This past spring, Sam Durant’s Scaffold at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis drew enough criticism that the piece was disassembled entirely. (At least they held off on burning it.) This month, the dispute is over Del Geist’s Bowfort Towers, a piece, meant to pay tribute to Blackfoot culture, that the city of Calgary has sited at an interchange on the Trans-Canada Highway.
“What they found is that all the plans adhere to one of five basic setups: benches opposing each other in two sets of lines; a semicircle; a horseshoe; a circle; or a classroom-like layout, where politicians are rigidly oriented to face the front of a room. While many European national parliaments have opted for the semicircular layout — indicative of a “consensus-seeking” room, XML says — it’s mostly authoritarian countries that have adopted the classroom setup, from Cuba to China to North Korea.”
“Modern Painters, Old Masters argues persuasively that artists have succeeded in reimagining earlier work without engaging in aggressive competition—the kind that Édouard Manet, for example, appears to have relished when he transformed the softly modeled nude in Titian’s Venus of Urbino (1538) into the flat planes of a defiantly naked Olympia (1863)… Like the nineteenth century, our own moment is one at which the expansion of museums and new technologies for the dissemination of images have combined to make the history of art-making open to view as never before.”
“William Griswold, the museum’s ebullient and well-liked director and president since August, 2014, says his goal is to engage a larger and more diverse audience. And he sees no reason why the museum can’t achieve annual attendance of 1 million – a sizable increase over the average of 650,000 over the past three years, and the 707,000 visitors the museum drew in 2015-16, which included its centennial year.” Griswold tells Steven Litt how he plans to do it.
The towering, untitled sculpture was not universally popular when it was unveiled 50 years ago. “[It] might never have been in danger of being destroyed or being replaced with a statue of Cubs baseball player Ernie Banks (per the wishes of one alderman), but for several years, the word ‘controversial’ preceded any mention of the work in the press. … Children began using The Picasso as a slide almost immediately, making it a de facto interactive sculpture.”
The animatronic arachnid, called Kumo, was created by French street theater company La Machine and brought to Ottawa for the Canada 150 celebrations. Late last week, it was was installed on the side of the capital’s Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica – for a visual juxtaposition with Louise Bourgeois’s bronze spider, Maman, just across the street in front of the the National Gallery of Canada. But not all believers thought the sight was cool.
“Authorities arrested five Palestinian antiquities dealers in Jerusalem and confiscated items dating back thousands of years from their homes and shops: papyrus fragments from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the bust of an Etruscan woman, a fresco from Pompeii depicting swimming fish. They also seized more modern objects – two black luxury Audi vehicles – and more than $200,000 in cash.”
High in the Apuan Alps of Tuscany sits Monte Altissimo, a 5,213-foot (1,589-meter) mountain, climbed in 1517 by the Italian artist Michelangelo in pursuit of fine marble for his sculptures. There, according to Reuters, he “found the marble of his dreams. It was, the Renaissance master wrote, ‘of compact grain, homogeneous, crystalline, reminiscent of sugar.’”
The National Academy artists wrote in response to Boston protesters asking the ICA to cancel the Schutz show because of her painting Open Casket, which is of the open casket and broken face of Emmett Till and was roundly criticized at the Whitney Biennial. The painting is not in the ICA show. The artists wrote, “It is also of the utmost importance to us that artists not perpetrate upon each other the same kind of intolerance and tyranny that we criticise in others.”
Love emoji, thumbs-up emoji: “Her new mobile selfies are by turns outlandish, hilarious and poignant. They demystify the influences and experiments of a great artist, even as they also point to the gap between Ms. Sherman’s vital, unsettling practice of sideways self-portraiture and the narcissistic practice of selfie snapping.”
The woman was not taking the suggestion – which is against V&A policy – lightly. “Instead of bearing that in silence, she busted out her phone and started tweeting. She ribbed the V&A, pointing out that the museum seemed totally fine with some bare bosoms — as long as they were made of stone instead of flesh.”
