Wednesday, December 23, 2015


The Conceptual Argument for China’s Big Business in Fake Art

Tao Hongjing, Hell Money, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Red Gate Gallery.
“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing,” said late, great Surrealist master, Salvador Dalí. Redolent of China’s ongoing challenges—and contrivances—surrounding appropriation, plagiarism and conceptualism in contemporary art, Dalí’s words are also relevant to an incident in China last month in which a white French artist effectively killed off the Chinese (and, significantly, already dead) alter ego he’d been hiding behind for a decade.
“On April 4th 2015, Tao Hongjing passed away in a mysterious construction site accident while conducting research for his next project,” read the press release for the artist’s recent exhibitions at Red Gate Gallery and Shun Gallery. All was not as it seemed, though, and on the eve of the show’s Beijing unveiling, the French ‘curator’ of this merry masquerade, Alexandre Ouairy, revealed that he and Tao Hongjing were, in fact, one and the same—and had been for the past decade.
Tao Hongjing, detail of To Get Rich..., 2006. Courtesy of the artist and Red Gate Gallery.
Forged artworks from China is big business. A cursory search of Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba quickly turns up copies of works by Yue Minjun and Zhang Xiaogang, all going for less than $500. Likely painted in one of China’s fabled artists villages, they’re convincing enough—when viewed on a laptop screen at least. (It’s worth pointing out that a majority of the canvases produced in these hives of industry—not to mention talent—are totally legit decorative pieces created without an acknowledged author, which likely hang in a hotel or model home near you.)
One such Chinese replica was hung in the hallowed hallways of Dulwich Picture Gallery in spring 2015, hidden there by American conceptual artist Doug Fishbone amidst the institution’s 270 displayed masterpieces. Called “Made in China,” the experiment raised issues surrounding the value we ascribe to art with regard to its authenticity and accomplishment. Apparently very impressive, perhaps the same talented copyist was responsible for an allegedly forged canvas by Geng Jianyi, Hairdressing 2, being withdrawn from China’s Poly Auction in October 2015 after the artist denied its authenticity.
Although it is unusual for forged works attributed to big-name contemporary artists to make it so far along the high-end selling process (the biggest challenge being that the artists themselves are very much alive, vocal, and vigilant), Chinese antiquities are notoriously mired in fakes. The problem has become almost farcical: In July 2015, the former chief librarian of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts admitted stealing more than 140 paintings from a gallery under his charge, replacing them with fakes he painted himself. Soon, however, Xiao Yuan noticed that his own fakes were disappearing from the gallery and being replaced by others, lending truth to the librarian’s defense: Everybody’s doing it.
Installation view of  Xu Zhen’s “Seeing One's Own Eyes,” 2009.  Courtesy of MadeIn Company.
Daft as it may sound, Xiao Yuan’s explanation strikes a chord with bonafide Chinese contemporary artists. Take Xu Zhen, for example, for whom an ongoing and very deliberate blurring of authenticity, identity, and value attribution is a core component of his associated practices. To date, those identities include Xu Zhen’s art corporation MadeIn Company (launched 2009), MadeIn Company’s “brand” Xu Zhen (launched in 2013), and the man himself (born in 1977).
Is differentiating between the three personas necessary, particularly for buyers? “Collectors are more understanding and open and fun than we might perceive them,” says Xu Zhen, suitably evasively. With ambiguity as a hallmark, the artist’s mash-ups of cultural symbols and identifiers include 2010’s Seeing One’s Own Eyes at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery, comprising objects made in China by a fictional group of Middle Eastern artists.
Whether conceptual caper, duplicity, or simply selective amplification of certain truths over others, Chinese artists’ identities have long been integral to their value. In the breakneck ascent to Chinese contemporary art’s zenith in the West—those frothy early 2000s—things were palpably indiscriminate… just so long as the work was Chinese. And as an insatiable appetite for signature Cynical Realism and Political Pop grew, so too did a kind of appropriation of the emblems of Chinese contemporary art: Zeng Fanzhi-esque masks, for example, or Mao Jackets à la Sui Jianguo. Mimicking—not necessarily copying—the show-stealers of the time, they continued the dialogue around contemporary Chinese art, ultimately saturating a certain scene to the point of cliché.
Installation view of  Xu Zhen’s “Seeing One's Own Eyes,” 2009.  Courtesy of MadeIn Company.
While the fervor in the West may have cooled, the gauntlet has been firmly passed to a new breed of young, monied Chinese collectors, flaunting their buying prowess at auction and at art fairs internationally. Much like Xu Zhen’s parodying of the commodification of art in China, an upcoming solo by Elmgreen and Dragset slated for January 23rd–April 17th at Beijing’s UCCA will take the form of a faux art fair, complete with art fair-style booths.
Both present an uneasy satire on the now fetishized affinity between art, China, and money. It’s an ironic juncture indeed when China’s fake fairs, forged art, stylistic plagiarism, and deliberate plays on the “Made in China” stereotype reveal the country’s contemporary issues more than some of their “legitimate” peers. Above all, the likes of Xu Zhen, those anonymous Alibaba artists, and perhaps even Tao Hongjing raise questions of value, and where the monetary worth of art lies. In China, itself a mecca for fake handbags, fake food, and in the case of Zaha Hadid’s Wangjing Soho (a Beijing building complex which was subsequently copied in another Chinese city), even fake architecture, “fakeness” today carries connotations of an ironic authenticity.
As China’s arts ecology continues to mature, today’s frenzied buying will inevitably stabilize, and in doing so, put the market for knock-offs squarely in its place. Until then, a murky world of simulacrum, intellectual property (and sometimes out-and-out fraud) does precisely what art should be doing: it reflects contemporary culture, and outs taboos.

