“Art, which once reflected values aloof from simple (or complicated) greed, has been insidiously absorbed into the economy of commercial products,” Gary Indiana wrote in 1986, “its cash worth determined by dicey variables unlike the ones fixed for ordinary commodities.” The difference now is that the variables that determine art’s monetary value are no longer seen as dicey. Instead, they’re understood as art itself.
“Scott Brown is not alone. A deeply institutionalised invisibility cloak has long obscured the women in successful architectural partnerships, whether it’s MJ Long’s work on the British Library, a project usually credited to her husband Colin St John Wilson, or Su Rogers and Wendy Foster’s work on early projects with their husbands, Richard and Norman.”
The works to be auctioned at Sotheby’s next month — A Street (1926), Calla Lilies on Red (1928), and Cottonwood Tree in Spring (1943) — are expected to bring in well over $21 million to the Santa Fe museum’s acquisitions fund.
“A former Gulf War tank commander is recruiting experts to form a specialist unit” — called the Cultural Property Protection Unit — “that will protect cultural heritage in war zones, similar to the role carried out by the famed Monuments Men who saved artistic treasures from the Nazis during the Second World War. … The new unit will draw on members of the [British] Army, Navy, RAF and Royal Marines. Civilians who want to join will have to enlist in the Army Reserves.”
“The three sections of The Van Campen Family in a Landscape (1623-1625) [by Frans Hals] that have been located — including a piece from a private collection in Europe that was discovered to be a part of the painting a few years ago — [have been] reunited for the first time in an exhibition [at the Toledo Museum of Art].”
“[The director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam] said it was expected to be a slow and intricate project, which would take several years and cost millions of euros. … The public will be invited to watch the intimate conservation process, both up close in the gallery itself and via an internet livestream, in what is believed to be the biggest ever undertaking of its kind.”
“Since Greece officially ended its decade-long economic bailout this summer, its government has been tentatively moving forward with plans to ease austerity measures on its citizens. … We asked figures from Greece’s art world to reflect on the economic crisis and its effect on the arts, and to look towards the future.”
Maybe photographers have been too worried about photography losing relevance. Indeed, it’s highly relevant. “One could argue from this evidence that it is the medium of our time, not just defining our globally connected digital image culture, but propelling it. Even a decade ago, no one could have predicted the seismic shift that has occurred in our relationship with – and use of – the photographic image.”
Appropriately punny for a museum that celebrates the author of The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach (not to mention Matilda), “Isabelle Reynolds, from the museum, said: ‘We hope the closure hasn’t put a dampener on things.'”
There was an uproar from critics who argued that the gesture was clumsy and opportunistic, if not cynical, as Mr. Koons didn’t have a direct connection to the terrorist attacks. “The general outcry was in part caused by a form of outdated anti-Americanism, but it was also a sincere, offended one,” said Guillaume Piens, the director of the Art Paris Art Fair. “Whenever artists touch on memory and victims, it’s hard to see an uninterested, mere artistic act only.”
Jonathan Jones rounds up all of the scuttlebutt – and there’s a lot. “A crucial piece of evidence that Leonardo painted Salvator Mundi also suggests that its restoration has been excessive and has muffled its power. Ironically, this seems to make the work both an original and, in my view, a kind of kitsch concoction.”
The world came to knew Nathanael Greene as the Revolutionary War general whom Alexander Hamilton didn’t want to serve as secretary, but now? Well, now he’s the googly-eyed statue dude. (And the police of Savannah, Georgia, would like us all to know it’s not funny. Not funny at all.)
Yugoslavia was a modernist construct as a country, and the architecture bred unity as well. “Modernism was as much a part of the taste and tang of the place as tiny cups of Turkish coffee and milk sold in heat-sealed plastic bags.”
The artist fought hard for her place in the art world. And when men punished her for it, “she turned the horror of her own life into scenes of women’s vengeance on the men at whose hands they had suffered. She used biblical stories to portray, in exquisite paintings, her fury at the sexual violence she herself had endured.”
Hm. “For years, nonprofits from museums to major universities have been strengthening ties with the oil kingdoms of the Middle East as a way to broaden their offerings, foster cross-cultural dialogue and obtain access to those countries’ considerable riches.” Great goals! But … museums have a lot to evaluate right now.
Six of Donald Judd’s buildings in the Texas town are getting a facelift and, in some cases, much more than that: “It will add 26,500 square feet of new program space and make open to the public for the first time another 16,000 square feet.”
The museum was closed for five years – until this weekend, when it became the most recent expression of a long-distant dream: “Though it took decades to realize, the idea to design a building to house the collections of King Gustav III was first hatched in 1792.”
