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The Guardian

May 18 2017
Fashionably lit: William Klein's Vogue experiments – in pictures

William Klein used double exposures and painting with light to create this witty, striking and influential 1962 Vogue photoshoot

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The New York Times

May 18 2017
A Basquiat Sells for ‘Mind-Blowing’ $110.5 Million at Auction
Basquiat’s vibrant painting of a face in the shape of a skull set an auction record for a work by any American artist, beating Andy Warhol.
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The Guardian

May 18 2017
Jean-Michel Basquiat skull painting sells for record $110.5m at auction

Sale in New York of painting that depicts a face in the shape of a skull sets a record price for an American artist at auction
Basquiat $110.5m sale proof of art’s growing attraction to super-rich

An artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat has sold for a record $110.5m at auction in New York.

Sotheby’s said the sale of Untitled on Thursday night in Manhattan was an auction record for the artist. It also set a record price for an American artist at auction. The 1982 painting depicts a face in the shape of a skull.

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The New York Times

May 18 2017
Art and Museums in NYC This Week
Our guide to new art shows, and some that will be closing soon.
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The New York Times

May 18 2017
Art Review: Robert Rauschenberg: It Takes a Village to Raise a Genius
A vast retrospective at MoMA shows how much of his work was shaped and stoked by friends, teachers, lovers and bar buddies.
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The Art Newspaper

May 18 2017
Royal Collection highlights the man who made Canaletto famous

The name Canaletto is a magic crowd-pleaser. But the real magician of the exhibition Canaletto and the Art of Venice at the Queens Gallery in London (19 May-12 November), which includes more than 200 works from the Royal Collection, is the collector Joseph Smith (around 1673/74-1770). From the turn of the century he was in Venice, where he quickly became a wealthy banker and the British consul to the Most Serene Republic. From the 1720s he collected paintings, drawings and prints, and acted as practically the sole agent for British Grand Tourists. He and they favoured the works of the second generation of the great 18th-century Venetian artists, among them Canaletto, for whom Smith was the exclusive broker from 1729 to 1735. Smiths near monopoly of the trade was broken by the bank bust in the Seven Years War (1754-63) and in 1762 he was forced to sell his art. He found a buyer in George III who paid 10,000 (around 1.4m in todays money) for the collection, as well as the same sum for his library of 15,000 volumes (the foundational core of the British Library). The exhibition is accompanied by a 392-page catalogue (45, hb).
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The Art Newspaper

May 18 2017
Basquiat skull painting sells for record $110.5m at Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled (1982) sold to Yusaku Maezawa for an eye-watering $110.5m (Image: © 2017 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / ARS)
By now you've already heard it: last night Sotheby's made history when it sold an untitled Basquiat skull head painting from 1982 for $110.5m with fees to the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, marking the highest price at auction for a post-1980 work of art, the second-highest price for any contemporary work at auction and the sixth-highest price for any piece sold at auction, in a sale that totalled $319.2m, with fees.

"This is a day we'll not soon forget," Grgoire Billault, the head of contemporary art, said at the press conference, voice full of emotion.

The news was historical on its face value but especially important in the context of this auction house and this week. Sotheby's has in recent years been plagued by a number of tactical missteps and outside difficulties to the point that the public company had ceded much territory to its private rival Christie's. The sale, too, capped a difficult week where even at the ostensibly successful Christie's contemporary sale the night before the smiles felt forced.

Not so last night. It was already a strong sale as it came to the fateful lot number 24. The room went silent. The auctioneer Oliver Barker started the bidding at $57m, the current Basquiat record, which already inspired gasps. Then followed ten minutes of slow bidding, most bouncing from the phones to the room, in the form of the dealer Nicholas MacClean, the underbidder. 

Reporters often use hyperbole when describing the mood in rooms but when the hammer came down at $98m the outright cheering was even louder than when the same house sold Edvard Munch's The Scream for around the same price in 2012. These were fully grown, even ageing adults, openly whooping. 

"That's enough excitement for me," David Zwirner said, after everything settled down again. Then he left. 

The evening's hammer total was $276.9m, near the high estimate of $277.1m, naturally. Along with Basquiat, artist records were set for Wolfgang Tillmans, Mira Schendel, Blinky Palermo, Takeo Yamaguchi, Keith Haring, and Jonas Wood, whose Black Still Life (2012) hammered for $950,000, almost three times its high estimate, with at least five bidders. The whole sale was this way, packed with solid lots that were naturally overshadowed by the Basquiat. The Keith Haring record came at lot 26 for an untitled work from 1982, and was in the top ten with a hammer price of $5.6m but by then most of the room was clearing out, and nobody was paying attention. They still were not paying attention when another Basquiat, In the Wings (1986), sold for $5.1m at hammer, almost making the top ten, at lot 31.

"You have this new generation of billionaire coming up and they're going to pay whatever they have to pay for certain artists, at whatever level low, mid, high," the dealer David Nisenson said. "Tonight proves that the Modern art market is the contemporary market. All other markets, Impressionist-Modern, feel like niche markets these days.


Phillips



Before the fireworks at Sotheby's, the perennial third-placer Phillips last night hammered down a surprise white-glove sale that brought in $110.3m with premium and saw new artist records for Nicole Eisenman and Peter Doig, who is also now the most expensive living British artist.

