Artist Joana Vasconcelos Created the Psychedelic Backdrop for Dior’s Paris Fashion Week Show. See the Dazzling Images Here

During last month’s Paris Fashion Week, Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri chicly reinterpreted the house’s 1950s codes. The scenography, however, tapped into another dimension entirely thanks to the creative vision of Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. Vasconcelos installed a hallucinatory, stalactite–like sculpture that served as the undeniably bombastic backdrop for the Fall 2023 collection.

Ornamental, globular, and behemoth, Valkyrie Miss Dior towered 23 feet high and about 78 feet long, permeating the temporary Jardin des Tuileries space. Was it an alien landscape or the interior of some otherworldly organism? Maybe some some pan-national arts-and-crafts beast? Interpretation all depended on the viewer. But one thing was for sure: Vasconcelos has hands-down stomped all other contenders for “set of the season.”

Joana Vasconcelos's immersive sculpture and fashion show set . Photo: Adrien Dirand.

Joana Vasconcelos’s immersive sculpture and fashion show set . Photo: Adrien Dirand.

The suspended piece was composed of steel cables, crochet, LED lights, fans, inflatables, and fabrics in 20 different Dior floral patterns. Vasconcelos is prone to super-size her work.

“I don’t do scale for scale’s sake,” the artist said, “ but to convey a message through a chosen object. My work is very much based in the decontextualization of everyday objects. Monumental scale is usually seen as male territory and there are some barriers to be broken.”


Joana Vasconcelos’s ornamental alien landscape for Dior. Photo: Adrien Dirand.

Valkyrie Miss Dior joins a pantheon of over 30 of the towering female warrior goddesses Vasconcelos has created for installations as far-flung as Macau to Bilbao (where she had a 2018 retrospective “I’m Your Mirror” at the Guggenheim). “They all have different themes, honoring women who made a difference in the world,” Vasconcelos explains, “just like the female figures from Nordic mythology would lift the brave warriors killed in the battlefield, bringing them to join the deities in Valhalla.” Valkyrie Miss Dior is an homage to the house founder’s sister, Catherine Dior, a florist and World War II French resistance fighter who was awarded the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur. Vasconcelos’s 2005 Venice Biennale entry The Bride, a baroque chandelier composed of 25,000 tampons, garnered her international attention.

Looks from the Fall 2023 collection stand out in-front of the installations dangling, tonsil-like ornamental globs. Courtesy of Dior.

Looks from the Fall 2023 collection stand out in-front of the installation’s dangling, tonsil-like ornamental globs. Courtesy of Dior.

The artist has found a true ally in Chiuri who has made explicit feminist overtures in all of her collections since becoming Dior’s first female creative director in 2018. A key tenet of her tenure has been to collaborate with female artists and allow them to realize their respective visions.

The Dior Valkyrie is just one highpoint for Vasconcelos this year. In April, she will have a solo show at Beijing’s Tang Contemporary Art followed by her Tree of Life installation in Paris’s Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes. Her gargantuan Wedding Cake will rise at Waddesdon Manor, England in June, and then her next solo show opens in October at Uffizi Galleries in Florence, Italy. She took a moment to speak with us about Dior and explain her vibe.

The artist Joana Vasconcelos. Photo: Arlindo Camacho.

The artist Joana Vasconcelos. Photo: Arlindo Camacho.

Your work combines disciplines that overlap with fashion (sewing, knitting, working with textiles). Do you follow fashion and does it inform your work?

Fashion is a very important part of my life. I actually started showing my work at Lisbon’s Manobras de Maio in 1994, a catwalk for young creators, with a very counter-current, avant-garde and interventionist spirit. At the time I produced a series of wearable sculptural pieces in Styrofoam called the Bunis. A kind of colorful, organic, bulbous headwear, they represented a crossover between jewelry—which I studied—and sculpture.

Nowadays, a lot of my work is connected to the world of textiles and therefore it’s only natural that some clear affinities with fashion come across. The textile element is a common thread here, and plays a very important role, alongside the handcrafts that are also associated with the couture houses. As a matter of a fact, I question the male definition of noble materials in art. To me, textiles are as noble as iron, stone or wood – maybe even more so.

The fabulous couches can't compete with the massive artwork. Photo: Adrien Dirand.

