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The Guardian

Mar 30 2017
Selfie as art at Saatchi gallery: from Rembrandt to a grinning macaque

Exhibition explores the history of the selfie and our changing relationship with this most everyday of art forms

It is a show that includes painstakingly executed self-portraits by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Frida Kahlo, as well as rather more spontaneous selfie portraits by Kim Kardashian, Tom Cruise and a macaque monkey from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

The images are being displayed together in London’s Saatchi gallery, and while the curators are not assigning them any aesthetic equivalence, they do argue that there is a direct line from one to the other. The gallery is staging what it believes is the first exhibition exploring the history of the selfie, from the 16th century to the present day.

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The New York Times

Mar 30 2017
Oxford to Honor Jan Morris, Jeanette Winterson and Others With Portraits
They writers are among 24 people who will be depicted in portraits at the university, which has been criticized for a lack of diversity.
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The New York Times

Mar 30 2017
Art Review: ‘Age of Empires’: How 2 Dynasties of Art Forged China’s Identity
The Qin empire lasted for 15 years, the Han for more than four centuries. Their art and cultural institutions laid the foundation for a Chinese state.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 30 2017
OBAs (and YBAs) now eligible for the Turner Prize
Helen Marten won the 2016 Turner Prize (Image: © Tate 2016)

The Tate has scrapped the age limit on the Turner Prize, which means that artists of any age are now eligible for the headline-hitting award (artists aged over 50 have previously been ruled out). Alex Farquharson, the director of Tate Britain, says that the Turner Prize has always championed emerging artists now that its reputation is so firmly established, we want to acknowledge the fact that artists can experience a breakthrough in their work at any age. Another surprise development is that the works shown in the Turner Prize exhibition will also be taken into consideration during the judging process (previously, nominees were assessed on the basis of prior shows and projects). Meanwhile, the 2018 judges have been announced, and include Elena Filipovic, the director of Kunsthalle Basel and Oliver Basciano, the international editor of ArtReview.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 30 2017
From Lawrence of Arabia’s robes to Napoleon’s horse: National Army Museum reopens in London
Lawrence of Arabia's robes and dagger feature in the new Army gallery at the National Army Museum in London (Image: © Richard Lea-Hair)
The National Army Museum in Londons Chelsea reopens its doors today (30 March) after a three-year, 23.75m makeover. The museum created by royal charter in 1960 and originally located in former stables at the military academy Sandhurst houses the central collection of the British Army and of the Commonwealth land forces. Thanks in part to a 11.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum has now transformed its brutalist 1960s building and taken hundreds of objectsuniforms, weapons, equipment and ephemera as well as artout of the stores for the first time.
 
The refurbishment by the architects BDP and the design agency Event aims to increase visitor numbers from 270,000 to more than 400,000 a year. The permanent displays convert 350 years of British military history into five new thematic galleries installed around a light-filled atrium: Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight. Exhibits range from Lawrence of Arabias robes and dagger and the recently conserved skeleton of Marengo, Napoleons horse captured after the Battle of Waterloo, to hard ration biscuits from the First World War and a Burberry trench coat. Two-thirds of the more than 2,500 objects have never been seen in public before.


The dedicated paintings gallery on the top floor has disappeared and the cream of the collection has now been interspersed throughout the other displays, says the senior research curator Emma Mawdsley. But the inaugural show in the museums new 500 sq. m exhibitions space, War Paint: Brushes with Conflict (until 19 November), presents more than 130 paintings, drawings, prints and objects exploring the art of conflict. Many of them were made by soldiers and former soldiers, such as REPETITION, 2004-5 (2005), a critique of the Iraq War by the Pop artist Gerald Laing, who served as an officer in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers before he went to art school in the 1960s.
 
I dont think that you can understand British history if you dont understand the history of the British army, says Janice Murray, the museums director general. The British army in many ways has shaped the country we live in todayand indeed the world we live in todayand I hope weve managed to capture that at the museum.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 30 2017
Deputy director at Hermitage put under house arrest
Mikhail Novikov, the deputy director of the Hermitage Museum
Mikhail Novikov, a deputy director in charge of construction at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has been placed under house arrest on charges of suspected fraud.

Moscows Lefortovsky District Court ruled on 29 March that Novikov is to be held under house arrest until 23 May. In January, the Hermitage acknowledged in a statement that investigators from the Federal Security Service, a successor agency of the KGB, had been conducting operational procedures at the museums Staraya Derevnya restoration and repository centre. Some commentators had speculated that the searches were a reprisal for criticism by Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage, of the handover by the local government of St. Isaacs Cathedral, now run as a museum, to the Russian Orthodox Church.

On Wednesday, Russian media reported that Novikov's case was connected to a larger case of over Rb100m in embezzled funds during major Russian Ministry of Culture restoration projects that has already landed Grigory Pirumov, a former deputy culture minister, in jail.

Some news agencies reported that another culture ministry official, Artem Novikov, reportedly the son of Mikhail, had also been detained on Tuesday, although the ministry denied it.

Piotrovsky in comments to Rossyskaya Gazeta, an official government newspaper, on Tuesday confirmed the arrest of the elder Novikov and connected it to the museums construction projects.

Everything that is happening is connected, first of all, to the question of Hermitage construction, Piotrovsky says.

