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“distilled through a dream” – the paintings of Gideon Appah

April 6, 2023

In Gideon Appah’s debut exhibition with Pace, and his first solo exhibition in the UK, the Ghanaian-born artist takes over all three rooms of the gallery’s London space in Hanover Square.

These new works show Appah continuing to explore and experiment with scale, form, colour, and composition. His striking bold and colorful paintings - otherworldly and with flattened perspective - confront the viewer, presenting stylised people, animals and locations in highly-painterly mise-en-scènes which have a distinctly mystical overtone, and an added background narrative of both African and universal folklore.

Drawing on both personal memories and his experiences of popular culture, Appah’s almost theatrical compositions at times seem to be representing actual situations, though ones distilled through a dream, and it has been said that his works cast the viewer as a voyeur, giving at times a palpable sense of “is this secret, should I be seeing this?”

The almost two-metre square Red Sun for example, features a scene that, while quotidian and familiar-feeling at first, quickly acquires more depth as the viewer contemplates Appah’s characteristically naked or nearly naked protagonists together with the strangely-coloured landscape they are both in and portrayed against. Working with the twin influences of imagination and memory what had seemed immediately understandable acquires an unfamiliar and ambiguous tilt.

Appah says that painting is an intuitive act, translating the self to the exterior world - “it scares me sometimes because I don’t know where that work is coming from”, he says. He works from sources including his own childhood, his family, newspaper clippings, music videos, cinema, and early ethnographic images, producing pieces that combine the contemporary within the historical and imbuing the paintings with a familiarity alongside an otherness, a “now” together with a general timelessness.

These large-scale works, with his combination of expressionist, saturated colors - blues, pinks, whites and greens - alongside loose, gestural, rough brushstrokes, give both an immediate urgency and a comforting reassurance to his work.

The exhibition Gideon Appah: How to Say Sorry in a Thousand Lights is at Pace, London until April 15.

Gideon Appah: born Ghana 1987, where he continues to live and work.

Born in Accra, Ghana in 1987, Gideon Appah received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana in 2012. After graduating with a BFA in Painting, Appah held his first exhibition in Ghana, including his first solo exhibition at the Goethe Institute in Accra in 2013. Other important exhibitions of his work include Gideon Appah: Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes, Institute for Contemporary Art at University of Commonwealth Virginia, Richmond (2022); Blue Boys Blues, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (2020); Orderly Disorderly, Ghana Science Museum, Accra (2017); Clay Objects (Past and Present Aesthetics), Nubuke Foundation, Accra (2013); and End of Year Exhibition, K.N.U.S.T Museum, Kumasi, Ghana (2012). In 2015, he was chosen as one of the top ten finalists for the Kuenyehia Art Prize for Contemporary Ghanaian Arts. That same year he became the first international artist to win the 1st Merit Prize Award at the Barclays L’Atelier Art Competition, which was held in Johannesburg. This awarded him a three-month artist residency at the Bag Factory Studios (2016) and a solo show at the Absa Gallery (2017), both in Johannesburg, South Africa. His work is held in public collections worldwide including Absa Museum, Johannesburg; Musée d'Art Contemporain Africain Al Maaden, Marrakesh, Morocco; and Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.

Hauser & Wirth announces details of 2023 partnership with Hospital Rooms

This year, Hospital Rooms and Hauser & Wirth continue their partnership through a series of initiatives that further expand Hospital Rooms’ impact.

The 2023 initiative will begin with a major exhibition, ‘Holding Space,’ at Hauser & Wirth London, featuring artist Sutapa Biswas and many others, on view from 17 August to 12 September. The exhibition will culminate in the ‘Hold Me Auction’ at Bonhams on 12 September, followed by an open-air exhibition at Granary Square, King’s Cross for World Mental Health Day on 10 October, featuring artists Hurvin Anderson, Yinka Ilori and Alvin Kofi.

These initiatives will raise funds to support three ambitious new projects which will transform NHS mental health setting across the UK, including Sandwell Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Rivers Centre Acute Units at Hellesdon Hospital, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and Bodmin and Redruth Hospitals, Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust.

Neil Wenman, Partner, Hauser & Wirth:
“As long-time supporters of Hospital Rooms, we have witnessed first-hand the extraordinary impact of their work in changing lives across NHS mental health inpatient units across the country. Embarking on our second year of a three- year partnership, I am thrilled to champion another programme of activities and fundraising that we know will help bring hope and courage, especially to young people in mental health services in the UK.”

