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London’s Eiffel Tower, censorship in Zimbabwe, and long lost Ansel
Adam prints were among the week’s news headlines. Read on for ArtWeLove’s news digest, now also available in email form—bringing a comprehensive roundup of the week’s art developments to your digital doorstep. If you aren't signed up, click here. As always, we welcome your feedback at email@example.com.
DISHING DESIGN: LONDON’S EIFFEL TOWER AND TOKYO’S TALENT
London’s own Anish Kapoor has revealed his design for the 2012 Olympic Park. At 393 feet, Kapoor’s snaking, climbable structure has been billed as the contemporary answer to the Eiffel Tower. And at the Tokyo-based firm SANAA, two partners have been awarded architecture’s highest honor. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, the recipients of this year’s Pritzker Prize, are known for clean lines and white facades, as illustrated in one of their better-known projects, New York’s New Museum.
ABRAMOVIC’S DOPPELGANGER, SURROGATE MASTERPIECES, AND TWOMBLY SEES STARS
As part of her MoMA retrospective, “The Artist is Present,” Marina Abramovic sits at a table silently and motionless, while visitors sit across from her, doing and saying what they like. Recently a young artist decided to beat Abramovic at her own game. The first visitor of the day, she sat across from Abramovic and silently mirrored her, in a similar blue dress and the same dark braid. To the chagrin of a line of waiting visitors, the doppelganger sat there all day. And the replication continues—a Madrid-based company has begun printing high-res scans of Old Masterworks on canvas, creating perfect surrogates to replace fragile originals during high-traffic exhibitions. Cy Twombly, an artist best known for abstractions and scrawl, created a celestial ceiling mural at the Louvre. The 82-year-old painter became the first American to make a permanent piece for the museum, so he was awarded the French Legion of Honor.
REVELATIONS: CENSORSHIP IN ZIMBABWE, REDISCOVERED ANSEL ADAMS, MUSEUM EXHIBITS RANKED
Authorities arrested the leader of a human rights organization and confiscated photos of human rights violations at a Zimbabwean gallery last week. The photos were returned in time for the exhibition opening, but when police showed up at the reception, gallery staff whisked away the photos to prevent them from being impounded. A quarter of a century ago in Washington D.C., some photos were tucked away for a different reason. Ansel Adams was commissioned to shoot photo murals for the Department of the Interior Headquarters, but during World War II, the prints were placed in the National Archives. They were forgotten about until recently, when the Interior Department’s current curator had them finally installed in the Headquarters. Better late than never. On April 6, Sky TV premiers a new show, “In Confidence,” where in the first episode, you can discover everything you already knew about Damien Hirst and his thoughts on money and fame. The Art Newspaper released a ranking of last year’s most visited museum exhibits. The top four draws were in Japan and had some sort of spiritual component. “Picasso and Masters” at the Grand Palais and "Kandinsky" at the Centre Pompidou in Paris were in the top ten, as well as the "Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937" and "Pipilotti Rist: Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters)" shows at the MoMA. The Met came in at number thirteen with Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid,” and the Guggenheim’s 50th anniversary show, dedicated to Frank Lloyd Wright, ranked fifteenth. The top U.K. spot, number thirty on the list, went to the "Banksy vs Bristol Museum" exhibition at Bristol’s City Museum and Art Gallery.
MONEY MATTERS: RECORD-SETTING COMICS, CHINESE ART MARKET TRENDS, CONTROVERSY IN ONTARIO
This past February, a 1938 Action Comic became the world’s first million-dollar comic book. Now, it’s broken its own record, selling for $1.5 million on the auction site ComicConnect.com. Also on the block—a Rubens that once hung in Princess Diana’s childhood home and is valued at $18 million. Di’s family plans to sell the piece via a Christie’s summer auction. According to Bloomberg News, art is the current investment fad in China, thanks to real estate woes and inflated stocks. In 2009, collectors from mainland China were the biggest spenders in Hong Kong’s art-market, and China's share of the world's art market is now at 14%. But all is not rose-colored elsewhere. Controversy erupted when the 2009 executive bonuses at Art Gallery of Ontario became public knowledge. AGO is the tenth largest museum in North America; despite the fact that its director made over a million last year, the museum plans 37 staff layoffs due to lack of funding. Chicago’s Art Institute has chosen a more diplomatic solution—closing shop a few hours a day could lead to $150,000 in annual savings. Meanwhile, hard times make for loose morals at Drouot's headquarters in Paris where agents have been charged with stealing art. More arrests are expected to follow.