Photography & Art

Paris Exhibition Unveils Intrigues of Espionage

Melissa Fares

"The exhibition 'Secret Wars' presents the means of action at the disposal of political and military men in times of war and in times of peace," said the exhibition's curator, Christophe Bertrand. "In times of peace, to defend interests where diplomacy is inefficient and where heavily armed military intervention is unthinkable. And in times of war, it's also about wars (that) ... destabilize and disorganize the enemy before a major commitment of force."

The Legal Tussle Over a Giacometti Art Trove

John Miller

A rich trove of drawings by Alberto Giacometti and photographs of the renowned sculptor and artist has been lying in sealed storage cartons in a Swiss museum for more than two years due to a legal dispute over their rightful ownership. Swiss prosecutors said they had ordered the seizure of the collection pending a decision by a French court after the Paris-based Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation alleged that the works had been stolen decades ago.

‘Photography and Foul Play’ at the Met

Sandra Bertrand

Unquestionably, this is one exhibition that gives the viewer plenty to look at.  As a walk along history’s treadmill, it divvies up a rich array of humanity—replete with all its smiles and snarls.  Samuel G. Szabo (1854-61) was an early bird who snagged shoplifters, wife beaters, pickpockets, burglars and highwaymen in his lens, then meticulously placed them in an album with oval cutout frames and descriptions in the finest calligraphy.  

A Flaming Passion: The Matchstick Art of Janusz Urbanski

Janusz Chmieleswski and Kacper Pempel

Janusz Urbanski has a one of a kind chessboard he never plays, a personalized guitar he does not strum and a boat he cannot sail. Why? They are all made from tens of thousands of matches. For the last 40 years, the former Polish miner and ironworker has harbored a passion to build replicas of objects, buildings and famous sites with just matchsticks and glue.

The Unruly Isaac Mizrahi at The Jewish Museum

Sandra Bertrand

From the streets of Flatbush, Brooklyn to the lofty runways of high fashion, designer Isaac Mizrahi broke all the rules.  Just consider:  Adidas sneakers in place of spike heels, handbags worn as hats, a simple T-shirt paired with a taffeta ball gown skirt.  On view at The Jewish Museum in Manhattan, this mesmerizing new exhibit Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History, shows how one man turned the fashion world on its head and put it back on its feet—his way.  

French Revolutionary Artist Vigee Le Brun Reigns Supreme at the Met

Sandra Bertrand

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s current exhibit, Vigee Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France, fast on the heels of its showing at the Grand Palais in Paris, is long overdue.  Katherine Baetjer, Curator in the Department of European Paintings, remarked to Roberta Smith in the New York Times’ own coverage, that it was the first time in her 40 years in the Department that a monographic exhibition has been held for a woman artist.  

China’s Economic Slowdown and the Art Market

Elizabeth Dilts

Wealthy Chinese art collectors had driven art sales skyward in recent years for Chinese and Western art, such as the Modigliani nude that was bought by an anonymous Chinese buyer last year for $170.4 million, the second highest price ever paid at auction. But at New York's Asia Week, 10 days of auctions and gallery tours held in mid-March that are considered a barometer for the Asian art market, Sotheby's reported that aggregate sales slumped to the lowest since 2013.

Picasso’s Sculpture Show at MOMA – The Artist’s Giant Playpen

Sandra Bertrand

Occupying the entire fourth floor galleries, the exhibit allows the spectator to experience many enthralling works in the round, returning to re-examine, question, and wonder at the prolific, unstoppable genius of the man.   A handy takeaway pamphlet with sketches and accompanying descriptions eliminates the need for wall notes.  This reinvention of gallery space to accommodate approximately 140 sculptures is the handiwork of curators Ann Temkin and Anne Umland, with the assistance of Virginie Perdrisot, Curator of Sculptures and Ceramics at the Musee National Picasso in Paris. 

Prices for Southeast Asian Art Skyrocket

Fathin Ungku

With its Southeast Asian auctions now anchored in Hong Kong, the world's biggest art market, Sotheby's says its sales have improved sharply: last year it sold HK$350 million ($45.16 million) of art by the region's artists. Rival auctioneers Christie's says that in November 2011 it sold six Singapore art works for a shade over HK$2.7 million, while at an auction in May of this year it sold 30 works for HK$19.8 million.

MOMA Features Anti-Authoritarian Art From Eastern Europe, Latin America

Sandra Bertrand

If art for art’s sake is your main reason for visiting the Museum of Modern Art’s latest cross-current crazy quilt, Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960-1980, then this exhibit may not be for you.   But if art as persuasion, as process, as anti-authoritarian political protest whets your curiosity, then go.  It’s an in-your-face look backwards—when the Prague spring revolts were in full bloom and uprisings from Cuba to Argentina were creating seismic changes in public sensibility. 


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