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Modern Art and the Esteem Machine – The New Yorker

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Modern Art and the Esteem Machine

Picasso was a joke. Then he was a god. How did his art finally take off in America?

June 27, 2022

Picasso's guitar collage placed in a shopping cart.
Making a market for Picasso and Matisse took decades—and many mediators.Illustration by Matt Chase

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Hugh Eakin’s new book, “Picasso’s War: How Modern Art Came to America” (Crown), isn’t really about Picasso, or about war, or about art. Its subject is the creation of a market for a certain product, modern art.

One (mostly) good thing about the digital revolution, which is otherwise sucking us all into a plutocratic dystopia, is that the Internet has reduced the barriers to cultural production enormously. Many types of cultural goods are now much easier to make and much cheaper to distribute. You don’t need an investor to capitalize your production costs or a distributor to get your stuff before the public. You just need a laptop and a camera (and maybe an inspiration). And, no matter how small you are, you always open worldwide.

It’s true that when your product goes online it will be competing with a zillion similar products—and products that do have investors and distributors, such as streaming services, are much more likely to attract audiences and become profitable. But the Internet makes your work accessible to anyone who wants to see it or read it or listen to it or buy a copy of it, because barriers to cultural consumption are also much lower. Goods are far easier to access and to acquire.

Back when all of life was offline, back when to buy a record you had to go to a record store, back when there were record stores, the infrastructure required for cultural goods to get from creation to consumption had many more moving parts. These parts are the principals of Eakin’s story. His focus isn’t on the big-name modern artists, like Picasso and Matisse, who are offstage for much of the book. It’s on figures most people have never heard of: dealers, gallery owners, collectors, curators, and critics—the components of what sociologists call the art world.

The art world isn’t a fixed entity. It’s continually being reconstituted as new artistic styles emerge. Twentieth-century fine art, in Europe and the United States, passed through a series of formally innovative stages, from Cubism and Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism and Pop art, and each time art entered a new stage and acquired a new look the art world had to adjust.

At the most basic level, the art world exists to answer the question Is it art? When Cubist paintings were first produced, around 1907, they did not look like art to many people, even people who were interested in and appreciated fine-art painting. The same thing was true of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings (around 1950) and Andy Warhol’s soup cans (1962).

But you don’t know it’s art by looking at it. You know it’s art because galleries want to show it, dealers want to sell it, collectors want to buy it, museums want to exhibit it, and critics can explain it. When the parts are in synch, you have a market. The artist produces, and the various audiences—from billionaire collectors to casual museumgoers and college students buying van Gogh posters—consume. The art world is what gets the image from the studio to the dorm room.

The general American public, in the period when modern art emerged, around the time of the First World War, had no interest in it. Wealthy Americans, the sort of people who could afford to buy art for their homes, had no taste for it. Even the art establishment was hostile. In 1913, a Matisse show at the Art Institute of Chicago instigated a near-riot. Copies of three Matisse paintings were burned and there was a mock trial, in which Matisse was convicted of, among other things, artistic murder. The demonstrators were art students.

In Eakin’s account, the creation of a Picasso market in the United States—“Picasso” standing for modern art generally—took almost thirty years, from the first American Picasso show, at Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery 291, in 1911 (eighty-three works, one sale), to “Picasso: Forty Years of His Art” at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, in 1939 (more than three hundred and sixty works). The MoMA show, as Eakin puts it, “electrified the city.”

High-end department stores like Bonwit Teller and Bergdorf Goodman began selling Picasso-themed clothing. A national tour followed, and from then on, Eakin concludes, “the story of modern art—the collectors who acquired it, the scholars who studied it, the museums that showed it, and the ordinary people who waited in long lines to see it—would be written in America.”

Modern art had many middlemen and women in the United States—Albert C. Barnes, Walter and Louise Arensberg, Katherine S. Dreier, Galka Scheyer, Solomon R. Guggenheim, Hilla von Rebay, Hans Hofmann, Meyer Schapiro, Clement Greenberg. Eakin has chosen to center his story on just two of these people: John Quinn, a collector and an all-around cultural impresario, who died, of liver cancer, in 1924; and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., the first director of MoMA, which opened in 1929. Using these figures gives his book a certain symmetry: Quinn tried and failed to do what Barr finally succeeded in doing, which was to get Americans to accept and appreciate modern art.

