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Art in the News

Nov. 5 art auction benefits animal welfare group Mercy For Animals

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Written by Outside Media Source   
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 09:40

J J Manford, 'Moogles Fauna,' acrylic , oil, spray paint and collage on canvas; 18 x 12in, est. $3,000. Image courtesy Paddle 8 / Mercy For Animals

NEW YORK – Art and animals will come together for a common goal on Wednesday, November 5 as Mercy For Animals conducts its Art of Compassion benefit auction. Proceeds from the online auction of more than 75 artworks will benefit Mercy For Animals’ many animal welfare programs in North America.

The auction features original pieces by dozens of artists, including Moby, Jo-Anne McArthur, Al Jackson, Donald Baechler, Ross Bleckner and William Wegman. The selection has been curated and organized by Nick Lawrence, founder and curator of Freight+Volume gallery in New York City.

Bidding is on now and closes at 9 p.m. Eastern time on November 5. All auction artworks will be on view that same evening from 6-10 p.m. at a special Mercy For Animals fundraiser at Freight+Volume. The gallery is located at 530 W. 24th St., New York, NY 10011. To purchase tickets to the festive fundraiser, which are $100 apiece, or to make a donation to Mercy For Animals, visit https://www.charity-pay.com/e/event.asp?cid=22&eid=44.

To browse or bid on the art being sold in the online auction, click here: http://paddle8.com/auctions/mercyforanimals

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

 J J Manford, 'Moogles Fauna,' acrylic , oil, spray paint and collage on canvas; 18 x 12in, est. $3,000. Image courtesy Paddle 8 / Mercy For Animals

 John Newsom, 'Wonderland,' screenprint, 48 of 60, framed, 16.25 x 27in, est. $1,600. Image courtesy Paddle 8 / Mercy For Animals

William Wegman, 'The Wave,' pigment print, 17 of 30, framed, 11 x 8.5in, est. $850. Image courtesy Paddle 8 / Mercy For Animals

Katherine Bradford, 'Dueling Supermen,' acrylic on canvas, 12 x 9 in, est. $1,900. Image courtesy Paddle 8 / Mercy For Animals

Moby, 'Receiving,' giclee print on exhibition mat, framed, 13 x 19in, est. $295. Image courtesy Paddle 8 / Mercy For Animals

Joe Heaps Nelson, 'Ferdinando,' gouache, charcoal and acrylic on paper; framed, 11.5 x 12.5in, est. $450. Image courtesy Paddle 8 / Mercy For Animals

Bryan Osburn, 'Untitled,' 2013, oil on paper, framed, 8 x 10in, est. $950. Image courtesy Paddle 8 / Mercy For Animals

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 10:12
 

Exhibitions in US honor El Greco 400 years after his death

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Written by AFP wire service   
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 16:17
El Greco's 'View of Toledo,' circa 1596-1600, oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States, home to a rich collection of works by El Greco, is paying homage to the Spanish artist with major exhibitions opening soon in Washington and New York.

From Nov. 2, the National Gallery of Art in the U.S. capital will spotlight its seven El Greco canvases alongside four on loan from the Phillips Collection and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

In New York, exhibitions dedicated to the Renaissance painter will open on Nov. 4 at the Metropolitan Museum and the Frick Collection.

Born Domenikos Theotokopoulos on the Greek island of Crete, El Greco worked in Venice and Rome before settling in Spain, notably in Toledo, where he adopted his now-famous nickname.

Virtually forgotten after his death in 1614, he was rediscovered at the end of the 19th century. His work appeared in the Louvre in Paris, and he was embraced by such modern artists as Picasso, Cezanne and the German expressionists.

His profile in the United States was due in good part to a buying frenzy among rich American collectors, said David Alan Brown, curator of the Washington exhibition.

"They competed with each other, all these millionaires," he added. "There was a kind of Greco craze. That is one reason why they are so many Grecos in the United States."

All told, about 50 works by El Greco are held by museums in about 20 cities around the country.

Famous for his elongated silhouettes, the artist "was not always successful," Brown said.

