CHECKLIST: Ai Weiwei, Harry Potter, and Jim Henson

CHECKLIST: Ai Weiwei, Harry Potter, and Jim Henson
Harry Potter

– Ai Weiwei Music Video Dramatizes Detention: In the new music video for his rock song "Dumbass" (which you can see as our video of the day, below), Ai Weiwei reenacts moments from his 81-day detention at the hands of the Chinese authorities in 2011, portraying scenes of interrogation and torture. It also shows him distracting his guards with the aid of two underwear-clad models. "Music is a kind of self-therapy and at the same time helps the public to see. Even conditions like these can still turn into a positive effort," Ai said. "So many people think they can improve the situation or collaborate. I think that's very wishful thinking in this political structure. It makes people not very conscious of what's happening." [Guardian]

– Sotheby's Sets New Record for Harry Potter: A first edition of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" signed and annotated by author J.K. Rowling has set a new auction record for the author, selling for £150,000 at the English PEN benefit auction at Sotheby's in London. "The sale room fell silent as two determined bidders vied for the prized edition," a Sotheby's spokesperson said. "Bidding leapt in increments of up to £25,000 and the hammer finally fell, to a round of applause, on a £150,000 telephone bid." [BBC]


– Museum Plans Jim Henson Gallery: The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens will create a permanent installation devoted to the work of the late film puppeteer Jim Henson, featuring his sketches, storyboard drawings, props, costumes, and puppets including Kermit the FrogElmo, and Miss Piggy — the latter of whom was helped New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announce the new exhibition. "It will be one of the most comprehensive tributes to his work, anywhere," Bloomberg said. "No city can be more fitting than New York to host this incredible tribute to Jim Henson’s legacy." [DNAinfo]

– Porn Star's Calligraphy Causes Controversy: Despite reportedly fetching a whopping $95,000 at a Beijing auction house, a work of calligraphy art featuring eight Chinese characters by the Japanese porn star Sola Aoi is not going over well with China's calligraphy purists. "This matter is a commercial activity," Tang Jihui, the deputy head of the Shanghai Youth Calligraphers Association, said. "Her calligraphy has nothing to do with art and the people buying and selling it don’t care about whether or not what she writes is art." [AFP]

– Photography Rights for Dummies: Six photographers are suing John Wiley & Sons, the group that publishes the popular "… For Dummies" book series, for copyright infringement and repeated use of third-party photographs in excess of their licenses, citing some 10 previous lawsuits brought by photographers against the company. "Evidence submitted to the courts in these cases demonstrates that Wiley has engaged in a systematic pattern of fraud and copyright infringement," the complaint explains. "Evidence from these lawsuits demonstrates that, even after gaining actual knowledge of license violations and unlicensed uses of photos in particular publications, Wiley executive made the knowing and intentional decision to continue to sell inventory of publications that Wiley determined included unauthorized copies of third-party content." [Courthouse News]

– Sharon Hayes Wins Alpert Prize: Artist and Cooper Union art professor Sharon Hayes has received the 2013 Alpert Award in the Arts for visual art, which is given by the California Institute of the Arts and the Herb Alpert Foundation, and comes with an unrestricted $75,000 prize and a weeklong residency at CalArts. "I was shocked, pleasantly shocked," Hayes said. "It's such a strong field of applicants. The award tends to focus on mid-career artists of some stature. So you are always up against really great, provocative, dynamic artists." [Cooper Union]

– Museum Embraces Bad Taste: The Museum für Kunst ind Gewerbe in Hamburg has just opened "Evil Things: An Encyclopedia of Bad Taste," an exhibition devoted to aesthetically offensive objects, including a bedazzled cell phone, a novelty beer stein, and a USB key in the shape of a finger. The show is more than a century in the making, taking its inspiration from art historian Gustav E. Pazaurek's 1912 pamphlet "Good and Bad Taste in the Arts and Crafts." [Independent]

– New President for Asia Society: As of June 10 Josette Sheeran, current vice chairwoman of the World Economic Forum, will take over from Vishakha N. Desai as the president and CEO of Asia Society. During her time at the World Economic Forum Sheeran has helped raise over $4 billion to fight hunger and malnutrition in Africa. Before that she was the executive director of the United Nations World Food Program. [NYT]

– "Levitated Mass" Ready For Its Closeup: As part of the Los Angeles Film Festival, the new documentary "Levitated Mass: The Story of Michael Heizer's Monolithic Sculpture" will premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Bing Theater on June 20. The film, which chronicles the creation of the Land artist's suspended boulder installation at LACMA last year, was created by Lynette Howell and Jamie Patricoff. [LATimes]

– RIP Cecilia Steinfeldt, "First Lady of Texas Art"Cecilia Steinfeldt, a curator at the Witte Museum for six decades, art historian, and White House art adviser to Laura Bush when her husband was elected president, died on Friday at the age of 97. "Even though there were earlier curators who worked on Texas art, she was the one who did that first book on the Onderdonks, the most well-known family of Texas artists," said former Witte Museum colleague Michaele Haynes. "She really did make Texas art known." [San Antonio Express-News]


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For breaking news throughout the day, check our blog IN THE AIR.