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The Guardian

Nov 18 2018
$90m David Hockney is not a ‘break-up picture’, says ex-lover

Peter Schlesinger rejects interpretation of work that has broken record for living artist

It has been interpreted as the depiction of a very particular moment in the romantic life of David Hockney. Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), which sold for $90.3m (£70.3m) at auction in New York last week, shows his former lover and muse standing beside a pool – and a man who might be the painter’s new boyfriend swimming under water.

But Peter Schlesinger, Hockney’s ex-partner who was one of his students at the University of California, Los Angeles, has rejected the interpretation of the work that has now made the Yorkshire-born painter the world’s most highly valued living artist. He says it is not an “emotional” depiction – and is probably not even, in any meaningful sense, a portrait of him.

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The Guardian

Nov 18 2018
The world according to Archigram

The hugely influential collective Archigram mixed 60s space race ideas with British provincial humour to visualise ‘pulsating’ mobile cities of the future. Fifty years on, three surviving members discuss – and defend – their legacy

I am holding in my hand a single sheet of paper, wrapped in protective plastic, with words and drawings wriggling all over the available space, on both sides. The possibilities of offset litho printing in the year of its making, 1961, are fully explored. A pinkish splodge decorates one edge – “a potato print”, explains one of its authors now, Professor Sir Peter Cook, “to add a bit of colour”. “The poetry of bricks is gone,” intones some of the original scrawled text, “we want to drag into building som [sic] of the poetry of countdown, orbital helmets, Discord of mechanical body transportation methods.”

This document was Archigram 1, the first issue of a magazine – if a single sheet can be called that – that was to grow in pagination and significance. Its price was sixpence, in old money. “You couldn’t give it away,” says Cook, “only friends and numbskulls would buy it.”

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The Guardian

Nov 18 2018
Ilse D’Hollander; Fiona Tan: Elsewhere – review

Victoria Miro, London; Frith Street Gallery, London
Ilse D’Hollander’s serene landscapes from the 1990s betray no sign of this young artist’s inner turmoil. Plus, Fiona Tan’s utopian LA skylines

Ilse D’Hollander was so young when she died that almost the first response to her work might be a kind of shocked sorrow to think of such brilliance so abruptly extinguished. The artist killed herself at the age of 28. But the paintings she left defy such melancholy thoughts. Small, calm and balanced, these landscapes are exceptionally beautiful. Whatever was going on in her life does not seem to have been happening in her art.

D’Hollander was born in East Flanders in 1968. She studied first in Antwerp and then in Ghent; the earliest works in this show – painted on cardboard when the artist was about 24 – invoke the countryside between the two cities in all the rich greens of spring and summer. In 1995 she moved to the provincial village of Paulatem, where she seems to have worked with increasing energy and seclusion for the last two years of her life. Her career may have been short, but D’Hollander was prolific. More than 500 paintings survive.

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The Guardian

Nov 17 2018
The big picture: one billboard in Arizona

Rob Hann’s image of a road sign in Arizona is simple, upbeat… and still something of a mystery

One rainy evening in London, Rob Hann was sitting at home watching a TV programme about modern art in Texas. Transfixed by the sunny blue skies and the sprawling desert landscapes, he decided to plan a road trip to America’s south-west.

Usually a portrait photographer (his subjects range from Daft Punk and JG Ballard to Chloë Sevigny), on the road, Hann turned his lens to the strange sights along the way. He became particularly interested in signs, inspired in part by Ed Ruscha’s use of text in his paintings and Wim Wenders’s photography book Written in the West.

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The Guardian

Nov 17 2018
'They're making their own kind of world': two Mona shows challenge the visitor

The new commissions play with concept and craftsmanship – but don’t expect easy answers

For 24 hours on 15 October, 12 adults, 11 children and a baby transformed a cavernous, sunken gallery at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art into a post-apocalyptic communist utopia, set on a Dyson sphere in the year 7231.

The museum was shut to the public that day, meaning the only witnesses were eight cameras and two French artists, Fabien Giraud and Raphael Siboni, who watched as their subjects battled with the encroaching forces of time, mortality and capitalism.

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The Guardian

Nov 17 2018
Pet project: Amsterdam's animal photographer – in pictures

As the Dutch capital’s first official pet portraitist, Isabella Rozendaal has created an eye-catching portfolio of animal photography. Here we show some highlights.