"His work was so extreme that some people did not respond to it, and other people responded strongly," he said.

"He's an artist that always provokes strong reactions. No one can be indifferent to El Greco."

Brown added: "It's a very personal, visionary style."

"El Greco's art was never simple; it has the spiritual intensity of the counter-Reformation but also pictorially a very complicated vision. That's what appeals to us today."

To accompany the exhibition, the National Gallery has produced a 30-minute documentary.

In Spain, dozens of events have been taking place this year to mark the 400th anniversary of El Greco's death.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
El Greco's 'View of Toledo,' circa 1596-1600, oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 16:34
 

Landmark GE sign's fate still up in the air in Fort Wayne

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Written by PAUL WYCHE, The Journal Gazette   
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 09:42
The iconic General Electric sign in Fort Wayne, Ind. Image by Momoneymoproblemz. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) – So far, GE hasn't brought anything good to light.

But Fort Wayne preservationists haven't given up on the idea that the familiar General Electric sign – and the building it sits atop – can have some type of presence in the city.

Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, knows that ultimately, the fate of the sign – and GE's campus southwest of downtown – is up to the company whose history in the city dates back to 1911.

“I want to make that clear,” he told The Journal Gazette. “But we think something can be done.”

Something was done this month, but probably not what local historians wanted to see. GE, which is shutting down its 32-acre property on Broadway, auctioned off hardware, office equipment and scrap.

In late March, the company confirmed plans to close its two Fort Wayne operations, eliminating about 90 jobs in one year as it shifts work to Mexico. The business employs about 28 people at a local motor-testing lab and about 60 at its executive center on Coliseum Boulevard.

The future of the 13 largely vacant buildings along Broadway hasn't been decided.

GE spokesman Matt Cronkrite said the company is continuing to wind down operations in Fort Wayne but has made no decisions about its property, including the sign.

“Nothing has changed at this point,” Cronkrite said. “We know there are some city officials interested in the property.”

Some ideas may have been tossed around, but nothing GE considers worth elaborating on, he said.

At least two other cities have inquired about the company's iconic sign. In June, it was learned that officials at GE's Louisville, Ky., plant asked about relocating the towering emblem.

And boosters in Cincinnati, where the company also has operations and is home to the American Sign Museum, inquired about the sign.

“I haven't heard anything about it since (June),” said Tod Swormstedt, founder of the museum. “I know the sign is huge and, for a lot of people, is probably a symbol of better times.”

Paddock said there is momentum in the downtown area for restoring landmark buildings, which holds out hope for not only the GE sign but perhaps for at least some of the firm's buildings.

“I'll be meeting with the mayor next week and will bring it up,” Paddock said. “It would seem that something could work out there. Look at the Randall Building, for example.”

Randall Lofts is a mixed-use, $7.5 million five-story complex, where renovations were completed this summer. It took root inside a historic building at South Harrison and Pearl streets and includes 44 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority awarded Randall Lofts nearly $675,000 annually for 10 years in rental housing tax credits.

The city of Fort Wayne contributed $600,000 in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program money, of which $450,000 is a loan and $150,000 is a forgivable loan. Are similar funds available for parts of the GE campus?

“We'd like to see what could be done,” Paddock said. “It's worth exploring.”

___

Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net

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

AP-WF-10-26-14 1757GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
The iconic General Electric sign in Fort Wayne, Ind. Image by Momoneymoproblemz. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. The former General Electric Plant, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Image by Momoneymoproblemz. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 10:03
 

Work closes Indianapolis monument observation deck

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 08:23
Early 1900s postcard view published by the Detroit Photographic Company of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in downtown Indianapolis. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The observation deck of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis is being closed as crews make repairs to sections of the 112-year-old limestone tower.

Crews erected scaffolding at the monument on Monday. The Indiana War Memorial Commission says workers will inspect and complete minor limestone and bronze repairs as part of regular maintenance.

The monument's observation deck and gift shop will be closed during the work, although its Col. Eli Lilly Civil War Museum will remain open.

