David Hockney's iPad Homage to Stephen Hawking, Sean Kelly Exits Chelsea, and More Must-Read Art News

David Hockney's iPad Homage to Stephen Hawking, Sean Kelly Exits Chelsea, and More Must-Read Art News
Stephen Hawking visiting his display at the Science Museum in February
(A Devlin/PA)

– Hockney Creates Animated Hawking Portrait: One is the UK's most most celebrated scientist; the other its most revered artist. To celebrate Stephen Hawking's 70th birthday, London's Science Museum brought in David Hockney to do a special portrait of the legendary astrophysicist on his iPad. Now, alongside a 1978 Hockney portrait (in traditional paint), the museum is displaying an animated version of the new iPad painting, showing Hockney's process step by step as he uses the Brushes app to conjure Hawking's likeness. Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones approves, saying that Hockney's "portraits of Hawking are important documents of what really mattered in the culture of our time." (Check out the Science Museum's Web site to see step-by-step photos of the sitting.) [Guardian, Science Museum Blog]

– Sean Kelly Exits Chelsea, Enters Exit Art: In a major shake-up in New York's gallery ecosystem, Chelsea's Sean Kelly Gallery, which has been in the neighborhood since 2001, has announced that it will take over the Hell's Kitchen space that non-profit gallery Exit Art is vacating when it closes at the end of May. The new 22,000-square-foot, two-story location will more than triple the gallery's size, giving its rapidly expanding stable of art stars — which includes Marina Abramovic, Antony Gormley, and recent addition Terence Koh — even more space to work with. [ITA]

Italian Museum Directors Complain of Poverty Wages: A group of directors of prestigious Italian museums have revealed their salaries in an open letter to prime minister Mario Monti. Let's just say they aren't on par with American colleagues like Glenn Lowry. A museum director in Italy is paid on average €2,000 ($2,652) per month, four times less than members of the senate. Antonio Natali, who has been at the helm of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence since 1980, gets a meager €1,890 ($2,506) per month, a salary he describes as "indecent for a civilized nation." [Journal des Arts]

 Elephant Art: It seems Republicans have no qualms about supporting the arts — as long as the art is about America. The 2012 Republican National Convention is currently accepting entries for its "Elephants on Parade" art competition, which invites middle and high school students to submit patriotic art to be displayed at the Republican convention in Florida. The winner of the competition will win a pair of tickets to the Republican presidential nominee's acceptance speech. [Press Release via A1]

– Getty Launches Architecture Conservation Initiative: The first project of the new program, which aims to investigate the issues affecting the conservation of modern architecture, will be a collaboration with the Eames House in Los Angeles. The Getty Conservation Institute team will assist the Eames Foundation in developing a plan for the long-term conservation of the glass-walled home. [Press Release]

 Wax Museum Creates Sticky Situation in Iraq: An exhibition of wax statues depicting Shiite Muslim clerics has stirred up controversy in Iraq, where some feel the statues violate Islamic law. Select clerics of both the Shiite and Sunni sects believe religious law forbids depictions of people, which they view as tantamount to creating false idols. [Ahram Online]

– Billionaire's Baubles For Sale: Art collector Lily Safra, who is famous for paying $104.3 million for Giacometti's "The Walking Man I" in 2010, is selling a collection of her jewels at Christie's in Switzerland. The auction, which features 70 lots of her jewelry dating from the 1970s to the present day, is expected to raise more than $20 million for charity. [Bloomberg]

– Merce Alums Teach Cunningham's Method: Four former members of the recently disbanded Merce Cunningham Dance Company have received $6,000 fellowships to continue teaching the late choreographer's works. The Cunningham Trust announced the four fellowships — which cover classes through the spring and summer — on Tuesday, noting that though no performances were scheduled, they had not been ruled out. [NYT]

– Child Art Prodigy to Display Early Work: Child artist phenom Kieron Williamson will display his first-ever paintings at a retrospective exhibition in Norfolk. (Because he is currently only nine, however, these never-before-seen paintings are only four years old.) The coastal scenes mark the first "significant" moments of Williamson's art career, according to his mother Michelle. [BBC]  

 Israel Museum Gets 200 Eugene Atget Photos: New York couple Pamela and George Rohr have joined with an anonymous donor to gift 200 photographs by the pioneering French documentary photographer to the Israel Museum. Seventy of the newly gifted photos will be displayed in this month's exhibition "Eugene Atget: As Paris Was," the first presentation of the photographer's work in Israel. [Press Release] 

Seville Cathedral's Colossal High Altar to Be Restored: Technicians have started working on the huge gothic high altar by Flemish artist Pierre Dancart, which is the largest high altar in the world. The full work will cost €1.6 million ($2.1 million) — entirely paid for by the cathedral — and take more than 28 months to complete. [Journal des Arts]


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