Art News Headlines: September 2, 2010


The auction of Modern and Contemporary Australian Art at Christie’s later this month will offer a pair of rediscovered paintings of historical importance that was found in an attic, and which was identified and consigned to auction through none other that Christie’s iPhone application. The paintings were found during an attic cleaning in a private house in Surrey and were due to be thrown away until the consignor asked a neighbor for advice on how to dispose of them. The neighbor, a digital developer and avid iPhone app user, used his Christie’s app to research the artist from the signature on the painting, and then sent photographs of the works through to the specialist department for a valuation. The pictures were then revealed to be rare oil paintings by William Blamire Young, who is better known for his watercolors. The pair is expected to fetch up to £30,000.

A month ago, Rick Norsigian joyfully announced to the art world a truly stellar find: old fashioned glass-plate negatives that, with the help of a hired team of experts, he deemed to be none other than the work of Ansel Adams. Norsigian went so far as to claim that the prints represented a “lost” chapter in the great nature photographer’s career. The negatives have been the subject of intense debate in the art world since Norsigian said he bought them for $45 at a garage sale a few weeks ago in Fresno, California. Breaking a silence it had maintained during a month-long controversy, the leading archive housing Ansel Adams’ photographs has finally disputed Norsigian’s claim. “We have no reason to believe that these negatives are, in fact, the work of Ansel Adams,” said the statement issued Tuesday by the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

New York-based art advisor Eleanor Cayre has partnered with Nikki Silver, the Emmy Award-winning producer of On Screen Entertainment, to make a movie about the life of collector Peggy Guggenheim, whose birthday was celebrated last week. Past Cayre projects include the Art Basel Miami Beach exhibition, “The Station”, in which she teamed up with former Whitney curator Shamim Momin and artist Nate Lowman to display the work of 40 artists, including Ryan McGinley, Ed Ruscha and Rita Ackermann. “I have always been fascinated with Peggy’s collection and life story,” said Cayre of the art world maven. “She was an eccentric figure who not only championed, but also had intimate relationships with some of the most creative minds in modern art history.” The film, which is still untitled, is expected to begin production in 2012.

David and Goliath, a painting by Renaissance master Titian in one of Venice’s most picturesque basilicas has suffered superficial water damage after firefighters doused the basilica while battling a nearby blaze. Venice’s museum superintendent, Vittorio Sgarbi, says the damage isn’t too serious. The fire broke out Sunday night at the seminary next to the Santa Maria della Salute basilica, a 17th century octagonal-shaped church that dominates the view of the Grand Canal. Sgarbi said firefighters doused the basilica as well and that water seeped through the roof, damaging the masterpiece. The painting is one of three Titians that line the ceiling of the sacristy, but the water did not affect the other two.

Currently on view at the New Museum in New York is the first comprehensive American exhibition to feature interdisciplinary British artist, writer, and collaborator Brion Gysin. Often overlooked, both popularly and commercially, Gysin (1916-1986) has frequently been characterized as a foil of failure within the historical narrative of Beat-Era success stories. Despite this, the artist is generally credited as the inventor of the “cut-up” method, a medium evolved from collage that resulted in his co-authorship of the experimental collage-manifesto The Third Mind with William S. Burroughs. “Brion Gysin: Dream Machine” will be on view at the Museum through October 3, 2010.

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.