J.Lo Scolded by Famed Bronx Graffiti Crew, Scope Miami Artist Charged in Cobra-Smuggling Scheme, and More Must-Read Art News

J.Lo Scolded by Famed Bronx Graffiti Crew, Scope Miami Artist Charged in Cobra-Smuggling Scheme, and More Must-Read Art News
Jennifer Lopez in the Fiat 500 commercial, "My World"
(Video still from fiatusa via youtube)

– J.Lo Versus Bronx Graffiti Greats: Well, this isn’t going to help her street cred at all. Jennifer Lopez's ad for Fiat, which depicts the star cruising around the Bronx to find inspiration, has been barraged by criticism for being inauthentic and just plain bad (apparently, she didn’t even venture up to her old hood to film it, but used a body double). Now, Wilfredo "Bio" Feliciano of the legendary Bronx graffiti team TATS Cru says that the ad uses one of his murals as background, and that he expects payment. TATS Cru knows what they deserve — they worked with Lopez on her "I'm Goin' Be Alright" video in 2003. "[I]n all fairness if she is going to represent the Bronx she [should] be more aware of what people around her are doing," Feliciano said. Fiat is “conducting a review” of the matter. [PIX11

Scope Miami Artist Charged for Exotic Animal Smuggling: Miami-based Enrique Gomez de Molina has been charged with illegally smuggling animal carcasses into Florida as raw material for his art. He sewed the animal parts together into hybrid monsters to sell through Miami's Spinello gallery at Scope last year, where two sold for $10,000, apparently to collectors from Canada (who took them home, which counts as illegal export as well). Molina is alleged to have possessed "the parts, skins, and remains of species, including among others, whole cobras, pangolins, hornbills, and the skulls of babirusa and orangutans," as well as specimens of beloved creatures such as the bird of paradise and slow loris. He faces the possibility of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. [New Times


Abu Dhabi Gugg Stymied by Arab Spring?: The UAE government, in a subtle effort to head off unrest in the wake of the Arab Spring, may be diverting funds from museums to infrastructural projects in the poorer emirates, adding to the question marks that surround the future of the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi. The change in priorities is said to be due to the increased influence of national security adviser Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, “a relative conservative who believes that housing and hospitals come before museums.” [TAN]

– Frank Lloyd Wright's "Little Gem" Goes Under the Hammer: A three-bedroom house in Rockford, Illinois designed by the legendary architect for WWII veteran Kenneth Laurent will be sold on December 15 by Wright Auction House in Chicago. It is expected to fetch between $700,000 and $900,000. The Laurent House Foundation, a recently formed preservation society, is hoping to win the bid and turn the property into a museum. [ArtLyst]

Martin Creed to Conceive a Restaurant: The Turner Prize winning conceptual artist is to turn London restaurant Sketch into a gesamtkunstwerk next March, to coincide with the venue's 10th anniversary. Kick-starting a series of artist-conceived eateries at Sketch, Creed has worked on all aspects of the design, but the food has been left to the capable hands of Sketch's co-founder, Michelin three star chef Pierre Gagnaire — though the menu was conceived "in unison with the artist's concerns." [Press Release]

Staedel Museum Gets in Bed With the Banks: Set to open in February 2012, the Frankfurt museum’s €32 million extension ($42 million) will display pieces by the likes of Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter, and Cindy Sherman from the corporate collections of Deutsche Bank AG and DZ Bank AG. [Bloomberg]

Is Julian Schnabel This Year's Big Art Influence?: So says New York Times critic Roberta Smith in a review of Sarah Braman’s exhibition at New York’s Mitchell-Innes & Nash, which features bright pastel paintings on plywood. “The paintings made me think, as have many exhibited in galleries this season, that Julian Schnabel is way overdue for his comeback,” Smith writes. [NYT]

Big Numbers for Contemporary Istanbul: The art fair's sixth edition, which drew to a close on Sunday, attracted a record 62,000 art lovers — despite competition from the new art fair in town, Art Beat Istanbul, which launched last September. Contemporary Istanbul has considerably expanded, presenting 3,000 works by 550 artists, up from 2,000 by 420 artists last year. [Today's Zaman]

In Paris, A Grave Limit on PDA: We get it. You love Oscar Wilde. Now please back off. Since at least the late 1990s, thousands of visitors have put their lips to the gravestone belonging to the famed Irish author, frequently leaving lipstick and oily residue that is absorbed into the stone and must be washed off with harsh abrasives. To prevent further damage, Wilde’s final resting place at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris will soon be surrounded by a stout glass barrier. [LAT]

– Honey, Have You Seen My Klansmen Robe?: The National Museum of African American History and Culture has accepted as a donation the robe of a high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan. The robe was once the property of Stetson Kennedy, a writer who infiltrated the Klan’s security forces and spent his life educating the public about hate groups. Kennedy’s widow, Sandra Parks, said that with the donation, "More Americans will come to understand the significance and the bravery of the people who fought against this powerful and destructive organization.” [WaPo]

UN to Acknowledges “Intangible” Cultural Practices: A total of 19 cultural practices from around the world have been designated "intangible heritage practices and expressions” by the UNESCO. Included in the list, updated every year, were such practices as Bedouin Al-Sadu weaving and the Eshuva, or sung prayer, of Peru's Huachipaire tribe. Absent from the list was the gesture some people in Manhattan make to sternly indicate that they’re not leaving their parking spot. [News.com.au]

– Alex Katz’s Christmas List is a Little Spare: The preppy painter made a Christmas wish list of gifts from J.Crew as part of a promo for the brand — but he only managed to pick out two items he might want, thereby only minimally fulfilling the definition of “list.” [ITA]