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The Art Newspaper

Feb 09 2017
Artists go large on Los Angeles’s billboards
Spread by Natalie Krick, part of The Billboard Creative’s December exhibition. Skyler Greene/Courtesy The Billboard Creative
In most American cities, public art still tends to take root in parks or more-or-less green spaces. But in Los Angeles, it is thriving on the side of the road. Over the past decade, in what could be considered an expansion of Los Angeless great muralist tradition, a growing number of public art projects have taken the form of billboardsfrom flashy electronic ones on Sunset Strip to old-fashioned vinyl signage on more humble streets.

In December, the non-profit The Billboard Creative planted traffic-stopping images across the city by 46 artists, including Paul McCarthy and Alex Prager, as well as little-known artists discovered through a blind submission process. And LAX Art, which used regular billboards near its original Culver City space early on, has just finished a year-long series showing video art by Jillian Mayer, Cole Sternberg, and Martine Syms, among others, on digital billboards in West Hollywood. This month, the London-based public art collaborative Art Below has organised its first billboard event, featuring works by 28 established and emerging UK- and US-based artists on dynamic billboards in LA's Grand Union Station, California's biggest railway station (13-28 February).

Its a wonderful medium, says Shamim Momin, the co-founder of Land (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), who co-organised with the artist Zoe Crosher the Manifest Destiny Billboard Project from 2013 to 2015, spanning ten cities along Interstate 10 from Florida to California. Its an extraordinary way to have millions of people see a project, even if they are not consciously wanting to see it. Its an insertion of the visual into everyday experience.

Mona Kuhn, the photographer who organised The Billboard Creative shows for the past two years, says the format is a natural for the city, going back to the 1960s when artists such as Ed Ruscha were painting billboards on canvas. We live in a car culture; our largest audience is not sitting still but commuting, she says. Some of our locations have 200,000 cars passing weekly.

Other US cities have experimented with the format. Last year, Vik Munizs image of the youngest ever African-American boy on death rowpart of the Expo Chicagos public art programmegenerated much interest and also suspicions of racism, exposing how a passing image without context can be misinterpreted.

But in Los Angeles, billboards are a matter of courseand commerce. As Kuhn explains, the city has so many commercial billboards that The Billboard Creative was able to rent surplus sites at a heavy discount from companies Out Front and Clear Channel in December, their slowest month for attracting advertisers. She adds that plans to take the project to San Francisco or Detroit have not panned out yet, partly because there are fewer billboards available.

The city of West Hollywood requires owners of digital billboards on Sunset Boulevard to devote 13 minutes every hour to video art. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles will be curating the West Hollywood Belltower, a three-sided billboard to be built by Orange Barrel Media, and designed by Tom Wiscombe for Sunset Strip.

The fact that billboards often come from the commercial sector also helps the organisers of public art in Los Angeles navigate one of their biggest challenges: the area is really a patchwork of different municipalities, from the beach towns of Malibu and Santa Monica to Culver City, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood inland, each with its own mayor, cultural affairs office and zoning codes. Compared with other big US cities, it is bureaucratically more challenging here. You just have more legwork to doevery project is ground-up, Momin says.

That is on top of the fact that the city of Los Angeles proper is so spread out. When its cultural affairs department underwrote, with the help of Bloomberg Philanthropies, a $2.5m biennial called Current: LA, the concept was to commission artists to create work in each of the 15 city council districts. The resulting show last summer was so spread out that few visitors managed to see all of them within the one-month time frame. It did not help that several projects were delayed, prompting Christopher Knight, the art critic of the Los Angeles Times, to call the biennial a bit of a shambles.

Still, museums and smaller non-profits alike have been trying to make the most of the citys legendary sprawl and odd conglomeration of neighbourhoods. Momin says the variety can be a boon: More centralised cities like Chicago and New York often have stronger civic ideas of themselves that guide the way we look at projects. Here we can find the right place for just about anything.
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 09 2017
Curators resist pressure to hold sculpture show in Münster more often
Thomas Schütte’s Kirschensäule (Cherry Column) work for the 1987 edition of SPM. Photo: LWL/Hubertus
The years Skulptur Projekte Mnster (SPM), the once-a-decade sculpture festival in the German region of North Rhine-Westphalia, will partner with a second city for the first time in its 40-year history. However, a proposal by the city of Mnster to increase the frequency of the event to every five years has been quietly shelved.

Kasper Knig, Britta Peters and Marianne Wagner, the curators of the fifth edition of the event, which runs from 10 June to 1 October, have been looking at ways to refresh the format. Peters says that after four editions in a city of only 300,000 the team felt that we needed to open a few windows and let in some fresh air. There was a fear that in an era of globalisation, always sticking to the same small city was perhaps anachronistic. This years edition will include sculptures, a museum exhibition and a writer-in-residence programme in the industrial city of Marl, about 60km away.

There have been discussions within the city of Mnster about holding the event every five years, probably to coincide with Documenta in Kassel, but Knig, who co-organised the first edition in 1977 and has overseen every edition since, is unconvinced. Peters says that while it is still unclear what exactly will happen after 2017, there is growing understanding, including in the city, that [a five-year event] would destroy the exhibition. Ten years is a good gap, it means artists have changed, the times have changed and new ideas have had a chance to emerge.

What the SPM can do in Marl depends on fundraising. The team is close to raising the 7.5m needed, but Peters says the environment has been tough, with many calls on public and private foundations to fund large projects at the Venice Biennale, which opens in May, and then Documenta a month later.

