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At a Reduced Frieze Week, a Focus on Black Art – The New York Times

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LONDON — In the same way that Voltaire described the Holy Roman Empire as “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire,” this year’s Frieze Week here didn’t really live up to its title.

For starters, Frieze London, Britain’s most important contemporary art fair, and its sister event, Frieze Masters, were canceled because of the pandemic and converted into mainly online offerings.

Then, what did take place wasn’t the usual event-packed week. There were no gala evening auctions, no groundbreaking exhibition at Tate Modern, no must-be-seen-at parties or dinners.

Coronavirus restrictions make it impracticable to hold large-scale destination art events, particularly after reports in the German news media of infections at last month’s Gallery Weekend Berlin. The event’s director, Maike Cruse, said on Wednesday that there had been “fewer than five confirmed cases” and that they had stemmed from dinners outside the event’s official framework. All of which helped ensure that there were few international visitors at what was left of Frieze Week.

Yet there was still plenty to see — at least for those who had booked online. The 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair went ahead, albeit scaled down. And although they might not have been staffing the usual Frieze booths in tents in Regent’s Park, London’s contemporary art dealers mounted an impressive array of selling shows in their galleries.

Works by female and Black artists predominated in these spaces, reflecting the current desire of both public museums and private collectors to diversify what they display.

“Pried/Prayed (Hard Rain Gon’ Come)” by Christina Quarles, which is on display at Pilar Corrias.
Credit…Christina Quarles and Pilar Corrias

Pilar Corrias, a gallery with a reputation for representing of-the-moment female artists, is showing nine large canvases painted during a pandemic lockdown by the Los Angeles-based artist Christina Quarles, who identifies as a queer woman. Born to a Black father and a white mother, Ms. Quarles makes multilayered, deeply ambiguous paintings that are equally admired by museum curators and market speculators. In July, one of her 2017 paintings sold at auction for $400,000, quadrupling the pre-sale estimate.

Ms. Corrias, the gallery’s director, could sell all of these new paintings several times over, but said in an interview that she was negotiating to place half of them in public museums and half in private collections that she is confident will not sell them on to turn a profit. Ms. Quarles’s latest paintings were priced from $90,000 to $200,000, the gallerist said.

“I’ve always represented artists who are very feminist, dealing with issues of race, sexuality and post-colonialism,” Ms. Corrias said. “It’s important these issues are addressed.”

Art dealers representing in-demand names face the continuing challenge of selling works to buyers who will enhance the artist’s reputation rather than the bank balance of a “flipper,” who quickly brings the work to auction to make a fast buck.

Thomas Dane, a leading London gallerist who represents the award-winning artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen, said that many buyers were “interested in money itself” and that their speculative activity destabilized the market.

The dealer’s two spaces in St. James’s are hosting a show of new paintings and sculptures by the Brooklyn-based artist Dana Schutz. Mr. Dane said he hoped to sell at least some of the enigmatically allegorical pieces to prestigious European institutions. Auction prices for Ms. Schutz’s work have risen spectacularly since the furor surrounding the inclusion of her painting “Open Casket” in the 2017 Whitney Biennial in New York, soaring to a record $2.4 million last year.

“There’s something extremely contemporary about her practice,” Mr. Dane said. “She’s looking at society and showing it back at us.” New paintings at Ms. Schutz’s inaugural show in London cost up to $600,000.

There was no shortage of takers for the sumptuously colorful abstracts painted by Jadé Fadojutimi, a young Black British artist of Nigerian descent who is scheduled to be the subject of a solo show next year at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami.

Credit…Jadé Fadojutimi; via The Hepworth Wakefield

The Mayfair dealer Pippy Houldsworth was showing 12 new canvases by Ms. Fadojutimi, whose works have yet to appear at auction. The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Studio Museum in Harlem are among the five American institutions to have acquired paintings, which are priced from 20,000 to 45,000 pounds (about $26,000 to $58,500).

“Many museums want to acquire this kind of work,” said Marta Gnyp, a Berlin-based art adviser, who added that she felt like “an endangered species” as a foreign visitor in London this week.

Ms. Gnyp said there was competition between collectors and museum for works by emerging artists such as Ms. Fadojutimi. “The interest of museums adds to the hype,” she said.

