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The Guardian

Feb 07 2017
Don’t let philistine developers wreck our urban heritage | Simon Jenkins
There’s no point having conservation areas if they are not conserved. The government’s ruling on Paddington cube will be pivotal

Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, must decide this week whether to call in one of the most critical decisions in urban planning. Westminster city council wants to allow a “starchitect”, Renzo Piano, to erect a 19-storey glass cube in a conservation area directly overlooking Paddington station.

The cube is supposedly an alternative to the 72-storey Paddington pole of luxury flats that Irvine Sellar, the builder, proposed in October 2015 but then withdrew in a hail of criticism. It is the classic developer’s gambit of trying something outrageous and then “conceding” what is only a little less so.

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artforum.com

Feb 07 2017
500 WORDS: Raúl de Nieves and Colin Self
Raúl de Nieves and Colin Self on the new production of their opera The Fool
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 07 2017
Cataloguer, Prints Department

Central London                       


As one of the worlds most respected auction houses, Sothebys combines proud tradition with a dynamic, 21st century commitment to innovation.




We now have a great opportunity for somebody with an interest in and knowledge of prints to join us in New Bond Street. Reporting to the Head of Print Department, you will assist with cataloguing sale items including Old Masters and Contemporary prints, under the supervision of the departments specialists.


Responsibilities:


Assisting the senior members of the department with the research and cataloguing of objects to the highest standard
Corresponding with external experts
Involvement in aspects of catalogue production including, assisting with paste-ups and layouts and liaising with Catalogue Production and other support departments
Dealing with day-to-day client enquiries at the counter, by email and on the telephone
Writing condition reports and responding to photo forms, estimate enquiries and general correspondence
Assisting with the maintenance of the library and archive system
Assisting the Senior Experts with the research of prints in private collections for valuation and other purposes.
Operating at all times in accordance with the companys rules on compliance and corporate Governance




Skills/Competencies/Experience:


Education to degree level in History of Art ideally with some knowledge and experience of Prints
First class research skills
The ability to work effectively individually and in a team and to pitch in when required
An eye for detail and a methodical approach
The ability to work well under pressure and a flexible approach to a wide range of tasks
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and a commitment to an exemplary level of client service
Self-motivated with enthusiasm to learn
Strong organisational skills with proven ability of meeting deadlines
Some understanding of Sothebys and its culture and services, and of the auction process in general
Knowledge of at least one other European language, preferably German, would be advantageous




In return, you can look forward to working in a fast-paced and stimulating environment with a competitive salary and benefits that include private health cover, pension, life assurance and permanent health insurance.




To apply, please upload your CV and a covering letter through the Sotheby's careers portal at the following address: http://www.sothebys.com/en/inside/careers.html




Closing date for applications is 20 February 2017.
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The Guardian

Feb 07 2017
Mary Rosaleen Ellis obituary

My mother, Mary Rosaleen Ellis, who has died aged 96, was a museum lecturer at Tate Britain and later at the Wallace Collection in London.

Rosaleen (as her family knew her – she was Mary to work colleagues) was born in Derby, to Irish parents, Denis Hayes, an industrial chemist, and his wife, Nora. She grew up in Hunts Cross, Liverpool, and then Lancaster. Despite leaving school aged 16, she was extraordinarily well read and later took advantage of the Open University to gain a degree in art history.

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The Guardian

Feb 07 2017
The millionaire's darling: Zaha Hadid's urban artworks – in pictures

The late architect was a favourite of wealthy clients in part for her bold visions of futuristic cities, including extensive subterranean development – a collection of which are being displayed at Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings at the Serpentine Sackler gallery, London, until Sunday

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 07 2017
Tracey Emin funds scholarship for refugee student
Tracey Emin (Image: © Richard Young)
The British artist Tracey Emin is funding a four-year scholarship for a refugee student at Bard College Berlin. She is one of five donors, including the philanthropist Nina Baroness von Maltzahn and three anonymous benefactors, who are helping undergraduates complete a four-year course at the liberal arts university. Three of the five scholarships are specifically intended for students who have fled from Syria.
 
Each donor has given 80,000, which has been matched by a contribution from Bard. Emin's Belgian dealer, Xavier Hufkens, is sharing the former YBA's donation. The total cost of each scholarship is 120,000, which covers full tuition fees, housing costs, monthly transport within Berlin, as well as books and other study materials.

