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Art in the News

New Banksy artwork claimed by artist's hometown

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 17 April 2014 14:12

Banksy's 'Mobile Lovers.' Image courtesy of banksy.co.uk.

LONDON (AFP) – A new work by British street artist Banksy will go on public display in his home city after a dispute over ownership of the painting, which features two lovers embracing as they gaze at their mobile phones, officials said Thursday.

The piece dubbed Mobile Lovers was found at the weekend on a wooden plank that had been screwed onto a boarded-up doorway in Bristol, western England.

Members of a youth club discovered the artwork near their building amid a search sparked when an image of the piece appeared on Banksy's Internet site, with no indication of its location.

Club manager Dennis Stinchcombe took it off the wall and installed it in a corridor of the Broad Plains Boys Club for visitors to see, saying he planned to sell the work to raise funds to keep the club open.

But Bristol City Council said that it owned the wall onto which Mobile Lovers was attached and that the painting therefore belonged to it.

After a meeting with police, Stinchcombe handed the artwork over to the authorities, who now plan to display it at a gallery in the city over the Easter weekend.

"It certainly would have been a cultural crime if this artwork had been lost to the city," Bristol Mayor George Ferguson said.

"I'm delighted that Dennis, who is a good man, has made a tough judgment call and has turned over the artwork to us, via the police.

"No one's the bad guy here, we simply need to buy time to establish where ownership lies, what Banksy's intentions might be, if we were to get some signals, and how best we can move forward."

The mayor said he would ask Banksy to provide a limited edition print to raise money for the club, which needs £120,000 to survive, while the council would produce postcards and prints for sale to provide further funds.

Stinchcombe said he first spotted Mobile Lovers on Monday but did not realize its authenticity until Tuesday, then decided to remove it from the wall because he was worried that the piece would be vandalized or stolen.

He said before handing it over that the artwork was "like a gift from out of the sky," adding: "I think Banksy's given it to us as a gift."

The artwork was discovered days after another possible Banksy work depicting three secret agents in trench coats listening to a phone booth was discovered in the nearby town of Cheltenham, home to Britain's electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ.

Banksy's stenciled designs, known for their irreverent humor and political activism, have propelled him from a graffiti rebel to reluctant star whose work sells for hundreds of thousands of pounds.

One of his most famous works is painted on the Israeli separation wall and depicts a young girl flying away while clasping a bunch of balloons.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Banksy's 'Mobile Lovers.' Image courtesy of banksy.co.uk. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 14:34
 

Henri Matisse cut-outs come together at Tate Modern

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Written by Museum PR   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 13:08
Henri Matisse (1869 -1964)
 ‘Blue Nude (I)’ 1952,
 gouache painted paper cut-outs on paper on canvas,
 106.30 x 78cm. 
Foundation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel
Digital image: Robert Bayer, Basel
Artwork: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014. LONDON – Tate Modern’s major exhibition, “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs,” is the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the artist’s paper cut-outs made between 1937 and 1954. It brings together around 130 works, many seen together for the first time, in a groundbreaking reassessment of Matisse’s colorful and innovative final works. The exhibition opens at Tate Modern on Thursday and will be in cinemas as Matisse Live from June 3.

Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse (1869–1954) is one of the leading figures of modern art and one of the most significant colorists of all time. A draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor and painter, his unparalleled cut-outs are among the most significant of any artist’s late works. In a career spanning over half a century, Matisse made a large body of work of which the cut-outs are a brilliant final chapter in his long career.

Some of Matisse’s first cut-outs were made between 1943 and 1947 and were collected together in Jazz 1947 (Pompidou, Paris), a book of 20 plates. Copies, published by Teriade and featuring a text handwritten by Matisse, will be shown alongside the original cut-outs. This will be the first time that the Jazz maquettes and the book have been shown together outside of France.

Other major cut-outs in the exhibition include Tate’s The Snail 1953, its sister work Memory of Oceania 1953 (MoMA, New York) and Large Composition with Masks 1953 (National Gallery of Art, Washington). A photograph of Matisse’s studio reveals that these works were initially conceived as a unified whole. This is the first time these three large-scale works have been exhibited together for over 50 years.

The show will include the largest number of Matisse’s Blue Nudes ever exhibited together, including the most significant of the group Blue Nude I 1952 (Beyeler Foundation, Basel). The works illustrate Matisse’s renewed interest in the figure.

When ill health prevented Matisse from painting, he began to cut into painted paper with scissors to make maquettes for commissions, from books and stained glass window designs to tapestries and ceramics. In the cut-outs, outlines take on sculptural form and painted sheets of paper are infused with the luminosity of stained glass. Using colour, Matisse evokes the convulsive surface of water and the lushness of vegetation. The result reflected both a renewed commitment to form and colour and an inventiveness freshly directed to the status of the work of art.

