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Hellos and Goodbyes
May the Force Be with You: A Month of Artistic Awakenings and Farewells.
Art Stuff 15 May 2024

May unfurls with a flourish, as the worlds of art, architecture, fashion, and beyond pulse with vibrant energy. The 2024 Met Gala set the stage with its theme “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” where celebrities showcased their most imaginative couture. Following this spectacle, the TEFAF New York Art Fair brought its dazzle to the Park Avenue Armory, presenting a lavish array of art, jewelry, and design.
Amid these high-profile events, intriguing developments hint at a dynamic month ahead. The Venice Architecture Biennale has teased its upcoming theme, promising a bold fusion of art, engineering, and artificial intelligence that anticipates the future of urban spaces. In the fashion realm, LVMH spotlights emerging talent with the announcement of its 2024 prize finalists, signaling fresh directions in design.
But the scene isn’t just about glitz and glamour; it also tackles serious issues. Canada’s Competition Bureau has stepped into the spotlight, initiating a formal investigation into Lululemon’s environmental claims—a move that casts a shadow over corporate responsibility in fashion.
These stories are merely the opening acts to a month rich with artistic dialogues and debates. Stay tuned for more narratives that explore the intersections of creativity and controversy, each weaving through the complex tapestry of the cultural landscape with its “hellos and goodbyes.” Let your curiosity lead and delve into the stories that shape our artistic world today.

1. Venice Architecture Biennale 2025 Announces Theme: “Intelligens. Natural. Artificial. Collective.”

The Venice Architecture Biennale has announced its 2025 theme: “Intelligens. Natural. Artificial. Collective.” Curator Carlo Ratti explained the Latin title, envisioning a future of collective intelligence and AI. The exhibition will merge art, engineering, biology, and data science to address urban spaces and the climate crisis.
Four pillars include “Transdisciplinarity” for collaborative projects, “Living Lab” with satellite projects, “Space for Ideas” inviting public submissions, and “Circularity Protocol” for sustainable standards
The Biennale College Architettura invites young practitioners to submit climate-focused projects, with a €20,000 grant for selected entries. The call closes on June 21, 2024.

2. Fresh Ink at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York: Claire Gilman Takes the Reins.

The Morgan Library & Museum has a new leader in the drawing department: Claire Gilman, Ph.D., now Acquavella Curator and Department Head of Modern and Contemporary Drawings. Dr. Gilman steps up to oversee a collection that masterfully sketches the story of artists on paper from the 20th century to today. This talented successor to Dr. Isabelle Dervaux (who held the role since the department’s inception in 2005) will lead a team famous for its innovative exhibitions like “Dubuffet Drawings, 1935–1962” (2016), “The Drawings of Al Taylor” (2020), “Georg Baselitz: Six Decades of Drawings” (2022), and “Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist’s Studio” (2023). Expect Gilman to continue the legacy of curating a national and international reputation through scholarly showcases and clever acquisitions.

3. EXPOSED Torino Foto Festival Welcomes Its Inaugural Edition in 2024.

Turin welcomes the inaugural “EXPOSED Torino Foto Festival,” running from May 2 to June 2, 2024. Directed by Menno Liauw and Salvatore Vitale, this international festival features exhibitions, educational activities, and off-site events around the theme of “New Landscapes,” showcasing artists like Max Pinckers and Lebohang Kganye. The festival spans venues across the city, including Palazzo Madama, Gallerie d’Italia, GAM, Castello di Rivoli, and others. Highlighting Turin’s dedication to the arts, “The Phair” also held its fifth edition in early May, reinforcing the city’s reputation as a global hub for photography and creativity.

4. NYC Galleries Buy Abandoned School for New Art Hub.

Six Manhattan galleries—Bortolami, James Cohan, Kaufmann Repetto, Anton Kern, Andrew Kreps, and Kurimanzutto—have teamed up to breathe new life into the old Ockawamick School near Hudson, New York. Dubbed “The Campus,” the abandoned mid-century building and its 22 acres (about 8.9 hectares) will now host collaborative exhibitions each summer weekend. The galleries will leave much of the school untouched, inviting artists and curators to respond to its historic atmosphere—including the old, smelly gym. With a spirit of cooperation, this collective is leading a new art world model, shifting away from competition and embracing teamwork.

5. David Zwirner Gallery Welcomes New Artist Walter Price Before LA Expansion.

David Zwirner Gallery has added rising painter Walter Price to its roster just in time for its new Los Angeles gallery launch. Price will debut a new work at the upcoming “David Zwirner: 30 Years” exhibition and will also have his first solo show with the gallery in LA this November.
Known for his vibrant and dreamlike paintings that weave between abstraction and figuration, Price will continue to be represented by Greene Naftali in New York while bringing his distinctive style to Zwirner’s growing collection. His works often feature playful motifs and a striking palette, blending his memories and collective histories into a visually captivating journey. The artist’s layered compositions provide a unique narrative experience, infusing fresh energy into David Zwirner’s lineup as the gallery expands its presence on the West Coast.

6. Instituto de Visión Welcomes Venuca Evanan and Cristina Camacho to Its Lineup.

Gallery Instituto de Visión, with locations in New York and Bogotá, recently announced two new talents to represent: Peruvian artist Venuca Evanan and Colombian artist Cristina Camacho. Evanan, an inheritor of the vibrant Sarhua traditions, masterfully paints outside the lines with narratives that bring fresh perspectives on indigenous migration and society’s invisible taboos. Camacho, meanwhile, slices and weaves canvas into shape-shifting realities, effortlessly dismantling conventions around the body and motherhood. Together, these trailblazing artists challenge norms with flair, aligning perfectly with Instituto de Visión’s mission to investigate conceptual discourses that shatter the mold of the official Latin American art canon.

