Monday, February 8, 2016

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Art Central | 23-26 March 2016 | Central Harbourfront Hong Kong | View Online
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Art World

artnet Asks: Star Photographer Thomas Struth

Thomas Struth<br>Photo:  © Vanessa Enders Atelier Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery
Thomas Struth
Photo: © Vanessa Enders Atelier Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery
Photography lovers rejoice: the German artist Thomas Struth is returning to London with a phenomenal exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery, his first solo outing in the city since his 2011 retrospective at Whitechapel Gallery.
The show gathers two bodies of work: a series taken in Israel and Palestine, and a number of photographs shot in scientific and technological research centers in California.
But it's the images from Israel and Palestine—originally taken for the project This Place during a series of trips between 2009 and 2014—that really make an impact.
Encompassing a series of tropes that underpin Struth's entire oeuvre—landscapes, family portraits, landmark architecture—this new series takes Struth's unique gaze a step further, creating painstakingly composed images that are calm, empty, and beautiful, yet loaded with the ghosts of conflict, personal drama, and war.
artnet News met with the acclaimed photographer (see artnet News' Top 10 Most Expensive Living German Artists) to talk about his powerful work from the Middle East, the status of analog photography in a digital world, and what drives him to keep making work.
The Israel and Palestine series is your first work in a conflict zone. Has it changed your understanding of your role as a photographer?
I have often wondered whether I should lend my abilities to journalistic or humanitarian causes, aside from making, exhibiting, and selling art. But I have also asked myself whether I could make better or more effective pictures in that context than the ones I make, and the conclusion is that it's not the right thing for me to do.
My series in Israel and Palestine came as a result of an invitation from Frédéric Brenner to do a project [This Place] about Israel and the West Bank with a group of fellow photographers. I had been invited to Israel on a few occasions before but I never went, because I was afraid. Also, I am German, and Germany has a very fraught history with Jews and Israel. But on this occasion it felt like the right circumstances. Brenner has huge experience in the area and with Jewish communities, and I thought, this is the moment.
But I wanted to photograph both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Did your travels and work in the area change any preconceptions that you might have had on the Israel-Palestine conflict?
Yes, going there actually did change my opinion. Of course, we all have an opinion about the conflict, mostly formed by the media. But I think that having contact with the reality there makes you a little bit more entitled to have an opinion.
Overall, I am very happy I went. Also, it has made me find a bit of peace with my German-ness in relation to the Jewish. The previous generation found it really hard to apologize for what our ancestors did. So it's good to be able to be more open and honest, even if I think some of the Israeli policies are unjust—just like I think some Palestinian policies are unjust.
Undoubtedly, the area has a very sad dynamic. But you also find a lot of happiness and joy in many moments.
Thomas Struth, Silwan, East Jerusalem (2009)<br>Photo: Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery
Thomas Struth, Silwan, East Jerusalem (2009)
Photo: Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery
You work with a large format analog camera. What's your opinion on the prominence of digital photography and its pervasive role in social media?
I've been thinking a lot about that, observing what's happening around me and what does it entail. Indeed, social media photography is a cultural phenomenon. I think the reason for its prominence is that we live in an era of vanity, where we feel less politically empowered as citizens, so we are turning inwards, retreating into ourselves.
But that private inwardness then becomes public, through social media, so secrets have devalued. I've read a very interesting book by Yvonne Hofstetter [an expert in Artificial Intelligence] where she talks about how having secrets is key for democracy, because only when you are able to develop something as a small group in a protected space, you can then make a long term plan, which is something that seems to be lacking in contemporary politics.
Your photographs are monumental and sublime, not only in terms of scale, but in how space is portrayed and loaded with tension. What is your relationship with the tradition of German landscape painting?
I started as a painter, and then I began to make photographs, which made my painting get more and more realistic, but I didn't like photorealism. It just didn't make sense, so I focused on photography.
One of the things that struck me about this show is how carefully it's been installed and distributed in the exhibition space.
Coming from a conceptual background and having photographed museums for years, exhibition design is something I enjoy enormously. I am a perfectionist, but not because I love perfection, but because every detail creates and transmits content. I often think of exhibitions as music pieces: you have themes, variations, and contrasts. There has to be moments for quietness and dynamism distributed in the exhibition space.
What makes you continue wanting to make art?
I think I continue taking photographs because that's the thing I do best. I love music, but I am not a great musician. I love painting but I am not such a great painter. But I can “see" very well.
Thomas Struth's solo exhibition is currently on view at Marian Goodman Gallery, 5-8 Lower John Street, London, from April 30-June 6.
Follow artnet News on Facebook and @selfselector (Lorena Muñoz-Alonso) on Twitter. 

