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Big news in the larger art world this week, as well! An aggrieved Warhol collector has given up his fight against the Pop artist's foundation, the Venice Biennale received a name (and a theme), and FIAC closed with news of buoyant sales. Meanwhile, Cyprien Gaillard took home the prestigious Duchamp prize, and artists joined forces with Christie's executives to fight Prop 8 with -- what else? -- an art auction. Picking the most surprising news of the week is considerably trickier, with a new contemporary-art-flavored Houdini show battling with the launch of new State Department-initiated artist-diplomat program for that honor.
But enough of the news. On to this week's (blockbuster-filled) openings!
What would the recent canonization of performance art have looked like if Ana Mendieta -- who died in 1985, at the age of 36 -- were alive to participate in it? Just two years younger than that movement's mascot, Marina Abramovic, Mendieta fled Cuba early in her life, settling in Iowa. Like Abramovic, she started as a painter, but the parallels end there: while the Belgrade-born star went on to conceive work that (with a few exceptions) was designed to operate inside gallery walls, Mendieta often staged her performative actions outdoors, imprinting her body on a beach and snapping a photo, or burying herself in mud and posing for one. This show, Lelong's eight posthumous show of her work, includes material from her archives alongside newly restored films.
For her second show at Metro Pictures, this Polish artist shifts her focus from the graphic design of Cold War propaganda to the knitting patterns of Cold War sweaters, in new paintings that are based on decades-old Polish postcards bearing designs for the garments. Thanks to experts she hired in Poland, the sweaters will also be on display, sporting designs that range from Mary Heilmann-style controlled masses of color to intricate, hard-edged Tomma Abts-esque abstractions.
Collier Schorr began at 303 not as an artist but an intern in the 1980s -- one of her first jobs was to guard a Jeff Koons basketball-filled fish tank, a recent New York magazine profile revealed. In this new show, the precision-minded conceptual photographer is continuing her exploration of life in the German town of Schwäbisch Gmünd, photographing the female figure, which, a press release says, "harkens both end of the War, the end of German History and renewal." There are more immediate, straightforward works, too: a small banner at the entrance of the show will greet visitors with this news: "The Fucking War Is Over."
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