Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Art World's Weekly Roundup

Section of "Stream" by Elizabeth Murray (at the 23-Ely Station).
Art Round-Up for The Week of August 12, 2007
By Alex Starace

The Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A.
Want to buy a purse? The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has a radical new exhibition strategy that will help patrons do just that. As part of a retrospective show of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, the MOCA is planning on having a fully-functional Louis Vuitton boutique.

The shop will be situated in a middle gallery of the 20-gallery exhibition and will be considered an integral ingredient to the show.

Sales associates will offer purses featuring Murakami designs, with prices ranging from an estimated $875 to $920. The sales booth is meant to highlight Murakami’s long-time association with the Vuitton brand, as well as his career-long goal of breaking the barrier between commercial and pure art. The exhibition is scheduled to open on October 29th. (Los Angeles Times)
Examples of purses that may be sold in the MOCA Louis Vuitton boutique.
The Brooklyn Museum’s conservation laboratory wants to learn more about its Egyptian holdings, so the museum’s mummies are all getting a check-up. This includes five human mummies and nearly fifty animal mummies. Scientists are performing four tests, with the two major ones being X-ray fluorescence and CT scanning. X-ray fluorescence allows an analysis of the painted surfaces of the mummies. Thus far, results suggest that components from some red dyes on the mummy wrappings arrived in Egypt all the way from Spain. The second test, CT scanning, lets the conservators to perform a non-invasive examination of the interior of each mummy. This allows them to see the health of each specimen’s bone structure, as well as to see if the mummy was wrapped with any burial objects. (Brooklyn Museum)
Mummy receiving a CT Scan at The Brooklyn Museum’s conservation laboratory.
Christie’s is going Russian. The auction house just announced plans to open an office in Moscow. This follows Sotheby’s opening an office in the Russian city this past May. While Christie’s will not hold auctions in Russia due to the country’s problematic legal rules on the subject, the firm will work on cultivating clients, getting consignments and arranging private sales. The firm claims sales from its Russian lots have increased seven-fold since 2000. Such figures are probably a major reason why insiders believe Russian collectors are growing in number, taste, and willingness to purchase. (The Moscow Times)
The Old Sewing Machine by Sergei Mikhailov (One lot for sale from Christie's).
Documenta 12, the major art festival held every five years in Kassel, Germany, is being taken to court by tour guides.

The Documenta series has long discouraged “non-official” tours, though this year the tension reached a breaking point: the commercial travel organization Studiosus filed an official complaint that Documenta is intentionally holding a tour monopoly.

The grievance was backed by the German Travel Association. Documenta and Studiosus have given conflicting reports regarding the matter, which only adds to the acrimony; it’s now up to local courts to decide the matter. (ArtForum)


Artist Elizabeth Murray died on August 12th, 2007, at the age of 66. She was best known for her Modernist, cartoonish abstractions that brought personality and energy to the post-minimalist artworld of the 1970s. However, throughout her life her work was admired. So much so that MoMA did a retrospective exhibition of her 40-year career in 2006. And her public work is still on display. Two large mosaic murals of hers can be seen within the MTA subway system: one at the 59th Street-Lexington Avenue Station in Manhattan and the other at the 23rd Street-Ely Avenue Station in Queens. Murray died at home of complications from lung cancer. (The New York Times)

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