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An exhibition on all things Kurt Cobain, fake Vermeers, and a "Flag" by Jasper Johns were among this week’s 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.
BEGINNINGS AND CELEBRATIONS
The former Dia Foundation space turned X-Initiative in Chelsea will remain an exhibition and event space under its new occupants, dealer Zach Feuer and events planner Dan Kobin. In France, the Pompidou Center has opened an outcropping in the city of Metz. The asymmetrical $89 million building, co-designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, is worth the commute from Paris, even without the art inside. Teams are still digging through rubble at important Port au Prince art sites, but soon the Smithsonian Institute hopes to open a center where American conservators will work with Haitian staff members to restore earthquake-damaged art. In London, the Tate Modern celebrates its tenth anniversary with a shopping spree, snatching up works from Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa. Meanwhile, Swiss author Alain de Botton attempts a philosophical experiment. He recently commissioned a handful of European starchitects to build experimental “holiday homes” that he will lease out in an attempt to move the U.K. past what he identifies as a fear of modernist architecture. Some of the poorest parts of the drug and murder-riddled Medellín, Colombia are experiencing their own architectural renaissance, with a welcome correlation—as the city invests in exquisite civic design, murder rates are significantly decreasing and tourism is on the rise. And in Spain, American sculptor Richard Serra won the Prince of Asturias award for his ability to integrate urban spaces in his work.
UNDER THE RADAR
Italian researchers say they are but a ghostly whisper from identifying the 400-year-old bones of Caravaggio—just two more weeks and they should have the results of DNA tests. If they’ve found the bones, they might be able to determine the circumstances surrounding the artist’s untimely death. An exhibit of art and crafts made by Japanese detainees in World War II internment camps is showcased at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C. Many of these works, some of which are by Isamu Noguchi and Henry Sugimoto, have never been publicly displayed before. At Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum, a gaggle of geese and goslings gave the Van Goghs a passing glance on their shortcut to the pond—through the museum lobby! A statement made by the new Supreme Court nominee a couple decades ago has concerned parties wondering if Elena Kagan has already ruled against art, and Lou Reed, former Velvet Underground frontman and photographer, was one of the curators of the third annual New York Photo Festival. Keeping the focus on rockers, the Seattle Art Museum opened an exhibit on all things Kurt (Cobain, that is) with works by artists such as Elizabeth Peyton, Douglas Gordon, Rodney Graham, and Gillian Wearing, And while Richard Prince’s uptown show runs at Gagosian, there’s a much grittier sample of his art downtown at the Salon 94 Bowery space—paintings he made over the years on stretched t-shirts.
Los Angeles architect Peter Zellner seems to be the latest fad among gallerists looking to remodel, while qualifications for museum board members are somewhat fad-resistant: be rich, be generous, have art, and have connections. The Wall Street Journal recently published the most eligible potential museum board members, with billionaire investment fund guru Steve Cohen (personal art collection’s net worth, $750 million) topping the list. The street artist known as Poster Boy is a “most wanted” of a different variety. He was recently sentenced to a year at Riker’s Island for destroying NYC subway property and violating the terms of a previous plea deal. An erratic UPS truck crashed into the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden a few hours after closing on May 10th. Aside from the driver, there were no injuries to people or art. Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam is currently hosting an exhibit of fake Vermeers by Han Van Meegeren, one of history’s most notorious forgerists, and Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist who angered Muslims with his depiction of the prophet Muhammad needed police aid in fighting off an angry mob during his free-speech address at Uppsala University—essentially, the Harvard of Sweden.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE PRICEY
A new auction record is a being set for a collectible that weighs less than a gram. The Treskilling Yellow stamp from the mid-nineteenth century will hit the block with a sale estimate of over $7 million. Meanwhile, sales continue to soar at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Christie’s brought in $652 million in the last two weeks with help from the show-stopping Flag (1960-1966) by Jasper Johns which sold for $28.6 million and was part of the late Michael Crichton’s estate. Sotheby’s was right behind with sales of $476 million and word of a tightly-held self-portrait by Manet valued at over $44 million. The painting, owned by Steve Cohen, is only one of two known self-portraits painted by the artist and will be auctioned next month in London. Sotheby’s already sold a self-portrait by Warhol for $32.6 million and a red painting by Rothko from 1961 sold for $31.4 million. Phillips de Pury however held a distress sale that prominently featured works by Richard Prince and Takashi Murakami from the collection of indebted technology entrepreneur Halsey Minor. The owners of another Manhattan auction house, Tepper Galleries, are being pursued by angry landlords after closing without notice and eight years left on the lease.