Leslie Rankow Fine Arts


Airport, please! Gagosian London reopens an extraordinary exhibit by Rachel Whiteread

Gagosian Gallery London
Grosvenor Hill

We’ve taken digital gallery hopping for granted, looking online at a great many exhibitions instead of seeing them in person and telling ourselves we “saw” the show. A familiarity with the theme of an exhibit, a new direction a familiar artist is exploring, seemed to suffice. Now that we have been so long deprived from an easy access to museums and galleries, the level of anticipation of viewing works in person is truly appreciated. Long may this last, a renewed appreciation of seeing contemporary shows in person and a significant increase in the very old habit of spending a day on the Lower East Side or Chelsea, or Mayfair or the Marais.

This week, London galleries have reopened from the pandemic quarantine with some extraordinary exhibitions. Airport, please! First stop, Rachel Whiteread: Internal Objects, at Gagosian Grosvenor Hill. At last, a lockdown masterpiece, says The Guardian, in a recent article by Jonathan Jones reviewing the exhibition in London. As many of us have struggled with metaphorical ghosts in the loneliness and unease of lockdown, Rachel Whiteread has confronted her Ghost, a work she created in 1990, an icon of a new approach to sculpture, purchased by collector Charles Saatchi. Whiteread is celebrated for her ability to poetically capture the memory of a space.

Rachel Whiteread
Ghost, 1990
Plaster cast

In Internal Objects, Whiteread had revisited this early work during the lockdown, creating two remarkable new works, Poltergeist and Doppelganger. These works were not cast but assembled, two derelict exploding structures, shattered and abandoned, unified by being painted overall in a pure white.

The Guardian, Rachel Whiteread: Internal Objects.


Rachel Whiteread


Dame Rachel Whiteread (born 20 April 1963) is an English artist who primarily produces sculptures, which typically take the form of casts. She was the first woman to win the annual Turner Prize in 1993.

Whiteread was one of the Young British Artists who exhibited at the Royal Academy’s Sensation exhibition in 1997. Among her most renowned works are House, a large concrete cast of the inside of an entire Victorian house; the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, resembling the shelves of a library with the pages turned outwards; and Untitled Monument, her resin sculpture for the empty fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square.

She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2006 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to art.

Bio, Tate Modern


Ghost (1990) was Whiteread’s first large-scale sculpture and set in motion the ambitious, architecturally scaled works for which she is widely recognized today. Made by filling a room of a Victorian house in North London with concrete to create a solid cast that picks up the details of the walls, mantle, and windows, Ghost is a positive room-sized object that reveals itself gradually, as one encircles the huge form. Whiteread expanded on this working method in House (1993; destroyed 1994), cast from an entire Victorian terrace house. Whiteread created this work after all the other terraces in the row had been demolished, and it stood alone as a reminder of the working-class homes that once spanned the street. The sculpture sparked heated debates around issues of real estate, class divisions, and urban sprawl.

Gagosian Gallery, artist biography 



20 Grosvenor Hill has transformed a dated office building into a striking double height, day-lit gallery space. The entire 21,800 sq ft development has been let to the globally renowned Gagosian Gallery.

British architects TateHindle designed the exterior of the building replacing the old 1990s façade with handmade Roman bricks in a blue-grey palette. The design achieves a contemporary feel while also complementing the building’s historical context.

Award-winning architecture practice Caruso St. John created the interior scheme having previously designed galleries for Gagosian in Rome and Paris.

Grosvenor Hill and the surrounding area has been associated with the arts since the 1870s when Sir Coutts Lindsay opened the Grosvenor Gallery.  Gagosian Gallery at 20 Grosvenor Hill builds on this rich heritage.

Airport, please! Palazzo Luce showcases Italian design and art

Palazzo Luce

Opening this spring in the Italian region of Puglia, Palazzo Luce is a splendid Baroque palace, a triumph of art and design, a superb holiday residence in a historic city. A project conceived by a Milan collector, Anna Maria Enselmi, a collector of Italian design since the mid-nineties, Palazzo Luce is now open to the public showing this impeccable design and furniture collection and showcasing art that includes site-specific commissions curated by Italy’s powerhouse dealer, Lia Rumma.

