MoMA taps Kanye's power
Lobbying for the youth vote, or ticket sale more like, MoMA announced on Friday that Kanye West will perform at its annual Party in the Garden benefit. On May 10, West will deliver some beautiful, dark, twisted tunes to a well-heeled crowd. The concert will take place in the museum's Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden from 9:00pm to midnight as part of the gala’s after-party. West is no stranger to the art world. In a recent tweet, he confirmed to followers that the tableau-inspired video for “Power” (still above) is “a moving Painting!!!," not a mere video. Artist and patron, he also commissioned George Condo to create the cover art for his most recent album.
Food for thought
Mexico-city based artist Raul Ortega Ayala has once again got the art world munchies, so to speak, with his forthcoming exhibition at London's Rokeby Gallery (12 May-22 July) delving into the "symbolic, economic, social and religious implications of food alongside contemporary concerns such as consumption and excess", says a press statement. Raul's food-focused works on show include Melting Pots (a Fiction based on Fact), an installation and performance in which the artist recreates a buffet served in Windows of the World, the restaurant destroyed in Manhattan's Twin Towers on 9/11. Ayala even travelled to India to source kitchenware thought to be made from the recycled metal debris of the Towers. But Ayala hits new gastronomic highs (or lows) with his recreation of Pieter Bruegel's Tower of Babel, a sculpture crafted from hydrogenated vegetable fat and animal bones which will slowly melt during the course of the exhibition.
The "Guggenheim dilemma"
Thomas Hirschhorn and Paul Pfeiffer ruffled feathers during a panel discussion at the opening of the Daskalopoulos collection at the Guggenheim Bilbao earlier this month by voicing concern over construction workers' conditions at the museum's Abu Dhabi branch, which is being built on Saadiyat Island. Speaking of a petition he had signed calling on artists to boycott the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Hirschhorn described the predicament as his "Guggenheim dilemma", adding: "My signature only makes sense if I have a price to pay for it." Daskalopoulos was quick to defend the institution in front of a packed auditorium that included Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong, saying: "If we have a dilemma, we are on the same side. The Guggenheim is not the perpetrator, we are the agents of change."
Clare the Kiwi
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), the UK quango responsible for the designation and accreditation of British museums, may well be scrapped in 2012 as part of the government's cuts drive, but it's good to see that MLA chief executive Roy Clare has landed an illustrious new post, as director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand. "In Auckland, I will have an exciting opportunity to learn about the Kiwi lifestyle, starting with...learning to speak the language," says Clare who "flies out to take up his new role in July" notes the jaunty press statement.
Turkish contemporary art is known for pushing the boundaries and works on show in a new commercial exhibition at the Phillips de Pury space in London’s Saatchi Gallery (“Confessions of Dangerous Minds”, 16-30 April) are no exception. The London-based curators Jason Lee and Carlo Berardi of the Artnesia company have assembled 40 works by 19 artists such as Taner Ceylan, Canan Tolon and Ramazan Bayrakoglu who has made an arresting image of the Pope in flames (The Sacred Fire of Faith, 2010-11). The curators elucidate why they chose the piece: “It is most curious to watch artists play with various styles and techniques as they either come to success or failure. We are often faced with the risk that is the act of stepping away from what is beautiful and correct, a risk most artists are hesitant in taking. While Bayrakoglu’s play on different materials on his work instead of paint can be seen as a risk, the artist considers it a progression in his art.”
Right royal steal
News reaches us of a headline-hitting art heist in London: a wooden panel depicting the “Queen Tagging” (the illustrious UK monarch is shown daubing a heart emblazoned with "Will & Kate") by street artist Rich Simmons was apparently stolen from outside Opera Gallery on New Bond Street last night. A press blurb describes the piece as "R. Simmons’ personal tribute to the royal family, only weeks before the Royal Wedding". Opera Gallery director Jean-David Malat offered to auction the unsigned graffiti panel for a cancer charity, prompting this pithy press statement: "The artist also expressed great disappointment, pointing out that involvement with the charity gave his artwork an all-new meaning and that the theft was taking this message away too." Let's hope the blue-blooded panel is put back in place soon.
Monet by buggy at Nelson-Atkins
As anyone who's visited the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City knows-it's a biiiig museum, covering 23 acres. So the institution is introducing a new feature to help visitors navigate the expanse - shuttlecarts. The electric buggies will zip round the grounds at the launch of the long-awaited show "Monet's Water Lilies" which opens today.
Keep it in the family
A huge, "fallen" nine-metre long minaret is stopping visitors in their tracks at the "Down to Earth" exhibition in London (The Studio, Paddington Central, until 21 April). But surprisingly, the monumental piece by Saad Qureshi was made in the rather domestic setting of the sitting room at the family home in Oxford. In a first for artist-parent relations, Qureshi's mum and dad valiantly helped assemble the work. But the stamina-busting story doesn't end there as the window and front wall of the house had to be removed to transport the gargantuan work. The show is organised by the London-based commercial contemporary art organisation Gazelli Art House. Its founder, Mila Askarova, will oversee the Azerbaijan pavilion at this summer's Venice Biennale.
Happy Birthday, Love Lucian!
Just in time for Mother’s Day in the UK, Christie’s is offering a birthday card made by Lucian Freud at the tender age of 19 for his mother Lucie at its post-war and contemporary art London sale on 20 April. The rudimentary work on paper depicts Freud alongside his mum (note the bizarre animal figures bordering the card); the seven-inch-square piece has a low estimate price of £4,000-£6,000.