And where such big construction projects are taking place there is a lot of money, many various problems, and many dishonest contractors. But the financial activity of the Hermitage is checked all the timeby the Federal Security Service and Accounting Chamber. What regards the most recent events, I would like to underscore that the presumption of innocence nevertheless exists here and it will be possible to comment on everything that has happened only after some time, when the situation becomes clearer.
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The New York Times

Mar 30 2017
Expert Opinion or Elaborate Ruse? Scrutiny for Scholars’ Role in Art Sales
For years, two experts in Southeast Asian antiquities could ensure a relic’s worth. Now, investigators say they falsified artifact histories.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 30 2017
Curator
Applications for curators for the next edition of the Abraaj Group Art Prize are now open. Experienced international and regional curators are invited to apply to become Guest Curator of the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2018, a role that includes curating the group exhibition at Art Dubai 2018 and producing an accompanying publication.
 
Curator applications close on April 16, 2017.

http://www.abraajgroupartprize.com/
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The Guardian

Mar 29 2017
Fake views: can you spot the city copy?

From the Tower Bridge to the Parthenon, it’s not just China that likes to build copies of famous landmarks – after all, why change a winning design? Some, though, are more convincing than others

Which is the real Capitol Building?

Which is the real Sphinx?

Which is the real Statue of Liberty?

Which is the real Florence?

Which is the real Angkor Wat?

Which is the real Tower Bridge?

Which is the real Eiffel Tower?

Which is the real White House?

Which is the real​ Parthenon?

Which is the real​ Henley on Thames?

Which is the real Chateau Maison-Lafitte?

Which is the real Venice?

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The Guardian

Mar 29 2017
Nick Ut: a career in photography – in pictures

Associated Press photographer Nick Ut took one of the most famous photographs of all time – of a young girl running along a road in Vietnam after a napalm raid. But during his 51 years as a press photographer, Ut worked as a staff photographer, covering many and varied assignments

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The Guardian

Mar 29 2017
Derek Hudson's best photograph: a Death Squad mercenary stops for lunch in El Salvador

‘I bought him a beer and took three shots before he went ballistic’

I came across this guy during the civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s. He was one of a gang of mercenaries known as the Death Squad. We were in a rural backwater called Suchitoto, which at the time could best be described as a one-donkey town, and he was sitting in the local cafe having eaten his lunch, his revolver casually placed in front of him.

I bought him a beer and, as he raised the bottle, managed to get three shots in before he went ballistic. He was swearing and called his friends with rifles over and pushed me about. I don’t know what would have happened if they’d realised I’d shot off some frames already. I realised I’d taken a big risk, but I didn’t think about it at the time. I quickly ordered more beers, hoping to calm them down, and then just left.

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The Guardian

Mar 29 2017
Free your mind: the underground comics of Skip Williamson – in pictures

The US comic artist Skip Williamson has died, leaving behind hilarious work that pokes fun at the hypocrisies on both sides of the political spectrum

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The New York Times

Mar 29 2017
Gems Plus 500 Hours Equal a Unique Watch
Vacheron Constantin’s Villes Lumières series is just one example of Yoko Imaï’s work.
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The New York Times

Mar 29 2017
Critic’s Notebook: Plays About the Art World? Not Sold
“Beneath the Gavel” gets some things right as it dramatizes an auction. But the subtleties of the art market remain beyond most writers’ skills.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
Three to see: New York
From left: Marsden Hartley's The Silence of High Noon—Midsummer (1907-08, collection of Jan T. and Marica Vilcek, promised Gift to The Vilcek Foundation) and Smelt Brook Falls (1937, Saint Louis Art Museum, Eliza McMillan Trust).
The exhibition Marsden Hartleys Maine at the Met Breuer (until 18 June) is not a show about pretty landscapes, the curator, Randall Griffey, explains in a video preview, despite the beauty of the work. Instead, the exhibition explores Hartley's wonderfully rich but complicated and sometimes contradictory relationship with Maine, which he left for New York and Europe but returned to throughout his life. (He died in Maine in 1943.) The show includes around 90 paintings and drawings from throughout his career, including examples from his first solo exhibition at Alfred Stieglitzs New York gallery 291 in 1909. A whole gallery is dedicated to his figure paintings, from fishermen at work to the gleaming bare male torso in MadawaskaAcadian Light-Heavy (1940). 

Sarah Morris turns an abstract lens to the urban structures of the Middle East in her solo show at Petzel Gallery, Finite and Infinite Games (until 8 April). There is an energetic, charged force in many of the works that evoke the rapid and relentless pace of building in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emiratesa city initially planned in 1967 for a population of 40,000 and now home to nearly 2.8m people. The show includes a series of smaller works in gouache drawn on movie posters that provoke questions of power. One work is done atop the poster for Exodus, a 1960 epic about the founding of the modern state of Israel, and another includes materials from the German Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). 

Although the works in Enrique Martinez Celaya: the Gypsy Camp (until 22 April) at Jack Shainmans West 20th Street location are technically figurativesubjects, often bizarre, range from a boy holding a drooping goose to a work that depicts shimmering yellow starsthe artist says he does not think of his work as figurative, but as an inquiry. You might leave the show puzzled, but also pondering over the art of painting. Celayas paintings are often executed in what he refers to as a deliberately clumsy or crude style. "Im interested in paintings that, from the onset, contain their failure," he says. "Theres something very moving and very tender about that."

Click here for a complete list of previously recommended New York shows
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
What is the point of a biennial in the Middle East?
Christine Tohmé speaking during the March Meetings (Image: courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation)
The art world stinks of money and rampant ambition, while there is deprivation, both physical and spiritual, all around us: this thought has led artists like Theaster Gates in Chicago to become activists in their communities, more like social workers or pastors than commodity producers. 

