Francesco Bonami, whose curatorial credits include the 2003 Venice Biennale and the 2010 Whitney Biennial, has returned for the tenth edition of his column, “Ask a Curator,” in which he looks back on 2020 and addresses Pantone’s colors of the year for 2021. He can be found on Instagram at @thebonamist. If you have queries for him for a future column, please write to [email protected]. The Editors of ARTnews

It is safe to say that 2020 has been a tumultuous year for almost everyone. Looking back on art and the art world in 2020, what will you remember most?

The total denial of the art world and the delusional fantasy that this unbelievable, unpredictable crisis could be solved by moving business online. The physicality of art cannot be substituted. Museums, galleries, and art fairs need to be walked into, not browsed through. I don’t know … Read the rest

John Outterbridge, a sculptor who made the stuff of everyday life his medium, crafting found objects into assemblages imbued with history, has died at 87, according to New York’s Tilton Gallery, which represents him. No cause of death was given.

Outterbridge’s sculptures often feature objects scavenged from the streets of Los Angeles’s South Central region, where he was long based—worn-down rags, dirtied pieces of wood, and other scrapped objects. In bringing the everyday world into institutional and gallery settings, Outterbridge effectively suggested that life and art could not be divorced.

In interviews, Outterbridge often said that he began making assemblages during the 1960s after simply being inspired by what he saw around him. In a 2013 conversation with Art in America, he described his father as a “man who found esthetics in his backyard” and his mother as someone who clipped away pieces of her reading materials. “Many … Read the rest

“Bridesmaid Returns to the Shore of Her Full Moon” (2019), glass and mixed media, 23 x 22 x 9.5. Photo by Matthew Hollerbush. All images © Amber Cowan, shared with permission

The monochromatic assemblages of Amber Cowan (previously) are at once domestic narratives and homages to an abandoned industry. Delicate baubles frame a central figure or scene that the Philadelphia-based artist illustrates with scraps of pressed glass. Whether focused on a lone bridesmaid or a hen hoarding eggs, Cowan’s works explore the feminine experience through themes of “loneliness, the search for meaning, the search for love, and the following of symbolism in the mundane.”

Cowan shops at antique stores and markets for materials, although she more frequently scours scrapyards around the country for discarded bits of glass, which are known as cullets. As a whole, the now-defunct industry was booming from the mid-1800s before it dropped off during … Read the rest

With the pandemic hard upon us, what better time to settle in with a few of those art books you’ve always meant to read but never quite got to? Below, the editors of Art in America suggest a mix of their personal favorites. The recommendations, some old and some new, range from scholarly classics to provocative critical studies to essential catalogues to of-the-moment reflections on topics such as social justice, the psychology of color, and disability and art. (Price and availability current at time of publication.)


Titian’s Touch: Art, Magic and Philosophy, Maria H. Loh (Reaktion Books, 2019)
This critical study of the Venetian Renaissance master by A.i.A. contributor Maria H. Loh exemplifies contemporary art historical methodologies by offering a close study of Titian’s work and a detailed introduction to his intellectual and cultural world.
Purchase: Titian’s Touch $20.48 (new) on Amazon


Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader, Read the rest

Art is important “because it’s beauty,” fashion designer Victor Glemaud recently told Brooke Jaffe for “ARTnews Live,” our ongoing IGTV series of interviews with a range of creatives.

Art is a primary source of inspiration for Glemaud’s designs, which often use of bold colors and knitwear. “I go to galleries, I go to museums,” Glemaud said. “I just start to absorb or go back to things that I was thinking about, so I really start with thinking of color and that to me comes from art always, wherever I go.”

