Letter from Paris: French Universalism Shows its Limitations in the Art World—and Beyond

As the world came to a halt in the spring, I was reading two books simultaneously: How We Became Posthuman, a seminal work from 1999 by N. Katherine Hayles about transformation in the digital age, and Achille Mbembe’s Brutalisme, a philosophical volume on our tumultuous times that had just been published a few weeks prior. I opened both looking for material to back up some points in an essay I was writing. But I quickly realized that, taken together, they pointed to something crucial to an understanding of the workings of French institutions and how, in the art world, those institutions are positioning themselves in terms of exclusion, inclusion, and secession.

As France went into lockdown and resorted to a frenetic consumption of news, specific themes started to surface around questions related to what it means to be human and the long-debated concept of French universalism. Read the rest

As the world came to a halt in the spring, I was reading two books simultaneously: How We Became Posthuman, a seminal work from 1999 by N. Katherine Hayles about transformation in the digital age, and Achille Mbembe’s Brutalisme, a philosophical volume on our tumultuous times that had just been published a few weeks prior. I opened both looking for material to back up some points in an essay I was writing. But I quickly realized that, taken together, they pointed to something crucial to an understanding of the workings of French institutions and how, in the art world, those institutions are positioning themselves in terms of exclusion, inclusion, and secession.

As France went into lockdown and resorted to a frenetic consumption of news, specific themes started to surface around questions related to what it means to be human and the long-debated concept of French universalism. Read the rest

Seller of Alleged Frans Hals Forgery Must Still Pay Sotheby’s, British Court Rules

The seller of an allegedly forged Frans Hals portrait will have to reimburse Sotheby’s $5.37 million after a London appeal court decided to uphold a ruling issued less than two weeks ago, the Art Newspaper reports.

The investment company Fairlight Art Ventures, owned by American hedge fund manager and art collector David Kowitz, and London’s Mark Weiss Gallery bought what they believed was an authentic Hals from French art dealer and collector Giuliano Ruffini for €3 million in 2010. The team sold the painting at Sotheby’s for $10.75 million to Seattle collector Richard Hedreen in a 2011 private sale; Sotheby’s reportedly took a 5 percent commission.

Five years after the painting was bought, the work was deemed a forgery. In 2016 the auction house refunded Hedreen in full, and contacted Fairlight and Weiss with a request for them to repay their share. The two initially argued that they … Read the rest

ARTnews in Brief: Met Appoints First Chief Diversity Officer—and More from November 23, 2020

Monday, November 23

Met Appoints First Chief Diversity Officer
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has appointed Lavita McMath Turner has been named the institution’s first chief diversity officer. McMath Turner joins the Met from Stella & Charles Guttman Community College in New York, where she served as assistant dean for equity, inclusion, and experiential learning. In her new role, she will oversee the implementation of the Met’s anti-racism and diversity plan, which includes new approaches to hiring and curatorial programming. She will begin at the Met in January. Daniel Weiss, CEO and president of the Met, said in a statement, “Turner has an exceptional record of success promoting equity throughout her career in cultural and higher education institutions, and she will be a key partner in helping The Met evolve into a more inclusive place to work, visit, and learn.”

MOCA Toronto Receives $1 M. Gift for Read the rest

Prized Hockney Portrait Will Stay at London’s Royal Opera House Following Sale: Report

Last month, a prized David Hockney portrait from the holdings of the financially strapped London Royal Opera House brought in £12.8 million ($16.9 million) when it sold at Christie’s. Some mourned the fact that the work would now disappear from public view, but it now seems those concerns were misplaced.

A new Art Newspaper report reveals that the buyer of Hockney’s Portrait of Sir David Webster (1971) is David Ross, the cofounder of Carphone Warehouse—and the chair of the Royal Opera House’s board of trustees. According to the report, he will return the work to the opera house once the purchase is finalized. He also has plans to loan it to the reopening exhibition of London’s National Portrait Gallery, where Ross is a trustee, in 2023.

At the Christie’s London contemporary auction, which generated $65 million total, there were only two bidders competing for the work: its third-party guarantor, … Read the rest

Collector Kevin Poon on the Intersection of Art and Culture, Launching His Streetwear Brand, and More

Kevin Poon is a Hong Kong–based art collector and entrepreneur who cofounded the streetwear brand CLOT in 2003 alongside his childhood best friend, Edison Chen. The duo felt the need to fill a cultural void that was ongoing in their hometown. “There was not much going on in Hong Kong in respects of music and culture,” Poon told Brooke Jaffe for “ARTnews Live,” our ongoing IGTV series of interviews with a range of creatives. “We wanted to create something we felt was part of our DNA.” What started as a streetwear brand producing T-shirts is now a multi-label store selling coveted items from clothing and accessories to even furniture. The brand also boasts a multitude of collaboration with other conglomerates, such as Polaroid and more famously Nike.

