Season

Revel in the Winter Season With These 6 Snowy Works From the Gallery Network


Love it or hate it, snow is a classic hallmark of winter. Whether a smattering of fluffy flakes or a full-on blizzard, snow has long been a favorite motif for artists; either for its symbolism, evoking themes of solitude and silence, or for its compositional qualities, offering a wintry scrim through which to view the world. Where paintings like N.C. Wyeth’s Winter at Valley Forge (1934–36) engage with a specific event, portraying General George Washington’s brave encampment in frigid hues, other works take a more contemporary, humorous approach to snowy scenes.

As we approach the midpoint of winter, we’ve gathered six artworks from the Midnight Publishing Group Gallery Network that highlight the artistic diversity of snow. And, as always, you too can browse and discover season-inspired art on your own through the Midnight Publishing Group Gallery Network, which has thousands of artists and galleries that can easily be accessed with just one click.

Manabu Ikeda, Snowy Night (2020)

Manabu Ikeda, Snowy Night (2020). Courtesy of Tandem Press, Madison.

Manabu Ikeda, Snowy Night (2020). Courtesy of Tandem Press, Madison.

Weaving together themes of nature and the manmade world in his work, Japanese artist Manabu Ikeda (b. 1973) is able to create extremely detailed drawings and prints of everyday vignettes that take on the air of the sublime. His monochromatic works on paper—such as this intaglio print of a hushed suburban street—play with the relationship between the micro and the macro, which invite viewers to spend prolonged periods looking, and to immerse themselves in his artistic world.

Rafael Desoto, Noir Pulp Magazine, Dead Man in the Snow (1945)

Rafael Desoto, Noir Pulp Magazine, Dead Man in the Snow (1945). Courtesy of Robert Funk Fine Art, Miami.

Rafael Desoto, Noir Pulp Magazine, Dead Man in the Snow (1945). Courtesy of Robert Funk Fine Art, Miami.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Rafael Desoto (1904–92) initially worked at an advertising company before starting to draw interior story illustrations for pulp magazine Street & Smith’s in 1930. Soon, he was working regularly as a freelance pulp cover artist and was published widely. The gouache on board Noir Pulp Magazine, Dead Man in the Snow (1945) epitomizes his and the genre’s frank and narrative style—and renders the usually lighthearted depiction of snow decidedly macabre.

David Yarrow, LA Baby (2022)

David Yarrow, LA Baby (2022). Courtesy of Maddox Gallery, London, Gstaad, West Hollywood.

David Yarrow, LA Baby (2022). Courtesy of Maddox Gallery, London, Gstaad, and West Hollywood.

Scottish photographer David Yarrow (b. 1966) first rose to prominence with his iconic image of footballer Diego Maradona holding the 1986 FIFA World Cup, which he took when he was only 20 years old. Yarrow has continued to work as a highly respected sports photographer—including covering the 1988 Winter Olympics—as well as expanding his practice to include photographing the natural world. His nature images are recognized for their unique perspectives and compositional nuance.

Aaron Cobbett, Sean with Skates (2004)

Aaron Cobbett, Sean with Skates (2004). Courtesy of Clamp, New York.

Aaron Cobbett, Sean with Skates (2004). Courtesy of Clamp, New York.

Brooklyn-based artist Aaron Cobbett started his career in the 1980s as a window dresser at New York’s famed Bergdorf Goodman department store. Simultaneously participating in the vibrant East Village drag scene, this confluence of experiences—also within the context of the AIDS crisis—informed and shaped Cobbett’s artistic practice. Working across textile, video, installation, and photography, his color-saturated, high-concept portraits have become a cornerstone of New York queer visual culture.

Ryan Gander, Upside down Breuer chair after a couple of inches of snowfall (2017)

Ryan Gander, Up side down Breuer chair after a couple of inches of snowfall (2017). Courtesy of Esther Schipper, Berlin, Paris, Seoul.

Ryan Gander, Upside down Breuer chair after a couple of inches of snowfall (2017). Courtesy of Esther Schipper, Berlin, Paris, and Seoul.

