Art and Art Exhibitions

Art and Art Exhibitions
▪ 2009


      The art market enjoyed an astonishing run of record-breaking sales through the first nine months of a volatile 2008. In May Lucian Freud's Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995), a candid portrayal of a corpulent female nude slumbering on a flowered divan, sold by Christie's in New York City for $33.6 million, surpassing by almost a third the record for a living artist set by Jeff Koons's Hanging Heart in the previous year. Another record fell the next day at Sotheby's in London with the $86.3 million sale of Francis Bacon's Triptych, 1976. This large, ambitious figurative allegory, inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Prometheus, exceeded its price estimate by more than $16 million, marking the top auction price for a contemporary work. Other contemporary artists, including Gerhard Richter, Gilbert and George, Bridget Riley, Rachel Whiteread, and Antony Gormley, broke their own previous sales records. Sotheby's September studio sale, “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever,” which featured 223 works (2006–08) by Damien Hirst, blurred the distinctions between auction house and gallery. New works brought in top prices—The Golden Calf, a formaldehyde-preserved bull embellished with gold-tipped horns, hooves, and a golden disk sold for more than $18 million—and Hirst's final total of $200.7 million set an all-time record for an artist in a solo sale.

      The fall's international financial crisis had an immediate effect on all sales. The highly anticipated auction of works by Banksy and other street artists at Lyon & Turnbull's in London moved only one-third of its lots; partial blame was placed on Banksy's refusal to authenticate his work. Shrinking sales and prices were predicted in all areas with the exception of the rare masterwork, such as the June sale of Claude Monet's Water Lily Pond (1919) at $80.4 million, double the price estimate. Some of the highest sales of the year, including the works by Bacon and Freud, went to Russian and Middle Eastern collectors; this trend was expected to continue. China displaced France as the third most influential market for contemporary art, after the United States and the United Kingdom. Major Western galleries were seeking locations in Asia; for one, the Beijing branch of New York City's PaceWildenstein Gallery opened in August. In October the Russian Mercury group purchased the London-based auction house Phillips de Pury & Co.

      Market volatility exacerbated the ongoing controversy over blurred boundaries between art exhibitions and commercial endeavours. In the spring “©Murakami,” a retrospective of the works of Takashi Murakami at the Brooklyn Museum, incorporated a Louis Vuitton boutique that sold handbags designed by the artist. In the fall Damien Hirst opened Other Criteria, a shop in London's Marylebone district that marketed cheap collectibles such as T-shirts and postcards alongside expensive artist-designed wallpapers and plates. However, the Richard Prince retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery drew critical fire for placing works for sale in a publicly funded venue. Chanel's “Mobile Art” installation, in a chic pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid, took up temporary residence in New York City's Central Park in October to display and sell works inspired by Chanel's classic quilted, gold-chained handbag commissioned from international artists such as Yoko Ono, Pierre & Gilles, and Daniel Buren. Chanel even provided designer hard hats to the workers who constructed the pavilion.

      The new branch of the Haunch of Venison gallery, which was opened by Christie's International (The Group) in New York City in September, ignited hot debates over blurring the line between gallery and sales room. The inaugural exhibition, “Abstract Expressionism—a World Elsewhere,” which featured works by Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, Willem de Kooning, and David Smith, received lukewarm reviews but raised suspicions about the use of a gallery as a potential bulwark for the auction house in a tumbling market. Robert Fitzpatrick, Haunch's international managing director, countered that none of the works on exhibition was for sale, but the gallery's proximity to the auction house's Midtown Manhattan headquarters, as well as the heavy representation of dealers' loans in the exhibition, did little to quiet the controversy. Critics planned to see how the gallery's role in the primary market of discovering and promoting new artists would interact with the auction house's control of the secondary market through setting prices for recognized work.

      The installation by Olafur Eliasson (Eliasson, Olafur ), New York City Waterfalls, provided a summerlong critically acclaimed public spectacle. On four sites along the East River, Eliasson constructed aluminum towers about 27–37 m (90–120 ft) in height to support cascading sheets of water. Monumental in concept, Waterfalls was designed to be temporary and environmentally sensitive. To facilitate removal and avoid defacement of the site, the scaffolds were anchored in concrete bases that sat on “bond breakers” of sand and stone dust contained within sheets of plastic. The water, pumped up from the river at a rate of about 132,500 litres (35,000 gal) per minute, was channeled through “intake filter pools” to protect aquatic life by preventing it from entering the pools; in response to fears that the saltwater spray would damage adjacent plant life, Eliasson reduced the scheduled running hours by half. The shimmering falls' dynamic motion captured every nuance of the evanescent season, reflecting changes in light, shifts of wind, and the effects of illumination—natural and artificial—over the course of day into night. The fireworks display at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies also thrilled the public. Designed by Cai Guo-Qiang , whose self-styled specialty was “explosive works,” the exhibition over the Birdcage stadium culminated with vast flashing footprints striding across the city; television viewers around the world were disappointed to discover, however, that the pyrotechnics had been computer enhanced for broadcast. Also during the summer, Anish Kapoor (Kapoor, Anish ), in collaboration with structural engineer Cecil Balmond, unveiled his design for the colossal sculpture Temenos, the first of The Tees Valley Giants planned for five locations in northeastern England. Temenos—which was planned to be some 50 m (164 ft) high and 110 m (361 ft) long and to consist of a taut volume of shaped steel mesh, stretched between two huge rings (one circular and the other oval) and secured by a steel pole—was expected to be a powerful presence in the Middlesbrough landscape.

      The overlap of art and other disciplines marked a dominant trend. Inspired by logarithmic equations and the Lobmeyr chandeliers (1965) at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, Josiah McElheny explored the big bang theory in The End of the Dark Ages, which positioned gas and electric lights around a chrome core. Mark Dion, the winner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum Lucelia Artist Award, described his work as “pseudoscientific,” combining the taxonomic methods of natural history with the installation of found and altered objects. The short list for the 24th Turner Prize, released in May, showcased innovation in mixing media. Those honoured included Runa Islam, whose films exposed the technical process behind aesthetic expression; Mark Leckey, for installations that fused film, sound, and performance; Goshka Macuga, who positioned the artist as a collector-curator creating mixed-media environments; and Cathy Wilkes, whose diarist approach featured found objects and ready-mades as well as paintings. In December the prize was awarded to Leckey, who received £25,000 (about $37,500)—five times as much as each of the runners-up. In the United States, Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles (Meireles, Cildo ) received the biennial Ordway Prize, given in recognition for midcareer achievement, for his installation and performance pieces celebrating resistance to political and military oppression. Among the MacArthur fellows in 2008 were two artists, Tara Donavon, a Brooklyn-based sculptor who transformed mundane materials, such as drinking straws and Styrofoam cups, into transcendent site-specific organic installations, and Mary Jackson, a Charleston, S.C.-based fibre artist whose coiled vessels made of palmetto and bulrush preserved and transformed regional traditions of sweetgrass basketry.

      Art museums turned away from the recent practice of seeking directors with business backgrounds, preferring instead candidates with academic and curatorial accomplishments. After 31 years as the director, Philipe de Montebello left the Metropolitan Museum of Art; his successor, tapestries expert Thomas P. Campbell, had been a member of the museum's Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts for 13 years. Thomas Krens stepped down as director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York City; to replace him, Richard Armstrong left the helm of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. Nicholas Penny, senior curator of sculpture at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., took over the directorship of London's National Gallery from Charles Saumarez Smith, who left to become the secretary and chief executive of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Debra N. Mancoff

Art Exhibitions
      Existential questions rather than aesthetic issues dominated the debates surrounding the biennials and art fairs of 2008. In a year of staggering auction prices, critics and dealers alike repeatedly wondered whether the huge art festivals had outgrown their function and outlived their purpose. These concerns were reflected in the restrained installation of the 74th Whitney Biennial in New York City, curated by Henriette Huldisch and Shamim M. Momin. More than 80 artists were featured on three floors of the museum and in the Park Avenue Armory, but the biennial was smaller, more focused, and more reflective in its outlook than those of recent years. Site-specific installations, performance works, and the moving image dominated the curatorial selections, including M.K. Guth's Ties of Protection and Safekeeping, which featured a 152.4-m (500-ft)-long braid of flannel ribbon and hair that grew to more than three times its length through “therapeutic braiding”—viewers wrote messages on ribbons, which were added, along with hair, throughout the installation—and Coco Fusco's video docudrama Operation Atropos (2006) of the experience of the artist and six other women as they underwent a rigorous training program in resisting interrogation. Found objects marked another trend, seen in Jedediah Caesar's Helium Brick aka Summer Snow (2006), which was made of studio debris such as paper cups and plywood scraps encased in eerily beautiful resin blocks, and Olaf Breuning's The Army, a slyly whimsical light installation using teapots topped with lava lamps. Political statements added to the conversation; for example, works by Adler Guerrier and Omer Fast addressed cultural displacement, and Daniel Joseph Martinez's quietly powerful installation Divine Violence (2007) inscribed on plaques the names of organizations that promoted violence.

      The fifth Berlin Biennial, “When Things Cast No Shadow,” featured the work of more than 110 international artists, including Daniel Guzmán, Goshka Macuga, and Ahmet Ogut, at four very different venues: Mies van der Rohe's sleekly elegant Neue Nationalgalerie, the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, the Schinkel Pavillon, and the 62 vacant lots known as Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum, located in the once-derelict district that had separated East and West Berlin. The innovative program, designed by curators Adam Szymczyk and Elena Filipovic, divided the events into “Day”—focused upon viewing the works—and “Night”—a dense and varied schedule of lectures, workshops, films, and performances. The 39th Art Basel (Switz.), which encompassed more than 300 galleries and 2,000 artists, followed the conventional formula. As always, the festival emphasized contemporary and modern masters; satellite venues featured the work of emerging artists. Although dealers and critics questioned whether the large number of fairs and festivals reduced the quality of works exhibited, the year's schedule was a full one and included the 16th Bienniale of Sydney, the 2nd Singapore Biennale, the 2nd Art Dubai (U.A.E.), the 7th SITE Santa Fe (N.M.) International Biennial (“Lucky Number Seven”), and Prospect.1 New Orleans.

      Museums offered an impressive range of international contemporary artists in monographic exhibitions. Cai Guo-Qiang 's retrospective “I Want to Believe” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City traced his career-long fascination with explosive materials and pyrotechnics as well as his embrace of modern physics, Daoist cosmology, Buddhist philosophy, and Chinese myth and medicine. His spectacular installation Inopportune: Stage One (2004), a simulation of a car bombing using sequenced lighting and nine autos that appear to tumble through space, filled the central rotunda of the museum in a destabilizing convergence of appalling violence and breathtaking beauty, and his Fetus Movement II: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 9 (1991) featured exploded gunpowder and ink on paper; the work was mounted on wood to create an eight-panel screen. “Past, Present, Future” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston featured 14 serenely monumental sculptures by Anish Kapoor (Kapoor, Anish ). In London comprehensive surveys shed new light on the work of Peter Doig at Tate Britain and of Cy Twombly at Tate Modern. “©Murakami” at the Brooklyn Museum demolished the already-crumbling barrier between art and commodity in an overview of Takashi Murakami's anime- and manga-influenced paintings, videos, and marketable designs such as handbags and phone caddies; in contrast, Olafur Eliasson (Eliasson, Olafur )'s solo show “Take Your Time” at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City emphasized a deep engagement with nature and sustainable living.

      The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago hosted the largest traveling exhibition since the 1990s of the work of Jenny Holzer. Her signature LED (light-emitting diode) signs filled the galleries, and projected light works illuminated the exteriors of historic buildings around the city, including the Merchandise Mart, the Civic Opera House, and the Tribune Tower, as well as the museum's facade. The MCA also presented a selective survey of Jeff Koons's best-known works, but far more controversial was the installation of 17 of his sculptures in eye-popping colours, including his grand-scale Balloon Dog (Magenta), on the grounds and in the palace at Versailles, France. As the first contemporary art retrospective presented at the château, “Jeff Koons Versailles” polarized public and critical opinion about the suitability of the elegant venue for Koons's often cartoonlike creations.

