News

  • Looking at Art with a “Critical Financial Eye”

    For Bruce Taub, life isn't about imitating art, it's about selling a stake in it. As the estimated $25 billion art economy draws a wider range of investors, Taub's firm is readying the first US funds catering exclusively to them, Reuters reports. Fernwood Art Investments LLC, with offices in Boston, New York and Miami, will launch two funds in the second quarter. Besides buying and selling art in the same way equity funds invest in stocks, the firm will provide tools for investors to gauge pieces with a more critical financial eye.

    Read more
  • Art, “Lifestyle Culture,” and the Crisis of Criticism

    While no one can much agree on any clear mission for “art writing,” criticism, or the role of the critic, J.J. Charlesworth writes on Spiked.com, it is clear that there has been a severe and pessimistic attenuation of what critics today believe their activity can achieve. Art is becoming indistinguishable from lifestyle culture, and the logic of fashion also dominates how art is made visible; with the centered authority of modernist aesthetic criteria long dead, and post-modernism's politicized proliferation of criteria equally exhausted, fashion steps in to regulate things with its free-market,

    Read more
  • Madrid Gets Ready for ARCO

    From February 10 to 14, Madrid will host the International Contemporary Art Fair, or ARCO, with new works from 290 galleries in thirty-five countries, Samuel Loewenberg reports in Time. “What makes this fair different from others is it is not dominated by the Anglo-Saxon world,” says Javier López, the owner of the Javier López gallery, a Madrid space that specializes in photography and new media. “ARCO is the most important week of the year for Spanish art,” says Maria Porto, director of the Madrid branch of the Marlborough Gallery.

    Read more
  • Chicago Museum Attendance Declines for Fourth Year Running

    Attendance at Chicago’s top ten museums fell for the fourth year in a row, although the pace of the decline slowed enough that museum officials expect a turnaround this year, Sandra Jones reports in Crain's Chicago Business. In 2004, 7.48 million people visited at least one of the museums, down 1 percent from 7.57 million in 2003, according to a report released Monday from the Museums in the Park, a coalition of the ten museums located on Chicago Park District property. “We are looking at growth mirroring what’s happening in tourism in general,” says Jacqueline Atkins, executive director of the

    Read more
  • Dispute over Allegedly Looted van Gogh Continues

    A California judge has cancelled a hearing originally scheduled for Monday in Los Angeles that was to have considered an ownership dispute between actress Elizabeth Taylor and a Hamilton, Ontario, lawyer and his family over a painting by Vincent van Gogh, James Adams reports in the Globe and Mail. District Court Judge Gary Klausner announced Friday that he was declining to hold the hearing and would instead base any future ruling on court documents previously submitted by lawyers for both disputants. Lawyers for Andrew Orkin of Hamilton want the courts to toss out an application for undisputed

    Read more
  • Dutch Artist Goes into Hiding After Receiving Threats

    Because of threats of violence, the Netherlands' main film festival, now going on in Rotterdam, canceled a showing of a short documentary denouncing violence against Muslim women that was made by murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh, Marlise Simons reports in the New York Times. And a Moroccan-Dutch painter has gone into hiding after receiving death threats linked to his satirical work critical of violence by Islamic militants, which recently went on view at Amsterdam's Cobra Museum. The two incidents have reinforced fears among many Dutch that fast-growing non-Western immigration is having “a

    Read more
  • Harvard Museums' Chief Will Prioritize Expansion

    Thomas Lentz arrived in Cambridge one year ago this month to become the head of the Harvard University Art Museums, Christine Temin writes in the Boston Globe. He's taken charge of the university's art collection of 250,000 objects, a stunning total outnumbered in the United States by only three institutions: the Metropolitan, the Brooklyn Museum, and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. The collections are extraordinary, but the three museums that Lentz oversees—the Fogg, the Busch-Reisinger, and the Sackler— weren't built to house the tens of thousands of objects Harvard now owns. Less than

    Read more
  • Huge Trove of Smuggled African Art Intercepted in Paris

    Smuggled African historic art and archaeological objects of incalculable value, said to be enough to fill a museum, were put on show by French customs Saturday after being seized on their way from Niger to Belgium, Expatica reports. Some 845 items, including pottery vessels and terracotta figurines, were intercepted at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport on January 6 by customs officers searching for drugs. The consignment, totaling half a ton, covers “virtually the whole of Africa's history and prehistory,” said Marie-Helene Moncel, a researcher and expert at France's natural history museum. Such

    Read more
  • Artists Rally Around Royal Academy's Embattled Former Chief

    Artists taught by an academic under investigation over financial irregularities at the Royal Academy Schools have rallied to his defense, Louise Jury writes in The Independent. A group of recent graduates from the art school of the Royal Academy have named Brendan Neiland, its former head or keeper, as the figurehead of their informal coalition. To illustrate what they say was his inspirational leadership during six years in charge of the venerable institution they are staging a show of their paintings at the Jerwood Space in London next month, where he will be the star guest. It will be his

    Read more
  • With Too Many Visitors to Handle, Tate Modern Will Expand

    Tate Modern, one of the world's biggest art galleries, is going to get even bigger, Reuters reports. Handling twice as many visitors as expected and with high-rise buildings going up on surrounding land, expansion plans running into hundreds of millions of dollars have been brought forward, director Nicholas Serota said. “If we fail to [expand], we will find ourselves constrained by other developments that have already been given planning permission,” Serota told reporters. Last year more than four million people visited Tate Modern, compared with expectations when the gallery first opened in

    Read more
  • Auschwitz Commemorations Prompt More Flick Protests

    Protesters marked Auschwitz commemorations on Thursday by throwing paint outside the controversial Berlin art show of the collection of Friedrich Christian Flick, the heir of a convicted Nazi industrialist, Reuters reports. The demonstrators poured white emulsion by the entrance to the collection of contemporary art. They also spread leaflets condemning the exhibition and referring to the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Works in the exhibition have been damaged in two earlier protests, one in September and one in December.

    Read more
  • Whitney Hopes “Moderate” Expansion Design Will Pass Muster

    The Whitney's expansion plan, which calls for a new, nine-story building just a few feet south of the current museum, is the subject of a February 1 hearing by New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission. Getting commission approval is a necessary step to moving the multiyear process forward, Deepti Hajela writes in Newsday. Another plan in the late '80s faced staunch opposition from neighbors in the museum's historic, mixed commercial and residential community on the Upper East Side.The new plan, by Renzo Piano, is “more moderate” than previous, more expensive and elaborate exapansion

    Read more