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At Frieze London, the art world inches toward normalcy

Lehmann Maupin, Frieze London 2021. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze.

by Scott Reyburn

LONDON.- It was “business as usual,” Russian art adviser and collector Alex Lachmann said Wednesday, as he made his way through the crowd of VIPs at the opening of the first in-person Frieze London art fair since October 2019. Then, he raised a finger and added, “almost.” This week, the long-postponed live editions of the Frieze London and Frieze Masters fairs, featuring 279 dealers inside huge tents in Regent’s Park, followed last month’s Art Basel as the international art trade attempts a return to pre-pandemic normalcy. Frieze New York returned to a live format in May, albeit on a reduced scale. In London, Frieze visitors were required to wear wristbands proving COVID-19 vaccination. They were also required to wear masks, but many didn’t, and enforcement was lax. Dating to 1993, “Frieze Week” is traditionally the moment when London hosts the international art world’s most compelling, must-get-on-a-plane mix of fairs, museum shows, auctions an ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Hirschl & Adler Modern opens an exhibition of works by James Castle   High-end design comes to the fish tank   'Mackinnon - Fine Furniture and Works of Art' at Christie's London this November

James Castle (1899-1977), Construction (Figure in Blue-Green Jacket, Red Lips), mid-20th century. Assorted found papers, string, yarn, red and black ink or felt pen, pencil, 12 1/2 x 6 1/4 in.

NEW YORK, NY.- An artist working in a vacuum; the elusive blank slate; an American original. Accurate or not, this is the romance and the promise of James Castle (1899-1977). We are captivated by the fullness of expression attained despite his limitations, even envious of the sort of freedom his disabilities afforded him. Castle’s work is an homage to his home and family, a memoir of his experiences, a diary of his secrets and desires. You don’t have to be an expert on James Castle to recognize one obvious truth about this deeply enigmatic artist. His challenges and limitations notwithstanding, he was a supremely visual person. Those of us in the arts call ourselves “visual” people because we were never very good at math. James Castle, deaf since birth, had only his eyes and his fingertips with which to experience the world. As such his powers of observation were second to none. He didn’t ... More

A provided image shows a private saltwater aquarium designed by Infinity Aquarium Design, based in Los Angeles. Luxury home aquariums now can rival installations at public aquariums in size and scale, and they come with hefty price tags. Infinity Aquarium Design via The New York Times.

by Candace Jackson

NEW YORK, NY.- Stuck at home during the pandemic, many Americans took in dogs or cats. Others took up a more elaborate pet hobby: luxury home aquariums. Something of a cross between home decor, entertainment, wildlife and pet shelter, these custom aquariums can weigh more than 75,000 pounds and cost as much as $750,000 at the top end. “We’ve seen a tremendous boom in business,” said Nic Tiemens, of Infinity Aquarium Design in Los Angeles. He said demand has grown by about 400% since the start of the pandemic and is still going strong. Clients who may have long wanted to splurge on a home aquarium were stuck at home and were finally willing to take the plunge, he said. In more typical times, he would install a high-end home aqu ... More

The Kingstone Lisle kneehole Chinese-export lacquer desk. Estimate: £10,000-15,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

LONDON.- On 10 November, Christie’s will offer Mackinnon: Fine Furniture and Works of Art in a live auction, marking ten years since the gallery opened in St. James’s, London. Mackinnon Fine Furniture is known for fine 18th century and early 19th century furniture by celebrated makers such as Chippendale, Vile & Cobb and Gillows, with an emphasis on distinguished provenance. The sale presents a curated group of 170 lots, led by an important George III ormolu-mounted Indian rosewood and yew-wood marquetry serpentine commode by Ince & Mayhew (estimate: £80,000-120,000) and red japanned seat furniture supplied by Giles Grendey originally part of the famous Lazcano suite made for the Duke of Infantado circa 1735-40 (armchairs estimate: £80,000-120,000; side chairs estimate: £30,000-50,000). The pre-sale exhibition is open to the public from the 6 November to the 9 November. Further highlights include crisply carved George ... More

Tate acquires new works at Frieze thanks to fund supported by Endeavor   Heritage Auctions presents 'The Soul of a Nation: Black Art From a Distinguished Collector' in November   A trove of Georgia O'Keeffe's photographs on view for the first time in Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, exhibition

Sung Tieu, The Earth And The Sky, 2021. © the artist. Photo Tate / Seraphina Neville.

