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This Artist Was Set to Show With Lisa Schiff Before a Lawsuit Shuttered the Gallery. Now, She’s Staging the Exhibition on Her Own 

Earlier this month, art advisor Lisa Schiff abruptly closed her New York gallery space less than a week after being hit with a high-profile “Ponzi scheme” lawsuit. The move left more questions than answers. 

That was especially true for photographer Richelle Rich, who was set to open an exhibition at Schiff’s SFA Advisory space on June 7.

“I’m sad to say that unexpectedly the gallery has closed,” Rich wrote on Instagram at the time. “We will no doubt learn the whole story as things play out in the press, but for now I am left pretty devastated.” 

But Rich, who considers herself a “political, conceptual artist,” was determined for the exhibition to go on. “I just didn’t want her story to define mine,” she told Midnight Publishing Group News over the phone. “I just wanted to move forward.” 

Move forward she did. The artist will open her show in early June as intended, though it will look a little different—and it won’t have anything to do with Schiff. Instead, it will take place for one night only on the seventh floor of a walk-up in New York’s Lower East Side neighborhood.  

Rich won’t show the prints she had planned for SFA, but rather a film that comprises some 200 pictures from the same body of work. The series, called “Comeflor,” features shots of flowers, fruits, and other quotidian objects that, for her, symbolize larger ideas and moments in time. 

“Through them I document the social, political and historical events I witness,” she wrote of her subjects in an announcement for the revised show. “Deadly poisonous flowers, glass from a shipwreck, custom made needles, ephemera, and detritus make these interwoven narratives tangible. They are secrets hidden in plain sight.” 

Richelle Rich, Comeflor (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

Rich was introduced to Schiff through a mutual acquaintance. “Lisa was only ever really supportive of me and my work,” she said of their relationship.  

The artist heard news of SFA’s closure from Schiff herself the morning of May 15. “It was really shocking,” she recalled, noting the five months’ worth of work she had put into preparing for the show, which was to be her first solo exhibition in American and first show of any kind in New York.

“This was such an enormous deal for me,” she went on, adding that it was supposed to be a “comeback show.” 

But after an hour of sulking, Rich got back to work. Within about a week’s time, she lined up a space on Eldridge Street—a studio used by a film editing company. When asked how she was able to secure it on such short notice, the artist laughed, then said, simply: “Begging.” 

Reflecting on the last two weeks, after having a show canceled then re-confirmed, Rich took a step back and considered the experience within the context of her now 30-year-long art practice. “It was just another challenge,” she said.  

Here’s One I Made Earlier is the name of the artist’s show, which has been given a new title for the new space. It’s set to open on June 7. 

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Is Time Travel Real? Here Are 6 Tantalizing Pieces of Evidence From Art History

When tourist Fiona Foskett saw what looked like modern footwear in a centuries-old painting during a recent visit to London’s National Gallery, she laughed it off.

Portrait of Frederick Sluysken, by the 17th-century Dutch master Ferdinand Bol, depicts the son of a wine merchant holding a goblet.

“I said to my daughter, ‘Hold on, is he wearing a pair of Nike trainers?’” she told the Sun“Or,” she joked, “is he actually a time traveller?”

It’s not hard to see why she might think so. His black footwear is adorned, in white, with what looks very much like the brand’s iconic “swoosh” design. 

The museum professed to be delighted as the story was picked up by news outlets from Footwear News to the Daily Mail. In fact they were well ahead of Ms. Foskett, tweeting an image of the painting as far back as August, asking if anyone could see a “modern” detail. (Some skeptics replied that it’s just a bit of sock showing from under a bow. One even asked the museum to get off drugs.)

This wasn’t the first time observers have spotted seemingly modern objects or people, in artworks dating as far back as before the birth of Christ. Maybe Foskett was on to something.

Each time someone spots one of these instances, the Internet goes crazy and everybody has a laugh. But perhaps the evidence that time travel actually exists is hiding in plain sight, in museum collections around the world

In addition to the 17th-century Nikes, here are six more examples of the chronologically displaced, in works from the ancient to disturbingly modern, that were perhaps accidentally recorded for prosperity—at least until the time police show up.


Grave Naiskos of an Enthroned Woman with an Attendant (100 B.C.)

Grave Naiskos of an Enthroned Woman with an Attendant, on view in the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, which even appears to show USB ports in the side of a laptop. Courtesy of the Getty Foundation.