Christine Tohm, 53, a post-grad in contemporary art theory at Goldsmiths College London and curator of the current Sharjah Biennial (until 12 June), should be seen in the same light. Except that she founded her arts centre, Ashkal Alwan (Forms and Colours in Arabic) in Beirut, back in 1994, when Lebanon had been at peace for only four years after a long and cruel civil war, the cultural infrastructure of a country that used to be considered the France of the Levant was in ruins, and the people traumatised. 

In early 2016 Tohms passport was temporarily suspended as part of a crack-down on the creative community. 

Her inaugural meeting at the Sharjah Biennial in March was standing-room only, a tribute to her influence and reputation, but to be honest, the talk was less than exciting for non-initiates. It was about how art centres exist, link up, share practices and platforms (the two recurring Ps), but very little about the third P, productionthe art itself. 

To an outsider like me it all seemed rather abstract and colourless until I realised that the creativity here was in actually being togetheryou could call it a long-playing performance piece.

The Art Newspaper: The original concept of the biennial, the Venice model, is that nations show off their artists, a kind of world fair for art. This has been superseded in most of the biennials that have sprung up over the past 20 years, but now even the idea of a single-location biennial is changing. Your Sharjah Biennial is happening also in Beirut, Dakar, Istanbul and Ramallah. Is this a new format for non-profit art events in todays globalised world? 

I think notions of the national, the local, and the global or the globalised, all represent a complex network of power relations. We need to be aware of the implications of rendering the international more localised, or the local more international, and think about whether such distinctions are even possible or productive today. This was something that I was aware of when thinking about the Sharjah Biennial and how to make all the projects generated by it continue beyond, and independently of it. Dakar, Istanbul, Ramallah and Beirut were not selected for their geopolitical significance but because of affinities I have with people working passionately in these cities. 

Why did you feel there was a need to rethink the biennial? 

The institutional infrastructures in the Middle East are fragile to say the least. Every day, the resources available for our work grow scarcer, while it gets harder and harder for artists, curators, writers and the like to move aboutI must spend 50% of my time on visa issuesso it is difficult to build lasting platforms for working together. Effective practical solutions often emerge through informal networks and personal bonds. 

That is why I felt that the idea of what a biennial is, and what it can do, needs to be stretched in order to support existing art institutions, individuals, collectives and conversations. This biennial is trying to become a model for practical and sustainable infrastructures instead of a large-scale, spectacular event. 


Would you explain the biennials title, Tamawuj (fluctuations or waves in Arabic)?  And then there are the four keywords, water, crops, earth and the culinary, which you evolved with your four collaborators, Kader Attia, Zeynep z, Lara Khaldi and your own arts centre, Ashkal Alwan. What is this all about?


With Tamawuj, as well as the four words, we are trying to encapsulate the reality of the many collaborations, old and new, with which this biennial was conceived. We think of them as veins through which works, ideas, questions and hopes can be channelled.

The keywords, water, crops, earth and the culinary, give us a fundamental introduction to our material and cultural conditions, while at the same time allowing for more localised enquiries, such as the ones conducted by my four collaborators in their respective cities of Dakar, Istanbul, Ramallah and Beirut.

What is your online policy?  [In the Middle East, while people have great difficulty in moving about, internet usage is some of the highest in the world, so a website is essential to reaching a wider public.]

For the publishing platform tamawuj.org, I invited four editors, Omar Berrada, Amal Issa, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie and Brian Kuan Wood, to collaborate closely with my four Sharjah Biennial partners in developing content around the keywords of water, earth, crops and the culinary. 

There are essays, images, videos, experimental writings, fragmentary texts, recipes and other audio-visual materials in Arabic, English, French and Turkish. To make research easier, commissioned content for the platform is compiled into four downloadable packages. Each focuses on one of the four keywords and gets released with the start of its corresponding off-site project: thus, water was launched in Dakar on 8 January this year; crops goes live on 3 May in Istanbul; earth in Ramallah on 10 August; and the culinary in Beirut on 15 October. We hope to build lasting platforms, both physical and virtual, that will carry peoples energies, ideas, positions and hopes like a wave.

The culinary is what holds the Middle East together



The culinarys point of departure is the notion of a shared if troubled gastronomic history. It begins with the idea that a particular part of the worldcall it the Middle East, the Near East, the Levant, or simply, hereis held together by how and what its people eat (and why) far more than by its nationalisms, ideologies, languages, religions, or ethnicities. The culinary proposes, from the start, that food rituals in this region are dramatic and enacted. They are the performative aspects of identity, more telling than country or community. (From Tamawuj .org)

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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
Curators cautiously venture into virtual reality
A VR app offers visitors to the Städel Museum a 19th-century perspective. Image: © Alexander Paul Englert, courtesy of the Städel Museum
Want to explore Zaha Hadids unbuilt architecture or visit the worlds first photography exhibition? With virtual reality (VR), you cansort of. Museums are increasingly using the tool to offer visitors new experiences. But curators remain cautious about investing too much in a still-rapidly-evolving medium.

These kinds of skill sets are not that prevalent in the art world yet, says Ben Vickers, the curator of digital at Londons Serpentine Galleries. He worked with Google Arts & Culture and the in-house VR team at Zaha Hadid Architects to plunge visitors into four of the late architects futuristic cityscape paintings earlier this year.

