Obamas Order White House Gallery, Beijing Craves Giant Duck, and More

Obamas Order White House Gallery, Beijing Craves Giant Duck, and More
The Obama family visits the Corcoran Gallery of Art
(Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)

Obamas Create White House Contemporary Art Space: Barack and Michelle Obama have tapped designer Michael Smith, who was behind the rehang of art in the first family's private quarters and the Oval Office, to convert their family dining room on the ground floor of the White House into a contemporary art space. Artists already represented in the Obama White House include Glenn LigonJasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, and Ed Ruscha. The New York Post already deems the move "akin to stamping a presidential Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on some while razzberrying those who might paint Republican," and questions how this "non-sequestration project" will be paid for. [NYP]

Giant Duck Frenzy Grips Beijing: Although a Chinese government paper condemned the frenzy of copycatting that greeted Florentijn Hofman’s giant yellow duck in Hong King last month, the beloved inflatable sculpture is scheduled to stop in Beijing next, where it seems bound to inspire a similar uproar. One local park has festooned its pond with dozens of smaller yellow ducks in hopes of attracting the floating sculpture. "We wish so eagerly for the genuine duck to come. I'm sure it will bring a lot of happiness to the city," said one woman at the park. [China.org]


Cleveland Swells With Art: Cleveland’s cultural district University Plaza is flourishing, with major expansions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Art. The revamp at the Cleveland Museum of Art includes new youth-geared events including a latin dance affair called "Caliente" (a "Hot in Cleveland" reference?) and a locally sourced restaurant, Provenance. "I used to think the museum was a mini-Metropolitan but now, with the renovations, it’s in a class of its own," said event planner and museum visitor Elizabeth Denton Spencer. [NYT]

Artist Claims Belgian Royal Blood: The artist Delphine Boël has taken to a Brussels court in an attempt to force the Belgian royal family to allow DNA tests to confirm her claim that she is the illegitimate daughter of Belgium's former king Albert II, who abdicated to his son on Sunday. She even turned her struggle for royal recognition into a neon sculpture of the words "Love Child" separated by a heart with a crown on it. [Herald Tribune]

NEA Grant Will Help Slow L.A.'s Gentrification: The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant of $75,000 that will go toward its Affordable Artists' Housing Partnership, which aims to keep rents in L.A.'s arts district affordable for artists as the rapid gentrification of downtown pushes them out. [LAT]

Amy Arbus's Tiny Apartment: The photographer Amy Arbus — daughter of Diane Arbus — has been living in a small studio apartment in a Greenwich Village high-rise for the last two decades, though she says the building's amenities more than make up for the shortage of private space: "I love the gym. I love the swimming pool on the roof!" [NYT]

– Several Nazi artifacts have been looted from the off-site storage facility of the Wyoming Veterans' Memorial Museum. [Billings Gazette]

François Pinault has lent 50 works from his collection for an exhibition at the Conciergerie in Paris, the former royal palace and prison where Marie Antoinette was famously jailed. [WWD]

– Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport Museum put the last surviving wooden whaling ship in the world back into the water after a $7 million restoration. [NYT]


The art of Delphine Boël


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