Tim Knox heading to V&A?
Tim Knox, head of London’s Soane Museum, is being tipped as the frontrunner for the directorship of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which says it will make an announcement within a few months. Knox, an architectural historian, has been at the Soane since 2005. During the past few years he has been fundraising for a £7m development project at the Soane, which is just as well as whoever takes over at the V&A will have to raise around £30m for its proposed new building.
MIA gets it
Kudos to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for maintaining its sense of humour. When a billboard for its major Titian exhibition was vandalized recently—the sensual nude had a red top spraypainted over her bare chest to keep her warm in the still wintry weather—the museum decided to leave it up. The head of PR, Anne-Marie Wagener, says “Without those words it did look as though someone’s trying to censor it. But with ‘Brrrr!’ it has that whole sort of funny element. Because it is cold!”
Banksy in town for Oscars
With the Oscars awards night coming up this weekend, the proliferation of stencilled street art in LA (as above, spotted today) points to graffiti star Banksy being in town to see if his nominated documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop snags a gold statuette. But alas, the mysterious man behind the art is unlikely to appear on stage at the Kodak Theatre to accept the award if his film does win, as his request to appear in disguise has been rejected by the organisers. The Academy's executive director, Bruce Davis, told reporters: “The fun but disquieting scenario is if that film wins and five guys in monkey masks come to the stage all saying, 'I'm Banksy!' Who the hell do we give it to?" Co-host James Franco can probably make an adequately artsy acceptance speech/performance piece instead.
Frieze: the next chapter
The Frieze juggernaut rolls on with news that Frieze Publishing is launching a new publication, frieze d/e, this spring (the first new magazine Frieze Publishing has launched since the inception of the original frieze in 1991). The new Berlin-based publication, a bilingual German/English quarterly (d/e stands for Deutsch and English in case you were wondering), will cannily "offer in-depth coverage of contemporary art and culture throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland while closely following the international artist communities in this region", says a press statement. frieze d/e will be edited by regular frieze contributor Jennifer Allen.
Vettriano gives "weight" to Scottish National collection
The self-taught Scottish artist Jack Vettriano is a huge hit with the public and a crop of celebrities including movie giant Jack Nicholson and the Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane. In a surprise development, Vettriano’s work will be hung in a major Scottish museum, with his self-portrait The Weight set to go on show in the newly refurbished £17.6m Scottish National Portrait Gallery this November (the work is on loan from a UK private collection). But the knives are already out. “I think his pictures are emotionally trite and technically drab, so they damage the cause of the painter. A much finer example of modern painting in Edinburgh is Richard Wright's decorated ceiling in the Dean Gallery,” notes Jonathan Jones of The Guardian. Ouch.
Morley's milestone Manhattan show
Malcolm Morley has a lot to celebrate. At the end of March, Sperone Westwater in New York is organising an exhibition of his newest photorealist works depicting RAF pilots and bombers caught up in dogfights. And the show opens right before the artist celebrates his 80th birthday. Morley, who was awarded the inaugural Turner Prize in 1984 to the surprise of most of the British art world (he had lived in New York for 20 years), started out painting while serving a three-year sentence at Wormwood Scrubs prison. He studied at the Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art with Peter Blake and Frank Auerbach before dropping out to move to New York, where he met and was influenced by Barnett Newman, Warhol and Lichtenstein. You’ve come a long way Malc.
Musée Picasso snub unsettles Zurich curator
The blockbusting 119-piece Picasso show that closed at the Kunsthaus Zurich last month drew the cream of the crop from high-profile collections such as Moma in New York. But there was one noticeable absentee on the lender list, the Musée Picasso in Paris, which left the exhibition curator, Tobia Bezzola, deflated. "We asked for 12 works and hoped to obtain four or five," he told Le Monde. "But it was insane. I phoned Paris on several occasions and Anne Baldassari, the director, refused to speak to me. I could only get her secretary on the line. I have never seen such disdain." Ouch. A spokeswoman for the Musée Picasso pointed out that a series of loans "officially selected by the Musées de France" has been made to other institutions while the museum is closed until February 2012.
