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Sculptor Beatriz Gerenstein showing at Venice & Havana Biennale

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Written by Outside Media Source   
Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:22

Beatriz Gerenstein (American), 'Harmony of the People,' 23ft bronze. Image courtesy of the artist

MIAMI - Ten short years ago, Miami-based sculptor Beatriz Gerenstein was showing her art by participating in local art shows. Today one of her works is considered one of the most beautiful pieces of public art in Shanghai, China, and she is currently exhibiting during the prestigious 56th Venice Biennale, at Venice, Italy. In addition, Beatriz will be participating in the Havana Biennale.

It was at one of the local art shows that Beatriz met a man who was introducing new artists to China. He invited her to an exhibition in Shanghai, where her work was extremely well received.  Gerenstein’s work quickly became more recognized in Asia. She participated in many exhibitions throughout major Chinese cities, and at South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Gerenstein’s international appeal is due in part to her ability to express a feminine and spiritual view of the world that inspires and empowers the observer.

On her second visit to China, one of Gerenstein’s sculptures attracted the attention of the chief architect of a major commercial office development in Shanghai. She commissioned Beatriz on the spot to create a sculpture to be featured in the Wanjia Plaza in Pudong, Shanghai, China. Her five-ton, 23ft-high bronze sculpture titled Harmony of the People anchors a prominent public space and is recognized as one of the city’s art landmarks.

Recently, Gerenstein was invited by The European Cultural Centre to participate during the 56th Venice Biennale. Her sculpture The Third Partner was selected among many candidates to be exhibited at the entrance garden of the Palazzo Mora, Venice, Italy. The sculpture, measuring 11ft h x 6ft w x 2.5ft d, will be shown until November 22, 2015.

Concurrent with the opening of the exhibition in Venice, Gerenstein received an invitation to participate in the Havana Biennale, also recognized as one of the finest art exhibitions in the world. Resultedly, several of her bronze sculptures will be displayed in Havana from May 22-June 22, 2015 at the “Malecon Project” (Proyecto Malecon).

Visit the artist's website at

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:33

Previously uncast Rodin sculpture to be auctioned June 23 in London

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Written by AFP Wire Service   
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 09:45

Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917), Aphrodite. Copyright Christie's Images Limited 2015

LONDON (AFP) - A previously uncast sculpture by French artist Auguste Rodin, known for works such as "The Kiss" and "The Thinker," is expected to fetch up to one million euros at auction in June, Christie's said Tuesday.

The sculpture, "Aphrodite," which shows the nude goddess of love with her arms elegantly stretched above her head, was created by Rodin in 1913 for a play in Paris of the same name.

However at the time the sculpture, a much larger version of an older image of Aphrodite which featured in Rodin's monumental "Gates of Hell," was cast only in plaster for its appearance on stage.

"We are pleased to unveil a previously unseen work. Conceived in 1913 for a play, this sculpture was never cast as the molds containing the upper part of the arms were only found very recently," said Pierre Martin-Vivier of Christie's auction house, in a statement.

It was in 2014, during research into Rodin's donations to the state, that the museum housing the artist's work uncovered the complete mould for the sculpture.

Now cast in bronze, measuring 2.15 meters high, Aphrodite has been valued at between 834,000 - 1.1 million euros ($930,000-$1.2 million). The sculpture will be auctioned in London on June 23.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 11:16

Mount Vernon: Effort is on to save America's most famous red roof

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Written by Outside Media Source   
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 11:10

Image courtesy of Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON, Va. - For more than 150 years, The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association has relied upon private donations to preserve and protect the home of George Washington. Mount Vernon is the most visited historic home in America.

Today the mansion's iconic red roof is in need of repair and new paint to ensure the cedar shingles repel the rain and keep the structure and its contents safe and dry. Unfortunately, during recent work evaluating and preparing the 18th-century roof for the proposed paint work, significant damage was discovered around the cupola. This was always an area of concern for George Washington and has remained an area closely monitored by the preservation staff at Mount Vernon.

Click below to learn more about the mansion's roof and view a new video with Steven Stuckey, Architectural Conservator at Mount Vernon, as he shares with you firsthand some of the areas of the Cupola that demand immediate attention.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 May 2015 11:26

Obsolete barns vanishing in rural Delaware

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Written by RAE TYSON, Delmarva Daily Times   
Monday, 11 May 2015 09:32

Barn at the historic John Carney Agricultural Complex at Greenville, New Castle County, Delaware. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Image by Choess.

SUSSEX, Del. (AP) – When a recent arson destroyed a historic barn in Lewes, the devastating blaze focused attention on Sussex County's vanishing agricultural architecture.

