Ai Weiwei's Studio Torn Down, Deitch Taps Rodarte Sisters for a MOCA Show, and More Must-Read Art News

Ai Weiwei's Studio Torn Down, Deitch Taps Rodarte Sisters for a MOCA Show, and More Must-Read Art News

So Long, Studio: The Shanghai studio of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, which had been built upon the special request of the city's government officials, was torn down yesterday on the orders of the same political establishment in an act of demolition overseen by a phalanx of police. The call to destroy the $1 million studio was issued in October, and Ai has described the move as reprisal for two documentary films he released, one about a man who murdered six police officers in Shanghai and the other about a Chinese lawyer who became stranded at a Japanese airport for over 100 days. [Global Times]

Re-Fashioning a Museum: After bringing in James Franco, Dennis Hopper, and famed Italian street artist Blu (to varying degrees of success), Los Angeles MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch is now continuing his attempt to add broad-appeal pizazz to his newfound institution by inviting the ladies of Rodarte to show at the museum. Set to follow up their well-received 2010 exhibition at New York's Cooper-Hewitt with "Rodarte: States of Matter," opening in March and featuring the sisters' costumes for "Black Swan," the show will be the first to transfer Deitch's longtime personal and professional interest in fashion to his new L.A. gig. [LAT

Broadsided: Just as Eli Broad's press blitz for his new Broad Art Foundation museum subsided a bit, New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff has come in with a searing critique. "Despite the tens of millions he has poured into the city’s art institutions, Mr. Broad’s reputation as a cultural patron is, to put it politely, subpar," he begins, then goes on to say that Broad doesn't understand his own city, and that his ambitious dreams for Grand Avenue's redevelopment are an ill-conceived misadventure. The museum itself, designed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, is the latest example of Broad's "gift for getting the worst buildings from the most highly regarded talents," and despite its various aspects being inventive and thoughtful, everything from the bravura escalator entrance (too long) to the angle of the windows, to the perforations of the building's skin (they "will make the sunlight mottled and uneven") conspire to undercut the architecture, the critic writes. Then again, Ouroussoff once inveighed against writing about buildings from models, as he does in this earth-scorcher of a review, and most of the above criticisms have been written in the conditional. [NYT]

Laying Down the Law: The Smithsonian rejected AA Bronson's demand to remove his work "Felix, June 5, 1994" from the "Hide/Seek" show, but now the Canadian artist has lawyered up, having his Toronto-based attorney send a letter to National Portrait Gallery director Martin Sullivan and Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough demanding the piece "be removed forthwith." The artist, who holds copyright to the large-scale photograph, "has the exclusive right to display the work," the letter argues. [Globe and Mail]

Weirdo or Folk Hero?: The mysterious Mark A. Landis, the gentleman forger who traveled the country masquerading as a priest to donate bogus works to museums, has disappeared off the map since being unmasked by an Art Newspaper article last year. Museums are now cautioned to be on the lookout for this mild-mannered bizarro Johnny Appleseed, whose activities involving approximations of work mainly by lesser known artists may have broken no laws, but nonetheless cost museums research money to ferret out the fakes. [NYT]

Singapore Rising: Today kicks off Art Stage Singapore, the financially potent island nation's play at creating an international art fair. Curator Eugene Tan says that he has ambitions to make the new event the center of the emergent Asian art scene, though as of now Singapore collectors themselves are not buying local work. There's definitely potential for an art fair there: Singapore's nickname is — get this —  the "Little Red Dot" (because of its small size on the map). [CNNGo]

Artists Wanted: New York alternative space Art in General has announced the start of its 2011 Open Call, with artists encouraged to send proposals for commissioned projects via an online application process, which will remain live until February 15. Previous artists to earn the commissions include Xaviera Simmons, eteam, the Bernadette Corporation, and Shana Moulton. [Art in General]

SFMoMA Plays Host: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is to be the venue for a meet-up between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and News Corp mastermind Rupert Murdoch on January 19, when the duo use the art institution as their launching pad for Murdoch's new iPad-based newspaper, The Daily. [The Cutline]

Damien Hirst On His Maggoty Artwork: At the center of the "Modern British Sculpture" show at London's Royal Academy is the YBA's 1990 "Let's Eat Outdoors Today," a big glass box with a barbecue filled with fly-hatching maggots and a white plastic table holding a partially eaten meal. "I was thinking about how we all avoid dirt, but we all ultimately go back into dirt," Hirst says. "I was very interested in how we were trying to isolate the horror from our lives and remove it." If you're looking for a little more dirt and horror, though, Hirst's art is just the thing. [Telegraph]

Holy See's Museum Scandal-Ridden Already: The papal Missionary Museum of Propaganda Fide in Rome, now featuring underwhelming photographs of the evangelization of Africa and Asia, is already mired in scandal. Two archbishops have been charged with corruption in reference to the under-priced sale of a building, owned by the Congregation, to Italian infrastructure minister Pietro Lunardi, who may have offered government funding for the Propaganda Fide in exchange. Anger at the $20 million museum continues to mount as Italian cultural funding is slashed and profits from the Propaganda Fide are funneled back into the Vatican's coffers. [Guardian]

George Condo Profile Reveals Kanye Secret: In the build-up to the painter's upcoming New Museum show, a Calvin Tomkins profile of Condo in the New Yorker exposes the fact that when Kanye West picked the sexy cover image for his album "Fantasy," he may have been intentionally trying to ruffle feathers, specifically asking for an image that would get banned. He chose a "lurid scene of a naked black man on a bed, straddled by a naked white female creature with fearsome features, wings, no arms and a long, spotted tail," as Tomkins puts it. Shocking. [New Yorker]

Los Angeles KCRW Museum Guard Radio Doc: The station is playing a 10-minute segment titled "The Sleeping Fool" that explores what museum guards are thinking as they watch you watching art. The show is a product of Portuguese broadcaster Sofia Saldanha, who created the auditory documentary at Goldsmiths College in London in 2009. It's worth tuning in for the one subject who admits he dreams of making love to the subject of a Francis Bacon painting. You can also listen in here. [LAT]