If programming under new director Klaus Biesenbach continues to privilege male artists and spectacle, and the board continues to make decisions that appear more self- than public-serving, how does an art community assert its agency? In recent years, members of the Los Angeles artworld have tried to do just that, protesting decisions by MOCA directors that seemed insensitive to the lived experiences of vulnerable artists.
This week’s headlines invoked a fantasy version of the British Museum’s role in international relations. The director of the museum may have shaken hands with Iraq’s ambassador to the U.K., but he has not performed a genuine act of restitution. The British Museum has been styled in the press (and styled itself in its own press release) as a bulwark against looting. But the museum is a cathedral to the practice.
Fashion is about the only ad category in the print edition that looks healthy. Visual arts reviews used to be surrounded by notices paid for by art galleries. Now that Friday section is lucky to have a small promo from one of the auction houses. Other sections of the newspaper are even more ad-deprived. Sports and Metropolitan commonly have none. The New York Times Sunday Magazine, once fattened with messages from General Motors and Coca-Cola, is an editorial skeleton without commercial muscle. Only the perfect-bound T has flesh on its bones.
While some news outlets compared the discovery to a second version of the monumental Great Sphinx of Giza, the new find seems to be more of a country cousin. But in a nation struggling to rebuild its tourism industry, every new antiquity helps.
There have been Christian churches in what is now the state of Kerala for at least 1,600 years, but the ones that have been built there in recent decades are a wild combination of Le Corbusier modernism, tropical Art Deco, SoCal commercial, and maybe even some Bollywood and Vegas thrown in. (slideshow)
Journalist Alina Cohen looks at four photographers’ projects – street hustlers in L.A., high schoolers in a Southern town where the proms were still segregated, victims of the 1963 Birmingham (AL) church bombing, and small-town Irish teens on the day before their 18th birthday – and talks to the photographers about their obligations to their subjects.
The sign, a pictograph for a road crossing showing elderly people being carried by children, was installed in the English town of Clevedon (not far from the secretive artist’s presumed hometown, Bristol) sometime early Friday. By Friday evening it was gone. There’s no indication of whether the artist, authorities, or vandals removed it.
The investigation into Annette Kulenkampff’s financial management of Documenta was prompted by a legal complaint issued by Kassel city council members of the right-wing Alternativ für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany). The prosecutor found no evidence of embezzlement, a statement says.
In June, vandals cut a water pipe to the Kansas City (Missouri) museum – which is in the building where the Negro Leagues were founded in the 1920s. The vandalism wasn’t discovered for hours, and by that time, water had caused more than half a million dollars in damages. The museum president says “Small contributions are coming from virtually every corner of the country. … It’s lifted everybody’s spirits.”
And it’s in London – as in, in the city. “Many architects have a yearning for the primitive hut, but few can boast pigs outside the window of their office. ‘It does lead to some awkward phone calls. … Clients ask what the grunting noise is in the background.'”
The murals were part of the artist’s early work, in a 2001 exhibition. “Six years later, and long after Banksy had established himself as an international artist, the murals were covered with grey emulsion during refurbishment work at the nightclub.” Oops. Now, carefully, they’re being uncovered again.
It’s not all make-up tutorials, beauty influencers, and traditionally contoured faces over there anymore. Instead, sci-fi and horror are having their Instagram day, with various accounts “marrying the macabre and the glamorous. They have antecedents in the work of Alexander McQueen, 1990s club kids, Cindy Sherman (currently posting eerie self-portraits on her own Instagram account) and Lady Gaga.”
These objects, taken from a dealer and held by the London police for more than a decade, were returned, but there’s quite a lot more looted art out there in the world: “The objects were not stolen in the notorious free-for-all at the National Museum in 2003, an event that Donald H. Rumsfeld, the defense secretary at the time, once brushed off with the words ‘stuff happens.'”
There are a lot of problems with resale royalties schemes, and we have addressed some of them at length elsewhere. Here, we focus on one overriding difficulty: Resale royalties take real money from the entire art world, including young and struggling artists, and transfer most of it to a tiny group of famous and rich super-artists—the artistic one-percenters. New data we have collected shows this clearly.
The eight small pieces had no documentation of any kind to help the police, but the museum experts could literally read their origin. They included cone-shaped ceramics with cuneiform inscriptions identifying the site as Tello, ancient Girsu in southern Iraq, one of the oldest cities on earth recorded in the earliest form of true written language.