Quinn was a successful Wall Street lawyer who spent much of his money in support of contemporary art and literature. He was not only an art collector. He was the principal American adviser and promoter of modern writers like William Butler Yeats, Joseph Conrad, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot. He bought their manuscripts as a way of supporting them, and he helped make their work known in the United States. He negotiated Eliot’s American book contracts at a time when Eliot was barely a coterie writer. He brought Yeats to the United States for a national tour. He arranged for the first American production of J. M. Synge’s “Playboy of the Western World.” He acted as a talent scout for the publisher Alfred A. Knopf.

Culture industries need to adapt continually to changes in the legal, financial, and political environment—tax laws, depreciation rules, government regulations, quotas and tariffs, the availability of capital, and geopolitical developments, like wars. In what was possibly his most significant achievement as a supporter of modern art, Quinn single-handedly got Congress to rewrite a 1909 tax law that imposed a tariff on imported art less than fifty years old while exempting “historic art.”

Eliminating the modern-art tariff made it much more feasible for American galleries to exhibit and sell contemporary European painting. Most of the works in Stieglitz’s Picasso show at 291, for example, were drawings, because they were assessed at a lower value than paintings. It was too expensive to bring paintings over from Europe.

Quinn wasn’t just collecting for himself. He was on a mission. As Eakin puts it, he wanted “to bring American civilization to the forefront of the modern world.” He thus operated as, in effect, a one-man art world. He subsidized New York art galleries, often buying many of the works they showed. He was a key figure behind the 1913 Armory Show, where the public could see more than thirteen hundred works of modern art, and where Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” became a succès de scandale.

When modern art was attacked for undermining American values—the Times called the Armory Show “part of the general movement, discernible all over the world, to disrupt and degrade, if not to destroy, not only art, but literature and society, too”—Quinn worked the press, giving interviews to New York papers in which he labelled unsigned attacks like that one “Ku Klux criticism.” Over time, he built up a huge collection of modern European painting and sculpture, which he stored in his ninth-floor apartment on Central Park West.

The apartment was a rental. Quinn was rich, but he wasn’t J. P. Morgan rich. Morgan spent something like sixty million dollars on art, most of which he donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which he was the chairman. Quinn didn’t have that kind of money. On the other hand, Morgan was buying Old Masters (he was the force behind the 1909 tax law exempting “historic art” which Quinn got rewritten), while Quinn was buying work that almost no one else wanted. From the point of view of the American art world, the incredible collection he amassed, containing works by, among others, Brâncuși, Braque, Duchamp, Gris, Matisse, Picasso, Rousseau, Seurat, van Gogh, and Villon, was close to worthless when he died. No American dealer could sell it, and no American museum wanted to hang it.

Knowing this, Quinn directed, in his will, that his collection be sold at auction, with the proceeds to go to his sister and his niece, who were his only heirs. (Quinn never married, but he had relationships with a number of notable women; at the time of his death, his partner was Jeanne Robert Foster, the daughter of a lumberjack, an astonishingly beautiful and gifted woman who was closely involved in his search for new art.) Since Americans didn’t want it, much of Quinn’s collection of European art thus ended up going back to Europe.

Conveniently for Eakin’s narrative arc, Alfred Barr, then a young art-history professor at Wellesley, was able to see some of Quinn’s collection before it was dispersed, which allows Eakin to propose that one of Barr’s aspirations when he accepted the directorship of MoMA three years later was to reassemble the Quinn collection and bring it back to America. This was impossible, of course. The pieces were now in too many hands. But MoMA became, in effect, Quinn’s museum, and Quinn’s canon (plus photography and a few artists, like Klee and Kandinsky, whose work Quinn did not collect) became Barr’s canon.

And it is still MoMA’s canon. If you walk through the fifth floor of MoMA today, where art that is owned by the museum and that was made between 1880 and 1940 is displayed, you will be looking at the very works whose art-world adventures are the subject of Eakin’s book.

Probably hundreds of people pass by those works every day, and none of them seem scandalized, even by Picasso’s eight-foot-high “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” painted in 1907—five naked women in a brothel, cubistically rendered, two with faces like African masks, aggressively confronting the viewer. (You need to stand very close to the canvas to get the proper effect, though almost no one does.) The shock of the new has worn off. This was probably not the kind of public acceptance that Quinn and Barr had in mind. But, as Gertrude Stein once said, “You can be a museum or you can be modern, but you cannot be both.”

