Albert Oehlen has created a playlist of fourteen tracks on Spotify ranging in genres from free jazz to techno. Featuring musicians such as Steamboat Switzerland and Colin Stetson, the playlist shares the title of his upcoming exhibition at Gagosian, Beverly Hills, in which he interprets and transforms John Graham’s painting Tramonto Spaventoso (Terrifying Sunset) (1940–49). The artist discovered the work by the Russian-born American modernist painter in the 1990s and has been fascinated with it ever since.
Albert Oehlen in his studio, Ispaster, Spain, 2020. Artwork © Albert Oehlen. Photo: Esther Freund
Virtual Studio Visits
Klaus Biesenbach in Conversation with Sarah Sze
In the Virtual Studio Visits series from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, director Klaus Biesenbach digitally connects with artists around the world. Here, he speaks with Sarah Sze in her studio in New York. The pair discuss the development of Sze’s career as an artist, her commitment to public works projects, and her exhibition Night into Day at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, which is on view through May 30, 2021.
Still from “Virtual Studio Visits: Klaus Biesenbach in Conversation with Sarah Sze”
Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists
Ed Ruscha and Rachel Kushner
In the third episode of Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists, novelist Rachel Kushner and Ed Ruscha share memories of Kathy Acker and Walter Hopps, talk about their love of vintage cars, and enjoy a good pun. Rachel Kushner’s The Hard Crowd: Essays, 2000–2010 will be released on April 6 and Ed Ruscha: OKLA, the artist’s first solo exhibition in his home state, is on view at the Oklahoma Contemporary through July 5. Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists brings together luminaries in the fields of art and literature to have the conversations they themselves wish to have. This biweekly web series is a joint production of Artforum and Bookforum, and is sponsored by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York.
Still from “Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists: Ed Ruscha and Rachel Kushner”
In the Absence of Light
Premiering February 9 on HBO, Black Art: In the Absence of Light provides an illuminating introduction to some of the foremost Black visual artists working today. Directed by Sam Pollard, the documentary shines a light on the extraordinary impact of David Driskell’s landmark 1976 exhibition, Two Centuries of Black American Art, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Interweaving insights and context from curators and art historians, as well as interviews with a new generation of Black artists—including Theaster Gates, Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Amy Sherald, and Carrie Mae Weems—the film offers a look at the contributions of Black American artists in today’s contemporary art world.
Theaster Gates in Black Art: In the Absence of Light (2021), directed by Sam Pollard. Photo: courtesy HBO
Jenny Saville and twenty-three other leading figures in the arts, education, communications, and law were photographed wearing masks for Masked, a portrait series by Joanna Vestey. The limited-edition prints are being sold through March 31, 2021, to raise funds for AT The Bus, a charity that provides art therapy programs to school-age children in Oxfordshire and London out of a refitted double-decker bus. To purchase a print, visit www.atthebus.org.uk.
Joanna Vestey, Jenny Saville RA, December 2020, 2020 © Joanna Vestey
Night Vision 20/20
Sarah Sze has created Night Vision 20/20, an immersive mobile app that uses augmented reality to take users, wherever they may be, into a nocturnal dream world. It was developed by the digital agency Cher Ami in conjunction with the artist’s exhibition Night into Day at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris. The visual elements, composed of videos drawn from Sze’s installations, transform the users’ perception of reality through their smartphone screen. Night Vision 20/20 also features a sound piece created by Sze, bringing the user into the artist’s universe and opening the door to a personal and playful exploration of her art. To download the free app, visit the App Store or Google Play Store.
View with Sarah Sze’s augmented reality app Night Vision 20/20
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Georg Baselitz and his wife, Elke, have gifted six landmark paintings to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in honor of its 150th anniversary in 2020. These works are now on view at the museum in Georg Baselitz: Pivotal Turn through July 18, 2021. The portraits, made in 1969, are among the first that Baselitz created using the radical strategy of inversion, in which the pictorial motif is literally turned upside down, enabling the artist to focus on painting’s possibilities, rather than the image of the sitter in direct relationship to the viewer. These portraits of the artist’s friends and associates in the German art world—the journalist Martin G. Buttig, the gallerists Franz Dahlem and Michael Werner, and the collector Karl Rinn—are deeply personal and have remained in the artist’s collection for six decades.
Georg Baseltiz, Der werktätige Dresdener – Porträt M.G.B. (Working Man from Dresden - Portrait of M.G.B), 1969, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of the Baselitz Family, 2020 © Georg Baselitz. Photo: Jochen Littkemann
75th Birthday Poster
To celebrate what would have been the artist’s seventy-fifth birthday this year, the Chris Burden Estate is sharing a free poster that can be downloaded and printed at home. Designed by Estate director Erica Mercado, the poster features an archival drawing by Burden of his plans for Wexner Castle (1990), currently on view at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the exhibition Climate Changing: On Artists, Institutions, and the Social Environment. The Estate will continue to commemorate this important moment throughout the year, sharing updates about the artist through their newsletter.
