“Hope” poster...


Artist Shepard Fairey cut his teeth on the mean streets of Los Angeles, so he’s definitely not going to let some pipsqueak organization called the Associated Press push him around.

This week, Fairey responded to a lawsuit filed by the AP in which the news organization claims that the artist broke copyright laws when he used its photograph of Barack Obama for his “Hope” poster.

Fairey’s lawyers said in papers filed at a New York court Wednesday that the artist’s use of the photograph is protected by the First Amendment as well as by fair-use laws.

But the real attention-grabber was Fairey’s assertion that the AP itself violated copyright laws when it used a photo of the artist’s “Hope” poster without getting permission. In other words, he’s arguing that the AP can’t reproduce an image by Fairey that the artist himself appropriated from the AP.

Did we just fall into a rabbit hole? Here’s what Fairey’s lawyers wrote:

“On January 7, 2009 The AP distributed a story entitled ‘Iconic Obama portrait headed to Smithsonian museum’ by Brett Zongker. The AP’s article included a photograph attributed to The AP, which depicted Fairey’s Obama Hope Stencil Collage that now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution…. The AP did not obtain a license to use Fairey’s work in this photograph. As shown below, the photograph attributed to The AP consists of nothing more than a literal reproduction of Fairey’s work.”

They also accuse the AP of similarly infringing the copyright on works by Jeff Koons, Banksy Keith Haring and George Segal.

We at Culture Monster know that L.A. art-hipsters can be a pretty sarcastic and smart-alecky group of people. (Call it a permanent state of ironic detachment.) Whether Fairey is merely thumbing his nose at the venerated news institution or if these new claims have real merit — or both! — remains to be seen.

However you look at it, this saga is long from over. Check back often, folks.

David Ng
Los Angeles Times

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Memorials are unusual structures. In a post-modern world of fractured meanings, these structures still attempt (and largely succeed) to present a clear, unified and highly-subjective view on world events. Some memorials, though, defy straightforward interpretation.

One example is the massive holocaust memorial in Berlin — “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” — which has been the cause of much controversy over the past decade for failing to acknowledge the non-Jewish victims of the Nazis and, as part of Germany’s “Holocaust industry”, exploiting the country’s sense of shame and disgrace.

But as I walked through the memorial — which consists of more than 2,700 stone pillars built onto an undulating 4.7 acre plot close to the Brandenburg Gate and was designed by architect Peter Eisenman — it occured to me that this memorial is much more open to interpretation than most other stone-built momento moris.

For one thing, it’s very experiential and interactive. You don’t just look at it. You get inside it. In parts of the memorial, I felt very removed from the sky, like I was in a cave. I felt like I was descending into a labyrinthian dungeon. In other parts, I could perch on a stone pillar, see for miles and feel the warm air around me. At times, I felt very solitary and alone. At others, I felt like I was in a crowd. The pillars seemed like people. Every turn I made, I came across fellow memorial wanderers. I even saw a young couple necking in a shady enclave.

Nowhere inside the memorial or around it, does it say what it commemorates. Which leads me to think that while the structure has been built to commemorate a particular event, it means so much more. It can stand for a place of mourning and a hideaway for a surreptitious tryst.

What does it mean to me? It means death and life both at once. It means getting lost and finding oneself again. Despite the title of the memorial, its Jewishness feel abstract to me, probably because I grew up many decades after the close of the war in a family that, though Jewish, is essentially secular. The intention behind the creation of a memorial is an important consideration. It’s difficult to experience the structure without a thought for the murdered Jews that it seeks to honor. But ultimately, its meaning is as much of a maze as the narrow corridors that greet the explorer as she approaches the structure.

Chloe Veltman
Lies Like Truth

The RAND report — which is truly worth the detour — is first and foremost a literature review. Its authors have painstakingly trawled through the vast and scattered sources that address why cultural activity is — or more accurately may possibly be — of value; classified that literature (economic, social, psychological, aesthetic etc.); and then sought to give a broad account of how robust are the conclusions of the various studies.

They conclude, as others have before them, but never with such crushing evidential force, that the recent literature is a bit flaky, and that the wilder claims for the social and economic impact of the arts are overblown. This is not surprising. Much of the literature was generated in the context of the ruthless pursuit of money rather than the fearless pursuit of truth. Its purpose is not to increase the sum of human understanding but to persuade particular constituencies (usually public sector funders) in particular contexts (a capital project, a fiscal crisis) to maintain or increase levels of financial support.

I doubt many of the authors cited thought they were carrying responsibility for the intellectual underpinning of the Enlightenment. Their job was to play on the sensibilities of a particular group of decision makers. The arts constituency has been extremely successful in raiding the budgets of adjacent and better funded policy areas – education, urban renewal, tourism etc…

Some of the instrumental arguments are obviously a bit of stretch. Others are obviously true. But the arcane and (pace RAND) flawed methodologies employed rarely generate conclusions that are not accessed more easily, convincingly and cheaply by the application of common sense.

The overall ‘impact’ of the instrumental enterprise has been to leave the sector over-hyped, over-extended and cowering as it waits to be found out. Hence the reaction within the sector to the RAND report – “So whose side are you guys on then?” I got the same reaction to the debate on the same issues that we got going in the UK in 2003 and referenced in the right-hand sidebar to this blog. My perspective, like Midori’s, was that it’s not ‘either instrumental or intrinsic’ but that there are a wide range of arguments that apply differentially to a wide range of cultural activities and seeking to fit the whole of cultural endeavor into a single straight-jacket is both uncomfortable and unhelpful.

The current preoccupation with re-grounding the arguments for the public support of cultural activity is a result of this gut-churning awareness by the arts policy community that the hard-won gains in arts funding have been, in large part, as a result of aggressive but shakily-grounded lobbying. The re-grounding, heralded by the RAND authors and others like John Holden, as and when it happens – incrementally, awkwardly, partially — will bring with it not only changes in the gross level of arts funding but changes in the type of organizations and activities funded. This is no bad thing and indeed rather exciting.

