Art in Print


Art Dealers Move Out of the Gallery and Into a Taco Bell

The received wisdom in the art world is that the markets through which artists interact with their audience are becoming more corporate and are increasingly ruled by cold, commercial forces that focus more on the bottom line and branding than on creative innovation. Stefania Bortolami, the owner of the Bortolami Gallery in Manhattan, began a series of internal conversations in May 2015 due to her disillusionment with the industry. These conversations resulted in a project called ‘Artist/City’, a continuing effort to move the artists she represents out of her gallery and into the world at large.
She launched this project with the aim to make the work of artists feel less like a packaged product, she said, and “to bring the discourse back to art.” From 1999 to 2005, she worked at Gagosian, where her job at one point was to recruit new artists. Her tenure at the gallery corresponded with part of its precipitous expansion. (Today Gagosian’s empire includes galleries in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Rome, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong.)
“We thought it would be interesting to do something and just simply go the other way,” she said. “Yearlong, not primarily commercial, experimental projects in cities that are museum- and culture-rich but are not considered art hubs.”
So in December, Ms. Borotolami and Emma Fernberger, associate director of the gallery, undertook the first phase of the project, helping Daniel Buren install his paintings of vertical stripes on bedsheets in a private event space in Miami for a year. A second yearlong exhibition followed in May, when Eric Wesley moved his “burrito paintings” to an abandoned Spanish Colonial-style Taco Bell in Cahokia, Ill.
The Bortolami Gallery is not alone in seeking alternatives to the expensive push-the-product ethos that bigness brings. The gallerist Gavin Brown, who is based on the Lower East Side and in Harlem, announced last year that he planned to open a space in a deconsecrated eighth-century church in Rome. And John Berggruen, a California gallery owner, is currently showing works of sculpture in a garden on his 11-acre personal estate in St. Helena.
Via The New York Times


Flaming June will brighten the darkness

On Saturday night the clocks go back, plunging us into a season of darker evenings. We are well into autumn, but Flaming June is back. Lord Leighton’s famous slumbering beauty is returning to her birthplace in west London in all her radiant glory. There, for the first time in more than 120 years, she finds herself reunited with four fellow debutantes, all launched into high-cultural society in the same year. This is a landmark occasion for the lover of Victorian art.
It was a photograph that inspired plans for the latest exhibition at Leighton House in Holland Park. In the spring of 1895, Sir Frederic Leighton set his year’s crop of painted canvases on a row of easels and, as was his custom, organised a Sunday showing in the grand, purpose-built studio that takes up most of an upper floor of his “private palace of art”.
A photographer recorded Leighton’s impressive line-up. His pictures are now temporarily reunited, along with a handful of rare loans from public and private collections, and are being put on show at Leighton House. Together they represent the apogee of the Victorian era. Flaming June: The Making of an Icon tells the extraordinary tale of a picture that was among the most famous and widely reproduced of its era.
Flaming June: The Making of an Icon is at Leighton House Museum, London W14, from November 4 to April 2.
Via The Times

Street Art Heads to the Museum in France

In its latest disruptive move, Ecole 42, a tuition-free, unconventional computer academy founded by the telecom mogul Xavier Niel in 2013, twice a week becomes Art 42, France’s first museum devoted to street art, featuring 150 works from 50 artists, including Banksy, Shephard Fairey and JR.
Nicolas Laugero-Lasserre, 41, a longtime street art collector and the head of ICART, an art management school in Paris, reached out to the academy’s founders soon after it opened and offered his collection to be displayed (for free) throughout the school’s three floors. He estimates the art to be worth hundreds of thousands of euros.
The collection had already been the subject of some 40 public exhibitions in small to medium cultural institutions, galleries and fairs across the country before it took up residence in Ecole 42.
This year, Mr. Laugero-Lasserre suggested that the works — which were mostly produced by artists in their studios to be sold — be accessible to a greater audience, for free, in an effort to further promote street art in an offbeat environment.
Mr. Niel, a former hacker who once broke into the Elysée Palace’s internal network, created France’s first Internet provider, WorldNet, in 1993. In 2000, at the age of 32, he sold the company, racking up €50 million in the process. In 2012, he launched Free Mobile, France’s 4th-largest telecom operator.
Some say that Art 42, self-described as an “anti-museum,” is walking a thin line: is it truly disruptive, or is it merely tapping into a growing fascination with street art, at its core a transgressive art form? “In contemporary art, the argument of transgression and subversion has become commonplace,” said Nathalie Heinich, a sociologist at the CRNS, the national scientific research center, specializing in art history.
Via The New York Times

Art for the people, inside and out, at South London Gallery 

The South London Gallery, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, is now best known for presenting the very best in international contemporary art.  But at the same time it has always kept sight of its original remit “to bring art to the people of South London”. Both these strands are very much in evidence with the unveiling this month of a new permanent garden at the gallery designed by the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco; and also in SLG’s concurrent exhibition of leading Slovakian conceptual artist Roman Ondak, which is entitled “The Source of Art is in the Life of the People”.
Described by Orozco as “a working sculpture that behaves as a garden”, this new addition to South London’s cultural landscape is laid out in segmented interlocking circles that seem close to many of the artist’s paintings and drawings, but are here traced out in uniform brick-sized blocks of York stone (sourced from quarry off-cuts) that also reflect the brickwork of the surrounding buildings as well as the traditional material of London’s pavements. 
A key exhibit that underlines the fact that all our histories can never be anything but subjective is the 100-year-old oak tree that Ondak has brought to South London from his native Slovakia. This has been evenly cut into a hundred circular slices, with each of these discs stamped with what the artist considers to be a key event from the given year - the first is “The Russian Revolution” - and the corresponding year-ring highlighted. 
However, too much temporal chin-stroking is diffused by the riot of scrawled pictures and comments made by local 11- to 18-year-old Peckham adolescents, who were invited  to come in before the show opened and write whatever they wanted high on the gallery walls. 
Via The Telegraph