Mossy Mazes and Dense Forests Embroidered into Textured Landscapes by Litli Ulfur

“The Inside,” 10 inches. All images © Litli Ulfur, shared with permission

Through a luxuriant series of embroideries, Litli Ulfur translates thick landscapes into lush entanglements of brown and green stitches. The abstract forms consider the intricacies of nature through an aerial perspective, contrasting micro- and macro-views in every inch. Each piece is created organically and uniquely, ensuring no two are alike.

The textured works are inspired by natural sources, like jungly forests and the human nervous system, that are reflected through French knots, tufts, and flat patches. “I was struck by certain similarities between the two—some of the trees in these forests (including oaks and beeches) were confusingly similar to the structure of human neurons. Their branches and roots bent in various directions creating a huge endless network,” she writes on Instagram about creating “The Inside.”

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6 American Galleries Highlighting Abstraction


Kate Shepherd, April, May, June, etc., etc., Upended Floor (Mud, Blood), 2020.

As art exhibitions have begun to reopen amidst the continuing coronavirus pandemic, we’ve discovered that a number of American galleries are highlighting abstraction, even though figuration is what’s generally trending today. 

Whether it’s a stylistic shift or merely a coincidence, we’ll have to wait and see in order to further evaluate, but what we can uncover now is that regardless of gender or age, abstraction still holds a fascination with artists and continues to convey a pictorial language that takes viewers beyond their day to day existence.

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Ying Li’s Ecstatic Landscapes

Ying Li, “Telluride, Valley of the Hanging Water #3” (2019), oil on linen, 24 x 24 inches (all images courtesy Pamela Salisbury Gallery, Hudson, New York)

I first saw Ying Li’s work in a two-artist exhibition in which she shared the gallery space with my wife, Eve Aschheim (Ying Li/Eve Aschheim: Recent Paintings at the New York Studio School, June 6 – July 28, 2013). Like others who have written about her work, I was immediately struck by her sybaritic application of thick paint to modestly sized canvases.

Li paints on site, which she indicates in her titles, such as “Telluride, Valley of the Hanging Water #3” (2019, oil on linen, 24 x 24 inches) and “Rosendale Trestle” (2019, oil on linen, 24 x 30 inches). When she makes large paintings in her studio, she evokes the city as subject matter, as in “Writing the City #3” (2020, oil on linen, 74 x 58 inches). These three paintings, along with 11 others, will be featured in her upcoming exhibition, Ying Li: Alterity, at Pamela Salisbury Gallery, Hudson, New York (June 27–July 26, 2020).

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Nature as Filtered Through a Screen

Elizabeth Schwaiger, “Flooded Springs” (2019), oil, acrylic, ink on canvas, 39 x 48 inches

It practically goes without saying that most people prefer to view visual art in person rather than online. Virtual exhibitions have been necessary proxies for firsthand experience during the time of social distancing, but they can’t fully convey sensorial qualities such as texture, scale, and light. What’s more, looking at art in person is about more than just aesthetic experience. It can also be an occasion to spend time with friends, dialogue with gallerists, schmooze with acquaintances and strangers at an opening, get some light exercise, visit a neighborhood or city, or, for the influencers among us, snap some art selfies. The viewing experience was bound to feel diminished when shunted entirely online.

Dealing with the alienation born of secondhand knowledge may be a new phenomenon for the art industry but it has long been a core concern of eco- and climate-themed art.

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What’s Next? 18 Trends That Will Move the Art World Forward

Details from André Bergamin’s cover illustration.

