July 1, 2005

Kiefer's London Installation Heads for Connecticut

Erected this week by White Cube, Anselm Kiefer's first London installation in eight years is a pavilion in the city's Hoxton Square that houses thirty of his recent paintings. An exact re-creation of one of the artist's studios in Barjac, in Provence, where he lives and works, it is called Anselm Kiefer for Khlebnikov, Carol Vogel reports in the New York Times. The paintings depict historic sea battles, incorporating actual model ships into highly textured surfaces. The pavilion and the thirty paintings inside have been sold as a single installation to an American collector, identified only as a supporter of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, where it will go on view.

July 1, 2005

The Drawbacks of Supersized Museums

Cultural buildings in the United States are being supersized, with newly enlarged museums opening this year in cities including Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and Davenport, Iowa, Kim Campbell writes in the Christian Science Monitor. With growth on the minds of directors, visitors are in for a different experience as they shuffle into freshly painted galleries. They will find more space to maneuver a stroller, more places to eat, and better educational facilities. The trade off, in some cases, is less intimate quarters to view a favorite Van Gogh, and less likelihood of seeing the entire museum in one visit.

July 1, 2005

Changes in Gallerists' Sales Contracts Raise Concerns

In the currently super-heated market for contemporary art, galleries are increasingly seeking to maintain control over an artist’s work, even after it has been sold, Martha Lufkin writes in the Art Newspaper. Today several dealers of contemporary art are placing a right of first refusal in their sales documents, requiring buyers to offer the art back to the dealer before selling to anyone else. Some, including dealers, maintain that these restrictions protect artists, the market, and even collectors. However, critics of these contracts disagree.

June 30, 2005

A Major Reorganization of Berlin's State Museums

Peter-Klaus Schuster, director general of the seventeen institutions making up the Berlin State Museums, has announced yet another major reorganization of its collections, Martin Bailey reports in the Art Newspaper. In a recent interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he said that he intends the Neue Nationalgalerie, an elegant building by Mies van der Rohe, to become a space for temporary exhibitions, while its modern works of art would move into the Gemäldegalerie, currently home to the Old Masters. The Hamburger Bahnhof would house contemporary art.

June 30, 2005

Guggenheim Picks Designer for Guadalajara Branch

Given the Guggenheim Museum's track record spinning off new branches, it is certainly possible that Enrique Norten's design for a new Guggenheim in Guadalajara, Mexico, selected this month, will never be built, Robin Pogrebin writes in the New York Times. Indeed, the museum has been careful to call the design “conceptual” and has engaged the consulting firm McKinsey & Company to conduct a feasibility study—to be completed in August—to see whether the $180 million project can fly. If the museum does move ahead, however, a jury decided that it should be with Norten's design, rather than those of two other distinguished contenders: Jean Nouvel of Ateliers Jean Nouvel in Paris and the team of Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture, both of Asymptote in New York City.

June 30, 2005

Architect Warns of China's Impending “Sky Wars”

If Chinese cities from Guangzhou to Chengdu continue to expand at the current pace, rampant development could trigger “sky wars”: The rich and powerful will compete for sunlight and views, while the poor—stuck on lower floors or at the densely packed urban core—will face ever-shrinking skylines. So, Kevin Holden writes in China Daily, architect Neville Mars has founded a program called Dynamic City to combat what he calls “the present dream and the future nightmare” of Chinese mega-cities. “Most big-name architects in China now—including Rem Koolhaas with his CCTV tower and Paul Andreu with the National Theater—are designing high-prestige monuments rather than space for the common people,” says Mars.

June 29, 2005

Schindler's Factory to Become Art Museum

The Krakow factory which belonged to Oskar Schindler, the man who saved hundreds of Polish Jews during the World War II, is to be turned into an art museum, the BBC reports. The museum will house works of contemporary art and a permanent exhibition dedicated to the factory owner. Krakow deputy mayor Tadeusz Trzmiel said: “The establishment of a museum in this historic factory is part of the rehabilitation” of the city's industrial district.

June 29, 2005

Redesigned Freedom Tower Unveiled

With one eye on terrorism and another on what has already been lost to terrorists, New York officials unveiled a redesigned Freedom Tower today whose height and proportion, centered antenna and cut-away corners, tall lobbies and pinstripe facade evoke—both deliberately and coincidentally—the sky-piercing twins it is meant to replace, David W. Dunlap and Glenn Collins report in the New York Times. Chief architect David M. Childs said he felt the new design was better than the original.

June 29, 2005

Picasso Sketches Auctioned in Paris

A lover of Pablo Picasso sold a collection of his sketches and engravings for $1.87 million in Paris on Monday, half a century after most of them were drawn during a romantic holiday, Tiziana Cauli reports on Reuters. Genevieve Laporte, now 79, left just before the start of the auction at which Odalisque, a 1951 sketch of her lying naked on a bed, was bought by Paris's Picasso Museum for $570,000—three times the asking price.