LONDON.- This is the sixth year that Endeavor has made available £150,000 for the Fund, set aside exclusively for the acquisition of works at Frieze for Tate’s collection. To date more than 150 works by over 90 artists have been acquired, contributing to displays and exhibitions across Tate’s four galleries. Recently acquired works by Larry Achiampong, Helen Cammock and Claudette Johnson can currently be seen in Tate Britain’s newly rehung contemporary art displays, which opened this week. For the first time, this year’s Frieze Tate Fund selection panel includes an artist, Grada Kilomba, whose own work was acquired through the fund in 2020. She joins guest curator Hammad Nasar, alongside Tate’s Polly Staple (Director of Collection, British Art), Gregor Muir (Director of Collection, International Art), Clarrie Wallis (Senior Curator of Contemporary British Art), Catherine Wood (Senior Curator, International Art, Performance), Tamsin Hong (Assistant Curator, International ... More

Sargent Claude Johnson (American, 1888-1967), Head of a Youth, circa 1930s. Terracotta, 7 inches (17.8 cm) high on a 3-1/2 inch (8.9 cm) high wood base. Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000.

DALLAS, TX.- Heritage Auctions' American Art Signature® Auction, which takes place Nov. 5, is perhaps the most comprehensive fine art event in the auction house's history. Because amid the Rockwells and Leyendeckers, the Bierstadts and Sandzéns, collectors will find works by Black artists dating from the turn of the century to the modern day, among them James Lesesne Wells' oil painting Wanderers andSargent Claude Johnson's terracotta sculpture Head of a Youth, both from the 1930s. They are but two of the myriad important and heralded works that make up "The Soul of a Nation: Black Art from a Distinguished Collector." Heritage Auctions is proud and thrilled to present this collection, which features 95 works by more than 60 artists. The man behind this extraordinary assemblage began his journey by collecting historical documents related to Black history; then, a decade ago, turned ... More

Georgia O’Keeffe, Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), 1964–68, black-and-white Polaroid, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

HOUSTON, TX.- Georgia O’Keeffe is a groundbreaking figure of American Modernism, widely recognized for her paintings of New York skyscrapers, radical depictions of flowers, and stark landscapes of the American southwest. Less known is that she quietly honed a photography practice just as distinct as, yet complementary to, her paintings and drawings. This October, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presents the first exhibition devoted to O’Keeffe’s photographic practice with the debut of Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer. Organized in partnership with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, the exhibition reveals the wider scope of the artist’s career through some 90 photographs from a previously unstudied archive—a discovery led by MFAH associate curator of photography Lisa Volpe. Photographs in the exhibition will be complemented by 17 paintings and drawings of landscapes, flowers, and still lifes from public and priva ... More

Queen Nefertari's Egypt opens at Portland Art Museum   Rare Posters Auction #85 presents 490 rare and iconic works   500 years of fashion, created from paper featured at Munson-Williams Museum of Art

Visitors to Queen Nefertari’s Egypt will view personal objects from Nefertari’s tomb plus an array of objects from royal and day-to-day life in Egypt during the 19th Dynasty of the New Kingdom (1292 – 1189 BCE) — majestic sculptures, intricately painted sarcophagi, jewelry, and perfume and cosmetics jars.

PORTLAND, ORE.- Discover the world of Queen Nefertari, the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II. Drawn from the world-renowned Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy, Queen Nefertari’s Egypt immerses visitors in the magnificent palaces and tombs of ancient Egypt, including Queen Nefertari’s burial chamber. The exhibition celebrates the role of women—goddesses, queens, and commoners—and offers glimpses into both royal life and the everyday life of artisans through more than 220 works of art. Queen Nefertari’s Egypt opened October 16, 2021, at the Portland Art Museum and will remain on view through January 16, 2022. One of the most celebrated queens of ancient Egypt, Queen Nefertari was the favored wife of Ramesses II ... More

Plinio Codognato, Grand Premio d’Europa / Fiat. 1923. Est: $70,000-$90,000.

NEW YORK, NY.- The 85th Rare Posters Auction from Poster Auctions International on Sunday, November 14, features masterpieces and rarities from a century of poster design. The collection includes Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, and Contemporary lithographs and maquettes that are ideally suited to a variety of interests and tastes. All 490 lots will be on view to the public October 29 through November 13. The auction will be held live in PAI’s gallery at 26 West 17th Street in New York City, as well as online at, beginning promptly at 11am Eastern time. Jack Rennert, president of Poster Auctions International, Inc., said, “This auction is notable for its inclusion of beloved works as well as rarely seen images that have not been at auction in many years. We’re delighted with the selections available from top artists such as Cappiello, Cassandre, Colin, Mauzan, Mucha, Schnackenberg, and Toulouse-Lautrec.” ... More

Isabelle de Borchgrave, (Belgium b. 1946), “Paysanne,” 2009; Collection of the artist.

