The sophomore edition of Frieze Los Angeles came to a close on Sunday, February 16. Frieze Art Fair reported that over the course of four days, 35,000 visitors attended the fair. Attendees included major art collectors like Don and Mera Rubell and Maja Hoffman, prominent museum curators such as Thelma Golden and Hans Ulrich Obrist, artists including Bunny Rogers and Martine Syms, and a substantial showing of celebrities including several that I realized I hadn’t thought about since the early 2000s.
Gallery exhibitors at the fair reported strong sales. With the caveat that art world sales reports should be taken with a grain of salt as they cannot be independently verified, the most expensive painting, a work by Keith Haring, was sold by Gladstone Gallery for $3.75 million, followed by a $2 million Neo Rauch painting sold by David Zwirner. Anish Kapoor’s “Mirror (Gold / Magenta)” (2019), sold by Lisson Gallery, led the sculpture sales at $910,000, while the most expensive work on paper was Julie Mehretu’s “Codex Monotypes” (2018), which was sold for $360,000 by White Cube.
Also at Frieze Los Angeles, Kayne Griffin Corcoran and Pace Gallery collaborated on a well-received booth of work by Light and Space artist James Turrell. Proceeds from sales benefited Roden Crater, Turrell’s formidable land art project — begun in the 1970s and still unfinished — in a volcanic cone in Northern Arizona. The presentation drew the attention of model and Kardashian family member Kendall Jenner, who purchased a piece from Turrell’s “Glass” series (2006–ongoing). Mark Pincus, the billionaire entrepreneur who founded the gaming company Zynga, also gave money to Roden Crater this week, donating $3 million to the project.
29 works from the Abraaj Group Art Prize collection have been acquired by the private Saudi art foundation Art Jameel in Dubai, where they were originally intended for a long-term loan. Abraaj Group, a private equity firm with a substantial art collection, held the prize from 2009 until 2018, when the company folded. The prize awarded artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, including Wael Shawky and Shezad Dawood, $100,000 to produce work that would premiere at Art Dubai and then enter the Abraaj Group’s collection. The collection was largely liquidated and dispersed, but these valuable Art Prize works — with the exception of Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s “Walled Unwalled” (2018), which the artist retained — stayed together.
The Library of Congress announced the acquisition of nearly 100,000 photographs, negatives, and transparencies by photographer Shawn Walker. Walker was a founding member of the Kamoinge Workshop, a Harlem-based black photography collective established in 1963 in response to the discrimination that black photographers faced from mainstream publications at the time. In addition to acquiring Walker’s entire archive, the Library of Congress also received a donation from Walker of 2,500 items including prints and audio recordings related to the Kamoinge Workshop. This July, an exhibition on the Kamoinge Workshop will travel from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to in Richmond to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Blank Forms, a nonprofit organization in Brooklyn centered around the sometimes difficult task of preserving and promoting time-based art practices, brokered the donation of the archives of the late Maryanne Amacher, an experimental composer and pioneering sound artist who was known for her ambitious fixed-duration sound installations, to the New York Public Library. The donation includes tapes, writings, performance materials, and custom-made electronic music tools. Blank Forms also announced the formation of the Maryanne Amacher Foundation.
Phillips London held its 20th Century & Contemporary Art auctions. The Evening Sale, which Artnet called “middling,” realized $27,665,782 with 86% of the lots sold. Anny Shaw at the Art Newspaper notes that nearly 60% of the works were created after 2000. The first lot to the auction block, Amoako Boafo’s “The Lemon Bathing Suit” (2019), sold for $881,550, 14 times its high estimate, and an artist record of $568,110 was set for Tschabalala Self, who is currently the subject of an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston.
The Arts Council England (ACE) released its 2018–2019 report on diversity across England’s 2018–2022 National Portfolio Organizations, a collection of national cultural institutions including galleries, museums, dance companies, and theaters. The results are not encouraging. While ethnic minorities make up 16% of the working-age population in England, minorities comprise only 11% of employees at NPO institutions. Of NPO employees, 47% are female, 6% are LGBTQ, and 6% are disabled. “If organizations are not delivering, they could lose their funding,” said Abid Hussain, ACE’s director of diversity. You can read the full report here.
Correction 2/20/2020 5:37pm: An original version of this article incorrectly stated that the donation of the Maryanne Amacher archives had gone to Blank Forms. However, Blank Forms brokered the donation to the NYPL.
Special Edition: 🖌️Artists’ Signatures ✍️
In this special edition, we investigate what artists’ signatures actually mean, and the fascinating results reveal the multifaceted history of this curious phenomenon.
What Is a Signature in the Internet Age?
As a cryptographic unit for record-keeping, an NFT can be seen as analogous to a signature or an autograph.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
The Meaning of Ancient Greek and Roman Artisan Signatures
What did a signature mean in the ancient world, and how much can we trust what they seem to tell us?
Michelangelo’s Signature and the Myth of Genius
Michelangelo served as a stellar example for future artists who sought status and economic independence.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
Uncovering the Photographer Behind Arshile Gorky’s Most Famous Painting
As we pursue photographer Hovhannes Avedaghayan a fascinating picture begins to emerge of him and the world of which he was part.
100 Years of Artist Signatures in a Detroit Club
The beams in Detroit’s Scarab Club act as a guest book of sorts, carrying a wealth of stories and history, including signatures by Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Isamu Noguchi, and others.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
The Myth of Agency Around Artists’ Signatures
In an art world built on shifting sands, artists’ signatures become symbols of agency for some, and relics of the past for others.
The Women Artists Commemorated on an NYC Sidewalk
The signatures of Rosa Bonheur, Mary Cassatt, and six other historical women artists are engraved on a small stretch of sidewalk on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Met Museum Repatriates 15 Objects to India
The sculptures were all at one point sold by the disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.
Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Placed on Russian “Wanted” List
Tolokonnikova has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin’s regime.