NEWS

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SERRA’S THREAT TO BROAD COLLECTION



Serra’s ‘threat’ to Broad collection
Curator argues artists’ law can place “moral rights” above historical accuracy

By Laura Gilbert. News, Issue 242, January 2012
Published online: 10 January 2013

An independent curator has claimed that Richard Serra threatened to withdraw one of his works from the collection of Eli and Edythe Broad if he was not allowed to rework the drawing. Magdalena Dabrowski, speaking to an audience of lawyers and art appraisers in New Yorkrecently, argued that historical accuracy is being compromised as a result of the Visual Artists Rights Act (Vara), which gives artists “moral rights” to disclaim their works and prevent their alteration by third parties.

Dabrowski organised an exhibition of drawings by Serra at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011. The artist reworked some of his earlier pieces for the show, which closed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in January 2012. 

Some of the drawings that Serra reworked had been damaged or destroyed, and the artist recreated them specifically for the show. The Met hinted at this by labelling the works with two dates: that of the original and that of the reworked version. Serra says it is not important whether audiences know which version they are seeing. “There’s no aura of originality because it’s an anonymous surface. It’s a difference without a value. I try to keep surfaces as anonymous as possible,” he tells The Art Newspaper. He says he owned the drawings he recreated, and destroyed the works they replaced.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE MARKET



What’s in store for the market?
The growing numbers of the super-rich should keep the auction houses happy in 2013, but there are tougher times ahead for some

By Georgina Adam. Comment, Issue 242, January 2012
Published online: 10 January 2013

In January 2012, the outlook for the art market was bleak, with turmoil in the eurozone and recession in many of the world’s major economies. Nothing changed—at the macro level, at least—throughout the year, so art dealers finished 2012 surprised that, for many, trade was not as bad as expected. If anything, the results at the top end of the market have never been better; more than $1bn was spent on art during last November’s sales in New York, with Christie’s racking up an all-time record for a contemporary art sale, at $412m. But will we witness similar success next year?

The 1% of the 1%

I believe the top end of the art market will continue to perform strongly, particularly in the contemporary, Impressionist and Modern art sectors. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the building of so many museums across the world will sustain buying. Although the reported “1,000 museums” in China may prove an exaggeration, many are under construction and are being stocked with works of art. Elsewhere, the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim is back on track (or at least the authorities in the emirate are anxious to tell us that this is the case). The Middle East, with its huge resources, wants to establish itself as a cultural hub on a par with other, more established centres. And billionaires’ “vanity museums”—sometimes an unfair criticism—need to buy top works of art as well. 

In this context, a recent book by Chrystia Freeland, Plutocrats: the Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, 2012 (Penguin Press), offers a fascinating analysis of the new global super-rich. She sees today’s incredible wealth as the result of two transformations: technological revolution and globalisation in the West, coupled with an Industrial Revolution-sized burst of growth in much of the rest of the world, leading to the convergence of two “gilded ages”.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

OPEN STUDIOS


BATTLE LINES DRAWN TO PROTECT VIEWS OF OLE LONDON



Battle lines drawn to protect views of old London
Preservationists square off with urban planners and developers over building skyscrapers near heritage sites like the Tower of London

By Martin Bailey. Web only
Published online: 09 January 2013


The British government is facing criticism from Unesco for allowing the Shard, Renzo Piano’s 95-storey commercial tower, and other skyscrapers to be built so close to the Tower of London. A response is being prepared by the UK authorities.

Unesco’s World Heritage Committee last year recommended that the UK should “regulate further build-up of the area surrounding the Shard of Glass building, ensuring that approved heights do not exceed a height whereby they would become visible above the on-site historic buildings”. 

The Shard, which will have a public viewing gallery that is due to open to visitors in February, now looms over the medieval walls of the Tower of London, when seen from its central green. The 1,016-foot skyscraper is the tallest building in western Europe. Although located 700 yards away from the Tower of London, across the Thames near London Bridge station, the Shard dominates the nearby skyline and can be seen from miles away in many parts of the city.

