Illustration Denise Nestor.

When the pandemic hit Europe and the United States in March, Kunsthalle Bern director Valérie Knoll was in the midst of organizing a solo exhibition with Park McArthur. The American conceptual artist had been working on a site-specific project, but found herself unable to travel to the Swiss institution. The Kunsthalle Bern was previously directed by famed curator Harald Szeemann, who cooperated with artists Christo and Jeanne- Claude to make it the first building they ever wrapped. Below, Knoll discusses the process of working with artists who can’t visit the Kunsthalle.

I had been conferring long-distance with Park McArthur on her solo show for a year before the coronavirus hit Europe. We’d hoped that she would come and stay here for a couple months to develop her site-specific project. She wanted to work with the history of the Kunsthalle, and with the team. But in March … Read the rest

In their exhibition “Bijeg u noć,” at Martos, the Croatian-born, New York–based duo TARWUK (Bruno Pogačnik Tremow and Ivana Vukšić) presented a dystopian sci-fi vision featuring crumbling bionic forms, black, pitched mountains, and ominous specters. Comprising paintings, sculptures, and drawings, the show drew on the artists’ childhood memories of the devastating Croatian War of 1991–95, in which the country fought for independence from Yugoslavia. While nothing in “Bijeg u noć” directly referred to this historical era, its trauma manifested in terrifying, oblique form, sublimated in dark fantasies that borrow equally from Huma Bhabha’s war-torn grotesques, the night-cloaked bleakness of Francisco Goya’s black paintings, and H.R. Giger’s phallic, machine-like monster from the movie Alien (1979).

The exhibition’s title is Croatian for “Escape into the night,” but the individual works are all titled in the artists’ invented language, as if tacitly acknowledging that words alone are ill-equipped to articulate the horrors … Read the rest

The image of a late 19th-century white male French painter often conjures a penniless genius, a tortured recluse, or some combination of the two. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec different from his contemporaries in that he was neither of these things. He became massively successful during his lifetime, unlike Vincent van Gogh, who sold only a fraction of his numerous paintings while he was alive. Toulouse-Lautrec was at the center of Paris’s vibrant arts scene, unlike Paul Gauguin, who fled the country for Polynesia, where he painted images of Tahitian women. Toulouse-Lautrec also did not craft images of nature en plein air, the way that Claude Monet did, nor he did not devote himself to still lifes free of people, the way that Paul Cézanne largely did.

All of this makes Toulouse-Lautrec, who died at just 36 years old in 1901, an eccentric figure and somewhat of an outlier among his peers. … Read the rest

An in-depth version of this sale report is available on Art Market Monitor to AMMPro subscribers.

While Christie’s does not stage Old Master paintings sales in New York in January, it does still go head-to-head with Sotheby’s for drawings. But the record shows the former house trailing. In 2019, it was $15 million to $2.7 million in favor of Sotheby’s, and in 2020, $15.1 million (including a $11.7 million Mantegna) at Sotheby’s compared to $5.4 million at Christie’s.

Last week, Christie’s opened the latest round with a comfortable $3.9 million for a sale that was estimated at $2.3 million–$3.4 million. (Prices include the buyer’s premium; estimates do not.)

This included a $724,000–$1.1 million collection formed by the late Cornelia Bessie, an art book publisher, which sold for $1.5 million. Bessie’s main focus was on 18th-century French artists. Topping the bill was a red chalk drawing of a seated young woman … Read the rest

All images © Allison May Kiphuth, shared with permission

Allison May Kiphuth (previously) shrinks the expansive landscapes found throughout the eastern United States into picturesque dioramas brimming with natural life. Through layered watercolor and ink renderings, the Maine-based artist creates a mix of quiet forest scenes and ocean habitats often under a dark, nighttime sky. She then stacks the outfitted wooden boxes, blending the marine and land-based pieces in varying positions that create new ecosystems with every combination.