The plans for Marl are still be developed but the German artist Thomas Schtte has offered to create a sibling to his Kirschensule (Cherry Column), installed for the 1987 edition of SPM, which is now a permanent fixture. At the time he had suggested creating a related column featuring three chunks of melonthis may now be realised in Marl. There are also hopes that the Italian artist Lara Favaretto will produce the next in her series of Momentary Monuments in both cities.

More details of the SPMwhich has the theme Out of Body, Out of Time, Out of Placeare due to be announced this month.

So far highlights include an underwater bridge across the harbour that can be crossed by visitorsgiving the appearance they are walking on waterby the Turkish artist Ayse Erkmen. The German artist Andreas Bunte is creating a digital work that will exist on visitors mobile phones, an evolution of project he created in Bielefeld in 2009, while Romanian artist Alexandra Pirici is placing dancers in the Hall of Peace where the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War.


Peters hopes that this diversity will continue to demonstrate that, even after 40 years, SPM is still pushing at the boundaries of the definition of sculpture.




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The Art Newspaper

Feb 09 2017
Kiev exhibition that questioned the results of Maidan revolution vandalised
The gallery walls were spray-painted with graffiti saying Mouthpiece of Moscow and Glory to Ukraine (Photo: Dmitry Larin)
Over a dozen masked assailants raided an exhibition at Kievs Visual Culture Research Center on Tuesday, 7 February, and vandalised an exhibition that questioned the achievements of Ukraines 2014 Maidan revolution.

In the exhibition Lost Opportunity the artist Davyd Chychkan examines how Maidan is a lost opportunity for the Ukrainian society to accomplish a social revolution, which would mean not only to defend dignity, but rather finally gain dignified living conditions, according to the centres website. Chychkan has both warned Europeans about glorifying pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and Ukrainians about the dangers of the far-right gaining the upper hand.

Dramatic security camera footage shows the attackers beating a gallery guard, throwing brochures and tearing posters. Photos posted after the attack show graffiti spray-painted on the wall, including Mouthpiece of Moscow and Glory to Ukraine.

The art space supported the revolution but had been targeted by right-wing activists in the past. It posted on its Facebook page that it was receiving new threats before the attack.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch reported on 9 February that Grey Violet, a Russian LGBT activist and performance artist, has been missing since 31 January after arriving in eastern Ukraines separatist Donetsk Peoples Republic, where fighting has recently resumed.

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The New York Times

Feb 09 2017
Elegant, Modern Furniture — for Kids
Studiokinder, a new line by Lora Appleton of the Kinder Modern gallery, features children’s furniture that looks equally elegant in adult spaces.
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artforum.com

Feb 09 2017
500 WORDS: Francis Alÿs
Francis Alÿs on his embedment with the Kurdish Army in Mosul
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 09 2017
Becoming Mies: Jeff Bridges to portray the Modernist architect
Jeff Bridges (courtesy Thomas Attila Lewis)

Rumours are rife that the top-notch actor Jeff Bridges will step into the shoes of Mies van der Rohe, playing the famous Modernist architect in a forthcoming film focused on one of his most popular buildings, Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. Maggie Gyllenhaal will play Edith Farnsworth, the high-profile nephrologist behind the distinctive glass, concrete and steel house. Farnsworth commissioned Der Rohe in 1945; the house, which is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was completed in 1951.The film will reportedly depict the peaks and troughs of their relationship. "It would certainly generate more public interest in the Farnsworth House, and that's a good thing," Maurice Parrish, the houses executive director, told the Chicago Tribune. 
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The Guardian

Feb 09 2017
London garden bridge case weaker now than in 2014, says Treasury official

Letter to public accounts committee chair appears to signal ebbing of government support for controversial Thames project

The economic case for London’s proposed garden bridge is weaker than it was in 2014 when £60m of public money was committed to it, the Treasury has said.

Related: Boris Johnson’s dire legacy for London

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 09 2017
Renaissance-influenced artist Joe Ramirez projects 'animated paintings' onto gold
Joe Ramirez, Somnium, Video still (2016) (Image: © Joe Ramirez)
The American artist Joe Ramirez has been working for 12 years in obscurity in his Berlin workshop. Now, his Gold Projections are entering the spotlight with an exhibition at the Gemldegalerie, backed by Wim Wenders and timed to coincide with the Berlin Film Festival.

The technique Ramirez has developedand patentedinvolves applying gold leaf to a slightly convex disc made of wood. His silent filmsslow, dreamlike, poetic scenes filled with allusions to art of the Renaissance and Spanish Baroqueare projected on to the disc.  

Wenders, who has followed Ramirezs work for many years, said at a press conference to present the Gold Projections that he found it not just improbable but almost impossible that an artist should find a new way to unite so many fields of art, a new way of seeing and thinking.

Ramirez worked as a sculptor and fresco painter in Chicago and London. During the restoration of the Sistine Chapel, he had the opportunity to see Michelangelos ceiling paintings roll past him like a film from close up in a hoistan experience he says left a lasting impression.

He says he washed up on the shore in Berlin after hearing that it was possible to rent spaces cheaply. Ramirez founded a workshop and financed his project by renting parts of his studio. In addition to Wenders, he has backing from the photographer and producer Jim Rakete and the art collector Dsir Feuerle. He is now starting to sell his work as well as cooperating with a number of museums.