Preserving the views around the Tower of London has proved highly controversial. Earlier this month, the former heritage minister John Penrose, who stepped down last September, admitted that the Shard “nearly didn’t happen” because of its impact on the Tower. He is calling on English Heritage, with guidance from Unesco, to formulate a policy that would lead to “selecting the best views of our city and townscapes” to be protected in a similar way that buildings can be listed for preservation. 

The present situation, Penrose says, lacks clarity, which makes it difficult for developers and offers insufficient protection for the most important views. Two years ago, English Heritage published a report to evaluate the significance of historic urban views. Penrose now wants a more formal solution to the problem.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

PROTOTYPES


ARTISTS PRESS FOR BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS ON SAADIYAT ISLAND



Artists press for better working conditions on Saadiyat Island
The group Gulflabor has released a new letter following a report on labour practices at future museum sites

By Helen Stoilas. Web only
Published online: 09 January 2013

As construction begins on a new $653m branch of the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, a group of artists who have spoken out against labour conditions in the Gulf released another letter calling on all the cultural institutions opening museums on Saadiyat Island to “seek uniform and enforceable human rights protections for the workers working on their sites”. The group Gulflabor—which includes the artists Doug Ashford, Tania Brugera, Sam Durant, Mariam Ghani, Hans Haacke, Walid Raad and Michael Rakowitz, among others—first targeted the Guggenheim Foundation with a petition about the unfair working conditions at it’s Abu Dhabi site in 2011, which led to a boycott of the international museum by more than 130 artists, curators and writers.

The emirate’s Tourism, Development & Investment Company (TDIC), which is overseeing the massive cultural development project on Saadiyat Island, hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to serve as an independent monitor, and its first annual report was issued in September 2012. Among the finding was that more than 74% of workers paid recruitment and relocation fees before they were hired. Gulflabor is now urging the Guggenheim to respond to the report and “publicly commit themselves to the welfare and fair working conditions of those who will be constructing these cultural institutions”. 


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

LEAVE NO GLITCH BEHIND


ISTANBUL BIENNIAL TO EXPLORE THE PUBLIC DOMAIN



Istanbul Biennial to explore the public domain
Organisers launch a series of forums across the city in lead up to event

By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 08 January 2013

In contrast to the Istanbul biennial of 2011, which was held in one venue, the Antrepo complex of former warehouses on the banks of the Bosphorus, the 13th edition held this autumn will once again spread out across the city, with buildings such as former courthouses and schools acting as temporary venues. The curator Fulya Erdemci today outlined the conceptual framework of the biennial (14 September-10 November) which is entitled “Mom, am I Barbarian?”

According to a press statement, Erdemci’s highly academic vision will explore “the notion of the public domain as a political forum”, touching on the notions of democracy, civilisation, barbarity, and social engagement. An aim of the biennial is to re-examine the concept of “publicness” (installations may also be displayed in shopping malls, hotels and office buildings). 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

ENGLAND’S RECORD £8.6bn LOANS



England’s record £8.6bn loans
Fourfold increase in value of indemnified art borrowed—and nearly all of it returned safely

By Martin Bailey. Museums, Issue 242, January 2012
Published online: 08 January 2013

Museums and galleries in England borrowed art indemnified by the government worth a record £8.6bn last year—a fourfold increase over the past 15 years. Without this support, most venues would find it difficult to mount exhibitions with extremely high value loans; if the galleries that benefited from indemnity had taken out commercial insurance, it would have cost a total of more than £20m.

The increase mainly reflects the rise in prices on the art market, particularly for major works. However, the number of venues has also increased, largely due to new National Lottery-funded buildings, such as Tate Modern. Works lent to national museums accounted for 75% of the £8.6bn; loans to other venues made up the rest.

We have obtained the first detailed data on the UK’s Government Indemnity Scheme, which is administered by the Arts Council in England and by the respective governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The scheme covers art loaned from the UK and abroad, for both temporary exhibitions and long-term loans. (Loans from national museums to other UKmuseums are not covered, since the rationale is that the works belong to the nation and it would be inappropriate to use taxpayers’ money to indemnify them.) Indemnity covers conservation (in the event of damage) and replacement value (in the event of loss, through theft or fire).

Among the exhibitions in the past financial year that pushed up the figure was the National Gallery’s “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan” (9 November 2011-5 February 2012). 

