Patti Smith Plans Mapplethorpe Tribute, Flea Market Renoir's Dark Past, and More

Patti Smith Plans Mapplethorpe Tribute, Flea Market Renoir's Dark Past, and More
Patti Smith
(Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images)

– Patti Smith Plans Mapplethorpe Tribute: Rock poetess Patti Smith's upcoming exhibition at Cincinnati's Contemporary Art Center (CAC) will be a tribute to her longtime friend Robert Mapplethorpe — whose retrospective "The Perfect Moment" spurred charges of obscenity when it showed at the CAC in 1990 — titled after a poem she wrote about the late photographer, "The Coral Sea." "It's very much a rumination on the life and death of Robert Mapplethorpe," exhibition curator Justine Ludwig says. "There are a lot of objects in the exhibition that very much relate to his life. We've received things like Robert's slippers that have his initials on them, and photographs of Robert from throughout his life. It really focuses on the relationship between these two artists." [Press ReleaseHuffPo]

– Flea Market Renoir Mystery Deepens: Last year Marcia Fuqua tried to sell a small painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir that she claimed to have bought at a flea market in West Virginia for $7 in 2009. But the FBI seized the painting after it determined the work had been stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1951. Now, a deeper investigation into the painting's history has only raised more questions. It turns out Fuqua's mother was an artist active in Baltimore in the 1950s and known for her skillful reproductions of works by Renoir. Faqua's brother, meanwhile, claimed the painting had been in the family for generations. U.S. district judge Leonie Brinkema has asked everyone claiming ownership of the artwork to make their case in writing by a date later this month. [AP]


Eric Fischl's Juicy Memoir: Painter Eric Fischl has penned a "warts-and-all" memoir about his rise in the 1980s art world. Published May 7 and titled "Bad Boy, My Life on and Off the Canvas," the book chronicles his wild partying with the likes of David Salle and Julian Schnabel. (Fischl's personal low point? A food fight at Mr. Chow with Warhol, Basquiat, and Keith Haring.) The artist also doesn't hold back in his critique of fellow contemporary artists. He calls Damien Hirst's shark suspended in formaldehyde "essentially a fish trophy." [Page Six]

– $40M Bacon a Sign of Market's Return?: For its May 14 sale in New York, Sotheby's has pegged a $30-$40 million estimate on "Study for a Portrait of PL" (1962), Francis Bacon's portrait of his late lover Peter Lacy. The figure falls short of the artist's record ($86.2 million, set in 2008), but is in keeping with his resurgent market value after his prices bottomed out during the recession. "We are incredibly excited about this sale," said Sotheby's expert Oliver Barker. "Not only because Francis Bacon is, commercially speaking, arguably the most enticing artist of the current time. But to have a painting of this importance and of an iconic figure in Bacon's own personal life is a wonderfully poetic combination." [Guardian, WSJ]

– Law & Order Actor Turns to Art Theft: An out-of-work actor who had a bit role in a "Law & Order" episode many years ago was extradited from California last week and charged with stealing a Pablo Picasso etching from the home of a North Stamford man in 2010. The thief, Terrence Riggins, was caught when the victim's brother happened to recognize the etching at a Manhattan art gallery. The dealer purchased it at Bonhams in November 2010 for $11,100. [Stamford Advocate]

 Detroit Institute of Arts Case Cracks: Macomb County judge John C. Foster has dismissed a lawsuit against the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) filed by five residents who claimed that the museum — where admission is free for citizens of the surrounding counties — had breached its contract with voters by charging admission to a recent special exhibition of Fabergé eggs. The plaintiffs had opposed the mileage tax that made admission to the DIA free when it was approved last year in a local referendum. [Detroit Free Press]

Bridging Mexican and Mexican-American Art: Until recently, there was little exchange between museums focused on Mexican art and those focused on Mexican-American art. But that's changing. The exhibition "Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective (1972-1987)" is the latest exhibition focused on Chicano artists to travel south of the border. Organized by LACMA for the Pacific Standard Time initiative, it opened last month at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City. [LAT

Judge Classifies Painting as Plant: A recent tax judgment in the UK classified Sir Joshua Reynolds's famous painting "Portrait of Omai" (1776) as a "wasting asset," the same category as plants and machines. The determination allows it to escape capital gains tax. According to the judge, the portrait, which hung for 200 years in Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, is analogous to something "used by a trader in business" because it served as a tourist attraction. If the present judgment is upheld "the case could give vendors savings of 28 per cent on the sale of works of art that fulfil the same criteria," says art agent Robert Holden. [FT]

Matisse Spurs Restitution Battle: The family of Parisian gallery owner Paul Rosenberg is demanding that a Norwegian museum return one of its featured paintings, Matisse's "Woman in Blue in Front of a Fireplace," which was confiscated by the Nazis in 1941. The Henie Onstad Arts Center, founded by Olympic skating champion Sonja Henie, argues that it is the correct owner under local Norwegian law. [NYT]

Rijksmuseum Rehung for Reopening: When it officially reopens to the public on Saturday, Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum will feature the exact same number of works on view — 8,000 — as it did before its $500-million, decade-long renovation. But only one of those — Rembrandt's "Night Watch" — will be in the same place. "You have to kill off some of your beautiful darlings," said head of collections Taco Dibbits. "Each object has a story, and by telling the story of each object, you get a cultural history of the Netherlands." [TAN]


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