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Friday, August 31, 2012

ANNA SOMERS COCKS, CHAIRMAN, AND FOUR LEADING TRUSTEES OF THE VENICE IN PERIL RESIGN



Anna Somers Cocks, chairman, and four leading trustees of the Venice in Peril Fund resign
Charity to return to its restoration roots but rising waters still a threat to city

By The Art Newspaper. Web only
Published online: 30 July 2012

Anna Somers Cocks, the chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund since 2000, has resigned. (Somers Cocks is also the chief executive of The Art Newspaper). Lord Norwich and Nathalie Brooke, both honorary chairmen, Sir Ronald Grierson, and David Landau, both trustees, have also handed in their resignation.

Venice in Peril was founded after the great flood of 1966 with the declared mission of restoring monuments and works of art, and of financing research into the city’s ecological problems. Until Somers Cocks took over, it focused exclusively on restoration. Between 2000 and today, however, while continuing with restorations, the fund has also become involved in the big policy issues regarding the city.

From 2001 to 2004, Venice in Peril financed a research project at the University of Cambridge and the Consortium for the Co-ordination of Research into the Venetian Lagoon (CoRiLa) to bring together all the scientific work done on the flooding of Venice since 1966 and to examine the solutions proposed. The project culminated in a conference held in 2003 at Churchill College, Cambridge, where more than 130 scientists from Venice, the rest of Italy, the Netherlands, UK, St Petersburg, New Orleans and elsewhere, met for three days to discuss their findings.

Their conclusion was that the city definitely needed mobile barriers at the openings between the Adriatic and lagoon, but that these only bought time, and that the authorities needed to be planning far beyond them.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

PROCESOS Y TRANSFORMACIONES



PROCESOS Y TRANSFORMACIONES

Procesos y Transformaciones
Angeles Agrela, Pilar Albarracin, Javier Arce, Valeria Cavestany, Chema Cobo, Abraham Lacalle, Miki Leal, and Jose Piñar

September 1 to October 27, 2012

Opening Reception: September 1, Saturday, 7 pm

The Department of Avant-Garde Cliches (D.A.G.C.) Gallery and the Departamento Cultural Embajada de España en Manila are proud to present eight Spanish artists processing themes on the social and the political, formal issues and narrative content, the imaginary and the psychological, which transform the artistic and cultural affinity between Spain and the Philippines into a solid bond. The exhibit will run to a considerable period of two months, with each month showcasing a different set of works from the eight Spanish artists. Miki Leal and Abraham Lacalle will be in Manila for the exhibit opening.

Extraordinary feats of physical prowess typically are synonymous to the idea of the superhero, with perfect physique as significant vessel for power, Angeles Agrela explores the symbolism of strength not only through its external outfit, but also on the unseen mettle of those who put themselves into the role of the hero, pondering on the unheralded sacrifice, dedication, and discipline that may or may not be understood by an unsuspecting public, which intrigues her as similar to the calling of the artist. By highlighting the anthropology of the everyday through performances and photographic works, Pilar Albarracin investigates the phenomena of cultural stereotypes and ethnic clichés in order to analyse and expose the dominant narratives that determine identity. Using history as point of further inquiry and discovery through artistic appropriation and cultural referencing, Javier Arce creates works that explore the underlying gestures of public consciousness that create distinctions of taste and conventional values. Valeria Cavestany's brilliant paintings are a reflection of the world viewed with an independent spirit, where nature is experienced as magical menagerie standing in for pure innocence along with the potential for mischief. The works of Chema Cobo recall immediately the inspiration of Goya, with a sensitive eye towards the macabre that represents the shadowy plumbs of the imagination stirred with the criticality of doubt. The works of Abraham Lacalle recalls the hedonism of Matisse, the structural complexity of Picasso, and the irony of Duchamp, featuring figures, objects, events that transmute into fantastic narratives from everyday life done with vibrant color fields and dazzling geometric patterns, pure and joyful altogether. Miki Leal paints with lyrical flourish that pushes the visual possibilities in his work like that of jazz in music which he enjoys, creating unsuspecting narratives that leaves the viewer breathless with anticipation and wonder. Jose Piñar makes abstract works that speaks of painting as process oriented, systematic, and yet open-ended with allowances for improvisation and innovation stemming from outside of the medium itself.