And experts say that regardless of the reason for the demise of those old barns, it means the loss of important historic connections to the coastal region's farming heritage.

“These barns represent a physical link to our rich agricultural past,” said Daniel Parsons, historic preservation planner and records manager for Sussex County. “Barns define our agricultural history,” said Danae Peckler of the National Barn Alliance. “And there is a lot of agricultural history out there to be seen.”

Though the loss of the historic Lewes barn off Gills Neck Road was the result of a criminal act, it is but one of many reasons why barns are disappearing from the southern Delaware landscape.

Others have succumbed to neglect, encroaching development and a gradual shift in farming practices.

“Today, barns are very specialized but, back then, barns were used for a multitude of functions,” said Parsons.

“Historic barns are threatened by many factors,” said Michael J. Auer of the National Park Service. “Unfortunately, the consequence is, barn raisings have given way to barn razings.”

“People just aren't keeping up with old barns,” said Peckler.

Madeline E. Dunn, historian in the Delaware Historic Preservation Office, reels off a list of factors that are contributing to the disappearance of barns in the state.= “These cultural resources tend to disappear due to a variety of reasons, including fire, storms, neglect and deterioration,” she said.

And, even on working farms, the functions of those old, all-purpose barns have been replaced by buildings that meet more specialized farming needs.

“It has gotten to the point that upgrading older barns (for farm use) is no longer feasible,” said Virginia land use planner Aaron Shriber, who wrote his University of Delaware graduate thesis on the evolution of dairy barns in the state.

Sussex County's Parsons agreed.

“Today farms here are very specialized, but, back then, barns were used for a multitude of functions,” he said. “It was, in essence, a covered workplace and storage facility for all things farming.”

And, the ever dwindling number of farmers in Delaware are switching to more specialized outbuildings to meet their needs.

“As local farms have specialized and mechanized there is not as much need,” for traditional wooden barns, said Parsons. “Instead, we see the proliferation of the much easier to build and maintain pole barn.”

Though many barns have disappeared over the past 50 years, Sussex County still has a number of notable survivors, including structures that were adapted for other uses.

A companion to the torched Lewes barn is still standing and developers hope to convert it into a community center for the Showfield development that will surround it.

“The interior architecture of that barn is amazing,” said Bryce Lingo, one of the developers.

The Hopkins Farm Creamery outside of Lewes uses a portion of an old dairy barn for an ice cream stand. The farm also includes over 1,000 dairy cows, most of them housed in newer metal buildings.

A main barn on the Bennett Farm in Milford has been converted into a museum now that the family longer has dairy cows.

In Harbeson, a 1910 dairy barn now houses Old Wood, a company that makes furniture out of salvaged wood.

In Lewes, the magnificent Townsend barn on Kings Highway – easily visible to passing motorists – awaits restoration – or demolition. Unfortunately, one scenario has the barn demolished to make way for commercial development.

“Sometimes, situations like that break my heart,” said Peckler of the National Barn Alliance.

In Long Neck, a magnificent 100-year-old barn and other outbuildings are still part of a working farm on Route 24.

In Lincoln, several outbuildings and a pair of sturdy, mostly brick barns, one of them originally to house mules, have been evaluated by a consultant for a possible listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The listings might help preserve the Hall family farm by making it eligible for certain historic designation tax credits.

Unfortunately, having a barn – or other farm outbuildings – listed on the historic register is no guarantee that any of it will be preserved.

In the past 30 years, a number of barns, farm houses and potato buildings in Lewes, Laurel, Delmar, Greenwood, Georgetown and Millsboro have been added to the federal list. The reality is, a number of those structures no longer exist, including almost all of a Georgetown farm that was added to the list in 1979.

“Listing of a property in the National Register of Historic Places is not a guarantee that it will be preserved,” said Dunn, who is the director of Delaware's historic places program.

Di Rafter, director of the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover, said the sheer size of most barns makes it difficult to preserve or restore.

“No one wants to see these sentimental historic buildings disappear but, the problem is, it costs a fortune to move or restore them,” she said.

Rebecca Sheppard, interim director of the Center for Historic Architecture and Design at the University of Delaware, agrees.

“It is becoming harder and harder to find an adaptive reuse for these buildings,” she said.

J. Everett Moore Jr., a Georgetown attorney, lives on a farm that is close to the home where he grew up. The main barn on his farm, built in the mid-1800s and featuring hand-hewn structural beams, has been restored.

