Yayoi Kusama Pokes Hirst's Dots, Tea Party Kingpin Plans Met Makeover, and More Must-Read Art News

Yayoi Kusama Pokes Hirst's Dots, Tea Party Kingpin Plans Met Makeover, and More Must-Read Art News
Detail of Yayoi Kusama's "Self-Obliteration No.2," 1967
(© Yayoi Kusama and © Yayoi Kusama Studios Inc.)

– Kusama's Polka at Hirst: On the eve of her Tate retrospective, Yayoi Kusama joined David Hockney in taking a dig at Damien Hirst for his "spot painting" extravaganza. The Japanese artist, who has been painting spots since before Hirst was born, told reporters, "I have done all the work myself, not assistants. That's why I'm in a wheelchair. I've been doing it physically — it's hard labour — throughout my life." [Guardian]

– Met Plaza Gets a Makeover, Courtesy Koch: An ambitious plan is in the works to transform the plaza in front of the Metropolitan Museum into a more efficient and environmentally friendly space, with new fountains, greenery, and seating areas. The makeover is made possible by a $60 million donation from notorious billionaire David H. Koch, the man New York magazine once called the "Tea Party's wallet." [NYT]

– Oldest Artwork Ever?: Maybe it won't be an insult to call someone a Neanderthal anymore. Researchers have discovered six 42,000-year-old paintings of seals, the only known images produced by the Neanderthal man — and potentially the oldest artwork ever discovered. They were found in the Nerja Caves, 20 miles east of Malaga in the Spanish province of Andalucía. [Daily Mail]

– Droit de Suite Win: Collector Dean Valentine settled the lawsuit brought against him by artist Mark Grotjahn, who claimed that Valentine failed to pay him the five percent royalty required by California law after reselling his work. The settlement could be bad news for the auction houses, who are busy fighting a class-action lawsuit for evading paying royalties in California. [ITA]

– Internet Titan Sells More of his Art Collection: Software magnate Peter Norton will consign 45 works to Christie's for its contemporary art auction next month. An earlier group of works from Norton's collection fetched more than $30 million at Christie's in November. [Reuters]

– Zaha Hadid's Business Hit Hard: Profits at Zaha Hadid Architects more than halved last year as the Arab spring brought several major projects to a halt, including an office complex in Cairo and a conference hall in Tripoli. Profits slumped to £1.8 million, compared to a mighty £4.1 million the year before. [Guardian]

– Shepard Fairey Ruminates on New Mural Laws: Street artists Fairey and Saber were among the panelists at a public meeting last night on a proposed ordinance that would legalize some street art in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, Saber hired skywriters to leave a smoke trail of words reading, "Art is not a crime." [LAT]

Cattelan's App Judged One of the Best: The Sunday Times has included the app produced on the occasion of the artist's Guggenheim New York retrospective, which featured his art hanging from the cieling, in its top 500 apps list. "Even if you’re not a die-hard Cattelan fan, this app heralds a promising trend for augmenting art exhibitions with custom-made content," writes the British newspaper. [Press Release]

 Art Funding Anger in Chile: In Santiago, Chile, the National Council for Culture and Arts announced the long-established Mori Center as the recipient of this year's FONDART award, only to be accused of favoritism towards large institutions. The head of the Department for Public Works dismissed the claims but admitted that changes were needed. [Santiago Times]

Water-Powered Floating Band On the River Tyne: "Flow" — an artwork by Owl Project and music producer Ed Carter commissioned by the UK Arts Council in the lead up to the Olympics — will be installed in Gasteshead next month. The piece contains an array of handmade instruments, which will automatically play in response to the river's daily changes. [Journal Live]

Shortlist for the UK's Museum of the Year: Ten museums are in the running for the £100,000 ($158,869) Art Fund Prize 2012, which will reward "excellence and innovation in museums and galleries in the UK for a project completed or undertaken in 2011." Candidates include the National Museum of Scotland, Turner Contemporary, and Watts Gallery. [Press Release]

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