Rosanne Cash Saves Museum Ship, Flood Map Spurs Art Insurance Spike, and More

Rosanne Cash Saves Museum Ship, Flood Map Spurs Art Insurance Spike, and More
Rosanne Cash
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Rosanne Cash Rescues Historic Ship: One of the South Street Seaport Museum's most prized displays, the late-19th century ship the Lettie G. Howard, needs a $275,000 overhauling to remove rotting wood and rebuild its main structure, a cause that attracted the interest of country rock legend Rosanne Cash, whose family's nautical history goes back to the 1600s. "It's so important, not only because it's educational, but because it connects [people] to the maritime history of New York City," said Cash, who will play a benefit concert for the Lettie next week. Pending the fundraising show's success, the museum hopes to have the historic schooner sailing again by the spring of 2014. [NY1]

Flood Map Spells Trouble for Chelsea: According to a new map of New York City flood risk zones released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), most of the 200 or so art galleries in Chelsea are sitting in a medium-risk flood hazard zone, meaning they face a one-percent chance of flooding every year, a number which though seemingly low could mean crippling insurance costs for many dealers. "If you are in a high-risk flood area, it will either be impossible to buy coverage or it will just be really expensive," says Christiane Fischer, president and CEO of art insurer AXA. "We always thought a certain amount of water could accumulate in Chelsea, but the amount was around twice what we expected after Sandy. We now know that a gallery on 24th Street could get six feet of water above ground." [TAN]


Folk Art Museum is Back on Track: After selling off its flagship building next to MoMA to cover the debt incurred by its construction, and retreating to its comparatively tiny Upper West Side space, the American Folk Art Museum is making a comeback, with attendance on track to rise to 80,000 this fiscal year, major donors returning, and its roster of traveling and off-site exhibitions — including shows at the South Street Seaport Museum, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, and the Fenimore Art Museum — proving very successful. "We are starting at a point without debt, with a great collection, with world-class curators and with increasing donations, and that’s what I have to work with every day," said executive director Anne-Imelda Radice. "If we have a great idea, I’ll go out there and raise the money for it." [NYT]

Archaeologists Locate Gates of Hell: A team of Italian archaeologists working in southwestern Turkey has found the site known as "Pluto's Gate," an ancient gateway to the underworld, according to Greco-Roman myths. "This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death," wrote the ancient Greek geographer Strabo. The site was discovered by a team led by University of Salento classic archaeology professor Francesco D'Andria, and revealed during an Italian archaeology conference in Istanbul last month. [Discovery]

Painting Owned by Hitler Sells High: A 1930s painting of the Naumburg Cathedral by Karl Walther sold for over 30 times its estimate at German auction house Wendl in Rudolstadt last month simply due to its ominous provenance: The light-filled urban composition once belonged to Adolf Hitler, and hung in the Reich Chancellery for several years. The painting's pre-sale estimate was €650, but it sold for €22,000 — in the process setting a new record for Walther, whose previous auction high was $3,980. [TAN]

Roxy Paine Lands Major S.F. Public Art Commission: The San Francisco Arts Commission has voted to move ahead with a $1.5-million commission for Brooklyn-based sculptor Roxy Paine to create "Node," a 110-foot-tall, stainless steel, tree-like sculpture outside the Yerba Buena/Moscone stop on the Central Subway line, which is just at the seedling stage. Scheduled for unveiling when the subway opens in 2019, the sculpture, based on the tree-like form of a dendroid that he has explored in many previous works, will create "an elegant line connecting earth to sky, people to underground systems and sculpture to city," according to Paine. [ArtDaily]

Judge OK's WTC Cross at 9/11 Museums: A lawsuit brought by an atheist group charging that the planned inclusion of a cross made of steel beams from the wreckage of the World Trade Center in the forthcoming National September 11 Memorial and Museum's collection violated the division between church and state has been dismissed by a New York judge. "For some of these people, [the cross] had symbolic significance," said Mark Alcott, a lawyer for the museum and memorial, discussing first responders. "They treated it as a religious object and it gave them a great deal of comfort at a difficult time. The 9/11 museum is simply depicting what happened." [CNN]

Four NYC Museums Join Google Art Project: The New York contingent on Google's online art platform, the Google Art Project, has just increased dramatically, with the addition of hundreds of artworks from four institutions — the Whitney Museum, the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), the Museum of the Moving Image, and the Center for Jewish History. The MCNY will begin by uploading some 70 images by seminal street photographer Berenice Abbott, while the Whitney will contribute reproductions of 60 works from its permanent collection, including pieces by Edward Hopper and Marsden Hartley. [WNYC]

Finalists for Best U.K. Museum Prize: The Art Fund has released the shortlist of ten museums vying for the title of Museum of the Year for 2012, which comes with a £100,000 prize; they are also all eligible for the £10,000 Clore Award for Learning, which recognizes exceptional education programs. The winner, to be announced during a ceremony at the Victoria & Albert Museum on June 4, will be selected (by a panel including artists Bob and Roberta Smith and Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar) from a pool that includes the BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art, Cambridge's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London. [Telegraph]

Michigan Museum Gets $1.9 Donation: The largest gift in the history of the Michigan State University Museum (MSU Museum), a $1.9-million donation funded by donors' estates, will go to create the institution's first endowed curator position, named after Val Berryman, who served as the institution's curator of history for nearly five decades and died in January. "This is a fantastic gift that will ensure the museum's historical programs are strong and vibrant into the future," MSU Museum Gary Morgan said. "There is no better way for Val's name to be remembered." [WLNS]


Is the Art Market Undervalued? The Debate Over the Industry's $56-Billion Year

Cecilia Alemani on Curating a Secret Bar and an Artist-Run Diner for Frieze NY

"We Want to Invent a New Model": Why Jérôme de Noirmont Closed His Paris Gallery

EYE ON ART [VIDEO]: Focus on Technology

Irreverent Bushwick Basel Art Fair Bringing 40 Galleries to Queens in June

SHOWS THAT MATTER: ICP Reframes Roman Vishniac's Iconic Photos of Jewish Culture

For more art news throughout the day, check ARTINFO's In the Air blog.