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FBI raids Orlando Museum and removes Basquiat paintings

Set-up in progress for the exhibit “Heroes & Monsters: Jean-Michel Basquiat” at the Orlando Museum of Art, on Feb. 2, 2022. The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Orlando Museum of Art on Friday, June 24, 2022, taking all 25 works that had been part of an exhibition on the life and work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the museum said. Melanie Metz/The New York Times.

by Brett Sokol and Matt Stevens

NEW YORK, NY.- The FBI raided the Orlando Museum of Art in Florida on Friday, taking all 25 works that had been part of an exhibition on the life and work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the museum said. An affidavit filed to secure the search warrant called the collection’s origin story, as it had been described by its owners and the museum, into question, and noted that there was reason to doubt the authenticity of the artworks. The New York Times had previously reported that the FBI’s Art Crime Team had been investigating the authenticity of 25 paintings that the museum had said were created by Basquiat and were on exhibit there for months. A spokesperson for the museum said Friday that it had complied with a request from the FBI for access to its “Heroes & Monsters” exhibit and that the exhibit was now in the FBI’s possession. “It is important to note that we still have not been led to believe the museum has been or is the subject of any inv ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

San Francisco school board reverses vote on mural removal   Exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Monaco marks the twentieth anniversary of Paul McCarthy's Pirate Project   British art dealer Miles Wynn Cato discovers a long-lost portrait of the great English philosopher, John Locke

“The Life of George Washington,” a series of murals created in the 1930s for the Works Progress Administration by a Russian-born artist, in the lobby of George Washington High School in San Francisco, April 9, 2019. Jim Wilson/The New York Times.

by Zachary Small

NEW YORK, NY.- A school board’s decision in 2019 to remove a mural of George Washington that includes depictions of enslaved Black people and Native Americans set off a national debate about how U.S. historical figures should be represented in educational settings. The mural, inside a San Francisco high school, will remain on display after the city’s school board voted 4-3 Wednesday in favor of rescinding a previous effort to remove it from view. The decision came several months after a February recall vote changed the makeup of the school board, which many parents had accused of prioritizing cultural debates over the challenges of educating students during the pandemic. The school board’s ... More

Paul McCarthy, Dick Eye, 2002. Silicone (blue), 56 x 46 x 40 cm / 22 x 18 1/8 x 15 3/4 in. Photo: Barbora Gerny.

MONACO.- Over five decades, Paul McCarthy has developed a transgressive artistic practice that has sought to parody social hierarchies and cultural conventions and challenge the canon of art. Painting, especially the national symbolism and machismo associated with Abstract Expressionism, was originally a target that McCarthy confronted by using, or evoking, unorthodox materials such as bodily fluids and foodstuffs. He has since become known for visceral, often subversively humorous work in a wide-ranging variety of media. ‘Paul McCarthy. Pirates Stew Pot’ at Hauser & Wirth Monaco marks the twentieth anniversary of McCarthy’s Pirate Project. One of his most important bodies of work, the show highlights the artist’s dedication to this theme across multiple strands since 2001. Originally stemming from Paul McCarthy and his son Damon’s fascination with the Disneyland amusement park attraction ... More

Dr Alexancler Geekie (1655-1727), ‘portrait of John Locke’, 16°96. Pastel on paper, copyright Miles Wynn Cato.

LONDON.- As part of London Art Week, British art dealer Miles Wynn Cato will be unveiling a remarkable selection of 14 important discoveries, including a rare portrait of the great English philosopher, John Locke. Unrecorded since 1727, this fine pastel portrait was drawn from life by Dr Alexander Ceekie (1655-1727), who was Locke’s doctor and friend, as well as a highly-accomplished amateur artist and art collector. John Locke is widely acknowledged as one of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment and indeed, of all time. Locke’s ideas were also profoundly influential in the founding of the United States. Thomas Jefferson believed Locke to be one of “the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception.” Archive letters between John Locke and Dr Ceekie reveal their close mutual regard, and in this superb personal portrayal, Ceekie has managed to capture the essence of Locke’s ... More

Exhibition examines the work of six artists and their artistic engagement with lifeforms   James Cohan opens an exhibition of drawings and related sculptural works by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian   Naotaka Hiro's first solo exhibition at Bortolami opens in New York

André Saraiva, Sans Titre, 2018 (detail).

