20th March 2017
Eliza Karampetian-Nikotian

Katia Nounou, Head of Sotheby’s Dubai Office, H.H Sheikh Nahyan Mabarak Nayhan, Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development and Tad Smith, Sotheby’s President and CEO (L-R). Image Courtesy Sotheby's.

1. Sotheby’s Officially Opens Dubai Gallery

This week the famous branch opened ahead of Art Dubai. Specifically, Sotheby’s officially launched its Dubai outpost today in a ribbon-cutting ceremony helmed by H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Mabarak Nahyan, minister of culture & knowledge development, and Sotheby’s CEO Tad Smith. The opening comes during the same week as the 11th edition of the international art fair Art Dubai, which this year includes 92 galleries from 44 countries.


2. London’s Delfina Foundation Launches Program of Collector Residencies

The Delfina Foundation in London. Photo Tim Bowditch, courtesy of Delfina Foundation.

The Delfina Foundation in London, famous for its artist residencies—in which artists such as Mark Wallinger, Kenneth Anger, and Maurizio Cattelan have taken part—has started its first collector residencies as part of its “Collecting as Practice” program. A year-long program at the foundation will explore the philosophy and politics of collecting.



3. The Winners and Losers from London’s Contemporary Art Sales

Georg Baselitz, Mit Roter Fahne (With Red Flag), 1965 Credit: Julian C Manuszewski/Sotheby's

The contemporary art sales in London last week passed in a wave of only briefly interrupted euphoria, totalling £286 million – a 53 per cent increase on last year and only just shy of the £293 million achieved in 2015, and the £295 million record for a series of contemporary art sales in London in 2014. Of the eight sales held by Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips and Bonhams, all except one reached or exceeded their pre-sale estimates.


4. Trump Pledges to End the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities

President Trump. Courtesy Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images.

In a move many feared was coming, the Trump administration has revealed a proposal to cut the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in its federal budget plan. Trump is the first president to do so, according to a report by the New York Times. The elimination of both agencies would total a mere $300 million out of the allotted $1.1 trillion overall annual discretionary spending—a small amount that would still have a serious impact on cultural production, and the artists, musicians, writers, and scholars who rely on it.


5. Marina Abramović and Other Outraged Cultural Icons Demand Trump Spare Arts Funding

Marina Abramović in Brazil: The Space in Between (2016) movie still. Courtesy of Casa Redonda.

Over 230,000 individuals have already signed a petition from PEN America opposing the plan to defund the NEA and NEH. Among the signatories are artists Jasper Johns, Marina Abramović, Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Anderson, Kiki Smith, Julian Schnabel, James Turrell, and Richard Serra. Other names on the list include authors Michael Chabon, Judy Blume, and Margaret Atwood, who wrote the increasingly worrying speculative fiction novel The Handmaid’s Tale.


6. Teach Your Kids the ABCs of Photography

© 2017 Tarzipan Books, Berlin.

It was during a vacation in Italy that brothers Marius and Jan von Holleben hatched a plan for their photo book company. Seeing a gap in the children’s book market, they dreamt of a family business that would fill it by teaching young readers the fundamentals of photography. In 2016, some five years later, the duo launched Tarzipan Books—a publishing company that aims to bring high-quality photography to new generations.


7. Rem Koolhaas Infliltrates Dubai with an Expectation-Defying Art Center

Hiba Al Ansari, Untitled, 2016. Courtesy Atassi Foundation.

Dubai is known for flashy excess. This mercurial city of almost three million in the United Arab Emirates has been one of the architect Rem Koolhaas‘s preoccupations for over a decade. Indeed, back in 2008, he proposed going big on the shores of the Persian Gulf with a pitch for the six-and-a-half-square-mile Waterfront City development, where sprawling urban blocks were to be punctuated by dazzling, iconic structures—one of them a towering sphere.


8. Marianne Boesky: A Gallerist’s Work Is Never Done

Marianne Boesky and Pier Paolo Calzolari photographed in front of Untitled (Three felts) at Marianne Boesky Gallery on 10 February 2017. Kaitlyn Flannagan for Observer

“Everybody here is really stressed out,” says art dealer Marianne Boesky when I ask what she’s up to. She’s opening a gallery in Aspen next month, her first outside of New York City, while also mounting her third show with Arte Povera pioneer Pier Paolo Calzolari, an artist she essentially brought back to the art world’s notice after his decades-long self-imposed exile. But for the energetic Boesky—”I feel like sitting still is a little bit like temporary death,” she says—this is pretty much the norm.


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