Emancipation of Craft

The Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum is changing its name to Craft Contemporary. Executive director, Suzanne Isken said: “All this stuff — folk art, craft, contemporary art, fine art, high art, low art, street art — it all comes together in one category: art. So for us, those categories aren’t useful anymore.” She wants to blur the boundaries. To show fine artists working in glass, metal, cut paper or even sugar as well as conceptual craft artists.
The art world used to be rather condescending about crafts. It was also often associated with women while the art world is still largely male. But a shift seems to be happening. First, it was Drawing made a revival. Later printmaking, ceramics, glass and textile art followed. Grayson Perry was one of the first people working in a craft medium to be taken seriously by the art world. When won the Turner Prize in 2003, he said: “it’s about time a transvestite potter won the Turner Prize”. Proclaiming that the Art world found it easier to accept that he was a transvestite than that he made pots. He has been instrumental in giving craft more prominence. In 2012 he curated an exhibition at the British Museum titled “The tomb of the unknown craftsman”

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The transition between the formerly strictly separated categories is further accelerated. A new generation of artists is experimenting with mediums associated with crafts. Traditional activities are getting more accepted as contemporary art. Many of works made in the past focused on skill, not on content. Cross-disciplinary artists are blurring the lines using underestimated mediums.
We have to get away from categorization, in the end, the difference between art and craft is about context.
Recent craft exhibitions include;
EinDruck Ausstellung a show of 27 international pint artists in the Spinnerei Leipzig. 
CERAMIX showed contemporary ceramics in at Cité de la céramique Sèvres, La Maison Rouge and the Bonnefantenmuseum
The V&A organized a Craft Prize in partnership with BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and the Crafts Council.
I already wrote about Drawing, textile art, and Printmaking. 
Here are some notable “craft” artists to consider.

Pregnant-Half-Tone-670x1024Elif Uras,
ChihulyUnionStation2016_0003_sml_1.jpgDale Chihuly,
Tomas Hillebrand,
Stephan Balkenhol, 9e2d771e815c3e3fdc741404a2d8cf93Katherine Gray, Screenshot 2019-02-13 at 16.28.44.pngEdmund de Waal, 04_12_01_damagedgoodsoverzichtAnne Wenzel and
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Ai Weiwei.


Oil and art

Naked people covered in oil, occupations and tattooed environmental messages. In Brisbane, Australia protesters went to the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. The museum received sponsorship from Santos GLNG. The same company that contaminated water with arsenic, uranium, lead, and nickel.

Protests are growing over big oil and gas companies’ sponsorship of Museums. By donating large sums to cultural institutions companies with a bad reputation hope to get a social license. Some call it “greenwashing” when corporate polluters engage in art sponsorship. By funding art and research they want to ensure their good name. Exhibition makers are adamant that their sponsors are never involved in artistic choices. But do museums have to make ethical decisions?
The organization Fossil Free Culture would like to think so. “Free the Louvre” would like to stop the sponsorship by Total. While the museum’s Islamic Art Department received 17 million euros from Saudi Arabia. Large donations by benefactors are frequently rewarded by unimpressive exhibitions.

41435192_464601707282321_164047834943848448_nProtesting in front of the Louvre by Libérons le Louvre.

Ralf Beil the director of the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg was fired. People are speculating a planned exhibition for 2019 caused a problem. The museum’s sole sponsor, Volkswagen might have not approved. “Oil—Beauty, and Horror in the Petrol Age” focused on fossil fuels. Wolfsburg is the place of residence of VW headquarters and the world’s biggest car plant.

Some Museums seem to want to avoid speculation and protest. Two major Dutch arts institutions have ended long-term sponsorship deals with Shell. The Van Gogh Museum and the Mauritshuis stopped working with the oil and gas giant. The Tate Britain decided to discontinue the 26-year sponsorship by BP. The oil company also contributes to the British Museum and National Portrait Gallery.Screenshot 2018-12-23 at 15.54.13.png
Protest at Tate Britain against BP sponsorship.