The gold disc is hand-gilded, forming a background of brushstrokes that create the illusion of film as animated painting. Instead of the glare of a traditional screen, it glows softly, sometimes lending the images a patina. The projections at times transform the disc into a three-dimensional sphere, and at times into a tunnel disappearing into the distance. 

Ramirez says he now works with a large crew in a collaborative, quiet process. The hardest aspect for his team, he says, is to step away from the methodology of cinema and step into painting.

The Gold Projections are showing in the Gemldegalerie until 19 February and will appear in a major exhibition called Alchemy: the Great Art opening on 6 April, a cooperation between the Berlin state museums and the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

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The New York Times

Feb 09 2017
The Look of ’70s SoHo — Captured in One Apartment
In ardently preserving one of the neighborhood’s original lofts, a couple has created a living memory of a vanished era.
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The Guardian

Feb 09 2017
Ignore the art market – there is only one Bruegel that matters

Pieter Bruegel the Elder is the only genius in his family – so why is the UK being flooded with the inferior work of his offspring?

Why does the British art world persist in pretending there is more than one great artist called Bruegel, or indeed Brueghel? The Holburne Museum’s new exhibition claims to be “the UK’s first exhibition devoted to the Bruegel dynasty,” but this Flemish family get all too much attention, from high-profile sales to campaigns to “save” their art.

Related: Brueghel's rediscovered wedding dancers to go on show in Bath

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 09 2017
Henry Moore modelling Burberry? Luxury fashion brand teams-up with sculptor’s foundation for show
Models are photographed for the latest Burberry campaign in the grounds of the Henry Moore Studio & Gardens, with Moore’s sculpture Sheep Piece (1971–72) in the background (Photo: courtesy of Burberry/Josh Olins)
In a surprise move, the Henry Moore Foundation has teamed up with the luxury brand Burberry for a show at Makers House in Soho, London (21-27 February). The exhibition will include more than 40 works by Henry Moore, including Torso with Point (1967), shown alongside Burberrys new fashion collection for men and women, which is inspired by the creative process of the late sculptor.

Under the new arrangement, the latest Burberry publicity campaign was shot on location at the Henry Moore Studio & Gardens in Hertfordshire, central England. A spokeswoman says that through the partnership, the Henry Moore Foundation is able to show Moores continued relevance and the influence of his work upon contemporary creativity. By partnering with a brand like Burberry, the Foundation can reach new audiences for Moores sculpture, she adds.

Meanwhile, the Henry Moore Foundation has been given an overhaul for its 40th anniversary, with a new visitor and archive centre due to launch in April. The 7m redevelopment of the Henry Moore Studio & Gardens has been overseen by London-based Hugh Broughton Architects.

The Henry Moore archive will be under one roof, located in a purpose-built development at Elmwood House, formerly a residential property. The new venue includes six climate-controlled rooms, and a project space for the digitising and conservation of materials.

An exhibition, Becoming Henry Moore (14 April-22 October), at the foundations studio and gardens will mark the opening of the new on-site development. The show charts the sculptors artistic development from 1914 to 1930, and includes Moores first commission, a First World War roll of honour for his secondary school in Castleford, west Yorkshire. The exhibition will then tour to the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds (30 November-18 February 2018).
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The Guardian

Feb 09 2017
Dennis Morris's best photograph: a boy with a gun at Michael X's HQ

‘He was only 10 but I was scared. He handled the gun with a sense of purpose’

When I was 14, I used to go to a place in London called the Black House, an organisation run by Michael X, who had been a henchman for a slum landlord. When he came round, if you didn’t pay, you got hurt. But then he switched and tried to become England’s answer to Malcolm X – except he was nothing like him.

He got some funding, though, and some donations from John Lennon and Yoko Ono, to create a community centre for young black kids. It was a very militant organisation, constantly being raided by the police, who thought there were lots of drugs and guns on the premises. It eventually closed because of the pressure. Michael then went to Trinidad and set up a commune. He went crazy and killed two people there, including the daughter of a British MP, and was hanged.

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The Guardian

Feb 08 2017
Unbuilt Los Angeles: the city that might have been – in pictures

From the offshore Santa Monica freeway to a mini Las Vegas with pyramids and the Parthenon, Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell look at the LA that never happened

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The Guardian

Feb 08 2017
A taste of freedom: black America in the 19th century – in pictures

An archive made public by Cornell University goes beyond the cliches of cotton-pickers to show African Americans embracing life after slavery

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The Guardian

Feb 08 2017
Sidney Nolan painting of Ned Kelly to go on sale in Sydney for up to $1.8m

Art dealer Rob Gould is selling Nolan’s 1955 painting, Ned Kelly – Outlaw, along with 15 other works by the renowned artist

A Sidney Nolan painting with an estimated worth of up to $1.8m will go on sale in Sydney in March.

Melbourne-based art dealer Rob Gould is selling Nolan’s 1955 painting, Ned Kelly – Outlaw, along with 15 other works by the renowned Australian artist. Another Nolan painting, First-Class Marksman, broke the record for the most expensive Australian painting, selling at auction for $5.4m in 2010.