The role of money is more obvious now. People can look at works in an auction preview or catalogue and see the price— and price dictates how we view the artwork. But art dealers as we know them had their advent in the 19th century. Prior to that, art was about commissions from the wealthy. Again: rich merchants, royalty and the church. They were the gatekeepers. They determined which artists got commissions and which artists did not.
As part of the Reykjavik arts festival in June, Indridadóttir showed photographs of topless young women standing in front of painted portraits of older men. The photographs were taken in locations such as the Icelandic parliament, a sports club and a school, where rooms are decorated with portraits of men that had been playing an important part in the history of those institutions
As opposed to residential fine art policies, terrorism coverage is not automatically part of commercial property insurance. That means museums and commercial art galleries need to purchase protection for this potentiality separately.
“The 156-year-old museum is now five years into an ambitious program that’s been injecting life into the Western New York region’s parks, neighborhoods, buildings, and other infrastructure through paint, plastic, steel, cloth, and whatever else their international cast of commissioned artists want to work with.” In a Q&A, Albright-Knox public art curator Aaron Ott talks about the works that have gone up, their reception by the public, and the lessons he’s learned.
The project, titled The List and produced by artist Banu Cennetoğlu, displays the names of 34,361 migrants attempting to reach Europe who have died en route since 1993. The work was torn down by vandals late last month from its outdoor display at the Liverpool Biennial; it was reinstalled this past Monday (August 5), though Biennial organizers say it may be targeted again.
It is many millennia older than Stonehenge or Egypt’s great pyramids, built in the pre-pottery Neolithic period before writing or the wheel. But should Göbekli Tepe, which became a Unesco World Heritage Site in July, also be regarded as the world’s oldest piece of architecture?
In recent months, several art spaces have abandoned the informal gallery zone that had materialized over the last five years in the area known as the Flats, the low-lying, largely industrial sliver of Boyle Heights that borders the Los Angeles River.
“The idea is that while Dalí was the face of the enterprise, Gala propelled it. Dalí certainly recognised her contribution, signing some of his paintings ‘Gala Salvador Dalí’ … Can Gala, having produced no art that we know of, really be considered an artist? Perhaps not. But this exhibition does show how much Salvador Dalí – and his art – depended on her forceful personality, for better or worse.”
The Transbay Transit Center (also known as the Salesforce Transit Center), opening this weekend, features a 20,000-square-foot terrazzo floor by Julie Chang, an oval-shaped rolling-text piece by (of course) Jenny Holzer, a ceiling light sculpture by James Carpenter, and a fountain by Ned Kahn in a 5.4-acre rooftop park.
“Savoir Beds, known for their hefty price tag and their extraordinary contents (think cashmere made from the necks of Mongolian goats), have partnered with … London’s National Gallery to create custom beds, each upholstered with artwork on the headboard and the base.” And customers can choose any image the museum owns.
In an article headlined “This is the way communism is promoted using state money,” the conservative newspaper Magyar Idők, aligned with the nationalist Fidesz party of prime minister Viktor Orbán, wrote about a popular show of the Mexican painter’s work at the Hungarian National Gallery, “You won’t believe it but Trotsky has emerged in Budapest again, this time from Frida Kahlo’s bed.”
Eager to attract a broader cross-section of visitors at a time when the country’s demographics are changing — and, in New York, facing an ultimatum linking city funding to inclusion plans — a growing number of museums are addressing diversity with new urgency.
The case of the Berkshire Museum “raises an existential question for museums as a whole: should an institution be allowed to die on the vine to preserve collections? … Are we as a field saying that museums are ethically bound to continue ‘business as usual’ and never change their missions?” Bob Beatty surveys the dilemma and lays out a possible solution.
From the faded grandeur of the State Circus in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, to the concrete curves of Kiev’s Memory Park, many of these buildings have been abandoned and left to ruin, while others sit waiting for demolition in rapidly developing eastern European cities.
Built over 27 years (and counting) by mosaicist Isaiah Zagar and open to the public for a decade, the Magic Gardens installation in Philadelphia is now wildly popular – and the visitor traffic means repairing wear and tear that Zagar and his colleagues had never anticipated. Ashley Hahn reports on the program that’s now been set up to inspect and protect the countless tiny pieces of material in the mosaics that cover the site.