Like similar projects in California, Florida, Texas, Connecticut, Maryland and elsewhere, the Marciano Art Foundation isn’t exactly a museum. It’s merely a private collection open to the public. The selection is highly personal. The mission statement is freewheeling (“Through exhibiting a diverse and compelling collection … MAF aims to encourage curiosity and contemplation of art.”) The professional staff is limited, as are public hours.
Conservation scientists say that tiny formations of lead-based soaps—each about a tenth of a millimeter in diameter—are threatening to mar paintings by artists ranging from Rembrandt van Rijn to Georgia O’Keeffe. A team of experts has spent years researching why these microscopic white pockmarks appear—but they can’t figure out how to stop them.
“Old houses, inns, farmhouses, monasteries and ancient castles are all up for grabs – and you won’t have to pay a penny.” And yes, there’s a catch: “Those who take up the offer will have to commit to restoring and transforming the sites into tourist facilities, such as hotels, restaurants, or spas.”
In December 1978 the academy’s secretary, Sidney Hutchison, wrote to Drummonds Bank (with which it had a £675,000 overdraft): “Very confidentially, if this official attempt for subsidy from the Government through the Arts Council should fail, my view is that the Academy would then have no alternative but to sell the Michelangelo Tondo for its worldwide market price, ie in the region of £6,000,000.”
“I think the philanthropy will go up in that more people will see artists as part of a fabric of solving problems, or of addressing a problem. Before this interview, you asked me about what I was doing selling a painting [Lichtenstein’s Masterpiece], and it was because I’m really interested in getting money through that method that can be used for solving problems through art. I think that now artists are really going to come to the fore when it comes to political and social causes. I think art can make a difference. I think art can help.”
The Institute of Arab and Islamic Art opened earlier this month in Soho; “[it] has a gallery space and bookstore, and it aspires to organize quarterly exhibitions, travelling shows, artist residencies, and publications.” Vivek Gupta has a first look.
“Building 6, is a three-story, 130,000 sq. ft. structure now outfitted with long-term shows and installations by five artists. They include a 15-year installation by Jenny Holzer, whose art will be projected on the building and surrounding landscape, and a 25-year James Turrell retrospective with nine of the artist’s light works.”
“The neural net has no concept of color space, and no way to see human-color perception,” she says. Instead, it processed colors by their RGB values: the combination of red, green, and blue that come together in each hue. “It’s really seeing [colors] not as a number at a time, but as a digit at a time. I think that’s why the neural net had a lot of trouble getting the colors right, why it’s naming pinks when there aren’t any pinks, or gray when it’s not gray.”
To understand the architects’ approach to design we explored six of their most significant works: a private home, a winery, a running track, their own office, a restaurant and a public space.
“This is very good news for the African modernists who will benefit from the increased visibility. They were, some say, the postcolonial avant-garde, who set out to create new art for independent Africa during the mid-20th century. African contemporary artists have also moved beyond nationalism and are more likely to sound off about globalization and complex identities. But the continent’s masses will be the biggest losers. They will be denied access to artworks that define the age of independence and symbolize the slow process of postcolonial recovery.”
Rowan Moore is not in love with Wright. “Of all the architects officially designated great, he provokes in me a special allergy. It is not that he was a fantasist, liar and egomaniac who left a trail of emotional destruction in his wake, nor that his buildings leaked and crumbled and went many times over budget, nor that the chairs he designed fell over and defied basic norms of comfort, nor that he wrote and spoke pure, shining, transcendent, transparent nonsense, nor that he was a hypocrite who preached democracy and freedom but flirted with tyrants such as Mussolini and Stalin.”
But he’s no starchitect, despite his stylish glasses. “Yantrasast is funny and warm, as intrigued by vernacular culture as he is by high art. During the course of an afternoon interview, he expresses admiration for the choreographies of Pina Bausch and the sculptures of artist Gabriel Orozco. He also stops to admire homegrown modifications on a jalopy Toyota.”
A big sale at Sotheby’s shows off the new potential and new collector interest in modernist African art. But while Western collectors drive up the money for those artists, “whole countries in Africa cannot boast of a single art museum of any renown. On other continents, you might expect to see at least one public art museum in any city big enough to have a sports team. But good luck trying to find a museum in Lagos, one of the world’s largest cities, that displays the work of a big-name Nigerian artist.”
It was performance art with an extremely cool audience (and an extremely cool performance group): “At times, the event took on a mystical cast, Ms. Knowles and her troupe extending their arms toward the crowd in a kind of benediction. The effect was moving, the show itself museum-worthy. As Nat Trotman, the Guggenheim curator of performance and media, noted, it was part of a tradition that dates from the late 1960s, when Meredith Monk first performed in the rotunda.”