VR also poses practical challenges. Too often, you have awkward experiencesbecause the physical details of how you put the headset on and where you sit are not thought through, Vickers says. Another challenge: cost. Google produces inexpensive cardboard VR viewers, but top-of-the-line versions can cost more than $1,000.

The Stdel Museum in Frankfurt received a five-figure sum from Samsung to produce a VR app that offered 3D reconstructions of the collection as it appeared in the 19th century. The project proves that VR can be a compelling scholarly tool, says the museums deputy director Jochen Sander.

Meanwhile, some institutions are pursuing the medium to follow artists lead. This years Whitney Biennial in New York (until 11 June) includes a disturbing VR work by Jordan Wolfson called Real Violence (2017), which prompts visitors to witness him beating an older man in an alley.

The New Museum in New York and its affiliate Rhizome began commissioning VR works in 2014 because many digital artists were gravitating towards it, says Lauren Cornell, the museums curator and associate director of technology initiatives. Six animated works by artists including Jon Rafman and Rachel Rossin were released as an app in January, billed as the first-of-its-kind exhibition in mobile virtual reality.

VR has extraordinary creative possibilities, says Jonathan Reekie, the director of Somerset House. The London venue is preparing to welcome Thresholds, a virtual recreation of the worlds first photography exhibition conceived by the artist Mat Collishaw, at the Photo London fair in May (17 May-11 June).

Despite its broad appeal, a strong artistic imperative is needed to elevate the technology beyond a gimmick, Reekie says. Its been anticipated that at some point well all have a headset in our homes. So if you use it in a public art space, youve got to think about what its adding.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
Fifty years of photographs: Milton Gendel’s work on view in France for the first time
Milton Gendel: 50 Years of Photographs, which opens this month at the Galerie en Atelier Aroa in Neuilly-sur-Seine, is the first exhibition in France to focus on the work of the American-born photographer and art critic. Gendel became a correspondent for Art News in 1954 and is known for his connections to figures like the artist Salvador Dal, the art dealer Leo Castelli and the British Royal Family.

The show comprises around 70 black-and-white photographs taken throughout Europe, America and Asia and around 72,000 negatives and 60 albums of prints that date from 1946 to 2000. Some highlights include a photograph of Queen Elisabeth II feeding her corgis at Balmoral Castle (1976), a photograph of Peggy Guggenheim and her daughter Pegeen Vail with their shih tzus at their home in Venice (1950) and a collection close-up shots of artists like Alberto Giacometti, Elaine and Willem de Kooning and Lucian Freud.

Gendel, who celebrated his 99th birthday in December, collaborated with the Paris-based curator Maria Sensi to organise the exhibition, most of which comes directly from his own collection. I wanted French people to know and understand Milton Gendel, Sensi says. His work remains largely unknown in France, even though he has lived in Rome since 1949 and played an essential role as a cultural link between Europe and the United States very early on.


Milton Gendel: 50 Years of Photographs, Galerie en Atelier Aroa, Neuilly-sur-Seine, 30 March-30 April
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
How museums deal with the art crowds
The Hélio Oiticica show gets messy. Image: Bryan Conley, courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art
A hit exhibition is not all fun and games. High attendance can complicate upkeepespecially for a show that already requires a great deal of maintenance.

Consider Take Me (Im Yours), which closed in February at the Jewish Museum in New York. Curators presented objects that visitors were free to take home, like self-portrait lapel pins by Alex Israel and fortune cookies by Ian Cheng and Rachel Rose. An average of 10,000 items were produced for each project.

The curator Kelly Taxter says the museum ran out of and had to reorder certain items, including t-shirts by Rirkrit Tiravanija and Andrea Bowerss Political Ribbons (2016). The show was restocked each morning before the museum opened. 

Different shows present different challenges. Last October, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, opened Hlio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, a survey of the Brazilian artists work. It included a number of exotic installations that required special training for staff, including Tropiclia (1967), which has live parrots. But the biggest challenge, according to the museum, was dealing with the crowds for the installation Eden (1969), which invites visitors to navigate sand, leaves and waterall of which had to be cleaned up multiple times a day. With Eden, Oiticica was pursuing the idea of creleisurethat leisure helps to spur creativity, says Jonathan Gaugler, the museums media manager. As a result, people really did hang out in there.

But art crowds are sophisticated. Thus far, no one has been burned by Urs Fischers Standing Julian (2015), a 1,000-pound, 8ft-tall candle depicting the artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel. The sculpture melted for part of the run of the show Human Interest at the Whitney Museum (until 2 April). To my knowledge, we did not have any issues (or incidents) as far as visitor interaction with the candle, says a museum spokeswoman.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
Brexit blues across London’s art scene as Theresa May triggers article 50
Nato Thompson and Jeremy Deller with Andrei Molodkin's work
Yesterday (29 March) as Theresa May enacted Article 50 and so officially kick- started the UKs withdrawal from Europe, responses across Londons art world were both direct and oblique, but universally negative. 

At Lisson Gallery, Anish Kapoor was unveiling his throat-grippingly visceral new sculptures that look as if some giant beast has been flayed, dismembered and bagged-up in the gallerys clean white spaces. But while Kapoor had already told The Art Newspaper in no uncertain terms that he found the UKs departure from the EU heartbreaking, he was also keen to stress that even though his raw, wounded works might chime with the mood of the day, they did not refer to it. 

I hate Trump and I hate Brexit and they are around my life and my work, but they are not what the work is about, he said. Nonetheless he was happy to pose in defiantly outraged WTF?-mode in front of one of his most dramatically gory creations.