BREAKING SILENCE


COFFEE BREAK


BEIJING TO GET FREEPORT TO CHALLENGE HONG KONG’S SUPREMACY



Beijing to get freeport to challenge Hong Kong’s supremacy
The Art Newspaper exclusive: facility next to international airport due to be built by end of 2013

By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 26 July 2012

The Chinese government plans to turn Beijing into a key art hub in Asia by building an 83,000 sq. m freeport next to the Beijing Capital International Airport scheduled for completion late 2013. Officials hope that the vast storage facility, which is expected to be tax exempt, will encourage collectors and corporations to stockpile their art in Beijing. A collector based in the city, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the planned freeport will “have a huge impact on the Chinese art world”, stressing that the Beijing base will challenge Hong Kong’s supremacy as an art centre.

Euroasia, the Swiss holding company behind the Singapore freeport which opened in 2010, is collaborating with the state-owned business organisation Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group on the project. The facility will be called the Beijing Freeport of Culture. “Gehua’s plan is to promote Chinese art both nationally and internationally; [it] wants to create and organise a market that is loosely regulated,” says Tony Reynard, the chairman of the Singapore Freeport Pte company. “There is a huge domestic market in China but the freeport in Beijing will also be important for the international market as import tax will be greatly reduced or even scrapped at the facility.”

Earlier this year, the Chinese government reduced the customs duty on imported works of art from 12 % to 6% but the tax break only applies for a year. Apart from the customs duty, importers are still required to pay value added tax of 17% plus an additional consumption tax of 5% (The Art Newspaper, China Focus, May, p6).


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

RIZOMA


THE LIFE CYCLE OF PENIS-EATERS


IF THINGS WERE PERFECT


TRAGIC EVENT OVERSHADOWS TATE MODERN OPENING



Tragic event overshadows Tate Modern opening
Tino Sehgal's storytelling takes centre stage in vast Turbine Hall                                      

By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 26 July 2012

Snorkeling off the Italian island of Elba; a mother’s tears as her son departs for university; the trauma behind erasing a tattoo: these are some of the tales told by participants in Tino Sehgal’s commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in London. These Associations, (until 28 October), the first “live” work in the vast space, consists solely of encounters between around 70 storytellers and visitors to the gallery.

Sehgal’s team strike up disconcerting, affecting conversations with visitors, interspersing these intimacies with manic movements choreographed by the Berlin-based artist; the storytellers start running in a frenzied circular fashion in pursuit of an invisible quarry, play tag and chant: “Even in the technological age.”

Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, says that Sehgal has transformed the museum into a "biopolitical and anarchic experience”. Hans Ulrich Obrist, the co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery and director of its international projects, calls it a complete work of art: “It’s a masterpiece; [Sehgal] brings all the elements of his previous works together in one piece, combining choreography conversations and music. It is a Gesamtkunstwerk.”

But not everyone is impressed. The critic Alastair Sooke wrote in the Daily Telegraph that he experienced: “A whiff of artifice about their stories, which feel polished and rehearsed. Sehgal does not hit the spontaneous social interaction that he strives for.” The participants are not actors although they are paid, working four-hour shifts.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BLACK DAYS


VISUAL INSIGHTS



VISUAL INSIGHTS: THE RATIONALE

In a country where the gift of freedom of expression is something we enjoy, it is important that we use such privilege to voice our sentiments on any issue worth our participation. Though we oftentimes stay away from controversial situations, to avoid conflict and to make ourselves safe, ultimately, sitting down does nothing to contribute towards creating a solution. 