      New York City museums provided perspectives on the historic art of the 20th century. “Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art,” curated by Norman L. Kleeblatt at the Jewish Museum, investigated post-World War II painting and sculpture from the diametric positions of rival critics Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg. Postwar art was also the subject of “Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today,” curated by Ann Temkin at MoMA. In “Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe” at the Whitney Museum in New York City, curators Michael Hays and Dana Miller presented the breakthrough designs of one of the most visionary thinkers of the 20th century. Fuller—who was known for his desire to do “more with less,” as well as for his hallmark Dymaxion car and geodesic dome—appeared prescient in his concerns with homelessness and diminishing resources. “Art and China's Revolution” at the Asia Society and Museum presented the first critical overview of revolutionary sentiment under the regime of Chairman Mao Zedong. Curators Melissa Chiu and Zheng Shengtian (who was a young artist during Mao's rule) gathered works ranging from traditional ink scroll paintings to posters and other ephemera, as well as characteristic large-scale oil paintings, such as Chen Yanning's Chairman Mao Inspects the Guangdong Countryside (1972).

      Three interlinked exhibitions in Paris explored Pablo Picasso's response to iconic works of European art history. “Picasso and the Masters” at the Grand Palais traced Picasso's enduring engagement with his Spanish forebears El Greco, Diego Velázquez, and Goya, as well as his admiration for French modernists, including Eugène Delacroix, Manet, Gauguin, and Cézanne. The Louvre displayed Picasso's variations (1954–55) on Delacroix's Women of Algiers in Their Apartment (1834), and Picasso's invention (1962) upon Manet's Déjeuner sur l'herbe (1863) was featured at the Musée d'Orsay.

      In an unprecedented loan exhibition, “The Impressionists: Master Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago,” 92 hallmark works by painters such as Monet, Renoir, Gustave Caillebotte, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cézanne, traveled to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. An exhibit seen only at the Art Institute of Chicago, “Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light,” curated by Martha Tedeschi, defined the central importance of Homer's mastery of the luminous medium to his life and career through a close investigation of more than 100 works within a technical and critical context.

      Several major artists died, including famed American modernist Robert Rauschenberg, (Rauschenberg, Robert ) American sculptors Robert Graham (Graham, Robert ) and George Brecht (Brecht, George ), and the witty British painter Beryl Cook (Cook, Beryl ). Other losses included those of groundbreaking Iraqi painter Naziha Salim; John Russell, longtime critic for the New York Times and The Times (London); Anne d'Harnoncourt, director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and art scholar Michael Baxandall.

Debra N. Mancoff

      The year 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of a series of global upheavals that came to define 1968: the student riots in Paris, the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War, the assassinations of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Prague Spring, which culminated in the invasion of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia) by the Soviet Union. Each of these anniversaries was remembered with exhibitions across Europe and North America. The international agency Magnum Photos went farther than most by launching a Web site dedicated to the year (

      In other notable news, in a merger agreement private equity firm Hellman & Friedman in February paid $2.4 billion for Getty Images. British photographer Vanessa Winship captured headlines when she won the $25,000 top prize at the inaugural Sony World Photography Awards.

      Magnum's 1968-themed exhibitions began with “1968 on Record: A Year of Revolution,” mounted (February 8–June 20) at the British Library, London, featuring photographs by Bruno Barbey and Philip Jones Griffiths (Griffiths, Philip Jones ). Sadly, Griffiths died during the exhibition.

      In New York City “Invasion 68: Prague,” a collection of photographs taken by Josef Koudelka during the Soviet invasion of Prague, was cohosted by the Aperture Gallery (September 4–October 30) and Pace/MacGill Gallery (September 4–October 11). New York was an appropriate location for the exhibit; Koudelka's negatives had first surfaced there after being smuggled out of Prague soon after the invasion.

      New York also became the final destination in December 2007 of the mysterious “Mexican Suitcase,” which contained an archive of more than 3,500 negatives made during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and believed lost for many years. The negatives—the work of Magnum cofounders Robert Capa and David Seymour and of colleague Gerda Taro—had been abandoned by Capa when he left Paris for the United States in 1939. The International Center of Photography in New York City was given the task of restoring and digitizing the archive for eventual posting on the Magnum Web site.

       George Rodger, another Magnum cofounder, was the subject of a major show marking the centenary of his birth. “Contact: George Rodger's War Photographs,” on view (February 9–April 27) at the Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, Eng., featured 100 prints from the World War II era, including images of the London blitz and the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

      On a more intimate scale, Wexford Arts Centre, Cornmarket, Ire., hosted (March 3–April 12) an evocative series of black-and-white images by Michael Snoek. “Portraits of the Artist as an Old Man” focused on Johnny Whitty, an octogenarian blacksmith working near the village of Ballymitty, County Wexford. The dramatic impact of globalization on the landed peasantry and the working classes in China infused Tokyo-based American photographer James Whitlow Delano's exhibition “Empire: Impressions from China.” This large collection of black-and-white images, which were taken over a 10-year period (1994–2004) and had been on view in several other countries, drew vast crowds (May 17–June 18) at the m97 Gallery in the heart of Shanghai.

      Modern Chinese society was ably illustrated by contemporary Chinese photographer Chen Chunlin, who was awarded his first solo exhibition (June 28–August 21) at the m97 Gallery. His show, “Lessons Learned in One Day,” comprised a series of giant 3 × 1.8-m (about 118 × 71-in) photographs from different Chinese cities, each showing dozens of separate portraits of members of the public taken in one day at the same location.

      An exhibition in China of work by a modern Chinese photographer would have been unheard of even 10 years ago, a point made plain earlier in the year by the show “New Photo—Ten Years,” held (February 9–March 16) at the Carolina Nitsch Project Room in New York City. The exhibition, which originated in Beijing and later traveled to Houston, commemorated the underground Chinese magazine New Photo, which published (1996–98) just four issues. With print runs of 20–30 copies, the magazine still circulated widely enough to provide China's growing legion of modern photographers a vehicle at a time when there were few outlets for their work.

      Among the most striking exhibitions of colour photography in 2008 was “Ernst Haas: Total Vision,” shown (September 23–November 1) at the Atlas Gallery, London. Haas was one of the first photojournalists to use colour successfully, paving the way for other photographers; the exhibition also revealed his mastery of black and white.

      British photographer Martin Parr further cemented his reputation for making arresting flash-lit colour images of contemporary society with his latest show, “Parrworld,” at the Haus der Kunst, Munich (May 7–August 17), among other venues. The exhibition demonstrated Parr's usual mix of irony and social extremes—for example, juxtaposing his images of the 2007 Moscow Millionaire Fair with a 2005 Mark Neville print of working-class revelers enjoying their Christmas party at Port Glasgow Town Hall. (Unlike other exhibitions, “Parrworld” was notable for revealing something of the photographer's influences, in this instance displaying a selection of Parr's own collection of photography, postcards, books, and souvenirs.)

      In France the sale of a nude portrait taken in 1993 by Michael Comte of former Italian model Carla Bruni (who married French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy in February) made news on April 10 when it fetched $91,000 at auction at Christie's New York. The portrait sold for more than 20 times its asking price. At the same auction, Irving Penn's 1996 image of British model Kate Moss sold for $97,000. They were both outsold, however, by Richard Avedon's 1959 study of actress Brigitte Bardot, which went for $181,000.

      France mourned the loss on September 3 of war photographer Françoise Demulder, age 61, who in 1977 had become the first woman to win the coveted World Press Photo of the Year Award. Her black-and-white image of a Palestinian woman pleading with a Christian Phalangist militiaman in Beirut during Lebanon's civil war was quickly adopted by the Palestine Liberation Organization as a symbol of its struggle for a homeland in the Middle East. In October William Claxton, an American photographer best known for his portraits of jazz musicians and actors, died at age 80. Other losses included Cambodian photojournalist Dith Pran and American Life magazine photographer Cornell Capa (Capa, Cornell ).

Keith Wilson

▪ 2008

Art auctions set numerous sales records in 2007, and money figured in many of the year's art-related stories. Large-scale installations were mounted in and out of museums, and the global interconnection of the art world was apparent. Everyday subjects were transformed in the work of notable artists in many media, and the status of art photography was confirmed.

 The influence of the market continued unabated in 2007, culminating in a much-discussed New York magazine article by critic Jerry Saltz that posed the question on everyone's mind: “Has Money Ruined Art?” In New York City, Aaron Young's widely panned spectacle Greeting Card seemed to signal for Saltz and many others that the end was near. The event was held at the Seventh Regiment Armory and was financed by the Art Production Fund, Target, Sotheby's, and Tom Ford, among others. In a choreographed pattern, a dozen motorcyclists spun their wheels and skidded for 10 minutes over black-coated plywood panels to reveal shades of fluorescent orange underneath. Panels from the finished piece, thinly reminiscent of the Jackson Pollack masterpiece of the same name, were offered for sale. In London Damien Hirst confronted the question of the relationship between money and art head on by creating a far more compelling spectacle: a cast platinum human skull covered in 8,601 fine diamonds weighing 1,106.18 carats, including a single pink pear-shaped stone weighing 52.4 carats set into the forehead. This work, For the Love of God, was the centrepiece of Hirst's aptly titled exhibition “Beyond Belief” at White Cube Gallery; after three months the diamond-encrusted skull sold to a consortium of investors, including Hirst himself, for an unconfirmed sum of £50 million (£1 = about $2)—the highest price ever paid for a work by a living artist.

      Luxury goods of another sort figured prominently in David Hammons's searing comment on the current state of affairs, shrewdly displayed at New York City's L&M Arts, a secondary-market gallery (i.e., one that in general does not directly represent artists) on the posh Upper East Side. The show—a collaboration with his wife, Chie Hammons—consisted of six full-length fur coats, hung on vintage dress forms and vandalized with paint, varnish, and even a blowtorch.

 The commentaries on art and money were appropriate in 2007, an extraordinary year in sales at auction houses and art fairs. Sotheby's got the season off to a banner start with the sale of Cezanne's Still Life with Green Melon (1902–06), a watercolour that brought $25.5 million, the highest price ever paid for a work on paper and far above its $18 million high estimate. Fifteen artist's records were established at Sotheby's contemporary sale, including those for Francis Bacon's 1962 Study from Innocent X ($52.7 million), Jean-Michel Basquiat's 1981 Untitled ($14.6 million), and Robert Rauschenberg's 1959 Photograph ($10.7 million). At the same event the most extraordinary sale was Mark Rothko's 1950 White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), which shattered all auction records for a contemporary work, bringing down the hammer at $72.8 million and obliterating its $40 million presale high estimate.

      Following suit and surpassing already inflated expectations, Christie's held the most successful contemporary auction to date with a spring sale that totaled more than $384.6 million. Although record prices were set for Jasper Johns's 1959 painting Figure 4 ($17.4 million) and for Agnes Martin's 1965 painting The Desert ($4.7 million), Andy Warhol was by far the star of the evening; his Lemon Marilyn (1962) fetched $28 million (far above its $18 million estimate), and his Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car 1) (1963) was bought by an anonymous bidder for a staggering $71.7 million—more than double its $35 million high estimate. Christie's June sale brought in the highest total art sales in Europe to date at £237 million. Highlights from Sotheby's June sale included the record auction price set for a living artist: £9.6 million for Hirst's Lullaby Spring (2002).

      The year's records were not limited to contemporary work. In July Raphael's portrait of Lorenzo II de' Medici garnered £18.5 million, the highest price ever paid at auction for the work of an Italian Old Master. Dealer and gallery owner Ira Spanierman had bought the painting in 1968 for about $325, before the work was identified as Raphael's.

      Money was at the heart of one of the art world's more interesting controversies in 2007. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), North Adams, made headlines when it went public with its private disagreement over an exhibition with Swiss artist Christoph Büchel. Büchel had begun work on a large-scale installation called Training Ground for Democracy, made up of actual buildings, vehicles, and other objects that were to evoke a village in wartime. As costs rose, the museum and the artist could not agree on how to finish the work, and they ended up in court. Although the museum won the right to show the unfinished installation, critics and scholars had sided with the artist. Meanwhile, Büchel filed his own lawsuit, citing the Visual Artists Rights Act, which affords artists fundamental rights to the integrity of their work; he claimed that the museum had not formally agreed upon a budget or a strategy for proceeding if the money were to run out. Ultimately MASS MoCA decided to dismantle the parts of the work that had been installed.