The exhibition re-examines the cut-outs in terms of the methods and materials that Matisse used, and their double lives, first as contingent and mutable in the studio and ultimately as permanent works through mounting and framing. The exhibition highlights the tensions in the works between finish and process; fine art and decoration; contemplation and utility; and drawing and color.

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is curated by Nicholas Cullinan, curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate with Flavia Frigeri, assistant curator, Tate; and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York by Jodi Hauptman, curator, Department of Drawings, and Karl Buchberg, senior conservator, with Samantha Friedman, assistant curator. It will tour to the Museum of Modern Art from Oct. 14 to Feb. 9, 2015.

Visit Tate Modern online at http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Henri Matisse (1869 -1964)
 ‘Blue Nude (I)’ 1952,
 gouache painted paper cut-outs on paper on canvas,
 106.30 x 78cm. 
Foundation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel
Digital image: Robert Bayer, Basel
Artwork: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014. Henri Matisse (1869 -1964)
 ‘Large Composition with Masks’ 1953,
 National Gallery of Art, Washington. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund 1973.17.1
 Digital Image: © National Gallery of Art, Washington.
 Artwork: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014. Henri Matisse (1869 -1964) ‘The Snail’ 1953, gouache on paper, cut and pasted on paper mounted to canvas. Tate Digital image: © Tate Photography. Artwork: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 13:52
 

George Rickey sculpture installed in his native South Bend

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 08:23
A George Rickey sculpture at Century Center in downtown South Bend: 'Triple L Excentric: Gyratory Gyratory.' Image courtesy Notre Dame University. SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – A sculpture by internationally renowned kinetic sculptor George Rickey has been installed in his native South Bend.

The South Bend Tribune reports a piece made by the late sculptor was installed Friday in downtown South Bend. Rickey created Space Churn with Octagon in 1971, but it has not been on public display since 1975.

Rickey's work was featured South Bend in 2009 when five of his works were placed downtown. Rickey was a central figure in the artistic movement known as Constructivism. He made abstract steel mobiles that are moved by gravity or air currents.

He was born in 1907 in South Bend to a father who was a Singer Sewing Machine Co. executive. He moved to Scotland in 1913. Rickey died in 2002 at the age of 95.

___

Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-12-14 2125GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
A George Rickey sculpture at Century Center in downtown South Bend: 'Triple L Excentric: Gyratory Gyratory.' Image courtesy Notre Dame University.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 08:49
 

Landmark Art Deco Paris hotel closes for renovation

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Written by AFP Wire Service   
Monday, 14 April 2014 10:51
Le Lutetia Hotel in Paris, designed by Louis Boileau and Henri Tauzin, built 1907-1911. Photo by Steve Cadman, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. PARIS (AFP) - Paris's landmark luxury hotel Le Lutetia, whose guests included Pablo Picasso, Charles de Gaulle and James Joyce, will close today for a three-year renovation following similar makeover moves by rivals.

The seven-story Art Deco hotel built in 1910 follows in the footsteps of the Crillon, Ritz and Plaza Athenee, which have all closed for extensive revamps.

The hotel in the heart of the city's chic Saint-Germain-des-Pres district was taken over by German officers occupying Paris in World War II.

French wartime hero De Gaulle, who later became president, spent his wedding night here. The establishment also attracted literary luminaries such as Andre Gide and Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of "The Little Prince."

"Le Lutetia has always been a beacon of the Left Bank," said author Pierre Assouline, who has used the hotel as a setting for one of his novels.

French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte will oversee the renovations.

Ahead of the closure, the hotel sold about 100 works of art and 8,000 bottles of wine and alcoholic drinks in a February auction.

The hotel was bought by the Israeli real estate group, Alrov in 2010.

It courted unwelcome publicity in November when a couple -- both aged 86 -- committed suicide in one of its rooms and left a typewritten note claiming "the right to die with dignity."

Bernard and Georgette Cazes also asked their sole surviving son to campaign for the right to euthanasia in France after their death.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Le Lutetia Hotel in Paris, designed by Louis Boileau and Henri Tauzin, built 1907-1911. Photo by Steve Cadman, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 April 2014 11:10
 

Eykyn Maclean presents first U.S. exhibition of Kan Yasuda

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Written by Art gallery PR   
Friday, 11 April 2014 10:46

Kan Yasuda, 'Ishinki, 2011.' Eykyn Maclean image.

NEW YORK – Eykyn Maclean will present the first ever exhibition in the United States of internationally renowned sculptor Kan Yasuda. The exhibition, open to the public May 6–June 27 at 23 East 67th St., will feature over 20 of the artist’s new sculptures.

