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Simon Watson
Simon Watson is an independent curator, critic and art advisor based in New York City and Sao Paulo. A New York art world veteran with extensive experience in Brazil’s exploding contemporary art scene, Watson has curated hundreds of exhibitions worldwide and advised on art collections for galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions, as well as for private collectors. Founder of the Simon Says and Simon Says Brazil guides to contemporary art and culture, Watson is a regular contributor to Whitewall, the magazine of contemporary art and lifestyle, and Dasartes, the leading Portuguese language art magazine in Brazil. Watson's Tumblr is here.

Watson's area of expertise is spotting and promoting emerging artists with outstanding potential, many of whom have since gained international recognition. Since 1985, every Whitney Biennial has included at least two artists whose careers Watson was instrumental in launching, including Lucas Arruda, Lutz Bacher, Sue de Beer, Carroll Dunham, Nicole Eisenman, Tony Feher, Keltie Ferris, Louise Fishman, Deborah Kass, Sherrie Levine, Denise Milan, Marilyn Minter, Paul P., Adam Pendleton, Jack Pierson, Richard Prince, Martha Rosler, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, Tunga, and Kehinde Wiley. These artists are now also represented by some of the most established galleries in the United States.

A former faculty member at School of Visual Arts, Watson has delivered hundreds of talks on contemporary art for museum trustees and business, as well as for art school audiences. He has been a guest lecturer at dozens of universities (CalArts, Columbia, Hunter, UCLA, and Yale) and a wide variety of museums (Bronx Museum, Dia Center, MoMA, the New Museum, San Francisco MoMA, Studio Museum, and the Whitney).

Entries by Simon Watson

Heaven or Hell or Both

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 12:31 PM

Installation view, Mark Bradford, Be Strong Boquan at Hauser and Wirth -- Deimos (film still), 2015; digital video with audio

MARK BRADFORD'S EXHIBITION Be Strong Boquan, now in Chelsea at Hauser and Wirth -- a gallery located on the former site of the...

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Ai Weiwei In Paris

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 6:47 PM

Installation view: The Bear, from Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, in Paris

IN THE PAST two weeks, I've been in London and Paris. Along with thousands of other contemporary art aficionados, I went to London for the Frieze art fair...

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Immersion in Light

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 2:58 PM

Installation view, "Dan Flavin: Corners, Barriers, and Corridors," at David Zwirner in New York: two works from Flavin's 1971 series, untitled (to Barnett Newman)

"DAN FLAVIN: CORNERS, BARRIERS, AND CORRIDORS," now on view in Chelsea at David Zwirner, is a glorious immersion in...

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New Museums: The Broad and the Whitney

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 2:25 PM

The exterior of Los Angeles's new Broad Museum

I'VE JUST RETURNED from an exhilarating four-day art tour of Los Angeles with leading art collectors Zoë and Joel Dictrow, during which we visited four museums, six artist studios, and more than twenty galleries. One...

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With Mera and Don Rubell in Brazil

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2015 | 5:27 PM

Art collectors Mera and Don Rubell (center) with Simon Watson (at left) in the studio of artist Nuno Ramos (at right), in front of a painting by Ramos that is now on view at São Paulo's Estação Pinacoteca

IT WAS A thrill...

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A World Scrambling Forward

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2015 | 1:15 PM

Sao Paulo, Brazil

IN THE LAST two months, I've spent time not just in New York but in two other megacities that, while a hemisphere apart, are actually quite similar in "ecocultural" terms, São Paulo and Cairo. The home of 20...

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5 Things to Know About Hamdy Reda

(1) Comments | Posted March 8, 2015 | 6:56 PM

Hamdy Reda: Untitled Photograph (Pyramids)

1. At the age of only 35, Egyptian artist Hamdy Reda is a legend in Cairo's art world, not just for his artwork -- photographs of Egyptian people and places that capture the performative as well as...

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Miami Communiqué

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2014 | 9:32 AM


Paris's new Fondation Louis Vuitton, design by Frank Gehry: "Vaux le voyage..."

