The Kusama Kraze Comes to NYC and Artforum’s Harassment Crisis Continues: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on the week's art news—fast.

Yayoi Kusama, Installation view, Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life, David Zwirner, New York (2017). Image © Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts,Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London; YAYOI KUSAMA Inc.
Yayoi Kusama, Installation view, Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life, David Zwirner, New York (2017). Image © Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts,Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London; YAYOI KUSAMA Inc.

Missed the highs and lows of the art world this week? Here are the stories you need to know from the past seven days.

BEST👍

Warhol’s Triumphant Return to New York – The Whitney Museum announced it will be hosting the Big Apple’s first major retrospective of Andy Warhol in almost 30 years, giving the artist’s hometown a chance to consider the way his innovative Pop art “prefigures many aspects of digital production, social media, and a certain kind of very intuitive and profound understanding of audience,” according to Donna De Salvo, who is curating the show.

We Paid Tribute to an Indispensable Feminist Critic – After the pioneering art historian Linda Nochlin passed away last weekend at the age of 86, we looked back on the impact of her landmark essay “Why Have There Been No Great Female Artists,” her role inspiring generations of feminists in the field, and her lesser-known contributions to Courbet scholarship.

So You Think You Can Do Performance Art? – With the Performa biennial kicking off in New York this week, we rounded up the most promising events to check out—and Hilarie Sheets spoke to a handful of internationally renown artists to find out how they got over their stage fright to try live performance for the first time. Brave souls…

We Went Cuckoo for Kusama – Sarah Cascone got decked out in polka dots to check out the opening of two new Infinity Rooms at David Zwirner‘s New York galleries, and had her mind blown forever when she discovered the Japanese artist had, for the first time, nestled one Infinity Room inside another—creating an Inception–worthy level of whoa.

Washinton, DC, Also Went Gaga for Yayoi – The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden welcomed its one-millionth visitor this week as the DC-based museum continues to feel the “Kusama Effect” following its blockbuster Kusama show, which helped the institution break attendance records and increase membership by more that 6,500 percent.

We Learned About Anderson Cooper’s Creepy Art Collection – The widely beloved CNN journalist and his partner Benjamin Maisani have amassed a collection of paintings showing people being flayed or with their faces mutated, shackled, or missing altogether. The couple’s very dramatic works, by everyone from the Old Masters to Adrian Ghenie, display an impressive level of connoisseurship, sophistication, and raw intensity.

 

WORST👎

The Women of the Art World United, in Disgust – More than 1,800 women who work in the art profession—including top female artists, curators, writers, and dealers—signed an open letter denouncing the systemic and often misogynistic abuses of power within the field in the wake of the harassment scandal that rocked Artforum in October.. That magazine, in the meantime, is still scrambling to redress its widely condemned initial reaction to Knight Landesman’s harassment allegations, and its staff as well as several very famous contributors have now also denounced Artforum‘s management.

Paul Manafort’s Fishy Art-Buying Came Out – The former campaign manager to President Trump has expensive taste, according to the indictment released early this week by special prosecutor Robert Mueller that shows Manafort used allegedly ill-gotten money to drop $31,900 at an art gallery in Florida and $623,910 at a New York antiques dealer—though the greater scandal, from the amorally self-interested perspective of the art market, may be how much more of his loot he spent on rugs ($1 million) and ritzy clothes (nearly $1.5 million).

When Students Are Triggered by the Hard Facts of History – Indiana University is the site of a stunning Thomas Hart Benton mural that depicts the horrors of the Klu Klux Klan’s activities in the state—not at all in a celebratory way, but in the spirit of documenting an ugly historical movement (as well as a Pulitzer Prize-winning story that uncovered its nefarious governmental ties)—but student protesters are calling for its removal because the sight of the white-hooded KKK makes them uncomfortable.

A Very Unwelcome Interruption at TEFAF – The Upper East Side art fair attracts the swankiest of patrons, but this year police officers were the most head-turning guests when they arrived at the Park Avenue Armory with a search warrant for a Persian sculpture estimated at $1.2 million. The ancient object was just one of many seized in recent years as part of a push to recover antiquities that have been transported unlawfully out of their countries of origin.

Conflict Antiquities Are Flooding the Market – A whopping 80 percent of antiquities being sold online are probably fake, according to new research. The combined asking price of such objects is more than $10 million. Which makes us think… hey, Paul Manafort, have we got a deal for you!

New York’s “Shadowman” Artist Died – Richard Hambleton, an of-the-moment artist of New York’s downtown art scene in the 1980s, passed away at age 65. A contemporary of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, he is currently being honored with a spot in MoMA’s recently opened show “Club 57: Film, Performance and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983.”


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