Do Van Gogh's Paintings Prove He Was Crazy?, Obama Family Tours Show of Black Art Stars, and More

Do Van Gogh's Paintings Prove He Was Crazy?, Obama Family Tours Show of Black Art Stars, and More
Vincent van Gogh's "Self-Portrait," 1887
(Courtesy Wikipaintings)

– Do Van Gogh's Paintings Prove He Was Crazy?: The painter's latest biography, "Van Gogh: The Life," depicts him as a madman, while a new show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art highlights the painter's savvy. So was he a disciplined artist, or just insane? "What’s special about van Gogh is that for his particular brand of disciplined art to succeed, at the moment it did, he had to couch it as loony," writes Blake Gopnik. "It didn’t hurt that that’s also what he was." [Daily Beast]

– The Obamas Visit the Rubells: The President and the first lady took their daughters to the Corcoran Gallery of Art over the weekend to tour "30 Americans," an exhibition of work by prominent African-American artists from the Rubell Family Collection. The gallery, located just down the road from the White House, was closed to the public for the evening. [UPI]

– The World's Most Stolen Artist: The title goes to Pablo Picasso, according to the Art Loss Register. The Spanish master has 1,147 paintings registerd as nicked, missing, or disputed — twice as many as the next artist on the list, modern American artist Nick Lawrence, who has 557 stolen works. (Yes, we were surprised about Lawrence too.) [Mirror]

– Art Institute Becomes First U.S. Museum to Receive Grant from India: The Art Institute of Chicago has formed a partnership with the government of India. The four-year collaboration fosters exchange programs for Institute curators and staff members at Indian museums. [AP]

– David Hockney Offered Director Cash to Destroy Documentary: The painter was displeased by the finished film "A Bigger Splash," which followed him in the early 1970s in the wake of a bitter breakup. Convinced the X-rated doc focused too much on his personal life, Hockney offered the director Jack Hazan £20,000 to destroy it. [BBC]  

– Whitney Museum Owes $160K in Back Taxes: The Manhattan museum owes nearly $160,000 in unpaid taxes and other fees, but officials say the check is in the mail. The taxes stem from its former property at 743 Madison Avenue, directly adjacent to the museum. [DNAinfo]

– "Girl With A Pearl Earring" Goes on Tour: The Vermeer masterpiece will accompany 34 other Dutch pictures on a two-year international tour. It will begin at the De Young Museum in San Francisco next January before heading to the High Museum in Atlanta and the Frick Collection in New York City. Vermeer's painting was last seen in the United States in 1995. [LAT]

– Egypt's Conflict Playing Out on Its Walls: Backers of Egypt's ruling generals have begun to stencil over the pro-revolution graffiti that spread in the country after Hosni Mubarak's fall last February. It didn't take long before new graffiti was up, however, depicting the country's military leader as a large snake with a bloody corpse coming out of his mouth. [AP]

The Heritage Lottery Fund Gives the British Museum a Helping Hand: The fund has granted £10 million ($15.6 million) to the British Museum for its extension. Building work is due to start in April 2012 and will add 16,145.8 square feet to the museum's gallery space. £17 million ($26.6 million) is still needed to complete the project. [Connaissance des Arts]

– SoHo Sprawl: A former hip artist haven, SoHo is now so overrun with tourists that some propose creating a business improvement district to deal with problems like trash — while others say such a district would just bring more tourists. [NYT]

Rauschenberg Foundation Announces Recipients of Inaugural Grants: The recipients of the foundation's Artistic Innovation and Collaboration grants, designed to advance "the values promoted by artist and activist Robert Rauschenberg during his lifetime and career," include, among others, New York's The Drawing Center, Los Angeles's Machine Project, the North Dakota Museum of Art, and New York's STREB. [Press Release]

RIP Legendary Art Director Eiko Ishioka: The Japanese art director behind designs for Shiseido, Björk, and the Beijing Olympics has died of pancreatic cancer at age 73. [Guardian]


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