My gripe with the current preoccupation with this vast literature and its methodological shortcomings is that it is something of a side show. This is not primarily because, as the RAND report demonstrates, the re-grounding of economic and social arguments in more analytically defensible research methodologies would take a long time and cost a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere – though this is undoubtedly the case. It is primarily because the cultural sector seems to feel the need to hold itself to higher (or maybe just odder) evidential standards than other sectors – for example, health, environment, or education. In these sectors, the academic preoccupation is not with, for example, what health can do for urban regeneration or tourism, but with the policies required to ensure a healthy community.

If we stopped looking so neurotically for epiphenomena — the impact of the arts on X, Y and Z — and diverted our attention to what constitutes — say — a vibrant cultural community: what distribution of what art forms, what forms of participation etc. — and if we could come up with well grounded answers to this question, I suspect that those answers would be significantly more compelling to the decision-makers we lobby than another damned economic impact study. We would spend less time waiting for the other shoe to drop as decision makers discover what we already knew and what the RAND report has spelled out in merciless detail. And we would address some of the patently daft misallocations of scarce resources that our shakily-grounded arguments for the arts have encouraged, such as the resource-draining building boom we are emerging from, which has left the sector over-expanded, under-capitalized and with a fundamentally and adversely altered ratio of fixed to variable costs.

Adrian Ellis
Arts Journal


One might argue that commercial success is not the same thing as artistic success, but Warhol taught us that things can be otherwise. Business art was the ultimate validation of one’s aesthetic skills. If people bothered to buy an artist’s work then by extension one could conclude that the artist was producing good art. These days, the intimate relationship between money and successful art means that really good art sells. And maybe some good art doesn’t sell, but when the bohemian art demigod Ryan McGinley gets hired to do photography for the New York Times and has an entire project devoted to documenting Kate Moss, one might say that the economic market validated what the art world already knew: McGinley is an art superstar. His commercial success is merely a signal of his brilliance. Art goers can bicker endlessly about whether commercial art validates or detracts from the virtue of an artist, but ultimately this is an existential debate: The reality is that given the opportunity to make a living out of making art, many artists will choose to do so and there’s really nothing wrong with that.

When I interviewed Shepard Fairey several months ago for the research I conduct, he (like the other artists I spoke with) bore no ill will toward either the masses or the elite art world. He just wanted to do what he loved to do, and he was happy that it had been a successful venture that allowed him to provide an income for himself and own his own company. He also told me that it was important that he was able to get his art out there to as many people as possible. As he put it, “I can make pieces that are expensive but I want to sell $35 screen prints and $25 T-shirts. Where I am coming from in my work is that art is empowering. I want people to be able to access me…I never started as a fine artist and felt like a ’sell out’. I went in the opposite direction. I really like the street artist – you didn’t have to submit to a gallery or a magazine, you just went out and did it…A T-shirt is a walking piece of art. When I do a record label’s album cover, I am producing art that gives people pleasure while listening.”

Elizabeth Currid

Many bloggers are spinning out the story of Brandeis University and its imperiled Rose Art Museum… In a nutshell, the university is desperately strapped for cash, and inelegantly floated the idea of ”repurposing” the art and assets of the Rose to balance the books.

I’ll let others explore and explain the complexities of deaccessioning/selling works of art — a juicy issue on its own. I’m struck, instead, by the related question of mission, process, and ”ownership” in the work of embedded institutions.

If you were to do a genuine census of arts venues and programs — performing and visual — you would find a good percentage of those were ”embedded” enterprises. Rather than separate nonprofits, these would be venues and programs completely contained within larger (generally nonprofit, predominantly higher education) institutions. The university presenter or museum, for example, may well have an independent advisory board that looks like a board of trustees. But often their actual authority to define mission and allocate resources is hazy, split, or complex.

Therein lies both the benefit and the rub:

Life as an embedded institution has benefits: You have access to a diversified parent institution that can help with cash flow, business services, purchasing, maintenance, and other central services. Many of the traditional expenses of a separate nonprofit are handled ”off book” as part of the larger enterprise. And many of your salary lines may be shared with other departments, programs, or functions.

But there’s a downside, as well. It can be a challenge to know exactly what gains you gather and what costs you incur, since your work is done through a hundred different channels and accounts. And, at the end of the day, you are a sub-contractor for someone else’s mission. When resources get tight, and the parent institution gets hungry, your programming and even your existence could become subject to increasing scrutiny.

Says Felix Simon in this rather gruesome discussion of the Brandeis and the Rose:

Up until now, we’ve lived in a world where parents implicitly promise to support their children, and not to murder them or amputate key limbs. But now that Brandeis and Iowa are starting to eat their own, the topology has changed in a radical way.

Precisely because parents like Brandeis have an obligation to do what they think is best for the university, they can no longer be trusted to do what is best for the museum.

Over the past many years, the arts industries have come to rely on embedded institutions to bear more of the risk required of a healthy ecosystem. University presenters are among the few remaining commissioners of new work. University cultural institutions have taken the lead in artist residencies and exploration. And a dual mission can make them ideal ”farm league” for young artists, technicians, and support personnel.

The Rose reminds us that risk-aversion and bottom-line analysis are alive and well in higher education, and will be a growing threat to those cultural organizations who live and die as subsidiaries to a larger corporation.

Andrew Taylor
The Artful Manager


From skateboarder to famous street artist, Shepard Fairey has seen the inside of numerous police cells in his long career. This week his ubiquitous portrait of Barack Obama, which appeared on billboards, T-shirts, hats and magazine covers throughout the 2008 election season, was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.

Until he came up with his Obama image and went on to be named “Icon Maker” of the year by Time magazine, 38-year-old Fairey was best known for his rock-music album covers and an advertising campaign that featured a wrestler named Andre the Giant.

The artist’s most recent arrest was last August when he was in Denver for Mr Obama’s nomination to stand as the Democratic presidential candidate. He was busy postering an alleyway with some friends while a film crew documented their work, when riot police showed up. Fairey, who is diabetic, recalls how he and his fellow street artists dropped their posters, brushes and buckets of paste and legged it down the alley, only to be confronted by five paramilitary-style police pointing guns at their heads.