      At the core of yet another money-related controversy were questions of ownership, preservation, and competing interests. Faced with depleted endowments and a lack of operating cash, universities and public institutions were tempted by high art prices to sell parts of collections that had been donated to them. In 2007 an agreement to sell (for $30 million) a half interest in 101 works from a collection donated to Fisk University, Nashville, by artist Georgia O'Keeffe in 1949 seemed imminent. The sales agreement involved the university and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, an institution founded by Wal-Mart heiress Alice L. Walton in Bentonville, Ark., that was scheduled to open in 2009. Because the terms of the original gift included a proviso not to “sell or exchange any of the objects,” the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., sought to block any such arrangement. Similar challenges arose when Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College), Lynchburg, Va., made plans to sell part of its renowned collection in order to raise money to cover the operating costs of the college. In general, experts frowned upon selling artworks for any purpose other than the purchase of new works to improve an art collection.

 Art of a different form made headlines during the year as street art made a bid for legitimacy with sold-out gallery shows and a magazine profile on the anonymous artist Banksy . Banksy gained notoriety for his searing social commentaries in the form of clandestinely painted city murals, interventionist actions, spray paint and stenciled graffiti, and painted canvases. An “underground” show staged in 2006 at a warehouse in Los Angeles drew more than 30,000 viewers. At auction, his work drew astounding prices, including £288,000 for Space Girl and Bird, which sold at Bonham's.

      A number of cash prizes were awarded in 2007. Edgar Arceneaux received the annual $25,000 Johnson award for a black artist working in the U.S. Whitfield Lovell and Joan Snyder were awarded MacArthur Foundation grants for $500,000 each. For the first time since its inception, the Turner Prize was held outside London at the Tate Liverpool. Zarina Bhimji, Nathan Coley, Mike Nelson, and Mark Wallinger were short-listed for the prize, which was awarded in December to Wallinger. A six-month residency in Italy and an exhibition at London's Whitechapel Gallery made up the award for the second biannual Max Mara Prize for Women; the short list included Yasmeen Al Awadi, Georgie Hopton, Melanie Jackson, Lisa Peachey, and Hannah Rickards.

      The year was bracketed by the opening of new buildings, both architectural marvels, for two cutting-edge art institutions. In December 2006 Diller Scofidio + Renfro unveiled their first project in the U.S. with their commission for the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, which featured 1,700 sq m (18,000 sq ft) of gallery space cantilevered over the waters of Boston Harbor. In New York City in December 2007, the New Museum of Contemporary Art opened its building by Tokyo-based Sejima + Nishizawa/SANAA. Consisting of 5,600 sq m (60,000 sq ft) in seven stories stacked like off-kilter boxes, the museum was the first art museum to be built from the ground up south of 14th Street in Manhattan.

Jenny Moore

Art Exhibitions
 In 2007 the art world was engrossed with the once-a-decade convergence of three major international exhibitions: the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and the Münster Sculpture Projects. The 52nd Venice Biennale, titled “Think with the Senses—Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense,” was organized for the first time by an American curator, Robert Storr. Featured artists included Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Elizabeth Murray, Bruce Nauman, Yang Fudong, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, and Francis Alÿs. The show was dominated by somber installations by single artists—such as Sophie Calle of France, Guillermo Kuitca of Argentina, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres of the U.S.—and for the first time there were official pavilions representing Africa and Turkey. The Hungarian pavilion, featuring Andreas Fogarasi, received the Golden Lion for best national participation, and Emily Jacir received the Golden Lion for an artist under 40 in the international exhibition or national pavilions.

 The curators of Documenta 12 (the latest occurrence of the quintennial event) posed three questions: “Is modernity our antiquity?” “What is bare life?” “What is to be done?” Roger M. Buergel and Ruth Noack presented a conceptually and historically wide-ranging exhibition that included 16th-century Persian calligraphy, 17th-century Chinese lacquer work panels, and a 19th-century Iranian carpet juxtaposed with more contemporary offerings by such artists as Trisha Brown, Cosima von Bonin, John McCracken, Nasreen Mohamedi, Nedko Solakov, and Alina Szapocznikow. All but one of the more than 500 works by more than 125 artists were displayed in Kassel, Ger.; Documenta's “G Pavilion,” however, was on the Costa Brava in Spain—chef Ferran Adrià's restaurant, elBulli, reputedly the world's best. The distinctiveness of Buergel and Noack's curatorial choices was further demonstrated by the use of coloured walls and plush curtains in exhibit spaces and by the construction of a sprawling clear-plastic-enclosed pavilion in which the work of some 60 artists was displayed.

      The most critically acclaimed exhibition of the three was the Münster Sculpture Projects, an event that takes place every 10 years. Organized by Brigitte Franzen, Kasper König, and Carina Plath, the exhibition was presented at both indoor and outdoor venues across the city of Münster and included the work of 33 artists. Bruce Nauman's large-scale sculpture Square Depression, originally proposed for the first exhibition, in 1977, was realized in 2007, as was a minisurvey—quite literally, in 1:4 scale—by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster of selected works from the past three Sculpture Projects exhibitions. The notion of sculpture was interpreted very broadly in the work of Pawel Althamer, who cut a path nearly 1 km (0.6 mi) long through meadows and fields on the outskirts of the town; another “sculpture” was presented by Susan Philipsz, who created an environment in which a moving passage from Jacques Offenbach's opera The Tales of Hoffman sounded from under a bridge.

      The international biennial procession continued throughout the year with shows in Athens, Moscow, Al-Shariqah (United Arab Emirates), Lyon (France), and Istanbul. Art and architecture made for an inspired pairing at the inaugural Monumenta, a new art event that presented work by a single artist created especially for installation in Paris's Grand Palais. Anselm Kiefer was the first artist selected for the honour.

       Feminism, both past and present, was the theme of two major exhibitions in 2007. “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” curated by Connie Butler and presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, billed itself as the first comprehensive exhibition to focus on feminist activism and art making during the crucial period from 1965 to 1980. The international survey included the work of 120 artists and featured such seminal pieces as Magdalena Abakanowicz's Abakan Red (1969), an enormous red woven vaginal form; Dara Birnbaum's Technology, Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978–79); Lynda Benglis's Artforum magazine “intervention” (1974), a provocative photo of herself placed as an advertisement; Faith Wilding's Crocheted Environment (1972); and Mierle Laderman Ukeles' public performances. Covering the 1990s through the present, “Global Feminisms: New Directions in Contemporary Art” was presented at the Brooklyn Museum in celebration of the opening of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and the permanent installation of Judy Chicago's canonical sculpture The Dinner Party (1974–79). The work of more than 80 international emerging and midcareer artists was included to give perspective on recent feminist practice in art making.

      The guiding principle of two notable exhibits was to present art that was representative of a certain time and place. In New York City the Metropolitan Museum of Art's “Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s” presented (November 2006–February 2007) 100 paintings and drawings by artists associated with the Neue Sachlichkeit (“New Objectivity”) movement, including Otto Dix, Christian Schad, and George Grosz. “Eden's Edge: Fifteen LA Artists,” organized by Gary Garrels, the newly appointed chief curator of the Hammer Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, showcased (May–September 2007) work from the past decade in a variety of media.

      One of the most widely anticipated shows of the season was Richard Serra (Serra, Richard )'s glowingly reviewed monographic survey presented at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City. Spanning 40 years, the exhibition commenced with his earliest work in lead, rubber, and neon, highlighted by the groundbreaking Prop (1968) and the unnerving Delineator (1974–75). The exhibit culminated with the presentation of three massive pieces that were created in 2006 specifically for MoMA's second-floor galleries: Band, an enormous ribbon of steel that snaked back and forth over a distance of about 22 m (72 ft); Sequence, two torqued ellipses connected by an S-shaped passage; and Torqued Torus Inversion, two circular forms that curved in on themselves.

 Also in New York City, the Jewish Museum's retrospective of Louise Nevelson's work was another exceptional monographic sculpture survey. The museum brought this important artist back into the spotlight with an inspired installation that emphasized the intense energy of her totems, arrangements, reliefs, and chambers. In other sculpture shows, Robert Gober's sculptural work from 1976 to 2007 was celebrated in an exhibition presented at the Schaulager (Basel, Switz.), as was Gordon Matta-Clark's tragically brief but prolific period of production from 1971 to 1977 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Also presented at the Whitney—although it originated in February at the Walker Museum in Minneapolis and was on view during the summer at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris—was Kara Walker's midcareer survey of her racially and sexually charged cut-paper works, drawings, and films.

       Richard Prince was honoured with two survey exhibitions in 2007. At the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, “Richard Prince: Spiritual America” gathered photographs, paintings, sculptures, and drawings from the late 1970s to the present and included the infamous work from which the exhibition took its title: Prince's 1983 rephotographed image of Garry Gross's notorious photo of a nude prepubescent Brooke Shields. Earlier in the year, the Neuberger Museum of Art, State University of New York at Purchase, presented “Fugitive Artist: The Early Work of Richard Prince, 1974–77,” an unsanctioned exhibition of the artist's work that raised questions about the responsibility of art institutions to comply with artists' wishes.

      Among those from the art world who died in 2007 were three major figures: seminal Conceptualist and Minimalist Sol LeWitt (LeWitt, Sol ), the spirited and celebrated painter Elizabeth Murray (Murray, Elizabeth ), and the influential and indomitable art dealer Ileana Sonnabend (Sonnabend, Ileana ).

Jenny Moore

 “The Art of Lee Miller,” a major retrospective exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Sept. 15, 2007–Jan. 6, 2008), marked the 100th anniversary of the birth and the 30th anniversary of the death of the American-born photographer. The show featured about 150 black-and-white photographs—including vintage prints and contacts, short films, and extracts of her work as a photojournalist on assignment for Vogue magazine during World War II. The exhibition and allied book confirmed Miller's position as one of the 20th century's most influential female photographers.

       Magnum Photos, the agency established by Robert Capa, George Rodger, David Seymour, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, celebrated its 60th anniversary. The innovative photographers' cooperative allowed its members to retain ownership of their negatives, a practice that spread to other agencies and became standard. Eventually, however, power shifted away from photographers as giant online image libraries such as Corbis and Getty Images were able to dictate less-favourable terms for the reproduction of their work.

      One of Getty's significant acquisitions in 2007 was an archive of images belonging to the Princess Diana Memorial Trust, featuring the work of British royal photographer Jayne Fincher. The acquisition proved timely, coming just months before the 10th anniversary of the princess's death. Another 20th-century icon, the Austrian-born actress Romy Schneider, was the subject of a special exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of her death, “Romy Schneider,” at Camera Work Gallery, Berlin (May 19–June 23); Will McBride's images of the film star were the result of a single day's shoot in Paris in 1964, when the actress, who was renowned for her beauty, was 25.

      The most iconic of actresses, Marilyn Monroe, was the subject of “Marilyn and the '60s” at Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, Düsseldorf, Ger. (July 19–August 28). Laurence Schiller's photographs were taken on the set of Monroe's unfinished last film, Something's Got to Give (1962); this exhibition represented Schiller's first release outside the United States of his signed limited-edition prints of the Monroe photographs.

      A 20-year retrospective of the work of American Lorna Simpson (Simpson, Lorna ) was an important event in the year for the museums that hosted the exhibit. Having originated at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in April 2006, the show traveled around the country until December 2007. This midcareer assessment showed how Simpson, who was still in her 40s, repeatedly broke new ground as a photographer and filmmaker, examining realities of race and class in fresh ways. Another young American, Taryn Simon, had her works exhibited in the solo show “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar,” which traveled in 2007 from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, to the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Ger.

      Photography continued to attract a growing number of collectors in 2007. Swann Galleries, New York City, hosted an auction, “100 Fine Photographs,” on February 14—the centre of attention belonging to Alfred Eisenstaedt's beloved photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse in New York City's Times Square when victory over Japan was declared in 1945. It sold for $10,000, but two other lots— André Kertész's Behind the Hotel de Ville 1930 and a set of 25 issues of Alfred Stieglitz's landmark magazine Camera Work—shared the highest bids of the day, each selling for $50,000. The auction, which included prints by such luminaries as Edward S. Curtis, Lewis Hine, Harry Callahan, and Margaret Bourke-White, raised $798,100.