How did a Dalí end up at Rikers anyway? (As an apology gift for a missed photo opp.) After time in the mess hall, a Virginia gallery, and a trash bin, the 3′-by-5′ original ended up near the Pepsi machine in a jail lobby. “The work barely registered with the Department of Correction officers and visitors who passed it. But a plaque next to the painting proclaimed that it was worth an estimated one million dollars.” Well, that was smart. James Fanelli recounts the story of the inevitable, but surprisingly badly executed, heist.
“‘When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history,’ the anonymous [purchaser] said in a statement. Banksy has in turn agreed to ‘re-authenticate’ the piece with a new title, Love Is in the Bin (2018). (It is currently unclear which came first: the collector’s decision to keep the work or Banksy’s decision to re-authenticate and rename it.) Sotheby’s, for its part, is making the most of its publicity coup, describing the work … as ‘the first work in history ever created during a live auction.'”
Ben Davis argues that all those folks fulminating over this event — and there are a lot of them, with many different takes (“There are full-on Truthers out there, scrutinizing every frame and angle of the whole thing, as well as Denialists, doubting that it even happened at all”) — are missing the Banksyan genius of it. “A very important concept in street art is placement. Street art fans will be very impressed by where and how a tag was placed … Obviously, the Sotheby’s prank has to be appreciated mainly, simply, as a great placement.” What’s more, it has placed the auction house smack in the middle of the Liar’s Paradox.
According to the museum’s final attendance figures, the Costume Institute show of couture inspired by Roman Catholic vestments was seen by 1,659,647 people. (What, did they count every person who walked past a pope dress in the Medieval Sculpture Hall or The Cloisters?) That number exceeds the 1,360,957 viewer figure for the 1978 “Treasures of Tutankhamun” show.
The project invites viewers to experience a large-scale painting completed on a warehouse at 53rd and Media Streets through the lens of a smartphone app that casts holograms and generates a changing soundtrack as you move from left to right.
Prince argues that he had to use as much of the photograph as appeared in the Instagram post to accomplish his purpose. In a 15-page statement calling his iPhone a paintbrush, Prince explains that he wanted “to reimagine traditional portraiture and bring to a canvas and art gallery a physical representation of the virtual world of social media”. Had he altered the photographs, he says, that intent would go unseen.
“This week, Banksy must surely be wondering if he has fueled the very machine of late-stage capitalism that he famously despises. … Two McDonald’s agencies had gotten in front of the meme by turning Banksy’s half-shredded image into an ode to french fries, but lots more homages have surfaced since then.”
A nationwide audit of 163 major collections has led to the identification of “83 paintings, 26 drawings and 13 Jewish ritual objects [as well as miscellaneous works] believed to have been taken from their owners between 1933 and 1945.”
“One of the most environmentally friendly office buildings ever conceived has been named the winner of the 2018 Stirling prize, beating off competition from a quirky brick nursery, a mud-walled cemetery and the extension of the Tate St Ives gallery.”
“The lower part of the painting, which depicts the Crucifixion (around 1555), was torn after the piece loosened due to weak wall fastenings [in a monastery at El Escorial in Spain]. Crucially, the figure of Christ was undamaged. ‘Detaching from the wall caused a considerable horizontal tear [across the canvas support],’ says an official statement.”
“S. Vijay Kumar, a shipping company executive based in Singapore, was instrumental in the return of a 12th-century Buddha stolen in India 57 years ago … [and] has dabbled in helping India recover its stolen antiques since 2007 … He speaks to The Art Newspaper about his investigations, which have led to the recovery of 28 such objects, with many more in the pipeline.”
If they were shelling out for love of the image alone, I would suggest picking up a replacement at Target, where a print version is currently on sale for $36.79, down from forty-six dollars. But, if they’re buying for investment, they might as well follow through. The picture’s destruction, like that of Tinguely’s machine, was halted before the job was complete, and there is already speculation that the work in damaged form will become even more valuable than it was before.
Essentially, Banksy likes to produce works that critique their own commodification. But he also seems to be increasingly critiquing the public’s attitudes toward art, and its complicity within the system of that commodification. The Dismaland project implicated the “tourists” for their enjoyment of the experience as much as it implicated Disney itself. With the Central Park experiment, the entire experience — the pop-up art stand and the art sold within it, as well as the night-and-day opposing responses from the public both before and after the reveal that Banksy was the perpetrator — became a piece of art. With these exhibitions, Banksy is also increasingly using his work to explore and critique the idea of virality, and how it influences the perceived value of a work in the minds of both the public and the artistic establishment.