Did the Smithsonian Buy His Fake Art?


Mock Masterpieces

02.08.16 5:01 AM ET

Did the Smithsonian Buy His Fake Art?

A Michigan-based art dealer was charged with selling dozens of fake works by American masters to unsuspecting buyers. Was the Smithsonian also duped by his alleged fraud?
What a difference a decade makes.
In a 2006 review of an art forger’s tell-all tale on Amazon, Eric Ian Hornak Spoutz—who today stands accused of such crimes himself—lambasted the author for his “incessant blaming of eBay for ‘allowing’ him to commit such crimes.”
“For fans of sociopathic, self-indulgent, unapologetic humor, this book is for you,” Spoutz, then in his early twenties, added. “For all others, save yourself the time and read some art books instead.”
Last week, prosecutors charged the Michigan-based Spoutz, who says he is the nephew of the late American artist Ian Hornak, with wire fraud. They allege that he sold dozens of fake paintings, claiming they were the work of American masters, to unsuspecting buyers in a five-year-long ruse.
“As alleged, Eric Spoutz created an entire world of fiction to make a profit—from the fraudulent paintings he was selling, to the phony letters and receipts for provenance,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez. “The only real thing in this situation seems to be the financial losses the victims have incurred for purchasing what they thought were true works of art, whether for investment purposes or personal enjoyment.”
A cell phone number registered to Spoutz has been disconnected and The Daily Beast was not able to reach him for comment by press time.
Spoutz used the aliases “Robert Chad Smith,” “John Goodman,” and “James Sinclair” to further his fraud, according to authorities. (In fact, he may have legally renamed himself to Robert Chad Smith, according to the complaint.)
Spoutz was active in the arts community up to his arrest. Though his public page on Facebook had fewer than 100 likes, Spoutz posted on Jan. 31 about his “initiation and organization, in collaboration with the Jack Mitchell archives and Craig B. Highberger, of the acquisition of a body of photographs by Jack Mitchell into the permanent collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.”
Mitchell, who photographed artists, died in 2013. Highberger was a friend who directed a documentary about him.
Efforts to reach Highberger by phone were unsuccessful.
An extensive 11-page resume on his personal website identifies Spoutz as a “freelance museum exhibition curator, private art dealer.” Last updated in 2013, it notes that Spoutz had most recently helped the Smithsonian acquire various artworks by Eugene Alain Seguy and Franz Kline.
Kline is explicitly identified—along with Willem de Kooning and Joan Mitchell—as one of the artists Spoutz used to pass off counterfeit works as the real deal, authorities say.
A search of Smithsonian collections for Spoutz’s name turns up six images provided by him: one by his uncle, and others by Tom Blackwell, Charles Bell, Richard McLean, Howard Kanovitz, and Robert Indiana. Spoutz also provided one of his uncle’s paintings to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
The feds say Spoutz, using his many pseudonyms, was investigated in 2010 for selling a fake purportedly by the abstract painter Paul Jenkins. Identifying himself as Robert C. Smith, Spoutz allegedly offered “full refunds to the two purchasers of the works on paper.”
“Since I was first informed of the supposed authenticity issue last Friday, I have attempted two times to get the Auction House in Detroit to withdraw the works from their Feb. 14th auction,” he allegedly wrote. Also under his Smith alias, Spoutz allegedly tried to sell two Joan Mitchell pastel counterfeits for tens of thousands of dollars, saying he had provenance documents showing their authenticity and that the works were bequeathed to him by a “Jay Wolf.”