There is a Paris side to Eakin’s story, too. Again, the focus is mainly on two figures: the gallerists Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and Paul Rosenberg. (A third operator, a kind of freelance dealer and ladies’ man named Henri-Pierre Roché, who referred to his penis as “mon God,” and who scouted deals for Quinn, has a colorful part in the story.)

Modern Art and the Esteem Machine

Cartoon by Will McPhail

Of the circumstances that culture industries are obliged to adapt to, none played a more powerful role in the first half of the twentieth century than geopolitics. Kahnweiler did not sell his artists’ work in France, even though his gallery was in Paris. His collectors were in Germany and Russia, countries where modern art was created and understood. But the First World War and the Russian Revolution shut those markets down. As a German national, Kahnweiler even suffered the seizure of his collection by the French government.

A decade later, the rise to power of Stalin and then Hitler made conditions much worse. The governments of both leaders made modern art a political target. (The Nazis referred to modern art as Kunstbolschewismus—Bolshevik art—even though it was equally anathema in the Soviet Union.) Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union did not just censor modern artists and writers. They imprisoned them and they killed them. After 1933, the year Hitler was made Chancellor of Germany, the United States suddenly became attractive as a place where modern art could safely be shown. Hitler and Stalin provided the tailwind for Quinn and Barr’s mission to modernize American taste.

Kahnweiler and Rosenberg are keys to Eakin’s story because both men represented Picasso, and Eakin thinks that Quinn and Barr were determined to make Picasso the face of modern art in America. He says that Barr regarded “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” in particular, as a painting that could define MoMA’s entire collection.

But Barr had a hard time persuading his board of trustees to actually buy art, as opposed to borrowing it for exhibitions. The museum mounted highly successful retrospectives of Matisse in 1931 (thirty-six thousand visitors) and van Gogh in 1935 (a blockbuster, and really the exhibition that established a public for modern art in the United States), but the trustees declined to purchase a single work by Matisse, and they passed on van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” an image that would one day grace countless coffee mugs.

MoMA’s efforts to acquire “Les Demoiselles” is a good example of the twists and turns in the road from artist to public. When Picasso finished the painting, he let some people see it in his studio in Paris, where it acquired what Eakin calls a “cultlike status.” But the work was rarely exhibited publicly. Picasso liked to hold on to his best pieces, and he kept “Les Demoiselles” rolled up for years. In 1924, he sold it to Jacques Doucet, a fashion designer. (Doucet’s wife refused to allow him to hang it in their living room. The new was still a shock to her.) Doucet paid twenty-four thousand francs—about twelve hundred dollars at the time.

Barr knew where the painting had gone, and in 1935 he tried to persuade Doucet’s wife, who was now a widow, to lend it to MoMA for a show on Cubism. She refused. But a year later she sold the work to a Paris dealer, Germain Seligmann, for a hundred and fifty thousand francs—about six thousand dollars. Imagining that he could get a good price for it in New York, Seligmann had the painting shipped to his gallery there, and that was how Barr found out that it was back on the market.

When he approached the MoMA board, however, the members balked at Seligmann’s asking price of thirty thousand dollars. Barr exerted what pressure he could, including having art-world allies testify to the work’s historical significance, but to no avail. In the end, he found a provision in a bequest to MoMA that permitted the sale of one of the works in the donor’s collection in order to purchase another. He picked a Degas horse-racing scene and offered it to Seligmann in exchange for “Les Demoiselles,” a transaction that did not require board approval.

Seligmann and Barr agreed that the Degas was worth eighteen thousand dollars. Seligmann had reduced his ask on the Picasso to twenty-eight thousand, and he now said that he would “donate” the remaining ten thousand—an act of generosity that was the financial equivalent of an air kiss, since no cash changed hands. As Eakin points out, the deal still left Seligmann with a three-hundred-per-cent profit.

And so, for the cost of a run-of-the-mill Degas, and almost thirty years after it was painted, Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” a work as apotheosized in the history of modern painting as “The Waste Land” is in the history of modern poetry, was finally available for public viewing. In 1941, the museum did acquire “The Starry Night,” also through an exchange. Today, the paintings hang within a few yards of each other on the fifth floor.

