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Friday, February 17, 2006

A New Era For The Photography Market? "When Sotheby's announced this week that 'The Pond — Moonlight,' a platinum print by Edward Steichen owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, had sold for almost $3 million to an anonymous buyer, it was as if continents had shifted in the photography world." The New York Times 02/17/06

The Museum Muhammads - What To Do? Many museums have depictions of Muhammad in their collections. So what to do now that the cartoon controversy has escalated? Los Angeles Times 02/17/06

Thursday, February 16, 2006

LA In NY Los Angeles art dealers say they're under-represented in the annual New York Armory Show. "This year, a group of L.A. dealers have had enough. They’ve organized their own show — called L.A. Art — in New York the same days as the Armory Show, March 9-13. The organizer of the show, says the bias against L.A. dealers left them with no choice. 'Absolutely, Los Angeles is underrepresented'.” LAWeekly 02/16/06

Hayward's New Chief London's Hayward Gallery, part of the prestigious South Bank Arts Centre, has plucked its new director from San Francisco's Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. Ralph Rugoff, who is "known for organizing unorthodox group exhibitions and writing provocative essays on contemporary art," will take up the post in late spring. Los Angeles Times 02/16/06

An Art Center The Frozen North Can Call Its Own "Cities are both real and imagined places. What's interesting about Winnipeg and the reputation of its visual artists -- both those who have left and those who continue to live here -- is that the real and the imaginary have become indistinguishable. Because of the emergence on the international art scene of a group of artists... Winnipeg is now viewed in New York, Los Angeles and London as a place that has produced an inexplicable number of good artists... What is unquestionably true, however, is that Winnipeg has developed a keen sense of itself as an art city, and the success of their peers is a model on which the current crop of artists can imagine how they might flourish in the rough-and-tumble art world." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 02/16/06

Detroit Museum Gets Big Bequest An heiress to the Ford Motor Co. fortune has bequeathed a $15 million collection of classic paintings to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Included in the collection are works by Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, and Degas. Detroit Free Press 02/16/06

Breaking News: TV Station "Pollutes" Chicago Loop Chicago's downtown Loop has been undergoing a dramatic revitalization in recent years, capped by the unveiling of the lakefront Millenium Park and Frank Gehry's towering bandshell. But the latest architectural addition to the Loop has some observers profoundly unhappy. The perpetrator is Chicago's WLS-TV, which has constructed a 42-foot monolith that it says mimics some of the art found in Millenium Park. Alan Artner begs to differ. "[WLS's creation] takes back the language into advertising and plays with it to pretend it, too, is art. But it's not. It's pollution that along with the rest of the frills added to the exterior of the building brings the sensory irritation of ABC studios in Times Square to North State Street." Chicago Tribune 02/16/06

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rare Blake Watercolor Sale Irks Experts A major find of 19 watercolors is about to be broken up and sold at auction. "The watercolors — illustrations created in 1805 by the poet and artist William Blake for a 1743 poem — are being heralded by scholars as the most important Blake discovery in a century," and experts are upset at the prospect of the sale. The New York Times 02/16/06

A Prize Collection Under A Cloud The Metropolitan Museum hopes to get the major part of Shelby White's collection of antiquities. But an Italian "investigation into Ms. White’s collection seems to keep expanding. The stock of old evidence that Italian investigators are using becomes more dangerous to Ms. White’s collection as more of her pieces receive widespread notice. That is sure to happen as more than a dozen pieces in her collection—which has been admired by curators as one of the most impressive in the world, even as it has been disparaged by archaeologists as plundered treasure without provenance—are displayed at the Met, where she is a trustee." New York Observer 02/15/06

A Record Price For Turner? Auction watchers are predicting a record price for a JWM Turner when it comes up for sale this week. "The Blue Rigi: Lake of Lucerne, Sunrise, is predicted to fetch more than £2m when it goes under the hammer at Christie's auction house on 5 June. The current record for a Turner watercolour on paper is £2.04m, set in 2001 by Heidelberg with a Rainbow." BBC 02/15/06

