Wednesday 21 January 2015
I was lucky enough to visit Cuba for a few days, it was so much fun.
As soon as we arrived we met up with my lil sis Yana Peel
and took off in a wonderful bubble gum pink convertible.
All the wonderful old cars were queuing up to be hired by the visitors.
Headed to ceramicist José Rodríguez Fuster. There were ceramics everywhere, he had covered the whole neighbourhood in ceramics - including his amazing home.
Architecturally Havana is a feast for the eyes, building after building...
after building. The people in the streets all smiles.
Everything was worn down, all but rack and ruin. No money to build and refurbish. No Capitalism.
The old architecture was stunning with so many palatial and modernist styles.
Public sculptures all over the place. All sorts.
Outdoor Wall sculptures.
The evenings were fun - partying with Marco and Dagoberto from Los Carpinteros.
One of Cuba's most popular artists, Roberto Diago.
Or checking out the beautiful Cuban Homes: Ella Cisneros opened up her doors for us and showed us her amazing modernist paintings and the studio of artist René Francisco.
Then it was back into the throes of New York City and all the shows were starting to open. At Clifton Benevento Zak Kitnick had organized a wonderful show. A question of art or not art arose with this box of realistic looking bottles.
I loved the work of Charles Harlan.
The work of Roelof Louw was interesting having been shown alongside Joseph Beuys, Barry Flanagan and Richard Tuttle in 1969. He has recently entered the Tate collection.
Marlborough Contemporary's show 'Space Jam' was also interesting. A new artist, Devin Troy Strother had created an Instagram splash.
They were also showing this amazing Tony Matelli work, ‘Sleepwalker.’ The work was so real - very unsettling.
At Pace, David Hockney was showing some very colourful and naïve paintings of dancers and sitters.
Managed to check out Greer Patterson's work. Was all about his childhood. I remember these painting by numbers, maybe this was the spark to my intense love of art.
My highlight was at James Fuentes to see the Amalia Ulman show ‘stock images of war’. It was very full on, there was a huge intensity, amazingly loud music playing in the background and very unusual sculptures of wheelchairs and tricycles made of flimsy wire material. Amalia again dealing with her accident. After this it was time for me to leave and get back to an even busier London.
Friday 09 January 2015
Had a wonderful trip to New York for my birthday
and received a stunning Rachel Whiteread library as a gift. I have had my eye on this work since the late 90s so it was not only an amazing surprise but a very welcome addition to the Collection.
A big NYC highlight was ‘Forever Now’ at MOMA although it seemed the critics weren’t in line with my thinking. It really felt like a painting show full of artists that have great futures. ‘Contemporary painting in atemporal world.’ Three that stood out were three we collect in depth; Matt Connors, Josh Smith and Michael Williams, whose work is pictured. However, I did love the work of Oscar Murillo, Joe Bradley and Laura Owens, all of whom will definitely be around for some time. There was certainly no pigeon-holing with a variety of different styles and languages being represented. Oh come on critics! The show isn’t so bad?
I also took the chance to rehang our Soho apartment with the bedroom benefitting from a wonderful Jon Rafman pillow and a Matthew Chambers quilt cover that highlights our Painting from the Collection show in 2013.
We managed to catch ‘Time To Hit The Road’ curated by Alex Gerson and Matteo Zevi and showing at Leila Heller Gallery. They were exhibiting work made by a number of artists during Gerson and Zevi’s Land Art Road Trip residencies which saw them exploring pioneering work by Land Artists across Southwestern United States. I rather loved ‘Tunnel Mediator’ by Alex Getty, taken through another artists work.
From the young to the more established, we then revelled in the Chris Ofili’s ‘Night and Day’ at the New Museum. Spanning his practice over the past two decades, it was a powerful celebration of his work.
Then a quick zip across the country for a fun visit to L.A. and Shaun Regen. Regen Projects was celebrating its 25th anniversary with many of the represented artists and most of the L.A. art scene there. The gallery kicked off its celebrations with ‘Everyone’ by Gillian Wearing. Featuring a variety of thought provoking work with a large sculptural piece, ‘Me as a Necklace’ really standing out.
