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Orlando Museum Director loses job after disputed Basquiat show

Aaron De Groft, the director and chief executive of the Orlando Museum of Art, with one of the works said to be by Jean-Michel Basquiat, at the museum in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 2, 2022. De Groft was removed from his post Tuesday, June 28, just days after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the museum and seized 25 works that had been attributed to Jean-Michel Basquiat but whose authenticity has been called into question. Melanie Metz/The New York Times.

by Brett Sokol

NEW YORK, NY.- Aaron De Groft, the director and chief executive of the Orlando Museum of Art, was removed from his post Tuesday night, just days after the FBI raided the museum and seized 25 works that had been attributed to Jean-Michel Basquiat but whose authenticity has been called into question. The chairwoman of the museum’s board, Cynthia Brumback, said in a statement that the museum’s trustees were “extremely concerned” about several issues regarding the exhibition, “Heroes & Monsters: Jean-Michel Basquiat.” Among them, she said in the statement, was “the recent revelation of an inappropriate email correspondence sent to academia concerning the authentication of some of the artwork in the exhibition.” The New York Times reported last week that an affidavit filed to secure the search warrant, which was signed by Elizabeth Rivas, a special agent for the FBI, had quoted an email in which De Groft appeared to threaten an academic who had been hired by the own ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents the work of Argentine conceptual artist Leandro Erlich   Pace Gallery details plans to expand its multi-level arts complex in Seoul   Francis Bacon's portrait of Lucian Freud sells for £43.4m

Leandro Erlich, Batiment (Façade), 2004. Photo: © Leandro Erlich Studio.

HOUSTON, TX.- Conceptual artist Leandro Erlich constructs visual paradoxes and optical illusions that force viewers to question their own perception of reality and acknowledge the infinite possibilities of their surroundings –a staircase that misleads to go nowhere; an elevator that appears partially stuck below ground; a swimming pool that appears to reflect one group of onlookers above the water’s surface and a different group below: everyday situations that Erlich renders confounding. Beginning in June, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presents two of the artist’s most iconic installations in the exhibition Leandro Erlich: Seeing is not Believing (June 26-September 5, 2022). These immersive environments and a selection of additional works will span the career of this acclaimed Argentine artist, whose psychological subversion of the everyday seems to defy the basic laws ... More

Adrian Ghenie, 2022 © Adrian Ghenie.

SEOUL.- Pace announced details of an expansion of its arts complex in Le Beige Building in Seoul, located in the Hannam-dong neighborhood. This follows the gallery’s 2021 move to the second and third floors of the building—designed by Golden Lion-winning architect Minsuk Cho, who is also responsible for the new renovations. Pace is ushering in a new period of growth in Seoul with its recent inauguration of a new 1,500-square-foot ground floor exhibition space and its upcoming opening of an outdoor courtyard and tea house on the occasion of the first edition of Frieze Seoul in September. Pace has operated in Seoul since 2017, and it was among the first international galleries to establish a permanent space in the Korean capital. This latest expansion of Pace’s outpost in Seoul, a fixture of the local arts scene led by Vice President Youngjoo Lee, supports its robust international contemporary program and builds on its stron ... More

Auction record for a painting by Bacon sold in London. Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Unseen in half a century, Francis Bacon’s magnetic portrait of Lucian Freud just sold for £43.4 million / $52.8 million in Sotheby’s London saleroom - becoming the most valuable work of art sold at auction in London this season. In its first market appearance, the painting became both the most valuable single panel and the most valuable painting by Bacon sold in London in GBP. Painted in 1964, at the height of Bacon’s career, Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud illuminates the powerful dialogue of friendship and epochal rivalry which would engulf two titans of art history and spur them to create some of their greatest works. The pair had first met 20 years earlier and would go on to share an intense friendship for over 40 years until jealousy and petty rows would ultimately splinter relations forever in the mid-1980s. Though their visual styles differed considerably, both artists ... More

Margaret Keane, painter of sad-eyed waifs, dies at 94   National Portrait Gallery announces new special multi-platform collaboration   The Armory Show and USTA to present large-scale sculptures at the 2022 US Open

On July 23, 2021, Heritage Auctions returned this Margaret Keane painting stolen in 1972.

