The most recently uploaded news Cultural news on the site The most recently uploaded newsCultural news on the site eng <![CDATA[2015.02.04. - Mark Boxer: the witty caricaturist of Fleet Street]]>
More than 100 of his wonderful caricatures, pocket and strip cartoons (published under the pen name Marc) are featured in an exhibition opening tomorrow (January 21 2015) at the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury, London, and they show how he relished satirising 20th-century middle class Britain in his witty, spiky cartoons.

Born Charles Mark Edward Boxer in Berkhamsted on May 19 1931, Boxer studied at King’s College, Cambridge, where he got into trouble for publishing a blasphemous poem in the student magazine Granta.

After leaving Cambridge he devoted himself to illustration and journalism and his cartoons went on to appear in nearly all the British papers, including The Times, The Guardian and The Observer.

In 1967, with Peter Preston, he created a cartoon strip for The Listener called "Life and Times in NW1". The strip lampooned a certain Sixties London lifestyle through the trendy media couple Simon and Joanna String-Along. ]]>
Wed, 04 Feb 2015 15:44:51 +0100
<![CDATA[2015.01.31. - Exceptional discovery of rare Michelangelo bronzes ]]>
The pair, which show naked young men riding panthers, are described as "phenomenally important" and, if truly by the Renaissance master, would solve one of the great mysteries in art history.

They have been attributed to Michelangelo following a clue in a little-known 500-year-old drawing, which made the link between the figures made of bronze and an incomplete sketch from the days of the artist’s workshop.

They could now become the only surviving bronzes attributed to Michelangelo, as academics at the University of Cambridge and the Fitzwilliam Museum publicly declare their find.

The statues, which have been well-known as the Rothschild Bronzes for many years, will now go on display at the museum, along with published evidence the authors claim proves their origins.

Exceptional discovery of rare Michelangelo bronzes ]]>
Wed, 04 Feb 2015 15:33:15 +0100
<![CDATA[2015.02.01. - Mesmeric portrait of Sir Winston Churchill restored to full glory]]>
The 1951 picture, painted by Sir Oswald Birley at Sir Winston’s home in Chartwell, was sold at auction from the private collection of Baroness Soames, and has now been fully restored.

More than 50 years after being painted, it can now been seen in its original colour after a layer of yellow film, believed to have been caused by the family’s cigar smoke, has been carefully removed.

The painting shows Sir Winston in a strikingly reflective pose, portraying him as a family man at the age of 77 rather than the portraits of the statesman the public is used to.

Sold at Sotheby’s after hanging above Lady Soames’ armchair for years, it has now been bought by Lord Lloyd Webber. ]]>
Wed, 04 Feb 2015 15:30:38 +0100
<![CDATA[2015.02.02. - Jerry Saltz Is the First Art Critic Ever to Win a National Magazine Award]]> Wed, 04 Feb 2015 15:03:34 +0100 <![CDATA[2015.02.02. - Norwegian Mischief-Maker Bjarne Melgaard Meets Edvard Munch in Oslo]]> An installation view with work by Melgaard.

The show, titled “The End of It Has Already Happened,” brings together two artists—one historical, one contemporary—who can easily be compared by their provocative bios and subject matter. But it also makes a good case for the role contemporary curatorial practice can play in bringing verve to that often mausoleum-like of institutions, the monographic museum. Known for its collection of tens of thousands of Munchs and a high-profile 2004 theft of two paintings, the museum is presenting the show as the first in a series of curatorial pairings aimed at bringing new audiences—local and international—through its doors.
An installation view with work by Melgaard and Munch.

While explicit sex and glamorous nihilism may link the two artists on a superficial level, the curator and Melgaard push the comparisons with a hang which literally layers Munchs on Melgaards or, in a few cases, obscures Munchs by Melgarads. In one room there are seven Munch paintings on a Melgaard wallpaper backdrop. Yet it’s never difficult to tell one from the other. Munch looks great in his paintings and woodcuts—he’s a beautiful painter, with swirling colors and deft strokes capturing the pattern of a dress, or the Nordic ocean. Melgaard pushes politics harder, with a video interview with Leo Bersani on gay rights. His sculptures, life-size scarecrow-like dolls in fright wigs, read Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain; his paintings are more the skeiny, scribbly abstraction of Asger Jorn than the haunted landscapes of Munch.
An installation view with work by Melgaard and Munch.

