Required Reading

This week, John Constable’s “The Lock” (1824) sold for £22.4m ($35.1m) at Christie’s in London. Other notable paintings in the Old Masters sale was a Rembrandt that fetched £8.44m ($13.2m) and Pietro Lorenzetti’s “Christ between Peter and Paul £5.08m ($7.9m) even though its estimate was only £1–1.5m. (image via artmarketmonitor.com)

This week, internet access is a human right, new Caravaggios, Mali’s historic sites are threatened, challenge to NY’s 1971 loft law, Philly’s Rodin Museum reopens, artist bequests and more.

 In the biggest news of the week … the United Nations has declared internet access a human right! The motion was led by Sweden and supported by countries including Brazil, Tunisia and the United States.

 Mali’s historic sites have a major new threat:

In a development that carries an unsettling parallel with theTaliban’s destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in March 2001, the Islamist group Ansar Dine has destroyed historic Sufi mausoleums in the Malian city of Timbuktu while locals looked on.

This comes after UNESCO placed Timbuktu on its World Heritage Site list. The Guardian adds:

Locals said the attackers had threatened to destroy all of the 16 main mausoleum sites. The Unesco director general, Irina Bokova, called for an immediate halt.

… The sites date from Timbuktu’s golden age in the 16th century. Located on an old Saharan trading route along which salt from the Arab north was exchanged for gold and slaves from the south, Timbuktu blossomed as an Islamic seat of learning, home to priests, scribes and jurists.

 Some art historians are claiming there are 100 “new” Caravaggios. The works, they says, have been falsely attributed to other artists:

The works are believed to date from Caravaggio’s earliest years as a painter, when he was a young apprentice under Simone Peterzano, a mannerist painter in Milan, from 1584 to 1588.

 A Chicago street artist turns the streets into a life-sized Monopoly board.

 A London work by Banksy disappears after the desirable work of vandalism is vandalized by a less talented crew.

 New York’s Soho is going to start counting its artists. In other words, some developers want to overturn the 1971 loft law. From WSJ:

No one knows for sure how many artists are left in an area that was once known as a bohemian enclave. Many of the galleries that helped create SoHo’s artistic identity were driven to Chelsea and later Brooklyn by rising rents.

A survey conducted by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation for the SoHo Alliance, a community activist group that is split on the issue, found that 43% of 209 residents who responded identified as working in the fine arts. It came with a significant caveat: It was hard to get people to answer honestly if they were there illegally.

 In case you didn’t know, Philadelphia is a must-see summer 2012 art destination. First the Barnes Museum opened in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love and now the city’s Rodin Museum will reopen after a three year renovation:

The Rodin and its surrounding gardens have been transported back in time to 1929, thanks to a $9.1 million reincarnation of the original vision of architect Paul Crét and landscape architect Jacques Gréber.

Opened in 1929, The Rodin Museum owns 130 works by the French master, including casts of his greatest works, including “The Thinker” (cast 1919), “The Burghers of Calais” (cast 1919–1921) and “The Gates of Hell” (cast 1926–28).

 Related: The true story of Philadelphia’s Barnes Museum is slowly coming out. Including this amazing revelation:

Ex-Barnes Foundation head Kimberly Camp tells me it was the media, not the Barnes, who claimed the museum would go out of business if it didn’t leave its original home in Merion for the new, taxpayer-and-foundation-funded Parkway site.

 Art Territory has a review of what sounds like a wonderful show of the architect Santiago Calatrava at The Hermitage:

Calatrava calls himself an artist, and not just because he mastered the basics of art during his early school years, only deciding on architecture studies as a late teenager upon discovering Le Corbusier’s ability of combining the creative expression of an architect, a sculptor and a painter in such a wonderful manner. It is also not because the Spaniard paints and creates sculptures to this day, mostly displaying them at his villa in Zurich. He considers architecture to be the highest form of art, reflecting that historically, architecture has always been seen as belonging to the world of art. Speaking about the various aspects of his projects, Calatrava constantly alludes to the work of painters and sculptors, comparing his own approach to architecture with their artistic expression. He also admits to solving architectonical problems by learning from the example of artists searching for answers to their questions. Calatrava finds the irrational and poetic nature of architecture important — a luxury seldom afforded by architects in the new global economic situation.

 The do’s and don’ts of Artist Bequests, according to The Art Newspaper, which includes this interesting fact:

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s recent announcement that it aims to surpass the grant-making pace set by the wealthy Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts … is one more sign that the previously little-known field of artist-endowed foundations has moved into the spotlight.

A priceless 12th-century illustrated guide for pilgrims has been recovered by police a year after it was stolen from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.

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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