In Parable of Gravity, artist Casey Curran (previously) assembles a vast garden of delicate kinetic blossoms amidst an expanse of deterioration. The sweeping landscape, which is on view at Seattle’s MadArt through April 17, positions Curran’s pulsing plant forms atop 20 towers of wooden scaffolding that line the gallery space. Coated in a thick layer of mud, the tallest structures scale eight feet at the outer edge of the installation, where a human-like figure appears to hover in the air. The anonymous body is covered in the flowers, which are made from laser-cut polyester drawing papers and powered by cranks and small motors.

Through the maze of garden plots at the other end of the space hangs a hollow, aluminum asteroid—which is modeled after 951 Gaspra, the first rocky mass humans were able to observe in detail thanks to a 1991 viewing by the Galileo spacecraft. Titled “Anchor of … Read the rest

Amid growing tension resulting from his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, collector and former Apollo Global Management chief executive Leon Black will not seek re-election this summer as the chair of the Museum of Modern Art’s board of trustees, the New York Times reported on Friday. His current term is set to expire on July 1.

Black has been on MoMA’s board since 1997, and in 2018, he was elected as its board chairman. Throughout his tenure on the board, he has supported the museum through major loans and financial donations. In 2012, after he bought Edvard Munch’s 1895 version of The Scream for $120 million at auction, he lent it to MoMA, which displayed it for several months. In 2018, the same year he assumed leadership at the board, he gave $40 million to the museum’s expansion project, and as a result, its film center now bears his name.

According … Read the rest

Left: February 8, 1984. Right: January 6, 2013. All images © Nancy Floyd, courtesy of Gost, shared with permission

For four decades, Nancy Floyd has fostered a routine around confronting aging directly. Every day since 1982, the Oregon-based photographer has taken a portrait of herself perched on a chair in her living room, standing on the front porch, or posing wherever she’s spending the day for her series, Weathering Time. A forthcoming volume published by Gost compiles thousands of these images in a visceral rumination on what changes as we age.

Each black-and-white photograph frames a posed Floyd, who continually exudes a calm, laid-back temperament, and chronicles the way time impacts her body, relationships, and environment, honing in on her experience as a woman in the United States. Although the images are profoundly intimate and personal—many show her pets, stints in hospitals, and her parents aging—they simultaneously broach the … Read the rest

On Thursday, during a sale in London, Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker unveiled a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that the house will offer for sale in its New York contemporary art evening sale on May 12. Titled Versus Medici (1982), the painting is expected to fetch a price of $35 million–$50 million. If the work reaches its low estimate, it will be among the most expensive works by the artist ever sold at auction.

The painting shows influence from Basquiat’s time in Modena, Italy, where he had his first solo show, at Galleria d’Arte Emilio Mazzoli in 1981. The title of the piece references the Renaissance-era Medici family, and it has some of the signature Basquiat motifs—a full skeletal figure, a crown, anatomical drawings and scrawled phrases in the background—that are coveted by collectors.

“In Versus Medici, Basquiat melds the political and art historical as he consciously stages a
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“XXXX Swatchbook” (2010-2016), 180 x 210 millimeters. All images © Evelin Kasikov, shared with permission

In “XXXX Swatchbook,” Evelin Kasikov (previously) explores all of the variables of CMYK printing without a single drop of ink. She catalogs primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, two-dozen combinations showing how rotation affects the final pigment, and a full spectrum of rich gradients. In total, the printing-focused book is comprised of four base tones, 16 elements, and 400 swatches of color entirely hand-embroidered in 219,647 stitches.

The original idea came from Kasikov’s desire for a reference tool, one similar to loose sheets of Pantone swatches, that she could share with potential book design clients interested in CMYK embroidery. During the next six years, though, the project evolved into the uniquely comprehensive artist book it is now.

