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Will Sheldon “Detached” at Heidi, Berlin


Perhaps what this is all about is a disguised account of Will Sheldon’s interiority. But it has been complexified with separate narratorial levels, with a disorienting overlapping of perspectives and representations that undermines the process of recognition or identification proper to the autobiographical reading.

Body parts are detached here—which is usually characteristic of studies, in the like of Eugene Delacroix’—but so are affections; cynicism has been added into it all. There is something also akin to Pierre Klossowski’s take on the simulacrum. There is no distinction between reality and its depiction anymore.

The ambivalence, made of attraction and repulsion that is so typical of Sheldon’s work, cleaves the subjects: characters are thus “divided” (or detached?)—between a quantity of sentiments that their environments send back to them, to us. We’re witnessing a forgery; a forgery of identity/ies by means of a fanatical repetition of modicums. Through their prismatic selves, we can only access a blurred vision of the painter’s essence.

However, even if everything is detached, everything coheres in an intimism a la Edouard Vuillard or Pierre Bonnard. Some domestic scenes and familiar faces can be discerned in these works. The depiction of light, the use of color, and the apprehension of perspective are also in similitude with the ones of the movement.

Will Sheldon is showing us the clandestine, the confidential entry, the escape hatch, maybe even the key to understanding his work. This mix of mediums (paintings and drawings, oils and crayons); this mix of techniques (departing from the airbrush to probe the classical paintbrush); this mix of subject matters he has been obsessing over to this day (from the BJDs and the portraits, to the architectural elements); this sensible attempt to make a painting of his drawings; these different chronicles; everything, he is covertly and reservedly trying to show us everything, all of the confidential and personal. This is a potlach1, he detached a piece of himself, what a beautiful offering!

at Heidi, Berlin
until April 15, 2023

1 A potlatch is a gift-giving ceremony as practiced on the Northwest Coast of North America. It was recorded by numerous ethnographers, including Franz Boas, and has been re-analyzed by several authors or philosophers such as Marcel Mauss or Georges Bataille.

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Hannah Rowan “Tides in The Body” at C+N Gallery CANEPANERI, Milan


Hannah Rowan’s work explores the slippery complexities of water that draws together a liquid relationship between the human body and geological and ecological systems. She works across sculpture, installation, performance, video and sound to explore the uncertain form of materials.

“Tides in the Body” explores the intertidal realm and watery embodiment that is informed by her recent residency in Greenland. The title for the exhibition is borrowed from a phrase by Virginia Woolf and is further elaborated on by Hydrofeminist theorist Astrida Neimanis: “Water as body; water as communicator between bodies; water as facilitating bodies into being. Entity, medium, transformative and gestational milieu. All of this enfolding in, seeping from, sustaining and saturating, our bodies of water. ‘There are tides in the body,’ writes Virginia Woolf.” (Neimanis, 2017)

The main space of the gallery includes sculptures in cast bronze, hand blown glass, melting ice and ceramics. The back room of the gallery shows a video projection of a performance film exploring the movement of ocean tides and melting ice in Greenland. The intertidal realm is further explored through a series of wall-based ceramics, cyanotypes, and photography.

The intertidal realm is a liminal space on the shore between high and low tide, where land and sea meet, the intertidal zone is underwater during high tide and exposed to air during low tide. Rowan’s work takes ideas of porous and leaky boundaries to work with motifs of saltwater, tidal movements, melting ice and aquatic beings who inhabit the intertidal realm such as oysters, muscles, seaweed, jellyfish and octopus.

Rowan is informed by Hydrofeminist theory and feminist new materialism in her research and sculpture, she is interested in exploring material intimacy, touch, memory, gesture and the relationship between the body and earth’s living system. Her sculptures and performances dissolve boundaries between self and other and explore a merging of human and non-human bodies. Central to her work are ideas of transformation, ephemerality and becoming, her sculptures foreground material liveness, animacy and interaction.

Rowan’s work involves an ephemeral chain of events unfolding through material states: transformation, growth, reaction, adaptation, evolution and degradation, and reflects upon an essence of time in which the relationship between different materials act upon or support each other. As she explains, “I am interested in working with a wide array of materials and forming intricate connections and assemblages with these elements through a fluid process.” “Often water plays a role in relation to the material states of these other components,” the artist continues. Rowan finds deep relationships between elements often considered inanimate but in fact just operate on different timescales.