The story in “Picasso’s War” is well told, with an impressive level of biographical detail. As a picture of interwar transatlantic cultural exchange, it necessarily (because of the Quinn-Barr hook) leaves out a lot, notably Bauhaus and Dada, both of which had an impact on American art-making and American taste. But, as an account of the means by which Picasso and the styles of painting with which he was associated achieved cultural prestige in the United States, it’s an admirable and enjoyable book.

Does it matter that Eakin doesn’t have much to say about the art that his protagonists are scheming to promote? A little. Artists and writers do not operate in some otherworldly zone. They want recognition. They want sales. Like everyone else in the art world, they are responsive to the social, political, and financial environment, and this affects their artistic choices. Still, what mattered most to the artists Eakin is writing about was the work of their peers and the art of the past which they emulated or reacted against, and that is a subject on which many books have been written.

Eakin also leaves unanswered (and unasked) an obvious question: Why did Americans’ tastes change between 1911 and 1939? It couldn’t just be because Alfred Barr found the means to acquire Picassos for his museum. What turned modern art from a matter for connoisseurs and academics into, to put it crudely, a middlebrow phenomenon?

The transition must have involved significant social changes. For modern literature, the work of writers like Eliot, Stein, and Joyce took a chronologically parallel route to acceptance and, ultimately, canonization. You could not even legally bring a copy of Joyce’s “Ulysses” into the United States until 1934, twelve years after it had been published in Paris. But at some point Americans who aspired to cultural literacy started to feel that it was important to read “Ulysses” and “The Waste Land,” and to know how to look at a Picasso and a Kandinsky. These were works that an educated and worldly person needed to have some familiarity with. What made people think this?

Quinn and Barr never met, and that was probably for the best, since they were very different personalities. Barr was a brilliant museum director who had an essentially academic approach to modern art. Quinn was a businessman. His edges were much rougher. His letters to the writers and artists whose work he advocated for reflect his complete (and completely pro-bono) absorption in their legal and financial affairs. And he seems to have been genuinely appreciative of their work.

But he was also a ranter and a bigot. Obliged to acknowledge this, Eakin quotes one letter in which Quinn refers to Rosenberg as “a cheap little Jew,” and another, to Ezra Pound, in which he complains about the “million Jews, who are mere walking appetites” in New York City. This may underplay the bigotry. There was a lot worse to pick from. In 1919, for instance, when Quinn was trying to get Eliot’s poems published in the United States, he grew frustrated with the publishers Albert Boni and Horace Liveright, who were Jewish. “It is a dirty piece of Jew impertinence,” he complained in a letter to Eliot, “calculated impertinence at that, for that is the way that type of Jew thinks he can impress his personality. . . . Feeling as I do about this matter, of course I have the keenest possible feelings regarding Jew pogroms in Poland. . . . It also occurs to me that I might be willing to even agree to make a modest contribution and take a modest part in a pogrom here. There might be a couple of additional pogroms in the outlying districts, one in the Bronx and one in Brooklyn.” We don’t encounter this Quinn in Eakin’s book. Nevertheless, three years later, Boni and Liveright published “The Waste Land,” in a deal negotiated by Quinn. Business first.

Is the art world, as we’ve known it, still intact? Obviously, the market is functioning. Art gets displayed, reviewed, bought, and sold. For a while, it seemed that painting and sculpture might be less susceptible than other cultural goods to the effects of digitization. Unlike a song or a book or a video, a painting is unique. A Pollock is worth millions; a copy of a Pollock is worth the cost of the materials required to produce it plus whatever permission fee was charged for the reproduction by the rightsholders.

It was therefore possible to feel that the monetary value of a painting correlated with its art-world value. Pollocks were worth a lot of money because museums displayed them, critics argued about them, art historians assigned Pollock an important place in the story of modern art, and so on. The art world could continue to perform its gatekeeping function in much the way it had in Alfred Barr’s time.

But the Internet does not suffer exemptions. Nothing may go undigitized. Today, many collectors do not buy physical works of art. They buy art works (among lots of other stuff) in the form of N.F.T.s, which are purely digital products. They don’t need the physical work, because they’re not assembling collections; they’re speculating.

It’s not that people have never bought art on speculation (although, historically, you’d be better off in a stock-market-index fund). It’s that the art world has started to come apart. Curation and criticism are increasingly detached from the rest of the mechanism. The market today is driven by dealers and collectors, neither group appearing to care whether museums and reviewers have validated the work they are buying and selling.