Officials say the repair work will be completed in time for electrical workers to install the thousands of lights on the monument for the annual Circle of Lights festivities on Nov. 28.

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

AP-WF-10-27-14 1053GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Early 1900s postcard view published by the Detroit Photographic Company of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in downtown Indianapolis. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is decorated with Christmas lights during the holidays. Image by Serge Melki. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 08:42
 

Prune Nourry’s ‘Terracotta Daughters’ in Mexico City

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Written by Museum PR   
Monday, 27 October 2014 16:36
The 'Terracotta Daughters' at Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli. Image by Marisa Velez, courtesy of Prune Nourry. MEXICO CITY – After Shanghai, Paris, Zurich and New York, Prune Nourry’s army of girls continues its trip around the world with the final North American showing of “Terracotta Daughters,” a monumental exhibition of 108 life-size and individually crafted clay sculptures that recall China’s famous Terracotta Soldiers. Created by New York-based French artist Prune Nourry, with expert craftsmen in X’ian, this installation is a powerful investigation of the impact of gender selection in Asia and beyond.

The Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli will be the army's last stop in its grand world tour before the burial in China. The figures will be on display Oct. 30-Nov. 30

Nourry has chosen Mexico as the main stop on the international tour for its strong archeological history similarly linked to Chinese culture. The Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli, where artist Diego Rivera reappropriated an ancient symbol and built a contemporary version of an Aztec pyramid to present his collection of Pre-Hispanic artifacts, immediately caught Nourry’s attention. The artist will bring her faux Chinese archeological site to Diego’s one, mixing past and new – reflecting on the links between the two cultures.

The show attracted more than 5,000 people in its recent three-week stay in New York.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The 'Terracotta Daughters' at Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli. Image by Marisa Velez, courtesy of Prune Nourry.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 16:47
 

Global call goes out for Battersea Power Station retail tenants

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Written by AFP Wire Service   
Monday, 27 October 2014 13:12
This is a scan of the cover of the record album 'Animals' by Pink Floyd, which features an image of Battersea Power Station in London. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to Pink Floyd Music, Ltd. Fair use of low-resolution image under terms of US Copyright Law. PARIS (AFP) - Developers behind the transformation of London's Battersea Power Station will this week launch a worldwide tour of 13 cities to drum up retail tenants for the $12 billion project.

The tour will be inaugurated in Paris on Wednesday evening with an event hosted by British Ambassador to France Peter Ricketts followed by a sales fair from Friday.

"The aim is to find the most exciting UK and global brands, businesses and restaurants to bring alive Britain's newest high street," the Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) said in a statement.

Built in the 1930s, the vast red-brick former power station with its four giant white chimney stacks is a London landmark that also achieved worldwide fame when it featured on the cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 album "Animals."

The tour will also offer an opportunity to purchase over 500 of some 1,300 homes designed by renowned architects Norman Foster and Frank Gehry included in the project's third phase.

The available properties are in the development's Prospect Place and the Battersea Roof Gardens' building.

In addition to London and Paris, the October and November tour will take in Beijing, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.

After lying disused for 30 years, a Malaysian consortium made up of Sime Darby, SP Setia, and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) bought the former coal-powered station and surrounding land for 512 million euros in July 2012.

The project will see the 17-hectare- (42-acre-) site on the south bank of the River Thames transformed into a new neighbourhood comprising homes, shops, restaurants and offices as well as leisure and cultural facilities. There will also be a public park.

The site will also house the new US embassy building designed by Kieran Timberlake which is due to open in 2017.

After years of false dawns and changes in ownership, work officially started on the project on July 4, 2013 -- the building's 80th anniversary -- with the entire project expected to be completed by 2015.

The power station itself is expected to open to the public in 2019.

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Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 13:23
 

Such a scary deal: Dracula's Bran Castle listed for sale

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Written by Outside Media Source   
Monday, 27 October 2014 08:37
Dracula's Bran Castle in Romania, currently offered for sale for $78 million. Image courtesy of www.toptenrealestatedeals.com.