“Having followed Kan’s career in Europe and Japan, we are delighted to have the opportunity of introducing his work to an American audience,” said gallery partner Christopher Eykyn. “Working together with Kan, we have selected a group of works that best represent this important artist at the height of his career.”

Born in Japan in 1945, Yasuda has divided his time between Hokkaido, Japan and Pietrasanta, Italy for over 40 years, and his work deftly merges the cultural traditions of East and West. Working in an abstract vocabulary of smooth surfaces and sensually rounded forms with antecedents in the sculpture of Brancusi and Arp, Yasuda’s sculpture possesses the meditative stillness and tranquillity that may call to mind Eastern philosophy or religion, but for Yasuda it is the ability of art to connect with mankind in general that motivates his practice. He works in a range of scales from the intimate to the monumental, imbuing each with a palpable presence that lingers in the minds of viewers long after their visual contact with the work.

Yasuda’s painstaking technical process begins with the stones themselves, which he sources from the famous Carrara quarries, near his studio in Pietrasanta. He chooses the marbles carefully, working with the pure whiteness of statuario marble, the deep blacks of black granite, and the white marble with rich, dark veins for which Carrara is famous. Carved entirely by hand, Yasuda has long believed touch to be a critical part of the process of making his art and of viewing it, and has often welcomed viewers of his large outdoor sculptures to touch their surfaces and even to climb or lie on them.

In 1992, together with the city of Bibai in Hokkaido, the artist’s hometown, Yasuda created Arte Piazza Bibai, a sculpture park that spans 17 acres and includes 40 of the his works. Free to visit and open to the public year-round, the park has revitalized the city and in 2002 earned the Togo Murano Award of Japan for best architectural project. In 1994, Yorkshire Sculpture Park presented a solo exhibition featuring 18 of Yasuda’s large-scale works.

Peter Murray, founder and executive director at Yorkshire, writes of Yasuda’s work as “sculpture for all seasons,” noting that while marble can at first appear intensely white and stark, “under the sensitive but determined hand of Kan Yasuda it assumes a responsive aura adapting to the lush green of late spring, the buttercup yellow of an English summer, the rust of autumn or the icy white of winter.”



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

Kan Yasuda, 'Ishinki, 2011.' Eykyn Maclean image.

Kan Yasuda, 'Myomu, 2014.' Eykyn Maclean image.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 16:14
 

Preservationists campaign to save Moscow's 'Eiffel Tower'

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Written by ANNA MALPAS   
Friday, 11 April 2014 10:25
Shukhov Tower, Moscow. Image by Maxim Fedorov. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. MOSCOW (AFP) – Thousands of Muscovites and several top international architects have launched an unprecedented campaign to save an elegant steel tower that has loomed over Moscow's skyline since 1922.

The Russian communications ministry says it will dismantle and relocate the Shukhov tower, a masterpiece of design often compared to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

But campaigners fear the tower will simply be demolished because it will be impossible to dismantle it and put it back together again.

It is the first time a campaign to save a historic building has received such a wide public following, not just from among architecture enthusiasts.

Government and city officials are set to meet campaigners for talks on the tower that may decide its future.

The campaign is not just about saving Moscow's crumbling early Soviet architecture, but also about people having a say in government decisions.

"We have to learn how to say no," said Moscow resident Anna Chernobylskaya, holding a placard at a recent protest under the tower.

Vladimir Shukhov, a gifted engineer, built the tower to give Soviet Russia a strong radio signal. At 485 feet, it was Moscow's tallest structure until the 1960s.

The conical telescope-like design was built with each section lifted into place from the inside. Its slanted supports used the minimal amount of steel.

While often compared to the Eiffel Tower, its design is purely functional.

"It's absolutely ascetic but at the same time very beautiful," said Alexandra Selivanova, head of the Centre of the Avant-Garde at Moscow's Jewish Museum, who updates a Facebook page on the tower and has organized several protest events.

The Shukhov tower's owner, the communications ministry, says its poor, corroded condition means it must be dismantled, after which it could be rebuilt elsewhere, with proposals including moving it from its southern Moscow neighborhood to Sevastopol, Crimea's Black Sea fleet base and territory annexed last month from Ukraine.

"It's the same thing as saying the Eiffel Tower is surrounded by buildings, let's move it to Marseilles," said the engineer's great grandson, who is also named Vladimir Shukhov.

 

"As all specialists say, the tower can only be taken down one way, sawing it down, and after that the monument will be destroyed," he told AFP.

He said the tower apparently fell victim to the interests of developers who have set their sights on the neighborhood dotted with several other Constructivist buildings in various states of disrepair.

"This is about redeveloping this whole area," he said. "It's billions (of dollars)."