Emin says: I want to help and try to make things better, but in a way in which I know I can. If just one student makes it through that course and does something great with their life, for me its all been worth it. I love being an artist, I love my work and when I see the atrocities taking place in this world I realise how lucky I am.
 
The scholarships are part of the Program for International Education and Social Change, which enables students from countries that are facing severe economic and political crisis to enroll in the university. Bard, which has a college in New York as well as Berlin, has often welcomed refugeessomething its president, Leon Botstein, referred to after the announcement of Donald Trumps ban on refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries including Syria.
 
Bard has a long and proud history as a haven for refugees, first in the 1930s and again after the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Botstein wrote in a statement sent to the college community. The recent directives from President Trump demand careful scrutiny with respect to their implications. However, I believe that Bard must sustain its commitment to the principle of non-discrimination by reason of race, religion, or national identity.
 
The programme began last summer when the first four students, all from Syria, enrolled. [Their] intellectual commitment and artistic achievements have heightened political awareness at a college that has its foundation in connecting education with the values of a free, open and pluralistic society, says Catherine Toal, the Dean of Bard College Berlin.
 
Future applicants must be strong academically, able to speak English and in serious need of financial support. The admissions department says it will help students with missing documentation.
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The Guardian

Feb 07 2017
Vanessa Bell: stepping out of the shadows of the Bloomsbury set

The artist, best known for her tangled love life and being Virginia Woolf’s sister, gets her first major solo show

The first major solo exhibition devoted to the work of Vanessa Bell, the artist who created the country retreat for the Bloomsbury set and in the process almost buried her own reputation, opens this week at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London.

“We’re not rescuing her from the Bloomsburies, that would be absurd, they were such an important part of her life – but we are letting her be seen in her own light, as the distinctive, important painter she was. It’s a long overdue tribute,” co-curator Ian Dejardin said.

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The New York Times

Feb 07 2017
Hong Kong Journal: Using Stealth, and Drones, to Document a Fading Hong Kong
“It’s about forcing us to confront the aesthetic of loss,” a professor says of a film oeuvre that captures colonial-era buildings before they are razed.
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The Guardian

Feb 07 2017
How we made the Wrapped Reichstag

Christo: ‘It took 24 years and we had to negotiate with six different presidents. Then it only stayed up for two weeks’

It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen: 100 rock climbers abseiling down the facade of the Reichstag, slowly unfurling this huge silvery curtain. There were no cranes or machinery, just people descending in a kind of aerial ballet. It was 1995 and huge crowds came to watch. Then, when it was finished, they came up to stroke the fabric.

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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
Terra Nostra by Mimi Mollica – review
A Sicilian expat captures the enduring presence of the mafia in this book of unsettling everyday photographs

Any photographer approaching the subject of the mafia’s impact on Sicilian society must necessarily work in the shadow of Letizia Battaglia, whose huge archive of often violent images, made between 1974 and 1992, amount to what she called “an archive of blood”. Battaglia worked on the frontline of the mafia’s war on the island’s civic society and its often fierce internal battles for power, chronicling the murders of judges, policemen, feuding mob bosses and ordinary citizens.

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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
Science Museum's robotic delights hold a mirror to human society

Robots exhibition at the Science Museum, London, is a striking display of 500 years of automata – and raises pressing questions about the future

Eric the robot wowed the crowds. He stood and bowed and answered questions as blue sparks shot from his metallic teeth. The British creation was such a hit he went on tour around the world. When he arrived in New York, in 1929, a theatre nightwatchman was so alarmed he pulled out a gun and shot at him.

Related: Robots 'could replace 250,000 UK public sector workers'

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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
'A brave new world': what happened to Newcastle's dream for a vertical city?

In the 60s planners reimagined Newcastle as a 3D multi-level city, but what remains is now being closed off or demolished. Guided by architecture professor Stephen Graham, Karl Whitney explores this disappearing city

When you look up from the smoking terrace at the rear of the Bridge Tavern in Newcastle upon Tyne, you see different eras of the city’s history overlapping. Around 80ft above is the green-painted underside of the Tyne Bridge, that proud symbol of Tyneside. Much closer to the ground, dangling a few feet above you, is a suspended concrete walkway that ends in mid-air. It’s a dead end – an aerial path that leads nowhere.