In this funerary relief, a little girl looks for all the world to be holding a laptop up to the deceased, represented on a throne to signal her status. 

Even the owner of the artwork, the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, calls the object a container, but tellingly points out on its website that it “appears too shallow to hold anything substantial.” In an explanation that would convince absolutely no one outside of an art history classroom, the museum compares it to similar objects in other artworks from which women pull ribbons or jewelry, concluding that it’s a jewelry box.

But perhaps the truth is that Iktinos and Kallikrates designed the Parthenon using software like AutoCAD on their MacBook.


Turkic Seamstress Mummy (ca. 900 AD)

This Turkic seamstress, who died about 900 C.E., wears what seems to be the first pair of Adidas sneakers. Courtesy of the Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia.

This Turkic seamstress, whose remains were uncovered by herders in Mongolia in 2017 and restored by the Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia, wore some fashion-forward gear. 

The stripes are strikingly like those on Adidas footwear, even though the German company was founded by Adi Dassler only centuries later, in 1949—according to the official account, anyway. 

But seeing as Adidas put a computer in a shoe as early as 1984, the company was definitely ahead of its time. Could it have been… hundreds of years ahead of its time?

First Nike, and now Adidas too? The clues just keep stacking up.


Ventura Salimbeni, Glorification of the Eucharist (late 16th century)

Ventura Salimbeni, Glorification of the Eucharist (late 16th century), via Wikimedia Commons.

Ventura Salimbeni’s painting in the Church of St. Peter in Montalcino, in Siena, Italy, isn’t even subtle about its anachronistic technology. Those who have a fancy art history degree from Vassar or Williams might be convinced that large spherical object is “the Creation Globe,” and the protrusions held by Jesus and the Heavenly Father are wands symbolizing their power. 

But the device bears an eerie similarity to another celestial instrument.

A replica of Sputnik in the National Air and Space Museum. Courtesy NASA.

One look at this replica of the first artificial satellite placed in outer space, launched by the Soviets in 1957, makes it clear why this artwork is popularly referred to as “the Sputnik of Montalcino.” It’s even the right size, almost two feet in diameter, and nice and shiny. Perhaps the Soviet satellite took an unscheduled detour during its 98-minute circuit of the Earth to make a stop in the late 16th century. Or perhaps, as some say, the object held by God and His Son is just a U.F.O. We want to believe.  


Pieter de Hooch, Man Handing a Letter to a Woman in the Entrance Hall of a House (1670)

Pieter de Hooch, Man Handing a Letter to a Woman in the Entrance Hall of a House (1670). Courtesy of the Rijksmuseum.

Pieter de Hooch’s Man Handing a Letter to a Woman in the Entrance Hall of a House held in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum has such an innocuous, everyday title that it would easily through any casual observer off the trail to time travel evidence. 

But take a closer look at the letter in the man’s hand and try to make sense of how this 17th-century courier had an iPhone hundreds of years before anyone else. Even Apple CEO Tim Cook, who you might think would be happy to spread the news about technological advances, has joked about this one, saying at a press conference, “I always thought I knew when the iPhone was invented, but now I’m not so sure anymore.”

Perhaps the messenger was using Waze to find the quickest route for his delivery. And he’s not the only one with his eyes glued to the screen…


Ferdinand George Waldmüller, The Expected One (1850 or 1860) 

Ferdinand George Waldmüller, The Expected One (1850 or 1860). Courtesy of the Bavarian State Painting Collections.

Ferdinand George Waldmüller’s The Expected One is a classic genre painting from late in the Austrian painter’s career, showing an amorous young man in his Sunday clothes, waiting with a flower for the object of his affections, who has yet to see him. According to the experts at the Neue Pinakothek, in Munich, where the painting hangs, that’s because she’s engrossed in a hymnal. Or is it really because her attention is fixed on an item in her hands that looks suspiciously like a mobile phone. 

What else are these museums hiding in their vaults?


Umberto Romano, Mr. Pynchon and the Settling of Springfield (1937)

Our final example is perhaps the most complicated and sinister. 

Italian artist Umberto Romano’s painting Mr. Pynchon and the Settling of Springfield shows a pre-Revolutionary War encounter in the 1630s between English colonists and two New England tribes, the Pocumtuc and the Nipmuc. 

But what is the Native American figure in the scene holding in his hand if not an iPhone, a piece of technology ostensibly introduced only in 2007? (He might even be reading a text from the young woman from Waldmüller’s painting above, suggesting that the young man with the flower is fated to be disappointed.)

