Kerry James Marshall has been tapped to design new windows for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., church officials announced. The previous windows, which had been donated by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1953, honored the two Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
In 2015, the windows became a point of contention. Two years later in 2017, the National Cathedral decided to remove the two stained glass windows honoring Lee and Jackson. At the time, 9 people had just been murdered in a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina by white supremacist Dylan Roof. The shooting prompted church leaders to think deeply about the presence of Confederate symbols in the National Cathedral.
“Right now I don’t have a clear concept of what I think I will do,” Marshall told The New York Times. “It will have to be work that is able to synthesize a multiplicity of ideas and sentiments about what the country represents for all of us. There will be some kind of imagery that presents itself as an invitation to reflection on the meaning of America now.”
Marshall is a preeminent contemporary artist well known for his engagement with social justice, Black portraiture, and American history. In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, Marshall’s work has continued to gain notoriety, most recently with his painting featured on the cover of Vogue’s September 2020 issue.
In 2018, Marshall vowed to never make public artwork again after the city of Chicago attempted to sell his mural Knowledge and Power (1995), which he had painted for the Chicago Public Library. Though the city reversed its choice to sell the work, Marshall remained disillusioned—until now.
This project represents the first time Marshall has worked with stained glass. He is collaborating with the poet Elizabeth Alexander, who will write a poem to be installed in stone tablets alongside the windows. The new windows are expected to be unveiled in 2023.
A Sign of the Times: Kahlil Robert Irving and Lyndon Barrois Jr. at 47 Canal
A study of time via collage and sculpture, “Dreamsickle” is Kahlil Robert Irving and Lyndon Barrois Jr.’s first joint exhibition since 2017. The artists attempt to convey how the friction and overlap between, say, the timelines of American history books and the imagined time of cinema might prove generative in some regard—whether for social equity…
A study of time via collage and sculpture, “Dreamsickle” is Kahlil Robert Irving and Lyndon Barrois Jr.’s first joint exhibition since 2017. The artists attempt to convey how the friction and overlap between, say, the timelines of American history books and the imagined time of cinema might prove generative in some regard—whether for social equity or personal dreams. The results are mixed. Many of the works (all 2021) capture the mundane experience of life on the internet (via memes, social media, headlines), but these feel dry, almost didactic, representing something that is rather self-evident—the internet is a cacophony. The more wistful works conjure a complex feeling of possibility tinged with unease that a title like “Dreamsickle” might have sought to capture.
Barrois’s four-piece sculpture Immortal Objects (I–IV) rests on the floor. Each component is a cast-iron sundial that shares a low, circular black platform with a single geometric acrylic solid. The piece seems to reference cosmic time—an immense span that makes a human life seem like a blink. But in the gallery, the sundials are defunct, stuck in a timeless limbo under the flat light of fluorescents. While their purpose and intended correspondence to celestial bodies might apply outdoors, here, the instruments are inert—open to new uses, or just deadened.
View of “Dreamsickle,” 2021, at 47 Canal, showing Kahlil Robert Irving’s Sky_High (Low & fractured SMAERD) and Means_Angles_Integers (The weight of media) #8, and Lyndon Barrois Jr.’s Immortal Objects (I-IV) and Perpetual Dilation, all 2021.
Photo Joerg Lohse/Courtesy the artist and 47 Canal, New York
Irving’s vinyl-on-aluminum collage Means_Angles_Integers (The weight of media) #8 is organized like a timeline. A series of headlines and article clippings is turned vertically to look like a sequence of scenes in video editing software, perhaps nodding to the cinematic feel of the “scroll” or “feed” organization of most websites. Irving’s other collage, Means_Angles_Integers (The weight of media) #7, juxtaposes advertisements for credit score reports, an image of Prince, posts on Twitter, and memes from Facebook. The clippings overlap and obscure each other, competing for the viewer’s attention and conveying how these disparate types of content are given the same priority on the internet. Irving’s selections here are not random. Many of them pertain to race relations over the past two years: the first few paragraphs of a USA Today article note the ridiculousness of Trump’s declaring that he “popularized” Juneteenth, and a few sentences from a Washington Post article announce the launch, via presidential executive order, of an FBI program to monitor the police’s use of force. This all constitutes only a sliver of one’s hypothetical daily internet intake, yet it conveys the way political, humorous, and aesthetic content all compete for one’s attention there. Still, the collage reads as less critical than diagnostic, less a call to action than a mirroring of chaos.
