Phillips Contemporary Evening Auction Brings In $110.3 Million



POSTED May 19, 2017

Peter Doig, Rosedale, 1991.

Phillips Twentieth Century and Contemporary Art Evening sale in midtown Manhattan on Thursday night netted $110.3 million, more than doubling what it brought in last year. All thirty-seven of the auction’s lots sold.

Peter Doig’s, Rosedale, 1991—a painting of a house in the woods—led the sale, hammering down to Phillips deputy chairman Svetlana Marich, who was bidding for a client that was on the phone, for $28.8 million. Most of the works reached or surpassed their estimates.

The second highest lot, Willem de Kooning’s Untitled II, 1980, sold for $13.1 million. Among other highlights of the sale include Roy Lichtenstein’s sculpture Woman: Sunlight, Moonlight, 1996, which brought in $10.3 million, and Nicole Eisenman’s Winter Solstice 2012 Dinner Party, 2009, which reached $670,000, exceeding its high estimate of $150,000.

Three lots had been withdrawn from the sale a Calder, which the house believed would bring in $800,000, a Mark Grotjahn, with an estimate of $1 million, and Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild (811-1), 1994, which had been expected to sell for between $15 million and $20 million.

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Member of PHAROS convened at the Frick Collection in 2013. Photo: PHAROS, the International Consortium of Photo Archives

The Frick Collection is leading an international collaboration to transform art historical research by digitizing twenty-five million images of artworks for a new research platform. The Frick has teamed up with thirteen arts institutions to establish PHAROS Art Research Consortium, which plans to have seven million images available online by 2020.

PHAROS currently comprises the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome; Bildarchiv Foto in Marburg, Germany; the Courtauld Institute in London; Fondazione Federico Zeri in Bologna; Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles; I Tatti in Florence; Institut national d’histoire de l’art in Paris; Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz; National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC; Paul Mellon Centre in London; RKD—Netherlands Institute for Art History at The Hague; the Warburg Institute in London; the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven; and the Frick Art Reference Library in New York.

“The Frick has always been at the vanguard of art historical research,” said director Ian Wardropper. “As early as 1922, Helen Clay Frick personally organized international photographic expeditions to record significant and rarely reproduced works of art, creating the first-ever public repository of its kind in the country. This documentation proved invaluable, especially at a time when most art history books were not widely available or heavily illustrated. Researchers today are accustomed to having online resources at their fingertips, and in order to ensure that our offerings remain relevant and accessible, they must be digitized and catalogued in a searchable central resource. It is our hope that this initiative will transform scholarship in the twenty-first century, by unlocking access to our collection and ones like it around the globe.”

The database will contain a range of works that have never before been published as well as supplemental material such as attribution information, provenance research, and exhibition and conservation histories. While PHAROS’s intended audience is scholars, everyone will be able to access the images.

The project first launched in New York in 2013, when representatives of the fourteen institutions held a meeting that was sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. In December 2016, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $1 million grant in support of the Frick’s efforts to provide online access to its photoarchive, which will now also benefit the database.

“People expect everything to be online, but it takes forever,” Johannes Roell, the head of the photography collection of the Bibliotheca Hertziana told the New York Times. Adding that the initiative grew out of the institutions’ mission to make sure analog materials don’t disappear, Roell said, “We know how urgent this is. We’re living in a Wiki world. All younger art historians start their research online.”

Similar initiatives include the Google Cultural Institute which is working with more than 1,000 institutions to make six million photos, videos, and manuscripts as well as virtual tours available on its Google Arts & Culture website.

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Jane South has been appointed chair of the Fine Arts Department within the School of Art at Pratt Institute in New York. She will assume the role on July 1, succeeding current chair Deborah Bright, who is stepping down to focus on her artistic practice and scholarship.

“Jane South has an impressive background in combining her leadership experience of Fine Arts programs in the US and Europe with her experience as a practicing artist whose work cuts across disciplines and reflects the intersectional nature of contemporary arts practice,” said Gerry Snyder, dean of the School of Art. “Her dynamic and collaborative approach will benefit the Fine Arts Department’s thriving community of students and faculty, and continue to expand the development and visibility of its undergraduate and graduate programs.”

