Hey, do you feel like the art world is upside down? In her disco standard “Upside Down,” Diana Ross sings about how her boyfriend is unfaithful, but she looks the other way because “no one makes me feel like you do.” Unlike Diana, I’m not comfortable when things are upside down, and I never look the other way. New year, new beginning, time to think about what doesn’t make sense.… Read more
Bogie knew, “you must remember this …” Here are a few art world surprises to remember, and some we’d rather forget.
The Chelsea Flood: Who could ever have imagined that a silly old hurricane would sink the entire Chelsea art district and parts of Red Hook? Sandy not only inundated basement storages; first-floor galleries had their key November exhibitions floating in six feet of dirty seawater. I walked… Read more
To boldly go where I have never collected before
As in years past, my trepidations about Art Basel Miami Beach began days before my departure. This time it started in the waiting room of my uptown doctor’s office, when one patient called out to another: “Hey Freddie, when d-y’a get ta Miami?” Freddie replied, “Can’t make it till Thursday—we’ll rock.” I knew then that the art world had… Read more
NOT PUBLISHED BY THE NEW YORK OBSERVER
Auction season is once again upon us, time to write about the weighty volume of art for sale, and wonder what people will pay for it. I’m simply overwhelmed by the quantity of valuable artworks that need to sell (though much of it has essentially been pre-sold, through third party guaranties). Add all this to a disastrous flooding… Read more
Charm, Beauty and Creativity, The Three Graces of Richard Phillips
Corneille peint les hommes comme ils devraient être, Racine les peint tels qu’ils sont.
“Corneille depicts man as he should be, Racine depicts him as he is.”
In characterizing the famous French tragedians of the 17th century, whose plays focus almost exclusively on passion and politics, the famous essayist and… Read more
Last week, London hosted three major art fairs and several smaller and younger ones, enough to make any sane person wonder: have we reached the point of art fair overkill? I’ve often thought—and written—that the art fair scene has gone overboard, and now I’m not alone. On his Facebook page New York magazine’s art critic Jerry Saltz recently lamented the explosion of art fairs and the new custom among… Read more
This past summer a fifteen-foot Franz West sculpture appeared on the bluffs in Montauk. Franz had recently passed away—he’d been ill for a long while, but his passing was sudden, and so my installation of this work, titled “Eidolon” (ancient Greek for phantom or ghost) would now… Read more
The Metropolitan Museum’s “Regarding Warhol” exhibition groups artworks by 60 artists around works by Andy Warhol, as an homage to his far-reaching influence in the art world. The result is closer to a mob scene than to any semblance of meaningful dialogue, and it wasn’t hard to predict that critics would slam the show—slamming this show was, from the beginning, an easy layup. By this point, it’s almost de rigueur in… Read more
In early 2010, when the news broke that a respected art dealer, Jeffrey Deitch, had been named director of the financially struggling Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the museum’s decision was widely considered a controversial one. This had, of course, happened before: back in the early 1960s, Walter Hopps left his partnership in Los Angeles’s fabled Ferus Gallery to head up the Pasadena Art Museum, where he went on… Read more