Thursday, February 14, 2013


February 16 – April 20, 2013
Opening Reception: February 16, Saturday, 4pm, Ateneo Art Gallery

Women Artists from Germany, Sweden, Australia, Denmark and Manila with a post-feminist edge are featured in an exhibition at the Ateneo Art Gallery from February 16-April 20. Opening reception is on Saturday, February 16, 4pm. The participating artists, Maria Cruz (Berlin/Sydney/Manila), Lizza May David (Berlin/Manila), Tracey Moffatt (Sydney/New York), Claudia Del Fierro (Chile/Sweden), Annika Eriksson (Berlin/Sweden), Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen (Copenhagen) and Kiri Dalena (Manila) have international careers that see them exhibiting around the US, Europe and Asia. Rasmussen was part of the Danish Pavillion at the 54th Venice Biennale, Del Fiero has was included in the 9th Havana Biennale in Cuba and the 4th Mercosul Biennial in Brazil, Moffatt has just recently had a solo exhibition at the MOMA New York, Eriksson was a part of the 2005 Venice Biennale, Cruz was a part of the PS1 International Studio Program in NY, Dalena’s video work was one of the select pieces to be included in the prestigious Short Film Festival in Oberhausen Germany and David has been shown widely in Europe and the Philippines.

The exhibition, YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT, features contemporary female artists working with video, painting, photography, media and technology, creating process-oriented works that often involve collaborations, social interaction and the inclusion of real situations in their pieces. Their works reveals certain biographies wherein the personal becomes political. Manila, as a developing country, has been ranked high globally - as a country leading gender equality, closely following European counterparts. This makes it a very interesting point of interest for bold works that are open to in-depth research, chance and participation. This exhibition is curated by Lian Ladia.

Artist talks are also programmed to happen during the duration of the exhibition at the Ateneo Art Gallery (Feb 16, 2pm with Maria Cruz, February 17, 2pm with Lizza May David), The Ateneo Library of Women’s Writings (March 8, 2pm with Kiri Dalena), Alternative space 98B (February 17, 2pm with Claudia Del Fierro), and Green Papaya Art Projects (February 13, 7pm with Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen).

Saturday, February 9, 2013



New York Old Master auctions preview: so much to see, so little time
Twelve sales in three days make the season a sprint rather than a stroll—but works by Batoni and Carracci are worth slowing down to see

By Paul Jeromack. Art Market, Issue 242, January 2012
Published online: 21 January 2013

Every year it gets worse. Each January, Sotheby’s and Christie’s New York hold their annual Old Master blowout. And every year, they cram their competing sales into shrinking time periods, making it impossible for anyone to attend a paintings sale without missing a drawings sale and vice versa. Twelve sales (eight at Sotheby’s and four at Christie’s) are, with one exception, shoehorned into three days—30 and 31 January and 1 February. Avoiding the daytime crush is Sotheby’s evening sale of works from the estate of Giancarlo Baroni (29 January, including an early El Greco—The Entombment of Christ, mid-1570s, estimated at $1m to $1.5m). The scheduling is particularly frustrating this year because both houses feature unusually strong offerings. Here are some of the notable lots.


Christie’s big event is the Renaissance sale on 30 January, featuring paintings, drawings, prints and decorative arts. The star lot is a rare earlytondo by Fra Bartolommeo: The Madonna and Child, around 1495, in its original frame (est $10m-$15m). This is followed by not one, but two, Botticellis: the recently identified and very early Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate, painted in the early 1460s, when Botticelli was still in the studio of his teacher, Fra Fillippo Lippi (est $3m-$5m), and the “Rockefeller” Madonna and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist, around 1493 (est $5m-$7m). More exciting is a later Italian painting—a rediscovered altarpiece of The Annunciation, around 1585, by Annibale Carracci, which until now was only known to the wider public from an old, undated black-and-white photograph.

Excluding the sketchy head studies and genre subjects of varying quality that appear at auction every so often and are attributed to various members of the Carracci family, paintings by Annibale are seldom encountered, and this well-preserved, relatively early work is of the highest quality, melding the influences of his cousin Ludovico, Titian and Correggio. It is the most important work by the artist to come to market since Boy Drinking, around 1582-83, which came from the Peter Jay Sharp collection and sold at Sotheby’s New York in 1994 for $2.2m, and which is now at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Christie’s estimates The Annunciation at $1.5m to $2.5m, which seems cheap. 

