Lady Gaga Dubbed "America's Picasso" (By Tony Bennett), Inside Frank Gehry's "Poncey" Skyscraper, and More

Lady Gaga Dubbed "America's Picasso" (By Tony Bennett), Inside Frank Gehry's "Poncey" Skyscraper, and More
Lady Gaga poses after winning the International Pop category at Germany's Bambi awards
(Photo by Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images)

– Lady Gaga, America’s Picasso?: Crooner Tony Bennett is an unlikely art critic, but he’s dared to go where no critic has gone before. Lady Gaga’s been called a performance artist more times than we care to count, but this may be the first time she’s been likened to a Cubist master. “I’m starstruck over Lady Gaga right now,” Bennett said in an interview. “I think she’s going to be America’s Picasso....She changes every day, and she has unlimited energy. And each thing she does is wilder and greater than the thing she does the day before.” [Reuters]

– Tenants on Frank Gehry's "Poncey" Skyscraper: Kate Taylor, art reporter extraordinaire turned City Hall scribe, returns to her roots with an amusing look inside the starchitect's gleaming residential tower downtown. [NYT]  

– British Museum Acquires Picasso's Most Famous Etchings: A £1 million gift from London fund manager Hamish Parker has allowed the British Museum to buy a complete set of 100 Picasso etchings never before seen in public. The so-called “Vollard Suite,” produced between 1930 and 1937 — “a critical period in Picasso’s career,” according to the museum — is the first complete set held by a public museum in the UK. [BBC]

– Ai Weiwei’s Wife Questioned: The wife of dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained for three hours for questioning by police. Ai was out at the time, but posits that the police could be gathering information to lodge another complaint against him. “It seems they are doing broader research or something — I have no idea,” he said. [Guardian]

– Canadian Artists Demand Droit de Suite: A national group representing Canadian visual and media artists is calling for the federal government to enact a law that guarantees them a 5 percent royalty when their works are resold. Currently, 59 countries (and the state of California) have a droit de suite law in place. [CBC]

– The British Library Launches its "Digital Aladdin's Cave": Four million pages of 18th- and 19th-century newspapers are being made available online thanks to a partnership between the British Library and the digital publishing firm Brightsolid. Forty million more pages will be scanned over the next decade. The British Library holds the largest collection of newspapers in the world. Its 750 million pages are currently only available on microfilms or in bound volumes, which take up 20 miles (32 kilometers) of shelf space in the North London newspaper archive. [Businessweek]  

– Art Dealers Among Victims of Worldwide Scam: Thousands of British art and antiques dealers, fair organizers, and auction houses have been targeted in a global extortion scam that involves victims being subjected to months, or even years, of threatening demands for money. Dealers receive letters that purport to confirm business details for a free international trade listing, but the fine print commits them to paying thousands of pounds for placing an “advertisement” in the guide. [Guardian]

– Minimalism Comes to Newport?: A fierce debate has broken out over a minimalist memorial to philanthropist Doris Duke in Newport, R.I. designed by Maya Lin. “The fight has taken on the intensity of a debate over the soul of Newport itself, a city that — largely because of the efforts and example of Ms. Duke — has painstakingly preserved its colonial and Gilded Age heritage over the last four decades and has kept most incursions of contemporary commercial culture and design at bay,” reports Randy Kennedy. [NYT

– Scottish National Portrait Gallery Gets a $27.3 Million Makeover: Thanks to a 60 percent increase in public spaces, many of the 3,000 paintings previously held in storage are now on view. In addition to galleries devoted to themes such as "the Reformation" and "the Enlightenment," the revamped Edinburgh museum also includes portraits of celebrities such as "Britain's Got Talent" singer Susan Boyle and racing driver Dario Franchitti. "My feeling is they are part of what makes Scotland today," said director James Holloway. "It's important for the first things that people see to be people they have heard of, rather than the 14th earl of something." [Guardian

–  Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Names New CEO: Sean Malone has been named the next president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. For the last 10 years, Malone has served as the CEO of Ten Chimneys Foundation in Wisconsin. He will begin his new post in February 2012. [Press Release]

– Velazquez Shines While Old Masters Market Slows Down: London auction houses have streamlined their forthcoming Old Masters sales, reducing the number of middle-range paintings and focusing on some high-end pieces instead — including a newly identified Velazquez portrait at Bonhams, estimated at £2 to 3 million ($3.1 to 4.6 million). Philip Hoffman, chief executive officer of the London-based Fine Art Fund said, "There are Russians and Americans buying at the top end. The classic European collector is staying away at the moment. Works priced at under $200,000 are difficult to shift. Tastes have changed." [Bloomberg

– “Hide/Seek,” One Year Later: The Washington Post’s Philip Kennicott considers the controversial exhibition “Hide/Seek” one year after uproar from the Catholic League caused a video by David Wojnarowicz to be censored from the exhibition. Now that the show has opened at the Brooklyn Museum, what’s different? Kennicott posits one theory: “The pace of cultural change on gay and lesbian issues is so rapid that even a year may have transformed the dynamics.” [WaPo]

– Mary L. Levkoff Wins Frick Book Prize: The Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting has awarded Mary L. Levkoff its Sotheby’s Book Prize for her 2008 monograph “Hearst the Collector.” The $25,000 biennial award is given to the author of a distinguished publication on the history of collecting in America. [Press Release]

– Occupy ABMB?: A PR manager at Art Basel Miami Beach sent out an email to participating gallerists warning of a possible Occupy protest planned for the fair. [ITA]