Olafur Eliasson Rejected by London Olympics, Occupy Targets Hirst's "Hymn," and More Must-Read Art News

Olafur Eliasson Rejected by London Olympics, Occupy Targets Hirst's "Hymn," and More Must-Read Art News
Olafur Eliasson's "Feelings are Facts," 2010 (installation view)
(Courtesy Getty Images)

– Olympics Bosses Reject Olafur Eliasson Project: Who knew breathing could be so expensive (and controversial)? "Take a Deep Breath," environmental artist Olafur Eliasson's proposal for the London 2012 Festival, invites people to inhale and exhale on behalf of "a person, movement, or cause" and record it on a Web site in a personal "breath bubble." But the artist's request for £1 million to fund the project was rejected by the Olympics committee, which felt that all the heavy breathing on the Internet could be "contentious." The board also "struggled to justify the £1 million sought in relation to the outputs." [BBC]  

– Hirst Falls Afoul of Occupy London: The uber-wealthy YBA has earned the ire of the Occupy Wall Street movement's British branch, which published a broadside last month in the "Occupied Times of London" deriding his Tate retrospective, citing sources from Slavoj Zizek to Michael Franti. Last weekend, activists took their rage to the streets, tagging Hirst's large sculpture "Hymn" — a grotesque, blow-up sculpture of a medical dummy — which stands watch outside the South Bank museum, with the word "Occupy." [Occupied Times, TAN]


Maze-Like U.S. Visa Rules Repels Foreign Artists: In the decade since 9/11, American visa procedures for foreign artists and performers have grown increasingly labyrinthine, expensive, and arbitrary. And its having an effect on the U.S.'s standing in the world of culture: Requests for the standard foreign performer's visa declined by almost 25 percent between 2006 and 2010, according to Homeland Security records, and the number of petitions rejected during the same period rose by more than two-thirds. [NYT]

– Louvre Replaces Audioguides With Video Games: The highly-anticipated collaboration between the world's most-visited museum and Nintendo is finally here. Today, the Louvre launches the Audioguide Louvre Nintendo 3DS, which provides museum-goers with an interactive map to find their way around the Louvre's endless corridors as well as over 700 commentaries on artworks by curators and lecturers. If you press up-up-down-down-B-A-start it takes you straight to the "Mona Lisa." (Konami Code joke!) [Press Release]

–  Arts in Recovery, Study Says: Attendance at art events began rebounding in 2010 for the first time in almost a decade, according to a study released by the National Arts Index. An estimated 13 percent of all U.S. adults visited a museum last year. In major metropolitan areas, the total was more than 45 percent. [AP]

Titanic Wreck Protected by UNESCO: When the storied ship — which has been visited by an estimated 700 divers — reaches its 100th anniversary, it will fall under the 2001 Convention on Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, designed to prevent unethical exploration. "We do not tolerate the plundering of cultural sites on land, and the same should be true for our sunken heritage," said Unesco's director. [BBC]

– The Feminine Side of the Lower East Side: Meet the ladies of the LES: About one-third of all galleries on the fast-growing Lower East Side are owned by women — most of them in their 30s, and with prior experience in Chelsea galleries or major museums. Bloomberg surveys the thriving scene, talking to Lisa Cooley, Nicelle Beauchene, Candice Madey, and Laurel Gitlen. [Bloomberg]

– Stalin Museum Stops Stalling: The Stalin Museum in Gori, Georgia, which opened in 1937 to celebrate the Soviet leader's achievements — and includes a formidable collection of 47,000 artifacts and personal objects — has closed for a major reboot that will acknowledge the many attrocities he perpetrated during his rule. [Yahoo]

Hans-Peter Feldmann Collects Purses: For his first solo show at the Serpentine Gallery, which opens today, the German artist purchased a number of women's purses from their original owners for €500 ($657) each and put them on display in glass vitrines with their contents laid out — minus passports and credit cards, of course. [Telegraph]

– Why Would Someone Steal Something So Odd?: A single whisker has been stolen from Fernando Botero's giant bronze "El Gato" (The Cat) sculpture, which is stationed in a public square in the artist's native Medellin, Colombia. Officials said they will work directly with Botero to recreate the plundered whisker and fully restore the 1.2-ton sculpture. [Hispanically Speaking News]

Chinati Foundation Director Resigns: Thomas Kellein will step down from his post as director of the Donald Judd-founded Texas museum after nearly two years on the job. The museum plans to conduct an international search for Kellein's replacement. [Press Release]


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