In a previous post, I wrote about Artist who gave away money they were awarded. Here I can name another; Henry Christian-Slane. He received £7,000 (~$9,240) in 2017 when his painting won the BP Young Artist Award. The New Zealander announced that he would be giving a part of that prize money to Greenpeace. To protest the BP Portrait Awards role in the promotion of that company’s image.
One of the most prestigious German art prices has also come under criticism. The Preis der Nationalgalerie is sponsored by BMW. Voices have been heard in opposition to this too.
Stopping sponsorship, however, puts cultural institutions under pressure. Especially as government fundings are being reduced. Philanthropy comes by definition from wealthy individuals or corporations. How many Multinationals or Billionaire business people are free from controversy. Is it not good to see the money and know it is well spent rather than it disappearing back into the murky world of finance? Should we not be happy when anyone is willing to support the arts? Or maybe the art world is too dependent on sponsorship, maybe it should seek other ways to survive.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Screenshot 2018-12-07 at 10.15.37.pngKavi Gupta
Booth A17

Works by Roger Brown, Devan Shimoyama, Manish Nai, Firelei Báez, Jeffrey Gibson, Gerald Williams, Basil Kincaid, Manuel Mathieu, Glenn Kaino, Richard Hunt, Kennedy Yanko, Michael Joo, and Sherman Beck
Screenshot 2018-12-06 at 17.33.03.pngGrimm Gallery
Booth N26

Works by Claudia Martinez Garay

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Wentrup Gallery
Booth J9

works by Nevin Aladag, Louisa Clement, Thomas Grünfeld, Karl Haendel, Gregor Hildebrandt, John McAllister, Florian Meisenberg, Olaf Metzel and David Renggli

Screenshot 2018-12-07 at 10.46.3.jpgSies + Höke
Booth F13

Works by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Konrad Lueg, Gilbert and George, Federico Herrero, and Gusmão + Paiva

Untitled_Panorama1.jpgMai 36 Galerie
Booth F10

Works by Franz Ackermann, John Baldessari, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Flavio Garciandia, Raul Cordero, Robert Mapplethorpe, Matt Mullican, Thomas Ruf, and Michel Perez Pollo

A walk through the spaces of The Salon Art and Design

The Salon Art and Design this year was charged and buzzing with eclectic energy.
As I entered the fair I was immediately drawn to an object “talking to me” with “open mouth”.  01

 “Unique” the Haas Brothers.
Hand-thrown Beyonclé, 11”x11”, 2017

The flesh Tint Mango colored object called “Unique” by the Haas Brothers found a new home within minutes. The artists also created another vase in Yellow with an Erbium Neck. 02

Unique, hand-thrown Father Vase with Matte Yellow porcelain accretion and Erbium Neck and base, 18.5″ H X 9″ D
R & Company: http://www.r-and-company.com

I made an initial full walk through the fair to catch the new trends, leaving the details for later. In this first round, I observed that yellow is a central part of the visual spirit of this fall 2018 fair, present in many manifestations.
Swept up, I walked through outer and inner spaces. While standing at the fair, I found myself imagining myself in a large living room dominated and swayed by yellow hues. 03.jpg

Mars Cadmium Yellow chair by Steen Eiler Rasmussen, 1936, Danish Lost City Arts: https://www.lostcityarts.com

If I existed in this space, I would sit in the Mars Cadmium Yellow chair by Steen Eiler Rasmussen holding my laptop and reading my emails. Next to me
would stand the Naples Yellow tables seen on Hostler Burrows Booth. 04.jpg

Two Napels Yellow tables by Paulo Buffa (Italian, 1903-1970)
Hostler Burrows: http://www.hostlerburrows.com

On those organically shaped and practical tables, which can open in many different configurations. I would place the Viridian Green vase with three Bird of Paradise plants like Strelitzias. I would fill the wine decanters, with details in the same Viridian Green, with dry Red wine. 05.jpg

Viridian Green ribbed soffiato glass vase, 1925-26, 13” x 8” and wine decanters, 1921-23, 6” x 4” by Vittorio Zecchin
Glass Past: http://glasspast.com