A true cultural jack-of-all-trades, Poon believes it is important to note that all aspects of our culture, in particular fashion and art, … Read the rest

Isamu Noguchi Sculpture Is First by Asian American Artist to Enter White House Collection

On Friday afternoon, without much fanfare, the White House revealed a surprise: an Isamu Noguchi sculpture had been acquired for its Rose Garden, making the work the first piece of art by an Asian American artist to enter the White House’s art holdings.

The sculpture, titled Floor Frame (1962), features an angular abstract geometric form that appears to jut out of the ground, burrow back inside it, and then pop back out. The work, like many of Noguchi’s others, uses minimalist forms and perceptual effects to test the ways that viewers relate to their environments. The work was included in Noguchi’s 1968 retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York.

“Thinking of the floor, I made Floor Frame,” Noguchi once said of the work, which has multiple bronze casts. “I made many other pieces in relation to floor space at that time, but this seemed to best define the … Read the rest

You Don’t Need to Wait for Black Friday to Get Great Deals on Art Supplies

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.

Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving when many US retailers offer deep discounts on their wares, marks the start of the holiday shopping season. This year, it falls on November 27, but stores are already posting holiday bargains and early Black Friday sales. To help you parse the offerings, we’ll be tracking some of the best deals on art supplies, from watercolor pencils to cameras, to give as gifts or to keep for yourself.

We will be updating this page throughout the week leading up to Black Friday and over Black Friday weekend, so check in with us often. A word of advice: Move fast, as many of these products will sell out quickly.

AMAZON
Amazon’s Black Friday Deals Week starts on November 20 and runs through November 27, … Read the rest

Why Did a Nazi Buy a Fake Vermeer? New Film Dramatizes History’s Greatest Forgery

Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery, a painting by Vermeer, seemed to stand out among the many great works by the 17th-century Dutch master. It lacked the soft lighting of his other paintings, and it was short on his meticulous attention to detail. But its deficiencies didn’t matter much to Hermann Göring, a top-level Nazi who bought the painting for 1.6 million guilders, making it the most expensive artwork of its time. There was just one problem: It wasn’t an authentic Vermeer.

The forgery, which fooled even the most well-educated of experts, was instead the work of Han van Meegeren, who revealed at a 1947 trial in Amsterdam that he was the true creator of the work and that he’d painted it in an attempt to dupe fascists. Almost overnight, van Meegeren, a mediocre artist who had made few contributions to art history otherwise, became a local celebrity, and … Read the rest

Sheldon Solow, Real Estate Tycoon with Significant Modern Art Collection, Dies at 92

Real estate mogul and billionaire art collector Sheldon H. Solow died on November 17 at the age of 92. According to Bloomberg, which first reported the news, he died at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical Center. The cause of death was lymphoma.

With a net worth of $3.1 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, Solow’s vast development portfolio includes a New York office building tower in his name, a group of rental buildings, and one of the city’s biggest development grounds in Midtown East. Solow began his real estate career in the 1950s. In 2000, together with the Fisher real estate group, he moved to expand development throughout Manhattan, winning a $600 million bid on a Con Ed property to build a complex. The deal would later turn into a legal battle between the buying partners.

Solow is also the founder of a nonprofit, the Solow Art and … Read the rest

ARTnews in Brief: Room57 Gallery Opens in New York—and More from November 16, 2020

Monday, November 16

Room57 Gallery Opens in New York
Room57 Gallery, which will explore the intersections of art and design in an immersive environment, opens today in New York. Located at 235 East 57th Street, the enterprise will stage exhibitions in a manner that reflects “an upscale home,” rather than a conventional gallery setting, according to a release. The inaugural show at the gallery is titled “Chapter One,” and it features works by 20th-century and contemporary artists. Among the artists and designers in the exhibition are Robert MotherwellHelen FrankenthalerGrear PattersonRoxanne JacksonDanni PantelCampana Brothers, Peter Halley, and Allison Zuckerman.

Croatian Sculptor Ivan Kožarić Has Died at 99
Ivan Kožarić, a Croatian modernist sculptor and leading figure in the avant-garde of the late-1940s former Yugoslavia, has died at the age of 99. Kožarić was best known for his … Read the rest