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Madrid art fair pulls Catalan 'political prisoners' installation by artist Santiago Sierra

A journalist holds a photograph, part of the art-installation by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra 'Political prisoners of contemporary Spain' as she informs on its removal from ARCO art fair in Madrid on February 21, 2018. A photo exhibit by a Spanish artist known for his provocative stunts which depicts three jailed Catalan separatist leaders as "political prisoners" was removed today from a major contemporary art fair in Madrid at the request of a government-funded body that operates the event venue. The dispute over the work by Madrid-born artist Santiago Sierra comes amid simmering tensions between Spain's central government in Madrid and pro-independence groups in Catalonia over their failed independence push. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP.

by Corentin Lacoste

MADRID (AFP).- An installation by a controversial Spanish artist which refers to Catalan separatist leaders as "political prisoners" was removed Wednesday from a major Madrid art fair at the request of the venue's operator. The dispute over the work by Madrid-born artist Santiago Sierra, known for his provocative stunts, comes as tensions simmer between Spain's central government in Madrid and pro-independence groups in Catalonia over their failed independence push. Titled "Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain", Sierra's installation featured 24 pixelated photographs, including one of Catalonia's ousted vice president Oriol Junqueras who has been in jail for the past three months over his government's failed independence bid. The installation also included photos of the leaders of the two biggest grassroots pro-independence associations in Catalonia, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, who are also in jail on charges of rebellion and sedition. They are among several Catalan political leaders and a ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Row at German art fair over 'Erdogan with banana' painting   Christie's announces highlights from the winter contemporary sales   The Destruction of Pharaoh's Host, by John Martin, at risk of leaving the UK

The provocative painting entitled "Turkish dictator" by Thomas Baumgaertel has sparked noisy complaints and protests at the art Karlsruhe fair.

BERLIN (AFP).- A German artist complained Friday after his gallery took down a painting that depicts Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a banana in his buttocks. The provocative painting entitled "Turkish dictator" by Thomas Baumgaertel has sparked noisy complaints and protests at the art Karlsruhe fair. The fair organisers tweeted that, amid the row, not they but the gallery owner had "decided to take down the caricature". Gallerist Michael Oess said he took the decision "to avoid trouble." "I have a certain responsibility toward other visitors," he told national news agency DPA. The artist wrote on Twitter that he had severed ties with his gallery after it had taken the decision "without consulting me". Baumgaertel is a street art pioneer also known as the Banana Sprayer whose trademark motif is an Andy Warhol-style banana. ... More

Sam Francis, Blue, Yellow and Green, painted 1958 (detail), oil on canvas. Estimate: USD 700,000-1,000,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s announces the winter contemporary sales encompassing a standout selection of works with a wide range of styles and price points offered in two live auctions, Contemporary Edition on February 28, and Post-War & Contemporary Art on March 1, and two online sales, On Paper and Contemporary Portfolio, both of which will run from February 23 to March 2. All lots will be on view to the public at 20 Rockefeller Plaza from February 24 to March 2. Christie’s will present Contemporary Edition, a biannual sale featuring 185 striking Post-war and Contemporary prints and multiples. Contemporary fixtures such as John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha and Keith Haring stand alongside Post-War icons including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Frank Stella. The sale is anchored by diverse selection of editions from The Melva Bucksbaum ... More

Detail of The Destruction of Pharaoh’s Host, by John Martin.

LONDON.- Arts Minister Michael Ellis has placed a temporary export bar on The Destruction of Pharaoh’s Host, by the British artist John Martin (1789-1854), to provide an opportunity to keep it in the country. The watercolour is at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £1,509,102. The drawing illustrates the Biblical story (Exodus 14) of Moses releasing the waters of the Red Sea, after they had miraculously parted to allow the fleeing Israelites to cross, thereby drowning the pursuing Egyptian army. Employing a panoramic composition to magnificent effect, Martin plays with the scale of the figures and the scenery to maximise the epic nature of the drama. The emotional force of this scene of deliverance and retribution is heightened by a blood red sunset below a sweeping black sky. Although Martin is best known for ... More

Edward Hopper in Nyack & Originals by Modigliani & Monet at Swann March 13   Virginia Museum of Fine Arts acquires three major works of African American art   All the wild horses are extinct: study

Edward Hopper, House by a River, etching, 1919 (detail). Estimate $100,000 to $150,000.