Architects Norman Foster of Britain and Rem Koolhaas of the Netherlands and Nicolas Serota, the director of Britain's Tate Galleries, were among thousands to sign a petition asking President Vladimir Putin for the tower to be restored in situ.

But Selivanova said that it was not just the architectural community that signed the petition; there were many average people who even posted "selfies" snapped against the landmark's silhouette in an online campaign.

"We've collected almost 5,000 signatures just from ordinary Muscovites," she said.

The tower is a leading example of the Soviet Constructivist movement of the 1920s and 1930s which focused on function and experimented with new geometric forms, a pioneering aesthetic that eventually inspired generations of architects around the world.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Shukhov Tower, Moscow. Image by Maxim Fedorov. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 10:40
 

Jeff Koons' 7ft-tall Popeye to flex his muscles at Sotheby's, May 14

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Written by Auction House PR   
Friday, 11 April 2014 10:11
Jeff Koons, 'Popeye,' signed, dated 2009-2011 and numbered 3/3 on the underside of Popeye's right foot, high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 78 x 51 x 28 in., 198.1 x 129.5 x 71.1 cm. Executed in 2009-2011, this work is number three from an edition of three. Estimate in the region of $25 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's NEW YORK – Sotheby’s New York's May 14 Evening Auction of Contemporary Art will offer Jeff Koons’s most accomplished and major work of recent years: an immaculate, gleaming, seven-foot-tall statue of the cartoon character and American pop culture icon Popeye. The sculpture is one of an edition of three, from which no example has appeared at auction until now. The present Popeye has never been exhibited publicly, and will make its debut in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries on May 2. The work will carry a pre-auction estimate in the region of $25 million.

Alex Rotter, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Contemporary Art Department, commented: “The history of pop art begins and ends with Popeye. From his first representations by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol in the 1960s, to the present three-dimensional crescendo by Jeff Koons a half century later, this ultimate American hero and self-made man has remained a true icon of both art history and popular culture.”

Originally conceived in 1929 as part of a newspaper comic-strip, Popeye grew to the status of cultural phenomenon amidst the adversities of the Great Depression. Resolutely ordinary, yet tough, resilient, confident and super strong, Popeye personified the American dream in a time of worldwide hardship, which helped propel the character to national fame and popularity. Though now over 80 years old, the all-American cartoon hero remains universally famous across the globe.

While Koons began referencing Popeye in his work in the early 2000s, it was not until 2009 – amidst a new financial crisis nearly a century following the Great Depression – that Koons would reappropriate this American champion in heroic sculptural form, as an icon for the new millennium.

Herculean in stance, with outrageously proportioned muscles and a proud cleft-chin, the resulting Popeye is three-dimensional and over-life-size, incarnated in Koons’s signature material: stainless steel. Flawlessly finished in kaleidoscopic, jewel-like glazes, Popeye stands at the culmination of a long line of monumental sculptures and statues in which Jeff Koons has sought to re-frame the terms of high art for the masses. The seminal stainless steel 'Rabbit' from the Statuary series of 1986, the porcelain sculptures 'Pink Panther' and 'Michael Jackson and Bubbles' from Banality in 1986, the erotically charged yet Disneyesque flowers from Made in Heaven in 1991, and the colossal stainless steel 'Balloon Dog' and 'Hanging Heart' that comprise Celebration from 1994, together form the Koonsian arena within which Popeye now takes center stage.

Visit Sotheby's online at www.sothebys.com.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Jeff Koons, 'Popeye,' signed, dated 2009-2011 and numbered 3/3 on the underside of Popeye's right foot, high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 78 x 51 x 28 in., 198.1 x 129.5 x 71.1 cm. Executed in 2009-2011, this work is number three from an edition of three. Estimate in the region of $25 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 16:14
 

Seren Bell captures 'art of native breeds' in June exhibition

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Written by Outside Media Source   
Friday, 11 April 2014 09:42
Seren Bell, 'Maran cockerel,' crayon, pencil and ink, 13 x 13 inches STOW ON THE WOLD, UK - One of the most outstanding animal artists working in Britain today, Seren Bell will hold her first solo show at The Fosse Gallery, The Manor House, The Square, Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire GL54 1AF, UK, from June 8-28, 2014.

Her original crayon, pen and ink drawings of native breeds of farm animals are much in demand. The majority of the subject matter in the exhibition is sheep for which she is best known, but it will also include magnificent cattle, flashy cockerels, geese and well-mannered hounds. Two of her works can be found in the private collection of HRH The Prince of Wales. Prices range from £395 to £1,500.

Although Seren has an enduring love of the animal world, she is passionate about sheep, and her subject matter returns to sheep again and again. Living in Radnorshire, mid Wales, she is surrounded by sheep as they form so much part of the landscape. As a child she was brought up in a town but always visited the local market with her father.