William Kentridge
Head (Man Looking Left), 2017

The 20th Century furniture and international art are integrated into the renovated Palazzo dei Conti di Lecce, a sprawling 18th-century jewel with 13th-century foundations, located just behind the Duomo in Lecce, Puglia’s baroque capital. All of this is set in the context of an exceptional architectural restoration, in which antique maiolica tiles and fresco detailing, gilded and painted cornices and doors have been preserved, as has a walled garden with views over the city’s Roman amphitheatre.

David Tremlett
site-specific fresco

Every installation and juxtaposition of furniture and art is carefully conceived. While Enselmi may have steered the wishlist, the de facto artistic direction belongs largely to Rumma. “Nothing in this house is in its place by chance,” Enselmi says. “For Lia, the interactions between each work with the others, and within the environment, had to be flawless.

Everything is both reasoned and felt.” She cites the installment of 10 vintage gelatin prints of Marcel Duchamp, taken in 1972 by Ugo Mulas, as an example of that rigor: “She spent four solid hours on her feet while she shuffled the sequence. Not once did her concentration waver.”

This intersection of old and new is perfection personified. A stay at the Palazzo Luce will make the restrictions of Covid-19 a faded memory.


Gio Ponti
1940s chairs and table



Anna Maria Enselmi’s passion for design started as a student in Brera, at the heart of Milan’s design center, where she studied at the Brera Academy. A dedicated collector, Anna Maria Enselmi’s level of commitment and passion for Italian design is exemplified not only at the Palazzo Lecce but in her apartment in the Brera district of Milan. The former ballerina has been “captured” by design since she was a child. Instead of dolls and bracelets, I bought furniture magazines and I cut out the pieces I liked, and created binders with the title ‘I’ll have them’.



Lia Rumma Gallery was founded in Naples in 1971 with the solo show The Eighth Investigation by Joseph Kosuth. Since its inception, the gallery has played a fundamental role in discovering new artistic trends emerging from the international art scene such as Arte Povera, Minimal Art, Land Art and Conceptual Art and exhibiting emerging and prominent artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Haim Steinbach, Alberto Burri, Thomas Ruff, Anselm Kiefer, and William Kentridge.

The gallery has created a vibrant collaboration with galleries, curators, critics and collectors that has led to international prestigious events in museums and institutions both in Italy and abroad that include Anselm Kiefer’s permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces inaugurated in 2004 at Hangar Bicocca in Milan; William Kentridge’s exhibitions Tapestries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2007) and at Capodimonte Museum in Naples (2009).

In 2010 a solo show by Italian renown artist Ettore Spalletti launched the opening of a new three level gallery space in Milan.


Puglia, a southern region forming the heel of Italy’s “boot,” is known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and hundreds of kilometers of Mediterranean coastline. Capital Bari is an active port and university town, while Lecce is known as “Florence of the South” for its baroque architecture. Alberobello and the Itria Valley are home to “trulli,” stone huts with distinctive conical roofs. 

Airport, please! We’re off to Maryland, to experience Glenstone, a synergy of great art, architecture and nature

Glenstone Museum

Guided by the personal vision of its founders, Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales, Glenstone is a private contemporary art museum located in Potomac, Maryland, just 15 miles from downtown Washington, D.C.

Glenstone founders
Emily and Mitchell Rales

Glenstone opened its doors to the public in 2006 and has provided discerning visitors with an experience of great art housed in a phenomenal architectural series of building in a beautiful setting. Glenstone seamlessly integrates art, architecture and nature into a serene and contemplative environment. A great destination at any time, now that spring is here and given the seemingly endless restrictions of the covid-19 virus, Glenstone offers a memorable and safe outdoor experience.

Richard Serra

The art collection assembles post-World War II artworks of the highest quality that trace the greatest historical shifts in the way we experience and understand art of the 20th and 21st centuries. These works are presented in a series of refined indoor and outdoor spaces designed to facilitate meaningful direct encounters with the works.

Charles Ray
Horse Rider

The Gallery was designed by the legendary architect, Charles Gwathmey, a founding partner of Gwathmey Siegel. In addition, the Pavilions offer 50,000 additional square feet of exhibition space featuring changing shows focused on the work of a single artist.

