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Menil Repurposes Sacred Space For Contemporary Art

ByzantineChapelMuseum

When the Byzantine Fresco Chapel at the Menil Collection in Houston opened in 1997, it displayed a group of 13th-century Greek Orthodox frescoes. But after restoration of the works, which the Menil had rescued from looters for the Church of Cyprus, the museum returned the frescoes to Cyprus as a donation when the agreed loan expired in 2012. So what to do with that chapel (at right), which has now been deconsecrated? The Menil has commissioned a year-long installation from the team of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Cardiff’s Forty … [Read more...]

Mass MoCA Closes In On Its Original Promise

Turrell

"It's really exciting to see a lot of the promise of that project being realized," Michael Govan told me the other day. I was telling him that, tomorrow, the Massachusetts Museum of Contempory Art plans to announce six new partnerships with artists and artists' foundations that will fill 90,000 square feet. That's a huge chunk of the new space being renovated in the expansion that I wrote about in August for The New York Times. Mass MoCA's new partners are big names: James Turrell, Laurie Anderson, Jenny Holzer, plus the Robert Rauschenberg … [Read more...]

A Few Differences With the Met Re: Madame Cezanne

MCin aRed Dress

Not me, of course. I haven't seen the exhibit Madame Cezanne, which opens next Wednesday at the Metropolitan Museum*--though you can bet I will get there soon. Seeing  twenty-four of the artist's twenty-nine known portraits of his wife Hortense sounds inviting to me. ...the exhibition explores the profound impact she had on Cézanne's portrait practice. The works on view were painted over a period of more than twenty years, but despite this long liaison, Hortense Fiquet's prevailing presence is often disregarded and frequently diminished in … [Read more...]

Early Word On “Mr. Turner”–Movie, Good; Art, Bad

2014, MR. TURNER

Not too long ago, I was in a movie theater when up came a preview for a film called "Mr. Turner," which would be J.M.W. Tuner to RCA readers. I checked it out and discovered that it was set to open today (Oct. 31) in Britain (after being shown at at Cannes) and in the U.S. on Dec. 19. Early word: it's good. The movie focuses on the last 25 years of Turner's life, up until his death in 1851. Rated R, it's described this way: Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits … [Read more...]

ArtPrize: The People And the Jury Pick Same Winner

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In a remarkable development, the Grand, No. 1 ArtPrize--the open, two-track competition in Grand Rapids--went to the same artist: Anila Quayyum Agha's entry was chosen by both the public and a jury of art experts. Her piece, called Intersections, uses light to project Islamic imagery in shadows.  Or as she wrote: ...the geometrical patterning in Islamic sacred spaces, associated with certitude is explored in a way that reveals it fluidity. The viewer is invited to confront the contradictory nature of all intersections, while simultaneously … [Read more...]

Anselm Kiefer Talks About Beauty In Art

TheMorgenthauPlan

I'd wager that most people don't think of "beauty" when they think of the art of Anselm Kiefer. So when Janne Siren, the director of the Alrbight-Knox Art Gallery, and I met last week, I was surprised by the catalogue he gave me for the Kiefer exhibition that, alas, closed there on Sunday. It was titled Beyond Landscape, and here's part of its description: Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape explores the interplay of history, identity, and landscape in the work of one of the most important artists of our time. Several major works by Kiefer … [Read more...]

A Question to Nobelist Kandel Reveals A Big Gap At the Met

Munter_BlueMountain

Last week, I was honored to sit opposite Nobel-prize winner/neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel at a small dinner. Kandel, seeking to understand how memory works, figured it out by studying its physiological basis in the cells of sea slugs. For that, he won the Nobel in 2000. More recently, he has turned some of his attention to art. In 2012, he published The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present. Kandel and his wife, Denise, go to museums a lot. "I would say art is our … [Read more...]

ArtPrize Matures: The People Vs. Experts

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In its sixth incarnation, ArtPrize--the open competition in which the public chooses the winners--is trying a new tack. Not only will experts also weigh in separately--as they have in the past--but also their choice will receive a grand award prize of equal size, $200,000, the same as the public. This is good, more about which in a minute. This year, ArtPrize has 1,536 artist entries, drawn from "51 countries and 42 U.S. states and territories, exhibiting work in 174 public venues throughout the city."  (That's down a bit from last year, … [Read more...]

Crystal Bridges: The Anti-Whitney-Biennial

AMaryKay

Saturday is the day. That's when the art world, which has been wondering what Don Bacigalupi, president of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and assistant curator Chad Alligood have been seeing for the better part of 2013 and much of 2014 on their search for underappreciated artists, will find out. That's when the museum unveils State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now -- their selections. It is definitely an unconventional ride through art in America. I say that even though I haven't seen the show, though the press preview was … [Read more...]

Artisan: Anyone For Fake Wood?

wittemuseum

Or, the more elegant term, faux bois? Faux bois furniture and furnishings are made of concrete to look like real wood. It's a 19th century art that is, in some circles, making a bit of a comeback. False, it seems, lasts longer than the real, which is prone to decay. It works especially well in garden fixtures. Michael Fogg, a Connecticut practitioner of the art, is updating faux bois -- making bonsai tables and chandeliers with slender branches as well as planters and garden furniture. I'm just telling you this because I wrote about the … [Read more...]

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