PHILADELPHIA — Abstraction is, by its very nature, an exercise in reduction, in simplifying the elements of form, material, and subject matter to their very base, or one might say, to the very limits of where one can possibly go.
Manifesta 10, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art scheduled to open in the summer of 2014 at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, has received its fair share of publicity these last several weeks.
One could say that paying attention to the minutiae of an artwork is often necessary to digesting and understanding it. Where would we be today if viewers overlooked the borders of Piet Mondrian’s paintings? Indeed, it is with a subtle eye that Judith Braun’s most recent exhibition at Joe Sheftel Gallery should be viewed.
How much is one minute of your time worth? Two rubles (6 US cents), perhaps? That’s what the founders of Tsiferblat think. Tsiferblat, or “clockface” in English, refers to a set of open-to-the-public, almost-free spaces that have recently popped up all over Eastern Europe. The concept is quite simple: you receive access to a communal space for a fee of 2 rubles per minute, all while carrying around a vintage-style clock. There’s free tea and coffee, comfortable chairs and wi-fi. There’s even a kitchen.
If someone were to tell me that I’d have to walk for an hour and a half down a number of unknown streets in the southern part of central Moscow to get from the main building of the State Tretyakov Gallery at 10 Lavrushinsky Lane to its 20th-century counterpart at 10 Krymsky Val, I’d still do it again in a heartbeat. That’s because the Tretyakov Gallery at 10 Krymsky Val houses what is arguably the best collection of 20th-century Russian art I have ever seen.
There is possibly no better place to witness the titans of the art market — the auction houses — duke it out than in New York. But ever wonder what they’re all about? Here’s a straightforward guide.