Exploring themes around his longstanding disability, which requires the use of a wheelchair, British artist Ryan Gander (b. 1976) creates artistic interpretations of the challenges he faces in his personal life. His ongoing research into the myriad ways he must navigate the world is reflected in the wide range of mediums he employs and approaches he takes—such as labyrinth-like installation pieces that viewers must gingerly traverse. Conceptual at its core, Gander’s work often evokes a degree of playfulness and levity through his choice of medium and composition, which is juxtaposed by more solemn abstract themes.

Michael Fratrich, Quintessential Vermont (n.d.)

Michael Fratrich, Quintessential Vermont (n.d.). Courtesy of Tilting at Windmills Gallery, Manchester Center.

Michael Fratrich, Quintessential Vermont (n.d.). Courtesy of Tilting at Windmills Gallery, Manchester Center.

The practice of self-taught artist Michael Fratrich (b. 1983) centers on depicting rural and vintage American landscapes and scenes. His signature style evokes traditional folk and colonial painting styles, and his work engages with an “underlying American spirit.” Largely inspired by the rural countryside of Vermont, where he currently lives and works, the snowy scene in the cozy Quintessential Vermont embodies the picturesque beauty of fresh fallen snow.

Explore and discover more artists and artworks with Midnight Publishing Group Gallery Network.

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What Does Libra Season Have in Store? We Got an Astrologist to Give Uncannily Specific Advice for Artists Born Under the Seventh Sign


Libra season is upon us! The seventh house in the zodiac, Libra (September 23–October 23) is an air sign represented by a celestial set of scales. Libras are the zodiac’s great deliberators, seeking harmony and balance among their friends and in their lives. Intensely self-aware and often self-critical, Libras seek perfection in all they do. Intelligent and charming, Libras are great at bringing people together and thrive on partnership and collaboration. 

But what does being a Libra means when it comes to the art world? Do Libras make better performance artists or curators? With all these burning astrological questions in mind, we reached out to astrologer Alice Sparkly Kat, author of Postcolonial Astrology, whose insights into art have been presented at the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Alice Sparkly Kat looked to the heavens to divine everything from the perfect art-world job for Libras to the person they should never ever date.

 

Astrologist Alice Sparkly Kat has presented their celestial insights at the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Astrologist Alice Sparkly Kat has presented their insights at the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

What would you say are Libras’ strongest qualities as an artist?
Libra is ruled by Venus. The planet that exalts in Venus is Saturn. The planet that finds its detriment in Venus is Mars.  The sun, meanwhile, falls in Venus. Artists who have their sun in Libra are looking at themselves in relation to other people. They’re not going to be like that self-centered, one-genius-per-room type of person. They kind of work collaboratively.

Who do you think of as the quintessential Libra artists?

Meret Oppenheim, maybe. So much of her work is expressed in relationships. She’s making art about people she knows and she’s very much part of the Surrealist scene—she kind of works from that context. 

Robert Rauschenberg, too. Libras work in the context of others, right? Think about Rauschenberg’s Erased DeKooning; that’s him saying my art is the context by which I relate to another artist. That’s so sun in fall

For a contemporary artist, I think of someone like the Brooklyn-based artist Angelina Dreem, who founded a small space called Powrplnt that provides free computer access and technology to people in the community as a right, as well as teaches people hard and soft skills, even things like legal basics for artists.  She’s created a social space as a project that bridges across identity and class lines. 

What are Libras’ pitfalls as artists?
Libras are really good at satire, but they are not so good at authenticity, and the reason is that they question everything. They’re really good at referencing what already exists in the world, and those are the scenes that they’re creating from. But they can do a little bit of work to assert themselves. 

Do you think that there is a role in the art world best suited to a Libra? Curator, artist, gallerist, etc…
A curator, I think, because they tend to know a lot of people and see things in relation to one another. 

There is a misconception that Libras aren’t that artsy. Do you have any thoughts on that?
I haven’t found that to be the case. Libras are ruled by Venus, so they love beauty and love to create beautiful environments. They’re interested in aesthetics. Venus is about social expectations and social codes. 

What is the best way for a Libra artist to get out of a rut?
Pretending to do it or just faking it is a good way for a Libra to get started again. The sun falls in Libra, remember, so Libra sun is not like a Leo sun, who are very ‘I believe in myself. I’m going to do this.’ Libra is engaging with the self as an act of performance. If a Libra is feeling like hey, I don’t know if I’m an artist—well, just fake it, cosplay as an artist, pretend to be one.