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
‘Only ideas can change the world’: an interview with the Zero group’s Heinz Mack
Heinz Mack during the shooting of the film Tele-Mack in the Tunisian desert, 1968 (Image: © Edwin Braun)
In the breaks between the slalom and the downhill, those traveling to St Moritz for this years FIS Alpine World Ski Championships (until 19 February) can also make time for some quiet reflection, courtesy of the German artist Heinz Mack. On a footpath by the citys lake, framed by evergreen trees, the nearby mountains and with a clear view to the town, stand nine monumental golden columns, each more than seven metres tall and covered in hundreds of thousands of mosaic tiles.

The installation, titled The Sky Over Nine Columns, has already been shown in Venice, Istanbul and Valencia. These projectspublic and on a grand scaleare among Macks favourite because they largely skirt the institutional space, which he long ago identified as too stifling.

It was an idea to fight against the world of tradition and museums, he says of another large-scale work in a remote location, his Sahara Project of the late 1950s. The landscape should be free, clean, untouchedit should be just nature in a very pure way, he says.

But sometimes, as with his forthcoming exhibition at Sperone Westwater in New York (17 February-25 March), even Mack will work within the limits of a gallery. The show, which includes works from as early as 1958 and as late as 2016, draws a straight line through his career to argue that certain concerns have always been present.

To try to get a long story as short as possible, light is really the main inspirationand shadow, too, Mack says. This was as true in 1957, when he founded Zero magazine with Otto Piene, as it is today. But Mack does not see his work as a simple manipulation of light and dark. The problem for the Zero group, he says, was the intense crisis in our heads and our hearts. We were concerned with how to make a new beginning after we had made the irreversible decision to abandon the old positionwhich included, among other things, Expressionism. German artists were always Expressionistic, Mack says. We wanted to fight that.

Does Mack ever tire of his association with Zero? The group, founded 60 years ago, largely disbanded ten years later, so Mack has spent most of his career outside its immediate orbit. I cannot separate that part of my life out, he says, noting that his ideals remain largely the same today. I still believe in ideas. I believe only ideas can change the worldnot arms, not political power.

Such idealism is what he wants to imbue in his audience. I would like it if people left the show [at Sperone Westwater] with a feeling of happiness and complete freedom, he says. It should be the feeling that life can be very rich in experience if the energy of colours meets you. For Mack, this amounts to a defence of freedom. Picasso, he says, was always fighting the problems of the world. Matisse, on the other handwho famously said his art should soothe the tired businessmanwas not. And in the end, Mack says, Matisse nevertheless gave a serious answer about how to be a human being in the world. Mack hopes his work does the same.


Heinz Mack, Sperone Westwater, New York, 17 February-25 March

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
Three to see: New York
Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s installation Toiletpaper Paradise (Photo credit: Plamen Petkov)
Tired of being told you cant touch the art? Youll enjoy Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferraris deliciously kitsch installation Toiletpaper Paradise at the Gallery at Cadillac House (until 12 April), presented by the media company Visionaire. The warped domestic setting features the duos bizarre and fun designs, such as rugs with images of playing cards wedged in a womans bare buttocks (available online for purchase) along with vintage furniture and fixtures and walls and floors patterned with popcorn, spaghetti and galaxy designs. Make yourself at home! You can try on vintage roller skates, eat in a 1950s-style kitchen or nap on the Hollywood Regency-style bed, strewn with the duos needlepoint pillows. Visionaires co-founder Cecilia Dean says a Cadillac executive even held a business meeting in the lounge area...!

Design of a more straight-faced, though still interactive, kind is on show at the Jewish Museum in Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design (until 26 March), the first stateside survey of the Modern French designer. The exhibition is cleverly designed by the studio Diller, Scofidio and Renfro, who have placed some of Chareaus furniture in small vignettes behind white paper screens with silhouettes of figures projected onto the paper. Other sections of the show, which mainly focuses on the interwar period, explore Chareaus masterpiece, La Maison de Verre (the Glass House, completed in 1932 in Paris) and his art collection amassed with his wife, Dollie, with whom he fled Nazi-occupied Paris for New York. Works by Mondrian and Modigliani are included.

Visit the Drawing Center to see how a contemporary artist has re-imagined a classic mythological epic with modern technology. Amy Sillman: After Metamorphoses (until 19 March) is a five-minute video played on loop that the artist made during her 2014 residency at the American Academy in Rome. It retells Ovids poem through iPad sketches layered over abstract drawings. Set to music by the Berlin-based film score composer and costume designer Wibke Tiarks, it is a hypnotising, frenetic trip through shifting human, animal and vegetal forms. It will have you dusting off your college copy of the Metamorphoses.
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
Review: David Hockney’s coupling and cha-cha light up Tate Britain
Detail from David Hockney's Domestic Scene Los (1963) (© David Hockney)
David Hockney may be Britains most popular living artistTate Britain ticket sales have already gone through the roofbut, as this lucidly curated survey is at pains to point out, right from the start he has also been relentlessly experimental in his attempt to represent reality in two dimensions. And at the same time, he has also been dedicated to challenging and interrogating conventions of art making.

This point is forcibly made in the career-spanning first room that shows Hockney mustering a battery of styles and techniques as he strives to capture the experience of being in the worldand in the process putting us at the centre of his world. One painting, of a naturalistic figure seated behind what looks like a pile of spare parts from a Czanne or a Lger painting, is even called Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices (1965).  

There is an abundance of style-switching and perspectival tricks in Play Within a Play (1963), which also hangs in the first room. A highly playful exercise in reality and illusion, we are eyeballed by Hockneys dealer Paul Kasmin, who is seemingly squashed up against a sheet of real Perspex, with his pressed nose and hands conjured up in smudgy paint-prints. Behind Kasmin, hangs a tasselled curtain backdrop that is decorated with a lollypop tree and schematic figures.

