Sometimes art criticism gets physical. According to reports from the Washington Post, a woman attempted to grab Gauguin’s “Two Tahitian Women” (1899) painting off the wall of DC’s National Gallery, screaming “this is evil” and pounding at the painting’s plastic covering with her fists. Talk about seeing red.
On Sunday morning Beijing time, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was arrested and detained at the airport on his way to Hong Kong. We haven’t heard from the artist since. Ai’s studio remains occupied by police forces though the larger neighborhood of Caochangdi is unaffected at present. Studio assistants, including foreigners, are being questioned by the police. This post will be live updated with news.
Approximately 14 hours ago just before a planned flight to Hong Kong, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been arrested and detained at the Beijing airport. 10 hours ago, police raided Ai’s studio on the outskirts of Beijing. Ai’s status is now unknown: his phone is off, and power has been cut to the studio.
The egotistical Hawass is baaaack! Less than a month after leaving his post as Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities due to revolution fallout, Zahi Hawass has returned to the job.
Beyond a rising death toll of over 10,800, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan has also damaged a current total of 353 Japanese cultural landmarks, including temples, historic sites and iconic landscapes called “places of scenic beauty.” The Matsushima area, north of Sendai, is among the worst hit in terms of cultural damage. Sites damaged include Matsushima’s Zuigan-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple complex founded in 828 whose walls were cracked in the earthquake, as well as 3 other National Treasures.
At only 40 years old, Japan Society’s low-slung modernist headquarters at 333 East 47th Street has just been named New York’s youngest landmark building by the state’s Landmark Preservation Commission. The structure, designed by Junzo Yoshimura and George G. Shimamoto and first completed in 1971, translates traditional Japanese architectural forms into a modernist idiom, bowing to neither but combining the two languages in an innovative and complex way. I spoke with Japan Society vice president Joe Earle about the landmark designation and his experience of the building itself.
The result of a lawsuit levied against Richard Prince’s “Canal Zone” series of photos has determined that the artist may be forced to destroy the works, as they violate copyright laws protecting the series of photographs appropriated by Prince, “Yes Rasta” by French photographer Patrick Cariou. In the end, what happens to Prince’s work is up to Cariou. The court case revolved around whether or not Prince’s alterations of the Cariou’s photos constituted total transformations of the originals, and thus protected under fair use laws. The answer handed down by the court was that Prince’s works didn’t count as fair use of the images — in a word, Prince’s works were too derivative.
Last week, we reported on the growing concern in the visual art and human rights communities about the treatment of workers at the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim project, and this week two Guggenheim leaders have written directly to two prominent artists who signed the petition.
The Portland Press-Herald is reporting that Maine’s labor leaders believe their Republican governor’s decision to remove a pro-labor mural from the state’s Department of Labor is “political payback” and “a spiteful, mean-spirited move by the governor that does nothing to create jobs or improve the Maine economy.”
According to the Japanese Chunichi Shimbun newspaper, an exhibition called The Birth of French Impressionism set to open at the Prefectural Art Museum in Hiroshima City on April 5 has been canceled due to the cancellation of art loans from France. The loans seem to have been canceled because of fear of radiation damage to the artworks due to the Japanese earthquake and its aftereffects on the area’s nuclear power plants. No one wants to see an irradiated Cezanne! Yet a glance at a map of Japan shows that the French could be worrying a little too much. [Hat tip to Annie Bissett]
On March 17, artist Meredith Allen (1964-2011) passed away after a three year battle with cancer. We’ve reproduced an image from her popular Melting Ice Pops series that, Ed Winkleman (Winkleman Gallery) writes, are “addictively sensuous images [that] became Meredith’s break-out series and are included in many collections around the world.”
In reaction to exploitative conditions for construction laborers at the site of the upcoming Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, an international group of artists and art world figures are boycotting the Guggenheim, refusing to “participate in museum events or sell work to the museum,” reports the New York Times and today, Human Rights Watch endorsed the artist protest.