The significance of the day was also not lost on the artist Jeremy Deller and the activist and Creative Time curator Nato Thompson. They had come together to discuss Thompsons latest book, Culture as Weapon: the Art of Influence in Everyday Life (2017), at an event hosted by a/political in south London. 

Among the audience coming together to hear about Thompsons bookwhich explores the ways culture has been co-opted to tap into our emotions by governments and businesses worldwidewere the artists Oscar Murillo, Franko B, and Anjalika Sagar of the Otolith Group; the South London Gallery director Margot Heller; the Creative Time director Katie Hollander; and Artangels co-directors James Lingwood and Michael Morris. 

Never mind that Thompsons tome was completed before the outcome of both the UKs referendum and the US presidential election, it was widely agreed that his analysis of the relationship between advertising, media, art and politics could not be more relevant to the current status quo on both sides of the Atlantic. 

It was also appreciated that the in-conversation took place next to the Russian artist and provocateur Andrei Molodkins work that pumps crude oil through a container spelling out the words FUCK YOU, while across the room was Santiago Sierras sculpture consisting simply of the giant word NO. Enough said.     
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
Contemporary art dominates US museums, our visitor surveys confirm
The Ron Mueck exhibition currently on at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (Photo: Bertuzzi, courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Houston)
Leading US museums, many with collections that span centuries if not millennia, now devote nearly half of their temporary exhibitions to shows of contemporary art, The Art Newspapers annual surveys reveal. More than 1,000 exhibitions44% of the more than 2,300 shows organised by 29 major US museums between 2007 and 2015were dedicated to the work of artists active after 1970.

It was not always this way. Just 20 years ago, Impressionism was king; no contemporary shows cracked the top ten most visited exhibitions in US museums in our 1997 attendance figures survey. Back then, only around 20% of the shows organised by US institutions were devoted to the art of their time. Its a definite cultural shift, says Robert Storr, the former dean of the Yale University School of Art.

Our findings quantify a challenge facing many museums with historic collections in the US and abroad: how to interest visitors in the art of the past while satisfying a growing appetite for the new. Museums that organise more contemporary exhibitions attract more people per show than institutions with more diverse programming, according to joint research by The Art Newspaper and Southern Methodist University's National Center for Arts Research in Dallas (for methodology, see below).

The scale began to tip in the mid-2000s as works by contemporary artists fetched record prices at auction and more artists began to achieve celebrity status. There is more press about Modern and contemporary art than there is about all the other 5,000 years of art history combined, says Gary Tinterow, the director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

As more collectors focused on contemporary art, the composition of museums boards of trustees has shifted in that direction as well. I can count on one hand the number of trustees who are experts in Medieval or pre-Columbian art, says Maxwell Anderson, the former director of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). Although many believe that trustees should not influence programming decisions, their enthusiasm can be contagiousparticularly when they are willing to fund the projects they are most excited about.

Trusteeship, whether its right or wrong, has gotten a lot more activist, says the Dallas-based collector Howard Rachofsky, who is on the board of the DMA. The logical tendency is to encourage curators. Why dont you do a show of Basquiat? Mary Weatherford? When curators are thinking about what they are going to do in 2019, this becomes part of the menu contemporary has been the squeaky wheel.

Shift in priorities


Some argue that the rise of contemporary art is a side-effect of a larger shift in priorities, with museums not wanting programmes to be dominated by white male artists. If your mission is to reflect the world, and women are half of the world its a lot easier if you are working in the present, says Michael Govan, the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) since 2006. Institutions are thinking about audiences and communities and responsiveness. Eleven of Lacmas 19 exhibitions in our 2015 survey were contemporary.



Contemporary art is also not the only category with blockbuster potentialand in more recent years, it has remained a consistent proportion of museums programmes, rather than growing dramatically. (Contemporary exhibitions represented 37% of museums overall activity in 2007; eight years later, they represented 47%.) Last year, Lacmas historic shows included a major loan exhibition of Old Masters from Berlin, Munich and Dresden.

But such shows, often organised with colleagues overseas, present greater logistical challengesand need longer lead timesthan contemporary exhibitions. Getting loans of Old Master paintings for more than three venues is pretty much impossible no museum likes to be without great masterpieces, says Arthur Wheelock, the curator of northern Baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He knows, having co-organised Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting with the Louvre and the National Gallery of Irelanda show now drawing crowds in Paris and heading to Washington, DC, via Dublin. (Perhaps because there are fewer restrictions associated with new work, we found that museums keep exhibitions of contemporary art on view for significantly longer, on average, than other shows.)

Looking ahead


Some wonder whether the balance of power could shift even more substantially towards contemporary art, as more PhD students focus on the 20th century. Its only been since the late 1990s, or maybe a little earlier, that people could even get PhDs in contemporary subjects, says Catherine Morris, a senior curator at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Today, its certainly much more difficult to find a very good, young, inventive Old Master curator than a contemporary one, says Max Hollein, the director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Over the past decade, many Modern and contemporary specialists have also been hired to direct encyclopaedic museums, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the MFA Houston and Lacma.

Anderson hopes that trends we are seeing in universities dont become reified in offerings of museums that have an encyclopaedic mission. But others view the rising popularity of contemporary art as a chance to entice the public to develop a broader interest in art history. Storr says: It is not a zero-sum game.