Thanks to Hockneys virtuoso skill in handling colour, form and composition, these multi-layered representational riffs hang together and coalesce into rich and engaging works in their own right. An early encounter with the Tates 1960 Picasso retrospective was a major influence in liberating his proliferation of styles. Hockney even said: I deliberately set out to prove I could do four entirely different sorts of picture like Picasso.  

The exuberant room of works painted whilst studying at the Royal College of Art are daring in both form and content, as Hockney samples and combines incongruous stylesscratchy Francis Bacon, scribbled Alan Davie, Jean Dubuffets art brut and scrawled graffitiwhilst flamboyantly proclaiming his own homosexuality. There is cruising, coupling and dancing the cha-cha. In Cleaning Teeth, Early Evening (10PM) W11 (1962), a cartoonish pair of hideous, sack-like figuresone chained to the bedhave mutual oral sex, their penises replaced by squirting tubes of Colgate toothpaste and a tube of Vaseline peeping from beneath the bed. Particularly brave, given that homosexual acts were not decriminalized in England until 1967.

Hockneys move from the gritty prudishness of austerity Britain, to sunny and sexy Los Angeles is amply represented here in an outpouring of the brilliantly hedonistic painted swimming pools, sprinklers and boys-on-beds or in showers that have become his trademark. Whether in the snaking linear ripples of the pool in Sunbather (1966) or the expressive painterly ejaculation of A Bigger Splash (1967), these good-life paintings also continue to pull between figuration and abstraction.

We then see his style become more naturalistic, but also increasingly restrained, with bodies lightly modelled in clear, uniform light. One of the shows great galleries brings together Hockneys grand, near life-sized double portraits painted in quick-drying acrylic, where the subjects seem almost frozen in their empty, immaculately composed surroundings. But at the same time, all manner of intimate and complicated relationships simmer beneath their apparently dispassionate surfaces. The US collectors Fred and Marcia Weisman are punctuated by, and appear indistinguishable from, their sculptures. While Christopher Isherwood turns and gazes ferociously at Don Bachardy who stares blithely straight ahead, the empty space between their matching armchairs filled by a bowl of suggestively positioned fruit and a lone phallic corncob.
 
Drawing has underpinned all of Hockneys art and one of the highlights of this show is the densely-hung gallery devoted to drawings from the very beginning of his 60-year career, with a particular emphasis on the glory years of the 1960-70s. In the earliest work of the entire exhibition, the 17-year-old Bradford School of Art studentspecs already in placefixes you with a steady gaze as he adjusts his tie. This modest, pencil self-portrait ushers in a glorious parade of works in all styles and modes: another smudged ink boy in cap entitled Fuck (Cunt) (1961) and the coloured pencil drawings of stage sets, boulevards, seated friends and Beirut hotels. There is a vivid, washy-watercolour landscape of mountains and trees in Kweilin, China, painted in 1981 andmy particular favouritea series of delicately intimate yet restrained ink portraits. These range from Peter Langan surrounded by kitchenware in his Odins restaurant, to a decidedly morose Peter Schlesinger (Peter Feeling Not Too Good, 1967) and WH Auden, smoking a cigarette and looking like an Easter Island statue.

It is in his intense and highly personal observation that Hockneys greatest work is to be found. The more he attempts to extend his modus operandi via mechanical means, the more he complicates and ultimately dilutes his formidable powers of expression. This is ominously signalled back in the first room in which the unfortunate addition of the more recent digital print 4 Blue Stools (2014) suggests that his exuberant spatial and stylistic experiments of the 1960-70s, evolved into a dry and uninteresting plotting and pasting-in of photographic figures, furniture and reproductions of past paintings into an evidently artificial space.

Try as it may to laud Hockneys relentless desire to render multiple viewpointsboth psychological and opticalby using the latest in new technology, Tate Britains survey confirms that the resulting works have not been amongst his best. The forays into photography, whether the composite polaroid portraits of the 1980s or the multiple-viewpoint vistas, are interesting and accomplished but nothing more.

This also applies to the quartet of films on multiple video screens that depict a slow progression along the same stretch of country road near his East Yorkshire home during each of the four seasons. The high definition progression through the leafy lane of Woldgate Woods simultaneously in unfurling bud, full leaf, fall and snow, makes for a relaxing and highly pleasurable immersion in the glories of nature. But an infinitely more intense and evocative sense of place, light and atmosphere is given by the 25 charcoal drawings depicting the arrival of spring along a nearby lane, which Hockney made in 2013 before returning to live in the Hollywood Hills.

Despite the last room of the exhibition being vividly, alluringly alight with Hockneys unfolding quick-fire drawings on his iPad, it is the quiet assiduously observed monochrome charcoal studies of texture, reflection and shadow that have stayed with me.  

David Hockney, Tate Britain, London, 9 February-29 May
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
UK government plans gallery for its off-duty art
In an unusual venture, some Government Art Collection works were temporarily displayed at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2011-12 (Image: Crown copyright. Photo: Tony Harris. Courtesy of the Government Art Collection and the Whitechapel Gallery)
The UKs Government Art Collection (GAC) plans to set up its own gallery. This will open up a huge collection of 14,000 works, mainly by British artists, which is not easily accessible.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which oversees the GAC, says that the collections offices and stores will be moved to new premises in London which should include a display space that everyone will be able to enjoy. Entry will presumably be free. The location and timing have not yet been announced.

