Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Art World's Weekly Roundup

Cologne Cathedral at night.
Art Round-Up for The Week of September 2, 2007
By Alex Starace

Gerhard Richter.
Well-known German artist Gerhard Richter has completed his gift to the city of Cologne. After five years of work and planning, his enormous stained-glass window was installed in the Cologne Cathedral this past weekend. The grid pattern is comprised of 11,263 colored squares and seventy-two different colors.

According to Hannah Dubgen of ArtForum, after Mr. Richter had selected the seventy-two colors, one-half of the design was then created randomly through a computer program. Richter subsequently made the other half a mirror reflection, giving the cathedral’s window a feeling of controlled chaos. His new design replaces a window that was destroyed in WWII and had since been covered over with clear glass. Initial reactions were almost universally positive – not only because of the beauty of the work but because Richter, who’s lived in Cologne for nearly twenty-five years, is giving the window to the city free of charge. To add to the festivities, the nearby Museum Ludwig is putting on an exhibition of some of Richter’s other serial work, including his 1974 4096 Colors, which inspired the cathedral design, and his very recent 4900 Colors, which was inspired by the cathedral. (Art Forum)
Cologne window and window detail.
Ken Burns’ long-awaited PBS documentary “The War.”
As we all know, cussing can sometimes cause problems – especially when it’s aired on television. The Washington Post reports that Ken Burns’ long-awaited PBS documentary “The War,” will have two versions. The original 14 1/2 hour documentary includes four obscenities – a potential problem, particularly for station managers jittery about the possibility of a $325,000 fine from the FCC.

So a second version of the documentary has been made with the obscenities bleeped out. The FCC is known for its capriciousness and refuses to assess shows before they air, so stations are understandably cautious with their small budgets. Last year a San Mateo, California station was fined $15,000 for airing a Martin Scorsese documentary, “The Blues,” that contained musicians swearing. (The Washington Post)

Artist Damien Hirst is purchasing his own skull. The artist is part of an investment group that’s forking over $100 million for the diamond-studded skull that Hirst himself created.

The artwork, entitled For the Love of God, has 8,601 diamonds and cost $20 million to create. It had been available since June 3.

However, with the slight dip in the art market, it had yet to sell. So, the artist formed an investment group that’s planning on sending the piece on a tour of the world’s museums and galleries, with the hope that in a few years it will net an even larger payday. (Bloomberg)

Hilton Farmhouse in Maryland, before and after restoration.
Want to live in a gorgeous old mansion on a large estate without paying any rent, mortgage, or taxes? You can. But, of course, there’s a catch.

Eve M. Kahn of The New York Times reports that several states along the eastern seaboard (including Massachusetts, Delaware, and Maryland) have an abundance of deteriorating historic houses. The state governments can’t afford to fix or maintain them, so they’re offering them to individuals interested in restoring them.

The position, called a resident curator, is fairly difficult to obtain. Applicants are expected to have previous restoration experience and a detailed re-construction plan. Also, they usually have to make at least a 25-year and a $150,000 commitment to the project.

The benefits? Living in the midst of a lovely estate in a house that would otherwise cost millions – and, of course, the pleasure of the restoration itself. (The New York Times)

Architect Frank Gehry has just agreed to work
on a $2 billion dollar residential and entertainment complex in small-town Lehi, Utah. The 85-acre development will include an amphitheater, shopping center, restaurants, residences, and hotel. The 450-foot hotel, once completed, will be the tallest building in the state of Utah. Mr. Gehry will also design a nearby 10,000-seat arena for the Utah Flash, an NBA Developmental League team owned by the project’s funder, Brandt Andersen. Groundbreaking will take place in 2008. (Bloomberg)
Plan for Gehry Development.

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