Tim A Shaw, Co-Founder, Hospital Rooms:
“Since first coming up with the idea of Hospital Rooms, we have believed that every person in a mental health unit deserves to experience extraordinary artwork, and to have the freedom to express themselves. The projects we have planned for the next year, taking place in Norwich, Sandwell and Cornwall will mean that we will be collaborating with more artists, NHS staff and mental health service users, than ever before. In partnership with Hauser & Wirth, we will be able to draw attention to the work of Hospital Rooms, address the challenges of rethinking the way mental health units look and feel, and bring about drastic change, transforming what can often be clinical environments into spaces that provide joy and dignity, stimulate and heal.”

Hospital Rooms is an award winning arts and mental health charity that was founded when a friend of artist Tim A Shaw and curator Niamh White was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and the unit she was required to stay in was squalid, dilapidated and devoid of any sense of imagination or creativity.

Sutapa Biswas, All around me my gathered star, 2023, Springfield Hospital. Photographer: Damian Griffiths

William Kentridge wins Outstanding Achievement in Opera award

April 5, 2023

In this year’s Olivier Awards, presented at the Royal Albert Hall in London, William Kentridge was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Opera for the conception and direction of his piece “Waiting for the Sibyl” at Barbican.

The Barbican Theatre in London staged a three night only presentation in April 2022 that included Kentridge’s chamber opera as well as an accompanied short film by the artist.

Kentridge is an artist known for his prints, drawings and animated films. The works shown at Barbican were created in collaboration with choral composer and performer Nhlanhla Mahlangu and composer Kyle Shepherd - one of South Africa’s leading pianists

Xie Nanxing nominated for Sigg Prize 2023

April 3, 2023

Petzel is pleased to announce that Xie Nanxing is shortlisted for Sigg Prize 2023.

Xie Nanxing (b. 1970, Chongqing, China) currently splits his time between Beijing and Chengdu. He is a radical experimental painter who challenges the traditions and conventions of painting taught within art schools. He is interested in psychology and often turns to investigative psychology to question the true nature of things in his practice.

Nanxing has exhibited widely internationally with solo exhibitions at Petzel (2022), Galerie Urs Meile (2020, 2015, 2008); Thomas Dane Gallery (2019); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2018); Kunstverein Hamburger Bahnhof (2005); Manchester Art Gallery (2003); and Pulitzer Gallery, Amsterdam (1998). Recent and notable group exhibitions include: Beijing Bienniale (2022); Art Museum of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China (2021); Song Art Museum, Beijing (2020); Hive Center For Contemporary Art, Beijing (2020); The Warehouse Dallas (2020); Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (2019); MAK Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna (2019); Casa Cavazzini, Italy (2017); Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art Chengdu (2016); Today Art Museum, Beijing (2106); Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum (2015); OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Shenzhen (2014); Gerhard Richter and the Disappearance of the Image in Contemporary Art, Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina (CCCS), Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy (2010); Painting on the Move, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2002); Documenta XII, Kassel, Germany (2007); and d’APERTutto, La Biennale di Venezia, 48. Esposizione Internationale d’Arte, Venice, Italy (1999).

Sigg Prize 2023 will showcase the works of six shortlisted artists for the award. Open to artists born or working in the Greater China region, the award recognizes important artistic practices in the region and aims to highlight and promote diverse works on an international scale. This exhibition is the second edition of the prize, which will present a wide range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, video, and installation. Through the works, the artists demonstrate their unique visions and approaches to current urgent contemporary issues, fostering the cultural dialogues emerging from the region in response to a critical transitional period of the world.

photo: Fan Xi

“Limits” is a relative term

March 28, 2023

Chris Burden, The TV Commercials 1973-1977 © Chris Burden/ARS/EAI

 
One of Hans Ulrich Obrist’s favourite questions when interviewing artists is to ask about any “unrealized projects” they may have - it is a great way of allowing the artist to look out to the whole realm of possibilities without any practicalities intruding into the creative process. Unrealized work has also been an enduring fascination when it comes to artists who are no longer with us - what could they have done, what would they have done if they could, where would they have taken us?