At present, the collection is stored in Queens Yard, just off Tottenham Court Road, in central London. The stores are not environmentally controlled to museum standards, which is another reason for the move.

There is limited access to the collection. Bookable tours are held to show a small number of works hanging on the walls or in racked storage, but there is no proper display space. Individual works are lent to outside exhibitions and in recent years there have been a few shows of highlights in outside venues, such as Londons Whitechapel Gallery in 2011-12.

Of the 14,000 works, around one-third are in store, with most of the remainder hanging in 100 government offices in the UK and 270 offices abroad, where there is very limited public access.  

Over the past decade, there has been mounting pressure for greater public access to the GAC, since it is funded by the taxpayer. In the Liberal Democrats 2010 general election manifesto, the party promised to open up the Government Art Collection for greater public use. Last year, the then Labour shadow secretary for culture, media and sport, Michael Dugher, said that only a privileged few could see the works.

When Penny Johnson took over as the director of the GAC in 1997, she wrote that it is not a public collection, partly because it has no gallery where it can display its wares. That now looks set to change.

This article appeared in the February issue of The Art Newspaper 
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
Art Basel owner buys stake in Art Düsseldorf
Art Düsseldorf's new co-owners Walter Gehlen, Marco Fazzone, René Kamm and Andreas Lohaus (Image: © Nils vom Lande)
Art Dsseldorf is the second regional fair to become part of the Swiss-based MCH Group, which owns the Art Basel franchise, it was announced today (9 February). Marco Fazzone, the managing director of design and regional art fairs at MCH, says the aim is to make the Dsseldorf event the leading regional fair in Germanya title traditionally held by Art Cologne. 

MCH has acquired a 25.1% stake in art.fair International, the organiser behind Art Dsseldorf which is launching in the west German city in November having run a contemporary art fair in Cologne for the past 14 years. The current owners, Andreas Lohaus and Walter Gehlen, retain 74.9% of the company although MCH has the option of buying a majority stake in the future.

Fazzone stresses that Art Dsseldorf (16-19 November) will remain autonomous, but will benefit from MCHs experience and network, as well as from synergies with the other regional art fairs, which in the near future are going to form a strong global network. 

MCH already has a majority stake (60.3%) in the India Art Fair, which opened its doors under the new ownership deal last week. According to Fazzone, MCH is also in discussion with SME London (which manages Hong Kongs Art Central, Sydney Contemporary and Art16 in London) and the fair organisers Angus Montgomery.

In a blog post on the MCH website, Lohaus and Gehlen say they intend to turn Art Dsseldorf into a magnet for the entire art scene. The contemporary art fair will host blue-chip and emerging galleries in a bid to bring the experimental and the conventional under one roof.

And what of the move from Cologne to Dsseldorf? The two cities of Cologne and Dsseldorf have moved perceptibly closer to one another in recent years, especially in art, they say. That is a big advantage for all those involved.
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
Brueghel discovered in Bath museum’s storeroom
The Wedding Dance in the Open Air (1607-15) before conservation treatment (Image: Dominic Brown; © Holburne Museum)
The recent conservation and technical examination of a picture from the Holburne Museum in Bath has confirmed that the painting is indeed a work by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1638) and not by a follower of the Flemish master as was previously thought. The revelation means that the Holburne is now the UKs largest public repository of works by the artist.

The unsigned and undated work, Wedding Dance in the Open Air (1607-15), had been in store for several years when the UK museums director, Jennifer Scott, decided to pull it out for a closer look. After securing funding from the private donor David Pike, she contacted the conservator Elizabeth Holford, whose treatment of another of the Holburnes paintings, Visit to a Farmhouse, in 2011 led to its attribution to Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

In this recent treatment, Holford removed old retouchings and two layers of varnish, transforming Wedding Dance in the Open Air from a nocturnal celebration to a scene of daytime revelry in which a group of peasants drink, dance, kiss and generally appear to thoroughly enjoy themselves. The handling of paint is consistent with known works by Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

An examination using infrared reflectography revealed the skilfully executed underdrawinga characteristic of the artists working method. Thats when a hunch turned into much more, Scott says, adding that classic details, such as the trees curving around the figures, are also typical of the artist. [The drawing] has a liveliness and sureness of touch.

According to Scott, Brueghel specialists, including Christina Currie, concur that the work is the real deal. There are more than 100 versions of Wedding Dance in the Open Air, 31 of which can be attributed to Pieter Brueghel the Youngers own hand.

The composition was inspired by a lost painting made by the artists father, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, who was renowned for his peasant festival scenes and went to great lengths to perfect his compositions, even masquerading as a reveller to observe unnoticed. After his death at the age of 44, Pieter Brueghel the Younger and his brother Jan Brueghel the Elder (both of whom reinserted the h, dropped by their father, into their surname to distinguish themselves from their illustrious parent) produced copies of their fathers work in addition to creating their own compositions.



Their peasant scenes were particularly popular, Scott says, noting that there is something homely and comforting about them. In the 16th and 17th centuries, they epitomised simpler times before foreign rule put Flemish traditions at risk. In the early 19th century in Britain, when the country was under threat of invasion during the Napoleonic wars, they appealed to collectors such as William Holburne.