Frances Arnold

Relevant Art Today

The Complex Meaning Behind One of Christmas’s Most Enduring Symbols

The Complex Meaning Behind One of Christmas’s Most Enduring Symbols

One of the most recognizable scenes of Christian art, the Nativity may be surpassed in popularity only by the Crucifixion, its historical counterpoint. Nativity scenes recount the birth of Christ and his adoration, which is narrated tersely in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. For centuries, the centrality of the subject for the Christian religion meant that it attracted the wealthiest patrons and most acclaimed artists. Many examples of the scene are deemed masterpieces of art in their own right—Duccio’s Nativity with the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel (1308/1311), for example, or Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Nativity and Adoration to the Shepherds (1485)—and emblematic of major artistic movements and innovations. Below, we highlight this enduring symbol’s key developments over the last 1,700 years.

The First Nativities

The earliest depictions of the Nativity were very different from our current conception; they typically formed part of a larger cycle narrating the life of Christ carved into the surfaces of Roman sarcophagi, thus bringing the message of death inherent to a sarcophagus in direct relationship to the most important birth in the history of Christianity. 
Sarcophagus from San Giacomo in Settimiana, Via della Lungara, Museo Nazionale, Rome, c. 330-340, marble. This early Nativity is very similar to the first securely dated example of the Nativity in history.
The earliest securely dated example of the Nativity scene is from 343 A.D., from a sketch of a now-lost fragment of a sarcophagus from the catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter in Rome. It depicts the infant wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a trough close to the ground, surrounded by an ox, an ass, two shepherds, and a tree. In other words, this sculpted scene contains several of the main components of what would become the Nativity’s standard composition. Notably, Mary is absent. It was only with changes in Christianity, as her status as the human bearer of God became solidified in the next century, that she became an indispensable part of Nativity scenes.

Diverging Traditions in East and West 

Over the course of the next millennium, separate traditions for the composition emerged in the East and West, accompanying the split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox (Byzantine) Church. The particular significance of the Nativity stemmed from the fact that it showed Christ as a human, his incarnation being an indispensable part of the economy of salvation in early and medieval Christianity. (The economy of salvation is the notion of God’s plan for the redemption of mankind through Christ’s incarnation from an earthly mother and his predestined sacrifice). Indeed, even as the Eastern Orthodox and Western iconographic traditions diverged, what remained central to both was the connection between Christ’s birth and his sacrifice, and Nativity scenes were thus elaborated to include allusions to the Crucifixion (Christ’s execution). These scenes came to communicate opposing ideas of sin and redemption, good and evil.
Perhaps the best-known example of this development is Gentile da Fabriano’s Nativity, painted between 1420 and 1422. It shows a novel scene: Mary adoring the infant Christ, an image that emerged around 1300 in connection with mysticism and Franciscan devotional writings. There is innovation, too, in the treatment of Mary; she is shown isolated, pushed to the foreground, and elevated to the most important protagonist in the scene. The naked child appears at the center of the composition as a sacrificial offering. In this way, Gentile turns the Nativity scene into a devotional icon, with Mary acting as exemplar for the viewer’s prayer. Strikingly, this work thus acknowledges the viewer, a shift characteristic of the 15th-century interest in creating close-ups of narrative scenes and powerful, almost cinematic imagery.