South brings extensive experience as both an artist and educator to the position. She currently teaches in the Film, Animation, and Video Department at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where she has also taught sculpture, painting, and digital media. Previously, she served as head of sculpture at RISD; cocreative director of CoLAB, a summer performance laboratory offered by Brown University and RISD from 2015 to 2016; and associate director of Italy’s Siena Art Institute since 2011. South has also held visiting teaching positions and has been a visiting artist at a number of institutions including Pratt Institute, Williams College, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Brandeis University.

“The creative, intellectual, and interdisciplinary strengths of Pratt Institute make it a tremendously exciting place to be,” said South. “It’s wonderful to return to Pratt, and I am very much looking forward to working together with students, staff, faculty, and technicians in the Fine Arts Department to further support and enhance its community, mission, and programs.”

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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas announced today that it received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation in support of education initiatives. The institution will use the donation to set up the Arts Endowed Fund, which will work towards identifying challenges that schools are facing today and developing arts-based initiatives to overcome them.

“The Windgate Foundation has been visionary in advancing education through the arts,” said Rod Bigelow, executive director, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Crystal Bridges. “We are honored to receive this generous gift that allows us to address learning outcomes through innovative approaches. This fund is precedent-setting in drawing upon art museums’ unique resources as a catalyst for change.”

An advisory board was established to determine which issues the fund will address. It consists of Sarah Cunningham, executive director for research at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts and founding director of the Arts Research Institute; David A. Dik, national executive director of Young Audiences Arts for Learning; Jean Hendrickson, Oklahoma A+ Schools director emeritus; Sage Morgan-Hubbard, Ford W. Bell Fellow for Museums & P-12 Education at the American Alliance of Museums; Dr. Deborah B. Reeve, executive director of the National Art Education Association; Mario Rossero, senior vice president for education at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Sherman Whites, director of education initiatives at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; and Jane Best, director of the Arts Education Partnership and the board chair.

During the inaugural meeting on May 10, the board decided on its first project, theSchool Partnership Program,a multi-year collaboration that looks at how the arts can support academic outcomes, and the impacts the arts and art museums can have upon social and emotional development. Over the next year, the program will collaborate with more than twenty schools and will focus on professional development for teachers and creating artist residencies.

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Installation view of Dana Lixenberg’s “Imperial Courts, 1993–2015,” at Amsterdam’s Huis Marseille. Photo: Yoko Choy

Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg has won the twentieth edition of the Deutsche Brse Foundation Photography Prize for her project “Imperial Courts, 1993–2015,” a portrait series of residents of the social housing project in Watts, Los Angeles, which she first visited after the 1992 race riots. The 2017 winner was announced at an award ceremony at the Photographers’ Gallery in London. Lixenberg will also receive a nearly $40,000 prize.

“Lixenberg’s work is simultaneously understated and emphatic, reflecting a cool sobriety, which allows her subjects to own the gaze and their contexts without sentimentality or grandiosity,” Brett Rogers, the director of the Photographers’ Gallery in London and jury chair, said.

The New York and Amsterdam-based artist is known for pursuing long term projects that focus on individuals and communities on the margins of society. Lixenberg began photographing the Imperial Courts in 1993 and continued to document the neighborhood for the next twenty-two years. A photo essay of her earliest portraits from the project was first published in the November 1993 edition of Vibe magazine, and after producing work for more than two decades, her photo book “Imperial Courts, 1993–2015,” was published by Roma Publications in 2015.

The jury comprised curators Susan Bright and Karolina Lewandowska, artist Pieter Hugo, and the director of the Deutsche Brse Photography Foundation, Anne-Marie Beckmann. Lixenberg’s work will be on display along with the shortlisted artists’, Sophie Calle, Awoiska van der Molen, and Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, at the Photographers’ Gallery until June 11, after which it will travel to the MMK in Frankfurt and the Aperture Foundation in New York.

