CULTURAL AFFAIRS: Covering the crossroads of culture and culture
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Used to be, graffiti was something you tried your hardest not to see. It covered the subway cars of the Number 1 line up Broadway to van Cortlandt Park, the train I took every day to high school and back in the dark ages of the ‘70s. Sure, the outsides of the subway cars were colorful and bright, but inside, the scrawl of names, a desperate gesture by the anonymous New Yorkers of the ghettos to be seen, to be known, were like so much visual litter thrown against he windows and the walls.
While reading through the lists of “who sold what” for this year’s FIAC and Frieze art fairs, the question occurred to me quite suddenly: why do we do this? I’m as guilty as the next art journalist, to be sure, but really — why do we compose these lists? Is it because people read them? Or do they read them because we write them? I mean – do they really matter? Or is it some kind of secret perversion, as collectors scan the names of artists and the numbers and try to figure out who bought what for how much and from whom, adding up the numbers along the way to see who comes out as the Biggest Buyer?
In a spectacular twist, the men alleged to have stolen a group of paintings from the Rotterdam Kunsthal last year are now suing the museum, along with the city of Rotterdam, according to Dutch press reports. They argue that the case is not being handled efficiently by either the Kunsthal nor the Rotterdam government, and that they are suffering unnecessarily from the lengthy process.
In the latest art restitution case, heirs of Austrian art collector Erich Lederer, whose collection was seized by the Nazis when he fled to Switzerland, are calling on the Austrian state to return “Beethoven’s Frieze,” a seven-foot high fresco by Gustav Klimt. As described in the New York Times, the painting (more…)