Che bella festa: Italian art award launches in London
La Bella Italia a Londra...Italian dignitaries and UK art stars descended on the Royal Horseguards hotel in Whitehall, London, last night for the inaugural Accademia Apulia photographic award. Over 300 participants entered the competition with three finalists selected by an international panel of esteemed judges (including an editor-at-large of The Art Newspaper). Matteo Sandrini was crowned overall winner for his striking composite images of the inhabitants of Brescia, bagging a £1,000 cash prize (fellow entrants Alex Boyd and Stefano Morelli just missed out on the main prize). The Mayor of Westminster, Judith Warner, wowed the crowd (including Giuseppe Lovascio, the Mayor of Conversano in Apulia) with her impressive Italian pronunciation while the throng of swanky luminaries included Accademia Apulia patron Nancy Dell'Olio, seen poring over the eye-catching photographic pieces. The Italian lawyer, socialite and charity campaigner revealed that she's an avid art collector, with a penchant for East End art spaces, especially Posted (a temporary exhibition space housed in a former post office in east london). Representatives from Bari also revealed that the southern Italian city is European Capital of Culture candidate for 2019. Prize sponsors include the legal and tax offices of Belluzzo & Associati, the Gattarella Resort, Fujanera wines and La Bottega del Caffé in Regent Street, London.
Feather dusting Freud's fluffy bits
Artist Jemima Burrill hopes to get into every nook and cranny of the Freud Museum in north London tonight - literally. The houseproud practitioner aims to clean Freud's house "with her body" as part of the Objects of Desire themed evening. Burrill explains: "Each nook and crack cleaned with an elbow, a knee or finger. The house becomes the mind. The performer the interloper in the mind, who digs out the dirt, finds the fluff and eases it into public view." Or, when asked for a simpler analysis, she quipped: "Licking, rubbing, feet with dusters fluffing, fingers extracting dust balls, bum gliding, bust froating!" Happy dusting.
Pour it on
Like a 3-D version of the color field canvases of Morris Louis, New York artist Holton Rower's "Tall Paintings" are made by spilling streams of paint over columns of wood, allowing the excess to run over the sides. Call it messy, call it minimalist, but then again Rower, the grandson of sculptor Alexander Calder, has modernism running through his blood, so he might know a thing or two about abstract art history. All we know is that we could watch this time-lapse video by Dave Kaufman of one such painting being made on loop.
Tall Painting from Dave Kaufman on Vimeo.
Chus rings in the changes at Documenta
The most intriguing (James Bond-esque) art world job title of the week must be the new moniker for Chus Martínez who has been appointed "Agent, Member of Core Group, Head of Department in the curatorial office of the Artistic Director in Kassel [for Documenta 13 which takes place 2012]". Martínez, previously chief curator at Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, has been an "Agent of Documenta 13 since 2009", notes the press blurb. She's since been bumped up to the "Core Group" (cheers for Chus).
Super Bowl art bet, year 2: Renoir vs Caillebotte
Last year we saw the directors of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art put their collections on the line in the ultimate display of team spirit, by placing a Super Bowl bet in the form of a work of art. When the Saints emerged victorious, Indy dutifully packed up a Turner canvas and sent it on loan to Louisiana. Now, “in keeping with the tradition of friendly wagers”, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum have announced that they will venture two works from their collections on the outcome of this weekend’s Super Bowl championship game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. If Green Bay wins, Carnegie director Lynn Zelevansky (a “proud member of the Steelers nation” we hear) promises to loan Renoir’s Bathers with Crab to Milwaukee; if Pittsburgh triumphs, Caillebotte’s Boating on the Yerres will be making its way to the Steel City. Go teams!
American Apparel's "artistic" ads
After getting flack for their risqué ads, hip clothing brand American Apparel decided to class up their act, it seems, by hiring an artist to create some watercolour and pencil drawings for their most recent ad campaign. Unfortunately the sketches might be even pervier than the old ads, and it’s no surprise when the artist they chose, Boris Lopez, frequently does illustrations for magazines like Hustler’s Barely Legal. If their advertising department is taking suggestions, might we suggest licensing some Egon Schiele drawings next time? Still sexy, but with more art historical clout.
Spanish diplomat does time for Dali
At the opening of the striking new $36m Dali museum in St Petersburg, Florida, last month, the Spanish ambassador to the US, Jorge Dezcallar, gave a charming account of his first meeting with the Spanish surrealist. "I was a young cultural attaché in the 1970s and I felt I should meet him, so I called him and asked him to lunch. He immediately accepted, but said he only ate at La Grenouille, the highly expensive New York restaurant," noted Dezcallar. "So I arrived early at the restaurant, quite nervous; Dali soon arrived...with eight friends! I didn't have a credit card and the bill was huge. I had to leave my watch with the restaurant, and it took me until the end of the month just to pay it off."