Still, and Andy Warhol; the Marden and the Still abstractions were to be … Read the rest

Frederick Weston, the New York artist, performer, and fashion designer whose elaborate collages interrogated the media’s representation of New York’s Black and queer communities, died last week at age 74 from cancer. The news was confirmed by arts nonprofit Visual AIDS, of which Weston had been an active member of the group after his HIV-positive diagnosis.

Weston was a dedicated archivist of mass media representations of men, amassing binders of magazine advertisements, paper ephemera, and fabric which he stored in his longtime Chelsea apartment and studio. (“Hoarding is about ownership and attachment. They really train us to be consumers,” he once said.) In addition to magazine clippings, his intricate and eye-catching collages were culled from photography prints, fabric swatches, food packaging—anything that could be duplicated with a Xerox machine.

“My whole practice really is about the way that men look, men comport themselves and the way that men pose,” Read the rest

Felicia Murray, “Our Dying Reefs,” felted COVID mask, 2020. All photos shared with permission.

There is perhaps no symbol more representative of contemporary life than the humble face mask. A simple health device crucial to saving millions of lives around the world from a deadly COVID-19 pandemic spread by invisible airborne pathogens, and yet an object that’s been quixotically politicized at the callous expense of humanity for the gain of an elite few. A new exhibition at the University of Denver’s Vicki Myhren Gallery approaches the lighter side of face coverings: the ancient tradition of masks as self-expression.

Arranged on mannequins lining the gallery space, over 40 artists present interpretations of protective face wear in MASK, currently on view by appointment through December 1, 2020. The collection of whimsical, grotesque, quirky, and beautiful masks are medically non-functional but guaranteed to provoke a reaction through their novel construction. Several designs … Read the rest