The American artist Chris Burden was the first person to be represented by Larry Gagosian. Burden was known, especially in his early work, for pieces that involved direct physical danger and highly political, boundary-pushing performances. As he moved more into installations he retained both of these facets and continued to produce work that could be as controversial as it was influential.

The gallery has published a book “Poetic Practical: The Unrealized Work of Chris Burden” which details over sixty of his uncompleted projects, stretching across many disciplines since, as Burden said himself “much of my art has dealt with energy, systems of transportation, architecture, and power”. For an artist whose realised works included him being shot (literally, with a rifle), in Shoot (1971), and engineering a flying steamroller, The Flying Steamroller (1996), the idea of where his imagination could have taken us is especially beguiling - and the book includes facsimiles from Burden’s notebooks alongside many of his reference photographs to take us on highly detailed proposals from an artist who would never let practical considerations impinge on his creative drive.

The book will be the subject of a discussion at the gallery’s bookshop in Burlington Arcade, London, on April 4 at 7pm, where Vicky Richardson, head of architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts and Yayoi Shionoiri, executive director of the Burden estate, will discuss how Burden challenged the lines between art and architecture as well as his continuing influence on the wider art world.

The exhibition Chris Burden: Cross Communication is at the gallery’s Park & 75 space in New York until April 29.

 
 
 
Chris Burden was an American artist who gained international recognition for his thought-provoking and boundary-pushing performances and installations. Born in Boston in 1946, Burden studied arts, physics and architecture at Pomona College in California and went on to do his MFA at the University of California.

Burden’s early work was characterized by performances which often involved putting his body in danger, exploring the limits of physical endurance and the relationship between the performer and the audience. One of his most (in)famous pieces from the time was “Shoot” (1971) where Burden’s friend shot him in the arm from a distance of about fifteen feet with a .22 caliber rifle.

In the years that followed, Burden continued to push the boundaries of performance art with works such as “Trans-fixed” (1974), where he was crucified by being nailed to the back of a Volkswagen Beetle, and “Through the Night Softly” (1973) which he described as “holding my hands behind my back, I crawled through 50 feet of broken glass. There were very few spectators, most of them passersby”.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Burden’s focus shifted to installations, which often incorporated large-scale machinery and industrial materials, such as “The Big Wheel” (1979) where a large, circular platform is spun at high speed, driven by a motorcycle.

Burden’s work often engaged with larger social and political issues, and many of his performances and installations were explicitly political in nature. He continued to create challenging and provocative works throughout his career up to his death in 2015, and remains a highly respected figure in the art world.

 

Zadie Xa joins Thaddaeus Ropac

March 20, 2023

Thaddaeus Ropac is delighted to welcome Zadie Xa to the gallery and will represent her globally. Her first solo exhibition will be in the Paris Marais gallery in March 2024. Her work was featured in the Seoul gallery earlier this year as part of the group show Myths of Our Time, and her largest solo exhibition in London to date is currently on view at Whitechapel Gallery until the end of April. This July, Space K Seoul will open a solo exhibition of her work, which will be on view until 12 October 2023.

Zadie Xa is an incredibly dynamic artist who combines materials and mediums in an experimental and progressive way. Her distinctive voice questions how we form our identity, bringing diverse motifs and imagery into dialogue across her wide-ranging practice. — Thaddaeus Ropac

Korean-Canadian and now living in London, Xa has developed an expansive practice that investigates the nature of diasporic identities, global histories, familial legacies and interspecies communication. She explores these themes through immersive installations that appeal to the sensory experience of the viewer, often incorporating painting, sculpture, textile, sound and performance elements. Embracing a highly collaborative mode of working, she has developed ongoing exchanges with dancers and musicians, and has worked closely with the artist Benito Mayor Vallejo since 2006.

Zadie Xa takes inspiration from diverse global references: from the history of art and craft, to speculative fiction, pop culture, music, fashion and her own Korean heritage. Korean folklore and mythology, in particular, offer rich visual and narrative traditions that inform her interdisciplinary practice, providing her projects with a ‘skeleton or backbone’ which, she explains, allows her to ‘create points of linking myself to other artists and a timeline in history.’

