News

  • Exhibition at Iraq National Museum Draws Criticism

    A section of Baghdad's Iraq National Museum was opened for two hours on Thursday, The Independent's Patrick Cockburn reports. Apparently intended to demonstrate that US authorities care about Iraqi culture and that life in the capital is returning to normal, the brief exhibition does not seem to have been a success. Machine-gun fire was heard in the streets during the viewing, and American archaeologists have accused the authorities of putting the works on display at risk.

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  • Painting at Whitney Revives Memories of “Sensation”

    “The American Effect,” the Whitney Museum of American Art's new exhibition, opens with a painting by Chinese artist Zhou Tiehai that depicts a smiling Rudolph Giuliani looming above two balls of elephant dung. As the work's wall text acknowledges, the painting alludes to 1999's “Sensation” imbroglio, during which Giuliani tried to pull the Brooklyn Museum of Art's public funding because of Chris Ofili's dung-daubed depiction of the Virgin Mary. Newsday reports that Giuliani seems unperturbed by the new painting. “I'm really not an art critic,” he commented.

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  • SITE Sante Fe Will Play Key Role in Urban Redevelopment

    SITE Santa Fe announced Wednesday that it has signed a letter of intent to purchase its existing building from the city of Santa Fe, Heather Harrison reports in the Albuquerque Business Journal. The eighteen-thousand-square-foot contemporary-art museum, located in Sante Fe's railyard district, will be “a key element in the development of the [district],” said Lleta Scoggins, executive director of the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation. Plans are underway to develop a fifty-acre area around SITE Sante Fe to include galleries, restaurants, retail shops, office space, and residential units.

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  • Praemium Imperiale Winners Announced

    Artists Bridget Riley and Mario Merz, architect Rem Koolhass, filmmaker Ken Loach, and conductor Claudio Abbado are the winners of this year's Praemium Imperiale awards, Japan Today reports. The annual awards, which are funded and administered by the Japan Arts Association, recognize global achievement in the arts. Each winner will receive 130,000 euros (150,000 dollars).

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  • Director of UK's Baltic Gallery Steps Down

    The Scandinavian director of an iconic art gallery that was supposed to do for Gateshead what the Guggenheim has done for Bilbao has quit his post to go to Norway, Ian Burrell writes in The Independent. Sune Nordgren has stepped down after six years in charge of Baltic, a former flour mill that was converted into a gallery for contemporary art at a cost of forty-six million pounds (seventy-seven million dollars).

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  • Miró Mural Back on View, Misspellings and All

    On Tuesday, a mural by Joan Miró went on display as part of the Guggenheim Museum's new exhibition “From Picasso to Pollock: Classics of Modern Art,” Tara Burghart reports in Newsday. The twenty-foot-long mural—which has been hidden behind a false wall for much of the last thirty-five years—features the word ALICE spelled out in huge letters. It was commissioned by Harry F. Guggenheim as a memorial to his wife, Alicia, and though the variant spelling of Mrs. Guggenheim's first name caused some consternation at the work's 1967 unveiling, the artist adamantly refused to change it.

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  • Boston Museum Picks Up a Sargent

    The Boston Museum of Fine Arts confirmed Tuesday that it has purchased a 1902 John Singer Sargent portrait of Charles Stewart, Sixth Marquess of Londonderry. Starting on August 13, the museum's Susan Morse Hilles Gallery will reopen as an all-Sargent space. The MFA wouldn't say how much the new Sargent cost but did confirm that it was at least one million dollars, Geoff Edgers reports in the Boston Globe.

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  • Barnes Foundation Audit Reveals Questionable Practices

    Two women who lived in a house owned by the Barnes Foundation without the board's consent represented just one example of the questionable practices at the foundation during the mid-1990s, according to a long-secret investigative audit that finally was made public on Monday. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Don Steinberg reports that the “forensic audit” was conducted in 1999 at the request of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. It was ordered released yesterday by Montgomery County Orphans' Court Judge Stanley Ott, who is hearing the foundation's petition to rewrite its bylaws and move its

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  • Vito Acconci on Public Art's Pros and Cons

    A week after the official unveiling of his new public art project Light Beams for the Sky of a Transfer Corridor at San Francisco International Airport, Vito Acconci spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle's Kenneth Baker about the genesis of the piece and his sometimes fraught interactions with the city's Arts Commission. “We would have preferred it if we were asked to design the airport, but we weren't,” Acconci said.

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  • NEA Chief Says Support for the Arts is “Breaking Down”

    State governments have cut their spending on the arts an average of twenty-one percent over the past two years, according to National Endowment for the Arts chairman Dana Gioia, and even greater cuts are expected next year. In The Guardian, Carl Hartman reports that Gioia, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on Monday, said, "The mere debate [over arts funding] suggests that the political and social consensus that once existed on the necessity of public support for the arts and arts education is breaking down.''

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  • Memorial Judges Face Daunting Task

    Monday was the deadline for entries for the World Trade Center memorial competition, Robert Campbell writes in the Boston Globe, and, though it's not yet known how many of the thirteen thousand people who registered for the competition actually sent proposals, it's safe to say that the final tally of entrants will be well into the thousands. The judging will be done by a thirteen-member jury that consists of artists, architects, cultural leaders, a family member of a victim, a local resident, a local business owner, and representatives of the governor and mayor.

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  • China Announces Greater Commitment to Cultural Reform

    China's Communist Party pledged on Monday to deepen cultural reforms to allow authors, artists, and actors greater creative freedom, Benjamin Kang Lim reports on MSNBC. Li Changchun, a member of the powerful nine-man Politburo Standing Committee, urged that those in the cultural realm be ‘'liberated from the mistaken and dogmatic understanding of Marxism,'’ said the People's Daily, the party's mouthpiece.

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