If a Libra’s art career isn’t taking off right now, what kind of day job should they get?
Well, it’s hard to say, because I don’t think Libras really like to work.

Retirement? A life of leisure? If Libras don’t like to work, what do they like to do?
Libras experience a lot of ennui. They’re a little bit moody, and romanticize it a little. They don’t want to work, but they do want to lay around and look beautiful. 

Now the fun stuff, romantic advice: If a Libra were going to date someone in the art world, what type of person would they be compatible with? And who should they never date?

Libras will want to date artists because they enjoy a creative exchange. I don’t think a Libra should date a critic. Libras are hard on themselves already. Instead, they should date a really shameless type of artist, someone who is just doing, without putting a ton of thought into it. The Libra will kind of temper them a little bit.

What art-related gift should we give the Libras in our lives?
I’d say the book Glitch Feminism, by Legacy Russell. The reason I say this is because that book is very curatorial in some ways; it brings in a lot of work by other people, a lot of quotations. 

What should Libras expect for this coming Libra season?
Well, their birthdays—happy birthday, Libras! Aside from that, the chart for the new moon is really interesting this month, because Venus and Mercury are both hidden under the sun. If you have a birthday during this season, the planets that are transiting now show up in your solar return and affect you for the entire year. So it might be a quieter year for Libras, at least until Jupiter in Pisces, which happens December 28.

 

Wondering which artists are Libras? Here are 10 of art history’s best. 

 

Mark Rothko: September 25, 1903

Mark Rothko, 1961. Courtesy of Kate Rothko/Apic/Getty Images.

Mark Rothko, 1961. Courtesy of Kate Rothko/Apic/Getty Images.

Théodore Géricault:  September 26, 1791

Horace Vernet, Portrait of Théodore Géricault (circa 1822–1823).

Horace Vernet, Portrait of Théodore Géricault (circa 1822–23).

Caravaggio: September 29, 1571

Caravaggio’s Young Sick Bacchus (1593), which is believed to be a self-portrait.

Caravaggio’s Young Sick Bacchus (1593), which is believed to be a self-portrait.

 

François Boucher:  September 29, 1703

Gustaf Lundberg, Portrait of François Boucher (1741).

Gustaf Lundberg, Portrait of François Boucher (1741).

Johannes Vermeer: October 1632

Detail of the painting The Procuress (circa 1656), believed to be a self portrait by Vermeer.

Detail of the painting The Procuress (circa 1656), believed to be a self-portrait by Vermeer.

Meret Oppenheim: October 6, 1913

Meret Oppenheim, 1982. Photo by Harry Croner. Courtesy of Getty Images)

Meret Oppenheim, 1982. Photo: Harry Croner. Courtesy of Getty Images.

Maya Lin: October 5, 1959

Maya Lin at the Vietnam Memorial Dedication dedication on November 13, 1982, in Washington D.C. Photography by Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Maya Lin at the Vietnam Memorial dedication in Washington, D.C., on November 13, 1982. Photo: Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Alberto Giacometti: October 10, 1901

Alberto Giacometti presents three of his bust sculptures at the 31st Art Biennale Exposition in Venice, 1962. Photograph by Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images.

Alberto Giacometti presents three of his bust sculptures at the 31st Art Biennale Exposition in Venice, 1962. Photo: Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images.

Chris Ofili: October 10, 1968

Chris Ofili at "TIME 100 Gala, TIME's 100 Most Influential People In The World" at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Photograph by Lars Niki. Courtesy of Getty Images.

Chris Ofili at the TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Photo: Lars Niki. Courtesy of Getty Images.

Robert Rauschenberg: October 22, 1925

Robert Rauschenberg photographed in August 1966. Photo: Jack Mitchell/Getty Images.

 

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As the Met Prepares an Action-Packed Fall Season, Museum Director Max Hollein Talks Deaccessioning, NFTs, and Chuck Close


The Art Detective is a weekly column by Katya Kazakina for Midnight Publishing Group News Pro that lifts the curtain on what’s really going on in the art market.