Certainly, art critics may feel that they’re becoming irrelevant. In an article on recent sales at auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s, in which very new paintings by very new artists attracted seven-figure bids, the Times art critic Jason Farago concluded that “the time between a new work’s creation, digital dissemination, purchase and resale has become so compressed that the old legitimation mechanism simply cannot function.” He worried that this might be “part of a larger and, in the end, hazardous cultural reversal in which numerical measurement, measured in dollars or in likes, are the only records of quality or importance.” Welcome to the desert of the virtual.

And are paintings still unique? Advances in 3-D printing may soon make it possible to produce a copy of “The Starry Night” that is indistinguishable from the canvas Vincent van Gogh painted. Your dorm room can look exactly like the fifth floor of the Museum of Modern Art. You may want to think about installing a gift shop. ♦

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Chapel Hill Art + Transit partners with local artists for LGBTQ+ themed designs – The Daily Tar Heel

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Chapel Hill’s Art + Transit program unveiled a new LGBTQ+ themed bus and bus shelter after partnering with two local queer artists.  

The bus, titled “Can’t Stop Pride,” is a collaboration between Art + Transit and the Town’s LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group.   

Staff members of the group chose Durham artist Wutang McDougal for the bus’ design, which features LGBTQ+ imagery within a bright color palette. McDougal did not respond to The Daily Tar Heel’s requests for comment.

Raleigh-based installation artist Jane Cheek designed the bus shelter, “We Knew Intersectionality Was the Way Forward,” which features overlapping circles that display the colors of the Progress Pride Flag. 

Including the Pride installation, nine new bus shelters and one art bus now join the more than 30 art installations on local transit infrastructure. Art + Transit,  an initiative led by Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture and Chapel Hill Transit, began its initiative in 2018 to make commutes more vibrant through bus and bus shelter art.

Steve Wright, the public art coordinator for Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, said Art + Transit wanted to focus specifically on LGBTQ+ Pride. 

“For the bus wrap, we definitely knew we wanted to have a wrap themed for Pride,” Wright said.

In their artist statement, McDougal said they wanted to represent pride in Black queerness, the transgender community and queer love through the design. 

Cheek said that while the Town didn’t give specific thematic guidelines for the piece, her focus involved building community and increasing queer visibility.  

“I know for me personally, one of the things that makes me feel welcomed or safe is seeing Pride flags,” Cheek said. “So incorporating that into my work has been kind of a theme recently.”

Brian Litchfield, Chapel Hill’s transit director, said the Art + Transit program centers around enlivening the community, making art more accessible for community members and supporting local artists.  

“This year one of our focuses was on supporting local artists and also providing an opportunity to express our support and values related to the LGBTQIA+ community,” he said. 

The other new bus shelter installations feature varying themes, ranging from Antonio Alanis’ “Sun,” which draws inspiration from Latin American designs, to Sally Gregoire’s “Barning Around in North Carolina,” which is an acknowledgment of the agricultural history of North Carolina, according to her artist statement on the piece.

Collage artist and photographer Sara Roberts said her installation, “Blooms Over Chapel Hill,” was primarily aimed at bringing joy to community members. Roberts said her art is heavily inspired by her time spent in nature while growing up in North Carolina.           

“For this particular installation, I just wanted to capture the bright things in the community,” Roberts said. “I just wanted people to find some light.”  

Her floral design incorporates Chapel Hill landmarks like the Old Well and Varsity Theatre, and each petal features her original photography from the area. 

Roberts said a large part of the project involved giving back to the community in a way that was readily accessible.

“As artists, we love people,” she said. “And the best way we can give back to people is through public art, and I think it’s super, super important.”

Wright said Art + Transit plans to continue its public art initiative in the spring when there will be a new round of bus shelter installations and an additional art bus.       

@taylorbarnhill_

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 

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Tehran Unveils Western Art Masterpieces Hidden for Decades – Voice of America – VOA News

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Some of the world’s most prized works of contemporary Western art have been unveiled for the first time in decades — in Tehran.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric, rails against the influence of the West. Authorities have lashed out at “deviant” artists for “attacking Iran’s revolutionary culture.” And the Islamic Republic has plunged further into confrontation with the United States and Europe as it rapidly accelerates its nuclear program and diplomatic efforts stall.

