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The Art Newspaper

May 30 2017
Dutch museum’s entire Mondrian collection gets a health check
 A conservator spent three months consolidating the paint in Red Tree (1908-10) (Image: © Gemeentemuseum Den Haag)
Every painting by Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) in the Gemeentemuseums collection has been scrutinised by conservators as part of the Dutch institutions major Mondrian Restoration Project. The public is sure to reap the benefits of this initiative when the museums landmark exhibition on Mondrian opens on 3 June. 

The show features 301 paintings, drawings and sketchesevery work by Mondrian in the museums collection, from the very first piece he exhibited (Basket with Hare (1891)) to his final composition (Victory Boogie Woogie (1942-44))including pieces coming out of storage for the first time in decades and those that have been on loan to other institutions. It is an exhibition that only the Gemeentemuseumthe worlds largest repository of works by Mondriancould stage and, importantly, one that is only possible because all of the works have been treated, says the paintings conservator Ruth Hoppe. 

She knew that the project, which launched officially in 2009 and was sponsored by the BankGiro Loterij, required a systematic approach because it involved a large group of paintings159 in totalby such an important artist in the collection. We cant just treat one [painting] and then treat another in ten years, she says. As individual paintings, they need to look uniform within the context of this collection. (The treatment of Mondrians drawings has been ongoing for the past ten to 20 years.) The projects success has led the museum to consider applying this across-the-board approach to other areas of the collection, where specific groups or clusters can be identified. 

The project relied on visual observations as opposed to technical research or analysis, and began with a three-month collection survey to assess the paintings condition and prioritise the ones that needed urgent attention. This led to 120 pictures receiving some form of treatment ranging from dusting and reframing to structural interventions such as the consolidation of paint, replacing stretchers, strip lining and complicated cleaning treatments (surface dirt and/or varnish removal). But Hoppe says that most paintings were in good condition.

Intense study of such a large corpus of works by a single artist, carefully documenting details such as weave type and count, type of support and colour of the ground layers, enabled conservators to recognise patterns and guess the type of ailments that works might be suffering from. Flaking paint, for example, was found on several works on a canvas with a special basket-weave pattern, so when they came across paintings on these types of canvas they knew that they needed to be put under the microscope for closer inspection. Nine out of ten times we were right, she says. 

For the Mondrian expert and curator of the exhibition Hans Janssens, the project reaffirmed the painterliness of Mondrian. He also says that cleaning the works has laid bare details handed down by art historians from generation to generation. He singles out one early work, Farm with Trees (1906), as acquiring a new significance thanks to the efforts of the conservation team. It had played a minor role in our collection because it was very dark, he says. But the removal of old, dirty varnishes revealed previously obscured barns, fields and hedges. Its almost as if we were given a new picture as a gift, he says, adding that it also shows that Mondrian was already working along the same compositional principles that would govern his whole life. He didnt follow the rules of traditional perspective; instead he worked in the Dutch manner of building up the surface of the picture plane to suggest depth.  

As well as some spectacular varnish and surface dirt removals that allowed colours to pop and paint surfaces to come alive, the treatments set about righting some wrongs. For example, conservators found that one painting had been reframed the wrong way around. Mondrian often continued to work on his compositions in their frames and so paint from the canvas could end up on the frame (or vice versa if he painted the frame). Conservators noticed that the position of the paint traces on the frame did not correspond with the canvas. Hoppe thinks the picture was probably removed from its frame to be photographed. The frame was put back on upside down so we turned it back to the correct position, she says. 

Some pieces required more complex interventions. One conservator spent three of the six months that Red Tree (1908-10) was in the conservation studio under the microscope, consolidating paint. Two specialists were tasked with treating a large-scale work from Mondrians Dune series, made during summers spent on the North Sea coast of Zeeland, the Netherlands. The painting was almost falling off its stretcher because the canvas around the corroded metal tacks had been eaten away. We had to remove it from the stretcher, make a strip lining, put it back on the stretcher and do a lot of consolidation, Hoppe says. 


For Hoppe, the team aspect was one of the most rewarding aspects of the project and essential to finishing the project on a very tight deadline. Sometimes we had ten Mondrians in the studio at once, which was a fantastic sight, she says. 

Did you know?


Many of Mondrians early works were painted on cardboard
He invented the thin (often white) wood-slat frames around his abstract works
Mondrian often continued to work on paintings after they were framed
He experimented with different colour ground layers, including orange and blue
An abundance of flies was found on several works, including The Red Mill (1911)

The Discovery of Mondrian, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 

3 June-24 September

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The Guardian

May 29 2017
Raphael: The Drawings review – a magnificent, mind-opening exhibition

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
The Renaissance star has always been held up as a model of formal perfection but this outstanding show reveals the artist’s warmth and tenderness too

A woman is running towards us, mouth open in a scream, a baby cradled in her arms. The violence around her seems to part and give safe passage through the slaughter. What the open pathway through the heart of the horror really gives, however, is a heartbreaking visual connection between our eyes and her pain. To look into that terrified face is to feel the full pity of her plight. It is impossible not to be gripped by compassion.