Friday, February 8, 2013


Open it and they will come. You hope…
A number of galleries are making the move in search of the right area

By Charlotte Burns. Focus, Issue 242, January 2012
Published online: 16 January 2013

One of the great truisms about Los Angeles is the huge amount of cheap space available. But, in a city so vast and with such fast-moving cultural centres, finding the best place to establish a space can be complicated, according to galleries and LA real estate agents.

Culver City—cluster central

“When we moved here nine years ago, it cost $1 per sq. ft. Now it’s much more, though still affordable,” says Tim Blum, the co-founder of Blum & Poe. “If you are doing great things in a great space, serious people will show up. But to keep growing with your artists you’ll have to keep up on real estate moves because to be at the top of the heap you must have great space, great programming, great parking and be easy to find,” he adds.

After the gallery bought and renovated a building in the area, others followed, and Culver City remains one of the few real gallery hubs in Los Angeles. Nonetheless, real estate agent Martin McDermott of Avison Young says that while galleries in the area “got close to pulling off a solid location, it lacks parking and amenities—and things works best when restaurants and bars join in with the galleries”.


Thursday, February 7, 2013



Keeping it strictly old school
LA teaching is still top for next generation of artists

By Charlotte Burns and Helen Stoilas. Focus, Issue 242, January 2012
Published online: 16 January 2013

Los Angeles’ art schools are the stuff of legend. Since the 1960s, students have flocked to the city to study under the likes of Allan Kaprow, Chris Burden, John Baldessari and Paul McCarthy. The system of artists teaching artists has made the city into a mecca for creative talent, although the local art market has struggled to establish itself as a major hub, and the city’s museums have yet to attract the visitors and patronage enjoyed by other centres such as New York or London. Such is the schools’ wealth and reputation that the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (LA MoCA), recently embarked on discussions to create a partnership with the University of Southern California (USC), which is in the middle of an aggressive $6bn fundraising drive.

“LA is first and foremost a city where the schools dominate,” says Paul Schimmel, the former chief curator at LA MoCA. “The best and the brightest apply to LA because the schools have unprecedented success—if you get in, then you’re one step closer.”

“The MFA programmes attract a lot of talented young artists, but also established artists, fostering an intergenerational conversation. It is very Californian—the casual absence of hierarchy,” says Mieke Marple, the co-director of the Night Gallery.

The not-so-secret ingredient to the success of LA’s art schools is that the teachers are working artists themselves. “When you had people like Robert Irwin and Ed Moses teaching at UC Irvine in the 1960s, it demonstrated to the other schools that bringing in strong personalities creates a fulcrum around which you can build a programme,” says the director of the LA Louver gallery, Peter Goulds, who came to the West Coast as a University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) visiting lecturer in 1972.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013



Munich to get its own Fourth Plinth
Scandinavian artists Elmgreen and Dragset are organising temporary art commissions in Germany

By Clemens Bomsdorf. Web only
Published online: 15 January 2013

Elmgreen and Dragset plan to bring their sculpture for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth to Germany. A replica of the artists’ boy on a hobbyhorse work, currently on view in London until April, is to be placed on Wittelsbacherplatz, a square in downtown Munich, as part of a €1.2m project to bring art in public spaces, organised by the Scandinavian artists. “For ages the Fourth Plinth was a problem for London. It just stood there, empty. Then it became one of the most fantastic art projects. Sometimes you need problems to get great ideas. Maybe Munich does not have enough problems, so we are bringing them one,” says Michael Elmgreen.

Elmgreen and Dragset have been commissioned by the German city to organise the temporary art project titled “A Space Called Public/Hoffentlich Öffentlich” (Hopefully public) starting 29 January and running until September. “We chose the two because they question public space with very unconventional projects and also have a good track record as curators,” says Hans-Georg Küppers, the director of Munich’s department of arts and culture.