Narrative storytelling is a way in which I’m able to enter different worlds and think about what’s happening within the sociopolitical contemporaneously to me. My work is pushing back against that monolithic idea of what the centrepoint of culture is. — Zadie Xa

photo: Artifact

Almine Rech now represents Joël Andrianomearisoa

March 16, 2023

Almine Rech is pleased to announce the representation of Malagasy-French artist Joël Andrianomearisoa in France, Belgium, UK, Shanghai and New York. The gallery will feature his work in Art Brussels 2023 and in a solo exhibition at Almine Rech Paris in 2024.

Joël Andrianomearisoa's work fits into the gallery's program in an original way in relation to other artists already represented, particularly those using textiles and weaving, all while enriching a chapter of the contemporary art landscape that the program seeks to address.

These creative materials were used, although not very much, at the beginning of the 20th century, only to be abandoned for some time. Today they are once again growing in prominence due to a desire on the part of artists to intervene manually with materials linked to the richness of craftsmanship. It represents the desire and sensual pleasure attached to a renewal in continuity of the history of civilizations, as well as a protective reaction to technology and the virtual.
Joël Andrianomearisoa trained as an architect at the École Spéciale d'Architecture; he also sculpts, paints and draws abstract landscapes of wild grasses and reeds, themes that are aligned to his work with these natural elements.

– Almine Rech

Yes I am hungry for time, at times fragile or melancholic, a kiss or a caress,
in color or at night, sometimes flowers, sometimes steel, sometimes cloth, sometimes paper...
but above all, I am eager for a world in all its forms with all its possible forms.
A world poem to materialize every emotion.
An exercise through time, our time, our space, and the multiple geographies of our hearts and the land.
Starting with two vital concepts, that of matter and desire ... to infinity.

– Joël Andrianomearisoa

photo: Nicolas Brasseur

Pace welcomes Yoo Youngkuk

Pace has announced international representation of the Yoo Youngkuk Estate. The artist will make his debut with the gallery at the 2023 edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, where his 1974 painting Work will feature in the gallery’s booth.

Throughout his nearly seven-decade career, Yoo founded several vital artistic groups in Japan and Korea that blazed a trail for generations of avant-garde artists. A pioneer of geometric abstract painting, his distinctive visual lexicon is characterized by bold color fields and an expressive application of paint. At the core of Yoo’s practice is a steadfast and passionate engagement with the distillation of painterly forms as a means of investigating his deeply personal relationship to nature.

Working in close collaboration to build upon the artist’s established legacy, the Seoul-based PKM Gallery will represent the estate in Korea, and Pace will represent the estate on an international basis.

Yoo’s first solo exhibition outside of Korea will take place at Pace’s flagship gallery in New York in Fall 2023.

portrait of Yoo Youngkuk, 1980s © Yoo Youngkuk Art Foundation

Phyllida Barlow, 1944-2023

March 14, 2023

For almost 60 years, British artist Phyllida Barlow took inspiration from her surroundings to create imposing installations that can be at once menacing and playful. She created large-scale yet anti-monumental sculptures from inexpensive, low-grade materials such as cardboard, fabric, plywood, polystyrene, scrim, plaster and cement. These constructions were often painted in industrial or vibrant colors, the seams of their construction left at times visible, revealing the means of their making.

Barlow’s restless invented forms stretch the limits of mass, volume and height as they block, straddle and balance precariously. The audience is challenged into a new relationship with the sculptural object, the gallery environment and the world beyond.

‘There’s something about walking around sculpture that has the possibility of being reflective, like walking through a landscape,’ Barlow has said. ‘The largeness of sculpture has that infinite possibility to make one engage beyond just the object itself and into other realms of experience.’

Barlow exhibited extensively across institutions internationally and in 2017 represented Britain at the Venice Biennale.

photo: Ruth Clark

Taka Ishii Gallery announces the opening of a new space in Hong Kong

Opening on Saturday 18 March, the new viewing space will be dedicated to exhibiting works that represent the gallery program of contemporary art rooted in the photographic. Since its founding in 1994, Taka Ishii Gallery has organized exhibitions and publication projects with the objectives of presenting international contemporary artists domestically and acting as a platform for emerging and established Japanese artists. In 2018, the gallery set down roots in Hong Kong with the launch of SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, an experimental art space.

The reborn Hong Kong space will periodically host exhibitions and curated programs, bringing to viewers the work of international artists whose practices transcend existing frameworks of contemporary art.