While heavy-handed anachronistic curatorial gestures can certainly backfire, this show worked. It’s not just that, as the stronger artist, Munch has no trouble dealing with an influx of proximate Melgaards. Munch’s painting, in fact, looked great, and was represented both plentifully and lovingly. It was also that the show seemed to stage a confrontation between larger issues: history and the present, the dead and the living, art history and contemporary art. In the show’s final room, the curator placed the museum’s 1910 version of Munch’s most famous painting, The Scream, in a double-thick frame behind a Melgaard. The photo visible in the frame is a Melgaard still of the grimacing mien of a man dying of autoeurotic asphyxiation. People clustered around. It’s Melgaard’s Erased De Kooning, a magnificent act of symbolic Oedipal patricide, and the symbolic heart of the exhibition.

Which is not to say the show is perfect. There’s a dumb entry gag in which the curator has put a rubber hose from the museum’s archives on display on a plinth in a Curating 101 (“What is a work of art?”) gesture. A room full of studio-fresh Melgaards unmixed with Munch, the fright-wig dolls now affixed to paintings (“I hate people,” reads one) felt like a mere advertisement for his upcoming show at Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris. But overall, the exhibition, with its collision of the 19th- and 21st centuries, is largely both smart and subversive. Upcoming pairings feature Jasper Johns, Asger Jorn, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Vincent van Gogh, among others. At the opening, New York dealer Gavin Brown wandered, seemingly nonplussed, among the paintings on view. “Are they any good?” he asked of the Melgaards, which seemed like a fair question, but not one anyone else was asking that night.

 Norwegian Mischief-Maker Bjarne Melgaard Meets Edvard Munch in Oslo]]>
Wed, 04 Feb 2015 15:02:08 +0100
<![CDATA[2015.02.03. - Eric Clapton Continues Auction Sales With Cy Twombly]]>
Then, of course, there was the matter of the Gerhard Richter he sold in 2012 at Sotheby’s London for $34.2 million, 30 times what he paid for it. That work, Abstraktes Bild (809-4), was actually part of a four-part series that includes Abstraktes Bild (809-1), which Clapton sold at Christie’s New York in 2013 for $20.9 million. He is said to own one other Richter.

Eric Clapton Continues Auction Sales With Cy Twombly]]>
Wed, 04 Feb 2015 14:59:46 +0100
<![CDATA[2014.11.15. - Did Marcel Duchamp steal Elsa’s urinal?]]>
The public has a right to believe what it reads on a museum label. The Moderna Museet, Stockholm, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, the National Gallery of Canada, the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Israel Museum should all re-label their copies of Fountain as “a replica, appropriated by Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), of an original by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927)”.

The extraordinary fact that has emerged from the painstaking ­studies of William Camfield, Kirk Varnedoe and Hector Obalk is that Duchamp could not have done what he said he did late in life. Irene Gammel and Glyn Thompson have revealed the truth of his much earlier private account that he did not submit the urinal to the Society of Independent Artists exhibition in New York in 1917. Nevertheless, Duchamp’s late, fictional story is still taught in every class and recited in every book.

Duchamp maintained that he bought the urinal from the J. L. Mott Iron Works in New York, signed it with the pseudonym R. Mutt, and submitted it to the Independents exhibition, calling it Fountain. The ­urinal was rejected despite the objection of Duchamp’s rich friend Walter Arensberg, who argued that the ­society must honour its own rule and hang everything submitted. The ­urinal was a work of art, he claimed, because an artist had chosen it.

The submission and rejection of Duchamp’s urinal is now regarded as one of the early turning points in the history of Modern art. Fountain is always cited as the source of conceptualism, the Modern art movement that America, rather than Europe, gave the world.