Curated by
Tatiana Martyanova

at C+N Gallery CANEPANERI, Milan
until April 24, 2023

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French Protestors Block Entrance to the Louvre Amid Nationwide Strike – ARTnews.com


The mass protests across France over a proposed new policy that raises the retirement age reached the Louvre on Monday as a crowd blocked the museum’s entrance, leaving tourists frustrated.

The peaceful demonstrators gathered outside the Paris museum’s glass pyramid, singing and wielding banners that read “Work less to live more” and “Museums mobilized against the pension reform.” Several Louvre employees reportedly joined the protest.

Speaking into a microphone, a tour guide who didn’t appear to be affiliated with the Louvre attempted to explain what was happening to the tourists, some of whom had purchased time-sensitive tickets. “You are here to see the Mona Lisa,” she said in a video shared by the Independent. “But now are you experiencing something much more interesting than the Louvre—you are experiencing the French protest.”

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PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: A general view at the David Yurman Paris Flagship Grand Opening at Louvre on July 05, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images For David Yurman)

It is unclear from the video whether the listeners appreciated the sentiment.

“This is ridiculous, we come from everywhere in the world with our children to visit a museum and it’s ridiculous that 20 people are blocking the entrance,” a Mexican tourist told Reuters.

In a statement posted to social media, the Louvre said it could not open “for now.” The museum did not specify when it would begin allowing visitors again. 

More than a million people have protested for weeks against pension reforms that push the retirement age from 62 to 64 and require workers fund the pension system for longer.

The unpopular law was enshrined by French President Emmanuel Macron through a constitutional loophole after parliament vowed to reject it. The protests have caused disruptions to transportation and schools, as well as a crisis of trash piling on the streets after garbage collectors joined the strike.

Thursday saw the first spasm of violence as the front door of the city hall in Bordeaux was set on fire. Meanwhile, in Paris, vandals smashed newspaper stands and hurled smoke bombs at police, who responded with force late into the night.

In a statement, Paris police said they were prepared to prevent a second protest from forming outside another popular museum, the Centre Pompidou.

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Alice Pasquini | B-Road, New Exhibition in Rome


About Alice Pasquini

Alice Pasquini (b.1980) lives and works in Rome. Recognized by the sector with an extraordinary response, she is an internationally renowned artist who works all over the globe. Exhibitions of her works are on urban surfaces, in galleries and museums in hundreds of cities worldwide (Sydney, Singapore, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Oslo, New York, Buenos Aires, Yogyakarta, Barcelona, ​​Copenhagen, Marrakech, Saigon, Rome, Naples, and more).

Pasquini has lived and worked in Great Britain, France, and Spain where she completed coursework in animation at the Ars animación school in Madrid. In 2004, she also obtained an MA in critical art studies at the Universidad Complutense.

Street Art

Due to her traveler attitude, Alice’s preferred canvases are city walls. The Roman artist, both a street artist and painter, as well as an illustrator and set designer, has developed different threads in her research, from narrating feminine vitality to manipulating the three-dimensional possibilities of her work. She moves from urban explorations to installations using found materials.

Street Art works ranges from small interventions on street furniture to large murals. Among Alice’s works on canvas exhibitions are: the Saatchi Gallery, the MACRO Rome, the Centro de Arte Barcelona, ​​and the Espace Pierre Cardin. It is included in the Treccani Encyclopedia online and on Wikipedia.

Pasquini was a guest of numerous interviews and the protagonist of dedicated reports on Rai, Sky Arte, and Arte. Alice also attended TEDx Talks and has various collaborations with many Italian Cultural Institutes worldwide. 

Ultimately, she is the creator and artistic director of the Cvtà Street Fest, an international Street Art festival since 2016. With Medina Art Gallery, she participates in the International Fair of Modern and Contemporary Art Rome Arte in Nuvola 2022. 



When: From March 25th to April 05th, 2023

Where: Medina Art Gallery – Via Merulana 220, Rome. 

Pasquini’s project B-Road results from a journey to those places where life slows down and goes back to the streets. B-Roads are secondary paths, a suburban parallel universe where lives and communities meet more than in main streets where everything homologates.

Picture the road as the metaphor for the life path. In that case, the secondary road amplifies the sense of a personal journey in which digressions, changes of route, and loopholes are necessary. 

Many works of unprecedented interest in energy, intensity, and fullness are on display.