      In April, Christie's New York held a week of sales that realized $11.2 million, including $2.5 million in the first-ever auction devoted to the work of Horst P. Horst. The record price of $288,000 was set for his Mainbocher Corset, Paris, 1939. Another highlight of the week was the sale for $396,000 of Irving Penn's Woman in Moroccan Palace. The American photographer influenced several generations of fashion, portrait, and still-life photographers, as was demonstrated in “Homage to Irving Penn” at the Aplanat Galerie für Fotografie, Hamburg (June 16–August 4), where “Penn-inspired” works of 42 European photographers were displayed.

      British photographer Lord Snowdon received a rapturous ovation at his first New York City exhibition. The event, at Godel & Co. Fine Art (March 1–April 21), was organized by the Chris Beetles Gallery, London, following the huge success of his first selling show there the previous autumn. Snowdon's career spanned more than 50 years, and the exhibition of more than 80 pictures included some of his best-known society portraits—Princess Margaret, Diana, princess of Wales, Rudolf Nureyev, Sir Noël Coward, Salvador Dalí, and Laurence Olivier—as well as his gritty journalistic studies of mental illness and poverty in the 1960s.

      Albert Watson, the subject in 2007 of an eponymous book, was one of the world's most widely published photographers; he took hundreds of magazine cover photographs for such publications as Time, Rolling Stone, and especially Vogue. In 2007 his work was shown at Guy Hepner Contemporary, London (February 5–10), and at the Young Gallery, Brussels (June 8–September 12). His limited-edition 1993 print of a nude Kate Moss sold at Christie's London for more than $100,000.

      In a celebration of photography away from the studio, Photo 4 Gallery in Paris hosted an exhibition, “Blanche et noire est la rue” (February 15–March 30), in which scenes of ordinary life on the streets were depicted through several decades by different generations of artists, including celebrated masters Brassaï, Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, and Ralph Gibson. Paris also provided the setting for one of the year's most surprising and refreshing displays—an exhibition of 300 vintage prints featuring landscapes and nudes (both male and female) from Tunisia, “Portraits and Nudes 1904–1910,” at Nicole Canet's Galerie au Bonheur du Jour (September 19–December 1).

      At the Venice Biennale, Malian photographer Malick Sidibé (Sidibe, Malick ) received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in recognition of his years of documentary photography in his home country. Pulitzer Prizes in 2007 went to Oded Balilty of the Associated Press for breaking news photography and to Renée C. Byer of the Sacramento Bee for feature photography.

      German Bernd Becher (Becher, Bernd ) and American Joe O'Donnell (O'Donnell, Joe ) were among the losses to the photography community in 2007.

Keith Wilson

▪ 2007


      On Jan. 4, 2006, a 77-year-old performance artist named Pierre Pinoncelli made international headlines when he cracked Marcel Duchamp's iconic ready-made Fountain (1917) with a hammer while it was on display in the Dada exhibition at Pompidou Centre, Paris. Despite Pinoncelli's argument that he was acting in the name of art and that his action made Fountain, one of eight versions of the porcelain urinal, an original, he was issued a fine of €214,000 (about $270,000). This was not the vandal's first attack on the famous artwork; in 1993 he urinated into Fountain.

      In 2004, in a heist listed as one of the “FBI's Top Ten Art Crimes,” Norwegian artist Edvard Munch's seminal paintings The Scream and Madonna were removed in broad daylight from the wall of the Munch Museum in Norway. Both paintings— considered national treasures—were recovered in August 2006 in what authorities deemed “better than expected” condition. Scream sustained some water damage in the bottom left corner, while Madonna suffered small puncture wounds, and although the paintings were scheduled for repair, museum officials decided to exhibit them for a brief period in their current condition.

 In an account of astonishing persistence and justice, 89-year-old Maria Altmann, a direct descendent of the prominent Viennese family known as Bloch-Bauer, won the right to five paintings by Vienna Secession artist Gustav Klimt under a decision by a special arbitration panel in Austria. The paintings were hanging in Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum when Nazis seized them, along with the entire Bloch-Bauer estate, prior to World War II. The recovered quintet went on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in early 2006 and then traveled to Neue Galerie in New York City. Of the two portraits, both of which depict Altmann's aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) was purchased by Neue Galerie cofounder Ronald Lauder for a reported $135 million. Portraying a dark-haired woman set against a glimmering gold leaf background, the lustrous portrait was one of Klimt's most widely reproduced works and set a record for the most expensive painting ever to be sold. Months later, in a deal brokered by Sotheby's, Jackson Pollock's Number 5 (1948) eclipsed the Klimt record, selling for a reported $140 million to Mexican financier David Martínez.

      With a growing number of collectors buying and selling art at auction, the market's vitality for contemporary and post-World War II art seemed utterly resilient in 2006. The three major auction houses reported an increase in contemporary sales from $300 million to an impressive $432 million by spring, with over 70 works surpassing the $1 million mark. Four contemporary artists accounted for $136.5 million of the 2006 spring total: Andy Warhol (58 lots at $43.4 million), Willem de Kooning (21 lots at $42.6 million), Donald Judd (42 lots at $27.5 million), and Roy Lichtenstein (11 lots at $23 million). In the fall, Christies's sale of Modern and Impressionist art shattered previous auction records by selling over $491 million worth of art in one evening, with the four Klimts accounting for $192.2 million.

       Pablo Picasso was responsible for the year's top-selling auction lot when a portrait of his longtime muse entitled Dora Maar au chat (1941) was hammered down for $95.2 million at Sotheby's, becoming the second most expensive painting ever sold at auction. Other works surpassing the $20 million mark included Amedeo Modigliani's Jeanne Hébuterne (au chapeau) (1919), Vincent van Gogh's L'Arlésienne, Madame Ginoux (1890), Paul Gauguin's Man with an Ax (1891), and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Berlin Street Scene (1913). Setting a record for an American portrait at auction, the 1779 full-length painting George Washington at Princeton by Charles Willson Peale sold for $21,296,000 at Christie's. Other Americana auction activity included personal records set by Norman Rockwell for Breaking Home Ties (1954), originally a cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, which sold for $15.4 million, and Maxfield Parrish's Daybreak (1922), which went for $7.6 million. At Christie's Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio (c. 1840) by J.M.W. Turner became the most expensive Old Master work ever sold in the U.S. With a hammer price of $35.8 million, Turner's luminous Venice landscape also ranked as the most expensive British painting ever sold at auction.

      The photography market enjoyed continued growth at auction in 2006. At $2.9 million, a 1904 photograph by Edward Steichen entitled The Pond—Moonlight became the most expensive photograph ever sold at auction; German photographer Andreas Gursky established a new record for the highest price paid for a contemporary photograph at auction when his large-scale 99 Cent (1999) garnered $2,256,000 at Sotheby's. Influential midcareer artist John Baldessari set a personal auction record when his five-panel acrylic on colour coupler print arrangement Beach Scene/Nuns/Nurse (with Choices) (1991) hit $744,000. Alfred Stieglitz surpassed his previous auction record when two 1919 photos of Georgia O'Keeffe, Hands and Nude, reached $1.47 million and $1.36 million, respectively.

 Venerated artists Eva Hesse, Frida Kahlo, and Lucio Fontana achieved new personal records in 2006. Hesse's painted relief An Ear in a Pond (1965) reached $2.26 million, while Fontana's stunning 1961 gold-hued canvas Coupure sold for $2.7 million. Kahlo's self-portrait Roots (1943) set a new world record for a Latin American painting at auction, selling for $5.61 million. Several emerging and midcareer artists soared above their high estimates to establish new personal auction records in 2006. Dionysus Bestowing Midas His Touch (2005), a gothic-inflected panel by Miami-based painter Hernan Bas, fetched $168,000, while Lisa Yuskavage's provocative 1998 Honeymoon was hammered down for $1,024,000. California-based artists fared well, with David Hockney tipping £2.9 million (about $5.5 million) with a quintessentially West Coast landscape entitled The Splash (1966) and Mike Kelley reaching $2,704,000 with a room-size installation composed of found stuffed animals entitled Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites (1991–99). One of the most jarring artworks on the auction block in 2006 belonged to Damien Hirst. His sculpture Away from the Flock, Divided (1995)—a lamb sliced in half and preserved in two formaldehyde-filled tanks—sold for $3.38 million.

      In award news, Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford, whose work traversed painting, sculpture, video, and installation, collected the 2006 Bucksbaum Award, given to an artist exhibiting in the current Whitney Biennial who “possess[es] the potential to make a lasting impact on the history of American art.” The Turner Prize for a living British artist under age 50 short-listed four artists for the 2006 honour: abstract painter Tomma Abts, video artist Phil Collins, installation artist Mark Titchner, and sculptor Rebecca Warren; the prize went to Abts. French artist Christian Boltanski and Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama each received the Praemium Imperiale prize, given annually by the Japan Art Association in recognition of lifetime achievement in the arts in categories not covered by the Nobel Prizes. Polish painter and filmmaker Wilhelm Sasnal edged out four other artists—Urs Fischer (Switzerland), Andrey Monastyrsky (Russia), Dan Perjovschi (Romania), and Cerith Wyn Evans (U.K.)—for the Vincent, the Vincent van Gogh Biennial Award for Contemporary Art in Europe, given to honour European artists by encouraging “communication about art in a free, united, and peaceful Europe.” The MacArthur Foundation bestowed “genius grants”—individual $500,000 no-strings-attached awards—to painter Shahzia Sikander and sculptor Josiah McElheny, among others, in 2006.

Michael Clifton

Art Exhibitions
 The title of a New York Times review by Michael Kimmelman, “Short on Pretty, Long on Collaboration,” summed up the tenor of the 2006 Whitney Biennial exhibition—a show with a myriad of smaller shows under its umbrella. European-born cocurators Philippe Vergne and Chrissie Iles dubbed the biennial “Day for Night,” the exhibition's first-ever title, after a François Truffaut film. The influence of Europeans on American art was further revealed by the inclusion of several foreign-born artists and American artists living abroad. Reena Spaulings, a fictional artist created by a downtown New York collective and art gallery, characterized the collaborative left-of-centre aspirations of the biennial. Mark di Suvero and Rirkrit Tiravanija along with several artist colleagues revived Peace Tower (1960), an earlier sculpture by di Suvero. The Wrong Gallery, an ongoing curatorial project by artist Maurizio Cattelan (Cattelan, Maurizio ) (see Biographies), curator Massimiliano Gioni, and writer Ali Subotnick, was responsible for another show-within-a-show moment that focused on identity politics. Other exhibition highlights included the poetic sculptures of Gedi Sibony and Kranky Klaus (2003), a frightening film documentation of Christmas rituals in rural Austria by Cameron Jamie. Vergne, who also held the position of chief curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., mounted the first solo American museum exhibition of work by Jamie at the Walker. Covering 20 years of artistic production that revealed what the artist characterized as “the different types of ritualized social theatrics in America” and Europe, the show assembled drawing, sculpture, photographic documentation, and the acclaimed film trilogy BB, Spook House, and Kranky Klaus.

      The Wrong Gallery trio was also responsible for the most succinctly crafted art survey of the year: “Of Mice and Men,” the fourth Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art. Sprawling along the Auguststrasse in the Mitte district, Berlin's art hub, the exhibition took refuge in 12 different locations, among them a cemetery and the barren St. Johannes Evangelist Church, a dance hall, private homes, and the former Jewish School for Girls. With some sites newly renovated and others romantically decrepit, the disparity offered an expressively bleak cycle-of-life experience, from church to cemetery, for the viewer. The grand finale came in the form of Berlinde de Bruyckere's Lichaam (Corpse) (2006), a sculpture assembled from the entire hide of a horse, resting among the stone slabs of the cemetery.

      “Fischli & Weiss/Flowers & Questions: A Retrospective,” an exhibition presented at Tate Modern, London, compellingly demonstrated that not only does artistic collaboration merit academic consideration, but it endures. Over a span of almost 30 years, the Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss amassed a wide-ranging body of work that encompassed sculpture, photography, video, and film. Exhibition highlights included the 1987 film The Way Things Go, in which everyday objects explode and collide into one another, and a 1991 series of photographs that replicated popular tourist postcard images, albeit supersized to invert the discarded unimportance of postcards.

