Art News Headlines: January 15, 2011


Palace of Fine Arts

One of San Francisco’s most beloved landmarks reopened to the public Friday after a seven-year, $21 million renovation. The extensive overhaul of the Palace of Fine Arts included seismic upgrades, the addition of new entrances and pathways, and the replacement of the rotunda floor and the roof of its dome. Over the years, the palace has housed everything from art exhibits to trucks and jeeps during World War II to wedding proposals. The 95-year-old site is the only original structure left from the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. With its 30 Corinthian columns framing the palace walkway and 1,100-foot-wide rotunda, it was designed to resemble a Roman ruin reflected in a lake. This is the third renovation seen by the Palace.

The Museum of Modern Art recently announced the first major museum exhibition devoted to the full scope of the career of Willem de Kooning, widely considered to be among the most important and prolific artists of the 20th century. “De Kooning: A Retrospective”, which will only be seen at MoMA, presents an unequaled opportunity to study the artist’s evolution over nearly seven decades. The study begins with De Kooning’s early academic works, made in Holland before his move to the United States in 1926, and concluding with his final, abstract pieces of the late 1980s. The exhibition unites more than 200 works donated from public and private collections, and will span the entire sixth-floor gallery space in the museum, the first installation to do so. Among the pieces shown will be De Kooning’s celebrated Woman series, plus a comprehensive look at sculptures, drawings, and prints. The exhibition will run from September 18 through January 9, 2012.

To inaugurate the new Hong Kong exhibition space, Gagosian Gallery will present “Forgotten Promises”, an exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Damien Hirst opening on Tuesday. In recent years, Hirst has developed familiar iconography pertaining to the skull, the diamond, and the butterfly, exploring fundamental ideas about existence. His work highlights the duality that lies at the heart of human experience, from our inescapable thrashes between life and death, beauty and decay, desire and fear, love and loss. In addition to the extensive span of Hirst’s work exploring these themes, a fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition with an essay by curator Francesco Bonami, as well as an interview with Hirst conducted by art critic Karen Smith. “Forgotten Promises” will be shown through March 19, 2011.

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History for the first time conducted a three-dimensional registration of a shaft tomb. The underground space was used during Prehispanic time as funerary chambers in the western region of Mexico. Specialists managed to conduct 3D imaging of one of these great spaces at the Cerro del Teul Archaeological Site, in Zacatecas, by using Total Station, an electro-optical device. The meticulous registration of the tomb was performed using coordinates obtained with a processor and a laser-surveying instrument connected to a computer. Researchers are excited by the technology, saying that they will be able to create a database of Prehispanic sites, which helps to conduct analyses of the architectural layout of the buildings.

For a short while Thursday, St. Petersburg, Florida, was transformed into a Surrealist canvas as tribute to Salvador Dalí, the genre’s master, in honor of a new Dalí museum opening. Besides Spanish royalty and fluttering green parakeets, pencil thin Dalí mustaches were in attendance—affixed to the upper lips of many art lovers present. The new, $36-million museum features a priceless collection of Dalí’s works. It replaces the old Dalí Museum, more than doubling the exhibition space and improving hurricane protection. A very modern, state-of-the-art building, it is considered to be the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dalí’s work. Floridians believe the museum will be the centerpiece of an arts renaissance in the Tampa Bay area, which recently saw the opening of a gallery devoted to popular glassmaker Dale Chihuly in St. Petersburg.

Laura Lawson paints when writer’s block strikes and writes when painter’s block strikes. She has studied fine art at LCAD and is pursuing a degree in journalism. Recently diagnosed with the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, she strives to bring hope to those without vision through her blog. She is currently working on her first book about coping with vision loss.




  • Mikefishshrooms

    Can’t wait to see the new Dali Museum, it won’t be long.