NEW YORK, NY.- Margaret Keane, the artist whose doleful, saucer-eyed waifs earned millions in an international kitsch craze a half-century ago, and who inspired an epic art fraud by a husband whose claims to have executed her work were demolished in a “paint-off” in court, died Sunday at her home in Napa, California. She was 94. Her daughter, Jane Swigert, said the cause was heart failure. To generations of Americans with even a passing acquaintance with contemporary art, the Keane name raised images of sad children trapped in dystopian worlds of deprivation and misery. They were everywhere — stacked at sidewalk art shows, found in discount stores alongside velvet Elvis and clown pictures, staring out from souvenir stands — the eyes following you like a conscience. Keane, a reticent woman, had a talent that appealed to the masses but not to art lovers or critics. Her work was in museums, galleries and ... More

Alanson Fisher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, (1811–1896). Oil on canvas, 1853. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and The Atlantic announce a new, multi-platform collaboration titled “Perspectives: The Atlantic’s Writers at the National Portrait Gallery.” As part of the reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection galleries, the Portrait Gallery and The Atlantic will highlight a selection of the country’s founding voices in literature, politics, philosophy and culture with interpretive wall texts written by some of The Atlantic’s contemporary writers and editors. The project will premiere in person and online beginning July 1 with the reopening of the museum’s “Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900” exhibition, and it will coincide with the magazine’s 165th anniversary year. The collaboration will present commentary from The Atlantic’s writers reflecting on the work and legacy of prior Atlantic contributors whose portraits are on view a ... More

Carolyn Salas. Courtesy of the artist and Mrs., Mapseth, NY, photography by Cary Whittier.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Armory Show and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announce a special, inaugural partnership: Armory Off-Site at the US Open. An extension of Armory Off-Site, now in its second year, a selection of 2022 exhibitors will present large-scale outdoor sculptures by artists from underrepresented backgrounds at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center August 23–September 11, 2022, coinciding with both the tournament and fair. A significant expansion of the fair’s presence across the city, the debut program will present artwork by Gerald Chukwuma (Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery), Jose Dávila (Sean Kelly), Luzene Hill (K Art), Myles Nurse (Half Gallery), and Carolyn Salas (Mrs.). “We are honored to partner with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) on this exciting new initiative which connects our two events for the first time,” said Nicole Berry, Executive Director of The Armory Show. “Thi ... More

Artists respond to some of the most urgent issues of our present moment in new exhibition   Democracy needs art: Städel Museum launches education initiative   Miller & Miller announces results of Petroliana, Railroadiana & Advertising auction

Davina Semo, Bloom, 2022.

CHICAGO, IL.- Rhona Hoffman Gallery is presenting Gentle Content, an exhibition of new work by Danny Bredar, Alberto Ortega Trejo, Martha Poggioli, and Davina Semo, and curated by Julia Birka-White. Through paintings, sculpture, and drawings the artists respond to some of the most urgent issues of our present moment. Although not inherently obvious, the objects in Gentle Content are invested in varying political, social, and environmental concerns such as climate change, domestic gun violence, reproductive rights and histories, international imperial invasions, and contemporary Indigenous issues. Yet it is immediately apparent, when viewing the quality and craftsmanship of the works in the exhibition, that each artist is dedicated to making art as a means to support experimentation, growth, surprise, and reflection. In making his suite of six paintings for Gentle Content, Danny Bredar has considered the massive distribution of selected fi ... More

Time Machine. The Städel Museum in the Nineteenth Century. Photo: Städel Museum.

FRANKFURT.- Knowing what is, what has been, and what might come, forming opinions, and engaging in debate and discourse in order to foster a lively democratic culture is at the heart of a major cultural education initiative by the Städel Museum titled Shifting Points of View. Seeing Differently. Understanding One Another. Building on the understanding that a museum is a place for diverse social aspects of life, for years the Städel Museum has been developing audience-oriented art education that reflects the times. Shifting Points of View is intended to support thinking and acting in a way that promotes democracy. It allows historical developments and processes that have shaped the social value system of freedom and democracy to be impressively retraced through active engagement with artworks at the Städel Museum. The works in the collection from 1300 to the present encompass a wide range of subject matter, telling stories that include topic ... More

1930s Service Station Equipment Co., Ltd. (Toronto) double gasoline pump, Clearvision Model No. 700, an older restoration to Sunoco colors (CA$21,240).