Creative Nativities in the Renaissance

Starting with the Renaissance, artists produced incredibly diverse depictions of the Nativity, ranging from nighttime scenes (such as those of Geertgen tot Sint Jans and Antonio da Correggio) to Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s The Census at Bethlehem (circa 1605-1610), which bustles with narrative detail from his contemporary Flanders. Examples range from mystical elaborations to variations that reflected the specific interests of the patron and artist. One such creative commissioned work is The Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds (1485), an altarpiece by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the Sassetti Chapel in Santa Trinità in Florence. It reveals the late 15th-century fascination with classical architecture—most prominently in Ghirlandaio’s use of two highly detailed Corinthian piers as a support for the roof of the shed. The work boasts vivid detail in the long retinue of the Magi approaching on the left. The scene still retains a strong symbolic character—as if drawing on the Nativity’s very origins, we see the manger depicted as a sarcophagus to suggest the altar, and Mary kneels in adoration of the infant Christ.
Strikingly dissimilar to Ghirlandaio’s idealized Mary is Caravaggio’s depiction of her in the Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (1609). (In one of the most renowned—and still unsolved—cases of art theft, the work was stolen from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo in 1969, and has yet to be returned.) Here, Mary is depicted as a modern woman, wearing a sleeveless dress and chemise typical of working-class women of the time. Because the painting showed Mary weary from exhaustion after giving birth, it was perceived as not befitting her holiness. And since Christian theology held that Christ’s birth was miraculous and devoid of pain, the work presented a dogmatic contradiction. The angel pointing upward, proclaiming Heaven’s exaltation at the arrival of the Savior, the sharply lit figures, and the low horizon line all add to the scene’s theatricality, creating a dramatic composition that brings the viewer into the realm of the painting.

The Nativity Today

"Nativity" Presepe Cuciniello, Museo di San Martino, Napoli, Wikimedia Commons
The plastic Nativity scenes most of us are familiar with today—brought out on church lawns and domestic mantelpieces around Christmas—derive only in part from this iconographic tradition. In fact, they ultimately go back to the late Middle Ages, when they were used in religious plays. Drawing on these, the famous presepi (“cribs,” in Italian) of 18th-century Naples were elaborate, stage-like settings containing numerous figurines, typically made from terracotta, combining street scenes, costumes, and landscapes that provided realistic and lively depictions of Neapolitan life. Perhaps the most elaborate of these is the “Cuciniello Nativity,” created by a playwright in the late 18th-century, which contains over 600 miniature objects and figures.
Despite its associations with popular culture, the Nativity still proves fruitful subject matter for contemporary artists. Edward Kienholz created his Nativity in 1961 using discarded objects and ephemeral materials, a provocative gesture for what is understood as the holiest and most timeless moment in Christian history. Contemporary Colombian artist Maria Berrio’s Nativity (2014) surprises with the exotic ornamental nature of the figuration allotted to the subject. Berrio’s work is an intricate collage of patterned Japanese paper, sequins, watercolor, and acrylic paint on canvas. The scene, taking place at night, is populated by three pairs of mothers and children, and hosts a plethora of animals against a patterned landscape that imbues the scene with a dreamy, fairy-tale quality. Her work thus taps into a long iconographic history—society’s collective mythologies—to connect sacred ideas with the theme of female solidarity.

—Konstantina Karterouli

Explore more Nativity scenes on Artsy.

An Oblique Interview with Heidi Julavits

Chez Donald Judd

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Chez Donald Judd

July 6, 2015 | by
Donald Judd moved into 101 Spring Street, in New York’s Soho neighborhood, in 1968. The area was then the “Wild West,” as artist Trisha Brown once put it: a wasteland in which anything was possible. Judd had purchased the five-story, century-old building for sixty-eight thousand dollars and immediately set about restoring its interior, floor by floor, detail by detail—a project that would take him nearly a quarter century to complete. (Today, it is the only single-use cast-iron building remaining in Soho.) He aimed to create open, minimal spaces for working and living in which all elements existed in harmony, both in the context of the building’s architecture and with regard to his own aesthetic. On the fourth floor, for instance, he reproduced the parallel wood planes of flooring on the ceiling; the room feels like a light-filled wooden box.
Judd also intermixed nineteenth- and early twentieth-century objects—such as a cast-iron wood-burning stove, tin ceilings, an oak rolltop desk—and pieces from his substantial personal art collection, which includes sculpture, drawing, painting, furniture, and prints by John Chamberlain, Carl Andre, Lucas Samaras, Marcel Duchamp, Alvar Aalto, and others. Some of his interventions, however, are less formal: in the second-floor kitchen, a flap of wood on the wall opens to reveal a puppet theater Judd devised for his children. 

