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Art in the News

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.”

___

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.

___

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.

___

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
 

Doris Duke’s Shangri La living quarters to open for tours

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Written by AUDREY McAVOY, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 08:23
Doris Duke's Shangri La house and gardens outside Honolulu. Image by Daderot. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. HONOLULU (AP) – American tobacco heiress Doris Duke fell in love with Islamic art and culture during her honeymoon through the Middle East and Asia in 1935.

So much so that she commissioned a bedroom and bathroom inspired by the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum in India built by a 17th century emperor for his favorite wife.

The marble- and mirror-lined private living quarters will be opened to the public for the first time this weekend in Hawaii after years of extensive repairs and restoration.

Duke, who died in 1993, never explained what prompted her to build a house with architectural elements of Syria and India in the oceanfront home she built in Honolulu or to collect items such as 13th century Persian tiles.

Deborah Pope, executive director of the home that's been functioning as a museum of Islamic art since 2002, said Duke was drawn to cultures different from the elite East Coast society of her youth. She also loved things of beauty.

“I think she's an aesthete,” Pope said, sitting on a red settee in Duke's bedroom.

The bedroom is located at the end of an open-air passageway extending from the main courtyard of the home that Duke called Shangri La. A perforated marble door, or jali, made by artisans in India opens to a tiled room. Light pours from more jali doors facing the ocean and garden.

The highlight, however, might be the bathroom lined with marble that's been inlaid with precious stones in the shape of tulips, anemone and other flowers.

Most of the rest of the 14,000-square-foot house, including the grand foyer and living room, have been open to the public and scholars for more than a decade. But the bedroom and bathroom—called the Mughal Suite after the period when Islamic emperors ruled what is today India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh—was closed while the roof was repaired.

Sugata Ray, a University of California, Berkeley professor, said the bath is important for scholars studying an early 20th century revival in Mughal arts and craft techniques.

The 18th century earrings and necklaces on display in the suite are unique because few of Duke's contemporaries bought and preserved such things.

“It gives a sense of the diversity of Islamic art,” said Ray, who specializes in the study of South Asia and Islamic art. “It's not just about masterworks but about everyday objects of the Mughal elite: jewelry, textiles and things that were really not fashionable in the 1930s as a collector's item.”

Ray noted Duke later began buying masterpieces—such as a 13th century Persian tile piece called a mihrab—as she began to see her home as a center for the study of Islamic art.

Duke commissioned the Mughal Suite while in India during her 10-month honeymoon. She initially envisioned it as a section of her mother-in-law's estate in Palm Beach, Florida, but decided to build her own place in Hawaii after stopping in the islands on the way home.

Pope said she wanted the room to capture the moment when Duke, as a 22-year-old, has a profound experience in India while traveling outside the U.S. and Europe for the first time. The Shangri La team of curators and conservationists consulted 1930s photographs to restore the rooms to what they looked like when the home was first built.

“I thought there was something valid in showing what makes this young woman fall in love with the Islamic world at such an early age and undertake a project of this scale,” Pope said.

Duke died at the age of 80 in Los Angeles. She established the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art in her will and stipulated that her home be open to the public and scholars.

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

AP-WF-10-06-14 2141GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Doris Duke's Shangri La house and gardens outside Honolulu. Image by Daderot. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 08:42
 

Italian minimalist artworks on exhibit at De Buck Gallery

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Written by Art gallery PR   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 10:53
Pino Pinelli, 'Pittura R. BL. G.,' mixed media, 19 3/4 x 19 1/4 inches, 50 x 49 cm - 2007. De Buck Gallery image. NEW YORK – De Buck Gallery will present an exhibition titled “A New Visual Dialogue,” which will bring together works by Italian masters ranging from the 1950s to present. Inspired by Lucio Fontana's influence and the impact of the Zero movement, the exhibition highlights the shared minimalist tendencies that sprang up in the Italian art scene during the 1950s and 1960s.

