20 + 20: Makers and Shakers of the Global Art World Part II

Virgil Abloh. Courtesy of Virgil Abloh.
Frank Gehry. Photo by Alexandra Cabri.
Iwan and Manuela Wirth. Photo by Hugo Ritsson-Thomas. 
Mami Kataoka. Courtesy of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan.
Peter Schjeldahl. Courtesy of Getty Image.
Amy Sherald. Courtesy of the artist and Justin T. Gellerson.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Courtesy of Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
Jean-Michel Basquiat. Courtesy of WXXI.
Attributed to Francesco Melzi, A portrait of Leonardo, c.1515–18. Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019. For one-time use only in connection with Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, 22 November 2019 – 15 March 2020. Not to be archived or sold on.
Banksy, Love is in the Bin, 2018. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.
ruangrupa members in 2019: Ajeng Nurul Aini, Farid Rakun, Iswanto Hartono, Mirwan Andan, Indra Ameng, Ade Darmawan, Daniella Fitria Praptono, Julia Sarisetiati, and Reza Afisina.
Cao Fei. Photo by Myrzik und Jarisch.
Nan Goldin. Courtesy of Nangoldinstudio.
Jerry Saltz. Courtesy of New York Magazine and Frieze New York.
Yuki Terase. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Yoshitomo Nara. Courtesy of Kerry Ryan McFate.
Miuccia Prada. Courtesy of Miuccia Prada.
Sindika Dokolo. @ all rights reserved Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels.
Leslie Sun. Courtesy of Leslie Sun.
KAWS. Courtesy of KAWS.
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ART Power HK

As we head into a new decade, we have selected 40 memorable change-makers—or at the least, those that made us raise eyebrows and drop jaws—of the global art world of 2019 who have resonated with us.

In no particular order, here are 20 influential personalities—and we say this loosely—who shook our art world bubble this year.

 

TEXT: CoBo Editorial
IMAGES: Courtesy of various

 

Virgil Abloh. Courtesy of Virgil Abloh.

 

VIRGIL ABLOH x THE LOUVRE GIFT SHOP

As art continues to push and experiment at the boundaries of lifestyle and fashion, creative polymath Virgil Abloh has conjured a capsule collection of t-shirts and hoodies in his ready-to-wear label, Off-White currently selling at the Louvre Museum’s gift shop. The collection—photographed inside the venerable institution—meshes graphic mash-ups of Leonardo Da Vinci paintings with the Off-White brand logo. Adel Ziane, the Louvre’ s director of external relations, welcomes the move. “The collaboration gives us an opportunity to reach out to a new audience and encourage them to take interest in the Louvre.” Expect the fashioning of art to continue.

 

Frank Gehry. Photo by Alexandra Cabri.

 

FRANK GEHRY

Architecture meets art and vice-versa in Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry’s work—his Guggenheim Bilbao still shimmers with undiminished novelty 25 years on. And now he’s done a mini-Bilbao in the luxury retail sector; witness his stack of sweeping glass sails atop a cube of white stone for the Louis Vuitton Maison in Seoul. Gehry references the curved roofs typical of Korean architecture while simultaneously appropriating the billowy forms that elevated his Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Foremost a sumptuous shrine for luxury fashion and accessory retail, there’s also a permanent collection of art and a temporary exhibition space dedicated to showcasing work from the Fondation’s collection. Last time we looked it was Alberto Giacometti sculptures. LVFG anyone?

 

Iwan and Manuela Wirth. Photo by Hugo Ritsson-Thomas. 

 

IWAN & MANUELA WIRTH

The Fife Arms in Aberdeen, Scotland—just named hotel of the year by London’s Sunday Times newspaper; Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I’s visit to their Somerset premises to see Matthew Day Jackson in March; an upcoming US$4.5 million outpost in Menorca in 2020, part of which will fund the restoration of the island’s decommissioned 18th century naval hospital; a book shop in Zurich, and The New York Times nominating its two best shows of 2019 as Hauser & Wirth’s David Hammons and Amy Sherald, means the hits just keep on coming for this progressive gallery-lifestyle player. Plenty to occupy them too for 2020, given the signings of Ed Clark, Annie Leibovitz, Mika Rottenberg and more.

 

Mami Kataoka. Courtesy of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan.

