Art News Headlines: September 24, 2010

Claude Monet, La Grenouillere (1869)

From his introductory exhibition in 1874 met with resounding criticism, Claude Monet has rapidly evolved into one of the most beloved artists of all time—a stark contrast from the days when his paintings were belittled and chided as “impressionistic”, a smiting term that ricocheted him into eternal fame. Monet’s canvases of studied light and color have become infamous, and thus are far less shocking in modern times, although a new exhibit that opened earlier this week at the Grand Palais in Paris attempts to summon the sparkle of the painter’s original ingenuity once more. Claude Monet at the Grand Palais largely succeeds, as many are pointing to the exhibit—composed of almost 160 original paintings—as the most important showcase of the artist’s work in decades. French pride isn’t amiss either, as the catalogue even contains a short foreword by President Sarkozy, who heralds the painter as “an unmistakable emblem of the international influence of French culture”. To curators, it is nothing short of daunting to recreate the intrigue and mystique that the original impressionists’ work afforded them in the late 1880’s, but success is achieved in this new exhibit, proving that Monet’s magic is just as bewitching now as it ever was. Claude Monet at the Grand Palais runs through January 24, 2011.

Barely 40 paintings by 16th century Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder are known to exist today, but now the art world can add number 41 to that list. Restorers at the Prado Museum in Spain have labored for months to expose the true identity of the artist behind The Wine of Saint Martin’s Day, a large masterpiece that depicts a crowd of people celebrating the tasting of the first wine of the season at the festival of San Martin in the Netherlands. The painting belonged to a private Spanish collection whose owners wanted to sell it and brought it to the museum for restoration. They did not know it was the work of Bruegel until experts recently revealed the artist’s signature. The Prado is currently undergoing negotiations to buy the work for an undisclosed amount. Bruegel was a patriarch of a prolific Flemish painting dynasty, best known for his landscapes and depictions of peasant life.

Internationally heralded as the leading vehicle in showcasing new talent in portrait photography, the £12,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize has been narrowed down to a shortlist of four runner-ups. In addition, judges from the National Portrait Gallery in London have hand-picked 60 portraits for an upcoming exhibition from nearly 6,000 submissions entered by an array of both established professional and gifted amateur photographers. Running from November 11 through February 20, 2011, the exhibition will also feature the ELLE Commission, in which the fashion magazine will choose one lucky photographer to shoot a feature story. The final four photographs in the competition are both diverse and casually intimate, all the way from a young girl hunting in South Africa to a pair of twin prostitutes. The prizes for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 and the ELLE Commission 2010 will be announced at the awards ceremony on November 9.

Renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, whose work is exhibited in more than 200 museums around the globe, recently joined an elite group—artists with a permanent collection dedicated to their work. Designed by architect Albert Alfonso, who is friends with Chihuly, the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, Florida has dedicated 7,600 square feet to display thousands of pieces of glass, many of them made especially for the collection. The chandelier room is shaped like a classic Art Deco vase, and includes natural materials such as wood, metal, stone, and glass. Due to several injuries including a car accident that left Chihuly with vision in only one eye, he now choreographs projects and installations, leaving the actual glassblowing to his team. In a recent interview, he seemed pleased with the space built for his permanent collection. “Albert transformed the space into a work of art. It complements my work,” said the artist. Adjoining the Chihuly Collection is a glass blowing hot shop with artists, classes, and room for spectators to watch.

Think holograms are a thing of 80’s sci-fi flicks? Think again. There is a new app for the iPad that can actually create a hologram, or light painting. The innovators at BERG Studios have developed a really neat, albeit complicated technique that uses an iPad to play consecutive cross-sections of a 3D model. “Making Future Magic” was the goal of Dentsu London, the creative communications agency who played a large role in the engineering of the jaw-dropping technology. Or should I say art? In a nutshell, the hologram app is the result of merging savvy typography, 3D technology, and stop-motion animation. Welcome to the 21st century art world.

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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