In conceptual art, the idea behind the work is more important than its visual appearance or any aesthetic considerations. Mere choice is enough to transpose any object into a work of art. The problem is that this new orthodoxy is based upon a myth, and this myth is not nearly as old as it claims.

Scholars have long since proved that Duchamp could not have bought the urinal from the J. L. Mott Iron Works because Mott didn’t sell that particular model. Most tellingly, on 11 April 1917, just two days after the board had rejected it, Duchamp wrote to his sister, a nurse in war-torn Paris, telling her that “one of my female friends under a masculine pseudonym, Richard Mutt, sent in a porcelain urinal as a sculpture”. The explosive contents of this letter did not enter the public domain until 1983 when the missive was published in the Archives of American Art Journal.

The mere fact that Duchamp referred to the urinal as a sculpture suggests that it could not have been his, since by 1913, prompted by the work of the wealthy, chess-playing writer Raymond Roussel, he had stopped creating art. His Roussel-inspired “Readymades” were elaborate, personal rebuses to be read, not viewed.

The literary historian Irene Gammel was the first to discover who Duchamp’s “female friend” was. She was born Else Plötz in Germany in 1874, the daughter of a builder and local politician who philandered freely and beat her mother. Afflicted with syphilis, her mother attempted suicide and died later in an institution. As Elsa put it, she “left me her ­heritage… to fight”.

Elsa first married the leading Jugendstil architect August Endell, then Felix Paul Greve, the translator of Oscar Wilde, who faked his own suicide to escape his creditors and fled with Elsa to America. Her third marriage was to Leopold Karl Friedrich Baron von Freytag-Loringhoven, the impoverished son of a German aristocrat who had also escaped to America to avoid debts. He soon ­vanished with Elsa’s paltry savings but left her with a title and entrée into artistic circles in New York.

Elsa simultaneously inspired and repelled all who came into contact with her, from Ezra Pound to Ernest Hemingway. Nevertheless The Little Review treated her as a star and ­published her poems alongside excerpts from James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Elsa’s genius was to find new ways to break out of the social straightjacket that bound women so that she could fight her mother’s battle in public, whenever and wherever she wanted, not when men told her she could.

In October 1917, the painter George Biddle described her room in New York filled with “odd bits of ­ironware, automobile tiles… ash cans, every conceivable horror, which to her tortured yet highly sensitive ­perception, became objects of formal beauty… it had to me quite as much authenticity as, for instance, Brancusi’s studio in Paris.”

Elsa was a poet of found objects, but she didn’t leave them as they were—she transformed them into works of art.

Elsa exploded in fury when the US declared war on her motherland, on Good Friday, 6 April 1917. Her ­target was the Society of Indepen­dent Artists, whose representatives had consistently cold-shouldered her. We believe she submitted an upside-down urinal, signed R. Mutt in a script similar to the one she sometimes used for her poems.

Armut—the homophone of R. Mutt—has many resonances in German. It is used in common phrases to mean “poverty”, and in some contexts “intellectual poverty”. Elsa’s submission was a double-pronged attack. The society was hoisted by its own petard, for in accepting the entry it would demonstrate its inability to distinguish a work of art from an everyday object, but in rejecting it, it would break its own rule that the definition of what was art should be left to the submitting artist. Hence the “intellectual poverty” of its stance.

The urinal was Elsa’s declaration of war against a man’s war—an extraordinary visual assault on all that men stood for. As a sculpture of a transformed everyday object, it deserves to rank alongside Picasso’s Bull’s Head, 1942, made of bicycle ­handlebars and a saddle, and Dali’s Lobster Telephone, 1936.

If Duchamp did not submit the urinal, why would he pretend later that he did? After Elsa died in 1927, forgotten and in abject poverty, Duchamp began to let his name be associated with the urinal, and by 1950, four years after the death of Alfred Stieglitz, who photographed the original Fountain, he began to assume its authorship.

After he reluctantly abandoned his ambition to become a professional chess champion in 1933, Duchamp started to rebuild his artistic career by repackaging his early work. The problem was that there was not much of it. Only one of his original Readymades still existed, forgotten, in a drawer in Walter Arensberg’s desk. It is from this period, beginning in 1936, that replicas of the “lost” Readymades began to appear. Elsa’s urinal plugged a hole, but to make it his own Duchamp turned it into an attack on art itself.