Among these is the artificial nest, designed to house and protect birds engaged in the delicate stages of nesting and brooding. It becomes hope and shelter for humans: a place of passage and a crossroads from which to start again. Pushing us deeper, the lightness of the moment cannot avoid the memory of the migration and the precariousness of all the human communities that cannot find shelter.


Follow Alice on Instagram, or visit her website here >


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Eiffel Tower Inspired ‘Starry Night,’ Historian Says—and More Art News – ARTnews.com


To receive Morning Links in your inbox every weekday, sign up for our Breakfast with ARTnews newsletter.

The Headlines

JIM HARITHAS, the freewheeling curator who cofounded two key Houston art institutions, died last week at the age of 90, the Houston Chronicle reports. With his wife, Ann Harithas, who died in 2021, Harithas established the Station Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Car Museum. The Station Museum, which opened in 2001 and shuttered indefinitely late last year, presented a wide array of venturesome art, from the local to the international. The Art Car Museum focuses on Houston’s annual Art Car Parade. Harithas came to the city to serve as director of its Contemporary Arts Museum, a position he held from 1974 to 1978. Prior to that, he had led the Everson Museum of Art (where Yoko Ono’s first museum show generated a rumor of a Beatles reunion) in Syracuse, New York, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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A modernist building—glass, metal, and concrete, a couple stories tall—is seen from its front. It looks a bit futuristic on this clear day.

ALL PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY. Following news that a Florida principal was pressured to resign after sixth-grade students were shown an image of Michelangelo’s David (1501–04), the museum where it resides, the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy, invited parents and the students from the school to come and have a look, the Associated Press reports. “To think that David could be pornographic means truly not understanding the contents of the Bible, not understanding Western culture and not understanding Renaissance art,” its director, Cecilie Hollberg, said. Florence’s mayor also invited the ousted principal, Hope Carrasquilla, to come through. Carrasquilla said that she may accept, explaining to the AP that, while she has visited the piece before, “I would love to go and be a guest of the mayor.”

The Digest

The artist Koo Jeong A will represent South Korea at the 2024 Venice Biennale. Organizing the pavilion will be Jacob Fabricius, the director of the Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark, and Lee Sun-hee, its director. The exhibition will involve “invisible elements such as scents and temperatures,” Kim Da-sol reports. [The Korea Herald]

Sotheby’s hit pause on an online auction, “Natively Digital: Glitch-ism,” after one of the artists in the sale, Patrick Amadon, raised concern its lack of female-identifying artists. The auction house said it will hold the event later with “a more equitable and diverse group of artists.” [Decrypt]

Archaeologists studying the burial of a man in the second century at a Roman necropolis on the edge of Sagalassos in Turkey found more than three dozen bent or twisted nails. A new paper argues that they were part of an occult practice aimed at ensuring the dead did not return. [The New York Times]

The art historian James Hall has proposed that Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 The Starry Night was inspired by the then-new Eiffel Tower and the fireworks surrounding its inauguration, which are channeled in the “pyrotechnical music of the stars, sky, and clouds” in the artist’s legendary piece, Hall writes. [The Guardian]

Meet Markus Dochantschi, the architect behind a bevy of major New York art spaces in recent years, from the new-ish Phillips auction house in Midtown to the forthcoming Tribeca locations of Marian Goodman and Alexander Gray Associates. His thoughts on the white cube? “I’m a bit tired of it,” he said. [The New York Times]

At an event on Friday, Greece marked the donation of three fragments of the Parthenon from the Vatican Museums to the Greek Orthodox Church. “This act by Pope Francis is of historical significance and has a positive impact on all levels,” Archbishop Ieronymos II said. [The Associated Press]

The Kicker

GAMECHANGER. In the New York TimesMatt Flegenheimer and Kate Kelly have a robust profile of Steve Cohen, the billionaire art collector and hedge-funder who is now the big-spending owner of the Mets. He has gone from “a reclusive avatar of scofflaw capitalism to an avuncular Twitterer who could probably be elected Queens borough president by acclamation,” they write. Once known for running a highly intense workplace, Cohen said, “I’ve mellowed.” Because of the huge player contracts he is paying, Major League Baseball has instituted a so-called Cohen Tax aimed at penalizing such deals. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo told the Times that Cohen said of that rule change: “It’s an honor. Wouldn’t you want a tax named after you?” [NYT]

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How Artist S.H. Raza Broke New Ground for Modernism – ARTnews.com


When the artist Sayed Haider Raza (1922–2016) was a child living in a small, forested village in in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, his teacher drew a circle on the board and told him to concentrate on it to stay focused.

