Was ISIS’s Attack On Mosul Museum Staged? Just Another Of Its “Cinema Of Terror” Pieces?

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Christopher Knight, observing that several of the statues destroyed were obviously modern copies: “Earlier snuff videos … show the beheading of soldiers, journalists and humanitarian aid workers. The new video purports to show nothing less than the beheading of an entire civilization. The question is: Does it really? Or is the video, instead, a grotesque perversion of performance art, cynically designed to inflate the image of Islamic State power?”

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A Day Off, Sort Of, With The Director Of The Dia Art Foundation

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“I’m living next to the Earth Room, one of Dia’s sites. Usually artists stay there. I wake up and see the Earth Room, and say good night to it, too. It’s a project that Walter De Maria built in 1977 and it’s exactly as it sounds, a space on the first floor of a building in SoHo, which is filled with earth. It has a very strong presence, and it’s there, next to you.”

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Stedelijk Museum Makes A Startling Public Admission

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“The Stedelijk Museum in the Second World War” recounts the daring ways in which the museum’s employees fought Nazi censors after Germany conquered the Netherlands in May 1940. But the show also features 16 works in the permanent collection by artists including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Henri Matisse that the museum says it might not rightfully own.

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Getty Museum’s Top Curator To Retire After 35 Years

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Thomas Kren, the associate director for collections (not to be confused with Thomas Krens, the controversial longtime director of the Guggenheim), will depart in October. He’ll be replaced by Richard Rand, senior curator of paintings and sculpture at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass.”

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Westminster Abbey To Add First New Tower In 270 Years

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The addition “will create public access to a museum of treasures and curiosities housed in the triforium, the church’s attic gallery. At present, the public can get only a distant glimpse of the spectacular and shadowy space through the stone arches 70ft up at the top of the walls above the high altar.”

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Is This The Banksy Of Iran? Or The Shepard Fairey?

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“[Mehdi] Ghadyanloo has more in common with the metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico than he does with Banksy. Yet in terms of success as a street artist, he is undoubtedly the Banksy of Tehran. Astonishingly, there are over 100 walls in Iran’s capital decorated by Ghadyanloo. … His paintings are not illegal. On the contrary, he was commissioned by the city government to paint them.” (So he’s definitely not like Banksy.)

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A 21st-Century “Pictures At An Exhibition” (But This Exhibition Is One Of The World’s Greatest)

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“Four contemporary classical composers walk into an art museum. No punch line. But after walking in, this quartet of composers eventually walked away having penned four new compositions, which Network for New Music will premiere Friday at the Barnes Foundation – amid the art and spaces that inspired them.”

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Dutch Restorers Offer To Repair Roman Fountain Damaged By Soccer Hooligans

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“A Dutch restoration firm has offered to repair a 400-year-old fountain that was damaged last week when supporters of Rotterdam soccer team Feyenoord went on a drunken rampage in Rome’s historic center.” The Dutch government has rejected any responsibility to pay for restoration, though it says it supports private efforts.

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Ancient Frescoes In Roman Catacombs May Undermine Church Teaching About Women Priests – Or May Not

A fresco is pictured inside the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome

The wall paintings in the Catacombs of Santa Priscilla “have sparked controversy over the role of women in the Church, and helped scholars re-evaluate the importance of the Virgin Mary in early Christian history.” Some claim that one fresco even provides evidence that female priests served the Eucharist, though others are skeptical.

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India’s Famous Cave Temples That Sat Unknown For More Than 1,000 Years

Caves, Buddhist monastery (5th century), UNESCO World Heritage site, Ajanta, India

“The Ajanta Caves, 30 spellbinding Buddhist prayer halls and monasteries carved, as if by sorcery, into a horseshoe-shaped rock face in a mountainous region of India’s Maharashtra state, … were ‘discovered’ by accident in 1819 … [after being] abandoned by those who created it as long ago as AD 500.”

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Dutch Soccer Hooligans Damage Historic Bernini Fountain In Rome

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“One of the central victims of the clash was the Berninis’ Fontana della Barcaccia, a fountain of a half-sunken ship that sits at the foot of the famous steps in piazza di Spagna. In addition to being left looking like it had a hangover, filled with beer bottles, balloons, and trash, at least 100 scratches were made to the travertine sculpture, damage that one Italian official called ‘permanent and irreparable’.”

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Mexico City Museum Cancels Exhibition Because Artist’s Work Is Too Bloody

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“Anticipating that [Hermann] Nitsch’s disturbing oeuvre might upset Mexicans already alarmed by the bloodshed ravaging their country, the Museo Jumex … abruptly canceled an exhibition that was scheduled to open this week. The pre-emptive decision by the Jumex Foundation, which runs the museum, has been denounced by collectors, curators and art critics as an embarrassing act of censorship by a group striving to establish itself in the international art circuit.”

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U.S. Officials Return Tiepolo Painting and Etruscan Bronze to Italy

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“Federal law enforcement authorities in New York announced Tuesday that they had returned to Italy two pieces of that country’s cultural heritage stolen decades ago before being brought to the United States: a painting attributed to the 18th-century artist Giambattista Tiepolo and an ancient Etruscan bronze statuette of Herakles.”

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René Magritte Was A Comedian

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“A good comic can take something mundane and familiar and make you see it an unexpected way, whether it’s Dave Chappelle talking about ‘grape drink’, or Louis CK ranting about his four-year-old daughter. Magritte will do the same by sticking a silk mask on an apple. Or having a cloud enter a room by a door.”

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Relations With The U.S. Or No, Cuba Is Not Returning Exiles’ Art

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“With the recent loosening of US restrictions on trade with Cuba, prisoner exchanges and the promise of warmer relations to come, the two countries are closer than they have been for 50 years. But for those Cuban exiles in the US whose art was seized by the Cuban authorities in the 1960s, restitution of their property is still no closer. Cuba continues to reject the charge that the art in question was stolen, and has no mechanism for its return.”

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