Although only eight paintings by Leonardo were borrowed (plus works by other artists), the works were all extremely valuable. 



Monday, January 14, 2013

MIRO ON LOAN DAMAGED AT TATE MODERN



Miró on loan damaged at Tate Modern
Cost of repairs and depreciation was £203,000

By Martin Bailey. Museums, Issue 242, January 2012
Published online: 08 January 2013

An important painting by Miró was damaged in 2011 while on loan to Tate Modern, in an incident that went unreported in the media. The work was on loan from the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona and the cost of repairs and depreciation was £203,000, which is revealed in figures obtained by The Art Newspaper on government indemnity.

According to a visitor to the Miró retrospective, a man leant against the picture with both hands. A spokeswoman for the Tate says that the gallery believes it was an accident. None of the gallery’s staff witnessed the incident. 

Painting on White Background for the Cell of a Recluse I, 1968 (above), is part of a room-sized triptych, and the left-side picture is 3.5m long. The incident occurred on 7 July 2011 and the painting went back on display eight days later, after conservation work was completed by the Tate with advice from the Miró foundation. The conservation work would have cost a few thousand pounds, so the £203,000 indemnity payment by the UK government was mainly compensation for depreciation in its value. As its title suggests, the acrylic on canvas is largely white, with a wiggling black line. Although conservation masks the damage, the repair is still just barely visible.

After London, the Miró retrospective travelled to Barcelona. It closed in August 2012 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where the damaged painting was not shown.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

POMPIDOU SHOW IN SHANGHAI POWER STATION CAUSES A STIR



Pompidou show in Shanghai Power Station causes a stir
Work by Andy Warhol and Malcolm Morley generate mixed reaction

By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 07 January 2013

A large-scale painting by Yan Pei-Ming, International Landscape by Night, 2011, is on show in an exhibition organised by the Centre Pompidou at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, located on the banks of the Huangpu River. The museum, which opened last October, is China’s first state-run contemporary art institution on the mainland. The Pompidou will receive substantial loan fees for 119 works included in the exhibition “Electric Fields: Surrealism and Beyond” (until 15 March).

The show, displayed across the top floor of the seven-storey building, examines the influence of Surrealism on contemporary art through six sections, including ones on collage and automatism. Some of the works on display, such as an explicit painting by Malcolm Morley Cradle of Civilisation with American Woman, 1982, and Andy Warhol’s silkscreen Big Electric Chair, 1967-68, raised eyebrows at the exhibition launch last month. (Warhol’s portraits of Mao Zedong will not be included in a touring retrospective, organised by the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, which is due to open at the Power Station of Art later this year.) 


Saturday, January 12, 2013

GANITO KAMI NOON....PAANO KAYO MGAYON?


GRANADA’S ALHAMBRA THROWS OPEN DOORS TO WASHINHTON IRVING’S ROYAL CHAMBERS



Granada's Alhambra throws open doors of Washington Irving's royal chambers
Rooms where American writer stayed in Spain are revealed for January only

By Javier Pes. Web only
Published online: 06 January 2013

Visitors this month to the Moorish palace overlooking the southern Spanish city of Granada will be able to see the rooms where the American writer and diplomat Washington Irving stayed in the spring of 1829. The author of Tales of the Alhambra lived in rooms that are part of a suite built in the early 16th century when Charles V ruled Spain. Known as the Emperor's Chambers, the rooms are part of the palace's expansion and conversion to Christian use.

Above the door of the room known as the Emperor's Study there is a marble plaque commemorating Irving's extended visit to the Alhambra during what he described as his "rambles" around the old cities of Spain. Frescos in the Emperor's Chambers were painted between 1535 and 1537 by Julio Aquiles and Alejandro Mayner, two Italian artists who were followers of Raphael. While the rooms, also known as Washington Irving's Chambers, are organised around a patio, they are connected by an internal corridor, something not found in the original Moorish parts of the palace

The opening of the rooms during January is part of the Alhambra's policy of providing temporary access to parts of the palace normally closed to the public. Groups of up to 30 people at a time can see the spaces. 