UTICA, NY.- Breathtaking full-scale masterpieces, representing more than 500 years of fashion, history, and artifice, expressed in paper by celebrated contemporary Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave, will be showcased in “Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper” on view October 17 through January 9 in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art. Through her expert manipulation of paper and paint, de Borchgrave fashions meticulously detailed reinterpretations of historic garments found in early European paintings and collections from around the world—from the Renaissance finery of the Medici family and gowns worn by Queen Elizabeth I to the creations of the grand courtiers of the 19th and 20th centuries. De Borchgrave is a painter by training and uses paper and hand painting to reimagine historic fashions to dazzling effect. Her collections have been shown internationally, and Munson-Williams ... More

The June Kelly Gallery opens an exhibition of sculpture by Colin Chase   Claire Tabouret's fourth solo exhibition with Almine Rech opens in Paris   P·P·O·W opens an exhibition of large-scale paintings by Robin F. Williams

Colin Chase, redder raga 1, 2021 (detail). Wooden rulers, steel, paint, 24 x 24 x 2 1/4 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- Cadences, a body of imaginative and challenging sculpture by Colin Chase that, “grew out of my experience of bearing witness to the frenetic pulse of our lives in the last few years.” These site-specific visual paradigms with specialized vocabulary and inference opened at the June Kelly Gallery, 166 Mercer Street, on Friday, October 15. The works will remain on view through November 16. Chase’s work continues to be rooted in ongoing scrutiny and pursuit of understanding the myriad ways in which we respond to the visual. Modern and contemporary writing systems, such as Morse, barcodes, emoticons, text lingo and emoji excite his curiosity, said Chase, much like, the Peruvian Nazca line drawings, cave paintings, ancient pictographic writing systems, such as Nsibidi, Adinkra, Cree, and Cherokee, have long captivated him. These visual interests fuel Chase’s passionate exploration in the development of unique ... More

Claire Tabouret, Small Bather (blue and red), 2021 - Painted bronze - 21.6 x 8.3 x 13.3 cm, 8 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 5 1/4 in - Edition 4 of 6, with 2AP, 2HC / © Claire Tabouret - Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Marten Elder.

PARIS.- The cooling feeling of droplets of water on your body drying under the sun, after a dip in the water on a hot day. The endless hours curled up on one’s couch during periods of quarantine and isolation: reflection, moments of still withdrawal – resourcing creative energy, and imaginary focus. The ceaseless need to be patient combined with an urgency to keep going, to survive, to create, to invent. These are some of the associations—sensations, phenomenologies, anxieties—at play in new works by Claire Tabouret on view at Almine Rech in Paris from October 16 to December 18, 2021. A range of objects shows the artist continuing her explorations of painted portraiture and furthering her sculptural practice with three-dimensional objects and large-scale bronze fountains. T ... More

Robin F. Williams, A Sound Around No One, 2021. 66 x 56 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- P·P·O·W is presenting Robin F. Williams’ Out Lookers. Known for her large-scale paintings of stylized, sentient, yet ambiguously generated female figures, Williams employs a variety of techniques, including oil, airbrush, poured paint, marbling, and staining of raw canvas to create deeply textured and complexly constructed paintings. Building upon previous visual investigations into the coded narratives of American media, Out Lookers extends Williams’ oeuvre into the supernatural with a new cohort of ghosts, cryptids, witches, and trolls. The paranormal subjects on view in this exhibition serve as prisms, casting light on a spectrum of female identities that contemporary society has all too often mistrusted, scapegoated, and demonized. Combining a masterful technical understanding with an innate sense of curiosity, Williams imbues her atmospheric portraits with a distinctly contemporary sensibility ... More

More News
The FLAG Art Foundation opens a solo exhibition of new work by Cinga Samson
NEW YORK, NY.- The FLAG Art Foundation presents a solo exhibition of new work by Cinga Samson, on view from October 16, 2021 - January 15, 2022, on its 9th floor. Produced over the past year, Iyabanda Intsimbi / The metal is cold comprises over twenty oil paintings - a cycle of portraits and group scenes which the artist states: "explore the nature of violence: its laws, its flair and its finality.” Favoring subtle menaces over obvious instances of brutality, Samson commands an elegant language which acknowledges the allure of a decaying picked flower or the flesh of a butchered animal. Retaining some key elements of his practice - stern figures, lush settings and sombre moods - Iyabanda Intsimbi insinuates those daily threats that pass by almost unnoticed but impact so much in our lives. The expanded text below by Johannesb ... More