“I guess we got too close to the hot zone down town,” Fairey recalled as he waved a pretend gun in imitation of the cops: “Get on the ground or we’re gonna kick you in the head … We were quickly zip-tied and taken off to jail.” He spent the night in a cell with some anarchists and was fed the favourite snack of all American teenagers: “peanut and jelly sandwiches”.

Fairey graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and went on to found a design studio which specialised in “guerrilla marketing”.

While Mr Obama was accepting the Democratic nomination, Fairey, out of jail with a slap on the wrist, was already filming a YouTube account of the 14th arrest in his meteoric career as America’s foremost street artist.

The story of his famous Obama portrait, a large-scale, mixed-media stencilled collage, is already taking on the mythic qualities of a quintessential American narrative. Emerging from humble beginnings in the back alleys of Los Angeles, the portrait became an instant sensation, a pop culture “icon” that was willingly embraced by the Obama political machine.

Before the President-elect swears his oath of office on Abraham Lincoln’s personal Bible, the portrait has become part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery, which is conveniently only a few blocks from the White House. Fittingly for the narrative of change, the Obama portrait was donated to the gallery by the head of Mr Obama’s transition team, Tony Podesta, and his wife, Heather.

The striking resemblance to the Che Guevara portrait which has decorated generations of student bed-sits, has not been dwelt on. But a little way from where Fairey’s portrait will hang there is a small portrait of the Cuban revolutionary by Charles “Chaco” Chavez, drawn from the famous photograph by Alberto Korda.

The portrait gallery is better known for its stuffy collection of George Washington portraits than street art, but the museum’s curator, Carolyn Kinder Carr, said simply: “We all fell in love with it. We always like portraits that reflect a particular moment in history, and we like the fact that it is an image that resides in popular culture.”

It’s not the first time that street art has been brought in from the cold, she noted: “The posters of [Henri de] Toulouse-Lautrec are essentially street art.” And there seem to be few bounds to Fairey’s capacity for self publicity. This week, for example, it was announced that he has donated a new image to Adopt-a-Pet.com, to promote the cause of rescuing street mutts. Mr Obama is hoping to adopt a pet from a shelter for the White House.

Fairey explained that he is “a big believer in speaking up for all who suffer injustice, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or, in this case, species!” He created a limited-edition run of 400 signed and numbered silk-screen prints in honour of a dog he had as a child growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, a mutt named Honey.

At the portrait gallery, meanwhile, the director, Martin E Sullivan, intoned: “This work is an emblem of a significant election, as well as a new presidency. Shepard Fairey’s instantly recognisable image was integral to the Obama campaign.”

Fairey’s collage became the central portrait image for the Obama campaign and was initially distributed as a limited-edition print and then as a free download. His other works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The new portrait will be hanging at the gallery by 17 January, three days before Mr Obama’s inauguration. Suitably enough it will be in the “New Arrivals” section on the ground floor.

Leonard Doyle
The Independent


Milos Forman

During the first half of the twentieth century—decades of war and revolution—an “intellectual migration” relocated thousands of artists and thinkers to the United States, including some of Europe’s supreme actors, dancers, composers, and filmmakers. For them, America proved to be both a strange and opportune destination. A “foreign homeland” (Thomas Mann), it would frustrate and confuse, yet afford a clarity of understanding unencumbered by native habit and bias. However inadvertently, the condition of cultural exile would promote acute inquiries into the American experience. What impact did these famous newcomers have on American culture, and how did America affect them?

Exploring these questions in my book Artists in Exile, I found that, taken as a whole, twentieth-century American immigrants in the performing arts were not able to sustain a full growth curve upon relocating. Some lost their way entirely. Of those who did not, almost all enjoyed a more consummated European calling. The exceptions—the major old-world careers that accelerated in the New World—can be counted on the fingers of one hand: George Balanchine in dance, Americanizing classical ballet; Ernst Lubitsch in film, parlaying operetta wit into a prized Hollywood confection; the pianist Rudolf Serkin, a heroic American solo artist and relentless American pedagogue; the conductor Serge Koussevitzky, whose Tanglewood Festival became a New England laboratory for new American music. More typically, unreplantable old-world roots signified stunted cumulative growth. And yet, in every field the intellectual migration raised the bar; the arena was enlarged.

The final stirrings of cultural exchange in American exile—a postscript to my account—are to be found among post-Stalin defectors from the Soviet Union and its satellites. The most significant American-based careers include those of Milos Forman and Mikhail Baryshnikov. In Forman’s superb Hollywood production, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), the droll, affectionate, and painstaking observation of human behavior, typical of his Czech films, is applied to the inmates of an American insane asylum and so powers a reading of psychological subjugation informed by the director’s own experience of confinement and debasement in Communist Czechoslovakia. Baryshnikov escaped the Kirov’s Soviet traditionalism to work with a gamut of American choreographers—Alvin Ailey, Balanchine, Eliot Feld, Mark Morris, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp—in addition to joining Natalia Makarova and Rudolf Nureyev in impressing the full-length Russian ballet classics upon American audiences.

Joseph Horowitz

Thom Mayne’s design for a corporate headquarters in Shanghai. (Courtesy of Morphosis)

Four months ago the architect Daniel Libeskind declared publicly that architects should think long and hard before working in China, adding, “I won’t work for totalitarian regimes.” His remarks raised hackles in his profession, with some architects accusing him of hypocrisy because his own firm had recently broken ground on a project in Hong Kong.

Since then, however, Mr. Libeskind’s speech, delivered at a real estate and planning event in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has reanimated a decades-old debate among architects over the ethics of working in countries with repressive leaders or shaky records on human rights.

With a growing number of prominent architects designing buildings in places like China, Iran, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where development has exploded as civic freedoms or exploitation of migrant labor have come under greater scrutiny, the issue has inched back into the spotlight.

Debate abounds on architecture blogs, and human rights groups are pressing architects to be mindful of a government’s politics and labor conditions in accepting commissions.

The ideological issue is as old as architecture itself. By designing high-profile buildings that bolster the profile of a powerful client, do architects implicitly sanction the client’s actions or collaborate in symbolic mythmaking?