“Isn’t that perfect?” says Stephen Graham. “When you could walk up there it was just fantastic. You got this incredible view. It’s shame that we can’t get up there anymore.” This section of the walkway, which forms part of an extensive network that stretches across the eastern side of the city, has recently been fenced off.

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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
Guns, gore and ice cream: rap mixtape artwork – in pictures

A new book collects the Photoshopped fantasies of rap mixtape covers – from riffs on Top Gun and Game of Thrones to sadistic violence and political commentary

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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
Revolution: Russian Art review – from utopia to the gulag, via teacups | Adrian Searle

Royal Academy, London
It was a new dawn. Tractors caused uproar and muscular workers got to the factory on flying bicycles. Then came the purges

Lenin stands before a crimson curtain, his hand resting on some papers. It is 1919. A gap in the curtain reveals a demonstration in the street behind, banners aloft. Here he is again, in Petrograd, seated at a table, pencil poised, paper on his knee and more strewn over the table. And there is Stalin, yet more papers piled beside him. What is this thing about leaders posing with documents and pretending to write? Remind you of anybody?

And what do they write? Love letters? shopping lists? To what, in Isaak Brodsky’s paintings, must they put their names? They’re writing the future, one supposes, their speeches and five-year plans, their goodbye signatures for the condemned, dead letters all.

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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
We don't pay visual artists properly – that needs to change | Tamara Winikoff

The Fair Pay for Artists campaign is right to push for a fees fund, super changes and an income supplement pension

Jane is a fairly typical artist who is trying to build and maintain her career. She has had reasonable success with her art thus far but has needed to subsidise her income by taking on work as a graphic designer. Now she has decided to return to art school in order to get university qualifications and commit fully to her professional artistic practice. To do this as a single parent, she needs to rely on Centrelink to cover basics such as food, energy and rent for herself and her young daughter.

Jane is required to demonstrate to Centrelink that she completes 40 hours of study, works a minimum of eight hours, applies for six jobs a month and completes other compulsory training during the summer break. There is little time left for parenting and domestic duties let alone making art, gaining experience, establishing relationships with the arts institutions and galleries that might show her work – the professional networks necessary to her career.

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
We the People: Nari Ward to re-create monumental work in New York
The New York-based artist Nari Ward had not intended to make a third version of his monumental work, We the People, an installation of shoelaces spelling out the first line of the preamble to the United States Constitution, which he first made in 2011. But he and his assistants will set up a workshop in the lobby of the New-York Historical Society from 20-24 February to create We the People (N-YHS Version) in front of museum visitors.

This is not meant to be entertainment, the artist explains, but a participatory experience; visitors can trade in their own shoelaces to be used in the piecewhich requires around 1,000 pairsfor new ones. And after the live installation, the work will be permanently displayed at the museum lobby, to be officially unveiled on 25 February.

The presentation is part of the New-York Historical Societys Presidency Project, a programme of events and exhibitions held in January and February 2017 to mark the presidential inauguration and explore the notion of citizenship. We all have to take part, and by taking part we build the language, and I think that very basic process within the piece is mirroring what we have to do moving forward, Ward says.
 
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The New York Times

Feb 06 2017
Art Review: Alfred Sisley: The Unheralded Impressionist
A retrospective focuses on an artist who may not be in the first rank of French artists but who deserves greater attention.
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
Merce Cunningham explains his process
The ultimate collaborator, Merce Cunningham is known as much for his genre-bending choreography as he is for the friendships and working relationships he built with visual artists, composers and film-makers over his career. Audiences today can get an idea of these wide-ranging collaborations at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the MCA Chicago, where the joint exhibition dedicated to the late choreographer opens this week. Here, Cunningham explains his working process, and how all the elements of his performancesmovement, light, sound, and imageare united by time in this interview with Twin Cities Public Television in 1981.
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
Helen Frankenthaler Foundation names head of catalogue raisonné project
Helen Frankenthaler photographed in her New York City studio in 1971. Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images
The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is planning a catalogue raisonn of the American artist's work and has hired the art historian and curator Douglas Dreishpoon to direct the project.