A three-part exhibition with viewing opportunities in New York, Saint Paul de Vence and Antwerp, “A New Visual Dialogue” will include works by Alberto Biasi, Dadamaino, Lucio Fontana, Giorgio Griffa, Pino Pinelli, Turi Simeti and Nanda Vigo. An opening reception will be held in the New York gallery on Oct. 9, from 4:30-8 p.m. and in Antwerp on Nov. 21 from 5-9 p.m., and a catalog will be available on the occasion of this exhibition with an essay by Elena Forin of Larete Art Projects.

By the mid-20th century, Italy had started both politically and culturally to recover from the horrors of World War II, and entered into a global artistic discussion. Brought together by the work and philosophy of Lucio Fontana, a transplant from Argentina, who is represented in this exhibition with his 1959 painting Concetto Spaziale, Attese, groups of young artists together developed an artistic language based upon minimalism and a desire to transform the physical presence of the work. Prominent among these were artists associated with a global movement called Zero, which will be featured in an exhibition at New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim museum this fall, and the related Italian offshoot, Azimut.

Directly or indirectly, it is these movements that link the artists included in “A New Visual Dialogue.” Each utilized the example set by Fontana's Spazialismo to develop their own independent interpretation of how to best pursue a simple and meaningful art through abstract forms. The physical transformation of the three-dimensional surface, through Fontana's slashes, Dadamaino's holes, Simeti's ovular protrusions or the building up, in the work of Pinelli, Vigo and Biasi, or breaking down of surfaces by Griffa, does this and is the key shared element of the work of the selected seven artists, and many others working in Italy and elsewhere during this period.

For inquiries or to purchase an exhibition catalog, contact the gallery at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Pino Pinelli, 'Pittura R. BL. G.,' mixed media, 19 3/4 x 19 1/4 inches, 50 x 49 cm - 2007. De Buck Gallery image.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 11:05
 

Eiffel Tower’s glass floor adds new dimension to overlooked level

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Written by STÉPHANIE LEROUGE   
Monday, 06 October 2014 13:55
Visitors can now get a unique view from the lower level of the Eiffel Tower, seen here illuminated at night. Image by Mark.thurman92. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. PARIS (AFP) – Visitors at the Eiffel Tower were left giddy Monday as the mayor unveiled a new glass floor on Paris's best-known landmark, offering millions of tourists another perspective on the world's most-visited city.

Anne Hidalgo cut the ribbon on the renovated first floor of the hugely popular monument, officially inaugurating the new attraction although tourists have been enjoying the view since last month.

From a vertiginous height of 57 meters (187 feet), visitors look down through a solid glass panel, offering a dizzying sensation of walking on air.

The new floor aims to turn the formerly dowdy and draughty space into as big an attraction as the viewing platform near the top of the 325-meter tower.

"The glass is a little bit frightening, even though I know that it's strong," said 40-year-old Jerzy Wagner of Warsaw, who was visiting Paris with his wife and two young children.

"I like the very top better, because you can see the view, but today it's very windy up there ... and (on) the first floor you feel safe, unlike the top floors," he added.

American tourist Andrew Kendall, 25, said the first floor gave visitors "a different perspective."

"The glass floors were cool."

Previously the first floor was the least visited part of the tower, but its operators hope tourists will now linger on their way down for more breathtaking views of Paris.

The 30-million-euro ($37.5-million) refit, which took two years, includes a display relating the life of the 125-year-old tower on seven screens, as well as a conference room.

The city of Paris, which holds a majority stake in the monument, charged architects Moatti-Riviere with creating a space that would show off Gustave Eiffel's impressive original ironwork and make it fully accessible for disabled visitors.

The renovation provided a chance to install wind turbines and solar panels to generate part of the tower's energy, and the toilets will operate partly with rainwater.

"The first floor now offers an enhanced experience of the tower and of Paris," said architect Alain Moatti. "It is a sensory and fun experience."

