LACMA Council Quits En Masse, Futurist Christmas Tree Ignites Furor, and More

LACMA Council Quits En Masse, Futurist Christmas Tree Ignites Furor, and More
1024 Architecture's "ABIES Electronicus", Brussels
(Courtesy 1024 Architecture)

LACMA's Council Leaders Resign Over Fee Hike: The 40-member board of the Art Museum Council at LACMA has voted unanimously to stop volunteering at the museum next year because of its plans to triple council members' fees. (Starting next June, members who once paid a minimum of $400 will be required to pay $1,000 plus a $250-level membership.) "Our AMC Board of Directors voted to withdraw from LACMA rather than discriminate against any of our members who would be unable to pay the exorbitant increase to stay in our council," said chairwoman Diana Gutman. [LAT]

– Futurist French Christmas Tree Ruffles Feathers in Brussels: A blocky, 80-foot-tall Christmas tree sculpture created by French collective 1024 Architecture in Brussels's main public square has been receiving symbolic lumps of coal from Catholic Belgians who see the luminous monument as an overly PC attempt to make Christmas secular. "What's next," asked Belgian Christian-democratic party leader Bianca Debaets, "will they ban Easter eggs because they make us think of Easter?" [Libération]

– French Prez to Launch Louvre's Lens Outpost: The site of the first-ever franchise of Paris's Louvre, the Louvre-Lens in the northern city, was selected when Jacques Chirac was president in 2000. On Tuesday, France's recently elected leader François Hollande will inaugurate the new institution. Lens, a depressed mining town that hopes the Louvre will generate its own version of the "Bilbao effect" engendered by Frank Gehry's Guggenheim outpost, emerged as the preferred site from a field of seven finalist cities. [Le Figaro]

Showtime for Sandy-Damaged Art: Groups across New York are planning exhibitions for artwork damaged by Hurricane Sandy. In Red Hook, artist Z Behl, 27, is throwing a Flooded Art Party on Saturday that will raise money for neighborhood recovery and offer artists an opportunity to exhibit waterlogged work. The New York Foundation for the Arts is planning a similar exhibition in February that will also feature new pieces inspired by the storm. "It really feels like the flood had an artistic hand," said Behl. [WSJ]

Is "Revenge of the Sith" The Greatest Artwork of Our Time?: Rabble-rousing art historian Camille Paglia is making headlines in the entertainment press for her pronouncement that 2005's "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith" is the greatest work of art of the past 30 years. The claim comes from her book, "Glittering Images," which traces key moments in Western art from the Egyptians to the modern era. "The long finale of Revenge of the Sith has more inherent artistic value, emotional power and global impact than anything by the artists you name," she said. [Hollywood Reporter

– Munch, Kirchner Works Returned to Jewish Collector's Heirs: A Berlin museum will return three graphics by Edvard Munch and one by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner to the heirs of collector Curt Glaser, who escaped Nazi persecution by fleeing to the United States. Berlin’s Kupferstichkabinett acquired the works back in 1933, when Glaser auctioned his collection before fleeing Germany. Five works from that auction will remain at the Berlin museum with the heirs' approval. Other works from the Glaser holdings remain in the collections throughout Europe. [Bloomberg]

Zebras on the High Line: On Monday, Paola Pivi will become the next artist to transform the High Line billboard on West 18th Street and 10th Avenue. The Italian multimedia mastermind will install a photograph of two zebras posted on a snowy mountaintop set against a brilliant blue sky. Though it appears to be a digital manipulation, the image was in fact staged (live zebras and all) at San Grasso, a national park in central Italy. High Line Art curator Cecilia Alemani likened the surreal image to "a postcard from the future." [NYT]

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– Teresa Margolles Takes Artes Mundi Prize: The Mexican conceptual artist whose work often addresses her country's brutal drug wars has won the fifth edition of the biannual Artes Mundi prize, which comes with a £40,000 ($64,000) purse and recognizes international artists whose work engages with social issues. An exhibition showcasing her work — which the chair of judges Tim Marlow described as having "visceral power and energy" — alongside that of the six other shortlisted artists continues at the National Museum of Wales until January 13. [Guardian, AI UK]

 Last Ditch Effort to Halt Moore Statue Sale: Though a plea by the councilors of Tower Hamlet to its mayor to stop the sale of Henry Moore's beloved public artwork "Draped Seated Woman" was rejected, solicitors from the Art Fund have filed a legal challenge regarding ownership of the sculpture, which Moore sold to the Greater London Council, an entity that was abolished in 1986. "Our research suggests that works of public art were handled separately from land and buildings when both the London County Council and the Greater London Council were dissolved," a statement from the Art Fund explained. "For this reason our lawyers have been in touch with the Council to ask for more information, which they have so far failed to provide." [BBC]


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