Everyone has been very worried about the state of cultural heritage properties in Syria during this civil war. There have been irregular reports but they all suggest that Old Aleppo, the Krak des Chevaliers, many medieval Christian cemeteries and dozens of archaeological sites and museums have been damaged — or, as a new release from an organization trying to do something put it, “subjected to extensive raiding and looting.”
Real Clear Arts
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The thunderstorms that hit the New York area last Wednesday and Thursday evening destroyed my plans for a week away, so I ended up spending the Fourth of July in town instead of about 1,500 miles away in Texas.
Some cases never go away. Two years ago, The Saint Louis Art Museum won a court battle in its case to keep the 3,200-year-old mummy mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, when a federal court judge ruled that it should remain in its collection — a ruling that “chastises the U.S. attorney’s office for trying to seize the ancient relic through civil forfeiture proceedings.” The quote is from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Today’s sad sale at Christie’s in London, where Isabella and the Pot of Basil, which was being deaccessioned by the Delaware Art Museum, failed to raise much money — just $4.24 on the hammer, versus a low estimate of $8.4 million (and we don’t know if Christie’s waived the commission or not) — begs another look at the situation there.
It turns out that several New York City buildings, including some quite distinguished ones, had lives nearly as short as, and sometimes even shorter, than Billie Tsien and Tod Williams’s edifice on West 53rd Street in Manhattan. I walked past the site this past weekend, now enclosed with a fence that blocks views of the dismantling, when I visited the Museum of Modern Art.
In 2012, the Royal Academy in London had a total winner on its hands, in my opinion, with Bronze, an exhibition of about 150 bronzes from all over the world, dating from 5,000 years ago to the present. Robert Mnuchin, the dealer, thought so too: (more…)
This past weekend, collectors associated with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art set a record at their 29th annual Collectors Committee fundraiser — contributing more than $4.1 million and deciding to buy 10 quite diverse works of art. Among the artworks: Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres’ Odalisque (below right); contemporary works by Roni Horn, Chinese artist Feng Mengbo and Iranian artist Mitra Tabrizian; an 18th-century Virgin of Guadalupe by Antonio de Torres; a pair of 9th century Japanese lions (below left) and a print – Taureau et Picador, from 1952 – by Picasso.
Every now and then I come across an idea that’s worth singling out, and the Art Gallery of Ontario has one: it’s an exhibit of paintings and sculptures featuring children designed to enchant children. It’s called Just Like Me: Explore, Imagine, Create; it’s the first of a series, and it includes 23 paintings, sculptures and photographs from the AGO’s European, Canadian, Inuit and photography collections, along with “multisensory activities and art books to inspire adults and children to meaningfully engage with art.” It’s shown in a space called The Kids’ Gallery.
Hard on the heels of the recent announcement by the Vatican, that its bounteous library had begun digitizing all 82,000 manuscripts in its 135 collections – thanks to help from the Japanese Japanese technology group NTT Data — the Tate has made available a rich artistic resource. It’s called Audio Arts, and it consists of 245 hours of more than 1,640 interviews with artists, critics and other art world figures. This one is already available here.