NEW YORK, NY.- On Tuesday, March 13, Swann Galleries will offer a superlative auction of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings, featuring original artworks and scarce multiples by some of the most influential artists of the last 200 years. Following the house’s record-breaking autumn sale of Edward Hopper’s 1923 print The Lonely House for $317,000, Swann will offer an even more scarce etching by the master: House by a River, 1919, an early example of his theme of isolation. Only one other copy of this print, which depicts a still-extant house in Nyack, NY, has appeared at auction in the last 30 years. The work carries an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. Hopper’s mentor Martin Lewis is well represented in the auction with a selection of the gritty urban views for which he is known. Bedford Street Gang, 1935, leads the pack at $15,000 to $20,000. Additional highlights include an extremely rare circa 1930 charcoal drawing titled ... More

Overstood, 2017, Sanford Biggers (American, born 1970), sequins, canvas, fabric, tar, glitter, polystyrene, and Aqua-Resin. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr. Fund for 21st Century Art.

RICHMOND, VA.- The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts recently added three major works of African American art to its collection: David Drake’s Two-Handled Jug, Archibald Motley Jr.’s Town of Hope and Sanford Biggers’ Overstood. These acquisitions add to VMFA’s growing collection of African American art, a major focus of the museum’s acquisition strategy since 2015 as part of its five-year strategic plan. “The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is committed to establishing a leadership role in the collecting and display of African American art,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA director. “These three works are a significant step toward that goal and represent three distinct periods in African American history as well as important works of art that will delight and inspire our visitors for generations to come.” These recent acquisitions join Romare Bearden’s landmark ... More

This file photo taken on January 22, 2016 shows wild Przewalski's horses on a snow covered field in the Chernobyl exclusions zone. GENYA SAVILOV / AFP.

MIAMI (AFP).- All the world's wild horses have gone extinct, according to a study Thursday that unexpectedly rewrites the horse family tree based on a new DNA analysis of their ancestry. What most people thought were the last remaining wild horses on Earth -- known as Przewalski's horses -- were actually domesticated horses that escaped their owners, said the report in the journal Science. "This was a big surprise," said co-author Sandra Olsen, curator-in-charge of the archeology division of the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas. "This means there are no living wild horses on Earth -- that's the sad part," said Olsen. The study is based on archaeological work at two sites in northern Kazakhstan, called Botai and Krasnyi Yar, where scientists have found the earliest proof of horse domestication, going back more than 5,000 years. To further dig ... More

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago opens the first major survey of the work of Howardena Pindell   Galerie Lelong & Co. opens Mildred Thompson's first solo exhibition in New York   Marianne Boesky Gallery opens an exhibition dedicated to the work of artist Maria Lai

Howardena Pindell, Untitled (Baseball), 1966. Garth Greenan Gallery. Photo: courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

CHICAGO, IL.- The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents the first major survey of the work of groundbreaking, multidisciplinary artist Howardena Pindell. The exhibition spans the New York-based artist's five-decades-long career, featuring early figurative paintings, pure abstraction and conceptual works, and personal and political art that emerged in the aftermath of a life-threatening car accident in 1979. Tracing the themes and visual experiments that run throughout Pindell's work, the exhibition shows how she challenged the traditional art world and asserted her place in its history as an African-American woman artist. Pindell revolutionized painting from her early, radical explorations of color and shape to her later work that expanded to address human rights injustices such as war, famine, homelessness, racism, and the AIDs crisis. Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen is co-curated by MCA Curator Naomi Beckwith and Valerie Cass ... More

Mildred Thompson Magnetic Fields, 1990. Oil on canvas, 62 x 48 inches (157.5 x 121.9 cm). © The Mildred Thompson Estate Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Galerie Lelong & Co. is presenting Mildred Thompson: Radiation Explorations and Magnetic Fields. This is the American artist’s first solo exhibition in New York. The exhibition highlights Thompson’s Radiation Explorations and Magnetic Fields series – two significant and thematically linked bodies of work that exemplify the artist’s signature approach to abstraction. A catalogue has been published in conjunction with the show with essays by Melissa Messina, Curator of the Mildred Thompson Estate and the exhibition’s curatorial collaborator, and Lowery Stokes Sims, Curator Emerita at the Museum of Arts and Design. Concurrently, the gallery will present a solo booth of paintings from the Magnetic Fields series alongside works on paper from 2003 for the 2018 ADAA Art Show. With a career spanning over four decades, Thompson created work inspired ... More

Object Studies. Maria Lai Invito a Tavola (The Invitation Table), 2004 Terracotta 31 1/2 x 118 1/8 x 39 3/8 inches 80 x 300 x 100 cm. Courtesy of Archivio Maria Lai and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen.