Friday, January 11, 2013

40TH LIKHANG SINING 2013


DON’T SAY ETHNIC OR TRIBAL: THE WORD IS ‘CUSTOMARY’



Don’t say ethnic or tribal: the word is ‘customary’
The Asia Pacific Triennial pulls in Papua New Guinea and West Asia

By Anna Somers Cocks. News, Issue 243, February 2012
Published online: 03 January 2013

In London last November, the director of the Tate, Nicholas Serota, said that it would be spending around £2m a year—40% of its acquisitions budget—on art from outside Europe and North America. The Guggenheim and Museum of Modern Art in New York have announced similar policies. The question is, how to find out about art and artists in areas of the world that often do not have an evolved gallery system or, indeed, a defined history of contemporary art (what does “contemporary” mean, for example, in Papua New Guinea or, indeed, in China?).

There is one museum that has been working on this long before everyone else: the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, which 20 years ago held the first Asia Pacific Triennial (APT). In 2006, the gallery opened the Gallery of Modern Art, forming Qagoma, whose acting director Suhanya Raffel says: “We now accept that contemporary art is syncretic and cross-cultural, that canonical assumptions about art history are routinely questioned.” 

Australia was perhaps uniquely prepared 20 years ago to look at art from other cultures on its own terms. It was in December 1992 that Prime Minister Paul Keating made what is now considered to be one of the greatest speeches of Australia’s history, in which he recognised the damage Western settlers had done to the Aboriginal people. “We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclusion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice.”

Right-thinking Australians have become acutely sensitive to the need not to view the West as the sole arbiter of civilisation and culture. Serota so much admired the way Qagoma has put this message into practice that four years ago he sent a group of curators there to learn their method, which can be summed up as “collective effort”, both inside the gallery and out in the field. Raffel says that they use their vast network of contacts—artists, writers, curators, thinkers, architects, anyone involved in the material culture of today—throughout the two-thirds of the world that they cover in the APTs. 


Thursday, January 10, 2013

OUR HOME TO ADMIRE


SAN FRANCISCO’S WATTIS INSTITUTE GETS NEW GALLERY SPACE



San Francisco’s Wattis Institute gets new gallery space
And looks for a director in the new year

By Pac Pobric. Web only
Published online: 03 January 2013

The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at the California College of the Arts is due to re-open in the new year with a new exhibition and event space.

Several new shows will inaugurate the space when it opens on 22 January 2013, including “Claire Fontaine: Redemptions” and an exhibition of Werner Herzog’s film “Hearsay of the Soul”, which was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial in New York. The institute’s new space is a renovated building completed by the architect Mark Jensen, who also designed the sculpture garden at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

Changes will also come to the staff at the Wattis, as it searches for a new director after the departure of Jens Hoffmann for the Jewish Museum, where he started as deputy director in November. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SITE OF MARKS



Site of Marks by ERIC ZAMUCO

When about 10 million of your compatriots are strewn around approximately 200 countries, tropes of displacement and flux get invariably bandied about so often that the subject plunges to cliché status and thus get dismissed far too quickly. And yet the push and pull of diaspora remain arguably compelling, making the case for Zamuco’s fascination with the volatile state of objects, bodies, and places as metaphor for his own in-betweeness patently logical. Setting up and packing house from the American Midwest to the East Coast till finally returning to homebase in the Philippines two months ago, Zamuco’s fascination with the tenuousness of image and ramshackle materiality manifests this time around in Site of Marks in it’s literally shredded traces of the artists’ recent past alluding to tenements sitting next door to edificies now increasingly becoming iconic of our own supposedly dragon-on-the-verge economy. These faux visceral space markers hope to beg questions of memory’s non-fixity and seminal corporeal and psychogeographic hindsight.

