This is a man’s world—except when it isn’t
When the Bruce High Quality Foundation announced plans to show exclusively women artists at its final “Brucennial” exhibition (7 March-4 April), the collective refused to explain why: “We’re not going to discuss the gender or sex of the artists,” they said in a statement. But they did explain it to the artists in a separate email: “Our imperfect answer is to put on an exhibition that shows the work of women, but does not draw attention to their gender or sex… We want to do everything possible to avoid having the show described as ‘a women’s show.’ We mention it to you, so that you have the facts and can make your own decision about whether or not to participate.” Then they asked artists not to forward the message. But unsurprisingly the move rankled a few people, including one Brucennial alum, the sculptor Elliott Arkin. When Arkin learned he would not be allowed to show in this year’s event, he told his friend and fellow artist Monica Gripman. She responded with the idea to submit his piece—a clay self-portrait—under her name. “I thought it was a great Duchampian gesture,” Arkin said. The Bruces accepted Gripman’s proposal, but when Arkin arrived to install it, they emailed a rejection, saying they were “not going to get into an argument with you about what is or isn’t appropriation. We’re not including the work because we don’t want to.”
New York drawing marathon to begin
It is never too late to learn something new. Next week, the performance artist Suzanne Lacy is scheduled to take intensive drawing lessons from the multimedia artist Andrea Bowers as part of a nine-day performance at The Drawing Centre in New York (15-23 March). The artists, who both explore issues of labour, feminism and education in their work, are expected to live in the museum for the duration of the show. By night, they will sleep in tents in the galleries; by day, Bowers will offer Lacy severe hour-long drawing lessons interspersed with formal drawing practice. The Drawing Centre’s curator Claire Gilman approached the artists with the idea for the show after reading an interview in which Bowers discussed her desire to teach Lacy, who is 20 years her senior, to draw. Who says museums are only educational for their visitors?
An American president in Paris
Vive la revolution! The Louvre is experiencing the revolutionary spirit again but this time it has a decidedly American accent. “New Frontier III: Anglo-American Portraiture in an Era of Revolution” (28 April) is the third instalment in an exhibition series at the Paris museum that is a collaborative effort with the High Museum of Art, Atlanta the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville and the Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago. Not surprisingly, George Washington, the father of the country, features heavily, but research for the show has resulted in a new attribution of one his portraits, on loan from the Château de Versailles. Once thought to be an 1830s copy of an older work, the works is now believed to have been painted by Charles Willson Peale, and the Louvre’s head curator of painting has traced its provenance to Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon-Malesherbes, a former Minister of Louis XVI, making it among the first portraits of Washington to cross the Atlantic.
This summer’s hottest ticket: Palaeolithic cave art
Five lucky visitors, chosen at random each week from now until August, have the chance to explore the Cave of Altamira, a Unesco World Heritage Site known as the “Sistine Chapel of Palaeolithic Art”, which has been closed to the public since 2002. To enter the lottery, visitors must be aged 16 or older and buy a ticket to the Museum of Altamira in Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, northern Spain, where staff will draw a handful of names every morning, starting today. Those chosen get to enter the cave wearing disposable overalls, hats, masks and special shoes (stylish!) provided by the museum to protect the ancient murals of bison, horses and other animals, dating from 35,000BC to 11,000BC. The goal of the limited entry is to allow conservators to analyse the impact of human on Altamira’s delicate environment and help officials decide whether it should be reopened to the public permanently. According to Unesco, because of the deep galleries, isolated from the outside climate, the cave art has been particularly well preserved. But in recent years scientists blamed mould growing on the paintings to the body heat and moisture brought in by large numbers of visitors.
Winston Churchill: prime minister, painter and art promoter
Winston Churchill’s love for Marrakech is well known. Calling it “the most beautiful place in the world at sunset”, the British prime minister even put his war duties on hold to escape to the city with Theodore Roosevelt in 1943. He also played a role in fostering one of Morocco’s greatest artistic talents. That same year, the Pacha of Marrakech, Thami El Glaoui, told Churchill he was worried that his son wanted to become a painter. The Pacha had a political career in mind for his son, but Churchill, having seen the young boy’s talents (and having a soft spot as a painter himself), managed to convince the father to let his son study art. Hassan El Glaoui left for Paris in 1950 and went on to become one of Morocco’s pre-eminent artists. Paintings of Marrakech by El Glaoui and Churchill were shown side-by-side during the opening of the Marrakech Biennale in “Meetings in Marrakech-Paintings by Sir Winston Churchill and Monsieur Hassan El Glaoui” at the city’s La Mamounia Hotel where Churchill often stayed.
Oscar winning director (and Turner prize artist) picks Hollywood over Hugo Boss
When Hollywood calls, the art world may just have to wait. The artist-turned-film-director Steve McQueen has quietly withdrawn his name from consideration for the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize because of the demands of promoting his Oscar-winning movie 12 Years A Slave. “Mr McQueen will be unable to fulfil the requirements of the selection process,” says the website of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; those requirements include a major contribution to the catalogue for the award and a potential show at the Guggenheim in New York. Five nominees, including Paul Chan and Camille Henrot, remain in the running for the biennial, $100,000 prize. A partner at McQueen’s London gallery, Thomas Dane, said prior to the award ceremony in LA that the film-maker has no additional comment to make. “There is nothing to add,” Martine d’Anglejan-Chatillon said. “He is in LA promoting the film.” For a man who’s already won the Turner Prize, perhaps an Oscar simply has the greater sheen.
Warhol superstar shines on
One of Warhol’s “superstars”, the coterie of friends and personalities that would appear in Andy’s films during the 1960s and follow the Pop artist everywhere, is still garnering art world attention. Ultra Violet, 78, born Isabelle Collin Dufresne will be included in the American Academy of Arts and Letters invitational exhibition, opening 6 March and running until 12 April. Her recent work will be shown alongside examples by contemporary market darlings like Wade Guyton, and many of the show’s artists go on the become Academicians. Hearing about her inclusion “brought tears of joy to my eyes”, said Ultra Violet, who still keeps studios in Chelsea and Nice.