Berlin Wall Murals Smashed, NYC Mayoral Hopeful's Anti-Art Past, and More
– Despite Protests, Berlin Wall Murals Smashed: Under the watch of 250 police officers deployed to contain protesters — who, earlier this month, included David Hasselhoff — a real estate developer went ahead with the planned demolition of four remaining mural-covered sections of the Berlin Wall. The demolished murals will make way for the construction of luxury apartments. "We are here on the one hand to enable [builders] to continue their construction work and on the other side we want to welcome people who want to protest against this and finally allow them to stage their protest," said police spokesperson Volker Alexander Toennies. [BBC] Watch video of Berlin Wall coming down here.
– Candidate Has No Regrets in Art Fight: In its ongoing series of profiles of New York City mayoral hopefuls, the New York Times revisits a notorious episode in the city's cultural history: mayor Rudy Giuliani and deputy mayor Joseph Lhota's campaign to intimidate the Brooklyn Museum into removing Chris Ofili's controversial portrait of the Virgin Mary — it contained elephant dung and images of genitalia — from its "Sensation" exhibition in 1999. Lhota, who publicly withheld a $500,000 check from the museum as leverage, is now running for mayor, though he ultimately lost his fight with the museum. "I don't regret the tactics — at all," Lhota says now. [NYT]
– British Museums Cautioned Over Qatari Connection: Human Rights Watch is warning British cultural institutions — including the Royal Academy of Arts, the Serpentine Gallery, the Tate, and the Victoria and Albert Museum — about in their participation in Qatar UK 2013, a major initiative to promote cultural exchange between the two countries, in light of Qatar's worrisome human rights record. The organization called attention to the nation's treatment of dissident poet Muhammad al-Ajami, currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for voicing his support of the Arab Spring uprisings in a poem. "The Qataris [have] projected an image of themselves as progressive and enlightened — whether it’s investment abroad or the hosting of the football World Cup," said Human Rights Watch consultant Nicholas McGeehan. "But when you actually analyze Qatar’s record on human rights, particularly in relation to migrant workers, it's problematic. What we’re seeing with the Al-Ajami case is that the mask is slipping slightly." [TAN]
– Nicole Klagsbrun to Close: The seasoned dealer will close her Chelsea gallery this summer after 30 years in the business. "A dealer's job is to edit an artist's work but your eye for quality gets swallowed up by this endless sea of events, fairs, and biennials," she said. Klagsbrun, who showed Candida Hofer, Karen Kilimnik, Rashid Johnson, and other stars early on in their careers, says she will continue to work with artists outside the confines of the gallery system. [TAN]
– S.F. Fine Arts Museums Find Director: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which runs the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor, announced yesterday that its new leader will be Colin Bailey, currently a deputy director at New York's Frick Collection. (The museum has been without a director since the death of John Buchanan in December of 2011.) The announcement comes after a series of firings of senior staff and labor disputes. "No one likes to hear of problems in an institution," Bailey said. “But not for a minute did any of this reporting diminish my incredible excitement and the honor of having this position." [NYT]
– DMA Gets $17M Donation for Old Masters: The Dallas Museum of Art has announced a $17-million gift from trustee and former chairman Marguerite Steed Hoffman to support the acquisition of Old Master paintings and European sculpture. The gift creates a $13.6-million restricted acquisitions endowment, bringing the total acquisition fund to $50 million. In 2005, Hoffman joined fellow collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and Deedie and Rusty Rose in pledging their entire collections of modern and contemporary art to the DMA. [Dallas Morning News]
– Old Masters Top 2012 Attendance Stats: A touring exhibition of Dutch Old Masters paintings on loan from the Mauritshuis, which began its world tour at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, was the best-attended museum exhibition of 2012, bringing in a stunning 10,573 visitors per day during its run in Tokyo. Another exhibition in the Japanese city, featuring European art on loan from the Hermitage Museum, saw a not-too-shabby 5,362 visitors daily. In Paris, London, and New York, however, modern and contemporary art topped the charts, with MoMA's Cindy Sherman retrospective (5,700 visitors per day), the Royal Academy's David Hockney show (7,512 visitors per day), and Daniel Buren's colorful installation in the Grand Palais (6,498 visitors per day), delivering the biggest crowds. [TAN]
– Abramovic Documentary Wins Peabody: Though it was overlooked for an Oscar, the documentary "Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present" has won a George Foster Peabody Award, the oldest award in broadcasting. The film, from first-time director Matthew Akers, follows the performance art star as she prepares for her major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2010. [Press Release]
– SFMOMA Foots Fire Station Bill: Before the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art could break ground on its $555-million expansion, set to be complete in 2016, it had to take care of its neighbors. The institution paid $12 million to move a fire station that would have gotten in the way of its construction project. The state-of-the-art facility, located a few blocks away, is the city's first brand-new firehouse in more than 40 years. [SFGate]
– Donating to the Arts? There's an App for That!: Eleven major U.K. institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Baltic Gallery, have signed up for Donate, a new mobile application that lets users give money to the arts from their smartphones and tablet devices. "The scheme was created to help U.K. cultural organizations tackle the challenge of funding in a new, innovative way that engages supporters at the point of emotional engagement and encourages giving," said Robert Dufton, chairman of the National Funding Scheme, which developed Donate. [Guardian]
VIDEO OF THE DAY
The art of the Berlin Wall
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