Electrical Banana

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Electrical Banana

June 11, 2012 | by
Mati Klarwein, Annunciation (used for Santana's Abraxas), 1961, oil and tempera on primed canvas.

I have always been a poor visualizer. Words, even the pregnant words of poets, do not evoke pictures in my mind. No hypnagogic visions greet me on the verge of sleep. When I recall something, the memory does not present itself to me as a vividly seen event or object. By an effort of the will, I can evoke a not very vivid image of what happened yesterday afternoon, of how the Lungarno used to look before the bridges were destroyed, of the Bayswater Road when the only buses were green and tiny and drawn by aged horses at three and a half miles an hour. But such images have little substance and absolutely no autonomous life of their own. They stand to real, perceived objects in the same relation as Homer’s ghosts stood to the men of flesh and blood, who came to visit them in the shades … This was the world—a poor thing but my own—which I expected to see transformed into something completely unlike itself.
So wrote Aldous Huxley just before an afternoon mescaline trip, his first, in 1954. The psychedelic sixties would take Huxley’s message to heart, opening new doors of perception while under the influence. But for graphic designer Heinz Edelmann, Huxley’s journalistic exploration was mescaline enough. After reading the British novelist’s account, Edelmann thought, “Well, I don’t need mescaline. I can do that stone cold sober.” If you don’t know who Edelmann is, have a look at Yellow Submarine: he created the look of the film and designed all the characters.

we’re getting too old to be precocious

Growing Pains

May 28, 2015 | by

From Punch, 1877.

“Do you realize,” my friend Susannah said to me, “that we’re getting too old to be precocious?” This was at the start of the sixth grade. Susannah was, in fact, very precocious: politically minded, she had styled herself as an outspoken feminist, organizing an abortive boycott of a substitute gym teacher’s sexist softball practices. “I know,” she said sympathetically when she saw my face. “That’s how I felt, too—I almost cried. It’s a tragedy.”
This was dramatic, but Susannah wasn’t wrong. In some ways, the sands of time were running out, and our glory days were behind us. Soon, behaviors we’d once been rewarded for would be recognized as obnoxious, or precious, or odd. We’d have to hide them rather than flaunt them. What had been advanced was now arrested. Students at this point were honored for work and accomplishment rather than for quirks of early development.

a girl in my class began to claim she was ambidextrous

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New Words

April 8, 2015 | by
Sometime in the third grade, a girl in my class began to claim she was ambidextrous. Previously, this girl had said she wanted to be a marine biologist. She also claimed to have athlete’s foot. This girl was a pretentious liar.
In fairness, marine-biology ambitions were all the rage that year. We were just moving beyond the easy descriptor stage; it was no longer enough to want an occupation you could identify from a Richard Scarry book, such as baker, doctor, or fireman. Now people wanted to be not just teachers but middle-school teachers, not just football stars but running backs—ideally, our choices conveyed an element of mystery and worldliness to the other kids. Still, generally speaking, our ideas for future careers were about as complicated as those you see in contemporary romance novels, where the heroines have easily explained jobs that seldom seem to interfere with the business of being a glamorous grown-up. Marine biology, with its vague hints of tropical waters and dolphins, seemed like a perfect career path for both the frivolous animal-lover and the committed scientist. None of us was sure what it entailed. 

What the philosopher learned from his time in elementary-school classrooms

Wittgenstein, Schoolteacher

March 5, 2015 | by
What the philosopher learned from his time in elementary-school classrooms.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, who knew how to sully a chalkboard with the best of them.