n the field of art, artists are often misconstrued as just confining themselves to creating artworks, without giving importance to the substance of their expression. Though there is a bit of truth to it, there are also a few who incorporate unto their art their individual perception, using their art as a forum for comment and thereby helping to mould public opinion.

iven the opportunity to manifest their opinion, aspiration and insights, through art, artists: Antonio Alcoseba, Darby Vincent Alcoseba and Celso Duazo Pepito have pooled their talents together to come up with an art exhibit entitled: VISUAL INSIGHTS. In this exhibit, each of them will showcase their individual observations about life in the society where they belong and their reaction towards the environment that affect their creative undertakings.

ntonio Alcoseba, who is more recognized for his masterful renderings with watercolour, will introduce his shift to cubism, allowing himself to embrace the gift of artistic evolution, after he devoted most of his time painting beautiful landscapes, old houses and other subjects that showed the influence of Andrew Whyte. His theme for this show is simply focused on ordinary subjects that have caught his interest, his objective being to encourage his viewers to take care of the little things, since more often than not, the little things are bigger than they first appear.

oung and energetic, Darby Vincent Alcoseba has endeavoured to record the beauty of the countryside by creating minute details to subjects which have provided him great inspiration. His continuing romance with nature is his way of encouraging his peers to do something that helps preserve our environment. Influenced by his father, Darby uses watercolour and endeavors to capture the details of his chosen subject not minding how much time he would spend on it, in the spirit of personal satisfaction.

Living by this philosophy that art goes beyond the beauty it depicts, Celso Duazo Pepito's paintings communicate positive, godly values. He uses his art to promote his advocacies toward uplifting values that focus on strengthening family ties, love for his country and moral ascendancy based on a deep relationship with God. What sets Pepito apart from his peers is his holistic view of his art. He links together what he values most: family, country and God that goes with the belief that truly, art goes beyond beauty.

In a way, VISUAL INSIGHTS are images of life, colored not just by pigments, but by the ideas and opinions of their creators.

LIGHT CURSE


SEE “INVISIBLE ART” BEFORE IT DISAPPEARS



See “Invisible Art” before it disappears
Anna Somers Cocks explains why this Hayward Gallery show, closing 5 August, should not be missed

By Anna Somers Cocks. Web only
Published online: 26 July 2012

Anyone listened to the 1963 song “Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa” lately? Did you laugh? So why did it make us feel pleasantly weepy then?

How long can we understand a work of art in the terms of its own time? Fifty years? Twenty? Probably not more than five if it is contemporary art, which is as finely tuned to the mood of the moment as pop music, but usually with an additional load of more or less philosophical baggage that makes it even harder to penetrate after the theory has moved on.

Precisely because of this, I recommend catching “Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957-2012” at the Hayward Gallery in London until 5 August. For starters, it’s excellent value for money according to a young friend of mine, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, because it forces you to concentrate and read the labels (in self-effacing grey on the walls), otherwise the mysteries remain a mystery.

As its curator Ralph Rugoff says in the catalogue (also printed in pale grey, and completely lacking in bullshit): “Art is about paying attention, and invisible art asks us to pay attention in a different way.” Good for him. This has been a gamble that has paid off and most of the critics have loved it. The show hasn’t got a sponsor—they don’t usually do immaterial—but Rugoff, who is also director of the Hayward Gallery, went ahead anyway. Maybe it’s because he comes from California, home of the whacky.

That old magus Duchamp should be the patron of the whole event, because none of the works could have been made without his influence, direct or indirect. It aims to explain the various reasons why artists have made invisible art, from the idea that art is in the eye of the beholder to the idea that the market has turned art into a mere commodity so you must purify it of substance, to the idea that you can make almost invisible art and play with people’s sense of space, to the idea that some political issues are so serious that you can only deal with them by absence and allusion. As you see, a lot of ideas.