      GuytonWalker, the moniker ascribed by New York-based artists Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker to their collaborative side project, seemed ever-present in 2006. In addition to participating in the group show “Uncertain States of America” at venues in Oslo, London, and New York City, the duo mounted collaborative projects at MAMbo (Bologna, Italy's modern-art museum) and at Harvard University's Carpenter Center. Entitled “Empire Strikes Back,” the Carpenter Center exhibition consisted of hollowed-out coconut lamps, numerous silk-screened canvases, and some 2,000 paint cans detailed with imagery adapted from Ketel One vodka ads. Using computers and ink-jet printers as painting devices, the duo commented on the visual codes of current pop and media culture in a tradition that drew upon Andy Warhol, Dada, and the appropriation strategies of Richard Prince and Sherrie Levine. Independently, both artists were featured in recent Whitney Biennials—Guyton in 2004 and Walker in 2006. Along with American artists Seth Price and Josh Smith, Guyton and Walker were featured in a four-person show presented at Kunsthalle Zürich earlier in 2006. Although all four artists had previously realized joint projects in varying guises, the format of the show resembled neither a group exhibition nor collaboration between curator and artist. Instead, it imparted a comprehensive body of new work by each artist that collectively addressed notions of authorship, copyright, and collaboration.

      Originating at Centre Pompidou, Paris, and then traveling to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and finally to New York City's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), “ Dada” offered the most comprehensive presentation of the international art movement ever assembled in the United States. Tracing the movement from New York to Zürich with stops in Paris, Berlin, and other cities, the exhibition surveyed artistic production in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, film, photography, and collage. Dada masterpieces included Marcel Duchamp's ready-made Fountain (1917) and mustachioed Mona Lisa (1919), Jean Arp's Collage with Squares Arranged According to the Laws of Chance (1916–17), and Man Ray's Indestructible Object (1923/1964).

      From London and Los Angeles to São Paulo and Herford, Ger., group exhibitions looked back at the triumphs and travails of Modernism. London's Victoria and Albert Museum presented “Modernism: Designing a New World 1914–1939” from April through July, and the show then moved to the Frank Gehry-designed MARTa Herford Museum from September into January 2007. The Tate Modern offered up “Albers and Moholy-Nagy: From the Bauhaus to the New World.” The Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo celebrated “Concreta '56. A raiz da forma,” and the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles staged “The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America.”

      In a savvy move, Christie's auction house in New York mounted a handsome installation of 36 sculptures by Minimalist Donald Judd in a raw cement-floored office space flooded with natural light on Sixth Avenue just around the corner from their usual space at Rockefeller Center. Along with an in-depth catalog, digital presentations of the lots were available as podcasts from iTunes. With 35 of the 36 lots finding buyers, the sale yielded $24,468,000 for Judd's estate, the consignor of all 36 artworks.Taking on the subject of modern art dealing, “Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde” presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, offered an intimate look at the close partnership of art dealer and art maker. With works from Vincent van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Georges Rouault, the exhibition centred on the sales, exhibitions, commissions, and relationships cultivated by the influential Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard.

 Among the important monographic shows presented in 2006, “David Smith: A Centennial” illustrated how one of the most innovative American artists revolutionized the development of 20th-century sculpture. Presenting over 120 magnificent sculptures, along with drawings and sketches, the show traced the evolution of Smith's corpus from Cubist forms to his unique three-dimensional version of Abstract Expressionism. Originally presented at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the show traveled to Tate Modern in late 2006. MoMA assembled 87 paintings from 1880 to 1944 for its “Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul” exhibition. At the Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic” examined 70 years of pictures painted in the realist tradition yet based on observation and memory. Several solo exhibitions examined specific areas of an artist's oeuvre. Portraits presented over 150 works devoted solely to David Hockney's portraiture and traveled from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and to the National Portrait Gallery in London. “ Robert Rauschenberg: Combines,” organized by Paul Schimmel for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and presented at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, served up 67 of the artist's breakthrough everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-style hybrids. Rauschenberg's self-termed Combines—part painting, part sculpture—were composed of diverse materials that ranged from taxidermy animals, such as the eagle in Canyon (1959), to shoes, clocks, and pillows. On view was one of the artist's most-celebrated combines, the 1955–59 Monogram, which featured an Angora goat girdled by a rubber tire.

Michael Clifton

      While the cult of celebrity continued to find ever-increasing coverage in print and on television (culminating in a furor over images of “size-zero” models plying the catwalks of New York and Milan), the art of photography presented a less-sensational and more-predictable profile on the exhibition walls of Europe and North America in 2006. Elliott Erwitt, Angus McBean, Bill Brandt, Robert Capa, Martin Munkacsi, René Burri, and Harry Benson were among the better-known photographers to be the subject of retrospective exhibitions, proving the enduring appeal of black-and-white silver prints in an age in which the validity of colour was being held in question by the manipulative possibilities of image-editing programs such as Photoshop.

      The superiority of black-and-white photography was something the Daily Telegraph noted when commenting on Benson's exhibition at Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh: “As he starts working in colour during the '80s, Benson's pictures, arranged chronologically here, become more posed, less intrusive, and, it has to be said, less interesting.”

      On the subject of image manipulation, acclaimed Magnum Photos photographer Erwitt made his position clear during an interview with Black & White Photography magazine on the occasion of his exhibition at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford, Eng. Always outspoken, Erwitt gave out T-shirts emblazoned with the warning “Digital Manipulation Kills Photography.” Erwitt stayed faithful to the black-and-white print throughout his long career, and among the most notable exhibitions of 2006 were those retrospectives, almost exclusively in black and white, featuring photographers past and present from the famous Magnum agency.

      In London, Atlas Gallery was particularly active on this front, hosting (September 19–October 28) a major retrospective of Swiss photographer Burri's work. Atlas also arranged an exhibition (October 4–November 10) of Capa's photographs at the Magnum Print Room in London. Another highlight of the Atlas year, but of arguably greater significance, was the first major commercial exhibition in the U.K. of vintage prints by the late Paul Strand, held March 31–May 27. These included prints made by Strand for his acclaimed documentary book Tir a'mhurain (“Land of Bent Grass”) (1962), a record of the people and landscape of the remote islands of South Uist and Benbecula in northwestern Scotland, where Strand and his wife stayed for four months in 1954.

      Paris was the location for a major auction on October 2–3 of works by Brassaï, the renowned 20th-century photographer who lurked in the streets and cafés of the city, documenting the seedier side of its nightlife. More than 750 of his works, including drawings and sculptures, went under the hammer, realizing a total of €4,185,650 (about $5,232,000). During the sale the world record was broken for a photograph by Brassaï; Les Pavés sold for €85,000 (about $106,250), breaking the previous record of $48,000 set in New York City in October 2005.

      In New York City, Swann Auction Galleries conducted an ambitious auction of 19th- and 20th-century photographs by such luminaries as Francis Frith, Eadweard Muybridge, and George N. Barnard of the 19th century and modern masters Man Ray, Irving Penn, Mary Ellen Mark, André Kertész, and Annie Leibovitz. Held on October 19, the auction saw 350 lots sold for $1.2 million.

      Brandt, one of Great Britain's greatest and most versatile photographers, was the subject of a retrospective exhibition on view June 28–August 27 at the Boca Raton (Fla.) Museum of Art. This extensive show of 155 vintage gelatin silver prints was assembled from the Bill Brandt Archive in London and spanned 50 years of a career that proved difficult to categorize. Brandt was one of the 20th century's most eclectic photographers; his images ranged from photojournalism to moody landscapes to high-contrast nudes shot with pinhole cameras. At London's National Portrait Gallery, an exhibition of portraits by McBean, including his famous surrealistic studies of a young Audrey Hepburn, drew crowds from July 5 to October 22.

      One of the most original exhibitions of the year, marrying cinema with still images, was “Antonioni's Blow-Up: London, 1966—a Photographer, a Woman, a Mystery,” held at the Photographers' Gallery, London. The exhibition (July 21–September 17) commemorated the 40th anniversary of Blow-Up, the first film the celebrated Italian director Michaelangelo Antonioni made in English. Visitors could view the stills photographed by Arthur Evans of the film's stars David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave, alongside the giant Don McCullin blowups featured in the film and central to its plot.

      The Photographers' Gallery finished the year by exhibiting a historic collection of early colour photographs taken by the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression. “Bound for Glory: America in Color, 1939–1943” opened on September 8 and featured images by some of the greatest American photojournalists of the 20th century, including Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Marion Post Walcott, and Jack Delano, who had been given some of the first rolls of Kodachrome. The exhibition was the first showing in Europe of this collection of colour images.

      Munkacsi, another pioneer of modern photojournalism, was the subject of an exhibition held August 5–November 6 at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. This show overlapped with the European Month of Photography, also held in Berlin; more than 150 exhibitions could be seen October 27–November 30 in the German capital. Among the featured photographers were Bruno Barbey, Erich Lessing, Sasha Stone, Reiner Leist, Helmut Newton, and Michael Schmidt.

      Stockholm again hosted Xposeptember, the name of its annual photo festival, which featured (September 23–October 22) 75 exhibitions and seminars. One of the exhibitions was “24 Emerging Photographers,” from the Art and Commerce Festival of Emerging Photographers in New York City.

      In Copenhagen, Steve Bloom's “Spirit of the Wild” project was arguably the best-attended exhibition of the year, attracting more than a million visitors—about 20% of the entire population of Denmark. “Spirit of the Wild” featured 100 giant photographs of the world's wildlife, as photographed by Bloom over the previous 12 years. The free outdoor show ran from May 18 to October 22 and was floodlit at night to enable visitors to attend at any time. The exhibit had been viewed by more than a million visitors when it was mounted in Birmingham, Eng., where it opened in September 2005 and was extended three times before finally closing on Aug. 30, 2006. The show then traveled to Millennium Square in Leeds, Eng. (September 27–November 15). The high attendance figures at all the shows served to illustrate that photography of the natural world had become as significant as the latest offerings of retrospectives featuring modern masters.

Keith Wilson

▪ 2006

The year 2005 in art took a look at the past, with an exhibit about the terrorist Red Army Faction and one on the slide-show projector; projects in the works for years—“The Gates” and The Floating Island to Travel Around Manhattan Island—were finally realized; and photo exhibits showcased images of earlier times.

      In 2005 the appeal of contemporary visual art and its promise of youthful provocation continued to sharpen the desire of an international art community, while visual arts strode forward at a frenzied pace.

      French business mogul and art patron François Pinault made news when he halted plans to build a new Tadao Ando-designed contemporary art museum on an island in the Seine, causing an uproar among arts professionals in Paris. Following five years of bureaucratic impediments in France, Pinault purchased a controlling interest in Palazzo Grassi on the Grand Canal in Venice for the François Pinault Foundation for Contemporary Art. Pinault captured headlines again by selling for approximately $30 million Robert Rauschenberg's seminal 1955 artwork Rebus, a 3-m (10-ft)-wide triptych, to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Following two years of political debate over public-sanctioned funding, the year's most controversial exhibition, “Regarding Terror: The RAF-Exhibition,” opened amid a public furor in Germany. Presented at Kunst-Werke in Berlin, the show included work by 50 artists who examined the “media echo” of the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist organization. In late 2004 curators Ellen Blumenstein and Felix Ensslin had raised more than $300,000 through an eBay auction to finance the exhibit without the aid of governmental funding.

 Renewal, in both action and concept, allowed for short-term viewings of two major public art endeavours in New York City. The Gates, Central Park, New York 1979–2005, by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, finally materialized 26 years after its conception, with a reported price tag of $21 million. Opening only days after a blizzard had deposited 46 cm (18 in) of snow in the city, 7,503 steel gates festooned with saffron-coloured cloth panels, standing 5 m (16 ft) high, stretched across 37 km (23 mi) of walkway in Central Park. The much-anticipated project, which was financed by the artists, remained on view for only 16 days but attracted more than four million visitors. Another long-unrealized project was resurrected in tandem with the Robert Smithson survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Floating Island to Travel Around Manhattan Island, imagined by Smithson in 1970, three years before his death, motored around the borough for nine days in September with the assistance of a tugboat; the work, which was assembled together with Smithson's artist wife, Nancy Holt, consisted of a 9 × 27-m (30 × 90-ft) barge landscaped with local earth and vegetation. Deterioration of society and material embodied the first American solo museum exhibition of Modern Gothic artist Banks Violette. For Untitled, Violette enlisted the sonic aid of black metal music to conjure the romantic sublime in a monumental installation at the Whitney Museum, complete with a burnt-out church cast in rock salt.