BRAN, Romania - Bran Castle in Transylvania isn’t a high-end European retreat where health seekers can go to get a dose of vitamins and fiber in their diet. No, the legend of this nightmare palace, which has been listed for sale, is much more sinister in fiction than in reality. Bran Castle was home to one of the most notorious monsters in literary history: Count Dracula. No other name elicits more fear and respect in the world of horror than Dracula. His dark powers and blood lust are legendary. On par with the count himself is the castle Bram Stoker reportedly based the Lord of the Night’s home after.

Bran Castle is nestled in the heart of the mountains in Romania, formerly Transylvania. Carved from the rock of the mountains, Bran raises like a dark monolith above the sweeping verdant valleys below. Home to queens, kings and knights, the castle’s history is rich and storied. The most infamous character, and what draws over half a million visitors a year to see this horror home, is Vlad Tepes or “Vlad the Impaler” as he is more commonly known.

Vlad was known to be a vicious and vindictive ruler. To the enemies that he defeated in defense of the Wallachia border and those who broke laws under his rule, he was the impaler. Known to put his enemies on sharpened spikes as a “message” to others, his name struck fear in the hearts of all around him because nothing says, “doesn’t play well with others” than putting them on sharpened spikes.

The truth be told, Vlad’s actual residence is a couple of miles from Bran and in ruins. His connection to the castle is that he reportedly was a guest there in the dungeons. Though there were many bloody battles surrounding it, the castle was actually a customs post, home and museum for much of its history. It’s traded hands many times even being stolen from the royal family when communism took hold in Romania and they were given only 24hours to flee the country. Fortunately, the castle is now back in the hands of the heirs and they’ve painstakingly and lovingly restored the property. Now they are looking to sell to a private buyer with intentions of investing in this major tourist attraction and “taking it to the next level.”

This one of a kind estate is on the market now for forty-seven million pounds ($78 million US dollars). It may bleed your bank account dry but, “Looook into my eyes…you VANT to buy this castle!”

Read more about it at http://www.toptenrealestatedeals.com/homes/featured/2014/haunted-homes-you-can-buy/1/

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Dracula's Bran Castle in Romania, currently offered for sale for $78 million. Image courtesy of www.toptenrealestatedeals.com. Dracula's Bran Castle in Romania, currently offered for sale for $78 million. Image courtesy of www.toptenrealestatedeals.com. Dracula's Bran Castle in Romania, currently offered for sale for $78 million. Image courtesy of www.toptenrealestatedeals.com. Dracula's Bran Castle in Romania, currently offered for sale for $78 million. Image courtesy of www.toptenrealestatedeals.com.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 09:18
 

SF Bay Bridge boosters seek $4M to keep light show

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 24 October 2014 08:41
View of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Image by Allan J. Cronin. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – It's going to take $4 million to keep darkness from falling on the Bay Bridge.

A nightly, constantly changing display of 25,000 white lights on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge designed by New York artist Leo Villareal is set to end its two-year run early next year.

But the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday that if the creators of the installation can raise $4 million by Dec. 31 the lights can become a long-term fixture and the bridge can remain what's been billed as “the world's largest illuminated sculpture.”

An initial push this year to raise funds for a 10-year reinstallation fell flat.

But Bridge officials now say that if boosters can raise the $4 million for an upgraded version of the lights, bridge crews can maintain them indefinitely.

___

Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com

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

AP-WF-10-23-14 1031GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
View of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Image by Allan J. Cronin. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2014 09:21
 

Arts panel approves design for Eisenhower Memorial

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Written by BRETT ZONGKER, Associated Press   
Monday, 20 October 2014 10:24

Model of the proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. Eisenhower Memorial Commission image, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

WASHINGTON (AP) – A key arts panel has approved a revised design for a memorial to honor President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, which could clear the way for groundbreaking.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts voted Thursday to approve Frank Gehry's design. A federal planning agency also recently approved the design.

The Eisenhower Memorial Commission that's working to build the $140 million project says the approvals clear the way for groundbreaking in 2015.