Writing for Vice, Brian Anderson went super-deep on this one, pointing out that the titular William Pynchon depicted in this painting is the ancestor of conspiracy-minded novelist Thomas Pynchon, who was born—get ready—the same year the painting was finished. A historian told Anderson that the object in question is likely a mirror, which was a symbol of wealth and prestige for Native Americans, and which William Pynchon may have brought to charm the Indigenous people.

Do you know what else has a mirrored screen? That’s right. An iPhone, brought by a time traveler.

The facts are all there, if you’re brave enough to see them.


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Among the Spiders With Mind-Bending Artist Tomás Saraceno

Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Midnight Publishing Group News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join us every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more, with input from our own writers and editors, as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.


In the studio of Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno, there’s an expected sound—vibrations of a spider working on its web—a sound normally imperceptible to the human ear, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

The recent technological feat of capturing and recording the sound of a spider is just one of the many pursuits undertaken by the Berlin-based artist. Saraceno is known for working with experts from the field of science, engineering, and architecture among others, to create works that exist beyond the traditional bounds of the art world. These research intensive, often groundbreaking installations and projects render visible our interconnectedness with one another and the ecosystems in which we exist. They’ve even earned him some world records.

It’s an ambitious undertaking and it has solidified him as one of the most impactful artists of our generation. For Saraceno’s first major U.K. solo exhibition, which opens on June 1 at the Serpentine Galleries in London, Saraceno and his collaborators are moving beyond the walls of the museum, from the Royal Parks in London all the way to the rural communities of Argentina where people are fighting to stop lithium extraction in their lands, to Cameroon where Spider Diviners challenging our notions about knowledge.

At the Serpentine, “Web(s) of Life” delves into critical and urgent questions about how we as people coexist with other life forms and how technology intersects with the climate emergency itself. As the last of his works were en route to London, Midnight Publishing Group News’s Europe editor Kate Brown joined the artist in his bright and beautiful Berlin studio.

Listen to more episodes:

The Art Angle Presents: How the Intersection of Art, Design, and Technology Is Evolving

The Art Angle Podcast: What Does Connoisseurship Mean in the Digital Age?

The Art Angle Podcast: Google’s A.I. Art Guru on the New Age of Disruption

The Art Angle Podcast: What Is ‘Quantitative Aesthetics,’ and How Is It Changing Art?

The Art Angle Podcast: An Oral History of Ryan McGinley’s ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ 20 Years Later

The Art Angle Podcast: How Roy Lichtenstein Became a Super-Villain to Comic Book Artists

The Art Angle Podcast: How Does Data Give You the Edge in the Art Market?

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Looking for a Day Trip? A New Center for Psychedelic Art Is Opening in New York’s Hudson River Valley

Hudson River School artists like Thomas Cole might never have seen it coming, but their neck of the woods will soon be home to a center for psychedelic art, opening on the full-moon anniversary of the founders’ wild LSD trip.

Entheon, Sanctuary of Visionary Art at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, as it is called, is a much larger version of a venue that was run by the married artist duo Alex and Allyson Grey in New York City from 2004 to 2008. Writing in the New York Times, critic Ken Johnson called that space “a curious, over-the-top combination of art gallery, New Age temple and Coney Island sideshow.”

The couple paid $1.8 million for the three-story, 19th-century carriage house, sited on 40 wooded acres in Wappingers Falls, New York, according to the New York Times, and are raising another $3 million to finish work on the building. The center, which opens June 3, will display artworks by the Greys and other psychedelic artists.

The center, which they think of as a social sculpture in the tradition of artist Joseph Beuys, as an interfaith church in 2008. 

Alex’s work has been featured on albums by bands including Tool, the Beastie Boys, and Nirvana, as well as in venues like the New Museum and the São Paulo Bienal. Allyson has shown at venues including New York’s O.K. Harris Gallery and Stux Gallery, as well as the Islip Art Museum. 

The new nonprofit comes at a significant moment for psychedelics. Michael Pollan’s bestselling book How to Change Your Mind (2018) raised awareness of the substances’ use in both sacred rites and psychotherapy.

The center joins a wave of art venues that have popped up in New York’s Hudson Valley in recent years, including Foreland Catskill, Magazzino Italian Art Museum in Cold Spring, and Jack Shainman’s The School in Kinderhook.