Those results belie, slightly, the mood in the room which did not offer much energy or depth of bidding, despite auctioneer Henry Highley's enthusiasm and baroque chandelier bidding. The Doig for example, was a stellar London neighborhood scene Rosedale (1991), holding various guarantees. It sold with just three phone bidders after just two minutes, going only from $23m to $25m. Another such lot was a bust of Roy Lichtenstein's Woman: Sunlight, Moonlight (1996), sold to benefit the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. It found just two phone bidders and went form $7.5m to $9m in two minutes. That was a record for a Lichtenstein sculpture, but it wasn't much of a sale. Other lots were just lesser versions of these. 

That said, a victory is a victory and at Sotheby's shortly after the sale specialists could be heard discussing the Doig result, and its implications for their recently departed colleague, and newly named Phillips Chairman Cheyenne Westphal. ("Oh it sold for that much? How nice for Cheyenne!") Westphal could be seen making bids from the phone at around a third of the lots at Phillips. 

The sale also featured a hallmark of this past week: the high-end lot withdrawn likely due to fears that it would buy in. In this case a Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild (811-1) from 1994. But perhaps that was a blessing since it ensured 100% of the lots would find a home. 
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The Art Newspaper

May 18 2017
Low total for Sotheby’s first African art sale (but what is “African” art?)
The Angolan collector Sindika Dokolo and one of the six works he bought at Sotheby's: Pascale Marthine Tayou's Cache-Sexe, which sold for £42,000 (Image: Fundação Sindika Dokolo. Pascale Marthine Tayou; Cache Sexe: Photo Courtesy of Sotheby’s)
The first ever sale of African art by Sothebys London on 16 May reflected both the current interest in the art and the immaturity of this market, and posed the question, what is African art anyway.

The ultra-chic Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris is showing (until 28 August) a selection of the biggest collection of African art in the world, put together by the Frenchman, Jean Pigozzi. This is proof of interest in the subject, even though the shows titleArt/Africa: le nouvel atelier (the new studio)suggests an unawareness that African art is not a new discovery, having featured prominently in Venice Biennales and Documentas over the past decade, while the specialist art fair 1:54 has been bringing African artists to London, and also New York, for the past four years. 

On the other hand, the auction achieved only 2.3m (hammer prices), with 32 of the 115 lots (28%) unsold, even at very low estimates, revealing that there may simply not have been enough people bidding. 

In the case of such a large and disparate territory as Africa, about which many Westerners still know very little, the comfort of institutional backing is necessary to persuade them to risk their money. This institutional support is almost non-existent in sub-Saharan Africa but also in major Western museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate, the Centre Pompidou, all still without departments of African art. Nor is there the promise of a boom economy: the commodities-driven 5% p.a. growth rate of 2010-14 is over and the increase in Africas GDP slowed to 1.3% last year. 

Thus, of the two works by Romuald Hazoume, who riffs on the theme of African masks using industrial rubbish, one sold for 7,000 and the other was bought in, despite the fact that masks by him are being used to publicise the Fondation Vuitton exhibition and he has been widely shown in Western exhibitions.  

The sale total would have been even more modest without the 600,000 paid for a large, decorative, bottle-top hanging by Nigeria-based El Anatsui, a darling of Western museums, and 340,000 for a 1942 still life of sun-flowers by Irma Stern, a prominent but unexceptional (by international criteria) South African artist. These high prices can be explained by the fact that both artists have established markets of their own, the former in the West, the latter in South Africa. 

Two other high prices were for artists who both have good sales records in international contemporary art sales, so their market identity is not African at all: Yinka Shonibares red car with a figure dressed in his characteristic African, printed textiles sold for 180,000, and Franco-Algerian Kader Attias sculpture made from a scooter shell fetched 19,000.

African is a broad, probably too broad, category, and the sale included a group of South African, genteel, colonial landscapes by Jacob Pierneef that looked very out of place in this context and did not find buyers. Such works need their own dedicated sale. 

William Kentridge, on the other hand, also South African, but firmly in the category of international contemporary art, sold predictably well, with the prominent Angolan collector Sindika Dokolo buying his six linocuts of birds for 17,000. Dokolo also acquired a wall sculpture by the South African Willem Boshoff for 7000; a woven textile and rubber work about sexual identity by Nicholas Hlobo, a South African with a strong exhibition record in Western museums, for 48,000; an imposing textile and scent-bottle work called Cache-Sexe by the Cameroonian Pascale Marthine Tayou, whose gallery is the powerful Galleria Continua, and two works by Angolans: a mixed media wall sculpture by Antnio Ole for 16,000 and a painted diptych by Francisco Vidal for 10,000.

There was good work to be had at this sale at very affordable prices and there is no doubt that the entry of a major auction house into the market process would help the African art scene develop, just as the 2006 Christies auction of Middle Eastern art in Dubai persuaded locals that art was something to take more seriously. The way forward might be a sale of a more focused body of sub-Saharan contemporary work, with more introduction of the artists and their origins.
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The New York Times

May 18 2017
What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week
Becky Suss, Richard Tinkler and Robert Bordo get solo shows, and “My Country Tis of Thy People, You’re Dying” spotlights Native American artists.
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The New York Times

May 18 2017
In New Yorkers’ Vacation Homes, Less Is More
Three weekend cottages of enviable simplicity.
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The Art Newspaper

May 18 2017
Knight Foundation give $1.87m in grants to support digital projects at 12 museums
Lumin allows a visitor to virtually x-ray a mummy at the Detroit Institute of Arts
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded $1.87m to 12 art museums today as part of an initiative to help institutions experiment with new ways of using digital tools to improve the visitor experience.
 