Outset announces the recipients of six grants, focusing on community-building and togetherness

March 10, 2023

Outset Contemporary Art Fund, the leading independent international arts charity, today announced the recipients of six grants in the major arts funding programme from its accelerator unit, Outset Partners.

In their fourth Cycle of funding, totalling £275,000, Outset Partners have awarded a Transformational Grant of £150,000 to African Artists’ Foundation for their major project Dig Where You Stand - From Coast to Coast which explores the regenerative potential of art across the African continent, in dialogue with the world. Five Impact Grants of £25,000 each were awarded to AT The Bus (UK), Fondazione ICA Milano (Italy), Forma (UK), Locus Athens (Greece) and LACMA (USA).

The projects are responding to loneliness across cultures, depleting self-confidence in school-aged children and growing inequalities amongst marginalised groups, with the ambition to rebuild communities by harnessing the power and connectivity of culture.

Candida Gertler OBE, Co-founder & Co-Director, and Nicolette Cavaleros, Co-Director, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, on behalf of Outset Partners:

“For Outset Partners, each year brings a new insight into the arts sector as we gain an ever-expanding perspective of the challenges faced by cultural institutions around the world; some are longstanding and continue to be felt across the sector, whilst others seem to have rapidly risen in urgency. This cycle shed light on the unparalleled value of community - from spearheading conversations around decolonisation; to connecting marginalised identities; uplifting young children in schools; examining shared experiences of loneliness globally; challenging systemic gender inequities and shining a light on overlooked diasporic voices. Outset Partners believe that the six grant recipients will make powerful and transformational societal changes, and these issues will be addressed as communities are built and connections rebuilt, with art at the very core of this journey ahead.”

Established in 2018, the Outset Partners are a diverse group of leaders who have a marked international profile, including individuals from Brazil, France, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Japan, the Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. All are experts and entrepreneurs in their respective fields of philanthropy, education, the art market, fashion, finance, museums, architecture, and jewellery, amongst many other activities, committed together to championing brave and intelligent projects to provoke discourse and transformation in the creative sector.

The Outset Partners Grants Programme has raised over a million pounds to date, providing essential support to the international cultural ecosystem.

photo: Oliver Frank Chanarin, Marine Academy (Year 10), 2023. C-type print, 10 x 8 inches, unique artist proof (#2913902964). Commissioned and produced by Forma, in collaboration with eight UK organisations. Supported by Arts Council England and Art Fund

Mennour announces representation of Elizabeth Jaeger

March 8, 2023

Mennour has today announced representation of the American artist Elizabeth Jaeger (1988‑).

Her work was shown for the first time at the gallery in 2022 for a “Carte Blanche” alongside Camille Henrot and Estelle Hoy. Elizabeth Jaeger’s dissonant yet poetic sculptures pose a challenge to binary systems, revealing them to be arbitrarily organized and driven by a hidden affective order.

“My working process is to take logic to its illogical conclusion, or a rational to its irrational end.”

Born in San Francisco (1988-), US, Elizabeth Jaeger lives and works in New York.
The artist has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Licking the Walls at Callie’s, Berlin; Persona and Parasite at White Space, Beijing; How To Survive at the Sprengel Museum, Hannover; Mirror Cells at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Greater New York at MoMA PS1; In Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing New at SculptureCenter, New York; 99 Cents or Less at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and Zombies: Pay Attention! at the Aspen Art Museum.

Anna Freeman Bentley joins Simon Lee Gallery

March 6, 2023

Simon Lee Gallery is delighted to announce representation of British artist Anna Freeman Bentley (b.1982, London). The artist’s inaugural exhibition at the gallery will open in November 2023 in London, following inclusion of her new paintings in the gallery’s Art Basel Hong Kong presentation this month.

Freeman Bentley’s practice explores the uncanny within architectural spaces, depicting interiors imbued with a heightened emotional or psychological intensity. The absence of figures enables Freeman Bentley to imply narrative, creating worlds within worlds that contain subtle signifiers revealing the artifice and complex dynamics of manmade environments.

For her most recent series, Freeman Bentley draws inspiration from visiting film sets. This enabled the artist to establish a connection with a determined, temporary site in order to make work that chronicles her relationship to it. The works are heavily influenced by Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, a complex space in which different worlds seem to overlap and interact at once. The series raises questions about displacement and replacement, change and transformation, seen and unseen, aspiration and desire; themes that run throughout Freeman Bentley’s wider practice.

