Art News Headlines: August 27, 2010

Notes for an Apocalypse, 1978, oil on canvas

American artist Dorothea Tanning, the wife of late German surrealist Max Ernst, celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday. The centenarian can certainly hold her own against her famous late husband—after having lived in France for 25 years, she held a variety of jobs before delving full-time into a career as an artist. She met Ernst in 1942 and married him four years later in a double ceremony with artist Man Ray and model and ballet dancer Juliet Browner. A regular fixture in the art world for her chiefly surrealistic paintings, she has counted the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Yves Tanguy, Jean Arp and Lee Miller as guests in her home. Tanning’s stunning paintings can found in the collections of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, among others. In addition, Tanning has completed much poetry for The New Yorker, and is currently working on several books.

A new exhibition was announced at the Luxembourg & Dayan gallery showcasing what is arguably Jeff Koons’ most provocative and certainly debated body of work, a series of paintings known as Made in Heaven. The exhibition is poised to open in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the original Venice presentation of this landmark series. Jeff Koons: Made in Heaven Paintings is composed of nine major canvases and one glass sculpture from the artist’s most renowned collection of work. The paintings in the series reference art from the Baroque and Rococo periods with an almost garish loyalty to explicit sexual references, with subjects playing Adam and Eve roles—in true Koons fashion. The New York City based artist is one of the most famous contemporary artists living today, whose work is included in leading private collections worldwide. The exhibition will remain on view at the gallery from October 6th through January 21, 2011.

Until One World Trade Center opens at ground zero and once again claims the crown of tallest building in New York City, the Empire State Building proudly pokes above the city’s skyline higher than any other edifice—but it will soon have to share the air. Proposed at a location only two blocks away from the Empire State Building, a 67-story building sponsored by Vornado Reality Trust was given the go-ahead yesterday by the New York city council. The massive structure, known as 15 Penn Plaza, will only squat 60 feet beneath its rival building up the street, which has been a beloved favorite of the cityscape since its construction in 1931. Owners of the Empire State Building were less than thrilled with the announcement, protesting that the 15 Penn Plaza will be too close to the Empire State Building for its height and design. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has dismissed objections to the building, chortling in a news conference on Tuesday, “Anybody that builds a building in New York City changes its skyline. We don’t have to run around to every other owner and apologize.”

The shoddy security and inept alarm systems of the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo, Egypt are getting dragged to the limelight as Egyptian authorities demand to understand why Van Gogh’s Poppy Flowers painting was stolen a second time, after having been recovered from a heist back in 1978. Prosecutor general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud told Egypt’s state news agency Sunday that the thieves used a box cutter to remove the painting from its frame. He blamed the theft on the museum’s lax security measures, calling them “for the most part feeble and superficial.” The museum is considered to be one of the Middle East’s finest collections of 19th- and 20th-century art. In an unusual move, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has offered a 1 million Egyptian pound reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen painting by the Dutch post-Impressionist master.  Update –  a report claims the painting has been recovered, but another report say this is not the case.

What do you get when you put together renowned fashion photographer Raymond Meier, Nick Cave of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and none other than Vogue magazine? A stellar eight-page spread featuring none other than Cave’s world-famous Soundsuits, of course—once again proving that the distinction between art and fashion remains ever delightfully fuzzy. As the Fashion Design Department Chair at SAIC, Cave’s Soundsuits are more sculpture than clothing—the particular pieces featured in the magazine, which hit newsstands earlier this week, are comprised chiefly of psychedelic furs. The Jack Shainman Gallery in New York has previously sold similar suits designed by Cave for as much as $75,000. Vogue‘s gorgeous eight-page spread of the designer in his own shaggy Soundsuits—shot by Meier—highlights bags and footwear trimmed in fur from designers Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and more.

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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