Besides the otherworldly artwork, the set also included fabulous custom seating. Photo: Adrien Dirand.

What really struck me about the Dior set was this dichotomy between handmade/ornamental and organic. I got the sense that this structure mimicked a life form. It was like a fashion show was happening within a body.

It’s interesting that you saw it that way. Many people asked if Valkyrie Miss Dior represented a plant, an animal or a part of the human anatomy, but they all saw it as a living organism. I have never really conceived it as a static installation, what really interested me from the very beginning was the interaction between the installation, the models and the audience, all coming together as a moving body, a sculptural choreography almost.

The grand Dior finale through the alien landscape. Photo: Adrien Dirand.

The grand Dior finale through the alien landscape. Photo: Adrien Dirand.

The fashion show added a facet to your art, this swirling performative fashion experience. Tell me about experiencing this firsthand?

This was not the first time I employed dance for an artwork. I did so last year with Valkyrie Martha at lille3000, presented with purposefully created choreography. This stems from my firm belief that art should be interactive, inviting audiences and/or other artists to join the process, touching it, feeling it and creating a dialogue with movement, music or other art expressions in a performative way.

The set heightened the collection because it also really contrasted it. Interstellar versus down-to-earth. What was it like working with Ms. Chiuri? Did your designs inform each other?

No, they were different processes altogether. Maria Grazia came to my studio in Lisbon last summer and we had a wonderful exchange of ideas. Maria Grazia is a major inspiration not only for her feminist stance but also for her valorization of artisanship, two causes which are also very close to my heart. So, when the invitation came, I showed her my Valkyries body of work and suggested that, first and foremost, we should pay tribute to a woman. Then I got carte blanche to create as I saw fit.

I was sent 20 fabrics from the collection and started to create the Valkyrie from there. They were all very floral and fluid, the colors ranging from red, blue, green, orange to yellow. I decided to choose a color, texture and different identity for each branch of the artwork. To enhance the colors of the fabrics, I added a little sparkle through sequins and embroidery.

Joana Vasconcelos, Coração Independente (2016). Photo: Luís Vasconcelos

Joana Vasconcelos, Coração Independente (2016). Photo: Luís Vasconcelos

Crochet is a technique which is also very present in haute couture, accentuating the concept of the contemporary revisiting of the past, bringing back memories which are present in each of us and carrying them into the future. It was a dialogue with absolute freedom, a great way to collaborate, creating the bridge between fashion and the visual arts.

Joana Vasconcelos, Golden Valkyrie (2012) at Versailles. Photo: Luís Vasconcelos

Joana Vasconcelos, Golden Valkyrie (2012) at Versailles. Photo: Luís Vasconcelos

There seemed to be a Wizard of Oz dramatic reveal, when this vague pre-show black and white constellation turned into this multi-hued organism. You’ve done large-scale projects before but this seems to have been a very Hollywood-style mega production. What was it like working with Dior on this?

It was amazing. They are very professional and overall it was a very respectful approach, where the creative process is honored every step of the way. The energy created throughout the different stages really shone through in the show, as everything and everyone came together.

I am very proud of this piece. It stands as a testimony of an amazing collaboration, of the great things that can happen when people get together and join efforts to create something bigger than the sum of their parts.

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As Singapore’s ART SG Fair Launches This Week, Meet 5 Collectors From Southeast Asia Helping to Shape the Region’s Art Scene

Is Singapore, with its 5.5 million-strong population, big enough to be an art hub of Asia?

When discussing the city state’s position in the global art market, one must not overlook its context in Southeast Asia. In fact, Southeast Asia, which includes the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asia Nations) member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), has a population of 640 million (more than European Union’s 446.8 million), with a GDP of $2.55 trillion. It is set to be the fourth largest single market after the U.S., China, and the E.U., and more importantly, it has a young population. It is estimated that the median age of the region will be just 33 years old by 2030.

The promising economic future of Southeast Asia offers a great advantage to Singapore. Recently, the island has attracted renewed interest from the global art world as China, including Hong Kong, was practically cut off from the rest of the world thanks to the government’s zero-Covid policy that only just recently ended. Sotheby’s decision in 2022 to bring live auctions back to the Lion City for the first time in 15 years is another new boon for the region and all eyes are on this year’s Singapore Art Week, which will see the return of the fifth edition of the S.E.A. Focus art fair as well as the long-awaited launch of ART SG. The latter fair, which is finally due to open on Wednesday (January 11) after multiple delays, will showcase more than 150 galleries from 30 countries and regions around the world.