LONDON.- Entering into a new season signifies a moment to look into arts that reflect on our immediate environment. Danysz gallery is presenting an online exhibition that aims to examine the work of six artists and their artistic engagement with lifeforms – either through text, painting, or photography. André Saraiva draws on the improvisational potential and free play of possibilities. In the 2000s, he began a performative project called ‘Love Graffiti’ in which he would spray paint the name of someone's lover at an address of his or her choosing. To further enhance the idea of play in his evolving practice, the artist introduced his alter ego, Mr. A, a character with signature ‘X’ and ‘O’ eyes, grinning from the city walls at the passers-by. The artist is curious to find out what happens when our behaviour is influenced by the idea of game. Looking at the phenomenology of movement, game brings about a ... More

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Chador 2, 1976 Marker on paper, 11 3/4 x 17 3/4 in. 30 x 45 cm. Framed: 18 x 23 7/8 in.

NEW YORK, NY.- James Cohan is presenting Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: The Language of Symbols, an exhibition of drawings and related sculptural works by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, on view from June 23 through August 5 at 48 Walker Street. Over a career spanning six decades, the Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (1922 - 2019) looked to geometric forms and her Persian heritage as the basis for a rigorously structured and endlessly inventive exploration of the possibilities of line and space. This exhibition explores the ways in which drawing lies at the heart of Monir’s multivalent practice, bringing together never-before-seen expressive early works on paper with later geometric drawings to demonstrate the medium’s significance as a place for the artist to exercise ... More

Naotaka Hiro, Untitled (Ripe), 2022, Acrylic, graphite, grease pencil, and crayon on wood, 96 x 84 in (243.8 x 213.4 cm).

NEW YORK, NY.- Bortolami is presenting Sand-man, Naotaka Hiro’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Exploring the unknowns and limitations of his own body, Hiro presents four types of work; paintings on wood and canvas, a video, and a bronze sculpture, which is the namesake of the exhibition. The sculpture, Sand-man, 2021, is a cast of the artist’s own body. First coating himself in silicone, Hiro forces himself to remain still for hours in a durational performance while the mold dries around him, ultimately culminating in a sculpture that captures his subtle movements. Hiro’s fascination with the unknowability of one’s own body stems from his experience as a young filmmaker. Occupying the role of both performer and director simultaneously, he found himself blurring the distinctions between perceiving and being perceived, ... More

Jeppe Hein presents an interactive public art installation on Rockefeller Center's Center Plaza   Still charming at 50: Luis Buñuel's greatest hit   From New York to Venice, a survey of abstract painting at Museum Ca' Pesaro

Jeppe Hein, Changing Spaces at Rockefeller Center, June 21 – September 9, 2022 © Studio Jeppe Hein, Courtesy the artist; Rockefeller Center; 303 Gallery, New York; and KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin. Photos by Anna Morgowicz.

NEW YORK, NY.- This Summer, renowned visual artist Jeppe Hein presents Changing Spaces, an interactive public art installation on Rockefeller Center's Center Plaza. This water-based sculpture – which Hein describes as a form of social sculpture and “liquid architecture” – will inspire visitors to interact playfully with the artwork and their surroundings and offer a peaceful respite within this iconic city center. Changing Spaces consists of four circles with enclosing walls of water emerging and shooting up from the ground. The circular water ‘walls’ rise and fall at random, and merge into each other, dividing the water pavilion into smaller spaces within the structure. Visitors are allowed to move within the structure from space to space, as the artwork continually changes shape and appearance out of their control, creating a playful and interactive ... More

Manners matter in “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” starring, from left, Delphine Seyrig, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Bulle Ogier, Milena Vukotic, Paul Frankeur, Stéphane Audran and Fernando Rey. Photo: Rialto Pictures.

by J. Hoberman

NEW YORK, NY.- Luis Buñuel is a filmmaker with few peers and a unique career trajectory. A hardcore Surrealist in 1920s Paris and a propagandist for Republican Spain during the Civil War, Buñuel found refuge in the Mexican film industry before making a triumphant, late-life return to France and the art cinema pantheon. “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” was Buñuel’s greatest commercial and critical success, capped with the 1972 Oscar for best foreign film. Given a new 4K digital restoration, it has been revived for a two-week run at Film Forum in Manhattan. Buñuel, who died in 1983, intended “The Discreet Charm” as his last film (it was not), and it recapitulates certain career-long concerns. The movie is typically described as a comedy of ... More

Afro - Città, 1952. Tecnica mista su tavola cm 284 x 86, Roma, Collezione BNL BNP Paribas.