 

The 12-foot-tall statue of Athena Parthenos has been a silent witness at the entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the past five years. It greeted millions of visitors in the Great Hall, waited for them to return during months of mandatory lockdowns, and welcomed them back when the museum reopened a year ago.

This week, the marble goddess of wisdom from 170 B.C. was dismantled in order to be sent back home to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. In her place, two ancient Maya stone monuments, known as stelae, were erected. Lent by the Republic of Guatemala, they are life-size replicas of the ancient indigenous American rulers K’inich Yo’nal Ahk II and Queen Ix Wak Jalam Chan (Lady Six Sky). 

A newly installed Maya stone monument at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. © Metropolitan Museum of Art 2019, photography Wilson Santiago.

A newly installed Maya stone monument at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. © Metropolitan Museum of Art 2021, photography Wilson Santiago.

At a press conference on September 2, Max Hollein, the Met’s director, shared the spotlight with Guatemala’s minister of culture and sports. Hollein, 52, an Austrian art historian who has been at the helm of America’s largest museum since 2018, spoke of the privilege to share “these treasures with the thousands of visitors who walk through the museum’s door every day.” He invited New Yorkers “who come from the region to connect with the rich histories” and evoked “the greatness achieved by ancient Indigenous artists.”

The Met’s leadership says that the 8th-century limestone monuments—one 6.5 feet tall, the other, 9 feet tall—represent a broader transformation that’s been happening at the museum in recent years. There have been challenges, too, from a spate of high-profile curatorial departures to a $150 million revenue shortfall that the museum plans to address in part through controversial deaccessioning. (That process is progressing, we reveal, with the help of a high-profile market figure). 

Earlier this week, I caught up with Hollein to take stock of the past 18 months and what is in store for the nation’s most closely watched art institution. 

Felipe Aguilar, Guatemala's Minister of Culture and Sports, at left, and Max Hollein. © Metropolitan Museum of Art 2019, photography Wilson Santiago.

Felipe Aguilar, Guatemala’s Minister of Culture and Sports, at left, and Max Hollein. © Metropolitan Museum of Art 2021, photography Wilson Santiago.

Athena is gone and Lady Six Sky has entered the Great Hall. What was the impetus to replace the Greek goddess with an ancient Maya queen? 

Athena was a loan from Berlin, and it needed to go back at some point, so we felt now was the time to make that change. It was important for us to show in the Great Hall not only the Greek and Roman manifestation as a birthplace of culture, but also Mesoamerica.

The two stelae are, in a sense, great signals and ambassadors for what is happening at the Met in the next couple of years. There’s a major show that we are preparing on Mayan culture, but maybe more importantly, the transformation and complete renewal of the Rockefeller wing, which holds very important collections of objects from Mesoamerica.

With the ongoing reckoning over race and inequality, what’s the role of an encyclopedic museum such as the Met?

This is a major topic for us. The Met, like any other museum of a similar size or scope, has history embedded in the institution. We saw in the last 18 months, through Black Lives Matter, a new reckoning with history in America, in a way that probably America, in that context, has not experienced before. And we have to be part of that by scrutinizing our own history, our own institutional biases. If you come to the museum right now, we have re-installed the mezzanine floor that we use for the contemporary collection. You will see recent acquisitions from the last probably three years; there’s a significant diversity of artists, with a significant number of Black artists represented. It’s been a priority for the institution. 

Beyond programming, there’s the question of how we make sure that the institution as a whole can become more diverse and welcoming. That means whom we hire, what kind of positions we develop. In the curatorial area, we hired our first curator for Indigenous art. We established a position of chief diversity officer. 

People walk through galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

People walk through galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Met has now been open for a year at reduced capacity. How has the pandemic affected your programming? 

When we were able to reopen, it was important for us to create an environment where our visitors feel safe, where our staff feels safe, but also to provide a very welcoming and decisive experience, especially for the New Yorkers, because at that time that was really our audience.  

We made the decision not to say, “Well, if only half of the people can visit us, if we don’t have any tourists, we want to only have a reduced program.”