"We wanted to set an example," said Jean-Bernard Bros, the president of SETE, the operator of the tower, which had a turnover of 73 million euros in 2013.

The "Iron Lady" attracts around 7 million visitors a year, of which 87.5 percent are foreign tourists. Some 12.5 percent come from France, followed by Americans (8.5 percent), Britons (7.1 percent), Italians (6.7 percent) and Germans (5.7 percent).

The renovation of the first floor may now be complete, but work on the enormous structure built for the World's Fair of 1889 never ends.

The tower has to be repainted every seven years, a job that requires 60 tons of paint.

"I hear that Paris has lost its attractiveness. It's not true. We are an attractive city and capable of innovation without damaging our history," said Hidalgo.

"Far from being a museum city," Paris is a "living museum that is in a constant state of regeneration," added the mayor.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Visitors can now get a unique view from the lower level of the Eiffel Tower, seen here illuminated at night. Image by Mark.thurman92. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Monday, 06 October 2014 14:13
 

Oops! UK council destroys Banksy immigration mural

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Written by DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press   
Friday, 03 October 2014 10:13

An image of the painting posted on the Banksy website. Image courtesy of banksy.co.uk

LONDON (AP) – Authorities in southern England were embarrassed but defensive Thursday after telling workers to destroy a mural they later realized was created by the internationally famous graffiti artist Banksy.

Banksy's often satirical works have fetched up to $1.8 million at auction and his images have been controversially stripped from walls and sold for high prices.

The latest mural, which featured pigeons carrying anti-immigration banners, appeared at Clacton-on-Sea, the site of a special election next week featuring the anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party. Tendring Council spokesman Nigel Brown said Thursday that the mural was chemically removed from the wall after complaints that it was racist.

“There was a sharp intake of breath when we realized it was a Banksy,” Brown said.

The mural, featured on Banksy's website, showed pigeons holding up signs directed at one exotic-looking bird. One banner reads “Go Back to Africa” while another says “Migrants not welcome.”

The elusive artist has a knack for courting attention with an ingenious mix of timing and clever placement. He left an espionage-themed graffiti artwork in the hometown of Britain's electronic spy agency soon after some of its covert activities were revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Brown said the Clacton mural probably went up Monday or Tuesday – only days before the closely fought Oct. 9 by-election that was sparked when the local Conservative Party lawmaker switched his allegiance to UKIP. Brown said he didn't know about the mural until a reporter asked about its location after seeing the image on the artist's website.

Brown defended the council, saying it had a duty to act on concerns that the mural was inappropriate.

“We would love him to come back,” he said. “We're not against Banksy or murals.”

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

AP-WF-10-02-14 1159GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

 An image of the painting posted on the Banksy website. Image courtesy of banksy.co.uk

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 10:26
 

Futuristic Tokyo tower may become thing of the past

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Written by KATIE FORSTER   
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:39
The Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo. Image by Jordy Meow. This file is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. TOKYO (AFP) – Every night in Tokyo, the few remaining residents of the Nakagin Capsule Tower bed down to sleep in the once-futuristic white pods they call home.

Unlike the tiny, coffin-like cabins of Japan's numerous capsule hotels, where office workers who have missed the last train can catch a few hours' sleep, the 140 units at Nakagin represent a special part of the history of architecture, and one that is worth protecting against plans to tear it down, say campaigners.

"We're going to collect donations from all over the world. We're trying to buy each capsule one by one. Each room counts as one vote, to decide what to do," said Masato Abe, founder of the Save Nakagin Capsule Tower Project.

The funky-looking tower, designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa in 1972, appeared as a Japanese love hotel in 2013 blockbuster The Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman.

In real life, around half of the capsules are currently in use as second homes, offices and art studios, but some 20 of the tiny spaces are full-time homes.

A bed, foldout desk and even a bathroom unit are squeezed into the boxes, which have a floor space of just 10 square meters (108 square feet).