Site of Marks by ERIC ZAMUCO opens on 10 January 2013 simultaneously with Conversation 17 by CORINNE DE SAN JOSE & Mirages by ALLAN BALISI . All shows run until 9 February 2013 at Silverlens at 2/F YMC Bldg., II, 2320 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati. For inquiries call 816-0044, 0917-587-4011 or email manage@silverlensgalleries.com

Gallery hours are Monday to Friday from 10am to 7pm and Saturdays from 1 to 6pm.

www.silverlensgalleries.com / facebook.com/slgalleries

Words by Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez

PORTUGESE BILLIONAIRE ADDS WORKS INSPIRED BY BAMIYAN BUDDHAS TO HIS VAST SCULPTURE PARK



Portuguese billionaire adds works inspired by Bamiyan Buddhas to his vast sculpture park
Sculptures by Fernando Botero and Tony Cragg are also on show in José Berardo's space north of Lisbon

By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 01 January 2013

The Portuguese billionaire José Berardo has added an homage to the sixth-century Bamiyan Buddhas, destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, to his sculpture park in Quinta dos Loridos, north of Lisbon. “We have not recreated the Buddhas themselves, rather we commissioned 6,000 tons of stone sculptures from [Chinese] artisans in the Shijiazhuang area,” says Zaid Abdali, the project manager, adding “6,000 tons being the estimated weight of the lost sculptures”. There are 1,217 sculptures dotted around the 35-hectare park, which has opened in phases since 2006. There is even an army of 45 terracotta warriors based on the real one discovered protecting the tomb of the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huangdi.

On 26 February 2001, the leader of the then Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, issued an order calling for the destruction of “all statues of non-Islamic shrines located in the different parts of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”. Within five days the Taliban said it had destroyed two-thirds of the country’s statues, including the Bamiyan Valley’s colossal Buddhas. Berardo, the chairman of the investment company Metalgest, says he was “profoundly shocked” by the iconoclasm, prompting the ambitious sculpture project. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

THE DRAG SHOW


CONVERSATION 17



Conversation 17 by CORINNE DE SAN JOSE

With Conversation 17, CORINNE DE SAN JOSE methodically wraps everyday objects with fabric, neither to obscure nor hide, but to transform the materiality of her subjects— hammer, vase, wine bottle—into objets d’art.

Like her previous exhibit titles, Conversation 17 is a song reference, a play on the title of a song by The National. She connects the song to the idea of suffering from oblivion, or losing identity, grasping to control how your surroundings affect you. 

The subjects are all concealed, completely wrapped, but there is no doubt as to what they are. By wrapping, their essential form is revealed rather than concealed. She has picked the most mundane of objects, binds it so that we will never know of its make or type. The selection is deliberate; we easily associate these objects with gender—from the sharp phallic tools to the curvy and round vessels. In the final process, the only visible layer is what we would easily associate with the feminine—floral fabric set against another floral fabric. Layer upon layer, the juxtaposition is at once jarring and beautiful.

But it’s the patterns of fabric that have a mesmeric effect, like staring into a stereogram. We are drawn in to look a few seconds longer than we originally intended, the clashing prints a visual, tactile overload, a still life that demands more of your time.

To wrap something is also to protect it, and the impulse to protect, to heighten that which is basic or essential is perhaps the strongest conceptual link to CORINNE’s past works.

Conversation 17 by CORINNE DE SAN JOSE opens on 10 January 2013 simultaneously with Mirages by ALLAN BALISI & Site of Marks by ERIC ZAMUCO. All shows run until 9 February 2013 at Silverlens at 2/F YMC Bldg., II, 2320 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati. For inquiries call 816-0044, 0917-587-4011 or email manage@silverlensgalleries.com

Gallery hours are Monday to Friday from 10am to 7pm and Saturdays from 1 to 6pm.

www.silverlensgalleries.com / facebook.com/slgalleries

Words by Monster Jimenez and Mario Cornejo

TRACEY EMIN AWARDED A CBE



Tracey Emin awarded a CBE
Artists, designers and curators recognised in Britain's New Year honours list

By Javier Pes. Web only
Published online: 29 December 2012

Artists, designers and curators are recognised in the 2013 New Year honours list. The artist Tracey Emin will receive a CBE for services to the arts as will the curator and academic Dawn Ades, the director of the Cultural Olympiad Ruth MacKenzie and Alex Beard, the deputy director of the Tate. The illustrator Quentin Blake and the designer Kenneth Grange both get knighthoods, while Stella McCartney has been awarded an OBE, as has the artist Tacita Dean.