Among the proposals selected from more than 100 submissions is Lumin, a mobile app tour of the Detroit Institute of Arts that uses augmented reality and 3D animations to guide visitors through the museum. Andrea Montiel de Shuman, the DIAs digital experience designer, said the $150,000 grant from Knight allows the museum to expand Lumin and it will soon include an exploration of the symbolism and detail in Diego Riveras monumental mural that covers the inner court. The museum can also now purchase 150 smart devices for free public use.
 
The grant also provides some recognition for the project. At first, there were concerns that the device would distract from the actual viewing of art or be used only as a game and lead to people bumping into objects. But Lumin has proven to be both safe and effective. We are finding with research that it is working, she said. Visitors are engaging in completely new ways so they are actually observing more.
 
Victoria Rogers, the Knight Foundations vice president for the arts, said that the grant programme was guided as much by a desire to help museums find ways to remain relevant as by a belief in the power of art to inspire and connect. People want those experiences to be personalised, interactive and shareable, just as they experience their daily lives, she says.
 
The other museums awarded grants for their distinct projects are: the Akron Art Museum, The Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia), the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; the Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Mint Museum (Charlotte, North Carolina); the Museum of Arts and Sciences (Macon, Georgia); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the New Museum (New York); the Prez Art Museum (Miami); and the Vizcaya Museums and Gardens (Miami).
 

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The Art Newspaper

May 18 2017
Michel Houellebecq's French Bashing show marks US debut
Michel Houellebecq, France #014 (2016), courtesy the artist and VENUS, New York
Michel Houellebecqthe controversial, award-winning French author of novels including Atomised and Platformis showing his photographs, photomontages and installations at Venus gallery in New York next month (2 June-4 August), marking his exhibition debut in the US. The title of the showFrench Bashingmay raise eyebrows. The novelist's works highlight the bleaker aspects of French culture and architecture, depicting for instance the stark, suburban "peri-urban" zones outside cities. Garish images show another side to French tourism, advertising destinations such as St. Tropez. Houellebecq showed some of the works last year at Paris's Palais de Tokyo in the Rester Vivant exhibition, including the prescient print, France #014 (1994/2016), which presents the word Europe carved in crumbling concrete. "For French Bashing at Venus, Houellebecq has re-conceptualised and tailored two portions of Rester Vivant, completely transforming the gallerys New York space with darkened walls, engineered lighting, and immersive soundscapes composed in collaboration with Raphal Sohier," a press statement says. Houellebecqs novel Submission, published in 2015, envisages France ruled by a Muslim president in 2022.
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The Guardian

May 18 2017
Dana Lixenberg wins Deutsche Börse photography prize for shots of LA housing project

Judges praise the ‘cool sobriety’ of the Dutch photographer, who wins £30,000 for her series Imperial Courts

A Dutch photographer who has spent two decades chronicling the lives of residents on a Los Angeles social housing project has won one of international photography’s most prestigious prizes.

Dana Lixenberg was named winner of the 20th Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation prize at a ceremony in London on Thursday evening.

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The New York Times

May 18 2017
Philadelphia Museum of Art Chooses Rachel Rose for New Commission
Ms. Rose, an artist known for her video installations, is the inaugural recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media.
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The New York Times

May 18 2017
When Posters Were the Samizdat of the Lower East Side
The exhibition “Taking It to the Streets!” puts the wheat-pasted political literature of the 1980s and ’90s in a central storytelling role.
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The New York Times

May 18 2017
Jules Feiffer and a ‘Hamilton’ Producer Color Outside the Lines for a New Musical
The cartoonist has written the book, while the producer Jeffrey Seller is directing the show’s premiere.
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artforum.com

May 18 2017
PASSAGES: Leigh Markopoulos (1968–2017)
Julian Myers-Szupinska on Leigh Markopoulos (1968–2017)
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The New York Times

May 18 2017
Show Us Your Wall: A Homage to Italian Arte Povera, Along the Hudson
In late June, Giorgio Spanu and Nancy Olnick will open their self-funded exhibition space Magazzino to display works from their large collection in Cold Spring, N.Y.
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artforum.com

May 18 2017
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The Art Newspaper

May 18 2017
Engels statue taken on trucking odyssey across Europe
The sculpture of Friedrich Engels that will be installed at Tony Wilson Square in Manchester

UK artist Phil Collins is bringing a two-tonne, 3.5 metre-high Soviet era sculpture to Manchester. Collins discovered the statue of Friedrich Engels, co-author of the Communist Manifesto, in a remote east Ukrainian village, and decided to transport the monumental work on a flat-bed truck to Manchester. Now on his journey to Manchester, Engels will pass through and make stops at some favourite old haunts, including Berlin and his birthplace Wuppertal, a press statement says. The mammoth piece is due to be installed in Tony Wilson Square in July as part of a performative film event, the organisers say. The project, entitled Ceremony, was co-commissioned by Manchester International Festival (MIF), 14-18 NOWthe UKs arts programme for the First World War centenaryand HOME, Manchester. Final fascinating fact: Engels has links to the northern city, having arrived in Manchester in 1842 to work for his fathers company.
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The Art Newspaper