"Although I do not keep sheep myself, I find their bony heads so beautiful," said Bell. One of her favourite breeds of sheep is the speckled-face Beulah, "There is something so comforting about sheep -- they are benign and gentle yet strong" she remarked, adding, "People are much more aware of the different breeds nowadays." The biggest show of sheep in the world, the annual Royal Welsh Show, takes place just down the road from where Bell lives. "All the sheep are so beautifully presented, and it is lovely to be part of the atmosphere with all the Welsh farmers coming down from the hills to take part."

Bell is equally attracted to the British White bull, with its moiled marking; and the glossy black tips on the hooves and horns of the Chartley White Park cattle, which lend themselves to her technique. The strutting cockerels preen like matinée idols, and the intelligent face of a hound is beautifully honed and recorded.

The complete exhibition can be viewed online at www.fossegallery.com from mid-May. Opening hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:30-5. An invitation-only preview is scheduled for Sunday, June 8, from 11-4.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Seren Bell, 'Maran cockerel,' crayon, pencil and ink, 13 x 13 inches Seren Bell, 'Blustery morning,' crayon, pencil and ink Seren Bell, 'Summer, Black Mountains,' crayon, pencil and ink Seren Bell, Chartley Park Bull,' crayon, pencil and ink, 22.5 x 18.5 inches Seren Bell, 'Golden Valley hound,' crayon, pencil and ink, 13 x 13 inches
Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 09:57
 

Artist's jar of French mountain air fetches $860 in China

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Written by DIDI TANG, Associated Press   
Friday, 11 April 2014 09:06
Two photos taken in the same location in Beijing in August 2005. The image on the left was taken after it had rained for two days. The right image shows smog covering Beijing in what would otherwise be a sunny day. Image by Bobak. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license. BEIJING (AP) – Beijing artist Liang Kegang returned from a business trip in southern France with well-rested lungs and a small item of protest against his home city's choking pollution: a glass jar of clean Provence air.

He put it up for auction before a group of about 100 Chinese artists and collectors late last month, and it fetched 5,250 yuan ($860).

“Air should be the most valueless commodity, free to breathe for any vagrant or beggar,” Liang said in an interview. “This is my way to question China's foul air and express my dissatisfaction.”

Liang's work is part of a gust of recent artistic protest – and entrepreneurial gimmickry – reflecting widespread dissatisfaction over air quality in China, where cities often are immersed days on end in harmful pollutants at levels many times what is considered safe by the World Health Organization. The chronic problem has spurred brisk markets for dust masks and home air purifiers.

China's senior leaders have pledged to clean the air, partly in response to a citizenry increasingly vocal about environmental issues. But it is a daunting task that must be balanced with demands for economic development and employment crucial to maintaining stability.

In February, 20 artists wearing dust masks lay on the ground and played dead in front of an altar at the Temple of Heaven park in a performance art protest in Beijing.

In March, independent artists in the southern city of Changsha held a mock funeral for what they imagined would be the death of the city's last citizen because of smog.

“If smog cannot be effectively cleaned up, what it will leave us is death and cities of death,” artist Shao Jiajun said.

Liang's contribution is a short, ordinary glass preserves jar with a rubber seal and a flip-top. It has three small, handwritten paper labels: one with the name and coordinates of the French village, Forcalquier, where he closed the jar; one saying “Air in Provence, France” in French; and one with his signature in Chinese and the date – March 29.

The auction closed on the night of March 30, and Chengdu-based artist and entrepreneur Li Yongzheng was the highest bidder.

“I have always been appreciative of Kegang's conceptual art, and this piece was very timely,” Li said in a telephone interview. “This past year, whether it was Beijing, Chengdu or most Chinese cities, air pollution has been a serious problem. This piece of work really suits the occasion.”

Liang is not the only one to make money from China's air-pollution angst. Entrepreneurs also see the potential, and so do tourism officials in parts of the country where skies are clear.

Chinese President Xi Jinping joked to Guizhou province delegates during last month's National People's Congress that the scenic southwestern province could put its air up for sale. Days later, the province's tourism bureau announced plans to sell canned air as souvenirs for tourists.

“Canned air will force us to stay committed to environmental protection,” provincial tourism director Fu Yingchun said recently.

In central Henan province, local tourism authorities promoting a resort scooped up mountain air and gave away bags of it in downtown Zhengzhou, the provincial capital. City dwellers greedily inhaled the air, and some said they planned to visit the mountain resort to get more than a lungful.

Chen Guangbiao, a recycling tycoon who briefly made headlines with his abortive plan to purchase The New York Times, has been selling fresh air in cans under his “Good Person” brand.

