Art News Headlines: April 16, 2011

Music (by Mason Williams), Ed Ruscha, Warner Bros., 1968

Yesterday, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston welcomed the opening of The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, the first museum exhibition to explore the culture of vinyl records within the history of contemporary art. Merging artists from around the world who have worked with records as their primary medium, this groundbreaking installation examines the record’s transformative power from the 1960s to the present. Through sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, sound work, video and performance, The Record combines contemporary art with outsider art, audio with visual, and fine art with popular culture. On view at the ICA from through September 5, the exhibition features 99 works by 33 artists, including Jasper Johns and Ed Ruscha.

The Poetry Foundation has awarded the translator and poet David Ferry the largest prize in the business, the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement. Born in New Jersey in 1924, Mr. Ferry is an emeritus professor at Wellesley College and continues to teach at both Boston University and Suffolk University. He is midway through a new translation of Virgil’s Aeneid and has a new collection of poems, “Bewilderment,” due out next year. In an interview on Friday with The New York Times, he said he was thrilled with the award, and described himself as writing about people who are displaced in life and confused “like myself.” Mr. Ferry plans to donate the money to charity.

Machine 5, Hedda Sterne, 1950

In other art news, artist Hedda Sterne passed away on April 9. She was 100 years old. Up to the last minutes of her long and illuminating life, she was lucid about her work and felt rewarded by the recent acquisition of her painting by The Tate Modern in London. Notable for being the sole woman included in the famous 1951 Life Magazine photograph of The Irascibles by Nina Leen, Hedda Sterne worked alongside such celebrated artists and colleagues as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, Clifford Still, amongst others. She was the last surviving member of this group of original Abstract Expressionists in the United States, and forged an active and vast oeuvre that spanned over 70 years.

Also this week in art news, Spanish investigators have recovered stolen masterpieces by two of the country’s most revered artists: Goya and El Greco, a police statement said Friday. The oil on canvas works, Goya’s 18th-century The Apparition of the Virgin of Pilar and el Greco’s 16th-century The Annunciation were stolen 14 years ago after an exhibition tour. Works by these painters are highly valued and most are kept in museums such as Madrid’s Prado. However, these two were privately owned when stolen. In October, police received tips that eventually led to a private house near the southeastern city of Alicante where the works were being kept, the statement said.

The French painter Gustave Courbet changed the art world in the 19th century. Through his brush, realism was born. With the aim of tracing his footsteps through Spain, the MNAC in Barcelona is exhibiting a selection of his most outstanding works, most of which are being shown in the country for the first time. The installation reveals Courbet’s influence on Catalan painting in the period, most of all through the work of Ramon Martí Alsina, the man responsible for the renewal of painting and who introduced Realism to the Spanish art scene. The massive exhibition consists of about 80 works, including paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs, belonging to different public and private collections throughout Europe and America, including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.


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.

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