“I decided to fix it instead of building another building,” said Moore, who has written a book about his childhood in rural Sussex County called Growin' up Country. “But, you have to have a love of history to do something like I did,” he said.

“Unfortunately, a lot of these barns were mostly built for farm animals and most people don't have farm animals anymore,” he said.

In Ocean View, the local historical society is spending $10,000 to restore a small, 1900-era barn that is one of the few surviving in the community. “It is very typical of the barns of that era,” said Richard Nippes, head of the local historical society.

Rafter, the museum director, said barns still have sentimental value but the roadblock to preservation is the cost.

“That is the main problem,” she said. “They can cost a fortune to restore.”

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-10-15 1338GMT

Last Updated on Monday, 11 May 2015 09:50

Local officials reject Google's plans for home campus

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Written by AFP wire service   
Friday, 08 May 2015 08:51

View of the present Googleplex courtyard. Image by Sebastian Bergmann. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Google on Thursday was stinging from a decision by local officials to reject the bulk of a proposed plan for a grand expansion of its Silicon Valley home campus.

A long debate at Mountain View city council ended early Wednesday with members approving just one of four sites where Google envisioned futuristic buildings blending with natural settings in a cutting-edge addition to its main "Googleplex."

Council members instead endorsed plans by career-focused social network LinkedIn to build a new headquarters, along with a cinema and shops in a more traditional architectural style in that part of Mountain View.

"We know the city council had a tough decision to make and thank them and our community for more than six hours of debate," Google vice president of real estate David Radcliffe said in an email response to an AFP inquiry on Thursday.

"We're pleased that the council has decided to advance our Landings site and will continue to work with the city on Google's future in Mountain View."

At the meeting, Radcliffe called the council's decision a "significant blow," according to a report in the Mercury News.

Google unveiled its plan in February for a new headquarters campus that includes waterways, public gardens, covered bikeways and modular building structures.
The redesign was by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and London-based Thomas Heatherwick and touted as leading to "a better way of working."

Last Updated on Friday, 08 May 2015 09:18

Go west: Artists flee exorbitant New York for Los Angeles

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Tuesday, 05 May 2015 08:37

Patrons outside a gallery at Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica, Calif. Bergamot Station Gallery Cultural Association image.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Los Angeles art scene is exploding thanks to a wave of artists and galleries escaping New York, which has become overcrowded and too expensive for young creative types.

"An enormous number of artists are coming to set up in LA," said Philippe Vergne, director of the West Coast city's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), citing exorbitant real estate costs in the Big Apple in particular.

"In art, it is like in real estate: you have to follow the artists, that's where it's going to develop," he said, asserting that LA is "the city with the highest density of artists in the world."

Martha Kirszenbaum, director and curator of the Fahrenheit arts center, which opened just over a year ago in a booming area of downtown LA, added: "LA's strength is the artists, and the schools which have trained generations of artists."

The City of Angels is known for some of the most prestigious art schools in the country, including CalArts, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC).

It is also already home to leading contemporary artists including John Baldessari, Catherine Opie, James Turrell, Chris Burden, Barbara Kruger, Paul McCarthy, Ed Ruscha and the late Mike Kelley.

Galleries, even if their number remains tiny compared to the hundreds which crowd New York, are popping up in increasing numbers in Los Angeles, with its year-round blue skies and wide open spaces.

"New York is so saturated, we'd be the 700th little gallery, versus in LA
 it is in a very interesting state of flux," said Karolina Dankow, director of Zurich-based Karma, which has just opened a gallery in Los Angeles.

"Everybody knows the very big galleries are moving here," she added, pointing to figures such as Larry Gagosian, one of the world's biggest art dealers, or Michele Maccarone, Gavin Brown and Matthew Marks, who have moved from New York.

That is without mentioning the new art fairs that flourish beneath the palm trees: Paramount Ranch or Paris Photo Los Angeles, whose third edition wrapped up on Sunday.

Even the Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain (FIAC), one of the biggest contemporary art fairs in the world, has been talking about organizing a Los Angeles version.

The New York Times wrote about the trend over the weekend, noting the irony of creative types including musician Moby moving to a city long sneered at by East Coast types.

"Chased out by rising rents, punishing winters and general malaise, New Yorkers (are heading) west to the city they once poked fun at," it wrote.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 May 2015 08:56

American’s bequest returns Bach portrait to Germany

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Written by AFP wire service   
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 14:29

Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach by Elias Gottlob Haussmann (German, 1695 –1774). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

NEW YORK (AFP) – The best-known portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach will go on public view for the first time in centuries after its American owner bequeathed it to an archive in the composer's native Germany.

