Art News Headlines: April 9, 2011
Park Avenue has witnessed some wild public art spectacles lately, but a 23-foot-tall teddy bear that looks like it fell off God’s toy shelf and landed on the sidewalk takes the cake. The sculpture, by New York-based Swiss artist Urs Fischer, is called Untitled (Lamp/Bear), and Christie’s will auction it off in May. To build buzz for the sale—the bidding is expected to top a whopping $10 million—Christie’s got approval to exhibit the 35,000 pound copper cub for five months on the plaza outside the Seagram Building at 52nd Street. The bear is currently being installed, leading to some very confused stares from bystanders.
Well, it was a valiant effort. In an extremely bizarre incident, a woman was recently accused of pounding on a painting by Paul Gauguin and trying to rip it from a wall where it was hanging in the National Gallery of Art. Susan Burns, 53, of Arlington, Va., has been charged with attempted second-degree theft and destruction of property following the attack that took place on Friday. She was being held without bail pending a mental health hearing Tuesday. Burns told police that the post-Impressionist artist was evil and the painting should be burned. Court documents also quoted her as saying, “I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.” The painting, entitled Two Tahitian Women, was protected by a transparent plastic shield and was not damaged.
Monet Family in the Garden, Edouard Manet
In other art news, the Musee d’Orsay presents “Manet, The Man Who Invented Modern Art” on view through July 3, 2011. More than a one man retrospective for Edouard Manet, the exhibition explores and highlights the historical situation around the artist, including the reaffirmed legacy of Romanticism, the impact of his contemporaries and the changes in the media at the time. The exhibition includes a reconstruction of his show at the Gallery La Vie Moderne, organized in spring 1880 at the start of the Salon, and raises the question of what “the freedom to create” meant to him. As well as works from the Musee d’Orsay’s own collection, the exhibition features numerous loans from other museums and private collectors. This is the first exhibition exclusively devoted to Manet in France since 1983.
One of graffiti artist Banksy’s most well known images is to be sold at Bonhams as part of its Post War and Contemporary Art and Design sale this Wednesday, commemorating the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The painting has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £50,000 – 80,000. The image was one of more than a dozen murals that Banksy grafittied onto buildings around the city of New Orleans in September 2008. While this image, entitled NOLA, depicts a young girl seeking shelter from red rain under an umbrella, other pictures included a young boy flying a fridge like a kite and Abraham Lincoln as a homeless man. Banksy, who earlier this year was nominated for an Oscar for his first feature documentary film “Exit Through The Gift Shop,” said at the time, “Three years after Katrina I want to make a statement about the state of the clean-up operation.”
A rescue operation is currently underway to save as much as possible from ancient Buddhist monasteries in Mes Aynak, Afghanistan, before the mountains become an open-cast mine and the site is destroyed. In what is now the world’s largest archaeological dig, around 1,000 workers are trying to excavate artifacts from the country’s second most important Buddhist site, after Bamiyan. The site, a former training camp of Osama bin Laden, has been leased to a Chinese mining company for copper production. Only what can be excavated and removed to safety will be saved. Excavation costs are now estimated at $28 million, although it is not clear whether the whole site has been surveyed. Funding is coming from the ministry of mines, and possibly from the Chinese mining company. The Chinese have also promised to send archaeologists.
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.