Buyers for works by Black contemporary artists had plenty of choice during the week. There was Meleko Mokgosi at Gagosian, Rashid Johnson at Hauser & Wirth, Denzil Forrester at Stephen Friedman and a group show at the Instagram-savvy Unit dealership. There was also a wealth of African material at the 1:54 fair.

But for dealers who have supported Black artists for years, the market’s newfound enthusiasm for this long-marginalized group was in need of some qualification. “I do worry about where this is leading to and what will be enduring,” said Jo Stella-Sawicka, the director of the London branch of the Goodman Gallery. “There is a need for criticality.”

The Goodman Gallery was founded in 1966 as a pioneering nondiscriminatory art space in Apartheid-era Johannesburg by Linda Givon, who died on Monday. The continuing seriousness of the dealership’s program was in evidence at a group show in its Cork Street gallery, which included “biko cabral (time/place),” an ingenious 2020 mixed media work by the Zambian artist Nolan Oswald Dennis. Consisting of a wall-mounted printing machine spouting an imaginary conversation between political activists, it was still available at $9,000 on Friday.

Yet Black portraiture is a far more commercial commodity. The recent frenzy of demand for works by the young Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo, culminating in February in the extraordinary auction price of $880,000, is an extreme manifestation of the current collecting fashion.

Credit…Serge Attukwei Clottey and Gallery 1957
Credit…Serge Attukwei Clottey and Gallery 1957

Nearly all of the 30 exhibitors at the 1:54 fair, which previewed to V.I.P.s on Thursday, showed African portraiture in some form. Gallery 1957, from Ghana, which plans to open a London space this month, displayed eight duct-tape-on-cork-board portraits by Serge Attukwei Clottey. Visually and technically distinctive, all were sold at the preview, priced at about $11,000 each.

According to the gallery’s founder, Marwan Zakhem, at least two of them were bought by African-American collectors. “Why would they want to buy white portraits?” he said. “They haven’t seen the works. They’re happy to buy from PDFs.”

At an altogether different price level, collectors were also happy to buy from Frieze London and Frieze Masters’ online viewing rooms. On Wednesday, the mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth said it had taken in more than $15 million in sales, including $3.5 million and $850,000 respectively for works by the African-American artists Mark Bradford and Rashid Johnson.

“We’re in the middle of rewriting the art historical canon,” said Ms. Gnyp, the art adviser. “Everyone expected it to happen, but no one expected it to happen so quickly.”

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Abbotsford Arts Council presents online Anonymous Art Show – Abbotsford News

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The Abbotsford Arts Council presents the sixth annual Anonymous Art Show Fundraiser starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1.

The show runs online at abbotsfordartscouncil.com until Nov. 30.

The fundraiser showcases art that is submitted anonymously by emerging artists and seasoned professionals, providing an opportunity to give emerging artists a boost and buyers an opportunity to purchase an original work at an affordable price.

Each piece displayed in the show is on a 12-by-12-by-1.5-inch canvas or board and will be sold for $100.

Half the proceeds go to the artist and the remaining fifty per cent stays with the Abbotsford Arts Council to help create opportunities for artists in these difficult times and fund programs such as free community events, exhibition space, arts initiatives and more.

When a piece is purchased, the work will be marked as sold and the artist’s name revealed on the website.

The Abbotsford Arts Council will also announce each participating artist on Instagram @abbotsfordartscouncil as their work is sold. Purchased works can be picked up from the Kariton Art Gallery (2387 Ware St.) at designated pickup times or by appointment.

Visit the website or email admin@abbotsfordartscouncil.com for more information.

RELATED: Submissions accepted for Anonymous Art Show

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Letters Oct. 31: Art installation; restaurant servers; big spending – Times Colonist

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Who owns an art installation?

Re: “Anti-police acronym removed from Bastion Square mural, replaced with ­censorship message,” Oct. 29.

As an artist I want to start off by saying, I support public art to the fullest. Public art can be controversial. It can enhance our community and open us up to dialogue. I need to say I was greatly upset over the completed art installation at Bastion Square pertaining to injustices towards Black and Indigenous people.

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The idea of surreptitiously encrypting the acronym ACAB into a piece of commissioned public art is both insulting and offensive to the public and the police. I have sold a number of pieces both my own and commissioned work. I could not imagine incorporating a political message of my belief into a piece of commissioned work, without the knowledge of the purchaser. It would be unprofessional, as well as morally unethical.