Want one? They sell for $3 each on China's online bazaar of Taobao.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-10-14 1243GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Two photos taken in the same location in Beijing in August 2005. The image on the left was taken after it had rained for two days. The right image shows smog covering Beijing in what would otherwise be a sunny day. Image by Bobak. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 09:23
 

World's top architects show off their own homes

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 10:43

Daniel Libeskind in front of his extension to the Denver Art Museum. Image by Ishmael Orendain. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

MILAN, Italy (AFP) – Leading world architects showed off features of their own homes this week at an international design fair in Milan – with eye-catching objects including indoor trees, red walls and a stair-bookcase.

Among the big names in attendance were U.S. architect Daniel Libeskind, Italy's Massimiliano Fuksas and Japan's Shigeru Ban – winner of this year's prestigious Pritzker Prize, known as the "Nobel prize of architecture."

"If I had to describe my apartment in three words they would be tree, tree and tree again!" a smiling Shigeru Ban said of his home in the suburbs of Tokyo at the sprawling Salone del Mobile in Italy's business capital.

Rather than cut down the trees already on the site, Ban used them to create "wells" in the building, he said.

Curator Francesca Molteni told AFP the aim of the project – titled simply "Where Do Architects Live?" – was not to spy in their rooms but to understand what each culture means by the word 'living.'

"For an architect, every home is a world," she said.

Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan's house in Sao Paulo has a large window "open on the chaos of the city."

Fuksas and his wife, Doriana, a fellow architect, have an apartment on the Place des Vosges in Paris which she said she found inspirational because "it looks out over trees, like a carpet" that changes with the seasons.

Milan-based Mario Bellini offered up a signature detail of his house – a giant 30-foot-high staircase lined with books to save space.

"You are basically climbing over thousands of books and records. You distract yourself, you pick them up, you open them. All my photos are there too," he said.

"Every time it's a little journey through my story and what I love," he said.

Libeskind, who is rebuilding the World Trade Center in New York, said he has a red wall in every room of his apartment as "a symbol of conscience and dynamism."

Designing a house "is not just for the next fashion magazine" but about "sustainability," he said.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

 Daniel Libeskind in front of his extension to the Denver Art Museum. Image by Ishmael Orendain. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:02
 

University of Illinois Alma Mater statue goes back to school

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 10:08

'Alma Mater' was created by Lorado Zadoc Taft (April 29, 1860 – Oct. 30, 1936), an American sculptor, writer and educator, born in Elmwood, Ill. Image courtesy of University of Illinois.

URBANA, Ill. (AP) – The University of Illinois' Alma Mater sculpture has returned to campus after a year and a half away.

Campus officials say the 85-year-old sculpture began its trip home from Chicago early on Wednesday and was back in place on the corner of Wright and Green streets midmorning. The installation took several hours.

The 10,000-pound bronze sculpture was created by artist Lorado Taft. Generations of students have had their photos taken with it.

The statue was moved and disassembled in in 2012 for cleaning and a massive restoration.

___

On the web:

Webcam of Alma Mater, http://illinois.edu/about/tours/almacam.html

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-09-14 1056GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

'Alma Mater' was created by Lorado Zadoc Taft (April 29, 1860 – Oct. 30, 1936), an American sculptor, writer and educator, born in Elmwood, Ill. Image courtesy of University of Illinois. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:01
 

Simone Kappeler's 'Through America' on view in NYC

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Written by Art gallery PR   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 16:00

Simone Kappeler: 'Through America'

NEW YORK – De Buck Gallery and Galerie Esther Woerdehoff are presenting Swiss photographer Simone Kappeler's "Through America" series in the De Buck Gallery viewing room. The exhibition will be on view through April 15, with a reception on April 9 from 6-8 p.m., which the artist is scheduled to attend.

"Through America" is the photographic summary of a road trip that a young Simone Kappeler took through the United States in 1981. Kappeler's spontaneous images of automobiles, both occupied and abandoned in driveways, or groups of people enjoying the small pleasures of life – like fast-food or wading in a pool, embody a wistful Americana. Kappeler's journey is reminiscent of one taken by fellow Swiss native Robert Frank in the early 1950s, resulting in the influential photography book The Americans. For viewers familiar with this earlier history, the contrast between Kappeler's work and Frank's is striking, and clearly illustrates the differences between the photographers and the changes in American society in the intervening 30 years. Both compelling and quaint, the series as a whole seems to represent a timeless nostalgia, and presented more than 30 years after they were first taken, tells a story of a simpler time. Through America captures a young woman's impressions of an adventure through the American society of the 1980s, and looking back across decades, provides viewers with a sense of both who the artist and what the country were at the time of her travels.

