We were going to write a blog post titled “Vanessa Beecroft is the Rachel Dolezal of the Art World” and then realized what an unfair comparison that is. Beecroft’s appropriations of blackness are so, so much worse. This is not a post about stupid things someone has said once, twice, or in the case of Beecroft, many, many times. This is a post about how systemic racism cannot be wished away: “If I don’t call myself white, maybe I am not,” says Beecroft in “The Bodies Artist,” a profile published online today on the Cut.
Macon Georgia’s Mill Hill Arts Village is a utopian vision of inclusive planning, permanently affordable housing stock, and community arts programming. So why were resident artists Samantha Hill and Ed Woodham fired? They believe they uncovered a gentrification scheme, but the Macon Arts Alliance tells a different, incomplete story.
According to sources speaking anonymously with Art F City, Jeff Koons’ mammoth studio operation in Chelsea has laid off 14 of its night crew workers who were attempting to unionize and one day crew member who was friendly with those night crew organizers.
I decided to test drive the much-discussed art purchasing app Wydr today. It’s been described as “Tinder for art,” which is a little misleading. Basically, it’s more of a shopping app than a social networking platform. You can swipe right to favorite an artwork, or left to say “not my type.” If something catches your eye, you can tap on the work, see the artist’s name and purchase information, and add it to your shopping basket. For the past hour or so, I’ve been doing a lot of swiping left.
The rise of art fairs has not been all that bad. Yes, we’re stuck with the same galleries showing the same work, but we’ve also seen a rise in alternative venues, the most common being art book fairs. Whether it’s LA or New York, the fairs often have a frenetic energy, particularly the sections dedicated to artist-made zines, which in addition to artist books, often include performances, the sale of related ephemera (think buttons and stickers) and zealous trading. Fair sections divide exhibitors by rare book dealers, distributors and artists. Even the poorest of us can afford something at the fair, which means every visitor can leave with a sense of being able to directly support the livelihood of artists.
Here in Toronto, the arrival of the new Toronto Art Book Fair (TOABF) — which opens today in a historic schoolhouse in the West End, and runs to the end of this weekend — has been enthusiastically received by the local arts community. In fact, much of my Instagram has been filled for the past week with artists like Micah Lexier and Lido Pimienta proudly snapping the wares they’ll be selling. With a tightly-curated 75 vendors participating, it appears the free public event has been far more successful than either Art Toronto or the recently-ended Feature in attracting the involvement of international vendors. Art Toronto mostly attracts galleries outside Canada under its FOCUS curated section (for the 2016 edition in October, it’ll be Latin America) and because Feature was organized by Montreal’s Association des galeries d’art contemporain, it was criticized by local gallerists for its Quebec-heavy regionalism. Further, since Toronto isn’t a “traditional art capital”, those fairs have been challenged in representing a discerning edit of the local commercial gallery scene.
Will the days of describing the internet as an ungentrified space finally be over? As the internet becomes an overcrowded domain space, ICANN’s new generic Top Level Domain (TLD) program is showing signs of an emerging virtual real estate boom—or at least that’s been the story for the last several years.
The concentration of media ownership is never a good thing. Integration leads to anticompetitive behaviour in the marketplace — especially among publications owned by the same parent company. So should the art world be concerned by the recent news that Brant Publications, owned by powerhouse collector Peter Brant, now owns all the assets of Art in America, The Magazine Antiques, Modern Magazine and ARTnews, which joins his flagship, Interview Magazine?
It depends on how you look at it. Brant was already a majority stakeholder, which gave him full control over the companies. In July 2015, as the Observer reported, Brant Publications sold its 100% ownership of Art in America to Artnews S.A., the publicly-traded company based in Warsaw, Poland that owned ARTnews. BMP Media, a Brant subsidiary then purchased a 60% stake in ARTnews for $16.9 million.
So the only difference now is that he owns 100% of the stock. The question then arises: now that ARTnews is under private ownership, how will that impact its coverage moving forward, especially since it’s no longer a publicly-held media entity?
Toronto, as a whole, is not a very accessible city. While institutions like the Art Gallery of Ontario have multi-sensory and ASL interpreter tours, there are still stairs everywhere, and it’s not uncommon for smaller galleries or artist-run spaces to apologetically note their washrooms aren’t wheelchair accessible.
The event was co-presented by the British Council and Tangled Art + Disability. The local performing arts cum multidisciplinary non-profit supports artists with disabilities, and now has a new exhibition space. And it’s not just any space. They’ve moved into 401 Richmond, a building filled with high profile artist-run centers like A Space, YYZ and Gallery 44. It’s an entrenched arts hub that’s doesn’t just give a gallery space to any organization.
Is recent art history repeating itself? An increasingly long roster of new all-women group exhibitions and their corresponding press seem to suggest so. From blue-chip stalwarts Hauser Wirth & Schimmel and Saatchi to smaller project and artist-run spaces to last night’s Marc Straus opening If Only Bella Abzug Were Here, are all-female group shows an indication of a permanent commitment to gender equality in the art world or is it just another doomed-to-disappear trend?