Overflowing with Flora and Fauna, Collaged Paper Installations Comment on Earth’s Dwindling Biodiversity

“Intimate Immensity” (2016). Photograph by Trevor Good. All images © Clare Börsch, shared with permission

Sprawling across paint-chipped walls and tiny alcoves, the collaged installations of artist Clare Börsch mimic overgrown jungles and whimsical forest scenes. Layers of flora, fauna, and the occasional gemstone or human figure comprise the amorphous paper artworks as they transform spaces into fantastical ecosystems.

In a note to Colossal, Börsch shares that she began her artistic practice as a way to translate her dreams, which are often lucid and informed by memories and a strong tie to nature, into physical objects that others could immerse themselves in. “Growing up in Brazil, I had the ocean, rivers, and jungles that always existed in stark contrast to the industrial cities (I lived in Sao Paulo). So my earliest and most formative memories are of lush, humming tropical ecosystems —and the encroaching industrial landscapes of Brazil’s cities,” she … Read the rest

How Jacob Lawrence Used Painting to Powerfully Tell the Histories of Black Americans

Jacob Lawrence, who is known for his vibrant figurative paintings focused on Black Americans’ experiences, daily life in Harlem, and events from U.S. history, is one of the most celebrated painters of the 20th century. He once said that his works “express my life and experience. I paint the things I know about and the things I have experienced.” With Lawrence’s series “Struggle: From the History of the American People” on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York until November 1 (a missing painting from the series was just found by the museum), ARTnews looked back on the artist’s pioneering career and some of his most acclaimed artworks. The guide below traces key milestones in Lawrence’s life.

Lawrence nurtured his interest in drawing and painting in his school days.
Born in 1917, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Lawrence moved to Harlem at age 12 with … Read the rest

Baselitz, Condo Bring Phillips London Contemporary Art Evening Sale to $34 M., Newcomers See Records

To get the backstory of auction newcomers like Salman Toor and Portia Zvavhera, two of the evening’s best performers, as well as the sellers of the Baselitz, Warhol, Hirst and Tillmans, read Colin Gleadell’s detailed Art Market Monitor report on buyers and sellers available to AMMpro subscribers.

On Tuesday, coinciding with London’s Frieze week, Phillips held its contemporary art evening sale event at its U.K. headquarters. The sale realized a total of £26.3 million ($34.1 million) with buyer’s premium across 36 lots, seeing a 95% sell-through rate. Without premium, the sale hammered at £21.5 million ($27.8 million), putting it just below the low end of the £21.6 million–£30.1 million pre-sale estimate range. Two lots by Jason Rhoades and Wolfgang Tilmans were withdrawn before the sale’s start.

10 of the sale’s lot were guaranteed, with a combined low estimate of £8.9 million ($11.5 million).

The result beat last year’s equivalent sale … Read the rest

How Simone Leigh’s Sculptures Centering Black Women Brought Her to the Venice Biennale

Last week, it was announced that Simone Leigh would make history at the Venice Biennale by representing the United States in 2022, making her the first Black woman ever to do the country’s pavilion at the world’s top art festival. “There’s no better artist for our time,” said Jill Medvedow, the director of the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, the museum commissioning the pavilion. What makes Leigh so important right now, and why has she risen to the status of the one of the top artists working today? Below is a guide to Leigh’s art, her career, and the ideas that guide her work.

Simone Leigh, Las Meninas, 2019.

Black female subjectivity forms the core of Leigh’s art.

Leigh has been upfront about her work’s target audience: Black women, whose traditions, she once told the New York Times, “have been left out of the archive or left out … Read the rest

Strength: Pejac Honors Spain’s Health Workers with a Moving Trio of Interventions

“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

Here Are 7 Great Books About Painting for Artists and Art Lovers

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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

Lustrous Strips of Glass Bisect Debris, Bricks, and Semi-Precious Stones in Ramon Todo’s Sculptures

“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

While in Lockdown, Musician David Byrne Took Up Drawing to Help Fight Fatigue

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

Circular Paintings Expose the Fleshy Innards of Halved Oranges, Pomegranates, and Other Fruits

“#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

Sotheby’s to Sell $30 M. in Art from Sought-After Hester Diamond Estate

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