Top Art Stories: Focus on Exhibitions

Top Art Stories, May 20th, 2014. Top Stories this week revolve around exhibitions in New York and around the world, bringing you the latest news on award-winning installations, hard-to-get acquisitions, back-on-view masterpieces and more!

Met plans to renovate its Modern and Contemporary Art Wing

M_pantone1The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced its plan to rebuild (possibly from scratch) the Modern and Contemporary Art wing. This part of the museum has always been hard to navigate and the layout makes its contemporary art collection look much less comprehensible than it could be. The gift of 79 excellent Cubist paintings, drawings and sculptures received from Leonard A. Lauder last year, was certainly an opportunity to ponder over the improved structure that would present the existing collection more effectively and lure more donated works of art from collectors and donors. The redesign should be completed in 2020, when the Met will turn 150, in the meantime, the contemporary collection will be hosted at the Marcel Breuer Building on Madison Avenue, leased from the Whitney Museum which is scheduled to move out next Spring. Source: The New York Times

Zoe Leonard and her camera-obscura at Whitney Biennial receive The Bucksbaum Award

W_pantoneThe Whitney Museum has announced the recipient of the Bucksbaum Award given every two years to one artist from its Biennial. This year the $100,000 grant and an opportunity of a solo exhibition at the newly designed Whitney Museum in Chelsea goes to Zoe Leonard, who built a camera-obscura, projecting an inverted image of Madison Avenue and the New York cityscape in a 1,200-square-foot darkened room on the fourth floor of the old building. The Biennial runs through May 25th, so those of you in New York who haven’t seen this unique site-specific installation still have time to do so, as it is truly impressive. Source: The Wall Street Journal

A rare portrait by Charles Le Brun will be soon on view at the Met

M_pantoneA rare 17th century portrait by Charles Le Brun is coming to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Held in private hands in England since the 18th century, A Portrait of Everhard Jabach and Familycuriously corresponds to Las Meninas by Diego Velasquez at the Prado Museum in Madrid: a complex composition, ambiguous relationship between the characters and the viewer and, of course, the painter appearing himself in the picture. Le Brun was once declared “the greatest French artist of all time” by Louis XIV and was a dominant figure in the 17th century art scene in France. After the Met purchased the painting for $12.5 million in February, the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art in England issued a three-months ban on the export of the painting to give British institutions an opportunity to collect matching funds so that this rare work could stay in Britain. None of the institutions succeeded in doing so and the painting will soon hang at the Met. Source: The New York Times

A vandalized Rothko is back at Tate Modern

R_pantoneAfter months of extensive restoration project, Black on Maroon, 1958 from Mark Rothko‘s the famed Seagram Murals  returns to the Rothko Room at the Tate Modern. The painting was vandalized in October 2012 by a man claiming to be a part of an alternative art movement called Yellowism. Vladimir Umanets tagged the Rothko with his signature and the phrase: “This is Yellowism”, later explaining that this act was meant to express his protest against the complacency and commerciality of the contemporary art world. Umanets was recently released from prison where he spent one and a half years and wrote a letter apologizing to the Rothko family and the public, clearly acknowledging that destroying work by fellow artists isn’t appropriate to any extent, as well as putting forward his quite reasonable and well grounded thoughts on the art world. Here is an excerpt: “Our generation has become more productive but less effectual in the visual language that we use. Maybe because of the demands of the market, artists have lost genuine creativity. Where are the new art movements? Where lies the voices of visceral dissent and thirst for change? Art has become a business, which appears to serve only the needs of the art market. As a result the art world no longer has radical thinkers and polemicists willing to scythe new and different pathways. Everyone is playing safe.” Source: The Guardian

Parmigianino’s Schiava Turca at the Frick Collection

F_pantoneAn enigmatic Renaissance portrait of an unidentified woman by Parmigianino arrived at the Frick Collection last week. The mysterious looking woman with hazy eyes and half-smile depicted in Schiava Turca (Turkish Slave) clearly  has been causing debate among scholars regarding her identity and symbolism contained in the statement headdress she is wearing. Tremendously detailed Schiava Turka with her powerful pose and vivacious gaze straight at the viewer certainly deserves a single painting exhibition and a sit-down contemplation of her elegance and the mastery of Parmigianino’s skill and vision. Source: The New York Times

Was it really worth it bringing a Caravaggio to Hong Kong?

C_pantoneAs it turned out for The Asia Society in Hong Kong who organized a month-long exhibition of Caravaggio’s Supper at Eames – costly loans are not always appreciated by the public. The Exhibition titled “Light and Shadows: Caravaggio the Italian Baroque Master” was organized in collaboration with the Italian Consulate and was sponsored entirely with the charitable funds provided by The Hong Kong Jockey Club – HK$4,82 million ($618,000), the sum larger than the entire yearly budget of most non-profit art institutions in Hong Kong. The painting coming from Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera and exhibited along works by four contemporary Hong Kong artists, did stir a lot of positive interest and brought 26,500 visitors, however, the loan was also widely criticized for an inappropriate allocation of funds with 1.3 million people in Hong Kong living below the poverty line and, according to some critics, the exhibition was targeted for the promotion of Italian business in Hong Kong rather than carrying wider educational goals. Source: The Art Newspaper

Read about Narcissus at the Source by Caravaggio

A Dutch artist created a ‘Pantone’ book 271 years before Pantone color model was invented

P-pantoneAn extremely old book filled with hand-made color swatches was recently discovered and is currently on view at Bibliothèque Méjanes in Aix-en-Provence, France. The book consisting of 800 handwritten and painted pages was created by an artist named A.Boogert in 1692 and was intended to be an educational guide for artists. A.Boogert not only mixed watercolors to create hundreds of hundreds of different hues but he also precisely documented each step taken to achieve a desired color tone. The contemporary equivalent of this medieval guide would not be published until 1963 when the Pantone Color Guide was first introduced. Source: Colossal

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