The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Fleeing a modern war, Syrians seek refuge in ancient ruins

Children play on ruins of al-Kfeir in Syria, March 24, 2021. So many people have fled to Syria’s crowded northwest during the country’s 10-year civil war that families have settled in important archaeological sites. Ivor Prickett/The New York Times.

by Ben Hubbard

AL-KFEIR (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- As the sun set, children in dirty clothes and battered shoes herded sheep past the towering stone walls of a Byzantine settlement abandoned more than 1,000 years ago, leading them into a nearby ancient cave where the animals would spend the night. Laundry hung near the semicylindrical wall of a ruined, centuries-old church. Vegetables grew between the remnants of two rectangular doorways ornamented with carved leaf patterns. Scattered about were giant cut stones from what had once been an extensive town. It was here, at the vast archaeological site of al-Kfeir, Syria, where Abu Ramadan and his family sought shelter more than a year ago after fleeing a Syrian government assault. They’ve been here ever since. Ramadan, 38, said he cared little for the site’s history as a trading and agricultural center, but he appreciated the sturdy walls that blunted the wind and the abundance of cut stones that a family who had lost everything could salvage to piece together a new life. ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Looted objects from Afghanistan are returned   Exhibition presents treasures from the Thyssen-Bornemisza family collection   Galerie Gmurzynska opens its first New York exhibition dedicated to Arnulf Rainer

A bronze mask of Silenus. Via Manhattan District Attorney’s Office via The New York Times.

by Tom Mashberg

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- For half a century, through war, anarchy and upheaval, Afghanistan has been stripped of tens of thousands of Buddhist and Hindu antiquities, some dating back more than 1,800 years. Many of those items entered the Western market in the 1990s and early 2000s, St John Simpson, a curator at the British Museum, told The New York Times last month. “And all of those,” he said, “were almost certainly illegally exported or stolen.” On Monday, 33 of those antiquities, valued at $1.8 million, were handed over to the Afghan ambassador, Roya Rahmani, by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the Department of Homeland Security, at a ceremony in New York. The artifacts were part of a hoard of 2,500 objects valued at $143 million seized in a dozen raids between 2012 and 2014 from Subhash Kapoor, a disgraced Manhattan ... More

Christian Winter, Travelling Service, ca. 1750. Oak, leather, velvet, silver and porcelain. 47 x 97 x 69 cm Thyssen-Bornemisza Collections.

MADRID.- As part of the celebrations in 2021 to mark the centenary of the birth of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, his heirs have all been contributing to several special exhibitions planned by the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in his honour. Following the highly successful exhibition of the German Expressionists that inaugurated the celebrations at the end of last year, the museum is presenting a new selection of twenty works many of which formed part of the Baron’ father’s collection of early renaissance decorative arts which he was passionate about. These were only shown once in 1992 on the occasion of the inauguration of the museum. The exhibition contains some other works which have never been seen before in Madrid, enhancing the breadth of the collecting power of both generations. The works included in this exhibition are made possible thanks to Baroness Francesca Thyssen ... More

Arnulf Rainer, Untitled, 1986. Oil pastels and oil on photo on wood, 77.5 x 55 cm. 30.51 x 21.65 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- Galerie Gmurzynska ispresenting its first New York exhibition dedicated to Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer, a key figure of Art Informel and one of the most influential living artists of our day. The works are on view from April 15th to June 12th at the flagship NYC location at 43 East 78th Street. The oeuvre of Arnulf Rainer spans more than sixty years of a constant and committed research of the expressive possibilities of painting. From the beginning of his career, Rainer has been exploring and experimenting with different techniques and disciplines, especially drawing, printing techniques, photography and painting. Arnulf Rainer was born in 1929 in Baden near Vienna, where the Arnulf Rainer Museum opened in 2009. One of the first influences on this self-taught artist was Surrealism, making the exploration of the potential of dreams and subconscious a constant element in his oeuvre. During a visit to Paris in 1951 to meet Andre&# ... More

When No means Yes! £20,000 for rare James Bond poster as it leads sale at Ewbank's Auctions   Christie's announces highlights included in its traditional sale The Collector: Le Goût Français   Galerie Nathalie Obadia opens artist Laure Prouvost's first exhibition in Brussels

The sale was led by a successful £20,000 premium-inclusive bid for an original Dr No British Quad film poster.

