NEW YORK - Happy New Year to all! This week, the art world is still quiet – it’s one of the few areas of the economy that still takes long vacations seriously. All the better for you to get a jump on things for 2013. What are the trends to look forward to in the coming year? I’m glad you asked. Here are three:
Restless artists. In the old days, long-term and exclusive gallery representation was the norm. Roy Lichtenstein didn’t make a move without talking to his dealer, Leo Castelli, first. But that has been breaking down for some time, with some dealers sharing artists in creative partnerships, and more artist-initiated switching of galleries.
When Damien Hirst – long in the forefront of being independent, as at his famous solo $200 million Sotheby’s sale in 2008 – left Gagosian Gallery last month, leaving one of the world’s most successful galleries, it seemed to foretell a new era. Most artists don’t have his clout, of course. But it’s part of the new, more restless era, where allegiances may be fleeting, and strategic alliances will pop up as needed. Look for even more movement to come.
In Your Face Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2012, © Mario Testino, from the exhibition In Your Face by Mario Testino at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. *For further information please visit www.mariotestino.com and www.mfa.org.
Fashion in museums. Museums are trying to be more democratic all the time. At some point a few years ago, there seemed to be a consensus that showing fashion – even if the institution in question had no fashion collection – was a way to get people in the door. Last year, the Denver Art Museum showed Yves Saint Laurent (the traveling show made other stops too), and in the last few years the Museum of Fine Arts Boston has shown dresses by Arnold Scaasi, the photographs of Mario Testino and even textiles from Britain during WWII. The Philadelphia Museum of Art featured Robert Capucci.
Barry and Yosha Finch, 1970, Museum purchase with funds donated by the Fashion Council, Muse. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
You’d of course expect the Metropolitan Museum of Art to come up with great fashion shows – it has a hugely successful Costume Institute. But in February it has an ingenious twist planned for its main galleries: a show called Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity, that will highlight those great Renoir dresses and Manet ballerina tutus. Come October, the Brooklyn Museum will give us the creations Jean-Paul Gautier – surely just the tip of the fashion iceberg.
Claude Monet'S Women in the Garden, 1866 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) is on view at the Met in Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity.
The Persistence of Painting. Certainly the fairgoers who attended Frieze in London or Art Basel Miami Beach saw it: Ravishing paintings holding their own against more modern media like video and installation, and not looking outmoded in the slightest. I highlighted quite a few examples in this space in 2012: Color Field brilliance at Mitchell-Innes & Nash; Michal Rovner’s subtly animated pieces; the assured work of newcomer Natalie Frank.
Starting February 3, perhaps the best example of painting’s persistence in some time starts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, a show of artists who are mostly under 40. Painter Painter is a “generational show,” co-curator Eric Crosby told me recently. “Painting has so many different lives today.” That diversity is a sign of its strength, and many of the artists in the exhibition are being playful with the medium, highlighting the seemingly mundane materials they work with and making the whole enterprise seem fresh. As far as I’m concerned, that augurs well for 2013.