Visitors look at artworks by the American artist Sol Lewitt while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.


Visitors look at artworks by the American artist Sol Lewitt while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.

But contradictions abound in the Iranian capital, where thousands of well-heeled men and hijab-clad women marveled at 19th- and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces on display this summer for the first time at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

On a recent August afternoon, art critics and students were delighted at Marcel Duchamp’s see-through 1915 mural, “The Large Glass,” long interpreted as an exploration of erotic frustration.

They gazed at a rare 4-meter (13-foot) untitled sculpture by American minimalist pioneer Donald Judd and one of Sol Lewitt’s best-known serial pieces, “Open Cube,” among other important works. The Judd sculpture, consisting of a horizontal array of lacquered brass and aluminum panels, is likely worth millions of dollars.

“Setting up a show with such a theme and such works is a bold move that takes a lot of courage,” said Babak Bahari, 62, who was viewing the exhibit of 130 works for the fourth time since it opened in late June. “Even in the West these works are at the heart of discussions and dialogue.”

Visitors look at artworks by the American artist Sol Lewitt while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.


Visitors look at artworks by the American artist Sol Lewitt while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.

The government of Iran’s Western-backed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and his wife, the former Empress Farah Pahlavi, built the museum and acquired the multibillion-dollar collection in the late 1970s, when oil boomed and Western economies stagnated. Upon opening, it showed sensational works by Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock and other heavyweights, enhancing Iran’s cultural standing on the world stage.

But just two years later, in 1979, Shiite clerics ousted the shah and packed away the art in the museum’s vault. Some paintings — cubist, surrealist, impressionist, even pop art — sat untouched for decades to avoid offending Islamic values and catering to Western sensibilities.

But during a thaw in Iran’s hard-line politics, the art started to resurface. While Andy Warhol’s paintings of the Pahlavis and some choice nudes are still hidden in the basement, much of the museum’s collection has been brought out to great fanfare as Iran’s cultural restrictions have eased.

Two women visit a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.


Two women visit a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.

The ongoing exhibit on minimalism, featuring 34 Western artists, has captured particular attention. Over 17,000 people have made the trip since it opened, the museum said — nearly double the footfall of past shows.

Curator Behrang Samadzadegan credits a recent renewed interest in conceptual art, which first shocked audiences in the 1960s by drawing on political themes and taking art out of traditional galleries and into the wider world.

The museum’s spokesperson, Hasan Noferesti, said the size of the crowds coming to the exhibition, which lasts until mid-September, shows the thrill of experiencing long-hidden modern masterpieces.

It also attests to the enduring appetite for art among Iran’s young generation. Over 50% of the country’s roughly 85 million people are under 30 years old.

A visitor looks at artworks by German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.


A visitor looks at artworks by German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.

Despite their country’s deepening global isolation, and fears that their already limited social and cultural freedoms may be further curtailed under the hard-line government elected a year ago, young Iranians are increasingly exploring the international art world on social media. New galleries are buzzing. Art and architecture schools are thriving.

“These are good works of art, you don’t want to imitate them,” said Mohammad Shahsavari, a 20-year-old architecture student standing before Lewitt’s cube structure. “Rather, you get inspiration from them.”

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The Lake Country art gallery is selling some absolutely terrible art – Kelowna News – Castanet.net

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It’s your chance to get your hands on what the Lake Country Art Gallery is calling terrible art.

“Most art galleries ask artists to donate a piece of one of their treasured artwork but not us at the Lake Country Art Gallery; we’ve asked for — Terrible, Horrible, Absolutely No Good, Awful Drawings — drawings so bad they’re good,” said the art gallery in a news release.

The art gallery will be hosting a night time picnic fundraiser Wednesday August 17 featuring a variety of art, vendors and music. For $25 you can guarantee yourself a piece of bad art to take home or you can prepare to bid up to $500 for your favourites.

All available artwork will be donated to the art gallery fundraiser from local artists, gallery staff, and members including sketches, paintings, lino prints, etchings, photographs and more.

Your $25 donation gets you a random piece of bad art, but if you want to choose one for yourself you’ll have to be the highest bidder by the end of the event.

The fundraiser kicks off at 5:00 p.m. and runs until 10:00 p.m.

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