Data analysis by Zannie and Glenn Voss, and research by Lucy McGuigan, Mariama Holman and Gabriella Angeleti 


Methodology


We defined contemporary shows as those of work by an artist, or a majority of artists, active after 1970 but not before 1945, working in any medium except fashion, architecture and design. The 2,360 exhibitions we examined are based on information submitted by 29 museums for our visitor figures survey from 2007 to 2015. Our data do not include every exhibition staged during this period; some institutions did not submit data about smaller projects. Any large gaps were filled in using information on the museums websites. We have nine years of exhibition data on 20 museums, eight years of data on eight and four years of recent data on one. To examine how the number of exhibitions affects performance, we regressed the museums KIPI scoreswhich analyse an oganisations performance in nine finance and operations categories, compared to similar organisations nationallyon their exhibition data. (We did not have performance data for four of the 29 museums.) KIPI, or Key Intangible Performance Indicator, scores are powered by the nonprofit DataArts and generated by the National Center for Arts Research.


The 29 museums we examined are: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Getty Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Phillips Collection, the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Museum of Modern Art, the Frick Collection, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Dayton Art Institute, the Barnes Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the High Museum of Art. We selected institutions that were included in both The Art Newspaper and NCAR's data sets, but excluded museums focused exclusively on contemporary art. 

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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
Yayoi Kusama hits the spot in Washington, DC
Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn Museum. Image: Theresa C. Sanchez

When David Zwirner Gallery in New York presented two of Yayoi Kusamas Infinity Rooms in 2013, visitors queued for hours to get a 45-second glimpse of her work. Now, six of the Japanese artists immersive rooms are on show at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC (until 14 May)and the museum is drawing crowds unlike any it has ever seen.

There has been a learning curve. During opening week, one installation sustained minor damage and was temporarily closed after reports that an over-eager selfie-taker lost his footing. To avoid a bottleneck of Instagrammers, the Hirshhorn is requiring most visitors to secure free timed tickets in advance online. One batch of 9,000 passes was snapped up in just two minutes. 

The show includes Kusamas latest Infinity Room, from 2016, and her first: Phallis Field (1965). The shows curator, Mika Yoshitake, says it was important to start at the beginning to emphasise how early Kusama came to the idea of immersive installations. The exhibition also includes Kusamas Obliteration Room (2002-ongoing), a furnished white room that visitors are invited to cover in multicoloured stickers. My hope is that people will be able to follow how the idea transformed over time, Yoshitake says.

The exhibition has already created a windfall for the Hirshhorns membership programme, which starts at $50 and enables participants to skip the line. By opening day, membership had already increased by a factor of 20. 

The exhibition travels to the Seattle Art Museum, the Broad in Los Angeles, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Cleveland Museum of Art later this year and in 2018. 


Kusama by numbers


Number of Infinity Rooms Kusama has made: around 20



Number of attendants hired by the Hirshhorn to usher people into the rooms:
around 20



Number of additional art handlers required to install the show:
15


Number of stickers in stock for the Obliteration Room:
750,000
 
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The New York Times

Mar 29 2017
The Prettiest Restaurant Plates in Paris
Meet the ceramists making beautiful dishes for some of the city’s chicest restaurants.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
The fate of Alexander Calder’s Universe hangs in the balance
Alexander Calder's Universe sculpture in Willis Tower lobby (Image: Ward Miller)
Alexander Calders large motorised mobile Universe, an abstracted depiction of the sun, moon and stars which has hung in the lobby of Chicagos Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) since 1974, is being de-installed and heading for an art storage facility, the Chicago Tribune reports. The process of dismantling the workwhich will reportedly take ten daysbegan on Monday, 27 March. The works eventual fate is as of yet unknown, although there is some speculation that it could end up coming to auction.

The local group Preservation Chicago mentioned the sculpture in its annual list of most endangered structures in Chicago, released on 4 March, due to plans for a renovation on Willis Tower, an office and retail building purchased by the Blackstone Group for $1.3bn in 2015. Calders Universe was conspicuously missing from renderings released in February of the lobbys planned redesign. The 108-storey buildingwhich held the title of the worlds tallest skyscraper for 25 years after its completion in 1973is a popular tourist destination thanks to the 103rd-floor observation deck, which gets more than 1m visitors each year.

Complicating matters is an ongoing legal battle over who owns Universe, which was not included in the sale of the building to Blackstone. Sears Holdings Corp, which originally built the tower and commissioned the sculpture, had an option to buy the work back, after selling the building in 1994. It tried to do so in 2010, but the investor group that then owned the building asked a judge to block the sale, arguing that the buyback agreement had ended.

For now, the work will be stored at a fine art handling company until its owners determine its next destination, a spokeswoman for Equity Office, an affiliate of Blackstone, told the Chicago newspaper in an email, adding that the company is taking every precaution to safely transfer the sculpture.



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The Guardian

Mar 29 2017
Kangaroo ‘discovery’ may be overstated

How exciting to read of the discovery of two paintings of kangaroos in the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons (Pair of kangaroo oil paintings hop into the history books, 27 March).