John Yau: “It is not that I was dissatisfied more than usual with what I had written. Writers are always vexed by what they have written. In this case, something else about the works wouldn’t leave me alone. The impetus came from pieces that I did and didn’t write about. I decided to go back to the exhibition and look again. I wanted to figure out what I had not gotten to the first time, and which could not wait.”
The biennale owes $200,000 to artists, installers and others who created the 2016 event, and now public funding has dried up for 2018 and possibly 2020 – “To accept a grant and not pay the artists is a cardinal sin in the eyes of every arts council that ever was.” How did it come to this after a grand, ambitious beginning?
Researchers at Rutgers University’s Art and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory not only created the software, “[they] showed the generated artworks to a pool of 18 people to judge, mixed with 50 images of real paintings – half by famous Abstract Expressionists and half shown at Art Basel 2016.” Not only did the panel prefer the AI paintings, they thought that many of the Art Basel works had been created by the computer. (As Claire Voon puts it, “zombie formalism is real.”)
Venice Glass Week will feature “more than 140 commercial and institutional exhibitions, talks and conferences, educational activities, open furnaces, film screenings and evening events. The aim is to show how traditional glassmaking techniques can be used to innovative effect in a contemporary context, while also educate visitors about Venice’s glassmaking history”
“Even when we chose them, personalized them, they were just there – artworks that we rarely thought of as art, partly because we never knew the names of the artists who had made them. The best examples of the genre underscored this sentiment by pushing back against the fact of conscious human design.” Jacob Brogan offers a history of screen savers and an explanation (for you young’uns) of why they were necessary and why we now so rarely see them.
“The messages that are sent out have a completely unbalanced emphasis on contemporary art, as if somehow the crowds that come to the Metropolitan Museum on Fifth Avenue—where people go to see Egyptian, Greek, and Islamic Art and great European paintings—are suddenly going to come to see contemporary art. This when there are a thousand commercial galleries all over New York, and how many museums with contemporary art? It’s nonsense.”
Condo developer Uri Vaknin: “Already a world-renowned dining, entertainment and shopping capital, our city is now becoming a cultural hub. The openings of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, The Mob Museum and the Neon Museum signals a clear move in that direction. Yet, I remain dumbfounded that Las Vegas lacks a world-class art museum.”
Ten days before her art school’s graduate exhibition opened, Rotem Bides claimed that the objects in her installation in the show had been taken from the museum at the Auschwitz-Birkenau prison camp. All hell broke loose, and her work was about to be removed – then she released a statement swearing that the items had not been taken from the Auschwitz museum itself.
Academicians warned decades ago that “the restrictive control of the master’s archives for a quarter-century after his death in 1959 by his widow, Olgivanna (who died in 1985), would set back Wright studies for a full generation, if not longer. Dissertation advisers prudently steered doctoral candidates away from Wright topics because of the extortionate research and reproduction fees demanded by his foundation, as well as the editorial approval it demanded for publications that used material from the Taliesin archive. The rise of poststructuralist criticism further eroded younger scholars’ interest in an architect whose uniquely personal approach to architecture had little to do with the period’s fascination with literary theory.”
Phineas Harper: “Across architectural culture we dread the label of unoriginality like a curse. We deride the derivative, we mock mimics, we fear facsimiles. Call us dull, call us sellouts, call us gentrifiers – just don’t call us copycats. I believe this sneering snobbery of derivation is deeply flawed and at odds with the potential of architecture as a collective creative force.” (For instance, Shigeru Ban is not the only architect allowed to use cardboard tubes.)
Justin Davidson: “Most of us can imagine only what we already know, and even the fantasies of visionary filmmakers can be astonishingly earthbound. The inventors of nonexistent cities don’t have to worry about building codes, zoning, financing regulations, or even the need to make their structures stand up. Rather than use that freedom to unleash radical design or dream up darkly beautiful architecture, they simply recycle the present and make it bigger, and worse.”
“Manhattan prosecutors have taken custody of an ancient bull’s head that was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art because of concerns that the antiquity was looted from a Lebanese storage area in the 1980s during Lebanon’s civil war. … Last week, the Met surrendered an ancient vase that it bought at auction in 1989 because of concerns that it might have been looted from Italy.”