Monday, January 7, 2013

MIRAGES



Mirages by ALLAN BALISI

Alan Balisi's "Mirages" at SLab Gallery features large format monochromatic paintings of jarring lyrical images cinematic in their aplomb suspense that explore the phantasmagoria of uncertain meaning melancholic over fictional ends. 

The paintings: A man looks perplexed over a book with blank pages. He is permeated with a foreboding existential horror creeping into the core of his beliefs that maybe there is only nothing. A woman sits by the bedside with a gesture that she is talking over the phone, and yet this is uncertain because the picture seems incomplete with certain details blurred beyond recognition. She becomes literally a mirage that parallels the fictional capacity of picture making to embellish reality. A piece of cloth fluttering in the wind reaches the height of the moment when it touches the peak of the mountain, apparently, making a shape that resemble the much rigid bigger mass. A visual pun connecting two seemingly similar forms but each having different content, paradoxical but true, that resembles the flattened reality of painting. A group of young men are jubilant in their celebration of the next. The word "end' hangs above their heads, creating ambivalent connections of what the picture could mean in terms of finality, which also opens it up to various fictive possibilities.

The culture of copies does bring many questions pertaining to the nature of how we perceive and interpret reality. From painting's standpoint, some things can be taken out, or maximized to effect, without losing grip of reality held by outward impressions, but allowing the mind to take control of the interpretation of reality as opposed to relinquishing it over to what the eye can normally see. Alan Balisi manipulates the picture deftly like a narrator who tests the limits of our attention, to challenge our notions of reality, that is, if we can still believe what we see, given the fact that all things appear normal. Perhaps this is still what makes painting credible, not so much because of its capacity to create an illusion, but rather, with the way it can transform semblances of the real into replicas with a negative aura - the other that would critique the actual. Reorganization, repetition, revision, and patterning of internal components are characteristics of a language that can make familiar utterances into a unique individual style. This idiosyncratic stylization becomes essential especially within a practice such as painting that through time has become compacted with various modes of expression, which in itself makes it such a unique language different from other mediums of representation. Resemblances have become mere appearances, like the real that repeats itself everyday without alteration of our cognition of it and yet life essentially is different from day to day depending on how we live it, in how we use it to each of our own purpose. Alan Balisi's works had shown us that through a touch of ironic humor, mystery, poetic reflection, and melancholic introspection, that the language of painting facilitates critical attention more than its mere appearance.

Mirages by ALLAN BALISI opens on 10 January 2013 simultaneously with Conversation 17 by CORINNE DE SAN JOSE & Site of Marks by ERIC ZAMUCO. All shows run until 9 February 2013 at Silverlens at 2/F YMC Bldg., II, 2320 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati. For inquiries call 816-0044, 0917-587-4011 or email manage@silverlensgalleries.com

Gallery hours are Monday to Friday from 10am to 7pm and Saturdays from 1 to 6pm.

PALESTINIAN STUDENT WINS NEW SCHOLARSHIP PRIZE



Palestinian student wins new scholarship prize
Caspian Arts Foundation is raising funds for others to study in London

By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 28 December 2012

The Caspian Arts Foundation, a London-based non-profit organisation, has awarded its inaugural education scholarship prize, enabling a Middle Eastern student to pursue a postgraduate course at the University of the Arts London. The award winner is Bisan Abu-Eisheh, who obtained his undergraduate degree at the International Academy of Art in Palestine.

A charity auction held last October at Christie’s Dubai raised more than $180,000 for the scholarships. Other fundraising events planned this year include a panel discussion at Sotheby's London on 23 January. 

A spokeswoman for the foundation says: “The aim is to invite potential sponsors with interests in the Middle East and North Africa, for them to learn more about art in the region and the foundation.” 

The Caspian Arts Foundation was established last year by Nina Mahdavi, a former consultant in property portfolio investment and management. 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

PROPOSAL TO SELL PHOTOGRAPH BY MUNCH IN OSLO MUSEUM TO POMPIDOU PROVES CONTROVERSIAL



Proposal to sell photograph by Munch in Oslo museum to Pompidou proves controversial
Politicians to decide whether to deaccession self-portrait bequeathed to the city

By Clemens Bomsdorf. Web only

Published online: 27 December 2012

A proposal to sell a vintage print of a photograph by Edvard Munch to the Centre Pompidou, Paris, has been met with criticism in Oslo.