The pair have invited other artists to participate, and the first work to go on view is Phantom by the British artist Stephen Hall, a reproduction of the empty Fourth Plinth itself. Other artists contributing to “A Space Called Public” include Kirsten Pieroth, Ragnar Kjartansson, Ivan Argote, Henrik Olesen, Han Chong and Peter Weibel.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013



Artist interview, Walid Raad: a mediator between worlds
The artist challenges historical narratives in his Islamic-inspired show at the Louvre this month

By Louisa Buck. Features, Issue 242, January 2012
Published online: 15 January 2013

The art of Walid Raad uses the language and procedures of museums and academia—the archive, the slide show, the PowerPoint presentation, the wall-mounted information panel, the documentary photograph—to exude an air of informative authority. In his illustrated lectures and his multimedia installations this month at the Louvre, and, among other places, at the 2002 Whitney Biennial, the 2003 Venice Biennale, Documentas 11 and 13 and London’s Whitechapel Gallery, the 45-year-old artist comes across as a scholarly researcher-historian, examining the recent history of his native Lebanon and, over the past five years, the forging of art history in the context of the new art institutions proliferating in the Arab world.

In his latest project, Raad, who divides his time between Beirut and New York, where he is associate professor of art at the Cooper Union, continues to assume the role of a documenter and assembler of information and artefacts. “Walid Raad: Preface to the First Edition”, his new show in the Louvre’s Salle de la Maquette (19 January-8 April), consists of a video, a sculptural installation and a publication. They each take as their starting point the museum’s new department of Islamic art and its collection of 18,000 objects, some of which are destined to be loaned to the new Louvre in Abu Dhabi.

“These works are part of a larger, ongoing project that proceeds from the acceleration in the building of this new infrastructure for the arts in the Gulf, particularly in Abu Dhabi and Qatar,” Raad says, speaking on the telephone from his studio in New York. “I don’t know that much about Islamic art. All this is very new to me, but some of these objects I see in the display in the Louvre and at the Met—their lines, their forms and their colours—have been very productive for me. I saw the opening for a new kind of concept, a new creative act.”

This new concept manifests itself in Raad’s video, which features 28 Islamic artefacts from the Louvre that have been earmarked for its Jean Nouvel-designed sister museum on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. The video revolves around Raad’s notion that, “when these objects travel overseas, they will change in ways that are more insidious than the curators, conservators or museum directors could have predicted”. It is the story of these altered objects—how they have changed and why—that comprises Raad’s documentary film and the accompanying book, Preface to the Third Edition. “One person will be convinced that the objects themselves have changed and that change will only appear in certain photographs that this person will make,” he says.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Aristocrat’s Impressionist collection to be sold
Paintings by Monet, Sisley, Pissarro and Gauguin, estimated at more than £8m and assembled by ninth Earl of Jersey, to be auctioned at Sotheby’s next month

By Martin Bailey. Web only
Published online: 15 January 2013

Impressionist pictures owned by the Earl of Jersey are to be sold in London on 5-6 February. “They represent the best collection of Impressionism assembled by a British aristocrat,” according to Philip Hook, a senior specialist at Sotheby’s.

The ninth Earl of Jersey (1910-98) began to collect before the Second World War, initially under the influence of his second wife, the Hollywood actress Virginia Cherrill (she had been earlier married to actor Cary Grant). Most pictures were bought in the 1940s, initially for their house in Mayfair, in central London.

The two most important paintings coming up for sale are Monet’s snowscape Le Givre à Giverny, 1885, (est £4m-£6m) and Sisley’s La Tamise avec Hampton Church, 1874, (est £900,000-£1.2m). The Sisley, which has been recently cleaned, was done during one of the Paris-born artist’s visits to England.

Other works in the evening sale are Pissarro’s La Seine à Port-Marly, 1872, Monet’s Un moulin à Zaandam, 1871, Boudin’s Scène de plage à Trouville, 1868, and Gauguin’s La maison blanche, 1885, (est £800,000-£1.2m). The Gauguin appears to have been exhibited in the final Impressionist exhibition as “The Château of the English Lady”, which raises the intriguing question of who was owner of the house near Varengeville.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Art Basel Hong Kong embraces Asian identity
Organisers announce the roll call for the first edition under new ownership

By Melanie Gerlis. Web only
Published online: 15 January 2013

Art Basel Hong Kong has announced the dealers who will be showing in what is officially its first edition (23-26 May). This is, in reality, a continuation of five years of growth of what was ArtHK, in which Art Basel acquired a controlling share nearly two years ago.

