News

  • Prague's Priceless Documents: Freeze Before Drying

    Prague's priceless and now waterlogged documents have found temporary homes in conventional freezers as libraries and archives try to locate vacuum-drying equipment. In Mochov, twelve miles east of Prague, Vladimir Blaha was packing frozen vegetables into the chilled storerooms of his frozen food factory when he received a desperate phone call from Prague's city library. Now he stores the Prague bible of 1488, the first in vernacular Czech. Music scores by Mozart, the original manuscripts of poems by the Czech romantics, letters by Leos Janacek from the archives of the Czech Philharmonic, valuable

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  • Building a Bohemia in the Mojave

    Andrea Zittel, Jack Pierson, Ed Ruscha, and others have carved out an idiosyncratic domestic utopia in the Mojave desert, forming a small community that's an antidote to the art centers on the coasts. Located near the Joshua Tree National Park, the area has long been a hub for rock climbers, dirt bikers and visionary eccentrics, among them George Van Tassel, a test pilot who in the 1950s built a thirty-eight-foot-high “rejuvenation machine” called the Integratron that is a local landmark. For Zittel, who grew up in Southern California, the lunarlike terrain is the perfect setting for the research

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  • Where Have All the Sellers Gone?

    Suspicions that the art market is “drying up” of art receive unexpected support in statistics released by Sotheby’s this week. Lots sold worldwide in 1989 were just over 200,000; in 1990, 188,000; in 2000, 110,000. In the US, UK, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Italy, the big art-buying countries, many collectors are buying with no intention of selling at all, or selling only when absolutely necessary. Art has become an asset that protects wealth against tax erosion.

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  • Carrara Attempts a Marble Renaissance

    There is marble everywhere in the mountains above Tuscany. Artisans and other residents of the historic marble quarry town of Carrara, which produced the stone for Michelangelo's Pieta, are trying to bring the attention of contemporary artists back to the material. A recent exhibition included Sol LeWitt, whose plans for his sculpture requested that the marble for its construction be as indistinguishable as possible from concrete. “As long as they were fairly anonymous blocks of stone, it was OK with me,” said LeWitt. “Nouveau riche houses always have a lot of marble in them.”

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  • Warhol Retrospective Brings Home the Bacon

    A study due out today says the LA MoCA Andy Warhol retrospective, which closed August 18, added $55.8 million to the local economy. Nearly 30 percent of visitors outside the county said the Warhol show was their primary reason for coming to Los Angeles, and this group spent $18 million on hotels alone. Promoted by the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau and funded by corporate sponsors, private donations, and a $250,000 gift from the city, the $2.7 million exhibition also yielded $2.7 million in profits for the museum itself.

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  • Massachusetts Suffers Deep Cuts in Arts Funding

    The State of Massachusetts's 62 percent cut in state arts funding from $19.1 million to $7.3 million is the deepest in the country, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. State arts officials believe the cuts themselves will have a negative impact on the economy. Figures show that nonprofit cultural organizations have historically provided the state with a considerable boost.

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  • Doubts Persist About Newly Discovered Rubens

    Sotheby's is reacting angrily to media reports questioning the authenticity of the $120 million Peter Paul Rubens painting reportedly bought by David Thomson, the Canadian billionaire art collector. The Massacre of the Innocents was sold July 10 in London. Doubters have noted that a pigment used in the work was not one used by Rubens and that the wood used also raises questions. Sotheby's, however, states that it is “unaware of any change in the views of the leading experts who supported the attribution at the time.”

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