Tony Oursler Directs David Bowie Comeback, Denver's Got Van Gogh Fever, and More

Tony Oursler Directs David Bowie Comeback, Denver's Got Van Gogh Fever, and More
Film still from David Bowie's "Where Are We Now?" music video, directed by Tony Oursler

– David Bowie Drops Tony Ousler-Directed Video: To mark his 66th birthday, the glam-rock legend released his first song in 10 years without warning. "Where Are We Now?" is accompanied by a music video directed by Tony Oursler (see our VIDEO OF THE DAY, below), which features the artist's trademark uncanny video faces projected onto small, doll-like figures. The song is the lead single from Bowie's new album, "The Next Day," which comes out in March, two weeks before his retrospective opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum. [BBC]

– Denver Art Museum Sells Out 24 Hour van Gogh Viewing: Institutions showing Christian Marclay's "The Clock" aren't the only ones staying open 24 hours a day. The Denver Art Museum will remain open around the clock on the closing weekend of its exhibition "Becoming van Gogh" to accommodate unprecedented crowds. The exhibition ends January 20. As of yesterday, tickets were entirely sold out — but some have already popped up for resale on Craigslist. [Denver Post]


 Pakistani Art School Faces Blasphemy Charges: Administrators at Pakistan's leading arts college are waiting to find out whether they will be charged with blasphemy — a crime punishable by death — for including homoerotic paintings in the college's contemporary arts journal. The offending paintings by artist Muhammad Ali depict clerics alongside seminude young boys. The National College of Arts has issued a public apology and retracted its journal after receiving threats, but the authorities' case against it has continued unabated. [NYT]

– Tate Breaks Attendance Record: The Tate Modern welcomed 5.3 million visitors in 2012, the most in its history. Crowds flocked to the blockbuster retrospective of Damien Hirst and the new performance space The Tanks. "There was a huge amount of uncertainty over what would happen in Olympics year," said deputy director Alex Beard. "We thought the mix of shows would be pretty popular, but – hand on heart – did not think it would break the record." [Independent]

– America's Top 12 Art Cities: Brooklyn, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Miami Beach are among the most vibrant cultural centers in the United States, according to a new report. The nonprofit ArtPlace released its list of America's top 12 ArtPlaces yesterday, a distinction given to metropolitan areas where the arts are central to attracting both residents and tourists. Other cultural hubs on the list are Milwaukee, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. [Press Release]

– Sotheby's Stops the Music: The London house will no longer hold auctions of musical instruments, but its two top music auctioneers, Tim Ingles and Paul Hayday, are opening their own instrument boutique, Ingles & Hayday. The new specialist auction house will have its first sale on May 21. "Sotheby’s is set up to sell large, valuable items that generally do not need to move around," said Ingles. "To run a successful violin business, you need to be fast-moving and flexible." [The Strad]

– Construction Begins at Louvre Abu Dhabi: After many delays, the Louvre's Jean Nouvel-designed outpost off the coast of Abu Dhabi has begun construction. The government's Tourism Development & Investment Company has awarded the project's $653-million construction contract to Constructora San Jose SA and Oger Abu Dhabi. The museum's concrete frames are due for completion in early 2014, while its large dome will be completed by the end of that year. Meanwhile, the neighboring and similarly delay-afflicted Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is on track for a 2016 opening. [Bloomberg]

– Rare Image of Henry VIII as Child Discovered: A long-lost manuscript featuring a rare and previously unknown picture of young Henry VIII mourning the death of his mother was recently discovered in the collection of the National Library of Wales. While the passional manuscript has been in the library's collection since 1921, the image surfaced only when a librarian began uploading its pages onto an online database. [Telegraph]

– National Gallery Discovers a Titian: Since 1924, the U.K.'s National Gallery has owned an anonymous 16th-century portrait of a lynx fur-draped Girolamo Fracastoro, the Italian doctor who named "syphilis." Just this month, curators and scholars published conclusive evidence that the painting is the work of Renaissance master Titian. "It's not the head that is so amazing in this picture," National Gallery director Nicholas Penny says, "but the fur... The great thing about the lynx is that it has got this brown smudge as well as black and white." [Guardian]

– RIP Pioneering Post-War Photographer Shomei Tomatsu: The Japanese artist, whose black-and-white photographs — many of which are featured in the Museum of Modern Art's current exhibition "Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde" — captured the angst of a rapidly-modernizing nation recovering from the ravages of WWII, died on December 14 at age 82 at his home in Naha near Okinawa. His work was the subject of a major retrospective at SFMOMA in 2004. A passionate pacifist, Tomatsu was also an outspoken critic of nuclear energy in the wake of 2011's tidal wave and Fukushima disaster, commenting: "This is completely different from Hiroshima and Nagasaki... Here the radioactivity is escaping invisibly and threatening to affect people in another, less spectacular, and much slower way." [Le Figaro]


Tony Oursler's "Where Are We Now?" for David Bowie 


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