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Officials and artists at the opening ceremony of CACC. (photo via Global Times)

Twenty-one Chinese artists, including Zeng Fanzhi, Yue Minjun and Fang Lijun, have become the first group of appointed artists at the Contemporary Art Academy of China. Founded by the Chinese Ministry of Culture’s Chinese National Academy of Arts, CAAC is the first official organization devoted to the research of contemporary Chinese art. Though not everyone is happy:

Famous independent art critic Zhu Qi holds the same view as Chen, sharply criticizing the 21 artists involved as giving up their position as independent thinkers and art creators as they have now listed with the government.

“The vitality of Chinese avant-garde art to a very large extent lies in its criticism toward society and even the government and without such a spirit it is hard to say whether there will be still people interested in it,” Zhu said. (via China’s Global Times)

If an autocratic state like China can endorse and support contemporary art, then it is fair to ask if the art they are supporting is being critical at all or just more window dressing for China’s repressive policies.

The Philadelphia Daily News is crediting the Tyler School of Art with revitalizing north Philly.

Natalie Shea with her warning letter and the alleged graffiti. (via The Brooklyn Paper)

A 6-year-old Brooklyn girl is facing a $300 fine from the city for drawing a pretty picture with common sidewalk chalk. According to The Brooklyn Paper, the young artist received a letter from the Sanitation Department that reads: “PLEASE REMOVE THE GRAFFITI FROM YOUR PROPERTY…FAILURE TO COMPLY … MAY RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST YOU.”

The paper asks:

Since when is a kid’s chalk drawing “graffiti”? Since the City Council passed local law 111 in 2005, which defined “graffiti” as “any letter, word, name, number, symbol, slogan, message, drawing, picture, writing … that is drawn, painted, chiseled, scratched, or etched on a commercial building or residential building.”

In other words, Natalie Shea is not an artistic little girl, but a graffiti scofflaw?

BBC reports that artist Mark Cox is staging an exhibition of representation art that caters to people who are blind or partially sighted.

The Miami Herald is being optimistic and suggests that recent fall art auction results means the art market is climbing back … and just in time for the Miami art fairs. The Wall Street Journal isn’t so sure.

In museum news, the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina, is almost done with its $79 million renovation. Slated to open in April 2010, the new 127,000-square-foot building will house the museum’s 5,000 objects spanning antiquity to the present day.

Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario is trying to recreate the success of its 1979 King Tut blockbuster exhibition with a with a new show of over a hundred objects that opens Tuesday. The AGO is really banking on this new show to attract visitors. Even after a major renovation by architect Frank Gehry that opened last year and cost 276 million Canadian dollars, attendance has dropped from the pre-renovation high of a million visitors a year to 700,000. The new show has sold 50,000 advance tickets but the bigger lesson here is that the Bilbao Effect isn’t a solution for every city.

The Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia (photo by the author)

The Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia, also opening a shiny new building last year and while the debut generated media attention attendance hasn’t stayed high.

If there is anything art people can rely on for drama it is the museums of LA, the latest tidbit is that LACMA’s endowment shrank by 23% and donations for their capital campaign aren’t rolling in. Though if there is something that LACMA should be grateful for it is that they aren’t the MOCA.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.