News

  • Artes Mundi Shortlist Announced

    The BBC reports that ten international artists, including Janine Antoni, Lee Bul, Fiona Tan, and Kara Walker, have been shortlisted for the forty-thousand-pound (sixty-four-thousand-dollar) Artes Mundi Prize. The new biannual prize, which will be awarded for the first time in March 2004, offers artists twice the sum given to the winner of the Turner Prize. It is paid for by a number of Welsh organizations, including the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Development Agency, and the Welsh Assembly Government.

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  • Simon Schama on Goldsworthy's Garden of Stones

    Andy Goldsworthy's memorial sculpture Garden of Stones, located on the second-story terrace of the new extension of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown Manhattan, comprises eighteen hollowed-out granite boulders, varying between three and fifteen tons. The hollowed rocks have been filled with soil, and today, Holocaust survivors will plant a dwarf chestnut-oak sapling in each one. Writing in the New Yorker, Simon Schama situates Garden of Stones in the arc of Goldsworthy's career and in the broader context of Land art.

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  • Museum Island's Stalled Makeover

    Berlin's Museum Island, located in the River Spree, derives its name from the five neoclassical museums that are clustered upon it. As Geir Moulson reports in the Los Angeles Times, the German government plans to transform these museums, which were damaged in World War II, into a cultural center to rival the Louvre. But while construction has been under way for five years, Berlin's financial woes have slowed the process down, and no one can say just when the 1.13-billion-dollar makeover will be complete.

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  • Following in Bilbao's Footsteps, Downtown Banks on Culture

    Almost all involved in the planning to rebuild at Ground Zero have agreed on at least one thing, Julie Salamon writes in the New York Times: Whatever is built on the site of the World Trade Center should include cultural institutions. Cities as far-flung as Bilbao, Barcelona, Manchester, and Detroit have all shown that cultural institutions can revive urban communities. By giving new urgency to notions of transformation, writes Salamon, the destruction that took place on September 11, 2001, has brought home to downtown Manhattan the phenomenon of urban renewal through culture.

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  • A Surprising New Interpretation of Arnolfini Wedding

    Over the centuries, theories about the scenario being depicted in Jan van Eyck's painting The Arnolfini Wedding, 1434, have abounded. Erwin Panofsky's 1934 hypothesis that the painting shows a clandestine marriage has been accepted by many scholars, but arguments as to whether or not the bride is pregnant have raged for decades. In the new issue of the journal Apollo, James Fenton reports in The Guardian, art historian Margaret L. Koster sets forth a novel theory: that the woman in the painting is in fact supposed to be dead.

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  • Art Institute Faces Challenging Future, Says Critic

    Last week's announcement that James N. Wood, director of the Art Institute of Chicago since 1980, intends to retire next year took many people by surprise—including employees of the museum itself. Chicago Tribune art critic Alan G. Artner looks at some of the challenges facing the institution as it moves ahead. “Great museum directors . . . lead the board of trustees that appointed them, and that can mean trouble at the end of a tenure as long as Wood's,” Artner writes. “Having been guided by someone they chose to help fulfill the museum's mission, how much have trustees had to think about

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  • Publishers Shy Away from Spiegelman's Comic

    In May 2002, Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic artist Art Spiegelman completed preliminary sketches for a cartoon strip about the aftermath of September 11 and began shopping the project around, only to be turned down by the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, his longtime employer the New Yorker, and a host of other US and British publications. Spiegelman attributes the rejections to the current political climate. “The US isn't the best place to be a dissenting voice at the moment,” Spiegelman told The Independent's Hannah Cleaver.

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  • Dallas Unveils Plans for Revitalized Arts District

    Dallas has taken the wraps off plans for a revitalized arts district that will knit together many of the city's major cultural institutions, Michael Markowitz reports on Andante. The arts district, which could be complete in about ten years, is a collaboration among three architecture firms: Foster and Partners of London, Rem Koolhaas's Office of Metropolitan Architecture, and the Paris landscape architect Michel Desvigne.

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  • Las Vegas Museum Needs a Home of Its Own

    The new Nevada Museum of Art in Reno has been credited with helping spark a cultural revival in the city. Meanwhile, the art scene in Las Vegas is far from thriving. As Joseph Allen writes in the Las Vegas Mercury, several of the city's museums have closed in the last few years, and the Las Vegas Art Museum doesn't even have a permanent home. The LVAM is the last, best hope for an independent art venue in the city, writes Allen, but in order for it to function as the center of a thriving art scene, it needs a building to call its own.

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  • Ellsworth Kelly's Vision for Ground Zero

    “I've stopped counting the number of ground zero proposals that have come my way in the past two years,” Herbert Muschamp writes in the New York Times. But a recent proposal that Muschamp received in the mail—a collage featuring a green paper trapezoid positioned on a page of newsprint, representing a park at Ground Zero—made a more distinct impression. It is Ellsworth's Kelly's representation of his vision for the site. Like Joel Shapiro, John Baldessari, and Tadao Ando, Kelly believes that no buildings should be erected there at all.

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  • Official Report on Iraq Museum Looting Released

    Marine Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, who led a thirteen-member team that investigated the looting of Iraq's National Museum, released a report on his findings on Wednesday, Will Dunham reports on MSNBC. While more than 3,400 other stolen items have been recovered, Bogdanos said, more than ten thousand are still missing. The US military has created a “wanted” poster identifying thirty key missing artworks, including a Sumerian white-marble mask of a female deity dating back almost five thousand years and the copper Akkadian Bassetki Statue from 2300 BC.

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  • Resurrecting A Piece of Architectural History

    A seven-foot-tall original model of the World Trade Center used by the towers' architects has been restored and will become part of a museum exhibit in Lower Manhattan, Newsday reports. The model, which sat unnoticed in a warehouse for years, “would have undoubtedly ended up in a Dumpster” if preservationists hadn't tracked it down, said American Architectural Foundation president Ron Bogle. In early 2004, the model will be shipped to New York City for the planned opening of the Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park.

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