May 18 2017
Photo London satellite shows: Peckham 24 leads the way as the UK capital gets snappy
Two of Laura El-Tantawy's works on show in Beyond Here Is Nothing at Seen Fifteen (© Laura El-Tantawy 2017)
As the third edition of Photo London gets into full swing in central London this week, a number of satellite events and shows will be competing for photography fans in the UK capital. Principle among these is Peckham 24 (19-20 May), a photography festival taking place over a period of 24 hours in Peckham, south London. The concept behind the 24 hours of the festival is to pack as much as possible into a short space of timemaking the journey for visitors from central London and Somerset House to Peckham feel worthwhile, says the festivals co-director Vivienne Gamble. 

The festival includes six exhibitions centred around Peckhams Copeland Parka former industrial yard that is now host to galleries, bars and trendy eateriesas well as several participating galleries across the area, such as the South London Gallery and Hannah Barry Gallery. 

Peckham 24 was founded last year by Gamble and the artist Jo Dennis, who is also showing work in this years event. [Last year] was a test and we didn't know whether it would work or not, Gamble says. In the end, we were overwhelmed with the responsewe had 2,000 people visit in 24 hours and we could see that they were really enjoying the work and the atmosphere at Copeland Park. 

At her own gallery, Seen Fifteen, Gamble is hosting an exhibition of new work by the British-born, Egyptian photographer Laura El-Tantawy, who was one of the four nominees for the Deutsche Brse Photography Foundation Prize last year. I had been very moved by her [shortlisted monograph] In The Shadow of the Pyramids, Gamble says. The exhibition Beyond Here Is Nothing (until 4 June) includes prints, projections and a new monograph of images taken in London and Cairo, which were shot using her iPhone.  

At the Copeland Gallery, the British photographer Tom Lovelace has curated an exhibition of 11 artists called At Home She's a Tourist (19-21 May). The exhibition will present a collection of works that re-stage and reimagine the idea of the domestic space, Lovelace says. Work by the Swedish photographer Eva Stenram, who re-appropriates images of pin-ups taken in domestic interiors, will be joined by the photocollages by the Danish artist Julie Boserup and the British artist Jonny Briggs, both of whose work is rooted in their unconventional upbringings. The show also includes two film works by photographers: Clare Strands piece depicts dust particles at night while Mette Bersangs work follows her relationship with a potted plant that has replaced her partner, who has left. 

Earlier in the year, Peckham 24 put out an open call looking for a local photographer to have an exhibition during the festival, with a poignant story behind the winner. In the Back Room gallery, the photographer Rhianne Clarke is curating an exhibition of her father's imagesthat the family discovered after he died, Gamble says. The striking images of Peckham and East Dulwich taken in the 1970s and 1980s by Clarkes father, an amateur photographer, were selected from 450 negatives discovered after his death from cancer in 2014.      



More satellite shows opening this week:



Foam Talent (until 18 June) at Beaconsfield is a presentation of 24 international young photographers, organised by Amsterdams Foam Fotografiemuseum and follows their annual call out for the Talent Issue of Foam Magazine. The final selection was made from almost 1500 submissions from 75 different countries. Highlights include Antonio Ottomanellis photographs following a drone in Kabul; Stefanie Moshammer's Land of Black Milk series taken in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro; and Jack Davisons sumptuous series mixing colour, and black and white portraits with street shots reminiscent of Saul Leiter.  
 
Qualsiasit, New Vedute and Acre are three new exhibitions (until 18 June) hosted by The Italian Cultural Institute. Qualsiasita presents work by seven photographers documenting the Romagna region from 1984 onwards; New Vedute is a show of work by the UK photographer Simon Roberts combining contemporary images with postcards; while the Italian photographer Pino Musi is exhibiting agricultural landscapes in Acre. 

Grass, Peonie, Bum (until 24 June) at TJ Boulting is Maisie Cousinss first solo show. The young photographers visceral images respond to the damaging misogynistic ideals of beauty according to a press statement. The exhibition also includes an installation made in collaboration with the celebrity perfumer Azzi Glasser.

The Austrian photographer Thomas Albdorfs sometimes crude, sculptural interventions in natural scenes are on show in General View (until 3 June) at Webber Gallery Space, and also at Photo London (until 21 May).  
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The Art Newspaper

May 18 2017
Magnum photographer David Hurn donates collection to National Museum of Wales
David Hurn's Outdoor group fitness early in the morning in the retirement Sun City (1980) (© David Hurn/MAGNUM PHOTOS)
David Hurn is donating around 1,500 of his own photographs and 700 images from his private collection to the National Museum of Wales. The celebrated Magnum photographer rose to fame in the 1960s, shooting The Beatles, Sean Connery and Sophia Loren, among many others. 

Eschewing the art market for a more civilised method of trading, Hurn has built up his private collection over 60 years by swapping works with fellow photographers. A selection of the exchanges went on show for the first time yesterday (17 May) at the Photo London 2017 fair (until 21 May) to mark the 70th anniversary of Magnum Photos. The photo agency is showing Hurns vintage prints on its stand, priced between 2,000 and 2,500.

