Artspace Magazine’s Biggest Stories of 2014

Artspace Magazine’s Biggest Stories of 2014
This photo of last January's Wade Guyton opening at Petzel is only pertinent to this article insofar as it has a certain retrospective quality, and is entertaining.

Whew, what a year! With 2015 just now getting to its feet, here's a valedictory look back on what we did at Artspace Magazine over the course of a long and hectic 12 months.


What’s art without artists? It’s a stupid question—or a profound one? (no, it’s stupid)—but it lays out a pretty airtight rationale for beginning this review with a look back on the truly remarkable, ground-shifting talents we spoke to this year. Camille Henrottold us about the thinking behind her unique alchemy of the Internet and myth, Margaret Lee explained how the aesthetics of Chinatown helped her crack the code on contemporary experience, Jordan Wolfson spoke about using "anger as a frequency" in his hypnotically engrossing videos, Amy Sillman was both hilarious and incisive on the subject of what it means to be a painter today, and Paul Chanoffered up a text interview that was totally unexpected, amazing, and an artwork in its own right. We also spoke to living legends like Dan Graham and Eleanor Antin, as well as a few practitioners working on the fringes of the definition of "art," including famed Italian chef Massimo Bottura and art forger Mark Landis. There were many others too, but these count among the most memorable.


Nobody knows how things really operate in the art world better than dealers, whose brains are mapped with a dizzying framework of art history, high finance, real estate, personal relationships, and palace intrigue. In that spirit, we talked to Stefania Bortolami about going from being Gagosian's right hand to a champion of the avant-garde, Marianne Boesky about battling through the boom and bust years to reemerge as a powerhouse today, Adam Lindemann about juggling his dual personae as a collector and a galleriest at Venus Over Manhattan, Jessica Silverman about selling to San Francisco's tech elite, and bitforms's Steven Sachs about how to collect new media art. Then we circled back to talk to artist Margaret Lee again about her own gallery 47 Canal, which she built from scraps into one of the most closely watched laboratories for next-level art around. Finally, we paid tribute to the late dealer Hudson with a collection of appreciations from his circle about the legacy of his seminal gallery, Feature Inc.


In a year when the art market followed the stock market into an undiscovered country of stratospheric height, we broke down the most important takeaways from the record auctions (which immolated a few young artists along the way) and covered more art fairs than you can shake an André Cadere at (scroll down here). That includes, incidentally, the exotic and perplexing Silicon Valley Contemporary fair. Along the way, the art advisor Heather Flowprovided an enlightened, sustainable model for tracking the best new artists—research, research, research (and, if you can, work with an advisor)—and guy behind the erstwhile SellYouLater laid out another model with a rapacious, this-way-lies-madness approach. But the story that got everyone talking this year concerned Los Angeles's Stefan Simchowitz, whose interview here launched a thousand polarized Facebook threads by detailing the philosophy of collector, advisor, and "cultural entrepreneur" whom some found refreshingly unsentimental and others seized upon as the art market's latest and most dastardly supervillain. 


Peter Brant told us about antiquing with Warhol in Europe and what it's like to sell a $58.4 million Jeff Koons balloon dog, Rosa de la Cruzdetailed her vision of transforming Miami into an intellectual art capital, Zöe and Joel Dictrow talked about devoting themselves to chasing emergent art, UOVO's Steven Guttmandescribed his quest to build the world's greatest art-storage facility, and Alden Pinnell of Austin's Power Plant space described how one builds a contemporary art scene from scratch.


Pulling together enormous, ambitious survey exhibitions gives a person an invaluable perspective on the art landscape, and we tapped into that by speaking to Kasper Königabout his controversial edition of Manifesta in St. Petersburg, Crystal Bridges's Don Bacigalupiabout searching out American's best unknown artists for "State of the Art," UCCS director Philip Tinariabout his "Focus: China" section at the Armory Show, the New Museum's Natalie Bell on her contemporary Arab art show "Here and Elsewhere," LACMA's Franklin Sirmans about his iteration of Prospect New Orleans, art advisor Todd Levin on his exploration of Detroit's art scene in Chelsea, and Bice Curiger about putting van Gogh in the context of contemporary art at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles. We also coveredthelivingdaylightsoutoftheWhitneyBiennial, got a walkthrough of MoMA's Jasper Johns show, learned about Cubism's epic origins from the Met's Rebecca Rabinow, and received a master class on Koons from Scott Rothkopf, curator of the artist's retrospective at that museum.


To shed light on where art's going, we explained the buzzy phenomenon of Post-Internet Art, alerted humanity to the rise of Zombie Formalism, pointed out the world's most influential MFA programs, and unpacked the most significant new artist manifestos. To look back at where it's coming from, we illuminated 10 exhibitions that have changed the course of contemporary art history and provided primers on a few of the influential critics who guided the way: Clement Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg, Irving Sandler, Leo Steinberg, and Meyer Schapiro.


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