David Adjaye has quickly risen to the status of one of today’s most sought-after museum architects, with upcoming projects including a new home for New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem and a revamped Princeton University Art Museum in New Jersey. Add to these projects another, whose designs were revealed on Friday: the Edo Museum of West African Art, which is slated to open in Benin City in 2025.

The museum (EMOWAA, for short) is intended to house West African art and cultural objects of all kinds, and it will have the most comprehensive showing of Benin Bronzes to date. Located next to the palace of Oba, Benin’s traditional ruler, the institution will display both historical and contemporary objects. Its primary focus will be displaying objects that are being repatriated to Benin from European art institutions currently.

Execution of Adjaye’s designs for the museum is slated to begin in 2021, and … Read the rest

“We the People” (2011), shoelaces, 96 x 324 inches. All images courtesy Nari Ward and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London

Jamaica-born artist Nari Ward bases his practice in found objects and their inherent mutability. The Harlem-based artist has scoured New York City’s streets for 25 years gathering house keys escaped from a ring, discarded glass bottles, and clothing tossed season-to-season. Through sculptures and large-scale installations, the scavenged objects find new meaning, whether explicitly scribing a phrase from the United States Constitution or creating more subtle historical connections.

While commenting broadly on themes of race, poverty, and rampant consumerism, Ward is cognizant of the varied meanings burned wooden bats or shoelaces hold for different populations. No matter the medium, many of his works are site-specific in form and fluid in context, allowing the narratives to take new shapes as they travel from community to community.

His 1993 … Read the rest

Guided by an intense interest in the natural world, Claude Monet created works that reflected the magical nuances and subtleties he observed in vast seascapes, quiet lily ponds, and other locales. His art played a key role key role in the development of the Impressionist movement in the 19th-century, and though it was derided by critics early on, it continues to fascinate audiences around the world today. His paintings can be found in the collections of major international museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery in London, and many more. To mark the prolific painter’s birthday on November 14, ARTnews took a look back at his pioneering career.

As a young man, Monet learned about plein-air painting from artist Eugène Boudin.
Born in 1840 in the town of Le Havre in France’s Normandy region, a site that would be … Read the rest

Statue of activist Leonard Peltier. All images courtesy of the Sn Francisco Art Institute

Peering out over the San Francisco Bay toward Alcatraz is a monumental statue that pays homage to an American Indian Movement activist who’s been incarcerated for decades. Created by Portuguese-American artist Rigo 23 in 2016, the 12-foot-tall figure resembles a small self-portrait that the activist, Leonard Peltier, painted while imprisoned.

Wearing a simple white shirt, yellow pants, and no shoes, Peltier sits on a cement base, which is the actual size of his cell, in a pensive position. “There was something Buddha-like about the pose, and it reminded me of Rodin’s ‘The Thinker,’ which is so muscular and epic,” Rigo 23 told Hyperallergic about the original portrait. “Usually, images of heroism and humanity are epic, and this is just a man sitting on the ground wearing prison-issued clothes. It has this different kind of spirituality.”

A … Read the rest

A giant work by Nick Cave on the facade of the School, an art space operated by Jack Shainman Gallery in Kinderhook, New York, is currently the subject of controversy among locals, the New York Times reports. The work, a 160-foot-long text piece called Truth Be Told, features its titular phrase splayed across the building and is intended to spur conversations among the community on policing and anti-Black racism justice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May.

Residents in Kinderhook have claimed it might be illegal to display the work. City officials have alleged that the artwork is technically a sign, making it in violation of local code. Shainman and his attorney, William J. Better, maintain that Truth Be Told is an artwork, and its display is protected by the special use permit that the School was granted when it opened Read the rest

“At line” (2020), linden wood and painted okume board, 115 x 55 x 43 centimeters. All images © Efraïm Rodríguez, shared with permission

From fallen trees, planks, and old furniture, Efraïm Rodríguez carves vivid sculptures that evoke the imaginative and playful daydreams of childhood. The Barcelona-based artist highlights the texture of the organic material, creating life-sized figures donning garments of veneered wood or whose bodies mimic the toys they stack. Many depict toddlers or younger children in the midst of play, and even the older characters are infused with elements of sport and recreation, like “Anna” (shown below) who wears a dress studded with tees and holds a golf ball.

Although the precisely sculpted figures often are based on his nieces, nephews, and other family members, Rodríguez tells Colossal that themes of childhood only recently emerged. He explains:

The children appeared in my work almost from the beginning, but they

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Right now, the view from atop Museum Hill at the Storm King Art Center is one of the most sought-after vistas in Upstate New York. No doubt its natural surroundings are part of its allure: the picturesque Hudson Valley is visible below. But intimate installations can be spotted, too, and from the hilltop, Mark di Suvero’s sculpture Pyramidian (1987–98) can be seen rising against the horizon. 

There are indoor galleries nearby, but Storm King isn’t a museum in any static sense. Throughout its 60-year history, the sculpture park has more than doubled in size, with its borders currently occupying some 500 acres. Its curatorial ambitions have grown, too, and its landscape now accommodates pieces both permanent and ephemeral. During the current pandemic, with indoor museums seeming less appealing, the art center has become a bona fide destination—tickets are now selling out weeks in advance, making Storm King one of the Read the rest

“ReciprociTea,” acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 x 2.5 inches. All images © Duy Huynh, shared with permission

Vietnamese aritst Duy Huynh (previously) examines balance through nuanced scenes replete with ethereal, surreal elements: individual flowers ascend from a teapot, a chain winds around an artichoke heart, and figures float mid-air. Rendered in muted hues, the acrylic paintings are metaphorical and narrative-based, visualizing stories by connecting unsual symbols or positioning disparate objects together. The North Carolina-based artist gives the works witty names— “Thyme to Turnip the Beet” and “ReciprociTea,” for example—adding to their playful and whimsical natures.

In a statement, Huynh writes that the core of his practice involves drawing connections “between two or more mysteries,” which he explains further:

My characters often float (literally) somewhere between science and spirituality, memory and mythology, structure and spontaneity, ephemeral and eternal, humorous and profound, connectivity and non-attachment. The intent isn’t

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For “Touchstones,” ARTnews asks creative figures from different disciplines—writers, musicians, filmmakers, chefs, and so on—about one artwork that has inspired them.

Westside Gunn
Rapper, creator of albums including Pray for Paris and Who Made the Sunshine, founder of Griselda Records…

…on Caravaggio, David with the Head of Goliath (1610) [pictured above]

It was Virgil Abloh’s idea to use David with the Head of Goliath for my album Pray for Paris. When he was doing his Pyrex Vision clothes back in the day, he was using those kinds of images already. We thought we should take it back to the beginning because the year he started Pyrex was the same year I started rapping. When I had the opportunity to have him design a cover, I wanted him to take it back to what introduced me to him. And I felt like Pray for ParisRead the rest

Finding a starting point can sometimes be the hardest part of making art. Open Studio, a new book published by Phaidon, aims to help out in that respect with step-by-step guides to the artistic process from 17 high-profile artists including Marina Abramović, George Condo, Alex Israel, Rashid Johnson, KAWS, Maya Lin, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, and Mickalene Thomas.

In the book’s introduction, authors Sharon Coplan Hurowitz (an independent curator and publisher) and Amanda Benchley (a filmmaker and journalist) hope that readers trying their hand “will translate, adopt, or even reject some of the information to reflect your own creative voice.” They continue: “Putting aside their art-world stature, each artist approached this challenge as a one-to-one exchange, collaborating with you.”

The entries include images from inside artists’ studios and biographical information about their lives, practices, and how their careers took shape. And directions for each artist’s project … Read the rest