NEW YORK, NY.- Marianne Boesky Gallery is presenting Invito a Tavola, an exhibition dedicated to the work of artist Maria Lai (1919–2013). The exhibition highlights Lai’s career-long commitment to community, from her early drawings depicting the women of her hometown in Sardinia to a major late-career installation that invokes ideas of communion and for which the exhibition is titled. Invito a Tavola marks Lai’s first solo exhibition in the U.S. since 1956, and provides an intimate portrait of the late artist through one of the most enduring themes from her illustrious sixty-year practice. The exhibition is the first organized by the gallery since it commenced representation of the artist’s archive in November 2017. The exhibition is anchored by the installation Invito a Tavola (The Invitation Table), which is comprised of a large-scale table, measuring approximately nine feet in length and three feet in width, set ... More

Kunstmuseum Luzern opens exhibition of works by Taryn Simon   Paddle8 presents 'The Oscar Goes to: Posters' a sale of iconic film posters   Rachel Howard solo exhibition opens at Newport Street Gallery

Taryn Simon, An Avatar, 2008. Archival inkjet print, 217.2 x 156.2 cm, © Taryn Simon, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

LUCERNE.- The work of Taryn Simon (b. 1975) results from rigorous research guided by an interest in systems of categorization and the precarious nature of survival. A multidisciplinary artist who has worked in photography, text, film, sculpture, and performance, Simon turns our attention to the margins of power, where control, disruption, and the contours of its constructedness become visible. She reveals the imperceptible space between language and the visual world—a space in which multiple truths and fantasies are constructed, and where translation and disorientation occur. The technical, physical, and aesthetic realization of her projects reflects the control and authority that are the very subject of her work. Often invoking the form of the archive, Simon imposes the illusion of order on the chaotic and indeterminate nature of her subjects. ... More

Unknown, Midnight Cowboy, 1973. Polish A1, 33 x 23 in (83.82 x 58.42 cm). Estimate $1,800 - $2,200.

NEW YORK, NY.- Paddle8 today announced The Oscar Goes to: Posters, a sale of iconic film posters celebrating nearly sixty years of cinematic artwork. Timed to the 90th Academy Awards, the commemorative sale features posters of blockbusters including Rebecca by Alfred Hitchcock winner of Best Picture in 1940 and Midnight Cowboy by John Schlesinger winner of Best Picture in 1969. Other celebrated film posters showcased in the sale include Star Wars (1977), Bullitt (1968), 2001: Space Odyssey (1968), The Hustler (1961), All About Eve (1950) and Cabaret (1972). Midnight Cowboy is a groundbreaking film that changed the Hollywood landscape forever. The first and only X-rated film ever to win Best Picture and Best Director, it features controversial and transgressive themes of prostitution, homosexuality, drug abuse and revolutionized mainstream cinema in the 1970s. ... More

Rachel Howard, installation view. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates ® Rachel Howard. Courtesy Newport Street Gallery.

LONDON.- Newport Street Gallery is presenting an exhibition of work by British artist Rachel Howard (b.1969). The show is the first UK exhibition of Howard’s series of paintings, ‘Repetition is Truth – Via Dolorosa’. This body of work was the subject of a 2011 exhibition at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples, Italy, curated by Mario Codognato. Commissioned by the Murderme collection and produced between 2005 and 2008, the series takes inspiration from the Stations of the Cross, ‘Via Dolorosa’ being the path taken by Jesus to Mount Calvary. Whilst referencing the long art-historical tradition of depicting the Stations, ‘Repetition is Truth’ also offers a broader commentary on the universality of human rights abuses. Religion, repetition, mortality and violence – particularly controlled violence – are enduring themes in Howard’s work. ... More