WOKING.- While Daniel Craig’s successor as 007 remains a mystery, there’s no secret about just how popular James Bond collectables are, as the latest bonanza auction at Ewbank’s Auctions in Surrey has shown. Having run dedicated Bond sales for some time now, Ewbank’s latest outing on April 9 saw 98% of the 370 lots sell for a massive, premium-inclusive £220,000 – almost £90,000 more than had been predicted. The top five lots alone netted a combined price of nearly £60,000, led by a successful £20,000 premium-inclusive bid for an original Dr No British Quad film poster, promoting the debut movie in the longstanding franchise. The estimate had been £6,000-9,000. Two original British Quad film posters made £10,000 each, both linked to the Sean Connery era – From Russia With Live and Thunderball – while the third was for a limited edition replica Golden Gun, made form the famous composite parts of cig ... More

A richly carved console table made for the Marquise de Pompadour. Estimate: €40,000-60,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

PARIS.- As part of its traditional sale The Collector: Le Goût Français, which will take place on 27 April, Christie's has chosen to highlight the Château de Chantilly through one of its players, Mathieu Deldicque, Curator at the Musée Condé, and the enchanting decorations of the château, in particular by evocating one of its mythical decor, La Petite Singerie by Christophe Huet (1700-1759), during the exhibition which will be held in the salons of Christie's from 22 to 27 April. Indeed, while the last twelve months have left no institution in the world of culture and heritage unscathed, Christie's is very honoured to be associated with the Domaine de Chantilly this season. Simon de Monicault, Vice President of Christie's: "On the occasion of the ‘Le Goût Français’ sale, Christie's is particularly pleased to honour the Château de Chantilly and in particular the associations that ensure the preservation of this multi-century jewel ... More

Laure Prouvost, Swallow swallow nid (behind the east wall), 2021. Ceramic and oil paint, 17 × 26 × 16 cm. Courtesy of the artist and the Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris / Bruxelles. Photo: © We Document Art.

BRUSSELS.- Galerie Nathalie Obadia is presenting REACHING HI HER GROUNDS FROM THE RUB HE SHE WE GROW, artist Laure Prouvost’s first exhibition in Brussels, her new home. Winner of the Turner Prize in 2013, the artist represented France at the 58th Biennale of Venice (2019) with the pavilion DEEP SEE BLUE SURROUNDING YOU/VOIS CE BLEU PROFOND TE FONDRE, which is currently on show at LAM, after having traveled to Les Abattoirs, in 2020. Last year, Laure Prouvost also participated in the 22nd Biennale of Sidney. A multifaceted artist, Laure Prouvost has developed an unconventional body of work that attests to an inclination toward fantasy and poetry. Forms of authority are redirected into a sensitive and porous universe, which she mischievously orchestrates. Through her videos, paintings, drawings, tapestries, glass sculptures, ceramics, and ... More

Cape Town fire guts library, moves closer to city   The Museum of Neon Art to reopen on May 1st premiering an exhibition   ClampArt opens an exhibition of works by Joseph Desler Costa

Fire-fighting teams work to keep the fire from crossing Philip Kgosana Drive, one of the main arterial roads into the city centre, threatening the suburb of Walmer Estate, after a forest fire burns out of control on the foothills of Table Mountain in Cape Town on April 19, 2021. RODGER BOSCH / AFP.

CAPE TOWN (AFP).- A fire in Cape Town has ravaged part of a university library housing a unique collection of African archives, its director said, as the blaze advanced Monday towards the city centre. The fire, which broke out Sunday in the foothills of the landmark Table Mountain before spreading to the University of Cape Town (UCT), forced hundreds of students to flee on foot. The African studies section of the 1930s building and its parquet-floored reading room were "completely gutted", the head of UCT Libraries Ujala Satgoor said in a Facebook post on Sunday. "Some of our valuable collections have been lost," she wrote, adding that fire shutters had protected other parts of the building. Photos accompanying the post showed ... More

Cork Marcheschi, Wall Sculpture.