      Works on paper continued to enjoy critical and mass appeal throughout the year. After a two-year buying spree conducted by trustee Harvey S. Shipley Miller, the Judith Rothschild Foundation amassed nearly 2,600 drawings from the 1930s to 2004 by more than 640 artists. Bequeathed to and accepted in 2005 by MoMA, the treasure trove included works by artists Kai Althoff, Henry Darger, Franz West, and Agnes Martin, among others. The unveiling of newly discovered works by Realist painter Edward Hopper and Abstract Expressionist master Jackson Pollock sent thrills through academic and collector communities. An East Hampton, N.Y., storage locker belonging to graphic designer Herbert Matter (1907–84) revealed 32 unrecorded paintings and drawings by Pollock executed between 1946 and 1949; the works were found in 2002, but the discovery was announced in 2005 following restoration work. Drawings by Hopper, many of which were final studies for his most iconic works, went on view at Peter Findlay Gallery in New York City. After Hopper's death in 1967, his friend and neighbour Mary Schiffenhaus had inherited the artist's Cape Cod home along with 22 drawings tucked away in drawers and cupboards; Schiffenhaus in turn gave them in 1969 to current owner Frank M. Capezzera.

      The Turner Prize, which honoured a British contemporary artist, continued to reap heavy media attention. Installation artist Simon Starling took the 2005 prize, while sculptor Jim Lambie, painter Gillian Carnegie, and multimedia artist Darren Almond were short-listed. Dubbed the “German Turner” for its aim to bridge contemporary art with wider audiences accustomed to event-driven culture, the Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art was awarded to German-based artist Monica Bonvicini. Bonvicini's sadomasochistic installation of leather swings delivered a provocative blow, edging out other short-list contenders Anri Sala, Angela Bulloch, and John Bock. In other news painter Julie Mehretu, sculptor Teresita Fernandez, and photographer Fazal Sheikh each collected a no-strings-attached $500,000 MacArthur “genius” award, and sculptor Mark di Suvero received the 11th annual Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, which carried a $250,000 prize from the Heinz family foundation.

      A hearty trail of shattered auction records characterized the art market's voracious appetite for modern and contemporary art, and by the beginning of the fall season, Christie's had edged ahead of Sotheby's and Phillip's auction houses with half-year sales totaling $1,653,000,000. Record sales—set by Chaim Soutine (Le Pâtissier de Cagnes [1924] for $9,449,856), Hopper (Chair Car [1965] for $14,016,000), and Joseph Cornell (Untitled [Medici Princess] [c. 1952] for $2,592,000)—kept Christie's ahead of the competition. Constantin Brancusi's exquisite icon of modern art, the gray marble Oiseau dans l'espace, or Bird in Space (1922–23), soared to an impressive $27,456,000. The top lot of the auction season, however, belonged to an Old Master painting—Canaletto's Venice, the Grand Canal Looking North-East from the Palazzo Balbi to the Rialto Bridge—which sold for $32,746,478. Several living artists emerged with new auction records, including Robert Gober, whose eerie sculpture Untitled Leg (1990) sold for $912,000, and Marlene Dumas, whose The Teacher (1987) went for $3,339,517. British artist Chris Ofili's Afrodizzia (1996), a glittering canvas propped atop two heaps of elephant dung, garnered $1,001,600. Additional highlights included Chuck Close's seminal painting John (1971–72), which reached $4,832,000; The Cocktail Party (1965–66), a spectacular assembly of 15 freestanding sculptural figures by Marisol (Escobar) for $912,000; and the canvas A Nurse Involved (2002) by Richard Prince, which sold for $1,024,000. The sale of Elizabeth Peyton's 1996 oil on masonite painting John Lennon 1964, an ethereal, unabashedly romantic portrait of the musician, fetched a record-breaking $800,000—quadruple its presale estimate.

      Female artists and curators made an impressive showing. Career-spanning presentations of work by Frida Kahlo, Rosemarie Trockel, and Diane Arbus captured the public's attention at the Tate Modern in London, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Ger., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, respectively. Elsewhere in New York City, emerging artists Sue de Beer and Dana Schutz maintained footing in the “Greater New York” group exhibition at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City and later reasserted their position in the spotlight via American museum debuts; Schutz's mural-size painting Presentation (2005) was shipped by P.S.1 directly to MoMA for “Take Two. Worlds and Views: Contemporary Art from the Collection,” and Sue de Beer's Black Sun (2004–05), a compelling video installation of psychosexual awakening, was presented at the Whitney. Rosa Martínez and María de Corral became the first female curatorial team to preside over the Venice Biennale in the 110-year history of the exhibition. American artist Barbara Kruger took home the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement, and Annette Messenger garnered the prize for best national pavilion for France. Video works combining body art and political protest earned Guatemalan artist Regina José Galindo the Golden Lion for a young artist, while the indefatigable feminist artist collective Guerrilla Girls confronted the biennale's history of gender imbalance with witty posters, one of which proclaimed “French Pavilion Has Solo Show by a Woman! Who Cares if It's the First Time in 100 Years!”

Michael Clifton

Art Exhibitions
      Art biennials and festivals vying for attendance numbers and critical attention continued to proliferate in 2005, sometimes in the same city. Dueling biennials in the Czech capital of Prague canceled each other out as critical discourse gave way to headline scandal when the publishers of Flash Art magazine, organizers of Prague Biennale 2, forbade local officials at Prague's National Gallery to use the name Prague Biennale when organizing their “International Biennale of Contemporary Art 2005.” The 51st Venice Biennale included 70 participating countries. The United States was represented by a new cycle of Ed Ruscha paintings depicting industrial changes in Los Angeles. Curators Rosa Martínez and María de Corral presented the exhibition as two complementary shows: “Always a Little Further” and “The Experience of Art.” Newcomers to the oversaturated art circuit included the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art in Russia and the promising Performa 05 (New York City), the first biennial devoted to visual art performance.

  Nicolas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans, the organizers of the Lyon (France) Biennale of Contemporary Art, excavated the well of hippie-era axioms to explore notions of temporality for “Expérience de la durée” or “Experiencing Duration.” Setting the pace were an intergenerational mix of newly commissioned works and historical pieces, such as Andy Warhol's six-hour film Sleep (1963). Artworks—ranging from La Monte Young's Dream House (1962), a meditation room in which time fluidity is enhanced by the vibration of minimalist electronic sounds, to Martin Creed's claustrophobic room filled with pink balloons—permitted viewers to trace the development of countercultural works of “long duration.” Transcendence through artistic exploration of drugs, alcohol, and hedonism gained further critical evaluation via sprawling museum exhibitions in Los Angeles, London, and Paris. “Dionysiac: Art in Flux,” presented in Paris at the Pompidou Centre, corralled 14 international artists, including Paul McCarthy, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Maurizio Cattelan, to pay tribute to the Greek deity of wine and irreverence through a variety of installations, videos, and performances. At the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, “Ecstasy: In and About Altered States” examined perceptional experimentation through artworks designed to simulate altered realities as well as artworks composed of drugs or works representing transcendental states undergone by artists. Exhibition highlights included Carsten Höller's Upside Down Mushroom Room (2000) and Charles Ray's 1990 photograph Yes, a self-portrait made while under the influence of LSD and presented in a convex frame, mounted on a convex wall. Tate Liverpool, Eng., got groovy with “Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era,” comprising works culled from the 1960s and early '70s by more than 40 artists, including Yayoi Kusama, Warhol, and Robert Indiana. Cultural paraphernalia such as record covers held equal ground with painting and sculpture as well as a multimedia installation by Vernon Panton.

      Television, film, and moving images provided artistic fodder for American group exhibitions in Baltimore, Md., Minneapolis, Minn., and Milwaukee, Wis. In “Shadowland: An Exhibition as a Film,” staged at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, organizers Douglas Fogle and Philippe Vergne conceived the exhibition as a “movie without a camera.” The curatorial configuration invited visitors to shuffle through a range of art film genres present in the work of more than 30 artists, from Bruce Nauman and Doug Aitken to Chantal Akerman. The contemporary gesture of cut and paste scored critical observation in “CUT/Film as Found Object” at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Utilizing excerpts from preexisting film and television footage, visual artists Candice Breitz, Christian Marclay, Omer Fast, and others made the familiar unfamiliar by constructing new narratives, musical scores, and emotional content. Surfacing from the shadow of the 2003 announcement by Eastman Kodak Co. that it would discontinue production of slide projectors, the Baltimore Museum of Art illuminated the role of slide as artistic medium through the exhibition “SlideShow.” Signifying visual culture's shift from analog to digital technology, “SlideShow” gazed back at 40 years of art production using the unpretentious slide; the medium revealed itself in works by artists Nan Goldin, Dan Graham, and Robert Smithson.

      Extending beyond New York City's five boroughs into upstate New York and New Jersey, “Greater New York 2005” at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, N.Y., offered a cacophonous array of more than 150 artists who had emerged since 2000. Remaining on view for six months, memorable works by Dana Schutz, Brock Enright, and Sue de Beer were enlivened by the thematic loose threads of escapism and regression along with visceral depictions of beauty and horror. Elsewhere in the show, a hybrid strain of formalism as practiced by Richard Aldrich, Wade Guyton, and Gedi Sibony humbled the high-energy proceedings. Employing similar curatorial structure, regional roundup exhibitions highlighting new directions in sculpture appeared on both coasts; the Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles, mounted its “THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles,” and the SculptureCenter in New York staged “Make It Now: New Sculpture in New York.”

      Significant monographic surveys of work by artists Richard Tuttle and Smithson toured multiple venues during the year and provided in-depth examinations of two of the key figures to emerge in American art during the mid-1960s. The Smithson retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, presented sculptures, photographs, and documentary films of his earthworks, such as “Spiral Jetty” (1970) in Utah's Great Salt Lake, while rarely seen drawings and paintings offered a revealing glimpse into projects unrealized during the artist's lifetime. Despite his sudden death at age 35 in 1973, Smithson continued to have a profound impact on sculpture and art theory through his books, letters, and critical writings. “The Art of Richard Tuttle,” presented July 2–October 16 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, traced the artist's career through four decades of inventive abstraction, from drawing, collage, and painting to sculpture, design, and bookmaking. Tuttle's delicate work defied categorization; he maintained, “My work is not reduced from something. It is not abstract, it is real. It is what it is.” Though his 1975 major exhibition at the Whitney Museum had been panned by the critics and that show's curator fired, Tuttle's new show would travel to the Whitney as part of its two-year tour.

      Attracting cross-generational audiences by tracing the parallel creative journeys of two highly influential artists, “Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro 1865–1885,” which was presented June 26–September 12 by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, examined the development of Modernism through acts of artistic exchange. The exhibition reunited approximately 45 works by each artist from a period in which the two artists worked side by side in the French cities of Pontoise and Auvers. The show would later travel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Musée d'Orsay, Paris. The Neue Galerie, New York City, mounted a survey of 150 drawings and paintings by Viennese Expressionist Egon Schiele, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, showcased “Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings,” the first major American retrospective of the artist's works on paper. The transatlantic blockbuster “Turner, Whistler, Monet,” presented by Tate Britain, London, focused on the artists' views of the River Thames, the Seine, and Venice to reveal connections between British and French art and the development of the symbolism and Impressionism that shaped the course of landscape painting.

Michael Clifton

      Much of the photography exhibited in 2005 involved an exploration of “how we looked then,” in work that revisited actual and reconstructed historical sites of past interest. Returning to the early days of photography, the Eugène Atget retrospective, which was held September 10–November 27 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, showcased 120 photographs of Paris from 1890 to 1926.

 The work of Hungarian photographer André Kertész (1894–1985) traveled to the International Center of Photography (ICP), New York City, in a comprehensive exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., where it originated in 2004. The show then traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and was on view at the ICP from September 16 to November 27. The subtle and elegant work displayed in this exhibition brought to view Kertész's quiet observations of Paris and New York City in the years following 1925 and his unique juxtapositions of light and form.

