Kennicott: “If there’s a safe center to the cutting edge, the Obamas seem sure to find it. Like the Obamas’ personal presentation, the paintings are almost sure to look a lot tailored and just a little trendy, without crossing any lines that might discomfit popular expectations.”
Sitting down, in a museum, can be an almost radical act: a refusal to flow along with the distracted crowd, idly passing by art as if it was just one more stream of visual enticement in a visually saturated world. A good sit is all about committing to the depth, not the breadth, of the art itself, seeing more by deciding to see less.
“The newly refurbished Tate St Ives – which reopens this week (14 October) following an ambitious four-year building project – should draw an extra 50,000 visitors and raise an extra £10.5m annually for the local economy, says the executive director, Mark Osterfield. The waterfront venue, nestled into the rock face, has enlarged its exhibition spaces, adding almost 600 sq. m of new galleries. Tate St Ives opened in 1993 and draws around 250,000 visitors each year.”
“Though the hammer’s coming down on a major price in front of a crowd is good for headlines, auction houses have dealt with the pressures of the business by branching out. Private sales are increasingly important to the bottom line, as are advisory businesses — the auction houses help a collector manage her treasures, for instance, or broker acquisitions for museums.”
“As one-off fees, you might say, ‘that’s not so bad’. But consider that your average art history PhD will have dozens, if not perhaps hundreds, of images, then soon even an unpublished PhD can become prohibitively expensive. You want to discuss mid-18th Century portraiture, and show perhaps 50 images? That’ll be £750. You want to turn that PhD into a book? £3050 please, before you’ve even thought of printing costs. Want to put on a Hogarth exhibition, with a decent catalogue? £8600. Ouch. And Tate are on the cheaper end of the scale.”
“Sitting down, in a museum, can be an almost radical act: a refusal to flow along with the distracted crowd, idly passing by art as if it was just one more stream of visual enticement in a visually saturated world. A good sit is all about committing to the depth, not the breadth, of the art itself, seeing more by deciding to see less.” Philip Kennicott picks the finest spots in greater Washington to do just that.
The superstar performance artist had hired starchitect Rem Koolhaas to convert a former theater she had bought in Hudson, NY into the Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art. But Koolhaas’s design would cost an estimated $31 million to realize, and Abramović has determined that she can’t raise that much money. (Ah, well – at least she has a new sideline in patisserie.)
Two Boston-area couples who have been collecting 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art for decades are donating a total of 113 works – including canvases by Rembrandt, van Dyck, and Rubens – along with funding and library materials for a new Center for the Study of Netherlandish Art.
“A Colorado couple has dropped a federal lawsuit that sought to stop the Manhattan district attorney’s office from returning to the Republic of Lebanon an ancient marble bull’s head that prosecutors said had been looted during that country’s civil war. … The 2,300-year-old sculpture had been on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art until July when the museum turned it over to authorities.”
The structure, which will connect to the museum’s Sanaa-designed building, will double the museum’s footprint on the Bowery, providing an additional 50,000 square feet for galleries, improved public circulation, and flexible space for the institution’s more experimental programs like its business incubator and the urban-policy think tank that it runs.
“The grid is ripe ground for tilting, warping, ripping, and otherwise distorting into new forms. As autumn and the back-to-school season get underway, it’s only natural to crave order. But a crisp gridded notebook needn’t be a way to restrain our thinking or reign in our imaginations. As Jefferson and other architects have long known, the grid is simply an underlying structure—upon which we may be able to build something new.”
Museums in Napa and Sonoma Counties, including the Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, the Hess Collection, Stonescape, and the Oliver Ranch report no damage so far, though most of them are closed for the present.
Salvator Mundi, long taken to be a copy, was only authenticated as a Leonardo original a few years ago, and already it has a tangled legal and ownership history.
The parent company of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in the Chinese capital was purchased last week by a group of investors. “The museum’s founders, Guy and Myriam Ullens, announced that the UCCA was up for sale in June 2016, fuelling concerns about the future of what has become one of mainland China’s leading private art institutions since it opened in November 2007.”
It’s a protest. And graffiti artist Sebastian Errazuriz didn’t physically deface one of Koons’ famous balloon dogs. But the augmented reality graffiti is Errazuriz’s way of staking a claim to public space. He doesn’t think the privilege of geo-tagging should necessarily fall to technology giants. After Snapchat announced a partnership with the sculptor Jeff Koons that uses augmented reality to place his artworks into famous landmarks around the world, Mr. Errazuriz “graffiti-bombed” the project.