But most importantly, Southeast Asia already has a solid base of collectors who have amassed significant collections that not only demonstrate their sensibilities towards the region’s cultural roots but also speak to their global vision. Here are five collectors (three are couples) based in Southeast Asia that you need to know.

Linda Neo and Albert Lim

Linda Neo and Albert Lim

Linda Neo and Albert Lim. Courtesy of Linda Neo and Albert Lim.

Based in: Singapore

Occupation: Linda Neo and Albert Lim come from a background in the financial markets, the former in oil and gas and the latter in financial instruments. Neo is the chair of OH! Open House, a non-profit organization promoting arts within the community. She is also the chair of the Art Science Council of Mind Art Experiential Lab (MaeLab)—the arts arm of Mind Science Centre—and sits on the advisory board of ART SG.

What’s in their collection: Neo and Lim began their collecting journey with Western and Renaissance art. Over the past 20 years, they have developed a distinctive assemblage of contemporary art that reflects the cultural landscape of Southeast Asia, while resonating with and challenging the geopolitical views of the region at the same time. Their collection includes works by: Genevieve Chua, Daniel Chong, Ian Tee, Jane Lee, Donna Ong, Alvin Ong, and Melissa Tan from Singapore; Erizal, Aditya Novali, Mangu Putra, and Yunizar from Indonesia; Andres Barrioquinto, Marina Cruz, Rodel Tapaya, Leslie Chavez, Norberto Roldan, and Ronald Ventura from the Philippines; and Chan Kok Hooi, Chang Yoong Chia, Pangrok Sulap, and Yee I-Lann from Malaysia.

Distinguishing factor: In 2014, the couple founded Primz Gallery as a private art space to showcase their collections and promote art appreciation and education. The gallery is currently showing “To Begin Again,” a solo exhibition of Singaporean artist Jane Lee, which coincides with Singapore Art Week.

Where they shop: Art fairs such as Art Jakarta, Frieze Seoul and Frieze London, and more events like Paris+ and Asia Now. As they collect mainly Southeast Asian artists, they acquire works from nearly all the Singapore galleries: namely, Cuturi Gallery, Fost Gallery, Gajah Gallery, Ota Fine Arts, Richard Koh Fine Arts, Sundaram Tagore, Yavuz Gallery, and Yeo Workshop. They also buy modern pieces from Art Commune and auction houses.

Recent purchase: Donna Ong’s conceptual piece Four Colors Make a Forest from Fost Gallery and a work titled Ghost, which reflects the mental state of a young girl by the 19-year-old artist Vanessa Liem, purchased from Cuturi Gallery. Both works were acquired in 2022.

Fun fact: Neo and Lim are longtime supporters of Jane Lee. They exhibited their collection of her art for the first time in the 2017 show “Rise & Fall, Ebb & Flow: Works of Jane Lee.” The current exhibition at Primz Gallery features work newly acquired by the couple.

Michelangelo and Lourdes Samsons

Mikey and Lou Samsons. Courtesy of Mikey and Lou Samsons.

Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson at their home with Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo’s triptych 1874625.5 (2017). Courtesy of Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson.

Age:  Both Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson were born in 1970.

Occupation: Michelangelo Samson is a banker and Lourdes is an independent curator and an arts organizer.

Based in: Singapore and Sydney.

What’s in their collection: Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson have collected Southeast Asian contemporary art for more than two decades. Their collection features paintings, sculptures, installations, and digital media works by established and emerging artists from the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos.

It focuses on the various artistic strategies and material concerns of artists in Southeast Asia, shedding light on the common issues and themes these countries share but also celebrating the differences that make each culture unique. Broad themes that the collection engages with include power and politics, identity and the self, and tradition and contemporaneity. It features artworks by internationally renowned Southeast Asian artists like Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Charles Lim, Jane Lee, FX Harsono, Mit Jai Inn, Natee Utarit, Sopheap Pich, Dinh Q. Le, Martha Atienza, and Yee I-Lann, among others.

