Louvre Boosts Islamic Art, Big Ben Chimes In for Martin Creed's Olympic Ode, And More Must-Read Art News

Louvre Boosts Islamic Art, Big Ben Chimes In for Martin Creed's Olympic Ode, And More Must-Read Art News
The Olympic flag flies in front of Big Ben
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

— Louvre to Open New Islamic Art Galleries: Following in the footsteps of the Metropolitan Museum, the Louvre will debut a new permanent home for its collection of Islamic art on September 22. Over 2,500 objects, many of which have never been on public view, will occupy nearly 3,000 square meters of gallery space. To celebrate the opening, the museum will launch a full year of public programming devoted to contemporary Islamic culture featuring such well known names as Orhan Pamuk and Walid Raad. [Press Release]

— Big Ben Chimes In for Creed: London's tallest timepiece will participate in Martin Creed's Olympics-launching participatory performance, "All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes," ringing 40 times in a three minute span on Friday to mark the beginning of the games. This will be the first time in 60 years that Big Ben has chimed outside its normal schedule — the last time, February 15, 1952, was to mark the funeral of King George VI. [BBC]

— Amsterdam's Red Light District Gets an Art Fair: From September 20-23, coinciding with the opening of the Stedelijk Museum's new galleries, the Art in Redlight art fair will make its debut in Amsterdam's red light district. The venue, a gothic church dating from 1300, is the oldest building in the city and will host works by some 60 Dutch and international artists, and an auction benefiting pregnant women in Africa with HIV. [TAN]

— Hanksy Outs George Clooney?: A new wheatpaste mural by the pop culture pun-happy New York street artist Hanksy titled "Bi-Curious George" — an image of actor George Clooney as the cartoon primate Curious George preparing to eat a very phallic banana — lending street cred to persistent rumors that the two-time People's Magazine "Sexiest Man Alive" may be gay. "Regarding 'Bi-Curious George,'" Hanksy later tweeted, "don't get your undies in a pundle, it was all for the wordplay." [Bowery Boogie]

— Memphis Art College Sells Collection: In an effort to balance its shrinking budget, the Memphis College of Art is selling off most of its sizable art collection. "Why should we have 550 pieces of art by people from the past when we have faculty and students who are artists, and there's a need to raise revenue?" asked the college's president Ron Jones. Since the MCA is not a museum, Jones notes, it isn't restricted by American Association of Museums guidelines that prohibit the sale of artwork to cover operating costs. [AP]

— Wu Tsang Doc Wins Hollywood Award: "Wildness," a documentary by fast-rising artist Wu Tsang about a Los Angeles bar's unlikely mix of patrons — young performance artists and transgender immigrant workers — was named the Outstanding Documentary Feature Film at this week's Outfest, L.A.'s 30th annual gay and lesbian film festival. The festival's top prize, meanwhile, went to Ira Sachs's film "Keep the Lights On." [HollywoodReporter]

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— A Cat Painter's Major Thrift Store FindBeth Feedack, a painter living outside Charlotte, North Carolina, whose repertoire includes cats and still lifes, purchased a large painting at a Goodwill thrift store in Oak Ridge, N.C., for $9.99. She planed to paint over it — until she Googled the name on its label, avant-garde abstract painter Ilya Bolotowsky. The painting, "Vertical Diamond," will hit the auction block at Sotheby's in New York on September 21 with an estimate of $15,000-$20,000. [Charlotte Observer]

— Art + Film Gala Honorees AnnouncedLACMA's second-annual Art + Film gala, designed to help the museum shore up support from Hollywood leaders, will honor filmmaker Stanley Kubrick and artist Ed Ruscha on October 27. The event, which costs $5,000 a seat and up to $100,000 for a table, will feature a special tribute to Kubrick from Steven Spielberg. Both Kubrick and Ruscha are the subject of upcoming exhibitions at the museum. [LAT]

— QMA Commissions Photo Show of Female Arab Athletes: The Qatar Museums Authority commissioned French photographer Brigitte Lacombe to photograph more than 50 Arab sportswomen, from beginners to Olympians and from swimmers to soccer players. The images, which were taken over a period of seven months in the Athletes Village at the Arab Games in Doha, will be on view at Sotheby's London during the Olympics before traveling to Qatar. [Press Release]

— Blade of Grass Launches Individual Grants: The new foundation, dedicated to supporting socially engaged artists and art institutions, is launching an individual grant program that awards $10,000 to four New York-based artists annually. Among this year's finalists are Sean FaderAlicia GrullonLuLu LoKo, and Ed Woodam. [Press Release]


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