Dreishpoon, who takes the role in March, comes from the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York, where he is chief curator emeritus. There, in 2014, he organised the exhibition Giving Up Ones Mark, which looked at Frankenthalers work from the 1960s and 1970s.

He says the catalogue raisonn project will allow researchers and readers to perceive the nuances of Frankenthalers 60-year career. Ive had great experiences with catalogues raisonn as an art historian because you really see how an artist is thinking from one move to the next, he says.

Although Frankenthaler is best known for her paintingsand especially Mountains and Sea (1952), which inspired the painters Kenneth Noland and Morris Louisthe publication will illustrate the diversity of her oeuvre.

Her painterly language was extremely varied, says the foundations executive director, Elizabeth Smith, noting that Frankenthaler used brushes and brooms in addition with stains to make her work. She also made sculptures and works in ceramic tiles, which will be included in the catalogue.

The first task for Dreishpoon is to establish the mechanics of the project, including a database, before scholarly work can begin.

I am thrilled, as a former museum curator, to have someone of Douglass calibre and background to take leadership over such a project, Smith says.

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
Artist’s portrait of elephant killed by poachers brings attention to the cost of the ivory trade
Wendy Maruyama Sarcophagus (detail, 2015) (Photo: Scott Cartwright)
The San Diego, California-based artist Wendy Maruyama is bringing attention to the plight of elephants and other animals slaughtered for their tusks with her recent work, the wildLIFE Project, now travelling across the United States. Maruyama was inspired to create the wildLIFE Project after meeting with wildlife advocatesand elephantson a trip to Kenya.

I have had a lifelong fascination with wild animals ever since I was a child, says Maruyama, a professor emeritus of applied design, furniture and woodworking at the San Diego State University, who began making work around 40 years ago that incorporated feminism and craft. My first work related to wildlife was in homage to Ben, the last living Tasmanian Tiger http://wendymaruyama.com/artwork/173482-You-don-t-know-what-you-ve-got-til-its-gone.htmlthese animals were hunted with no justification whatsoever. By the time they put a ban on hunting these creatures, they were already on the brink of extinction and it was too late.

The wildLIFE Project began during Maruyamas residency at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington in May 2013, where she made the blown glass tusks that lie in a wood and glass reliquary case in the work Sarcophagus (2015). The project also features six life-sized elephant heads made of painted wood segments that resemble hunting trophy heads.

During the residency, Maruyama started to conceive of how to make the elephants, initially experimenting with pieces of bark stitched together, explains Diane Wright, a curator at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, who met Maruyama at that time and brought the show to the Chrysler, where it closed on 15 January. The elephant heads include a portrait of Satao (2014), a tuskera male elephant whose tusks nearly touch the groundwhom Maruyama met in Kenya, and who was killed by poachers in May 2014, before Maruyama finished making the series.

The show also includes Cenotaph (2015), an empty tomb, with a video memorialising slain wildlife, as well as a Buddhist-style Bell Shrine (2015), complete with incense and a bronze bell. The artist says that as a deaf person, I dont often consider sound in my work but the sound of a bronze bell ringing signifies the death of an elephantit rings every 15 minutes, which is when an elephant is killed for its tusks. This is a statistic the artist hopes will change when Chinas ivory trade ban, announced in December 2016, comes into effect by the end of this year.

I might add, that the Bell Shrine was all made of wood that was salvaged from a defunct rifle factoryall the wood was shaped like rifle gunstockand it felt great to cut those things apart and make the pieces work for my shrine, Maruyama says.

The exhibition, first organised by Elizabeth Kozlowski in 2015 when she was a curator at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Texas, has made stops in Philadelphia and North Carolina before its recent leg at the Chrysler Museum. It is due to go on show in San Francisco at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design this month (11 February-4 June 2017), and then travels to the Oceanside Museum of Art in Oceanside, California (7 October-11 February 2018). It may travel to additional venues afterwards.
 
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
Images of Gauguin in Tahiti discovered in photo album
Gauguin's teenage mistress Pahura may be the woman stretched out in the photo, with him peering out above her. Photo Jules Agostini, © Daniel Blau, Munich
The only known photographs of Gauguin in Polynesia have been discovered in an album recently acquired by a Munich-based dealer. The album includes an image of a young Tahitian woman being kissed by the middle-aged artist, whose friend Dr Gouzer, a French ships doctor, is also shown with a local woman. The images provide a fresh insight into Gauguins life in Tahiti in 1896.