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The Guardian

Nov 17 2018
Meet Amsterdam’s official pet photographer
Isabella Rozendaal realised there was something missing from Amsterdam’s population archive. She tells of her life – and new book – as the city’s first official pet portraitist

• See a gallery of Isabella Rozendaal’s photographs

In 2016, the photographer Isabella Rozendaal convinced Amsterdam’s city archives that a significant portion of the city’s inhabitants were being unfairly snubbed. Rozendaal was born in Amsterdam, and, when she is not travelling on assignment, she still lives there. Like other Amsterdammers, she considers the archives an invaluable resource – the public collection of historical documents (drawings, films, maps, photographs) is the largest in the world – but whenever she visited she always sensed something was missing. “Pets are a huge part of Amsterdam’s population,” Rozendaal says, “but they were totally underrepresented. My plan was to photograph the pets.”

Rozendaal began photographing animals in 2006, during her last year of art school. (She studied at the Royal Academy of Art, in The Hague.) To sharpen her documentary skills, she visited a dog show, where she was drawn not just to the animals but to candid moments shared between the pets and their owners. Rozendaal asked a couple of owners if she could visit them later, at home. She wanted to better understand how pet and owner interacted out of the public eye. “I just thought these people were so fascinating,” she says. “And I found this wonderful obsession.”

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The New York Times

Nov 17 2018
Domains: Amazon to Queens? Jonathan Adler is Ready
The designer on bongs, white jeans and his new get-it-quickly collection, Now House.
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The Guardian

Nov 17 2018
Recycling the old masters – in pictures

Dutch artist Suzanne Jongmans creates photographs that echo the old masters, but with a modern twist: she crafts intricate costumes using recycled plastics, old blankets and used packaging. Jongmans finds inspiration in painters such as Jan van Eyck, Rembrandt and Holbein, whose level of detail she aims to replicate. “When you look at the old masters, you can really see the time that is put into the paintings,” she says. “And that fits with the method I developed.” There is an implicit environmental message in her work but, she says, her primary objective is giving a new life to these old materials. “I’m a collector mostly – I collect all kinds of things, like blankets, wool, things from nature. And I would like all these materials to tell a story.”

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The Guardian

Nov 17 2018
An £18m saint… but is Sebastian drawing really by Leonardo?
After the Salvator Mundi mystery, opinion is split on another Renaissance work

The art world was stunned earlier this year by the sudden and mysterious postponement of the unveiling of the Salvator Mundi by the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The painting, which had been sold for a record-breaking $450m (£342m), had become the subject of an increasing number of claims by experts that, far from being Leonardo’s forgotten masterpiece, it might not have been his work after all.

Now a French auctioneer has put another Leonardo up for sale, a small drawing of St Sebastian that is estimated to fetch more than €20m (£17.7m). And a leading Oxford art historian who was among those to cast doubt on the Salvator Mundi’s authenticity is questioning whether this picture, too, should be fully attributed to Leonardo.

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The Guardian

Nov 17 2018
The 20 photographs of the week

The migrant caravan in Mexico, wildfires in California, the armistice centenary and a symbolic funeral prayer for Jamal Khashoggi – the week captured by the world’s best photojournalists

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The New York Times

Nov 16 2018
Glenn Lowry, MoMA Director, Will Continue Through 2025
The museum leader had suggested he would retire after the expanded museum building opens in 2019. He will stay in his post for seven more years.
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The Guardian

Nov 16 2018
When Tillmans met Britten: a radical War Requiem – in pictures

The Turner prize-winning photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has collaborated with ENO to design the set for Benjamin Britten’s devastating war piece. Here are his exclusive images of the production

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The New York Times

Nov 16 2018
‘Master Race’ Original Art Sells for $600,000
Work from an acclaimed comic book story about the Holocaust was sold to a foundation wanting to share graphic arts with the public.
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The Guardian

Nov 16 2018
David Hockney painting earns record $90.3m for living artist

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) beats $58.4m record set by Jeff Koons

Talk about making a splash. David Hockney has become the most highly valued living artist after one of his best known swimming pool paintings sold for $90.3m (£70.3m) in a New York auction.

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) was snapped up after nine minutes of heated bidding at Christie’s on Thursday, smashing the previous record for a living artist held by Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange), which sold for $58.4m in 2013.

