End of the Year Wrap Up (PART I/II)

During the last few days before the year’s end, I always think how fast this year has flown by. There are so many things left to do before 2016! But looking past my short-term memory to last January, I realize so much has happened and changed since the beginning of 2015. For example, this blog really only took serious shape in April.

Since then, I’ve interviewed artists such as Dustin Yellin, Stephen Hannock, Jerry Gretzinger, Alonsa Guevara, Gabriel and Isaac Fortoul, Dina Goldstein, and others whose interviews are pending publication. I’ve written about beaches, bugs, controversy, art fairs, value, photography, art mafias, and food.


And all that time, the world was changing… in January, terrorists attacked political cartoonists in Paris, forever implanting the name “Charlie Hebdo” in everyone’s minds; in March, Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht was replaced by Tad Smith; and in April, the movie “Woman in Gold” was released,causing flocks of tourists and art lovers to visit the Neue Galerie in New York to see it in person: 


Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch‑Bauer I, Oil, silver, and gold on canvas
Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch‑Bauer I, Oil, silver, and gold on canvas

May was a big art month with the Whitney opening the doors to its new downtown location to great success in New York; over in South America, Bogotá, Colombia held its 10th biennial in photography, and subsequently received a ton of positive press on tourism countered by the notoriety it received from Netflix’s Narcos; and in Cuba, the first Havana Biennial took place since US-Cuban political relations started to thaw;

Lisette Poole for The New York Times
Lisette Poole for The New York Times

Back in New York, Christie’s sold the most expensive painting to date, a $170 million Picasso to (supposedly) the Qatari family; 

Picasso, Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’), 1955. Price Realized: $179,365,000. Courtesy of Christie’s Images ltd. 2015.
Picasso, Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’), 1955. Price Realized: $179,365,000. Courtesy of Christie’s Images ltd. 2015.

Frieze NY became a real competitor for the Armory Show with a much more organized and interactive art fair this year, in which Richard Prince revealed his latest appropriation series: Instagram pictures! Selling them at prices reaching $100,000 each;

image courtesy of www.architecturaldigest.com
image courtesy of http://www.architecturaldigest.com

Soon after, in June, Frieze swiped the Armory Show’s Executive Director Noah Horowitz to head its Americas division; in July, Ai Wei Wei finally got his passport back; ARTnews and Art in America merged; and Harper Lee published Go Set a Watchman, the prequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, just 55 years later.

In September, vandals broke into the gardens of Versailles and defaced Anish Kapoor’s giant outdoor sculpture with anti-Semitic graffiti; 

Anish Kapoor, Dirty Corner, 2011-2015. © Seixas .“Anish Kapoor” at Château de Versailles, Versailles (2015)
Anish Kapoor, “Dirty Corner”, 2011-2015. © Seixas .“Anish Kapoor” at Château de Versailles, Versailles (2015)


Sotheby’s revealed an unprecedented guarantee of $500 million for the collection of its late chairman, Alfred Taubman, to be sold in four parts, starting in November and ending in January; in OctoberDrake releases his instantly meme-able “Hotline Bling” to widespread speculation that he filmed it inside a James Turrell installation: 


In October, photographer Sally Mann was named one of the finalists for the National Book Awards for her memoir “Hold Still”- the very first book she has ever written and published; the following month Mann was officially awarded the prize.


November was a sad month that started off with optimism and excitement for Paris Photo, but ended quickly with silence brought about by violent attacks in a soccer stadium within the suburbs of Saint-Denis and the Bataclan concert hall in the 11th arrondisement of Paris, killing 129 people overall. Yet the world soon realized that the resilience of the Parisians was stronger than could be imagined, and a simple artistic image shared on social media soon emerged as a unifying symbol:

Jean Julien's "Peace for Paris" instagram
Jean Julien’s “Peace for Paris” instagram

By December, the world regrouped around art and convened in Miami for the 45th edition of Art Basel to experience a very successful fair with record attendances and sales despite a mid-week stabbing in the middle of the convention center. By the way, considering that most bystanders thought the stabbing was performance art, we better hope that no terrorists get any ideas about using art to disguise their actions…

On a lighter note, the art was fresh and the programming seemed much more interesting than in the past years. Sales were booming, and greater attention was focused on new artists. Things are looking good! 



… TO BE CONTINUED in Part II of “End of the Year Wrap Up”!


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