News

  • Record Price for a Painting

    A lost masterpiece by Rubens last night became the most expensive picture ever sold, when a rare books dealer paid £49.5 million to acquire it for a private collector at a Sotheby's auction in London.

    Read more
  • Donald Judd's Early Years

    Donald Judd is famous in several ways. As one of the major exemplars of Minimalism, a term and a concept that he detested and never used. As a tough and opinionated critic who wrote some of the most perceptively adamant art criticism of the postwar period. As the egomaniacal, litigious founder of one of America's greatest art pilgrimages: a sprawling, aesthetically controlled domain in the small West Texas town of Marfa. By the time of his death in 1994, Judd had amassed an assembly of houses and commercial buildings, as well as an entire army fort, which he refurbished as studios, residences,

    Read more
  • A Jewish Eye?

    To be a great photographer, Garry Winogrand liked to claim during the 1970s, it was first of all necessary to be Jewish. The best ones, in his opinion—past and present, himself included, naturally—shared this birthright. Jewish photographers by his definition were nervy, ironic, disruptive of artistic norms, and proud outsiders. Eugène Atget, he happily argued (on no genealogical grounds), must have been Jewish because his photographs of French life on the tattered fringes seemed so Jewish in spirit.

    Read more
  • A Net-Art Monument to September 11

    After repeated viewings of the scene of a jet crashing into the World Trade Center on the 126 screens in the television store where he worked, Eryk Salvaggio found himself completely desensitized to the death and destruction of that day. Now, his attempt to restore a sense of reality to these images can be found in September 11th, 2001, a digital artwork that he put online last month in the Net-art section of his nonsensically titled website, www.salsabomb.com.

    Read more
  • Italy for Sale?

    Last month, the Italian parliament passed a bill put forward by the Italian minister of economics, Giulio Tremonti, to help reduce the public debt. In force from this month it sets up two share-holding companies. Everything that at present belongs to the State—land, public buildings, monuments, museums, archives, libraries, estimated by the Ministry of the Economy to be worth two trillion Euros—can now be transferred to the first company “to be turned to better advantage, managed or alienated.” It may also be transferred to the second company, so that together they become a gigantic property

    Read more
  • James Cuno Leaving Harvard Art Museums

    The talk at this summer's big events that bring the international art world together—Manifesta and Documenta in Germany, Art Basel in Switzerland—isn't all about what's on the walls. The news that James Cuno is leaving his post as director of the Harvard University Art Museums at the end of this year to become director of London's Courtauld Institute of Art broke the first day of the Basel fair. Reactions ranged from astonishment to dismay to ''Yes, I already knew''; a note had come from Harvard's president, Lawrence H. Summers.

    Read more
  • LA MoCA Feels the Donor Squeeze

    The Museum of Contemporary Art is staging what is expected to be its best-attended exhibition ever—“Andy Warhol Retrospective,” a $3 million extravaganza that has drawn 72,000 visitors during the first five weeks of a twelve-week run and, due to sponsorship fees and a donation from the city, is already in the black. But at the same time, leaders of the museum are dealing with financial setbacks. The particular challenge at MoCA is that $6.9 million of a $10 million promised donation has been delayed and may never be paid.

    Read more
  • Johnson's Cubist Tower Homeless

    No one will inhabit Philip Johnson's “habitable sculpture.” At least not yet. And not at the corner of Spring and Washington Streets in Manhattan. Antonio Vendome, a restaurateur and aspiring developer, has abandoned what seems to have been a foredoomed effort to persuade community leaders and city officials that it would be worth a zoning variance to get an eye-popping, twenty-six-story Cubist composition of an apartment tower. In its place, Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects has designed a fourteen-story, 147-foot structure that looks a bit like a small version of the horizontally banded

    Read more
  • YBA Meltdown

    One of the Brit Art movement's most remarkable works, a sculpture made entirely of human blood, may accidentally have been destroyed. According to a report in The Guardian, there has been speculation in the art world that Self, by Marc Quinn, has melted after the refrigerator it was stored in was disconnected by builders.

    Read more
  • Beyeler Foundation Keeps Looted Kandinsky

    A Swiss art gallery will be allowed to keep a Kandinsky painting looted by Nazis after reaching an out-of-court settlement with the artist's family. A deal has been struck between the Ernst Beyeler Foundation and the heirs of Sophie Lissitzky-Kueppers over Wassily Kandinsky's Improvisation Number 10. It brings to an end the long-running dispute over a painting confiscated by Nazi Germany as degenerate and later sold to Mr. Beyeler.

    Read more
  • The Art Fund

    With global stock markets reeling in the wake of a series of corporate scandals in America and interest rates remaining low, the art market is looking like an increasingly attractive option for wealthy investors seeking a secure home for their money. Private collectors also buy art either for the sheer pleasure of owning it or as a way of displaying their wealth, but investment seems to have been a key factor in strong prices at last week's Impressionist and modern art auctions in London.

    Read more
  • Roots

    For the whole of the nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth centuries, archaeologists in the West denied that mankind had originated in Africa. The first humans, surely, must have been Europeans. That idea was disproved by Raymond Dart in the 1920s. He discovered fossil human bones in South Africa. These skeletons, though, were earlier species than Homo sapiens. Then, in the 1980s, genetic work by Allan Wilson showed that modern man, too, had an African genesis. But at least the Eurocentrics had cave paintings to comfort them. Now, a South African archaeologist is challenging the

    Read more