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The Guardian

Nov 16 2018
'If only we all took selfies like Warhol' – Andy Warhol/Eduardo Paolozzi review

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
From his lipsticked selfies to his troubling first world war work, Warhol shows there’s no end to his genius. Poor Paolozzi just can’t keep up

In 1963, just as pop art was getting famous, Andy Warhol, its coolest exponent, told an interviewer he painted the way he did because: “I want to be a machine.” It was a great line – and it makes a provocative title for the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s stimulating juxtaposition of his work with that of the British pop artist Eduardo Paolozzi. If it had any truth, Warhol failed in his ambition: there is nothing remotely machine-like about his art. Emotion and desire beat through it as insistently as Lou Reed’s staccato rhythm guitar in I’m Waiting for the Man, by the Velvet Underground, the house band at Warhol’s studio.

One of the early drawings in this exhibition anticipates that song about addiction. Entitled The Nation’s Nightmare, it depicts a young man injecting heroin. Warhol drew it in 1951 to advertise a radio documentary series about America’s “social problems”. Yet it is in no way a hack job. There’s a sensuous compassion in his portrait of the youth, an empathy intensified by Warhol’s adoring delineation of his beautiful face. For years, biographers wrote about Warhol’s career as a commercial artist in New York in the 1950s as, at best, a preliminary to his real art. At worst, it was proof of his true nature as a commercial sellout. The superb selection of his 50s drawings makes that cynical view of him seem plain stupid.

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The Guardian

Nov 16 2018
Hockney hits a new high and Spandau Ballet capture the cold war – the week in art

Hockney’s swimmer breaks a record, the Spands feel the chill and Fernand Léger imagines a female utopia – all in our weekly dispatch

Gainsborough’s Family Album
This artist who made a living profiling the rich painted some of his greatest portraits for himself, to record his love of his family.
National Portrait Gallery, London, until 3 February.

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The New York Times

Nov 16 2018
The Week in Arts: Bob Dylan, Mahler’s Fifth, ‘The Nutcracker’ Returns
Still touring, Dylan is more enigmatic now than ever; see him next at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan for seven gigs.
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The Guardian

Nov 16 2018
DIY call centres and puppet shows help Athens Biennale fight the power

With work that stars Kim Jong-un and jockstraps, artists give us a glimpse of a brighter future

At a beautiful resort in Tahiti an incongruous mix of local islanders, smart-casual tech bros and financiers gather to hear plans for an artificial floating city. Its proponents evangelically claim this oceanic utopia could save French Polynesia from rising sea levels caused by global warming. But as Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman and Daniel Keller’s video The Seasteaders gradually reveals, this eco-paradise isn’t quite what it seems. Behind the greenwash, rather less altruistic motives emerge, along with the names of the movement’s libertarian supporters, including billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Questioned by the film-makers, the mainly American Seasteaders reveal their vision of “saving the world” involves relocating to international waters where they can be free from troublesome democracy, human rights and “unfair” taxes to pay for welfare.

The film, on show at the Athens Biennale, encapsulates some of the key social and political themes of the sixth edition of the international art event. Entitled Anti, the biennale explores the meaning of opposition in a society corrupted by fake news and post-truth politics, where the language and aesthetics of the left and marginalised groups have been appropriated by the alt-right, big business and other oppressors.

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The New York Times

Nov 16 2018
STYLE Q. & A.: Couldn’t Get Into Annabel’s? At Least You Can Own a Piece of It
Christie’s will be auctioning off mementos from the exclusive members-only club in London, including a red velvet sofa, the doorman’s coat and toast racks.
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The Guardian

Nov 16 2018
Georges Seurat’s Young Woman Powdering Herself: the artist and the mistress

The French post-impressionist left behind his studies of ordinary life to render a woman with whom he had a secret relationship

The post-impressionist Georges Seurat replaced the heady whirl of light and weather that the impressionists had conjured up with something more stylised and studied: a science of painting dubbed pointillism. Steeped in new theories of optics and colour, he crafted huge canvases using dots of differently hued pigment to create emotive effects.

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The New York Times

Nov 16 2018
A Look Back on a Life’s Work Capturing Conflict
Paolo Pellegrin has traveled the globe witnessing history and chronicling a changing world. Now his photographs are on show at Italy’s national museum of contemporary art.
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The New York Times

Nov 15 2018
David Hockney Painting Sells for $90 Million, Smashing Record for Living Artist
The trend toward broadening tastes at auction picked up steam at Christie’s with the Hockney and new highs for works by two African-American artists.
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The New York Times

Nov 15 2018
27 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend
Our guide to new art shows and some that will be closing soon.
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The New York Times

Nov 15 2018
3 Days, 150 Paintings: A Whirlwind Tintoretto Tour
On the 500th anniversary of the painter’s birth, our critic set himself a challenge: to see all of Tintoretto’s major works, spread around Venice at 23 locations.
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The Guardian

Nov 15 2018
Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans wins Hepworth sculpture prize

Artist who extended possibilities of sculpture with floating light installations takes home £30,000 prize

Cerith Wyn Evans, the Welsh artist who was an assistant to the late film director Derek Jarman before establishing himself as a significant figure in contemporary art, has won the UK’s most prestigious sculpture prize.

