Catholics Re-Mobilize Against Brooklyn Museum "Hide/Seek" Show, Europe's Oldest Painting Discovered, and More

Catholics Re-Mobilize Against Brooklyn Museum "Hide/Seek"  Show, Europe's Oldest Painting Discovered, and More

– It Begins…: Remember when the culture wars blazed back to life last year over the display of David Wojnarowicz's "Fire in My Belly" film in the National Portrait Gallery's "Hide/Seek" show. Well, surprise, that ants-on-a-crucifix scene is still controversial as the show heads to the Brooklyn Museum next month, and Catholic groups in New York are ginning up the old fire and brimstone to greet it. So far Brooklyn's Catholic Diocese has requested that the work be censored from the show — a command that the Smithsonian shamefully acceded to last year, prompting universal condemnation from the art world —and Brooklyn Museum director Arnold Lehman says he has received thousands of "pre-programmed" emails in protest. The Daily News, which knows where its bread is buttered, is trying to whip up tabloid-ready outrage in advance. [Christian Post and Daily News]

– Central Europe’s Oldest Painting Found in Southern Germany: Four brown and red spotted stones recently discovered in the Hohle Fels cave in the Swabian Alps are, according to experts, the oldest known works of painting in Central Europe. Tübingen University archeologist Nicholas Conard has presented the stones as the first evidence that humans in the region were already painting in Central Europe by the late Paleolithic era, approximately 15,000 years ago. And their Ben-Day dots pre-dated Roy Lichtenstein by thousands of years! [Der Spiegel]

– Dan Cameron Appointed Chief Curator of Orange County MuseumDan Cameron has been appointed chief curator of the Orange County Museum of Art. Most recently, Cameron served as the founding director of the biennial Prospect New Orleans, whose upcoming edition will now be curated by LACMA curator Franklin Sirmans. Cameron, who also served as a senior curator at the New Museum in New York, will begin his new post in January 2012 and will focus on the museum’s 2013 California Biennial. [Artforum]

– Fake Modigliani at the Pushkin?: Concerns are growing that a Modigliani portrait on view at the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow is a fake. A collector who considered buying the Portrait of Marevna in 2006 told the Art Newspaper that scientific evaluation revealed “some of the pigments… were synthetic, produced after 1940.” (Modigliani died in 1920.) The president of the Modigliani Institute in Rome maintains the painting is genuine; it is currently listed in the institute’s catalogue raisonné of the artist. [TAN]

– Stolen Painting to Stay in France: The French culture ministry has offered to negotiate compensation with London's Weiss Gallery if they agree to return a painting stolen from a museum in Toulouse in 1818 to the French state. The "Portement de Croix" by Nicolas Tournier was spotted by French officials at the small Old Masters art fair Paris Tableau, and subsequently banned from export. Dealer Mark Weiss, who bought the painting for €400,000 ($539,660) last year, said he was satisfied with the letter. "We have allowed the French government to take possession of the painting," he said. "They now accept that we have always acted in good faith and with complete transparency." [Independent]

– U.S. Marshals, Auctioneers?: Ever wondered what happens to the works of art that law enforcement officials seize after kicking down the door of a mafioso mansion? Wonder no more. Next week, the U.S. Marshals Service will allow collectors to bid online for 56 pieces of art that once belonged to Marc S. Dreier, a New York lawyer who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2009 for securities fraud and money laundering. A print by Andy Warhol of Muhammad Ali will be up for auction, as well as works by Damien HirstRobert Wilson, and Dale Chihuly. [NYT]

– Pomona Passes Percent-for-Art Ordinance: The city council of Pomona, California has passed a law that requires private developers to allot one percent of a project’s cost to commissioning artwork for the site. If approved on a second reading, the law will go into effect in mid-January. The one percent rule would apply to new construction or remodeling projects with budgets of $500,000 or more. [LAT]

– London’s Cultural Olympiad Recruits Homeless: After Martin Creed rings every possible bell in England to kick off the Summer Olympics in London, an unexpected group of artists will join in the cultural festivities: the homeless or formerly homeless. A day of performances at the Royal Opera House will feature artists, poets, actors, filmmakers, and singers who are or at one point have been on the streets. [The Australian]

– Guinea Pig Shot Wins Prize: Jooney Woodward's photograph of a redhead teenager holding her copper-coated pet has won the top Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize. Woodward was presented with her £12,000 ($19,000) award at London's National Portrait Gallery on Tuesday. Sixty of the submitted portraits will be exhibited at the Portrait Gallery from November 10 to February 12. [BBC]

– Getty Acquires Feininger Trove: The J. Paul Getty Museum has acquired 72 photographs by the 20th-century photographer Andreas Feininger, who is best known for his work at LIFE magazine. The gift from the Feininger Estate ranges from several nude studies to documentation of weapons factories for the U.S. Office of War Information. [Press Release]

– Saving Up for Titians: London’s National Gallery won't buy any more paintings until the Duke of Sutherland's two Titians are purchased, which could take as long as five years. "The Titians are our greatest priority, now and in the future," said a spokesman. "This might mean sacrifices, but they are ones we are prepared to make." [TAN]

– Moscow at the Mercy of Developers: According to the preservationist organization Archnadzor, Moscow's heritage is under serious threat. Mayor Sergei Semyonovich Sobyanin has been criticized for his ruthless razing of historical landmarks to make way for contemporary buildings. In September, the 1904 Cathedral Mosque was demolished to be replaced by a modern copy. The roundhouse locomotive depot, designed by Konstantin Ton, is also at risk. Archnadzor has appealed to prime minister Vladimir Putin to prevent its destruction. [TAN]

– Pint-Size Artist Buys Home With Profits: Nine-year-old painting phenom Kieron Williamson has earned enough money from his artwork to buy his parents a house in Ludham, England. The home, a converted 19th-century bank, will remain in a trust until the boy’s eighteenth birthday. Williamson, who has a new exhibition opening at Norfolk’s Picturecraft Gallery this week, sold out his last show within half an hour for a total of $237,000. [ITA]