Entheon’s centerpiece is Alex’s 21-painting cycle featuring all the systems of the human body (he previously worked as a medical illustrator). 

Allyson’s multimedia installation Chaos, Order, Secret Writing will also be prominently featured. The work includes her devotional drawings and her abstractions pointing to the spectral light that she holds to be at the foundation of consciousness. Also on view will be Alex’s Gaia (1989), a 12-by-eight-foot canvas depicting an environmental crisis (and featuring two airplanes in the vicinity of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers).

True psychedelic devotees, the couple has also installed a reliquary holding the eyeglasses of chemist Albert Hofmann, who developed LSD, and the ashes of Timothy Leary, who popularized the expression “Turn on, tune in, drop out” in the 1960s. 

Entheon will be funded through ticket sales (about $20), and a there’s a shop offering posters, prints, and blankets featuring the couple’s art. Allyson also offers $350 Zoom consultations for artists. Naming opportunities for galleries are available for $75,000 to $250,000.

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Tate Britain Has Re-Hung Its Collection to Better Represent the U.K.’s Past. Here Are 5 Must-See Works That Reflect the Change

It has been ten years since Tate Britain last rehung its permanent collection and, in that time, museums have had something of a reckoning. Broad public and critical opinion have demanded that institutions better reflect the U.K.’s history, by grappling with the darker aspects of the nation’s past, from the legacies of slavery to the erasure of women artists.

Tate’s overhaul has promised to do that, not only by shaking up exactly what is on display (which tops over 800 works), but by adding renewed context and connections between artists, their work, and the wider socio-political context of the day. There is also a much broader understanding of what British art actually means, encompassing a long history of immigration and asylum that dates back to the Tudor era. “This is a chance to not only give space to more marginalized perspectives, but also show that art is not made in a vacuum,” Tate Britain’s Director, Alex Farquharson told Midnight Publishing Group News. “It speaks in complex ways about the society we live in.”

This has meant refining the chronological format of some 40 rooms, to offer more thematic interpretations that might include seismic world events such as World War II or the Haitian revolution, as well as the general sentiment or collective psyche of a period, including the existentialism of the mid 20th-century and the new urbanism of the Victoria era.

Naturally, the demand for beloved works such as David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash and John Everett Millais’ Ophelia to take prime position is high. However, through the introduction of new commissions that can recontextualize familiar pieces, as well as the inclusion of overlooked but nevertheless brilliant artists, this new hang feels all the richer. Here, Farquharson talks us through five of these examples, explaining, “We want to look beyond the frame, to see what is absent as well as what’s in the image.”

Pablo Bronstein, Molly House (2023)

This wonderfully camp acrylic and ink drawing by Argentinian artist Pablo Bronstein depicts an 18th-century “molly house.” These gay clubs were held in coffee houses and private residences in relative secrecy, and were often subjected to violent police raids at a time when homosexuality was punishable by death. Bronstein decided to reimagine this disturbing narrative, utilizing the architectural language of the period and infusing it with an entirely new sensibility.

“He has chosen, rather anachronistically, to depict molly houses as something out and proud,” Farquharson said. “Rather than a typical, discreet Georgian facade, you have an extraordinarily flamboyant Baroque building that is filled with imagery that is offering something of a ‘greatest hits’ of erotic art, from Saint Sebastian to Eros.” Bronstein’s new commission shows the hidden side of life in Georgian London, one that William Hogarth dare not even show in his satirical and moralistic etchings of city life, which are also on display.


William Powell Frith, The Derby Day (1856-8)

William Powell Frith, The Derby Day (1856-8). Photo: Tate Photography.

William Powell Frith, The Derby Day (1856-8). Photo: Tate Photography.

This densely populated panorama celebrates the new possibilities of industrialization in Victorian Britain, specifically the advantages of train travel, yet it is also an exercise in social commentary. The scene depicts people from all walks of life who have come together to witness the annual derby at Epsom Downs in Surrey, and it is filled with vignettes designed to entertain, from lavishly dressed ladies in carriages, to circus performers and pickpockets.

“This is a great example of how the Victorians invented a new form of painting, where there is no real distinction between popular culture and high art,” Farquharson said. “Artists are reflecting more of contemporary life, often on a big scale, with an emphasis on storytelling or high drama. They also invented the blockbuster exhibition. When this painting was first exhibited in 1856 at the Royal Academy people queued around the block. A railing had to be erected to hold the public back and a police presence was required.”

