The pandemic is on and the confusion persists – and I’m not talking about the Omicron variant. We cannot talk about art in 2021 without mentioning the NFTs. Non-fungible tokens took to the doors of the contemporary art establishment in March, when Beeple, the keyboard name of digital artist Mike Winkelmann, has sold a crypto artwork at Christie’s for more than $ sixty-nine million. As for the caliber of Beeple’s art, based on my admittedly superficial viewing, I would say he’s aptly described in his Instagram bio as “art shit for your face hole.” But the sale made him the third most expensive artist in the world, after Jeff Koons and David Hockney, so for every collector enjoying an NFT through their face hole, there’s bound to be a speculator looking to fatten their wallet. On the plus side: the art establishment has largely ignored computer art for decades (precisely because its intangible form has made it so difficult to monetize), and now some deep-pocketed insiders, including the Pace Gallery, have taken it upon themselves. rushed to embrace the new token-based medium. Unfortunately, the main draw may be that in addition to being unique works of art, DTVs are also financial instruments. The terminology around them is revealing: a picture is painted, but an NFT is struck, like money.
New York writers reflect on the ups and downs of the year.
Not all the art news related to finance this year was not so confusing. In recent weeks, two New York City museums have received Legacy Change Donations with a combined value of approximately two and a half Beeples, or $ 175 million. At a time when billionaires are investing more and more philanthropic resources in their own private museums and associations (for example, this summer, the MOMA administrator Lonti Ebers opened a forty million dollar exhibition-residence complex in Brooklyn), it was inspiring to learn that Oscar Tang, a long-time member of the board of directors of the encounter, and his wife, Agnes Hsu-Tang, cultural heritage policy advisor, pledged one hundred and twenty-five million dollars to the museum for the long-standing renovation of its modern wing.
The public sector was also in a generous mood: New York City invested fifty million dollars in the Brooklyn museum. The funds are intended for capital improvements in the McKim, Mead & White Beaux-Arts building, the institution’s home since 1897. As exciting as it is to see Bill de Blasio get something good as he leaves Her functions, the person who deserves the merit of the manna is the director of the museum, Anne Pasternak, who was hired, in 2015, without any museum experience. I only hope that the museum’s success with the city bodes well for the negotiation process of its own staff, who formed a union in August.
I am on the side of curators, installers, curators, publishers, educators, ticketers, wardens, custodians, and so many others whose work ensures that works of art are preserved for the public good, and do not disappear into private hands. . The relationship between the class of collectors and the institutions is a story in itself; in 2021, financier Leon Black resigns from MOMA, bowing to protests over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, and the Met announced the removal of the opioid crisis-disgraced name Sackler from most of its walls.
But, as essential as public institutions are to the life of the city, New York’s galleries are its cornerstone. Ignore the epic levels of serious bloating found in some gallery statements, in which any piece made before 2020 appears to qualify as “historic,” and consider the price of admission to the city’s hundreds of galleries to be fair to show. – and provide proof of vaccination. Below are just a few of the spaces I’ve covered in the magazine this year, all below Fourteenth Street, south of Chelsea’s increasingly corporatized gallery district, in this ever-changing scene of famous scenes. under the name of downtown New York.
Four decades ago, young artists ignited a DIY scene in Alphabet City, where the East Village meets avenues A, B, and C. One of the hot spots was the FUN Gallery, where, in 1982, Jean -Michel Basquiat sold a painting that reappeared this year in a Tiffany ad, alongside Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The campaign put the brand in hot water, after a spokesperson suggested that Basquiat may have been inspired in his color choice by Tiffany Blue. This fall, a new protest operation on Avenue C sought to give pleasure to downtown galleries, while raising the middle finger to the jet-setters of art fairs who persist in confusing works. of art and luxury goods. Nervous painter Jamian Juliano-Villani (something of a darling market herself) enlisted artist Billy Grant and musician Ruby Zarsky to help her run O’Flaherty’s, a new club-house-cum-art space on Avenue C. If the name sounds more like a blue-collar bar than a launching pad for the next high-profile artist, that’s exactly the point. The first show was a wild ride from irreverent LA veteran Kim Dingle, sculptor, painter, and photographer who had memorable side activities including running a vegetarian restaurant in his studio for over a decade.