American minimalist painter Robert Ryman dies aged 88 The artist known for working with primarily white and square surfaces has died in New York aged 88. Ryman was a key member of the minimalist movement, exhibiting in Documenta 5, 6 and 7 in Kassel, plus various editions of the Venice Biennale and the Whitney Biennial.

Born in Nashville in 1930, Ryman served in the US Army before moving to New York in 1953 as an aspiring saxophonist. However, he soon became interested in the abstract expressionist movement and began to paint whilst working as a guard at the Museum of Modern Art.

It was at MoMA that he also befriended fellow artists Sol LeWitt and Robert Mangold, who were also guards at the museum, plus the art critic and activist Lucy Lippard, who he later married.

In a 1971 interview for Art Forum, Ryman said: “I don’t think of myself as making white paintings. I make paintings; I’m a painter. White paint is my medium.”

Ryman was represented by Pace Gallery in New York, and Xavier Hufkens in Brussels. Responding to his death, Pace released a statement saying: “We mourn his loss, but celebrate the never-ending legacy of his art and its impact on how we see the world.”

New York’s Guggenheim Museum targeted by opioid crisis protesters over Sackler family links US photographer and activist Nan Goldin, together with a group of demonstrators, dropped thousands of fake prescriptions into the museum’s atrium in protest against the institution’s acceptance of donations from the Sacker family. The family owns Purdue Pharma, which is the maker of OxyContin, a prescription painkiller currently at the heart of America’s opioids crisis.

Goldin narrowly avoided dying of an opioid overdose after being prescribed OxyContin pills. She is campaigning for art and academic institutions in the US and Britain to refuse philanthropy from the multibillionaire Sacklers.

She told the Guardian: “I want the Guggenheim and others publicly to disavow themselves from the Sacklers and refuse future funding from them, and I want them to take down the Sackler name from the museums.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Nan Goldin (@nangoldinstudio) on

As part of the demonstration, Goldin and others lay on the floor of the museum as if dead, surrounded by the fake prescriptions.

Meanwhile, artist Domenic Esposito has installed an opioid spoon sculpture at the entrance of Rhodes Pharma in Coventry, Rhode Island. He describes the work as an ‘Opioid Spoon Deployment’, which is part of the larger not-for-profit organisation, The Opioid Spoon Project, which is dedicated to ‘rectifying irresponsible drug prescription practices that often lead to the use of non-prescription drugs’.

According to US government figures from the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdoses now kill more than 72,000 people in the US a year with the majority of those deaths – 49,000 – caused by opioids.

Tracey Emin’s Margate studio to be turned into a museum for her work when she dies Speaking to The Art Newspaper podcast, Emin said she is planning to establish a foundation and turn the studio she is currently developing in the seaside town where she grew up into a museum in order to preserve her legacy.

Emin commented: “The studio is big enough for a museum and I’m synonymous with Margate, so that’s a nice thing to look forward to. Alright, I might be dead but I might be able to come back and rearrange a few things every now and then.”

She said that instead of buying back work for the space, she will be making work specifically for the museum. “I am not going to be one of those artists who when I’m 70 or 80 I’m buying all my work back to try and fill my museum up. I’ve got to actually make work and save it for that.”

She said that the opening of Turner Contemporary in 2011 was a huge catalyst for change in the area. “Within the next five years Margate is definitely going to be a major creative destination. It’s better than Shoreditch because it’s got the sea, it’s so beautiful. But it’s kind of rough, it’s gritty, it’s not a twee seaside town, it’s got a bit of guts to it.”

1. Robert Ryman. Courtesy: PACE Gallery
2. Robert Ryman, Untitled, 1961, oil on unstretched sized linen canvas, 11-1/4 x 11-1/4″ (28.6 x 28.6 cm), irregular. © 2019 Robert Ryman /Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

More on

Preston’s artist-led studio space The Birley to triple in size as artist community grows

Members’ Events: narratives on canvas, living with disability, unity in adversity

Creative Land Trust launched to secure long-term ‘affordable’ workspace for artists in London