Cai Guo-Qiang Sets L.A. Ablaze, LES Dealer Becomes Crime Fighter, and More Must-Read Art News

Cai Guo-Qiang Sets L.A. Ablaze, LES Dealer Becomes Crime Fighter, and More Must-Read Art News
Cai Guo-Qiang's "Black Ceremony - Rainbow," 2011
(Courtesy Cai Studio / Photo by Lin Yi)

– A Gunpowder Plot for L.A.Cai Guo-Qiang is bringing his quest for aliens to the City of Angels. The Chinese artist, whose always-spectacular firework-based performance-installations have recently brought their razzle-dazzle to both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, is set to pull off his latest explosion-based artwork from his "Projects for Extraterrestrials" series at L.A. MOCA on April 7. [LAT, In View]

– LES Gallerist Chases Down Art Thief: Art thieves, if you think that you can take on Kristen Dodge, you are wrong! When a would-be bandit recently attempted to steal $21,000 in art from Ellen Harvey's racy "Nudist Museum" installation at the gallery, the New York dealer lept into action, kicking off her heels and personally tracking him down to a nearby lumber yard, where he had stashed the art and was pretending to be a customer. "It was one of the most satisfying moments of my life," she said of securing the artwork's safe return. [AiA]


– Mona Lisa Might Be Younger Than We Thought: Calling all art history book publishers: the world's most famous picture might have been completed almost a decade later than the Louvre's official date indicates. Part of the background of the "Mona Lisa," studied for the conservation work on the Prado's copy, is based on a drawing of rocks made between 1510 and 1515, leading researchers to believe the Lourve's official date of the painting's completion, 1506, might be too early. [TAN]

Graham Gets Hasselblad: The self-taught photographer Paul Graham has become the first British recipient of the coveted Hasselblad Award, given annually in recognition of major achievements in photography. Graham, a pioneer of color documentary photography among a new generation of British photographers in the 1980s, joins recent recipients like Robert Adams and Nan Goldin. The New York-based photographer's latest exhibition, "The Present," is on view at Pace Gallery through April 21. [Guardian

Rare Guercino Painting Joins UK Public Collections: Thanks to the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, which allows artworks to be off-set against inheritance tax, "The Samian Sibyl" now belongs to the British nation. It will go on view at the National Gallery today and will remain there until a decision has been made on where it should be displayed permanently. [BBC]

– Royal Rubens: A painting surreptitiously installed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Old Masters galleries, Rubens' "A Commander Being Dressed for Battle" (c. 1612-13), arrived from an unusual source — the collection of Earl Spencer, brother of the late Princess Diana. It was sold at Christie's in London in 2010 for $13.7 million despite its authenticity being a subject of uncertainty — though the Met's wall text doesn't mention its disputed origins. [Culturegrrl]

– Precocious Art Critics: Freddie Holker, the winner of the Guardian's 2011 young arts critics competition, takes up the task of reviewing David Shrigley's latest exhibition at London's Hayward gallery. Though the show involves some serious taxidermy, Freddie closes with this reassuring line, "Don't worry David, I don't want to kill you." [Guardian via A1]

– Canadian Artists Fight Copyright Bill: A coalition of 68 artist groups in Canada is seeking to change new copyright legislation before it heads to Parliament, arguing that the bill favors consumers so much that it will unfairly deprive artists of income. The coalition hopes the final version of the law will comply with an international test for fair copyright. [Globe and Mail]

– Paddle8's Office Style: Ever wonder what the employees of buzzy art commerce site Paddle8 wear to work? No? Well, the Wall Street Journal shows you anyway. [WSJ]

 Father Issues Welcome: An exhibition of Louise Bourgeois sculptures, drawings, and writings have gone on display at London's Freud Museum, the final home of the father of psychoanalysis. The show was inspired by the recent discovery of Bourgeois's psychoanalytic writings, which revealed that she had undergone couch therapy for many years, a fact she had kept a secret. [Guardian

Gary Vikan to Leave Baltimore's Walters Art Museum: Gary Vikan has announced that he will leave his post as director of the Walters Art Museum in June 2013. He joined the staff 27 years ago as director of curatorial affairs and was appointed director in 1994. [Press Release]

– Social Needlework: The Illinois-based artist and mother Kathy Harper has found an inexhaustible source of inspiration for her figurative embroidery: embarrassing Facebook photos uploaded by her kids and their friends. And you thought your parents were invasive! [HuffPo]

Passion for Rocks: A number of contemporary Chinese artists are taking renewed inspiration from antiquity, particularly from Chinese scholars' rocks. These complex and often bizarre formations, collected for more than a thousand years in China, have recently found their way into the works of Liu Dan, Luo Jianwu, Cai Xiaosong, and others. [WSJ

Jessica May Joins the Portland Museum of Art: May has been appointed curator of contemporary and modern art at the Portland Museum. She will start next June and oversee the museum's contemporary and modern art collections, organize exhibitions, and supervise the museum's biennial and its "Circa" series. [Artforum]


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