Distinguishing factor: The couple is actively involved in the Singapore art scene as patrons and collectors, supporting institutions such as STPI gallery and the Singapore Art Museum, where Michelangelo sits on the board. They have loaned works to both local and international institutions, with pieces featuring in shows such as “As We Were,” organized by Seed the Art Space at [email protected] in 2021, and “A Bird Flies Into The Mirror” at Appetite in 2022.

Where they shop: Leading regional galleries, including Silverlens, Yavuz Gallery, STPI, Richard Koh Fine Art, and Roh Projects, as well as art fairs like Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Fair Philippines, Art Jakarta, and S.E.A. Focus.

Fun fact: Michelangelo and Lourdes are originally from the Philippines but have called Singapore home for the past 24 years. The couple recently relocated temporarily to Sydney for work. Aside from the few photographs that fill their Australian apartment, their significant collection of Southeast Asian art remains in Singapore.

Kim and Lito Camacho

Kim and Lito Camacho. Courtesy of Kim and Lito Camacho.

Kim and Lito Camacho. Courtesy of Kim and Lito Camacho.

Age: Both are 67

Occupation: Both are graduates of Harvard Business School. Jose Isidro N. “Lito” Camacho is the managing director and vice-chairman for Credit Suisse Asia Pacific. Previously, he was the Secretary of Finance and the Secretary of Energy for the Philippines. Although Kim Camacho now describes herself being a “full-time art collector,” she was responsible for opening the Sotheby’s representative office in the Philippines in 2001 and founded her own fashion accessories company.

Based in: Singapore and Manila

What’s in their collection: The couple began collecting art in 1981and their nearly 1,000-strong interdisciplinary collection features artists from Japan, America, the Philippines, and other countries in Southeast Asia. Highlights include: some of the most important works by Yayoi Kusama—eight of which are currently on loan to M+ for the artist’s retrospective in Hong Kong; major collections both of Gutai art and of pieces by the American abstract expressionist Alfonso Ossorio; what is believed to be the largest private collection teamLab’s video installations; as well as works by the likes of Tishan Hsu, Carlos Villa, and David Medalla.

“We live with our art collection in our homes in Manila, Singapore, Berlin, and our farm outside of Manila,” Kim Camacho told Midnight Publishing Group News Pro. The couple is now working on a project to catalog their ever-expanding collection, which they intend to pass on to their six children.

Distinguishing factor: The couple plays an active role as patrons for the arts and education. Lito Camacho is the chairman of the University of the Arts Singapore and a member of the board of STPI. Kim Camacho was an advisor to the National Gallery of Singapore (NGS) in 2014 and chaired the art auction for NGS in 2018. Kim has been a trustee of the Yuchengco Museum in Makati since 2005. Both are also members of the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee of the Tate in the U.K. They regularly lend works from their collection to institutions, galleries, and biennales around the world, including the National Art Center Tokyo, Newark Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

Where they shop: The couple has acquired works from galleries from around the world as well as from auctions, art fairs, dealers, other collectors, and direct from artists or their family’s estates.

Recent purchase: Two large paintings by Kusama from her “My Eternal Soul” series, as well as a mylar work by Tishan Hsu and the video work Universe of Fire Particles by teamLab.

Fun fact: Kim and Lito Camacho have had many direct encounters with artists over the years. Among their most memorable experiences was spending more than two and a half hours with Kusama. “It was several years ago at her studio, where we saw her working on a painting, marveled at her artworks as she described each one and explained the titles,” they recalled. They brought the artist mooncake (“she enjoyed very much”) and listened to her recite a couple of her own poems.

Nathaniel Gunawan

Nathaniel Gunawan

Nathaniel Gunawan. Courtesy of Nathaniel Gunawan.

Age: 37

Based in: Jakarta and Singapore

Occupation: Nathaniel P Gunawan has a background in private investing and is currently the director of Oasis Waters International— a fast-moving consumer goods company specializing in manufacturing and distributing ready-to-drink water in Indonesia.

What’s in his collection: An avid lover of history and literature, Gunawan is keen on artists “whose practices reveal strange but useful facts of our intricate societies and ourselves,” he tells Midnight Publishing Group News Pro. He has more than 200 works in his collection, but less than half the number of artists, with more than two-thirds originating from Southeast Asia. “I tend to collect in-depth,” he says. Notable focuses include pieces by Agus Suwage, Mella Jaarsma, Yonathan Albert Setyawan, Arin Sunaryo, Robert Zhao Renhui, (Estate of) I Gak Murniasih, Pow Martinez, and Aracha Cholitgul.

