All images © Justkids, shared with permission

Tucked into the verdant landscape of Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, are two dramatically altered basketball courts primed for play. Commissioned by the women-led curators of Justkids (previously) and OZ Art, the public project was conceived by London-based artist Lakwena, who transformed the outdoor spot into a lively area with her trademark typographic murals.

Basketball jargon covers the patterned court with an arched “Make it rain” demarcating the three-point lines. Creating under a larger theme of unity, Lakwena also referenced iconic poet Maya Angelou, who lived in the state throughout her life. “Bury me down / still I rise” lines the perimeter of the court, with Lakwena’s title of the work, “I’ll bring you flowers,” spelled out on multi-color petals at the center circle.

This community-centered project is the artist’s second in Arkansas and follows … Read the rest

Robert Lynch, the president and CEO of Americans for the Arts (AFTA), a prominent arts advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., will take a paid leave of absence amid allegations that he and his colleagues fostered a hostile workplace environment. Lynch has led the organization, which facilitates a series of highly regarded awards and helps initiate fundraising and research, for 35 years.

Lynch is currently in the Biden-Harris transition team’s arts and humanities group. ARTnews has reached out to the Biden-Harris transition team to learn whether Lynch’s leave impacts his position there. Previously, the Washington Post reported that Lynch was rumored to be under consideration for chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, though he has said he is not actively seeking the position. (The NEA’s current chair Mary Anne Carter was appointed in 2019 to a four-year term.)

Multiple former AFTA employees made their allegations about Lynch … Read the rest

Left: “Up and Up” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 43 × 14 × 4 1/2 inches. Right: “Aviary” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 42 1/2 × 23 × 4 inches. All images © Ron Isaacs, shared with permission

Vintage clothing and nature collide in the trompe l’oeil works of Ron Isaacs (previously). Autumn leaves flow from a pastel pocketbook, songbirds emerge from a dress seam, and branches extend the length of formalwear. Despite appearing as fully formed sculptures complete with layered textiles and organic ephemera, the illusory works are constructed as reliefs with Finnish birch plywood that’s painted with matte acrylics.

Isaacs’s oeuvre is poetic and deliberately evasive as the Lexington-based artist renders vintage garments that represent an imagined figure. Whether appearing to be lying flat or slowly drifting to the floor, the slips and blouses evoke a “vivid human presence, as well as … Read the rest

Christie’s has announced a 25 percent drop in annual sales overall, but has forecasted a total of £987 million ($1.2 billion) in annual private sales for the year of 2020.

Total sales for the house are projected at £3.4 billion–£3.5 billion ($4.6–$4.7 billion), according to Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti’s statement in a press briefing. “It was expected since we entered in the Covid-19 situation and is in line with our forecast around mid-year,” said Cerutti. Referring to a decline of around 25 percent compared to 2019, he added, “The biggest part of this drop is with live auctions.”

Conversely, the annual private sale result surpasses the houses’s 2019 total by 56 percent and marks the highest historic annual private sale total. Sixty-two percent of that total was generated during the second half of the year.

Cerutti confirmed the London-based house sold 3 works for prices above $100 million and 12 … Read the rest

A former tobacco factory will soon host a major art space from one of Greece’s top collectors. NEON, a foundation run by Dimitris Daskalopoulos, will work together with the Hellenic Parliament to help turn the Athens structure into a site for presenting contemporary art exhibitions, making it one of the most notable spaces of its kind in the Greek capital. That venue will open in 2021, to tie in with the 200th anniversary of Greece’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire.

NEON and Daskalopoulos, who is a mainstay on ARTnews‘s Top 200 Collectors list, will fund all of the costs associated with the revitalization project, which are set to total up to €1 million (or around $1.21 million). The art space housed within the structure will operate alongside the Hellenic Parliament Library and Printing House, which has been based there since 2009.