NEW HAMBURG.- A powder blue, fully restored 1959 Chevrolet Corvette convertible sped off for $82,600 and a Canadian Red Indian Aviation Motor Oil sign from the 1930s changed hands for for $47,200 in Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.’s online-only Petroliana, Railroadiana & Advertising auction held on June 18th. Overall, the auction grossed $628,674. All prices in this report are in Canadian dollars and include an 18 percent buyer’s premium. The ‘59 Corvette was originally a New Mexico car, later purchased in Canada in 1979 by Joe Byway, whose collection headlined the auction. Joe stored the car until 1985 and then commissioned Dave Harrison with a restoration. It was a meticulously maintained, rust-free car. Not all numbers matched but the car boasted a correct 283 c.i. 230 hp V8 engine. The Canadian Red Indian Aviation Motor Oil single sided porcelain sign from the ... More

Mary Fuller McChesney, Bay Area artist and historian, dies at 99   'Clark V. Fox: Subversion and Spectacle' now on view at Station Museum of Contemporary Art   Enclosing Infinity at the Fralin Museum of Art features six boxes by Joseph Cornell

Mary Fuller McChesney in 1955. McChesney, the Bay Area artist and historian who documented California’s postwar art scene and created Aztec-inspired sculptures, died on May 4, 2022. She was 99. Arthur Knight/SFO Museum via The New York Times.

by Clay Risen

NEW YORK, NY.- Mary Fuller McChesney was teaching adult education art classes in Port Richmond, California, when she was forced to make a choice. It was 1951, the height of the Red Scare, and the state had ordered all public employees to sign an oath disavowing radical beliefs, in particular communism. She refused, and was fired. McChesney and her husband, Robert McChesney, both left-wing artists who had been at the center of the Bay Area’s art scene in the late 1940s, soon joined dozens of intellectuals fleeing what they feared was a wave of authoritarianism crashing over the West Coast. They bought a Model A mail truck, converted it to a camper and drove to Guadalajara, Mexico. The couple remained there for only a year, until their money ran out. But in that time, McChesney ... More

Installation view of Clark V. Fox: Subversion and Spectacle at Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, TX. Photography © 2022 Hester + Hardaway, Photographers, courtesy the artist.

HOUSTON, TX.- Now on view through September 25, 2022, Clark V. Fox: Subversion and Spectacle, which occupies the entirety of the museum’s galleries, tracks the various periods and aesthetic sensibilities that mark Clark’s oeuvre over six decades, drawing on the complexity of his identities beyond art historical boxes, commercial tropes, and simple classification. “As an artist beyond categorization, Clark’s prodigious achievements are measured in the outsized influence that his pieces exert on the viewer and the shock waves his work continues to send through contemporary art,” said Station Museum of Contemporary Art Director and exhibition organizer James Harithas. Through the presentation of more than 350 paintings and assemblage works, the exhibition highlights Clark’s consistent mixing and appropriation of styles and movements from Pop Art to abstraction as a political statement. It coalesces Clark’s posit ... More

Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Harlequin Jumping Jack), ca. 1935 - 1938. © 2022 The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), N.Y.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.- In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the passing of Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), one of America’s most important and enigmatic artists, The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia has organized an exhibition of his work. Joseph Cornell: Enclosing Infinity, on view June 26, 2022-Feb. 12, 2023, is curated by Matthew McLendon, the Museum’s J. Sanford Miller Family director. The intimate, focused exhibition will feature six boxes from The Fralin’s collection, inviting visitors to enter Cornell’s world of fantasy. Cornell worked in collage and film, though he is best known for his signature shadow box constructions—small worlds unto themselves made of the bric-a-brac he collected as he wandered through New York City’s dime stores, used book merchants and purveyors of back copies of newspapers and magazines. The Fralin is home to several important Cornell box ... More

More News
Remaking the Ballets Russes, with a queer spin
NEW YORK, NY.- Most dancers know the moment they caught the dance bug. For choreographer Christopher Williams, growing up in Syracuse, New York, it was at a performance of “Les Sylphides,” recognized as the first ballet blanc, or plotless ballet. This Michel Fokine work, originally performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s influential Ballets Russes in 1909, presents a shimmering world in which a young poet meets a group of sylphs, their blindingly white long tutus casting the scene in a ghostly haze. Over the years, Williams has held firmly onto that experience: It was the first ballet he saw, as he writes in program notes, “that made me want to embody something hauntingly otherworldly.” Unearthly, ethereal, magical and, yes, otherworldly: These words are synonymous with Williams’ dances, for which he has mined Greek mythology, ... More

