Dalí and Vezzoli: Art in a Celebrity-Obsessed World

The Divine Dalí: that’s how artist Salvador Dalí referred to himself. “I am the supreme swine,” he once told an interviewer. “The symbol of perfection is the pig.” After Marcel Duchamp, but before Andy Warhol, Dalí understood how to manipulate the press to create a mass-media image of celebrity, a position that few visual artists are able to hold. Fast-forward to the present, and we find the incomparable Francesco Vezzoli, a charismatic artist who has the ability to woo Helen Mirren, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, and Lady Gaga to take part in his outrageous productions. With a stroke of genius, Stockholm’s Moderna Museet has brought Dalí and Vezzoli together in an exhibition that explores their mutual interest in fame, fortune, and creativity. … Read More

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Tim Burton’s Goth Art Wows Crowds at MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art has blown the lid off Tim Burton’s best-kept secret: he isn’t just an imaginative filmmaker; he’s also an amazingly talented artist. Burton’s retrospective, which is spread throughout the museum, focuses on the director’s 14 feature films, while also offering drawings, paintings, photographs, sketchbooks, props, and short films that have never previously been exhibited. Spanning a lifetime of creativity — from his teenage drawings and college films to character sketches from his upcoming Alice in Wonderland movie — Burton’s Gothic vision is as captivating as it is astounding. … Read More

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Robert Frank and Jacob Holdt: Documenting America

Outsiders often observe a side of society that those living within naively overlook or simply accept. Such are the situations in Swiss photographer Robert Frank’s seminal series of black-and-white photos, The Americans, which he shot during road trips across the US in the mid-‘50s; and Danish photographer Jacob Holdt’s American Pictures, a series of color snapshots that he made while crisscrossing the US from 1970 to 1975. Two current solo shows of these inquisitive artists’ work allow us the opportunity to look back at the turbulent times they documented and to consider where America is going… Read More

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Fair City: Art in Miami

Art Basel’s decision to choose Miami Beach for the location of an American outpost for its high-powered Swiss art fair was pure genius. Now in its eighth edition, Art Basel Miami Beach continues to be the most exciting place for viewing modern and contemporary art and for networking and partying with fellow players. Add the numerous satellite fairs, museum and gallery exhibitions, and special events to the mix and it makes for a dynamic week of art, sand, sun, and fun.

More than 250 galleries from 33 countries offer some 2,000 artists in the various sections of the fair this year. The layout has been revamped, and the Art Positions section, which consists of younger galleries showing cutting-edge projects, has been brought into the main hall from the shipping containers at Collins Park. The park site, which leads to the beach, has been renamed Oceanfront, where fair curators and Creative Time are collaborating to present a lively mix of free talks, videos, and performances. LA artist Pae White has turned Oceanfront into a visually dynamic miniature city that winds through the sand. … Read More

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Terence Koh Speaks in Tongues at the National Arts Club

The talented Mr. Terence Koh, whose poetic and provocative artworks have been labeled both brilliant and the emperor’s new clothes, was at his best last week when he delivered the performance piece Art History 1642-2009 at New York’s venerable National Arts Club. Speaking to a packed house of art-world sophisticates in a completely unintelligible language, he railed, whispered, gestured, and danced his way through a visually entertaining lecture about art since the time of Goya. … Read More

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Design Miami Makes a Stylish Return

What’s art without design? The two pursuits go hand in hand, and when Design Miami began five years ago, it was the perfect compliment to Art Basel Miami Beach. The two fairs work in harmony, but this year, Design Miami takes the lead by starting a day earlier than its bigger brother. Featuring modern and contemporary design objects from dealers from around the world, as well as solo displays, satellite exhibitions, pop-up shows, panel discussions, performances, and the designer of the year award, Design Miami transforms the already vital Miami Design District into the go-to place for international design… Read More

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Paris Photo Brightens the City of Light

Numerous cities hold photography fairs and festivals, but none do it as well as the City of Light. Back for its 13th edition, Paris Photo takes over the Carrousel du Louvre to present 19th-century, modern, and contemporary photography by 102 exhibitors, including 89 galleries and 13 publishers from 23 countries. With special exhibitions of Arab and Iranian photography, the BMW Prize for the best artist represented by a gallery at the fair, and a spotlight on young talent, Paris Photo offers the opportunity to explore a common history and photography now. … Read More

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Painting Now: Two New Books Explore the Medium

In the hierarchy of art, painting has always been at the top of the heap. The medium lends itself to the depiction of life, death, and desires, as well as to the investigation of imaginary, abstract forms. Two new Phaidon Press tomes, Painting Today and Painting Abstraction: New Elements in Abstract Painting, offer an exciting overview of painting in every conceivable genre — from ambiguous abstraction to hybrid pictures.

Painting Today presents an international roundup of the best painters of the past 40 years. Written by Tony Godfrey, a 20-year veteran at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, the volume begins with a look at the Global Scene, which includes Australian aboriginal painter Uta Uta Tjangala, Korean abstractionist Lee Ufan, and the Colombian portrayer of fat-figured people Fernando Botero. The next chapter examines Western Traditions in contemporary painting, featuring Richard Prince’s riffs on Willem de Kooning’s abstract women, Bridget Riley’s op-art patterns, and Alex Katz’s formal figurative studies, among others. … Read More

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Cory Arcangel: An Unassuming Master of New Media

A cat playing the piano is funny, but a sequence of cats playing an atonal composition by Arnold Schoenberg is both brilliant and absurd. One of the latest works from digital artist Cory Arcangel, Drei Klavierstucke, Op.11 is a compilation of fragments from found YouTube videos that captures a variety of cats walking on piano keys, each producing a note. Edited together, they recreate a dynamic piece of modernist music. … Read More

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Performa 09: Visual Art Performance in NYC

Performa, a biennial of new visual art performance, returns to New York for its third edition at venues throughout the city for three weeks in November. Eleven new commissions and six New York premieres are featured in the three-week program, while the biennial kicks off with a unique food event that’s billed as an installation-cum-happening. Blurring the boundaries between visual art, music, dance, and other media, more than 150 international artists are participating in more than110 events at an array of public and private sites. … Read More

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