Remembering Nora Ephron's Unlikely Art Reporting Career, Da Vinci Work Eaten by Fungus, and More Must-Read Art News

Remembering Nora Ephron's Unlikely Art Reporting Career, Da Vinci Work Eaten by Fungus, and More Must-Read Art News
Nora Ephron
(Courtesy Getty Images)

– Remembering Nora Ephron, Unlikely Art Reporter: The writer and director, who died yesterday at 71, will be remembered for her witty Oscar-nominated films including "Sleepless in Seattle" and "When Harry Met Sally." But art fans may also recall that she broke one of the biggest art stories of the last decade. As a blogger for the Huffington Post in 2006, she revealed the details of how casino mogul Steve Wynn accidentally put his elbow through Picasso's "Le Rêve" after getting a little over-enthusiastic about explaining its provenance, a mere day after he had finalized a deal to sell it for $139 million to Steven Cohen. [NYT]

– Moldy da Vinci Drawing May Be Lost: In England, a self-portrait drawing that Leonardo da Vinci made in the early 1500s has sprouted worsening fungi since being put behind glass and exposed to sunlight way back in 1929, and its condition may have deteriorated to the point of being irreparable. "We need to think very hard before we do anything to this very familiar face,” said Jane Roberts of Windsor Castle, where the drawing is kept. "But we can tell quite a lot more about it by continuing to ask questions." [Reuters]


– Middle Eastern Photography Comes to England: The British Museum and the V&A have made a joint acquisition of more than 80 photographs by 22 emerging and established Middle Eastern artists. The collection will form the basis of a Middle Eastern photography exhibition this November, the first-ever significant UK museum show on the subject. [ARTINFO UK]

– Joana Vasconcelos to Rep Portugal in Venice: Vasconcelos will represent her native Portugal at the 2013 Venice Biennale. The artist is currently showing her sculpture at the Palace of Versailles; she is the first female contemporary artist to exhibit at the storied venue. The Portuguese secretary of culture said "it was time to correct the mistake" of not having invited her to represent the nation earlier. [Art Review]

– Art Institute of Chicago Makes a Big Hire: The museum has tapped Sylvain Bellenger, currently chief curator at the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art in Paris, as its new chair of Medieval through Modern European painting and sculpture. The department is the largest of AIC's 11 curatorial groups, and the position was previously occupied by Douglas Druick, now the museum's director. [Chicago Tribune]

– Waverly Inn Fire Claims Sorel Painting: A large mural depicting 40 local celebrities from the 19th century to the present that Bronx-born artist Edward Sorel had painted on the walls of Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's Greenwich Village restaurant in 2007 was badly damaged by a fire on Monday evening. Some of the 60 firefighters who responded to the scene had to break through a portion of the mural — which depicts Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock, among others — to put out the blaze in the basement of the building. [DNAinfo]

– Natural History Directorship Gets Major Endowment: D.C. philanthropists Roger and Victoria Sant — both of whom serve on the boards of Smithsonian Institute museums — have given the SI's National Museum of Natural History $10 million to endow its director position, bringing their donations to the museum to a grand total of $35 million. The donation was partly motivated by the couple's friendship with outgoing director Cristian Samper, Roger Sant has said: "So this gift, in a way, is thanks to him." [WaPo]

– Modern Art Gift Sends Berlin's Old Masters to Storage: In 2010, German collectors Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch promised 150 works valued at €120 million ($150 million) from their their world-class collection of modern art to the state of Berlin, but as part of the agreement the Gemaeldegalerie will become a showroom for their works, while the State Museums's stellar collection of Old Masters is placed in storage until new renovations are completed in 2018. [RealClearArts]

– Works Belonging to Marc Deier Headed to Web Auction: When Marc Deier, a New York lawyer, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud in a federal court, his art collection was forfeited to the government. Now 17 of his pieces are part of a 245-lot online auction of art seized following federal cases. Pieces from the Deier collection available for online bidding at Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers through July 2 include a Kenneth Noland print and a Robert Wilson video of actress Salma Hayek. [Bloomberg]

 Is Dance the New Public Art?: Dancer Tim Casson has launched a public art project in which he stations himself at various sites around London and solicits a group of bystanders to choreograph a performance for him. The project, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, is one of many recent initiatives both in England and abroad that blur the lines between visual art, performance, and dance. [NYT]


Tim Casson's "The Dance We Made," which is being performed as part of the Cultural Olympiad in London

The Dance WE Made - Day 6 - Exmouth Market from The Dance WE Made on Vimeo.



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