Hurn entrusted the Photo London selection to Magnum president Martin Parr. The most simple thing was to let someone else curate the exhibition, and Martin is the person to ask if you want something done. He also has an exceptional eye, Hurn says. Ironically, the only photograph Hurn has ever bought is by Parr. He purchased Butlins, Filey, England (1973) at Parrs 1974 show at the Arnolfini in Bristol for 5. The image of dancers at the holiday park, which is embellished with glitter, features in the exhibition. 

Swapped highlights include a 2014 photograph by Mat Black of birds sitting on electricity cables in California, exchanged for Hurns shot of retired gentleman at an MG car owners ball (1967), and a blurry orange photograph from 2013 of Hillary Clinton at the Liberty Awards by Christopher Anderson, which Hurn swapped for his 1962 portrait of Peter OToole smoking on a cobbled street.

The idea to develop a collection by exchanging works initially came about because a market for photography didn't really exist until around 1970, Hurn says. In 1959 there were no photography galleries in the UK; the first opened in 1968. The idea of photography as an art object that someone would buy was nonsense. I would simply ask people for pictures because they had no value; they were intended to be reproduced in magazines, he says.

The practice stuck, despite a growing market for photography. When I started out [Henri] Cartier-Bresson didn't sign his prints because they were meant for magazines, Hurn says. Now it seems the definition of art is whether something can be sold by a gallery. We live in a bizarre world.

Hurns first experience of the National Museum of Wales came early. I remember visiting the museum when I was around four or five with my mum and seeing the naughty sculpture, which turned out to be Rodins The Kiss, says Hurn, who grew up in Wales and moved back in 1970. I was struck by the various things in cabinets that had been donated to the museum. Donated has always been my favourite word.

Hurn has never considered selling his collection, which he estimates to be worth 2m. It just wouldn't be right, besides who is to say all the photographs would sell? he says. 

His gift has been instrumental in launching the museums first permanent gallery for photography. The inaugural show, due to open on 30 September, is an expanded version of the Photo London exhibition, and will include works by students at the photography school Hurn founded in Newport in 1973 as well as 19th-century prints.

We now have a tremendous platform to display works from Davids collection as well as works from the museums collection that have never been seen before, says Bronwen Colquhoun, the senior curator of photography at the National Museum Wales. We have a long and rich history of photography in Wales and this donation is sure to raise its profile even further. 
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The Art Newspaper

May 18 2017
Artists give warm welcome to new French culture minister
Françoise Nyssen (Photo: © Renaud Monfourny)
French artists have high hopes for France's new culture minister Franoise Nyssen in the government of the centre-right prime minister Edouard Philippe appointed by the president Emmanuel Macron. Nyssen, 65, enters politics after a 30-year career with the prestigious Actes Sud publishing house, founded by her father, in Arles in the south of France. In 2008 she was made a Commander in the order of Arts and Letters, Frances highest cultural honour.

Actes Sud is known for a Nobel Prize-winning novel by Svetlana Alexievich, books on numerous artists, including Sophie Calle, Giuseppe Penone and Michelangelo Pistoletto, and catalogues on the Rencontres d'Arles photography festival, besides books on theatre, architecture and music.

Nyssen and her husband, Jean-Paul Capitani, set up the Association du Mjan, which organises cultural activities in the Saint-Martin du Mjan chapel in Arles. Currently on view is an exhibition by the French artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest. The couple also founded a school, Ecole Domaine du Possible, on a farm in the Arles countryside, promoting a holistic pedagogy and a relationship with nature, after their 18-year-old son, Antoine, took his own life.

Christian Boltanski, the French artist, says about Nyssen: She's fantastic, and I had an exhibition in the Mjan chapel [in 1989]. Fellow French artist Annette Messager, who has had three books published by Actes Sud, says: Actes Sud had the courage to stay in Provence, and she can inform herself very fast as she works hard.

Another French artist, Claude Lvque, remembers Nyssen's literary prowess from his childhood. She took care of me while my mother was away and gave me the taste for literature, because before meeting her I used to read books backwards, he says. Today, I don't know if she's interested in contemporary sculpture.

After a bitter election campaign, Laurent Grasso, the French conceptual artist, hopes that Nyssen's policies can help foster social healing. I hope she'll have the means to create a visionary cultural policy that gives a social link in a divided and bruised country, he says. It would be magnificent if a Parisian biennial were created. Artists are rarely consulted [on policy]; I hope that she will receive some of us for a discussion. 
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The Guardian

May 17 2017
Capital ring: London's zone three suburbs – in pictures

Mischa Haller photographs the dog walkers and children’s parties of the capital’s edgelands, where the madness of the city begins to calm

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The Guardian

May 17 2017
Jill Freedman's best photograph: the Easter Bunny riding a penny-farthing through Manhattan

‘New York was so alive in the 1970s – I’d hit the streets knowing some quirky character would soon come my way’

This was taken in the 1970s, when I was in love with New York. The place was full of soul back then: there was life on the streets, eccentric characters on every corner, millions of people with colourful stories to tell. I mean it’s not every day you go out and see an Easter bunny on a penny-farthing, is it?