VENICE.- "From Italy to America and Back is a fitting subtitle for an era of discoveries, rediscoveries and comparisons. It began in the years 1948–49 (with the 24th Venice Biennale and the New York exhibition curated by Barr and Soby) and continued until the mid-1960s, when international art and the art market took a new turn. During the twenty years the exhibition covers (1950–1970), Afro was a key figure and undoubtedly the Italian artist most admired by American collectors." Elisabetta Barisoni "[Afro's] approach to and assimilation of America and Abstract Expressionism was very much a reflection of his personality; calm, measured and intelligent. Of course, encountering the American painters and seeing their work close up eventually found some expression in his own work, but any intimations of influence were gradual and restrained, and never appeared to engulf his own instinctive creative journey and the sense of himself which he brought to each painting." Edith Devaney On the ... More

Museum of Sonoma County presents Collective Arising: The Insistence of Black Bay Area Artists   South African artist Zander Blom's second solo exhibition with signs and symbols opens in New York   Harry Gesner, architect of soaring California style, dies at 97

Ramekon O’Arwisters, Cheesecake #14, 2019.

SANTA ROSA, CA.- The Museum of Sonoma County is presenting Collective Arising: The Insistence of Black Bay Area Artists, co-curated by Ashara Ekundayo and Lucia Olubunmi R. Momoh on view June 25th and running through November 27th, 2022. Collective Arising presents contemporary Black artists in the San Francisco Bay Area who have participated in interdisciplinary collectives that provide a space of belonging and empowerment while amplifying the voices and work of Black artists and encouraging artistic and professional growth. Artist collectives historically have used their creativity to acknowledge and combat racial discrimination in the fight for civil rights. Black artist collectives remain relevant today as collective members address white supremacist ideology, confront state-sanctioned violence, and navigate and challenge institutional anti-Black racism. Collective Arising features eleven multidisciplinary, multigenerational artists who have parti ... More

Zander Blom, Untitled (from Monochrome Series), 2022, Oil on linen, 60 x 45.25 inches (152.4 x 114.94 cm), SS-ZB-22-02

NEW YORK, NY.- signs and symbols is presenting Monochrome Paintings, South African artist Zander Blom’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. The artist writes: “A tide of calm has washed over the studio. This was no doubt brought on by a return to abstraction and a drastic reduction to my color palette. In the last year the studio has transformed from a cacophony of anxious colors and textures to a more focused, harmonious unity. I was in a fever dream of monstrous portraits, creepy figures and ridiculous creatures populating a light-hearted yet menacing world. I was knee-deep in that feral swamp, and very attached to the intellectual project (see The Garage-ism Manifesto), when a shift occurred in the studio. A new possibility had opened up because of a compelling technique that emerged. It was begging to be fleshed out and developed further but necessitated a complete shift in direction. Initially ... More

Harry Gesner at the Sandcastle, the home he designed for himself and his wife, the actress Nan Martin, in Malibu, Calif., March 10, 2012. Stephanie Diani/The New York Times.

by Penelope Green

NEW YORK, NY.- Harry Gesner, the dashing, surf-loving architect whose soaring designs celebrated California’s dramatic landscape in houses that straddled canyons, perched over beaches and cantilevered from cliffs, died on June 10 at his home in Malibu, California, a whorl of a place called the Sandcastle. He was 97. The cause was complications of cancer, said Casey Dolan, his stepson. Gesner, who was raised in California, could ski and surf like a pro. He flew his first plane at 14. Actress June Lockhart was his first love, during his senior year at Santa Monica High School — she went to Westlake, they met water skiing — but their romance was interrupted by his service in World War II. As an architect he was largely self-taught, though Frank Lloyd Wright invited him to study ... More

