“New York”

Data: Picabia, nihilism and humour at auctions

A painter with talent, cheekiness and an eventful life… Francis Picabia marked the 20th century with the eclecticism of his painting and his significant contribution to French and American intellectual life. And what does the market make of him? Francis-Marie Martinez de Picabia was born on 22 January 1879 in Paris. A single child born to parents representing Spanish aristocracy and French bourgeoisie, he grew up in a certain material comfort but was not spared from emotional affliction. He was seven when his mother died of tuberculosis, and he found himself stuck with his father, Juan Martinez Picabia, the Cuban consul in Paris, his bachelor uncle Maurice Davanne, a curator at the Sainte-Geneviève Library in Paris, and his grandfather Alphonse Davanne, a wealthy businessman and enthusiastic amateur photographer who at one time was president of the Société Française de Photographie. In this universe that was possibly a little too virile, Francis escaped boredom by painting. In 1895, after school, he signed up at the École des Arts Décoratifs with Braque and Marie Laurencin as his teachers. In 1899, Francis Picabia joined the Salon des Artistes Français thanks to his painting Une Rue aux Martigues. At the start of the 20th century, his painting owed a great deal to impressionism. He showed at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, but also in galleries such as that of Berthe Weill or at the Galerie Haussmann. His paintings sold well. In 1908, Francis Picabia met Gabrielle Buffet, a young avant-garde musician who encouraged him to continue his research. Supported by his personal fortune, he gradually shook off his ties with his synthetic style and his dealers to trace a path through the 20th century’s “isms”: fauvism, futurism, cubism and orphism. His style stretched in all directions and adapted itself to every constraint, every manifesto. Some of his...

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Trent Morse: Ballpoint Pens as a Serious Art-Making Medium

Featuring 30 artists from around the globe, Ballpoint Art, the first compendium of art made with ballpoint pens was published in 2016. These artists are producing amazing masterpieces with this humble tool, from densely layered portraits to abstract scribbles. AMA spoke with the author, Trent Morse, who lives in Brooklyn.   What is your background? I have always been very interested in art. I liked to draw little stick figures, war scenes and desert islands when I was a child growing up in Tacoma, Washington. I studied graphic design in high school and at the University of Washington, where I really got into art history and changed my major, even though a bachelor’s degree in art history has no real career prospects. I studied pretty diverse subjects there, from tribal art to contemporary West Coast art. After university, I spent a year in Guangzhou, China, teaching English and wrote my first magazine piece, for That’s Guangzhou. After returning to the United States, I worked in a Seattle art gallery and later at a professional photo lab in Portland, Oregon. Then, I moved to New York City for my master’s degree in nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College, where I wrote my journalistic thesis on New York artists who focus on celebrities. After that, I started to write reviews for Saatchi Online Magazine, now called Saatchi Art. I also became the arts editor of a Brooklyn newspaper called WG News+Arts that eventually led me to become an editor of ARTnews. How was your experience working for ARTnews? It was a great experience. I really learned a lot about journalism and writing, such as how to open a paragraph, how to tell a story, which quotes are worth using etcetera. The editor in chief gave me helpful feedback. And I enjoyed...

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London’s Seventeen Gallery opens a New York branch

Dave Hoyland recently inaugurated, on 20 November in New York, Seventeen Gallery’s new address at 214 Bowery on the Lower East Side, not far from the International Center of Photography and the New Museum. The young British gallerist who opened Seventeen Gallery in 2005 in the London district of Shoreditch, has a reputation as a fine talent finder. Defining himself, in an interview with Artnet, as an artist who produces mediocre work, he has, on the other hand, successfully launched post-internet artists including Jon Rafman, Oliver Laric and Hannah...

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Barbara Bloom at David Lewis

David Lewis Gallery in New York has announced that it now represents artist Barbara Bloom. This conceptual artist, born in 1951 in Los Angeles and a pupil of John Baldessari, is often associated with the Pictures Generation movement, known for its critical analysis of the media and its appropriation of images. Her work questions our perception of objects via installations, photographs, paintings and sculptures, and is based on the collection of objects. One of her major installations, The Reign of Narcissism (1989), offers a juxtaposition of objects from different eras, supposed to represent good taste and refinement – notions which the artist questions while making fun of the narcissistic and monomaniac dimension of the collector. In The Collections of Barbara Bloom in 2008, she showed personal objects and works in a self-portrait which demonstrated her artistic quest while playing with the codes of the retrospective. Barbara Bloom’s work is shown all over the world and features in major public collections. The artist recently obtained a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, reports...

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Donald Trump’s win: the culture world reacts

Visibly disturbed by Donald Trump’s election victory, American artists and art professionals have widely expressed their dismay via the media and social networks. Rounding off this press review, Frenchwoman and long-time US resident Véronique Chagnon-Burke, academic director of Christie’s Education in New York, shares her personal views on the event. “We have a lot of work to do to make America smart again,” states Shepard Fairey, designer of the well-known Barack Obama Hope poster, on Artnet. Wavering between disbelief, disappointment and a desire to fight back, artists have reacted in large numbers, following the news of Donald Trump’s victory on 8 November. On social networks, artists who supported Hillary Clinton, whether openly or less openly, have largely expressed their concerns. For the Democrats were the ones who the art world was overwhelmingly rooting for. As well as a few music stars (Madonna, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen…) who got heavily involved in the campaign in the days before the vote, the contemporary-art world also rallied together in favour of Clinton. On 12 September, Larry Gagosian organised the Art for Hillary charity sale, featuring works by Jeff Koons, Chuck Close, Barbara Kruger and Sarah Sze. A little before the results were revealed, it was Barbara Kruger – once again – who created the cover of the New York magazine: a close-up of the new president’s face, labelled with the word “Loser”. This front page, published before the results came out, can be taken as a metaphor of the blindness of the press, with several representatives from the art community acknowledging, following the results, that they had been living “in a bubble”. Adam Moss, the magazine’s editor-in-chief said that he and his team chose the picture “for the three ways in which it could be interpreted: as Trump speaking (single word epithets...

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