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But when the feds investigated the real Jay Wolf’s will, they found the man had promised all his art—an earlier appraisal of which did not include any Mitchell works—to Dartmouth college. Neither Spoutz, nor any of his aliases, got any art in the will.
In another alleged incident, Spoutz sold a Mitchell dupe under the name John Goodman—but when it came time to pay, the purchaser noticed that the money went straight to a Robert Smith.
In other instances noted in the criminal complaint, Spoutz allegedly cooked up lengthy histories for artworks to explain their origins. When buyers returned artwork out of authenticity concerns, Spoutz allegedly had the gall to put them back up for sale. In other instances noted by authorities, Spoutz’s tax filings—both as Smith, and as Spoutz, using the same social security number—never matched the heavy expenditures he claimed to have made to obtain the “original” works.
In fact, the truest tale of provenance in the Eric Spoutz saga may be his own.
A New York Times obituary for the artist Ian Hornak said he was survived by a sister, Rosemary, and a brother, Michael. (Hornak’s longtime partner, Frank Burton, died several years before him.) A public records search shows that Rosemary Hornak Spoutz does have a son named Eric.
Ian Hornak’s former dealer could not be reached for comment.
Multiple news reports about Spoutz and Hornak’s estate identify Rosemary as an artist. A biography submitted by her son indicates that her work has been exhibited in Michigan, and near her brother’s home in East Hampton, New York.
A lengthy Wikipedia page for the somewhat obscure Eric Spoutz has been deleted, but formerly said that he started working for his uncle at age 16. When the artist died just a few years later, the young Spoutz—still a teenager himself—was allegedly named executor of his estate. Spoutz supposedly created a foundation in his uncle’s name, and an art gallery in his own, which showcased Photorealist and Hyperrealist art—the very movements his uncle was known for.
And Spoutz’s art-world problems may not be new.
The complaint cites a 2006 e-mail associated with a business that Spoutz directed, which sent an article identifying Spoutz as an “Art-world powerbroker” who was making a comeback after spurious allegations made on a Danish website. “Sometime around 2003, I had purchased a few thousand attributed artworks from a couple of different private collections,” the article allegedly cites Spoutz as saying. “The works were offered with stiff terms and conditions of sale clearly stating that the works were attributed to the respective artists and that there was no assurance of authenticity.”
Like the protagonist of the book he reviewed on Amazon around the same time, Spoutz proffered his goods on eBay. “There was a self-proclaimed art expert… in Denmark who took note of the auctions and decided he would slander my name as a swindler.”
A Danish website still online accuses Spoutz of passing off fakes by Picasso, Kandinsky, Chagall, Matisse and others—apparently before his focus turned to the American masters. The site alleges that the copyright stamp Spoutz plastered over his online offerings was an admission of the fact that the works were not by the artists, but by his own hand.

Fotografia do perfil de The Daily Beast


The Best Photos of the Day

Best Photos of the Day
NANTES.- People ride a mechanical spider made of wood and steel as it is presented to the public for the first time at "Les Machines de L'Ile" ("Machines of the Isle of Nantes") in Nantes, western France, on February 6, 2016.

Best Photos of the Day
NANTES.- People ride a mechanical elephant made of wood and steel at "Les Machines de L'Ile" ("Machines of the Isle of Nantes") in Nantes, western France, on February 6, 2016.

Julien's Auctions and Artsy host inaugural online auction: Street Art Now
D*Face Going Everywhere Fast (2014); an artist proof mixed media print on Birchwood (estimate: $3,000-5,000).

