This week there will be flooding of sorts in Miami. The leaders of major art institutions, collectors, great talents and influencers in the art community will pour into Miami for Art Basel and the array of fairs that happen alongside it. As always, it will an extraordinary coming together that illustrates the depth, intelligence, creativity, and culture we collectively cherish. Precious works have been shipped to our docks and one-of-a kind shows are being staged for just a short week in South Florida, a region dealing with the real effects of climate change.
The high-powered art dealer Larry Gagosian says he bought it. The royal family of Qatar says it bought the sculpture, too. And now they are facing off in court over who owns Picasso’s important plaster bust of his muse (and mistress) Marie-Thérèse Walter, a star of the Museum of Modern Art’s popular “Picasso Sculpture” show.
A recent documentary about the celebrated collector Peggy Guggenheim has yielded fresh insights into her life and prompted a reassessment of how much the art world has changed since her heyday. Guggenheim died in 1979 at 81. For Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, the director Lisa Immordino Vreeland tracked down long-lost audiotapes of interviews that Guggenheim conducted in the 1970s with her official biographer, Jacqueline Bogard Weld. Notable for their subject’s clipped, sardonic replies, they form the revelatory backbone of the movie.
In May, Picasso’s 1955 painting “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” sold at Christie’s in New York to an as-yet-unidentified telephone bidder for $179.4 million, a high for any artwork at auction. Led by that sale, Christie’s became the first auction house to sell more than$1 billion worth of art in a week, with a double bill that included 20th-century masterworks on one night and a selection of big-name contemporary pieces the next. Many of them were secured by the company’s policy of courting owners of valuable artworks with hefty guarantees and no commission fees.
Water and rock have a complex relationship. That becomes clear immediately upon entering “Museum of Stones,” an exhibition at the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City. Imagine a wave crashing on a jagged cliff, sending spray into the air in fleeting, elaborate formations. “You take a snapshot, and rock is the sculptor, and water is the material,” said Dakin Hart, senior curator at the museum. “But over the long term, of course, water wins.”
Ellsworth Kelly, one of America’s great 20th-century abstract artists, who in the years after World War II shaped a distinctive style of American painting by combining the solid shapes and brilliant colors of European abstraction with forms distilled from everyday life, died on Sunday at his home in Spencertown, N.Y. He was 92. His death was announced by Matthew Marks of the Matthew Marks Gallery in Manhattan.
British artist Martin Creed’s short-lived but much loved installation titledWork No. 2592 at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise on New York’s Lower East Side is open until Saturday, and people cannot seem to get enough of the bright-red balloons that half-fill the space at 291 Grand Street.
This show coincided with prospects of a rapprochement between Cuba and the United States, and mixed-signals politics played a role in the event itself. When it opened in June, the Cuban-born artist Tania Bruguera was under the equivalent of house arrest in Havana for trying to do a performance piece that invited people to speak freely at an open microphone in Revolution Square. During the Biennial itself, another Cuban-born artist, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, working with a group of her American students, quietly presented Cubans with a similar opportunity to express themselves by writing in notebooks on questions about current events, including whether art could contribute to cross-cultural conversations. The focused and passionate responses of the writers said yes. There was no government interference.
Christopher Rothko doesn’t look much like his father, the painter Mark Rothko, who took his own life when his son was 6. The father was rotund and jowly, with a high bald pate and a world-weary demeanor (at least inthe best-known portraits.) The son, now 52, is lean and reedy, with a head of just-graying hair and a ready smile.
Ai Weiwei has finally unveiled his hotly anticipated Letgo Room (2015), made with Lego blocks donated from all over the world, and it turns out the piece celebrates Australian political activists, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.