The colors of my imagined space are encompassing and inviting.
I would ask a friend to join me for a nice cozy evening and we would enjoy the organic shape of the Matt Black leather sofa by Rich Mnisi, where a body feels hugged and cared for as though it is in its element.  06.jpg

Matt Black upholstered leather form “Nwa –Mulamula Chaise” by Rich Mnisi,
2 of 8 edition, 105.5” x 51.2” x 26.8”
Southern Guild: https://southernguild.co.za

Subtle Pale Yellow light would glow from the wall, created by the Onyx and Bronze Ring by Markus Haase. 07.jpg

Yellow Light LEDs, White Onyx, Bronze lighting ring by Markus Haase,
21.5”H x 8.5”W x 6”D
Todd Merrill: https://toddmerrillstudio.com

Creating a sublime sensation with the Cobalt Green Turquoise Samno-Attic Helmet placed in front of it. 08.jpg

Cobalt Green Turquoise Samno-Attic helmet, Italic, Late fifth to early fourth century BC, Bronze, 10.9”H
Ariadne Galleries: http://www.ariadnegalleries.com

Next to this fusion would sit a side chair from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

Yellow Ochre “Peacock” oak, leatherette chair from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, 1921-25, 38” x 25 ½” x 20”
Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts, LLC: https://bgfa.com

Somewhere in the dark corner of the room on a side table, two special objects would command attention with their bright colored positive energy: Scheveningen Yellow ceramic sculpture by Merete Rasmussen. 10.JPG

Scheveningen Yellow ceramic sculpture “Fluent” by Merete Rasmussen,
11.8”H x 18”W x 15.7”D, year 2018
J. Lohmann Gallery:http://www.jlohmanngallery.com

And a Cadmium Yellow Medium Glass vase by  Pamela Sabroso & Alison Siegel. 11.jpg

Cadmium Yellow Medium glass vase “Tube Pile” by Pamela Sabroso & Alison Siegel, 17 ¼” x 12” x 13”, 2017
Heller Gallery: http://www.hellergallery.com

The next day, in this fantastic place growing in my imagination, my partner would invite friends for afternoon tea and then we would all sit down on the comfortable White sofa seen in Nicolas Kilner booth. 13.jpg

White Joe Colombo sofa, Nicholas Kilner: http://nicholaskilner.com

Across from the large Warm Grey coffee table by Anne Barrès.12

Warm Grey coffee table by Anne Barrès, 16”H x 54”W x 55”D, year c. 1960
Magen H. Gallery: http://www.magenxxcentury.com

Others could sit on several Matt Anthracite stools by Nicolas Aubagnac. 14.jpg

Matt Anthracite stool, hand patinated Bronze by Nicolas Aubagnac, 2017, 15.7”H x 36.2”W x 18.5”D
Twenty-First Gallery: https://21stgallery.com

Soft light would come from the white Plexiglas, Black lacquered metal floor lamp by Pierre Guariche. 15.jpg

White Plexiglas, Black lacquered metal floor lamp by Pierre Guariche,
46.85” H x 5.31” x 5.31”, year c. 1950
Demisch Danant: http://www.demischdanant.com

Judi Harvest matt black sculpture would just be a talking piece. 16

Matt Black sabbath Murano glass by Judi Harvest, 6”H x 18” x 14”D
Liz O’Brien: http://lizobrien.com

The atmosphere would be joyful and creative as we all talked about art while immersed in it totally – but I won’t tell you the details of that conversation in my
rich yellow tinted imagination.
I can keep some secrets…
The Salon Art and Design took place at the Park Avenue Armory November 8 through November 12, 2018


By art influencer and contributor Ida Ivanka Kubler

Plagiarism in the art World

Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal is the famous Pablo Picasso Quote. That has, however, not stopped artists getting in trouble for copyright infringement.