Julien’s Auctions and Artsy Host Inaugural Online Auction — Street Art Now

Extraordinary Banksy Lots to be Highlighted in February Sale —
February 12-21, 2016
Banksy “Morons”)
New York, New York – (February 5, 2016) –Julien’s Auctions, the world record breaking auction house to the stars, announced a partnership with Artsy for  an online-only Street Art Now Auction. Curated by Julien’s Auctions, the world-renowned auction house, with data-driven guidance from Artsy, the sale will open on February 12th, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. PST and close February 21st at 6:00 p.m. PST. The auction will happen in real time on the Artsy website ( and the Artsy iPhone and iPad apps, and will be co-promoted on
Shephard Fairey’s M16 VS AK 47
Julien’s Auctions’ “Street Art Now” sale on Artsy will feature art works from the elusive Banksy as well as other highly significant street artists of our time. Highlights include Banksy’s MORONS (2007), a limited edition signed silkscreen acquired directly from the artist, accompanied by Pest Control (estimate: $20,000-$25,000); Shepard Fairey - M16 VS AK 47 (2006), an HPM silkscreen and mixed media collage signed and dated (estimate: $16,000-$18,000); RETNA = Sonia (2010) (estimate: $6,000-$8,000); D*Face Going Everywhere Fast (2014), an artist proof mixed media print on Birchwood (estimate: $3,000-$5,000); Damien Hirst (British b. 1965) Spin Skull, an acrylic painting on paper signed (estimate: $3,000-$5,000); Shepard Fairey’s Billy Idol (2008), an HPM print signed by both Idol and Fairey and numbered (estimate: $6,000-$8,000); Mr. Brainwash aka Thierry Guetta (French b. 1966) All You Need is Love (2010), a hand embellished silkscreen signed lithograph (estimate: $800-$1,200); Ben Eine (American b. 1970) – A to Z, an aerosol on canvas (estimate: $15,000-$20,000); Takashi Murakami (Japanese, 1962) And Then When That’s Done (2009), a signed lithograph (estimate: $800-$1,200).
There will be 35 lots offered in the Street Art Now sale on Artsy by Julien’s Auctions.  The online-only sale, which is the first of its kind organized by Julien’s Auctions, will feature a wide-range of exceptional works.
D*Face Going Everywhere Fast
“Julien’s Auctions is excited to collaborate with Artsy on this extraordinary Street Art sale,” said Darren Julien, Founder & CEO of Julien’s Auctions. “By offering this new platform to our collectors and fans around the world we have the opportunity to work together on new, innovative approaches that add to our global auction recognition.”
Artsy is the leading resource for learning about and collecting art from 4,000 leading galleries, 600 museums and institutions, and 60 international art fairs and select auctions. Artsy provides free access via its website ( and iPhone and iPad apps to 350,000 images of art and architecture by 50,000 artists, which includes the world’s largest online database of contemporary art. Artsy’s encyclopedic database spans historical works, such as the Rosetta Stone and the Colosseum, to modern and contemporary works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Richard Serra, Lucien Smith, Sarah Lucas, and Cindy Sherman. Powered by The Art Genome Project, a classification system that maps the connections between artists and artworks, Artsy fosters new generations of art lovers, museum-goers, patrons, and collectors. A press and public exhibition will be announced soon.
With expertise specializing in entertainment and music memorabilia as well as contemporary art, Julien’s Auctions has quickly established itself as the premier auction house in high profile celebrity entertainment, sports and fine art auctions.  Julien’s Auctions presents exciting, professionally managed and extremely successful auctions with full color high quality auction catalogues unlike any other auction company.  Previous auctions include the collections of Cher, Michael Jackson, U2, Barbara Streisand, the estates of Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Les Paul and many more. Official website is
For hi-res images, please email or
Press Contact
Caroline Galloway

