News

Art Movements

by Allison Meier on February 21, 2014

TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport (photograph by the author)

The TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport (photo by the author)

Art Movements is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world.

Earlier this week, we reported on the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s plan to dissolve and become part of the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. But the University of Maryland had been in talks with the Corcoran for months, the Washington City Paper reported, and the school’s leaders only found out that its partnership was rejected when the latest news was announced.

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr released his plan of adjustment today, in conjunction with the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy. The plan follows the guidelines of the proposed “grand bargain” organized by federal judge Gerald Rosen, ensuring the protection of the Detroit Institute of Arts collections in exchange for money raised by the museum and other contributors going toward city pension funds.

Cornelius Gurlitt, the owner of over 1,000 recently discovered artworks that he inherited from his father, a Nazi-era German art dealer, has launched his own website, which aims to present his side of the story. According to the Los Angeles Times, the site states that he desires “to live with my pictures in peace and tranquility.” Meanwhile, Gurlitt’s lawyers have filed an appeal against the seizure of the art.

The Future Interns activist group has reported that London’s Serpentine Gallery will begin paying their interns. According to an anonymous email from a Serpentine employee published on the Future Interns Tumblr blog, “The ‘bad’ press from the bonus scadal [sic] and the protests about unpaid internships has given us leverage internally to bring about changes.”

Only one of the three Banksy pieces offered at Fine Art Auctions Miami this week sold: the “Kissing Coppers,” which went for $575,000, on the low side of its $500,000–700,000 estimate. The other two that had been taken from Banksy’s New York City residency — “Bandaged Heart” and “Crazy Horse Car Door” — didn’t meet their minimums.

The Obama Administration announced new ivory trade restrictions that, according to National Geographic, will place “a near complete ban” on any sale of African elephant ivory in the United States. The heavier restrictions follow a public destruction of confiscated ivory in a ceremony earlier this month at the Eiffel Tower in France.

Plans to put a Standard Hotel in the Eero Saarinen–designed TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport are not happeningCrain’s reported. The Port Authority is searching for new candidates to redevelop the historic building.

Menil Drawing Institute rendering (© Johnston Marklee)

Menil Drawing Institute rendering (© Johnston Marklee)

Johnson Marklee’s plans for the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston were revealed, showing a subdued structure for the institution’s new space devoted to modern and contemporary drawing.

Blouin Media, which publishes Artinfo, Art + Auction, and Modern Painters, is being sued by two of its former executives, who claim that they’re owed money. The company’s president and de facto spokesman Ben Hartley has also left for Berlin’s Auctionata, GalleristNY reported.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science returned 30 artifacts from its East African spiritual carvings collection to the Kenyan government. The vivango effigies will go to the National Museums of Kenya while their villages of origin are sought.

The Hammer Museum selected the 35 artists for the second edition of its Made in LA biennial. The 2014 exhibition aims to recognize Los Angeles artists who are emerging or not widely recognized.

The Mies van der Rohe–designed Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC, will be renovated in a project by Martinez + Johnson and Mecanoo Architecture. Some have raised concerns about a potential conflict between preserving its architectural history and bringing the building up to date, the Washington Post reported.

Expansion work on the Uffizi Gallery in Italy revealed a mass grave of Florentine plague victims.

Panama BioMuseo (photograph by F Delventhal, via Flickr)

Panama BioMuseo (photo by F Delventhal, via Flickr)

The long-delayed Panama BioMuseo, designed with wildly colorful roof panels by Frank Gehry (his first work to be built in Latin America), is finally approaching an opening date.

Three years after one was damaged, 1930s murals by James Monroe Hewlett in the Bronx County Courthouse are finally being saved by the City of New York.

First Lady Michelle Obama stopped by the New Museum this week as part of her “Drink Up” campaign promoting water instead of sodas and other sugary drinks.

The old trolleys on the Red Hook waterfront that were suddenly removed earlier this month are apparently being relocated to a Connecticut museum.

A new theory about the Shroud of Turin has emerged: that the face of Jesus was formed by an 8.2-magnitude earthquake in Jerusalem in 33 AD.

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  • Den Hickey

    I’m not entirely clear on what all the hate for Banksy’s NY stint was all about, but it was definitely there so its no real surprise to see his work from that period sell low or not sell at all. Brilliant as his work often is, brilliant as his manipulation of the art world and of media often is, his appeal in the art world has always been based on things besides the quality of his work, so this eddy of auction backbiting and carping is not really all that surprising a development. I doubt it will have too much negative impact on his career overall, though.

    • http://hragv.com/ Hrag Vartanian

      I think part of the issue with auction prices is people probably don’t want to spend six figures on something with no certificate of authenticity, which is inevitably an issue with Banksy’s street work.

      • Den Hickey

        Agreed. I don’t think thats the whole of the reason, but it is definitely a factor for at least some if not most potential buyers. I would say its a dubious deal on a brief phase of his output that has compromised growth potential in terms of its value and importance.

        • http://hragv.com/ Hrag Vartanian

          I think the street pieces are more like historical artifacts rather than contemporary art, relics of a piece that has been defanged of its context like some ancient Egyptian object.

          • Den Hickey

            Well, yeah, but then thats the case with pretty much all art that wasn’t made specifically for the world of galleries/dealers/autions in the last 50 to 60 years, really. I would agree they function that way for Banksy and for those who are viewing art as less of an automatic commodity for investment and profit. I was specifically speaking about the art world in the sense of that commodification of art for investment and profit to the (near) exclusion of actual appreciation.

          • http://hragv.com/ Hrag Vartanian

            I’ve often wondered if the art world’s ability to sell conceptual art was not a parallel — perhaps even antecedent — to the financial industry’s ability to sell these financial products that can often feel “conceptual.”

          • Den Hickey

            Interesting point. I think perhaps you could even draw that out a bit further where conceptual banking was first introduced leading to the sort of repackaging of loans of dubious value and all sorts of other middleman beneficial forms of esoteric transactions much in the way conceptual art led to an art world more fully based on a wholly subjective financial value utterly divorced from any idea of quality keeping the work of artists with little to no real influence on art itself in the resale and auction markets at high prices based on name alone and on who has or does own their work.

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