One of England’s most famous potters—and the author of the surprise bestseller The Hare with Amber Eyes—makes his American debut today at Gagosian Gallery. He talks to Iain Millar about the writing and potting life—and his next book on the color white.
“Being trapped by genre is pathetic,” says Edmund de Waal. Given what he’s done, it’s hard to take issue.
His book The Hare with the Amber Eyes, a record of the travels of a collection of tiny Japanese Netsuke carvings in the hands of family members, enduring fortune and folly across Europe and Japan over three centuries, sold by the truckload and won a shelf of awards. By then he had confirmed his position as one of the leading ceramic artists of his generation, exhibiting at the best museums and selling to the pickiest collectors. His art has brought him to New York, where he’s been signed up by Larry Gagosian for his first US show at the gallery on Madison Avenue.
Edmund de Waal in his studio in London on July 3, 2013. (Andrew Testa/The New York Times, via Redux)
He’s been making pots since he was five and now he’s 48 or thereabouts. For a long time these have been mostly white or very nearly so, simple in form and mostly arranged in multiples displayed in cabinets and vitrines, often juxtaposed with other objects in unconventional settings, the roof of a museum gallery, say, or in the elaborately decorated rooms of a country house. And he’s even working on a new book about the color white.
The artist, who has become famous for his use of text-art installations, is the subject of a sweeping new exhibition in New York this month. He talks to Amelia Martyn-Hemphill.
Woven in electric lights, plastered on billboards, and even written in fire, Robert Montgomery’s installations have a tendency to burn, fade—even disintegrate. But once seen, his words are unforgettable.
Inspired by the situationist text-art movement of the 1960s, the artist’s poetic pieces present a subversive take on advertising culture and explore the unstable spectacle of modern urban life.
From September 12 to October 26, New York’s C24 gallery will present an in-depth show of the last four years of Montgomery’s work: a distilled concoction of poetry, philosophy, and street art. The collection will bring together graphic poems (which have appeared on billboards in Berlin, London, and Paris) as well as major new light works, called Recycled Sunlight Pieces, and a large-scale Fire Poem. Montgomery will also install a series of pieces on the city streets, placing his works back into the communal, urban environments that generated them.
Creates new market for artists and buyers.
Forget online dating; try falling in love with artwork…online. Novices to art collecting no longer have to feel intimidated by “elitist” institutions thanks to the launch of Amazon Art and over 300 like-minded platforms. This is also good news for artists. Living in art capitals or schmoozing their way into physical gallery representation is becoming less of an obstacle for success. While the prestige may always lie in these spaces, some galleries themselves are accepting that the art world is migrating to the interweb. Even better news—71 percent of collectors are admitting to having dabbled in the act of online purchases.
Mogul brings public art to NYC gas station.
What would you do with a rundown gas station? Art collector and real estate mogul Michael Shvo, with the help of the Paul Kasmin Gallery, has decided to momentarily convert a Getty station in Manhattan’s high-end gallery neighborhood of Chelsea into a pop-up art space that will rotate exhibitions well into next year. Transformed into a rolling meadow, the first series will be François-Xavier Lalanne’s concrete sheep. Shvo’s future plans are to construct yet another luxury condo, but fear not—the developers hope to incorporate comparable projects within the final construction. Lalanne’s “Sheep” will be on view to the public from Sept. 16—Oct. 20 at 239 Tenth Avenue in West Chelsea.
The Daily Pic: In 1936, the Spaniard captured elegance without settling for it.
Picasso's "Dora Maar with Green Fingernails" is now on view in the renovated home of the Berggruen collection, one of the state museums in Berlin. The space is so tidy and bon-bourgeois that it comes close to denying the risk championed by its modernist pictures: daring visual experiments are almost reduced to being tasteful decoration. In this 1936 Picasso, however, you see how the Spaniard managed the trick of combining a winning and accurate vision of bourgeois elegance, and a radical style that stays in tension with it. This is elegance viewed and understood by an art that refuses to settle for it.
The Daily Pic: The lost canvas that reemerged today was already known, as a fake.
This “new” Van Gogh was announced this morning in The New York Times, with the title “Sunset at Montmajour.” (Click on the image to zoom in.) And as usual in these matters, the picture has in fact been in circulation for ages—all that’s “new” is that this time around, experts have decided that it is in fact an authentic van Gogh, as they denied when they were shown the same picture in 1991, and also back in 1908.
I buy the latest judgment (given the documentary evidence, it’s hard to see why the painting was seen as fake before), but it is always worth remembering that, as I’ve often said, the whole business of authentication is a mug’s game. For me, maybe the most interesting thing about the rediscovered piece is the letter of July 4, 1888, in which van Gogh describes the landscape he’d been inspired by the previous day: “It was romantic, it couldn’t be more so, à la Monticello, the sun was pouring its very yellow rays over the bushes and the ground, absolutely a shower of gold. And all the lines were beautiful; the whole scene had charming nobility.” It makes clear the huge influence on van Gogh of Adolphe Monticelli, a once-famous painter from Marseille whom Cézanne befriended and van Gogh idolized, and who has since almost disappeared from view. The letter—and the painting—also show that van Gogh had a conservative, traditional side, committed to old-fashioned ideas about Romantic beauty and the nobility of nature. With luck, the headlines generated by this pseudo-find will fight the popular idea of van Gogh as a lone radical who went out on a limb.
