» Continue reading
Bidding representatives speak on the phone with their clients during an auction at Sotheby's on Wednesday in New York City. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Even for the high stakes world of fine art auctions, $1.8 billion dollars is a chunk of change. That's the figure that changed hands during the last two weeks of auction sales, another record added to the long list that have been broken recently. The calculation comes from Kelly Crow, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal who covers the art market and who live-tweeted the phenomenon. In fact, all her tweets from Tuesday night's record-setting auction at Christie's were compiled into a handy and highly entertaining timeline.
It was on Tuesday night that the world witnessed the gavelling of the most expensive work of art ever sold: Francis Bacon's "The Studies of Lucian Freud." The triptych was purchased for a whopping $142 million, beating out the previous record of nearly $120 million for Edvard Munch's "The Scream," set in May 2012. Christie's also broke the record for any piece of art sold at an auction by a living artist. That artist, Jeff Koons, saw his "Balloon Dog (Orange)," sell for $58.4 million. In total Tuesday, world records were set for 10 artists and Christie's experiences the most expensive auction ever at a total of $691.6 million.
Then, on Wednesday, Sotheby's witnessed more records breaking. Andy Warhol's "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)," expected to sell for $85 million, sold for $105.4 million, an auction record for the pop artist and the second highest price ever paid at an auction for contemporary art. By the end of the night, Sotheby's also saw its largest total ever at $394.1 million.
These massive numbers beg the question: what does it all mean? Art Beat spoke with Crow to find out what it's like covering these multi-million dollar auctions, what makes these particular works so special and what does it mean for the future of the art market.» Continue reading
Ann Patchett reflects on fiction version nonfiction and the state of books today in a conversation with chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown.
"Nonfiction is easy and fiction is hard."
That's according to Ann Patchett, author of "Bel Canto" and "State of Wonder." Her new book, "This is the Story of a Happy Marriage," collects autobiographical essays that reflect on, yes, her husband, but also writing, her friends, opening a bookstore and the other details that make up her life and experience.
"I published in a wide field so no one was reading all of my nonfiction pieces. I could write very personal things, thinking, well maybe this person is going to read that and someone else is going to read this," Patchett told chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown during a recent visit to the NewsHour.
"But putting them all together -- all of those personal pieces side by side -- was very cringe-inducing. And even when I finished the book, it took me a long time to decide that I wanted to publish it."
But publish she did. The collection chronicles her experiences at Seventeen magazine -- where she wrote articles like "When the chemistry isn't there" or "How to decorate your locker" -- through her first marriage, to her advice about becoming a writer.
Set in 1920 Halifax, "Portrait of Julia" follows Julia Robertson, the young war widow featured in the bestselling book "Burden of Desire." In his fourth novel, Robert MacNeil, longtime anchor and executive editor of the PBS NewsHour, Julia ventures out into a new world, filled with radical ideas. "It's making personal the ideas that interest me about that period," MacNeil told chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown.
Julia travels to London, Paris and the South of France as she discovers new ways of thinking, but MacNeil is very much interested in Canada after World War I. He explains that it was the Canadian involvement in the war that allowed for a Canadian identity. "Burden of Desire" was set at the time of the Halifax explosion and this continuation of the story starts just three years later.» Continue reading
Sacha Jenkins, left, co-curated the graffiti exhibit, "Write of Passage," which opened in New York in October. Photos by Robert Adam Mayer/Red Bull Content Pool
Armed with magic markers on a playground of subway cars and building walls, kids growing up in 1970s New York City picked graffiti as their game of choice.
That's how former Rolling Stone reporter, culture historian and co-curator of graffiti art exhibit "Write of Passage," Sacha Jenkins, describes his childhood in 1977 New York, in the midst of graffiti's beginnings.
The exhibit, now running at Red Bull Studios in New York, tells the story of graffiti's history, a movement that began in the middle of a city where, "like baseball cards, kids would trade photographs of New York City subway graffiti," and grew to become a globally cultural phenomenon.
Graffiti culture sprung up in New York City during a time when funding was cut for the arts in public education. It morphed into an artistic expression that cultivated a foundation for future graphic and fashion designers, fine artists and logo creators. And though the art form has been associated with crimes of vandalism -- it even took center stage during New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's plan to revamp the city during the 1990s -- for Jenkins, and many of the friends he grew up with, graffiti was a written language that created a community on the fringes of New York.
"Media called it graffiti, but we called it writing. We were just writing our names in the beginning," said Jenkins.
Now, "Write of Passage" opens at a time when graffiti and street art are in the mainstream conversation, due in large part to the popularity of street artists like Banksy, who just finished an October "residency" on the streets of New York, and Shepard Fairey, known for his iconic "Hope" poster of President Barack Obama.
But street art is not the same as graffiti, said Jenkins, though the terms are often used interchangeably. Street art is figurative imagery; graffiti is a form of writing.
Subway train, built by Ed Metalman Walker, on display at "Write of Passage."
Jenkins equates it to language. But he said, "it's a language people aren't familiar with." And so the exhibit aims to teach people how to understand graffiti and its evolution.
The exhibit features more than 100 pieces of vintage graffiti. It pays homage to its vagabond beginnings with one of its largest features, an old Subway train covered in graphic text. And several educational panels focused on different aspects of the history, including one conversation between a police officer and the graffiti artist he once chased.
Jenkins hopes people will walk away from the exhibit with a broader understanding of what graffiti culture is and how that culture has been passed down from generation to generation.
"It's not a bunch of violent thugs and gang members. There's a good deal of culture and respect and rules and ideas and ingenuity that went into developing this language."
It's the writings on the walls you may stumble upon everyday. Is it vandalism? Is it art? That, says Jenkins, is in the "eye of the beholder."
"Write of Passage," co-curated with culture magazine Mass Appeal, runs at the Red Bull Studios at 218 W. 18th St., New York through Nov. 23. The space is open to the public from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays.
EmbedVideo(7960); Eleanor Catton reads an excerpt from "The Luminaries" at the PBS NewsHour studios. Eleanor Catton started writing "The Luminaries" when she was ...» Read More
Radio I left it on when I left the house for the pleasure of coming back ten hours later to the greatness of ...» Read More
EmbedVideo(7930, 514, 320); George Pelecanos talks to chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown about his new book "The Double." An award-winning crime fiction writer, ...» Read More
EmbedVideo(7932); Richard Rodriguez talks to chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown about his new collection of essays, "Darling." Richard Rodriguez used to contribute video ...» Read More
'Landscape with horses' is a gouache by German painter Franz Marc, an important figure in the German Expressionist movement. Marc's work was discovered ...» Read More
Search this Blog
About Art Beat
Art Beat is the arts blog of the Online NewsHour. Questions or comments? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SIGN UP FOR E-MAIL ALERTS:
Lesson plans, student voices and a teacher community devoted to bringing arts coverage into the classroom.
NewsHour Poetry Series
An exploration of the role of poetry in society and profiles of contemporary poets, with streaming video and downloadable readings.
|Support the kind of journalism done by the NewsHour...Become a member of your local PBS station.|