Monday, August 27, 2012

LA MoCA PULLS OUT OF RICHARD HAMILTON RETROSPECTIVE



LA MoCA pulls out of Richard Hamilton retrospective
After chief curator Schimmel’s departure, there is no space in museum’s schedule for British pop art show

By Martin Bailey. Web only
Published online: 26 July 2012

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Los Angeles, has pulled out of a Richard Hamilton retrospective, after the abrupt departure of its long-standing chief curator, Paul Schimmel at the end of June. Schimmel is the co-curator of the Hamilton exhibition.

A MoCA spokeswoman tells The Art Newspaper that the gallery will “not be participating” in the international touring show of the late British pop artist’s work. Hamilton died in September 2011. Schimmel, however, confirms that he will “continue to be involved with the exhibition”, which he is co-organising with Vicente Todoli, the former director of London’s Tate Modern.

The exhibition was due to travel to Los Angeles, London, Madrid and Philadelphia. A spokeswoman for Tate Modern says the show “will still open” in spring 2014 in London. The Madrid venue is slightly less certain. A spokeswoman for the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia confirms that the exhibition is scheduled, but it is too far off “to know for sure”. Whether the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present the Hamilton show remains unclear.

More certain is a separate exhibition of Hamilton’s late works at the National Gallery in London (10 October-13 January 2013). This will include three large-scale studies for what was to have been his last painting, The Unknown Masterpiece, which the artist never completed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

OUTSTANDING ROMAN SARCOPHAGUS RECOVERED AFTER MORE THAN 20 YEARS



Outstanding Roman sarcophagus recovered after more than 20 years
Executor of late, unnamed US antiquities dealer contacted Italian authorities

By Tina Lepri and Ermanno Rivetti. Web only
Published online: 26 July 2012

An ancient Roman alabaster sarcophagus, which was stolen more than 20 years ago from a church south of Rome, was returned to Italy on 18 July. It came from the London-based collection of an unnamed antiquities, flown back to Rome on a cargo flight in a container reportedly displaying the official seal of the Italian Embassy in London.

A special team from the cultural heritage protection division of Italy's police force, the Guardia di Finanza, gruppo Tutela Patrimonio Archeologico, lead by Massimo Rossi, conducted the repatriation operation.

The sarcophagus, which dates from between the second and third centuries BC, was presented at a press conference in Rome and then returned to its hometown of Aquino, around 100km south of the capital, where it is on show in the deconsecrated church of Santa Marta.

Although official sources have not confirmed this, the Italian newspaper Il Giornale has reported that the private collection in question belonged to the late US antiquities dealer Robert Hecht, who died on 9 February. Hecht had been accused in Roman court of conspiring to receive antiquities illegally excavated and exported from Italy, but his trial ended in January without a verdict when the statute of limitations ran out. Il Giornale also reported that the executor of Hecht's will first contacted Italian authorities.

The work, which features in relief scenes of chariot races at Rome's Circus Maximus, was stolen in 1991 from the Madonna della Libera church in Aquino. It was one of Italy’s great, unsolved antiquities thefts. No one has ever been charged with its theft.

THE COMING OF SPRING


Saturday, August 25, 2012

PHANTOM LIMBS


WIRED


ID3


ITALIAN - US TEAM DISCOVER EVIDENCE OF SICILY’S OLDEST TEMPLE



Italian-US team discover evidence of Sicily’s oldest temple
Archaeologists find early temple beneath the one at Selinunte

By Silvia Mazza. Web only
Published online: 25 July 2012

A team of researchers and archaeologists from the Parco Archeologico di Selinunte, near Trapani in western Sicily, and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University (NYU), have discovered what they believe to be the oldest temple structure on the island.

The team, led by Clemente Marconi, the professor of the history of Greek art and archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts who is the director of excavations at Selinunte, found the evidence of an early temple beneath the floors of a later one, known as Temple R. The team first identified parts of the wall and floors of the early temple in June. In July they made a break-through when they discovered the remains of a large central colonnade. Scattered around the colonnade were ceramic fragments that have now been dated to between 650BC to 625BC.