Wyn Evans has been a major art world figure for a number of years but is not well known among the wider public. Winning the £30,000 Hepworth prize for sculpture may go some way to changing that.

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The Guardian

Nov 15 2018
Jean Mohr obituary

Award-winning photographer and longtime collaborator with the writer John Berger

Jean Mohr, who has died aged 93, began his life as a photographer in 1949, with a camera he had bought for one of his brothers as a present. Working with Palestinian refugees for the International Red Cross in Jordan and the West Bank, Mohr was moved to use the camera himself. He went on to become well known for his photographic work with humanitarian organisations, and particularly with refugees, as well as his collaborations with the writer John Berger.

Of the images used in After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives (1986), another friend and collaborator, Edward Said, wrote that Mohr “saw us as we would have seen ourselves – at once inside and outside our world”. Yet, during a 2014 exhibition in Tel Aviv, Mohr explained that he had chronicled not only the Palestinian experience but also, with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, that of endangered Jewish communities in Iran, India and Tunisia. “In my entire life as a photographer,” he said, “I have been trying to build bridges between these two communities.”

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The New York Times

Nov 15 2018
‘At Eternity’s Gate’ Review: An Exquisite Portrayal of van Gogh at Work
A magnificent Willem Dafoe stars in Julian Schnabel’s film, a work that Manohla Dargis calls “an argument for art.”
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The Guardian

Nov 15 2018
Ben Quilty transforms St Paul's Cathedral's Christmas tree into refugee tribute

Collaboration with Mirra Whale is made of life vests discarded by refugees en route to Europe

The Christmas tree inside Melbourne’s St Paul’s Cathedral this year will look a bit different – it will be made largely of life vests discarded by refugees en route to Europe.

The politically charged take on the Christmas tradition is the work of the Archibald prize-winning artist Ben Quilty in collaboration with fellow artist Mirra Whale and is entitled Not a Creature Was Stirring.

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The Guardian

Nov 15 2018
Martin Parr returns to Manchester to capture its changing landscape

Exhibition in city where photographer learned his trade focuses on past and present

Almost 50 years after he was nearly kicked out of Manchester’s polytechnic for failing his photo theory course, the documentary photographer Martin Parr has trained his lens on the city once more.

In Return to Manchester, a major commission for Manchester Art Gallery, Parr creates a portrait of a rapidly changing urban landscape which this year had more cranes on the skyline than any other European city, according to the council’s chief executive.

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The New York Times

Nov 15 2018
Critic’s Pick: Arbus, Untitled and Unearthly
A series considered one of the towering achievements of American art reminds us that nothing can surpass the strange beauty of reality if a photographer knows where to look.
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The New York Times

Nov 15 2018
Critic’s Pick: Sterling Ruby Pipes Down, a Bit
A small museum show that concentrates on the ceramic works of a multidiscipline dynamo comes as something of a relief.
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The Guardian

Nov 15 2018
Bum freezers, feathercuts and flares: Martin Parr's Return to Manchester – review

Manchester Art Gallery
Before he became famous for his lurid shots of the working class at play, the photographer set out to capture the urban grit of 1970s Manchester. The results are oddly overpowering

From 1970 to 1973, Martin Parr studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic. In the catalogue for his new exhibition, Return to Manchester, he recalls how, having fled “the safety of suburban Surrey”, he found the city “exciting and very real”. The earliest photographs here, many of them taken while he was still a student, are a portrait of another Manchester: grittier, less commercial, more definably northern. They are also a portrait of another Martin Parr: a monochrome documentarist yet to find his style, much less his brand. For that reason, they are the most intriguing part of this show.