Congress must still fund the project, however. So far, $63 million has been appropriated. The memorial group has $25 million of that on hand. But critics, including Eisenhower's family, have delayed the project.

Gehry designed a memorial park with statues of Eisenhower. A large metal tapestry depicting the Kansas landscape of his boyhood home would serve as the backdrop.

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

AP-WF-10-16-14 2251GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Model of the proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. Eisenhower Memorial Commission image, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 10:36
 

Early Velazquez painting returns to Spain for exhibition

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Written by AFP wire service   
Friday, 17 October 2014 14:15

The cover of the book titled 'The Young Velazquez: The Education of the Virgin Restored,' (2014:  Yale University Press). The narrative of this painting and its reattribution is chronicled, accompanied by a detailed description of the painting’s conservation campaign and analysis of the artist’s technique. Image courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery

SEVILLE, Spain, (AFP) – An oil painting attributed to 17th-century Spanish master Diego Velazquez, found languishing in a back room of Yale University, has been returned to Spain for an exhibition in Valazquez's hometown Seville. The large painting, The Education of the Virgin Mary, has been on show since Wednesday at the Santa Clara arts center as part of a show of the painter's early works made when he still lived in the southern Spanish city.

The painting, which portrays St. Anne teaching the Virgin Mary to read, is dated 1616 when Velazquez was just 17.

Works by Velezquez – who made his name through his portraits of the 17th century Spanish royal family and other powerful figures in Europe – from this period are rare.

The unsigned painting was originally credited to an unknown 17th century Seville artist and it languished for years in a back room at the Yale University Art Gallery in the United States, the curator of the Santa Clara exhibition, Benito Navarrete, told AFP.

But in 2002, when the gallery was preparing for renovation and works were moved to off-site storage, the painting caught the eye of an American art curator for being of very high quality and an investigation followed.

In 2010 John Marciari, a Yale-educated art historian, published a study that concluded that the pigments and canvas are all consistent with what Velazquez used when he was in Seville in the first years of his career.

His findings, published in Ars Magazine, an art collecting publication based in Madrid, made headlines and the painting – which was given to Yale University by two wealthy alumni in 1925 – was restored.

It will remain on display at the Santa Clara arts center, a former monastery, until Jan. 15.

Benito said it could then go on display at the Louvre in Paris in 2015 as part of an exhibition dedicated to Velazquez, who died in Madrid in 1660 at the age of 61.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

The cover of the book titled 'The Young Velazquez: The Education of the Virgin Restored,' (2014:  Yale University Press). The narrative of this painting and its reattribution is chronicled, accompanied by a detailed description of the painting’s conservation campaign and analysis of the artist’s technique. Image courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery 

Last Updated on Friday, 17 October 2014 14:50
 

Detroit mayor apologizes amid anti-graffiti effort

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 17 October 2014 08:32

Downtown Detroit and the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors. Image by Yavno, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

DETROIT (AP) – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said officials with his administration went too far as part of a new anti-graffiti campaign by issuing tickets to building owners who had murals they commissioned or approved on their walls.

Tickets were issued as the city rolled out a previously unpublicized, more-aggressive effort aimed at cleaning up buildings along several major roadways, the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News reported. It's part of broader work to fight blight in the city.

Duggan on Wednesday blamed problems on a miscommunication among city inspectors and said ticketing of illegal graffiti would continue.

“I felt like I gave explicit directions that wall art and murals done with owners' permission should not be ticketed,” Duggan said. “We made a mistake. But we also issued a large number of tickets for graffiti that was appropriate.”

Duggan personally apologized to two of those caught up in the effort, the owners of Brooklyn Street Local diner in Corktown and Derek Weaver, founder of the Grand River Creative Corridor, where artists have completed owner-approved murals.

“I told the mayor that if you aren't careful, and if you come down with iron fists, you'll force a lot of good artists, entrepreneurs and small business owners out of the city,” said Weaver, who received up to about $8,000 in tickets in recent days.