The print is in the collection of the Munch Museum, Oslo. One of an edition of five, it shows Munch in profile photographed in his garden at Ekely, around 1930. 

At the end of November, the government of Oslo put before the city’s parliament the proposed deaccession of the photograph, part of the collection that the artist bequeathed to the city. In the proposal document it says: “The sale to a public international institution will ensure that Munch’s work is made accessible for the public and by that secures the [artist’s] will.” 

But Ivar Johansen, a member of the city parliament for the left-wing party SV, says that in Munch’s will, the artist said he wanted his works to be kept together. Any sale runs counter to Munch’s wishes, Johansen says. A long-term loan would be a better solution in order to increase access Munch’s works, he says, fearing that if the sale goes ahead other will follow. 

The city government is asking parliament to vote on whether to sell further photographs by Munch, “when such cases are coming up and are justified from a professional point of view”, says the report to politicians. A decision is due to be made in 2013. 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

OPPONENTS FEAR BILLION-ROUBLE SCHEME TO “PRESERVE AND REDEVELOP” CENTRAL ST. PETER



Opponents fear billion-rouble scheme to “preserve and redevelop” central St Petersburg
Conservationists and planning experts say $2.8bn pilot projects are a threat to historical character of the heart of the city

By Sophia Kishkovsky. Web only
Published online: 26 December 2012

Conservationists who fought attempts by Gazprom, the State-controlled gas giant, to build a skyscraper opposite the Smolny Convent complex in the centre of St Petersburg are now facing another threat to the city’s architectural heritage—government plans to redevelop two historic districts in the city centre.

A resolution passed by the city legislature, signed by the St Petersburg governor Georgy Poltavchenko in November, singles out the neighbourhoods of Konyushennaya and North Kolomna-New Holland for “preservation and development” as part of a “special purpose programme” that is due to start this year and be completed by 2018. The city says that the cost of the redevelopment will be $2.8bn, with $2.2bn coming from the municipal budget and $579m from private investors. Poltavchenko said last summer that overhauling the entire city centre would cost an estimated $129.5bn.

The project is meant to serve as a pilot for the rest of the historical centre of St Petersburg. Konyushennaya lies between the Hermitage and the State Russian Museum. New Holland is a former naval yard near the Mariinsky Theater, which is being turned into a contemporary arts centre by the billionaire Roman Abramovich and his art collector partner Dasha Zhukova. 

City officials say the redevelopment will preserve historic buildings (if necessary by rebuilding them). They also want to rehouse people living in communal apartments, which are a throwback to the Soviet era, and create new pedestrian zones. 


Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 AMELIA LAPEÑA BONIFACIO LITERARY CONTEST


VAST DATABASE OF ITALIAN CHURCH’S ART AND ARTEFACTS GOES LIVE



Vast database of Italian church’s art and artefacts goes live
Experts generally positive, but Florence and Naples are gaps that need filling

By Ermanno Rivetti. Web only
Published online: 24 December 2012

The Vatican has published a vast online catalogue of the Italian Catholic Church’s artistic heritage. The project, which began 16 years ago, is ongoing but in the meantime the Church hopes the database will help in the recovery of works if they are stolen.

The website contains almost 3.5m objects, from paintings and sculptures to ornaments, crucifixes, altarpieces and other items belonging to some of Italy’s 63,773 churches in 216 dioceses. The database will be subject regularly updated. Thousands of works held in the churches of certain dioceses, such as those of Florence and Naples, are still to be catalogued.

The project is a collaboration between Church and State, involving the dioceses, the Ministry of Culture, the Italian Episcopal Conference and the National Office for Ecclesiastical Heritage. Initial funding was set at around €51.6m.

The database will eventually be expanded to include the Church’s architectural heritage and literary archives.

Users can search by artist, subject matter, object, diocese and date range and the search results can be filtered further if needed, but experts have pointed out a number of flaws in the system that suggest more work is needed. 

