James Franco's Troubled "Rebel" Show Returns, L.A. Biennial Offers Big Cash, and More Must-Read Art News

James Franco's Troubled "Rebel" Show Returns, L.A. Biennial Offers Big Cash, and More Must-Read Art News
James Franco
(© BFA)

– James Franco's "Rebel" Exhibition Rises Again: The actor's much-ballyhooed and subsequently postponed artistic homage to his doppelganger and hero, James Dean, will be realized in L.A. beginning May 15 (with sponsorship from MOCA, site of Franco's "General Hospital" soap-opera-as-performance-art stunt). The show, which includes work by Douglas Gordon, Terry Richardson, and Ed Ruscha, among others, will explore the themes of the classic movie "Rebel Without a Cause," and, strangely, will be on view at JF Chen, the Hollywood space of furniture dealer Joel Chen. [MAN, LAT]

West Coast Trumps Whitney Biennial: Los Angeles's Hammer Museum will reward one artist participating in its new biennial exhibition "Made in L.A." with $100,000, a larger purse than the Tate's Turner Prize and equivalent to the Whitney Museum's Bucksbaum Award. And unlike those cash prizes, the winner of the Hammer's Mohn Prize will be determined by the exhibition's visitors, who will vote on one of five finalists selected by a jury of art experts. [LAT]

2,895 Buddha Statues Found in China: Archaeologists have stumbled across the treasure trove in Yecheng, in the Lin Kiang region. The white marble and blue stone Buddha figures and fragments are believed to be from the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi dynasties (534-577). No valuation has been released. [AMA]

– A Truckload of Contemporary Art for African Kids: The Musée Mobile (or MuMo, Mobile Museum) — a large truck with bright red and white stripes hauling works by Maurizio Cattelan, James Turrell, and a PG inflatable rabbit sculpture by Paul McCarthy — is touring schoolyards throughout Africa after debuting in France in October. The roving exhibition, open only to children, was launched by French entrepreneur Ingrid Brochard, and is supported by the oil giant Total's philanthropic foundation, which is hopefully chipping in for gas. [Le Monde]

– Degas Ballerina Bails: Though the circumstances of the $10 million painting's theft from the Fifth Avenue apartment of the late heiress Huguette Clark remain a mystery, the deal that left Edgar Degas's "Dancer Making Points" hanging on the living room wall of Kansas-based tax company millionaire (and Impressionist art collector) Henry Bloch are now known, involving a humorously elaborate loan scheme from its current actual owner, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: "The museum had agreed to lend the painting back to the Blochs, and they will have it as long as they live, renewing the loan every year." [MSNBC]

– Double Trouble: Is it possible to have a monopoly on a black-and-white image of the Houses of Parliament with a red bus in the background? According to a controversial copyright ruling in the UK, the answer is yes. Lawyers are currently appealing a ruling in which a judge said it was illegal to recreate parts of a composition of an existing photograph, even if the second work is not a copy but a separate photograph taken from a different angle. [TAN]

– Flair for Human Drama (and Flesh): The globe-trotting painter Johan Zoffany (1733-1810) is the subject of a new retrospective at London's Royal Academy, and though the accompanying catalogue confirms that he excelled at two very specific genres of painting — portraits of actors in character, and so-called "conversation pieces" with large groups interacting amongst themselves — nowhere does it mention the fateful journey in the Indian Ocean during which, following a shipwreck, Zoffany allegedly ate a young sailor. [Bloomberg]

– MTA Introduces Public Art App: The Arts for Transit program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has released its first licensed app, which will serve as a guide to the 186 permanent artworks installed throughout New York's rail stations. Did you know Vito Acconci has a piece in the Yankee Stadium station? [NYT]

– 2012 Shanghai Biennale Curators Announced: Qiu Zhijie, an artist and professor who has exhibited at the Venice and Sao Paulo Biennales, will have the title of chief curator. He will be joined by two co-curators, art critic and Slavic studies professor Boris Groys and Watts Institute for Contemporary Arts director Jens Hoffman. [Artforum]

Titanic Letter Goes Home: The descendants of a doctor who died on the Titanic are thrilled to see a letter written by their ancestor return to Belfast in time for the 100th anniversary celebrations — thanks, it seems, to a mysterious benefactor who purchased the letter after it was bought in at auction. Meanwhile, museums all over the world are gearing up for the Titanic's centennial. [AP, NYT]

– Alex Prager Wins Foam Paul Huf Award: The winner of the annual prize, given to a photography talent under 35, receives €20,000 and an exhibition at Foam Amsterdam. [Press Release]


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