GLENDALE, CA.- After over a year of closure the Museum of Neon Art will reopen on April 24th to members and May 1st to general audiences. Visitors will get the first view of MONA’s new exhibition, 40 Years of Light: Works From The Collection and Collective, which showcases an impressive range of pioneering light-based artwork from the MONA permanent collection and community, as well as a selection of MONA’s historic sign collection. In lieu of MONA’s usual tour and long form programs, the museum will offer several bite size educational experiences during the opening weekends - from hands on glass bending, to show and tells of vintage technology, and object spotlights in the galleries. During the opening weekends, a small group of visitors who reserve slots will get the chance to dabble in glass bending through a guided 30 minute session with neon artists in the MONA studio classroom. Throughout the opening weekends urban anthropol ... More

Joseph Desler Costa, “Oranges Drop Blossoms Tear,” 2021, Layered laser cut dye sublimation prints on aluminum. © Joseph Desler. Courtesy of the artist and ClampArt, New York City.

NEW YORK, NY.- ClampArt is presenting Joseph Desler Costa's exhibition “Soft Powers,” the artist's second solo show at the gallery, and his fourth in New York City. Soft Power is the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than coerce by force. Popular media, algorithms, and advertising campaigns subtly shape human desire through appeal and attraction, leading the public to adopt and consume culture, taste, and values over time. As a political concept and strategy, soft power reached its peak in the 1980s and 1990s during the Cold War. The United States, having less successfully exerted its authority through military might, found new ways to influence behavior through sugary branding and corporate messaging driven by Coca-Cola, Hollywood, and other vehicles of consumer culture. In his series “Soft Powers,” Costa uses the language and symbols ... More

Rare works by Alexander "Skunder" Boghossian offered at Bonhams sale of Modern & Contemporary African Art   Pilar Corrias Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Sabine Moritz   Devon DeJardin explores the self and the global pandemic through tempestuous abstractions

Alexander "Skunder" Boghossian (Ethiopian, 1937-2003), Union (detail), Estimate: $150,000 – 200,000. Photo: Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- Twenty rare and exceptional paintings and works on paper by Modernist Master, Alexander "Skunder" Boghossian (Ethiopian, 1937-2003) will be offered at Bonhams Modern & Contemporary African Art sale in New York on May 4. The works, all acquired directly from the artist’s estate, were executed from the 1960s through the 90s with individual estimates ranging from $2,000 to $150,000. Giles Peppiatt, Bonhams Director of Modern & Contemporary African Art, said: “Boghossian is one of Ethiopia’s most highly regarded Modernist artists and we are delighted to offer the collection from the artist’s family for the first time at auction. The dynamic works illustrate the diversity of multiple influences throughout his prolific career.” Alexander “Skunder” Boghossian was born in 1937 during Benito Mussolini’s occupation of Ethiopia. In 1955, he enrolled at St. ... More

Sabine Moritz, 08/11/2020 (2), 2020. Colour Photograph on paper, 21 x 20 cm. 8 1/4 x 7 7/8 in. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London.

LONDON.- In her current solo exhibition at Pilar Corrias Gallery, ‘Mercy’, Sabine Moritz presents a selection of paintings, works on paper and, for the first time, photographs, encapsulating the full-range of the artist’s practice. Collectively, the works in the show reflect upon and respond to the unprecedented political, economic and environmental shifts of the last 12 months, which, compounded by an incessant, global news cycle, threaten to overwhelm the individual. An urge for respite has been awakened en masse: the desire for a miracle, grace – Mercy. In 2020, Moritz made significant developments in her approach to abstraction. For each of the twelve large paintings in the exhibition, Moritz elected to use square canvases, a format which she has employed exclusively for her abstract works since the beginning of her career. This shape – the evenness of which lends Moritz’s ... More

Devon DeJardin.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The second solo exhibition from Los Angeles based multimedia artist Devon DeJardin opened at DENK gallery in April. Umgestalter, consists of twenty new works on canvas, paper, and sculpture that complement and evolve from the Guardians series that rose DeJardin to prominence in 2018. Contrasting the figurative fullness of his Guardians series, DeJardin’s new body of abstracted work reflects the current era of pandemic-related strife, and encapsulates the uncertainty faced by all of us, as we wrestle with questions of the future. The title of the show, Umgestalter, means “shifter of shapes” or the “transformer” in German. It refers to Rilke’s The Man Watching which recollects the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with an angel, and the consequential oncoming storm. Rilke suggests that the struggle with that which outmatches us enables humanity to strive against greater and greater things, calling the coming storm of this showdown Umgestalter. DeJardin draws ... More