The Pavilions Water Court

Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, the eleven Rooms are unique, some hosting changing exhibitions and others conceived to show a particular artist’s work, thus deepening our understanding of the scope and breadth of the work and its place in the history of 20th and 21st Century art.

Michael Heizer

The rooms are connected by an enclosed passage that looks out onto an 18,000 square foot water court offering the viewer a chance to enjoy nature as well with its cultivation of seasonally changing plant life. In addition, 300 acres of landscape offer a thoughtfully conceived setting for the remarkable art and architecture that includes paths, trails, streams, meadows and forests as well as the extraordinary collection of contemporary outdoor sculpture.

Ellsworth Kelly

Next week, on April 8th, the museum will open its first touring exhibition of the works of the pioneer artist/quilt maker, Faith Ringgold. The collection of Glenstone Museum includes some of Faith Ringgold’s most politically powerful, flag inspired works. The paintings speak to America’s violent history of racism and injustice. Glenstone is the only venue in the United States for the exhibition which travels on to London’s Serpentine Museum and Sweden’s Bildmuseet.

“Faith Ringgold’s powerful depictions of the African American experience are as arresting today as they were when she first started making art nearly 60 years ago,” Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder of Glenstone, said in a statement. Rales, who is curating the Glenstone exhibition, continued: “Her art has had a strong presence at the museum ever since we displayed one of her iconic paintings in our inaugural installation at the Pavilions in 2018, so it only seemed fitting for Faith Ringgold to be the first touring exhibition hosted at Glenstone. We are thrilled to collaborate with the Serpentine and the Bildmuseet in touring this major retrospective around the world, and in bringing it to American audiences.”

Faith Ringgold
Who’s Afraid of Aunt Jemima?

In the South, many of the quilts made during the Civil War were made by African-America slaves on plantations. As an artist concerned with feminism and racem Ringgold had immersed herself in creating story quilts as an expression that acknowledges both cultural and personal history. Domestic arts—sewing, quilting, weaving—have long been associated with women, and her quilting reflects the folk traditions and the struggles and achievements of Black women.

All the more reason to make Glenstone a destination this spring!

Faith Ringgold The American Collection#6 The Flag is Bleeding #2, 1997

Protected: Airport, please! It’s spring break and we’re heading to Aspen, skiing, snowboarding and art.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Heading west, with Airport, please! to the Desert X 2021 Art Biennial in Coachella Valley, CA

Coachella Valley, California
Nicholas Galanino
Indian Land

“As much as the desert is a state of place, it is also a state of mind. Its borders are not singular but multiple, and it is defined as much by social geography as physical boundary.”

Neville Wakefield

Ghada Amer
Women’s Qualities

The call of the outdoors, warmer weather and the austere beauty of Coachella Valley, California, are overwhelmingly tempting reasons to head west, to see the third edition of Desert X, a massive exhibition featuring large-scaled  site-specific works by artists who explore the desert as both a place and an idea.

Alicia Kwade
ParaPivot (sempiternal clouds)

Desert X is amongst one of the first art experiences in the region since the lockdown. Apart from the artist projects it has commissioned, DX21 offers a safe viewing experience for public art. The works explore the reality of those who live in the desert and the socio-political context that shapes their lives. Curated by artistic director Neville Wakefield, and co-curator Cesar Garcia Alavarez, Desert X 2021 features many newly commissioned works that challenge our society’s conventions while imagining a shared future. As we, at long last, see an end to the restrictions of the covid-19 pandemic, this seems the perfect moment for these sculptural installations.

Eduardo Sarabia
The Passenger

Participating artists include Ghada Amer, Judy Chicago, Alicja Kwade, Oscar Murillo, and many others commissioned specifically for this project built on themes explored in previous iterations, looker deeply at ideas essential to the sustainability of our future, our identity and our history.

DX21 acknowledges the Cahuilla People as the original stewards of the land and pays its respects to the Cahuilla nation, past, present and emerging, whose identity is linked with the Coachella Valley since its inception. Projects will explore the themes of land rights and ownership, the desert as border, migration, and the racial narratives of the West.