Two albums of Tahitian photographs taken by Jules Agostini came up for sale in a French provincial auction in July 2015. One was acquired by the dealer Daniel Blau and the other by the Muse du Quai Branly in Paris. There were no references in the auction catalogue to photographs of Gauguin, and the one acquired by Blau sold for 5,875.

A decade ago Blaus wife Maria first identified Gauguin in a Tahitian group photograph they had acquired earlier (based on comparisons with his self-portraits and earlier photographs taken in France). The photographer and the date of the image were then unknown, and the identification was not taken up by other Gauguin specialists. The album recently acquired by the Blau couple contains another print of the same image, identifies the photographer as Agostini and dates the print to 19 July 1896. Agostini was a friend of Gauguins. The album also includes an already known image of the artists house in Tahiti, inscribed Habitation du peintre Gauguin.

The album has two group photographs of what is captioned a pique-nique, although it appears to be little short of a banquet, held at Pointe Venus, ten kilometres from the capital, Papeete, on 19 July. Many of the European male guests, who are dressed very formally (along with floral crowns), seem to be French naval officers, while the females are all young Tahitian women wearing the long dresses introduced by Christian missionaries.

His mistress?


Gauguin, a notorious womaniser, seems to appear in two group photographs in the Blau album. In the first he is shown with two Tahitian women; kissing one and draping his hand on the breast of the other. In the second photograph he grins mischievously and reclines on the woman he had been kissing, with his hand on her breast. Blau speculates that she could well be Pahura, his very young mistress.

Pahura was the model or inspiration for many of Gauguins finest paintings, probably including Nevermore (1897), now at the Courtauld Gallery, London. In January 1897 Gauguin, then 48, wrote to his friend Armand Sguin: I have a 15-year-old wife who cooks my simple everyday fare and gets down on her back for me whenever I want, all for the modest reward of a frock, worth ten francs, a month.

Daniel Blau says he is convinced that the man depicted in the two group photographs is Gauguin. Until recently I thought of Gauguin as a sick and aging man, but I now see him as a forceful artist, enjoying life and with a glint in his eyes, he says.

Caroline Boyle-Turner, author of Paul Gauguin & the Marquesas (published by Vagamundo), is also convinced that it is the artist in the group photographs. She, too, suggests that his companion could well be his mistress. Pahura was three months pregnant and her condition might well have been a source of joy for the artist, helping his ebullient mood, she says.

The two group photographs are also included in the second Agostini album sold at a Bayeux Enchres auction on 13 July 2015, and which was acquired for 22,325 by the Muse du Quai Branly. The photographs in this album lack the detailed captions and dates of the Blau album. Christine Barthe, the museums head of photographic collections, says: Some people see Gauguin in the album, but we need more than wishes.

The morphine specialist who was Gauguins friend


Dr Gouzer, a ships doctor, is a crucial link helping to confirm the identification of Gauguin in two group photographs, since he and his ship, the Duguay-Trouin, appear in the Agostini album.


Identified by The Art Newspaper as Joseph Gouzer (born 1854, died 1901), he appears in the Blau album as Docteur G, standing intimately close to a Tahitian woman, Faona. His descendants have confirmed he is the man in the photo.



The friendship between Dr Gouzer and Gauguin has been largely overlooked (his first name is not cited in the Gauguin literature). Intriguingly, he was a specialist on morphine and in 1896, the year of his Tahitian visit, he published a book entitled Journal dun Morphinomane, based on a diary by a medical colleague who had died of morphine addiction in what is now Vietnam. At that time Gauguin was regularly taking morphine to dull the pain of ulcers on his legs.



Gouzer was one of the very few buyers of Gauguins work in Tahitihe bought Three Tahitian Women (for 100 francs). It was subsequently acquired by Walter Annenberg, who bequeathed it to New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2002. Gauguin also gave Gouzer two drawings, including Study of Two Tahitian Heads (1896-97), which is now at the Art Institute of Chicago.



It is possible that Gouzer and Gauguin first met at the hospital in Papeete. Gauguin was there for treatment on his leg, from 6 to 14 July 1896. On 13 July he wrote to his friend Daniel de Monfreid to say that an officer would be taking several clumsy canvases to France.