The effort is focused on Jefferson, Woodward, Grand River, Michigan and Gratiot avenues. Deveri Gifford, co-owner of Brooklyn Street Local, said she was pleased the mayor came to the restaurant to apologize for a $130 ticket. Still, she said, it was all “ridiculous.”

“All the inspector had to do was come and talk to us,” she said.

Duggan said officials held six planning meetings before launching the crackdown. The Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department is responsible for issuing the tickets, and Duggan said the city is reviewing all of the tickets that were issued.

Tickets given for murals that had been approved by business owners are expected to be rescinded while other tickets may stand. Owners are responsible for their buildings in cases where they were targeted by graffiti. If ticketed, they have 14 days to clean up.

Vandals are being charged with malicious destruction of property, with varying penalties. Duggan said more than a dozen have been prosecuted. The crime can be a misdemeanor, punishable by fines or up to 93 days in jail, or a felony with up to 10 years in prison.

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

AP-WF-10-16-14 1140GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Downtown Detroit and the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors. Image by Yavno, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 

Last Updated on Friday, 17 October 2014 08:43
 

China’s leader calls for end to ‘weird architecture’

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:54
China Central TV's headquarters by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Image by Cmglee. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese Internet users were divided Thursday after leader Xi Jinping reportedly called for an end to "weird architecture" in a country that has seen a huge construction boom.

Much of China's older building stock is made up of Soviet-style concrete blocks, but in recent years property development has played a huge economic role.

The phenomenon has drawn architects from around the world, from big names such as Zaha Hadid to younger unknowns who see opportunities to design towers long before their careers could reach such heights in the West.

But some unconventional and costly buildings, often owned by state-controlled institutions, have been controversial, sparking criticisms of wasted public funds.

The futuristic new Beijing headquarters of state broadcaster China Central Television were designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas but popularly nicknamed "The Big Underpants."

There have meanwhile been complaints that a pair of bridges over the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing are remarkably reminiscent of female genitalia.

Xi, who took over as Communist leader nearly two years ago, told a group of artists on Wednesday that China should build "no more weird architecture," reported the website of the People's Daily, the ruling party's mouthpiece.

The newspaper's own new home – an unmistakably phallic tower – was so widely mocked by Internet users last year that China's censors blocked th discussions.

Many web users welcomed Xi's call.

"My understanding is that 'no weird architecture' targets the property owners rather than the architects. Some unscrupulous owners should indeed be reined in now," said one user on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

"China is not foreigners' test field," added another.

Xi is not the first senior figure to express doubts over modern design – Britain's Prince Charles once described a proposed extension to the National Gallery in London as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend."

But some Weibo users questioned whether Xi's comments were appropriate, voicing concerns over their potential impact on creative freedom.

"The 'weird architecture' is voluntarily chosen by the owners and the designers," said one, asking: "Do you want to replace millions of others' aesthetic sense with your own?"

 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:59
 

Indianapolis artist makes history at ArtPrize

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Written by WILL HIGGINS, The Indianapolis Star   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 11:45

Anila Quayyum Agha of Indianapolis won the Juried Grand Prize and the Public Vote at ArtPrize for 'Intersections,' a 6-foot carved cube that casts intricate shadows throughout a room. Image courtesy of ArtPrize.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Art experts and the public often disagree over what is great, but consensus over the weekend brought $300,000 to Anila Quayyum Agha of Indianapolis.

Agha, who teaches at the Herron School of Art and Design, was the first artist ever at the ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Mich., to capture first place in the contest's popular review and critical review.

ArtPrize, in its sixth year, is an unusual, citywide 19-day art show open to any artist. Artists have to procure a location for the piece. Agha's, an installation called Intersections, got a choice spot at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Powered by a single light bulb that cast intricate shadows, it transformed an empty, white-walled room into a temple of sorts.

More than $500,000 in prize money is put up each year by the billionaire DeVos family, whose patriarch, Richard DeVos, co-founded Amway.