Serge Attukwei Clottey
The Wishing Well

Neville Wakefield is a distinguished curator interested in exploring the ways in which art behaves outside of institutional venues. This interest led him to co-found Elevation1049, a site-specific biennial in Gstaad, Switzerland, and, for the last three years, to organize the recurring Desert X exhibitions in the Coachella Valley region of Southern California. As senior curatorial advisor for PS1 MoMA and curator of Frieze Projects, he gained a reputation for challenging the conditions that shape art in both commercial and noncommercial contexts. He has worked extensively with international institutions, including the Schaulager in Basel where he curated the Matthew Barney retrospective Prayer Sheet with the Wound and the Nail.

Kim Stringfellow
Jackrabbit Homestead

The LRFA blog recommends a stay at Two Bunch Palms, a contemporary wellness escape, famous for its lithium rich geothermal hot springs and lush grounds.  You’ll return to our constrained daily life truly refreshed.

Two Bunch Palms

Airport, please! James Turrell’s Skyspaces: down memory lane in today’s LRFA Blog post


Live Oak Quaker Meeting House
Houston, Texas


The LRFA Blog is looking forward to the James Turrell installation at Mass MoCA that opens in May.

“I can make the sky any color you choose.” — James Turrell

Thirty years in the making, James Turrell’s largest free-standing circular Skyspace opens on the MASS MoCA campus in May 2021. Measuring 40 feet in diameter and 40 feet high, this repurposed concrete water tank transforms into one of Turrell’s signature immersive light installations, carving out a small piece of the sky and framing it as a canvas with infinite depth. Skyspace joins Into the Light, a long-term retrospective of Turrell’s work, making MASS MoCA the only North American institution offering a comprehensive overview of the artist’s career.

The LRFA blog was reminded of a marvelous adventure a long time ago in Houston, when Texas seemed a safer destination than now. Then, any and all art-related trips were welcome, some spontaneous, most planned, to include client visits, seeing collections, visiting galleries and heading to the local museums. A memorable and beloved detour was a trip to the outskirts of the city of Houston. As an avid James Turrell fan, I was determined to visit as many of Turrell’s Skyspaces as possible, and also to pay tribute to a great client and friend who had visited Turrell’s Roden Crater and commissioned the artist to create a skyspace at his children’s school, The Greenwich Academy, in Connecticut.

The Skyspace project at Live Oak Friends Meeting House was completed in 2001 and incorporates two James Turrell installations. The first, Meeting House 2000, later re-named One Accord,  is open to the sky in clear weather. The second installation, called Night Piece, uses neon lights to simulate the evening sky. Created by James Turrell — one of the most important artists to pioneer the use of light as a medium, and himself a Quaker – the Skyspace is designed to allow viewers to experience what Turrell has called “a light that inhabits space, so that you feel light to be physically present.”

Quaker ideas about light are integral to Turrell’s practice.

“We use the vocabulary of light to describe a spiritual experience. One of the tenets in Quaker meditation is that you ‘go inside to greet the light.’ I am interested in this light that’s inside greeting the light that’s outside.”

Recommended reading: Art21’s Interview with Turrell on the Live Oak Quaker Meeting House.



James Turrell was born into a devout Quaker family in Los Angeles in 1943. He tells a story of sitting in the Quaker meeting house with his grandmother when he was five or six years old. When everyone closed their eyes at the beginning of the meeting, he asked his grandmother what they were supposed to be doing. She told him: “Just wait, we’re going inside to greet the light.'”

Turrell was part of a generation accustomed to enormous advancements in technology and the excitement of the space race. In 1968 and 1969, he, along with artist Robert Irwin, worked on the Art and Technology program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with Ed Wortz, a scientist at a Southern California aerospace firm. Turrell was considered a member of the Light and Space Movement, that includes Mary Corse and Larry Bell.

James Turrell
Roden Crater

The Roden Crater, though unfinished, has already been transformed over the past thirty years into a celestial observatory that intertwines art, architecture, and astronomy. Roden Crater is a 380,000-year-old extinct volcano in Arizona’s Painted Desert that Turrell acquired in the late 1970s. The land artist has spent nearly 50 years turning into his largest Skyspace  project yet, removing millions of cubic yards of earth to change its shape, and adding tunnels and chambers from which to view the sky. When completed, the project will contain 21 viewing spaces and six tunnels. While this project is not yet open to the public, several smaller projects of independent architectural spaces (Skyspaces) emulate chambers in the Roden Crater. Over 100 Skyspaces can be viewed in museums and countries across the world. Kanye West’s film Jesus is King, allowed us a glimpse into the Roden Crater since it served as the location for the film.