Or in the long run does architecture transcend politics and ideology? If the architect’s own vision is progressive, can architecture be a vehicle for positive change?

For the most part, the issue is not a concrete one for the field’s top practitioners; no architect interviewed for this article except Mr. Libeskind has publicly rejected the notion of working for hot-button countries. Yet the debate underscores the complex decisions that go into designing architecture — from the basic financial imperatives, to public access, to the larger message that a building sends — and is prodding architects to reflect on their priorities.

“It’s complicated,” said Thom Mayne, the Los Angeles architect, whose projects include a corporate headquarters in Shanghai. “Architecture is a negotiated art and it’s highly political, and if you want to make buildings there is diplomacy required.”

“I’ve always been interested in an architecture of resistance — architecture that has some power over the way we live,” added Mr. Mayne, who said he had recently been interviewed for projects in Abu Dhabi, Kazakhstan, Russia, the Middle East and Indonesia. “Working under adversarial conditions could be seen as a plus because you’re offering alternatives. Still there are situations that make you ask the questions: ‘Do I want to be a part of this?’ “…

Some architects argue that architecture is more important to them than politics. “I’m a guy who has on my wall a picture of the guy in front of the tank,” said Eric Owen Moss, a Los Angeles architect, referring to the famous photograph from the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. “But I’ve never turned down a project in Russia and China”…

Architects like Steven Holl cast their decision to build in China as a way of promoting a connection between East and West. “Certainly I question working anywhere,” Mr. Holl said. “But my position as an architect is to work in the spirit of international civilization and cooperation. You have to make a contribution.”

He cited his two-million-square-foot Linked Hybrid housing complex in Beijing, which will be heated and cooled by a 660-well geothermal energy system. “We are making the largest green total community in the history of Beijing,” Mr. Holl said. “This is an example for many kinds of urban work.”

Others go even further, arguing that their projects will be an emphatic force for social change. The Swiss architect Jacques Herzog has asserted that by supplying acres of public park space to city dwellers in the long term, his Olympic stadium in Beijing, designed with his partner, Pierre de Meuron, “will change radically — transform — the society.”

“Engagement is the best way of moving in the right direction,” he said.

Robin Pogrebin
New York Times

The Dia Art Foundation is hoping to raise $1.1m by the end of next month to protect 6,000 acres of land surrounding Walter De Maria’s land art installation Lightning Field.

The money will be used to pay a ranching family in western New Mexico, who own the land, for the right to restrict real estate and industrial development. This would create a three-mile radius around the installation. The restrictions on the property will bind all future landowners and become part of the chain of title for the estate.

According to Laura Raicovich, deputy director at the foundation: “The experience of Lightning Field depends upon the isolation of the site, and we’d like to preserve the setting for future generations.” She says the organisation has raised $900,000 to date, including $500,000 committed by the State of New Mexico, and says she is confident they will reach their goal by the official deadline in June.

Commissioned and maintained by the Dia, De Maria’s land sculpture consists of 400 polished stainless steel poles installed in a rectangular grid measuring 1.6km by 1km. The work is situated in an unpopulated area about four hours outside of Albuquerque, and is designed for viewers to observe the effects of meteorological phenomena on the installation over time. Visitation is strictly monitored to only six people per day, and reservations must be made months in advance through written correspondence. Since Lightning Field was completed in 1977, nearly 13,000 visitors have visited the site.

The Dia is currently in the midst of another preservation campaign for a land art installation in their permanent collection, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. The State of Utah will decide this month whether to permit oil drilling near the site.

The Art Newspaper

Filling the boards of arts companies with business appointees has been a dismal failure that has stifled creativity.

That is the view of the international arts entrepreneur Justin Macdonnell, who wants a radical rethink of the way arts companies are run.

For too long arts companies had been urged by funding bodies to simulate the business sector, he said yesterday at the first in a series of breakfast forums, Arts And Public Life, held by the arts organisation Currency House.

“Who has not been told that they need to get more people with ‘business skills’ on their board, more people with financial, legal, marketing prowess to guide and restrain the wilful artist – as though it were the arts that regularly had the corporate crashes, bankruptcies and shady dealings?” Macdonnell said.

This move had restricted the ability of arts boards to make informed judgments. Ironically, the funding agencies that had pushed their clients in that direction were now questioning whether the boards had the capacity to choose good artistic leadership.
“Throughout the English-speaking world, the board system of governance in the not-for-profit sector has been a miserable failure,” he said.

Macdonnell, who returned to Australia this year to establish the Anzarts Institute as an advocate for the arts, told the Herald credentials for appointing board members were often questionable.

“The pendulum has swung so far in the direction of appointing people to arts boards whose primary skill is to be business people and who are appointed on the grounds that maybe they’ve been a subscriber or an audience member or they’re described as a lover of the arts,” he said.

“Well, I’m a subscriber to Telstra but that doesn’t mean anyone would put me on [its] board or put me in charge of communications policy.”

Macdonnell, who has spent the past five years in Miami as artistic director of the Carnival Centre for the Performing Arts and who has worked extensively in South America, said the appointment of board members was taken seriously in the US. Potential board members received guidance there.

But he did not believe that simply including more artists on boards was a solution. What was needed was a way for artists and their boards to work more collaboratively and a rethink of the way arts companies were structured.

“Are we so limited in our thinking that we can come up with no better way of doing business than a company limited by guarantee with a board of seven and an uneasy diarchy of general manager and artistic director?” he said.

Many art forms around the world were in crisis, particularly classical music, which had raised the worship of the past to cult status. Theatre companies seemed to be in better shape because they were presenting current work as well as past.

“But they, too, seem to rely more on celebrity than substance in their quest for renewal,” Macdonnell said.

His five years in Miami had taught him that arts organisations had few skills in fostering and managing innovation.
Arts centres in the US were essentially presenters, not creators, of work.

“They take their shopping cart to the arts mall – also known as the booking conference – and buy pre-packaged shows off the shelf, like frozen peas,” he said.