I was angered to read that the artists responsible for the work were involved in “weeks of negotiations with the city” as to how to deal with the offensive acronym. The solution to cover the letter “S” and include a lengthy notation that criticizes the city for silencing their voices seems to be almost as offensive.

I have been fortunate enough to purchase a few pieces of original art in my lifetime. Since I bought and paid for them, they belong to me. I can do whatever I wish with them.

It is my understanding that since the city owns this installation, the city should not really have to consult with anyone as to what happens with the piece. I feel that for all the good intentions on the part of the city to support public art, the cost and time taken has ended up as a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. In the end, the greater message of “More Justice, More Peace” seems to have been lost to everyone.

Rod MacPherson
Saanich

Restaurant servers, wear your masks

When eating out we find that in some places not all of the staff members wear masks. The person directing us to a table might keep at a suitable distance.

However, often the person serving the meal does not wear a mask and is usually standing a foot or two away, is above us, and talking. Not good.

I have asked why no mask and been told that it is up to the individual server to decide.

It should be mandatory that at least the server wears a mask. Better yet, keep it simple and make it mandatory that masks be worn by everyone in all indoor facilities dealing with the public.

Roger Nield
Victoria

Pandemic will have lingering impact

Let’s take a moment to cheer on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Before COVID-19 he had already set a milestone in increasing Canada’s debt per capita (inflation adjusted) more than any prime minister outside the Great Depression of the 1930s and the two world wars, sadly stealing that honour from his father. With COVID he now has an open field to surpass those PMs who merely had to deal with world wars or global depressions.

So while COVID will pass, we are assured the suffering will continue for generations to come.

Scott Clark
Victoria

Limit cannabis to limit the virus

The authorities have strictly reduced access to bars and nightclubs to an essential minimum. Extended stays assisted by alcohol reduce inhibitions and allow the untested positives to spread the virus.

How does freely available cannabis enhance our drive to get the better of this pandemic? The answer is: It doesn’t.

Leonhard Braunizer
Brentwood Bay

A bridge would help at Kelly Road crossing

Congratulations to Colwood in pressing for a bridge on the Galloping Goose Trail and Wale Road.

I find that crossing the Island Highway by bike to be not so much a challenge at the proposed site as it is at Kelly Road and the Veterans Memorial Parkway, which requires two major street crossings versus the one.

Please consider one more key crossing site.

Larry Maydonik
James Bay

SEND US YOUR LETTERS

• Email letters to: letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd.

Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

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First virtual Carmichael Art History Lecture 'absolutely fabulous' – OrilliaMatters

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NEWS RELEASE
ORILLIA MUSEUM OF ART & HISTORY (HISTORY COMMITTEE)
********************
“Absolutely Fabulous.” “A wonderful presentation, truly exceptional experience of art and land.” “A true labour of love.”

These were some of the online comments about Jim and Sue Waddington and their presentation, “In the Footsteps of the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson.”

The Waddingtons appeared live via Zoom at the first ever virtual Carmichael Art History lecture hosted by the Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH) on Oct. 21. 

When the OMAH History Committee, who coordinates this annual OMAH fundraiser, confirmed with the Waddingtons that the lecture planned for May would have to be cancelled, Jim and Sue rose to the occasion.

“Would you be interested in holding the lecture virtually?”

They were keen to help OMAH with their fundraising efforts by sharing their story this way.

Forced to step outside their comfort zone, OMAH and the History Committee partnered with the Waddingtons to make this virtual event a huge success.

Through their rich narration Jim and Sue shared with viewers a snapshot of their 43-year quest to find the over 800 actual sites where the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson painted, exhibiting their stunning photographs of the locations that mirrored each particular sketch or painting.

Special for the Orillia audience, they included many details about the Orillia-born Franklin Carmichael. 

The audience was also treated to a “reveal” of the location where Carmichael painted Old Barns, Miner’s Bay, the painting OMAH hopes to purchase, which is in the la Cloche region of Ontario, not in the Minden area as was first thought.

It was a wonderful evening. Thanks go to the Waddingtons and to the community for supporting this event.

OMAH will be sending out a general survey regarding future virtual programming. In addition, a survey will be sent specifically to attendees at the virtual Carmichael Art History Lecture. We want to hear about what is in important to you so we can develop rich online experiences that meets your needs and interests.

OMAH is committed to find ways to stay connected to the community both at the museum and virtually. Stay tuned for more virtual programming in the future.

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