AstaGuru's Collectors Choice Auction featuring works by eminent Indian modernists concludes with an exceptional result
MUMBAI.- Works by eminent Indian modernists including Tyeb Mehta, M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza, Arpita Singh, and Krishen Khanna went under the hammer on Friday evening at AstaGuru’s Modern Indian Art ‘Collectors Choice’ Auction. The auction generated a total sales value of INR 26,24,64,816 (USD 3,499,447) and the majority of the works were sold above their estimated value. Speaking on the auction result, Sunny Chandiramani, Vice President - Client Relations, AstaGuru, said, “We are extremely satisfied with the impressive result of the latest Collectors Choice online auction, which remains one of the most anticipated auctions in our annual calendar. The no reserve format enables ... More

Pam Tanowitz's next act: 'I need to make a Jewish dance'
NEW YORK, NY.- Composer David Lang recently danced the hora at the wedding of a relative — a gay Orthodox soon-to-be rabbi who married his gay Orthodox rabbi boyfriend. “It was totally joyous and totally frum,” he said, using the Yiddish word for devout. “I love that you said frum,” said choreographer Pam Tanowitz. “I live for the hora. I’ll go anywhere and do a hora.” Lang grew up doing Israeli folk dances; Tanowitz did not, but she was fascinated by the form. “I would look up on YouTube how to do certain steps, then I would make up all my own phrases,” she said. “I became obsessed with it.” The two artists were kibitzing at a cafe in Soho recently about their shared Jewish heritage before the premiere of “Song of Songs,” their latest collaboration, inspired by the biblical poem of love and lust that is often interpreted ... More

Harvard Design Press announces the release of three titles this fall
CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- Following the launch of Harvard Design Press last spring, the Press announced the release of three titles this fall: John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense, Frida Escobedo: Split Subject, and Empty Plinths: Monuments, Memorials, and Public Sculpture in Mexico. Documenting John Andrews's path from Australia to the United States and Canada and back again, John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense by Paul Walker, examines the architect's most important buildings and reveals how the internationalization of architecture during this period was an unexpectedly dispersed geographical phenomenon, following more complex flows and localized progressions than earlier modernist ideas that travelled from center to periphery, metropole to outpost. Andrews negotiated the advent of postmodernism ... More

Cahoon Museum of American Art opens major exhibition of the art and history of scrimshaw
COTUIT, MASS.- This summer, the Cahoon Museum of American Art presents Scrimshaw: The Whaler’s Art, a comprehensive survey of the art and history of scrimshaw. On view June 29 through October 30, 2022, the exhibition explores this unique, American folk art tradition created by whalers during the international whaling trade of the 19th century. “Having studied, collected, and sold scrimshaw for more than 40 years, I was thrilled to guest curate this exhibition to create an extensive display of some of the finest (and oldest) examples of scrimshaw art,” said Guest Curator, Dr. Alan Granby, one of the world’s leading experts in the identification, evaluation, and appraisal of scrimshaw. “I hope that visitors will understand the significance that scrimshaw holds as not merely an interesting form of American folk art, but as ... More

Qatar Museums announces unprecedented cultural developments for fall 2022
DOHA.- Qatar Museums today announced a wide-ranging series of cultural initiatives in fall 2022 that confirm the nation’s position as a preeminent arts and culture destination in the region and internationally. The programme will begin in September, with exhibitions remaining on view into 2023. The announcement follows the recent transformation of Qatar Creates from a limited period of events into a year-round national cultural movement that curates, promotes, and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar. Anchoring the cultural programme is the opening in October of a completely reimagined and reinstalled Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I M Pei, a celebrated landmark in the heart of Doha. The MIA will present its collection in completely new thematic interpretations ... More