Glemaud has also famously slashed his garments, a direct reference to Argentine-Italian artist Lucio Fontana, whose best-known series is “Concetto spaziale,” in which the artist slashed monochromatic canvases. “The statement sweaters started with Fontana, Lucio Fontana,” Glemaud said. “I was in Paris with a friend of mine,  and I saw this incredible Fontana exhibition and I was blown away.”… Read the rest

“Rock Melt” (2015), cement, blast furnace slag, expanded glass, iron oxide, steel, Australian native plants, 350-550 x 60 x 60 centimeters. All images © Jamie North, shared with permission

Embedded within the eroded cement and marble pillars of artist Jamie North are a host of plants native to Australia. Kangaroo vines, Port Jackson figs, and kidney weeds wrap themselves around steel cables and grow from the crevices of the cracked stone forms, juxtaposing the industrial, human-made sculptures with organic elements. The lush greenery infuses the otherwise dilapidated structures with new life, which elicits a larger theme of regeneration.

In a note to Colossal, North writes that he begins each vertical work with a geometric cast evoking the stately shapes of the tower and column. When complete, the size of the sculptures ambiguously references various architectural elements. “Both tower and column are often associated with progress, triumph, and hubris,” he says. … Read the rest

A painting by Brazilian modernist Tarsila do Amaral sold for a record-setting 57.5 million reais ($11.2 million) at a São Paulo auction last week, making it the most expensive work by the artist ever sold at auction and one of the most expensive works by a Latin American artist ever to sell on the block.

A caipirinha (1923) came to sale by court order from the collection of banker Salim Taufic Schahin, who is the subject of a lawsuit over unpaid debt to 12 creditors. Schahin was a partner at investment firm Schahin Group, which went bankrupt in 2018. The Brazilian government denied a request to block the auction, filed by Schahin’s son, who claimed he purchased the painting in 2013 and gifted the work to his father.

The canvas was sold at the São Paulo–based Bolsa de Arte auction house, where it sold above its estimate of $47.5 million … Read the rest

Leonard Lauder, 87, is an heir to the Estée Lauder Companies fortune. He been on ARTnews’s annual Top 200 Collectors list since 1990. In 2013, he promised his Cubism collection to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has been a major donor to the Whitney Museum. The following is an an excerpt from his newly published memoir The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty.

I’ve always had the soul of a collector. Ask any collector how it all began, and you’ll hear stories about childhood fascinations ranging from bottle caps to beetles to baseball cards. I was no different. I started early and have been building collections ever since.

I was first bitten by the collecting bug when I was eight years old and attending a boarding school in Miami Beach. My fellow students used to collect and trade postcards of the beautiful Art Deco … Read the rest

Best known for his music videos for Björk and FKA twigs, artist and director Andrew Thomas Huang works across mediums, from animation puppetry to virtual reality. “We have so much art to make to imagine a new world for ourselves,” Huang recently told Brooke Jaffe for “ARTnews Live,” our ongoing IGTV series of interviews with a range of creatives.

Huang’s collaboration with Björk began in 2012 when the singer-songwriter reached out to him after seeing his short film Solipsist (2012), which quickly led to two collaborating later that year. “We did our first collaboration [for] ‘Mutual Core’ from her album Biopholia, so that was my first music video for her,” he said. “I’m the biggest Bjork fan and it was a dream to do it.” They have continued to collaborate over the years, which led to Haung’s work being included in the Björk’s 2015 retrospective at the Museum … Read the rest

The biggest museums in the United States are typically concentrated in the city centers of large metropolitan areas—with public transportation convenient, in most cases, for getting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and other mega-institutions of note. That makes MASS MoCA, a museum with more than 250,000 square feet of space in North Adams, Massachusetts, an outlier among its peers. The museum is inaccessible by train and located in a remote post-industrial town in the Berkshires with a population of fewer than 13,000.

And yet, against all odds, it has become a veritable art-world destination for artists, curators, critics, and historians alike filled with vast site-specific works that won’t fit anywhere else other than inside the museum’s cavernous walls. Today, its galleries—some as big as a football field—house a selection of monumental works by the likes of Anselm Kiefer, … Read the rest