Failed Art Restorer Becomes Internet Hero, Frank Gehry to Design Facebook HQ, And More Must-Read Art News

Failed Art Restorer Becomes Internet Hero, Frank Gehry to Design Facebook HQ, And More Must-Read Art News
What "The Last Supper" would look like if it were restored by Cecilia Gimenez

 Poor Restoration Had Priest's Blessing, Sparks Ironic Preservation Movement: Well-meaning octogenarian and amateur art restorer Cecilia Gimenez says her local priest gave her the go-ahead on her botched restoration of a 19th-century Elías García Martínez portrait in a Spanish church — whose new, cartoonish features have become an art history-devouring meme. Now ironic art lovers from around the world are coming to Gimenez's rescue: They've launched a petition to save the disastrously restored painting. [Independent, AFP]

 Facebook "Likes" New Gehry Office Plan: The social network has tapped Frank Gehry to design a cantilevered, non-hierarchical new office dubbed Facebook West for its San Francisco Bay campus, which will consist of one giant quarter mile-long, 10-acre (420,000-square-feet) room. "Mark [Zuckerberg] said he wanted to be in the same room with all his engineers," Gehry said. "I told him we could put the building up on stilts, park cars underneath and create a room as large as he wanted." Construction on Facebook West is due to begin next spring. [Bloomberg]

– Trove of Kinkade Paintings Pinched in Heist: Patrick Patterson of Clovis, California, lost $300,000 worth of paintings by the late Thomas Kinkade — whose market value has risen dramatically since his death earlier this year — and other artworks when thieves broke into his shop. Clovis Sgt. Mark Hudson said they're checking with "art dealers, maybe other people out there who deal in stolen property... other people might alert us, [and] Craigslist." [ABC30

– Rembrandt Etching Gets Lost in the Mail: Dealers do the darndest things. In an effort to save money on courier and insurance fees, Norwegian art gallery Soli Brug had a British dealer send a Rembrandt etching worth up to $86,000 in the mail. The "Writing-Master," made in 1658, got lost. "We have advised him [gallery director Ole Derje] to use a more appropriate form of mail with items that are worth as much as this," said a postal service spokesperson. [Guradian

– Rio Olympics Threaten to Displace Artists: Much as it did in Beijing and London, construction and development sparked by the incoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro has triggered a slew of lawsuits, including one from the artists whose studio building — Orestes 28, a former candy factory — is slated for demolition, despite its designation by mayor Eduardo Paes as a culturally and historically important site. "When we received the eviction notices, we were disorientated at first, but artists are political beings. We got organised," said painter Alexandre Rangel. "It has helped us draw closer together as a community. That is a good thing. But we are still fighting for the right to stay here." [Guardian]

– Ukrainian Museum Hosts Baffling Forced-Marriage Exhibition: If you thought Marina Abramovic's human buffet at L.A. MOCA was bizarre, get a load of this: the National Art Museum of Ukraine is hosting an exhibition featuring dozens of women sleeping (or feigning sleep) for three days. If a man kisses one of the sleeping women and she opens her eyes, they are contractually obligated to wed. Both the "princess" and the "prince" must have a serious intention and desire to get married to participate, according to Canadian artist Taras Polataiko, who appears to have very strange ideas about love until you realize this isn't all that different from ABC's "The Bachelor." [Telegraph]

– Vegas Hotel Hosts a Da Vinci: Las Vegas may be home to a fake Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building, but right now it's also hosting a bona-fide Leonardo da Vinci sculpture. A mold and original bronze cast created by the Renaissance master are on public view for the first time at "Da Vinci — The Genius," an exhibition at the Venetian Resort. The work, "Horse and Rider," is thought to be one of the only surviving examples of Leonardo's sculpture. [LAT]

 Seattle Launches Grants for Arts Jobs: In a move to help local arts organizations generate more revenue, Seattle's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs has created the $250,000 Art Means Business program, which will give grants of up to $25,000 for groups to help pay revenue-generating staff. Any Seattle-based arts non-profit that has existed for at least three years is eligible; the deadline for applications is September 10. [TAN]

– Portland Ponders Art Tax: Portland has become the latest U.S. city to consider passing an arts tax. Last week, a judge ruled that the $35-per-person tax — which would go mainly toward arts education and arts group funding — will be subject to a vote on November 6. In an editorial, The Oregonian expressed its distaste for the proposal: "Both arts organizations and art teachers do valuable work, but neither deserves a dedicated tax," the board wrote. [Oregonian]

– Alexander Gray Associates Doubles in SizeAlexander Gray Associates is growing. The Chelsea gallery is expanding next door, doubling its square footage from 2,000 to 4,000. It's also bringing on former Blanton Museum curator Ursula Davila-Villa to handle artist relations. The establishment will reopen on September 12 with a show of Uruguayan conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer. [Gallerist]


"Sleeping Beauty" at the National Art Museum of Ukraine


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In the Name of Public Safety, NYU Veils the Modernist Clarity of Philip Johnson's Bobst Library

Isabelle Maeght on Bringing Contemporary Art to Her Grandfather's Foundation in the South of France

Spanish Octogenarian's Disastrous Unauthorized Art Restoration Yields Surprisingly Avant-Garde Results

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