Alongside her conceptual exploration of sentience and architectural interiors, Freeman Bentley’s paintings can be viewed as thoughtful investigations into surface, tension, and the variations in atmosphere evoked through composition. Marrying a diversity of fluid and expressive brushstrokes with a confidence of colour and a masterful understanding of light, Freeman Bentley’s paintings interrogate the emotive and dramatic potential of interior space.

photo: Peter Mallet

Josef Albers, preceding the Square

March 1, 2023

Josef Albers, Mitla, Mexico, 1936-37

 
Two exhibitions at the David Zwirner gallery in London - “Josef Albers: Paintings Titled Variants” and “Black Mountain College: The Experimenters” - take a deeper look at Albers’ work and life, concentrating in particular on the period that lead up to the start of his classic “Homage to the Square” series.

To help navigate just a few of the notable achievements of Albers’ long and highly influential career, we put a few questions to Nicholas Fox Weber, Executive Director of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation about the man, the work, and his influence.

 
Can you tell us more about the works on display in “Josef Albers: Paintings Titled Variants” and how they fit into the arc of Albers’ artistic development?
This exhibition, in emphasizing Albers’s Variants, presents work from his first large series. In the 1930s, with his Treble Clefs, he had taken the idea of using a number of similar layouts with very different variations of color; now he went even further in using a carefully conceived geometric structure for a range of works in differing palettes. The Homages to the Square, which he began just a few years after he started the Variants, would be the summa of this approach.

 


 
 
We are especially interested by the “double-door” motif he uses and, if it is connected to a specific house, whether it represents a bridge to the abstraction of the subsequent “Homage to the Square” works?
The idea of the double-door Adobe house is by no means connected to a specific house, but to a generic sort of structure. Albers was intrigued with the indigenous architecture of the American southwest and Mexico, where the use of asymmetrical rectangular forms had great appeal to him and inspired him to refine the idea as pure abstraction, but these paintings should by no means be considered as literal representations. They paved the way for the Homages in part because the technique of applying paint straight from the tube directly onto a white support, with no overlapping of paintings, and the use of unmodulated color to create a series of illusions, was developed here.

 

Albers and Black Mountain CollegeBlack Mountain Collage

Albers was a professor at the Bauhaus in Germany until it closed in 1933 under pressure from the Nazis. Alongside his wife Annie he then managed, with the help of the architect Philip Johnson, to move to the US and take the role of head of the then newly opened Black Mountain College art school.

Black Mountain College ran from 1933 to 1957 in North Carolina, USA. Like the Bauhaus the College was to prove highly influential, with teachers and students including luminaries such as Ruth Asawa, Walter Gropius, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller and Willem and Elaine de Kooning

Looking at the companion exhibition (“Black Mountain College: The Experimenters”), how was Albers influenced by his experiences at not one but two of the most renowned and revered arts education institutions in history?
Those institutions gave Albers a chance to work independently in the company of like-minded, sympathetic, and supportive people. They encouraged independence and experimentation. But he was adamant that they not be glorified; in both places, there were financial troubles as well as the complexities of internecine personal politics. Albers was grateful above all for the wherewithal to pursue his own work.

 
Arguably, Albers is now best known as a painter, however is it fair to say that he was equally influential both as an artist and as a teacher?
His influence as a teacher and writer is inestimable.

 
Josef Albers: Paintings Titled Variants” and “Black Mountain College: The Experimenters” are on show at David Zwirner, London until April 15.

 
photo credits: © 2023 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London; © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and David Zwirner; Harvard Art Museums

Sky Glabush joins Stephen Friedman Gallery

February 27, 2023

Glabush’s practice subverts traditional painterly archetypes and presents landscape, still life and portraiture through an historic lens. Primarily figurative, and often underpinned by abstraction, these large-scale surreal paintings tell a story as they shift in and out of focus. Critic Sarah Milroy wrote of the aritist, “Narrative has long been deemed inessential to the art of painting, but Glabush seems to invite the storytelling impulse as we inevitably set about the task of supplying meaning”.

Milroy goes on to say that Glabush’s paintings investigate “the legacies of art, expressing a special connection to the European traditions of Der Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke, in particular the work of Nolde, Kirchner, Munch, Kupka and Paul Klee”, and that “these historic works combine in his imagination with some of the influences from his own lived experience, raised as he was in a variety of alternative, back-to-the-land communities on the west coast of British Columbia.”