  • Julien's Live Bidder Login

2016 Street Art Auction

Julien’s Auctions is pleased to announce our partnership with Artsy to hold the first of its kind dedicated online Street Art auction. Artsy is the leading online resource for learning about collecting art online, working with thousands of galleries around the world to offer selected works to their global user registered base. Artsy is excited to be collaborating with Julien’s Auctions on an online auction, focusing on Street Art, hosted on Artsy beginning February 12th with final bidding closing Sunday, February 21st, 2016. This curated sale will offer a selection of 30 curated works showcasing the most influential street artists of our time including Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Space Invader, JR, Faile, KAWS, RETNA, Risk, Dolk, Swoon, D*face.
ABOUT ARTSY: the leading resource for learning about and collecting art from over 4,200 leading galleries, 600 museums and institutions, 60 international art fairs and select auctions. Artsy provides free access via its website ( and iPhone and iPad apps to 350,000 images of art and architecture by 50,000 artists, which includes the world’s largest online database of contemporary art. Artsy's encyclopedic database spans historical works, such as the Rosetta Stone and the Colosseum, to modern and contemporary works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Richard Serra, Sarah Lucas, and Cindy Sherman. Powered by The Art Genome Project, a classification system that maps the connections between artists and artworks, Artsy fosters new generations of art lovers, museum-goers, patrons, and collectors.
Auction Posted: Friday, February 12, 2016
Online Bidding Ends: Sunday, February 21, 2016, 6:00 p.m. PST
All Bidding Conducted Online Through
For inquiries, please email or call 310-836-1818

Julien’s Auctions: Street Art Now
Auction opens in:
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Julien’s Auctions: Street Art Now

Julien’s Auctions + Artsy are excited to present “Street Art Now,” an auction featuring more than 30 artworks by artists who have forever changed our public spaces. The auction brings together some of the biggest names working in street art—Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Damien Hirst, KAWS, and Retna—with more emerging talent who follow in the tradition of these now iconic artists.
Thanks to the widespread dissemination of images made possible by the internet, street art from around the world has become an ingrained part of daily life, often capturing specific cultural and political moments. This curated auction will provide collectors with the opportunity to own a permanent piece of this global visual landscape.
Bidding will open exclusively on Artsy on Friday, February 12th.
All lots in this auction are subject to a Buyer’s Premium. Have questions? Please contact +1.646.504.7607 or

"Olivo Barbieri: Adriatic Sea (staged) Dancing People" on view at Yancey Richardson Gallery
Adriatic Sea (Staged) Dancing People 10, 2015. Archival Pigment Print.

Olivo Barbieri: Immagini 1978-2014


Sol LeWitt’s “Flat-Top Pyramids #1” (1986) is one of the gifts the Dallas Museum of Art received from Dorace Fichtenbaum in her will. Credit 2016 The LeWitt Estate Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Dallas Museum of Art

Dorace Fichtenbaum had been generous toward the Dallas Museum of Art, donating funds as well as artworks. But the museum never expected this.

Before Ms. Fichtenbaum died last summer, she stipulated in her will that the museum could choose works from her collection after her death, allowing it to curate the bequest and strengthen parts of its holdings.
“For us it was a sudden wealth,” said Olivier Meslay, who is overseeing the acquisition, “a changing gift.”
Curators who visited Ms. Fichtenbaum’s home were surprised by the breadth of her collection, which consisted mainly of works on paper. “The house was packed on the wall with works of art — all the big names of the German Expressionist period were there,” Mr. Meslay said. “We picked the best of them.”

“Untitled” (1976), by Yayoi Kusama, was acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art through the will of Dorace Fichtenbaum. Credit Yayoi Kusama, Dallas Museum of Art

The museum ultimately decided on 138 pieces: Expressionist works by Otto Dix and Paul Klee, as well as art by Yayoi Kusama, Jasper Johns, Jean Dubuffet, Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse. A selection from the collection, which also includes pieces of African art and American Indian ceramics, will go on view on March 13.
While the museum’s George Grosz holdings were strong, for example, it was lacking significant pieces by other German artists. “We have a large number of watercolors by him,” Mr. Meslay said. “It’s great to have context for that.”

