David Hockney Defends Cigarettes as "Delicious," Art Chicago Kaput, and More Must-Read Art News

David Hockney Defends Cigarettes as "Delicious," Art Chicago Kaput, and More Must-Read Art News
David Hockney smokes a "delicious, pleasure-giving" cigarette
(Courtesy Getty Images)

– For the Love of Smoke: Artist David Hockney has swapped his brush for a pen, writing a righteous letter to the Guardian to defend his cigarette habit, a response to Australian anti-tobacco campaigner Simon Chapman's visit to England. "If Mr. Chapman is concerned about children, this week's news that 3 million children in the US are on Ritalin, a drug prescribed for attention deficit disorder, horrified me," wrote the Royal Academician. "I intend to stick with my far more natural, delicious, pleasure-giving tobacco." [Guardian]

– NEXT Art Chicago Canceled: Merchandise Mart has pulled the plug on NEXT Art Chicago, the latest incarnation of the troubled 30-year-old fair that served as one of the most important visual art events in the Midwest. "The great majority of the art fair market in the United States has gravitated toward the coasts," the company said by way of explanation. [ITA, Chicago Tribune]

– Kate Goes Solo at the National Portrait Gallery: The Duchess of Cambridge accomplished her first solo public engagement last night at the preview of the NPG's Lucian Freud exhibition in London. Wearing a 1950s dress by high street label Jesire, she was joined on a gallery tour by NPG director Sandy Nairne, and culture secretary Jeremy Hunt— but sadly, no prince. [Telegraph]

– Presidential Historian Pleads Guilty to Art Theft: Historian and art collector Barry Landau pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in historical documents and art, largely from the Maryland Historical Society. Last year, federal agents seized letters from Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Karl Marx from his Manhattan home. [WUSA

– Hungary Tightens Grip on Arts: The national conservative government is accused of systematically replacing key figures in cultural institutions, staging pro-government exhibitions, rethinking permanent museum displays, and replacing historic statues to fit its political agenda. [TAN]

– Environmentally Friendly Winner for PS1 Competition: An architectural installation by New York-based firm HWKN meant to clean the air to a degree equivalent to removing 260 cars from the road has been selected as the winning design in the 13th Young Architects Program. The firm will realize its design in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 in Queens this summer. [NYT]

– The Future of Exit Art: The New York alternative art space, which previously announced plans to close after the death of its cofounder Jeanette Ingberman, will mount its final exhibition on March 23. The retrospective will feature work from some of the roughly 2,500 artists featured over Exit Art's 30 years, including now-prominent names like David Hammons and Tehching Hsieh. [NYDN]

– Thomas Demand Creates New Series in Sydney: The German photographer is working on a John Kaldor public art project, due to open on March 23. He plans to hang photographs of his "Dailies" series in hotel rooms in the Commercial Travellers' Association. Each room will also include a special scent created by Miuccia Prada, and the fragment of a story by writer Louis Begley. [TAN]

– Can Public Art Made of Zip Ties Solve Crime?: In response to a crime wave in their neighborhood of Crown Heights, a pair of Brooklyn architects has formed Art Not Arrests, a program that offers free art programs for kids and teens to keep them off the street. Also integral to the program is a planned public art installation made of the same type of plastic zip ties often used in place of handcuffs. [L Magazine]

Artwork Shows Future Sea Level in London: Michael Pinsky's "Plunge" is a series of public light installations marking the predicted sea level in 3012 — 28 meters higher than the current one — on key landmarks of the British capital. The installation was launched last night, and it will be on view for the next 28 days. [Evening Standard]

– N.K. Defector Song Byeok Seeks American Exhibition: A former North Korean propaganda artist who now makes pop art satirizing the government is seeking donations to exhibit his work outside Korea for the first time. [Korea Times

 RIP Robert E. Hecht Jr., Controversial Antiquities Dealer: The American art dealer, who was at the center of the trade in Classical antiquities for five decades, has died at 92. His death comes three weeks after the ambiguous end of his criminal trial in Rome on charges of trafficking in looted antiquities. [LAT]

VIDEO OF THE DAY: See Bottega Veneta's Spring/Summer 2012 collection.



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