The portrait by E.G. Haussmann, showing the bewigged composer late in life holding the score to one of his canons, is considered by some to be the most authentic depiction of the musical great and is frequently reproduced in biographies.

Philanthropist William Scheide, who struck it rich at a young age from oil and devoted his life to musicology and rare books, died last year at 100 and left the 1748 painting – estimated to be worth $2.5 million – to the Leipzig Bach Archive.

The archive, in the city where the composer spent much of his career, will put the painting on permanent public display for the first time since the 18th century starting with a Bach festival in June.

In a handover ceremony Wednesday, the archive's president, English conductor John Eliot Gardiner, brought his Monteverdi Choir to serenade the portrait at Scheide's home in Princeton, New Jersey, in the presence of his widow Judith.

The Bach portrait was owned at the onset of the Nazi era by Jenke family, who were Jewish and fled Germany.

The family portrait was kept for safekeeping with the Gardiner family in the southwestern English county of Dorset, away from German bombs.

"I literally grew up under Bach's gaze," Gardiner said in a statement.

Noting that Bach posed for the painting in Leipzig, Gardiner said: "It is gratifying to see the portrait's journey coming full circle."

Scheide bought the painting in 1952 when it was put up for auction.

In February, Princeton University announced that Scheide, an alumnus, had donated his collection of rare books and manuscripts valued at some $300 million.

The collection, which Scheide had kept at the university during his lifetime, includes the first six printed editions of the Bible and an original printing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 April 2015 14:44

Only 10 percent of gallery visitors spot faked masterpiece

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Written by JAMES PHEBY   
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 15:04

The differences between the authentic Fragonard (left) and the 'Made in China' replica are readily apparent when hung side by side. Dulwich Picture Gallery image

LONDON (AFP) – The results are in from a battle that pitted London's culture vultures against a Chinese workshop churning out replicas of the world's most famous paintings, revealing a clear victory for the cut-price masters.

For nearly three months, visitors to London's Dulwich Picture Gallery have pored over 270 paintings in its permanent collection, including works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Gainsborough, knowing that there was one $120 (109-euro)
 fake in their midst.

Around 3,000 people voted for their pick of the replica, but only 300 correctly identified it as French artist Jean-Honore Fragonard's 18th century portrait Young Woman.

"The white looks too bright and fresh," said visitor Emma Hollanby, as she looked at the two paintings side-by-side, depicting an unknown woman with rouged cheeks and red lips, peering seductively at the viewer.

"But it's easy to say when it's next to it (the original), and I probably wouldn't have got it," admitted the 26-year-old, who works in a gallery.

The experiment was the brainchild of American artist Doug Fishbone, who wanted to "throw down the gauntlet" to museum-goers and make them look more closely at the great works.

Chief curator Xavier Bray said he chose the Fragonard painting as "it's one of our great pictures, but tends to be something that doesn't engage.

The replica was ordered from Meisheng Oil Painting Manufacture Co. Ltd in Xiamen, in China's southeastern Fujian province.

The gallery emailed a jpeg of its chosen picture, paid $126 including shipping via PayPal, and received the rolled-up replica within three weeks by courier.

Bray called the response to the gallery's spot-the-fake challenge "very gratifying" and said it had boosted visitor numbers.

"People have been actually looking at the pictures," he told AFP. "Rather than looking at the label first and then the picture, they did the opposite."
He added that children had been particularly engaged.
"They don't seem to have that mindset that makes them think what an Old Master should look like, they go straight for what looks different," he explained.

'Magical quality'

On cue, a group of young schoolchildren gathered to play a highbrow game of spot the difference.

"That one's not the fake one because it's browner, it looks older," said one, followed by a classmate, who noted that the fake was "all white and brighter." 
As well as examining the type of canvas used, how it was prepared, the brushwork and what type of pigments and varnish were employed, the experts rely on the artist's innate creativity to identify the fakes.

"The original is almost what a magician would paint," said Bray. "You look at this (the fake). It's industrial and the expression is empty.

Painter Jane Preece, a regular visitor, said she would have recognized the fake because "I've always loved that painting."

"It's dark but shines through, it has a luminous quality about it," explained the 75-year-old.

"Whereas the fake just looks wrong, it hasn't got that magical quality.

The ultimate aim of the experiment, Bray said, was to give a "kick of life" to the old collection.