First up at the new art … Read the rest

“Velo de luto (Mourning veil)” (2020), magicicada wings, sewn with hair, 32 x 47 x 2 inches. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman. All images © Selva Aparicio, shared with permission

Woven throughout Selva Aparicio’s cicada veils and fringed floor coverings are the complexities of rebirth, transition, and beauty’s ability to endure. Organic ephemera—human hair, thorned branches, scavenged wings—become poignant installations and smaller artworks that ruminate on a myriad of global issues, including the climate crisis and the infinite failures of the medical establishment.

Aparicio shares that her explorations of life and death began during childhood when she watched the natural world cycle through growth and decay in the woods outside of Barcelona. This lasting fascination has crystallized in the artist’s body of work, particularly in pieces like “Velo de luto (Mourning veil),” which sews together 1,365 seventeen-year cicada wings with strands of hair taken from two generations of women. … Read the rest

Tatsuo Ikeda, who created intricate, otherworldly drawings informed by his experiences during World War II, died in November at age 92. The news was announced by Ikeda’s gallery, Fergus McCaffrey, which has locations in New York, Tokyo, and St. Barth.

Ikeda’s early drawings from the early 1950s, which are rendered in black-and-white and muted colors, reflected the artist’s anti-war perspective. They depict strange, threatening creatures alluding to the atrocities of war and the corrupting powers of nationalism.

Born in Saga Prefecture, Japan, in 1928, the artist was selected as a kamikaze pilot in 1943, though he was not sent on a suicide flight before the end of World War II. Ikeda subsequently moved to Tokyo to study at Tama Art University, where he was associated with Taro Okamoto and Kiyoteru Hanada’s Avant-garde Art Study Group.

The United States military’s use of beaches in the Japanese village of Uchinada as … Read the rest

All images © ZAV Architects, by Tahmineh Monzavi

Along the beaches of Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf lies a series of gumdrop-esque abodes. The multipurpose project, titled “Presence in Hormuz,” features earthen structures that dot the sandy landscape in a textured cluster of peaks and bulbs.

To build the candy-colored domes, ZAV Architects utilized the SuperAdobe process of renowned Iranian architect Nader Khalili, which involves stacking coils of wet earth, and trained local craftsman in the technique. “A carpet is woven with granular knots inspired by the particles that make up the ecotone of the island,” the Tehran-based firm says in a conversation with designboom, noting that the area’s topography inspired much of the architecture. “The sandbags that create the spatial particles (aka domes) are filled with the dredging sand of the Hormuz Dock as if the earth has swollen to produce space for accommodation.”… Read the rest

Some artists train their eye on the small things of life. Teresita Fernández isn’t one of them. Her art, she said, is driven by a desire to know more about the human condition and the ways in which the past continues to impact the present. “I’m curious always just for myself: Where am I? What is this place? So many of us don’t even know our own history,” she said.

Over the course of her career, Fernández, who was born in Miami to Cuban parents in exile, has taken it upon herself to learn her own cultural lineage, focusing on the Caribbean and its intellectuals like Cuban poet and philosopher José Martí, Jamaican novelist Sylvia Wynter, Saint Lucian poet Derek Walcott, and Martiniquan-born philosopher Édouard Glissant. “It’s an ongoing research project to learn about who I am,” she said, “as well as the underlying Indigenous erasure around the Caribbean.”


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All images courtesy of Lyndsey Ingram, shared with permission

Although Lucy Sparrow is adept at treating scrapes and bouts of indigestion, her medical specialty lies in helping folks suffering from heart disease, IBS, and various illnesses caused by fiber deficiencies. The U.K.-based artist set up shop with The Bourdon Street Chemist, a fully-stocked, woolen pharmacy that’ll open its doors on January 18, 2021, at London’s Lyndsey Ingram. Over-the-counter medications like plush bottles of Pepto Bismol, Tums, and aspirin line the shelves alongside creams and luxury fragrances.

Sparrow’s medical practice, though, expands beyond the drug store with an entire surgical unit for more severe injuries and illnesses in her studio. The retro, tile-lined room is outfitted with traditional operation equipment and a woolen cadaver with compact organs, a skeleton, and even a bleeding heart.


Similar to her previous undertakings that filled bodegas and supermarkets with household goods, Sparrow … Read the rest