When the editors of ARTnews first endeavored on the project of foreseeing the Next Big Things to prove significant around the art world, the future had a different cast to it than would soon be the case when the coronavirus crisis struck. But the future is always in flux—and thus always suited for the exercise of conjecture and imagination. In consultation with art world professionals—artists, dealers, curators, museum administrators—we identified dynamics and ideas on the horizon, some with trajectories tracing into the past, others more sudden in origination. What follows is a survey of that horizon as presented in the Summer 2020 issue of ARTnews
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Diego Rivera Is Famed for His Murals, But His Early Paintings Also Made Art History

Diego Rivera at work on a commissioned murals for Rockefeller Center in New York in May 1933.AP/SHUTTERSTOCK

Though celebrated as one of Mexico’s preeminent muralists, Diego Rivera’s path to fame was defined by long-overlooked experimentation. Born in 1886, he lived through unsettled, revolutionary times, and he is best known for his pursuit of a decisive national and artistic identity for Mexico in the wake of the country’s revolution, which ended in 1920. As a student at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City, he chafed against professors who actively discouraged representations of Mexican culture; classmates sometimes spent months reproducing classical paintings. After graduation in 1906, Rivera traveled from Mexico to Spain to Paris and back again, searching among the European schools for a signature style of his own.

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Barcelona opera house reopens with performance to 2,292 plants

Written byJack Guy, CNN

It’s not uncommon for performances at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house to be sold out, but musicians played to an unusual audience on Monday to mark Spain’s lifting of lockdown — as thousands of plants filled its seats.

The event was the work of conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia and included a performance from the UceLi Quartet string quartet.

A total of 2,292 plants were packed into the theater, while the string quartet performed Puccini’s “Crisantemi,” according to a statement from the Liceu.
Although humans were not present in the audience, spectators could watch the “Concierto para el bioceno” via livestream.

Memoir as the Fragments of Memory

Michel Leiris, Scratches, Yale University Press (2017) (image courtesy Yale University Press)

Running early for an art opening in Paris, the French writer Michel Leiris stops at a café for a beer before hitting the show. When he arrives at the nearby gallery he barely lingers among the artworks and never discusses them in the enigmatic personal essay that recounts the evening. That’s the tale in a nutshell. The uninitiated reader might wonder — what did I just miss? 

As Leiris explains in Scratches — the first installment in the autobiographical quartet The Rules of the Game (1944–76) — narration, or storytelling, is just a pretext. Ignoring plot, Leiris writes to construct a “bridge between the author’s intimate emotion and the reader’s consciousness,” a connection that requires uncompromising attention to the “too particular and personal” — what he calls “concretions that have been deposited [in him]” over time.

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Dealers Report Robust Sales for Top-Dollar Works at Virtual Art Basel Fair as Art World Migrates Online

Mark Bradford, The Press of Democracy, 2020.©MARK BRADFORD. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND HAUSER & WIRTH.

In early February, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancelation of Art Basel Hong Kong, it still seemed likely that the fair would be able to mount its 50th-anniversary Swiss edition, which was due to open this month. Then, as the severity of the pandemic became clear, Art Basel postponed the Swiss fair to September and ultimately canceled it altogether. Its replacement was a digital fair, which opened this morning for the first of two VIP preview days.

Following the virtual iterations staged with Art Basel Hong Kong and Frieze New York, the art market has largely acclimated to the swift move online, especially when it comes to offering high-value works to remote buyers. During the first day, dealers reported numerous big sales at the virtual Art Basel fair, which runs through June 26, indicating that galleries’ investments in building out their online offerings have paid off.

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Alice Trumbull Mason, a Pioneer of Abstraction, Makes a Triumphant Return

Alice Trumbull Mason, “Untitled” (1939), oil on canvas, 20 x 46 inches (all images copyright Alice Trumbull Mason/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and courtesy Washburn Gallery, NY, unless otherwise stated; photo by Gavin Ashworth)

According to a recent New York Times article by Lauren Christensen, art books are newly essential: “No longer just gift shop purchases or collectors’ coffee-table adornments, these exhibition catalogs are now the only tickets we have.” As days tick into months during this latest, ongoing pandemic, this feels ever more true. Even with so much art available virtually, books offer context, breadth and, in the case of Alice Trumbull Mason: Pioneer of American Abstraction (Rizzoli Electa, 2020), over 200 color reproductions of the artist’s paintings, along with exceptional prints, letters, photographs, and poetry. (Full disclosure, it also features essays on her work by writers who include two Hyperallergic editors, Elisa Wouk Almino and Thomas Micchelli.)

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