If you think about the Jacob Lawrence show, “Making the Met,” the Costume Institute, the facade commission… just recently we had Alice Neel. We want to make sure that we aren’t doing exhibitions just because things look beautiful, but because they are bringing you into a more complex understanding of the world. Our shows are becoming more charged, more loaded, filled with different opinions, broader discourse. Like the Medici show [“The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570”], [which presents] a correlation between art and art-making in propaganda.

What about the shows that are coming up?

The Costume Institute’s show, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” is a survey of American fashion based on the quote by Jesse Jackson from the Democratic Convention that America is not the blanket one piece, but a patchwork of many different colors and textures.

“Surrealism Beyond Borders” is an enormously important exhibition this fall. It will show that Surrealism is actually the one “ism” that went totally global as a style and lasted until now. 

And then we will have an exhibition on Walt Disney and his relationship with the decorative arts. We’ll see how much the American audience encountered French decorative arts through the lens of Disney. 

We are also going to present our initiative to create a period room of our time. It will focus on the theme of Afrofuturism. If you look at our period rooms, our most current one is Frank Lloyd Wright, from the early 20th century. So it’s going to be an interesting transformation of our period room program. 

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: People wearing face masks visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art as it reopens to members after the pandemic closure, on August 27, 2020 in New York City, NY. (Photo by Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images)

PeopleVisitors in line for the Alice Neel show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on August 27, 2020. (Photo by Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images)

I remember the long, long line of people waiting to get into the Alice Neel show earlier this year. You had limited attendance to maintain social distancing. It was such an eye-opening exhibition, perfectly pitched and a discovery of an incredible, creative life.  How was the attendance?

It was our biggest show in terms of the attendance in the past year. I think it was 179,000 people. There was a big rush at the end. It really resonated with the times and with New York audiences. It showed you not only one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, but also the artist as an activist. 

Did you have an inkling it would be a blockbuster? And how has the concept of a blockbuster show changed during the pandemic?  

I don’t like the term “blockbuster show.” I think that what we are doing is very ambitious shows that ideally reach the widest possible audience. I don’t think you would have labeled [Alice Neel] a blockbuster show, even though it was our most popular show of the year. 

We do close to 50 shows a year—some bigger, some smaller. Each of them is an outcome not only of our scholarly work, but also of our perspective on what’s relevant right now, what is important to understand. Our projections of how many people can visit make no difference in regard to whether this is an urgent or important show. 

Banner for "Alice Neel: People Come First" outside the Metropolitan Museum. Photo by Ben Davis.

Banner for “Alice Neel: People Come First” outside the Metropolitan Museum. Photo by Ben Davis.

Several prominent curators left the museum this year. Keith Christiansen, chairman of the Department of European Paintings, just retired. Then there’s Helen Evans, a longtime curator of dazzling Byzantine shows, and most recently, “Armenia!” and Doug Eklund, who organized the groundbreaking “Pictures Generation” show in 2009. Is this a generational shift, or house cleaning?

We have about 140 curators, and, more often than not, a lot of them stay at the museum for a long time, which is great. Of course, it’s important for an institution to move people within the institution—up and forward. And basically, that’s what’s happening. 

Keith, as you know, did the great Medici show and then retired. He had a long, long career and was planning to retire. And then Doug made a conscious decision that he wants to move on. But I don’t see any of that being connected with any kind of transformation or change. It’s an evolutionary process.  

The Met's Modern and contemporary galleries. From left to right: Amy Sherald, <i>When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be (Self-imagined atlas)</i> (2018); K.G. Subramanyan, <i>Studio Table With Figure I</i> (1965); Kerry James Marshall, <i>Untitled (Studio</i> (2014); Stanley Whitney, <i>Fly the Wild</i> (2017); Center vitrine: Ron Nagle, <i>Watermelon</i> (1983); <i>Contessa</i> (1983); <i>Untitled</i> (1991). Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Met’s Modern and contemporary galleries. From left to right: Amy Sherald, When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be (Self-imagined atlas) (2018); K.G. Subramanyan, Studio Table With Figure I (1965); Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (Studio (2014); Stanley Whitney, Fly the Wild (2017); Center vitrine: Ron Nagle, Watermelon (1983); Contessa (1983); Untitled (1991). Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Met has an active acquisition program. But it is also planning to deaccession art, taking advantage of the two-year window, through April 2022, during which the Association of Art Museum Directors has permitted members to sell art in order to raise money for collection care as opposed to only for acquisitions. Can you fill me in on the latest about your deaccessioning plans?

