The Week in Art
Crypto crash: what now for NFTs? Plus, Norway’s mega-museum and a Spanish-American screen
We talk to the writer and critic Amy Castor about what effect the tumbling crypto markets might have on the until-now booming world of non-fungible tokens or NFTs. As Norway’s vast new National Museum opens, we speak to its director Karin Hindsbo. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Folding Screen with Indian Wedding, Mitote, and Flying Pole, made in Mexico in the late 17th century. It is one of the major pieces in a new show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, called Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800. Ilona Katzew, the curator of the exhibition, talks in depth about the meanings and purpose of the work.
You can read Amy Castor’s thoughts on crypto and NFTs at amycastor.com.
The National Museum in Oslo opens on 11 June.
Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 12 June-30 October.
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Unesco controversies; Fernando Botero; Barkley Hendricks in New York48:38This week: the latest controversies prompted by the Unesco World Heritage Committee. As we mentioned last week, the 45th session of the committee is taking place in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, and continues until 25 September. The founder of The Art Newspaper, Anna Somers Cocks, joins host Ben Luke to look at the latest sites granted World Heritage status and at the Committee’s decision not to add Venice to the organisation’s endangered list. We ask: is Unesco so mired in politics that it cannot adequately perform its role? The Colombian artist Fernando Botero died last week, aged 91, and we talk to the gallerist Stéphane Custot, of Waddington Custot galleries in London, about this painter and sculptor who drew ire from many critics but achieved widespread public acclaim. And this episode’s Work of the Week is October’s Gone . . . Goodnight (1973) by Barkley L. Hendricks. As a group of paintings by Hendricks goes on display among the masters at Frick Madison in New York, Aimee Ng, co-curator of the exhibition, tells us about the painting.Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick, Frick Madison, New York, until 7 January 2024.
Saudi Arabia’s soft power grab; Julianknxx in London; Michelangelo’s Libyan Sibyl59:52A Unesco conference and archeological summit in Saudi Arabia are the latest examples of the country’s increasing focus on culture as part of the so-called Vision 2030 programme. We look at Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented and lavishly funded focus on contemporary and ancient culture and how that relates to ongoing concerns about artistic freedom and human rights abuses in the kingdom. Alia Al-Senussi, a cultural strategist, and senior advisor at Art Basel and to the Saudi Ministry of Culture, joins host Ben Luke to discuss the contemporary art scene, and Melissa Gronlund, a reporter on the Middle East for The Art Newspaper, tells us about the push to reveal hitherto underexplored Saudi heritage. The Sierra Leone-born, London-based artist and poet Julianknxx this week unveiled a new project at London’s Barbican Centre, Chorus in Rememory of Flight. The multi-screen installation features performers and choirs from the African diaspora who Julianknxx met on a 4,000-mile trip around European cities with colonial histories, from Lisbon via Marseille, Rotterdam and Berlin to London. We talk to him about this epic endeavour. And this episode’s Work of the Week is among the greatest works on paper ever made: Michelangelo’s studies in red chalk for the Libyan Sibyl, one of the most distinctive figures on his Sistine Chapel ceiling. The drawing features in Michelangelo and Beyond at the Albertina in Vienna and one of its curators, Constanze Malissa, tells us more about it.Art in Saudi Arabia: A New Creative Economy? by Rebecca Anne Proctor, with Alia Al-Senussi, published 30 November, Lund Humphries, £19.99.Julianknxx: Chorus in Rememory of Flight, The Curve, Barbican Centre, London, and online on WePresent, until 11 February 2024; Julianknxx is in A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography, Tate Modern, until 14 January 2024.Michelangelo and Beyond, Albertina, Vienna, 15 September-14 January 2024.
Special 250th episode: what’s next for the visual arts?01:23:50It’s our 250th podcast, and in this special episode we focus on the future. We ask leading figures across the art world to tell us about their hopes and concerns for the visual arts. Among them are Max Hollein, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Bénédicte Savoy, the co-author of the Saar-Savoy report into the restitution of cultural heritage, Shanay Jhaveri, the head of visual arts at the Barbican, the Berlin-based curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Kymberly Pinder, the dean of Yale School of Art, and the artist Tomás Saraceno. Host Ben Luke is then joined by three core members of The Art Newspaper’s team and regular guests in the first 249 episodes of this podcast: editors-at-large Cristina Ruiz and Georgina Adam and our contemporary art correspondent Louisa Buck discuss the present and future of museums and heritage, art and artists and the art market.
British Museum in crisis, Sāo Paulo biennial, Soutine in Düsseldorf53:23In the first episode of this new season of The Week in Art, we talk to Martin Bailey, The Art Newspaper’s London correspondent, about the thefts scandal at the British Museum and its implications for the museum in the future. The artist Grada Kilomba is one of four curators of this year’s Sāo Paulo biennial, called Choreographies of the Impossible, and she joins our host Ben Luke to discuss the show. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Village Square at Céret, a painting made in 1920 by Chaïm Soutine. It features in the exhibition Against the Current, which opens this week at K20 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The exhibition’s co-curator, Susanne Meyer-Büser, tells us about the picture.The Sāo Paulo biennial: Choreographies of the Impossible, Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, Sāo Paulo, Brazil, 6 September-10 December.Chaïm Soutine: Against the Current, K20 Düsseldorf, 2 September until 14 January next year; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, 9 February-14 July 14 2024; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland, 16 August-1 December 2024.