“And they thaw them out for touring. To me, however, a presenter ought to present not just the pre-packaged but the fresh food as well – work made by our own artists.”

Joyce Morgan
Sydney Morning Herald


A postcard of the stolen painting at the museum in Magritte’s former home ((Johanna Geron/AFP/Getty Images)

A masterpiece by the surrealist painter René Magritte worth up to €3 million (£2.7 million) was stolen by armed thieves yesterday in a lightning daylight raid on a museum dedicated to the artist’s life and work.

Olympia, a nude inspired by Magritte’s wife and muse Georgette, was taken off the wall of the small gallery in the artist’s former home after staff and visitors were ordered to lie down in the back garden.

The two raiders, said to be of Asian appearance, wore hats and wigs to hide their faces from surveillance cameras and made off on foot up the quiet street of terraced houses in the Brussels suburb of Jette, probably to a waiting car. One was said to have spoken English and the other French.

Staff at the museum, which has no metal detectors or other screening equipment at the entrance, were left in shock at the loss of their most prized asset, which was painted in the building in 1948. Police said that the thieves appeared to know exactly what they were looking for and that it was probably stolen to order.


David Charter
The Times


Screams erupted from the 40-odd tourists jostling for position around Leonardo da Vinci’s enigmatic painted lady when the empty terracotta mug flew over their heads and smashed into the portrait.

The Russian woman is thought to have bought it minutes earlier at the museum gift shop.

However, the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile was unaffected by the commotion, as the mug bounced harmlessly off the bullet-proof glass shielding her and shattered on the floor, according to the team of staff paid to guard her.

“There was no damage done to the painting whatsoever,” a museum official told Le Parisien.

“Naturally the Mona Lisa is a carefully watched and protected painting. It is kept in a special sealed box to protect it from vibrations, heat and humidity. It is protected by thick glass resistant to bullets and any other object hurled at it,” he said…

Doctors were trying to assess whether she was suffering from Stendhal Syndrome, a rare condition in which often perfectly sane individuals momentarily lose all reason and attack a work of art.


Henry Samuel

Will Alsop works on a sketch in his trademark colours at this offices in Battersea, south London. Photograph: Sarah Lee

Will Alsop, the Stirling prize-winning architect who carved a reputation as the profession’s enfant terrible for his blob-shaped buildings and disdain for conservative planning, today quit his practice to spend more time painting.

At an age when most architects are entering their most productive years, Alsop, 61, announced plans to walk away from day-to-day architecture and launch a “serious inquiry into painting” instead. He said his decision was partly the result of opposition to his style of architecture within parts of the establishment.

The surprise decision by the Royal Academician follows a controversial career which has veered between critical success and financial frailty. In 2000 Alsop scooped the Royal Institute for British Architects building of the year award for Peckham library, a typically exuberant turquoise and yellow structure. Four years later he was forced to sell his firm to venture capitalists after it entered administration.

“I love architecture but one of the things that gets up my nose, particularly in London, is that doing anything is like pulling teeth,” he said.

“There are so many hangers on and architectural advisers who know nothing and it gets in the way. For example I am doing nothing for the London 2012 Olympics and it has got to the point where I don’t feel like asking so I don’t give them the satisfaction of saying no.”

Alsop has often rubbed up against the establishment. He used his televised victory speech after receiving the Stirling prize to berate one of London’s most conservative planning authorities. “Fuck the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, but thank God for all those imaginative boroughs that know that the way out of their problems is architecture.”

He now intends to spend at least two days a week painting, time which until now he has used mostly to sketch his early ideas for buildings.

“I don’t know if it’s any good, but people tell me they like it and I want to give it some time to see how far I can go,” he said. “I think you can carry on changing in life, whatever your age. If something’s not right, you need to change it.”

“His architecture has always looked like sculptural painting,” said Tom Bloxham, the chairman of Urban Splash, a developer for whom Alsop has designed several schemes. “It was always big swirls of the brush and big gestures.”

Alsop’s friends include the artist Bruce McLean, with whom he shares painting holidays in Norfolk. At his architecture studio in south London Alsop has a room where he sketches with thick brushes and bright colours on wall-sized sheets of paper. During the 1990s and the early part of this decade Alsop became known as the leading light in an architectural sub-genre known jokingly as “blobitecture” for its fusion of space-age curved forms with straight-edged modernism.

His style seemed to be catching on when he beat Richard Rogers and Norman Foster to design a “fourth grace” for Liverpool’s pierhead, but the building, which looked like a floating cloud, was never built. Alsop plans to act as a consultant to his former firm and has not ruled out a return to designing buildings.

Robert Booth

Edgar Tijhuis, a criminologist, lecturing students enrolled in a summer program in Amelia, Italy, in international art crime studies (Chris Warde-Jones for The New York Times)

“What’s the resemblance between the illegal art trade, the funding of terrorism by charities and smoking pot in a Dutch coffee bar?” Edgar Tijhuis, a criminologist who teaches at VU University in Amsterdam, paused and looked expectantly at a dozen students listening raptly. There was silence. “I hoped you wouldn’t say anything or else I wouldn’t have much to teach you,” he said.

Professor Tijhuis, who also practices international art law in Amsterdam, had come to this small walled town in Umbria, where church bells chime hymns to the Virgin Mary, and swallows squawk louder than cars, to lecture students enrolled in what is billed as the first master’s program in international art crime studies.

His class focused on international organized crime, and the lecture touched on money laundering and cigarette smuggling as well. (As for the resemblance he asked the students about, he explained that the activities showed how illegal transactions can be transformed into legal ones, and vice versa.) Other courses include art history, criminology, museum security and forgery. They’re all part of a three-month master’s program here trying to capitalize on interest in a field that’s been gaining attention through news media reports about the restitution of looted art and through popular literature. Not to mention that police forces around the world have in recent years created special squads to combat the problem.

Noah Charney, an American, is the director of the program and founding director of the group that sponsors it, the Association for Research Into Crimes Against Art (which also consults on what it calls art protection and recovery cases). He said the time was ripe “for academic study to help inform future police enforcement.”