“The high price reflects the fact that 20th-century art increasingly dominates the list of the world’s most expensive paintings, partly because such works are more likely to be available for sale – with classics such as the Mona Lisa unlikely to come on to the market. Only three of the top 10 most expensive paintings are pre-19th century, with most of the highest prices attached to works by Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Gustav Klimt.”
The obvious incentive is financial. While structural changes to meet earthquake codes can throw an expensive wrench into the works, museums can get a better price per square foot by adapting an existing building if its bones are good.
Gasps escaped from the crowd as the final bid came in for the 1982 untitled depiction of a skull. The price is the highest ever paid at auction for a work by an American artist; indeed, it’s the sixth-highest price paid for any artwork at auction. As Jeffrey Deitch said, Basquiat is “now in the same league as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso.”
As Robin Pogrebin and Scott Reyburn report, “the answer to this remarkable trajectory … lies in the art market’s unpredictable but powerful alchemy: a combination of raw talent, compelling biography and limited supply.”
There’s been some talk lately of the Greek capital becoming the next Berlin – a large-and-low-priced city where artists can afford to settle and work. The arrival this year of Documenta – the first time the super-hot art shindig has left its German hometown – was expected to legitimize Athens’s standing as a contemporary art center. But the locals aren’t having it.
“In the late 2000s, there were roughly 10 such experts worldwide—a small number that was poised to get even smaller. Many of these individuals were approaching retirement age, and across the whole of the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe, there were at most two young conservators considering a career in this niche field. This was the worrisome picture that emerged from a survey begun in 2008 by Copenhagen’s Statens Museum for Kunst and funded by the Getty Foundation.”
“Longtime supporters Carl and Alice Bimel left a bequest of $11.75 million to the museum to establish the Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art. The endowment will enhance collections in the arts of South Asia, Greater Iran and Afghanistan.”
And it won’t be in Dhaka, the country’s capital. The Srihatta-Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park is due to open in late 2018 in Sylhet, a relatively affluent city in Bangladesh’s tea-growing northeast. Though the museum will be privately funded by the couple who are the country’s most prominent art collectors, admission will be free.
“Ironically, as if in a reversal of roles, many art galleries now act like museums did in the past. Their spaces now feel sterile and out of touch. For a time now, galleries have abided by the corporate business model, creating a corporatized art-buying experience. But the real issue facing art galleries today is this: Does the corporate model that has satisfied cultured people for decades still provide fulfillment? How can the art industry adapt to a consumer society in which everything is being turned into an event?”
“Everything about putting refugees on display as exhibits in an art show feels wrong to me. Yes, they are consenting participants. But how many options do they really have? Are they in a position to turn Eliasson’s offer down? Why not organise a project with them off site instead of parading them in front of the public? Let people interested in the project seek it out. Let the others gawp at something else. This is not art in service of migrants but migrants in service of an artistic and curatorial vision.”
“After 16 years of conservation, the 1644-56 Life of Christ tapestries by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli that crown the art collection of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine [in New York] have returned to view. Unlike their previous positions high above parishioners’ heads, they’re temporarily installed in the Chapel of St. James, wrapping around the room at eye-level, as they would have been in the 17th century.”
“Hirshhorn officials said about 475,000 visitors came to the [D.C.] museum and sculpture garden during the exhibition’s 11-week run. The crowds were double the normal attendance for that time of year … Still, two-thirds of those visitors were shut out of the show that they probably had come to see” – and those who got in had to wait in very long lines.
Gerhard Steidl prides himself on being a canny businessman: he has always wanted to make money, and funnels it back into the business when he does. But his admirers say that he is engaged in a loftier project than merely selling books. “Gerhard has an intense quest for making an encyclopedic, wide survey of the world of photography,” Polidori says. “It is almost a race with him—to get as much done while the money lasts, and while his life lasts.”
At the National Gallery of Art in D.C., senior conservator Ann Hoenigswald has used the imaging technology to discover early works (including a major one thought lost) by Frédéric Bazille which, it turns out, he subsequently painted over.
Okay, the head was a Brancusi – specifically, La Muse endormie. The second-highest price at this auction, which raised $289.2 million in total, was $45 million, for Picasso’s Femme assise, robe bleue.
“Described by many residents as a property grab akin to the forced collectivisation of property under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin,” the plan to demolish up to 4,500 buildings and relocate up to 1.6 million residents targets “Constructivist complexes built in the early Soviet years and still used as residential housing.”