More News
On Broadway, one show decides to keep masks. No, it's not 'Phantom.'
NEW YORK, NY.- Three days after the Broadway League announced that all 41 theaters would make masks optional starting July 1, one of those theaters has decided to stick with mandatory face coverings. The producers of a starry revival of “American Buffalo,” a 1975 drama by David Mamet about three schemers in a junk shop, announced Friday that they would continue to require masks through the scheduled end of the show’s run at Circle in the Square Theater on July 10. That’s only 10 days beyond when Broadway plans to drop its industrywide masking requirement, and it’s just one show, but it suggests that the unanimity among producers and theater owners may not be rock solid. There are several factors that make the “American Buffalo” situation unusual. The play, starring Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne ... More

Before Riccardo Muti leaves Chicago, a Verdi farewell
CHICAGO, IL.- Mortality, the fragility of life, permeates Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” from its lonely first measures. As the opera opens, a crowd sings while a ruler sleeps. For those who love him, it is a state that should bring him rest and refreshment. For those who conspire against him, it is a premonition of his hoped-for death. That battle — between vitality and the grave — continues to the score’s crushing finale. It was particularly hard to avoid thinking of endings during the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s sumptuous performance of “Ballo” here Thursday evening. Riccardo Muti, the ensemble’s music director since 2010, will depart after next season. And after more than a decade dotted by acclaimed concert versions of his beloved Verdi in Chicago, this is his last opera with this superb orchestra. (Saturday ... More

Exhibition features a representative selection of ten videos made by William E. Jones over the last three decades
NEW YORK, NY.- Survey, an exhibition of film and video works by Los Angeles-based artist, filmmaker, and writer William E. Jones, marks David Kordansky Gallery's second presentation at their New York gallery. His first New York survey exhibition in an art-specific context, the show is on view June 24 through August 5, 2022. The exhibition features a representative selection of ten videos made by Jones over the last three decades, divided among three simultaneous projections. Two projections account for a single program, mostly featuring works with sound, that repeats every other hour; the third is dedicated to Rejected (2017), a single silent work almost eight hours in length. Jones’s videos, which take ... More

Baxter Black, who elevated cowboy poetry to folk art, dies at 77
NEW YORK, NY.- Baxter Black, the country’s best-known cowboy poet, whose witty, big-hearted verse about cowpokes, feed lots and wide-open vistas elevated the tradition of Western doggerel to something of a folk art, died June 10 at his home, a ranch outside Benson, Arizona. He was 77. The cause was leukemia, said his wife, Cindy Lou Black. It’s worth pausing to ask why cowboy poetry exists in the first place. Cowboys, after all, are not well known for their communication skills. Yet the genre flourishes; more than 100 cowboy poetry festivals are held each year, and the peripatetic Baxter Black was often featured as the main event. Reed thin with a handlebar mustache the size of a mop head under a gray Resistol hat, he modeled himself as something of a Will Rogers of the high plains. He seeded his writing with a ... More

The 'most real Richard III there's ever been'
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON.- A raucous party was underway in one of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s rehearsal rooms this month as the cast of “Richard III” ran through the play’s opening, dancing in a conga line while music blared and balloons bounced off the floor. Off to one side, the future Richard III sneered at the scene. Shakespeare depicted the king as a scheming hunchback who murdered his way to the British throne, and in this imagining of the play, he is personified by 30-year-old actor Arthur Hughes. In role, Hughes stepped into the middle of the party, veering through the revelers to deliver the play’s famed opening speech: “Now is the winter of our discontent,” he began. As the speech continues, Richard lists the insults he has faced. He is “curtail’d of this fair proportion”; he is “cheated of feature”; he ... More

New exhibition celebrates the brief creative life & legacy of self-taught designer who challenged fashion
SALEM, MASS.- The Peabody Essex Museum presents an exhibition celebrating the life and legacy of the late fashion designer Patrick Kelly, whose meteoric rise in fashion remains unprecedented and unmatched today. Rooted in expressions of love and joy and inspired by his experiences growing up in the American South, Kelly’s fearless yet lighthearted designs pushed racial and cultural boundaries. First presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2014, and reconstituted for presentation at the de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 2021, Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love is on view at PEM from June 25 through November 6, 2022. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1954, Kelly was primarily self-taught and drew inspiration from his Black heritage, his days in the New York and Paris club scenes and his personal ... More

