“The phrase Mexican-British fusion might call to mind an ungodly mishmash of fish and chip burritos or steak and kidney tacos. But, in architectural terms, it looks like it could have intriguing results. We’ll find out this summer – in the form of the Serpentine pavilion, designed this year by young Mexican architect Frida Escobedo as a cross-cultural combination of Mexican domestic architecture with a distinctly British twist.”
“It seemed to us that if we didn’t create a permanent space, we were operating as we used to in the past,” said Sébastien Allard, director of the paintings department at the Louvre, which opened a dedicated space for looted works in December. Although museums are often suspected of wanting to keep the pieces, Mr. Allard said, “our goal is clearly to return everything that we can.”
“In their paper, titled Democratizing Art Markets: Fractional Ownership and the Securitization of Art, the authors, using historical sales data from the Leo Castelli gallery, have modelled a sample portfolio to determine what would have happened had Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg retained 10% equity in their own works sold by Castelli between 1958 and 1963.”
A pavilion designed for Hyundai by architect Asif Khan has been covered with a coating of Vantablack – the world’s blackest black, which absorbs more than 99% of the light that hits its surface. (Didn’t Anish Kapoor buy exclusive rights to that?) Oliver Wainwright describes the building as “an angular black hole, … a portal to a parallel universe.” The interior, naturally, is bright white.
“The then co-chairs of the board of … sent potential donors a letter in December, just in time for tax-deductible gifts in 2017 that said: ‘We often say that the Getty can do anything, but it cannot do everything.’ The letter invited supporters to ‘join with us in special initiatives that can raise the Getty to new heights’, especially education programmes and exhibitions.” The Getty’s endowment as of last year was $6.9 billion.
“The [burial chamber] was uncovered in a cemetery to the west of the Great Pyramid in October of 2017. It appears to have been built for a Priestess of Hathor identified as Hetpet. The paintings inside the tomb imagine the high-ranking priestess in various scenarios – receiving offerings from her children, hunting and fishing. There are scenes of people smelting metal and building papyrus boats on display as well as images of domesticated monkeys picking fruit and dancing in front of an orchestra.”
The French street artist, known for his mosaics that look like pixelated images from vintage video games, attached about a dozen works to the walls of centuries-old monasteries and temples in the small Himalayan kingdom. When even his fans on social media criticized him, he responded, “My practice tells a story, and I don’t know why I should deprive Bhutan from this story.” (The government has now removed the mosaics.)
“The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago has turned a corner in recent months, re-emerging after years of financial problems and curatorial trepidation to organise more note-worthy shows … The slow and deliberate process of Spertus reinvigoration began in 2016,” with a new gallery space and new curator.
The country’s economy is growing at around 7% annually, and the art market has reportedly grown 13% in just the past year. Art fairs, led by the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala state (along with the Dhaka Art Summit in neighboring Bangladesh), are booming as well. All this is despite uncertainty around a new tax and last year’s tumultuous currency reform, which saw all 500- and 1,000-rupee notes withdrawn.
A pseudo-scientific chart on the side of each label purports to rate objects according to “Innovation,” “Design,” and “Implementation,” resulting in a final “Fail-o-Meter” score, with no explanation as to the metrics involved. In essence, the Museum of Failure is a BuzzFeed listicle come to life.
“In previous academic deaccessions, alumni, the public and art professionals piled their ire upon university presidents and trustees. It seems to me that the auction houses are equally culpable. They are training their sights on financially pressed colleges and museums as part of their business development strategies. This is art-world ambulance chasing.”
In humans and other catarrhines, the red and green cones largely overlap. This means that we prioritise distinguishing a few types of colours really well – specifically, red and green – at the expense of being able to see as many colours as we possibly might. This is peculiar. Why do we prioritise differentiating red from green?
Richard Caring reportedly spent somewhere between £20 million and £30 million last year to buy The Girl with a Red Beret and Pompom. Picasso evidently did not give the painting a title himself – so Caring decided to rename it “Annabel”, after a nightspot he owns in London’s Mayfair district. As one might expect, art historians are aghast.
“The petroglyphs at the Burrup Peninsula, also known as Murujuga by the traditional custodians, are Australia’s largest and oldest collection of rock art. … But a kilometre away are some of Australia’s largest and dirtiest chemical plants. The air that hangs over this remote peninsula is often fouled with a yellow haze.”
On Sunday morning, the artists jumped the wall at El Eco and proceeded to break windows, set off smoke bombs (an article on the Excelsior newspaper website suggested instead that they “activated the extinguishers to provoke clouds of smoke”), and damage a bronze work by artist Yolanda Paulsen. According to our source, the cops showed up about 15 minutes later but left shortly after, apparently because the officers felt there was no emergency after the protesters allegedly explained that they were undertaking an artistic action.
The artist (of course) fell in love with The Lord of the Rings books when he was 11 or so. “To start his maps, Bell says that he works from an open source Ordnance Survey map, and begins drawing by hand. ‘I try to emulate his typeface as closely as possible, but have modified his mountains in an effort to develop a little bit of my own style.’ He adds in additional details, such as forests, Hobbit holes, towers, and castles.”
The process is intense – and lengthy. “Sue is making way for a replica skeleton of a new dinosaur, the largest-ever-found Patagotitan mayorum, to take occupancy of the central hall. Over the course of February, the tyrannosaur will be deconstructed, spirited upstairs to its new home in the museum’s former 3-D theater on the second floor and then remounted in place for an unveiling in early 2019.”
There is a lot going on around this planned house, and the artists’ colony on the Munch estate, in Norway. “In the coming weeks, the country’s top heritage conservation authority will decide whether to grant a permit for the project. Artists and journalists have raised concerns in the Norwegian news media that it would alter the last remnants of the landscape Munch painted and would overshadow the historical importance of the site. … Mr. Melgaard, who is gay, also suggested that the opposition was partly fueled by homophobia”
Cornelia Parker, whose election works go on public display this week, said that she “felt she could not do otherwise than represent the voices – often anxious, fearful, or angry – of the people she had encountered during her time observing the election campaign. ‘I was bombarded by so much emotion and visual information I had to have sound, and sensation,’ she said.”
“The most enjoyable part of leading the art division of a private bank is working with the great characters of the art market. In my experience, serious collectors tend to fall into one of four ‘tribes,’ each with their own behaviors, insecurities, strengths, and motivations for seeking, acquiring, and appreciating art.” Herewith, Evan Beard of Bank of America taxonomizes The Connoisseur, The Enterprising Collector, The Aesthete, and The Trophy Hunter.
“A truck driver in Peru damaged the 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines, after officials said he ignored warning signs and drove over a portion of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Nazca Lines are large designs that were scratched into the ground’s surface between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500 on a coastal plain south of Lima. UNESCO calls the site one of the ‘greatest enigmas’ of the archaeological world.”
Hostile design–whereby public spaces are modified to deter certain activities such as rough sleeping and skateboarding–is a “stealthy way of policing public space. These designs legitimise the point of view that homeless people are the enemy. Instead they need support, often with addiction or mental health.”