ReactorWeekend

Required Reading

by Hrag Vartanian on September 30, 2012

A group in Switzerland is claiming that Leonardo Da Vinci created an earlier version of “Mona Lisa.” The “Isleworth Mona Lisa” (left), they claim, dates to 11 years earlier than the Louvre painting (right) and the group points to a number of pieces of historical evidence to prove their claims, including Renaissance-era biographer Giorgio Vasari and a sketch by Raphael. Watch their fascinating video for more evidence regarding the controversial painting. (via monalisa.org)

This week, a new younger Mona Lisa, 1%ers using art as business collateral, image rights stupidity, Klaus in WSJ, a very green museum, Nazi Buddist space sculpture, a fake Basquiat, and more

 Today in the lives of the 1%. Once billionaire and currently millionaire (opps!) Peter Brandt, who is a current LA MOCA board and publisher of Art in America, is using his valuable collection of contemporary art as collateral for business loans. Bloomberg has the story:

“Most banks are not lending to operating businesses today, so people are looking for alternative sources … If you already have a home-equity loan and a margin balance on your stock portfolio, where else do you go?”

What exactly was in Brandt’s deal?

Sotheby’s Financial Services Inc. made a Sept. 13 filing with the state of New York that showed the auction house’s lending unit was holding 56 pieces from Brant’s collection as collateral, ranging from works by Warhol, Basquiat, Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons to those by younger artists, such as Elad Lassry and Wade Guyton.

 Blogger and art collector James Wagner has the incredibly infuriating story of how art copyright firm VAGA is an irrational embarrassment in the 21st C. He writes about his effort to reproduce a largely unknown print of Nancy Spero on a postcard to advertise the a non-commercial show in Bushwick:

Two days later we heard directly from VAGA for the first time, and this time the news was not so good: We had proposed a large detail of the print for the face of the card, believing it would be more easily read and more compelling in the 5 x7 inch format, but they would not approve cropping of any kind. Also, we would have to come up with hundreds of dollars in “copyright license fees” for the right to use it for the invitation and for the right to display it on our collection website; the fee for the latter would have to be paid every 5 years.

 Twenty or so residents of the small Vermont town of Arlington who were children when they posed in the 1940s for Norman Rockwell came together for a small reunion yesterday to share their memories of the great American artist. The Associated Press has a short raw video of the event.

 According to Gallerist NY, this happened last week in New York: 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that makes it a misdemeanor for an art dealer to use funds owed to an artist from the sale of an artwork to pay for gallery operating expenses and creditors.

… The bill was drafted by a subcommittee of the New York City Bar Association … It used Salander O’Reilly Galleries as an example … When Salander started having money troubles in 2005, the gallery had problems paying its artists and, by 2007, stopped paying them altogether. Millions of dollars owed to artists had disappeared, having instead gone toward keeping the gallery afloat.

 MoMA PS1 curator Klaus Biesenbach is featured in this weekend’s WSJ Magazine. Some notable soundbites:

“Nobody invites me because they want academic research on Rembrandt — they ask for me when they want disruption.”

“I remember in the 1990s, ‘curator’ sounded a bit odd, then it became incredibly fashionable and now I think might be overused.”

“Art is not the art market. Art history is not the history of the art market. Art is about ideas and civilization, and yet too often it’s marginalized by the market in America, censored in China and it suffers from too much affirmation in Europe. The art market is not something that really interests me. There’s a huge difference between a bookstore and a library; both love books and writers, but you wouldn’t ask a librarian why he isn’t a bookseller.”

 I’m including this link because the article may have the best title I’ve encountered all week, “Buddhist ‘Iron Man’ Found by Nazis Is from Space.” How very Indiana Jones! Someone should turn this story into a graphic novel.

 Yale University purchased a supposed early SAMO© (aka Jean-Michel Basquiat) notebook but now signs are pointing to it not only being a fake but stolen to boot.

 The new home of the Barnes Foundation museum in central Philadelphia has earned the distinction of being the first major art museum in American to receive the United States Green Building Council’s “platinum” award, which is the highest level in its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

 A collector names Steve Martin (no relation to the actor) discusses how his obsession for opium paraphernalia turned him into an opium addict. He explains:

“Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, and Charles Dickens wrote about opium smoking, but without a doubt, they never saw the real thing. It’s laughable.”

h/t The Daily Dish

 And finally, Buzzfeed has a list of 10 beautiful things that animals create in nature. Some of the them are truly incredible and if they were placed in a gallery I’m sure many of us would assume they were works of art.

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts or photo essays worth a second look.

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