Every philosophy major has at some point had to answer the standard challenge: “What are you going to do, teach?” It’s especially frustrating after you realize that, for someone with a humanist bent and a disinterest in worldlier things, teaching is a pretty good career choice. Unemployables in the humanities might take comfort from the fact that one of the twentieth century’s greatest philosophers, Ludwig Wittgenstein, made the same choice. He revolutionized philosophy twice, fought with shocking bravery in World War I, inspired a host of memoirs by people who knew him only glancingly—and for six years taught elementary school in the mountains of rural Austria. Biographers have tended to find this bizarre. Chapters covering the period after his teaching years, when Wittgenstein returned to philosophy, are usually called something like “Out of the Wilderness.” (That one’s from Ray Monk’s excellent Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. The next chapter is called “The Second Coming.”)
By the time he decided to teach, Wittgenstein was well on his way to being considered the greatest philosopher alive. First at Cambridge, then as an engineer and soldier, Wittgenstein had finished his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, at once an austere work of analytic philosophy and—for some readers, Wittgenstein apparently included—an almost mystical experience. In it, he claimed charmingly and not without reason to have solved all the problems of philosophy. This was because of the book’s famous “picture theory of meaning,” which held that language is meaningful because, and only because, of its ability to depict possible arrangements of objects in the world. Any meaningful statement can be analyzed as such a depiction. This leads to the book’s most famous conclusion: that if a statement does not depict a possible arrangement of objects, it doesn’t mean anything at all. Ethics, religion, the nature of the world beyond objects … most statements of traditional philosophy, Wittgenstein contended, are therefore nonsense. And so, having destroyed a thousand-year tradition, Wittgenstein did the reasonable thing—he dropped the mic and found a real job teaching kids to spell.

Influential Art World Cities

The 15 Most Influential Art World Cities of 2015

There are many ways to take stock of influence in the art world—critical reception, popularity, and market prowess are among them. As the art world continues to expand, that becomes all the more difficult. We’re in a moment of regionalization—with art scenes thriving in São Paulo, Singapore, and Istanbul—as much as we are in one of consolidation around the global financial capitals of New York and London, with a core contingent of the art world making a yearly migration, crisscrossing the globe to visit them all. (Click through the map below to watch.) Here, we’ve crunched Planet Art’s data on contemporary art’s most mentioned cities in the media in 2015, pulled figures on fairs, museums, and galleries, and racked our editors’ brains to rank the art world capitals of 2015.

01 New York City

1,000+ Galleries in 2015

75+ Art Museums and Institutions

30+ Art Fairs in 2015

It’s hard to find an art-related stat in which New York City fails to come out on top. The city is home to more galleries and more major art institutions than any other. And its marketplace is bigger than others by a large measure. Two-thirds of auction sales over $1 million take place in the city, and all 10 of the most expensive works purchased at auction in 2015 were sold from the New York sale rooms of Christie’s and Sotheby’s (all but two from the former). For the Armory Show and Independent art fairs in March, and Frieze New York in May, the city welcomes swarms of international galleries and collectors to its grid. But while impressive, that all says little about the wealth of artists that continue to call New York their home, with studios and artist-run spaces dotting the outer boroughs—and Manhattan too.

02 London

500+ Galleries in 2015

60+ Art Museums and Institutions

10+ Art Fairs in 2015

Your Guide to London’s Bustling Art Scene
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Over the past decade, the London contemporary art scene has taken a spiking, upward turn. Thanks in no small part to the city’s ability to attract the global elite, international galleries including David Zwirner, Pace, Gagosian, and Marian Goodman have all opened shop within London’s limits as the stock of the city’s native dealers—Lisson, Sadie Coles HQ, and White Cube among them—soars. Then, of course, there’s Frieze London. The 13-year-old fair brings the art world to the British capital in droves each October, and since 2012, Frieze Masters has added historical weight to the week. From Whitechapel Gallery, to the Royal Academy of Arts, to the Tate, the city’s museums at least rival those of New York. Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and the installations within it have done much of the heavy lifting for all invested in the promotion of culture by bringing vast new swaths of the public into a contemporary art institution.

03 Miami + Miami Beach

75+ Galleries in 2015

10+ Number of Art Museums and Institutions

20+ Art Fairs in 2015

Your All-Encompassing Guide to Miami’s Art Scene
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Though Miami’s wealth of private collections—from Don and Mera Rubell to Ella Fontanals-Cisneros—and increasingly acclaimed institutions like the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) are elevating the city’s cultural stock, it’s in December that an avalanche of attention hits South Beach thanks to Art Basel in Miami Beach. The city serves as the art market’s gateway to Latin and South America, and numerous satellite fairs and fêtes have joined the 14-year-old main event to mark a tropical send-off to the art-world calendar.