There are three drawings of this harrowing New Testament scene, The Massacre of the Innocents, in the Ashmolean Museum’s outstanding exhibition of Raphael’s drawings. They were done in Rome in about 1509-10, when the artist was in his mid-20s. In each – from rough sketch to finished design – the same woman rushes through the crowd. Yet the details vary: the expression on her face, the pose of the baby. In the most poignant, the baby’s eyes are little dots and it lolls as if dead in her arms. Her eyes are hollow dark pits of despair.

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The Guardian

May 29 2017
'Extraordinary' Raphael show to be big draw at Ashmolean in Oxford

Museum has collated 120 of Renaissance artist’s rarely seen drawings, considered some of the greatest by an old master

An exhibition described by the director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford as “a once in a lifetime opportunity” has brought together some of the greatest old master drawings, 120 works by the Renaissance genius Raphael.

“Not since 1983 when an exhibition of drawings from British collections was on display at the British Museum has such an extraordinary gathering of Raphael drawings been shown to the public,” Xa Sturgis said.

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The Guardian

May 29 2017
Eden on ice: seed banks - in pictures

These botanical backup systems aim to ensure the reintroduction of species after a catastrophic event. Dornith Doherty’s images include the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, recently breached by meltwater

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The Guardian

May 29 2017
Grayson Perry to unveil Brexit vases in Channel 4 show Divided Britain

Artist curious to see how quickly people identify which pot represents leave and which represents remain in Matching Pair

The two vases made by Grayson Perry have so much in common, but are so far apart: they are identical in size and shape; are mostly blue; have images of teapots, bacon and eggs, families by the seaside, walking the dog, and going down the pub. But between them they represent the opposing sides of the most bitter political debate in a lifetime: Brexit.

“I asked people to send in their ideas for what should be included, what represented the whole thing to them, even what colour they should be, and they’ve come out surprisingly similar. I actually found it rather touching,” the artist said.

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The Guardian

May 29 2017
Modern master: how Nick Serota's Tate skyrocketed to success

He’s created the most popular modern art museum in the world, but that’s just one corner of a sprawling empire. As Tate’s driven director steps down after 30 years, we reveal how he transformed a dusty pile by the Thames into an £86m global force

When Nicholas Serota, aged 42, took up the post of director of the Tate Gallery in September 1988, his domain was a patch of land on the north bank of the Thames, and a newly opened outpost on Albert Dock, Liverpool. As he readies himself to leave the post almost 30 years on, Tate has surely grown bigger than he could have imagined.

From two museums, it has expanded to four. Including the new Switch House extension to Tate Modern, total gallery space now stands at 25,833 square metres. And that’s not even including the 4,000 sq m Turbine Hall in Tate Modern, with another 595 sq m at Tate St Ives, Cornwall, on the way. Meanwhile, its operating income has grown from about £14m to £86m, with the slice of this coming from the government shrinking from 80% to about a third.

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The Art Newspaper

May 29 2017
David Goldblatt brings ex-offender portrait series to British jails
David Goldblatt, The dethroning of Cecil John Rhodes, after the throwing of human faeces on the statue and the agreement of the University to the demands of students for its removal. The University of Cape Town, 9 April 2015
The South African photographer David Goldblatt has installed photographs of former criminals in prisons in Birmingham and Manchester. The portraits, part of a series called Ex-Offenders, show men and women at the scene of their crimes, with accompanying texts that relate the subjects stories in their own words. Goldblatt has previously focused on ex-offenders in South Africa and worked with the arts organisation Multistory in West Bromwich to bring the project to the UK.

His new subjects include Adellah Snape, a woman from Birmingham who became addicted to crack cocaine and heroin, resorted to sex work and was arrested 64 times for shoplifting, and Trenton Oldfield, an Australian who disrupted the 2012 Oxford vs Cambridge boat race in a protest against the corruption and elitism of the British political system.

I call them ex-offendersI dont call them convicts, I dont call them prisonersbecause, almost invariably, they all want never to go back to prison and want nothing more to do with the crimes for which they were sentenced, Goldblatt says.

For the first time, the works have been installed exclusively for an audience of incarcerated men. In HM Prison Birmingham, around 40 images have been hung on the walls between cells, while in HM Prison Manchester, 20 works have been installed in the prison chapel. Two inmates have been trained to act as guides for the exhibitions.

The series is normally presented using specially designed displays with the ex-offenders' stories at reading level directly below each portrait. Were not allowed to have anything in those [displays] that could be turned into a weapon. So we cant knock nails into walls, we cant make frames, Goldblatt says. A solution was found by mounting the photographs and texts onto foam core and hanging them with Velcro. Whether theyll tear them down or piss on them or enjoy them, Ive got no idea.

