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Art World Occurrences That Prove 2020 Is Basically Halloween Personified
From artists selling their souls to a graveyard residency
Art Stuff 01 Nov 2020

2020 is the year that keeps on giving, and not necessarily in a good way. While we’ve all become used to a “new normal”, it has been kinda spooky. So in the spirit of Halloween, and all in good fun, here is a rundown of all the art world happenings that prove 2020 is basically Halloween personified. 

The Art Fair Cancellations

Image via @fiacparis

Who could have imagined a year without Art Basel, FIAC and Frieze? It’s been such a spooky year. As everything went online, at times it felt like dark forces were behind all this madness.

The Lack Of Arty Socialising

Image via @moca

We all know that the art world is one huge party. Gallery openings, biennials, dinners, parties. Every other night is usually a social affair. But not in 2020! We’ve all changed out of our usual glamorous outfits and now we’re always wearing masks… It’s like it’s Halloween every day… 

The Birth Of Viewing Rooms

Before March nobody really thought an online art fair was a good idea. It’s hard to believe that visiting Zwirner via Zoom is the new normal. It’s super weird and we’re all dying to attend galleries IRL as soon as we can.

Marina Stages Opera About Heartbreak

Image via @eliza.blow

While Marina Abramovic getting creative in not-so-obvious ways is nothing new per se… the images of her Opera do look a little spooky, with the artist appearing covered in blood. Marina’s 7 Deaths of Maria Callas at the Bavarian State Opera took place IRL in Munich, but also online. The opera follows the turbulent relationship between singer Maria Callas and shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis – and is also said to be a work of female empowerment, with OTT costumes from Riccardo Tisci.

The Gallery Mergers We Never Saw Happening 

Image via @gavinbrownenterprise

Who would have thought that Gavin Brown would cease riding the art wave solo? This year he joined Gladstone Gallery, and his high profile artists went with him. 2020 also saw big blue chip galleries lending their online platforms to smaller, emerging galleries. The art world seemed to manage to stay connected even though we were forced apart from each other.

The Major Art Sales To Keep Businesses Afloat

Image via @christiesinc

Unfortunately, many businesses have suffered this year because of the horrifying disease that will remain nameless. This has meant for interesting art auctions – albeit in very sad circumstances. From British Airways auctioning off works by Bridget Riley and Hirst at Sotheby’s, to the UK’s Royal Opera House letting go of a Hockney at Christie’s, it’s been a busy time for auction houses.

That Pesky Banana Is Trolling Us AGAIN

Image via @artpromo7

Nobody believed it when a banana became an unexpected art star in 2019, but guess what, it won’t stop haunting us! When Maurizio Cattelan’s banana was taped to a wall at Art Basel Miami beach last year it stole just about every headline. But it’s not done with the news yet. The banana in question has just been gifted to the Guggenheim in New York by an anonymous donor, and we’re interested to see if the museum will show it. Although the original banana did not come with the gift, it was accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and instructions on how it should be installed.  

That Ghastly Murillo Conservation

Image via @theartnewspaper.official

Now this is something worthy of nightmares. When Bartolome Esteban Murillo’s Virgin Mary was restored in his The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables it didn’t quite go to plan. Instead the restoration, which took two attempts, resulted in the Virgin Mary looking more like a cartoon. 

Elon Musk Sends Art Into Space

Image via @tristaneaton

I guess this one isn’t scary, but it’s certainly out-of-this-world. When Elon Musk’s company SpaceX took humans to space this year, art was on board too! Tristan Eaton’s Human Kind series joined an elite club of artists including Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg whose works have left Earth. 

Grimes Sells Her Soul As A Work Of Art

Image via @maccaronegallery

Speaking of Mr Musk, his baby mama also got up to some very strange activity. The musician/artist had an online show via LA gallery Maccarone earlier this year which included a work called Selling Out – a legal document where the buyer acquires a portion of Grimes’ soul. The work had no set price, with Grimes inviting viewers to make an offer to decide how much her soul is worth.

The Announcement Of The Graveyard Residency 

Image via @historicgreenwood

You really can’t make this up. New York’s Green-Wood Cemetery is where Jean-Michel Basquiat was buried and this year it announced that it will be inviting artists to apply for an art residency. The residency is open to emerging or mid-career artists who will be provided studio space right in the middle of the cemetery, with access to archives and collections. 

Text Lizzy Vartanain

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