04 Venice

40+ Galleries in 2015

10+ Art Museums and Institutions

0 Art Fairs in 2015

A Short History of the World’s Most Important Art Exhibition
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The art world touched down in Venice once again this May for the 56th Biennale, with its central exhibition, “All the World’s Futures,” headed up by Haus der Kunst director Okwui Enwezor. For the past 120 years, the biennale has been a touchstone for artistic progress, from Filippo Tommaso Marinetti dropping his Futurist Manifesto from the clocktower in 1909 to Marina Abramović’s 1997 “Balkan Baroque.” This year was no different, with Christoph Büchel’s conversion of the city’s Santa Maria della Misericordia church into a mosque both touching a nerve and driving social practice forward, while Simon Denny’s NSA-centric New Zealand pavilion plumbed the politics of data.

05 Paris

500+ Galleries in 2015

60+ Art Museums and Institutions

5+ Art Fairs in 2015

Your Guide to Paris’s Traditionally Avant-Garde Art Scene
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Europe’s longtime home of culture, Paris welcomes the art world each October for the Grande Dame of art fairs, FIAC—and, this year, the impressive young upstart Paris Internationale. Meanwhile, its host of influential gallerists, from Thaddaeus Ropac to Emmanuel Perrotin, and institutions like the Centre Pompidou and the Palais de Tokyo bolster the critical conversation year-round. Exhibition highlights in 2015 ranged from Mona Hatoums retrospective at the former to Ugo Rondinone’s homage to John Giorno at the latter.

06 Berlin

400+ Galleries in 2015

35+ Art Museums and Institutions

3+ Art Fairs in 2015

Known first as a home to artists and artistic production, Berlin is in many respects the conceptual soul of contemporary art. Its galleries—which range from Esther Schipper, neugerriemschneider, Galerie Neu, and KÖNIG GALERIE to younger programs influencing art’s cutting edge like Tanya Leighton, Supportico Lopez, and PSM—take that remit seriously. And while April’s Gallery Weekend and September’s Berlin Art Week may attract the biggest amount of attention to the city each year, Berlin remains a key locale across the calendar for anyone in the art world keen to know what’s next.

07 Los Angeles

200+ Galleries in 2015

20+ Art Museums and Institutions

3+ Art Fairs in 2015

Though the Southland is home to art fairs Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC), Paris Photo LA, and Paramount Ranch, it’s the city’s recent mass-influx of artists that has perhaps drawn the most fervent art-world attention. Two thousand fifteen was an especially good year among the past few for the city’s upward trajectory. Galleries like New York’s Maccarone, London and Berlin’s Sprüth Magers, and Hauser & Wirth all announced or opened new L.A. outposts. Meanwhile, in September, the city’s biggest artistic benefactors, Eli and Edythe Broad, opened The Broad, a $140 million new home for their collection, to critical acclaim.

08 Basel + Zürich

75+ Galleries in 2015

15+ Art Museums and Institutions

10+ Art Fairs in 2015

Though Basel and Zürich both have vibrant art scenes in their own right, the mere hour-long commute between the pair (less than half of what it often takes to cross L.A.) means that an art-focused trip to one almost always includes the other. Such is the case each June when the art world stops off in Zürich for its annual gallery weekend ahead of the art market megalith that is Art Basel in Basel. The latter’s location on the borders Switzerland, France, and Germany (and its resulting status as a freeport) place it in the midst of Europe’s deepest pockets. Meanwhile, the cities’ highly influential Kunsthalle Basel and Kunsthalle Zürich set the tone for contemporary art’s future.

09 Hong Kong

50+ Galleries in 2015

5+ Art Museums and Institutions

4+ Art Fairs in 2015

Art Basel christened Hong Kong a major art-world capital in 2013 when they purchased ART HK, which moved to March under its new moniker this year. The city, which serves as Asia’s economic hub, has for some time been in the crosshairs of the major auction houses, with Christie’s opening a gallery in 2010 and Sotheby’s in 2012. An increasing number of major galleries like Gagosian, Simon Lee, and Lehmann Maupin have set up outposts in the city. Museums like the forthcoming M+ are being developed at a rapid pace. And new fairs are opening like Art Central, which became Art Basel in Hong Kong’s first satellite in 2015. All that momentum makes Hong Kong one of art’s buzziest centers, with all eyes on where the city will go next.

