Says Rafael Herrin-Ferri, who has been photographing the houses of the New York City borough for five years, “I have always been interested in houses and was impressed by how idiosyncratic – and unorthodox – the low-rise housing stock is. They express the personal preferences and cultural backgrounds of their owners without much regard for what is ‘correct,’ marketable, or fashionable.”
“A hue of angst and despair might make work more interesting – jury’s out on that – but it doesn’t make it more valuable. In fact, work created during what the researchers call ‘period of bereavement’ was up to 35 percent less valuable than a given artist’ other pieces. On top of that, the morose works were less likely to be included in the collections of major museums.”
“The findings, published in the paper, ‘Is gender in the eye of the beholder? Identifying cultural attitudes with art auction prices’, reveal that works by women fetch on average 47.6% less than those by men at auction.”
“Scientific evidence suggests that most of what we think we see comes from visual processing, perhaps just 20% comes from the actual input to the retina. Again, what is the evolutionary purpose of this? If we encounter a predator and had to construct what we’re seeing from scratch each time, we’d get eaten. So the brain searches the closest match that is already constructed in memory and modifies it with new input from the eye so we can figure out fast if we need to run for it. Looking at art exercises our ability to innovate images.”
“In the United States, whether or not you are legally allowed to eat (or burn, slash, or destroy) an artwork depends on whether said work falls under the protection of the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA). In America, property rights generally reign supreme—meaning that, if you own something, you can pretty much do whatever you like with it. But VARA carves out slight exceptions, affording visual artists certain rights over their art long after it has been sold or otherwise ceases to be their property. In this case, they have the ability to prevent their work from being eaten or otherwise destroyed.”
Two tombs, dated to the 18th Dynasty (1550-1292 B.C.) and containing mummies and funeral goods as well as a large mural, were excavated and uncovered in Luxor.
“A Russian nationalist activist has vandalised Absence of Shame, an exhibition by American photographer Jock Sturges at a Moscow photography gallery for the second time in just over a year after already targeting it last year for allegedly promoting paedophilia.”
To be accurately taxed, an artwork needs to be accurately valued, and the owner who has to pay the tax can’t be expected to provide the last word. When an artwork is sold outright, the Internal Revenue Service needs no help in determining how much to tax; it has the purchase price and the sale price and it knows how to subtract. (The maximum federal tax rate on profits from the sale of art and collectibles is 28 percent, higher than the 15 to 20 percent for stocks.) Things get trickier, however, when an artwork passes to an heir or is given to a museum. The agency still needs to know, as of the date of death or donation, how much the art is worth, but without a current sale price that figure can be debatable.
“It’s unlikely that any serious collectors have pondered this rather Seussian question – but it did pop up on Reddit last month, and we decided to get to the bottom of it. The answer, as with most things, is: It depends.”
“Visitors come to the Getty Center in Los Angeles to see Vincent van Gogh’s irises and other great works. What they don’t see is the reason that these masterpieces could stay put while thousands in Southern California had to evacuate as multiple fires raged in recent days, one of which came within thousands of feet of the museum. The Getty’s architect, Richard Meier, built fire resistance into the billion-dollar complex.”
“This was the year when postmodernism, for long derided as the gimcrack style of shyster capitalists of the 1980s, was well and truly rehabilitated. (In this it followed on the heels of brutalism, which was long derided as the inhuman style of arrogant socialists of the 1960s.) Historic England started listing postmodern works. Books were published. Playful reincarnations of the style – post-postmodernism, perhaps – appeared at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. In truth, the late lamented architectural practice FAT was doing much of this before the turn of the millennium, but it takes time for the rest of the world to catch up with true visionaries.”
“[Russian photographer] Danila Tkachenko’s 2017 Motherland project documents the annihilation of villages, the plight of small farmers struggling to compete with big corporations, and ‘a state over-reliant on oil, which has shown no interest in developing agriculture’.”
“The board of the Berkshire Museum made a decision to just shift focus [to history, natural science, and tech], not to tear up the institution and start all over again. … The sad truth is that the people running the Berkshire Museum just don’t care that much about American art any more, at least not from an institutional point of view. Given that reality, it’s actually better if they are not entrusted with important artworks.”
The AP’s Mark Pratt offers “a look at the arguments for and against, and why the case against the Berkshire Museum has aroused such anger:”
“Unrest has broken out at the Lleida Museum in western Catalonia after Spanish law enforcement officers entered the institution this morning. The move is the latest development in a long-running restitution saga centred on 44 religious artefacts housed at the museum, which have become a symbol of Catalonia’s bid for independence.”
