Behind The Canvas: Your Weekly Recap On Art World News

February 14, 2022

Welcome back to Behind the canvas your weekly recap on art world news. This week’s version features stories from 2/7 – 2/13.

Carmen Herrera ( 1915 -2022)

We are deeply saddened by the recent passing of Cuban born artist, Carmen Herrera over the weekend. Born in Havana in 1915, Herrera was best known for exploring geometric shapes, vibrant colors and asymmetry in her paintings and sculptures. Living to the ripe age of 106 we are touched by her story of perseverance through her craft and the career of a strong woman artist. In honor of what would have been her 107th birthday, Lisson Gallery, which has represented Herrera for the past 12 years, will be hosting a solo exhibition at their New York space in May.

Tate Sacks Sackler

People Relaxing in front of Tate Modern on a sunny day. Ian Masterson/Alamy Stock Image

The Tate Modern in London seems to be following the nature of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other fine art institutions by removing the Sackler name from a plaque near a series of escalators in the museum’s main gallery space. If the Sackler name is not ringing a bell then let me catch you up to speed.

Members of the Sackler family were producers of the painkiller, OxyContin, through the pharmaceutical company, Purdue Pharma. Litigation was filed alleging that many involved with knowledge of, or indifference to, the addictive qualities of the drug and side effects that it may inhibit.

In 2021 Purdue Pharma was dissolved in a bankruptcy settlement. This had then left the members of the Sackler family involved to pay $4.3 billion in restitution fees to settle the legal claims.

The sheer association between the Sackler name and the ongoing opioid epidemic is the cause for such removal. In 2017, protest artist Nan Goldin had spearheaded the mobilization against the Sackler name. The group so aptly named, Sackler P.A.I.N, organizes flash protests at museums and institutions around the United States and Europe calling for the removal of the Sackler family. The Louvre was the first to act back in 2019. (Artnet news)

Cy Twombly Foundation Gifts $2.5 Million to Whitney Museum

This past week the Whitney Museum had received a very generous gift from one of their favored artist’s foundations, Cy Twombly. The New York museum and the artist have shared a very close relationship since the late 1970’s. The Whitney was in fact the first major institution to showcase Twombly’s work.

The donation was given to endow a conservator position for the artist. Now what is a conservatorship and what does a conservator do? Essentially a conservator’s role is to examine, develop, and undertake treatments of the artworks. They also act as “experts” of the artist by handling conditions and devising treatment plans of artist materials as well as verify authenticity of all new works presented.

Mathew Skopek had been appointed as the 1st Cy Twombly Conservator of paintings. Skopek had previously been an associate conservator at the Whitney, starting back in 2007. (Artdaily)

Happy Birthday Gerhard Richter

This past Wednesday, German abstract artist, Gerhard Richter celebrated 90 years of age ! As the whole art world rejoiced in birthday messages to the great artist, his home country may have brought the best gift to the party. There will be four separate exhibitions throughout the country to highlight his wide range of artworks and different perspectives through his long career.

  • In Richter’s hometown of Dresden, the artist is curating his own show of personal works
  • In North Rhine Westphalia  is displaying a collection of the artist’s drawings at Sies and Hoke
  • In Berlin, the Neue National Galerie will be exhibiting a number of the artist books.

In other news…

  • Is the west coast the best coast? Several galleries have been making the move to the west coast. Sean Kelly announced an opening of a new location for later this spring. Pace acquired the Kayne Griffin gallery for a new Los Angeles location. Most recently Lisson Gallery , had announced a new location to open in Hollywood. The weather is the best part.
  • Not Everyone is an artist: A museum guard in Russia  thought he could try his hand at artistry when drawing eyes of a prized mid-century painting that was worth over a million dollars, hence vandalizing the painting. To make it worse, it was his first day. (NyPost)
  • Saltz Spatz – New York Magazine’s senior art critic had some thoughts on the previously mentioned moves on twitter.

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