Goldblatts work is also in a display of Jean Pigozzis African art collection, on view at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris (until 28 August), and the Centre Pompidou is planning a career survey in spring 2018.

Both shows include photographs taken at the University of Cape Town during the recent student uprisings over housing, tuition and racial inequality. The protests resulted in the removal from the campus of a statue of the British colonialist Cecil Rhodes, the burning of dozens of paintings and photographs, and the covering-up of other works deemed offensive by students. This included a sculpture by the mixed-race South African artist Willie Bester of Saartjie Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman who was exhibited throughout Europe in the 19th century as an ethnological curiosity known as the Hottentot Venus.

The university response to the destruction was to appoint a committee to remove or conceal any art on campus that could be considered offensive to black students. I thought this was an extremely short-sighted policy. It was effectively an abrogation of the freedom of expression, Goldblatt says. He withdrew his archive and the collection of works he had promised as a bequest to the university. By leaving my work there, I would be endorsing that policy. I make all kinds of compromises in my lifeIm a sinner from way backbut I will not compromise about my work.

Goldblatt is one of South Africa's leading documentarians of the apartheid era, capturing in stark detail life on both sides of the racial divide, and the loss of his archive has been felt as a blow to the countrys cultural heritage. Reports in the South African press have said that Goldblatt will bring the collection to the US, but the photographer would not comment on its future home. There are people who are saying that I shouldnt take my work out of the country because it belongs to South Africa, Goldblatt says. What Im planning to do is to ensure that wherever the work goes, there will be a digital archive in South Africa, so its still available for study purposes.
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The Guardian

May 29 2017
Marvel's costumes create their own blockbuster at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art

A thoughtfully curated exhibition recognises the commercial stature of the franchises but focuses keenly on the work of designers and artists

Since 2008 – over the course of 15 movies and with a packed slate of sequels and new films confirmed through until 2021 – the Marvel Cinematic Universe (that is, the films produced by Marvel Studios through Disney) has become a cultural juggernaut.

If the MCU brand of action screenwriting leaves a little to be desired, however, the films have provided viewers with an increasingly daring palette of production and costume design, the likes of which have not been seen since Hollywood’s golden age of screen fantasy (and which makes hapless competitor DC’s dreary movies look like they’ve been created by a photocopier in dire need of a toner top-up).

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The New York Times

May 29 2017
Kara Walker Plans a Public Art Project for New Orleans
This artist is planning to create a riverboat calliope installation with the jazz pianist Jason Moran at Prospect New Orleans, the art triennial.
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The Art Newspaper

May 29 2017
Art world gets a roasting in Palme d’Or film
A still from The Square

The art world is skewered in The Square, the Swedish film that has scooped the Palme dOr at this years Cannes film festival. According to the UK newspaper The Telegraph, the movie, directed by Ruben Ostlund, is a blackly comic send-up of the art worlds pretensions and neuroses. It centres on the director of a contemporary art gallery who makes a splash with a new performance art space called The Square. Peter Bradshaw reports in The Guardian that the most excruciating part is a formal dinner for patrons who encounter performance artist Oleg dressed as an ape. The post-dinner entertainment will be provided by Oleg who will clamber into the dining hall, grunting and scratching and hooting and maybe poking the diners, and the guests in all their finery will naturally be amused by the resulting Darwinian insights. But Oleg has an intense method-style commitment to his act and it gets out of control. To top it all off, UK actor Dominic West does a turn as a pompous visiting artist decked out in silk pyjamas. 
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The Art Newspaper

May 29 2017
Courtney and Cullinan: #friendsforlife
Nicholas Cullinan. Photo: © Emma Hardy
Nicholas Cullinan, the director of Londons National Portrait Gallery, has a new fanand she isnt holding back about just how much she likes him. The US singer and actress Courtney Love bumped into the charming scholar on her recent art jaunt around Europe, taking in a visit to the Venice Biennale. Seeing Nicholas prompted an outpouring of love and affection from Courtney who posted her homage on Instagram.Those rare moments in life that you run into your soulmate for the first time and you just feel instantly they are family for life. Nicholas Cullinan you are the highlight of my journey to Europe this year, Love says. From Milan to Venice and today in London, I can't thank you enough for being you and for inviting me into your life you brilliant handsome and charming angel There are no words to describe how grateful I am to have run into you in three separate cities. I can not wait to see you again, you're [sic] number one fan. Hashtags cited include #friendsforlife #inspired #milan #venice
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The Guardian

May 28 2017
JFK, Bardot and Sid Vicious … 70 years of Camera Press stars

The British company is celebrating its platinum anniversary with a big London show. Here is a taste of what to expect – from Raquel Welch dancing to Clint Eastwood skateboarding through traffic

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The Guardian

May 28 2017
Great Australian photographs: Frank Hurley's The Raid – an audio essay

The sixth instalment in our audio-visual series on celebrated Australian photographs. This week we look at the works of Frank Hurley, best known for his pictures of the first world war and of Antarctica

Click on the audio buttons to hear the conversations between the Guardian Australia picture editor, Jonny Weeks, the Guardian Australia photographer, Mike Bowers, the senior curator of photography at the National Gallery of Australia, Shaune Lakin, and the curator at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Pippa Milne.