“XXXX Swatchbook” features three-dimensional color studies in the style of precisely arranged halftone dots employed in four-color printing. “I … Read the rest

One of Merlin James’s most admirable traits as a painter is that he never—or almost never—repeats himself. He has no trademark look or “brand,” and his solo exhibitions often feel at first like group shows. Over four decades, the Welsh-born artist has produced mostly small- and medium-size works, including abstractions that range from painterly lyricism to assemblage-like constructions. The majority of the paintings, however, are figurative, with a wide array of subject matter—figures, landscapes, urban scenes, still-life arrangements, and meditative combinations thereof.

The eighteen pieces in the exhibition “River” were produced over the past three years and run the gamut technically and compositionally. James pays great attention to each work’s inner frame and bracing structure, which he builds himself. Several wholly abstract pieces—more like sculptural reliefs than paintings—comprise layers of translucent vinyl scrims, so that one looks through the work, as through superimposed panes of window glass. Thematically, however, the Read the rest

“La Ferita” (2021), 28 x 33 meters, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence. Image courtesy of Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, shared with permission

French artist JR unveiled an imposing artwork at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence last week that mimics a massive gash in the institution’s Renaissance-era facade. Spanning 28 x 33 meters, “La Ferita,” or “The Wound,” is an anamorphic collage that appears to reveal the iconic artworks housed inside the building, in addition to a stately courtyard colonnade, exhibition hall, and library. Exposing different parts of the interior as the viewer shifts position, the artwork is in response to the lack of accessibility at cultural institutions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Completed alongside a team of 11 in two months, the site-specific piece was constructed 30 centimeters in front of the 15th Century ashlar facade with a metal structure and 80 panels of Dibond aluminum. It features JR’s signature photographic style—similar … Read the rest

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With the right materials and tools, homemade printmaking can be fun for the whole family—yes, really. Some printmaking processes are complicated or require advanced equipment; for screen printing, for example, you need a superfine mesh screen, and lithography uses special ink-bonding and ink-repellent materials. Not so with these products, which generally require little besides a few simple tools, some ink, and your imagination. From gel printing to drypoint to block printing, our picks below are high quality and affordable, and some are simple enough to be used by kids. 

Grafix Impress Monoprint Plates
These plastic plates from Grafix are an excellent affordable option for versatile forms of monoprinting. Similar to a monotype, a monoprint results from applying and manipulating paint to produce a one-of-a-kind impression, but monoprints Read the rest

All images © Canopic Studio, shared with permission

Disembodied faces and fingers encircle the surreal vessels created by Canopic Studio, a Los Angeles-based practice helmed by Claire and Curran Wedner. Known for their ceramics that display human anatomy in a repetitious pattern, the husband and wife recently diverged from the black-and-white works previously mentioned on Colossal to create a series entirely in celadon, a jade color with a rich history.

The translucent glaze originated in China and was prominent throughout the country for centuries before being replaced by blue-and-white porcelain. It’s traditionally made with a bit of iron oxide—too little creates a blue color, while too much produces a darker olive or black—and then fired in a reducing kiln at a high temperature.

Curran says he first experimented with the glaze in 2004 as part of a ceramics class and returned to it now after researching cone 10 gas firing … Read the rest

When collectors form deep friendships with artists, they typically have access to purchasing important examples from those artist’s output. Such is the case with  late Los Angeles philanthropists Morris and Rita Pynoos, whose collection will be sold at Sotheby’s New York this spring.

Rich in modern and contemporary art that the couple began amassing in the 1980s, Sotheby’s will offer pieces by David Hockney and Willem de Kooning in a contemporary art evening sale in May, while work by other major American artists, including John McCracken, Louise Nevelson, and Robert Rauschenberg, will be featured in a contemporary art online day sale.

Morris Pynoos, who was an engineer and commercial developer in California, died in 2002 at the age of 84. His wife Rita Pynoos, who served on the Smithsonian American Art Commission, died in September 2019 at the age of 97. They also donated works from their collection to the … Read the rest