ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Critics Say The Prado Broke The Law When It Acquired A 20th-Century Painting

"The Prado paid €70,000 (around $85,000) for La Boulonnaise, a 1929 work by the Spanish painter María Blanchard. … But the move has riled some commentators, who point to a 1995 law dictating that any works created after 1881 belong in the collection of the Reina Sofia ." - Artnet

Commercial Art Galleries In UK Can Reopen Before Museums Do, And Museum Folks Are Furious

"Museum and gallery leaders in England have expressed anger, disappointment and bafflement at why commercial art galleries – which count as non-essential shops – can open five weeks before them. 'It is just nuts' said Rebecca Salter, the president of the Royal Academy of Arts which, like other public galleries, has been told it can reopen no sooner than 17 May. Shops, meanwhile, can open on 12 April." - The Guardian

The Group Of Seven Has Defined Canadian Art For 100 Years. It’s Time To Move On

After 101 years of reproducing the Group of Seven’s art to the point of saturation, it feels like the time has come to give other, contemporary voices the same opportunities. - The Walrus

How The Smithsonian Is Celebrating Its 150 Years

“The Smithsonian was always about how it could help the country reimagine itself, understand itself,” said Bunch, a historian and founding director of the popular National Museum of African American History and Culture. “The work we did with early aviation, even the way we collect history, which was always trying to ensure future generations understand how we got where we are. The notion is to help people recognize that they create the future." - Washington Post

How To Design A Memorial For The COVID Pandemic?

Several places in Italy and Great Britain are considering the question, and a few memorials have already gone up. " are not intended as sweeping monuments to the historical moment, but simple places to grieve and reflect." - The New York Times

It’s A 17,300-Year-Old Kangaroo: Australia’s Oldest Rock Art Identified

"A nearly-life-size depiction of a kangaroo — realistic genitalia included — is the oldest known rock painting in Australia. Scientists recently pinpointed its age to 17,300 years ago with a technique that had never been used on Australian ancient art before: measuring radioactive carbon in wasp nests from rocks near the artwork." - Live Science

Philip Guston’s Daughter Speaks Out On Postponement Of Her Father’s Show

To Musa Mayer’s dismay, her father, an antiracist and the son of immigrants who had fled antisemitic persecution, was now having his complex images misrepresented and their subject matter rendered simplistically provocative. - The Guardian

The Phillips Turns 100

The museum in Washington, DC, founded by Duncan and Marjorie Phillips, was a sensation when it opened as a museum of modern art, and it's been a refuge and inspiration since, including, at times, during the pandemic. "Dorothy Kosinski, director of the museum, tells a story: 'I was standing outside of the Phillips in the fall when we were open for a while. A woman came out, exhaled, and said, 'Oh! That was such a wonderful vacation!'" - NPR

Dali Was A Surrealist With Absolute Discipline And Scientific, Renaissance Style Perspective

Dalí, art historians say, was "very deliberate" in his art - and sketches of unfinished works also show how he combined complex mathematical calculations with artistic license in his finished paintings. - The Observer (UK)

Who Wrote A Mysterious Inscription On Munch’s The Scream?

Looks like the mystery's been solved - and the writer was (drumroll) ... the artist himself. "The text, 'Could only have been painted by a madman,' isn’t large enough for most people to notice, especially when it’s presented in the museum behind glass, Guleng said. To study it, the researchers needed to use infrared photography to make it more legible." - The New York Times

Did The Post-Earthquake Rebuild Of Central Christchurch Fail?

Pretty much, yes. "Downtown Christchurch isn’t empty because of COVID. It’s empty because of twin catastrophes: Ten years ago an earthquake leveled much of the city—and then the local and national government botched the rebuild, squandering a golden opportunity to transform Christchurch." Here's what happened. - Slate

The Artist Painting Baltimore’s Winter Salt Boxes

Juliet Ames couldn't resist decorating her first salt box, back in December. Then she got permission from the city. "In the past two months, more than 100 of the decorated salt boxes have appeared around Baltimore, including more than 25 adorned by Ames herself. The boxes celebrate such iconic Baltimore figures as the filmmaker John Waters, the Natty Boh logo and the googly-eyed Mr. Trash Wheel." - Baltimore Sun

The Remarkable, And Continuing, Artistic Career Of Lorraine O’Grady

Before she burst onto the art scene with performance art with an edge, O'Grady "had worked for the Labor and State Departments, including as an intelligence analyst in the period leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis; attempted a novel in Europe; dropped out of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; run a translation agency in Chicago; been a New York rock critic." Then, in 1980, she changed her life again. - The New York Times

Bust Of Black Member Of Lewis And Clark Expedition Appears In A Park In Portland

York was enslaved by William Clark and remained enslaved after the expedition returned. The memorial bust, which is on a pedestal where a statue of a conservative newspaper editor used to stand until it was torn down last summer, was a surprised to Portland's Parks & Recreation Department. The city's Parks Commissioner, Carmen Rubio: "We should regard this installation for both the important piece that it is, as well as a much-needed reminder to city leaders to hasten our work of rooting out white supremacy in our institutions." - The Oregonian

Art House Pulls 19th Century Romanian Jewish Community’s Burial Register From Auction

The register of Jewish burials in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca between 1836 and 1899, is one of very few documents left after more than 18,000 Hungarian-speaking Jews were deported from the city and murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Their homes and synagogues were ransacked, leaving almost no record of their lives and existence; the presence of this book on the auction list came as a shock. Says one survivor, "We have few documents or books, so this manuscript is a vital source of information about the community in the 19th century." - The New York Times

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