The garden bridge, proposed to cross the Thames from the South Bank to Temple, is nothing if not a landmark of the post-truth era. It has wrung tens of millions out of the public purse on the basis of deceptions, distortions and facts that proved to be fake. First sold as “a gift to the people of London”, entirely paid for by private sector donations, it is now due to cost a minimum of £60m in public money. Its estimated total cost has gone from £60m to “north of £200 million”. Its claims to fundraising prowess are exaggerated, its promised transport benefits minimal.
An exhibition at the National Gallery includes “an almost-life size reconstruction of the domed Borgherini Chapel from Rome’s Church of San Pietro in Montorio, painted by Sebastiano, with the originating Michelangelo drawings displayed adjacent.” The model was made by the Madrid firm Factum Arte, which has created widely-admired replicas of several Caravaggio paintings and Tutankhamun’s burial chamber.
The ancient decorative floor, recently uncovered in the French town of Uzès, was transferred to a specialist government facility in Nîmes, and local groups had no faith that the mosaic would ever be returned. (The regional government has promised that it will be.)
Throughout the French countryside, especially in less visited rural areas of eastern and central France, some homes have fallen victim to speculators who strip their architectural treasures and sell them, often abroad, leaving once graceful historic structures little more than empty shells behind gaily painted facades. In other cases, the owners themselves sell the architectural elements to raise some cash.
“It’s a sight Fisher Building architect Albert Kahn couldn’t fathom in 1928: a five-foot mini-ramp packed with skateboarders in one of his greatest architectural achievements. In Detroit, such a brash juxtaposition is becoming the norm.”
Philip Kennicott: “This exhibition highlights problems far deeper than those raised by the all-too-successful blockbuster shows of the past. This isn’t about managing success and finding the right balance between access for crowds and the integrity of the individual aesthetic experience. Rather, this is about the nature of experience itself, and whether museums want to reinforce an understanding of existence that is fractured, competitive, capitalistic and ultimately alienated from art.”
“Because one essential feature of the contemporary art world is artificial scarcity,” Philip Kennicott writes. “Theoretically, the Hirshhorn could line its ringed galleries with four or five versions of each room. More people could see them, and more people could experience the effect for longer periods. Except that Kusama has defined her rooms as ‘unique art works,’ and that ultimately diminishes their reach and impact.”
“Fearless Girl” was meant to be up for only one week, and had it remained so, it may not have given rise to so much protest and analysis about what such a sculpture means for feminism, public art, and Wall Street. Those a big topics for one sculpture to take on, but if Fearless Girl ends up staying for good, it will be because she’s raised questions about female empowerment and representation well beyond Wall Street.
As Thomas Campbell begins his exit, the museum resets: “The wing will wait while the museum conducts long-needed repairs. Exhibitions will be cut back by as much as a quarter. And just as crucially, the Met is revamping its money-losing gift shop — because, as it turns out, America’s greatest storehouse of treasures can’t balance its budget without selling nicer scarves.”
It’s all due to a love story, the Guinness Book of World Records, and a move from Pasadena in order to accommodate all of the bunnies – and to open the “Chamber of Hop Horrors, a room that only visitors 13 and older may enter.”
As any art historian from the pre-internet era would know, the Metropolitan Museum had thousands – and thousands and thousands – of slides it loaned out to teachers and professors for lectures. But the entire collection of slides was digitized, and the museum didn’t need them any longer. So, they found a new home.
Here’s some of how a $25,000 NEA grant broke down for L.A.’s Craft and Folk Museum to mount Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California: “Security for the show cost $1,200. Postcard printing and mailing cost $150. Three advertising spots on a local NPR station totaled $1,500. Lighting and painting supplies were $1,140. Insurance for the show was $1,200. The most expensive item on the list: $8,000 for labels and wall text fabrication for the exhibition. Artist fees for all commissioned work totaled only $6,000.”
Things have changed dramatically in just a few years – and in several decades. “For the first time since the 1940s, when Lisbon was a refuge from the war, says Pestana, the city is ‘really cosmopolitan.'”
And what’s the deal with art historians who have failed to use primary sources while talking about them? “A modest exhibition of slate paintings will not be the grandest tribute paid to Sidney Nolan in his centenary year. But it is perhaps the most poignant. Australia’s greatest 20th-century artist painted them in the early 1940s while in the early throes of his decade-long affair with Sunday Reed, and living in a decidedly modern menage with Sunday and her husband John.”