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The Pasadena Museum of California Art has announced that Susana Bautista was named its new executive director. She will succeed interim executive director Jay Belloli, who said, “I have every confidence that Susana will sustain the PMCA’s continued expansion of its educational and outreach efforts and further demonstrate her leadership within the Pasadena community.”

Bautista has more than twenty-five years of experience working in the cultural sector. Over the course of her career she’s served as executive director of the Mexican Cultural Institute of Los Angeles; interim deputy director and director of engagement at USC Pacific Asia Museum; and as editorial director of LatinArt.com.

“Having lived in Pasadena for most of my life, I have seen the major contributions the PMCA has made to the Pasadena community as well as those of Los Angeles and California,” Bautista said. “The museum has filled a void in the study and presentation of California art, and as we approach this momentous fifteenth anniversary of the museum, I consider it a privilege to be able to uphold the PMCA’s mission and to ensure that the longstanding tradition of innovative research and exhibitions, as well as engaging educational and outreach programming, continues for the next fifteen years and beyond.

May 19, 2017

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982. Photo: Sotheby’s

At Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening auction on Thursday night, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting Untitled, 1982, became the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction, selling for $110.5 million, far exceeding its estimate of $60 million. The canvas of a skull was the first work produced since 1980 to make more than $100 million.

“He’s now in the same league as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso,” dealer Jeffrey Deitch told Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times. The acrylic, spray paint, and oil stick work was hammered down to Yaki Terase, the head of Japanese business development for the auction house’s Hong Kong team, who placed the winning bid while on the phone with collector Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese businessman and founder of a founder of the Tokyo Contemporary Art Foundation. Maezawa bought a Basquiat work last year for $57.3 million.

Totaling $319.2 million, the auction saw lively bidding, resulting in 96 percent of its lots sold. Kicking off the sale was Jonas Wood’s Black Still Life, 2012, which brought $1.2 million, wildly exceeding its $250,000 low estimate. Among the other highlights of the night were Roy Lichtenstein’s Nude Sunbathing, 1995, which brought in $24 million; and Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild, 1991, which reached $15.4 million; as well as Cy Twombly’s Silex Scintillans, 1981, which sold for $8.3 million, and Agnes Martin’s Untitled #13, 1980, which netted $8.1 million, both exceeding their high estimates.

May 18, 2017

The New Museum in New York

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today that it will grant $1.87 million in funding to help twelve art museums use technology to immerse visitors in art.

These museums will use a range of tools—from chatbots to augmented reality apps and leading-edge digital projection—to engage new audiences. The awardees include the Akron Art Museum; the Barnes Foundation; Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh; Detroit Institute of Arts; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; the Minneapolis Institute of Art; the Mint Museum, the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the New Museum; the Prez Art Museum Miami; and the Vizcaya Museums and Gardens in Miami.

“The arts inspire us, challenge us, and connect us to each other and where we live. People want those experiences to be personalized, interactive and shareable, just as they experience their daily lives,” said Alberto Ibargen, president of the Knight Foundation. “We support arts institutions that are willing to lead and seize the opportunities tech offers to engage visitors, patrons, and audiences.”

A complete list of the museums and their projects are as follows:

Akron Art Museum
Awarded $173,329 to explore new ways to give visitors insights into its collection by connecting them directly to curators and other museum professionals. The project will begin with an in-person experiment called “The Curator Is In,” which will inform the museum’s digital strategy.

The Barnes Foundation
Awarded $155,000 to create new ways to browse the foundation’s online collection by visual characteristics such as light, shape, and color. While most online databases of art require searching for terms such as artists’ names or artwork titles, this will allow everyday users to engage with the collection in a fashion similar to the original organizing principle of museum founder Albert C. Barnes.

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
Awarded $150,000 to develop and deploy a new mobile experience that eliminates the friction associated with traditional apps by infiltrating the most-used, system-level app on mobile devices: native messaging. The Innovation Studio will create an SMS chatbot that will interact with users in fun, knowledgeable, and delightful ways whether they are in or outside the museum’s walls.

