“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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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

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

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Ars longa, vita brevis, the old saying goes, though it’s worth noting that a principal tool for disseminating our knowledge of art—the exhibition—is as transitory as life itself. Shows open, then close, and even major traveling surveys are usually around for only a year or so. If you aren’t a globe-trotting art professional, or you somehow missed an important exhibition even though it was just down the street, you can still see a show through its catalog. Like the best exhibitions, the best exhibition catalogs are works of scholarship often years, even decades, in the making. Many of them, in fact, offer a deeper reading of the subject at hand than the original show and deserve a place on any bookshelf devoted to art history and critical theory. … Read the rest

All images licensed, © Arseniy Kotov

Photographer Arseniy Kotov is dedicated to documenting the changes in Russian life and architecture since the fall of the USSR, a commitment that brought him to the coldest European city last February. Located about 110 miles from the Arctic Ocean, Vorkuta is a small mining town that once held one of the largest and most grueling forced labor camps during Stalin’s reign. Often plagued by temperatures as low as -45 degrees Celcius, the city now has one of the fastest dwindling populations in all of Russia.

During Kotov’s visit, he toured various housing complexes built for workers, many of which were abandoned when the mines closed. One building in particular, though, is evidence of how desertion continues to unsettle the once-thriving city, an ongoing problem that Kotov captured in a stunning series. His photographs frame the dilapidated, five-story structure that’s entirely subsumed by feet-long … Read the rest

Monday, March 15

Garrett Bradley’s Time Nominated for Academy Award
Time, a critically acclaimed documentary by artist Garrett Bradley, has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Bradley, who recently joined Lisson Gallery, is currently the subject of a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art co-organized with the Studio Museum in Harlem. Time focuses on Fox Rich, an abolitionist activist, and her attempts to get her husband out of prison; Bradley won the directing award for it at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Longtime Director of Kimbell Art Museum’s Conservation Department to Leave
Claire M. Barry will step down as director of the conservation department of Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum at the end of this month. Barry will continue to collaborate with the museum on a consultative basis before transitioning to the position of director of conservation emerita on April 1. Barry … Read the rest

“I hope…” (2021), rope, paper, steel, installation view at König Galerie, Berlin. All images by Sunhi Mang, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, courtesy of the artist, shared with permission

A towering expanse of red thread, a new installation by Chiharu Shiota (previously) suspends 10,000 letters within the nave of Berlin’s König Galerie, a Brutalist-style space located in the former St. Agnes church. The immersive construction runs floor to ceiling and is awash with notes from people around the world who share their dreams following a particularly devastating year. Aptly named “I hope…,” the large-scale project hangs two wire boats that appear to float upward at its center, evoking travel into an unknown future.

For this collaborative installation, the Japanese artist, who’s lived in Berlin for the last two decades, draws on a similar piece from 2015 titled “The Key in the Hand.” That earlier work similarly utilizes … Read the rest

All images © Enoch Ku, shared with permission

Suit-inspired landscaping, overgrown shrubs, and misaligned stripes are just some of the scenes that comprise Enoch Ku’s Ordinary Sacramento, an ongoing project documenting the visual language of the Californian city. Ku is adept at identifying humor and quirkiness among the otherwise mundane urban landscape, framing a street sign or bike rack in a playful manner. Generally taken during a quiet moment, the compositions are evidence of the photographer’s keen sense of awareness and ability to observe what others might not.

Prior to launching Ordinary Sacramento, Ku worked as an actor and wedding photographer, two jobs that required him to rush from one place to the next. The pace of that lifestyle, in addition to the performative nature of the work, sparked his desire to slow down and document the world through a different lens. He explains:

In an Instagram world

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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has received a gift of 31 paintings, sculptures, and drawings by 20 American artists from ARTnews Top 200 Collectors Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida. The donation includes pieces by Elizabeth Catlett, Beauford Delaney, Norman Lewis, Richard Mayhew, and other artists. 

Neal Benezra, the director of SFMOMA who announced earlier this year that he will step down from the helm of the institution, said in a statement, “These important works strengthen the museum’s collection in critical ways and allow us to present a richer, more expansive picture of art history.”

Based in the Bay Area, Joyner and Giuffrida are known worldwide for their collection of abstract works by Black artists of several generations. Giving advice to collectors starting out in the field, Joyner, who joined the board of SFMOMA in 2020, once said, “Figure out where the vacuum is, where Read the rest

If you hoped that the revelation of the buyer of Beeple’s $69 million (42329.453 ETH) Everyday: The First 5,000 Days would help you understand the mind-boggling sale at Christie’s or the value of NFTs, you had no luck today. The auction house announced this afternoon that the buyer uses the pseudonym Metakovan and is the proprietor of an NFT investment fund called Metapurse.

Twobadour, whose position is described as “Steward of Metapurse,” describes Metapurse as a collection of “iconic or culturally significant NFTs.” Metakovan, who was a “Bitcoin OG,” according to the Twobadour. He invested in cryptocurrency from the “early to middling days” around 2013 when Bitcoin cost $13 (it trades around $57,500 today.)

Metakovan and Metapurse have been been funding acquiring NFTs since late 2016. “We haven’t sold a single NFT,” the Steward of Metapurse adds. “There isn’t a business model as such because there are no customers or … Read the rest