Jesus is King
Kanye West
Roden Crater


The LRFA blog recommends a pilgrimage to visit as many of James Turrell’s Skyscapes as possible, for now at least online. A very good Rx for the isolating and claustrophobic effects of quarantine restriction.



Airport, please! to see Bill Viola’s Journey of the Soul at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow


The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts Moscow, Russia

Good morning! Grab your coat. It’s bitter cold in New York and, interestingly, slightly warmer in Moscow.

Airport, please! is excited to be heading to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts to see the extraordinary video master, Bill Viola, The Journey of the Soul. This exhibition represents the first solo presentation of Viola’s work in Russia and the first significant exhibition of media art at the Pushkin Museum. Who better to represent this artistic genre than the pioneer of media art, Bill Viola?

The Pushkin State Museum

Bill Viola, The Journey of the Soulis part of the ongoing “Pushkin XXI” project, which focuses on bringing together classical tradition and contemporary practice to offer new ways of engaging with art. Since the early 1970s, Viola has used video to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. His works focus on universal human experiences—birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness—and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism.

Bill Viola
Fire Woman

Bill Viola has been instrumental in establishing video as a vital form of contemporary art, and in expanding its scope in terms of technology, content, and historical reach. Bill Viola, The Journey of the Soul is curated by Olga Shishko, Head of Cinema and Media Art Department, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, and Kira Perov, Executive Director, Bill Viola Studio.


Bill Viola
Martyrs (Earth, Fire, Water, Air)

More than 20 signature artworks presented in the exhibition were created in the period from 2000 to 2014. They demonstrate the artist’s mastering of moving image technology.  In the Museum’s main exhibition halls, visitors will see for the first time such large-scale works as Fire Woman (2005), Catherine’s Room (2001), The Quintet of the Astonished (2000) and four works from the Martyrs series (2014). This retrospective of Viola’s work of the last 14 years was curated by the Head of Cinema and Media Art Department, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with the Executive Director of the Bill Viola Studio.

For further information, contact James Cohen Gallery, New York, astuart@jamescohan.com


Bill Viola is a recognized master who has been a pioneer of video art since the 1970s. One of the most influential American artists living today, for more than four decades he has been creating single-channel videotapes, video and sound installations, acoustical environments, as well as media works that accompany large-scale concerts and opera productions. Viola represented the USA at the Venice Biennale in 1995; selected solo exhibitions were held at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1997), the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2003), the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2006), the Grand Palais, Paris (2014), the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (2017), the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (2017), the Royal Academy of Arts in London (2019), the Busan Museum of Art, South Korea (2020); and in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) (2014), and the video-triptych Mary(2016) were installed as permanent installations.

Bill Viola
Catherine’s Room


The Pushkin Museum of the Fine Arts is the largest museum of European art in Moscow, located on Volkhonka Street, opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The building was designed by Roman Klein and Vladimir Shukhov and its construction began in 1898 and was completed in 1912. Its permanent collection of French art once belonged to the legendary Moscow collectors, Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov, and represents one of the most famous collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist and avant-garde art of the 20th Century, featuring masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso.

The Pushkin State Museum

Welcome to Leslie Rankow Fine Arts new blog, “Airport, please!”

JFK International

JFK International

As incredible as it seems, the first Leslie Rankow Fine Arts Blog posted in November, 2011. I cannot begin to express my gratitude and appreciation to all of the many contributors, from various areas of the art world: auction specialists, gallerists, framers, conservators, curators, collectors. Without their dedication and commitment and desire to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, the LRFA blog would not exist.

Times have radically changed. As we are hopefully nearing at the end of the covid-19 pandemic spectrum, we have all searched for ways to support galleries, promote artists, inform collectors, and attract buyers, using the extraordinary digital technology that has gained in sophistication since the LRFA blog first started. We are inundated with virtual viewing rooms, spotlights, email, blogs, posts, IG, a tsunami of social media, hoping to reach a new global audience by live streaming, video and digital means. Many are succeeding brilliantly, some will disappear and new voices will appear when all the doors reopen in one form or another and we can travel the world again mask-free.