      The January–March exhibition “Peter Hujar: Night” at Matthew Marks Gallery, New York City, included 43 square-format black-and-white after-dark images from 1974 to 1985 that depicted the margins of New York City. The show, informed by Hujar's gritty sensibility and experience as a street photographer in New York City's East Village, was also mounted March 10–April 30 at the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco. P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, N.Y., presented 70 images of his work, most previously unexhibited; Hujar died of AIDS in 1987. The exhibit was on view from Oct. 23, 2005, to Jan. 16, 2006. Hujar's work was also included in the New Museum of Contemporary Art's group exhibition “East Village USA.”

      A retrospective exhibition of the work of Lexington, Ky., optometrist and photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925–72) consisted of more than 150 prints from the archives of the University of Kentucky, organized by the ICP, where it was on view Dec. 10, 2004–Feb. 27, 2005. The show, which later traveled to the Fraenkel Gallery and the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Ariz., represented Meatyard's exploration of the themes of childhood and loss. Employing darkness, shadows, and masks, Meatyard developed a melancholic sensibility in the midst of a deep Southern mythology.

      On display through February 27 at the ICP, which also organized the show, was “Bill Owens: Leisure”; it was also exhibited March 3–April 30 at the Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco and featured previously unseen images from Owens's “Suburbia” series, made between 1968 and 1980; these constituted the final installment of four projects, each of which focused on a different aspect of the emergence of suburban life since the late 1960s. A July–September exhibit in New York City also included images from “Suburbia” (1972), “Our Kind of People” (1976), and “Working: I Do It for the Money” (1978), as well as newly published work in the “Leisure” series.

      In Beverly Hills, Calif., Gregory Crewdson's “Beneath the Roses” was on view May 21–July 16 at Gagosian Gallery and opened concurrently with shows at White Cube, London, and Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York City. Crewdson's cinematic photography, depicting extraordinary events in quite ordinary places, required the collaborative efforts of an entire movie crew to stage. Crewdson's view of middle-class America explored the psychological impact of the banal and the alienation of life in the suburbs through “disturbing dramas at play within quotidian environments.”

      Robert Adams's “Turning Back: A Photographic Journal of Re-exploration” was exhibited Sept. 29, 2005–Jan. 3, 2006, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA). Accompanied by a catalog of the same name, the show displayed Adams's newest work, which was inspired by the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The images on view retraced the territory covered by the famous explorers. “Robert Adams: Circa 1970,” shown September 8–October 29 at the Fraenkel Gallery, presented the first exhibition of rare vintage prints from the series “The New West” and “Denver.” This work explored the transformation of the American landscape in 1967–73 and was collected in two books that were considered photographic landmarks of the past half century.

      The first photography exhibition of 2005 in the newly renovated Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, was on view March 4–May 30 and showcased Thomas Demand's work, which challenged the notion of a document through carefully constructed images that began as paper models of historically meaningful sites and were then photographed by the artist, who was trained as a sculptor. The show was the largest American survey of Demand's work to date and included 25 images from the past 12 years.

      A major retrospective at MoMA of Lee Friedlander was on view June 5–August 29. The exhibition traveled to Haus der Kunst, Munich, Nov. 16, 2005–Feb. 12, 2006, and presented nearly 500 prints that spanned a 50-year career, revisiting the diverse interests of a multifaceted artist whose many projects included portraiture, landscape, still life, and architectural studies. Concurrent with his major retrospective at MoMA, another New York show, “Five Decades,” was offered June 11–July 29 at the Janet Borden Gallery.

       John Szarkowski was the subject of a photographic exhibition that originated at SFMoMA in February. The companion book John Szarkowski: Photographs featured 84 tritone images and an essay by SFMoMA curator Sandra Phillips. The show traveled in June to the Center for Creative Photography and in September to the Milwaukee (Wis.) Art Museum. MoMA was to host the exhibition in 2006.

      An exhibition of topographic photographer Stephen Shore, which originated at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna in 2004, was presented from June to mid-October 2005 at the Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles, and traveled in mid-November to Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver. The show exhibited 120 prints from two major series, “Uncommon Places” and “American Surfaces,” which defined the vernacular of the 1970s sociological American landscape. Meanwhile, the Shore exhibition at P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center presented a selection of more than 300 images from Shore's series “American Surfaces” and coincided with an updated publication of the landmark book of the same name.

      “End of Time” at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, surveyed the entire body of Hiroshi Sugimoto's work. The exhibition opened in September 2005 and was scheduled to travel in February 2006 to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. Sugimoto explored abstraction, focusing on the formal qualities of light and time. The retrospective exhibition included work from “Dioramas,” “Seascapes,” “Theatres,” “Portraits,” “Architecture,” “Sea of Buddha,” and “Conceptual Forms.” The show also included “Colors of Shadow,” new never-before-presented colour photographs of the changing light in the artist's studio.

Marla Caplan

▪ 2005


      The year 2004 in art was marked by a continued trend toward globalism; contemporary artists and art lovers traveled around the world to biennials in Shanghai; New York City; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Seville, Spain; Liverpool, Eng.; and San Sebastián, Spain, among other cities. Drawings were big on the contemporary gallery circuit, which featured an abundance of shows devoted to works on paper by young and emerging artists. Another trend was the tendency toward the gothic or grotesque. Young artists such as Sue de Beer, Olaf Breuning, David Altmejd, Cameron Jamie, and Aïda Ruilova represented the “Modern Gothic,” as coined by the Village Voice newspaper critic Jerry Saltz, and the group exhibition “Scream: 10 Artists × 10 Writers × 10 Scary Movies” was presented at New York City's Anton Kern Gallery and the Moore Space in Miami, Fla. In New York City, in keeping with the wanderlust of contemporary art, Austrian Franz West installed his large candy-coloured sculptures in Lincoln Center, and Italian Rudolf Stingel spread a floral carpet in Grand Central Station. Still, one of the most talked-about exhibitions was a single-channel video presented in a New York City gallery; in the video the artist, Andrea Fraser, is seen having sex with a collector who paid nearly $20,000 to participate in the piece, which consisted of the sexual act and one edition of the DVD.

      One of the most anticipated events of the year in art was the reopening on November 20 of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, after three years at a temporary exhibition space in Queens. Designed by architect Yoshio Taniguchi, the new museum—at 58,530 sq m (630,000 sq ft)—was almost twice the size of the former facility and included a new six-story exhibition space. The reopening coincided with the 75th anniversary of the institution and included historic exhibitions of drawings from 1880 to the present and a photography show covering the 1890s to the 1950s, as well as a project by Mark Dion and an exhibition of photographs by German artist Michael Wesely. To help finance the new billion-dollar building and raise funds for acquisitions, MoMA sold nine Modernist masterpieces at Christie's New York. Works sold included Giorgio de Chirico's The Great Metaphysician (1917), which fetched $7,175,500, and a major Jackson Pollock drip painting, Number 12, 1949, which went for $11,655,500, along with works by Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Fernand Léger, René Magritte, and Pablo Picasso. While MoMA was undergoing renovation, the institution lent over 200 works from its permanent collection to Neue Nationalgalerie for “MoMA in Berlin.” MoMA also shared its holdings with another New York City museum, El Museo del Barrio, for the exhibit “MoMA at El Museo: Latin American and Caribbean Art from the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art,” and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo presented “Modern Means: Continuity and Change in Art, 1880 to the Present,” which showcased 300 items, ranging from painting and sculpture to electronic media art.

      The art market proved its unfaltering vitality with the record-breaking sale of Picasso's Boy with a Pipe (1905) for $93 million ($104.1 million, including the auction house's 12% premium). In the contemporary market one of the most talked-about sales was Maurizio Cattelan's The Ballad of Trotsky (1996), a stuffed horse hanging in a leather sling from the ceiling, which sold for $2,080,000, well above its estimated selling price of $800,000. Cattelan was also responsible for one of the year's biggest art scandals. In May the Nicola Trussardi Foundation installed his Untitled sculpture, which consisted of mannequins of three young boys, each hanging by a noose from the branch of a tree in Milan's historic Piazza XXIV Maggio. After less than 48 hours on view, the sculpture was attacked by an angry Milanese resident, who climbed the tree, cut down two of the mannequins, and then fell out of the tree, sustaining a broken arm. Authorities removed the remaining mannequin and revoked the permits necessary to keep the sculpture on view. Opinions were divided between those in favour of free expression and supportive of Cattelan's capacity to incite debate and those who were opposed to what they deemed a violent and shocking work.

      The 35th edition of Art Basel, the world's biggest art fair, confirmed the strength of the market even further with consistent sales of works by contemporary artists as well as Old Masters and blue-chip artists. Richard Prince's seminal 1983 work Spiritual America, the artist's copy of photographer Gary Gross's controversial photo of a nude 10-year-old Brooke Shields posing seductively in a bath, reportedly sold for $1 million. The annual Baloise Art Prize (25,000 Swiss francs [about $20,000] per recipient) was awarded to Aleksandra Mir and Tino Sehgal. Other worldwide fairs continued to draw strong crowds and bring in steady sales, including the Armory Show in New York City (Contemporary), the Art Show in New York City (Old Masters, Modern, and Contemporary), the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht, Neth. (Old Masters and Modern), ARCO in Madrid (Modern and Contemporary), and the Frieze Art Fair in London (Contemporary).

      The heated U.S. presidential campaigns of Republican Pres. George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry led the left-leaning art world to support Kerry and the Democratic Party with benefits, exhibitions, and other events. The newly created political action group Downtown for Democracy (D4D) held a silent auction on June 29, and a larger auction of 170 works by contemporary artists, organized by two pro-Democratic groups, America Coming Together and Arts PAC, took place the same evening at Phillips, de Pury & Co. in New York City. D4D also organized a benefit street fair in September, which featured a fake-tattoo booth, Pop Art posters, and other politically minded presentations by artists and musicians. An exhibition curated by writer Neville Wakefield and artist Adam McEwen, “Power, Corruption and Lies” at New York City's Roth Horowitz gallery, included politically themed works by Philip Guston, Christopher Wool, Andy Warhol, and Richard Hamilton, among others. In addition, several top artists donated works to a benefit auction to support a new campaign to protect individual civil rights from attack under the USA PATRIOT Act and other antiterrorist laws. For the exhibition “Experimental Party DisInformation Center” at New York City's LUXE Gallery, artists and activists presented a multimedia installation under the auspices of the fictional U.S. Department of Art & Technology, timed for the Republican national convention. The magazine Artforum joined the bandwagon with its September issue, which featured special projects by contemporary artists reacting to the elections and the current political climate.

      The winner of the annual Turner Prize (awarded to a British artist under 50 years of age for an outstanding exhibition of his or her work in the previous 12 months) was filmmaker and performance director Jeremy Deller, for his film Memory Bucket, which explored Crawford, Texas, the hometown of President Bush, and the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidians in nearby Waco. Other finalists included sculptor and photographer Yinka Shonibare, Turkish-born video artist Kutlug Ataman, and the duo Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell. Potter Grayson Perry (see Biographies (Perry, Grayson )) won the 2003 Turner. The Guggenheim's Hugo Boss Prize 2004 went to Thai installation and action artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. Other nominees included British conceptualist Simon Starling, the Dutch filmmaking team Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij, German painter Franz Ackermann, Brazilian sculptor Rivane Neuenschwander, and Chinese filmmaker Yang Fudong.

      In other news, a devastating fire swept through the Momart art warehouse in London in May, destroying nearly 300 original artworks with a value close to £60 million (about $106 million). Losses included some 100 contemporary works from the celebrated collection of British advertising magnate Charles Saatchi, including several iconic works by Young British Artists, such as Hell, a 2.6-sq-m (28-sq-ft) tableau of a Nazi concentration camp by Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Tracey Emin's embroidered tent, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995.

