News

  • The Battle over Jack Smith's Legacy

    On January 30, surrogate-court judge Eve Preminger ruled that the archive of Jack Smith belongs, in effect, to the artist's younger sister, seventy-year-old Mary Sue Slater. But, as C. Carr reports in the Village Voice, the ruling was only the latest, and not the last, chapter in a protracted legal battle over the underground visionary's films, scripts, costumes, posters, props, slides, and ephemera. Smith's relatives are on one side, and on the other is the Plaster Foundation, an entity run by performance artist Penny Arcade and film critic J. Hoberman.

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  • New Theory Links Gardner Heist to IRA

    The 1990 theft of thirteen artworks—collectively valued at more than $250 million—from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was the largest art heist of all time. As the fourteenth anniversary of the theft approaches, the crime is still unsolved. But a new theory, linking the heist to the Boston criminal underworld and the Irish Republican Army, has emerged, report the Boston Globe's Shelley Murphy and Stephen Kurkjianone.

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  • Market Wakes Up to Once-Neglected Artists

    Interest in African-American historical artifacts and artworks is at an all-time high, Forbes reports. Works by artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Henry Ossawa Tanner have been steadily increasing in value in the last few years. “This stuff was neglected, underappreciated and underknown,” said Steve Turner, owner of a Beverly Hills gallery bearing his name. “Museums, collectors, and scholars are looking for new, deserving areas to devote themselves to.”

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  • Canada's Artists Respond to Criticism of Awards

    Canadian artists and arts experts reiterated the message that art is meant to challenge and redefine society's perceptions, as the 2004 Governor General's Visual and Media Arts Awards were handed out at a ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday, CBC News reports. A public debate about the awards broke out a week ago, when it was announced that one of this year's seven winners is Istvan Kantor, an artist whose performances have included public sex acts, setting fires, and marking gallery walls with a large X in his own blood.

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  • Manhattan Gallerist Charged in Forgery Scam

    The Financial Times' Christopher Grimes reports that Manhattan gallery owner Ely Sakhai has been accused by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the US Attorney for the southern district of New York of masterminding an international art-forgery racket involving millions of dollars' worth of paintings. According to the complaint, Sakhai would buy original paintings—by Chagall, Renoir, Gauguin, and others—at public auction, then obtain a forgery, which would promptly be sold. After waiting a few years, it is alleged, he would sell the original, again at public auction.

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  • Olympic Bid Could Bring High-Design Housing to Queens

    Five designs for an Olympic Village that will be built in Long Island City, Queens—if New York win its bid to be host to the summer games in 2012—were unveiled yesterday, Herbert Muschamp writes in the New York Times. The proposals under consideration are by Zaha Hadid, Thom Mayne, the Dutch firm MVRDV, Henning Larsens Tegnestue of Copenhagen, and Smith-Miller & Hawkinson Architects of New York. New York's Olympic Village, if it is built, will house athletes during the games and will become middle-income housing afterward.

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  • Joel Sternfeld Defends Photography

    Last week David Hockney declared the end of photography: The rise and rise of digital cameras, and the concomitant ease with which images can be distorted and manipulated, have destroyed photography's traditional association with truthfulness, he argued. As The Guardian's Charlotte Higgins reports, Joel Sternfeld, winner of the Citigroup photography prize, begs to differ: “Because photography has a certain verisimilitude, it has gained a currency as truthful—but photographs have always been convincing lies.”

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  • British Museums Band Together to Request More Funding

    British museums have joined forces to ask the government for an extra £115 million ($210 million) a year, the BBC reports. In a manifesto made public on Tuesday, the museums warned that large London attractions may not be able to keep going at their present levels without more funding. “This is a critical time for our museums and galleries,” said the manifesto.

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  • Olafur Eliasson Takes to the Woods

    The artist who brought an orange sunshine glow to Tate Modern in London has filled an East Sussex gallery with a forest, Maeve Kennedy reports in The Guardian. The small Towner Gallery, in an eighteenth-century manor house in Eastbourne, has become the first British art museum to buy an installation by the artist Olafur Eliasson, creator of The Weather Project, one of the most talked-about works of the past year. To create the new work, The Forked Forest Path, Towner staff members collected hundreds of ash and sycamore saplings from nearby scrubland and wove them together to fill a gallery,

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  • At Long Last, France Discovers Rubens

    Rubens is so omnipresent in museums and collections, so renowned for his portraits and religious, historical, and mythological paintings, that any retrospective of his work raises the question: Is there anything new to say? In France there is, Alan Riding writes in the New York Times. Remarkably, a major Rubens exhibition that opened March 6 in Lille is the first overview of his work to be presented in France. How could France have ignored this seventeenth-century Flemish giant? One reason is nationalism.

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  • Optimism Returns to the High End of the Art Market

    The Maastricht fair reveals more about the state of the top end of the international art market than any other event, and a year ago the mood could hardly have been worse, Will Bennett writes in The Telegraph. A year later, despite dire predictions about the effect that the falling dollar will have on sales, the mood is very different. The full story of this year's fair, which opened last Thursday, will not be known until long after it finishes on Sunday, because many deals take months to come to fruition, but there is more optimism at the top end of the market than there has been for some time.

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  • Museum to Create Largest Art Venue in Pacific Northwest

    The Portland Art Museum recently broke ground on a $31.5 million renovation of the neighboring Masonic Temple, Julia O'Malley reports in The Oregonian. “It is probably the largest and most important expansion the museum has gone through since 1935,” said Bruce Guenther, the museum's chief curator and curator of contemporary and modern art. The expansion will create the biggest gallery for modern and contemporary art in the Pacific Northwest.

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