"Basquiat: The Musical" Is Real, Kabakovs Flop in Jersey, and More

"Basquiat: The Musical" Is Real, Kabakovs Flop in Jersey, and More
"Motown: The Musical" star Eric Lajuan Summers will portray Jean-Michel Basquiat in the upcoming musical

– Basquiat Musical Broadway-Bound?: The life of tragic '80s art star Jean-Michel Basquiat has already been made into a movie; now it may be heading for the Great White Way. Later this month a private reading of a new Basquiat musical will be held in New York, with dashing "Motown: The Musical" star Eric Lajuan Summers taking the part of the famed neo-Expressionist, who died of a drug overdose in 1988. "Mamma Mia" star Felicia Findley reads the role of the female lead. Titled simply "Basquiat," the musical is being developed and directed by Paul Stancato, and features music and lyrics by Chris Blisset and a book by Larry Tobias. [Broadway World]

– Atlantic City Art Rolls Snake Eyes: A $12-million public art program curated by New York-based curator Lance Fung, who has also overseen installations at the Venice Biennale and Turin Olympics, is recieving some bad reviews from the only critic that really counts: the citizens of Atlantic City. Apparently, some Atlantic Cityites are none too fond of the program's ambitious murals and installations by Ilya and Emiliya KabakovRobert Barry, and Kiki Smith. "Enough with the art," one local wrote in a letter to the Atlantic City Press. Ouch! [The Inquirer]


– One Million Bones Cover D.C. Mall: A 48-hour public art project conceived by artist Naomi Natale has placed one million plaster, paper maché and clay bones on the National Mall for a genocide memorial that also aims to raise awareness of ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Burma, and Somalia. They "were called upon to build a mass grave as a reminder of this promise we made of ‘never again’ that we failed to deliver on. I hope that it will be a powerful statement to all of us of the importance of these issues," explains the artist. [WaPo]

– Hirst Plans Million-Spot Opus: Though Damien Hirst's company Science Ltd. has finally finished plotting all 1,365 of his spot paintings — all of which will be featured in Other Criteria's catalogue raisonné, being published in the fall — the expert animal embalmer has more in the pipeline, including one that will have (we're channeling Dr. Evil here) one million spots. "Damien is working on some spot paintings with very small spots, including a painting with one million spots, which will take a number of years to complete," said Science Ltd. director James Kelly. [Telegraph]

– African Art World Gains Independence: Curators, artists, and non-profits that make up the African art establishment are seeking to detach the continent from Western funding and influence. "We cannot sit back on our laurels and expect everyone to do everything for us, gone are those days," said Sara Hallatt, the director of the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios. "We cannot expect European governments to fund things, we need to do it. And the only way to get those things to happen is to be on top of those conversations, setting the tone and dialogue." [NYT]

– Museum Denies Lesbian Couple Family Membership: The Hands on Children's Museum, an institution that could only be located in Florida, has denied a lesbian couple's application for family membership. "It really just feels like a punch in the gut when you go somewhere and it's kind of thrown in your face, we don't want to treat you equally and we're not going to make any effort to do that," said Karen Lee-Duffell, a mother of two, who has been a member at the museum for over three years. A statement released by the Jacksonville museum's director explained that the membership terms are very specific and do not allow substitutions. [First Coast News]

– True Colors at Auction: A Sotheby’s auctioneer recently mused that paintings containing primary colors fetch the highest prices at auction and added that the reasons collectors pay more are "often alarmingly simplistic." Speaking about Piet Mondrian’s 1927 work "Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue," which goes up for sale next week, he said, "This one has particularly ticked all the boxes because it has the three primary colors – red, blue and yellow – which are the most highly sought after. Although this has never been formulated officially, people respond most positively to those colors." [Telegraph]

– Jewish Groups Protest Palestinian Photog's Paris Show: An exhibition at Paris's Jeu de Paume contemporary art museum by the Palestinian photographer Ahlam Shibli has earned the ire of the Council of Jewish Organizations of France (CRIF), while more radical groups are planning a protest in front of the institution on Sunday. The exhibition, "Phantom Home," features several series examining the concept of home in different countries, and includes a series devoted to homes in Palestine's occupied territories where subjects have images of their deceased loved ones — including suicide bombers and victims of the Israeli army — on their walls. France's minister of culture Aurélie Filippetti and a delegation from the Israeli embassy recently visited the show and lodged no complaints over its content. [Le Monde]

– More Artists Are Crowd-Funding: To create ambitious public installations, artists from Spencer Tunick and Stephen Glassman to Grayson Cox and Molly Crabapple are increasingly turning to crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, often offering donors original art or unique experiences in return for their cash. "It’s crucial that smaller galleries, curators and artists have the capacity to be ambitious," said Whitney Museum curator Chrissie Iles. "Crowdfunding could grant many artists a voice." [NYT]

– "Golden Girl"–gate is a Disgrace: New York art critic Christian Viveros-Faune skewers the celebrity-as-art collector trend, citing the recent Jimmy Kimmel/Bea Arthur painting hoax as a signal that "few collectors are as prized as a bona fide celebrity." Viveros-Faune continues, "As thoughtful news-gathering, 'Golden Girl'–gate is a signal disgrace. But as a web-led media eruption, it demonstrates, above all, a remarkably demotic development: namely, that the world is itching for a topless art one-liner on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live.' Provided you’re into Currin’s painting or any other important work for art’s age-old subtleties, the idea proves a massive booby prize." [TDB]


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