Post celebration we dropped in to visit the François Ghebaly Gallery. They had so many interesting works including this cheeky Joel Kyack.
Loved the Patrick Jackson ceramics.
The icing on the L.A. cake was a visit with François to see Sayre Gomez. Sayre proudly showed us his Christmas present.
Night Gallery was also fun, showing great work by Pentti Monkkonen. Really rich work in both material and production.
Back in New York...Maxwell Graham at Essex Street was showing some really interesting artists in ‘The Contract’ with all sales requiring the use of THE ARTIST'S RESERVED RIGHTS TRANSFER AND SALE AGREEMENT as written by Robert Projansky and Seth Siegelaub in 1971.
There were a few instances of the usual ‘art or not art?’ query.
A few doors down at Tomorrow Gallery Bed-Stuy Love Affair and Bobby Jesus had curated an unusual show with a large number of contemporary artists I had never heard of. Great little popcorn by Carlos Reyes.
The XYZcollective at Brennan & Griffin gallery gave us more fun with ‘Man & Play.’ I have talked about this group before in my diary. I love those fried eggs and ‘Tasty’ was equally as fun.
Then it was time to hit mid-town with a brilliant talk by Thomas Struth at the Public Library. He spoke about when he photographed Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Phillip. Really engaging.
The next day he came to inspect his work at Zabludowicz Collection, New York which we had just installed in the lobby. I have lovingly designed the new lobby in Times Square so it was wonderful to show Thomas his work in pride of place. In another life, before art, I was a designer so it was also rather nice to touch back on my roots.
Then it was up to Chelsea to see the wonderful Christopher Williams show at David Zwirner.
To my surprise, Zwirner’s Neo Rauch exhibition was stunning. The paintings were surreal, depicting strange human tasks taking place.
Gagosian Gallery was showing the all-powerful Takashi Murakami. So pleased I didn’t miss this one. The scale was humungous and the effect; monstrous.
Me and my other half feeling very comfortable being with this George Condo at Skarstedt Gallery.
Casey Kaplan was showing a unique history of sculpture through the eyes of Geoffrey Farmer in ‘Cut nothing, cut parts, cut the whole, cut the order of time.’
Then a few final 2014 New York goodbyes beginning with an amazing cluster inside Klaus Biesenbach’s wardrobe. We had such a fun sandwich, all squashed together with Lady Gaga and some of my faves: Ryan McNamara and Laurel Nakadate.
Breakfasts in New York are amazing. Filing up at the Mercer with Laurel and my girls.
We spent a fabulous Christmas with Jon Rafman and his mum Sandra. Did selfies in front of an Alex Israel…
And caught Rob Pruitt both at the De La Cruz Collection
And the ICA Miami, which we loved. Alex Gartenfeld had worked wonders with the help of Pedro Reyes. This was a brilliant work where you entered your confession into a bottle and took somebody else’s out!
Then we bounced off to St. Barths and spent New Years Eve at THE party hosted by Larry Gagosian and Dasha Zhukova with The Black Keys playing. A day or two later we checked out the Art and Barth where Harmony Korine had created a bit of a splash on land.
Now I am back in snowy New York about to embark on a trip to Cuba. It’s always good to be in New York, I love feeling the energy of this amazing city.
Thursday 08 January 2015
In the chilly December weather here are 10 instagrams that brought me a little warmth...
Rashid Johnson @exhibitiona @lacma
David Altmejd @ghl_please @museedartmodern
Sterling Ruby @myfaveart @hauserwirth
Mark Bradford @ceramicjock
Li Hongbo @saatchi_gallery
Urs Fischer @karenrobinovitz @gagosiangallery
Larry Gagosian, Charles Saatchi and Leo Castelli @theartreporter
Violet Dennison and Peppi Bottrop @bignickberlin
Harmony Korine @lizny3
Mary Wetherford @nielskantor @davidkordanskygallery