Alas, far from being recently discovered, the paintings have been on display in the museum almost continuously since 1807. Moreover, the attribution to John Lewin in Australia is dubious. The College’s website quotes a record of 1816: “Painted in New South Wales? By [blank]”, superseding another of 1807 which states: “Supposed to have been painted by Mr Lewin”, in “New Holland”. They could equally have been painted by an unknown artist in England – kangaroos were alive and well and breeding in the royal menagerie at Richmond. The donor of the paintings, Everard Home, published an anatomical account of “The mode of generation of the Kanguroo” as early as 1795, having obtained some of his specimens from Richmond the previous year.
Caroline Grigson
Former curator of the Hunterian Museum and author of Menagerie, a History of Exotic Animals in England

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The New York Times

Mar 29 2017
Frank Gehry’s Vast Archive Joins the Getty’s Collection
The Getty Research Institute has acquired hundreds of thousands of items from the Pritzker Prize-winning architect’s career, from 1954 to 1988.
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The New York Times

Mar 29 2017
At Baselworld, Luxury Timepieces Detect a Slowdown
The watch industry is facing challenging times, but players big and small still turned out for the giant fair.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
Afghan skateboarding girls turn up in Qatar
Skate Girls of Kabul, Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobsons images of skateboarding Afghan girls are due to go on show at the QM Gallery Katara in Doha this summer (15 June-16 September). The photographs, shown at the Saatchi Gallery in London in 2015, depict the so-called skate girls in Kabul who are in full-time education thanks to an NGO called Skateistan. "With the Skate Girls of Kabul portraits, I wanted to show these young Afghan girls with their skateboards within the liberating environment that Skateistan provides for them, Fulford-Dobson told the BBC. She won second prize in the 2014 Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize held at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
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The Guardian

Mar 29 2017
Turner prize: artists over 50 will now be eligible for prestigious award

Artists of any age will be able to participate in Britain’s most prestigious contemporary art prize following rule change

Britain’s most prestigious contemporary art prize is making major rule changes to allow artists of any age to participate – an acknowledgement that people are never too old to “experience a breakthrough in their work”.

The Turner prize, which has helped the early careers of artists including Rachel Whiteread, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, will from this year lift its rule that eligible artists must be under 50.

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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
Another Tate Modern? Former power station to be converted by Herzog & de Meuron into art hub
A rendering of the the Powerhouse Workshop in Brooklyn, New York,  designed by the Swiss architectural practice Herzog & de Meuron (© Herzog & de Meuron)
A defunct, turn-of-the-century power station on the Gowanus canal in Brooklyn, New York, will be converted into an arts complex with workshops for artists and designers under ambitious plans drawn up by the non-profit Powerhouse Environmental Arts Foundation. Ceramics, textiles and prints will be produced in the revamped venue, known as the Powerhouse Workshop, which will also include exhibition spaces. The high-profile Swiss architectural practice Herzog & de Meuron won the commission to design the new centre. 

The waterside venue, a former Brooklyn Rapid Transit power station, was built in 1904 and decommissioned in the 1950s. Recently, graffiti artists and squatters have occupied the dilapidated site. During the early 2000s, it came to be known as the Batcave, a destination for youth, explorers and artists, whose work covers its walls, a project statement says. 

According to the New York Times, the foundation bought the building in 2012 for $7m. All the costs of the refurbishment, scheduled for completion by 2020, will be met by the organisation, says a spokeswoman. Herzog & de Meuron plan to add a six-storey expansion modelled on the buildings former boiler house, which was demolished after the Second World War. The turbine hall at the heart of the space will also be renovated. Herzog & de Meuron are known for transforming the Bankside Power Station in London into Tate Modern, turning the building's turbine hall into a space for large-scale commissions. 

The project is likely to fuel the ongoing gentrification of the Gowanus district. Last year, the community website brooklynink.com reported that: Undeterred even by the noxious canal that runs through the neighbourhood, real estate developers are converging on it, and high-rise buildings with luxury condominiums are sprouting beside single-storied industrial warehouses.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
Sol LeWitt, behind the scenes
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the execution of Sol LeWitt wall drawings in this time-lapse video, which shows a group of students from Central Saint Martins in London in the painstaking process of installing four drawings at Marian Goodman Gallery London, where they are on view through 27 May. The drawingslarge blocks of colour conceived by the artist between 1988 and 1995are executed directly on the gallerys walls and require multiple successive layers of ink wash, a task that takes weeks to complete. Andrew Colbert and the art students Bobbye Fermie, Sophie Popper, Sidney Smith, Remi Verstraete and Matthew Wang worked on the project from 20 February to 16 March. The wall drawings are part of a group exhibition at the gallery, The supreme rifts... a measured propinquity (until 8 April), which also includes works by Gabriel Orozco, Ettore Spalletti, Niele Toroni and Gerhard Richter.
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The Guardian

Mar 29 2017
Inside New Scotland Yard: a neoclassical riverside pile with en suite liveried loos

Goodbye fortresses, hello bijou policing. The Met’s new £58m HQ has an art deco facade, a reflecting pool – and toilets patterned in squad car livery

An Alessi kettle sits on a plywood coffee table surrounded by Eames lounge chairs on the penthouse floor of the new HQ for the Metropolitan Police, while a uniformed commissioner stands silhouetted against the London skyline. It is one of the seductive images submitted by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) in their entry for the New Scotland Yard competition in 2013, along with a picture showing their building as the dashing backdrop to a live TV news report. Another shot shows how it would look at night, its glazed rooftop pavilion transformed into a glowing blue lantern.

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The Art Newspaper

Mar 29 2017
A 'heartbreaking' day: Anish Kapoor on Theresa May invoking Article 50
Anish Kapoor at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin
Today, 29 March, the British prime minster Theresa May enacted Article 50, formally notifying the European Union (EU) of the UKs intention to withdraw. Artists, museum directors and members of the art trade have all expressed their shock and concern over the results of the June referendum, in which 52% of voters opted to leave.

