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Stories of this month
Though it may seem frivolous and perhaps even a bit unnatural to celebrate a certain year based on a certain period in time, 2019, the final year of the 2010s, has just begun. It may be premature to start looking back now on the past ten years, but at the starting point of this year, let us just stop and indulge for a moment to reminisce what we have done for the past nine years and a month. During the 2010s, we bid farewell to Louise Bourgeois and observed the celebration of the YBAs as established figures in the art world. Francis Outred left Christie’s last year after working there for a decade and the Louvre Abu Dhabi finally opened in 2017. Nicolas Bourriaud borrowed the new term “Anthropocene” to interpret the contemporary era for his 2014 Taipei Biennale, and Bruce Nauman, whose name is forever a part of Venice Biennale history (both 1999 and 2009), is currently holding a retrospective at Museum of Modern Art, New York. Life continues on and everything left behind is becoming a part of history, good or not. How will people remember 2019? Though nothing significant may have occurred yet, we know without question that memorable events are on their way to make their mark for this year—remarkable events which will be the basis for defining 2019 as a part of our history.
by Amy Gahyun Lee
Eric Firestone first established his gallery in the Hamptons in 2010 at 4 Newtown Lane, and he’s been helping to shape the art scene there ever since, maintaining a delicately balanced roster of both emerging and already-established artists. Of course, many galleries exhibit both postwar and contemporary artists, but it is the Firestone’s particular commitment to re-examining historical work and presenting major figures in need of reintroduction that may have been largely forgotten or overlooked in the art historical canon that sets his gallery’s program apart from others. His exhibitions often mix different styles and periods to create a conversation between new and older works that Firestone feels complement one another in surprising ways.
by Nina Blumberg
Galleries nowadays prefer to be exhibited at art fairs around the world and expand the business to widen their client base like a packman, rather than being confined to one physical space. It shows that the current form for art fairs as a platform to connect all the figures in the contemporary art world performs very well by satisfying the people’s desire to conduct business through socializing and entertaining. But soon, art fairs will have to consider a new frame to satisfy future generations that will drive the market instead of us. Everything in the art world changes very quickly and people always wish to discover a new type of art fair platform in a new realm where they can create a new history of art. What do you expect to experience at the art fair in the future? We may experience another “connection” that would be established beyond the “physicality limitation” with a new group of people who will create a new legacy. Who knows?
by Angie Phrasavath
In conjunction with her previous presentations, but also keeping a certain level of distance from them, with Signs Under Skin at out_sight, Seoul, Jihee Kim focuses on the term “layer” and sophisticatedly connects it with her original interest in the concept of memory. Kim expresses her fascination with the meaning of the Korean word ”겹(gyeob)” which means “a layer” in English (though with slight variations in meaning), articulating her deep attraction to the word’s simultaneous inclusion of a sense of subject, object, time and space, just like a scene in a play. The artist especially finds the sense of ‘layers’ in the process of reminiscing her memories through the exhibition, showing the entirety of her process of accumulating, summoning, transforming, and distorting the memories, to combine them to visualize them through images.
by Amy Gahyun Lee
For its inaugural exhibition at Art Basel Miami Beach (December 6-9, 2018), New York-based gallery Venus Over Manhattan presented a solo presentation of important paintings by Maryan S. Maryan in the fair’s Survey Section (Booth S5). Showcasing the artist’s more boisterous and wildly gestural later years, the survey focused on Maryan’s Personnage paintings from 1967-1972 and included large-scale works on canvas along with an important suite of works on paper.
by Josh Campbell
Iranian artist Mehdi Farhadian’s oeuvre is deeply inter-connected with the complex history of his home country, Iran. It is fascinating to see the drastic composition that the artist creates on the canvas as well as his sensuous use of surreal and bright colors which emphasize and also empower the main narratives that the artist wishes to deliver through his artworks. At his second exhibition at Richard Taittinger Gallery, Parade Square, Farhadian presents his new series of figurative paintings which describes the city’s present landscape as well as historical backgrounds which still affect the contemporary Iran society. This is a short interview with Mehdi Farhadian gives a glimpse of the artist’s oeuvre.
by Arjun Sahgal