While many curators today have a status on a par with the artists with whom they work, it was not always thus. The celebrity status of the curator has mushroomed with the professionalization of art, the multiplication of international events, and, not least, with difficult-to-define contemporary art being in desperately in need of able ambassadors to the public.
“The four-year building project, which launched in September, includes new education and visitor centres, an expansion of the current indoor exhibition space and a transportation centre on the Meijer Gardens’ 158-acre main campus, designed by the New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects,” in Grand Rapids.
“ArtPrize Nine [audience] voters gave Battle Creek graphic designer Richard Schlatter the $200,000 Grand Prize for his 12-foot portrait of Abraham Lincoln made from about 24,500 pennies that bear Lincoln’s image. … Schlatter said he decided to create the portrait after he was mesmerized by the various shades of pennies he had accumulated.” (To see all the 2017 ArtPrize category winners, click here.)
“Heartside Community Meal, an outdoor meal for 250 guests in Heartside Park [in Grand Rapids] on Sept. 23, was entered by Seitu Jones, a Saint Paul, Minnesota, artist who teaches urban food systems at the University of Minnesota.” (To see all the 2017 ArtPrize category winners, click here.)
The UK’s The Guardian asked a whole bunch of artists what they think, and the answers range across just about everything non-artists might think – and some very specific to making art in a time when public funding is drying up and artists need to stay true to themselves while also figuring out how to pay rent and eat (so, same as always, but with drones).
Really? Yes: Just weeks before the London Memorial’s design competition winner is announced, “the Imperial War Museum (IWM) is calling for the plan for an educational complex below the memorial to be reconsidered because it will compete with its own new Holocaust centre, opening in 2020, less than a mile away.”
Jeffrey Gibson says that earlier, “Every studio visit I had turned into me doing Native American Art 101. … People came in with zero to no knowledge. It was simplistic. So I wasn’t developing myself.” But things changed to “a complex cocktail of beauty and ugliness” after he and his husband moved away from Brooklyn, bought an old schoolhouse, and had a child.
A new exhibit is centered on the artist’s decision to center his Sephardic Jewish identity-
a choice, because “Modigliani, a half-Italian, half-French Jew growing up in a nation equated with Roman Catholicism (Vatican City wouldn’t become its own state until nine years after Modigliani’s death), was a cultural mixed bag from the get-go.”
Anna Maria Maiolino says, “Women have always been prohibited from speaking in the first person. … A woman is never the universal.” The artist’s developmental years paralleled the Brazilian military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985. And yes, she responded: “In a photo installation from 1974 on view at both MOCA and the Hammer, she depicts herself wielding a pair of scissors, about to cut off her nose and her tongue.”
“I see the ideas of Morton Feldman’s music everywhere in Steven’s magnificent realization—and not just in the rugs of the Music Building that reproduce the graphic notation of Feldman’s early works. Steven’s architecture embodies the spirit of Feldman’s expansive and mystical late works.”
In reality, this latest New Leonardo Discovery is a warm-up of an old, on-the-record, attribution. In 1988 Jacques Franck, the art historian/painter trained in Old Master techniques (and a current restoration adviser to the Louvre), had closely examined the Joconde nue in the Château of Chantilly along with Amélie Lefébure, former Head curator of the Musée Condé, and Dominique Le Marois, a restorer in the French museums.
For example, in 2015 a small New Jersey auction house offered for a few hundred dollars what it thought was an anonymous 19th-century painting; Bertrand Talabardon was pretty sure it was an early Rembrandt – and he was right. Nina Siegal looks at the ‘sleeper’ phenomenon and the culture around so-called “sleeper-spotters.”
As controversy swirls around demands to remove the memorials to the Confederacy and its officers found in many US cities, it’s worth remembering that a lot of those statues “were cheap, mass-produced and exactly the kind of disgrace that [the great memorial sculptor Augustus] Saint-Gaudens condemned. With this in mind, we asked five specialists in American sculpture to select the pieces they regard as the nation’s truly great works.” (For better or worse, all five are in the Northeast Corridor.)
Last week the museum removed three pieces from the exhibition “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World” following pressure from animal-rights activists; countercriticism followed from artists, curators, and anti-censorship activists. Now Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong has explained his decision: “It was not only the quantity of people’s reactions, but there were a number of them that bordered on ominously threatening, or beyond that. We were obliged to consult with the police.”
” ‘Value’ is decided by the very few and then presented to the many. When I look at the AGO and so many of its peers, I see an institution guided not by public participation, but by the generic, elite consensus that rules the global art market, which sees product over public good.”