Speaking at the opening of his exhibition at Lisson Gallery in London today, the British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor described the move as heartbreaking. He says: Its one of those things that goes against the flow of history. Frankly, nationalism diminishes ourselves. We want more than that, we want a bigger, more open vision.

How Brexit will affect arts and culture in the UK has caused much speculation, particularly within the trade. A rapidly devalued pound was one of the immediate after effects, but the repercussions for any changes to policies governing VAT and resale royalties will take far longer to emerge. 

Kapoor, who employs 30 people in his London studio, half of whom are not British, says he is very concerned about the consequences for his practice. London is a great place for the art world, but most art buyers are not English. What will it mean for the whole economy of the art world? Sadly, it really is a matter of small minds, small hearts, he says.

Kapoor is among a raft of leading cultural figures who campaigned to remain in the EU (according to the UKs Creative Industries Federation, 96% of members were against Brexit). Other artists who have been vocal in their opposition to Brexit include former YBAs Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst and Europeans who have made London their home including Wolfgang Tillmans.

Meanwhile, directors of public institutions including David Fleming, the director of National Museums Liverpool, and Stephen Deuchar, the director of the Art Fund, have warned against possible funding cuts. 

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The Guardian

Mar 29 2017
Fetish for facades: the symmetry of Helsinki's architecture – in pictures

Helsinki photographer Kristo Vedenoja captures the colourful mix of architectural styles in Finland’s capital on Instagram, one square at a time

Kristo Vedenoja has lived in Helsinki for most of his life, and loves to walk around the city, camera in hand, capturing the details that catch his eye. A year ago he started a project looking only at the architectural facades of the city (@helsinkifacades).

“Helsinki’s not the best known city for its architecture and I wanted be able to change that – and showcase its beauty,” Kristo explains. “It’s a relatively young city but contains a wide variety of architectural styles from art nouveau gems (or Jugendstil as the style is known here), to modernist masterpieces by people like renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, which help create a unique feeling in each urban district.”

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The Guardian

Mar 28 2017
Scarlett Hooft Graafland's far-flung fantasies – in pictures

Photographer Scarlett Hooft Graafland collaborates with people living in remote areas, making vivid tableaux that heighten reality

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The New York Times

Mar 28 2017
Designer Tom Dixon Unveils His ‘Secret’ Project With Ikea
The 57-year-old former musician has gone from being a design maverick to creating mass-produced furniture he hopes will last a lifetime.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 28 2017
Rijksmuseum’s collection re-imagined in design competition
Masterpieces never sleep, an eye mask by Lesha Limonov, inspired by Portrait of a Girl Dressed in Blue by Johannes Cornelisz. Verspronck (1641)
Looking to impress an art-loving lover or get some stylish shut-eye? Check out the ten shortlisted proposals of the third annual Rijksstudio Award, an international competition hosted by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam that challenges members of the public to plunder the Rijksstudioan online database of 215,000 objects from the museums collection, digitised and freely available for commercial and non-commercial useto create new designs. Give in to temptation safely with the Eden Condoms, rubber wrappers with printed images inspired by Johann Sadelers 1643 engraving of Eve tempting Adam to eat from the tree, the proposal of Esther Pi and Timo Waag, from Spain. Masterpieces Never Sleep, an entry from Lesha Limonov of Belarus, is a sleeping eye mask that features the peepers from the painting Portrait of a Girl Dressed in Blue by Johannes Cornelisz. Verspronck (1641). A painting from just one year later, Rembrandts Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq (1642)one of the most recognisable works in the collectionhas also inspired sleepwear, the Night Watch Nightshirt, a cotton pyjama top printed with the subjects elaborate ruff collar and cuffs, designed by Oliver Watson of the Netherlands. You can vote on your favourite design until 20 April, and the winners of four cash prizesthree chosen by the awards jury, and one peoples choice awardwill be announced on 21 April at the museum.
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 28 2017
London calling: fandom at the Showroom’s fundraising artist dinner
Julie Lomax and Paul Simonon from the Clash
There was an abundance of goodies on offer at The Showrooms fundraising Artist Dinner, this year presided over by Sarah Lucas, whose first exhibition had been in a group show at the gallery in 1986. But along with a special Lucas menucooked up on site by Margot Hendersonand an auction of experiences and works of art, the evening offered some particular treats for the Showrooms new chair, the Liverpool Biennial development director Julie Lomax. 

Among those present were were Outsets Candida Gertler; the patron Brian Boylan; the gallerists Sadie Coles, Nicholas Logsdail and Maureen Paley; as well Lucas herself. In a speech, Lomax confessed that she had been a major Lucas fan for all of my London life, ever since she first came down from Manchester to study fine art at Chelsea in the mid-1980s. 

She also later revealed that she had an even longer-standing allegiance to another of the assembled company, namely the former Clash bassist and now Showroom neighbour, Paul Simonon. Apparently Simonon had saved the 14-year-old Lomax and her 12-year-old brother from being crushed by an over enthusiastic audience during a Clash gig at the Manchester Apollo in 1980. It was the London Calling tour and wed sneaked in with some friends of my mums, Lomax remembers. We were right at the front and when the audience surged forward, Paul stopped playing and pulled us up onto the stage and we watched the rest of the gig from the side. But although she was very pleased to thank her rescuer all these years later, Lomax also admitted that I was still really a bit young for punk and probably preferred listening to Abba. 
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The Art Newspaper

Mar 28 2017
Visitor Figures 2016
People visit the Hieronymus Bosch, Visions of a Genius
The grand totals: exhibition and museum attendance numbers worldwide
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