Virtual Evening Sales at Sotheby’s

After a year of stasis, immobility and lockdowns, the urge to travel, to visit museums and galleries in foreign cities, to revisit favorite paintings in museums around the world, to view auction lots in person and attend fairs and sales, has taken hold. Airport, please! will feature exhibitions and museums that have caught the eye of the LRFA blog, with special posts by both dear, near and far friends, colleagues and experts whose vision we have so enjoyed since the inception of the blog and new contributors as well.

So book your trip on Airport, please! and join us. No social distancing necessary.

Piazza Orazio Giustiniani, 4

We are first heading to Rome, to The Mattatoio de Tastaccio, to view a photography exhibition organized by Rome’s Cultural Development Department, in conjunction with the International Photography Festival in Rome. Bringing together work by internationally known photographers, the exhibition highlights new and experimental approaches to documenting reality and to investigating history. The photographs were all taken in 2019, in the pre-covid era, but are more relevant than ever.

Sarah Moon
Rome, 2019

Photography. New 2020 productions for the Rome collection opened February 25 and will continue until May 16. The work of five new photographers will be added to the previous fifteen Italian and international photographers selected for artistic residencies in the capital and included in the Photographic Archive of the Museum of Rome.

Situated on the edge of the Tiber River, on Piazza Orazio Giustiniani, 4, in the recently gentrified Testaccio neighborhood, the Mattatoio is an ideal site for a community of cultural experimentation. In keeping with the bistros, clubs, and nightspots that surround it, MACRO’s space at the Mattatoio is open from 4pm until midnight.

Nadav Kander
Enduring Generations
Romana Forum

At its peak, Testaccio’s slaughterhouse was the largest in Europe. It was also one of the most technologically advanced. Built between 1888 and 1891 by Gioacchino Ersoch, architect emeritus of the City of Rome, the pavilions of the Mattatoio illustrate the transition from classicism to modernity and provide an important historical example of the monumentality and rationale of turn-of-the-century industrial architecture.

Tommaso Protti

Where to next? Stay tuned and as always, thank you for following the LRFA Blog!

Artist Collaborations: rare books, wonderful gifts, at Gagosian Gallery with book specialist, Doug Flamm

Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat



Nadia Bozovic, April 2017

What happens when two or more masterfully talented artists collaborate? Is it even possible for such strong individuals to interact and cooperate? Could they create something new together, something different, something brilliant? Yes, yes, and yes! Art collaborations simply cannot be a bad idea. There are so many examples throughout the art history that show us the wonderful uniqueness of creations that came out from such artistic partnerships. Here, we present you with some of the most famous ones!

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat:
A Crazy Art-World Marriage

From 1980 to 1986, renowned Pop artist Andy Warhol and a graffiti prodigy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, collaborated on a number of exciting pieces that actually led them to the position they now have in the art world.

famous art collaborations
Olympic Rings, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat

Their working process went on like this: Warhol usually painted first, and then Basquiat entered the scene with his colorful imagery. One of the most popular examples would be the piece titled Olympic Rings, completed in 1985. Warhol actually made several variations of the Olympic five-ring symbol, to which Basquiat responded with the oppositional graffiti style.

How did this “crazy art world marriage”, as Victor Bockris called it in his book, Warhol: The Biography, happen in the first place? It was due to the fame Andy Warhol had already achieved and the fact that Basquiat, a 20-year-old artist at the time, thought this fame was the missing piece which would help him with his big breakthrough in the art world. And he was right! Basquiat’s emotionally-charged paintings and graffiti art were about to become some of the best known Neo-Expressionist artworks in the U.S.

Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg:
When Abstract Expressionists Meet

Speaking of crazy art marriages, the next example we are going to talk about is a collaboration between Abstract Expressionists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. In fact, the two artists, creating incredible art in the middle of the American neo-Dada movement, may actually have been in a romantic relationship in addition to their artistic collaborations.