There are signs of some influence of the new parent company: the number of exhibitors is being “tightened”, says the Asian fair’s director, Magnus Renfrew (down from a total of 266 in 2012 to 245 this year), partly because dealers want larger booths in which to show their wares. There is also more emphasis on older works—in keeping with both the market’s trend away from contemporary art and Art Basel’s more historic presentation—but with a distinctly Asian feel. For example, says Renfrew, one newcomer this year is Tina Keng gallery, from Taiwan, a specialist in Asian modern masters; another is the Delhi Art Gallery, which will show work by modern Indian artists. Post-war Japanese work will be on view at the Los Angeles gallery Blum & Poe and New York’s McCaffrey Fine Art (both showing in the Hong Kong fair for the third year running). “There is a different aesthetic that can be difficult to understand, having more historical work should address that,” says Renfrew.

Organisers are keen to emphasise just how Asian this fair is; it had previously been criticised for neglecting its regional roots before its collector base was ready for the gloss (and prices) of the international art market. This year, organisers say that over 50% of galleries are from Asia and the Asia Pacific region—although this includes Western galleries that have set up shop in Asia, such as Gagosian and White Cube, both of whom recently opened in Hong Kong. The numbers are further swelled by the fair’s subsection Insights, which is dedicated to 47 galleries from Asia and the Asia Pacific region (including Turkey and the Middle East). But of the 171 galleries in the main section (and still using the criteria as above), the percentage of Asian galleries is still up, from 40% last year to 43% in 2013, considerably higher than at other international fairs.

Western newcomers this year include New York’s 303 and Peter Blum galleries, and Wentrup and Johnen Galerie from Berlin. Those not coming back include London’s Maureen Paley and New York’s Eleven Rivington, who both only exhibited at the fair last year, as well as art fair stalwart Cheim & Read (which has shown at the fair for the past two years and whose staff had Mandarin lessons prior to ArtHK’s 2011 edition). A spokesman for the gallery says they have decided to “take a year off”.

Saturday, February 2, 2013



Picasso murals under threat

Government contemplates tearing down buildings damaged during terrorist attack in Oslo

By Clemens Bomsdorf. Conservation, Issue 242, January 2012

Published online: 14 January 2013

The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage fears that Picasso’s first monumental concrete murals, which were made between the late 1950s and the early 1970s for two government buildings in Oslo, may be destroyed. The buildings were severely damaged during the deadly terrorist attack in the Norwegian capital in July 2011. The government is now considering whether to demolish the Modernist buildings that form the regjeringskvartal or government quarter.

“If the buildings were demolished and the murals integrated into new ones or brought to another site, they would no longer be the works Picasso intended,” says Jørn Holme, the head of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

After the attack on 22 July, Rigmor Aasrud, the minister for government administration, reform and church affairs, publicly asked whether it would be better to demolish the buildings. Holme and others think Aasrud’s question suggests that she wants to tear down the buildings, although a spokesman for the ministry declined to comment when approached by The Art Newspaper last month. A few months before the attack, the government and the directorate agreed that the buildings (known as Y- and H-block) should be listed, but moves to protect them were not followed up after the bombing.

The ministry has asked several architects to propose suggestions for the regjeringskvartal, providing options to both retain and demolish the buildings. The architects will present their proposals this summer. A report by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage concluded that, despite the bombing, the buildings are not unsafe and can still be used. “We still think that listing is appropriate. The buildings [are not only important] because of the works of art [that were] made especially for them, they are also a cornerstone in Norwegian architectural history and stand for the country’s development as a welfare state after the Second World War,” Holme says. The structu¬res were built in the 1950s and 1960s with breccia—a building technique using natural concrete—which was popular in Norway after the war.