 

MAMI KATAOKA

Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum has announced that Chief Curator Mami Kataoka will become the institution’s new Director, succeeding Fumio Nanjo, who is retiring. Since 2003, Mori has staged a veritable A-list of shows including Lee Bul, Ai Weiwei, NS Harsha, and Chiharu Shiota, among others. Kataoka’s appointment will make one of very few female art directors in Japan. Simultaneously— and separately—she’s also been appointed President of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM), 2020–2022, making her the first non-European president in the organisation’s history. Double happiness and 20/20 vision indeed.

 

Peter Schjeldahl. Courtesy of Getty Image.

 

PETER SCHJELDAHL

77-year-old The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl who joined the 95-year-old magazine in 1988, just announced, or at least wrote, of being diagnosed with lung cancer on its pages. Schjeldahl, much like The New Yorker satirist SJ Perelman before him, is the writer we writers all wish we could write like. Cancer afflicts and kills millions still, yet few sufferers could outline their reaction with quite such singular eloquence as Schjeldahl in this piece. Surprisingly, US artist David Salle, also a prolific writer, once revealed to us, that he and Schjeldahl had appropriated much of their writing technique from 1950s sports writer and broadcaster Red Smith. Whatever the case, sample these extracts in their poignancy as the words, and what we consider the art, of Schjeldahl:

“Dying is my turn to survey life from its far—now near—shore. Monochrome—like the mausoleum-gray former Berlin Wall, which kids in West Berlin glamorised with graffiti. Dying is my turn to survey life from its far—now near—shore. These extra months are a luxury that I hope to have put to good use. Like a camera situated nowhere and taking in every last detail of the pulsating world.”

 

 

Amy Sherald. Courtesy of the artist and Justin T. Gellerson.

 

AMY SHERALD

The African-American woman who painted the official portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama has leapt into the global art world’s stratosphere following her thrilling September debut with Hauser & Wirth, New York. Major FOMO. The New York Times named it the show of 2019. Sherald’s work features young, black, stylish urbanites distinguished by their elegant and aloof titles like, “Handsome” and “A single man in possession of a good fortune.”  There’s also “Precious Jewels by the Sea,” a work that shows two black couples at the beach. It’s a paradigm shift in subject matter for black representation to a white audience, like a ‘black Alex Katz,’ and espouses the life and aspiration of art’s paradigm-shifting ‘blackstocrats,’ See Sherald’s work in 2020 at the Baltimore Museum of Art which will examine representations of female power and protest in European and American art. In a sign of the times, BMA has been selling the white-male work of Warhol and Rauschenberg and acquiring the likes of Sherald to enhance its collection.

 

Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Courtesy of Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

 

EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE

The prolific and highest-selling Indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye was top of the lots just days ago at Sotheby’s New York—the Aboriginal art sale had been moved from London due to increasing interest from the Big Apple—where her Summer Celebration sold for US$596,000 against the auction house’s reserve of US$400,000. That followed a May group exhibition, “Desert Painters of Australia” at Gagosian’s Madison Avenue gallery in New York, marking the first time the gallery had shown work by Australian artists, let alone Indigenous ones. Gagosian’s show was suggested to Larry Gagosian over lunch by US actor, writer and comedian Steve Martin, a keen collector or Aboriginal art. Expect interest in Kngwarreye’s work to swell —she’s showing currently at the Kunsthaus Zug in Switzerland, and at the Menial Collection, Houston, Texas.

 

Jean-Michel Basquiat. Courtesy of WXXI.

 

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

The ‘buzzy’ work of Jean-Michel Basquiat has become the visual soundtrack of global high streets and their luxury-influenced retail stores, and his ‘chicken scratchings’ now ironically so prevalent—in short, he’s become an institution. That regal trail of graffiti, glitz and glamour surfaced at major shows this year, including “Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story” at the Guggenheim; “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Made in Japan” at the Mori Arts Center Gallery, Tokyo; “Jean-Michel Basquiat” at the Brant Foundation, New York; and the ongoing “Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines” at the National Gallery of Victoria. Meanwhile Sotheby’s took his work to West Bund Art & Design in November, juxtaposing them with Warhol and toured selected works at their S|2 gallery in Hong Kong afterwards. For 2020, there’s the intriguingly titled “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation” at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Proof that 31 years since his death, and with ‘Black arts’ narrative newly mainstream, his influence is infinite IPO. Basquiat. Wears. The. Crown.