The artist will sculpt the first woman to appear in Parliament Square as a statue alongside the area’s many men – and that first woman will be suffragist Millicent Fawcett.
Rowan Moore is not having it: “It has wrung tens of millions out of the public purse on the basis of deceptions, distortions and facts that proved to be fake. … Its claims to fundraising prowess are exaggerated, its promised transport benefits minimal. Its backers assert overwhelming public support on the basis of a poll that told those polled nothing of the costs and drawbacks of the project.”
Kenyatta Hinkle, who made a name for herself as a young artist in a 2012 Hammer Museum show, has a new show making waves in L.A. She “would play hip-hop, including Kanye West, and then draw on acid-free, recycled paper, dipping Spanish moss into India ink while dancing, which creates the nebulous and sporadic nature of her work.”
“The idea of cultural continuity between the remains, some of which are thousands of years old — one of the most well-known, Kennewick Man, is, at 8,500 years old, older than the pyramids — and a contemporary group, is highly questionable; human populations are not bounded entities through time in this way. That a selected group can decide the future of remains — and the future of research — on the basis of their biology, is disturbing. Identity should not dictate the pursuit or closing down of knowledge.”
Steve Tobin’s The Trinity Root was made to commemorate a sycamore tree in the churchyard of Trinity’s St. Paul’s Chapel that took the brunt of debris from the Twin Towers (which were across the street) and saved the historic chapel from serious damage. He gave it to Trinity for free in exchange for the promise that the church would keep it in its courtyard permanently. Then, two years ago, a new rector packed the sculpture off to Connecticut.
Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) painted geometric compositions even before Kandinsky and Malevich did. She was also a mystic, and her planned museum south of Stockholm is being planned by a group of “anthroposophists.” But Klint’s family claims that the group is exaggerating her connection to the movement and is refusing to lend any of her art to the project.
“Germany has dealt with the long shadow of Nazi-era looting for many years. Now the government is setting aside funding to investigate another dark chapter of the past: the expropriation of works of art by the Stasi, the East German secret police, during the Cold War. The research could open the door to new restitution claims from the families of victims.”
Before Fearless Girl came on the scene, the bull was an encouraging representation of a booming economy. Now, charging toward a tiny human, it’s a stand-in for the gendered forces that work against women’s success in the workplace. This isn’t the same kind of contextual shift that might result from a curator’s juxtaposition of two works; the girl is derivative. Arturo Di Modica meant his bull to stand alone—now, it’s as if Visbal and New York City have made a solo piece a diptych without his consent.”
“Stasi agents swept up jewels, gold, silver, clocks, porcelain, stamp collections, manuscripts, sculptures and paintings—including works by Lucas Cranach, Canaletto, Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt—and piled them into trucks. They also found hidden Nazi party membership books and medals potentially useful for blackmail, as well as savings books and life-insurance policies. The Stasi valued its findings at DM4.1m—around $10m at the time.”
The sculptor who created the iconic “Charging Bull” statue in New York City’s financial district says the city and an investment company violated his rights by installing the newly popular “Fearless Girl” statue near his creation without permission for what amounts to a commercial ad campaign.
A diary from art critic Adrian Dannatt’s trip to the art fair at the bottom of the world, featuring close encounters with whales, seals, and Alexander Ponomarev’s Alchemy of Antarctic Albedo (or Washing Pale Moons).
“Perhaps you didn’t know, but The Last Supper … is deteriorating rapidly, mostly due to the factors of time, humidity, wartime bombs, and the fact that it was once housed in a prison.” But Eataly, the upscale food purveyor, is paying for a high-tech contraption that may help save the decaying mural. Nate Freeman has the details (and a bit of snark).
“The phenomenon continues to be utterly fascinating to vision scientists like me, and for good reason. The very existence of ‘the dress’ challenged our entire understanding of color vision. Up until early 2015, a close reading of the literature could suggest that the entire field had gone somewhat stale—we thought we basically knew how color vision worked, more or less. The dress upended that idea.”
Two years ago he reopened his gallery in SoHo. And now, he’s taken his first step toward a Los Angeles comeback: He has just signed a lease for a 15,000-square-foot warehouse in Hollywood with plans to open a gallery there in the fall. The art dealer’s new space, at 925 North Orange Drive, is a few blocks from the strip of galleries lining Highland Avenue, anchored by Regen Projects and Kohn Gallery.
Experts and lay viewers alike have seen countless images and ingredients in the Picasso masterwork, but scholar Gijs van Hensbergen identifies a key influence little known outside Spain: the loose canvas works known as sargas.