Caterina Greco, the director of the archaeological park, calls this find “exceptional". Greco also praises what she calls “a new synergy—with funds from NYU and co-ordination from our staff—that symbolises a modern model of management for the park.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

DECONSTRUCTING THE NUDE MODEL


EQUI TOUR


TUPADA.ACTION.&.MEDIA.ART
in cooperation with 98B

presents

EQUI TOUR | Seiji Shimoda
Sunday, August 26, 2012 | 1:00 PM
98B Mezzanine, 413 Escolta St., First United Building

One of the most active visual performance artist in Japan. Founder and director of Nippon International Performance Art Festival (NIPAF) will be having an intimate art talk with the crowd of artist at 98-B on August 26th at 1PM. Everyone is invited!

Seiji Shimoda was born on the 6th of July 1953, in the mountainous region of Nagano, Japan. In 1970 he started writing poems, joined high school student movement and for a brief moment, dropped out of high school and traveled inside Japan by hitchhike. Then in 1975 he started to focus on art, experimental theater, performance art in Osaka City University. He held many performances in Paris during his 3 months stay in 1982. In 1987 he started his Western European countries tour. And a host of invitations of more than 150 international art festivals in 37 countries followed, including Western, Central Europe, Asia, North & Central America.

98B

98B is a multi-disciplinary laboratory. It seeks to establish a convergence with artists, designers, curators, writers, musicians, film makers, educators, researchers, cultural workers, performers, architects and students together with the general public. It is deemed as a place for discussion and collaboration with and among its growing community. Talks and presentations on a range of topics are scheduled to facilitate diversity and generate exchange. Here, thoughts are shared and plans are formulated to better engage present and future stakeholders.

98B is a conceptual locale. Its physical presence is not bound by a particular site. The 98B venue exists wherever communal engagements are necessary or applicable.

How to get to 98b Escolta by train?
1. Take the LRT to Carriedo
2. Walk to Escolta and go to 413 Escolta St. First United Building after the creek. Landmark: East West Bank & UCPB on the groundfloor, In front of JRS Express/PLDT
3. 98B is at the Mezzanine!

QATAR FUNDS £8.7M GULF-ARCHIVE PROJECT AT BRITISH LIBRARY



Qatar funds £8.7m Gulf-archive project at British Library
More than half a million pages of Arabic manuscripts and East India Company archives to go online

By Riah Pryor. Web only
Published online: 25 July 2012

Qatar is funding a £8.7m project at London's British Library to make around 500,000 pages available online from the archives of the East India Company and the India Office in its collection, and a further 25,000 pages of medieval Arabic manuscripts.

The aim, according to Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the chairperson of the Qatar Foundation, is “to place Qatar at the centre of Gulf history studies”. In a British Library press statement, the institution says that it hopes that the digitisation of maps, photographs, manuscripts and letters will reveal the “forgotten history” of British involvement in the Gulf region. Explanatory text on the materials will also be posted, in both English and Arabic.

The project will involve the creation of 43 jobs. The team will work in partnership with the Qatar National Library.

The project is the result of an understanding agreed by the two British and Qatari libraries in 2010 that includes plans to work with other archives and institutions across Europe and the Gulf. A spokesman for the British Library says: “This is still in scope for later in the programme.” Qatar is also a major sponsor of the World Digital Library, a project run by Unesco and the US Library of Congress, which works to put historical documents online.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BUHAY PINOY


QUEER MANILA



Queer Manila attempts to create a visual discussion around gender and sexuality within local contexts and internationalised LGBT discourse. It explores the understandings, misunderstandings, conflicts, humours, loves, eroticisms, deviances, spectacles, and dilemmas within Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender identities. Artists have been invited to contribute personal stories, as well as comment on the notion of body politics, activism and culture across generations through various media. 

opening: Saturday, 25 August 2012, 2.00 PM (running till 16 September) at Manila Contemporary.