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artforum.com

May 28 2017
DIARY: Guest of a GUESS
Kevin McGarry at the opening of the Marciano Art Foundation
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The Guardian

May 28 2017
Tracey Emin: 'Being an artist is about making art, not money'

Artist tells Hay literary festival audience that she is growing, unlike some of her male contemporaries. But who could she mean?

Tracey Emin has taken aim at money-obsessed male artists who endlessly churn out versions of the same work in order to make even more money and buy bigger houses.

Who could she mean?

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The Guardian

May 28 2017
Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave review – the mastery simply amazes

British Museum, London
It wasn’t until his later years that the Japanese artist did his greatest work – the focus of this mesmerising show

The Great Wave – that stupendous blue breaker flexing its claws over a tiny Mount Fuji – is the most famous image in Japanese art. It deserves its universal popularity. Three little boats struggle against the roiling tide in a brilliant game of pictorial hide-and-seek that threatens to conceal the white-capped mountain as the wave freezes in its ever-rising moment, scattering foam that doubles as snowfall. A humble print, first sold for the price of a double helping of noodles, has become a mass-market icon (even an emoji) a billion times over.

The woodcut was made at the beginning of the artist’s “final years”, as this magnificent exhibition defines them. Hokusai (1760-1849) was 70 when he began the Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which stars The Great Wave. He already had a long career in ukiyo-e – the art of the floating world – with exquisite prints of scuttling pedlars, kimonoed courtesans and pilgrims spellbound by the moon over his home city of Edo (modern-day Tokyo). But the last three decades of Hokusai’s life go far beyond The Great Wave. This show reveals a restless genius, constantly inventing new kinds of image – an origin for impressionism and art nouveau, for action figures and graphic narrative, but also a late painter of startling Rembrandtian depth.

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The Guardian

May 28 2017
Garden Museum review – hallowed ground for the green-fingered

In the former church where John Tradescant and son are buried, London’s Garden Museum has grown into a distinctive new space

John Tradescant and his son John, the 17th-century naturalists, gardeners and travellers who among other things helped to introduce pineapples, Virginia creeper and plane trees to Britain, liked the un-alike. Their baroque version of science was not the white-coated subdivision and separation of everything from everything else. In the Ark, the cabinet of curiosities that they created by their home in Lambeth, south London – and which became the basis of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford – they brought together the natural, the artificial and the supernatural: carvings on cherry stones, seashells, the cradle of Henry VI, a stuffed crocodile, religious objects, talismans. This was more than whimsical mixology: it was a view of the world based on the connectedness of things.

They might then have appreciated the promiscuous fusions of the Garden Museum, which has grown up in the church and churchyard of St Mary-at-Lambeth, where they are both buried. Here the tombs of the dead mix with spaces for the living, vegetation with construction, Victorian-medieval stone gothic with the cross-laminated timber of contemporary exhibition spaces. It is layered vertically and horizontally, from the five archbishops found buried underneath to the reopened roof of the church tower, and from a noisy road through a quiet glazed cloister to the venerable boundary wall of its neighbour Lambeth Palace.

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The New York Times

May 27 2017
After Decades, a ‘Bittersweet’ Resolution Over Lost Art
A painting by the 18th-century artist Michele Marieschi will go to auction after a family’s 70-year effort to recover it.
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The Guardian

May 27 2017
Case of Venetian masterpiece looted by Nazis closed 80 years on
Stolen Michele Marieschi painting bought in good faith by British man 60 years ago expected to fetch more than £500,000

An 18th-century Italian masterpiece is to be auctioned by Sotheby’s in London almost 80 years after it was looted by the Nazis. The magnificent Venetian view, painted by Michele Marieschi in 1739, belonged to a Viennese Jewish family who fled Austria in 1938 following Nazi Germany’s annexation of the country.

Heinrich and Anna Maria Graf escaped to America with their five-year-old twin daughters, Eva and Erika. After the war they searched in vain for the painting, which depicts two of Venice’s foremost landmarks, the Punta della Dogana (customs house) and San Giorgio Maggiore.

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The Art Newspaper

May 27 2017
Massachusetts museum’s expansion enables artists to dream big
Building 6 is the prow-shaped structure on the left of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's campus
What would you do if you had the opportunity to have not just a one-night stand, but a deep commitment that would go on for ten, 15, 25 years? asks Joseph Thompson, the director of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) in North Adams. This is the guiding philosophy behind the museums ambitious $65m expansion, due to open on 28 May.

