News

  • Modernism in Iran

    Iran is the last place you'd expect to find modern art. But it is home to one of the world's great collections—and a public that is keen to understand it. Anna Somers Cocks gets some surprises in Tehran.

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  • Picturing Fame

    Three years ago, Yousuf Karsh, a photographer who earned his fame by once snatching Winston Churchill's cigar from his mouth and capturing the leader as a mask of suppressed rage, did something strange. He took a picture of a wax replica of Churchill at Madame Tussaud's and declared this portrait of the wax better than his 1941 portrait of the flesh-and-blood Churchill.

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  • Ryman Says Prices for His Work Are Too High

    According to court papers, in 1996 two principals of a London gallery, Roberto Shorto and Simon Lee, endeavored to buy two early paintings by Robert Ryman. When the dealer who had orchestrated the agreement, Robert Bellman, abruptly disappeared mid-transaction, Shorto and Lee’s gallery included Ryman among the defendants. But an interesting and unusual case—Shorto and Lee sought to have Ryman found liable for the alleged transgressions of the dealer he’d appointed—grew more fascinating in May, when Ryman ended up on the stand. Under cross-examination, Ryman admitted that he thinks that the prices

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  • Koolhaas's Moses Plan for Harvard

    When the World's Greatest University needs an architect, who are they going to call? The world's greatest architect, of course. That would be Rotterdam's brilliant Rem Koolhaas, whom Neil Rudenstine hired two years ago to create a master plan for Harvard's new holdings across the Charles River in Boston. Koolhaas and two associates from his urban-planning firm, AMO, came up with a plan all right, but there is a reason Harvard refuses to discuss it in detail or make it public: He wanted to move the river!

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  • UK Signs Art Theft Convention

    The UK government has signed up to a UN convention banning the illicit trade in cultural property, including artworks and antiques. The UK joins ninety-one other countries that have already signed up to the 1970 UNESCO convention.

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  • The Egyptian Museum Holds Tutankhamen's Mask

    Visitors to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo are to get a rare chance to see artifacts that have been stored in the basement and never seen by the public. The upcoming exhibition in December, which will include gold jewelery from King Tutankhamen's tomb, will be part of the museum's centenary celebrations. “We found about forty artifacts of King Tut never shown before,” says Zahi Hawass, director of the Supreme Antiquities Council of Egypt.

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  • Dallas Museum Moving Oldenburg Out

    The iconic Stake Hitch sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen has anchored the soaring Barrel Vault gallery of the Dallas Museum of Art since it opened in 1984. Now, museum officials have announced that it will be dismantled next week and placed in storage, though they insist the move is temporary and needed to make space for other purposes. The artists, however, are not happy. “We assumed it was permanent since it was clearly intended for the Barrel Vault as part of the architecture,” said van Bruggen last week.

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  • The Cooper-Whoit?

    When the news came out last month that a previously unknown Michelangelo drawing of a candelabrum had been discovered in a box at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, more than one reasonably aware museumgoer no doubt asked, “Where is that place? And what is it?” Call it the curse of the Cooper-Hewitt, but for years the museum, one of sixteen under the Smithsonian Institution, has struggled against invisibility in Manhattan's world of high-profile, increasingly newsmaking museums, many of them just blocks away.

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  • A Bad Week at the British Museum

    Neil McGregor, former director of the National Gallery, started work at the British Museum only last week and inherited a dire situation. The museum has a soaring financial deficit, and a rescue plan—involving staff cuts of up to 15 percent, from cleaners to curators—has provoked the first staff strike in the museum's 250-year history. As if to highlight his problems, the day after he started, an ancient Greek marble head was stolen, by a thief who simply pulled it off its plinth and walked away with it. The gallery may have been one of dozens temporarily closed for part of each day and patrolled

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  • Cybrid Works Coming to a Billboard Near You

    Two new works of Internet art are really out there. No, out there, in public, where anyone can see them. This seems like an aesthetic zoning violation. Internet art often explores the digital medium's uncharted regions, but it does so from within the confines of the personal-computer screen. But Egoscopio, by the Brazilian artist Giselle Beiguelman, and Telescape, by the British artists known as Greyworld, are the latest examples of Internet-based pieces created to be shown in public. Egoscopio, which is scheduled to open today, will be displayed on two electronic billboards in a heavily trafficked

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