More News
"Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art" opens at the Walker Art Gallery
LIVERPOOL.- Bold and colourful examples of British painting and sculpture from the 1960s form part of a new exhibition at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art, a touring exhibition from the Arts Council Collection, runs from 24 February until 3 June 2018. Works on show include sculptures by artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi, Anthony Caro, Kim Lim and Phillip King, alongside paintings by Bridget Riley, Tess Jaray, Joe Tilson and Mary Martin among other leading names. Much British abstract art of the 1960s is noted for its use of vivid colours, alluring surfaces and unpredictable forms. However, these qualities are often underpinned by a strong sense of order, founded on repetition, sequence and symmetry. The exhibition explores the relationship between colour and form, rationality and irrationality, order and waywardness. ... More

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces new Assistant Curator
BENTONVILLE, ARK.- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces the appointment of Jennifer Padgett as assistant curator. Padgett accepts the assistant curator position following previous roles at Crystal Bridges including research assistant in the curatorial department and a 2016 Tyson Scholar fellowship. As a research assistant, she authored entries for a forthcoming publication of collection highlights and contributed label text and digital interpretation content for the reinstallation of the Early American Galleries, among other projects. As assistant curator, Padgett will contribute to exhibition planning, publications, research, and growth of the collection, with a particular focus on American art from the 1900s through 1960s. She will help develop focus exhibitions and plan installations in the permanent collection galleries, including a project to reinstall ... More

Exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp offers generous glimpses into AMVK's vast oeuvre
ANTWERP.- Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven (also known as AMVK) is an artist of singular complexity. Born in 1951 in Antwerp, where she still lives and works, she has been active since the 1970s as a visual artist, graphic designer and performer. She has always been a pioneer. She should, first and foremost, be considered an artist for the future. AMVK’s practice is truly interdisciplinary. Her first arena was drawing. She has collaborated with cutting-edge scientists for more than 40 years. In 1981, she and the artist Danny Devos founded the noise band Club Moral, which performed actively for ten years. It was revived in 2001. Under the same title, the pair organised numerous events in Antwerp until 1993. They have also published the magazine Force Mental since 1982. Such collaborations aside, self-organisation and self-analysis are fundamental to AMVK’s work. Her creative ... More

Hong Kong harbour gets star attraction with sculpture park
HONG KONG (AFP).- Hong Kong's harbourfront is known for glistening skyscrapers and the sight of containerships navigating busy shipping lanes -- but a new art project has added a giant pumpkin, a map of the stars and a pair of disembodied legs to the famous skyline. The Harbour Arts Sculpture Park, which officially opened on Thursday, is a collection of works by 19 local and international artists including Britain's Antony Gormley and Tracey Emin, Japan's Yayoi Kusama, as well as Jenny Holzer and Hank Willis Thomas from the United States. The series of installations aims to increase public access to art in a city known more for its exclusive high-end galleries and lucrative auctions. "I think public art is a unique place to make a statement and I wanted to make a work that people could inhabit and basically become a part of," said Willis Thomas, perched inside a large metal speech ... More

Soul-searching as symbol of 70s Singapore faces demolition
SINGAPORE (AFP).- The looming demolition of a horseshoe-shaped tower block that symbolised Singapore's growth from a port town to an affluent city-state has sparked soul-searching about whether enough is being done to protect the country's recent history. Pearl Bank Apartments, on the edge of the business district, was groundbreaking when it was completed in 1976 -- at the time it was the tallest residential building in Singapore, and became a model for high-rise living in the country and across cities in Southeast Asia. It was a turning point for the city-state's Chinatown, as it was the first skyscraper in an area dotted with low-rise buildings. But the 37-storey, 280-apartment block has seen better days, with residents now complaining of leaking pipes and ageing lifts. Earlier this month it was sold for Sg$728 million ($550 million) to a developer, who plans to construct a modern, high-rise ... More

