The Heat Index

Larry Clark, Kara Walker, Ragnar Kjartansson and Other Artists in the News

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Larry Clark, Kara Walker, Ragnar Kjartansson and Other Artists in the News
A box of Larry Clark's one-of-a-kind snapshots at Home Alone 2 gallery

BY THE NUMBERS

Larry Clark, who first made a name as a photographer with seemingly casual imagery of aimless youth in books like Tulsa and Teenage Lust, practically gave away decades worth of snapshots this past week in what he billed as a gift to fans. Unlike the gritty black-and-white prints shown at his regular Chelsea dealer, Luhring Augustine, which can cost $10,000 or more, these color snaps were the kind of prints made from old-fashioned film developed at a drugstore and were priced at just $100 apiece. The subjects included lanky boys of skate culture as well as actors from his films like Kids. In fact, Home Alone 2, the East Village gallery where he set up his crate of one-of-a-kind works, is a project of artist Nate Lowman and Kids star Leo Fitzpatrick

— Los Angeles's Museum of Contemporary Art has faced more than its share of turmoil over the the past five years, beginning with news after the financial crisis of 2008 that its endowment had been nearly depleted. While the museum's program seems to remain in limbo pending the announcement of a new director since Jeffrey Deitch's early departure, announced last summer, money troubles are no longer an area of special concern. In less than a year, the board  achieved their goal of obtaining endowment pledges for $100 million—and co-chairs Maria Bell and David Johnson were so encouraged they have upped the target to $150 million. If reached, that figure would leave the museum with more cash on hand than the sprawling LACMA, which at one time considered stepping in to save MOCA.

— The imprimatur of a storied gallery or admired collector is generally expected to increase the value of works of art. So it was a surprise last fall when an auction of art from the estate of Jan Krugier—the Polish-born, Switzerland-based dealer who dealt in top artists from Picasso to Giacometti to Bacon—brought just $113 million, well below the targets set by Christie's. In early February, Sotheby's will take its turn, this time offering a much more focused and personal collection of drawings that actually hung in the dealer's home. Featuring work by Ingres, Goya, Cezanne, Picasso, and many more marquee artists, the selection of 199 works is estimated to bring from $39 million to $57 million.

— Talk of Asia's emerging art market generally brings China to mind, but recently Christie's placed a bet on India and the results bode well for that other emerging Asian art economy. The sale total of $15.6 million was more than twice the presale estimate, and the top lot, a 1979 painting by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, set a new record for any Indian work of art when it claimed $3.8 million. While such modern artists remain central to the nascent auction scene in the country, galleries dealing in contemporary works have been catering to the new collector class for nearly a decade.

IN THE NEWS

Kara Walker will take over the derelict Domino sugar factory in Brooklyn next May for a site-specific multimedia work presented under the auspices of Creative Time. While Walker's work often grapples with the history and legacy of slavery in the U.S., this piece, titled A Subtlety, promises specifically to explore the fraught history of New World sugar production.

Kieth and Katherine Sachs donated nearly 100 major contemporary works to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, significantly increasing its stature in the field. Artists included in depth range from  Jasper Johns and Ellsworth Kelly to Sol LeWitt and Bill Viola. While the couple steered clear of Pop art during their 40 years of collecting, their holdings have special strength in Minimalism and sculpture. 

AWARDS AND KUDOS

— The Artes Mundi prize, a biannual £40,000 award founded by Welsh artist William Wilkins, has announced its shortlist. The nine artists are Carlos Bunga, Omer Fast, Theaster Gates, Sanja IvekovicRagnar Kjartansson, Sharon Lockhart, Renate Lucas, Renzo Martens, Karen Mizra, and Brad Butler.

— The annual announcement of grants from the NEA come as end-of-year gifts to a number of institutions. Recipients in the current round include LAXART for support of its "The Occasional" exhibition, SFMOMA for its presentation of a Doug Aitkentrilogy, and the Bronx Museum to underwrite the tour of Sarah Sze's installation from last year's Venice Biennial.

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