“Overcoming.” All images © Pejac, shared with permission

On the campus of University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla in Santander, Spain, a trio of interventions by street artist Pejac (previously) simultaneously responds to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and offers potential paths for healing. The new series, titled Strength, is Pejac’s direct response to the 50,000 people who have died from the virus in his home country. “The idea of the Strength project arises as a gesture of gratitude to the health workers of Valdecilla, for their work in general and during this Covid crisis in particular. Offering them what I do best, which is painting,” the artist says.

In “Social Distancing” (shown below), a horde of people escape from a crevice in the building’s facade. The trompe l’oei artwork is a multi-layered metaphor for the ways the virus has ruptured society and the necessity of community care and … Read the rest

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During Conceptual art’s height in the early 1970s, critics proclaimed that painting was dead. It wasn’t the first time that painting’s obituary had been prematurely written, and may not even be the last, but for now, such sentiments are exceedingly rare as more artists than ever take up a brush.

Painting’s resilience draws from a rich history that, whatever period or genre is your jam, is best experienced at a museum or gallery. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made visiting either harder to do. Luckily, there’s a next best thing: Diving into a book about painting.

Tomes on the subject are myriad, of course, and come in different flavors, including exhibition catalogs, artist monographs, and critical writings. But they all offer a window into a medium that just won’t quit. … Read the rest

“Debris” (2016), debris and layered glass. All images courtesy of Art Front Gallery, © Keiso Kioku, shared with permission

Between gnarly chunks of concrete, basalt pillars, and smooth rounds of lapis lazuli, Ramon Todo (previously) positions sleek segments of layered glass. The Tokyo-born artist splices fragments of found objects that otherwise would be regarded as refuse, like a crumbling brick from Iizuka City or coal waste, to repurpose the existing material with a lustrous embellishment.

Whether volcanic rock or chunks of demolished architecture, the resulting juxtapositions carry the original history, although they’re presented anew. “The characteristics of the place. The uniqueness of the place. Like the memories of the place and time,” the artist says in an interview about a recent solo show at Art Front Gallery in Tokyo. “I use the rocks, debris, Bota (stone similar to coal) for my works believing they have such memories … Read the rest

David Byrne is not prone to idleness. Since cofounding the Talking Heads—the New Wave band that launched him to fame—Byrne has founded a music label, released an extensive body of solo albums, and written two books, including 2012’s How Music Works, which blends music theory and autobiography. But when the pandemic forced New York into lockdown, Byrne returned to his roots in a different field: visual art.

Over the past seven months, Byrne took up drawing, and while he said his art is not explicitly about Covid-19, the activity became a way to confront, in a roundabout way, more existential threats—anxiety, mortality, boredom. So far, he has created around 100 hand-drawn ink images, 50 of which have been collected in the series “Dingbats,” which is now being sold online by Pace Gallery, his representative.

The works were originally intended as dingbats—filler doodles used to break up blocks of Read the rest

“#65 (orange)” (2017), oil on canvas, 20 inches. All images © Alonsa Guevara, shared with permission

Using round canvases with a range of diameters, Alonsa Guevara deftly paints the plump, juicy insides of oranges, watermelon, and other fruits. Each circular piece depicts a seemingly perfect slice down the middle, capturing the fibrous veins and central seeds found within fresh produce.

Guevara spent her childhood in the Ecuadorian rainforests surrounded by tropical landscapes and nearby agriculture, an experience of nature that influences her artistic practice. The Chilean artist, who lives in New York City, began fruit portraits in 2014 as she reflected on her adolescence and thought of creating a body of work that felt universal.

“Immediately I thought of fruits; they are everywhere and have been present as an essential part of evolution and as symbols throughout human history,” Guevara shares with Colossal. “I decided to paint the fruits cut … Read the rest

A portion of the collection of New York collector, art dealer, and interior designer Hester Diamond, who died in February, is coming to auction. The heirs of Diamond’s estate, one of whom is her son Michael Diamond (a founding member of the formative hip hop group the Beastie Boys), are selling their late mother’s collection at Sotheby’s in January during the auction house’s Classic Week sales.

Diamond’s collection includes modern and contemporary art, as well as work by Old Masters, which she began collecting after her husband Harold’s death in 1982. The collection will be offered across a single-owner live and online sale tilted “Fearless: The Collection of Hester Diamond.” The evening sale will be comprised of 60 lots total valued at an estimated $30 million.

Diamond held various major artworks, including Barnett Newman’s Onement V (1948), which sold in July during Christie’s modern and contemporary “ONE” … Read the rest

Torino, Italy. All images © Mantra, shared with permission

Working with entomologists around the globe, the French street artist known as Mantra (previously) transforms brick facades and concrete walls into massive studies of local butterfly specimens. With framed outer edges that mimic a wooden box, the trompe l’oeil murals render the winged insects in detail, depicting their richly hued scales and delicate antennae. Each artwork features species native to the area, making it possible that a live specimen might flutter by its enormous counterpart.

In a conversation with Colossal, Mantra said he’s harbored a lifelong fascination with entomology that stems from spending hours in French gardens and bucolic areas as a kid. “As a child, I was interested, curious, and focused on the small life forms in those places,” he says. His current practice hearkens back to those carefree hours and connects with an adolescent desire to become … Read the rest

On Thursday, Christie’s held its Old Masters auction during its Classic Week at the house’s New York location. Hammering at $19.6 million, the sale generated $24.2 million with buyer’s premium across 49 lots—including 5 of the 12 previously announced works that the Brooklyn Museum was deaccessioning. An additional five were sold during the house’s European art sale. Collectively, the Brooklyn Museum’s deaccessioned works brought in $6.6 million with buyer’s premium, more than double the pre-sale low estimate of $2.25 million for the ten works. All of the works sold were guaranteed.

The sales follow the museum’s announcement in mid-September of long-term plans to deaccession works from its holdings to raise money for collection maintenance. The goal is to generate around $40 million for the fund. The New York institution is among those taking advantage of the temporarily relaxed guidelines issued by the Association of Art Museum Directors as a coronavirus … Read the rest

Photograph © Alec Soth. “Priscilla, Los Angeles, (from The Last Days of W)” (2008), 10 x 12 inches

An ongoing print sale is bolstering fundraising efforts that promote progressive organizing in five battleground states. Offering work from more than 150 photographers and artists—including Cindy Sherman, Alec Soth, and Ed RuschaStates of Change is selling 10 x 12-inch prints for $150 each with all proceeds going to the Movement Voter Project, which is targeting 42 local organizations dedicated to fighting voter suppression in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. All are printed on 100 percent cotton paper, unsigned, and part of an open edition. Check out Colossal’s picks below, and grab your favorites before the five-day sale ends on October 18. (via Artnet)


Photograph © Camille Seaman. “Iceberg in Blood Red Sea, Lemaire Channel, Antarctica” (29 December 2016), 10 x 12 inches

Photograph ©

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The Ford Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have joined forces to create a major fund for disabled artists and activists. Titled the Disability Future Fellows, it will award $50,000 grants to 20 visual artists, filmmakers, writers and performers, each of whom will use the money to support an ongoing project. The fellowships, designed by artists and administered by United States Artists, are the first awards of its kind. 

“Institutional structures have not served disabled artists in the past,” said Emil Kang, Program Director for Arts and Culture at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “Disability Futures is the result of listening, collaboration, and humble engagement and we at Mellon are pleased to recognize and support these outstanding artists.  

Among those set to receive awards through the initiative are several artists of note. Two 2019 Whitney Biennial alumni will be named Future Fellows: Christine Sun Kim and Carolyn Lazard. … Read the rest