Gouzers ship, the Duguay-Trouin, stopped at Tahiti several times, and in March 1897 Gouzer carried some of Gauguins paintings back to Paris.



Only one letter from Gauguin to Gouzer survives, from 1898, when the artist wrote: I cannot contemplate returning to France, as you advise me... I have not said everything about Tahiti [in paint].

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
The Met's online free-for-all
The Unicorn is Attacked (from the Unicorn Tapestries) (1495-1505), part of the Met's collection now available online for commercial and non-commercial use
Today (7 February), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced that over 375,000 images of works of art from its collection are now available online for unrestricted commercial and non-commercial use in a new initiative, Open Access. Increasing public access to the collection has been a key priority for the museum over the past decade, Thomas Campbell, the museums director and chief executive, said at a press conference today. While the museums collection includes two million works spanning 5,000 years, the majority of the works could not be included in Open Access, due to issues such as copyright or donor restrictions.

Open Access goes a step beyond the museums Open Access for Scholarly Content project, launched in 2014, which made 400,000 high-resolution images of works in the public domain free to download for non-commercial use. The new initiative utilises the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation, which allows individuals and institutions to waive copyrights and database protection so that content can be used for any purpose, without restrictions. The Met has teamed up with Creative Commons, Arstor, DPLA, Pinterest and Wikipedia for the CC0 initiativeeven hiring its first Wikimedian-in-Residence, Richard Knipel, to help share works on platforms such as Wikimedia Commons.
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The New York Times

Feb 06 2017
Making It: Valentine’s Day Inspiration: Pressed Flowers, on Paper
How the artist Kate Cadbury applies dried, homegrown petals to found photographs.
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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
National Gallery's £30m Pontormo bid rejected owing to sterling slump

Attempt to save Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap for the nation is knocked back by US buyer in wake of Brexit vote

The National Gallery’s £30m offer to prevent a painting of national importance from being taken overseas has been rejected owing to the drop in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote.

Pontormo’s Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap (1530) was sold at auction two years ago to a US hedge fund manager, Tom Hill. The painting had been in the family of the Earl of Caledon since 1825.

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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
Saloua Raouda Choucair obituary
Lebanese artist whose work was inspired by her Arab heritage

Saloua Raouda Choucair was 97 when she was given a show at Tate Modern – and it was her British debut. Indeed, it was the first major exhibition outside her native Lebanon for Choucair, who has died aged 100; even there, her shows were few and far between. As late flowerings go, it will be hard to beat.

What made her story all the more extraordinary was that the Tate exhibition revealed Choucair to be an artist of international stature. The 150 or so works in the show, drawn from a 70-year career and mostly stored in their maker’s Beirut flat, had an elegance and rigour that had critics reaching lovingly for their pens. Yet few of them had previously heard of Choucair. Nor had the visitors who flocked to the Tate in such numbers that the gallery was forced to extend her show’s run.

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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
David Hockney review – 60 years of sex, sun and seismic shocks

Tate Britain, London
From his out-and-proud early work to the taut double portraits and rippling LA pools, this retrospective captures the cool sophistication of the rebel in owl glasses

Touching, tender, ribald, raunchy, innovative, annoying: there are many pleasures in David Hockney’s Tate Britain retrospective, but just as many exasperations. The earliest work, in an exhibition that spans more than 60 years of Hockney’s art, is buried among a large display of the artist’s drawings. A spare, perspicacious little self-portrait, it has the 17-year-old Bradford School of Art tyro, already owlish in his glasses, fiddling with his tie. Butter, you think, wouldn’t melt. By 1960, fresh from National Service and the Royal College of Art, he was drawing a boy with the word Queen on his jacket, just so you know. And here’s a young man wearing a peaked cap, the words “Fuck You Cunt” hovering over his head like a shouted insult.

With their mix of intimacy and distance, observation and a lively, though often reserved, touch, Hockney’s drawings are always worth one’s time. They have a sensitivity his paintings have for a long time lacked. The best of Hockney’s art spans 1960 to 1980. If one wanted to be brutal, the best of all was the first full decade.

