David Hockney Calls Damien Hirst's Art Factory "Insulting," Is Mitt Romney a Performance Artist Too?, and More

David Hockney Calls Damien Hirst's Art Factory "Insulting," Is Mitt Romney a Performance Artist Too?, and More
David Hockney
(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Hockney's Dig at Hirst: Painter David Hockney, who recently received the Order of Merit from the Queen (despite having refused to paint her), criticized Damien Hirst for employing assistants to make his artworks. "It's a little insulting to craftsmen, skillful craftsmen," he told the Radio Times. The posters for Hockney's upcoming Royal Academy of Arts show bear the slogan, "All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally." [Independent]

– Is Mitt Romney a Performance Artist?: So wonders the New York Times in light of the Republican presidential candidate’s latest campaign tactic, which involves breaking into patriotic song and then annotating and interpreting the lyrics for his audience. Romney is the only the latest in a string of political figures to earn the coveted "performance artist" designation. [NYT]

– Record Attendance for the Louvre (Again): For the fourth year running, the French institution is the most-visited art museum in the world. A record 8.8 million visitors strolled its halls last year, the majority of whom were American, Brazilian, and Chinese. [IBT

– September 11 Museum Delay: Work on the underground museum at the World Trade Center site is at a standstill because of a financial dispute between the foundation responsible for running the museum and the Port Authority, which is paying millions of dollars in infrastructure costs. As a result, the museum will not open on the 11th anniversary of the attacks as previously planned. [AP

A Villa Medicis in Paris's Suburbs: The French state has finalized the purchase of the "Utrillo Tower" in the suburban town of Montfermeil, 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) northeast of Paris, with the intention of creating an artists' residency based on the model of the Villa Medicis, which hosts French-speaking artists in Rome. [Connaissance des Arts]

– Museum Feuds With City Over Fees: The city of Boston is requesting $250,000 from the Museum of Fine Arts this year under new rules for the amount that nonprofit organizations have to pay in lieu of taxes. The city plans to quadruple the bill to more than $1 million by 2016. [TAN

Warsaw Museum Acquires Lego Concentration Camp: Once accused of trivializing the Holocaust, the piece by Polish artist Zbigniew Libera includes barracks, skeletons, and a gas chamber, packaged like factory-made toys. It was purchased from a Norwegian collector for €55,000 ($71,447). [News24]

The Paper of Record Speaks: The actor/artist/scholar/author James Franco is "now officially annoying," decreed the New York Times. It doesn't get much more official than that, folks. [NYT]

– Ai Weiwei’s Security Camera: Bloomberg takes a look at the police surveillance camera — a symbol of the government's omnipresence — installed outside the dissident Chinese artist’s home. [Bloomberg

– Rock of Ages: LACMA has encountered a few bureaucratic stumbling blocks in its quest to bring Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass” — a 340-ton boulder-turned-outdoor sculpture — to the museum. Director Michael Govan is keeping his eye on the ball: “Assuming this is going to be here for thousands of years, a few months don’t matter,” he said. [NYT

– Lucien Freud Etchings Go On Sale: Each of the 45 prints, based on the late artist's sketches and drawn by Freud directly on the copper plates, is estimated at up to £70,000 ($109,011). The series has been gathered by Magar Balakjian, a printer who worked with the artist for more than 25 years. The collection will be auctioned at Christie's on February 15. [Guardian]

– Thought You Had an Exciting New Years?: Russian billionaire art collector Roman Abramovic and girlfriend Dasha Zhukova threw their annual multi-million-dollar bash, and the entertainment provided was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Click through for semi-amusing photos of guests like Art.sy backer Wendi Deng Murdoch, director George Lucas, and Martha Stewart in celebratory New Year's hats and glasses. [Daily Mail

– Street Art Renaissance: A look at the artists who have used the streets of Cairo, Damascus, and Tripoli to document recent uprisings. [TAN]  

– RIP Museum Director John Buchanan: The sometimes-controversial director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco is remembered for drawing massive crowds with exhibitions like “Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs.” He was 58. [LAT