VISAYAN ISLANDS VISUAL ARTS EXHIBITION CONFERENCE 2012


Monday, August 20, 2012

PUSSY RIOT THREE FOUND GUILTY



Pussy Riot three found guilty
Two-year prison sentence sparks rallies and protests

By Sophia Kishkovsky. Web only
Published online: 17 August 2012

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich have been found guilty today, 17 August, of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. The term hooliganism since the days of the Soviet Union has strong overtones of political dissent. They were sentenced to two years in a prison colony for their guerrilla performance of a punk “prayer” against Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church in front of the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral last February, a Moscow court ruled on Friday.

Patriarch Kirill I, who is heavily supported by the government and in turn has given it his full allegiance, did not waver from his early hard opinion of the women’s action, calling it a “desecration” of the cathedral.

The scene outside the courtroom was tense. Among Pussy Riot’s supporters outside the court as the verdict was handed down were artists, some wearing colourful balaclavas like those worn by the defendants during their anti-Putin protest. Others were in T-shirts with a line from the punk prayer: “O Birthgiver of God, Get Rid of Putin.” Cossacks and Russian nationalists who have condemned Pussy Riot’s actions also crowded around the courthouse building in Moscow. Riot police periodically dragged away protesters, including the chess champion and opposition politician Garry Kasparov.

In the text of the verdict that she read outside of Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court this afternoon, Judge Maria Syrova said, according to the Interfax news agency, that Pussy Riot’s “action was carried out in a clearly disrespectful form, lacking in any moral basis and clearly expressing their religious hatred and enmity towards one of the religions that exists in our day— Christianity—infringing on its equal rights, identity, and great meaning to a great number of nations and peoples.”


Thursday, August 16, 2012

CURIOSITY



JCrisanto Martinez
Leopoldo Aguilar
Ekhon Abrogar
Dexter Balagtas
Carl Belda
Christian Carillaza
Orchid Chua
Gerlie Elison
Kathleen Gobasco
Gilbert Latoja
April Lucas
Lyndon Maglalang
Jessica Sarsaba
Franz Vocalan

18 August 2012, Saturday, 6:00 p.m.

LE CAFE CURIEUX
Bel-Air Soho Bldg., Polaris St. corner Badajos St.,
Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City, Philippines

GOLDFISH


Thursday, August 9, 2012

CURIOSITY


AN EVENING WITH ART AND MUSIC


HOW LONG CAN THE ART MARKET WALK ON WATER?



How long can the art market walk on water?
The wealth of the super-rich is keeping the miracle going but mostly for the best works

By Charlotte Burns. Market, Issue 237, July-August 2012
Published online: 05 July 2012

The top end of the art market appears to keep climbing, despite fresh crises in the currency and banking markets and ongoing turmoil in the Eurozone. The reportedly strong sales at Art Basel (13-17 June) indicate a buoyancy bearing little relationship to the problems in the global economy and the fact that major financial institutions are still struggling with risk management—J.P. Morgan was one of several banks to be downgraded by the credit agencies in June after losing $2bn in trades of illiquid credit derivatives. Meanwhile, according to a report in the New York Times, the growth of the art market is outstripping GDP (gross domestic product).

The $78m price tag for Untitled, 1954, a large orange canvas by the late Mark Rothko offered by Marlborough Gallery at Art Basel, was both a statement of intent and an indicator of confidence, at least at the very top level of the market. Works of this quality are rarely offered so openly by dealers, but the piece had been coaxed out of a private Swiss collection after the record-breaking $86.9m sale of another work by Rothko, Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961, at Christie’s a month earlier. “The best art has proved resilient.

Art Basel, and the quality it purveys, proves rather reassuring in such turbulent times,” says Andrew Renton, the director of Marlborough Contemporary. The 1954 Rothko was yet to find a buyer as we went to press, though Renton says that there are “very serious offers under discussion”.