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
Humongous Mondrian in the heart of The Hague
Mondrian's work is emblazoned across City Hall in The Hague

If you like the art of Piet Mondrian, you should head for The Hague where the worlds largest painting by the trailblazing 20th-century Dutch artist is splashed across City Hall, one of the citys most prominent buildings. The gargantuan replica piece, made by Studio VZ, marks the start of a year-long culture initiative marking the centenary of the Dutch abstract art movement known as the De Stijl movement, which was led by Piet himself. Other buildings and locations in The Hague will undergo a mondrianising, say the organisers. And thats not allfor the first time, the Gemeentemuseum will show all 300 works by Mondrian in its collection in the vast show The Discovery of Mondrian (3 June-24 September).  
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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
David Hockney at Tate Britain: a visual diary of the artist's colourful life

With Tate’s fastest-selling exhibition set to open, co-curator Chris Stephens says the artist is finally happy looking to the past

In the vibrant world of David Hockney, there is always light. It illuminates the fields of Yorkshire, casts shadows across the bodies of lovers, gives ethereal beauty to the Hollywood Hills and, most of all, it bounces off the shimmering blue surface of swimming pools.

Now six decades of these paintings, drawings and collages have been brought together under one roof for the first time at Tate Britain, in the most extensive retrospective of Hockney’s career.

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The Guardian

Feb 06 2017
Did the Mona Lisa have syphilis?

Lisa del Giocondo, the model for Leonardo’s painting, was recorded buying snail water – then considered a cure for the STD. It could be the secret to a painting haunted by the spectre of death

What is the Mona Lisa’s secret? She smiles so enigmatically under the all-but-invisible transparent silk veil that covers her hair, turning her brown eyes as if she has just seen someone come into her field of vision. The fascination and fame of this portrait, begun by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503, has always related to the elusive personality it communicates. Giorgio Vasari in the 16th century claimed Leonardo employed musicians and jesters to make Lisa smile. Walter Pater in the Victorian age thought she resembled a “vampire”. Modern viewers sometimes see her face as androgynous, an observation first made by Marcel Duchamp.

I have a new theory. Perhaps the Mona Lisa had syphilis.

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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
Berlin's House of World Cultures reopens with digital feast
Artificial Intelligence for Governance, the Kitty AI by Pinar Yoldas on show at Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Image: courtesy of transmediale // design akademie berlin, SRH Hochschule für Kommunikation und Design)
One of Berlins most recognisable architectural landmarks, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures, HKW), re-opened last week after a 10m revamp with Transmediale, a festival on art and digital technologies. First launched as a video art festival, Transmediale has evolved into an internationally-celebrated event over the past 30 years. It now includes an art exhibition and a conference exploring the ever-deepening relationship between culture and technology. 

Under the title Ever Elusive, this years Transmediale (until 5 March) drew large crowds to HKWs halls on the opening night. The exhibition Allien Matter, features 17 works by artists such as Katja Novitskova and Mark Leckey, and ranges from a monumental sculpture of fibre optic cables by Evan Roth to a display of bottled synthetic chemicals by Aliens in Green. The works share an ambivalence (a mixture of paranoia and nostalgia) towards technology. Meanwhile, a new exhibition hall in the lower foyer was screening the early films of computer art pioneer Lillian Schwartz during the preview.

The opening ceremony on Thursday night took place in the newly-renovated wood-panelled auditorium that has been modernised for better acoustics and flexibility for multimedia events. The queue outside of the auditorium was longer than the 1024 seats availableat least 200 people were turned away. The ceremony included an eclectic mix of talks, political rallying calls, performances and video screenings and was followed by more performances that lasted until 1.30am.
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
Berlin's House of World Cultures reopens with digital feast
Artificial Intelligence for Governance, the Kitty AI by Pinar Yoldas on show at Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Image: courtesy of transmediale // design akademie berlin, SRH Hochschule für Kommunikation und Design)
One of Berlins most recognisable architectural landmarks, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures, HKW), re-opened last week after a 10m revamp with Transmediale, a festival on art and digital technologies. First launched as a video art festival, Transmediale has evolved into an internationally-celebrated event over the past 30 years. It now includes an art exhibition and a conference exploring the ever-deepening relationship between culture and technology. 

