Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Art World's Weekly Roundup

Chinese National Olympic Stadium.
Art Round-Up for The Week of September 16th, 2007
By Alex Starace

The Dahesh at night, in its old location.
Rent in New York is always on the rise. And sometimes it’s just too much – even for the esteemed Dahesh Museum of Art. Carol Vogel of The New York Times reports that the Dahesh can’t afford the increase on its prime Manhattan location of Madison Avenue and 56th Street. The rent, which is approximately $200,000 a month, takes up half the museum’s budget, and so the board of trustees has decided enough is enough.

The museum will be homeless until it finds a suitable space, though it plans on continuing to organize traveling exhibitions during the search for new digs. [The New York Times]

Nothing stirs up controversy like art in public spaces. This truism was affirmed once again this past week in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the city’s medical centers.

Lovelace's As I Walk Through This Life with Goodness and Mercy.
Steven Litt of The Plain Dealer reports that the seemingly-innocuous painting My Home Town was recently taken down when some visitors and employees found the work racially insensitive. The painting was meant to evoke town pride. The artist, Michelangelo Lovelace, is shocked by the furor.

As a life-long Clevelander and as an African-American, he intended a piece that would feature the major cultural attractions of his hometown, as well as show the citywide community coming together. But the painting depicts a racial divide: the citizens on the left of the canvas are African-American, while the citizens on the right are Caucasian. Only in the middle is there a mixture of the races. This depiction squares with the actual racial geography of the city: the east side of Cleveland is predominantly black, while the west side is predominantly white.

Regardless, some found such a depiction stereotypical and insensitive. Despite his dissatisfaction with the decision to remove My Home Town, Mr. Lovelace will replace it with another of his works. [The Plain Dealer]
My Home Town by Michelangelo Lovelace.
Have you been out-bid at auction by a twelve-year-old? It’s not as unusual as you might think. Kelly Crow of the Wall Street Journal reports that the latest trend in art collecting is child-collectors, some as young as four years old.

Art Collector Dakota King.
Well-heeled, aesthete parents are encouraging – and bank-rolling – their children’s trendy habit. One collector, Dakota King, has been accumulating art since she was four years old. She is currently nine and has over forty works, including a Warhol. Then there’s Charlie Rosen, who, at eleven years old, bid for a Jeff Koons sculpture at Sotheby’s, finally acquiring it for the price of $352,000. Another minor, Taylor Houghton, now fourteen years old, collects candy-related art – his best piece is a Vik Muniz chocolate syrup work.

Parents of the collectors defend the habit by pointing out that it teaches their children to value money, make investments, and appreciate art. Plus, of course, the artwork does not depreciate simply because a youngster owns it – many of the children must place their collections into trusts set up for them. [The Wall Street Journal]

Ai Weiwei.
In Beijing, site of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, artist Ai Weiwei has disowned all association with the Chinese government and with the Olympics. Unfortunately for him, Ai Weiwei also designed the celebrated Chinese National Olympic Stadium, a structure known as “the bird’s nest” that will be one of the architectural highlights of the 2008 festivities.

The artist cited his moral disagreement with his country’s one-party government and its propagandistic techniques as the primary reasons for his dissatisfaction. [The Guardian]

Olga Viso will become director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis
this coming January. She was previously the director of the Smithsonian’s Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where she was acclaimed for her work in promoting and improving the museum’s contemporary art collection. The Walker Art Center, which underwent an expansion in 2005 performed by Herzog & de Meuron, is known as one of the nation’s premiere contemporary performing and visual arts spaces. Ms. Viso will replace Kathy Halbreich, who’s stepping down after sixteen and half years on the job. [The Walker Art Center]
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

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