Wedding Dance in the Open Air is being shown with around 35 works in an exhibition on the artistic legacy of the Bruegel family. Scott hopes visitors not only leave with a better grasp of the family tree, which reads like a Whos Who of important Flemish artists, but also come to view Pieter Brueghel the Younger as an innovator in his own right and not just a copier of his fathers work. I really think its his moment, she says. Bath Spa University and the Old Master dealer Johnny Van Haeften are supporting the exhibition.

Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty, Holburne Museum, Bath, 11 February-4 June
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
Christie’s to open new flagship location in Los Angeles
A rendering of Christie's new Los Angeles flagship location (Image: ©wHY architects)
Christies newly appointed chief executive Guillaume Cerutti has announced that the auction house will open a 4,500 sq. ft flagship space in Beverly Hills, California, in April. The two-story space, which has been designed by the Los Angeles- and New York-based firm wHY, will host private selling exhibitions, public exhibitions of touring auction highlights, live-streams of auctions from Christies 12 salesrooms worldwide, social events and educational programmes. The flagship does not plan to host auctions, and Christies Rockefeller Centre location in New York will continue to operate as the auction salesroom for the Americas.

The launch of the Los Angeles space follows Christies recent expansion in Beijing last year. According to a spokeswoman for Christies, mainland China and the West Coast accounted for the largest concentration of new buyers last year, with clients in the Americas claiming 37% of the value of property that was globally sold while Asia claimed 31%, which was the highest percentage for that region in the companys 250-year history.

Our strategy is to be where our clients are, in both geographic and digital contexts, and the West Coast region is a very dynamic one for Christies in terms of client engagement and consignments, Cerutti told The Art Newspaper. Before the launch of the flagship space, Christies LA will host a pop-up exhibition of property from the collection of Earl and Camilla McGrath at De Re Gallery on Melrose Avenue, and plans to announce the rest of its programming schedule sometime next month.
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The New York Times

Feb 08 2017
Newly Surfaced Andrew Wyeth Love Letters Are Headed to Auction
In the letters, to his girlfriend, Alice Moore, he credits his success partly to her. About 40 of the letters will be offered via online bidding at Skinner.
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
Artists, curators and gallerists sign letter calling for repeal of Trump’s immigration order
Protests against the immigration ban at JFK (Image: Flicker user Luminary Traveler)
More than 80 artists, curators, dealers and critics have signed an open letter to voice their opposition to President Trump's travel ban, which targets refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries. The letter calls for the immediate and total overturning of the executive order, which the signatories say has exacerbated humanitarian crises and caused colleagues to be profiled based on race and religion.

The letter continues: Should our colleagues have to leave the United States for any reason, they must not fear being denied return; nor should they have to cancel exhibitions or research because they cannot enter this country. Our field is dependent upon international collaboration and cross-cultural exchange, and these cross-border and cross-cultural collaborations benefit the general public; the ban thus affects all of us.

The letter's signatories are based both within and outside the US. They include the artists Barbara Kruger, Joan Jonas, Danh Vo and Lawrence Weiner; museum curators and directors Massimiliano Gioni, Joanne Heyler, Nancy Spector and Beatrix Ruf; and the gallerists Marian Goodman, Chantal Crousel, Carol Greene and Gavin Brown. The letter has been posted publicly online and is accepting additional signatures.

Although the ban is currently suspended, the Trump Administration is fighting to restore it. Lawyers from the Justice Department and Washington state faced off in front of three federal judges on Wednesday. An appeals court is considering whether to reinstate the ban after a judge in Seattle put it on hold nationwide on Friday. The legal battle is expected to end up in front of the Supreme Court.

 
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The New York Times

Feb 08 2017
Loss of Director Is the Latest Setback for the Africa Center
The organization acknowledged on Wednesday that Michelle D. Gavin, its much-heralded director, had quietly left more than three months ago.
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
Sotheby’s takes Mark Weiss to court over contested Frans Hals
Portrait of an Unknown Man was believed to have been by Frans Hals and was sold by Sotheby's in 2011. Sotheby’s tasked Orion Analytical to establish its authenticity
On Monday, Sothebys announced it would take the art dealer Mark Weiss, his gallery, and a company belonging to his partner to high court in England, to recoup its losses in the sale of the painting Portrait of a Gentleman purportedly by Frans Hals, which the auction house says was revealed to be a fake through technical analysis. Weiss has responded that he intends to vigorously contest the claim, and calls for further testing of the painting.

Last summer, Sothebys reimbursed the Seattle collector, Richard Hedreen, the full $10m he paid for the work in 2011. At the time of the private sale, Sothebys was acting on behalf of Mark Weiss, who had purchased the work (via an Italian go-between) from Giuliano Ruffini, whose name has been connected to several cases of suspected forgeries.

According to a statement from the auction house, the technical analysis conducted by Orion Analytical and peer reviewed by another conservation specialist, John Twilley, established that the work was undoubtedly a forgery. Since then, Sothebys has acquired Orion Analytical and created a new scientific department to strengthen its protection against art fraud. It recently announced that Ashok Roy, the former director of science and the collections at the National Gallery in London, is joining the team.

Mark Weiss has responded by casting doubts on the technical study, which has never been published, and pointing out that Orion Analytical is now owned by Sothebys. Weiss adds that at the time of the sale, leading connoisseurs believed the work to be by Frans Hal. Conservators he has consulted recommended the work, which according to our sources is presently in London, be subjected to further testing before the assertion that this work is a modern fake can be definitively made, Weiss says in a statement. But Sothebys has repeatedly refused to allow Mr Weisss experts access to the painting to carry out the further tests required to corroborate the findings, according to the statement.
 
