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A Year in Art - Events That Shaped 2018

  • Banksy - Love is in the Bin, 2018
December 14, 2018
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

The year 2018 is going to end soon, and it was quite an exciting one when it comes to art events. Lots of different emotions hovered in the air from one month to another spanning from fascination, to disbelief, to shock.

The most outrages event of the year definitely had to do with the excess which occurred at a Sotheby’s auction when just after the biding was over, Banksy’s work self-destroyed. It was huge news which sparked a series of debates around the impact of the art market. On the other hand, some of the legendary artists passed away such as Robert Morris, one of the leading proponents of Minimalism; Helena Almeida, an important Portuguese multi-disciplinary artist best known for her body performances; and Stan Lee, the renowned American comic book writer, editor, and publisher famous for creating Spiderman and The X Man.

These are just some of the momentous happenings, but we prepared for you a list of crucial events which marked the year 2018, from controversies and inspiring changes to new museums opening and new art world records.

Featured image: Banksy – Love is in the Bin. Image courtesy of the artist.

  • Putting Chuck Close's Subway Portraits together, via wikimedia

Drawing the Line of Sexual Harassment in the Art World

The end of 2017 and the beginning of this year brought allegations of sexual harassment allegedly performed by renowned American artist Chuck Close. Namely, accusations varied from inviting models to the studio under false pretenses and rude commenting, to more serious allegations of bodily “inspections” and sexual demands.

The public eye was so passionate about the case that it escalated to such an extent that some of the most important state institutions such as The Seattle University removed his work, and artists such as Emma Sulkowicz released protest performances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

Featured image: Putting Chuck Close’s Subway Portraits together, via wikimedia.org. All images via Wikimedia Commons

  • President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley © Kehinde Wiley

The Official Obama Portrait(s) by Kehinde Wiley Unveiled

As it is well known, Barack Obama was the first African-American President in US history inaugurated in 2008. In order to honor him and the first lady in 2017 two African-American artists, Kehinde Wiley (who produced Barack’s realistic portrait set against a green background) and Amy Sherald (who produced Michelle’s portrait in a slightly abstract manner) were commissioned to produce the portraits of the presidential couple for the very first time. The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. had the honor of unveiling them this year on February 12th, and the ceremony was a part of their collection’s 50th anniversary.

Featured image: Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley.

  • H&M Revok

The Revok vs H and M Saga

The dissolution of conflict of interests between LA street artist Revok and Swedish clothing retailer H&M definitely marked this year. Initially, the artist threatened to sue a company since they misused his work in their marketing campaign. Namely, the company issued a promo video for their New Routine collection featuring a male model “interacting” with a wall painted by Revok, aka Jason Williams located in Brooklyn. Although the artist urged the company to remove the work, they declined by explaining that it is an illegal act and so it gives no copyright rights and so they responded with a lawsuit.

Finally, through an Instagram Story update, H&M issued a statement that they withdraw themselves from the whole thing, although the campaign featuring the questionable video is still on H&M’s website.

  • Banksy, Coney Island Avenue

Banksy Takes New York, Again

Banksy went on to produce his first public works in New York since 2013. It started with his trademark rat set against a clock on the facade of a former bank.

The second was made in collaboration with his peer street artist Borfon the corner of Houston Street and the Bowery, and it is a sign of protest after the imprisonment of Zehra Doğan, a Turkish-Kurdish artist and journalist accused by the Turkish government of ties to the Kurdish resistance movement. The other murals were produced in Brooklyn, and much more descriptive than the first one.

  • LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana

Robert Indiana Dies

In May 2018, one of the leading proponents of Pop Art, and one of the best known American artists Robert Indiana passed away at the age of 89. It is a mere coincidence that this year was also the fiftieth anniversary of his most famous work LOVE, which became one of the most iconic modern artworks and perhaps one of the best selling items  of all times.

It is important to state that this renowned artist died just one day after a controversy happened over legislative control of his work culminating with a federal lawsuit.

Featured image: LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana, on the corner of 6th Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan, NY, by Hu Totya via Wikimedia Commons

  • STPI's booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2014

Art Basel Makes Changes

This autumn, Art Basel, as one of the most prolific art fairs, announced new booth pricing structure starting in 2019. It will be the first step towards a different art fair reality for smaller galleries, and the very decision came just a couple of months after the gallerist David Zwirner announce taxing of bigger galleries at art conference organized by the New York Times in Berlin in April. The debate then led to questioning whether the participation costs for small and mid-sized galleries in art fairs should be decreased. The general impression is that this is decision undertaken by Art Basel a significant step which is going to be an example for other big art to follow.

Featured image: STPI’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2014

  • Banksy at Sotheby's

Banksy's Artwork Self-Destructs

One of the most shocking art events of 2018 (and beyond) which took place at Sotheby’s auction in London was the self-destruction of Banksy’s painting Girl With Balloon (now titled Love is in the Bin). Just two minutes after the work was sold to a bidder for £1.04 million in front of the very eyes of the attendees an alarm was heard canvas was cut in pieces by an internal shredder hidden in the frame. This event caused quite a stir in the entire art world posing a number of different questions in regards to the art market, originality of the artwork, etc.

Featured image: Banksy at Sotheby’s

  • Andy Warhol - Ethel Scull 36 Times, 1963

Andy Warhol's First US Retrospective in 30 Years Opens at The Whitney

Andy Warhol is undoubtedly one of the best-known artists of the entire twentieth century, his multimedia practice was highly innovative and his personality extremely authentic. The domains of this notable figure are still being explored from different perspectives and his works are being sold for outrages amounts on auctions. A thorough retrospective of his work did not happen for three decades, so The Whitney Museum of American Art decided to present the best-equipped survey of entire Warhol’s oeuvre under the title From A to Be and Back Again.

Featured image: Andy Warhol – Ethel Scull 36 Times, 1963. Silkscreen ink and acrylic on linen, thirty-six panels: 80 × 144 in. (203.2 × 365.8 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; jointly owned by the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art; gift of Ethel Redner Scull 86.61a‒jj © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York. Image courtesy The Whitney

  • Charlotte Proger by Emile Holba

Charlotte Prodger Wins Turner Prize 2018

The last important event of this year was a proclamation of the 2018 Turner Prize winner and that is Glasgow-based artist Charlotte Prodger. This figure is best known for working with moving image, printed image, sculpture, and writing. Especially her latest film Bridgit, a highly personal narrative shot entirely with her iPhone, which stood out among other contestants and enabled her to win. In addition to the Turner Prize and recognition she received, Prodger will also represent Scotland at the 58th Venice Biennale next year.

Featured image: Featured image: Charlotte Prodger by Emile Holba.