Although Kiphuth derives much of her subject matter from the area around her home, she shares that experiencing new scenes is essential to her practice. “I haven’t been outside of Maine in over a year, and while this landscape is usually so expansively beautiful to me, without the contrast of other landscapes for perspective, it’s been feeling incredibly small,” a feeling that’s amplified by her living and working from a … Read the rest

A new coffee table book out this week is We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World (Abrams) by Jasmin Hernandez, the founder of the closely followed art blog Gallery Gurls. Since 2012, Hernandez has featured the work of emerging artists, primarily Black artists and artists of color, before they were well-known within the mainstream. For We Are Here, Hernandez conducted 50 new studio visits with artists, including Firelei Báez, Tourmaline, Derek Fordjour, Genevieve Gaignard, Renee Cox, and more, as well as art workers like curators Naima J. Keith and Jasmine Wahi—many of whom had previously been featured on Gallery Gurls. The book includes stunning original photography and Q&As with each of the 50 subjects in a format that is accessible for people at all levels of comfort with the art world.

To learn more about the book and her process, ARTnews spoke with … Read the rest

“The Interrupted Sleep” (1750) by François Boucher

Every month, Colossal shares a selection of opportunities for artists and designers, including open calls, grants, fellowships, and residencies. If you’d like to list an opportunity here, please get in touch at [email protected]. You can also join our monthly Opportunities for Artists newsletter.


Grants & Fellowships

Creative Capital Award Applications Now Open
Artists selected for a Creative Capital Award may receive up to $50,000 in funding for new projects, as well as a wide range of counsel, career development, and networking opportunities to make their work come to life. Deadline: March 1, 2021.

Designing a Better Chicago: Design Impact Grants
The Design Impact grant provides annual, project-specific grants to individuals and organizations using design or design principles to directly address pressing issues in Chicago communities. The program will award $25,000 in sum total. Deadline: March 12, 2021.

Francis Read the rest

The National Institute of Anthropology and History, a division of the Mexico government dedicated to the preservation of cultural artifacts, has filed a legal claim over 33 pre-Columbian objects set to be auctioned at Christie’s on February 9 in Paris.

According to a report published on Tuesday by Spanish outlet El Paísthe organization argues that the works, which originate from Mexico, should be repatriated to the country. The government group filed its claim in Mexico, and it has also called on the nation’s Ministry of Foreign Relations to take action to recover the objects.

“It was determined that the auction catalog includes pieces that correspond to cultures originating in Mexico, which is why they are part of the nation’s heritage,” said the Institute in a statement obtained by El País.

Representatives for Christie’s did not respond to requests for comment.

The pieces scheduled to be sold include sculptures, … Read the rest

All images courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Nicole Havekost describes her towering figures as exhibiting the contradiction of “sublime embarrassment… Bodies are magical and glorious and gross and bewildering. Bodies are civilized and feral.” Through hand-sewn sculptures, the Rochester-based artist explores the ways aging affects peoples’ figures and the emotional process of adjusting to a new reality.

She stitches large anthropomorphic works from industrial felt, shaping bodies that are bulging and covered with knots and uneven seams that serve as a reminder of restoration. Havekost explains:

These are the visible representations of the making and mending, repairing and refinishing, we are engaged in as human beings on a daily basis. It shows where we have been and marks where we are going. My figures show their imperfect repairs outwardly, unlike most of us who put on our best public faces. As I have aged, I have

Read the rest

When art historian, curator, and artist David C. Driskell died last summer from complications related to Covid-19, his loss reverberated throughout the art world. A mentor and supporter of generations of Black artists, curators, and scholars, Driskell organized the landmark exhibition “Two Centuries of Black American Art,” which staked a claim for the importance and influence of art-making by Black people in this country. Black art was not something that had just sprung up during the civil rights movement, he argued. Instead, it was a tradition with roots that extended back to the very founding of this country, with artists like Robert S. Duncanson, Joshua Johnson, and Edmonia Lewis represented alongside more recent talents like Norman Lewis, Charles White, and Alma Thomas.

That it opened in 1976 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as part of programming celebrating the country’s bicentennial, further underscores how daring it all was. … Read the rest