Damien Hirst Partners With Burger King, Givenchy Sends His River Gods to Christie's, and More Must-Read Art News

Damien Hirst Partners With Burger King, Givenchy Sends His River Gods to Christie's, and More Must-Read Art News
Damien Hirst's "Beautiful Psychedelic Gherkin Exploding Tomato Sauce All Over Your Face, Flame Grilled Painting" at a Burger King in London
(Photo by James McCauley)

– Damien Hirst Lends Painting to Burger KingMcDonalds may be a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games, but rival Burger King may yet take home the marketing gold via an audacious partnership with Damien Hirst. The chain is seeking to tempt customers during the events with a 2003 Hirst "spin" painting, provocatively named "Beautiful Psychedelic Gherkin Exploding Tomato Sauce All Over Your Face, Flame Grilled Painting." The canvas's title is deemed particularly appropriate because it will be on view at Burger King's special "Flameship" outpost in Leicester Square, designed to show off its signature flame-grilling method. [Brand Republic

– Givenchy Collection to Be Shown at Christie's: A dozen 17th-century French bronze and marble sculptures from the collection of 85-year-old fashion icon Hubert de Givenchy will be put on view by Christie's in a September non-selling show during the Paris Biennale. A pair of 18th-century statues of river gods Nile and Tiber are among the most coveted pieces, which de Givenchy fought for after seeing them at the now-defunct Wildenstein & Co.: "I always wanted to buy these two, and every time Mr. Wildenstein said, 'No, no, not for sale!' But two or three years ago, he was ready to sell and they were still on my mind." [WSJ]

– Knoedler Slapped With Another Forgery Lawsuit: The embattled Knoedler Gallery has been sued for the third time over an alleged modernist forgery it sold for millions of dollars. Former Bear Stearns senior managing director John D. Howard is suing the gallery and its former director over a painting said to be by Willem de Kooning that he purchased for $4 million in 2007. The financier discovered that the gallery had purchased it just days before for $750,000 — a suspiciously low sum, he alleges, for a work with a $4 million market value. [ITA]

– Anti-BP Protesters Put the Turbine in Turbine Hall: On Saturday, members of the Liberate Tate group — which opposes the Tate Modern's sponsorship by oil giant BP — carried sections of a 54-foot wind turbine blade over Millennium Bridge into the museum and assembled the massive structure inside Turbine Hall. "Tate can confirm at 11:40 am today there was an incident in which a wind turbine blade was left in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern," said a Tate spokeswoman. "The blade has now been removed by Tate's security staff." [Guardian]

– Eli Broad on L.A. MOCA's Direction: The lifetime trustee, who stepped in with $30 million to save L.A. MOCA from going under in 2008, has finally spoken out about the forced resignation of the museum's prominent chief curator Paul Schimmel and the future of the institution. In an op-ed, he wrote that MOCA needed "a director who could create exhibitions that would dramatically increase attendance and membership and make [it] a populist rather than an insular institution." Outspoken critic Christopher Knight sees that mindset as corporate methodology that has no place in a museum. [LAT]

– Yayoi Kusama Wants to Build a Museum: Fans of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama would do well to read this profile ahead of her Whitney Museum retrospective, which opens later this week. The artist discusses early correspondences with Georgia O'Keeffe, describes the penis of paramour Joseph Cornell as a "big, desiccated calzone," and reveals she is currently preparing to build a museum devoted to her work. [NYM]

 Scholars Skeptical of Caravaggio Discovery: The apparent treasure trove of 100 works by a young Caravaggio recently discovered by a pair of Italian art historians and published in a new two-volume e-book is raising the eyebrows of officials and fellow historians. "They didn’t pass through a scientific peer review, and that gives them little credibility," said University of Naples Baroque art professor Tomaso Montanari. "The Web site that claims that this is a great discovery reminds me of TV sales promotions. From the scholarly point of view, it really has no value." [NYT]

– Forbidden City Finishes Complete Catalogue: The Palace Museum at Beijing's Forbidden City has completed a Herculean, seven-year task of cataloging the more than 150,000 artifacts in its collection — including 53,000 paintings, 75,000 pieces of calligraphy, and 10,000 sculptures. The museum's curator, Shan Jixiang, said the effort is intended to bring greater public scrutiny to the collection, and thereby improve its conservation. [China.org]

– Western Art Collection Goes West: German billionaire Erivan Haub and his wife Helga will donate 280 pieces from their world-class collection of Western art to the Tacoma Art Museum. In addition to the artworks — which include pieces by masters of the genre like Thomas Moran and Charles Russell — the Haubs are funding a $15-million expansion project that will include a new lobby and a wing to display their collection. [WSJ]

– Four Arrested Over Picasso Forgery: Spanish police have arrested three art brokers and an antiquarian for trying to sell a counterfeit version of a 1964 painting by Pablo Picasso called "Bust of a Young Man" for over $1 million. The painting was accompanied by false authenticity documents bearing the signatures of Paloma, one of the Spanish painter's daughters, and a renowned French art expert. [Guardian]


"The Gift," Liberate Tate's anti-BP action in the museum's Turbine hall

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