Lilly Library acquires more than 20,000 linguistic books collected by 'Dame of Dictionaries'
BLOOMINGTON, IND.- Indiana University's Lilly Library has established the Merriam-Webster Archive from business correspondence recently acquired as part of the Madeline Kripke Dictionary Collection. Kripke, known as the "Dame of Dictionaries," kept a stockpile in her New York City apartment of more than 20,000 linguistic books and ephemera that was often referred to as the world's largest and finest dictionary collection. She died in April 2020 without realizing one of her stated aspirations: establishment of a public dictionary library. There's where Michael Adams, Provost Professor and chair of the Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences on the IU Bloomington campus, comes in. He'd met Kripke through the Dictionary Society of North America; after she died, he began collaborating with Lilly Library Director Joel Silver to a ... More

Emma Enderby appointed Head of Program and Research (Chief Curator) at Haus der Kunst
MUNICH.- Haus der Kunst welcomed Emma Enderby as its new Head of Program and Research (Chief Curator). The newly created position at Haus der Kunst is a vital part of the senior management team. Working closely with the Artistic Director, Andrea Lissoni, Enderby will be responsible for the overall development of content production and research programming, while driving conceptually and organizationally the transformation process, which is already underway. Emma Enderby is currently Chief Curator at The Shed, New York, where she helped to open the new institution. She worked to define the program, commissions, and publications, with a focus on multidisciplinary practices, new and emerging artistic media and modalities and centering the pressing issues of today. In this role, she most recently curated “Ian Cheng: Life af ... More

The gaming console that never was: Infinium Phantom prototype rises at Heritage Auctions
DALLAS, TX.- Throughout the history of video game consoles, there have been many brilliant ideas that couldn't be executed, because they were ahead of the tech at the time. This is one such idea. In the early 2000s, Sarasota-based Infinium Labs (later known as Phantom Entertainment, Inc.) had an idea of eschewing game cartridges and discs in favor of digital downloads stored in the console on a hard drive. That would mean no more blowing dust out of cartridges, no more worries about discs getting scratched, and no more media taking up physical space. Using an online subscription model was a grand, forward-thinking plan, and a widely used version of this initial idea would not be widely used until years later. This idea was first had in a day when high-speed internet access began to emerge as the most convenient (and a ... More

Nirvana takes the stage: Kurt Cobain-signed Nevermind CD offered at Swann
NEW YORK, NY.- Fine Books & Autographs are at Swann Galleries Thursday, October 28 with a selection of exceedingly rare material set to hit the auction block. Autographs, literature and art books alike will feature scarce to market offerings ranging from pop culture phenoms and scientists to groundbreaking writers and visual artists. Leading the autographs portion of the sale is a scarce signature from Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, estimated at $40,000 to $60,000. On offer, in a season marking 30 years since the album’s release, is a signed Nevermind CD, which comes to auction through a former employee of Tower Records who had Cobain sign the CD during Nirvana’s in-store performance at the East 4th Street location in September of 1991. Items from visual artists include an archive of 15 letters and notes from 1946 to 1 ... More

Gabriel Garcia Marquez' clothes to go on sale in Mexico
MEXICO CITY.- Lovers of literature and fashion, take note: 400 articles of clothing and accessories from Gabriel Garcia Marquez' wardrobe will go on sale in Mexico next week, the family of the Nobel Prize-winning writer said Friday. Titled "The Wardrobe of Garcia Marquez," the event will mark the opening of a cultural center in Marquez' residence in southern Mexico where the author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" lived and wrote for many years. The items that will go on sale were selected by Marquez' granddaughter Emilia Garcia Elizondo, who will head the future cultural center. "Gabo" -- Marquez' nickname -- "had favorite tailors and favorite designers," Garcia Elizondo said in a statement. She added that some of the clothes have "small vestiges of his life as a writer: a jacket with a marker in a pocket, which he used to autogr ... More