Poster to commemorate Chris Burden’s seventy-fifth birthday
Nichols Canyon Road
On December 11, 2020, writer, filmmaker, and artist Miranda July released a new short film inspired by David Hockney’s painting Nichols Canyon (1980), alongside an accompanying essay, on Gagosian Quarterly.
July states, “I exited the freeway abruptly at Hollywood Blvd.—it was like deciding at the last minute to go with your lover instead of seeing them off. I mean, not at all, it wasn’t at all like this, unless, as I said, you were living a very restricted life. The road was only fifteen or twenty minutes away from my house. There were hundreds of roads that were only fifteen or twenty minutes away, all radiating in a halo around me; I never drove on any of them anymore.”
Miranda July, Nichols Canyon Road, 2020 (still) © Miranda July
Anselm Kiefer has produced a new series of works for the Panthéon in Paris, including a permanent installation comprising six vitrines, as well as two monumental paintings that are currently on loan. Together with a composition by the French contemporary composer Pascal Dusapin, it forms an ensemble of new works commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron. This marks the first time since 1924 that such a commission has been produced for the Panthéon; the works’ unveiling coincided with Armistice Day, November 11, 2020.
Anselm Kiefer, Qu’est-ce que nous sommes. . . , 2020, installation view, Panthéon, Paris © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Georges Poncet
2020 WSJ Magazine Innovator Award
On November 11, 2020, Titus Kaphar was honored at the 2020 WSJ Magazine Innovator Awards, which has been recognizing inspiring talents from a variety of cultural pursuits for a decade. The musician and producer Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean presented the Art Innovator award to Kaphar, whose work explores the limited representation of Black people in Western painting and whose multidisciplinary arts incubator, NXTHVN, breaks the mold for nonprofit organizations. In the past the red-carpet event has been held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, but this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was filmed. To watch the ceremony, visit the WSJ Magazine’s YouTube channel.
Titus Kaphar in his studio, New Haven, Connecticut, 2020. Artwork © Titus Kaphar
2020 WSJ Magazine Innovator Award
Patti Smith was named the Literature Innovator at the 2020 WSJ Magazine Innovator Awards on November 11, 2020. This year marked the tenth anniversary of the awards, which recognize inspiring talents from a variety of cultural pursuits. The poet, artist, and award-winning memoirist and musician was honored for the indelible mark she has made on American letters and for her decades of revelatory work. Actor Ethan Hawke presented the award during the ceremony, which was filmed this year due to covid-19 restrictions. To watch the ceremony, visit the WSJ Magazine’s YouTube channel.
Patti Smith. Photo: Steven Sebring for WSJ Magazine
Photographers in Focus
In this video, filmed during the installation of the exhibition Jeff Wall at Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York, Jeff Wall discusses the evolution of his process and the role of photography as both an art form and a documentary device. “Photographers in Focus” is a series produced by Nowness that turns the camera on photographers in action.
Still from “Photographers in Focus: Jeff Wall.” Artwork © Jeff Wall
Gallery Climate Coalition
Gagosian has joined the Gallery Climate Coalition, a nonprofit organization aimed at creating a greener and more sustainable art world. Founded by a group of London-based gallerists and art professionals, the organization provides guidelines and resources—including a specifically tailored carbon calculator—to help members work collectively toward reducing their carbon footprints by 50 percent over the next ten years in line with the Paris Agreement, as well as promoting near zero-waste practices.
Taryn Simon, Black Square XXIII. Phoenix canariensis, a date palm native to the Canary Islands, is an invasive species in the state of California. The Los Angeles County Fire Department lists Phoenix canariensis as a fire hazard that should be removed from the vicinity of structures. The scale and severity of California’s fires have escalated markedly since the 1980s due to overgrowth resulting from aggressive fire suppression tactics, climate change, and increased residential construction in forested areas. The Woolsey Fire, which began on November 8, 2018, burned 96,949 acres of land in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, leaving a burn scar that is visible from space., 2019, from the series Black Square, 2006– © Taryn Simon
In collaboration with RxART, Takashi Murakami has transformed the CT/PET Scan Suite at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, by wrapping the walls and CT/PET scanner itself with a vibrant landscape featuring his signature smiling flowers. The installation has turned the once intimidating room—in which over 2,500 scans are performed each year—into an uplifting space, in an effort to alleviate the anxiety that many pediatric patients feel when they receive scans.
Takashi Murakami’s transformation of the CT/PET Scan Suite at the Children’s National Hospital, Washington, DC. Artwork © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. Photo: Kenson Noel
In his New York City studio, Takashi Murakami discusses his three-decade-long practice, in which he blends traditional and modern art techniques to create enormous paintings with a visual power unmatched in contemporary art. This video was produced by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in conjunction with Murakami’s major retrospective The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, presented by the museum in 2017.