Remarkably, 11 of the top 20 works ever sold at auction have hammered down since 2008, including the top three lots, which have all sold for more than $100m since 2010. New records have also been consistently set for individual artists. There was excitement at Christie’s sale of contemporary art in London on 27 June when a record £12.9m ($20.2m) was paid for Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled, 1981, breaking the previous record of $16.3m, set in May at Phillips de Pury in New York. This came 22 lots after a new record was set for a work by Yves Klein, when Le Rose du bleu (RE 22), 1960, sold for £23.6m ($36.8m), edging past the $36.5m record paid at Christie’s New York—again, just a month before.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

CURIOSITY: FRANZ VOCALAN


SOFTWARE COULD RECONSTRUCT MEDIEVAL MOSAICS



Software could reconstruct medieval mosaics
Project to conserve Coventry’s 5,000 stained-glass fragments—some believed to be the work of a master

By Robert Bevan. Conservation, Issue 237, July-August 2012
Published online: 05 July 2012

Experimental software developed to reassemble Cold War documents may soon shed light on the mysteries surrounding around 5,000 medieval stained-glass fragments from Coventry Cathedral, as well as on the work of John Thornton, one of England’s greatest stained-glass artists. The British arm of the World Monuments Fund is funding a project to prevent the glass from deteriorating.

The glass was removed from the cathedral before German air raids left the building a shattered ruin during the Second World War. The majority of the pieces have remained disassembled ever since, and have been stored in poor conditions next to the building’s boiler.

The chief executive of the World Monuments Fund, Jonathan Foyle, says that, to a medievalist, “it is like rediscovering [a painting from] Picasso’s blue period in fragments in a basement. It is a magnificent puzzle.”

The full history of the glass is not clear, but the fragments were mosaics, rather than complete windows, installed in the clerestory in the 19th century following earlier reorderings of the church.

Although some choice panels have been extracted, many of the fragments remain unexamined, having been catalogued eccentrically by colour and image. The categories include portraits of merchants and their wives, beasts and angels, architectural visions and calligraphy. Foyle describes them as a “medieval encyclopaedia”.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CURIOSITY: JESSICA SARSABA


DESTROY


BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS THEM



Biting the hand that feeds them
Activists turn “human zoo” into Occupy-style working group

By Christian Viveros-Fauné. News, Issue 237, July-August 2012
Published online: 04 July 2012          

What initially began as a disagreement over the curator Artur Zmijewski’s decision to put global activists on display during the 7th Berlin Biennale blossomed into an out-and-out political revolt, just before the closing of the international exhibition on 1 July.

Reacting to what members of Occupy and M15 (the Spanish protest movement) characterised as a curatorial framework that penned them into “a human zoo with a viewing platform where viewers watch[ed] activists eat, assemble, fight and sleep,” the activists issued the biennial’s authorities with a set of ultimatums. These demands included, among others, dismantling “the hierarchical structure of the biennial” and replacing it with an Occupy-style “working group”. These radical proposals were accepted by Zmijewski and the associate curator, Joanna Warsza, Berlin’s KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and the biennial’s funders, the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

According to a statement posted on the biennial’s website, “the invited global movements have challenged the hierarchical structure of the biennial” to “loosen the assumptions of cul­tural, institutional, and economic hierarchy and bring the 7th Berlin Biennale into line with the stated claims to ‘present art that actually works, makes its mark on reality, and opens a space where politics can be performed’”. The recent “decentring of power” that took place at the biennial meant that all curatorial, administrative, communications and budgetary decisions were made collectively at bi-weekly assemblies. Additionally, the curators were no longer called curators but “former curators”.

Zmijewski, a curator and artist known for commenting on the institutionalisation of art, first raised suspicions among key activists for making curatorial choices they said tended to “anthropologise and humiliate global movements”. A month into the two-month-long exhibition, speculation was rampant as to whether the artist/curator might be using the protest movements as part of his own meta-work of art. According to the Occupy Wall Street member Noah Singer, the activists risked becoming “the butt of jokes all over Berlin and maybe Europe”.


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