Collector Agnes Gund sells a Lichtenstein to fight mass incarceration; On Stellar Rays to close; Lisson to represent Leon Polk Smith Foundation
Art collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund has sold Roy Lichtenstein’s 1962 Masterpiece for USD$150 million to fund criminal justice reform. Although the transaction took place several months ago, with industry reports appearing in January, it was only confirmed on Monday in The New York Times. The paper reported that Gund used USD$100 million from the sale of the painting – which used to hang in her Upper East Side apartment – in order ‘to create a fund that supports criminal justice reform and seeks to reduce mass incarceration in the United States’. For Gund, much of the decision has been driven by personal factors: six of her grandchildren are African-American, and she has been concerned about them in light of police shootings of unarmed black teenagers, such as Trayvon Martin in 2012. ‘I have always had an extreme sensitivity to inequality,’ Gund told The New York Times. Gund is encouraging other collectors to support the new Art for Justice Fund, which is managed by Rockefeller Philanthropy Partners and the Ford Foundation.
Lisson Gallery has announced it will represent the foundation of painter Leon Polk Smith, in cooperation with Washburn Gallery. This September, Lisson’s New York branch will present an exhibition of works by the ‘hard-edge’ minimalist, most of which have never been displayed before. Smith moved to New York in the early 1940s and acquired a reputation from the late 1950s for his ‘Correspondences' series: large, vibrant canvases filled with twinned, twisting forms. He was a significant influence on hard-edge artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and John McLaughlin.
The inaugural Kuala Lumpur Biennale International Arts Exhibition will run from 1 November 2017 to 31 March 2018. The biennale is organized by the National Visual Arts Gallery of Malaysia, exploring ‘different aspects of love’, and drawing on artists from countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, South Korea, Japan and India. Criticism of the event has already been voiced given Malaysia’s problematic human rights record. Earlier this year, Lasalle College of Arts lecturer Sunitha Janamohanan, warned of the biennale becoming ‘wasteful and indulgent as a mere feature in the tourism calendar, as a government-backed spectacle that makes no lasting impression nor contributes to real development or advancement for the arts, let alone the people’.
New York’s Lower East Side gallery On Stellar Rays will close, after eight years. Owner Candice Madey will relaunch the operation as Stellar Projects, featuring shows by the gallery’s roster, which currently includes Alix Pearlstein, Tamar Halpern and Rochelle Feinstein. You can read our review of Feinstein’s recent show at the gallery, ‘Who Cares’, over here.
The Yokohama Triennale has finalized its artist list for its upcoming edition later this year, opening on 4 August. The sixth edition focuses on the theme of ‘Islands, Constellations and Galapagos,’ reflecting on a world ‘in which conflicting concepts and phenomena are intricately intertwined and constantly in flux’. The artist list includes Ai Weiwei, Jenny Holzer and Olafur Eliasson. Participating artists will present multiple works, to produce ‘a constellation or an archipelago of small solo exhibitions’.