2015: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

From appropriation to plagiarism, and vandalism to artistic destruction, 2015 was a busy year. Here are some of the art world’s highs and lows.

 

ABOVE: Pierre-Auguste Renior, Dance at Bougival, 1883, oil on canvas, 71.6 x 38.6 inches, © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston [2015]

The Good

The Chinese government gave Ai Weiwei his passport back after taking it away from him four years ago. His first trip was to Germany, where he visited his son.

Canada picks Geoffrey Farmer to represent them in Venice. Being chosen is a huge honor. Here’s hoping Farmer’s ready for the 2017 edition.

While former mafia boss Egidio “Brutus” Coppola sits behind bars, his former villa on the outskirts of Naples is set to play host to exhibitions from various galleries, among them, the Uffizi  in Florence.

The Bad

This summer, there was a show of appropriated Instagram shots “by” Richard Prince. Now, there’s a lawsuit against Jeff Koons for his appropriation of a 1986 gin ad. This isn’t the first time Koons and Prince have been accused of stealing.

ISIS continues to destroy heritage sites. Evil, pure and simple.

First, Anish Kapoor’s iconic sculpture ‘Cloud Gate’ was duplicated and unveiled in the Chinese city of Karapay. Then, a sculpture (on display at Versailles) was vandalized three times. To make matters worse, a French court ordered Kapoor to clean it all up.

The Funny

This fall, an anti-Renoir group protested outside the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Their goal? The removal of all Renoir’s paintings from the museum collection. This is pretty silly, especially when you consider what passes for art these days.

Courts upheld a ban that would prevent a man from entering the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The accused had threatened to urinate on paintings by Marlene Dumas and Luc Tuymans. His goal? To “improve them with a well-aimed stream.”

In May, Saltz and David Wallace-Wells wrote an article titled How and Why We Started Taking Kim Kardashian Seriously (and What She Teaches Us About the State of Criticism). I’m a big fan of Saltz, but man! That’s too much.

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Critiquing the Critics

All artists love art (duh), and every artist needs to stay informed. Here is a quick list of critics we should all follow.

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ABOVE: Jerry Saltz, Photo: The Knight Foundation

I love art, and I love to read about it. That said, I am not a fan of Artspeak, and I’ve little interest in PHD hyperbole.

If you’re into well-formulated opinions – written in plain English – you’ll love the following critics:

Jerry Saltz – New York Magazine

My favorite art critic. Saltz is all about accessibility. He often responds to comments on his articles, is a Facebook pro-star, and even did a Reddit AMA.

Roberta Smith – New York Times

Married to Jerry Saltz, Smith is by far the more formal of the two. Even so, her reviews are clear and insightful.

Adrian Searle – UK Guardian

Searle loves the camera (in a good way), and his video reviews are often excellent. His writing isn’t bad either.

Jonathan Jones – UK Guardian

His articles are short. So are the tempers in the comments section.

Tyler Green – Modern Art Notes

I have a soft spot for Tyler Green. He reviewed a group show I was in (glowingly).

Paddy Johnson – Art F City

Although New York based, Johnson has covered many of the art world’s biggest fairs. She even reviewed Art Toronto (albeit, not glowingly).

Hrag Vartanian – Hyperallergic

If you’re at all into contemporary art, Hyperallergic is a must read.