Duchamp had long hated art. Both his elder brothers had become successful artists; he had not. Envy seeps out of many of his unguarded utterances: “Why should artists’ egos be allowed to overflow and poison the atmosphere?” he said in 1963. “Can’t you just smell the stench in the air?”

When the mood took him, Duchamp could be honest about his dishonesty. In an interview in 1962, he told William Seitz: “I insist every word I am telling you now is stupid and wrong.” Why, then, has the art world persisted in believing an account grounded in the myths he promulgated?

The reason is simple: too much has been invested in Duchamp’s ­fiction. Countless artistic, curatorial and academic theories have been based upon it. And national pride is at stake, for conceptual art was America’s contribution to Modernism, supposedly dating from 1917, not the 1960s when Duchamp’s work began to weave its spell.

Added to that is the money. Millions of pounds have been invested not just in the 17 or so copies Duchamp authorised of Elsa’s urinal, but in the oceans of conceptual art legitimised by his anti-aesthetic. And in the wake of these ideas, expensive studio equipment and lengthy craft training have been swept out of ­education because it’s cheaper to think than make.

Duchamp’s mean and meaningless urinal has acted as a canker in the heart of visual creativity. Elsa’s puts visual insight back on to the throne of art.

Did Marcel Duchamp steal Elsa&#8217;s urinal?]]>
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:14:29 +0100
<![CDATA[2015.01.23. - Antiquities next to contemporary in Prada Foundation’s new home]]>
The exhibition will explore the appropriation of Greek sculpture in the Roman world, a common feature of Roman art that resonates strongly with contemporary preoccupations such as originality and reproduction.

“It’s an adventurous move and it’s also a very refreshing one; the foundation goes way past the mere accumulation of objects,” Settis says. “[Miuccia] Prada wanted the first show to focus on classical antiquity but in a contemporary context. In the museum world, it’s usually the other way around, which is why this idea was so appealing to me.”

Yesterday, the Fondazione Prada revealed more details of its new Milan headquarters in a press release yesterday. The complex will include a bar, designed by the American film director Wes Anderson whose films are known for their meticulously designed sets, that will recreate the mood of the city’s historic 19th-century cafés. Another film director, Roman Polanski, has made a documentary and a series of films that will be screened in the foundation’s cinema room. Meanwhile, the sculptor Thomas Gober and the photographer Thomas Demand have been commissioned to create site-specific installations intended to dialogue with the industrial architectural space.

The foundation is known for its innovative collaborative projects with artists such as Anish Kapoor, Carsten Höller, Walter De Maria, Steve McQueen and Louise Bourgeois, and its own extensive collection of contemporary art. It has also made a name for itself by producing art-historical, research-heavy exhibitions.

Set up in 1993 by Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, the foundation is taking over an early 20th-century distillery on Largo Isarco in Milan’s industrial district, providing the city with a much-needed new space for contemporary art at a time when many of the country’s public institutions, such as Rome’s MaXXI museum, are suffering the effects of funding cuts.

The venue’s total exhibition space is 11,146 sq. m. Koolhaas has added three new buildings to seven existing industrial spaces: a large exhibition pavilion, a nine-storey tower and a cinema. For the opening show, Roman copies of celebrated statues, such as the Discobolus and the Crouching Venus, attributed to the Hellenistic sculptor Doidalsas of Bithynia (active 200BC-100BC), will go on show in the new pavilion, which has been temporarily named “Podium”.

As well as screenings and temporary shows organised by guest curators, the galleries will house works from the Prada collection. One of the buildings, called “Haunted House”, is expected to include works selected by Miuccia Prada herself; the cost of the project is undisclosed.

The launch of the new centre coincides with the opening of Milan’s Expo (1 May-31 October) as well as the Venice Biennale (9 May-22 November). The foundation’s Venetian outpost, Ca’ Corner della Regina, which housed a critically acclaimed re-creation of Harald Szeemann’s landmark 1969 show “When Attitude Becomes Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013” during the 2013 Biennale, will host an exhibition (“Portable Classic”, opens 9 May) linked to the Milan show.

