Babylonian Bricks Stolen From Iraqi Museum, Kickstarter's First Oscar, and More

Babylonian Bricks Stolen From Iraqi Museum, Kickstarter's First Oscar, and More
Filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, winners of the Best Documentary Short Subject award for "Inocente"
(Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

– Ancient Babylonian Bricks Boosted: According to Liwa Sumaism, Iraq's minister of tourism and antiquities, the number of brick fragments that have been stolen from the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way at Babylon's Nebuchadnezzar Museum is close to 400 — much higher than an original estimate of 33 pieces reported by the Iraqi press. The museum has been closed since just before the U.S.'s 2003 invasion, with some of its collection housed at Baghdad's National Museum, though many of the missing brick fragments are thought to have been taken from a storage space at the Nebuchadnezzar Museum. [TAN]

– Oscar-Winning Art Doc Marks Kickstarter's First Academy Award: When the documentary "Inocente," about homeless teenage artist Inocente Izucar, won the Oscar for best short documentary on Sunday night, it became the first-ever project funded through micro-funding site Kickstarter to receive an Academy Award. The film, which earned some $52,527 from 294 donors through its campaign last year, was one of three Kickstarter projects up for Oscars this year. "Not only are you raising funds for your film," said co-director Andrea Nix Fine, "but you're building a community and an audience and people that care about the film." [LAT]


Artsy Raises $5.6 Million: Hot on the heels of Artspace's $8.5-million round of venture capital fundraising, Artsy announced it has raised an additional $5.6 million. The online art database will also add EarthLink founder Sky Dayton to its board of directors. "He sees the same opportunity in the online art market as he saw in the Internet 20 years ago," said Artsy's founder Carter Cleveland. This month, Artsy will team up with the Armory Show to offer participating galleries an online platform to sell and preview their wares. [Bloomberg, ITA]  

Nobel Prize for Sale: The Nobel Prize awarded to Francis Crick in 1962 for discovering the structure of DNA has been put up for auction by his family along with his lab coats, books, and other memorabilia. Proceeds from the April 10 sale at Heritage Auctions will help fund the new Francis Clark Research Institute in London. The first Nobel prize to come to auction in more than 70 years, its opening bid is set for $250,000. Something tells us owning a Nobel Prize isn't really the same if you didn't win it yourself. [AFP]

– Renowned Street Artist Evicted: Street artist Richard Hambleton, a colleague of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat who has long produced splashy silhouette paintings in a studio at 57 Orchard Street along the Lower East Side's booming gallery corridor, was evicted from his space last week by the New York City Marshal. The building, whose black-painted façade features a small white stencil reading "This Gallery" as the only indicator that it houses an art operation, is currently for sale, though Hambleton's lease isn't set to expire until the end of 2013. [Bowery Boogie]

– Russians Ruffled Over Museum Appointment: Russia's culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has earned the ire of the country's cultural community for appointing businessman, pro-Kremlin politician, and former governor Andrei Nelidov — a man with no experience working in a museum — to lead the Kizhi State Museum Reserve of History, Architecture and Ethnography, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Russia. A crowd of 200 protestors staged a demonstration protesting the appointment earlier this month, alleging that the minister had put tourism before conservation. "He doesn’t need experienced directors and professional museum workers," Kizhi's museum workers wrote in an open letter to Vladimir Putin, "but is interested in managers who are called upon only to earn money by any means." [TAN]

– Artist Opens "White Album"-Only Record Store: For his residency at Soho non-profit Recess, Shanghai-based artist Rutherford Chang opened "We Buy White Albums," a conceptual art project-cum-record store that stocks some 700 copies of the Beatles's 1968 record. "Each album has aged uniquely and become an artifact of the last half-century," Chang said. "Having an all-white cover, the wear of the albums is especially apparent. In addition to maturing from natural causes, people tend to personalize the albums with writings, drawings, and all kinds of things I could never imagine." At the end of the project Chang will combine recordings and covers of as many of his "White Albums" as possible into a new double-LP pressing that will have all the combined scratches, marks, and blips of the copies in his store. [Hyperallergic]

Ghana VP Opens Presidential Gallery: Ghana's Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has launched a government-sponsored gallery and bookshop in Accra. The institution will display books and artwork related to the country's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, in an ongoing effort to preserve his legacy. [GNA

Salmon Rushdie Video Gets Second Chance: Next month, London's Paradise Row Gallery will present Tangier-born artist Mounir Fatmi's 3-D digital animation of author Salman Rushdie dozing, entitled "Sleep Al-Naim." The video was previously rejected from an exhibition on Arabic creativity at Paris's Institut du Monde Arabe, which closed earlier this month, for fear it would incite controversy. Fatmi's London exhibition will also include a selection of sculptures made of circular saw blades inscribed with Koranic phrases. [TAN]

Details on Venice's Turkish Pavilion: For his debut at the 2013 Venice Biennale, Ali Kazma will present a new video, "Resistance," that explores the human body in a variety of settings, including a film set in Paris, a prison in Sakarya, a hospital in Istanbul, an experimental research lab in Berlin, and a tattoo studio in London. The pavilion is curated by Emre Baykal. [Press Release]


Mournir Fatmi's  "Sleep Al-Naim"



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