This is not Sothebys only pending legal case over an alleged forgery. The auction house undertook its technical examination after being contacted in March 2016 by The Art Newspaper about paintings originating from Giuliano Ruffini. The auction house is also suing a Luxemburg-based broker, Lionel de Saint Donat-Pourrires, in New York court, to get its money back from another sale it had to rescind, a painting of Saint Jerome, which was bought at auction in 2012 by a private collector for $840,000 and was later attributed to Parmigianino when it was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum.

Ruffini told us he was lucky enough to discover several works that were sold by Sothebys and were later attributed to Old Masters by experts and curators.

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The Guardian

Feb 08 2017
Hull’s Blade sculpture is big, bold and beautiful | Letters

Adrian Searle’s dismissive review of the Blade sculpture, part of the Hull’s City of Culture events (‘Wreckers of civilisation’, G2, 6 February) rather misses the point. Blade is not just “bigging up” a propeller that might have been admired by Constantin Brâncuși: it represents the regeneration of a neglected and often despised city that has suffered economic decline for the past 40 years.

As a sculpture it is neither in the genre of Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc in Manhattan nor Marcel Duchamp’s appropriated objects or “readymades”. Tilted Arc was a commissioned site-specific public sculpture on a very grand scale and, apart from the controversy it generated, nothing more. Duchamp was trying to challenge the very notion of “Art” with a capital A.

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artforum.com

Feb 08 2017
PASSAGES: John Berger (1926–2017)
Mira Schor on John Berger (1926–2017)
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The Guardian

Feb 08 2017
Vermeer: the artist who taught the world to see ordinary beauty

Johannes Vermeer was so obscure he was barely even known when he died, let alone forgotten. But the French avant-garde rescued him – and showed us his calm, unpretentious genius

Johannes Vermeer is such a quiet and introspective artist that it took hundreds of years for anyone to notice he was a genius. Today he is so revered that it is hard to grasp how unknown he once was.

A major Vermeer exhibition opens this month at the Louvre in Paris, whose permanent collection includes his great painting of a woman absorbed in close, visually demanding work, The Lacemaker (about 1669-70). Her eyes are concentrated downward on the tiny stuff her steady hands are making, while our eyes in turn take in precise and glistening details: bright red threads against blue cloth, silvery beads, the grain of a table covering, her finely curled ringlets.

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The Guardian

Feb 08 2017
The incomparable Gordon Parks – in pictures

A new book celebrates the breadth of photographer and film-maker Gordon Parks’s work, including his images of a racially divided south in the 1960s, his fashion work for Life and Vogue, and the heartbreaking poverty of a Harlem family. I Am You is published by The Gordon Parks Foundation, c/o Berlin and Steidl

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The New York Times

Feb 08 2017
German Expressionism’s ‘Other’ Painter, at Neue Galerie
Alexei Jawlensky, who helped created the genre with Kandinsky, is having his first full museum retrospective in the United States.
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The New York Times

Feb 08 2017
His Art Is on the Oxxo Shelves. Keep Your Receipt.
Gabriel Orozco has turned the Kurimanzutto gallery in Mexico City into a fully operating convenience store, adding his own colorful logos to products.
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artforum.com

Feb 08 2017
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 08 2017
Montreal’s Max Stern Foundation gets its Bacchus back
Jan Franse Verzijl (1599-1647), Young Man as Bacchus<br />
Today, the FBI returned the painting, Young Man as Bacchus by the Caravaggist painter Jan Franse Verzijl to representatives of the Montreal-based Max and Iris Stern Foundation, in a ceremony held at New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage. Stern was a German-Jewish art dealer who was forced to close his gallery in Dsseldorf and sell his inventory by the Nazi regime.

The FBI found the picture at the Spring Masters Fair in May 2015, when it was offered for $60,000 by the Galera Soraya Cartategui of Madrid. The Spanish gallery was selling the work in partnership with Galleria Luigi Caretto of Turin, which included Sterns ownership in a provenance on its website. (The picture was originally attributed to another Dutch Golden Age painter, Salomon de Bray, when it was in Sterns inventory and when Sothebys sold it in 1987.) When they were informed of the claim, the Italian gallery voluntarily waived its ownership of the painting so it could be returned to the estate.

Stern, a prominent dealer who took over his fathers gallery in Dsseldorf, was ousted from the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts in 1935 and forced to sell the art in his gallery and private collection. Around half of the 400 works were sold in 1937 at Lempertz in Cologne. Others, including Young Man as Bacchus, were sold separately, and their status as looted works has been challenged.

The significance of this painting is, in the long term, strategic, rather than just recovering another painting, says Willi Korte, who investigated the Bacchus case for the Stern Foundation. When the FBI seized the work, it considered it stolen property that entered the US. We now have a solid foundation upon which we can place the other paintings as stolen works of art.

Sterns estate now benefits the foundation, which has actively worked to track down the missing art, as well as Concordia and McGill Universities in Montreal and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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artforum.com

Feb 08 2017
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The New York Times

Feb 08 2017
Profile in Style: The Vibrant Life of a Legendary Design Editor
Min Hogg, the founding editor of The World of Interiors, shares her most treasured images.
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