Detroit Institute of Arts
Awarded $150,000 to expand a pilot that enables visitors to explore the collection on a deeper level through augmented reality and 3-D animations. Called Lumin and built on Google Tango, the project will enable visitors to more deeply explore the creation of Diego Rivera’s murals at the institute, the brushstrokes of Vincent Van Gogh, and how human eyes process color in Georges Seurat’s works.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
Awarded $200,000 to help the museum engage its visitors and community through digital media as it opens its first permanent facility in the Miami Design District later this year. A focal point of the program will be the creation of video content that enriches the museum experience and expands the museum’s reach beyond its physical walls.

Minneapolis Institute of Art
Awarded $148,800 to improve the museum’s digital storytelling platform, which provides an in-depth look at pieces in the collection by adding new features and making it easier for organizations across the country to use.

The Mint Museum
Awarded $150,000 to bring more people to the museum by creating a welcoming, interactive staircase and public art installation that uses light and sound to become a must-see, must-hear, must-climb destination.

Museum of Arts and Sciences
Awarded $100,000 to create more immersive film experiences by launching the FullDome Festival, in partnership with the Macon Film Festival. The event will highlight works created specifically for the museum’s leading-edge digital planetarium.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Awarded $150,000 to engage more people in contemporary art by developing a digital scavenger hunt that encourages museum visitors to locate artworks in its galleries by written texts that describe them. The project builds on the museum’s Coyote project, which makes images more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired through text descriptions.

New Museum
Awarded $250,000 to accelerate the development of technology that engages museum visitors by creating a museum technology track at NEW Inc., the incubator and professional development program created by the New Museum.

Prez Art Museum Miami
Awarded $150,000 to help visitors more deeply engage with the collection and architecture through an augmented reality app that will feature multimedia content to include explainer videos, an interactive map, and sharable content.

Vizcaya Museums and Gardens
Awarded $100,000 to enhance the visitor experience by using 3-D-modeling and printing to allow visitors to explore spaces of this National Historic Landmark that are not accessible to the public. Those spaces include Vizcaya’s Barge, a partly submerged breakwater decorated with mythical sculptures, and the swimming pool grotto, which has a ceiling depicting an elaborate undersea scene.

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Composer Eve Beglarian, artist Amy Franceschini, artist Kerry Tribe, choreographer and performer luciana achugar, and theater director Daniel Fish.

This year’s recipients of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, an unrestricted prize of $75,000 given annually to five risk-taking mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theater, and the visual arts, are choreographer luciana achugar, composer Eve Beglarian, theater director Daniel Fish, artist Amy Franceschini, and video artist Kerry Tribe.

Known for her durational events and environments designed to bring performers and spectators into a more intimate relationship, achugar is a Brooklyn-based artist from Uruguay who often challenges power structures and explores the human body in her works.

Often characterized as a post-Minimalist, Beglarian is currently working on a project titled Lighten Up, an eighty-minute concert inspired by the life and work of Houston’s Flower Man and other visionary visual artists in America, which will premiere in 2018. Among her other recent projects is A Book of Days, for which she composed a new work everyday for a year.

Fish revisits classical works such as Anton Chekhov, William Shakespeare, and Sam Shepard, and continually questions what theater might be. His revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! in 2015 was widely praised for confronting issues of violence and justice.

Franceschini is a founder of Futurefarmers, a collective of international artists, scientists, farmers, designers, architects, and engineers. Through radio, performance, workshops, events, and sculpture, she invites people to reconsider their relationship to nature. Her projects include conceiving an urban agriculture program for San Francisco based on WW II Victory Gardens and taking part in a yearlong voyage carrying seeds of ancient grains on a sailboat traveling from Oslo to Istanbul.

Tribe, who lives and works in Los Angeles, frequently examines the themes of memory, time, and the ethics of representation through a wide range of media including multichannel videos, 16-mm films, installations, sculpture, performance, and photography. Her subjects have ranged from an urban river, aphasia, and a butterfly’s wing to a man with a twenty second memory, the night sky, and her senile grandfather.

Now in its twenty-third year, the Herb Alpert Award has recognized 115 artists and given out more than $7 million since it first launched in 1995. A celebratory lunch honoring the artists will be hosted the Herb Alpert Foundation offices in Santa Monica on Friday.

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