Years later, the circle returned into the artist’s life, this time drawn by S.H. Raza himself on his now iconic paintings depicting the bindu. Sanskrit for “drop,” “point,” or “grain,” a bindu is a symbol of the cosmos and the point of all creation in Indian philosophy. S.H. Raza’s black bindus burst and anchor his abstract geometric paintings in burning yellows, oranges, greens, and reds. They are setting and rising suns within interior, symbolic landscapes, where lines of poetry in Hindi or other vernacular languages sometimes emerge.

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PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 07: The Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture, commonly known as the Centre Pompidou, or more colloquially, as

These masterpieces, including explorations of his native land, are characteristic of Raza’s paintings made primarily between the 1960s and the ’80s, and make for fiery, swift entry points into his creations. They speak their own, mysterious language in dialogue simultaneously with his Western contemporaries and his Indian heritage. They are also an overripe introduction to the often miscategorized and under-recognized universe of modern Indian art, of which S.H. Raza was a leading figure.

In a belated effort to help rectify that, S.H. Raza’s paintings have been united in a rare, though restrained gathering of some 90 paintings at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, on view until May 15. The exhibition is a first retrospective for the artist in France, where he lived from 1950 until 2011, and highlights his earlier, lesser-known experimental works. Unfortunately, his groundbreaking abstract geometric ­paintings, which reach their crescendo in the early ’80s, are introduced relatively late into the exhibition and feel under-represented as a result. Still, seeing S.H. Raza’s painterly progression, fleshed out in this chronologically organized exhibition, reveals a fascinating life of artistic question and response, battled out on canvas.

During his time in France, S.H. Raza traveled to India annually, effectively straddling both continents, and refusing to be pinned to either. He “lived with a dual belonging, and a dual consciousness,” said Roobina Karode, director and chief curator of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, a significant lender to the exhibition. “He really did not like how people said he was an Indian painter in Paris. He was trying to reach out to the cosmos, to embrace the entire thing, and break that narrow vision.”

An abstract painting that has various geometrical shapes in reds, oranges, yellows, blacks, and whites, with a black sun at the top center.

S.H. Raza, Black Sun, 1968.

©2022 The Raza Foundation/ADAGP, Paris®. Collection Jeroo Mango, Mumbai.

Raza is among India’s most celebrated artists, and a co-founder of the country’s renowned Progressive Artists Group (PAG), along with M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, S.K. Bakre, and others. Formed on the eve of Indian independence in 1947, the group rebelled against previous, colonial-era artistic movements such as the Bengal School of Painting, which focused on “true Hindu art,” or works “free of colonial infection,” as Partha Mitter writes in 20th Century Indian Art, a recent survey published by Thames & Hudson.

Instead, PAG artists explored what a new national identity might entail. They looked to Indigenous philosophical and artistic traditions, while also embracing a form of internationalism that was curious about Western art, but not derivative of it, as is often misunderstood.

PAG artists “were struggling with wanting to be seen globally, beyond India, because they felt they were equally competent, and equally involved in the practice of modernism,” Karode told ARTnews. “They were open to influences, but they were actually trying to make meaning of what it was to be modern in their own context.”

And, as Karode pointed out, Eastern philosophy heavily influenced European modernism. “This traversing of influences is happening all the time, but [historiographies tend to say] it always started from the West. What comes out of [India], doesn’t get equally acknowledged, and that acknowledgement is something these artists were passionately working toward,” she said. “It was not a one-way street.”

A vertical abstract painting that has a red background and faint black circle at center top below is a mix of colors in blues, whites, yellows, gray, and more.

S.H. Raza, Ondhu, Heart Is Not Ten or Twenty, 1964.

©2022 The Raza Foundation/ADAGP, Paris®. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

The Pompidou exhibition’s curator, Catherine David, agreed the “derivative question comes up for every modern artwork that is not from the self-proclaimed centers of modernity. It’s very complicated to deconstruct, but we’re working on it.” As early as the 19th century, Indian artists used their own modes of expression “that are not in any way replicas,” forming a body of modern and contemporary art that is quintessentially figurative, she explained.

Raza, however, took a peripheral course to that of his Indian peers, despite maintaining a close bond to his artistic cohort and origins. He distanced himself from their dominant figurative art, moving toward abstraction. In the exhibition, this development is illustrated from rarely seen early watercolors on paper, depicting Indian cities, female figures, and geometric landscapes devoid of people, reminiscent of Bernard Buffet, van Gogh, Gauguin, and fellow PAG member and friend, F.N. Souza.