Since it launched in 1999, the institutiona converted textile factoryhas slowly been working to refurbish the 28 buildings on its sprawling campus. The latest one, Building 6, is a three-storey, 130,000 sq. ft structure now outfitted with long-term shows and installations by five artists. They include a 15-year installation by Jenny Holzer, whose art will be projected on the building and surrounding landscape, and a 25-year James Turrell retrospective with nine of the artist's light works. The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has also collaborated with MassMoca for a temporary opening exhibition of works by Lonnie Holley and Dawn DeDeaux, who have both participated in the foundation's residency programme at the late artist's property in Captiva, Florida.

An inside look at MassMocas latest projects


Louise Bourgeois
The museums industrial space, which once housed textile printing presses, is sturdy as all get-out, says its director, Joseph Thompson. But the museum still had to reinforce the floors for a 15-year-long show of four marble sculptures by Louise Bourgeois. This image emerged as we were thinking of Louisethis delicate woman making these very heavy, dense works, Thompson says. To get the 15-tonne, never-before-shown work UNTITLED (1991) to the second-floor space, the museum had to cut a hole in the brick wall, bring in the piece on a crane and then rebuild the wall with salvaged bricks. The process was like putting a ship in a bottle, Thompson says.

Gunnar Schonbeck
When the musician Gunnar Schonbeck died in 2005, he left behind more than 1,000 whimsical homemade instruments, including 14-foot tall banjos, harps and xylophones made of unorthodox materials like aircraft fuselages and plumbing pipes. The museum rescued around 300 of the instruments from a Vermont barn with the blessing of Schonbecks widow and restored them. Visitors will be able to play the instruments in a space resembling a high school music rooma nod to Schonbecks belief that anyone can be a musician.

Laurie Anderson
When Thompson asked the artist what a museum of Laurie Anderson would look like, she answered, a radio station. Over the next 15 years, Anderson will broadcast her vision from three separate spaces. A glass-cube studio facility will house an archive of her performances and recordings (she will also occasionally work there, mostly behind drawn curtains). The other spaces will contain large-format charcoal drawingschiefly of her dogand a virtual reality experience.
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The Guardian

May 27 2017
A homage to neon signs – in pictures

For Terry Thompson, neon signs are an obsession. Over the past 16 years, the San Francisco-based artist has driven all over the States looking for interesting signs, immortalising them in a series of oil paintings inspired by Edward Hopper and Ed Ruscha. “To me, old signs are handmade sculptures,” he says. “The neon is hand-bent by artisans, and they’re often hand-painted. Some have been around since the 1930s.” Not everyone shares his enthusiasm. “I’ve become painfully aware that they’re rapidly disappearing. For some people, they are only eyesores that represent something dirty. To me, the old signs show their age and history, whether it’s an art deco font or a shape reminiscent of the space age.”

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The Guardian

May 27 2017
Facing climate change on the Louisiana bayous – in pictures

Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana is home to a Native American community who fished, hunted, trapped and farmed the land. But since 1955, more than 90% of the island’s original land mass has washed away, the loss caused by logging, oil exploration, hurricanes and ineffective flood control. A report by 13 US federal agencies found the island and its tribal residents to be among the nation’s most vulnerable, as the remaining land will be lost to rising sea levels

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The Guardian

May 27 2017
'I wasn’t cock-a-hoop that I’d fooled the experts': Britain's master forger tells all

Shaun Greenhalgh has turned his hand to everyone from Leonardo da Vinci to Lowry. He’s been to prison, but has never revealed the whole picture. Until now

In 2010, shortly after his release from prison, Shaun Greenhalgh walked into his parents’ house in Bromley Cross to find yet another fat package waiting for him on the dresser. Unsolicited parcels arrived often. They always bore a London postmark, but never a sender’s name; they always contained an art book.

On this occasion, Greenhalgh recognised the cover, a Renaissance-style painting of a girl, seen in profile. Snub-nosed, proud-eyed and with the hint of a double chin, she was not a handsome princess, as the book’s title, La Bella Principessa, suggested. Greenhalgh thought he knew her as an old acquaintance: Sally, a girl with whom he had worked in the late 70s at the Co-op butchery. The book, by the respected art historian Martin Kemp, argued that the painting was a lost work by Leonardo da Vinci. But Greenhalgh believed it to be one of his own: painted when he was 18 on to a piece of 16th-century vellum; he remembered buying the vellum from an antique shop close to his family’s council house in Bolton.

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The Guardian

May 27 2017
The 20 photographs of the week

The Manchester Arena attack, the Europa League final, riots in Venezuela and the destruction in Syria – the news of the week captured by the world’s best photojournalists.