A house is a machine for living in. Le Corbusier

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Kris Graves photography exhibition opens at the Berman Museum of Art
COLLEGEVILLE, PA.- A new exhibition on view online at the Berman Museum features photographer Kris Graves’ homage to the contemporary Black experience. Eighty portraits and video images of Black subjects reveal uniqueness through brilliant, richly hued color. The exhibition includes a projected image of George Floyd on a graffiti-covered monument of Robert E. Lee taken at the height of Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. Graves’ instantly iconic image was displayed on the January 2021 cover of National Geographic magazine. Graves’s image poignantly captures the commanding graphic potency of Floyd’s visage—rendered solely in light—visually overtaking the material substantiality of bronze and stone. Graves’ photograph captures projected images on the Lee statue created by artists Alex Criqui and Dustin Klein. “In Testaments, Kris Graves variously gives voice to the subjects in ... More

'The Free World' explains how culture heated up during the Cold War
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- In the spring of 1999, Louis Menand taught a class called “Art and Thought of the 1960s” at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He assigned Malcolm X, Joan Didion, “Portnoy’s Complaint.” Toward the end of the semester, he told his students he was thinking of writing a book about the ’60s. Maybe he shouldn’t, they told him. “So you can make a painting of a soup can — that’s not such a big deal,” Menand said, characterizing his students’ response. Sixties culture, he recognized, was a close ancestor of the culture of the day. “I realized,” he added, “that what they were really interested in was the ’50s, which they didn’t understand as well.” Menand took his students’ note. The result, “The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War,” will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux on Tuesday. The book seeks to explain not the ... More

Black Rob, rapper known for his hit single 'Whoa!,' dies at 52
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Robert Ross, the rapper known as Black Rob, whose husky, seen-it-all voice powered turn-of-the-millennium hits like “Whoa!” and “Can I Live” for Bad Boy Records, died Saturday at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. He was 52 The cause was cardiac arrest, said Mark Curry, a friend and one-time Bad Boy artist, who added that Ross had numerous health issues in recent years, including diabetes, lupus, kidney failure and multiple strokes. Ross had been undergoing dialysis and was discharged from Piedmont Atlanta Hospital this month, Curry said. In a video that was posted online and spread across the hip-hop world, Ross detailed his ailments and recent struggles with homelessness. “He didn’t have a home, but he always had us,” said Curry, who called Ross “a true poet.” He added: “He’s known for telling stories and his music described ... More

'Tipping point': Oscars filmmakers hail disability progress
LOS ANGELES (AFP).- This year, the Oscars will feature a best picture contender about a drummer with hearing loss, a nominated documentary exploring a hippie camp for disabled youths, and a nod for the first film ever to star a deafblind actor. It's a step forward for disability representation in Hollywood, nominated filmmakers told AFP -- but one that must be built on to prevent progress slipping away from our screens yet again. Until now, Tinseltown producers "haven't done a very good job -- but they know that, we're making them aware of that," said "Sound of Metal" supporting actor nominee Paul Raci, who was raised by deaf parents. "I'm one of the guys who has got to be in the forefront of not dropping the ball... keeping them aware of all the deaf artists that we have, all the disabled artists, all the genius that's out there, all the untold stories," Raci told AFP. The wariness is ... More

Converse Auctions' Armchair Adventurer Auction features wild and wonderful items from around the world
PAOLI, PA.- Converse Auctions is inviting everyone to chill out, pull up a seat and bid on something wild and wonderful in its upcoming Armchair Adventurer Auction scheduled for Saturday, April 24th, beginning promptly at 12 noon Eastern time. Bidders can travel the world from the comfort of their armchair to Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas in this 470-lot sale. The catalog is packed with antique and silverplate items (including Tiffany & P. Garrett); Chinese and Japanese porcelain, paintings and more; African art masks, figures and textiles; Native American Hopi figures and jewelry; antique clocks from America, Europe and China; art glass, Fenton and Baccarat crystal; American homespun quilts and other textiles; and old maps. While the event is Internet-only, with no in-person gallery bidding, online bidding is available at, and ConverseAuctions ... More