Another theme is artists’ impulse to convey mixed, concealed feelings associated with massive urbanization and rapid digitalization, and artists from outside of Southeast Asia such as Chen Ching-Yuan from Taiwan, Kei Imazu from Japan, and Hong Kong’s Lee Kit. He picked those three in particular because their work echoes such impulse, he notes. “To make sure I won’t be lost along the way, I try to write at least one paragraph on each newly acquired work.”

Distinguishing factor: Gunawan is an active art patron in the region. He is currently a member of the board of STPI gallery and a member of Art Jakarta’s Board of Young Collectors. “I am a firm believer in the importance of institutional presence in Southeast Asia and looking to commission a public artwork in Jakarta this year,” he says.

Where he shops: Commerical galleries such as Mizuma Gallery, ROH Projects, Silverlens, Antenna Space, ShugoArts, Empty Gallery, STPI, Various Small Fires, Ota Fine Arts, Yavuz Gallery, Nova Contemporary, Mor Charpentier, Lehmann Maupin, TKG+, Sullivan + Strumpf, Yeo Workshop, Gajah, and A+ Works of Art. Also at air fair like Art Jakarta, Art Basel Hong Kong, S.E.A. Focus, and hopefully at Art SG as Gunawan says he is “excited for its inaugural edition.”

Recent purchase: Untitled (00044 N.O.W.R.F.Y.H.) (2020) by Vunkwan Tam and Nadya Jiwa’s painting Isyarat (2022).

Fun fact: Gunawan is also an award-winning film producer; he is the co-founder and director of Phoenix Films, which focuses on Singapore and Indonesian films. He has already produced four films in Indonesia, in partnership with Palari Films, since 2017. Their most recent project, the action drama Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, became the first Indonesian film to win the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival in 2021. One of his co-producers, Natasha Sidharta, is also a fellow collector. “My hope is to produce further collaborative efforts between the visual arts and film-making in Southeast Asia, perhaps a documentary series on the region’s art collectives, for example,” says the young collector.

Timothy Tan

Timothy Tan. Courtesy of Timothy Tan.

Timothy Tan. Courtesy of Timothy Tan.

Age: 46

Occupation: Italian furniture and lighting distributor

Based in: Manila

What’s in his collection: Tan began collecting about a decade ago, starting with works that are closer to his Southeast Asian roots and expanding to Western, international contemporary art. His collection, primarily paintings with some sculptures, now boasts around 100 works by mid-career and emerging contemporary artists. Prominent names abound in his collection, including Cecily Brown, Tracey Emin, Amoako Boafo, Vaughn Spann, Rashid Johnson, Takashi Murakami, and George Condo.

Distinguishing factor: Tan has quickly become one of the most recognizable faces on the international art scene as he has been spotted jet-setting across the globe for fairs as travel restrictions have eased. He is now working on presenting his collection at two museum shows in Manila in February 2023, running concurrently at the newly-opened Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. “The latter show is organized specifically for students,” the collector told Midnight Publishing Group News Pro.

Where he shops: At art fairs such as Paris+, Art Basel Miami Beach, Frieze Seoul, and Frieze London as well as at commercial galleries like Another Gallery, Gagosian, Salon 94, Thaddaeus Ropac, White Cube, Almine Rech, Pilar Corrias. He also buys at auctions, at Midnight Publishing Group, and at art at pop-up shows, Linseed Projects, and Penske Projects.

Recent purchase: The painting The end of august heat (2022) by Li Hei Di and Triple Dive Violet II (2022) by Tunji Adeniyi-Jones. Both pieces were purchased last November.

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The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Rubells Make a Move to D.C. – The taste-making Rubell family of art collectors are expanding their private museum to Washington D.C.

Take the Money and Run – An artist received $84,000 from a Danish museum to make new work, and instead he took off with the cash and called it conceptual art.

Underground Museum Announces Inaugural Prize – The Los Angeles institution has awarded three curators with a $25,000 prize named for founder Noah Davis.

Former Fashion Designer Gets Gallery Rep – The long-acclaimed designer Martin Margiela has become a bona fide artist, and will now show with Zero X gallery at FIAC in Paris.