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The Guardian

May 26 2017
Grayson Perry: ‘I am nostalgic for a time when art galleries were empty’

Punks are now pensioners, tattoos are tame, and Damien Hirst is a family treat. On the eve of his new show – The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! – Grayson Perry finally embraces the fact that today’s revolt is tomorrow’s cash-in

The title of an exhibition is usually the last thing I think of, often only after the gallery curator has nagged me to come up with something. This time I thought of the title (The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!) before I had made most of the artworks. It made me laugh, and slightly nervous laughter is the reaction most art world people have to it. Why is that? What is unsettling about an exhibition boasting about being popular?

In 1937 the Nazis organised an exhibition called Entartete Kunst, (“Degenerate Art”). The idea was to show that modernism was a conspiracy by people who hated German decency. Visitors were encouraged to see modernist artists as Hitler saw them: as “incompetents, cheats and madmen”. The exhibition included some of the greatest German artists of the 20th century: George Grosz, Paul Klee, Kurt Schwitters and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. More than two million people visited the show, 20,000 a day. It was one of the most popular exhibitions of all time. I’m not sure what proportion of those visitors went to the exhibition to mock the art and how many went to enjoy what today would be a coach-party blockbuster, but Entartete Kunst surely did nothing to soften the art world’s suspicion of popularity.

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The New York Times

May 26 2017
Why Spend $110 Million on a Basquiat? ‘I Decided to Go for It,’ Japanese Billionaire Explains
About 7,000 miles away, in New Jersey, the artist’s sister summed up her family’s response: “We were speechless.”
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The Art Newspaper

May 26 2017
Take a peek inside The Shed, New York’s new arts and culture space due to open in 2019
Inside The Shed, the multidisciplinary arts and culture centre under construction in Manhattan's Hudson Yards, due to open in 2019 (Photo: Helen Stoilas)
The figure of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg loomed large at a recent hard hat press tour of The Shed, the multidisciplinary arts and culture centre under construction in Hudson Yards, due to open in 2019. And it was with good reason. Not only is the massive redevelopment project being built over the railway yards on Manhattans far west side one of the former mayors parting legacies, but The Shed had just received a $75m gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, bringing its fundraising total to $421m towards a $500m capital campaign goal.

While Bloomberg himself did not attend the preview, The Sheds chairman, Daniel Doctoroff, recalled that he had tasked those behind the new building to make it like nowhere else in the world. And while only the skeleton of the six-level structurewhich is meant to house art exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, dance, and experimental labs for artistshas been completed so far, there are already some elements that set The Shed apart.


The most obvious of these is a telescoping shell on wheels that serves as both a faade for the gallery spaces and a flexible canopy that can be extended to enclose a public plaza. The shells steel frame will be insulated using Teflon-based polymer pillows that have the same thermal protection as glass cladding at one-third the weight. The whole structure can be deployed in five minutes using the amount of horsepower need for one Prius electric car thanks to massive steel wheels in rail tracks run by motors on the roof. This project is bone and muscle and there's no fat, said the architect Elizabeth Diller, of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who designed the building in collaboration with the firm Rockwell Group.

Details on future programming have not yet been announced by The Sheds artistic director, Alex Poots did unveil the space firstand probably only, he saidpermanent work of art. This is the text piece IN FRONT OF ITSELF by the veteran artist Lawrence Weiner, to be fabricated in coloured paving stones in the plaza. Weiner, who was on hand at the preview, said he was impressed with the building but admitted I had nothing to do with that Im just a happy passenger.


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The Art Newspaper

May 26 2017
How a $25,000 NEA grant became a springboard for change in a rural Minnesota community
Kirkbride Art & History Weekend, at the former Fergus Falls State Hospital Complex, which is on the National Register of Historic Places (Photo Credit Rick Abbott)
A grant of $25,000 is not even a drop in the bucket of the US federal governments spending, around $3.5 trillion per year. But it was able to effect visible change in Fergus Falls, a small rural community in Minnesota with a population of 13,000, which received $25,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the government agency that funds art and culture across every congressional district in the nation, in 2011.

The NEA, which had a $148m budget last year, and has been targeted for elimination by President Trump since his first federal budget proposal in March (and again this week, in his proposed 2018 federal budget, which would begin shutting down the NEA by cutting 80% of its funding).

With the $25,000 NEA grant, the St Paul, Minnesota-based arts non-profit, Springboard for the Arts, which calls itself an economic and community development organization for artists and by artists, opened an office in Fergus Falls and was able to launch a multi-year cultural project. Since 2011, the organisation has been given a total of $145,000 in NEA grantsbut has also received over $1.2m in funding from private donors, such as the McKnight Foundation.

The support from the NEA is important on its own merits but the validation and the recognition that NEA support provides also helped us really leverage private donors to support this work, says Laura Zabel, the executive director of Springboard for the Arts.

The project explores how artists can be a part of rural economies and rural communities, and includes support for local artists, such as the sculptor Blayze Buseth, to encourage young people to stay in the town and see it as a viable place to make a living and raise their families, Zabel says. (The town had suffered from the 2005 closure of Fergus Falls State Hospital, a large mental institution that opened in 1890 and sustained the local economy.)