Rumour has it that Jasper Johns was the one who came up with the word combine that’s widely used to describe Rauschenberg’s technique of incorporating everyday objects like fabric, newspaper cut-out, furniture and even animal carcasses into his abstract paintings.

In the 1950s, they extensively influenced each other’s work and the fact that there is a profound likeness in their art from that period doesn’t come as a surprise. The undersheet splashes of red, yellow, and blue colors in Rauschenberg’s Bed, both a piece of furniture and a painting, are clearly recognizable in the reds, blues, and yellows of Target with Four Faces made by his friend, lover, and a fellow artist, Jasper Johns.

Along with artistic giants like William de Kooning and Jackson Polock, these two artists paved way for the Pop Art movement by erasing the differences between the fine art and mass culture.

Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray:
50 Years of Shared Aesthetics

Rrose Sélavy was a Dada pin-up girl, a lucky charm for many artists, and… she was a man! Not just any man, that is, but one of the best-known visual artists in the entire history of art. She was ’the inventor of readymades’, and the revolutionary that completely changed the art world. Yes, you guessed it, she was Marcel Duchamp. Rrose Sélavy was one of Duchamp’s pseudonyms and his female alter-ego.

When you pronounce the name Rrose Sélavy, it actually sounds like Eros, Ce la Vie which, when translated from French, means Love, that’s life. Duchamp loved these kinds of word games as we all know, but he wasn’t playing alone. His long-time companion for optical and rhetorical illusions was a famous painter, photographer, and filmmaker, Man Ray.

famous art collaborations
Photograph of Rrose Sélavy (Marcel Duchamp) by Man Ray 

Ray was there to take a shot of Duchamp every time he showed up as Rrose Sélavy. But those pictures were only a small part of their unique everlasting friendship and artistic collaboration.




Ed Ruscha & Billy Al Bengston
Business Cards

Ed Ruscha and Billy Al Bengston

Business Cards
Self published artist book
8 3/4 × 5 3/4 inches (22.2 × 14.6 cm)
Business Cards, a collaboration between Ed Ruscha and Billy Al Bengston from 1968, wittily documents a business card exchange, starting with the artists designing the cards and ending with a ceremonial exchange at the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills. Limited to one thousand unique copies, the volume features a tipped-on black-and-white photograph on the cover and is bound in faux wood-grain paper with a knotted leather cord. The artists’ business cards are stapled to the final pages of the book. This copy is signed on the cover by both Ruscha and Bengston.

Jenny Saville & Glen Luchford: Close Contact

Jenny Saville & Glen Luchford

Closed Contact
Essay by Katherine Dunn
11 1/4 × 15 1/2 inches (28.6 × 39.4 cm); 48 pages; 15 b/w illustrations; 14 color illustrations
Designed by David James Associates; Printed by Westerham Press
This lavishly illustrated catalogue was published on the occasion of “Jenny Saville & Glen Luchford: Closed Contact” at Gagosian, Beverly Hills in 2002. This poignant photographic series, which was a collaboration between Saville and fashion photographer/filmmaker Luchford, confronts and challenges preconceived notions of feminine beauty. In this body of work, the artists have created a new form of self-portraiture, using Saville as the model. With an essay by acclaimed writer Katherine Dunn, this out-of-print publication has become quite scarce.

Witness to Her Art: Art and Writings

Witness to Her Art

Art and Writings by Adrian Piper, Mona Hatoum, Cady Noland, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Daniela Rossell and Eau de Cologne
Edited by Rhea Anastas, Michael Brenson; Foreword by Tom Eccles
10 1/2 × 8 1/2 inches (26.7 ×  21.6 cm); 366 pages; Fully illustrated
Published by Center For Curatorial Studies: Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY



Picasso and Hockney, a synergistic pairing, from Doug Flamm, rare book expert at Gagosian

Douglas Flamm
Rare book expert
Gagosian Gallery

In 1984, at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, in conjuncation with the exhibition, Picasso: The Last Years, 1963-1973, artist David Hockney lectured on how Pablo Picasso’s  late paintings influenced his own practice and explores how Picasso’s compositional methods relate to photography. Introduced by Mimi Poser of the Guggenheim, this event took place on April 3, 1984.