 

Attributed to Francesco Melzi, A portrait of Leonardo, c.1515–18. Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019. For one-time use only in connection with Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, 22 November 2019 – 15 March 2020. Not to be archived or sold on.

 

LEONARDO DA VINCI

The 500th anniversary (quincentenary) of the death of Leonardo da Vinci has blazed like a comet and detonated like a meteor across the aesthetic stratosphere in 2019. And necessitated the royal-est treatment; The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, introducing the year-long Leonardo exhibitions as part of the Royal Collection in England. The Louvre went Supra-Louvre in Paris in October, too. It’s been impossible not to see Da Vinci’s vision anywhere in the world, and marvel at the universal laboratory of his exacting and ecstatic creation; the Mona Lisa, in her million renditions and appropriations; Vitruvian Man, The Last Supper, the controversial Salvator Mundi, Da Vinci’s self-portraits, his horses, hands, bodies, robots, ships, weapons, submarines, helicopters, birds and writings (back to front); his painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany. And those drawings. Da Vinci, or the “Italian Faust” as Sigmund Freund once described him, is an artistic, scientific and futuristic environmental galaxy unto himself.

 

Banksy, Love is in the Bin, 2018. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

 

BANKSY

Graphic, cheeky and intelligent, October saw the record sale of Banksy’s largest-known canvas, Devolved Parliament (2009), portraying Britain’s House of Commons packed with chimpanzees, for US$12.2 million. Unlike last year’s Sotheby’s shredding stunt, Banksy had no direct involvement; “shame I didn’t still own it,” he wrote on Instagram (@banksy), where he attracts some seven million followers. Simultaneously Banksy launched online store, Gross Domestic Product, all the while a greeting cards company was attempting to sell their “fake Banksy merchandise” by using his name. “I’m opening a shop,” he wrote. “It sells art, homewares and disappointment.” In reality, he directed proceeds from the sale to migrant charities. Most recently Banksy created a festive new artwork in Birmingham that shows two reindeer pulling a ‘bench’ on the pavement. Instagrammable to say the least, passers-by can sit and selfie away on the bench. Genius. His post of the artwork dated 9 December, showing a man called ‘Ryan,’ currently has 3.53 million views and 15.3k comments. Poignant winter wonderland indeed. For 2020, look out for Banksy in Japan, where he holds not just his inaugural exhibition but three of them throughout the year, in Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

 

ruangrupa members in 2019: Ajeng Nurul Aini, Farid Rakun, Iswanto Hartono, Mirwan Andan, Indra Ameng, Ade Darmawan, Daniella Fitria Praptono, Julia Sarisetiati, and Reza Afisina.

 

RUANGRUPA

Jakarta-based art collective with ten core members, ruangrupa was announced as Artistic Director of the quinquennial Documenta, set to take place in 2022. A double whammy; it marks the first time it’s not a Western/European director and the first director from Asia. Ruangrupa has an exhibition space in Jakarta and runs Gudskul, a public education space with two other collectives. Ruangrupa describes itself as an “organism without a fixed structure” and want to turn their approach into a practice that covers the whole planet. Here’s to the 2020 future of social engagement and creative collaboration.

 

Cao Fei. Photo by Myrzik und Jarisch.

 

CAO FEI

The hugely successful star of contemporary Chinese art, having completed her large solo show “A Hollow In A World Too Full” at Hong Kong’s Tai Kwun Heritage and Arts at the beginning of this year, became the first Chinese artist to hold a solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. This year also saw the artist produce a feature-length film Nova, multimedia project HX, and still she found time to shoot with Chinese pop start Cai Xukun for Prada’s Fall 2019 collection. She’s currently included in the group show “Micro Era, Media Art From China” at Berlin’s Kulturforum, which runs through 26 January 2020. For the year ahead, she will also unveil “Blueprints” at London’s Serpentine Galleries and surprisingly her first solo show in China at UCCA Beijing. Young, zeitgeistful, ever-ahead and still exuding Tsow-wow factor by the mother load.

 

Nan Goldin. Courtesy of Nangoldinstudio.