David Ekserdjian, an art historian and curator, who specialises in the 16th-century Italian Renaissance, says the database has a number of absences and inconsistencies. For example, a copy of Caravaggio’s Madonna of Loreto, 1604-06, is registered in the diocese of Siena, Tuscany, and dated to between 1600 and 1649, whereas the original, in the church of Sant’Agostino, Rome, is absent. Similarly, Donatello’s wooden sculpture of St John the Baptist, 1438, in Venice’s Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari church, is nowhere to be found, but a wooden crucifix that was only recently attributed to Donatello, dated to between 1440 and 1445, is already registered in the diocese of Padua. 


Thursday, January 3, 2013

THEN IT HAPPENED


RUSSIANS INVITED TO BUY BACK OR RENT THEIR OLD FAMILY ESTATES



Russians invited to buy back or rent their old family estates
Culture minister backs plan to save historic monuments heading to rack and ruin by privatising them

By Sophia Kishkovsky. Web only
Published online: 22 December 2012

The Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has begun a campaign to auction pre-revolutionary estates and mansions to save them from potential ruin. He said that architectural monuments in the worst condition would be a priority and would be offered for long-term rent or even sale to those who can demonstrate that they are committed to restoration.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia rejected the idea of property restitution to descendants of the noble families and wealthy merchants who owned such homes before the Bolshevik Revolution.

Medinsky said that the government had failed to follow through on previous plans to manage the properties and that the situation had reached a crisis point.

“There are 150,000 [architectural] monuments in the country,” said the minister according to the RIA Novosti state news agency. “Some of them are in private hands, a majority are in state hands and even more are in a state of ruin. About ten years ago there were instructions to hand over about 2,500 monuments to the monuments administration agency. [But] the government’s instruction was not carried out. Two hundred and forty-one monuments were handed over. The monuments are in [a] horrific condition.”

Medinsky said that the ministry had already proposed that Rosimushchestvo, the state property agency, auction the right to rent those sites that are in good condition at market rates, on the condition that they are properly maintained. Sites that are in a ruined state would be leased at a peppercorn rate. Olga Dergunova, Russia’s deputy economic development minister and the head of Rosimushchestvo, said firm plans were yet to be put in place, however. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

50 ILONGGO ARTISTS


POWER OF HUNGARY’S CONSERVATIVE ART ACADEMY GROWS



Power of Hungary’s conservative art Academy grows
Opponents disrupt meeting of influential right-wing group

By Julia Michalska. Web only
Published online: 20 December 2012

Around a dozen protesters managed to crash the general assembly meeting of the Hungarian Academy of Arts (MMA) on 15 December. The Academy is an ultra conservative artists’ association funded by the Hungarian right-wing government of Viktor Orban. The activists took the stage, unfurling a banner that read: “The MMA is exclusive, art is free.” Hungarian media reported a violent struggle with security forces as the group was led out of the meeting.

Fears have been growing over the MMA’s tightening grip on the Hungarian cultural sector. Last month, Gabor Gulyas, the director of the Mucsarnok, Budapest, a leading venue for contemporary art, stepped down. Gulyas said he was no longer able to “work independently” after the government announced that the Academy will take over the artistic and organisational leadership of the institution at the start of the new year. Gulyas, who was himself appointed by Orban and only took office in 2011, said it was his “moral duty to resign”. 

The decision to transfer control of the Mucsarnok to the Academy was prompted by the Mucsarnok’s exhibition “What Is It To Be Hungarian?” which was branded “national blasphemy” by the MMA’s 80-year-old leader, Gyorgy Fekete. According to the Hungarian branch of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), membership of the Academy “requires a commitment to the nation, a certain ‘national sentiment’”. Artists who criticise the government abroad are not eligible for membership, Fekete said in an interview in the weekly Hungarian magazine Demokrata. 

The Academy was founded as a private association in 1992. In 2011, it was transformed into a public body, in a process that, according to AICA “lacked the minimum [level] of transparency”. The government gave the Academy a large budget (around $114m), and opulent headquarters. From 1 January 2013, the leadership of the Academy will be involved in decisions over public cultural funding and participate in the selection of museum directors, according to AICA. 

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