Restorers Flooded With Damaged Works, Michigan Votes No on Public Art, and More

Restorers Flooded With Damaged Works, Michigan Votes No on Public Art, and More
Bruce Silverstein Gallery
(Photo by Terri Ciccone)

Queens Restorers Receive Chelsea's Sandy-Soaked Masterpieces: Over the weekend more than 300 artworks from Chelsea galleries were delivered to Long Island City's Gloria Velandia Art Conservation — whose clients in the past have included the likes of Pace, Gagosian, Gladstone, and David Zwirner — where its staff was tasked with saving pieces by Andy Warhol, Lucio Fontana, James Rosenquist, and others that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. "I would say thousands of artworks were affected," said AXA Art for the Americas CEO and president Christiane Fischer. "In its extent it’s completely unprecedented." [Bloomberg]

Michigan Votes for Obama, Against Public Art: A proposed mileage tax in Ann Arbor that would have generated some $450,000 annually to go towards commissioning public artworks was voted down by residents last night, with 28,166 (55.86 percent) casting their ballots against the measure while 22,254 (44.14 percent) supported it. The city, which already has a Percent for Art program requiring that 1 percent of the budget for all capital construction projects be set aside for public art, also voted against a mileage tax for a new downtown library, but approved another for major improvements to city parks. [Ann Arbor Chronicle]

 

Giotto Frescoes Found in Quake-Damaged Chapel: While working at restoring the small Chapel of St. Nicholas in Assisi that was damaged during a 1997 earthquake, a team of conservationists came across the initials "GB," prompting speculation that they are long-forgotten works by Renaissance master Giotto di Bondone — rather than that of his 14th century followers, as previously believed. "This is one of the first works of [Giotto's] artistic life and is of great importance to reconstruct the chronology of his work and that of his workshop," Sergio Fusetti, the Assisi frescoes' chief restorer, said. [Guardian]

Site of MLK Jr. Shooting Joins Museum Exhibit: Memphis's National Civil Rights Museum is working to renovate the motel balcony where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, so that museum attendees can visit the site. Accompanying the new Lorraine Motel attraction will be an exhibit devoted to the shooting, both of which will open on November 19. [LAT]

Toronto Creates Official "Graffiti Panel": The City of Toronto's official, five-member Graffiti Panel held its first meeting last week, hoping to set guidelines for what types of graffiti are deemed worthy of being protected as street art — including murals made at municipally mandated sites like Downtown's popular Graffiti Alley — and what will be targeted by its graffiti crackdown as vandalism. "If anyone thinks that an official programme will reduce graffiti, they’re sadly mistaken," said Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art director David Liss. "Many graffiti artists will intentionally not participate and continue working unsanctioned. There is a strain of thought amongst certain graffiti artists and taggers to ‘destroy’ and vandalise while others see their markings as a way to claim space from ever-increasing corporate control." [TAN]

Glenn Ligon Plans Major Work for New School: In what is promised to be his "most ambitious neon work to date," Glenn Ligon has been commissioned to create an installation for New York's New School. The project is described as a tribute to American poet Walt Whitman, and will feature streams of neon text from his masterpiece, "Leaves of Grass," circling the walls of the cafe in the school's new University Center at 14th Street and Fifth Avenue, which is set to open in winter 2014. [Press Release]

Nude Portrait of Pregnant Sienna Miller Raises Eyebrows: Jonathan Yeo's painting "Sienna (pregnant)" (2012), which portrays the British actress very naked and very pregnant, is set to make its debut in his solo show "(I've Got You) Under My Skin" when it opens at Berlin's Circle Culture Gallery on Friday, but it has already drawn a great deal of attention — and comparisons to Demi Moore's famous Vanity Fair cover photo. Says Yeo, "I can think of many figures whose public currency in part revolves around their appearance, who would prefer to hide themselves away for nine months." [Independent]

Georgian Museum Struggles to Shape Post-Soviet Nation: Since taking over as its director in 2004, David Lordkipanidze has seen the role of the Georgian National Museum as one of negotiator between the country's Soviet past and recent pro-Western turn — one recently problematized by the election of a pro-Kremlin Pparliament — and has recently reopened key historical wings of the institution following extensive restorations. "We are building a narrative not just of Georgian history but of Georgia's history in the world," Lordkipanidze said. "Down the ages we have been part of a global continuum which in recent years is something that the Georgian state has been especially pushing for — integration to Europe, to a wider horizon. That is part of our heritage from earliest times." (To see the Georgian National Museum in action, check out our VIDEO OF THE DAY, below.) [WSJ]

Artist Collective Incubating Egg-Shaped Bar for Miami: During next month's Art Basel Miami Beach the Cuban artist duo Los Carpinteros will unveil their latest large-scale installation, the egg-shaped open-air art bar "Güiro," on Oceanfront as part of Absolut Art Bureau and Art Basel Conversations's joint program during the fair. "The artists have produced some of the most memorable and critically acclaimed work to emerge from Cuba recently," said Absolut Art Bureau leader Vadim Grigorian. "'Güiro' on the Oceanfront will be a magnet for conviviality during the show, where people can come together to relax and share their art experiences – in an environment that is itself a work of art." [Press Release]

Museum Axes Staff to Stem Red Ink: The Long Beach, California-based Museum of Latin American Art has laid off five, including chief curator Cecilia Fajardo Hill, in an effort to shave some $600,000 from its budget. In the past, operating deficits were covered by the institution's founder Robert Gumbiner, but since his death three years ago, the museum has struggled. Two junior curators remain, and the museum plans to rely more on social media to attract an audience going forward. [KPCC]

VIDEO OF THE DAY

Report on the Georgian National Museum

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