Google Art Project Adds Brazil's Graffiti, Swinton Roasts Bowie at V&A, and More
– Google Art Project Reproduces Street Art: The search giant's online image repository has added almost 2,000 works of art and 30 new partners to its ranks. The most novel addition? More than 100 works of Brazilian street art. A group of journalists, artists, and graffiti experts selected the works, all of which are located on doors, walls, and building exteriors in São Paulo. The Art Project has also moved beyond paintings, publishing Hungary's Nemzeti Dal or "National Song." The poem, said to have inspired the Hungarian Revolution in 1848, has long been sealed from the public to prevent damage. [Google Blog]
– Tilda Swinton Celebrates Bowie: At the opening party for the exhibition "David Bowie Is" at London's V&A, actress Tilda Swinton gave a speech in the absence of Bowie himself. "They wanted a Bowie fan to speak tonight," she said. "They could have thrown a napkin and hit a hundred." Swinton, who recently appeared in the video for the singer's latest single "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)," concluded by calling Bowie "every alien's favorite cousin. Certainly mine." [Guardian]
– South American Governments Protest Sotheby's: The Mexican government has asked Sotheby's to halt the planned sale of 51 pre-Colombian Mexican artifacts, arguing they are protected national historic pieces. In a diplomatic note to the French government, Mexico sought assistance in having the works withdrawn from the sale, which is drawn from the collection of Swiss national Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller and slated to take place today and tomorrow in Paris. The governments of Peru and Guatemala have already attempted to claim more than 50 additional works included in the sale. [RFI, AP]
– Munich's Fourth Plinth Becomes Apartment: The artist Alexander Laner's proposal for Munich's Fourth Plinth, a replica of the same-named public art space in Trafalgar Square that was created for the German city by Elmgreen & Dragset, has been selected. He will transform the hollow cinder-block structure into a tiny apartment — with no electricity or running water, but with a rooftop terrace and garden — that he will advertise for rent in local listings for three months beginning June 6. "It did not make sense to me put something on top of the plinth — that would be the 19th-century way of doing it. It was important for me to treat the plinth differently, to penetrate it, be a little bit rude," Laner said. "I decided to treat the space like a real estate developer." [Independent]
– Wisconsin Museum Uninvites Artists: The Museum of Wisconsin Art, which is slated to open a new building along the Milwaukee River next month, recently disinvited 16 of the 40 artists it asked to participate in the space's inaugural exhibition. "We thought we could get more work in the galleries," said Graeme Reid, the museum's assistant director. But not everyone is sympathetic. The decision "lacks creativity and leadership," wrote excluded artist Evelyn Patricia Terry in an email to the museum's director. "The time spent in the selection process and retrieving my work from another gallery is lost." [Journal Sentinel]
– Paris's Noirmont Gallery Shutters Suddenly: Gallerist Jérôme de Noirmont and his wife and business partner Emmanuelle announced in a letter the immediate closure of their space on Paris's Avenue Matignon after 19 years, citing the pressure to expand their business while dealing with "the poor political, economic, and social climate in France today." "We had to keep this a secret until the last minute," Emmanuelle de Noirmont said. "All those who have followed us since our beginnings needed to learn it at the same time." [Le Figaro]
– Bacon Leftovers Find Buyers: Four works by the late British painter and newspaper caricaturist Lewis Todd that featured fragments of scrapped pieces from Francis Bacon's legendary "Pope" series fetched a total of nearly $70,000 in an auction at Ewbank's. Two of the Bacon scrap paintings did not find buyers — including the one that the Francis Bacon Authentication Committee did not sign off on — and the group fell far short of its high estimate of $220,000. [Bloomberg]
– Naples Library Boss Confesses to Book Theft: The former director of the Girolamini library in Naples, Marino Massimo de Caro — who has been accused of stealing and selling off more than 1,000 volumes from its collection with the help of some 14 accomplices — has confessed, and then some. De Caro said his voracious book thievery extended to Florence's Biblioteca dell’Osservatorio Ximeniano and Biblioteca Scolopica San Giovannino, as well as national libraries in Naples, Florence, and Rome. [TAN]
– Vogels Get Second Documentary: A new documentary on Herb and Dorothy Vogel, the couple that managed to accrue a world-class collection of minimalist art on a government employee's budget, premiered last week at the Whitney Museum. "Herb and Dorothy 50x50," directed by Megumi Sasaki, picks up where the first Vogel documentary, "Herb and Dorothy," left off: The couple had just donated their entire collection to museums in each of the 50 states and begin to travel the country to see the works in their new homes. [New Yorker]
– Artist Denies Sexually Abusing Child Models: The British painter and photographer Graham Ovenden, known for his intimate and unguarded images of children, often partially or entirely nude, appeared in court to deny allegations brought by four of his former child models — now all adults — that he sexually abused them. The 70-year-old artist, whose work has been exhibited all over the world and at Tate Britain, called the court's attitude toward child nudity "neurotic" and "abhorrent," and claimed he was the target of a "witch hunt" because of his work. "One of the great qualities of art is to go back to the point of innocence," added Ovenden, whose trial continues. [Guardian]
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Trailer for Megumi Sasaki's "Herb & Dorothy: 50x50"
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