François Morellet died on Wednesday, just a few days after his 90th birthday. Parisian gallerist Kamel Mennour confirmed the French artist’s passing to Le Monde. Morellet is known primarily as a major figure of geometric abstraction and Concrete Art, working across mediums including painting, sculpture, and light-based art. Though he began working in the 1950s, the artist has explained that he had to wait decades before his neon works became in-demand enough to sell. Morellet was a central player in the founding of the significant Paris collective of the 1960s Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV).
Some 60 years after his practice began, Morellet received a major retrospective at the Center Pompidou in Paris, cementing his place in the country as one of the key artists of his generation.
1. FIAC Arrives in Paris
This past weekend saw the 42nd edition of the FIAC art fair at Paris’ Grand Palais. Director Jennifer Flay allowed only 170 participators from 22 countries to participate this year, tightening the selection by 21 entries from last year’s edition.
As a result, fair-goers — many of whom were enjoyed an extended trip fromlast week’s Frieze London — saw a more selective, curated display of works. And visitors reacted well to the more selective display of works, with participating galleries reporting strong sales throughout the fair. Hauser & Wirth gained attention for its presentation in honor of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attacks while Gavin Brown’s Enterprise alluded to its own exclusivity with an automatic curtain that separated it from the rest of the fair and 303 Gallery adorned its booth with an edition Jeppe Hein wallpaper. (You can read more about the fair’s best booths here.)
2. Wirths Top List of Most Powerful People in Contemporary Art
Iwan and Manuela Wirth have officially been recognized as the most powerful people in contemporary art in 2015. The Swiss couple, co-founders of international gallery Hauser& Wirth, topped ArtReview’s Power 100 list. The Wirths, who were ranked at 3rd last year, have ascended the list due to their innovations in “the model of selling and promoting art.”
Mark Rappolt, the editor in chief of ArtReview magazine, elaborated that Hauser & Wirth has managed to combine the “institutional operations” of the art world and the “lifestyle of collecting” to build a global brand that is both intelligent and sensitive to clients’ wishes. The Hauser & Wirth brand also shows no signs of slowing its international influence, with the recent opening of a gallery in Somerset and an impending museum in Los Angeles. Dealers David Zwirner and Larry Gagosian (the only other deal to ever rank number 1 on the list, which he did in 2004 and 2010) joined the Wirths in the top 10 as well alongside artist Ai Weiwei and Marina Abromovic.
3. UK Museums Go On High Alert For Theft
In the first warning of its kind, the Arts Council England has warned British museums of a “sever and imminent” threat — that of theft. TheUK’s National Crime Agency has learned of a threat to smaller pieces across British artistic institutions.
The Crime Agency is, “aware of a group who has made reconnaissance visits to a number of museums and other venues across the UK. It is thought that smaller, more portable items will be targeted rather than items such as large paintings.” While the Agency would not comment as to how intelligence came to light, some suspect it came from an embedded or underground source. The need for increased security comes at a difficult time for British museums, who were struggling to balance their budgets already.
4. #LegosForWeiwei Takes Off Amid Lego’s Atempt to “Censor” the Artist
This week, Ai Weiwei took to Instagram to discuss LEGO’s recent denial to send him a bulk order of plastic bricks for an upcoming exhibition in Australia. While Lego stated that it “cannot approve the use of Legos for political works,” Weiwei called the denial an act of “censorship and discrimination.”
Following the Chinese artist’s post, some became suspicious that Lego was attempting to defend its corporate interests in China (including a forthcoming Legoland in Shanghai) and a hashtag calling for lego donations for Weiwei had taken off. Weiwei is working on the logistics of how to accept lego donations from his supporters, but with the UK’s Chinese ambassador dismissing his work earlier this week and his new three-year visa from Germany, Weiwei definitely has enough to deal with.
5. Not Everyone Loves Renoir
Not even the most recognized masters of painting are safe from criticism it seems. After picketing the Museum of Find Arts Boston, the “Renoir Sucks at Painting” group recently demonstrated outside New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Holding signs that read “ReNOir” and “God hates Renoir,” the protestors demonstrated against the museum’s inclusion of works by Renoir, who they deem untalented and over-hyped. The protest’s leader, Max Geller, founded the movement with a “Renoir Sucks at Painting” Instagram account and a national petition to remove the Renoir paintings from the National Gallery. “I hate Renoir because he is the most overrated artist east, west, north and south of the river Seine,” explained Geller. “Renoir just sucks at painting.” Despite the group’s strong setiments, the Met has not responded with any plans to remove their renown Renoir paintings.