"In this country we take for granted a lot of the great art that we are surrounded by," he said. "It was part of my intention to make people realize how lucky they really are."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 April 2015 16:32

Eyes on the prize: China cracks down on art, literary awards

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Written by AFP wire service   
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 10:25

Chinese calligrapher Mi Fu (1051-1107) created this work as a discourse about the cursive style of the art during the Song dynasty. This example is in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

BEIJING (AFP) – First went the fancy banquets, then the lavish gift-giving. Now, China's ruling Communist Party has set its sights on a new target in its anti-corruption drive: art and literary prizes.

China's proliferation of cultural awards has raised alarm among the party's much feared anti-corruption investigators, who worry that government officials are using them as a means of improving their clout, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

At a meeting Monday in Changsha – the capital of Hunan, Communist China's founding father Mao Zedong's home province – culture ministry officials vowed
 to "strictly prohibit the obtaining of illegitimate benefits in the name of art," Xinhua reported.

"The ministry of culture will carry out a comprehensive rectification of literary and art awards," Xinhua said. "A number of awards will be canceled or streamlined, with an overall reduction of more than 60 percent."

"Literature and art awards programs during festivals will be canceled, and criticism will be strengthened," it added, saying the ministry will "guard against and eliminate all kinds of unhealthy tendencies.

China's art and cultural spheres have come under increasing scrutiny from Communist Party investigators under President Xi Jinping seeking to crack down on corruption at all levels.

In January, the party's internal Central Commission for Discipline Inspection urged officials not to seek senior positions in provincial art and calligraphy associations, warning that cadres that do so are "stealing the meat off artists' plates."

"In some places, you will see dozens of vice presidents sitting atop the provincial calligraphy association," the CCDI wrote in a notice at the time. "What kind of behind-the-scenes profit is motivating officials to use their authority to grab literary laurels?"

Officials in China have at times sought to use calligraphy as a way of hiding bribes, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper.

Last year, Jiang Guoxing, deputy head of the press and publication bureau in Jiangsu province, was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison for accepting 1.85 million yuan ($300,000) in bribes, some of which were disguised as payment for his calligraphy "masterpieces," the paper reported.

One work of four "scribbled" characters – which Jiang sold to a businessman for 50,000 yuan – was later deemed worthless by authorities, the China Daily reported.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 10:49

Meijer Gardens dedicates 'Iron Tree' sculpture by Ai Weiwei

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 08:54

Ai Wiewei, 'Iron Tree.' Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park image.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) – A large iron sculpture by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei that's designed to prompt thoughts about how different people and cultures come together was dedicated Monday at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in western Michigan.

An event to dedicate Iron Tree as part of events marking Meijer Gardens' 20th anniversary.

Made of 99 iron pieces, the sculpture looks like a tree without leaves, but oversize stainless steel bolts that hold it together give it a mechanical appearance.

The artist's work is well-known internationally, but he isn't allowed to travel outside China. He spent nearly three months in prison in China in 2011 and last year directed the transformation of the former island prison of Alcatraz into a tribute to the world's political prisoners.



Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 09:03

Ai Weiwei's bronze zodiac animals set for Wyoming display

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Written by MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press   
Monday, 20 April 2015 09:46

Ai Weiwei, 'Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads,' 2010, gold-plated bronze, auctioned in February 2015 by Phillips in London. Image courtesy of Phillips

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming has abundant wildlife but nothing quite like this: A dozen animal heads, each weighing 800 pounds, are headed for display at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole.

The heads representing the creatures of the traditional Chinese zodiac -- rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig -- will arrive by tractor-trailer in a few weeks. A crane will hoist them into place atop concrete pads poured specially for the exhibition. From May 9 to Oct. 11, visitors will be able to take in Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads along the museum's sculpture trail.

"This is unprecedented in terms of how much work we're putting into installation for a temporary installation,'' said Jane Lavino, the museum's curator of education.

Ai is among China's best-known contemporary artists. He played a key role in designing the "Bird's Nest'' Beijing National Stadium ahead of the 2008 Olympics. He's also well known as a critic of the Chinese government. Chinese authorities in recent years have shut down his blog, destroyed his studio and jailed him for almost three months. He has been prohibited from traveling abroad.

"We're actually very curious what kind of response we'll get,'' said museum President James McNutt. "There's been a great influx of Chinese tourists to Jackson Hole in the last year or so, and we expect quite a few this summer. We don't really have any way to gauge, though, how many of those people are likely to be familiar with his work.''

Following exhibition in Chicago, Los Angeles, London and other cities worldwide, the zodiac animals will be displayed in a natural setting for the first time. The Gros Ventre Range to the east will be their backdrop at the museum near the National Elk Refuge a couple miles north of Jackson.