I have to say one thing just to avoid any misunderstanding. We are not intending to sell any works to create [acquisition] funds to acquire new [artwork]. We have significant endowment funds that are earmarked just for acquisitions. During the pandemic, when the AAMD loosened the guidelines, it’s useful for any institution to consider—in our case, not only because our collection is so vast, but because even in a year when we might have a significant operational budget deficit, we still have significant funds with which to acquire art through our endowments. So it seems appropriate to use the proceeds of our regular deaccession program to support salaries for collection care staff in this exceptional year. And that’s what we are doing. 

The Met is projecting a $150 million revenue shortfall over two years. Are you planning to sell $150 million worth of art?  

No, no! The magnitude of our deaccessioning program differs from year to year, but it’s around $10 million. The works we use for deaccessioning are duplicates, multiples, copies of the same thing [we have] in better quality. We have identified a couple of the works.  

Can you tell me which works you’ve identified?

No, we will announce that as part of the process. It’s going to be a normal process and normal object selection.

Installation view of The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570, on view June 26–October 11, 2021 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo by Hyla Skopitz, Courtesy of The Met

Installation view of The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570, on view June 26–October 11, 2021 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo by Hyla Skopitz, Courtesy of The Met

I heard that one of the people who is advising you on the deaccessioning is Tobias Meyer, a private art dealer and former star auctioneer at Sotheby’s, whose clients include billionaire collectors Ken Griffin and David Geffen.

In every acquisition and deaccessioning, we use the best expertise that we have and we can get. Tobias is not only someone who is engaged with the museum on multiple fronts, but we use his expertise in different ways. He’s on the visiting committee for European sculpture and painting and has been a donor of work, helpful in identifying the works we might want to acquire, and also advising on the works we might consider for deaccessioning.

NFTs have been such a big story this year, in terms of the technology’s impact on the market, art community, and artistic production. Will the Met be minting NFTs anytime soon or adding them to its collection?   

It’s an interesting development, but it’s not our role to be the first emergency responder to the newest trends in art and society. We’ll see where that develops, and at some point, I’m sure there will be a work that could be part of the Met’s collection. But currently there’s nothing on the horizon for us. And we are not creating any NFTs. 

The underlying blockchain technology is something that will transform a lot of areas: how we do business, how we create authentication records, and probably also provenance, databases, et cetera. So, in that sense, blockchain technology is extremely relevant and important for us.

Chuck Close, Lou Reed from his "Subway Portraits" at the 86th stop on the new 2nd Avenue subway line. Courtesy of Governor Cuomo's office.

Chuck Close, Lou Reed from his “Subway Portraits” at the 86th stop on the new 2nd Avenue subway line. Courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s office.

Let’s talk about the low-tech stuff, like wall text. Artist Chuck Close died two weeks ago. He spent the final years in the shadow of sexual harassment allegations. The Met owns many of his paintings. None are on view at the moment. Do you plan to show his work again, and will the wall text reflect the accusations? 

Our Chuck Close portrait of artist Lucas Samaras has been hanging for the last couple of years [until March]. You do need to make a differentiation between the artwork and the life of an artist. Where these two get completely intertwined, it’s important to acknowledge the complexities. 

I don’t want to only talk about Chuck Close, but in general the idea that you can only look at an artist’s work where the life of the artist is impeccable seems absurd. It would be a really complex way to look at it.

We love seeing Caravaggio’s work; it’s so powerful and extreme. On the other hand, of course, he was a convicted murderer and had to flee from [Rome]. So, one has to be very careful. If the artwork came into existence or is part of the allegation or misdeed, then you have a different situation. But if you have a portrait by Chuck Close of Richard Serra then it’s different. 

And changing the subject a bit, it is on the other hand also really important that the artwork itself can be disruptive and challenging, even morally challenging. I keep using the example of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film Salo because it really shook me when I first saw it. It deals with fascism on the level that no other work does. And, of course, Pasolini led a complex life. But I think it’s an absolute masterpiece that needs to be shown. 

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