AND THE HIGH-PITCHED art world whining continues....

All through the week of events and art fairs surrounding Art Basel Miami Beach I heard constant griping about Miami's...

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A Brazil-Bound American Art Star

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2014 | 2:15 PM


R. H. Quaytman, O Tópico, Chapter 27 (2014); installation view, Barbara Gladstone Gallery

WHILE AT ART Basel Miami Beach, a week ago, I found myself encouraging people to join me on my annual April pilgrimage to Inhotim -- the...

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Jeff Koons at the Whitney

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 7:03 PM

Among the highlights of the Whitney Museum's Jeff Koons retrospective, Play-Doh -- a "ten-foot-tall, metastasized childhood nightmare in painted aluminum that has taken Koons two decades to realize, in all its luridly DayGlo, dog-poop creepiness..."

THINK YOU'VE SEEN it all before?...

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78 Hours on the Los Angeles Art Scene

(1) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 4:51 PM

The opening of the UCLA Hammer Museum's Made in LA 2014 exhibition

ANNUALLY FOR THE past four years, I've made a Los Angeles art pilgrimage in the company of prominent New York collectors Zoë and Joel Dictrow. With me piloting the...

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Young Chinese Artists

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2014 | 11:57 PM

Chinese artist Sun Xun with his painting installation at Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg (Florida), part of the historic museum show, My Generation: Young Chinese Artists

GO FIGURE. A new artistic generation has appeared in China and they have something new...
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School's Out for the Summer!

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 1:57 PM

The opening of The School, a new arts space in Kinderhook, New York, by Jack Shainman Gallery

This past Saturday, the teeny-tiny town of Kinderhook, New York, located three hours north of New York City by car, was invaded by hundreds...

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The 'Financial Times' Said What...?!

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 4:49 PM


Brazilian artist Lygia Clark (1920-1988)

LAST WEEK THE Museum of Modern Art opened the much anticipated retrospective Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948-1988 and it is a tour-de-force.

Organized by two gifted curators Luis Pérez-Oramas -- who...

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(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 12:56 PM


Soprano Ok-ja Lim, in Rainer Ganahl's "El Mundo"

In the last hour of yesterday's Sunday stroll through the Lower East Side gallery scene, I stumbled upon a wonderful sub-theme of storefronts and the memories they contain.

Corin Hewitt's "The Third Station" architectural installation...

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Channeling Modernist Ghosts and the Death Star

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 2:12 PM


Robert Longo's dueling Chelsea solo shows at Metro Pictures and Petzel Gallery are spectacularly stunning. Above, at Petzel, "Untitled (Capitol)," 2012-'13; charcoal on paper

Robert Longo's Gang of Cosmos at Metro Pictures includes 12, ghostly black-and-white charcoal drawings based...

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Ouro Preto: A Colonial City's Lessons

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 4:43 PM

Ouro Preto's Santa Efigenia Church

ON THE SECOND day of my Brazilian art collector tour we visited Ouro Preto, a Brazilian colonial town nestled in a mountainous region in the center of the state of Minas Gerais, 423 miles northeast of...

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Inhotim: Eighth Great Wonder of the Art World

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 11:51 AM


Opened to the public in 2006 by former mining magnate Bernardo Paz, the Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim is 5000-acre botanical garden designed by the late landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx, containing two dozen art "pavilions."

I'm currently...

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On the Sunny Lower East Side

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 5:29 PM

Even the "unmarked," alleyway entrance to Freemans felt sunny...

SIX OF US gathered at Freemans, on New York's Lower East Side, for a cozy Sunday brunch of rustic-style skillet eggs, seasonal aperitifs and single malt Scotch. Then, since it was warmer...

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(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 12:56 PM


Keltie Ferris: Body Prints at Chapter NY

Keltie Ferris: Body Prints
Chapter NY
127 Henry Street, New York, NY 10002
Through March 30
Hours: Sat-Sun, 11-6

Keltie Ferris has just opened a stunning exhibition of "body...

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