Frith’s picture also gives a sense of the birth of the Tate collection. “The building was originally called the National Gallery of British Art, meaning contemporary Victorian art of the time” Farquharson added. “Much of what is on show in this area of the rehang comes from the collection of the gallery’s founder Henry Tate.” 

Ronald Moody, The Onlooker (1958-62)

Ronald Moody, The Onlooker (1958-62). ©The estate of Ronald Moody. Photo: Tate Photography.

Ronald Moody, The Onlooker (1958-62). ©The estate of Ronald Moody. Photo: Tate Photography.

“In the post-war period Europe and Britain are in ruins, traumatized by war and the horrors of the Holocaust. We enter a world much more without God and existentialism becomes a very popular theory,” Farquharson said. “It was a time of enormous trauma, but also one of renewed freedom, of decolonization and immigration.”

Ronald Moody had already moved to London from Jamaica by the 1920s, but soon abandoned a successful career in dentistry to pursue art in Paris in 1938. He returned to the British capital to escape Nazi occupation, sculpting stunning wood pieces that embody what Farquharson described as “the fragility of humanity, both physically and psychologically.” Carved in teak, The Onlooker presents the figure of the artist as a watchful observer, crouching and wrapping his arms around his body tightly, as if for protection.

The smooth surface is nevertheless scored with the marks of the sculptor’s tools, as well as a natural split in the wood running through the body as if it might fall open. A dark, natural stain in the material also appears just below the figure’s right eye, as if he is crying.

George Stubbs, Haymakers and Reapers (1785)

George Stubbs, Reapers (1785). Photo: Tate Photography.

George Stubbs, Reapers (1785). Photo: Tate Photography.

George Stubbs, Haymakers (1785). Photo: Tate Photography.

George Stubbs, Haymakers (1785). Photo: Tate Photography.

“During the 18th century members of parliament were passing acts that allowed local landowners to ‘enclose’ or rather steal common land, which the working class relied upon to feed themselves and make a living,” Farquharson explained. “There was this perpetual idea that land owning was a genteel and gentlemanly pursuit, both at home and abroad, which is why artists such as George Stubbs created idealized notions of farm work and even slavery, as seen in the nearby painting Dancing Scene in the Caribbean, (1764-96) by Agostino Brunias.”

In these two paintings by Stubbs, who was known for his bucolic scenes and animal pictures, the labor seems almost leisurely, where well-dressed men and women joyfully go about their duty while drenched in sunshine. These visions could not be farther from the realities of backbreaking rural labor.

“These are completely misleading pictures of fantasy,” Farquharson added. “They were designed to propagate a positive image of the landowning class, and to make them feel better about themselves. As part of the rehang we wanted to create dialogue around these works, to once again show what has been left unseen. That is why we introduced Olivia Plender’s Set Sail for the Levant: A Board Game About Debt (for Social Satire) (2007), which uses a Monopoly-style format to show just how cruel the realities of life were in this period. For most members of society, the odds are stacked heavily against you.” 

Ithell Colquhoun, Scylla, 1938

Ithell Colquhoun, Scylla (1938). ©Spire Healthcare, ©Noise Abatement Society, ©Samaritans. Photo: Tate (Joe Humphrys).

Ithell Colquhoun, Scylla (1938). ©Spire Healthcare, ©Noise Abatement Society, ©Samaritans. Photo: Tate (Joe Humphrys).

According to Farquharson, “the rehang better reflects the contributions of women artists throughout Britain’s history, beginning with the Tudor period right up to the present day. We showcase modern masters, including Barbara Hepworth [and the lesser-known] Ithell Colquhoun.” The artist commanded her own form of surrealism, inspired by the coastal surroundings of her adoptive home of Cornwall. While other artists created implicit images of human sexuality, Colquhoun’s Scylla is almost graphic in its dualistic depiction of “female body as seascape.”

The title is a nod to a supernatural, monstrous creature from Greek mythology, who hid in shallow waters to devour unsuspecting prey, including six of Odysseus’s companions. The two rock formations, which double as legs yet also appear somewhat phallic, frame a patch of seaweed, which stands in for public hair. The only presence of the man-made world takes the form of a diminutive sailing boat apparently on course to dock or perhaps crash on the rocks. Such a scene could allude to the unwelcome presence of masculinity imposed on mother nature. Whatever the interpretation, this painting is a fascinating example of women’s vital contribution to surrealism in Britain and beyond.

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