“The production of small-scale sculptures was widespread in antiquity and the Renaissance, when entire workshops were dedicated to this, and even then, collectors used to compete, out-buy and poach artists from each other,” Settis says. “The large-scale replicas are suited to Milan’s industrial space, while the small-scale works are perfect for the more intimate space in Venice.”

Antiquities next to contemporary in Prada Foundation&#8217;s new home]]>
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:12:13 +0100
<![CDATA[2015.01.22. - The Tate should take BP’s money—and ask for more ]]>
It was one of a series of artistic responses accompanying a complex legal battle to compel the Tate to reveal details of its dealings with BP. Lasting nearly three years so far, the machinations have involved a Freedom of Information (FoI) request; a response to that request from the Tate; a complaint to the information commissioner that the response was not adequate; responses, called decision notices, from the information commission to the complaint, and an appeal against the decision notices.

The case reached a climax on 22 December, when a tribunal ruled that the museum must divulge sponsorship figures dating from 1990 to 2006; but also that the museum did not have to publish as much of the minutes as stated in one of the decision notices. In other words, some of the black squares might stay. The Tate has until 26 January to appeal against the decision.

The case began in 2012 when the environmental campaigner Glen Tarman, supported by Liberate Tate, subjected the Tate to FoI requests to reveal the total sponsorship the gallery had received from BP for each of the previous 23 years; minutes from ethics committee meetings where the renewal of the sponsorship agreement had been discussed and approved; and any requests BP may have made for confidentiality. London’s National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery and the Natural History Museum all received similar FoI requests and published the amounts they received. But the Tate dragged its heels, citing various legal exemptions, withholding the figures and blacking out parts of the documents, publishing only the confidentiality cause and a list of dates for when the ethics committee met.

By applying pressure on the Tate and other institutions the ambition of campaigners is to bring to an end the funding of the arts by oil companies. Such sponsorship benefits the corporations, providing them with a veneer of respectability, while they are busy trashing the planet, activists argue; it is “greenwashing”. But cutting such funds is an alarming aim—one that ignores the realities of funding and poses a danger to the arts.

Art thrives on the money of the rich, the immoral and the powerful. The Medici banking family was partly responsible for the flourishing of Renaissance Florence, supporting some of the greatest artists who have lived. Without the money of these wealthy men and their enemies the Borgias the paintings and sculptures of Michelangelo, Fra Angelico and Leonardo da Vinci might never have been created. The Guggenheims became philanthropists after running mining interests that would, conceivably, today be considered criminal. Yet the Guggenheim museums benefit every single visitor.

That is not to suggest that every museum is funded by “dirty” money, more that it is difficult to identify money that is good and clean and money that is not. BP is a legitimate company and we all use oil. We drive cars, sit in houses and offices warmed by central heating and lit with electricity. And art needs lots of money, regardless of whether it’s from the Holy See, Big Oil or the state. If it is from a legal corporation, the arts should take the money, especially in this economic climate.

This is not simply about pocketing the cash and running. The demand made was that the Tate should reveal all details about a sponsorship deal—all the dollars and cents—and minutes from internal meetings. Lawyers working for the museum argued that it should be exempt from revealing the funds because it was information provided in confidence and could be prejudicial to commercial interests. They argued that withholding information from the minutes was supportable because disclosure would inhibit provision of free and frank advice, and that it could be a threat to public safety. Most of these are arguments are sensible; the final one is questionable.

There are good reasons why the Tate and others should not have to reveal every penny of financial arrangements: sponsorship deals are commercial. As all fundraisers know, you ask for more than you get and this requires a certain degree of smoke and mirrors. It is conceivable, for example, that the Tate does not want to reveal how much it receives because it is not quite as much as other sponsors—and future ones—think. This is what campaigners believe. Liberate Tate used available information to estimate that the Tate receives from BP about £500,000 a year—only 0.3% of Tate’s overall operating budget. They argue that this shows oil money is not as essential as is suggested. But does it? After all, every penny counts. The museum should take the money and ask for more.

