Senator Slams Smithsonian Boss, Basquiat's Secret Signature Revealed, and More Must-Read Art News

Senator Slams Smithsonian Boss, Basquiat's Secret Signature Revealed, and More Must-Read Art News
Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough
(Courtesy Dizynah via Flickr)

– Senator Requests Smithsonian Travel Records: Storm clouds are gathering, once again, over the Smithsonian Institution. Republican senator Charles E. Grassley is demanding to see complete travel documents for Smithsonian secretary G. Wayne Clough after a report revealed that $112,000 of Clough's travel costs were financed by outside donors. Clough's predecessor resigned in 2007 after he was caught using federal funds to finance his travels. [NYT

 Breaking the Basquiat Code: Who knew Basquiat was into invisible ink? Experts at Sotheby's have uncovered a hidden signature on the 1982 painting "Orange Sports Figure," which is to go on sale today with an estimate of £3-4 million ($4.7-6.3 million). The artist is known to have signed very few of his works, and the find opens up a whole new front for Basquiat enthusiasts. "The prospect that he might have left other invisible writings on his canvasses that are only visible under ultraviolet light is very exciting," said Cheyenne Westphal, head of the auction house's European contemporary art arm. [AP]


– Huge Trove of Karl Appel Works Found in British Warehouse: The drawings, sketches, and notebooks have been recovered more than a decade after they were stolen from the expressionist artist. They were unearthed by a logistics company while cleaning out a recently purchased warehouse. Appel died in 2006, but the Art Loss Register was appointed to represent his heirs and foundation. The company has released its claim to the find. [Guardian]

 Saatchi Wants to Sell Britain's Turners: The UK should sell some of the 30,300 JMW Turner paintings and drawings given by the artist to the nation in order to buy significant modern and contemporary artworks, writes Charles Saatchi in the Guardian. "It could allow Britain to have a collection of 20th-century art to rival that of MoMA, in New York." [Guardian]

– Watch Psycho Before Heading to MoMA: A new study by the American Psychological Association suggests that people are more likely to be intrigued by abstract art if they have just experienced a good scare. The finding suggests the allure of art may be "a byproduct of one's tendency to be alarmed by such environmental features as novelty, ambiguity, and the fantastic," said Kendall Eskine, the lead author. [Miller-McCune

Champagne Maker Launches Art FoundationFondation Louis Roederer pour l’art contemporain has been created to give more visibility to the company's art sponsorship. The Champaign manufacturer's new institution will be a partner of the new Palais de Tokyo, to be unveiled next April. Artist residencies in the Roederer vineyards are also being considered. [AMA]

– Public Artwork Honors Havel: A massive wax heart sculpture, formed from the thousands of candles that Czechs lit to mourn the death of President and poet Vaclav Havel, who died in December, has been placed in front of the National Theater in Prague. [AP]

– Goya Discovered in Mumbai?: While searching a real estate agent's house for firearms, Mumbai police discovered something else explosive: a possible (though unlikely) Goya masterpiece. The painting has been sent to experts for authentication — though the original is thought to be in the collection of the Prado Museum. [Times of India

– Silicon Valley Needs More Art: A panel of experts at the recent 2012 Silicon Valley Conference suggested that the tech-focused region may fail to build community because it lacks investment in the arts. [Peninsula Press

Fulya Erdemci Named Curator of the 13th Istanbul Biennial: The writer and curator is currently based in Amsterdam, where she is director of SKOR | Foundation For Art and Public. Erdemci was curator of the 2011 Pavilion of Turkey at the last Venice Biennale. [Press Release] 

Arts Council England Announces Artists International Development Fund: The Arts Council and the British Council have teamed up to create a £750,000 ($1,178,670) fund dedicated to help English artists travel and develop collaborations overseas. [Press Release]


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