‘It’s Pretty Dead-On’: Curator Laura Raicovich on a 1954 Article About the State of Western Museums

Today, critics of museums’ values point to histories of colonialism and structural racism. Museums, they insist, are anything but neutral. In an essay titled “The Ideal Museum” in the January 1954 issue of ARTnews, British art historian Kenneth Clark considered the hidden politics behind Western institutions, exploring the ways that millennia-old collecting habits among the wealthy influenced how museums were run. ARTnews asked for a response to the essay from Laura Raicovich, the former director of institutions including New York’s Queens Museum and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art and the author of the forthcoming book Culture Strike: Art in an Age of Protest. Raicovich’s first reaction to Clark’s analysis: “It’s pretty dead-on.”

The splendor of the great princely collections [forerunners of modern museums] was … inseparable from an element of snobbishness. Like everything connected with princes and millionaires, they were sometimes no more than a buttress to vanity, Read the rest

Subversively Embroidered Money and Penny Sculptures Question Historical Narratives

From Insurrection Bills. All images © Stacey Lee Webber, shared with permission

Throughout 2020, Stacey Lee Webber developed Insurrection Bills, a revisionary collection of United States currency overlaid with subversive stitches: flames envelop monuments, a wall is left unfinished, and an eclectic array of face masks disguise Abraham Lincoln’s portrait. Contrasting the muted tones of the paper, the vibrant embroideries stand in stark contrast and as amended narratives to those depicted on the various denominations. “The series references feelings of anger, turmoil, and frustration during the tense political climate while recontextualizing and questioning the beloved iconography we see on our money,” she tells Colossal.

Currently working from her studio and home in Philadelphia’s Globe Dye Works, Webber is formally trained in metalsmithing—she has an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, where she initially began using currency as the basis of her projects—and sees the two mediums as an ongoing … Read the rest

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Painting from Turner Prize Showcase to Be Auctioned

In 2013, British painter Lynnette Yiadom-Boakye was shortlisted for a Turner Prize, launching the artist to critical acclaim. (She later lost to Laure Prouvost.) A corresponding exhibition staged at the Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry included some of her most important paintings. Now, one of those works showcased there, titled The Like Above All Lovers (2013), is heading to auction.

On March 23, Christie’s will sell the painting, which depicts a single crouching figure pointing a rifle in an open green field and measures at more than 6 feet by 8 feet, during its 20th century art evening sale in London. The painting is expected to fetch a price of £400,000–£600,000 ($555,000–$833,000).

The Turner Prize exhibition was a feat for the artist, with works from the show, such as Appreciation of the Inches (2013) and The Generosity (2010), subsequently acquired by museums, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art … Read the rest

New Perspective-Bending Collages by Lola Dupré Distort and Reconfigure Pets and Portraits

“Cleo” (2020), 8.2 x 11.6 inches. All images © Lola Dupré, shared with permission

Glasgow-based artist Lola Dupré (previously) continues her practice of slicing and rearranging photographs and art historical works into cleverly surreal collages. Her newest manipulations include a blockheaded Léon Bonnat, an entire row of irresistible puppy eyes, and a twisted rendition of George Stubbs’s “The Kongouro from New Holland.” Dupré’s cat, Charlie, still finds himself as fodder for the unusual works—see two pieces centered on him below—and the artist is currently in the process of creating her 33rd portrait of the orange-and-white feline. Find more of the Dupré’s compositions in the latest issue of Standart Magazine, shop originals and prints on her site, and see the distorted works in person at Portland’s Brassworks Gallery later this year. You also can follow along with the contorted creations on Instagram and Behance.

 

“Kayack” (2020), 11.6 x 8.2

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Mark Rothko, Tamara de Lempicka, Mickalene Thomas to Star in Phillips London Evening Sale

Alongside a monumental Jean Dubuffet painting, Phillips will auction works by Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, Tamara de Lempicka, Mark Tansey, Andy Warhol, John Currin, and Mickalene Thomas in its upcoming 20th century art evening sale in London on April 15.

Among the postwar works headed to auction is Rothko’s Untitled (Black Blue Painting), completed in 1968, at the apex of his career, which will be offered at a price of £2.5 million–£3.5 million ($3.5 million–$4.5 million). It will be sold alongside Stella’s vibrant painting Scramble, Ascending Spectrum/Ascending Green Values (1977), from his “Concentric Square” series, which is estimated at a price of £2.5 million–£3.5 million ($3 million–$4 million). An Art Deco portrait of a woman by Tamara de Lempicka titled Figure esquissée sur fond doré, painted ca. 1930, is estimated at £1.5 million ($1 million).

Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q, a 1964 riff on the Mona Lisa from an edition of 35

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Sublime Renderings of Women and Girls Explore Notions of Beauty in Portraits by Rosso Emerald Crimson

“You Better Be Good” (2021), oil on panel, 36 x 36 centimeters. All images © Rosso Emerald Crimson, shared with permission

In her exquisite portraiture, London-based artist Rosso Emerald Crimson renders female subjects who emerge through a haze of pastels and muted tones. She infuses the dreamy oil paintings with responses to current affairs and questions about the future, which often serve as a catalyst for her projects. “I don’t ‘think’ specifically about political or ethical issues when I paint although my creative flow is undoubtedly fuelled by the impressions and emotions many global events leave subconsciously,” she tells Colossal. Issues of racial justice and the unrealistic portrayal of beauty have both played a role in her recent works, including the compelling portrait of a young Black girl titled “What Are We Waiting For.”

Generally, the subjects are people Rosso has a relationship with or someone who’s caught her eye, … Read the rest

Collector Robert Ellison Is Transforming the Way Ceramics Are Seen at the Met and the World Over

Robert A. Ellison Jr. started collecting ceramics in the 1960s and, in the decades since, helped transform the ways that ceramics are regarded and the histories that inform different traditions throughout the ages. Now 88 years old, Ellison has given momentous gifts to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which since 2009 has acquired more than 600 works from his collection spanning several centuries. His latest donation of 125 works of modern and contemporary ceramic art figures in “Shapes from Out of Nowhere: Ceramics from the Robert A. Ellison Jr. Collection,” an exhibition and accompanying publication devoted to abstract and non-representational ceramics from the early 20th century to the present. On the phone with ARTnews, Ellison talked about the transition of his early interest from painting to ceramics, how he trained his eye, and how it feels to give his many decades’ worth of holdings away.

Where are you staying Read the rest

Busts of Unabashed Women by Gerard Mas Are Sculpted with a Contemporary and Cheeky Twist

“Lady of the chewing gum,” polychrome resin. All images © Gerard Mas, shared with permission

Despite their modest clothing and perfectly plaited hair, the women that artist Gerard Mas sculpts are spirited, brazen, and undeniably shameless. Whether blowing a wad of bubblegum, sporting visible tan lines, or unabashedly digging in their noses, the corset-clad figures are steeped in humor and wit and cast a contemporary light on the long-held conventions of the medium.

Mas began the ongoing series a few years ago as he ventured into figurative sculpture and struggled with portraying perfection and beauty. He shares:

This was an impossible job. There was always something that broke that beauty. And a sculpture attempting to speak of beauty with some disproportion or flagrant compositional flaw is pretentious if not ridiculous… I decided to anticipate that failure and deliberately introduce discordant elements that broke that pretended beauty by making our sense

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Looking to ‘New Era for the Art World,’ Christie’s Restructures Marquee May Sales

After announcing that it had consolidated its modern and contemporary art departments last year, Christie’s has now revealed plans to adjust how it conducts its marquee evening sales in New York, beginning with its May auctions, which are typically seen as the bellwethers of the art market. Traditionally, works from the postwar era—Pollocks, Rothkos, and others—would be sold alongside more contemporary works from the 1980s onward. Now, the Pollocks will be sold next to Monets and Picassos.

As part of this rebranding change, which in part accounts for the continued dominance of contemporary art and recent rise of a kind of digital art known as NFTs, Christie’s will now host a “20th and 21st Century Marquee Week” that will divide the art being sold into two umbrellas: “20th Century Art,” a long century that will include art made between the 1880s and the 1980s, and “21st Century Art,” art made … Read the rest

An Ambitious Project and New Book Serve as a Vital Nexus for Women Street Photographers

Gulnara Samoilova, “Cloud Eaters” (2018) © Gulnara Samoilova. All images courtesy of Prestel, shared with permission

At once widely accessible and distinctly personal, street photography has the potential to bridge the divide between the idiosyncratic and universal, a possibility that’s long excited Gulnara Samoilova. A former Associated Press photojournalist and current fine art photographer, Samoilova realized that while the genre was affordable and convenient, the field remained largely dominated by men, an imbalance she sought to remedy when she founded Women Street Photographers in 2017.

In its fourth year, the ongoing project began with an Instagram account designed to showcase work from women around the world. “I soon began to realize that with this platform, I could create everything I had always wanted to receive as a photographer: the kinds of support and opportunities that would have helped me grow during those formative and pivotal points on my journey,” Samoilova … Read the rest