Artists from other communities working across all media, from the visual arts to music to film-making, have also come to Fergus Falls for the Hinge Arts Residency, a programme that has hosted 45 artists for one to three months. These artists live in apartments on the property of the formerly disused hospital complex, which has spurred a local conversation about preservation and the use of historic buildings in the town, and local politics. The use of this building has spurred a sense of possibility around the building, but also a sense of possibility around the whole community, [which has] led to a different political environment, Zabel says.

The artists-in-residence have carried out their own work during their residencies, which often involve the local community, such as the folk and punk musician Shannon Murrays research into music and Minnesota working class history. They have also shown work in empty storefronts and organised community art projects, such as casting architectural elements of disused buildings, and giving art classes to local children.

Beyond the changes in Fergus Falls, the programmeand the fact that it receives funding on the federal levelis a way to promote rural-urban exchange and to see a rural community as part of a national conversation, Zabel says. It feels even more important to understand [each others] values, she says, in the divisive post-election politics.
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The Guardian

May 26 2017
Raphael's drawings, Judy Chicago's Beatles mural and Istanbul street dogs – the week in art

A Renaissance master comes to Oxford, Judy Chicago’s Fab Four artwork and Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s socially engaged films – all in your weekly dispatch

Raphael: The Drawings
You can’t get much better than this. Raphael (1483-1520) has been recognised since his own lifetime as one of the world’s greatest artists, and no fashion or passing cultural mood is ever going to change that.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1 June-3 September.

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The Art Newspaper

May 26 2017
Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin to meet in Versailles
Putin is due to meet Macron at Versailles
The newly elected French president, Emmanuel Macron, is due to meet Russias Vladimir Putin for the first time on 29 May at the Chteau de Versailles, where they will inaugurate a major exhibition celebrating the 300th anniversary of Peter the Greats diplomatic visit to France in 1717. The meeting falls on a Monday, when the palace and grounds are closed to the public.

The show Peter the Great, a Tsar in France (30 May-24 September) is billed as an exceptional collaboration between the palace and the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, which is lending around 100 works. More than 150 paintings, sculptures, drawings, curiosities and books from the tsars private library will be brought together to retrace his two stays at Versailles, in May and June 1717. It is a symbolic occasion for Macron to renew Franco-Russian relations, which have deteriorated since Russias annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The news follows the cancellation of Putins long-planned trip to Paris last October, after the then French president Franois Hollande suggested that Russia had committed war crimes in Syria by supporting the bombing of Aleppo. The two heads of state were due to attend the opening of a Kremlin-funded Russian orthodox cathedral and cultural centre and the blockbuster exhibition Icons of Modern Art: the Shchukin Collection at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which closed in March.

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The Art Newspaper

May 26 2017
Sometimes an Easter bread is really just an Easter bread
Easter decorations or deliberate desecration (Photo: Pavel Chikov‏/Twitter)
Russias moral police are seeing penises everywhere and even a judge recently got fed up. On Thursday, 25 May, a magistrate in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk threw out a case against a woman who had been accused of deliberate desecration of a religious object for sharing an allegedly phallic image of kulich, a tall Russian Easter bread, adorned with the requisite eggs, on social media. Prosecutors called in a religion expert who said that overt sexuality had been condemned by Christianity from the time of St Augustine. Maybe they should have just risen above it all. 
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The Guardian

May 26 2017
Mario Testino to auction art collection to raise money for Lima gallery

Peruvian-born fashion photographer hopes to generate £8m from sale of 400 works by artists including Wolfgang Tillmans

He has turned his lens on some of the most beautiful people in the world, from Kate Moss and Princess Diana to David Bowie and Angelina Jolie.

But now the paintings and photographs that have hung on the walls of Mario Testino’s house and studio – and shaped his artistic vision since the 1980s – are to be auctioned.

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artforum.com

May 26 2017
FILM: Fig Leaves
Andrew Hultkrans on Terry Zwigoff
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The New York Times

May 26 2017
A Mural Designed by Carmen Herrera Will Be Painted by Bronx School Students
Through the program Publicolor, students at P.S. 244 will paint a mural based on the artist’s 1952 work “Untitled.”
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artforum.com

May 26 2017
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The New York Times

May 26 2017
El Museo del Barrio Fires Executive as New Director Faces More Challenges
Berta Colón, who had been the deputy director of institutional advancement, was dismissed; she has written to the board over concerns about finances.
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The Guardian

May 26 2017
Tate Britain could be our greatest museum – if it only loved its treasures

Its current displays aren’t just terrible. They turn the story of British art into one long joyless slog through brown and grey sludge. The proposed rehang won’t fix that

In its 17 years of existence, Tate Britain has practically killed British art history. Drawn from the biggest collection of British art in the world, the gallery’s permanent displays – or, more accurately, incredibly impermanent displays – have achieved such a rare cocktail of superficiality, pretension, ugliness and willed ignorance that, after a couple of hours there, it is hard to feel any enthusiasm for the story of British art.