Friday, February 1, 2013



A Showcase of Women’s Excellence

“High Spirit” the art exhibition commences public exhibition on February 1, 2013 and will go on until March 27, 2013 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  Exhibiting artists are all alumnae of the College of the Holy Spirit (CHS), which is celebrating the centennial anniversary of its founding.  Leading the lineup of artists are Imelda Cajipe Endaya, recipient of Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Centennial Honors for the Arts and New-York based Lenore RS Lim, recognized as one of “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the US”.  They organized artistic contributions from accomplished alumnae in different parts of the world to form this collection as an expression of gratitude to their school whom they credit for the strength of their inner formation.  Endaya’s polymer collage entitled “Kasibulan” on middle-age woman’s blossoming, and Lim’s lithograph series “Simple Abundance” with colorful chine colle are highlights of the exhibition.

Aurora Go Bio Shakespeare, an industrial and graphic designer from Mallorca Spain, participates with “Angel Wings” and “Flight” from a series of abstract floral forms depicting empowered femininity.  Chi Panistante, an accomplished graphic designer who has lived in Dubai for eleven years, presents her circular compositions reflective of the efficient dynamism of everyday life in UAE, illumined by her strong Biblical perspective.

Mimi Tecson, who recently concluded a 3-month art residency in Yokohama Japan, created new sculptural assemblages especially for this show.  She gathered mementoes of popular culture into pieces of bottled vistas that articulate the connection between emotion and memory.  Veteran artist Rhoda Recto unveils her recent watercolor landscapes inspired by the classic letras y figuras.  Emi Masigan Mercado’s canvases are evidences of her strength in fine portraiture.

Celine G. Borromeo, professor and interior designer, shows her landscapes in pastel and chalk, and illustrations “For Now and Lifetimes Ago” and “Circles with Open Ends.” Athena Santos Magcase Lopez, painter and children’s book illustrator from New Jersey, share with us her landmark illustrations for “The Magic Jeepney”, and a mixed media collage about the life of social activist Betty Makoni.

Rona Buenaseda-Chua, art teacher and owner of Rona’s Art Center, exhibits her delicate still life works in pencil and watercolors.  Elaine Ongpin Herbosa, plein-air painter and owner of the gallery L’Arc en Ciel shows her delightful pictures lanscapes and interiors.  Pastel paintings of lush marshes and waters by the late Gracia Gargantiel are part of the collection. There are lithographs by Rosita Tayag Natividad, Chinese paintings by Maria Antonia Gonzalez-Cruz, and digital art by Tiffany Elaine Ty.

“High Spirit” the exhibition represents the spirit of excellence in various modes of articulation:  free/disciplined, spontaneous/designed, playful/eloquent, stimulating/harmonious, ambiguous/lucid, constructive/analytic, meditative/narrative--- qualities that are seemingly contrary, but are not mutually exclusive. The artworks selected altogether inspire its viewers into looking at art as a humanly integrative and creative process.

The exhibition can be viewed at the CCP’s second floor hallway and little theatre lobby until March 27, 2013.


Writer’s shrine to get epic treatment
International team of artists and designers to create park dedicated to author of Master and Margarita

By Sophia Kishkovsky. Museums, Issue 242, January 2012
Published online: 14 January 2013

The Italian architect Gabriele Filippini and his Russian wife, Olga Moskvina, who won a competition run by the Moscow city government to transform a small writer’s museum into a multimedia “literary park”, plan to involve international artists and designers to realise their ambitious vision.

The Mikhail Bulgakov State Museum, one of two institutions in Moscow dedicated to the life of the writer and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940), is housed in a former communal apartment in which the author lived during the 1920s. The architects want to involve other museums and the nearby Patriarch’s Pond neighbourhood, the setting of Bulgakov’s masterpiece, The Master and Margarita. 

The novel, written between 1928 and 1940, was banned until the 1960s and censored for decades afterwards. It is a satirical portrait of life under Stalin that includes a mystical interpretation of philosophical questions. The main characters include the devil, in the guise of a mysterious visitor named Woland, and Begemot, a huge talking black cat. (A magnificent furry black cat holds court in the city-funded Bulgakov museum. He also spends time in the privately funded Bulgakov museum, which is in the same building, and is happy to be petted by visitors to both.) Christ, Pontius Pilate and Judas also feature in the novel, which is one reason why it was banned. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


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?
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



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



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



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
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


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
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



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



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



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. 








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