According to the association’s Web site (artcrime.info) Italy has by far the most art crime, with “approximately 20,000 art thefts reported each year.”

Citing Interpol, Mr. Charney said art crime was the third-highest-grossing illegal worldwide business, after drugs and weapons. Interpol itself says on its Web site (interpol.int) that it knows of no figures to make such a claim.

Whatever the case, fighting art crime may certainly pay for Mr. Charney. He has managed to transform himself into a 360-degree specialist. He not only teaches at the school and other universities, he also writes fiction and nonfiction books on the subject and he’s developing two television programs, one of a documentary nature that he would present, the other a fictional drama based on himself.

Harasyn Sandell, 22, who graduated this year from Dominican University of California, said she had long wanted to work with the F.B.I. Art Crime Team. “I think I’d be a good undercover agent because no one would suspect me,” she said.

The program, she added, was “seriously the best thing ever,” partly because it puts students in contact with experts like Virginia Curry, a retired F.B.I. special agent who has dealt with art crimes. Ms. Curry was here at a midterm conference this month giving a lecture on unexpected thieves.

“This is what happens when good people go bad,” Ms. Curry began, before Power-Pointing through case studies of graduate students, museum directors and professors who succumbed to temptation. (She did note that “you can make more money working for McDonald’s than as a museum intern,” though she did not suggest that this justified criminal behavior.)


Elisabetta Povoledo
New York Times


In the spring of 1978, a few months before I left Dallas to move to New York City, my senior English teacher, Jim Lloyd, took me aside to warn me of the dangers that lurked up north.

Most of what he told me was the familiar claptrap about how the insidious racism of the North was far worse and more pervasive than the overt racism of the South. I was hearing this a lot and had learned to take the path of least resistance and nod agreeably rather than point out that both regions had no shortage of either. Then Mr. Lloyd finished with a remark that mystified me. “Watch out for that graffiti!”

Maybe Mr. Lloyd was hip to something that would become a worldwide movement in public art. (Without it, we wouldn’t have Shepard Fairey and his iconic image of President Obama.) The work of the early graffiti movement is now beautifully depicted in Subway Art, a 25th anniversary edition of the book that in 1984 introduced graffiti to a large audience.

Almost everyone who lived in New York City in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s had a graffiti moment. My moment came one evening during my first month as a New Yorker; I was heading back uptown to campus and transferring to a local train on an Upper West Side platform. The train barreled into the station with the usual deafening roar; it was a big, ugly, gun-metal gray tube, but suddenly one of the cars jumped out at me. It was spray-painted in bright fluorescent colors with blocky letters, and to the side were images of cartoon characters. I stood gaping in awe. To that point, I had only experienced graffiti solely as vandalism, the messy scribbles that made the interiors of subway cars that much more drab. This was totally different; it was public art as mass transit.

Before long, I began making any excuse possible to leave campus in the hopes of finding more graffiti. After about a month of looking at cars during my travels, a visual vernacular took shape. Most of the cars were self-advertisements—a public art iteration of the Operation PUSH mantra, “I am Somebody.” Bright colors were the norm, cartoon and comic-book references were common, and there were occasionally brief texts. It didn’t take a cultural critic to see that these artists, whoever they were, had advanced some concepts of Pop Art (Andy Warhol had his soup cans and Roy Lichtenstein his Donald Duck). And in retrospect, the texts certainly had a connection to Jenny Holzer, who was just starting to get her work into Soho galleries.

I wanted to pursue these odd bursts of public art, but backed off when some of New York native pals told me that the artists wandered into the subway tunnels to find idle cars. Dirty, rat-infested, electrified subway tracks? No thanks. I settled for getting my art from pristine museums and galleries and occasionally on subway platforms.

Fortunately, photographers Martha Cooper, a photojournalist for the New York Post, and Henry Chalfant, a sculptor with a sidelight in photography weren’t daunted. They, too, had been impressed with graffiti artists and began documenting what they saw. They fell in with a variety of crews, and Cooper shot them in action. Chalfant took magnificent photographs of their trains in motion. Individually, they shopped book proposals and found the American publishing industry unreceptive, so they pooled their resources and shopped the idea abroad. The result, Subway Art, was published in 1984.


Martin Johnson

lincoln center
Lincoln Center, New York

There it was again: another example of a logical fallacy in the way arts institutions think about appealing to new audiences (translation — younger and more diverse audiences). Somewhere along the way, reaching out to new audiences was equated with new works, as if those in a museum, or in a dance company’s or orchestra’s repertoire, couldn’t possibly attract the hip young people that seem to be the holy grail of cultural organizations. In The New York Times Arts & Leisure section this weekend, writing about the 50th anniversary of Lincoln Center, Tony Tommasini exhibited a very mild version of this affliction:

It could also be argued that the complex’s citadel-like feeling has deterred potential audiences. With its institutional appearance, Lincoln Center does not look at first glance like a place for innovative or experimental work.

We saw the same kind of “logic” earlier this year when some critics expressed disappointment that the Metropolitan Museum of Art had chosen Thomas P. Campbell — a tapestries curator, for heaven’s sake — as its new director. What could that possibly forbode, they asked, for displaying contemporary art and luring new audiences to 1000 Fifth Avenue?

To me, this is not only a fallacy…

— who says young, diverse audience always prefer new works over the old ones? — it’s also condescending, as if all work done before their time is inaccessible and/or off-putting to young people.

This is simply lazy thinking. It’s also wrong to assume that today’s young people won’t, as they age, find these “old” works appealing. (To cite one example from a previous generation, me. I remember, in my 20’s, buying tickets to the opera in San Francisco — Don Giovanni, I think it was — and disliking it. I didn’t try again until about eight years later, when I lived in London and a date took me to Salome at Covent Garden. I liked it much more, but did not become a convert until years later. Now I not only go when I can, but listen to opera at home. And I doubt that I am alone on this.)

Before a problem is solved, the issue must be framed properly. Right now, it’s not. Before jumping through hoops to attract more people — and, frequently, dumbing down their offerings as a result — cultural institutions should spend more time thinking through the problem. They’re using a simple equation — new works = new audiences — when, metaphorically, differential calculus is in order.