A group of large zodiac animals displayed in China more than 150 years ago provided the inspiration for Ai's work. In 1860, during the Second Opium War, French and British troops looted the originals from the Old Summer Palace in the Garden of Perfect Brightness in Beijing. The fate of at least five of the original animal heads remains unknown.

Museum curator Adam Duncan Harris said he first encountered Ai's zodiac animals when they were on display in Washington, D.C., a few years ago. He set about applying to have the piece displayed at the National Museum of Wildlife Art and succeeded this year.

The museum has plenty of experience handling large pieces, including a small herd of larger-than-life bronze bison weighing more than 3,000 pounds each. "It's not difficult when you have the right tools and the right people with the right experience,'' Harris said.


Follow Mead Gruver at

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 April 2015 09:56

Barnes and Violette de Mazia Foundation merge programs

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Written by Museum PR   
Monday, 20 April 2015 09:32

Young Professionals Night is one of many events promoted by the Barnes Foundation as part of its art education program. Photo by Darryl Moran, provided by the Barnes Foundation

PHILA., Pa. - Joseph Neubauer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Barnes Foundation, and Jerome Bogutz, Esq., President and member of the Board of Directors of the Violette de Mazia Foundation, are pleased to announce that the Violette de Mazia Foundation has been granted permission by the Montgomery County Orphan’s Court to affiliate its art appreciation education programs with the Barnes Foundation.

The Barnes-de Mazia Education Program will be based at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. As part of the affiliation, the Violette de Mazia Foundation will transfer approximately $8 million to the Barnes Foundation to create the Barnes-de Mazia Education Endowment Fund, dedicated to supporting and expanding education programs at the Barnes Foundation, including scholarships, an annual Violette de Mazia Lecture, and a fellowship for a scholar to research the theories, writings, and teaching practices of Albert C. Barnes, Violette de Mazia, and John Dewey. In addition, the archives of the Violette de Mazia Foundation will be added to the archives of the Barnes Foundation.

“Perpetuating the educational programs developed by Albert C. Barnes, Violette de Mazia, and John Dewey has always been at the heart of the mission of the Violette de Mazia Foundation,” said Mr. Bogutz. “Uniting our programs and housing them at the Barnes will expand their reach and secure their future as well as ensure permanent recognition for the important role Violette de Mazia played in education at the Barnes Foundation,” he said.

The Barnes-de Mazia courses provide extraordinary access to the masterpieces in the Barnes Foundation. Students study art and aesthetics in rigorous programs based on the teachings of Albert C. Barnes, Violette de Mazia, and John Dewey, which encourage students to read art as an artist does and to study its formal elements. This method of teaching students the language of art makes art accessible wherever it is encountered.

“The Barnes Foundation and the Violette de Mazia Foundation share a commitment to art appreciation and aesthetics, as well as to maintaining structured multi-year education programs based on those methods jointly developed by Albert C. Barnes, Violette de Mazia and John Dewey,” said Mr. Neubauer. “The unification of the education programs of the Barnes Foundation and the Violette de Mazia Foundation will lead to an expansion of educational programming at the Barnes, and help to advance its mission through robust programming and outreach.”

In its first joint program, the annual Violette de Mazia Lecture will be inaugurated at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia on Sunday, April 26, from 2-3 pm. The lecture features Richard Wattenmaker, a widely recognized authority on late 19th- and early 20th-century modern art, as well as a former student of Violette de Mazia, and a former instructor at the Barnes Foundation. Wattenmaker will discuss the artist Chaim Soutine. Tickets are free. Registration is required online, or by calling 215-278-7200.  Barnes-de Mazia courses will begin in the autumn of 2015.

Visit the Barnes Foundation online at

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Last Updated on Monday, 20 April 2015 09:51

Yamasaki-designed conference center gets landmark status

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 17 April 2015 13:16

McGregor Center, Wayne State University in Detroit. Image by Andrew Jameson. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

DETROIT (AP) - A conference center on the campus of Wayne State University that was designed by renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki has been designated as a national historic landmark.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis on Wednesday made the announcement about the McGregor Memorial Conference Center as well as landmark designations for several sites in other parts of the country.

Completed in 1958, the center's design represents a turning point in Yamasaki's career. The two-story building overlooks a reflecting pond and sculpture garden. Yamasaki also is known for his design of the original World Trade Center towers.

The National Historic Landmarks Program is administered by the National Park Service. With designation as a landmark, sites are eligible for technical preservation advice.



Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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McGregor Center atrium. Image by Goldnpuppy. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2015 13:37

UK's NPG features Charles I's 'forgotten painter' Cornelius Johnson

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Written by Art Gallery PR   
Friday, 10 April 2015 15:03
Charles II by Cornelius Johnson, 1639; James II by Cornelius Johnson, 1639; Mary, Princess of Orange by Cornelius Johnson, 1639. All portraits © National Portrait Gallery, London

LONDON - The first ever display of works by the 17th-century artist Cornelius Johnson, forgotten court painter to Charles I, will open at the National Portrait Gallery on April 15, 2015. "Cornelius Johnson: Charles I’s Forgotten Painter" (April 15 - September 13, 2015) will include four rarely seen portraits of royal children, all from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection, to tell the story of one of Britain’s most successful and prolific artists.

The portraits of Charles I’s three royal children the future Charles II, the future James II, and Mary, later Princess of Orange-Nassau and are poignant reminders of their tumultuous lives (partly spent in exile), while the fourth, of Mary’s son William, was painted when the boy’s position was in jeopardy. Largely neglected by both British and Dutch art historians, Johnson had the bad luck to be overshadowed as a court painter by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641), who settled in London in 1632 to work for Charles I, and then to have his own British career curtailed by the British Civil Wars.

Having been trained in the Netherlands, and having painted Charles I and the elite of the period, many of whom were soon to be engulfed in the Civil Wars, Johnson was a chronicler of a doomed generation, on the edge of war. At the age of 50, after civil war had broken out, Johnson emigrated to the Netherlands, where he re-invented himself as a Dutch portraitist, and succeeded against the odds in the tough Dutch art market, dying there a prosperous man.

Johnson is particularly admired for his skillful rendering of his sitters’ rich lace collars and sumptuous textiles and dress. He seems frequently to have been commissioned to paint children. He is also thought to be the first English-born artist to sign and date his paintings as a matter of course, something he probably learned from his training in the Netherlands.

Johnson worked in every scale, from the group-portrait (including his largest surviving English painting, The Capel Family, in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery and also included in the new display) to the tiny miniature.

The Gallery’s display will contain eight painted portraits and six prints, from the National Portrait Gallery’s primary and archive collections, most of them rarely seen, and three paintings from Tate which have never been previously displayed together.

This will be the first show ever on this artist’s work and it will be accompanied by a publication, Cornelius Johnson, which will be the first book solely focused on Johnson and contains much new research on his life and career.

Karen Hearn, the curator of "Cornelius Johnson: Charles I’s Forgotten Painter," says: "Cornelius Johnson’s portraits are not grand Baroque constructs. On the contrary, they have a delicacy, a dignity and a humanity that speak directly to present-day viewers. Although he has been for so long in the shadows of art history, it seems that, with the Gallery’s display and the accompanying publication, at last Cornelius Johnson’s time has come."

Learn more about the exhibition online at

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Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2015 13:20

Only in Texas: Dallas developer to build 77-space garage at his home

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Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 06 April 2015 10:34
Aerial view of Harlan Crow's Preston Road mansion in Dallas. Image courtesy of Bing

DALLAS (AP) - Real estate investor Harlan Crow is trying to ease concerns of his neighbors in the wealthy Dallas enclave of Highland Park about construction of a 77-space underground garage on his estate.

Crow, 65, CEO of Dallas-based Crow Holdings, says the $5.1 million project is intended for guests to a large library at his family's home and for those attending other functions at his estate like political fundraisers who would have to park on the streets.

Neighbors worry about the intrusion of buses and tour groups that could ensue if Crow turns the 8-acre estate, now zoned as a single-family dwelling, into a museum.

"It's hard for me to see how a 77-space parking garage can be construed as a single-residence use," Michael Lewis, who lives next door, told The Dallas Morning News.

Property records show the site has an eight-bedroom home, a greenhouse, a swimming pool and two unattached servants' quarters.

Two years ago the 65-year-old CEO tried to get "historical collection" added to the zoning definition for his home, then dropped the proposal amid similar opposition from neighbors.

"I'm afraid they're going to open it up to more people," another neighbor, Laura Williamson, said. "Accommodating the cars he has is a good idea, but it's going to enable him to have larger groups."

The Harlan Crow Library is in a wing of Crow's mansion. It holds thousands of rare books, manuscripts and artwork related to American politics, science and literature and employs a full- and part-time librarian. The property also includes a sculpture garden.

"I have what I hope is a very fine collection of manuscripts and books pertaining to American history," Crow said. "And to the extent that I can share that with people from the area in a way that is educational and enjoyable, then I feel like I've done a good thing. And that has been and continues to be what I want to do."

He said the parking area will be more convenient for guests and neighbors.

"And other than that, I see no impact on the whole matter," he said.