Does St. Louis Museum Have Stolen Mask? Allegations have surfaced that the St Louis Art Museum has an ancient Egyptian mask in its collection that was stolen from a warehouse in Saqqara, Egypt in the 1980s. The Art Newspaper 02/15/06

  • St. Louis Mask Has A History In Dispute The St. Louis mask was the subject of accusations as recently as Jan. 19, when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's David Bonetti reported that a "one-time forger and art smuggler" named Michel Van Rijn claimed that the mask was stolen in the 1990s. Modern Art Notes (AJBlogs) 02/15/06

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Seattle's New Sculpture Al Fresco Seattle's new $85 million sculpture park is being built on the city's downtown waterfront. "Seattle's park will be free, fenceless and in the heart of the city. Officials hope the easy access will encourage a greater appreciation of the arts from people cycling, jogging or just strolling through the area. The collection will mix seminal works from sculptors Alexander Calder, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra and Mark Di Suvero with with newly commissioned sculpture from Louise Bourgeois and Mark Dion, among others." Los Angeles Times (AP) 02/14/06

Report: US Museums Are Minor Players In Antiquities Trade A report by the Association of Art Museum Directors seeks to put American museums' antiquities collecting in perspective. "The report states that 53 member institutions actively collect antiquities and altogether spent an average of $7 million per year purchasing antiquities over the last five years. This total is less than 10% of the global annual trade in antiquities, the report states, basing that figure on published reports that estimate the global trade anywhere from $100 million to $4 billion." The point is that the collecting activities of American museums are not driving the international antiquities trade. The Art Newspaper 02/14/06

Gehry: Toronto Missed Its Chance For Architectural Greatness Frank Gehry says his hometown Toronto has missed out on being a great architecture center, even though several prominent projects are now underway. " 'It's like every other community. There's very little social planning; it seems to be more a world of opportunism and entertainment. ... It doesn't feel right, but I think I am just fuddy duddy because of my age,' said Gehry, who is 77." CBC 02/14/06

American Museum Collections In Peril "A survey of 3,370 institutions by the nonprofit group Heritage Preservation found that some 612 million artifacts - from photographs and paintings to nature specimens and pottery - are at risk of deterioration because they aren't cared for properly. Nearly 60 percent of institutions surveyed acknowledged that light has damaged their collections, while 53 percent said moisture caused problems. And 26 percent of those surveyed have no special controls in place to protect their collections from light, temperature, and humidity. Perhaps most strikingly, 80 percent of the institutions surveyed don't pay anyone to preserve their collections. Christian Science Monitor 02/15/06

Cautionary Tale: Star Building Buzz Fades Fast Three years ago, Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center opened a new building designed by star Zaha Hadid. There were crowds and there was lots of attention. But now the crowds have gone and the attention has faded. "This would-be icon stands as a cautionary tale: In an age when celebrity architects are courted by cities and institutions desperate to make a splash, brand-name buzz can fade quicker than a fresh coat of paint." San Francisco Chronicle 02/14/06

Pictures Of The Prophet Everywhere Are depictions of Muhammad strictly prohibited? "Art's history disputes this. True, that strict taboo today is honored now by almost all Muslims, but old paintings of the prophet -- finely brushed expensive ones, made carefully and piously by Muslims and for them -- are well known to most curators of Islamic art." Washington Post 02/14/06

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Time To Reinvent The Getty? "Museums win some, lose some. But over the years, the Getty has lost more than makes sense. The sports analogy for New Yorkers is the Knicks: rich, plagued by internal conflicts, infuriating, forever failing to meet sky-high expectations. But change is opportunity. The Getty should now go on a mission." The New York Times 02/13/06

Scholars Worry About Cooper-Hewitt Archive Plans The Cooper-Hewitt Museum is considering moving some of its archives from its museum on Fifth Ave. in new York to another Smithsonian facility. But critics "argue that the Cooper-Hewitt offers the rare advantage of relating objects in the museum itself to documents, photographs and other materials in the archive." The New York Times 02/14/06