A flat landscape showing a mass of flat buildings on a golden background.

S.H. Raza, Haut de Cagnes, 1951.

©2022 The Raza Foundation/ADAGP, Paris®. The Darashaw Collection.

Works in this mode brought Raza relative early recognition, particularly during the years he was more closely associated with the Paris School of artists. He was the first non-European artist to receive the Prix de la Critique in 1956, and he exhibited in major international cities, including the Venice Biennale in 1956. The gallery Lara Vincy represented him in France, and he enjoyed widespread visibility in India as well. In 1959 he married French artist Janine Mongillat (1930–2002), whom he met through friends from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris, where he studied on scholarship from 1950 to 1953. Unfortunately, none of Mongillat’s intriguing artworks, including strange, painted sculptures and collages made from found objects and paper mâché, are included in the exhibition to highlight another source of influence for Raza.

By the ’60s, a major change was afoot in his practice. “Raza started getting a little anxious about feeling there wasn’t much of India in him,” said poet Ashok Vajpeyi, a longtime friend of the late artist and head of the Raza Foundation. “So, he started on a different direction, and moved toward a kind of abstraction.”

He began looking increasingly to Rajput miniature paintings on paper, dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, moved by “their power, in terms of composition, space, and color,” David said. “Little by little, Raza finished with figuration, and he embarked on the process of deconstruction, toward an explosion of color, until we are left with a colored composition.”

An abstract painting  that is mostly black and brown with shades of green, red, yellow, and white.

S.H. Raza, La Terre, 1977.

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. New Delhi

Soon came large, flat areas of vibrating pigment, composed within linearly divided segments of canvas, informed by Mark Rothko as well as other American Abstract Expressionists. He discarded Parisian shades and opted for colors evoking hot, humid Indian summers. His childhood memories of walking alone at night through the forest led to a key series of works from the 1970s, titled “La Terre”(the land), where poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke also comes in as an influence. In these works, glowing points of light break through darkness and chaos.

Around the same time, examined roughly a third of the way through the exhibition, references to Indian spirituality become more prevalent, including early references to bindus as well asnagas, kundalini, Indian poetry, and classical music, known as ragas. As one rounds the exhibition’s last leg, Raza effectively enters his well-known “radical and symbolic geometric abstraction,” per the wall text. His masterworks titled Maa (Mother), Rajasthan, and Saurashtra, to name a few, can include bindus drawn with the perfection of a protractor, alongside dense, roughly gestural geometric forms and color, painted within rectangular strips and square marked segments. The latest works on view are pared down, cleaner, and more uniform, losing much of their vibrancy and singularity. Raza’s symbolic, ordered forms often reference renewal and a cyclical concept of time, and are a support for meditation in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist traditions.

An abstract painting that appears to be divided in two halves with various shapes throughout.

S.H. Raza, Saurashtra, 1983.

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi

Born into a Muslim family, Raza’s father was a forest ranger who interpreted Islam liberally, leading to his son’s interest in Hinduism and Christianity, all three of which are referenced over the course of his career. “He created an indirect narrative around elements of his own culture and civilization, that was a very important aspect of his work to me,” said artist Manish Pushkale, a mentee of Raza’s who has previously exhibited alongside his teacher.

In the last decade, demand for S.H. Raza’s works has hit record highs, rising 800 percent in value at auction between the mid-1990s and 2010s, reaching a top price of $4.45 million at Christie’s in New York in 2018. “The hardest thing for us is sourcing these incredible works,” said Damian Vesey, a specialist modern and contemporary South Asian art at Christie’s.

S.H. Raza, Punjab, 1969.

©2022 The Raza Foundation/ADAGP, Paris®. Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

At a packed opening at the Pompidou, visitors, many of whom flew in for the event, dressed in a myriad of sparkling saris, lending the event a festive touch, not incompatible with the works on view.

“I think Raza had a celebrative instinct, unlike the usual modernists, where there is disruption, dislocation, tension,” Vajpeyi said. “Raza tried, on the other hand, to reach consonance, tranquility. He was trying a different kind of modernism, which undid the dichotomy between the sensuous and the spiritual. For him, they were more or less the same.”

Describing Raza as a “master colorist,” Vajpeyi added, “Raza’s legacy is that colors can speak. They can sing.”

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