Weekend Reads

Rembrandt Mystery Solved, Prophecies for the Near Future, & More

Rembrandt Mystery Solved, Prophecies for the Near Future, & More
Elementary, my dear David.

State of the Art Fair: Art Basel director Marc Spiegler, Armory Show director Noah Horowitz and Frieze director Victoria Siddall take issue with findings from the European Fine Art Foundation’s “Art Market Report 2015” and a recent survey by Skate’s Art Market Research, which seem to point to a current climate of art-fair fatigue and a future of consolidation. Among the points discussed: the role of increasingly robust online art sales, which, Mr. Horowitz says, are not “cannibalizing” fair business. (The Economist)

Yes, Master: The Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery has authenticated a long-disputed Rembrandt painting, Saul and David, after nearly a decade of examination, restoration and research. Experts determined that it had been painted in two stages by the master himself, not an artist of his “school” as had been previously assumed. The intimate scene of King Saul wiping away tears with a velvet cloak as David strums a harp went on view this week, with its smoldering reds and oranges newly visible, in the museum’s exhibition “Rembrandt? The Case of Saul and David.” (NYT)

Watching Those Who Watch the Watchers: Laura Poitras (of Citizenfour fame) talks about the possible intersections of art and politics with the media theorist and writer Kate Crawford in a fascinating exchange on Rhizome. Their conversation is underscored throughout by a consciousness that issues around state-sponsored surveillance and the limitations on personal freedom they entail are far from hypotheticals, but rather the lived experience of Poitras and many of her friends and collaborators including Edward Snowden, Jacob Appelbaum, and Ai Weiwei. (Rhizome)

The Future is Now: In the e-flux journal for the 56th Venice Biennale, DIS offers crowdsourced predictions for the not-too-distant future of the art world—which sometimes sounds suspiciously like the present: “all that’s left for human beings to do is tag photos, comment on videos, and aggregate content. At night we gaze into the screens of our holophones, pushing colored squares back and forth and up and down, nullifying any hint of resistance.” (e-flux supercommunity)

“Varied Persuit of Turbulence”: Roberta Smith reviews the German painter Albert Oehlen’s show at the New Museum, called “Albert Oehlen: Home and Garden.” Created over the course of almost three decades (1983-2011), these paintings showcase the breadth and depth of Oehlen’s work, which draws from such divergent trends as Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and more contemporary digitally-driven creation. Over and above all of these influences, Smith cites the work of Oehlen’s postwar German predecessors and contemporaries like Martin Kippenberger, Sigmar Polke, and Jörg Immendorff, writing that while in his work “the parts can look familiar, the whole feels like something hard-won and new.” (NYT)


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