Related: Martin Parr returns to Manchester to capture its changing landscape

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The New York Times

Nov 15 2018
Show Us Your Wall: His and Hers Collecting: She Prefers Art That’s ‘in Your Face’
Billy Frist is attracted to the prettier photographs, unlike his wife, Jennifer Frist. Together, they have amassed a mini-museum.
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The New York Times

Nov 15 2018
critic’s pick: She Needed No Camera to Make the First Book of Photographs
The British botanist Anna Atkins published her evocative cyanotypes of algae and seaweed 175 years ago. Now, the New York Public Library is celebrating her innovation.
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The Guardian

Nov 14 2018
Vanity projects and kamikaze loggias: Tbilisi’s architectural disaster

The centre of the Georgian capital has long been the plaything of outsize egos – but can its architecture biennial inspire useful debate about the city’s future?

Sprouting like malignant glass tumours across the historical centre of Tbilisi, Georgia, the trophy buildings of the country’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili are hard to miss. There is the heap of white “petals” forming the roof of his public service hall, which looks like someone spilt a bowl of prawn crackers over a pile of glass boxes. A little downriver stands the wavy roof of his Bridge of Peace, locally nicknamed the “Always Ultra” for its unfortunate resemblance to a discarded sanitary towel. Nearby sit the conjoined tubes of his concert hall and exhibition centre, left unfinished and abandoned, their chubby legs spread akimbo towards the old town. It is a surreal scene, a tragic parody of vanity projects gone wrong, all watched over by the presidential palace, an illiterate neoclassical pile crowned with a great glass egg.

“For nine years we had a president who was very interested in architecture,” says local architect and planner Irakli Zhvania, who leads “ugly walks” around the city highlighting the catastrophic results of corrupt deals, destroyed heritage and the privatisation of swaths of public parks. “It was a disaster.”

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The Guardian

Nov 14 2018
Vanity projects and kamikaze loggias: Tbilisi’s architectural disaster

The centre of the Georgian capital has long been the plaything of outsize egos – but can its architecture biennial inspire useful debate about the city’s future?

Sprouting like malignant glass tumours across the historical centre of Tbilisi, Georgia, the trophy buildings of the country’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili are hard to miss. There is the heap of white “petals” forming the roof of his public service hall, which looks like someone spilt a bowl of prawn crackers over a pile of glass boxes. A little downriver stands the wavy roof of his Bridge of Peace, locally nicknamed the “Always Ultra” for its unfortunate resemblance to a discarded sanitary towel. Nearby sit the conjoined tubes of his concert hall and exhibition centre, left unfinished and abandoned, their chubby legs spread akimbo towards the old town. It is a surreal scene, a tragic parody of vanity projects gone wrong, all watched over by the presidential palace, an illiterate neoclassical pile crowned with a great glass egg.

“For nine years we had a president who was very interested in architecture,” says local architect and planner Irakli Zhvania, who leads “ugly walks” around the city highlighting the catastrophic results of corrupt deals, destroyed heritage and the privatisation of swaths of public parks. “It was a disaster.”

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The Guardian

Nov 14 2018
The shock of the weird: cutting-edge video art – in pictures

Named after the late experimental film director Derek Jarman, the Jarman award celebrates UK-based artists who work with moving images. This year’s nominees include Daria Martin, Hardeep Pandhal and Margaret Salmon. The artists discuss their work at the Whitechapel gallery in London this weekend. The £10,000 prize is given on 24 November

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The Guardian

Nov 14 2018
Only Michelangelo made abdomens – and wonky toes – like these

Fitzwilliam Museum reveals research it says proves bronzes are by Renaissance master

A four-year research project that included painstaking examination of wonky toes, eight-pack abdomens, bulging thigh muscles and wavy pubic hair has helped to convince academics that Michelangelo is the maker of two works known as the Rothschild bronzes.

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge made a sensational claim in 2015 that Michelangelo was responsible for two privately owned bronzes depicting handsome, ripped, nude men riding panther-like creatures.

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The New York Times

Nov 14 2018
What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week
John Houck’s visual trickery; Svenja Deininger’s “Crescendo” paintings; Didier William’s eye-catching mixed-media works; and the poet John Ashbery’s demure treasures.
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The New York Times

Nov 14 2018
Stan Lee: One Fan Remembers the Voice, the Words, the Face
Our comic book reporter looks at how Stan Lee — the character and the person — recurred throughout his life.
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The New York Times

Nov 14 2018
MoMA Photography Chief Returns to Paris to Direct Museum
Quentin Bajac will leave the Museum of Modern Art to run the Jeu de Paume, France’s national photography museum.
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The Guardian

Nov 14 2018
Sydney from the sky: the aerial photography of Milton Kent – in pictures

Australian photographer and pilot Milton Kent is best known for the extensive collection of aerial images his studio took between 1926 and 1971. He was given his pilot’s licence in 1926 and specialised in oblique aerial photography

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The Guardian

Nov 14 2018
Enzo Apicella obituary
Designer and cartoonist who revolutionised the look of Italian restaurants in Britain during the 1960s

Enzo Apicella, who has died aged 96, was the padrone – the godfather – of London’s Italian restaurant culture. His distinction was not as a maestro in the kitchen. Nor was he specially good at business. Instead, Apicella had a very particular, wholly individual and completely persuasive vision of what an Italian restaurant should be.