In his lecture, Hockney states:

Of course, Picasso does have a new way of seeing, and deals with it right to the end. I think the point to be made as well is, of course, that no artist’s work is done until he drops dead. He goes on, and one shouldn’t particularly, I think, make too many judgments until it’s finished. With an artist the caliber of Picasso, common sense tells you that an artist of that quality does not spend the last 20 years of his life repeating himself. It’s against his nature, really. I don’t think it would be possible for him to do it, and it becomes clearer and clearer that the pictures of the ’60s and the early ’70s couldn’t have been painted any earlier. It could not have been done that way.

http://Transcript © 2018 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (SRGF).

For David Hockney, (born 1937), Picasso had long been an inspiration. As a student, Hockney made several visits to the 1960 exhibition at the Tate Gallery. It taught him that an artist need not adhere to a single style and in 1962 Hockney dubbed his Young Contemporaries exhibition ‘Demonstrations of Versatility’.

Following Picasso’s death in 1973, Hockney made two prints in tribute. Other works from the 1970s also refer to Picasso.

In 1980 Hockney had a commission from the Metropolitan Opera, New York, that included a design for Parade based on Picasso’s designs for the ballet’s 1917 première. While in New York that year, he saw a Picasso retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art which reinvigorated his belief that Cubism marked a turning point in pictorial representation. This directly affected his painting and prompted him to use photography to depict the world in a Cubist fashion. The resulting photographic collages replaced drawing in Hockney’s practice for several years.

Hockney was an early advocate of Picasso’s late style. For a lecture on ‘Important Paintings of the 1960s’, he selected only works by Picasso. Cubism remains a stimulus: Hockney has recently applied the multi-directional view of his ‘cubist’ photographs to video.

Picasso and Modern British Art, Tate Britain

In an interview in The Guardian, with Tim Lewis, on November 16, 2014, Hockney’s passion for Picasso extends not only to his work but his extraordinary passion for life and vigor.

I’m working, that’s all I want to do, and there is love in my life. I love life. I write it at the end of letters – “Love life, David Hockney”. When I’m working, I feel like Picasso, I feel I’m 30. When I stop I know I’m not, but when I paint, I stand up for six hours a day and yeah, I feel I’m 30. Picasso said that, from the age of 30 to 90, he always felt 30 when he painted.





David Hockney

Hockney’s Alphabet


Drawings by David Hockney; Edited by Stephen Spender.

13 × 10 inches (33 × 25.4 cm); Hardcover in slipcase; Fully illustrated

Published by Faber & Faber, London for the Aids Crisis Trust

Limited edition of 250 from a total edition 300 copies; Signed by many of the contributors


Please contact rarebooks@gagosian.com to arrange for purchase.


Hockney’s Alphabet, published in 1991 by the Aids Crisis Trust, presents 26 lively drawings created by David Hockney, each accompanied by a written contribution from 26 well known authors. In addition there is a T.S. Eliot piece included for the ampersand, &. This book is just as relevant today as it was when published close to thirty years ago. This rare edition is signed by David Hockney, Stephen Spender and 22 of the authors. From a limited edition of 250 numbered copies and a total edition of 300; in mint condition.

In addition to Hockney and Spender, 22 of the contributors have also signed the book: Doris Lessing, William Boyd, Margaret Drabble, Martin Amis, William Golding, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Nigel Nicolson, Seamus Heaney, Douglas Adams, Julian Barnes, Craig Raine, Kazuo Ishiguro, Iris Murdoch, V.S. Pritchett, Erica Jong, Arthur Miller, John Julius Norwich, Susan Sontag, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, Norman Mailer, and Ian McEwan. (Not signing were Burgess and Eliot, of course, Ted Hughes, and Gore Vidal).

Carnet de dessins

Pablo Picasso

Carnet de dessins

Published by Cahiers d’Art, Paris, 1948

Edition of 1,200

16 5/8 × 11 7/8 inches (42 × 30 cm)



This book reproduces, in facsimile, forty-one drawings made by Pablo Picasso in Royan, France, between May 30, 1940 and August 22, 1940, which were once contained in a notebook. It also features studies the artist created in Paris dated February 19, 1942. Picasso sought refuge in Royan from September 1939 to August 1940 after fleeing Paris due to fear of wartime bombing.