The Easel

24th December 2019

The Most Important Art Exhibitions of the 2010s

“Best of” articles usually stand little chance of getting into The Easel. Yet, by looking across a decade of activity, this one neatly highlights art world trends. Diversity is the meta-theme du jour – female artists, identity art (in all its varieties), outsider art, globalism. The runner-up meta-theme is probably technology.  A discussion piece on ‘key’ artists serves a similar purpose.

Art forgers face a new challenge from high-tech authenticators

Authenticity underpins an artwork’s value. Much rests on the catalogue raisonné. Scholars doing this painstaking work have become cautious in the face of more and better forgeries, a perceived decline in connoisseurship and threats of legal action by those adversely affected. Observes one writer, excluding a work from the catalogue raisonné “is the kiss of death and Mr Collector doesn’t like being kissed that way”.

17th December 2019

In Defense of Maurizio Cattelan’s Banana

You may have heard about a banana taped to the wall of a booth at Art Basel Miami. Three editions of the “work” were sold, for big money. Was it meant to be serious? Satire is always serious. Is it art? Cue Warhol’s observation – art “is what you can get away with”. The sense of art world critique is overwhelming: “Buying art now is about being seen in the right circles and acquiring the right names.”

David Hammons follows his own rules

A classic. A backgrounder about David Hammons, the reclusive artist “at the summit of the art world”, for whom “lords of the art world turn somersaults”. ““I just can’t talk about how [my artworks] came about, because it’s so personal—it’s almost like raping me to talk about it.” Hammons, I realized, was close to tears. Dodie said, “We don’t have to talk about that, or about anything. It’s wonderful just to be here.””