The compact rooms' large round window and in-built '70s features such as retro clocks and sound systems give them the appearance of being suspended in yesteryear's vision of the future.

Portuguese architects Ana Luisa Soares and Filipe Magalhães, who shared a capsule for one year, said it was "amazing" to live in Tokyo's Shimbashi district, a crowded part of town that throbs with late-night noise.

However, the building's deteriorating state did not make for an easy life.

"The capsules' asbestos insulation wasn't really working anymore, so during the winter it was really cold, and during the summer really hot," they said.

- Demolish or refurbish? -

Corroding pipes, serious water damage and an uncertain future mean half the capsules have been left to rot by their owners, who would rather see the tower demolished and reap the profits of a brand new apartment building.

Yet the wrecking ball can only come out if at least 80 percent of owners vote for demolition, said Tatsuyuki Maeda, who owns seven capsules that he is refurbishing at weekends with plans to rent them.

Rent for a capsule is around 60,000 yen ($559) per month, but could be much more for a spacious flat in a shiny new building.

The tower came close to demolition in 2007 when enough owners voted in favor of its destruction, despite a petition and Kurokawa's own negotiations with the Nakagin real estate company to save his building.

But the global financial crisis put paid to plans for redevelopment and although Kurokawa died at the end of 2007, the campaign has been revived.

Several capsules have since changed hands and new owners like Maeda have a genuine interest in the tower's survival.

"There are still talks about demolition," but Kurokawa's office are also discussing a "large-scale repair" of the building, he said.

However the stalemate looks set to continue.

"Right now, there are no ways to preserve the building at a reasonable maintenance cost, but the property cannot be destroyed without approval from at least four-fifths of owners," a statement from Nakagin said.

- Template for a 'happier life' -

In the meantime, various projects are giving the tower a new lease on life.

Abe moved out of his capsule when the hot water was shut off in 2010 but now rents it out to guests for 9,000 yen (around $80) a night through DIY hotel site Airbnb.

Artist Takami Sugawara has turned her capsule bedroom into a giant pinhole camera by blocking out light from the circular window, leaving a tiny hole which projects an upside-down image of the outside world onto the walls.

Christian Dimmer, professor of Urbanism at Tokyo University, said Kurokawa's tower is an example of architecture from the postwar Metabolist movement, which aimed to create sustainable, renewable living spaces that people could take with them if they moved.

The capsules were designed to be individually removed and replaced every 25 years, although that didn't happen.

"The zeitgeist of metabolism is frozen, literally encapsulated in this building," he told AFP.

It is hard to raise public awareness about the preservation of historic buildings in Japan, where buildings are usually torn down and replaced after 30 years, he said.

If it can't be preserved through the crowdfunding campaign set up by Masato Abe, Dimmer suggests the tower could be taken apart and the capsules sent around the world to honor Kurokawa's Metabolist ideals.

It could serve as a template for how to "live more compactly, more sustainably and have a happy life with less," he said.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo. Image by Jordy Meow. This file is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:57
 

Sotheby’s to auction finest van Gogh still life to appear in decades

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Written by Auction House PR   
Monday, 29 September 2014 09:41
Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890), 'Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies,' oil on linen, 26 by 20⅛ in. 66 by 51 cm. Painted on June 16-17, 1890. Est. $30/50 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's NEW YORK – Sotheby’s will offer Vincent van Gogh’s Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies in its Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art in New York on November 4, 2014. Painted at the home of Dr. Paul Gachet just weeks before the end of Van Gogh’s life, the artist uses the richly-colored bouquet of wildflowers to convey his psychological state at the time – a hallmark of the Expressionist icon. The resulting composition teems with the intense energy, emotion and sensitivity of this creative genius at the height of his short but renowned career. Still Life is one of the few works that Van Gogh sold during his lifetime, and is one of only a handful of great works by the artist to appear at auction in recent decades. The painting comes to auction this November with a pre-sale estimate of $30/50 million.