Ali J. Subotnick

Art Exhibitions
      Spanning generations and drawing connections between young emerging artists and established artists was a frequent format for the large-scale international exhibitions that were held in 2004. The Whitney Biennial in New York City included works created by a cross-generational list of artists, ranging from videos by pioneering performance artist Marina Abramovic to an allover sound-and-video installation by assume vivid astro focus (Eli Sudbrack), to drawings and watercolours from veteran artist Raymond Pettibon (the 2004 recipient of the Whitney's $100,000 Bucksbaum Award for a gifted visual artist), and to a wall drawing of the history of rock and roll by young Los Angeles-based Dave Muller; the intergenerational mix provided a comprehensive look at current art making and its influences and sources, including popular culture, art history, and social and political history. The Carnegie International, which was held in Pittsburgh, Pa., presented small in-depth surveys of works by three established figures: R. Crumb, Mangelos (Dimitrije Basicevic [1921–87]), and Lee Bontecou; in addition, smaller clusters of works by other artists were grouped by theme or formal aspects. Curator Laura Hoptman organized the exhibition to show how art could be used as a meaningful vehicle to confront the unanswerable questions such as death and the meaning of life and faith and the existence of God. In Europe the fifth edition of Manifesta, the international biennial of European artists, presented in San Sebastián, Spain, included more than 50 artists, some exhibiting their work publicly for the first time, along with a handful of historical works by artists such as Belgian Marcel Broodthaers (1924–76), Ukrainian Boris Mikhailov, and Dutchman Bas Jan Ader. The exhibition had an overall theme of memory and social engagement and was presented in five venues in the area. The 2004 Site Santa Fe (N.M.) Biennial, “Disparities and Deformations: Our Grotesque,” curated by Robert Storr, explored the grotesque tradition in art by showcasing the works of more than 50 contemporary artists such as John Currin, Kara Walker, Louise Bourgeois, Crumb, Jörg Immendorff, and John Waters. Each of these large-scale international shows, which centred on specific themes and contexts, moved away from previous attempts to focus solely on new discoveries and virgin artists, choosing instead to establish connections between the young and the old.

      Minimalism was reconsidered in several large exhibitions. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, presented “A Minimal Future? Art as Object, 1958–1968,” a historic exhibition of American Minimalism. The show included seminal works by the founding fathers of the movement, including Carl Andre, Dan Flavin (1933–96), Donald Judd (1928–94), and Sol LeWitt. At the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, “Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated): Art from 1951 to the Present” included many works from the museum's permanent collection, ranging from Robert Rauschenberg's White Painting [seven panel] (1951) to Damien Hirst's Armageddon (2002), a painting composed of resin-covered dead flies. “Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form, 1940s–70s,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, featured a selection of international artists' works dating back to 1945. In London the Tate Modern presented a survey of work by Judd that featured about 40 of the artist's “specific objects” produced from 1961 to 1993. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., weighed in on the Minimalism trend with a Flavin retrospective; it included 44 of his works and drawings and was the first comprehensive retrospective of the American artist.

      Several other thematic shows brought an inspired look at art and its relation to society. The Getty Center in Los Angeles organized a curious exhibition entitled “The Business of Art: Evidence from the Art Market,” which provided a documentary look at the maneuverings of the art business over the last 400 years. Drawn from the Getty's research library, the show spanned the 16th through the 20th century and included letters, inventories, diaries, auction manuals, and press clippings. In Philadelphia “The Big Nothing” went on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art; the exhibit featured works that had something to do with nothing and nothingness and included almost 60 artists, including Maurizio Cattelan, Roe Ethridge, Yves Klein (1928–62), William Pope.L, and Andy Warhol (1928–87). Skateboarding, graffiti, and urban life were the organizing principle for the exhibition “Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture” at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

      Several important monographic exhibitions provided in-depth examinations of the work of one artist. “Roth Time: A Dieter Roth Retrospective” at the MoMA QNS and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens, N.Y., was the first comprehensive survey of the German-born artist (1930–98) in the U.S. since 1984 and included 375 works made over five decades. In his first American museum exhibition, held at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, young German artist Kai Althoff presented 15 years' worth of work, including drawings, video, watercolours, installations, and music and texts, treating adolescence, German history, and religion. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, “Cotton Puffs, Q-tips®, Smoke and Mirrors” gathered over 200 works on paper by Ed Ruscha (see Biographies (Ruscha, Ed )) for the first large survey of the Los Angeles-based artist's iconic signs and text images, which mixed graphic design and puns with media and materials. Ruscha's seminal photo series of gas stations, parking lots, and swimming pools, along with snapshots taken on his first European trip, were presented in a complimentary show. The Whitney also mounted a 15-year survey of influential Cuban exile Ana Mendieta's (1948–85) groundbreaking sculptures and documentation of her performances exploring the female body.

      Prints and drawings were the focus of several significant exhibitions, including the first major print retrospective of 81-year-old Richard Hamilton at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., which featured over 150 works by the British Pop Art pioneer. For “ Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, more than 100 images—ranging from the artist's first (1972) mezzotint to Emma, a 113-colour Japanese-style wood print made in 2002—provided a broad view of the influential American painter's working process. In anticipation of the February 2005 installation in New York City's Central Park of The Gates by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the museum also presented a show of 50 preparatory drawings and collages, 60 photographs, and 10 maps and technical diagrams detailing the controversial project. In Los Angeles, “Visions of Grandeur: Drawing in the Baroque Age” at the J. Paul Getty Museum featured works drawn from the museum's permanent collection by Gianlorenzo Bernini, Pietro da Cortona, Claude Lorrain, Nicholas Poussin, and Peter Paul Rubens.

      Other shows of artistic historical interest included “A Beautiful and Gracious Manner: The Art of Parmigianino” at the Frick Collection in New York City, where 50 drawings and 5 small-scale paintings were displayed. “American Attitude: Whistler and His Followers” at the Detroit Institute of Arts featured 13 paintings by James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) and 50 works by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851–1938), and other artists. The Jewish Museum presented the first major exhibition of Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920) in New York City in more than 50 years and featured more than 100 works by the legendary bohemian. The show paid special attention to his heritage as an Italian Sephardic Jew. The Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switz., premiered a major retrospective of Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948). The centrepiece of the exhibition was a walk-in reconstruction of the artist's Merzbau, which he began building in 1923 and which was destroyed in 1943 during World War II. Meanwhile, the Kunstmuseum Basel presented “Schwitters Arp,” an exhibition of nearly 140 collages, reliefs, sculptures, and assemblages by Schwitters and Hans Arp (1887–1966). The two modern artists had begun their artistic exchange of ideas when they performed together at Dada events in 1922 and collaborated on both driftwood reliefs and a novel in 1923.

Ali J. Subotnick

      The political and emotional power of the image was never more evident than in 2004. On a number of occasions, public concern over the conduct and consequences of the U.S.-led war and occupation of Iraq and the changes that digital photography and communications media had brought worked together to deprive the U.S. military of the control it had traditionally enjoyed over wartime photographs, and some of the more shocking aspects of military life were publicized as never before.

      In April images of the flag-draped coffins of American war dead loaded in the holds of cargo planes bound for the U.S. were published on Internet sites and the front pages of newspapers around the world, apparently in contravention of Pentagon policies that dated back to the First Gulf War in 1991. The photos ignited discussion of political censorship and the public's right to know. Even more shocking to the public were images of sexual humiliation and torture being inflicted on Iraqi detainees by U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib military prison in Iraq, first published by The New Yorker magazine in May. If previous wars had been documented exclusively by photojournalists working for or authorized by the military, almost every soldier abroad now carried a personal digital camera. Images could be exchanged rapidly and sent home by e-mail or cell phone. Writing in the New York Times, author Susan Sontag (see Obituaries (Sontag, Susan )) saw that the very nature of photography had changed; pictures such as those taken at Abu Ghraib were now “less objects to be saved than messages to be disseminated.” Because of a photograph's seemingly unimpeachable truth—what Sontag called the “insuperable power” of photographs to determine our collective memory—she found it likely that the images of the U.S. preemptive war in Iraq that would remain in people's minds were likely to be these photographs of Americans torturing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib. In the same vein, Michael Moore's quasi-documentary film Fahrenheit 9/11, which scrutinized the photo opportunities manipulated by media managers and “spin doctors,” also focused public attention on the power of photo images to mold public perceptions.

      Two dramatic blockbuster shows mounted by the International Center of Photography in 2004 included “Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self” and “Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China.” Together these exhibitions sketched a new direction in contemporary photography, one that was hinted at in the 2002 Documenta—that is, a political engagement by artists and photographers with issues of personal and cultural identity in the rapidly changing “mediascape” of contemporary global culture.

      Larry Fink's show at the Powerhouse Gallery in New York City, “The Forbidden Pictures: A Political Tableau,” began in June and came down the week after the Republican Party held its national convention in that city. Representing many high-profile political figures in compromising and scandalous situations, Fink's work was yet another example of the ubiquity of political satire during the U.S. presidential election year. Another Fink show, “Social Graces: Vintage Photographs,” was on view at Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York City.

      The major historical exhibition of the year was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). “Diane Arbus: Revelations” showcased her unmatched capacity for getting close to and showing the intrinsic humanity in each of her subjects. The show was to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, in 2005. “Street Credibility: Photographs from the 1940s to the 1970s,” on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, placed Arbus's work in a rich historical and cultural context. The exhibit, which featured 100 Arbus photographs from the 1940s to the '70s, examined the period of time when the notion of photography's unflinching truth and the boundaries between documentary and fine art first began to fall under question. The work of Larry Clark, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, and Garry Winogrand was included, as was a selection of work by Arbus's predecessors, including Lisette Model and August Sander. In the spring photo auctions, Arbus's Identical Twins (Cathleen and Colleen), Roselle, N.J., 1967 set an artist record at auction, selling for $478,400. The second highest price ever achieved for an Arbus photograph was $198,400 for the 1966 print of A Young Man in Curlers at Home on West 20th Street.

      Photography from the 1970s made a definite comeback. Representing this trend were the New York City group shows “Six from the Seventies: The Last Years of Modern Photography,” at Howard Greenberg Gallery, and “Seventies Color Photography,” at Marianne Boesky Gallery. The work of such artists as Richard Misrach, Joel Sternfeld, and William Eggleston—all of whom also had solos shows in 2004—was featured at the Boesky Gallery.

      The first exhibition of colour photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, was an Eggleston show in 1976. Though the exhibit was first designated “the most hated of the year,” it was later seen as a pivotal moment in the history of photography. In 2004 Eggleston's “Los Alamos” was presented at SFMOMA in a show organized first by the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Ger. This historical exhibition featured photographs taken in the photographer's hometown of Memphis, Tenn., as well as the work he produced on a road trip through New Mexico in 1973, specifically exploring the town of Los Alamos, the site where the atom bomb was developed in the early 1940s. The 88 prints in the exhibition displayed Eggleston's keen eye, his ability to link disparate subjects through the coherency of his vision, and the intensity of his saturated colour palette. In the final tribute room of Eggleston's “Los Alamos” show was a large print by Alec Soth entitled Sleeping by the Mississippi, one of the prints that resulted from Soth's own journey down the Mississippi in 1999. Earlier in 2004 Soth had made his debut at the 2004 Whitney Biennial and held his first exhibition in New York City (Sleeping by the Mississippi), at Yossi Milo Gallery. As a sign of the increasing interest in Eggleston, the print Greenwood, Mississippi (Red Ceiling) sold for $217,440 at Phillips de Pury and Luxembourg in the spring, marking a new auction record for the artist. Though Eggleston was primarily recognized for his pioneering work in colour photography, Cheim & Read Gallery, New York City, offered an Eggleston show called “Precolor: The Black and White Pictures,” which, seen together with the other exhibitions on view, provided a full spectrum of the artist's accomplishments.

      Other notable shows by artists who first gained public notice for their work in the 1970s were Misrach's “On the Beach,” at PaceWildenstein Gallery, New York City, and Sternfeld's “American Prospects and Before,” at Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York City. Meanwhile, Sternfeld's On This Site: Landscape in Memoriam (1993–96), a set of 53 colour prints depicting various crime scenes, sold for $153,100.

      In other news Magnum Photos launched M, a magazine devoted to contemporary photojournalism. The premier issue, “Unlikely Encounters,” featured photographers Susan Meiselas, Chien-Chi Chang, Martin Parr, Bruce Davidson, and Inge Morath, among others. Several important photographers died during the year, including Eddie Adams (Adams, Eddie ), Ellen Auerbach (Auerbach, Ellen ), Richard Avedon (Avedon, Richard ), Henri Cartier-Bresson (Cartier-Bresson, Henri ), Carl Mydans (Mydans, Carl Mayer ), Helmut Newton (Newton, Helmut ), George Silk (Silk, George ), and Ezra Stoller (Stoller, Ezra ). (See Obituaries.)

Marla Caplan

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Universalium. 2010.

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