Simone Kappeler was born in Frauenfeld, Switzerland in 1952, and studied photography, German language and art history at Zurich University. She has been exhibiting her work in Europe since the late 1970s, and is currently represented by Esther Woerdehoff in Paris. Through America at De Buck Gallery marks Kappeler's debut solo exhibition in New York. She currently lives and works in Frauenfeld, Switzerland.

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 Simone Kappeler: 'Through America'

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 16:35
 

Hong Kong police search landfill for $3.7M painting

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Written by AFP Wire Service   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 13:44

Police say cleaners at the luxury Hong Kong Grand Hyatt (pictured to the immediate right of the Phillips building and behind the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre) accidentally discarded the missing painting and that it ended up in a local landfill. Photo by Baycrest,  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong police on Wednesday searched for a valuable painting mistakenly dumped in a landfill after it sold for $3.7 million at auction, reports said.

"Snowy Mountain" by Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo, which was a main feature of the spring auction by Beijing-based Poly Culture this week, was dumped by cleaners at the luxury hotel hosting the sale, the South China Morning Post said.

Grand Hyatt hotel cleaners were suspected of dumping the painting, which sold on Monday for more than HK$28.75 million ($3.71 million), along with rubbish that was taken to a landfill, the paper said, citing an unnamed police source.

Poly Culture did not comment immediately when contacted by AFP.

Police suspected the painting was thrown out by cleaners after viewing security camera images but would not rule out the possibility of it having been stolen, media reported.

Police told AFP a theft case was reported on Tuesday by an auction house staff member regarding a painting, without further details.

A Grant Hyatt spokeswoman would not confirm if the painting had been dumped as trash but said hotel staff did not handle items sold at the auction because they were too expensive.

She said in an emailed statement to AFP that organizers would hire their own security and contractors for such events involving "high-value" items.

The spring sale was the first major auction organized by Poly Culture in Hong Kong following its stock debut in March.

Poly Culture Group, the world's third largest auction house by revenue behind Sotheby's and Christie's, is a subsidiary of state-run conglomerate
Poly Group.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Police say cleaners at the luxury Hong Kong Grand Hyatt (pictured to the immediate right of the Phillips building and behind the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre) accidentally discarded the missing painting and that it ended up in a local landfill. Photo by Baycrest,  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 14:18
 

Qatar unveils desert sculpture by US artist Richard Serra

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Written by AFP wire service   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 09:22
'Fulcrum 1987,' 55-foot freestanding sculpture of Cor-ten steel near Liverpool Street station, London. Image by Andrew Dunn. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. DOHA (AFP) – Four steel plates rise out of Qatar's desert sands like behemoths, symbolizing, according to U.S. artist Richard Serra who created the sculpture, the connection between the wealthy Gulf state's two regions.

The sculpture titled East-West/West-East was unveiled on Tuesday in a desert area around 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the capital Doha, by the sister of Qatar's emir, who has been named by Britain's ArtReview as the most influential figure in the art world.

The sculpture, which consists of four steel plates which rise to heights varying between 48 feet and 55 feet was commissioned by Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bint al-Thani.

The emir's sister was named the most influential figure in the art world in a "power list" published by Britain's ArtReview magazine in October.

She has around $1 billion a year to spend on art as head of the Qatar Museums Authority, according to ArtReview – 30 times more than New York's Museum of Modern Art.

"Sheikha Mayassa asked me if I would build a piece in the desert. I went to several deserts with... a Bedouin... and I like this desert the most," said Serra, renowned for his metal sculptures.

"The pieces connect two regions of the landscapes ... it brings this peninsula together with the sea on one side and the sea on the other," the artist told reporters at the unveiling.

Qatar, which has just 1.5 million inhabitants, is trying to establish itself as the region's cultural hub.

The gas-rich Gulf state hosts several museums and galleries, including the Museum of Islamic Art, the largest of its kind in the region.

The Qatar Museums Authority bought French post-impressionist Paul Cezanne's masterpiece The Card Players for $250 million in 2012, making it the most expensive painting ever sold.

Qatar last year unveiled 14 massive bronze sculptures, the Miraculous Journey, by British artist Damien Hirst charting the gestation of a human being from conception to birth.

Also in October, Qatar displayed a statue immortalizing French footballing legend Zinedine Zidane's headbutt on Italy's Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final. The display on the Doha corniche, removed less than a month later following an outcry by conservatives who slammed the artwork as anti-Islam idolization, came as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
'Fulcrum 1987,' 55-foot freestanding sculpture of Cor-ten steel near Liverpool Street station, London. Image by Andrew Dunn. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 10:09
 

Niagara Falls officials want to move Nikola Tesla statue

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 08:54
Nikola Tesla monument by Les Drysdale at Niagara Falls. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) – Niagara Falls officials want to take a bronze statue of Nikola Tesla out of a state park and move it closer to downtown tourism routes.