Under the title Ever Elusive, this years Transmediale (until 5 March) drew large crowds to HKWs halls on the opening night. The exhibition Allien Matter, features 17 works by artists such as Katja Novitskova and Mark Leckey, and ranges from a monumental sculpture of fibre optic cables by Evan Roth to a display of bottled synthetic chemicals by Aliens in Green. The works share an ambivalence (a mixture of paranoia and nostalgia) towards technology. Meanwhile, a new exhibition hall in the lower foyer was screening the early films of computer art pioneer Lillian Schwartz during the preview.

The opening ceremony on Thursday night took place in the newly-renovated wood-panelled auditorium that has been modernised for better acoustics and flexibility for multimedia events. The queue outside of the auditorium was longer than the 1024 seats availableat least 200 people were turned away. The ceremony included an eclectic mix of talks, political rallying calls, performances and video screenings and was followed by more performances that lasted until 1.30am.
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The Art Newspaper

Feb 06 2017
UK’s oldest arts centre celebrates 300th birthday with works by Yoko Ono, Jeremy Deller and other alumni
The Bluecoat building in Liverpool (Image: © Brian Roberts)
The Bluecoat in Liverpool, the UKs oldest arts centre, has launched its year-long 300th anniversary celebration with a show dedicated to artist alumni including John Akomfrah, Jeremy Deller and Yoko Ono. Public View (until 23 April) features works by more than 100 artists who have previously exhibited at the venue, which first opened in 1717 as a charity school for orphans. The building became an art space in 1907, when local artists moved in and began staging exhibitions such as Roger Frys radical Post-Impressionist showcase in 1911. 

Artists have always been at the heart of what we do, so it was important for us to do a show to say thank you, says the Bluecoats artistic director, Bryan Biggs. The works on show run from the 1960s to the present, with several artists contributing new pieces. An online fundraising auction of works donated by participating artists will follow in September, hosted by Paddle8. Heres our pick of five of the highlights from the exhibition.

Film of Yoko Onos Music of the Mind performance (1967)



A little-known Yoko Ono performed to a crowded Bluecoat one evening in 1967, just months after meeting John Lennon for the first time. A TV news film of the event shows the Fluxus artist smashing a vase with a hammershe gave the shards to the audience and said she would return in 30 years to put them back togetherand inviting viewers to fly from ladders and wrap her in gauze bandages. Ono screened footage of the performance when she returned to the Bluecoat in 2008, Liverpools year as European capital of culture.

John Lathams Firenze (1967)


In the late 1960s, the Bluecoat gained a reputation as an outpost of Swinging Londons avant-garde art scene. Two years after Onos performance, the British conceptual artist John Latham had a solo show at the Liverpool venue. He may or may not have exhibited this assemblage of damaged books covered in resin and bound with rope. While its title suggests a connection with the floods that devastated Florences library in 1966, the destruction of booksincluding cutting, burning and chewingwas a running theme in Lathams work.

Lubaina Himids Memorial to Zong (1992)


Himids painting underscores the legacies of slavery that resonate throughout the Public View exhibition, Biggs says. The work refers to the infamous Zong, a slave ship which jettisoned more than 130 African slaves in 1781 so the Liverpool owners could claim insurance against the cargo. The Bluecoat has formed a strong relationship with black artists in Britain since the mid-1980s, Biggs says, but the building was built on the profits of the slave trade, like all 18th-century Liverpool institutions.

Jeremy Dellers History of the World (1998)

Deller won the Bluecoats open call in 1997 for a live piece around the perceived death of vinyl. The resulting off-site commission in Liverpool, Acid Brass, was the unlikely marriage of two musical movements popular in the north of England: acid house anthems re-scored for traditional brass bands. Dellers subsequent flow chart print, which teases out the socio-political links between the two genres, points to the Bluecoats frequent crossover between music and visual art, Biggs says.

Bill Drummonds AN ON GOING WORK (2001-present)


The musician and art prankster Bill Drummond (who awarded Rachel Whiteread a 40,000 worst artist prize on the same day she won the 20,000 Turner Prize in 1993) is presenting this cut-up Richard Long photograph. After a few years of owning Longs document of a walk across Iceland, Drummond came up with a novel way to sell it. He divided the photograph into 20,000 squares and began touring UK art centres to sell off the pieces for $1 each and recoup the original cost. He then got bored with that, Biggs says. Its like an unfinished jigsaw.
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