InstitutionsAuction Houses 29-06-2017

June 29 | Jonas Dahlberg’s “wound” project abandoned

The much anticipated memorial project, Memory Wound, by Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg has been abandoned by the Norwegian government due to prolonged complications and environmental hazards. In other news, New York’s MoMA receives $50 million donation from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, as it pushes forward with expansion project.

Utøya massacre memorial artwork abandoned by Norwegian government

Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg’s planned memorial to the seventy-seven victims of the 2011 Utøya Island terrorist attack, has been abandoned by the Norwegian government. The creation of the tribute, Memory Wound, a 131-foot-long and eleven-foot-wide cutaway section of land at the tip of Sørbråten peninsula facing Utøya Island, has been halted indefinitely. The government reasoned that the project would damage the environment as well as the surrounding community.

The Utøya massacre saw right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik open fire on sixty-nine adolescents attending a summer camp organized by the Norwegian Labor Party. Though bullet holes remain embedded in the buildings, the outside area of the shooting has “healed in a way that the building couldn’t. As if nature had moved on.” Dahlberg’s proposal aimed to “wound nature to the point that it couldn’t heal — to do something that would obstruct its inevitable self-restoration, to do something which couldn’t be undone.” However, it seems nature’s resilient healing will instead obstruct the construction of the memorial.


Jonas Dahlberg’s planned memorial, Memory Wound.



MoMA receives $50 million gift

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has gifted $50 million to New York’s Museum of Modern Art in support of the museum’s renovation and expansion. The ongoing project will add fifty thousand square feet of gallery space to the museum. In return, MoMA will create on the sixth floor the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center for Special Exhibitions. As the museum’s largest contiguous gallery space, the Cohen Center will be used regularly to present large-scale exhibitions.

In other news, the MoMA has sold a fireplace mural by French Modernist painter Fernand Léger to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. The mural was commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller, the 30-year-old scion of one of America’s greatest banking families, in 1938 to decorate a fireplace in his penthouse on Fifth Avenue. With the asking price of $6 million — according to Galerie Gmurzynska who showed the work with a built in fireplace at Art Basel — the sale will see Léger’s 9-foot-tall mural reunited with its sister work — the Rockefeller-commissioned fireplace mural by Henri Matisse. Details via Bloomberg


Fernand Léger's comissioned fireplace mural



Sotheby’s takes £62.4 million ($79.9 million) at its contemporary art sale

US artists reigned supreme at Sotheby’s contemporary art sale in London. Totalling £62.4 million ($79.9 million), the sum was up 20 percent on last year’s June sale, though it remains a far cry from the £130 million totals of June 2012 and 2015.

Seven of the top 10 selling lots were by American artists. Showpiece for the night, Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait (1963–4) went to a telephone bidder for £6 million ($7.7 million). A collaborative work by Basquiat and Warhol, Sweet Pungent (1984–5) sold for double its estimate at £4.4 million ($5.7 million) after a prolonged bidding war. Works by Louise Lawler and Josef Albers flew over their respective estimates, whilst a painting by Keith Haring nearly hit its top estimate, selling for £944,750 to Acquavella Galleries. Details via Sotheby’s


Tommy Hilfiger alongside Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat's Sweet Pungent, in his Miami home. Photographed by Douglas Friedman. © Tommy Hilfiger.



Finalists revealed for 2017 Bourse Révélations Emerige

The 12 finalists of the fourth edition of Emerige Révélations Prize have been revealed: Mali Arun, Laetitia de Chocqueuse, Marcel Devillers, Jérôme Grivel, Alice Guittard, Luke James, Fabien Léaustic, Alice Louradour, Gwilherm Lozac’h, Eva Medin, Linda Sanchez, and Apolonia Sokol.

The winner will be announced by Gaël Charbau at the inauguration of the Emerige Révélations collective exhibition on November 7, 2017. This year’s laureate will receive a scholarship of €15,000 to organize their first solo exhibition at Galerie Papillon in Paris. Further details available here.     

La Bourse Révélations Emerige 2017



Avery Singer wins Prix Jean-François Prat

Avery Singer (b. 1987), who lives and works in New York, has been awarded the Jean-François Prat Prize for her black, white and grey paintings that explore how the aesthetic of digital art has affected the way we view the subject. Her paintings, however, stand testament to the fact that notions of sensuousness and the tradition in figuration have not been totally swept away.

Her work has enjoyed remarkable institutional success — with a solo exhibition at Zurich Kunsthalle, participation in Biennials (Lyon, New York) and work acquired by institutional collections across Europe (Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam) and America (MoMA, Whitney & Hammer Museum).


Avery Singer, The studio visit (version) (2012)


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