Art market and stagflation; Spain’s historical memory; Dürer plate remade by Goldin + Senneby59:11This week: in the final episode of this season, James Goodwin, a specialist on the art market and its history, tells us about what high inflation and interest rates mean for the art market and what lies ahead. As Spain heads to the polls in July, we talk to Emilio Silva, president of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory in Madrid. What could the election mean for the controversial Spanish laws of Historical Memory and Democratic Memory relating to the Civil War of 1936 to 1939 and the period of Francisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship? And this episode’s Work of the Week is a project by the Swedish duo Goldin + Senneby. The work, called Quantitative Melencolia, involves recreating the lost plate for Albrecht Dürer’s famous engraving Melencolia I. It is part of the exhibition Economics: The Blockbuster, which opens this week at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, UK.Economics the Blockbuster: It’s not Business as Usual, Whitworth Art Gallery, until 22 October. The Manchester International Festival, until 16 July.The Week in Art is back on 1 September.
New National Portrait Gallery, William Edmondson, Zinzi Minott’s Windrush film01:00:47The Art Newspaper’s editor, Alison Cole, and London correspondent, Martin Bailey, join our host Ben Luke to review the National Portrait Gallery after its £41m revamp. We talk to Nancy Ireson at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia about the exhibition William Edmondson: A Monumental Vision. Edmondson was the first African American artist to have a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the 1930s, but has rarely been shown in museums on the US East Coast since. And this episode’s Work of the Week marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival in the UK of the Empire Windrush, a boat carrying passengers from the Caribbean. Zinzi Minott, the choreographer and artist, has made a film called Fi Dem about the Windrush on this anniversary every year since 2017. She tells us about the latest iteration, which is at the heart of a new exhibition at Queercircle in London.The National Portrait Gallery is open now. Yevonde: Life and Colour, until 15 October.William Edmondson: A Monumental Vision, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, 25 June-10 September.Zinzi Minott’s Fi Dem VI is part of her exhibition Many Mikl Mek Ah Mukl, Queercircle, London, until 27 August.
Afua Hirsch on Africa Rising, Liverpool Biennial, Basquiat in Basel with Jeffrey Deitch56:46As her new series for the BBC, Africa Rising, takes Afua Hirsch to Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa, we talk to her about the artists and art scenes she encountered and what she took away from her experiences. The Liverpool Biennial’s latest edition opened last weekend and has a South African curator, Khanyisile Mbongwa, and an IsiZulu title, uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things. The Art Newspaper’s contemporary art correspondent, Louisa Buck, visited the biennial and reviews it for us. And it is Art Basel this week, in its original Swiss location, so this episode’s Work of the Week is one of the most notable works for sale at the fair. Valentine was painted by Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1984 and given to his then girlfriend, Paige Powell, on Valentine’s Day. Jeffrey Deitch, who is selling the work at Art Basel, tells us its story.Africa Rising: Morocco is on the BBC iPlayer now. The Nigeria episode is on BBC Two on 20 June at 9pm for UK viewers and on BBC iPlayer, and South Africa is broadcast on BBC Two at 27 June at 9pm. For listeners outside the UK, check your local listings.Liverpool Biennial, uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things, until 17 September.Art Basel, until 18 June; Jean-Michel Basquiat: the Modena Paintings, Beyeler Foundation, Basel, until 27 August.
Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood; Wayne McGregor on Carmen Herrera; Whistler’s Mother01:08:47This week: Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood on their collaborative art, Wayne McGregor on his new choreographic work—a collaboration with the late Carmen Herrera—and Whistler’s Mother returns to Philadelphia.Ahead of an exhibition of their work in London in September, we talk to Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood—who has created the artwork with Yorke for every Radiohead album since 1994, as well the visuals accompanying Thom’s solo records and side projects including the recent records by The Smile—about their collaboration. A new work for the UK’s Royal Ballet by the choreographer Wayne McGregor premieres at the Royal Opera House in London on 9 June. Untitled, 2023 is a collaboration with the Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera, developed before Herrera’s death last year at the age of 106. We talk to McGregor about the piece and the intersection between visual art and choreography. And this episode’s Work of the Week is one of the most famous pictures in the world: Arrangement in Grey and Black, better known as Whistler’s Mother, by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. It’s part of an exhibition called The Artist’s Mother: Whistler and Philadelphia, curated by Jenny Thompson, and we speak to Jenny about the work and the show.Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood: The Crow Flies will be at Tin Man Art, Cromwell Place, London in September – exact dates to be confirmed, visit tinmanart.com.Untitled, 2023, is at the Royal Opera House in London until 17 June, as part of the triple bill with Corybantic Games, a tribute to Leonard Bernstein by the Royal Ballet’s artistic associate Christopher Wheeldon, and a revival of Anastasia Act III by Kenneth MacMillan.The Artist’s Mother: Whistler and Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 10 June-29 October.
Hannah Gadsby’s Picasso show; Italy floods; Ellsworth Kelly’s centenary54:42As It’s Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby opens at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, we talk to Catherine Morris and Lisa Small, who have curated the show with the Australian comedian. Floods at the end of last month have caused widespread damage to heritage in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna; we speak to James Imam, our correspondent in Rome, to gauge the extent of the damage and explore the Italian government’s response. And this week marks the centenary of the birth of the great US abstract painter Ellsworth Kelly. This episode’s Work of the Week is Kelly’s Spectrum IX (2014), one of a series of paintings based on a spectrum of colours made by Kelly across his seven-decade career. Yuri Stone, the assistant curator at Glenstone in Potomac, Maryland, US—where the piece is part of a retrospective of Kelly’s work—tells us more.It’s Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby is at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, until 24 September. Previous Picasso items on this podcast include a tour of Tate Modern’s Picasso 1932 on 8 Mar 2018, and a look at his response to Old Masters on 3 June 2022.Ellsworth Kelly at 100 continues at the Glenstone, Potomac, Maryland, US, until March 2024; for more on the anniversary events visit ellsworthkelly.org/centennial