Glabush’s paintings are underpinned by a rigorous drawing practice and exist as a meeting point for different ideas and approaches. “The architecture of the drawing is embedded in the materials”, Glabush says, “all the paintings have gone through this process of getting the structure up through the drawing, breaking it down and rebuilding it through colour”. The artist often mixes sand into the paint to build texture and to erase but not conceal the labour in his work. This rich surface is a magnet on which bold pigments vibrate and infuse Glabush’s paintings with a humming energy.

The artist is also represented by Philip Martin Gallery in Los Angeles.

photo: Martha Glabush

Marian Goodman Gallery in New York to move to historic building in Tribeca

February 24, 2023

Marian Goodman Gallery in New York is to open in a new home in downtown Manhattan in mid-to-late 2024.

The Gallery’s new headquarters - the historic Grosvenor Building in Tribeca at 385 Broadway, between White and Walker Streets - will feature approximately 30,000 square feet of space, including two floors of open galleries, viewing rooms, a library and archive, art storage, and administrative offices.

Originally built in 1875, the five-story building will undergo a restoration and renovation by studioMDA, the New York-based architectural firm known for its work in the cultural sphere.

The move to a new, expanded location in New York City marks a pivotal step for the Gallery under the leadership of President and Partner Philipp Kaiser, Managing Partners Emily-Jane Kirwan and Rose Lord, and Partners Leslie Nolen and Junette Teng.

The Gallery’s plans for its new home in New York comes as it continues preparations for a new venue in Los Angeles, scheduled to open this year.

“Our new home will support an expanded program, serve a larger audience, and enable greater impact for our artists. We have long considered a possible move downtown and the opportunity to move into this historic building in Tribeca, with its flexibility of space, its light, and engagement with life of the city, was a critical factor for the Partners in advancing the Gallery’s global profile and presence” - Kaiser.

view the current exhibitions here

Chinese art now

February 15, 2023

Hao Liang: Sad Zither @ Gagosian, London

“With no one coming in or out of the country for three years these exhibitions provide a window into one of the most significant periods in recent Chinese history” - Nick Simunovic, Gagosian’s Director, Asia

Two simultaneous though very different contemporary painting exhibitions at Gagosian - one in Hong Kong and the other at the gallery’s Grosvenor Hill space in London - give insight into what artists in mainland China have been thinking about and creating over the last three years.

In London, Hao Liang’s exhibition “Sad Zither” presents intricate colour gradations and subtle, semi-abstract, narrative compositions.

“in traditional Chinese painting there was never pure figuration or abstraction” - Hao Liang

Hao Liang: All things

The fourteen works were made in Beijing over the last two years and explore themes and symbolism from literary sources such as Dante and Borges and Chinese poets Tao Yuanming, Du Mu and Li Shangyin - the last of whose poem gives the exhibition its name.

Liang uses the methods and motifs of traditional Chinese ink wash painting, giving them a distinctly contemporary angle. We see his perspective on the localised physical changes in the seasons, with fleeting moments and details of light placed within the grander scale of history, geography and the psychological realm - “the complexity of time and space lead to a need to look at a more metaphysical way of looking at the world” says the artist. The works have a physical and emotional depth and a degree of psychological uneasiness.

Yang Zi: Uncanny Valley @ Gagosian, Hong Kong

In Hong Kong meanwhile there is a shared sense of unease and dislocation in an exhibition where guest curator Yang Zi (former curator and head of public programs at UCCA, Beijing) has brought together new works by Chinese artists Owen Fu, Jiang Cheng, Li Hei Di, Li Weiyi, Nabuqi, Song Yuanyuan, Su Yu-Xin, Wang Haiyang, Wang Xiaoqu, Wang Xingwei, and Zhang Zipiao.

Li Weiyi: Panorama Study

The exhibition’s title “Uncanny Valley” is inspired by the theory proposed by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970 that a humanoid object bearing either a very high or very low level of resemblance to a real person will prompt feelings of affinity, while one distinguished by a close but flawed similarity may instead provoke uneasiness or revulsion.

