Emma Thompson's Steamy Pre-Raphaelite Film, FBI Fells Drone-Based Art, and More
– Sexy Victorian Art World Film Does Not Break the Law: Sometimes a story is just too juicy... A federal judge has ruled that actress Emma Thompson can go ahead with her dramatization of the love triangle between Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais, art critic John Ruskin, and Euphemia Gray, who married Millais after annulling her notoriously unhappy marriage to Ruskin on grounds of non-consummation. Thompson's opus was previously held up by accusations that it bore similarities to two previous screenplays depicting this soapy episode of Victorian art history. A film starring Dakota Fanning and Robbie Coltrane based on Oscar winner Thompson's screenplay is expected to be released in 2013. [Courthouse News]
– FBI Shoots Down Drone Art Project: Omer Fast's latest video project has run afoul of the Federal Bureau of Investigations when an agent noticed the Israel-born, Berlin-based artist and his team trying to track down a military drone operator through an anonymous Craigslist post. "We were told to stop what we were doing and threatened in suggestive, spy-movie language," Fast said. "After the call, our contacts went dead." [TAN]
– Forged Sculptures Flying Off Shelves: Long overshadowed by the market for fake paintings, trade in forged sculptures has grown steadily, with unauthorized copies of works including pieces by Jasper Johns, Jane Dedecker, and wildlife sculptor Mark Hopkins showing up in garden stores, showrooms, and auction houses — much to the surprise of their creators, who have surprisingly few viable legal options to stop the copying. "I get calls all the time from sculptors, asking me, 'What do I do?' They figure that since it happened to me, I've figured out some way of fighting back, but I never know what to tell them," Dedecker said. "Personally, I just try not to think about it." [Reuters]
– Art Sales Reach $64 Billion in 2012: A total of $64 billion worth of art was bought and sold around the world in 2012, according to the London-based investment group Fine Art Fund. For the 11th year in a row, the art market outperformed the equities market. [ArtLyst]
– Los Angeles Modern Auctions Expands: LAMA, which started out as a design house 10 years ago, is benefiting from the growth of the Californian art scene and beginning to sell more art than design. Artists who were featured in last year's sprawling Pacific Standard Time initiative, including Frederick Hammersley and De Wain Valentine, have sold for record sums at the auction house this year. "Things are going so well that we just added four full-time positions on our staff," said founder Peter Loughrey. [FT]
– New Affordable Art Start-Up Peddles Paintings: With over 66,000 artworks by painters from all over the world, the Eugene, Oregon-based start online gallery Daily Paintworks is thriving, but husband and wife co-founders Carol and David Marine struggled in the early going, when their site served as more of a cyberspace artists' collective. "I was ready to completely give up on Daily Paintworks,” David Marine said. "There was a point where we realized that what buyers wanted was different from what artists wanted. Artists wanted to be part of this exclusive club. Buyers wanted to go to a place where they had a lot of selection." [Eugene Weekly]
– Nigeria Demands Return of Ancient Art: Nigerian museums are continuing their efforts to reclaim nearly 4,000 works of art taken out of the country by British colonials at the end of the 19th century. "The objects taken away in 1897 through raw aggression by the Europeans should come back to their rightful owners, the Benins," said Umogbai Theophilus, curator of Nigeria's National Museum in Benin City. The objects were taken during a "punitive expedition" led by Brits in retaliation for what they said was Benin aggression. [Voice of America]
– Towering 2012 Olympic Artwork May Be Lost: "Column," a three-mile-high funnel of churning mist by Anthony McCall that was originally intended to debut during London's 2012 Cultural Olympiad and has been backed by Arts Council England to the tune of £610,000 ($994,000), is still months away from completion and could be called off altogether if it is not ready by July, when a planning permit for the work expires. "We found that the project was so unfamiliar that the regulatory process was very slow and convoluted, and involved redesigning the physics of the piece a couple of times, so we are a little behind," McCall said. [The Independent]
– Quentin Blake Will Be Knighted, Emin Made Commander: Among the many creative figures on Queen Elizabeth II's honor list for the new year are the artist Quentin Blake — whose drawings illustrated many Roald Dahl books — who will be knighted, and Tracey Emin, who will be made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE). "I haven't quite got used to it yet, but I'm very pleased about it. I think of it as quite a nice 80th birthday present," Blake said. "The funny thing is that my books are published a lot in France and Germany and I get a lot of letters from people there who think I have got it already, so I suppose this kind of regularizes it." [BBC]
– Book Arts Center Opens in England: This month, the United Kingdom will open its first institution devoted to art books and bookmaking. The London Centre for Book Arts, a 365-square meter space in Fish Island, Hackney, will offer printmaking and bookbinding classes and make top-of-the-line bookmaking equipment available to professionals who can't afford or access it on their own. [Guardian]
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Arts Council England's video for Anthony McCall's "Column"
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