Arts & Culture

The Perfect Art Reads to Start Spring With 

Our top picks of stories from our friends at Art & Object.

By Sekka

With the warmer weather comes an exciting calendar filled with art events, and happenings that we don’t want to miss out on. Our partners, Art & Object, have recently published inspiring articles about artists, art institutions and events that tell just how exciting the season ahead will be. As always, we share with you our top five picks.

Art & Object is a fine art news website that brings readers the latest art news and most important art stories. Its mission is to inform collectors and drive the conversation about art. Founded in 2017, it is based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

  1. From Hines to Christo: How Artists Influence Other Artists

Christo and Jeanna-Claude. Still from Christo and Jeanne-Claude Wrap Up the Reichstag. Image: Via Art & Object.

Even Picasso, whose groundbreaking work seemed unprecedented in its time, knew that while originality in art is prized, art is not created in a vacuum. Every artist is influenced by those who came before them but, for some, that influence is more obvious or more profound than others. Many historians believe Shakespeare often stole plot lines and even whole scenes from other writers for his plays.

The thematic and technical similarities that characterise art movements are due in large measure to the deliberate imitation of seminal works of art. Modernism saw the appearance of manifestos, text documents that outlined not only the philosophy of its adherents but also stylistic boundaries that defined whole movements; Surrealism, Futurism, Constructivism and Fluxus, among others.

Art students are often under the thrall of their teachers, copying their work as a learning exercise or to curry favour, but the end goal is to move beyond your instructor and carve out some new, ‘original’ territory for which you will be recognised and rewarded with grants, prizes, gallery representation and rising prices at auction. Read more

2. Waging Image Wars in ‘Extraction, Art on the Edge of the Abyss’

Ben Knight. Installation of I Am the Change by Jetsonorama. Photograph by Ben Knight, via Art & Object.

Natural and unnatural disasters have been the source of inspiration for artists since Mount Vesuvius erupted covering the southern Italian city of Pompeii with ash in 79 AD and perhaps, even earlier. Beauty can be found amidst destruction and artists are uniquely positioned to see connections and create order when others only find chaos. But there is a gulf between seducing us with the patterns found in the ruins of environmental degradation and the enlightenment that must precede the action to do something about it. ‘Extraction, Art on the Edge of the Abyss’ is a global consortium of artists, galleries, museums and environmental activists that intend to bridge that gulf.

As the effects of climate change become increasingly undeniable, the impacts– polluted ground water, frequent floods interspersed with longer droughts, never ending wildfires, bigger and more catastrophic storms– are being driven in large part by extraction technologies removing vast amounts of resources from the earth. To maintain our consumer-based culture we must acquire our fuel and precious minerals necessary for anything requiring a computer chip by digging or pumping or flushing or exploding vast areas, leaving scars on the land like open wounds.

Photographer David Maisel, who has made natural resource extraction and its consequences his focus for nearly thirty years, is one of the more than 500 artists included in the Extraction, Art on the Edge of the Abyss. He shows us what environmental devastation looks like. His series Desolation Desert on the transformation of Chile’s vast Atacama Desert into an unworldly landscape is both painterly and horrifying. Read more

3. Abstraction & Figuration in ‘Bischoff/Burckhardt: A Dialogue’

Installation view, Elmer Bischoff/Tom Burckhardt: A Dialogue, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

A Dialogue, now at New York’s George Adams Gallery, creates a visual conversation between influential twentieth-century Bay-Area painter Elmer Bischoff (1916–1991) and contemporary New York-based painter Tom Burckhardt, drawing interesting parallels between Bischoff’s monumental abstractions and Burckhardt’s abstracted heads.

Both artists have a long history of pushing the boundaries between abstraction and figuration. In fact, Burckhardt has said that Bischoff’s ability to ‘jump back and forth, or blur the border’ between the two helped him to see the demarcation between figuration and abstraction as a ridiculous construct.

Coming from different generations, the two artists never met, though, as a student, Burckhardt was exposed to Bischoff and others involved in Abstract Expressionism and the Bay Area Figurative Movement. The ‘sense of feel’ in Bischoff’s work appealed to Burckhardt; it was ‘a kind of a human touch’ different from the New York intellectualism he grew up with, and he melded these disparate approaches into a personal, visual language. Read more

4. Denver RiNo Art District: The U.S. Capital of Street Art

Rino Mural Program. Photo by @Nikkiaraephotography.

RiNo Art District envelops four Denver neighborhoods and features more than 200 murals. As executive director and co-founder of the RiNo Art District Tracy Weil told Art & Object in a telephone interview, AFAR proclaimed the district, ‘Street Art Capital of the U.S.’ in 2019. To back up this claim to fame he adds, ‘Wynwood Walls in Miami has a lot of murals, but our district is 400 acres, so we have a bigger footprint.’

The murals, which adorn the exteriors of public and private buildings, are more than pretty and they generate pretty pennies. The outdoor gallery transformed neighborhoods once known for their gritty railyards, mucky riverbeds and some of the world’s worst air pollution. Now, RiNo is a destination that draws visitors. Read more

5. Howard Smith’s Accumulative Practice Captured by ‘Marks in Time’

Howard Smith, Beginnings #6, 2002-21. Oil on linen. Image courtesy of Jane Lombard Gallery, via Art & Object.

Howard Smith is a great accumulator of marks and lines, shapes and colours. And, he is master of the in-between: be it within his works, in the spaces holding his audiences, or on the gallery walls. A sense of time, too, is embedded in how his paintings are made and how they are perceived.

His gathering of marks ‘is about making a language,’ he says.

‘I couldn’t do enough to get clarity, so I made groupings.’ He divided them into categories—‘Families,’ ‘Beginnings’ and ‘Universes.’ ‘It’s a matter of time—an ongoing project.’

He began working with small groupings, inspired by the sight of little jade sculptures of Chinese warriors in burial suits composed of jade tiles, each inscribed with a character. Each of his paintings is like a cameo performer whose role is determined by those of its surrounding actors. Read more

The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.