The Netrebko question
MONTE CARLO.- Anna Netrebko, the superstar Russian soprano, stood on the steps of the ornate Casino de Monte-Carlo, taking photos with friends and watching Aston Martins and Ferraris zoom through the night. “It feels quiet and peaceful here,” she said in a brief interview outside the casino shortly before midnight. “And everybody loves each other, which is very rare.” It was late April, and Netrebko had just finished a performance of Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” at Opéra de Monte-Carlo. It was not how she had planned to spend the evening. She was supposed to be nearly 4,000 miles away, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, headlining in another Puccini opera, “Turandot.” After Russia invaded Ukraine, Netrebko announced that she opposed the war but declined to criticize President Vladimir Putin, whom she has long ... More

Pacific Northwest Ballet finally makes it back to New York
NEW YORK, NY.- A cross-country visit from a major American ballet company is almost always of interest; after so much pandemic upheaval, it merits appreciation just as a logistical feat. For the first time in six years, Pacific Northwest Ballet, from Seattle, has made its way to New York with a full-fledged season, which originally was scheduled for June 2020. The company even brought its orchestra. Presented by the Joyce Theater Foundation at the David H. Koch Theater, the engagement includes two mixed repertory programs. The first of these, on Thursday (after a special opening-night Joyce gala program Wednesday) featured Ulysses Dove’s “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven: Odes to Love and Loss,” Crystal Pite’s “Plot Point” and the New York premiere of Twyla Tharp’s “Waiting at the Station.” While introducing ... More

Ken Knowlton, a father of computer art and animation, dies at 91
NEW YORK, NY.- Ken Knowlton, an engineer, computer scientist and artist who helped pioneer the science and art of computer graphics and made many of the first computer-generated pictures, portraits and movies, died June 16 in Sarasota, Florida. He was 91. His son, Rick Knowlton, said the cause of death, at a hospice facility, was unclear. In 1962, after finishing a doctorate in electrical engineering, Ken Knowlton joined Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, a future-focused division of the Bell telephone conglomerate that was among the world’s leading research labs. After learning that the lab had installed a new machine that could print images onto film, he resolved to make movies using computer-generated graphics. “You could make pictures with letters on ... More

The FLAG Art Foundation opens an exhibition of works drawn from the collection of Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman
NEW YORK, NY.- Drawn from the collection of Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman, founders of The FLAG Art Foundation, and curated by Cynthia Daignault, Awol Erizku, and Ewan Gibbs, the exhibition includes singular presentations of artworks that reflect each artist’s primary discipline and personal sensibilities: Daignault’s selection stems from painting; Erizku focuses on photography and sculpture; and Gibbs selected drawings. Among Friends: Three Views of a Collection is on view June 23-August 12, 2022, and spans the Foundation’s 9th and 10th floors. “Some of the most dynamic exhibitions in recent memory have been curated by artists, invited by museums and institutions to organize ... More

Garment District Space for Public Art presents mixed-media exhibition created by New York-based artist Rita Wilmers
NEW YORK, NY.- The Garment District Alliance announced the latest in its ongoing series of public art exhibits, showcasing 14 mixed-media paintings titled Coming Full Circle, created by New York-based artist Rita Wilmers. Located inside the Kaufman Arcade building on 139 W 35th Street, the free exhibit is accessible to the public through August 31st. Coming Full Circle is part of the Garment District Space for Public Art program, which showcases artists in unusual locations throughout the year and over 17 years has produced more than 200 installations, exhibits and performances. “We’re so proud to present this colorful exhibit as part of our series of public art installations,” said Barbara A. Blair, ... More

Gallery Tour: 20th Century & Contemporary Art | London | June 2022

On a day like today, Sudanese-Nubian artist Hassaan Ali passed away
July 26, 2019. Hassaan Ali Ahmed was a Sudanese-Nubian artist , born on 16 December 1954 in the lush town of Wadi Halfa along the banks of the Nile . A self-taught artist , his work was often thought-provoking and charged with a sense of foreboding often tackling the pain of exile , isolation and fracture while reflecting deeply on the unfathomable social and political tragedies that are still unfolding around the world. His own words crystallize the essence of his oeuvre : “My work has developed and matured over the years in the same organic fashion that the natural world works. However, the only constant and recurrent thread throughout is my preoccupation with my homeland ; Nubia is my obsession !“ He passed away on 26 June 2019 after a fierce and courageous battle with cancer.

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