A New Class of ‘Geniuses’ – The MacArthur “Genius” grants were announced this week, with painter Jordan Casteel, curator Nicole R. Fleetwood, and artist Daniel Lind-Ramos among the honorees.

Snoop Dogg Goes On an Art Shopping Spree – The rapper bought $17 million worth of crypto art under the amusing moniker “Cozomo de Midici.”

Prado’s Makeover Approved – Spain has given the greenlight for a long-awaited $42 million expansion of the famous Madrid museum.

Float Like a Butterfly, Paint Like Picasso – A cache of Muhammad Ali’s original artwork is hitting the auction block, where it’s expected to set a new record.

New Museum’s New Award – The downtown Manhattan museum announced the creation of a new $400,000 commission award for female sculptors.

The Restoration of the Pieta A museum in Italy is conserving Michelangelo’s famous macabre sculpture, and letting the public see into the process.

A New Platform for NFTs – Gallerist Vito Schnabel teamed up with cyberlord Gary Vee to create new platform for selling NFTs.

A Monumentally Bad Track Record – A new report from the Philadelphia nonprofit Monument Lab revealed that 42 of the most-memorialized figures are white men, many of them slave owners.

Sotheby’s Loses Bid to Overturn Lawsuit – A judge denied the auction house’s attempts to dismiss a suit claiming it “fleeced” New York taxpayers.

Will Hong Kong Artists Flee? – The National Security Law in Hong Kong continues to exert pressure, causing many to fear an artistic exodus.

The National Gallery’s Rubens Gaffe – Turns out that the London museum’s prized painting by Peter Paul Rubens is a fake, at least according to new A.I. resarch.

Serial Thief Sentenced – An art thief who made off with $20 million of Van Gogh and Frans Hals works was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Critics Rail Against Bootylicious Italian Sculpture – A new public sculpture in Italy is drawing criticism for the female figure’s highly toned posterior.

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The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Get Intelligent! – The fall 2021 edition of the Midnight Publishing Group Intelligence Report is here! With new technology trends, K-Pop collecting habits, plus the best party galleries, it is a must-read.

Libras Unite – Art meets astrology in our new series helmed by Katie White, and this month it’s dedicated to the season of the seventh sign.

Roxane Gay Talks Art – On our 100th (!) episode of the Art Angle, writer Roxane Gay speaks to Midnight Publishing Group News’s Noor Brara about the deeply moving paintings of Calida Rawles.

What’s in a Hat – A bicorn hat donned by the infamously diminutive emperor Napoleon Bonaparte just fetched a whopping $1.4 million at Sotheby’s this week.

Kerry James Marshall’s Stained Glass – Kerry James Marshall was tapped to create racial justice-themed stained-glass windows to replace the Confederate images that once adorned D.C.’s National Cathedral.

A Benin Bronze Barter – A guild of Nigerian artists has proposed a new way to get their native Benin Bronzes back from the U.K: offering their own works to the U.K. in exchange.

Basquiat’s Bartender Buddy – Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat gave a cocktail recipe book to his favorite mixologist, adorned with personal inscriptions. Now, it’s going up for sale.

Tracey Emin Comes Home – After defeating cancer, the British artist has returned to her hometown to cement her legacy and build a museum.

Basel Is Back – Despite scores of setbacks, Art Basel’s flagship fair in Switzerland was in full swing this year, boding well for the rest of the year’s market calendar.

Picasso’s Daughter Trades Art for Taxes – In lieu of paying an inheritance tax, the artist’s daughter just donated nine works to France’s Picasso Museum.

Frida Portrait Could Break Records – Frida Kahlo self-portrait estimated at $30 million could smash records for a female artist when it comes to auction at Sotheby’s.

Longtime Gardner Heist Suspect Dead at 85 – Bobby Gentile, long suspected by the FBI of orchestrating the notorious museum robbery in Boston, has died—perhaps taking the truth with him to his grave.

NFT Exec Nabbed for Insider Trading – An executive at OpenSea was busted for insider trading, and now has stepped down from his role.

The Met’s Big Sell-Off  – Taking advantage of a pandemic-era loophole, the museum is deaccessioning seven figures worth of photos and prints to fill a budget shortfall.

Bouvier Beats Billionaire’s Charges – A prosecutor dismissed criminal charges against Yves Bouvier levied by Dmitry Rybolovlev, ruling the dealer committed no fraud or money laundering.

