Four standout moments in art 2013
It is always difficult to pick out a handful of highlights of the past year, and with the art world having another blockbuster, interesting and memorable one, the task is near enough impossible.
Consider this then not a definitive list, but a distinctive snapshot among many of some of the moments that had us discussing and debating until the small hours of the night.
Roy Lichtenstein at Tate Modern
Often misunderstood, Roy Lichtenstein is an undeniable genius, a giant not just of pop art, but the twentieth century itself. He is among his contemporaries a great visionary, whose iconic works brought a new conversation to the table.
Tate Modern’s major retrospective paid homage to him in the spring, showcasing his works in a thoughtful and engrossing way. A superficial glance may suggest that his paintings are nothing special, but they are far more technically intense than meets the eye.
Life magazine may have asked in 1964 whether Lichtenstein was the worst artist in the world. Today they may enquire how important he is in the history of art itself.
Sheikha Al-Mayassa tops ArtReview Power 100 list
A name that was not necessarily on the tips of people’s tongues before ArtReview published its latest Power 100 List, Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani is a name that people certainly won’t forget.
Well, the abbreviated form perhaps. Sheikha Al-Mayassa is the head of the Qatar Museum Authority (QMA), which is telling in so far as Qatar is one of the richest countries in the Gulf (and with a capital reach that is extensive).
“Sheikha Al-Mayassa’s influence is not merely confined to international art salerooms and the goings-on in the dusty Gulf state,” the magazine stated at the time. “The QMA sponsored last year’s Damien Hirst retrospective at Tate, a version of which is now in Doha, and this year it sponsored a cultural exchange with Britain under the banner Qatar UK 2013.”
Nazi looted art treasure trove uncovered
Believe to collectively be worth around €1 billion (£846 million), the discovery of a treasure trove of works of art looted by the Nazis (found two years ago, but only revealed in November 2013) is considered one of the most important findings in history.
It includes works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, many of which were thought have been destroyed or at least lost forever (16,000 paintings and sculptures were seized illegally by the Nazis when they were in power).
Many of the works discovered are now in the process of being documented, details of which are then being released in the hope that they can be returned to the heirs of their original owners.
Bacon and Warhol
Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol achieved record sales at auction in November with Three Studies of Lucien Freud and Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) respectively selling for £89 million and £65 million.
It was another show of strength from the art market, which has, since the financial crisis, transformed itself into a robust, billion dollar industry, where there is seemingly no upper limit to what a work of art can realise.
In particular, it is evident that we are experiencing an era of immense popularity for post-war and contemporary works of art, and 2014 is set to continue in this manner.
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