The exhibition explores the emergence of these themes in contemporary paintings, sculptures, and videos by Chinese artists. These works endow the human figure with psychological, existential, and symbolic significance, combining an embodied intimacy with an intentional and specific lack of cohesion that stands apart from most art historical representations of the human form.

“At first, when you look at the works from afar, they might seem perfect, but if you look closely, you’ll feel this creepiness ... every piece in the exhibition has this quality, especially when you look at the details. I think it also relates to the past three years, where the artists have felt this [sense of uneasiness]” - Yang Zi.

Both exhibitions are welcome opportunities to see Chinese art after too long a break.

picture credits: Sad Zither installation view © Hao Liang. Photo: Lucy Dawkins; All things © Hao Liang. Courtesy Gagosian; Uncanny Valley installation view. Photo: Martin Wong, Courtesy Gagosian;Panorama Study © Li Weiyi. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian

Frieze Los Angeles

The 2023 edition of Frieze Los Angeles runs 16-19 February, and takes place across multiple sites at their new location of Santa Monica Airport.

This year the Fair is showcasing an expanded line-up of over 120 galleries from 22 countries, including 20th-century art for the first time, as well as a newly expanded Focus section.

Also promised are ambitious activations, collaborations with nonprofit organizations, and pop-ups from some of Los Angeles’ most beloved restaurants.

16 Feb, Preview (invitation only)
17 Feb, Preview
18-19 Feb, Public days

Click here for Fair tickets, and here for the GalleriesNow Los Angeles Gallery Map with Frieze.

Mai 36 Galerie now represents Irma Blank

Mai 36 Galerie is pleased to announce the representation of the Italian, German-born artist Irma Blank, in collaboration with P420.

A passionate reader and lover of language, Irma Blank was born in 1934 in Northern Germany. In 1955 she met her Italian husband with whom she moved to Sicily. The gap between the two countries and the two languages was immense – it led her to question the adequacy or rather the inadequacy of any language. She then realized ‘that there’s no such thing as the right word’ – even in one’s mother tongue – to really convey meaning/feeling.

Blank’s entire body of work, that crystallized into series, is based on language and therefore literature – whether emptying books from their meaning or creating a new form of nonverbal, asemantic writing, for instance by creating drawings that mimick the layout of existing books/newspapers or using a utopian alphabet. Closely linked to her personal story, but simultaneously emanating from the migrant and displaced condition, her work is the result of a matured conceptuality, but asserts itself in the corporality of production; it engages with a utopic community of hypothetical readers, but it is also in its nature, a soliloquy.

photo: Gian Sinigaglia

Hauser & Wirth announces representation of Harmony Korine

February 10, 2023

Over the last thirty years, Harmony Korine has cultivated a multidisciplinary art practice that resists categorization and is admired internationally for the improvisation, humor, repetition, nostalgia and poetry that unite the disparate aspects of his output. Working in recent years primarily with painting and photography, his practice is built upon tireless experimentation and a trial-and-error path that produces what he calls “Mistakist Art”. Inspired by material culture, Korine often incorporates everyday items - squeegees, house paint, steak knives, old VHS tapes - into his compositions, which are frequently embellished with distorted language and intentionally misspelled words. Korine’s oeuvre is both deliberate and erratic, figurative and abstract, and, like his films, blurs boundaries between “high” and “low” in ways that simultaneously attract and repel viewers with its hypnotic, otherworldly atmosphere.

Marc Payot, President, Hauser & Wirth, says, “we are delighted to welcome Harmony Korine to the gallery. In his multidisciplinary practice over the past three decades, Harmony has performed a sort of real-time psychoanalysis of contemporary America––and done so on his own terms, fearlessly, without pandering or seeking consensus. Our fixations on youth, material consumption and disposability, violence and romantic anti-heroes, all find their way into his work, from films and writing to drawings and paintings. In this sense, Harmony takes his place among such artists in our program as Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, and Rita Ackermann. We look forward to collaborating with Harmony in the months and years ahead”.

Among his generation’s most influential filmmakers, Korine rose to prominence after writing the script for the film “Kids” (1995), directed by Larry Clark. Everything he has made since has been guided by memory, emotion, and physical sensation as opposed to strategy and rational thought. Of his art, he has said, “I’m chasing something that is more of a feeling, something more inexplicable, a connection to colors and dirt and character, something looping and trancelike, more like a drug experience or a hallucination”.

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