Simon Shaw, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Impressionist & Modern Art Department, commented: “Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies radiates the exuberance and passion found in Van Gogh’s greatest and most coveted works. The vibrant composition captures in sharp relief the intensity of the artist at the height of his mania, only weeks before his tragic end. Still Life has remained in the same private collection for more than two decades, which adds again to its appeal for today’s market. We are privileged to present it to collectors across the globe this autumn.”

Still Life will be on view in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from October 2-5 and in Sotheby’s London galleries from October 12–18, before returning to New York for exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning October 31.

Vincent van Gogh painted the present work in June of 1890 in Auvers-sur Oise, the town where he settled following his release from the asylum at St-Rémy that May. Renting a room at the local Ravoux Inn, he spent his days setting up his easel in the fields to paint the scenes of the lush countryside, as well as visiting with his physician, Dr. Gachet.

Still Life was painted at Dr. Gachet's house and presumably came immediately into his possession upon completion. The viewer can imagine Van Gogh walking through the fields on his way to Gachet's, gathering up armfuls of poppies, daisies, cornflowers and sheaves of wheat to squeeze into one of the doctor’s modest vases. In comparison with the more reserved and academic still-lifes that he had completed in Paris in the mid-1880s, the present work evinces a dramatic shift in Van Gogh’s painterly style, characterized by a frenetic energy. The artist was flooded with anxiety in Auvers, and this agitation spilled over onto even his most optimistic canvases. It is in these same fields that Van Gogh would attempt to take his own life, only weeks after painting this work.

Whether Van Gogh gave Still Life to Dr. Gachet in exchange for medical consultation is unknown, but he was certainly dependent upon his brother Theo for money and art supplies at the end of his life. Van Gogh was eager to show his brother – an art dealer – that he could support himself, and he believed that his still lifes would be the most saleable of his compositions.

Still Life is one of the very few paintings sold during Van Gogh’s lifetime. It was acquired by Gaston Alexandre Camentron, a noted collector of Impressionist pictures, who eventually sold it to Paul Cassirer Gallery in 1911. Still Life remained with a series of private collectors in Germany until the mid-1920s, when it made its way to London and eventually to New York – one of the earliest works by the artist to enter the United States – where it was sold by the Knoedler Gallery in 1928 to A. Conger Goodyear. Known as one of the principle founders of the Museum of Modern Art, Goodyear kept this work in his family's private collection. It was eventually gifted in part by the Goodyears to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, where it was on display for over 30 years before it was sold at the request of the family.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890), 'Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies,' oil on linen, 26 by 20⅛ in. 66 by 51 cm. Painted on June 16-17, 1890. Est. $30/50 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Last Updated on Monday, 29 September 2014 09:50
 

Vibrations prompt evacuation of Tenn. state office building

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 26 September 2014 09:45
The James K. Polk State Office Building was completed in 1981. Each floor of the 24-story building hangs from a central steel core. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – About 500 people were evacuated on Wednesday from a state office building in downtown Nashville where vibrations were reported.

Tennessee Emergency Management spokesman Jeremy Heidt said the employees left the James K. Polk building as a precautionary measure.

Tennessee Department of General Services spokeswoman Kelly Smith told The Associated Press in an email that professional engineers examined the area of concern and determined that there were “no structural concerns.” She said workers would return on Thursday.

The building is uniquely built in that the floors and glass walls of the tower are suspended from a central concrete core.

“In heavily loaded structural steel facilities like the Polk Building, movement and vibrations occasionally occur,” Smith wrote. “We are putting monitoring devices in place.”

The building houses the bulk of the Tennessee Department of Transportation's headquarters, as well as other state institutions, such as the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and Tennessee State Museum.

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

AP-WF-09-25-14 0029GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The James K. Polk State Office Building was completed in 1981. Each floor of the 24-story building hangs from a central steel core. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 09:59
 
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