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Here Are 5 Booths You Won’t Want to Miss at Volta Basel Next Week

Strange as it may seem, art fair season is back in fairly full swing. Hot off the heels of the Armory Week shows in New York, collectors and gallerists are already jetting off to Switzerland for Art Basel. While the Volta Art Fair was absent from the New York circuit this year (but don’t count them out, they will be back next year) the fair will be presenting in Basel.

Though in past years the fair has emphasized one-artist presentations, this year, galleries can showcase curated multi-artist booths. Many have still opted for solo or two-artist presentations even so. 

“While in the past, Volta opted for a single-booth presentation, we can’t force galleries to just showcase one artist, especially in times like these where galleries need to sell. Having two-artist booths makes it look cleaner and galleries like to have dialogues between their artists and their works,” said fair director Kamiar Maleki.

In a newly renovated space, Volta returns for its 16th edition with some 69 galleries from across five continents and 50 cities. There’s a lot for the eyes to take in, so to get you started, we’ve picked five booths worth looking out for.


Yoca Muta at Gallery Kogure

Yoca Muta, Awakening (2021). Courtesy of Gallery Kogure.

Yoca Muta, Awakening (2021). Courtesy of Gallery Kogure.

Tokyo’s Gallery Kogure, a long-time fair exhibitor, is presenting work by the dazzling ceramic artist Yoca Muta. Called kutani-yaki (Japanese porcelain), the often whimsical sculptures blend traditional methods with pop culture references like western drawings and contemporary Japanese manga. 


Boldi and Mózes Incze at Léna Roselli Gallery 

Mózes Incze, Assisted Advent (2021). Courtesy of Léna Roselli Gallery.

Mózes Incze, Assisted Advent (2021). Courtesy of Léna Roselli Gallery.

Budapest’s Léna Roselli Gallery is presenting works by two artists, the sculptor Boldi and Hungarian painter Mózes Incze. Incze’s oil paintings combine Surrealist passages—floating limbs and De Chirico-esque architectural spaces—with impassioned abstract passages. Boldi’s marble sculptures, on the other hand, follow in an aesthetic of modernist sculpture that references Henry Moore and Cubist sculptors.


Galerie Thomas Fuchs

Yongchul Kim, Hund und Kaktus. Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Fuchs.

Yongchul Kim, Hund und Kaktus. Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Fuchs.

Volta patron Galerie Thomas Fucjs is bringing new works by five artists: Rainer Fetting, Sebastian Gumpinger, Jochen Hein, Ruprecht von Kaufmann, and Yongchul Kim. The presentation leans mostly toward contemporary painting. German artist Rainer Fetting, now in his 70s, presents bright new paintings inspired by the island of Sylt. Ruprecht von Kaufmann, meanwhile, presents a mysterious world of dream-like symbols and figures. Even the one sculptor in the bunch, Sebastian Gumpinger, calls his steel and copper plate works “steel paintings”—he uses an angle grinder to draw a continuous line on the surfaces offering delicate, almost paper-like creations.


Austin Eddy and Natalia Wróbel at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery

Austin Eddy, Untitled 2. Courtesy of Abigail Ogilvy Gallery.

Austin Eddy, Untitled 2. Courtesy of Abigail Ogilvy Gallery.

The gallery refers to artists Austin Eddy and Natalia Wróbel as “two true painters.” Eddy’s works are semi-representational and attempt to capture the moods and emotions of different individuals, which he conveys in the most reduced terms possible, all while toying with the playfulness and perceived seriousness of painting. Wróbel paints in bold, pulsating swirls of color that draw inspiration from such disparate ideas as jazz, neural networks, and lyric poetry, all varied interpretations of interconnectedness.

Galerie Mark Hachem

Dario Perez Flores, Prochromatique no 1117 (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Mark Hachem.

Dario Perez Flores, Prochromatique no 1117 (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Mark Hachem.

Paris’s Galerie Mark Hachem has a longstanding commitment to supporting artists of the kinetic art movement, from the progenitors of the style to those exploring similar ideas today. This year it has devoted its presentation primarily to artists working in kineticism and Op Art. Historically significant works by Jesús Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz Diez will be on display, along with the works of two contemporary Venezuelan artists, Darios Perez Flores and Rafael Barrios, whose works center around questions of perception.

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