Unseen Photo Fair anniversary edition: Photography in Wonderland
AMSTERDAM.- Unseen Photo Fair, the international photography fair dedicated to the avant garde of contemporary photography, is celebrating its tenth edition this year 16th - 18th September at the iconic Westergas culturepark in Amsterdam. The fair is considered a leading voice on the latest artistic developments in photography, and is known for its intimate atmosphere and high curatorial standard. With the upcoming anniversary edition, the fair cements this reputation, and ventures onto a more established path, with several artists with solo presentations at the fair having museum exhibitions in Amsterdam during the fair. Roderick van der Lee, founding director of Unseen: "The international enthusiasm for Unseen is greater than ever. Despite the expectations over the past few years that art fairs might become ... More

Martos Gallery opens an exhibition of recent, non-figurative painting
NEW YORK, NY.- Martos Gallery is presenting Under Erasure, an exhibition of recent, non-figurative painting. The title Under Erasure is a reference to Derrida used by Marcia Hafif (1929-2018) in her 1978 Art Forum essay, Beginning Again, where she considers the fraught circumstance of painting and how to move forward from it. In the essay, Hafif states: The enterprise of painting was in question, was "under erasure." I use this term of Derrida's (2) to denote a state in which painting appeared to be no longer relevant, not quite right, and yet the only possible activity for one who has been or is a painter - an artist deriving satisfaction from painting, drawings, the ordering of space, with a sensibility directed to paint, to pencil, to materials in general. But there was no dialogue, no discourse. It was necessary to turn inward ... More

John Moran Auctioneers announces Post-War and Contemporary Art + Design sale results
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Tuesday, June 21, 2022, is remembered as the start of summer and being the longest day of the year. More importantly, it was the when the highly anticipated Post-War and Contemporary Art + Design auction took place at John Moran Auctioneers. If you were one of the few who missed it, there were over 275 lots offering fascinating fine art in modern and contemporary paintings, a broad selection of prints and multiples from key artists, brilliant Brutalist and abstract sculptures, divine decorative art, and the most fabulous contemporary and mid-century furniture by local and internationally acclaimed designers. This sale garnered a lot of attention! All three preview days brought in big crowds, and on sale day interested bidders made quite a splash online and on the phone. In the selection of fine art, a 1960 Jean Jansem still life was the top highlight. This Jansem ... More

ICA/Boston promotes Eva Respini to Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Barbara Lee Chief Curator
BOSTON, MASS.- The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston announces the promotion of Eva Respini to Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Barbara Lee Chief Curator. Respini will lead the vision and strategy for the ICA’s exhibitions and collection, in alignment with the ICA’s mission to provide a wider and more global view of today’s most innovative artists and contemporary art practices. Respini joined the ICA as the Barbara Lee Chief Curator in 2015, after more than a decade as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art. Most recently, she was the curator and co-commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion's historic Simone Leigh presentation for the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in 2022. Respini is currently organizing the first mid-career survey exhibition of Leigh’s work, which will open at the ICA in March 2023 before touring ... More

$800,000 in grants awarded to six NYC and Vermont institutions in honor of Emily Mason and Wolf Kahn
NEW YORK, NY.- The Wolf Kahn Foundation, jointly with the Emily Mason | Alice Trumbull Mason Foundation (the distinct organization devoted to the legacy of Emily and her mother), announced $800,000 in grants to six art institutions in New York City and Vermont. Following the $8.1M single-seller Christie’s sale of works from the couple’s art collection in May 2021, the gift round marks the first joint philanthropic initiative of the two sister Foundations and pays homage to Emily Mason and Wolf Kahn’s personal experiences and collective passions across five intersecting themes: New York City; access to arts education; Vermont; gardens and the natural world; and printmaking. In 1940, the 12-year-old Holocaust refugee Wolf Kahn arrived in New York after having escaped Nazi Germany in August 1939 via Kindertransport to Britain. Wolf’s first foster fami ... More

Transcendental Light: How Richter Channels The Undying Power of The Landscape

On a day like today, English painter Stanley Spencer was born
July 30, 1891. Sir Stanley Spencer CBE RA (30 June 1891 - 14 December 1959) was an English painter. Shortly after leaving the Slade School of Art, Spencer became well known for his paintings depicting Biblical scenes occurring as if in Cookham, the small village beside the River Thames where he was born and spent much of his life. In this image: Sarah Tubb and the Heavenly Visitors, 1933 by Stanley Spencer © Estate of Stanley Spencer, Bridgeman Images, London.

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