News

  • Critics Take Aim at Rio's Guggenheim Plans

    The New York–based Guggenheim organization has had to retrench in recent months due to a drop in revenues, but Rio de Janeiro's government has agreed to pay for a long-planned branch of the museum in that city. However, Michael Astor writes in the Washington Post, critics are calling the plan “a cultural Titanic,” questioning everything from its cost to the design by French architect Jean Nouvel, which some have likened to a huge rusting oil drum partly submerged in the bay.

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  • Asbestos Forces Closure of Rijksmuseum

    Asbestos, the potentially lethal insulation material used in older buildings, was found during an inspection of Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum on Monday, the BBC reports. The museum, renowned for its collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings, will have to be closed to the public and staff for an indefinite period, museum officials said.

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  • Art Thieves Leave a Message

    When authorities discovered stolen paintings by van Gogh, Gaugin, and Picasso in a public bathroom in the UK on Monday, they also found a message from the thieves, Newsday reports. The message said the theft was carried out in order to highlight “poor security” at the Whitworth Gallery, from which the paintings were stolen on Sunday. All the paintings sustained significant damage when they were taken.

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  • Winner of Beck's Futures Prize Announced

    This year's Beck's Futures prize of 24,000 pounds (38,000 dollars) has been awarded to twenty-nine-year-old Rosalind Nashashibi. Nashashibi is the third Glasgow-based artist to win the prize in its four-year history, and the first woman, Charlotte Mullins reports in the Financial Times.

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  • Stolen Paintings Recovered; Safe but Not Sound

    The paintings by van Gogh, Gaugin, and Picasso that were stolen from the Whitworth Gallery on Sunday were found on Monday following an anonymous tip, The Guardian reports. However, the artworks are thought to have been damaged, perhaps severely, by overnight rain. The extent of the damage and the authenticity of the works are still being assessed by experts.

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  • Arts Patrons: The Real Arbiters of Culture

    Arts patrons—the well-heeled volunteers who have won board seats at the city's largest arts institutions—are the people who really shape the cultural character of Los Angeles, Christopher Reynolds writes in the Los Angeles Times. But the price of admission to this exclusive club is rising fast, and, as their donations grow, board members are asking more questions and exerting more influence.

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  • Archaeologists to Build Comprehensive Database of Looted Art

    Archaeologists are building a comprehensive, searchable image database of the tens of thousands of objects that were stolen from Iraqi museums, Ryan Singel reports in Wired News. The Lost Iraqi Heritage project is a joint effort of more than eighty universities, museums, and individuals who say that they are motivated by what they see as an unprecedented, incalculable loss.

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  • Works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso Stolen

    Three watercolors, by van Gogh, Gauguin, and Picasso, respectively, were stolen on Sunday from the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, England, Rachel Campbell-Johnson reports in the London Times. Though their combined value is somewhere around 1 million pounds (1.6 million dollars), their loss will be far more than financial; it will leave a serious gap in the museum’s Post-Impressionist collection.

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  • Art Fraud Thrives on the Internet

    As the sale of art and collectibles through Internet auctions has boomed, so has the incidence of fraud, Lauren Foster reports in the Financial Times. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there were nearly fifty thousand complaints of Internet auction fraud last year—more than double the year before—making it the agency's number-one Internet-related complaint.

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  • Frank Rich Points Finger at White House and Pentagon

    The Pentagon was repeatedly warned of the possibility of catastrophic looting in advance of the war, and some of its officials were on the case, Frank Rich writes in the New York Times. But at the highest levels at the White House, the Pentagon, and central command—where the real clout is—no one cared.

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  • Robert Blackburn, Founder of Printmaking Workshop, Dies

    Robert Blackburn, an artist who founded the influential Printmaking Workshop in New York, died on Monday at the Village Nursing Home in Manhattan at the age of eighty-two, Holland Cotter writes in the New York Times. The workshop, which existed for more than a half century, assumed a catalytic role in the “print boom” of the 1960s. Participants included Benny Andrews, Nell Blaine, Mel Edwards, Michi Itami, Lucio Pozzi, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Juan Sanchez, Michelle Stuart, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Kay WalkingStick, and William T. Williams.

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  • Slowly, Some Stolen Art Finds Its Way Back to Museum

    Some works of art are slowly finding their way back to Iraq's National Museum, Monte Reel reports in the Washington Post. At least a small portion of the thousands of objects that disappeared, it seems, were tucked away for safekeeping. Officials are also using tips from citizens to hunt down stolen artifacts, and some thieves are returning items voluntarily.

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