New book tells how Henri Petiet built art collection worth millions
LONDON.- By the time he died in 1980 at the age of 86 Henri Marie Petiet had conquered the international art market and it would take 26 years and 50 public sales to disperse his collection. Nobody knows the final total achieved at sale but in runs into many many millions. The collection of Henri M. Petiet (1894-1980) once seemed inexhaustible. The vast ensemble of modern prints gathered by this giant of the 20th century art market was indeed considered to be the largest in the world in private hands. He amassed an impressive collection of artists, owning numerous prints by Gauguin, Picasso, Bonnard, Matisse, Derain and Toulouse-Lautrec. He was an avid promoter of Marie Cassatt’s engraved work. He acquired many great prints by Marie Laurencin and Suzanne Valadon and he supported artists such as Gromaire and Goerg, even during the darkest hours of the Occupation. ... More

Japanese scrolls, American paintings from several stylistic periods, all at Bruneau & Co.'s auction
CRANSTON, RI.- Gorgeous Asian antiques, led by Part 2 of the George Dagher collection of Chinese Export and the Ruth Latta collection of Japanese scrolls, will be just part of an eclectic Antiques, Fine Art & Asian Arts auction scheduled for Saturday, March 3rd, by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, online and in the Bruneau & Co. gallery, located at 63 Fourth Avenue in Cranston. The sale will start promptly at 11 am Eastern time. “Part 1 of the George Dagher collection was great. We can’t wait to see how Part 2 performs,” said Kevin Bruneau, president and auctioneer of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, adding, “The fine selection of Export is sure to have collectors coming back, as we have an outstanding variety of armorial and European market Export wares.” Examples from the collection include two mid-18th century lots: ... More

Court fines Moscow cinema that showed 'Death of Stalin'
MOSCOW (AFP).- A Russian court on Thursday slapped a $1,700 fine on a Moscow cinema which screened British comedy "The Death of Stalin" in defiance of an official ban, prompting a police raid. The film, which depicts the power struggle in the politburo following the death of the Soviet dictator, was to have been released last month but was banned at the last minute following an outcry by conservative figures. The judge fined the arthouse Pioneer Cinema 100,000 rubles (1,450 euros) for the administrative violation of screening the film last month without a distribution certificate, Russian agencies reported. The Russian culture ministry had withdrawn a certificate to distribute the film just days before its planned premiere on January 25, saying officials found it contained "information whose distribution is legally banned in Russia." Pioneer, which showed "The ... More

Major solo exhibition by Stephen Chambers opens at The Heong Gallery
CAMBRIDGE.- The Heong Gallery at Downing College, University of Cambridge, announces the UK presentation of The Court of Redonda – a major solo exhibition by Stephen Chambers RA, following its highly acclaimed unveiling as a Collateral Event of the 2017 Venice Biennale. The Court of Redonda is a vast collective portrait of an imaginary court of maverick and singular individuals. The installation of 101 paintings articulates the role played by artists in envisaging a world not how it is, but how it could be. Featuring subjects drawn from different epochs and cultures and hung with reference to historic portrait collections, the court imagines a utopian society that celebrates the creative and idiosyncratic. The Court of Redonda is inspired by a literary legend that has developed around a tiny, uninhabited island in the Caribbean Sea. Redonda was claimed in 1865 ... More

Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj open first UK exhibition in a public institution
BEXHILL-ON-SEA.- I blew on Mr. Greenhill's main joints with a very ‘hot’ breath is the first UK exhibition in a public institution by Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj. It presents moving image and photographic works from the last ten years selected in response to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, a modernist building that opened in 1935 as ‘the people’s pavilion for art and culture’. Together and separately, Guimarães and Akhøj explore objects, situations and the residual histories of art, design, architecture and the institutions that present them, often exposing unexpected connections between states of rapture and modernity. For the last five years, much of their work has emerged from research undertaken in Palmelo, a small town in the Brazilian interior. Built in the 1930s around a study group and a sanatorium, many of Palmelo’s 2,000 inhabitants are Spiritist mediums ... More

The Chinese Art that Inspired Judith Leiber's Iconic Handbags

On a day like today, French painter and theorist Charles Le Brun was born
February 24, 2018. Charles Le Brun (24 February 1619 - 22 February 1690) was a French painter, art theorist, interior decorator and a director of several art schools of his time. As court painter to Louis XIV, who declared him "the greatest French artist of all time", he was a dominant figure in 17th-century French art and much influenced by Nicolas Poussin. In this image: A Christie's employee looks at an oil painting by 17th century artist Charles Le Brun.

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