Recently Jeff Koons was found guilty in a plagiarism dispute with the clothing label Naf-Naf. This is not the first time Koons has been in trouble in this way.  Several lawsuits have emerged from the ‘Banality’ series, three of which he lost and a fourth which was settled out of court.

th-2  th-1

Franck Davidovici’s ‘Fait d’Hiver’ advertising campaign for Naf-Naf, 1985 / Jeff Koons, ‘Fait D’Hiver’, 1988

Richard Prince has also been sued many times for using artworks created by others. Prince’s 2014 Gagosian show ‘New Portraits’ consisted of images found on Instagram printed on large canvases, to which he then added his own Instagram-style comments. None of the original artists were asked if the photos could be used.cariou-v-prince-graduation-close-call-on-fair-use

Patrick Cariou ‘Yes, Rasta’ 2000 / Richard Prince ‘Canal Zone’  2008

Painter Luc Tuymans was found guilty of plagiarism when he used Katrijn van Giels newspaper photo of the politician Jean-Marie Dedecker. tuymans-v-giel

Katrijn van Giel – ImageDesk.be 2010 / Luc Tuymans ‘A Belgian Politician’ 2011

Copyright infringement is defined as the use of works protected by copyright law without permission or payment. Artis often win cases by asserting fair use, homage or parody. Most cases get settled out of court.

The Associated Press also settled their long-running legal battle with street artist Shepard Fairey over Barack Obamas  ‘Hope’ campaign poster.alg-poster-barack-obama-jpg.jpg

Mannie Garcia – The Associated Press 2006 / Shepard Fairey 2008

In 2014 Iris van Dongen was selected to make the official state portrait of the new Dutch King; Willem-Alexander. She based her sketch on a photo of the (then) crown prince made by photographer Koos Breukel at the end of 2012. Van Dongen received €75,000 for the commission and Breukel filed a complaint.


Koos Breukel 2012 / Iris van Dongen 2014

Cecily Brown accused Sherrie Franssen of copying her work. However, in this case, it was less straightforward. They are not exact copies but are in a very similar style, both artists are inspired by Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston.


Cecily Brown ‘Make it Rain’ 2014 / Sherie’ Franssen ‘The Summer Went’ 2014


Another artist frequently suspected of stealing other peoples ideas is Damien Hirst. Accusers are John LeKay, Colleen Wolstenholme, Humbrol Ltd, Female Aboriginal Artists. During the latest Venice Biennale replicas of sculptures from other indigenous people, without referencing the culture nor the original curators.

pils.jpgColleen Wolstenholme pharmaceutical charm bracelet 1997 / Damien Hirst charm bracelet 2004



Returning art(ifacts)

Should museums send back objects? Thousands were acquired from former colonies and/or as the spoils of war. The new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), is calling for the return of the Rosetta Stone. It’s been displayed in the British Museum for more than 200 years.
China wants Imperial treasures returned and indigenous Australians are also calling for the return of objects that are at the Museum.
The longest-running dispute concerns the famous Elgin Marbles. Taken by Lord Elgin from the Parthenon in the early nineteenth- century. Greece claims they were taken illegally and should be returned for permanent display in Athens. The British Museum says Elgin acted with permission of the Ottoman Empire.
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Questions are also asked about artifacts with dubious provenance. European museums have to consider where their colonial-era artifacts belong. For much of the most important tribal art from Africa or South-America, one has to go to western collections.
The Neues Museum in Berlin has been asked to return the Bust of Nefertiti to Egypt. Iraqi student, Zeidoun Alkinani protested for the restitution of the Babylonian Ishtar Gate, which now resides at the Pergamon Museum in the German capital.
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Turkey also wants some of their heritage returned from that same museum, as well as from several other institutions around the world. It is not only museums that are coming under fire in this way. Harvard University was also asked by Turkey to return objects from the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and their collection in Washington D.C. The National Archives in Washington D.C. owns many Iraqi Jewish artifacts.
Some even say that the Queen of England should give back the Koh-i-Noor to India, a diamond that is set in her crown and displayed in the Tower of London.
Screenshot 2018-11-14 at 09.59.09.png
It is not just concerning the art of ancient or indigenous cultures where these questions are being asked.
During World War II the Nazi’s systematically looted art from the countries they occupied and from Jewish owned art collections. Some of the stolen art which was recovered by the Allied forces was never returned to their rightful owners.
Objects plundered during more recent wars have not been relocated either. During the Gulf wars, thousands of pieces were stolen. Items from the National Museum of Iraq have ended up in the USA, with some being auctioned at Christie’s in New York.
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What should happen to these objects? Where should they be displayed? Should they be able to stay where they are when they have come into a collection via such ambiguous circumstances? If everything went go back to their original countries of origin our museums might get rather empty. What guidelines should we follow? How long can we still be responsible for the deeds of our ancestors?
There are no easy answers, but we absolutely need to acknowledge this. Sometimes a text explaining the provenance is enough. In other cases restitution is the only answer.