The broader obsession with transparency fails to recognise that withholding information can be beneficial, especially in relation to the request that the Tate publish minutes from meetings. Internal discussion, where people can speak their minds freely without fearing everyone will find out what they said, is vital to coming to informed decisions. Those with a zeal for openness need to recognise that demands to show everything can undercut essential deliberation.

The Tate also turned to questionable arguments to justify keeping information out of the public domain. Lawyers for the museum argued that revealing information from the minutes could cause further protest, thus posing a threat to health and safety—citing the danger of accidental slips in the course of any protest. This is a daft and opportunistic argument, one that, if deemed legitimate in one instance, could be used against museums on other occasions to shut down controversial exhibitions. Protest is legitimate, whether you agree with the agitators or not.

There is no doubt that all funders want something for their money and it is crucial that they do not interfere in curatorial decisions—museums must be fiercely independent on this front. It is therefore sensible to draw on a mix of sources—public and private—so as not to become overly dependent on any single one. But museums should accept all cheques—for large or small sums. Let the sponsors have their logos brandished about and let them have their fancy parties in the museum’s galleries; and by all means flatter their egos and be effusive in thanking them: they deserve it.]]>
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:11:34 +0100
<![CDATA[2015.01.25. - Brussels fair offers a mixed bag of art surprises]]>
It is this sweeping variety of quality works—the chance to see a striking ancient Roman head of a young Herakles on a 16th-century bust (Galerie Chenel; €480,000) and a wall of colourful 17th-century Chinese lohan sculptures (Galerie Jacques Barrère; 18 in total, priced at €14,000 each) within metres of a vitrine with a 17th-century polychrome waxwork head of a decomposing man (Dario Ghio gallery) and an Erwin Wurm desk made from an armoire (Carpenters Workshop Gallery, edition of eight with four artists’ proofs; prices beginning at €56,000)—that continues to lure loyal collectors back each year. In fact, last year drew a record 55,000 visitors—a 14% increase on the year before.

“There are always a few surprises to be found here,” says the Medieval art dealer Christine De Backker, who sold a miniature 15th-century Book of Hours from the Bruges workshop of the Master of the Gold Scrolls (priced at around €60,000) and a 12th-century German bronze figure of Christ on the Cross, at the VIP opening. “The real art lovers and collectors come here because they know they’ll find quality pieces,” she says.

Tribal art is one of Brafa’s strongpoints and pieces can be found on the stands of specialist and non-specialist dealers alike. Didier Claes of Brussels is showing a late 16th- early 17th-century copper plaque of dignitary or Oba (King) from Benin and fellow Brussels-based tribal dealer Serge Schoffel has split his stand in two: one side features an array of tribal pieces from Papa New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast and the other is devoted to the 20th-century Belgian artist Joseph Henrion whose sculptures were inspired by African art.

Visitors to the stand of the Brussels-and Paris-based Huberty & Breyne gallery (also known as Petits Papiers) can find the “ninth art”: comics. A solo display of pieces by the Belgian cartoonist and Le Chat creator Philippe Geluck includes a stained-glass panel depicting cats caught in a compromising position (Fécondation in vitraux, 2014; €5,800) and a thoroughly modern response to Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man (Il y en a un peu plus je vous le mets, 2014; €17,000). The gallery, which is also showing works by Robert Crumb, Hergé and François Avril, had a few early sales during the VIP preview, including a 1951 illustration by the creator of the Buck Danny comic, Victor Hubinon, for €35,000.

Although Brafa is known for older works of art, those needing a contemporary art fix can get it at the Belgian gallery Guy Pieters, which is showing works by Gilbert & George, Koen Vanmechelen, Jan Fabre, Wim Delvoye and Tim Noble & Sue Webster.]]>
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:06:13 +0100
<![CDATA[2015.01.01. - Adeline Ooi Tapped as Director Asia for Art Basel]]> Thu, 01 Jan 2015 19:30:58 +0100