Arts and Culture Headlines


At Art Chicago, Willing Buyers and Public Art

Local News and Events–Chicago:

At Art Chicago, Willing Buyers and Public Art (ARTINFO) How does the 30-year-old Art Chicago, the granddaddy of U.S. art fairs, continue to hold its own against a bevy of other domestic art fairs vying for collector and gallery attention? The answer seems to be the city itself . . . A representative from London’s White Cube cited Chicago as a “great city with two very important institutions and a wonderful history of collecting” as the reason for the gallery’s participation in the fair.

Reviews and Interviews:

The Garden That Grew Into a Muse (NYTimes) The Gagosian Museum of Fine Art in Chelsea? Not yet, but Gagosian Gallery has definitely shaped itself into a periodic and ambitious kunsthalle over the past few years. In 2009 it gave us an invaluable retrospective of the proto-conceptualist Piero Manzoni and a survey of career-end Picassos. Now, moving closer to old master turf, it delivers “Claude Monet: Late Work,” a gorgeous “where on earth did this come from?” show of 27 Giverny paintings dating from 1904 to 1922.

The Painted Word (Art in America) John Giorno’s poetry proposes that anywhere you go, you can have an intense physical engagement with words. Since the 1950s, he’s framed language with controlled, climactic line breaks and repetition, and an own affirmative speaking voice that, once it occupies your reading, warmly dictates your rhythm and interpretation. Giorno’s Dial-a-Poem (1970) at the Museum of Modern Art let people the world over call in and access the intimacy of poetry.

Book Reviews:

A Brief History of Curating New Media Art: Conversations with Curators (wmmna) This book of interviews tracks the work of curators in the field of new media art in order to consider the massive changes and developments over a relatively short period of time. They are also a celebration of the ten years that the online resource for curators of new media art, CRUMB, has been publishing interviews and other research.

Art in Pictures:

Poetry In Allen Ginsberg’s Photography (NPR) Allen Ginsberg is best remembered as a poet. In the 1950s and ’60s he was the spokesman for a generation of disenchanted misfits who came to be known as the Beats. They were in bars and on rooftops and on the road; they listened to jazz, lost sleep over literature, got in trouble.

3D optical illusion street art by former NASA scientist Kurt Wenner (Telegraph) They may look like a computer-generated images but these incredible scenes are in fact hand drawn using chalk. Master artist and former NASA worker Kurt Wenner uses his mathematical skill to create illusions on cobbles and pavements across the world.

Flooding in Tennessee (Big Picture) Last weekend, powerful thunderstorms drenched Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi, dumping over 13 inches of rain on the region in two days. Creeks, lakes and rivers swelled with the rainwater, overflowing their banks, washing away roads, and causing the deaths of at least 24 people so far.

Speculations and Observations on the Art Market:

Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening sale provides another boost of confidence for the recovering art market (ArtObserved) As with Christie’s historic sale of Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust for a record $106.5 million on Tuesday evening, Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale last night struck another strong note for the recovering art market. The sale achieved $195,697,000, nearly reaching the high end of the pre-sale estimate ($141 – 204 million). Fifty of the 57 lots offered sold.

The Immeasurable Distance of Market Value (art:21) Carol Vogel of The New York Times wrote last month that, “Optimism has returned to the multibillion-dollar art market.” She was keen on a 1932 Picasso painting, Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur (Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust), and mentioned she’d be surprised if it wasn’t a record-breaking sale. Eight days later on Tuesday, May 4, a painting that Picasso made in a single day grabbed $106.5 million, making it the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

Art Market Watch (artnet) In the first half hour of the Christie’s New York sale of Impressionist and modern art on May 4, 2010, auctioneer Christopher Burge managed to knock down only six lots, the bidding was so intense. Then he sold the 1932 Picasso, Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust.

Locking our Picasso away (Guardian) The sale of Picasso’s 1932 painting Nude, Green Leaves and Bust for a new world record price of £70m is a tragedy. Unless it turns out that the anonymous purchaser is a public museum – almost certainly not the case – what has happened here is a theft of world culture, art history and beauty from we, the people, by the super-rich.

On the Topic of Investing . . .

The artists who invest in themselves (ArtNewspaper) The Artist Pension Trust could provide a nest egg for an uncertain future. If it work . . . presto, pennsylvania. Turner prize-winner Richard Wright and nominees Roger Hiorns and Mike Nelson, Britain’s representative at the 2011 Venice Biennale, share a common bond beyond their recent honours—both are participating artists in the Artist Pension Trust (APT).

Uh-oh, Legal Problems:

Christie’s sued for selling £100m ‘Da Vinci’ for £11,400 (The Guardian) Christie’s is facing a bitter compensation claim after a drawing it sold for £11,400 as a 19th-century German picture was claimed to be a 15th-century Leonardo da Vinci worth £100m. The picture’s original owner, Jeanne Marchig, who runs a UK foundation for animal welfare, is accusing the auction-house of negligence, alleging that it misattributed the drawing.

Judge Rules That Filmmaker Must Give Footage to Chevron (NYTimes) A federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday granted a petition by Chevron to issue a subpoena for hundreds of hours of footage from a documentary about the pollution of the Amazon rainforests of Ecuador and the oil company’s involvement.