A round-up of New York Shows


Derek Eller Gallery
300 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002

Despina Stokou: White Lies

After a two year hiatus, Despina Stokou is back. A lot has happened in that time. Stokou’s paintings on raw linen reflect on women’s issues in the art world. She creates a negative layer by blocking parts of her canvases. Works named after trending hashtags refer to current topics and tweets.

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 1.32.16 PM.pngPetzel Gallery
456W 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

Charline Von Heyl: New Work

Over twenty new large-scale canvases seem intended to grab the viewer, taking them on a journey. Much more intense, direct, and overwhelming than previous works. Still, containing a paradoxically calm and ordered movement between composition, marks, surfaces and the moods that the contrasting vibrant and subdued color combinations result in. From plant-like forms and animals, the referential exists in a harmonious imbalance with op-art patterning and near gestural areas or layers.

precursePark Place Gallery
661 Park Place
Brooklyn, NY 11216

Precurse, a group show curated by John Hodany.
Works by: David Edward Allen, Lucio Auri, George Barber, Clara Bausch, Melissa Brown, Bridget Caramagna, Lizza May David, Jay Davis, Benjamin Degen, Sven-Ole Frahm, Chie Fueki, Hope Gangloff, Aiko Hachisuka, Mani Hammer, Tanja Hehmann, John Hodany, Colin Hunt, Hidenori Ishii, Marina Kappos, Josh Marsh, Yuri Masnyj, Julia Muenstermann, Dylan Musler, Richard Neal, Janne Raisanen, Zoe Pettijohn Schade, Eric Schnell, Carlos Silva, Raaf Van Der Sman, Dominik Steiner, Witte Wartena, Scott Weiner, Colby Cannon Welsh

One weekend show with impressive and very diverse small-scale works by 33 Berlin and NYC artists. Hodany who lives part-time in both cities organized an exhibition of the same name in Berlin in 2008. No longer on display but lookup the artists. My favorites: Julia Muenstermann,  Carlos Silva and Witte Wartena.

grimmGRIMM New York
202 Bowery
New York, NY 10012

Miguel Ybáñez: Time is running out, silence is here to stay
Ciarán Murphy: Hundreds of Nature

Gimm gallery presents Ybáñez’ in his first US solo exhibition. They present his Sculptures and paintings as well as the artist’s books. Also on show are small works by Ciarán Murphy’s. Both artists seem to take you to strange yet familiar places. Playing with abstraction and different materials.


The Guggenheim
1071 5th ave, New York, NY
Between 88th & 89th street

Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future

Af Klint’s 100-year-old works of art are mesmerizing. She claimed to channel directives of “higher beings” telling her what to paint. A subdued color palette rarely threatens to break out of the flat surfaces of the canvases. Dynamic compositions spin, vibrate, shimmer, arc, and expand along the complex axis of her obscure Theosophical conceptions. As is the case with all truly transcendent work (pun intended), it’s alive, and speaking to souls everywhere.

45111513_2304484296467645_8268855313831034880_n.jpgMitchell-Innes & Nash in Chelsea
534 W 26th Street,
New York, NY 10001

William Pope. L: One thing after another (part two)

A clear contrarian and deeply personally cathartic group of works. Composed of torn up magazine pages and reprinted antique photographs. Pope L. has collaged into images of himself in disguise. Some claim to have his semen, hair, and other bodily fluids as materials in their construction. Wall texts are disjointed poems or haikus disclaiming a deconstructed or absurd correlation between color theory, astrology, numerology, and racial definitions. A paradoxically, ugly and beautiful body of work.

-Nikolas Soren Goodich and Laura Lee Taylor