The two big awards are the Public Vote Grand Prize, worth $200,000, and the Juried Grand Prize, worth the same. Intersections won the Public Vote outright. The expert judges were torn between it and Sonya Clark's The Haircraft Project – a series of canvas weaves of hair designs plus photographs of the hair designs re-created by African-American hairdressers – so the two artists split the jury prize.

Agha, 49, could not say which award meant more to her. “On one hand, I'm a professional artist and academic, and to be juried by your peers, it shows you have done well in the field,” she told The Indianapolis Star. “On the other hand, the public vote is intensely gratifying. The people, even though maybe half of them may not be familiar with art or be museumgoers, they were enthralled by the installation. They told me it had opened their minds to something new.”

“Anila's piece was like walking into a mystical temple,” said Travis DiNicola, who runs Indianapolis' adult literacy program IndyReads and who has attended ArtPrize the past few years. “It had a real sense of being sacred. People lowered their voices.”

Intersections is a 6-foot cube, its wooden sides cut into geometric patterns. Lit from the inside, the cube casts shadows more than 30 feet. Agha still owns the cube but has agreed to let it stay in Grand Rapids for a year. After that, she would like to see it exhibited in museums in other cities.

She said in a written statement that the piece “takes the seminal experience of exclusion as a woman from a space of community and creativity such as a Mosque and translates the complex expressions of both wonder and exclusion that have been my experience while growing up in Pakistan.”

Agha was born in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1965 and raised there. She came to the U.S. in 1999, to Dallas, and earned a master's degree in fine arts in 2004 at the University of North Texas. She came to Indianapolis in 2008 to teach drawing at Herron.

She made Intersections using a laser she bought with a $35,000 grant from Indiana University. She made it in her studio, a space she fashioned from her two-car garage behind her house in Windsor Park on Indianapolis' Near Eastside. She lives there with her 20-year-old son, Rafae Agha, who raps under the name Kid Kaliber.

She said she would use the $300,000 to pay off her mortgage and use any left over on future art projects. The money is taxed.

This year, 400,000 people attended ArtPrize. The event gets people talking about art.

Agha has tenure at Herron and expects to stay in Indianapolis for the long haul. She praised Indianapolis' museums, mentioning the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum by name. But she lamented the dearth of commercial galleries here.

Galleries, of course, need buyers, and Indianapolis has too few of them, in Agha's opinion. “I don't want to sound ungrateful, but my wish is more (local) people would be interested in collecting,” she said. “Now, most people who can afford to buy art go to Chicago and New York, and so their own artists are not doing so well. I would love to sell my work in Indianapolis, but it doesn't happen very often.”

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com

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

AP-WF-10-14-14 1431GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

 Anila Quayyum Agha of Indianapolis won the Juried Grand Prize and the Public Vote at ArtPrize for 'Intersections,' a 6-foot carved cube that casts intricate shadows throughout a room. Image courtesy of ArtPrize.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:03
 

The late show: Exhibit has senior Rembrandt re-energized

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Written by ALICE RITCHIE   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 08:24
Rembrandt's 'The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis' (1661-62) was deemed too shocking for public art. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. LONDON (AFP) – An extraordinary exhibition into the later works of Rembrandt opened at the National Gallery in London on Wednesday, revealing the energy, innovation and empathy of the Dutch master right up to his death.

Featuring about 40 paintings, 20 drawings and 30 prints loaned from collections around the world, "Rembrandt: The Late Works" is the first in-depth exploration into the final stage of the artist's career.

From the early 1650s to his death in 1669 at the age of 63, Rembrandt "seems to have undergone a bit of a crisis in his art production", said curator Betsy Wieseman.

"During this later phase he seems to get regenerated and re-energized, and becomes much more productive in his ideas of what he wants to explore and what he thought was most important as an artist to try to communicate to people."

After being declared bankrupt in 1656, Rembrandt spent the later years of his life in dire financial straits, while he was professionally humiliated when a commission for the new town hall in Amsterdam was sent back to him 1662.

He also suffered personally with the death of his lover in 1963 and his son Titus in 1968, aged just 27.

But this period was also one of his most productive and saw the artist continue to develop innovative techniques, to take the world around him as his inspiration and seek to portray the most profound human emotions.