 

NAN GOLDIN

Photographer, documentarian, artist, activist and change agent, Goldin continues to rid the art world of the Sackler family influence (members of which produce the prescription drug OxyContin through Purdue Pharma) through her Prescription Addiction Intervention Now (P.A.I.N) group, staging demos and die-in’s (most notably at the V&A) at Sackler-connected institutions. Tate and the National Portrait Gallery have both refused Sackler funding as a result. An image of Sackler leading a die-in at New York’s Guggenheim in February (@elizabethbick) was chosen as one of Time’s Top 100 Photos of 2019. All that in addition to staging “Sirens,” her first UK show in 20 years at Marian Goodman Gallery, London. “Gut-wrenching, brilliant and beautiful. I cannot turn away,” wrote Adrian Searle in The Guardian in his review of “Sirens.”

 

Jerry Saltz. Courtesy of New York Magazine and Frieze New York.

 

JERRY SALTZ

People’s critic, New York magazine scribe and Pulitzer Prize-winning Jerry Saltz, who counts 350,000 followers on social media (@jerrysaltz), announced in March his intention to write a book titled How to Be an Artist (he’s a failed one) based on an essay he wrote for the magazine the previous year. In the same issue, he posed as the cover star in the guises of Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali. But there’s two-for-one happiness to the literary development; publisher Riverbed has apparently agreed to a two-book deal with Saltz, due to hit shelves—and digital screens—on 3 March, 2020. In his original essay, Saltz stated the 33 rules for being an artist—“start with a pencil” and “accept that you will likely be poor” are among his instructional and inspirational one-liners. Saltz promises a book “filled with lots of new tips, admonitions & more for pursuing a creative life. xo”

 

Yuki Terase. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

 

YUKI TERASE

It’s only been two years since Sotheby’s Hong Kong appointed Yuki Terase as Head of Contemporary Art, Asia, and the action’s been helter-skelter since. In April she sold the The Kaws Album for US$14.7 million in Hong Kong, setting a new auction record for the artist, as part of the “Nigoldeneye” sale. That followed last year’s September pop-up collaboration “TTTOP” with leading Korean pop star Choi Seung-hyun, (aka T.O.P), and prefaced this May’s “The Supreme Vault: 1998–2018,” a digital sale which saw all 162 lots sold for HK$2 million. 75 percent of bidders were under 40 and more than 50 percent bid on their smartphones. And then in October came Yoshitomo Nara, at the Contemporary Art Evening Sale, where Knife Behind Back (2000), Nara’s largest canvas to appear at auction, set a new record for the artist at US$24.9 million. Looking ahead, we feel pretty certain Terase will continue to push the envelope for Asian art and the region’s young collectors with thrilling projects, and Sotheby’s… ahem, into the 21st century.

 

 

Yoshitomo Nara. Courtesy of Kerry Ryan McFate.

 

YOSHITOMO NARA

Nara is having a moment with the US$24.9 million auction of Knife Behind Back by Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October, which quintupled his previous auction record. Known for his menacing figures, the Japanese artist started the year displaying a series of new sculptures (Miss Forest among them) from Shigaraki, one of the oldest places in Japan for pottery, at Japan Society’s gardens in New York; then in Hong Kong with “Yoshitomo Nara Ceramic Works and…” at Pace, the gallery which represents the 59-year-old artist; and held a retrospective of more than 150 drawings at Chateau La Coste in the south of France, marking his second solo show in the country. Now 2020 can’t arrive soon enough. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has announced a solo exhibition of his work. Opening in April, “Yoshitomo Nara” will span 30 years from 1987 to 2020, and view the artist’s work through the prism of his long-time passion—music. Featuring album covers that Nara began collecting as an adolescent, paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, and an installation recreating his drawing studio, the whole shines a light on Nara’s conceptual process. Major click bait.

 

Miuccia Prada. Courtesy of Miuccia Prada.