People came to New York to be New Yorkers, not just because they got a job in the city. It was so alive. I would hang my camera around my neck and hit the streets, knowing that some quirky character would soon come my way. And there I was walking through Greenwich Village when this charming elderly lady rode past, full of smiles.

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The Guardian

May 17 2017
2017 Klaus Flugge prize for children's book illustration – in pictures

Named after the influential children’s publisher, the award spotlights the most exciting new illustrators. The winner will be announced on 13 September. Here judge and bestselling illustrator of The Gruffalo Axel Scheffler introduces the shortlist

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The New York Times

May 17 2017
Contemporary Art Buyers Cautious After Wall Street Dips
“If Wall Street hadn’t taken a dive, there would have been fireworks,” a New York dealer said after a Christie’s auction. “It did change the mood among American bidders.”
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The New York Times

May 17 2017
Disneyland Map Is Headed to Auction
The map will be sold on June 25 at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and could fetch between $750,000 and $1 million.
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The New York Times

May 17 2017
Art Review: Iñárritu’s ‘Carne y Arena’ Virtual Reality Simulates a Harrowing Border Trek
Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s virtual-reality exhibition transports viewers to the United States-Mexico border, placing them between migrants and border guards.
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The New York Times

May 17 2017
How Basquiat Became the $60 Million Man
With 16 Basquiats headlining in this week’s evening auctions, the graffiti rebel has become the heavyweight artist of the season.
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The Art Newspaper

May 17 2017
Three to see: New York
Mark Ryden, Dessert Counter (2016). (Photo courtesy the artist © Mark Ryden/Paul Kasmin Gallery)
Skip dessert for Mark Ryden's sugary solo show, The Art of Whipped Cream, at Paul Kasmin Gallery. The exhibition includes the fantastical studies Ryden made for costume and set designs for a new production of Whipped Cream, a whimsical 1924 ballet by Richard Strauss. The ballet follows the sugar-fuelled fantasies of a young boy under medical care after eating too many sweets. Ryden's show includes plans for counters of sugary treats and portraits of characters like Princess Praline. But there are also more frightening figures, like a needle-wielding nurse in laced-up ballet shoes. If you've still got a sweet tooth afterwards, head to the Metropolitan Opera to see the American Ballet Theater perform Whipped Cream (23 May-1 July), for which Ryden has made his studies into actual designs.

A little-known story is revealed in With the Eyes of Others: Hungarian Artists of the Sixties and Seventies at the Elizabeth Dee Gallery (until 12 August). The 30 artists represented were all playing a game of hide-and-seek with authorities under a one-party socialist state that forbade dissent, according to a press statement. The 100 works included demonstrate how these artists cleverly dodged censorship with encrypted messages intelligible only to their peers and abstract works whose style gave a nod to the West. Highlights include Ilona Keser Ilonas Wall-Hanging with Tombstone Forms (Tapestry) (1969), a gorgeous, curvy abstract work in saturated tones of orange, pink, purple and red.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has put on An Artist of Her Time: Y. G. Srimati and the Indian Style, the first career survey of this late Mysore, India-born artist and performer. Srimatis early watercolours from the 1940s-50s show how she pulled from Modern Indian art of the 1930s and also drew on traditional painting. The exhibition also eloquently explains how the artists use of traditional conventions and subjects is integrated with her Nationalist feelings around the time of of Indian independence (reflected in archival material, like a photograph of the artist with Mahatma Gandhi at an Independence Rally). Meanwhile, musical instruments and recordings demonstrate her classical training in Indian singing, dancing and music.
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May 17 2017
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May 17 2017
Banking and benevolence: on the Rothschild family
Within two generations during the 19th century, the Rothschild family left behind the restricted life of the Jewish quarter in Frankfurt, to become bankers to the worlda transformation that was swiftly followed by investment in art to demonstrate their arrival as a new European dynasty.

James de Rothschild (1792-1868), the founder of the French branch of the family, was an energetic and talented man of affairs, closely involved in projects that modernised France, who helped to make Paris the financial capital of Europe. (His four brothers founded branches of the family business in Frankfurt, London, Vienna and Naples.) He also set the pattern for the characteristic Rothschild blend of collecting, philanthropy and charitable giving, which is the subject of Les Rothschild: une Dynastie de Mcnes en France, 1873-2016.

This large-scale and complex study, put together under the direction of Pauline Prvost-Marcilhacy, brings together an impressive array of specialists to analyse the 20,000 works of art given to more than 200 French public institutions by different members of the Rothschild family between 1873 and 2006. The first volume covers the years 1873-1922, the second 1922-1935, and the third 1935 to the present. They include a wide range of manuscripts, books, archaeological artefacts and works of art from around the world, culminating in lie de Rothschilds 1980 gift to the Centre Pompidou in Paris of Yolande Fivres masterpiece, Festival pour oublier (1961). The Louvre and the Bibliothque Nationale are heavily represented, reflecting the Rothschilds wish to identify themselves withas Jamess son Alphonse put it in his willthe nation to which I have the good fortune to belong.