Barrois’s installation Perpetual Dilation turns to cinematic time, considering how it relates to lived time, but is unclear in its intentions. Twelve film stills are arranged in the shape of a clock, each featuring a clock face from a different film. But the time depicted doesn’t necessarily align with its position on the clock face—the image at the midday position reads 12:00, and the next reads 1:00, but the one at 2:00 reads 9:25, the next, 9:40, and so on, without any discernible pattern. A little black hole also pierces each image—as is done with celluloid film, to create a cue mark signaling the end of a reel—suggesting a possible link between different cinematic moments. Still, it’s hard to tell which realities are being stitched together, because the chosen stills don’t provide a sense of the films’ content. The piece immediately calls to mind Christian Marclay’s The Clock (2010)—which splices together twenty-four hours’ worth of movie scenes depicting clocks, arranged and synchronized to show the actual time of day—on a much smaller scale. Barrois’s interpretation feels rudderless, even in dialogue with the other studies in the room. Twilight Dialogue features the protagonist from Juzo Itami’s film A Taxing Woman (1987) below a blood moon, alongside clips of a sunset—twilight and nightfall encased in cinematic amber. Most broadly, all a viewer could conclude is that Barrois is studying how cinema distorts time.
Very little of the personal encroaches in these artists’ exploration (except one small picture of Irving in his collage Means_Angles_Integers [The weight of media] #7 ), which is surprising for a show framed by dreams. Perhaps these analytic tools are the beginning of a new body of work, like a set of sketches for a larger project or film. Notably absent is any time-based art, or any timepiece more fluid or mystical than a sundial or clock.
One of the more affecting works, and one that most related to the show’s title, gestured toward this last effect. In Irving’s Sky_High (Low & fractured SMAERD), 2021, a thin shelf supports cropped, overlapping images of the sky, arranged in a straight line. They feel like snapshots from the mind of someone daydreaming in an open field. A single patch of blue placed high on the opposite wall suggests an inaccessible escape à la Robert Gober’s Prison Window (1992), a sculpture installed above head height that provides the illusion of a blue sky behind a barred window. Irving’s work is also a little unsettling, squaring and quantifying the sky, but that sense of calculation—as if on the way to auctioning slices of heaven—is mostly overpowered by a sense of yearning. While many of these collages and juxtapositions were beautiful, I wanted more friction between them, more energy to charge these visions and dreams.
Surrealism Beyond Europe: 5 Essential Artists Getting Recognition at New Met Show
For years, the common misconception about Surrealism was that it was mainly a European movement, with René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, and others as its leaders. Gradually, that notion is changing. Feminists have added to the Surrealist canon female artists like Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning, and Méret Oppenheim, and acclaimed surveys outside the U.S.…
For years, the common misconception about Surrealism was that it was mainly a European movement, with René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, and others as its leaders. Gradually, that notion is changing. Feminists have added to the Surrealist canon female artists like Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning, and Méret Oppenheim, and acclaimed surveys outside the U.S. have brought increased attention to figures like Wifredo Lam, Hervé Télémaque, and Remedios Varo. As a new kind of surrealism takes root among today’s younger female painters, a new understanding of the movement is also blooming.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s current exhibition “Surrealism Beyond Borders” reflects this momentum. Curated by Stephanie D’Alessandro and Matthew Gale with Lauren Rosati, Sean O’Hanlan, and Carine Harmand, the show, which heads to Tate Modern in London after its run in New York, aims to prove that Surrealism was hardly confined to Europe. If anything, this survey suggests that, once Surrealism got its start in Paris in the ’20s, the movement’s influence could not be contained. Surrealism’s tendrils wound their way from France to the Philippines and back again, and in the process caught the eye of curious artists who sought to reproduce—and subvert—European Surrealism’s Freud-inspired dreaminess.
“Surrealism Beyond Borders” does feature works by well-known artists—Dalí, Tanning, Lam, and more are well-represented. Yet the overwhelming majority of the 300-plus works on view are by artists who are hardly household names in the U.S. And indeed, many of these artists hail from far beyond Europe. Below is a look at how five lesser-known artists took Surrealism into their own hands and rendered it anew.
Sought-After Emerging Artists, Shredded Banksy Bring Pre-Pandemic Energy to London Auctions
In the months after lockdown ended, it appeared that the pandemic had brought an end to the days when auction salesrooms buzzed with bidding wars between international collectors. Based on two sales held in the London this week, it seems that that energy is once again returning. This week, as collectors descended on London for…
In the months after lockdown ended, it appeared that the pandemic had brought an end to the days when auction salesrooms buzzed with bidding wars between international collectors. Based on two sales held in the London this week, it seems that that energy is once again returning.
This week, as collectors descended on London for the first Frieze week since 2019, Christie’s and Sotheby’s held their modern and contemporary art evening sales in the British capital. Together, the two sales—which were led by Christie’s Europe president Jussi Pylkkänen and Sotheby’s European chairman Oliver Barker—generated a hammer total of $164 million (or $178 million with premium), landing above their combined estimate of £83.9 million ($123 million). The sales realized a solid 86 percent sell-through rate across 83 lots.