Out went murals of the erupting Vesuvius, tourist board posters of Lake Como and trellis with plastic vines. In came cool tiles, white paint, downlighters, Magistretti chairs and proper art. Thanks to Apicella, the Pizza Express in Fulham had murals by Eduardo Paolozzi, forming in many customers’ minds an unbreakable connection between pop art and pizza margherita.

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The Guardian

Nov 14 2018
Richard Young's best photograph: Jerry Hall parties at Annabel's

‘You had to earn your way into the club. But once the celebrities got to know you, they realised you weren’t such a bad old fruit’

I can barely remember when this was taken, one of those glam parties at Annabel’s in the late 1980s, when men had to wear black tie and women had to look absolutely scrumptious to get in. That period was a bit of a blur and Annabel’s was just a vortex.

There were a lot of gorgeous women about back then, but for me Jerry Hall sums up the whole decade. I shot her a few times over the years and always found her very warm, very kind, and a lot of fun. She’s giving that smile she can just turn on, while the other woman is It girl and socialite Francesca von Thyssen [now von Habsburg].

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The Guardian

Nov 14 2018
Robert Indiana: the artist, the caretaker, the lawsuit and the $4m auction

Key pieces from artist’s estate for sale to fund vital repairs – and a lawsuit that alleges Indiana, who died in May, was exploited

Two key artworks in the collection of the late American artist Robert Indiana are set to be auctioned this week, in a controversial sale to help fund the restoration of his home and mounting legal fees related to his estate.

The two paintings, Ellsworth Kelly’s Orange Blue and Ed Ruscha’s Ruby, are set to be auctioned by Christie’s in New York on 16 November and are expected to fetch up to a total of $4.2m.

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The Guardian

Nov 14 2018
Penises of the ancient world: phallus found in Roman toilet was far from the first

A mosaic of a young man holding his erect penis has been found in a Roman toilet in Turkey. But portraying the male member is a tradition that stretches much further back in human history

When excavations began at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii in the 18th century, the place turned out to be full of penises. The ancient art preserved under ash from the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius was so rich in willies that the English antiquarian Richard Payne Knight argued for the existence of an ancient fertility cult there. After all, there was one still alive in southern Italy at the time. His 1786 book An Account of the Remains of the Worship of Priapus has an engraved frontispiece showing an array of contemporary wax phalluses made as votive offerings.

More than 200 years later, the priapism of the ancient world can still astound us. Archaeologists have uncovered a Roman public toilet in southern Turkey with some filthy and funny floor decorations. As they hitched up their togas or reached for sponge on a stick, users of this men’s loo could look down at a mosaic of a young man holding his cock. He is labelled in the mosaic as Narcissus, who in Greek myth fell in love with his own reflection and wasted away gazing at it. Here, his attention is more focused: he’s obsessed with his own erection. As he plays with it, he looks sideways to reveal a ludicrous phallic nose. “Narcissus, what are you doing in that latrina?” his mater might be demanding from outside the door, in a gag that anticipates Portnoy’s Complaint by around 1,800 years.

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The New York Times

Nov 14 2018
Hopper Painting Sells for Record $91.9 Million at Christie’s
In three auctions, there were some formidable prices, though eyebrows were raised at a number of intimidating estimates. And there were failures.
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The Guardian

Nov 13 2018
Vive la difference! Photo Vogue festival – in pictures

From gender identity to vitiligo, from disabilities to drag queens, a new exhibition called Embracing Diversity explores what it’s like to be different

• Part of Photo Vogue festival 2018, 15-18 November at Base Milano in Milan

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The New York Times

Nov 13 2018
Tavares Strachan Teams With SpaceX to Launch Satellite-Sculpture Into Orbit
The object, made of 24-karat gold, honors Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., the first African-American to train as an astronaut.
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