Museums in the 21st century face particular and special challenges: in an age of digital communication, when an image – almost any image – can be summoned up effortlessly on an electronic device, why go to the trouble of visiting an actual institution just to see the supposed “original”? Does the word “original” have meaning any longer in this context? In other words, the mere displaying of objects, even uniquely valuable objects, no longer, of itself, justifies a museum’s existence; something more is required to render a visit to a museum worthwhile.
Gallery information panels and texts can exert a powerful influence on how we view a work. Do we really need to be told that something could cause offence or disturb? Do we need to be protected from our own potential feelings?
In a city with more than 800 public monuments, four in particular have irked artists and academics, who have signed a public petition. The 500 signatories are advocating for the removal of monuments of Christopher Columbus, James Marion Sims, Theodore Roosevelt and one adjoined honouring Philippe Pétain and Pierre Laval. “For too long, they have generated harm and offense as expressions of white supremacy,” reads the petition, in a city which “preaches tolerance and equity”.
Well … here’s the official explanation (disputed by U.S. intelligence experts): “Disputing reports that the 32-year-old Saudi crown prince had bought the painting through a little-known distant cousin, an embassy spokeswoman said in a statement that the cousin had instead acted as an agent for the ministry of culture of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. The painting will hang there in a newly opened branch of the Louvre.”
A photographer makes art from chaos: “Ornate, posed studio portraits of locals are juxtaposed with striking laser-cut collages and sculptural installations made from the brightly coloured products on sale: plastic buckets, woven mats, chairs, hats, bowls, beads, umbrellas, footballs and fabrics of every hue.”
Protesters kept things arty and somewhat light: “As performers ‘cracked’ the floor, carollers serenaded tourists with altered versions of Christmas songs. To the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, they sang: ‘Arrest these oily gentlemen, let nothing you delay, for they have drilled and spilled and killed and still do to this day.'”
Not surprisingly, “the museum takes issue with the sale interruption and implores the court to embrace its request to move the case as quickly as possible.”
“Last year, European old masters generated $594 million of auction sales, just 6 percent of the global total, according to a report published by Art Basel and U.B.S. This modest percentage is surely set to rise after that Leonardo price. But will it have any effect on the wider market for historic pictures, particularly since the “Salvator Mundi” was not offered in a mainstream sale of old masters, but, incongruously, in an evening auction of contemporary art?”
“Artist and printmaker Lilian May Miller constructed her personal image as consciously as she did her artwork. When she was in Japan, she wore Western clothing, often favoring Amelia Earhart-esque ties and mannish blazers. On a 1929 lecture tour in America, on the other hand, at a time when Japanese women were casting off kimonos, she wore traditional Japanese dress. She cropped her hair short, went by Jack among family and friends, and described herself as unable to work up ‘even the ghost of’ a romantic interest in men.”
Financial journalist Felix Salmon explains why the up-and-down prices for Hirst’s art at auctions aren’t a good indicator of how valuable his work really is, and argues that Hirst has basically become a maker and seller of luxury goods – which is as it should be.
Three years ago, it was the singularly unlovely marsala; the next year, Pantone chose blue and pink (in honor of gender fluidity); for this past year, it was – not green, but “greenery.” For 2018, it’s “the highlighter-purple shade that has also been the name of a Warhol superstar who died in 2014; a 2006 dystopian action film starring Milla Jovovich as a rebel infected with a vampiric virus; an online activist community founded in 2012 to combat sexism and violence toward women; and a kind of light that can cause skin cancer (ahem).” Yes, it’s Ultra Violet [sic].
“When the project was officially launched just over a year ago it was said to be aimed at tackling the “institutional embarrassment” of how work by the likes of Allan Ramsay, Sir Henry Raeburn, Alexander Nasmyth and Phoebe Anna Traquair is displayed. But it emerged in May of that extending the existing 19th century building by around five metres had been ruled out due to the concerns over the cost and complexity of building above railway tunnels.”
“The democratically minded #00Bienal will be “the Havana Biennial for everyone”, says the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, one of the main organisers of the event. The aim is to provide a platform for artists who do not have the visibility or official status to participate in a government-sponsored biennial. Street, Outsider, performance, digital and conceptual artists and photographers are all invited to submit proposals.”
“The first blockbuster museum show to be so labeled, a traveling loan of funerary objects [under the title ‘Treasures of Tutankhamun’] that brought in 8 million visitors nationwide and filled Egypt’s coffers with gift-shop profits, was unprecedented. It was an ancient-art exhibit that was also a pop-culture moment … [And] no one did more to bring Tut to the States, or indeed to bring museums into the larger world of marketing and commerce, than the Metropolitan Museum’s director, Thomas P.F. Hoving.”
“He is a little-known Saudi prince from a remote branch of the royal family, with no history as a major art collector, and no publicly known source of great wealth. But the prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, is the mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting Salvator Mundi,” which is thought to be the last of the artist’s surviving works in private hands.