'Just me and the fabric': Vietnam artist finds success with cloth creations
HANOI.- In a hot and stuffy room in Hanoi, Tran Thanh Thuc holds up a delicate silk scarf and begins snipping it into tiny pieces, ready to paste onto her works of art. For four decades, Thuc has been recreating Vietnamese landscapes using vibrant shades of fabric cut from scarves, traditional ao dai (a long split tunic) -- or whatever material she could find during years of poverty in the 1980s. "At that time, I tried to look for woollen string, velvet cloth or other very simple pieces to make my first pictures," she says. "Now sometimes I cut them from the very beautiful silk scarves sent from my friends abroad." Often using hundreds of thousands of pieces of cloth to shape trees, rivers and patches of sky, the 61-year-old artist doesn't dare to cool her home studio with fans or air conditioning, even in the boiling summers of the Vietnam ... More

Explore cabinetmaker Jean-Henri Riesener with innovative new digital tools
LONDON.- Jean-Henri Riesener (1734–1806), the German cabinetmaker who emigrated to Paris in the mid-eighteenth century and became supplier of furniture to Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and their court, has been the subject of an extensive research project undertaken by the Wallace Collection, Waddesdon Manor and the Royal Collection. Over the past six years, the Project has investigated his career, craft and legacy, which has helped develop a greater understanding of his cabinetmaking materials and techniques, as well as his innovations in furniture design. Many of the Project’s discoveries were incorporated into cutting-edge 3D furniture models, the first monograph on Riesener and a display at the Wallace Collection. This display focused on the furniture that Riesener made for Marie-Antoinette as well as his lasting ... More

The Neon Museum promotes Jennifer Kleven to senior development officer
HENDERSON, NEV.- The Neon Museum named long-time employee Jennifer Kleven to lead the museum’s development department as its senior development officer. Kleven has been with The Neon Museum for 12 years in a variety of roles ranging from a volunteer after finishing college to most recently, its grants manager. Kleven was also an integral member of the team that opened the museum at its current location on Las Vegas Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas in 2012. “Jennifer has a comprehensive understanding of the Museum’s fundraising needs and how to articulate them in a way that will engage our donors and support our continued growth,” said Aaron Berger, executive director of The Neon Museum. “Her strategic vision, longstanding dedication to the Museum, and leadership position within our local arts community made her the obv ... More

Penn Badgley flexes new dance moves
NEW YORK, NY.- “It feels good,” actor Penn Badgley said on a recent Friday morning, in an echoing studio at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn. “I’m clumsy as hell. But it feels good.” Badgley, 34, who played lonely boy Dan on the original “Gossip Girl” and now stars on the Netflix thriller “You,” hadn’t visited a gym in two years. He hadn’t taken a dance class in far longer. But at a fashion shoot a month before, he had found himself moving in tandem with the photographer and missing dance acutely. So he reached out to André Zachery, his gyrotonics instructor and the artistic director of Renegade Performance Group, a contemporary dance company in Brooklyn. Zachery was willing to put him through his paces. In the yawning dance studio, mirrors lined one wall. Ice-white tube lights glared overhead. Badgley had dressed for class in a ... More

Farewell to a ballerina with Borscht Belt humor and 'Legs of Life'
NEW YORK, NY.- Maria Kowroski is a ballerina nearing the finish line. She is also a ballerina who laughs even when she’s in pain — and as her dancing days wind down, she is in pain. Her dazzling body, known for its tremendous length and flexibility, has graced much of New York City Ballet’s most challenging repertory for more than 25 years. But now, in her final season, it’s letting her down. She is dealing with an unstable ankle, her neck is acting up and her knees hurt. That’s new. Sometimes she feels like she’s crawling up a ladder. “I was petting my knee the other day like, ‘You’re OK,’” she said. “I feel like a crazy person.” Her physical therapist sent her an article about how knees symbolize transition. That brings her comfort. On Sunday, the last day of City Ballet’s fall season, Kowroski, 45, will give her farewell performance, an occas ... More

Collection in Focus: Jack Whitten

On a day like today, Italian painter Cristofano Allori was born
October 17, 1577. Cristofano Allori (17 October 1577 - 1 April 1621) was an Italian portrait painter of the late Florentine Mannerist school. Allori was born at Florence and received his first lessons in painting from his father, Alessandro Allori, but becoming dissatisfied with the hard anatomical drawing and cold coloring of the latter, he entered the studio of Gregorio Pagani, who was one of the leaders of the late Florentine school, which sought to unite the rich coloring of the Venetians with the Florentine attention to drawing. Allori also appears to have worked under Cigoli. In this image: Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1613). Oil on canvas, 139 x 116 cm. Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence.

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