 

MIUCCIA PRADA

The faster the digital creative world moves the more we slow to admire the extraordinary aesthetic prescience of Miuccia Prada, or Mrs. Prada, as she is known by her staff. The opening of Shanghai’s Prada Rong Zhai historic site two years ago has been a boon for Chinese artists and this year began with Liu Ye’s hugely successful and heavily Instagrammed “Storytelling” exhibition (which moves to Fondazione Prada Milan in 2020), bringing Liu’s work to a wider audience; and ends with Hangzhou-born Li Qing’s site-specific “Rear Windows,” curated by Jérôme Sans and inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece, wowing punters until 19 January 2020. To coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong earlier this year, pop-up social entity Prada Mode came to town at the delectable restaurant Madame Fu, exhibiting American photographer and filmmaker Jamie Diamond’s compelling work; and in keeping with its fashion/art mantra, Prada commissioned Cao Fei to produce a short film for its Fall 2019 collection with pop star Cai Xukun, almost a decade after enlisting Yang Fudong. And that’s just her China savvy. September 2020 sees Prada become the subject of a London Design Museum exhibition, and frankly, we can’t wait already. It’s all a reminder of how far ahead Mrs. Prada thinks in dressing and mashing up the realms of art, luxury, architecture, celebrity and branding.

 

Sindika Dokolo. @ all rights reserved Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels.

 

SINDIKA DOKOLO

The Congolese mega-collector campaigns Western museums, auction houses and dealers to repatriate African art unlawfully obtained from Angola’s Dundo Museum. Since 2014, he and his scouts have found, purchased and returned 15 works to the Angolan government. At the Bozar Centre For Fine Arts in Brussels in October, the exhibition “IncarNations” was created by South African artist Kendell Geers with classical and modern works from Dokolo’s collection, reflecting the diversity of African artistic heritage, from an Afrocentric perspective, and including the itineraries of slaves, colonialism and independence movements. Two of the pieces on display were acquisitions Dokolo made for Angola and being returned to the Dundo Museum following the exhibition. Dokolo’s own collection contains work by the likes of Yinka Shonibare, William Kentridge and Zanele Muholi. When he’s not repatriating work, he’s a champion of developing Africa’s internal art market and discovering how original notions of African performance can revolutionise today’s performance art market. Definitely one to watch.

 

Leslie Sun. Courtesy of Leslie Sun.

 

LESLIE SUN

Major player and lifestylista, founder of the retail concept store Sunset which evolved to become the production office of her multidisciplinary creative agency, Sunset Projects, Taipei-based Leslie Sun, cousin of renowned Taiwanese jewellery designer and socialite Aimee Yun-yun Sun, and a leading stylista, is also a global art fair regular and influential collector whose purchasing habits, along with the likes of singer and art collector Jay Chou, have reinforced Taiwan’s place on the art market map. When she’s not creating collaborations between the worlds of film, music, fashion, and design through Sunset Projects, Sun shops art and has a predilection for works by the likes of Eddie Peake, Richard Serra and Peng Hung-Chih. She’s a member of Taipei Dangdai’s Advisory Group, and also the founder and director of the Young Collectors Club of Taiwan, which connects young professionals who want to learn more about collecting contemporary art. Oh, and one more thing… in June, she assumed the role of Vogue Taiwan editor and celebrated with the likes of Anna Wintour.

 

KAWS. Courtesy of KAWS.

 

KAWS

And effect. The graffiti artist who channels Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street and The Simpsons in limited edition vinyl toys, taking inspiration from art history and popular culture, has become the supreme aesthetic icon of the streetwear set. KAWS, real name Brian Donnelly, had a major moment this year with the record US$14.8 million sale of The Kaws Album, courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong, one week after he’d launched a 30-metre inflatable Companion on the city’s Victoria Harbour. From which he went on to collaborate with Uniqlo in China, one of many such fashion projects in recent years. But times, and reception to his work, may be changing. KAWS announced the Uniqlo collaboration would be his last with the Japanese brand, and there’s a feeling the art world is taking his work more seriously. In October he opened “Blackout” at London’s Skarstedt gallery, and he just released a 350-page book in tandem with a retrospective at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria. Titled “Companionship in the Age of Loneliness,” the exhibition spans a 25-year period of the artist’s practice and is on view through April 2020. The NGV commissioned KAWS’ largest bronze sculpture ever, too, the seven-metre tall, 14-tonne Gone. And just two weeks ago he was elected to the board of New York’s American Folk Art Museum. If art’s purpose, ultimately, is to communicate, then KAWS and his obsession with loneliness hits home like a loudspeaker.

 

 
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