Ai Weiwei Fans Show Their Support With Nude Pix, Kate Middleton Champions Art Therapy, and More

Ai Weiwei Fans Show Their Support With Nude Pix, Kate Middleton Champions Art Therapy, and More

Nude War Between Ai Fans and Chinese Authorities: Ai Weiwei's assistant Zhao Zhao has been interrogated by the police over a photograph showing the artist surrounded by four equally naked women. The picture, entitled "One Tiger, Eight Breasts," is demure — there is no contact between the subjects. The authorities' accusations are suspected to be yet another attempt to silence the artist-activist. "If they see nudity as pornography, then China is still in the Qing dynasty," Ai tweeted. Soon after news of the investigation broke, Ai's supporters began tweeting their own nude photographs, from full-frontal shots to pictures of themselves as babies. [IndependentGuardian

– Kate Middleton at The Art Room: The Duchess of Cambridge could be set to sponsor The Art Room, an arts therapy charity with branches in Oxford and London. Last Wednesday, she was spotted visiting the London branch in Islington’s Robert Blair primary school to find out more about their activities. [ArtLyst

Strike at the National Gallery: Gallery assistants have voted to support a strike in protest of new measures that would reduce their presence in the galleries and threaten the security of the art collection. If the warders go ahead with their industrial action, it would put the sold-out Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in jeopardy during the Christmas period. [Guardian

– The Curator's Dealer: Newsweek’s Blake Gopnik profiles gallerist and “unlikely art mogul” Marian Goodman. “She sees making art visible as her métier — as really what she does…and the market is the bad means of accomplishing that,” said Goodman artist Jeff Wall. The Hirshhorn Museum’s Kerry Brougher calls Goodman “a curator’s dealer” who wants art “to be out there where the public can see it," adding that he's actually heard her complain when art prices rise. [Newsweek]

– Brave New World of Repatriation?: Having entered the museum sphere in a big way with the Google Art Project, the search giant is now entwining itself further with the cause of world culture by bringing historical treasures — from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the opulence of Versailles — online. But some on the international stage have been pushing back, suspicious of the company's pursuit of their digital heritage. Is there a new antiquities battle on the horizon, complete with the idea of virtual repatriation? [NYT]

– Steakhouse Waiter Ring Found With Lichtenstein: A group of waiters at high-end New York steakhouses were indicted for stealing patrons’ credit card information and using it to buy and resell over $1 million in goods, including cases of vintage French wine, Louis Vuitton handbags, Cartier jewelry — and even a Roy Lichtenstein lithograph of Marilyn Monroe. [NYT]

Arman Museum in Nice: The paintbrush-loving American artist's widow Corice Canton-Arman has announced that the city of Nice — which has just acquired the artist's exploded Triumph "La Tulipe" for the contemporary art museum MAMAC — will open a museum devoted to Arman in the "near future." [Connaissance des Arts]

– Clyfford Still Would Hate His Museums $10 Ticket Price: The Los Angeles Times gives the recently-opened Clyfford Still Museum in Denver — which houses 94 percent of the artist’s output — a rave review, with one caveat: “My sole complaint about the museum is its needless $10 admission fee,” writes critic Christopher Knight. “Ironically, it’s the kind of institutional tactic that put Still off the art world.” [LAT]

– Will No One Claim This Old Henry Moore?: A sculpture by Henry Moore that the artist donated to Britain in 1967 has fallen into disrepair, and no one is claiming ownership. The Ministry of Public Works oversaw the bronze until the department disbanded in 1970. Now, the graffiti-covered sculpture, worth an estimated £5 million, is, according to one art historian, “the most damaged Moore I have seen on display in Britain.” [Telegraph

– Art Investment Tips From a Pro: “If you want to make an investment, look for contemporary Chinese abstracts because this market is just coming up and they’re cheap,” said Thomas Olbricht, the former chairman of the German hair-products company Wella AG, whose collection of contemporary and historic art is currently on view at the Maison Rouge in Paris. “Then there’s Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polkeand Amselm Kiefer. You won’t lose money on them.” [Bloomberg]

– Prop 8 as Art Exhibition: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has mounted an exhibition devoted to issues surrounding Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. Curator Aspara DiQuinzio commissioned eight poets and 30 artists, including Raymond Pettibon and Simon Fujiwara, to produce works on the subject. [LAT

– The Chelsea of South Africa: A group of neighborhoods called “Parks” in Johannesburg — Parkhurst, Parview, Parkwood, and Partown North — is home to “the most important assemblage of traditional contemporary art galleries in the entire country if not all of Africa,” according to the Financial Times. “Much like Chelsea in New York, the Parks have become a real hub for Johannesburg’s arts and culture, just on a smaller scale,” said Liza Essers, owner of the local Goodman Gallery, which represents William Kentridge and Willem Boshoff, among others. [FT]

– A Defense of Abramovic: Guy Trebay of the New York Times pens something of a defense of Marina Abramovic and her controversial MOCA gala performance, though he makes no explicit reference to Yvonne Rainer’s letter protesting the event. Abramovic’s provocative works “have made her, somewhat unexpectedly at 64, a darling of the increasingly incestuous worlds of fashion, society and art,” according to Trebay. As the unofficial “muse” to Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci, she is also, in all likelihood, “the first performance artist in history to wear haute couture.” [NYT

– Records Galore: IN THE AIR offers a round-up of the numerous auction records set last week, from Latin American artists in New York to diamonds in Geneva to medieval art in Paris. [ITA]