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.
One of the most loyal visitors to the Frank Stella show at the Whitney Museum of American Art is Frank Stella. The 79-year-old painter estimates he stops by the galleries two or three times a week, occasionally chiming in to correct assumptions about his work, posing for pictures with fans or observing strangers from under the brim of his orange baseball cap.
At a 1961 exhibition in Rome, the public was so disturbed by the sensuous physicality of the paintings of Alberto Burri (1915-1995) that the Department of Public Health was called in to make sure it was safe. What disturbed viewers in the 1950s and 1960s was Burri’s rough assemblage on canvas of what must have seemed like trash—burlap sacks, paint that appeared to be cracking up and deteriorating in front of your eyes, melted plastic over slashed and torn canvas. It didn’t look like art at all. Emily Braun, curator of “Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting,” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum through Jan. 6, 2016, writes in the catalog that “From his early exhibitions Burri was labeled the artist of wounds” because of the “actual gashes and tears right in the fabric of the picture.”
Inside the rain-battered tents of last week’s Art Basel Miami Beach art fair, there were bears made from feathers, a painting made from shoes and shoelaces, and a stabbing incident involving an X-Acto knife that was not a performance piece. Among these and other, expected curiosities were two architectural prototypes: an aluminum and steel dining pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher, which sprouted like a kind of Martian flower over a molded timber table and chairs, and a 350-square-foot white box sheathed in laminated plywood designed by Gluckman Tang as an art pavilion. (It would certainly make an appropriate container to house one’s art fair purchases once home.)
The architecture and design collective Assemble was awarded the Turner Prize, Britain’s leading contemporary art award, on Monday. The group was nominated for a project in which it refurbished derelict Victorian-era houses with the help of residents in a working-class neighborhood in Liverpool.
To escape the crush of the Art Basel art fair, which ended Sunday, and visit Martin Z. Margulies at his voluminous warehouse and exhibition space for art in the Wynwood Arts District is to realize that this collector was there before it all began. Before his Twomblys were trading for more than $70 million at auction. Before the Arte Povera pieces he started buying years ago became chic. Before the market got red-hot and art became an asset class.