Damien Hirst is on a roll.
Hot on heels of the launch of his stunning private museum, Newport Street Gallery, and selling one of the most expensive artworks at Frieze, at $1.2 million, the YBA has won a planning battle to build a humongous subterranean art storage facility underneath his London home for his growing art collection.
According to the Daily Mail, when Hirst first submitted the plans for the underground extension to his $61 million mansion in north London, officials deemed it “unacceptable” due to the number of trees which would have to be felled in order to build it.
Hirst pressed on, seemingly not excessively worried about the environmental impact of his plan, and finally got his way at a Westminster Council meeting on Tuesday.
Hirst bought the impressive Grade I listed property opposite Regent’s Park in 2014, becoming its first new owner in 45 years. But the mansion—considered one of the masterpieces of the British architect John Nash—hadn’t been refurbished in years, so the 50-year old artist immediately set to turn the Regency style mansion into a contemporary living haven.
The 150-foot long basement has been designed to house his growing Murderme art collection, which already spans over 3,000 artworks, including pieces by heavy-hitters like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons, Banksy, and Richard Prince, as well as a large number of works by Hirst’s YBA peers, such as Sarah Lucas, Tracey Emin, Mat Collishaw, and Angus Fairhurst (other less predictable names in the collection are Alberto Giacometti, Mario Merz, Kurt Schwitters, and Frank Auerbach).
Hirst’s museum, Newport Street Gallery, was launched earlier this month with the purpose of housing and sharing his collection with the public. But with just one exhibition taking place at a time, and lasting over six months, Hirst clearly needed more real estate to store his art treasures.
The massive basement may be one of the biggest projects he has devised for the house, located on a 21,780-square-feet plot and boasting 19 bedrooms, but it sure isn’t the only one.
The Daily Mail reports that Purcell, the architectural firm tasked with the refurbishment, will revamp both the exterior and the interior of the mansion, turning it into one of the most grand, expensive, and desirable in the affluent area.
For those who are not going to make this year’s edition of the Biennale contemporary art fair in Venice, there is no reason to despair.
Officials on Wednesday announced that a selection of some 4,000 artworks on display will be visible immediately online using technology developed by Google’s Cultural Institute.
Web-based visitors can also take a virtual tour of the main venues, the Giardini, where many national pavilions are located, and the Arsenale, which hosts the main curated show.
Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said that the collaboration “confirms how much technology is a great ally to promote our cultural heritage.”
The Biennale contemporary art fair, held every two years in Venice, closes on Nov. 22, but the virtual rendering will remain available.
Find peace in mind knowing when you shop at GallArt.com that the artwork you purchase is genuine and always comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.
What Is a Certificate of Authenticity?
A Certificate of Authenticity is a bit like an artwork’s birth certificate, passport and quality guarantee all rolled into one.
Essentially, a COA is a document, created by the artist or someone who is an expert on the artist, which accompanies an artwork and contains all the information a collector could need to verify if the piece of art is genuine.
A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) provides a lot of concrete detail about a piece, but by existing for a particular piece, it says even more. An artwork that has a COA is one that is made by a professional practicing artist, not an amateur. It is a piece that has collectible value. The Certificate adds a tangible credibility to the work. It can help the work hold its value.
The COA is held to be an indirect promise of quality. Art pieces that have a COA have usually been made by an artist who cares about their work, its longevity and their collectors. The piece is likely to have been created from the best materials available, be designed to last and been created by an expert. Back to the concrete details, the Certificate will provide all the information on the medium(s) of the piece needed for conservation that might otherwise be lost forever.
Certificates protect the artist and the buyer by helping to prove that an artwork is original. Cheap copies sold without an artist’s knowledge or consent is unfortunately common. Without a COA attached, this situation makes it next to impossible for the buyer to be confident of the value of the piece or for the artist to maintain their credibility and their livelihood.
As an art collector, you really must only buy Fine Art pieces that are backed by a Certificate of Authenticity. This helps ensure that what you have bought at a premium is genuine and not counterfeit.