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Is the Egyptian Museum Under Threat? [UPDATE 23] Looters Got Into Museum, Destroyed 2 Mummies

Al-Jazeera is reporting a troubling development at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The Qatar-based news network has been extensively covering the political protests that have engulfed Egypt, causing the country to cut off the internet to those within its borders. Al-Jazeera has been showing images of the fires which are burning around downtown Cairo and they mention that the flames could spread to the world-renowned Egyptian Museum.

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WTF is ModernARTization at Davos?

Davos, Switzerland — ModernARTization: Art and Philanthropy Changing Societies. Yes, it’s a mouthful, and I also don’t know what it means, and the presentation didn’t help. Organizer and philanthropist, Victor Pinchuk, hosted a gathering at the Morosani Schweizerhof Hotel in Davos, Switzerland to discuss how philanthropy can change and educate societies through art. I walked away with the impression that the rich were patting themselves on the back.

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Jan 31 Protest Will Confront Smithsonian Board Meeting

The Smithsonian’s Board of Regents, the highest administrative body of the organization, will be meeting on Monday January 31st with Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough to discuss his decision to censor David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek exhibition. An anti-censorship protest will be held at 1 PM outside the Smithsonian’s headquarters.

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Sunflower Seeds at Sotheby’s: $120,000, Chinese Fakes: $.25

There’s a pile of sunflower seeds on sale at Sotheby’s upcoming February 15 Contemporary Art Evening Auction, and it’s going for an equally large pile of money. How does $120,000 for 100 kilograms of seeds sound? But these aren’t just any seeds: they’re the same hand-crafted porcelain replicas that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei had made for his Turbine Hall installation. The real joke is that a (presumably) fake version of the artist’s work is up on Taobao (the Chinese version of eBay) for only $.25 per seed. Get ’em while they’re dusty (and still online)!

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Jersey City Museum RIP?

In what almost sounds like an obituary for the Jersey City Museum, The Star Ledger is reporting the following about the ailing art institution: ” … what may be the best contemporary art collection in the state, is so strapped for cash that it can’t keep the lights on.” So, what is happening at the New Jersey art institution and what, if anything, will happen to its 10,000 piece art collection?

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New Artemisia Gentileschi Pops Up on Lower East Side

The Bowery isn’t the first place in New York you’d think of to run into a Baroque Old Master painting, but then when the “old master” in question is actually one of the pre-modern era’s only iconic female artists, maybe a little bit of downtown attitude should be expected. “Portrait of an Unidentified Man” (1630-1640) by Artemisia Gentileschi is now on view at Sperone Westwater gallery.

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VIP Art Fair Violates Online Privacy, Won’t Load, Deletes Chats?

Today marks the first (and only) full week of the world’s first online-only art fair. Ending on January 30, the VIP Art Fair has already begun to make waves. How is the fair fairing? Well, visitors are having mixed results. Due to heavy traffic the fair’s website has been loading slowly, harshing the buzz on a big opening weekend. You think the oldsters on dial-up will stand for that? Art Review reports that VIP Art Fair might be stealing your email address. Critics and gallerists complains about the molasses-like speeds. I complain about the Tweet-share button. Here’s a post-weekend guide to the VIP Art Fair, including my own initial impressions.

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Protesters Stage ‘Funeral Procession of Free Artistic Expression’ in LA Against Smithsonian Censorship

Los Angeles — With a cardboard cross and draped coffin, a group of activists and artists assembled in front of downtown LA’s Millennium Biltmore Hotel to stage a “Funeral Procession of Free Artistic Expression,” where Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough was speaking as part of the Town Hall Los Angeles public issues series on “New Perspectives at the Smithsonian.”

The funeral procession was organized in large part by the art protest group LA Raw and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), in response to Clough’s ordered removal of David Wojnarowicz’s 1987 video “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition in late November 2010.

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As Protests Take Place in LA, a Smithsonian Secretary Clough Update [UPDATED]

Today is the day that Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough is going to face the press in Los Angeles to answer questions related to the Wojnarowicz censorship case.

I’m sure there will be lots of news from the event, particularly since LA Raw will be protesting the appearance at the Biltmore Hotel, but before things kick off, we wanted to get you up to speed on the latest developments.

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Guggenheim Might Go to Finland, But Probably Won’t

Even after the reviled imperialist Thom Krens regime ended at the venerable Guggenheim, the museum is still trying to push its brand with new art outposts abroad. Yeah, the Guggenheim Bilbao was a surprise architectural and economic success, but it’s not a given that the same windfalls will come to every international Guggenheim post. Add to that the fact that most planned Guggenheim outposts have fallen through. So really, a Helsinki option is in the works? Why don’t I feel good about this?

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