Art News Headlines: November 4, 2010

James Dean reading music score for  Rebel Without A Cause, photo by Bob Willoughby

Photographer Bob Willoughby, who died earlier this year at the age of 82, is celebrated for inventing the photojournalistic genre of film stills. Even more famous are his shots capturing candid yet glamorous images of many Hollywood starlets including Marilyn Monroe, and most famously, Audrey Hepburn. Willoughby’s legendary photograph of Hepburn climbing into an automobile in 1953, when the actress had just wrapped up filming Roman Holiday and was still virtually unknown, began a long career photographing the elfin beauty. Willoughby’s estate is now offering up 50 limited edition prints of that same iconic photograph, priced at £1,250 each, sold as part of an exhibition of the photographer’s work in Brussels—the city of Hepburn’s birth. Before his death, Willoughby recalled the day he snapped the famous shot: “She took my hand like, well, a princess, and dazzled me with that smile that God designed to melt mortal men’s hearts.”

In other art news, light projection technology developed for theatrical performances and rock concerts is being used to “virtually reintegrate” a lost sequence of a German 16th-century mural at the Brömserhof Museum in Rüdesheim am Rhein. The adaption of this technology for conservation purposes is the brainchild of Michaela Janke, a student at the Institute of Conservation Sciences at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences. By working with various software companies, Janke was able to construct a grid pattern of the missing secco painting, projected onto the wall and specially manipulated to allow for the vaulted curvature of the wall. The non-intrusive projection is especially revolutionary for conservators because of the adaptation to the curved walls. It is easy to tell which part of the mural is the original art and which is the digital projection—Janke comments, “It’s not an attempt to mislead the spectator into thinking that the mural is completely original.”

Mary Cassatt Madame X Dressed for the Matinée

Visitors to the Mint Museum Randolph in North Carolina will soon have the unique opportunity to view an early masterpiece by American painter and print-maker Mary Cassatt, Madame X Dressed for the Matinée, completed in 1878. Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) lived much of her adult life in France, where she became the only American artist, and one of only five women, to exhibit alongside the French Impressionists. Known for her sensitive depictions of mothers and their children, many of Cassatt’s works examine the social and private lives of women. This particular painting is exclusive as it was completed the same year that Cassatt first became involved with the Impressionists. In honor of this important acquisition due to a long-term loan, the Museum has organized a small spotlight exhibition on Cassatt, which will run from November 20, 2010 through April 3, 2011.

The wax museum franchise Madame Tussauds has announced that eight Lady Gaga sculptures will be revealed at locations all over the world on December 9. At the time of their debut, the wax sculptures will be four months—and $2.4 million—in the making. The sculptures will depict the singer wearing some of her more well-known outfits, including styles described as Lady in Lace (the outfit worn by Lady Gaga at the 2010 Brit Awards); Telephone (worn on the BBC talk show “Friday Night With Jonathan Ross” in March); Harlequin (worn at the Grand Intercontinental Hotel Seoul); Kinky Boots (worn at the Hakkasan restaurant in London); Mini Mouse (worn at the BBC Radio studios); Hair Hat (worn at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas); and Big Hair (worn outside the Phoenix Hotel in Copenhagen). Alas, the infamous meat outfit sported by Gaga at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards is not on the menu.

Hammer Galleries presents an important exhibition of the world renowned French Impressionist Master Pierre-Auguste Renoir for an inaugural exhibition at its new location on Park Avenue in New York. “RENOIR,” curated by gallery President and Director Howard Shaw, focuses on the second half of Renoir’s dynamic sixty year career—a productive, yet often overlooked period. “RENOIR” features twenty-five oils and pastels, ranging in date from the mid 1880’s -1912. During the latter years of his career, Renoir was inspired by the pursuit of classical, timeless subjects—often the female nude, reminiscent of the tradition of Raphael and Titian. His enthusiasm for exploring themes and subjects beyond Impressionism is evident as Renoir stated in 1913, “I am just learning how to paint,” six years before he died at age 78. This is the third solo exhibition featuring Renoir at Hammer Galleries, the last being in 1984.

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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