Carla Bruni Sculpture Incites Class Rage, Greece Wracked by Art Theft, and More Must-Read Art News

 Carla Bruni Sculpture Incites Class Rage, Greece Wracked by Art Theft, and More Must-Read Art News
French first lady Carla Bruni
(Courtesy Getty Images)

Statue of Carla Bruni Incenses the French Left: Sacrebleu! The mayor of Nogent-sur-Marne hopes to erect a two-meter-high bronze statue of a factory worker sporting the face of Carla Bruni, the Italian-born first lady of unpopular conservative prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy. The artwork, commissioned from artist Elisabeth Cibot, is intended as some sort of strange homage to the Italian workers who came to Nogent at the end of the 19th century, but it has touched a raw nerve with locals. "This is grotesque," said the socialist party's local politician. "To give these Italian workers the face of a super rich person is an insult." [Journal des Arts]

– Greece's Culture Minister Offers Resignation: Greece is decending into chaos amid the European economic crisis, and its storied heritage is suffering. After the second museum robbery in two months, culture minister Pavlos Yeroulanos offered to resign. The Museum of Ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, was robbed this morning by two armed men, who stole bronze and ceramic artifacts. Previous reports have noted the country's financial woes have led Greece to cut back on museum security. [Bloomberg]

 Pete Doherty's Blood Paintings: The former Libertine (and former paramour of Kate Moss) is at work on his first UK solo show at London's Cob Gallery. He will present of series of paintings made with his own blood — using a technique he morbidly calls "arterial splatter." [Independent]

– If Marina Abramovic Wore Sweatpants...: Here's one outlandish installation to look out for when the Whitney Biennial opens on March 1: Los Angeles artist Dawn Kasper has literally moved into the museum. "Basically everything I own is here," Kasper said. Throughout the show, the artist will make collages and drawings during the day, and "take lots of naps." [NYT

– Western Art Bodmbs in India: The first auction of western art in India by online auction house Saffronart fetched $1.2 million, trailing forecasts. An early landscape by Vincent van Gogh sold for $697,000, well below its low estimate of $800,000. [Bloomberg]

– Outsourcing Creativity: More and more entertainment businesses are outsourcing creative work, from film companies going to Eastern Europe to use nonunion orchestras for scores to individual musicians producing music videos in India. [NYT]

"Mural" Gets a Makeover: Jackson Pollock's breakthrough work "Mural" will undergo a full restoration and then head on tour around Iowa. The repair process will take several years and could cost around $300,000. The painting, worth some $150 million, was a gift from Peggy Guggenheim to the University of Iowa, which has fought hard to keep it from being sold off to benefit the state. [Des Moines Register]

– Nathan Mabry Moves to Sean Kelly: The Los Angeles-based sculptor, who until now has had only a sporadic presence in New York through group shows at Gladstone and Haunch of Vension, will now show with Chelsea's Sean Kelly Gallery, which will present work by the artist at New York's Armory Show in March. [Press Release]

– Azerbaijan Readies for First Art Festival: Baku, Azerbijan's capital city, will host its first public art festival on February 24, featuring 20 local artists whose work is installed throughout the ancient city. Seeing as the nation's government veiled vagina art at last year's Venice Biennale, however, don't expect anything too scandalous. [TAN]

– "I Don't Think Riots Are Art at All": Should violence ever be the subject of public art? In the UK, residents of Surrey are debating this question after a sculpture commemorating a 19th-century bonfire society that organized notorious riots has been proposed for a local roundabout. [BBC]

– Cotter Meets the Ungovernables: In his measured but in the end positive review of the New Museum's triennial, Holland Cotter asks, "How ungovernable can artists be who have all, so to speak, attended the same global art school, studied under the same star teachers, from whom they learned to pitch their art, however obliquely, to one world market?" [NYT]

London's Iconic Phone Boxes Get the Arty Treatment: Over 40 artists and creative types including Keith Tyson, Giles Deacon, and Zandra Rhodes have been invited to "re-style" London telephone boxes, which will be auctioned to raise money for the charity ChildLine and displayed throughout the capital this summer. [Press Release]

Leonora Hamill and Eric Pillot Win 2012 HSBC Photography Awards: The winners will sign a book deal with the French publisher Actes Sud and go home with a €5,000 ($6,566) cash prize. Banking giant HSBC will also purchase six of the winning images for the company's collection. [BJP]


Check out this preview of the inaugural Palm Springs Fine Art fair:


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