Crow said he's had "a good couple of years" and can afford the project, which he sees also being used by his three children for sports activities on rainy days.

Williamson said she's been in the library, enjoyed the visit and found it beautiful. "It's simply in the wrong place," she said.


Information from: The Dallas Morning News,

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 April 2015 11:08

Georgian architecture, hot springs among gems in Bath

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Written by TERRY TANG
, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 09:50
The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Bath, commonly known as Bath Abbey. Photo by David Iliff. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

BATH, England (AP) - Yes, there really is a natural hot spring beneath the city of Bath, but soaking in the above-ground sights and sounds will leave you plenty relaxed. With its Georgian brick buildings and lush green hills, almost everywhere in Bath feels like a living postcard. With landmarks from Roman and medieval times, you may feel you've landed back in time, but the juxtaposition of stately terraced houses and people hustling about on smartphones brings you out of that fantasy.

Bath somehow weaves together threads of small-town life with cosmopolitan sophistication. It has galleries, museums and theaters. It's a college town anchored by the University of Bath. And it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Even on a mere day trip from London, just 90 minutes away by train, Bath bubbles over with charm.


A majestic landmark in the center of town, Bath Abbey is the third place of worship to occupy this site in 1,200 years. The first church, built in 757, was replaced by a cathedral soon after the Norman conquest of England in 1066. That one gave way in the 15th century to the abbey that's there today.

Walk inside and eye the vaulted ceiling and stunning stained glass windows showing 56 scenes from Christ's life. A floor plaque marks Queen Elizabeth II's 1973 visit. Tours of the church tower are available; it's just 212 steps to the top.


You might say the Romans were the first in Western Europe to come up with the spa weekend. The Roman Baths date back to the year 70, with a sprawling pool of natural, hot spring water called the Great Bath located below street level. You can see the steam swirling from a terrace on the street above. People dressed in period clothing - such as a Roman soldier or stone mason - stand in the archways. The complex includes several underground spaces and displays. The self-guided audio tour, which includes commentary from writer Bill Bryson, thoroughly explains how the citizens of Aquae Sulis (the Roman name given to Bath) socialized, worked and worshipped. At the end of the tour, visitors can sample some of that rejuvenating water.


Novelist Jane Austen lived with family in Bath between 1801 and 1806. Avid readers of Austen's work know that Bath was a prominent setting in two of her books, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. But even fans only familiar with the movie adaptations will geek out inside the Jane Austen Center. The three-story building on Gay Street has a permanent exhibit and tea room. The experience reaches delightfully Austentatious levels with employees clad in period clothing giving brief orientations on the novelist.

The exhibit offers two floors of clothes, knickknacks and anecdotes about what daily life would have been like for Austen in Bath. You can end your wandering with afternoon tea in the third-floor Regency Tea Room, where a portrait of Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy looms over patrons. If you are an Austen lover, good luck holding back in the gift shop where merchandise includes items branded with "I heart Mr. Darcy." The center also helps stage several events such the annual Jane Austen Festival in September. For 10 days, hundreds of visitors overtake the city for Austen-themed readings, workshops and, of course, a ball.


This half-moon formation of Georgian townhouses is one of Bath's most famous architectural masterpieces, an arc-shaped cluster of buildings set behind a green field. The first home, No. 1 Royal Crescent, where former Parliament member Henry Sanford lived in the late 1700s, is also a museum. Rooms are furnished in 18th century style, with a glimpse of the upstairs-downstairs lifestyle of the era (think Downton Abbey but 150 years earlier). Rooms to see include the scullery, parlor and gentleman's retreat. Don't miss the servants' hall, where you can see a replica of a dog wheel where a running canine actually powered a cooking spit.


Every alley off the cobblestoned streets seems to be lined with adorable shop windows. But to truly appreciate the villages and fields that surround Bath, a stroll along the canal is the way to go.

You can access the path from Sydney Gardens in the town center. In a 30-minute walk, you'll see flower-filled backyards and stretches of bright green grass, all perfectly reflected in the still water, as locals jog by and walk their dogs. There are even sheep nibbling off in the fields. And it doesn't hurt that you will pass a pub or two along the way.


If You Go... BATH, ENGLAND: . About 90 minutes by train from London. Top attractions include Bath Abbey, Roman Baths, Jane Austen Centre, Royal Crescent Georgian townhouses and scenic canal. Visitor information center, 011-44-844-847-5257, located next to Bath Abbey, open Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


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Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-30-15 1428GMT

A turn of the 20th century photochrom of the Roman Baths in Bath, England. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 April 2015 10:27
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