The family was also a major force in the creation and development of regional collections and in public education in the realm of art. Rothschild women were major collectors, patrons and donors, from Charlotte (1825-99) to Alix (1911-87) and Batrice Rosenberg, daughter of the French banker and philanthropist Alain de Rothschild. Charlotte donated the Strauss collection of Jewish religious objects to the Muse de Cluny in 1890, a gift of international significance, which deserves to be more widely known. Some of these donations are famous but others have rarely been photographed, studied or displayed, which makes these volumes invaluable in surveying every aspect of the Rothschilds artistic benevolence, spanning 150 years.

Unprecedented generosity on the part of four generations of one family took various forms: gifts, foundation collections, donations to settle tax bills, bequests, commissions immediately given to a public institution, assistance with acquisitions and support for excavations, with the finds going to the Louvre. The Rothschilds were discreet about acquisitions and their provenances, which makes the concentration on unpublished documents particularly welcome here. The Rothschild Archive in London and the Archives Nationales in Paris are the principal sources for the inventories, letters, photographs and other documents, discussed here in detail alongside the objects, making this a model study of its kind.

Each section is dedicated to a particular Rothschild, their collections and their benefactions, and starts with a short biographical study, followed by an essay or series of essays written by specialists. They reveal not only the personality and networks of each individual, but the nature of the art market in which they operated and the dealers on whom they relied. The first volume, and half of the third, is dominated by the extraordinary figure of James de Rothschilds son Edmond (1845-1934), the most scholarly and authoritative of all Rothschild collectors, whose gifts transformed the national collections in his lifetime from 1873 and beyond, thanks to the generosity of his children. No less than 14 essays are dedicated to the so-called Muse de la gravure, its formation, contents, critical fortunes and installation in the Louvre.

Edmonds brother Alphonse (1827-1905) emerges clearly from the first two volumes as a very different, complementary personality to Edmond: a public figure and financier who inherited the leadership of the French Rothschild banking empire from his father and who, through his marriage to his cousin Leonora, retained close links with the English branch of the family. He emerges as a patron of contemporary artnot least the sculptor Camille Claudelon behalf of regional museums in France, as a lender to public art exhibitions and as a role model for private collectors and their contribution to the public realm at a time of marked anti-Semitism, culminating in the Dreyfus affair from 1894.

The collection of work by European goldsmiths from around 1500 amassed by Adolphe Carl von Rothschild (1823-1900) is analysed in detail by Philippe Malgouyres and Elisabeth Antoine-Knig, in terms of his bequest of 1901 to the Louvre and the Cluny. Collecting Christian liturgical objects rather than devotional pieces allowed Adolphe to keep a certain distance from Christianity as a Jewish donor of Christian art. These pieces included superb jewels and boxwood microcarvings, which he regarded as the best and the most precious of all his art objects. They had a distinct identity and were always kept separately in the smoking room of his house in Paris. In his collecting tastes, Adolphe showed a close affinity with his English cousin Ferdinand (1839-98), whose Waddesdon Bequest was willed to the British Museum in 1897. Both sought to identify themselves with the history of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance as a way of entering the public life of countries whose citizenships they had adopted.

The cumulative impression made by the three volumes is of the strong Rothschild concern that private collections should become part of the national story and serve as a key element in public education. In the words of the newspaper Le Jour in 1891: Art and charity will be the motto that history will inscribe before the name of this great family.

Dora Thornton is the curator of the Waddesdon Bequest at the British Museum, for which she organised a new gallery in 2015, funded by the Rothschild Foundation. Her book A Rothschild Renaissance: Treasures from the Waddesdon Bequest (British Museum Press) was published to accompany the opening

Les Rothschild: une Dynastie de Mcnes en France, 1873-2016

Pauline Prvost-Marcilhacy, Marc Bascou, Marianne Grivel, Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont and Pascal Torres


Somogy Editions dArt, three volumes, 1,112pp, 290 (hb, cased)
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May 17 2017
Naming names: on the Le Nain mystery at Louvre-Lens
Mathieu Le Nain, The Denial of Saint Peter (1655) (© RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Stéphane Maréchalle)
The Le Nain Mystery is a wholly accurate title for this exhibition at Louvre-Lens. There were three Le Nain brothers, all paintersAntoine (around 1600-48), Louis (around 1600-48) and Mathieu (around 1607-67)about whom little is known. Their output amounts to around 75 paintings, of which 16 works are signed "Le Nain", tout court. A large part of their mystery is that it has been difficult, if not impossible, to assign works to individual hands.

It is known that the three moved to Paris in 1629, living in St-Germain-des-Prs, quickly built up a solid reputation and were famous by the 1640s. It seems likely that they painted for the newly rich bourgeoisie who were then becoming art collectors. There are a few known commissions, but Antoine and Louis were elected as founding members of the Acadmie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in March 1648. Both died two months later.

Mathieu, like many artists of the Early Modern Era, tried to raise himself socially, succeeding to the extent that Louis XIV made him a knight of the Order of St Michaelan honour restricted to those of noble birth. Mathieu claimed to be the Sieur de la Jumelle, a family farm near Laon. In 1663, however, he was struck off when his claim was found to be false. He was imprisoned in 1666 for continuing to wear the Orders gold collar and died a year later.