7. Sinéad O’Dwyer Wins Zalando Visionary Award 2024.

Irish fashion designer Sinéad O’Dwyer, the maverick of body positivity, has secured the Zalando Visionary Award 2024. Her London-based label, famous for turning fashion norms on their head, was lauded for its inclusive, sculptural designs.
The award celebrates designers who create social impact and push innovation. O’Dwyer’s win comes with €50,000 and a debut at Copenhagen Fashion Week in August. This award supports her mission to spread an expansive and equitable vision of beauty.
Zalando’s jury loved her bold, forward-thinking approach, noting that Sinéad’s progressive designs align perfectly with their vision for a fresh, provocative, and game-changing future in fashion.

8. Frank Stella, Revolutionary Force in American Art, Dies at 87.

Frank Stella, a seminal figure in modern art who played a crucial role in the development of Minimalism, has passed away at the age of 87. Known for his famous dictum, “What you see is what you see,” Stella’s career was a vibrant journey from the stark “Black Paintings” of the late 1950s to wildly imaginative, three-dimensional works that challenged the boundaries of traditional canvas. His early works, characterized by their austere lines and deliberate absence of emotional expression, were pivotal in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism. Over decades, his art evolved into dynamic, colorful abstractions that included large-scale sculptures and installations, many of which are displayed in prominent public spaces and esteemed galleries worldwide. Stella’s relentless innovation and commitment to exploring new artistic vistas kept him at the forefront of contemporary art throughout his life. His passing is mourned by many who admired his work and were influenced by his daring approach to visual expression. Stella’s death from lymphoma was confirmed by his wife, Harriet E. McGurk, marking the end of a prolific and influential career that forever changed the landscape of art.

9. Iranian Director Mohammad Rasoulof Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison.

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, known for his bold cinematic storytelling, has been sentenced to eight years in prison and flogging. His lawyer, Babak Paknia, confirmed the news on X. Rasoulof’s latest film, “The Seed of the Sacred Fig”, set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, has drawn the ire of Iranian authorities, leading to this harsh sentence. Accusations include making the film without proper licenses and violating hijab regulations. This is not Rasoulof’s first clash with censorship; he has faced previous imprisonments for his outspoken critiques and filmmaking. Despite the repression, his voice continues to resonate on the international stage.

10. Painter Avner Ben-Gal Passes Away at 57.

The art world mourns the loss of Avner Ben-Gal, a profound painter known for his intense and haunting representations that delved deep into the shadows of human existence and societal outcasts. Since his early days at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Ben-Gal had distinguished himself with his raw, textured, and atmospheric paintings, which explored the gritty fringes of human existence. His dramatic, almost theatrical style brought forth a world of ghostly figures and emotional landscapes, evoking dereliction, decay, and anxiety. Ben-Gal’s exhibitions, such as “Sudden Poverty” at the Aspen Art Museum and “The Rover” at Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin, highlighted his ability to blend narrative depth with visual innovation. The art community reflects on his powerful legacy, remembering Ben-Gal for his ability to challenge and captivate viewers through his provocative and distinctive body of work.

11. Israeli Pavilion at Venice Biennale Remains Closed.

The Israeli pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which opened in April, remains closed. Artist Ruth Patir and the curators announced that the exhibition will not open until a ceasefire and hostage release agreement is reached in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Patir’s project, titled “(M)otherland,” focuses on contemporary motherhood. Through the glass frontage, Patir’s video work Keening is visible, while the rest of the exhibition awaits inside.
Italian soldiers guard the pavilion, and a statement on the window explains, “The artist and curators of the Israeli pavilion will open the exhibition when a ceasefire and hostage release agreement is reached.” The curators, Mira Lapidot and Tamar Margalit, support the decision, highlighting the ongoing impact of the conflict on cultural events. The pavilion is poised to open once peace is achieved, showing the resilience of art even in difficult times.

12. Matches Fashion’s Fiscal Fiasco: A High-End Headache for Luxury Brands.

London’s luxury landscape is reeling as Matches Fashion teeters on the brink. The iconic retailer, which once set trends from its grand five-story flagship on Carlos Place, is now navigating the rough waters of administration. Toteme, Gabriela Hearst, and Gucci are just a few high-fliers caught in the £36 million downdraft owed by Matches. With repayment prospects dimming to mere pennies on the pound, the fashion elite find themselves in a stitch as they scramble to recoup losses. Amidst this chic chaos, Matches clings to life, peddling steep online discounts in a last-ditch effort to stay afloat. As the saga unfolds, the glittering world of haute couture braces for a shift, pondering a future where direct relationships with patrons might just be the new vogue.

13. Musician Nick Cave’s Return to Art: Finding Healing Through Creation.

Like the enduring first love, Nick Cave’s return to art is a reminder that some connections, especially those to creativity, are never truly severed. Best known as the lead singer of the Bad Seeds, Cave has made a poignant return to visual art with his ceramic series “The Devil — A Life,” now showcased at Xavier Hufkens Gallery in Brussels. His intricate sculptures, blending Victorian porcelain motifs with the figure of Lucifer, narrate a mesmerizing tale of good and evil.
Originally an art student in Australia before pursuing music, Cave turned to ceramics after the heartbreaking loss of his sons, Arthur and Jethro. His work delves into themes of grief, redemption, and resilience, mirroring the interplay of darkness and light found in his music. Through this series, Cave reconnects with his creative roots, illustrating the therapeutic power of art in navigating and overcoming profound loss.

Text by Maria Nitulescu

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