Still from “Takashi Murakami.” Artwork © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd. All rights reserved
In this video, Takashi Murakami speaks with Justin Paton, head curator of international art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. The pair discuss the monumental installation at the heart of the museum’s exhibition Japan Supernatural, Murakami’s melding of pop culture and fine art, and his profound interest in reimagining Japanese art history for the present day.
Still from “In Conversation: Takashi Murakami and Justin Paton”
Sally Mann has been awarded the 2020 Centenary Medal by the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) of Great Britain, in recognition of her sustained, significant contribution to the field of photography. Founded in 1853, the RPS aims to make the art and science of photography more widely accessible. The international charitable organization is dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of photography and film, supporting photographers, and inspiring public engagement.
Sally Mann, Georgia, Untitled (Kudzu), 1996 © Sally Mann
Dan Colen × Dover Street Market
Twelve brands create exclusive merchandise to support Sky High Farm
Following their February 2020 partnership, Sky High Farm and Dover Street Market are launching an ambitious yearlong project featuring merchandise collaborations across the industries of fashion, art, film, food, and design. For the first iteration, Sky High Farm founder Dan Colen has selected twelve independently minded brands allied by a shared sense of civic responsibility to create exclusive garments or accessories bearing the farm’s signature artwork—created by Joana Avillez—to be sold online and at Dover Street Market’s New York and Los Angeles locations. Raising both funds and awareness, the collaboration will support Sky High Farm’s commitment to standing up against inequity in our food systems and to providing sustenance, nutrition, healing, and new opportunities for underserved communities.
Sky High Farm T-shirts with illustrations by Joana Avillez. Photo: Quil Lemons
Exploring Ed Ruscha’s Archive at the Getty Research Institute
The Getty Research Institute (GRI) has launched 12 Sunsets: Exploring Ed Ruscha’s Archive, an interactive website that allows users to browse more than sixty-five thousand photographs of Sunset Boulevard taken by Ed Ruscha between 1965 and 2007. The website allows users to “drive” down a digitally composited representation of this key urban artery, as well as to view, search, and compare geotagged photographs. The photographs are part of Ed Ruscha’s Streets of Los Angeles Archive, a trove of five hundred thousand photographs, notes, drawings, and records documenting the artist’s photography of Los Angeles, which was acquired by the GRI in 2012.
Ed Ruscha, Cesar Chavez and North Broadway, 2007, Streets of Los Angeles Archive, Getty Research Institute © Ed Ruscha
Art and Landscape
Launching on October 5, 2020, Italics: Art and Landscape is a new online editorial platform that will highlight the extraordinary cultural and artistic heritage of Italy through the country’s most celebrated gallerists. Initiated by Galleria Continua’s Lorenzo Fiaschi and Gagosian’s Pepi Marchetti Franchi, the project brings together sixty-three galleries to give readers behind-the-scenes access to contemporary, modern, and ancient art through storytelling and original imagery. In her first contribution, Marchetti Franchi recounts the memorable experience of listening to Gregorian vespers at Sant’Anselmo all’Aventino, Rome, with Theaster Gates.
The Spanish Steps, located near Gagosian, Rome. Photo: Pepi Marchetti Franchi
Gagosian will be participating in 8-bridges, a new online initiative created to highlight artists and galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area. Launching in October 2020, 8-bridges will present monthly exhibitions by Bay Area galleries, with a particular focus on artists and conversations relevant to the region. The platform will feature eight new presentations each month, and each cycle will also spotlight a local institution, starting with the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. Gagosian is pleased to be a member of the 8-bridges founding committee. The gallery’s inaugural presentation will be devoted to the work of Jay DeFeo.
Jay DeFeo on Mount Tamalpais, Marin County, California, 1973. Photo: John Bogdanoff
Sky High Farm
Dan Colen founded Sky High Farm in 2011 as a way to address food insecurity and improve access to fresh, nutritious food for underserved communities in New York. Located in Columbia County, New York, the 40-acre farm raises pasture-based livestock and grows organic fruit and vegetables exclusively for donation. Recently recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the organization is raising funds to help expand its reach in the next decade. Donations will be used to increase production, scale up distribution, support other regional farms, and create educational opportunities. To donate, visit charity.gofundme.com.
Sky High Farm, Columbia County, New York
A Film by Ryan McGinley featuring Carsten Höller
Last year, seven artists, including Carsten Höller, led an augmented reality (AR) project in Apple Stores around the world. In collaboration with Apple and the New Museum, this project became [AR]T, a series of interactive AR installations. A new documentary directed by Ryan McGinley, available to watch on Apple TV, highlights the work of each artist and chronicles how they pushed the boundaries of their work to explore the uncharted territory of augmented reality art.
View with Carsten Höller’s augmented reality software Through (2019), which takes viewers through a portal into a world with no perspective