Despite the want of documentary information, works by the Le Nains were held in high regard in their lifetimes. Disparaged towards the end of the century, their paintings came back into favour in the 18th (along with the taste for Dutch and Flemish art). At that time, first names were randomly assigned in sales catalogues, creating a confusion that persists. Their stars as 17th-century artists of the first rank began to shine brightly with the championship of the critic Champfleury (Jules Franois Felix Fleury-Husson, 1821-89) in the mid-19th century. (He did for the Le Nains what Thor-Brger did for Vermeer.)

Three major exhibitionsin London in 1910 (when Robert Witt distinguished the three by name) and in Paris in 1934 and 1978 (when Jacques Thuillier produced the then definitive catalogue)firmly established their canonicity. (Pierre Rosenberg wrote a catalogue raisonn in 1993 and Neil MacGregor has made a significant contribution to the literature in recent times.)

In generic or thematic terms, the brothers' paintings roughly fall into three broad areas of subject matter: a few small, multi-figure oil-on-copper paintings; the main corpus of larger, oil-on-canvas works (religious scenes, genre-like paintings and portraits); and the paintings of peasants, for which they have been best known. The works in all these groups present iconographical problems. Many evidently made for the market lack early provenances and are thus deprived of contexts.

In the Le Nain Mysterys US iterations at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, and the Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco, its organisers, C.D. Dickerson, the head of sculpture and decorative arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and Esther Bell, the curator of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, arranged the paintings categorically: religious works (private and public), allegories, portraits, indoor and outdoor scenes, card players and children. A discrete section was devoted to The Forge (around 1640), a hapax legomenon of Le Nain painting. It combines many generic Le Nain characteristicspeasantry, portraiture, an interior/outdoor setting, possible religious referencesbut its subject, despite the title, is unclassifiable. And it has an unbroken provenance, to boot.


In Lens, in sharp and bold contrast to the US shows, the Louvre curator, Nicolas Milovanovic, has daringly and controversially arranged the works in differently coloured sections of the airplane hangar-like exhibition building by attribution, with galleries devoted to each brother. Because Mathieu lived on for nearly 20 years after his brothers' deaths, it has been slightly easier to distinguish his works, but Milovanovic's sifting of all three has been predominantly connoisseurial, with assays of circumstantial evidence such as it exists.

His argument, grosso modo, is that the middle brother, Louis, about whom the least is known, is the most prolific and distinguished of the brothers. His work is characterised by cool, subdued and subtle colours (Allegory of Victory, around 1635), free but controlled brushwork, a tendency for classicising (Venus in the Forge of Vulcan, 1641) and a feeling for landscape (to be seen in the backgrounds of his religious canvases). To him is also given the main hand in several religious paintings (The Penitent Magdalene, around 1643) and, above all, the many peasant scenes.

Milovanovic lays out, without positing any preference, various explanations for this strange fascination with the peasantry: to remind the city-dwellers of their country estates; to signal, in view of the uniformly sombre dress of the figures, Jansenist or Protestant sympathies; to satisfy the nostalgia of the recently urbanised bourgeois, or, conversely, like the contemporary Roman Bamboccianti, to smile at the yokels lack of polish. Anomalies abound in the details, as in the presence of courtly lap dogs and costly glass and ceramics. Louiss sympathetic depictions of animals are also exceptional in a period not known for a concern for animal welfare (The Well, around 1641; The Donkey, around 1641). Little dogs and cats make regular appearances in all the brothers' paintings.

Antoine, the eldest, had been admitted as a master painter in the Corporation of Painters in St-Germain-des-Prs, which enabled him to open and maintain the studio in which his younger brothers worked. A source mentions him as a portraitist and a miniaturist, a clue that Milovanovic pursues to make the case that it is Antoine who created the small-format works on wood and copper notable for their brilliant colours and highly refined brushwork. A place of honour is given to a miniature, oil-on-leather portrait from 1638-40 of Henry of Lorraine, Count of Harcourt (1601-66), which only came to light in a Parisian family collection during the research for this exhibition. While Antoine's compositions can be crude, his figures are carefully delineated, as would be expected of a portraitist.

Mathieu is dubbed ambitious in view of his social ambitions, but his large religious works (with strong Caravaggesque tendencies) were also aimed at prominent public display (The Denial of St Peter, around 1655; The Last Supper, around 1655). By subtracting the works attributed to Antoine and Louis, and taking 1648 as a status post quo, Mathieu's style is easier to observe: contrasting colours, soft forms and dense brushwork with bright accents. In his later years his canvases include large numbers of figures, but his brushwork and compositional powers declined.

As attributions have been so long contested, it is more than appropriate that a section has been set aside for those painters whose works have in the past been attributed to the brothers, a couple of whom have now been identified (Jean Michelin, Alexandre Montallier). Most of these works, often assigned in the past but now clearly not by any of the Le Nains, have been given generic identities according to thematic links. The final room sets out some of the paintings that, since the 19th century, have been most contested by the great Le Nain scholars.

This exhibition will undoubtedly be the last word on the Le Nain brothers for many years to come and will, one hopes, stir scholarly debate and further research. Its only drawback is that it is in Lens. Despite the Louvres attempt at a Bilbao effect, the town and the Pas de Calais remain a backwater. But one must bear in mind that the Le Nain Mystery is a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. Vaut bien le detour!

Donald Lee is the Literary editor of The Art Newspaper


The Le Nain Mystery, Louvre-Lens, until 26 June
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