Tesla is the creator of the alternating current electricity system. The 9-foot statue of the inventor in Niagara Falls State Park was a gift from the former Yugoslavia for the U.S. bicentennial in 1976.

The Buffalo News reports that the City Council voted last week to support moving the statue from the state park. There's no consensus about where to relocate it.

But state parks officials have other plans for the statue. Last year, the parks agency announced $15 million in renovation plans for the park, including moving the statue from near the main parking lot to a point known as Stedman's Bluff.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 09:00
 

Will Clift: Forms in Balance opens May 25 in New York

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Written by Outside Media Source   
Monday, 07 April 2014 11:02

Will Clift, 'Curling Over,' 2012, mahogany

NEW YORK - Artist Will Clift's first solo exhibition will open on May 25 at Gerald Peters Gallery in Manhattan. Titled Will Clift: Forms in Balance, the exhibition showcases a selection of more than 30 of the self-taught artist’s gravity-defying sculptures in wood, steel, and carbon-fiber composite.

Clift’s lithe, spirited sculptures shatter presumptions about the limits of stability.

Explains Clift: “My sculptures consist of intersecting parts that stand or suspend together in equilibrium. No part is extraneous, and the delicacy of this balance reveals the fine line between weight and weightlessness, motion and stillness.”

He begins each sculpture with a form or a movement that he takes note of in the world around him. “This moment of recognition is the most essential part of my process,” he says, adding, “It relies on intuition, when emotion and intellect are in balance. It’s never been something that I can push myself to find, but once it’s there, I very quickly have a sense of how it can be translated into a physical structure with its own point of equilibrium.”

Clift then works out a long series of iterations of his idea on paper. At no point does he make any numerical calculations. “When the drawing looks right to me,” he says, “I know that the finished sculpture will balance on its own.”

Starting with small skeleton-like amounts of steel rod in the most vulnerable areas of the form — generally around its joints, Clift embeds this in a second material like wood or high-density polyurethane, which establishes the general form. On top of this, like a skin, he adds one or more layers of carbon fiber composite, an extremely strong material made of pure carbon, woven into a ‘cloth’ and made rigid by a high-end epoxy. This acts like an exoskeleton for the form beneath, giving each piece tremendous strength and rigidity.

The mission of Clift’s work is “to capture the moment between breathing in and breathing out, between being grounded and taking flight,” he says. “I am aiming for the pure potential of movement that has not quite commenced, and in each of my works, I hope that the balance between movement and stillness evokes both a sense of harmony, playfulness and wonder.”

ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Born in New Mexico in 1978, Clift early on showed a propensity for sculpting, started at age 4 with a set of wooden blocks. “I would assemble then into towers that stood as high as I could reach, creating cantilevered structures that pushed the limits of stability and would inevitably come crashing down. Ever since, I’ve never stopped making sculpture.”

During high school, Clift’s constructions took the form of unusual sculptural furniture, with function taking the backseat to form. “That was a problem,” admits Clift, “since clients expected coffee tables that could support books and chairs that you could sit in. But the sculptures I continued to make for my own enjoyment carried no such practical requirements.”

One day, Clift’s high school physics teacher challenged the class to make an object that “balances but looks like it shouldn’t.” Clift rummaged through his box of wood scraps, pulled out three pieces, chiseled two rough holes, and formed a self-supporting structure that stood on one small foot. Clift attributes this creation as the seed out of which all his subsequent work has followed.

In 1998 Clift entered Stanford University, where he studied nearly everything but art—from engineering to philosophy to psychology—all the while continuing to make sculpture in his spare time. A gallery in Santa Fe began showing his work while he was still an undergraduate, and he had his first solo exhibition a few months after finishing his master’s, also at Stanford.

Following graduation, Clift moved to Colorado for a job at a think tank, but quickly realized that he could no longer ignore the path he had embarked upon long ago as a young boy with blocks. “I decided to focus on sculpture full-time, promising myself to give it six months before I gave in to fears of making a living,” he says.

Now, eight years later, Clift has laid that anxiety permanently to rest, with numerous solo shows all around the United States and internationally. Large-scale works by Clift grace renowned hotels in Denver and Miami, and office buildings in New Mexico, Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, Germany and Taipei.

Amy Lau, the highly acclaimed interior designer noted for her contemporary and stylish interiors, will host a private reception for Forms in Balance on Friday, April 25, 2014, at the Gerald Peters Gallery, 24 East 78th Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM.

The exhibition continues through May 23. A catalog will be available for purchase.

View additional works online at www.gpgallery.com and www.willclift.com.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

Will Clift, 'Curling Over,' 2012, mahogany 

 Will Clift, 'Circular Form in Ten Pieces,' 2013, Wenge steel

Last Updated on Monday, 07 April 2014 11:32
 
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