Judith H. Dobrzynski
Real Clear Arts

An opening-night event at the Arts Collinwood gallery in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood.

Last month, artists Michael Di Liberto and Sunia Boneham moved into a two-story, three-bedroom house in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood, where about 220 homes out of 5,000 sit vacant and boarded up. They lined their walls with Ms. Boneham’s large, neon-hued canvases, turned a spare bedroom into a graphic-design studio and made the attic a rehearsal space for their band, Arte Povera.

The couple used to live in New York, but they were drawn to Cleveland by cheap rent and the creative possibilities of a city in transition. “It seemed real alive and cool,” said Mr. Di Liberto.

Their new house is one of nine previously foreclosed properties that a local community development corporation bought, some for as little as a few thousand dollars. The group aims to create a 10-block “artists village” in Collinwood, with residences for artists like Mr. Di Liberto, 31 years old, and Ms. Boneham, 34.

Artists have long been leaders of an urban vanguard that colonizes blighted areas. Now, the current housing crisis has created a new class of urban pioneer. Nationwide, home foreclosure proceedings increased 81% in 2008 from the previous year, rising to 2.3 million, according to California-based foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac. Homes in hard-hit cities such as Detroit and Cleveland are selling for as little as $1.

Drawn by available spaces and cheap rents, artists are filling in some of the neighborhoods being emptied by foreclosures. City officials and community groups seeking ways to stop the rash of vacancies are offering them incentives to move in, from low rents and mortgages to creative control over renovation projects.

“Artists have become the occupiers of last resort,” said Robert McNulty, president of Partners for Livable Communities, a Washington-based nonprofit organization. “The worse things get, the more creative you have to become.”

Artists and architects are buying foreclosed homes in Detroit for as little as $100. In St. Louis, artists are moving into vacant retail spaces in a shopping mall, turning stores that stood empty for more than a year into studios and event spaces for rents of $100 a month. Artspace Projects Inc., a national nonprofit development corporation, plans to create 35 live/work spaces for artists on vacant property in Hamilton, Ohio, after converting an empty car factory and an adjacent lot in Buffalo, N.Y., into 60 artists’ lofts last year.

Cleveland is emerging as a testing ground for the strategy. With the collapse of the manufacturing industry, the city’s population has plummeted to around 430,000 residents today from nearly a million in 1950. A wave of home foreclosures has accelerated the slide. The Cuyahoga County treasurer estimates that 15,000 homes sit vacant — roughly one in 10. City officials tore down 1,000 homes last year, and more than 12,000 buildings await demolition.

In neighborhoods pocked by vacancies, artists have started filling the void. Last November, Katherine Chilcote, a local painter, bought a boarded-up, bank-owned house for $5,000 in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, where one in four family homes has gone into foreclosure in the last three years. Thieves had stolen the doors, punched out windows and ripped out all the pipes, sinks and electrical wiring. Eight cats had moved in.

The 29-year-old artist and four friends spent months ripping up moldy carpet, laying down new tiles and hardwood floors, repairing walls and stripping peeling paint. She bought the empty, weed-filled lot next door for $500. She plans to build a sculpture garden there, with large, whimsical mobiles that twist in the breeze. She’s applying for grant money from the Cleveland Foundation to turn four more vacant houses in the neighborhood into artist residences and studios.

Through her nonprofit public art organization, Building Bridges, Ms. Chilcote is also working to turn vacant storefronts in Cleveland’s Westown neighborhood into artists’ exhibition spaces. Four storefronts are now filled with hand-painted pottery, landscapes of trees and fields, and large, spray-painted scenes of the city’s abandoned steel mills and factories.

Ms. Chilcote plans to expand to seven storefronts this summer, and is working with the Westown Community Development Corp. to create nine permanent artist residences and studios in an old theater that’s been vacant since the mid-1980s. In the meantime, Ms. Chilcote and other artists are hatching creative, temporary uses for buildings that are scheduled to be demolished. This summer, she plans to transform an empty ice cream parlor into a giant sculpture of a cake.

What began as a grass-roots movement, with artists gravitating to cheaper neighborhoods and making improvements, is now being embraced by city officials as a tool to revive neighborhoods reeling from vacancies and home foreclosures.


Alexandra Alter
Wall Street Journal


What the Art World Needs Now…is more Jack Nicholsons. Seriously.

This revelation came in Monday’s New York Post, which said that a new memoir from Allegra Huston, Angelica’s sister, included a passage on Nicholson’s acquisition habits. “He collected paintings to the point of obsession,” she wrote.

A little snooping around turned up more details. Nicholson apparently owns an eight-room home, modest by Hollywood standards, on Mulholland Dr. that is stuffed with just part of his collection — not just on the walls, but stacked in unoccupied rooms. The rest is in storage. Among his paintings are works by Picasso, Magritte, Bonnard, Matisse, Bacon and Dufy. In late 2007, he told the Times of London:

“I just like art…I get pure pleasure from it. My grandmother was an amateur painter.”


“I got involved in buying paintings when Diana Vreeland [the former Vogue editor] got me to an auction in England. Up came this beautiful Tiepolo drawing at Sotheby’s. I bought it for Anjelica Huston as a present. That’s how I got started.”


“People look at an abstract painting and ask, ‘What’s it supposed to be? What’s the point?’ Hell, it’s a painting, that’s the point. It’s not supposed to be anything. Its job is to get you to look in a different way. That’s also what actors are supposed to do. Provide a stimulating point of departure for thought and feeling.”

Spoken like a true collector.

Judith H. Dobrzynski
Real Clear Arts

From Confessions of a Shopaholic

Simone de Beauvoir famously announced that “One is not born a woman, but becomes one,” in her 1949 treatise The Second Sex. She might have added: “But it takes Hollywood to turn one into an hysterical fashion-mongering man-craving anorexic caricature.” For, increasingly, the modern Hollywood women’s picture or so-called chick flick has become home to the worst kind of regressive pre-feminist stereotype and misogynistic cliché.