Warhol’s “In the Bottom of My Garden” (circa 1956). Credit The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, 2016 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc./ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Another Side to Warhol

Andy Warhol is not typically associated with books. But he started out as a graphic artist in advertising, fashion illustration and commercial publishing, and for him, books remained an important inspiration.
Starting on Feb. 5, the Morgan Library & Museum will highlight Warhol’s history with them.
“It’s a completely different way to look at him,” said Sheelagh Bevan, the curator in charge of the show. “To see him making books from the ’40s provides another perspective.”
The exhibition — “Warhol by the Book,” which originated at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh — features more than 130 objects, including the artist’s only surviving book project from the 1940s, as well as the rarely seen “Love Is a Pink Cake,” in which his ink line drawings illustrate love poems by Corkie (Ralph T. Ward).
On view through May 15, the show also includes photographs, self-published books, archival material and dust jacket designs.
Among the publications from the Pop era are Warhol’s vibrant silk-screen prints of President Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy in “Flash — November 22, 1963,” which, Ms. Bevan pointed out, is usually viewed “framed on the wall.”
And the exhibition will juxtapose Warhol’s work with books that inspired him, like “Les Fleurs Animées” (1847), by the Parisian cartoonist J. J. Grandville, and Jacques Stella’s engraving “Les Jeux et Plaisirs de l’Enfance” (1657).
“You can see how he was looking at source material,” Ms. Bevan said of Warhol, “what jumped out at him.”
Perhaps most unexpected will be a look at how the artist worked closely with others, as he did with the painter Philip Pearlstein on an unfinished children’s book about a Mexican jumping bean.

New Director at Art21

Since Art21 was founded in 1997 to engage audiences with contemporary visual art, this nonprofit organization has produced seven seasons of the PBS television series “Art in the Twenty-First Century” and won a Peabody Award for its film about the South African artist William Kentridge.
Now Art21 has selected a new executive director, Tina Kukielski, to succeed Susan Sollins, who founded and led the group for 17 years until she died at 75 in 2014.
“It’s one of the few unmediated places you can go to hear the authentic voice of the artist,” Ms. Kukielski said, adding, “You get to see the creative process.”
Ms. Kukielski, a contemporary-art curator who recently made’s list of “25 Women Curators Shaking Things Up” has previously held positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Carnegie Museum of Art, and worked on the 2013 Carnegie International.
The TV series, which has drawn a total of 28 million viewers, has featured Ai Weiwei, Laurie Anderson, Mark Bradford and Kara Walker, among others. Art21’s online film series, “New York Close Up” — which typically brings in more than 3.5 million viewers — has profiled artists including LaToya Ruby Frazier, Jamian Juliano-Villani and Rashid Johnson.
Agnes Gund, the philanthropist and one of the organizations major donors, said, “Even if you don’t have art in hand or have it on your wall or get to see it in a museum, you do get to live with it through these films.”
Ms. Kukielski said she was ”interested in how we can position Art21 as a global leader in digital media about contemporary art — how we can be thinking about content that is groundbreaking in the way that documentary filmmaking was groundbreaking.”

Grants for Social Justice

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation has selected the first 46 recipients to share in nearly $1 million under its new Art and Social Justice initiative.
Those getting the grants — including the Studio Museum in Harlem, Creative Time and El Museo del Barrio — were chosen for their commitment to social justice and to programming that promotes equality, collective action and public discourse.
“We really want to be engaged in community building,” said Ms. Rubin, who, with her husband, Donald, founded the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan, which holds their Himalayan art collection.
The grants — ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 — offer various kinds of assistance, from operating support to funds for exhibitions and education. “We wanted social impact and we wanted quality art,” said Alexander Gardner, the foundation’s executive director. “We wanted to make sure we were finding excellence in both.”