Sotheby’s sale brought in £65.9 million ($90.1 million), against an estimate of £46.8 million. The result was up 38 percent from the house’s equivalent contemporary art evening sale last October, which brought in $62.2 million.
Christie’s sale brought in a hammer total of £64.6 million ($88.4 million) with premium, well above the £45.7 million ($62.8 million) estimate. The result was up from the house’s equivalent London contemporary art session staged last October. That sale brought in £54.6 million ($74.9 million) with premium.
When Banksy’s infamous work Love Is in the Bin (2018) came up for auction at Sotheby’s, a buying frenzy reminiscent of ones seen in pre-Covid times ensued. The painting is a partially shredded image of a young girl gazing at a heart-shaped balloon. In 2018, the work came up for auction as Girl with Balloon (2006). After selling at Sotheby’s for $1.4 million, Banksy’s painting famously began to destroy itself. This week, Love Is in the Bin hammered for a record-setting £16 million ($21.9 million) on Thursday, though not before 10 bidders battled it out for 10 minutes. The Banksy sold to a buyer registered in Asia on the phone with private sales director Nick Buckley Wood, who is based in Hong Kong.
Flora Yukhnovich’s I’ll Have What She’s Having (2020), an abstract painting that takes its cues from the Rococo movement, also saw a good deal of competition. It sold for £2.3 million ($3 million) to a phone bidder after another 10-minute long bidding spree. That price is nearly 40 times its £60,000 ($82,100) low estimate. The painting nearly tripled Yukhnovich’s previous record of $1.2 million, minted this past June when her canvas Pretty Little Thing (2019) sold for 20 times its estimate of $60,000 during a Phillips evening sale.
Flora Yukhnovich, I’ll Have What She’s Having, 2020.
Yukhnovich is among the most sought-after emerging artists at auction, along with Jadé Fadojutimi, whose exuberantly colored abstractions were recently acquired by the Tate museum network, making her one of the youngest artists in its collection. A new record came for Fadojutimi at a Sotheby’s day sale in London this week. Then, one day later, that record was re-set at an evening sale at Phillips.
In the Sotheby’s day sale, 40 bids drove the final price for her painting A Muddled Mind That’s Never Confined (2021) to £1 million ($1.4 million), more than 12 times its low estimate of £80,000. Fadojutimi donated the work to be auctioned, with proceeds going to the World Wildlife Fund. On Friday, Fadojutimi’s Myths of Pleasure (2017) surpassed the artist’s record at Phillips, selling for £1.2 million ($1.6 million), 15 times the estimate of £80,000. The Fadojutimi record came at a Phillips sale that also saw new benchmarks set for in-demand young artists like Serge Attukwei Clottey, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Issy Wood, Sanya Kantarovsky, and Shara Hughes.
Cinga Samson, another artist whose prices are fast-rising, was represented at Sotheby’s by Love Song (2017), which depicts a Black man with a vacant stare. It sold for £321,300 ($439,000), 6 times its £50,000 low estimate. That result surpassed the young South African artist’s previous record of $378,000, set during a Phillips sale in July.
With a Guggenheim Museum show having just opened in New York, Etel Adnan, a Paris-based artist who is more than 60 years Samson’s senior, appears to be gaining recognition on the art market. An untitled work by Adnan sold at Sotheby’s for £352,800 ($482,000), more than 5 times its pre-sale low estimate of £60,000 and more than double the artist’s previous record of $171,000.
Over at Christie’s, the top-selling works were mainly by artists whose market success is already well-cemented. On Friday, the house held its marquee London sale during Frieze week in the afternoon in order to accommodate bidders in Asia. As houses like Christie’s move around the timing of their biggest auctions to meet the needs of Hong Kong, a market hub where buying power is bullish, the long-held term “evening sale” is coming to seem like a misnomer.
At Christie’s, David Hockney’s guaranteed Guest House Garden (2000), a painting of an expressively hued abode, was among the top lots. It made its auction debut after remaining in the same collection for 21 years. At more than 6 feet long, this large painting sold for £5.8 million ($7.9 million), hammering below its low estimate.
Hurvin Anderson, whose paintings reference his Caribbean roots, saw his blue-toned canvas Audition (1999) sell for £7.4 million ($10 million with premium), 7 times the low estimate and double the artist’s previous record of $3.5 million.
Works by women painters were in high demand. Cecily Brown’s abstract canvas There’ll be bluebirds (2019) sold for £3.5 ($4.8 million). The work was donated by the artist; the proceeds will go to Clientearth, an environmental law group. Hilary Pecis’s Kaba On A Chair (2019), a still life featuring a cat in a living room, sold for £225,000 ($307,600), more than 5 times the estimate of £40,000. On the heels her recent addition to the roster at Los Angeles’s David Kordansky gallery, her market is rising as collectors in Asia vie for her paintings.