Finishing off this week with some Ai Weiwei news, the story continues to develop. China says Ai’s arrest has nothing to do with freedom of expression, Ai’s rocker friend is returned following a disappearance, academy Chinese artist Xu Bing disavows a relationship with politics.
The Gothamist got inside the secret rooms of Manhattan’s The Frick Collection to take a look at the bowling allery, workshop and staff diner that are off limits to visitors. Check it out.
Today’s addition exemplifies the free-for-all nature of mail art. Inside this cardboard box we discovered the work of artist Mira Gerard and her “Combined Media” class at East Tennessee State University. Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to crack it open.
In your quirky art news of the day: a Midtown Manhattan Subway restaurant has created a lifesize bust of football player and NFL draft pick Mark Ingram Jr. The twist? The 40-pound sculpture is made of chicken salad, veggies and other non-traditional art materials.
Sometimes an exhibition reminds you of why exhibitions exist, those surprising moments when usually dull curatorial exercises become transcendent experiences, reinvigorating overlooked corners of art history. I Am Still Alive at the Museum of Modern Art is one of those exhibitions, defiant and vivacious as anything I’ve seen in New York in the past few years. The show focuses entirely on drawing, demonstrating contemporary drawing’s engagement with the politics of living and everyday life. This is art as struggle and art as achievement, nowhere more reaffirmed than in On Kawara’s telegrams sent to the artist’s dealers and friends simply stating: “I am still alive.” To make art and to fight through problems and conflicts, social or personal, through the medium of art is to be alive.
Online exhibition space The State has a new show up: Jacob Broms Engblom’s “wShare” is a fetishization of those internet moments when we’re just caught waiting.
When fashion impresario Yves Saint Laurent was once asked to name his favorite poet, he paused for a moment, smiled and spoke Pierre Bergé’s name in a soft tone. This “poet” was the designer’s devoted companion for over fifty years. He was also the impresario that ran the logistics of the Yves St. Laurent Couture House from day one in 1961 until its final bow in 2002. But his was probably his knack for finding the right word at the right time that enabled both their business and romance to last.
Teri Tynes of the Walking Off the Big Apple blog went to the preview for Anthony Caro’s mini-retrospective on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum. She has published a good set of photos and a post that reports on the artist and what he said during the press event.
Walking through the Museum of Modern Art’s modern galleries the other day, I happened upon a small painting that’s about as powerful a work as any I’ve ever seen in the museum, and maybe my favorite object in the collection. Surprisingly, this mini work is actually a Picasso, and even at 6 1/4 by 4 3/8 inches is a tour de force of brushstroke, color and composition. Created in 1921 during Picasso’s classical period, this bathing woman is monumental even in the smallest of frames.
Written from the perspective of Dr. Gachet, Vincent van Gogh’s physician, Carol Wallace’s Leaving Van Gogh is the fictional story of the famous painter’s final months in the French town of Auvers. Based on 902 letters exchanged between Van Gogh and his family and friends, the novel paints the picture of a brilliant but tormented artist who alternates between captivating and scaring those closest to him. About to embark on the book tour, Wallace took the time to share her thoughts on Vincent van Gogh, mental illness and the joy of writing about painting.
Last friday, a federal judge denied a request to order Maine to return a mural to a state Labor Department office where it was removed last month. According to the ruling, the Maine governor’s order to remove the 36-foot-long mural in late March constituted government speech, or the right of government to say what it wishes regardless of the viewpoint expressed.
A vibrant Picasso painting, which has not been seen in public for six decades, was donated by an anonymous American under the condition that the University of Sydney sell the work to fund scientific research. [BBC]