Record London Art Auctions Last week's London auctions set records. "The winter auctions, featuring artists from Edvard Munch to Francis Bacon, were London's biggest ever, exceeding 1989 totals before art prices last crashed. U.S. and Asian buyers pushed sale totals 5 percent above auctioneers' top estimate of 245 million pounds. Last February's total was 170.6 million pounds." Bloomberg.com 02/13/06

Valentine's Art With A Message Chocolate too gooey to express your sentiments on Valentine's Day? Then consider some art with a twist on the message... Seattle Post-Intelligencer 02/14/06

Spain's Architectural Renaissance Architecture in Spain under Francisco Franco was dreadful. "Franco's idea of great architecture was a deadening, nationalistic sort of classical kitsch. Modern architecture, for the most part, was just something for the tourists -- mile after banal mile of hotels that were degrading to local culture and the fine beaches they were built on. And, yet, here we are. Spain today is an international stage for architectural innovation and experimentation." Washington Post 02/12/06

Richard Rogers And His Swirl Of Projects Now in his 70s, architect Richard Rogers has more projects than he has time. There's the huge addition to New York's convention center, of course. "There are big projects, like Madrid Airport, or Terminal Five at Heathrow, or the competition to redesign Darling Harbour, Sydney (they're down to the last five); and there are small ones, like a £60,000 house (to prove that inexpensive housing can be other than Disneyfied), or a Maggie's Centre, up the road from the office." The Observer (UK) 02/12/06

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Big Building, No Buzz A new 1000-foot tower is rising in Chicago. But "hardly anybody is talking about Waterview Tower, even though construction just started on the 82-story skyscraper at the southwest corner of Wacker Drive and Clark Street. The lack of buzz is enough to make you wonder: Is it because the design is good but kind of tame or because Chicagoans have become totally blase about great height? 'Ho hum. Another tower taller than New York's Chrysler Building. Who's the next pol to get indicted at City Hall'?" Chicago Tribune 02/12/06

We've Got The Thieves, But Where's The Loot? It's been a year and a half since gun-toting thieves charged into Oslo's Munch Museum and left with two masterpieces by the museum's namesake. "Six men stand accused of the crime; their trial is set to begin tomorrow. But the laborious, complicated investigation has stumbled in a fundamental and profoundly frustrating way. The police may have the thieves, but they don't have the paintings." The New York Times 02/12/06

Looted Paintings Returned To Germany "The United States returned three paintings stolen at the end of World War II to the mayor of the western German town that owned them. U.S. Ambassador William Timken handed over the 19th-century works by Heinrich Buerkel to the mayor of Pirmasens at a ceremony Friday in Berlin. Officials say the three paintings, now valued at $125,000, were among works believed stolen on March 22, 1945, as U.S. forces pushed into Germany. They were recovered after they turned up in an auction in the United States last year." Forbes 02/10/06

Give 'Em An Inch, And They'll Take All Their Art Back "With a proposed settlement from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in hand, Italian authorities are escalating their demands for the return of allegedly looted antiquities from other American museums... Italian investigators say they have identified hundreds more allegedly looted objects at U.S. museums. An additional 10,000 objects mentioned in the records have not yet been located." Italy is very serious about recovering as many of the objects as possible, and is willing to go to court if negotiations with the museums involved do not result in a satisfactory resolution. Los Angeles Times 02/11/06

Friday, February 10, 2006

Trump Breaks Sky In Chicago Donald Trump's new 92-story skyscraper is under construction in Chicago. "The heart beats faster at the prospect of Chicago reaching into the sky. Busting into the clouds is in the city's blood. Nothing like this has happened since the boxy, black mass of the 1,450-foot Sears Tower, once the world's tallest building and still the nation's tallest, soared above the gritty Loop in 1974." Chicago Tribune 02/10/06

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