– Marina Abramovic Comes to the Armory: The Park Avenue Armory has unveiled its 2013 program, and boy is it action-packed. Highlights include the U.S. premiere of Robert Wilson's opera "The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic" starring Willem Dafoe and the performance artist herself; a monumental installation by Paul McCarthy featuring a full-scale forest, suburban ranch houses, as well as a cacophony of film and sound; and Karlheinz Stockhausen's electronic music composition "Oktophonie." [Press Release]
– Artist's White Supremacist Art Turns Out to Be Unironic: The work of Charles Krafft, a successful artist based in the Pacific Northwest whose anachronistically violent works have long found favor for their supposedly ironic and satiric deployment of White Supremacist and Nazi imagery, is actually a White Supremacist and Holocaust denier, according to recent Facebook posts and interviews. "I don't doubt that Hitler's regime killed a lot of Jews in WWII, but I don't believe they were ever frog marched into homicidal gas chambers and dispatched," Krafft wrote to critic Jen Graves. "I think between 700,000–1.2 million Jews died of disease, starvation, overwork, reprisals for partisan attacks, allied bombing, and natural causes during the war." [The Stranger]
– El Museo del Barrio Director Steps Down Amid Turmoil: Margarita Aguilar, the director of El Museo del Barrio since August 2011, stepped down late last week amid turmoil at the museum. In recent months, the New York institution, which is considered a major center for Latino art and culture, has slashed its days of operations and instituted layoffs and furloughs. Some also question the qualifications of incoming chief curator Chus Martinez, who is arriving from the Documenta festival. [NYT]
– Fire at Pratt Destroys Student Art: A four-alarm fire early Friday morning on the top two floors of Pratt Institute's landmarked Main Building in Brooklyn — which required 39 fire engines and 168 firefighters to tame — destroyed several dozen art studios and all the artwork they contained. Many students preparing for thesis exhibitions and MFA program applications are left with no work to show. "My studio’s gone, everything I’ve made at Pratt is gone,” said student Maria De Los Angeles. "I don’t even think I have a pencil." [NYT]
– Ai Weiwei Play to Debut in London: A new drama by British playwright Howard Brenton titled "#aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei" will premiere at London's Hampstead Theatre this April. The play, which an official announcement describes as being "by turns surreal, hilarious, and terrifying," will portray the arrest and 81-day detainment of the artist and activist by Chinese authorities in 2011. [BBC]
– China Ponders Resale Royalty: China is considering droit de suite legislation, which would offer artists royalty payments when their work is resold at auction. Experts say the development demonstrates China's desire to move away from mass-produced goods as well as to avoid offering fakes at auction. "[China] wants to foster an 'advanced cultural market,'" says Rogier Creemers, a Chinese copyright law expert. China's State Council, the country's cabinet, will consider the proposal as part of a new copyright law. [TAN]
– Banksy's Jubilee Mural Stolen and Put Up for Auction: A mural created by Banksy last May to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee has been torn from its protective plastic cover and is now up for sale at the online auctioneer Fine Art Auctions Miami. The painting, which depicts a child laborer sewing British flags and adorned the wall of a London store, carries an estimate of $500,000-$700,000. The store owners, who do not own the wall on which "Banksy Slave Labor (Bunting Boy)" was painted, tweeted: "We would like to confirm that we are not responsible for either selling or removing the Banksy mural. We are currently investigating." [Guardian]
– France Launches Repatriation Effort: Since 1999, France has successfully restituted only nine artworks. But that is all set to change moving forward. The country is beginning an official search for the Jewish owners of about 2,000 pieces of Nazi-plundered art, from Monets to Reniors, that hang in museums like the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. President Francois Hollande's government has assembled a group of historians, archivists, and curators to actively track down families, instead of waiting for them to come forward. [Bloomberg]
– Lost Masterpiece Found on Pittsburgh Public School Wall: A painting by post-Impressionist French artist Henri Le Sidaner that vanished after it was purchased at the 1933 Carnegie International has turned up in the collection of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, of all places. The board will now vote on whether or not to consign the proto-pointillist composition "Interior" to Sotheby's, which has estimated its worth at between $400,000 and $600,000. "Nobody wants to sacrifice a piece of art unless it's for the betterment of the bigger picture of the importance of arts education in Pittsburgh Public Schools,” said senior program officer for arts education Angela Abadilla. [Pittsburgh Tribune]
– Cohen Sells Off Young Art: Manchester collector Frank Cohen will sell 143 works by mostly young artists from his collection at Paris's Pierre Berge auctions next Monday. The sale, which is expected to bring in $1.16 million, includes work by emerging artists whose buzz has faded in the last 10 or 20 years, such as Jonathan Callan, Nathaniel Mellors, and Jane Simpson. Perhaps Cohen is thinning the herd before opening his new gallery in London devoted to his collection this April. [Telegraph]
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