The National Gallery said it was a "once-in-a-lifetime exhibition," and director Nicholas Penny described it as an "extraordinary group of paintings."

The exhibition has been curated in close cooperation with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which has many of Rembrandt's works and which will show the exhibition from February to May next year.

It begins with a number of self-portraits, which introduce visitors to the artist and reveal his brilliant use of light and shadow, as well as his unflinching honesty in recording his own ageing.

Thereafter the works are arranged thematically: Rembrandt's use of light and experimental techniques, how he pushed the boundaries of convention, and his interest in revealing the inner thoughts of his subjects.

Rembrandt was constantly innovating, from putting paint on with a palette knife, to scratching marks with the back of a brush to depict wiry hair, to layering the ink on etchings in such a way to make each print seem like an individual work of art.

Some works seem ahead of their time, such as a A Young Woman Sleeping, a sketch in brush and brown wash.

"He was always pushing the envelope and trying to take things a bit further," Wieseman said.

Rembrandt also pushed the boundaries on traditional commissions, such as in The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Joan Deyman, which puts the cadaver rather than the surgeon center stage, and The Syndics, which brings unexpected life to a meeting of the board of the drapers' guild.

His town hall commission, The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis, which depicts a group of men pledging allegiance to a one-eyed chief, is a masterpiece in its use of light but was perhaps too shocking and was returned to Rembrandt.

The exhibition also shows how the artist brought to life Biblical figures, such as the turmoil evident on the face of the naked Bathsheba as she debated whether to respond to a request to leave her husband for King David.

Many paintings are moving in the intense emotion they depict, notably the loving couple shown in Jewish Bride, while others draw in the viewer by creating a sense of intimacy, such as Titus At His Desk.

The exhibition runs from Wednesday to Jan. 18 in London, and at the Rijksmuseum from Feb. 12 to May 17.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Rembrandt's 'The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis' (1661-62) was deemed too shocking for public art. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:44
 

Hunt on for huge gargoyles missing from historic church

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 10 October 2014 10:56

The former Chestnut Street Congregational Church. Image by John Phelan. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) – Church officials and preservationists are trying to figure out what happened to several 1.5-ton gargoyles from a Massachusetts church.

The church in Worcester is a one-fifth scale replica of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was built in the late 1890s and was formerly known as the Chestnut Street Congregational Church. It now is owned by an Assembly of God congregation and is on the market for $2.5 million.

The building was slated for demolition a decade ago but was saved with the help of Preservation Worcester.

The group's director tells The Telegram & Gazette the 3,000-pound gargoyles were removed for safety reasons by a construction company that went out of business. The company's assets were sold at auction, and the fear is the gargoyles were sold.

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Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com

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

AP-WF-10-07-14 1743GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

The former Chestnut Street Congregational Church. Image by John Phelan. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. 

Last Updated on Friday, 10 October 2014 11:12
 

Belk family gives $8 million to restore Charlotte Theatre

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 08:50
The Carolina Theater in Charlotte was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the Washington, D.C. architectural firm of Milburn & Heister and completed in 1926. Image by Caroline Culler. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Foundation for the Carolinas is getting an $8 million gift from members of the Belk family for renovation of Carolina Theatre.

The Charlotte Observer reported the foundation announced the gift Monday.

Foundation officials said developers want to build a $60 million boutique hotel on top of a new lobby for the theatre and join the theatre and the foundation's headquarters next door.

The new complex will be named Belk Place, in honor of the gift from the families of Claudia Belk and the late John M. Belk, Charlotte's former mayor, and Katherine Belk and the late Thomas M. Belk.

The foundation plans to reopen the long-closed theater as part of a $35 million project.

Foundation CEO Michael Marsicano said the refurbished theater will be a civic meeting space.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

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

AP-WF-10-07-14 1138GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The Carolina Theater in Charlotte was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the Washington, D.C. architectural firm of Milburn & Heister and completed in 1926. Image by Caroline Culler. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 08:57
 
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