Some Things to Read and Watch During Snowmageddon

From a Dutch Master's winter scene to the "artist as debtor" conference.

A Dutch Master’s Winter Scene with Skaters
Prolific Dutch landscape painter Salomon van Ruysdael is known to have painted only about 20 winter scenes, so the one up for sale at Christie’s Old Master paintings auction this Wednesday (estimate $800,000-$1.2 million) is a bit of a rarity. Skaters on the Frozen River Lek, the Town of Vianen Beyond (1653) shows sportsmen, some more graceful than others, as well as a goat-drawn carriage and tussling dogs. (The most hotly anticipated lot in the sale is a painting believed to be Caravaggio’s first–see Will Bronzino and Caravaggio Demolish Auction Records at Christie’s? And, for a peek at what Sotheby’s is offering at its Old Masters sales, see Bruegel, Tiepolo, Reubens Shine at Sotheby’s Old Master Sales.)

Jason Farago on Charlie Hebdo
Haven’t had enough of reading about Charlie Hebdo? Check out Jason Farago’s essay “Image Conscious” on Artforum’s blog from a week ago, which discusses the satirical cartoons in light of other recent events in France and the Gallic tradition of laïcité.


A Ryman White-Out
We can’t help but think of the American painter Robert Ryman’s ivory canvases when we hear predictions of snowy white-outs. Even at a spotty postwar and contemporary art sale at Sotheby’s New York this past November, a work by the 84-year-old set an auction record of $15 million when it sold to New York dealer Dominique Lévy.

ICYMI: Exit Through the Gift Shop is Streaming on Netflix
Street art’s moment seems to just never end, especially with news that the Oxygen network will premiere a reality show pitting street artists against each other for a $100,000 prize (see Reality TV Show Street Art Throwdown Promises to Discover Next Banksy) and that Banksy’s works have been transformed into animations (see Banksy’s Street Art Gets the GIF Treatment). So if you never got around to checking out the hilarious documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, a snow day might be just the moment since it’s streaming on Netflix. A few other things we suggest streaming on Netflix are Portlandia (see Take an Exclusive Look at Shepard Fairey’s Portlandia Cameo); The Art of the Steal (about the Barnes Foundation’s controversial relocation) (2009); Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry (2012) and Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case (2013); Cutie and the Boxer (this film about artists Ushio and Noriko Shinohara was a 2014 Oscar nominee for best documentary).

Bone Up on Stefan Simchowitz
If you need to get up to speed on all the blather surrounding collector and dealer Stefan Simchowitz, this slow snowy day might be the right time. You may want to start with Katya Kazakina’s article on art flippers. Then read Andrew Goldstein’s interview with Simchowitz for Artspace. Take a gander at what Jerry Saltz had to say about the “Greatest Flipper of them All.” That was in March this past year. It seemed like the noise around Simchowitz had died down until Christopher Glazek published his story in the New York Times Magazine at the end of the year, which set off another round of commentary, but gave a somewhat one-sided look at Simchowitz. Paddy Johnson’s Facebook page is a good place to size up the arguments on both sides. Of course Saltz weighed in yet again. Glazek came back with his own annotated version of his story (see Christopher Glazek Annotates His Own NYT Stefan Simchowitz Story), which adds fun facts and pictures to the piece, for the real Simchowitz nerds out there. And of course, you can see Simchowitz’s own Facebook page for his take on the matter in the form of loads more comments.

Artists as Debtors
As a counterpoint to all the Simchowitz stuff, read the liveblog of the “Artist as Debtor” conference on Hyperallergic about the work of artists in the age of speculative capitalism. Organized by artists Noah Fischer and Coco Fusco, the panel, which was held this past Friday, January 23, brought out Coco Fusco, Martha Rosler and William Powhida, among others, to discuss art and the debt economy. “Shaming works,” Fusco says, and cites accomplishments of Guerrilla Girls at getting women in commercial galleries.

The Iceman Cometh
As you avoid the (not-so) raging storm, catch up on the latest discovery about one man who wasn’t so lucky: Ötzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old mummy discovered in 1991. As reported by the Huffington Post, the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano has discovered a new tattoo on the heavily inked Ötzi, one that challenges their theories on what his other 60 tattoos are for.

Shop Online
Avoid the yeti and other monsters of the tundra, and while away the hours browsing the presumably soon-to-be-defunct Skymall website. You’re certainly not getting out of JFK after thousands of flights were canceled in anticipation of the storm, but for now, the beloved catalogue of ridiculously specific items is still here for your purchasing pleasure (see Skymall is Bankrupt! Buy This Cheesy Art Before It’s Too Late!).

Imagine the Future of the Art World
Artist Cory Arcangel and artnet News’s national art critic Ben Davis and columnist Paddy Johnson are among the art world professionals who have shared their thoughts on the future of so-called “post-Internet art” in the digital publication Art Post-Internet: INFORMATION/DATA. The catalogue, which largely takes the form of a questionnaire, was produced in conjunction with the exhibition “Art Post-Internet,” curated by Karen Archey and Robin Peckham at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing last spring.

Aspire to More Than Snowangels
There’s nothing that can fill you with as much childlike joy as building a snow man or creating a perfect snow angel, but leave it to an artist to take it to the next level. Simon Beck‘s medium of choice is snow, his tools his own two feet, and his scale nothing short of massive. Walking over many miles, Beck creates intricate patterns in the snow, like wintery crop circles, swirling spirals, and giant geometric grids.



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