Exhibition of new paintings by American artist Sam McKinniss opens at Almine Rech
LONDON.- Almine Rech London presents a solo exhibition of new paintings by American artist Sam McKinniss. Titled Country Western, this is McKinniss’s second solo show with Almine Rech, following Neverland, presented in Brussels in 2019. Best known for painting celebrity subjects, McKinniss now turns his attention to the starry world of popular country music, the genre derived from rural American custom, including small town vernacular speech, fashion, landscape, and musical forms. The exhibition will present new portraits of singers Lyle Lovett, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Tammy Wynette, and others. Country Western will not only highlight the artist’s continued efforts as a skilled portraitist, but also as an accomplished colorist. I started imagining a show called Country Western last year, around the same time I began contemplating a move away from the city. Look up Georgia O’Keeffe’s ... More

signs and symbols opens an online video exhibition by Michelle Handelman
NEW YORK, NY.- signs and symbols is presenting Irma Vep, The Last Breath, a video exhibition by Michelle Handelman as part of the gallery’s series of online-only solo presentations of video works. Coinciding with the opening of the exhibition, Handelman released a new limited print edition from this project. Handelman writes: "Irma Vep, The Last Breath is a multichannel video project based on Musidora, the French silent film actress, and the character she is best known for, Irma Vep from the film Les Vampires (dir. Louis Feuillade, 1915). It’s a piece about living in the shadows, criminal anxiety and the relationship between the artist and her creation, both fictional and real. "Irma Vep and Musidora are played by Zackary Drucker (TRANSPARENT) and Flawless Sabrina (THE QUEEN), two artists whose identities transgress the border of art and life. Together they have developed a relationship ... More

Group show invites us to reflect on different tensions that shape our world
MADRID.- Sabrina Amrani is presenting Bum bum ba ye [Under pressure], a group show that invites us to reflect on the different tensions that shape our world, showcasing works by Manal AlDowayan, Amina Benbouchta, Gabriela Bettini, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Babak Golkar, Ayesha Jatoi, Timothy Hyunsoo Lee, Mónica de Miranda, Edison Peñafiel, Dagoberto Rodríguez and Jorge Tacla. The exhibition borrows the title of the famous song by Queen and David Bowie, released in 1981, a peak year in terms of political and social events in the world. Bowie's lyrics allude to the oppression and stress subjected to individuals, and therefore to the external factors that cause them. From different geographies and contexts, the works gathered in this exhibition address the tensions and vital aspects of a society in decline, both on the social and political level, as well as on the natural level. ... More

Chemically pure diamonds, among world's rarest, to shimmer at Heritage Auctions
DALLAS, TX.- Flawless, colorless Type IIa diamonds, among the rarest diamonds on the planet, will sparkle before the eyes of discriminating jewelry connoisseurs in Heritage Auctions' Spring Fine Jewelry Auction May 3. Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure diamonds known to exist. They can be found in gray, light brown, light yellow or light pink, but the most sought-after are colorless. "Colorless Type IIa diamonds are the standard for those who desire perfection in their stones," said Jill Burgum, Senior Director of Fine Jewelry at Heritage Auctions. "They are extremely rare – only 1-2% of earth-grown diamonds qualify as Type IIa. The lack of any kind of internal impurities in these colorless stones is extraordinary. To offer three exceptionally rare Type IIa diamonds in one auction is beyond exciting." A Diamond, Platinum Ring, GIA Type IIa (estimate: $100,000-150,000) features ... More

Pax Romana presents The Art of Ancient China, a fully vetted May 2 online auction of museum-quality antiquities
LONDON.- To collectors of ancient art, scholarship and provenance are the two most important points to consider before making a purchase. It is no coincidence that those same criteria are the business cornerstones of Pax Romana, Britain’s premier gallery and boutique auction house specializing in antiquities, cultural art and coins. Headed by Dr Ivan Bonchev (PhD, University of Oxford), Pax Romana organizes each of its auction events as a virtual journey through the past, with rare and stunning artifacts as its mile markers. On Sunday, May 2nd, Pax Romana will take collectors on a virtual voyage through Asia, starting with museum-quality art and relics of Indus Valley civilizations and time-traveling forward to the Crusader era. TL-tested Chinese terracotta, exquisitely carved Gandharan statues, Greco-Bactrian silver and Sassanian bronze are among the leading categories in this sale ... More

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On a day like today, French painter Odilon Redon was born
April 20, 1840. Odilon Redon (born Bertrand-Jean Redon (April 20, 1840 - July 6, 1916) was a French symbolist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and pastellist.In this image: Odilon Redon, The beasts of the sea, round like leather bottles, (detail). Plate 22 of The Temptation of Saint Anthony, 1896. Lithograph. The Kirk Edward Long Collection, 2010.60.22. Plate size: 8-3/4" x 7-1/2".

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