Is Da Vinci a Glimmer in Mona Lisa's Eyes?, Taylor Swift Aims for Pop Hit With Artist Peter Max, and More Must-Read Art News

Is Da Vinci a Glimmer in Mona Lisa's Eyes?, Taylor Swift Aims for Pop Hit With Artist Peter Max, and More Must-Read Art News

It's in Her Eyes: Looking deep into the eyes of the Mona Lisa, Leonardo's most endlessly probed and fetishized creation, an Italian researcher claims to have found — with the help of high technology — the artist's own initials on her right pupil, and other initials possibly identifying his long-debated sitter on the left one. The results of further inquiry into the possible finding will be released in January. [Guardian

A Swift Buck: Country pop sensation Taylor Swift has begun selling posters of two paintings that not-Pop-but-mass artist Peter Maxmade based on her new album. The priciest version — a copy signed by both Swift and Max — goes for $149.00. [Taylor Swift

London Brawling: The Guardian has put out a rousing, if odd, story heralding a new "arts arms race" in London between Gagosian Gallery and Pace Gallery, which just hired former Gagosian force Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst tolead its planned operation there. "London is a powerful hub, both for artists and for the art world, and you have to be there if you want to connect to Russia, the Middle East, India and even Hong Kong," Pace president Marc Glimcher told the reporter, who leaves it unclear whether she actually talked to the press-shy Larry Gagosian or just overheard him talking somewhere. [Guardian]

Solid Gold!: In the wake of their performance at last week's Rob Pruitt art awards (which we covered here), artist Kalup Linzy and the category-defying James Francohave announced that they are working on a 2011 album together as the music-and-performance-art act "Kalup and Franco." [WSJ]

"The Chance Won't Come Again": Sender Collection owner and hedge-fund manager Adam Sender snatched up a handwritten draft of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'" for $422,500 when they were sold at Sotheby'son Friday, paying more than twice the lot's low estimate. [NYT]

Wrong on Wojnarowicz: In a sensitive essay about the artistic and moral underpinnings of David Wojnarowicz's Smithsonian-censored video "A Fire in My Belly," Holland Cotternotes that the singling out of 11-second Christ clip from the longer piece recalls another 1989 instance where the artist's work was misrepresented by the Christian right because of his homosexuality. But, as Cotter points out, the moral fervor that divided the artist and his religious antagonists is in fact a trait they share. Except that  Wojnarowicz, in his sympathy for (and not disgust at) the sufferersof AIDS and drug addiction, comes out as more Christian than his critics. [NYT]

Frank Indignation: Meanwhile, Frank Rich has written movingly — and prominently — about the Wojnarowicz scandal, crediting Modern Art Notes blogger Tyler Green's scoop that the video's removal was ordered by the Smithsonian's highest office. [NYT]

Passing the Screen Test: The latest art institution to screen David Wojnarowicz's censored "Fire in My Belly" as a protest against the Smithsonian's censorship of the video is Pittsburgh's Warhol Museum,which "will be showing the full 20 minutes at the museum starting this week," according to a Facebook post by the museum's curator, Eric Shiner. [Eric Shiner's Facebook]

The Master Builder: "Ultimately, architecture is invention, dreams," 103-year-old Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer told the Art Newspaper in an interview about the new Niemeyer Centerhis is building in Avilés, Spain. "It is important that the architect think not only of architecture but of how architecture can solve the problems of the world. The architect’s role is to fight for a better world, where he can produce an architecture that serves everyone and notjust a group of privileged people." [TAN]

Egyptian Wingtips: The latest group of rich people to party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur was the Blackstone Group, the buccaneering private-equity giant founded by Skull and Bones member Steven Schwartzman. [NYM]

Galloping Budget: Fundraising difficulties have beset Turner Prize-winner Mark Wallinger's planned monumental statue of a white horse for Kent, Britain, as the cost of the Ebbsfleet Landmark Projecthas ballooned from £2 million to £10 million ($15.8 million) during theUnited Kingdom's worst recession in recent memory. “Obviously, it’s a tough time at the moment,” Wallinger told Bloomberg. “I'm confident we’ll find the money and get on with it.” [Bloomberg]

"The Hangover": Todd Eberle,Vanity Fair's ace photographer of architecture and celebrities alike, took his camera down to Miami for the art fairs and has published a slide show of "images that should give you a working sense of the couples andcouplings that characterized this meeting of the Tribe," as he put it. (Count the number of times the name "Chow" appears — someone's having a lot of fun.) [Vanity Fair]

Loony for Pantaloons: In its own Art Basel Miami Beachslide show, New York magazine focused on the pants people were wearing at the parties. Yep, that's what they did. [NYM

Latin American Art Appointment: The Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, the prominent private museum of Latin American art that is based in New York and Caracas, Venezuela, has appointed Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy as its new curator of contemporary art. Chong Cuy comes to the museum from Mexico City's Museo Tamayo, where she was director since 2009. [Press release]

RIP Peter C. Marzio: Peter Marzio, onetime director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., who went on to spend almost three decades as the director of the MFA Houston,dramatically shifting the institution to become the nation's leading showcase, promoter, and explainer of Latin American and Hispanic art, died at 67. [Houston Chronicle]

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Hear the moving story of Cui Yongping and Wang Shuqin,two master shadow puppeteers who have gathered the world's largest collection of the traditional Chinese pre-cartoon props in spite of the fact that the art was banned during the Cultural Revolution — they hid the puppets under the bricks of their house — and continues to be frowned upon by the Chinese government. [NYT]