I was at Tate Britain the other day, looking hard at the collection displays. I have no choice, as I’m writing a history of British art. I would not take what the gallery currently calls its Walk Through British Art for fun. Even when you’ve good reason to go, it’s a slog. I left with a depressing sense that British art since the Tudor age was just one big brown and grey sludge, barren of beauty, bereft of genius.

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The Guardian

May 26 2017
‘I’d had a late night. Everyone thinks my son is snorting cocaine’: being photographed by Tina Barney

Melissa North recalls the day the US photographer visited her family home in London in 2001

Our house had a bit of a reputation for parties, back in the day. My husband, Tchaik Chassay, and I co-founded the Groucho Club in Soho, and people just gravitated to our place in Notting Hill. The house used to belong to David Hockney, an old friend; we bought it off him in the early 1970s.

I don’t remember who gave Tina Barney our name, but one day we received a letter from her asking if she could photograph us at home. She was doing a big project called The Europeans, shooting the British upper classes in their houses.

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The Art Newspaper

May 26 2017
Controversial Italian court ruling ousts five top museum directors
Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi with the new wave of 20 museum directors appointed in 2015. (Image: Courtesy Governo Italiano Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Photo: Tiberio Barchielli)<br />
An Italian regional court has ousted five directors at Italys top museums, almost two years after they were appointed in an unprecedented shake-up of the countrys bureaucratic museums sector. The reform by the Italian culture ministry saw new leadersincluding, for the first time, seven foreignerstake the helm of 20 top institutions and heritage sites, such as the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence and the Galleria Borghese in Rome, in August 2015. But on 24 May, the Lazio regional administrative tribunal (TAR) ruled that the recruitment process was not transparent and that foreigners had never been eligible to participate under Italian law.
 
The decision, which relates to two appeals by Italian candidates for the posts, declares five of the appointments void: Martina Bagnoli at the Galleria Estense in Modena; Paolo Giulierini, Eva DeglInnocenti and Carmelo Malacrino at the National Archaeological Museums of Naples, Taranto and Reggio Calabria respectively; and Austrian-born Peter Assmann at the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua. The other six foreign directors, including the German Eike Schmidt at the Uffizi and British-Canadian James Bradburne at the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, have not been affected. According to our sister paper Il Giornale dell'Arte, there is a risk that any foreign applicants will now be blocked from the ongoing selection process for the directorship of the Colosseum and its archaeological park in Rome, which closes on 30 June.
 
The judges said that some interviews were conducted via Skype and that the international selection committees method of ranking applicants was confusing. They also cited the wording of a clause in a 2001 law that prevents non-Italians from competing for public positions.
 
Dario Franceschini, the Italian culture minister, has pledged to overturn the ruling in the Council of State, describing it as a blow to a reform that has already yielded impressive results. The recruitment process respected not only European and national law, but also the highest international standards, as recognised by the International Council of Museums, the culture ministry says in a statement.
 
It is absurd to make distinctions over the nationality of candidates, Franceschini told Italian media. The director of the National Gallery [in London] is Italian while the British Museums is German. Interim directors will be chosen to run the five museums in question, Franceschini said.
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The Art Newspaper

May 26 2017
US billionaire Thomas Kaplan plans to send collection of Dutch Old Masters to Russia
Thomas Kaplan (Image: © Sue Raya Shaheen)
Thomas Kaplan, the US billionaire metals investor who owns more Rembrandts than anyone else, plans to send his collection of Dutch Old Masters to Russia as part of its world tour. 

The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg is in negotiations to show the Leiden Collection in 2018, a spokeswoman says. The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow has also been earmarked as a possible venue, according to the Economist. The Pushkin could not be reached for comment.

The New York-based Leiden Collection, the largest private collection of 17th-century Dutch painting amassed over 14 years by Kaplan and his wife Daphne Recanati Kaplan, was unveiled at the Muse du Louvre in February. Sixty-eight pictures are now on their way to the National Museum in Beijing for an exhibition opening on 16 June. A bigger show is due to follow at the Long Museum in Shanghai. The Louvre Abu Dhabi will be the final destination on the tour.

Since 2003, and with the assistance of Old Master dealers Johnny van Haeften, Otto Naumann and Salomon Lilian, the Kaplans have acquired more than 200 works. They include 11 paintings and two drawings by Rembrandt, the largest number in private hands, and the only privatelyowned paintings by Vermeer and the highly sought-after Carel Fabritius, a pupil of Rembrandt. There are only around 30 Rembrandts in private hands, according to Kaplan.
 
The potential loan to Russia comes at a time when US-Russian relations are highly strained. Kaplan previously told The Art Newspaper that he views the tour as an opportunity to build bridges at a time when so many are being burned all over the world.
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