The Daily Pic: The American Popster perfectly suits a show about a divided Germany.
I just came across Warhol’s great “Double Elvis” hanging in a permanent-collection installation called “Divided Heaven”, at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Although the show focused on German modern art, and the tensions between its Eastern and Western versions, the Warhol canvas looked great and fit right in, even installed on the strange Chinese-themed wallpaper of Thomas Bayrle. Warhol gives us Elvis as rock star, as gunslinger, as consumer icon, as bullion that’s starting to tarnish. This immaculate amalgam of echt American culture then gets dumped into the troubled world of Cold War Germany, where it seems to hold equal parts promise and threat and warning.
Iconic fashion photographer Richard Avedon is the subject of a new show at Gagosian Gallery in London. See the highlights.
Fashion—and the role of women in the industry—changed dramatically in the second half of the 20th century. Almost nowhere was that transition as apparent as in the work of Richard Avedon, the legendary photographer who shot countless editorials for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and many other titles. Now, in anticipation of an all-encompassing exhibition in November at Gagosian Beverly Hills, Gagosian London will run a selection of works titled Avedon: Women.
The exhibition will feature some of Avedon’s famous photographs of models in motion—featuring household names like Ingrid Boulting, Gisele Bündchen, and Twiggy.
Jean Shrimpton, evening dress Cardin, Paris, January 1970. (© The Richard Avedon Foundation)
As The New York Times noted upon his death in 2004, “Avedon revolutionized the 20th-century art of fashion photography, imbuing it with touches of both gritty realism and outrageous fantasy and instilling it with a relentlessly experimental drive.” He is the only photographer to have had two major exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This time work includes Barack Obama.
Talk about a cock fight. A week after four artworks depicting the Russian president in women’s lingerie were confiscated from a Russian gallery, a new work has been seized by Russian authorities. The latest piece, titled Wrestling, shows Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama in a nude “sword fight.” Both men sport massive, um, appendages, supposedly a comment on the political tension between the two countries, as artist Vera Donskaya-Khilko told The Huffington Post. However, the homoerotic overtones can also be read as a direct slap in the face to Putin as he comes under fire for controversial laws curtailing gay rights. Tochka G (G Spot), the erotica museum that housed the original artwork, has been shut down and the owner is reportedly in police custody.
Displays iconic prize-winning images.
As public opinion turned against the Vietnam War, photography, particularly graphic images, played an essential role in the changing cultural tide. The Associated Press was one of the major players in exposing the harsh reality of Vietnam to American citizens. On the heels of the anniversary, the prize-winning images are being put on display for the general public and reproduced in a book. The photographs cover a wide variety of subjects from that period, ranging from President Kennedy with troops fresh from the battlefield to tortured prisoners and casualties. At that time, journalists were free to document battle zones without censorship—a luxury some experts say is not available today. The exhibition goes on view at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea in New York on October 24. For the exhibit, veterans, journalists, and fellow artists gave their takes on the images. The accompanying book, Vietnam: The Real War, is due out October 1.
The Daily Pic: The Italian was such a glutton for order, he could have been the first conceptualist.
I caught this "Morandi" in the home of an artist in Berlin – and I put the Italian's authorship in scare quotes because though the piece is certainly by old Giorgio, it's not really his art. It's a piece of craft paper the Italian used to cover the table where he set up his bottles and vases, before painting them. It seems he would record their exact locations (hence the circles on this template) so that he could put a still life of bottles back exactly as it was, and paint it over several different sittings when the daylight was just so. Weirdly, that practice, and this template, seem to connect Morandi to the instruction-set Conceptualists of the later 1960s. The conservative Morandi (as I've billed him before) and radical Sol LeWitt make an odd couple, by any lights.
In attempt to raise $30 million.
Some rainy-day funds are cooler than others. In an effort to raise more than $30 million to finance its initiatives, the Willem de Kooning Foundation has signed on with the Gagosian Gallery to sell a series of the Dutch artist’s paintings. This November, 10 of de Kooning’s later works, produced from 1983 to ’85, including de Kooning’s Privileged (Untitled XX), will exhibit at the gallery in New York City. The gallery is known for its exhibitions, which often compete with museums in terms of buzz and long lines—and perhaps that kind of noise will increase the value. Plus, a gallery show prevents the potential humiliation of public scrutiny when a painting doesn’t sell (and therefore has a decreased value). The show will allow a public viewing from November 8 through December 21 and then privately sell individual pieces to collectors.
The Daily Pic: With his new, life-size panoramas, Yadegar Asisi shows us worlds that have disappeared.
We all know that the panorama was one of the great popular art forms of the 19th century, long since extinct – except that this new one, of a city divided, is up in Berlin now and is attracting crowds. It's by the German-Persian artist Yadegar Asisi, and it's just the latest of the several panoramas that he's made, and that have been equally popular. He says he can't keep up with demand. They aren't great art – Asisi's use of photography is a bit klutzy – but they seem to fill some kind of hole in our visual culture. Maybe we still long to sink our eyes into a world that stands still, when the real thing flies by so fast.