10 São Paulo

40+ Galleries in 2015

10+ Art Museums and Institutions

2+ Art Fairs in 2015

Though 2015 did not include an edition of the ever-influential São Paulo Biennial—Jochen Volz’s “Incerteza viva” (“Live Uncertainty”), the biennial’s 32nd edition, will take place next fall—Brazil’s financial center remains South America’s first city for art. That’s thanks to April’s SP-Arte and a host of influential galleries such as Mendes Wood DM, Galeria Nara Roesler, Galeria Jaqueline Martins, and Galeria Fortes Vilaça. The rapid economic growth that characterized Brazil’s last decade or so has taken something of a nose-dive in the past year, putting the brakes on Brazilian collecting habits. Still, those dealers and the country’s artists continue to hold a strong position on the international art radar.

11 Singapore

40+ Galleries in 2015

5+ Museums and Institutions

3+ Art Fairs in 2015

It’s hardly surprising that a city with such economic might as Singapore would attract a hefty art scene. Major investments have been made in the country’s cultural infrastructure in recent years, including the 2012 opening of Gillman Barracks, which brought in international galleries such as ARNDT, Pearl Lam, Sundaram Tagore, and ShanghART. The city hosts Southeast Asia’s biggest fair, Art Stage Singapore. And, in November 2015, the National Gallery Singapore opened its doors. The city-state’s first major art museum merged the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings and welcomed over 170,000 visitors in its first two weeks.

12 Istanbul

30+ Galleries in 2015

10+ Art Museums and Institutions

3+ Art Fairs in 2015

Tour Istanbul’s Age-Old, Art-Rich Landscape
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dOCUMENTA (13)’s beloved artistic director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev curated the 14th Istanbul Biennial this year, drawing all eyes to the Bosphorus’s shores this fall. While the Syrian conflict, ISIS’s rise, and the ensuing refugee crisis is said to have kept some away from the biennial and Istanbul’s two major market events (ARTINTERNATIONAL and Contemporary Istanbul), the city’s unique position between East and West continues to make it a rich context for art to unfold within.

13 Beijing

75+ Galleries in 2015

10+ Museums and Institutions

2+ Art Fairs in 2015

Shanghai may host mainland China’s biggest market events—West Bund Art & Design, ART021, and Photo Shanghai—but Beijing remains the first city for artists in the world’s second-most-powerful economy. The scene is centered in the 798 Arts District where major institutions like the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) abut dealers like Galerie Urs Meile, Galleria Continua, Long March Space, and de Sarthe Gallery. And the capital appears poised for an even greater renaissance, with Chinese artists and art professionals flocking back home to ride the tide.

14 Brussels

75+ Galleries in 2015

15+ Art Museums and Institutions

5+ Art Fairs in 2015

Known for its significant collector base—likely the world’s highest concentration in any one metropole—and their penchant for emerging art, Brussels boasts an enviable bunch of galleries from established outfits like Xavier Hufkens, Meessen de Clercq, and Almine Rech to cutting-edge youngsters like Super Dakota, C L E A R I N G, and LEVY.DELVAL. Each April Art Brussels welcomes those outfits and a host of others from around the world to Belgium. And while buzz was high this year, with news that the fair is moving to a new location in 2016, the former industrial site Tour & Taxis, and that New York’s beloved Independent art fair is launching a Brussels edition around the same time, the city is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future.

15 Detroit

20+ Galleries in 2015

2+ Art Museums and Institutions

0 Art Fairs in 2015

Detroit has been lauded as America’s Berlin for the past several years. And despite the fact that L.A. likely has great claim to that title, the Motor City continues to attract alternative spaces looking to jump the coasts’ hustle (and steep rents). Most notably, Galapagos Art Space set down in Motown this year after ditching their Brooklyn digs. (In 2016, they’ll launch Detroit’s first-ever biennial.) Detroit also serves as a stand-in on this list for the many emerging art capitals worldwide, from Mexico City to Mumbai, Bogotá to Beirut, and beyond that are in the midst of explosions of artistic activity and may well break into this list in 2016.


O Natal português também é celebrado pelo mundo

Mundo Português

O Natal português também é celebrado pelo mundo

21/12/15 ATUALIDADE Imagem

Entre a saudade e a nostalgia, o Natal dos emigrantes portugueses torna mais vivas, as lembranças da terra natal...

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