Movies such as the recent Anne Hathaway/Kate Hudson catfight Bride Wars or the forthcoming Confessions of a Shopaholic are aimed exclusively at women, and yet feature female characters who are variously neurotic, idiotic, label-obsessed, weight-obsessed, man-obsessed or weddingobsessed, and often all at the same time. In Confessions of a Shopaholic, for instance, the gifted comedic actress Isla Fisher plays Rebecca Bloomwood, a wannabe Manhattan fashionista who lives only for designer clothes and will happily fight to the death for a pair of sale-price Gucci boots.

Rebecca wears pink and leaves the important stuff such as thinking, to her patronising male colleagues: at a job interview she hilariously confuses the word “fish” with “fiscal”. The boys, to a man, find her adorable, even though her greatest achievement involves matching a black Saint Laurent coat with a purple dress.

Other incoming chick flicks will hardly give the women’s movement much cause for celebration. Films such as He’s Just Not That Into You (Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore lead a cast of women desperate for commitment from their men), All About Steve (Sandra Bullock plays a semi-stalker who chases her one-night stand across the country in the hope that he’ll marry her) and The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (the title says enough) all point to a version of womanhood that at best is mired in cliché and at worst in hateful caricature.

“The heroines are getting dumber and dumber,” says the feminist historian and Fellow of Oxford University Diane Purkiss, who suggests that these cartoon protagonists are merely reflecting a decline in our own culture into one that, for women, is image-obsessed (see celebrity culture, size zero models, Heat magazine, etc).

“Women’s lives today feel oppressive, more so than they did ten years ago,” Purkiss says. “And the more oppressive they feel, the dumber these portrayals of women become.”

Chick flicks, she says, thrive on a form of institutionalised schadenfreude. “The entertainment industry allows you, the audience member, to pat yourself on the back and say: ‘I’m smarter than her, I’m more together than her, and I’m not as stupidly anorexic as her.’”

Things were different in 1998, when the contemporary chick flick was born. Ten years ago Bridget Jones’s Diary was still a best-selling novel and the winner of the British Book of the Year award. The first season of Sex and the City had just begun on HBO and the Spice Girls were in the middle of their Spiceworld tour.

The chick-flick heroine that emerged then was often ditzy, yes, but she also had recourse to irony, self-satire and intelligence. When Bridget the movie appeared in 2001 and eventually scooped more than £150 million at the international box office, the chick flick became a hot Tinseltown property. However, for every smart-thinking Bridget Jones, Legally Blonde or Devil Wears Prada there appeared a slew of movies that appealed to the genre’s baser instincts.Films such as 27 Dresses, Made of Honour, License to Wed and What Happens in Vegas were cookie-cutter movies defined by lazy stereotypes (wedding overkill, anyone?) and explicit anti-feminism.

The reason for all this sinister discord is ultimately, of course, men. “Fewer than 10 per cent of Hollywood films are written by women, and fewer than 6 per cent directed by women,” explains Melissa Silverstein, a movie marketing consultant and founder of the company Women & Hollywood. “So really what you are seeing is a white male version of women. And that is just unacceptable.”

It is nonetheless a version of womanhood that appeals to an enormous amount of female moviegoers, argues Archie Thomas, foreign correspondent for Variety magazine. “Chick flicks such as Sex and the City get repeat business from female audiences,” Thomas says. “Which means that women go to see it together the first time then they go back with their mothers, sisters or daughters to experience it again.”

“Women go to these movies, because they want to go to the movies,” Silverstein counters. “And most of the time there are no other options out there.”

And certainly last year Sex and the City’s blunderbuss marketing campaign, which cost a reported £35 million, left women in no doubt that there was only one must-see movie around that summer. She adds that, consequently, the real herculean job to be done is to motivate women away from chick flicks and towards the few edgier, more interesting movies that might normally go unnoticed. “I just worked on Emma Thompson’s movie, Last Chance Harvey,” Silverstein says. “So the message I’ve got to get across to women is: ‘You’ve got to go and support this movie. It may not be perfect, but no movie is, and if you do support it then you’ll have the chance to see more movies like it in future.’”

The antidote to the chick-flick burden, says the former Hollywood agent Gayle Nachliss, is to populate the production sector with women. “In the boardroom we’re doing fine,” says Nachliss, who is now executive director of the LA-based Women In Film organisation, which encourages women’s participation in all aspects of movie-making. “And we have successful women agents, managers and publicists. But this is not the case creatively. And it’s why we end up with a situation where Hollywood thinks that all women care about is weddings and shopping. We constitute half of the population, and we’re starved of entertainment.”

The good news, for right-thinking women everywhere, is that the contemporary cardboard chick flick may yet eat itself without any help from feminist producers or activist audiences. If the glut of such films continues there’s a very real danger that the genre will implode in a market filled with squealing, pratfalling heroines.

“It happened before, to some extent, with the horror genre,” Thomas says. “The market can take only a certain amount of these types of movies. If you flood it with them the audience appetite is lessened. There is, ultimately, not that many Sex and the Citys to be had every year.”

The women’s movies that would be left in a post-chick-flick world are not hard to imagine, Silverstein says. They’re already here. “There are amazing movies out there, but you have to find them,” she says, pointing to the Michelle Williams road movie, Wendy and Lucy. “These are not overtly serious movies or so-called feminist movies. They’re just films about women – but fully formed women.”

Kevin Maher

Εικαστικό Φθινόπωρο

 ... Andy Warhol torna a Roma

Αρκετά ενδιαφέρουσα η νέα εικαστική σαιζόν. Με την έκθεση του Andy Warhol και τις «Άγιες» προσωπογραφίες του στο Βυζαντινό Μουσείο, έως τις καλύτερες στιγμές της Ολλανδικής γραφιστικής, η οποία άνοιξε δρόμους σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο, στο Μουσείο Κυκλαδικής Τέχνης, αλλά και η έκθεση που είναι αφιερωμένη στον έρωτα, ο φετινός εικαστικός χειμώνας αναμένεται με ενδιαφέρον.

Τον θυμάμαι αγκαλιά με τις δυο σκυλίτσες του. Την «Φήμη» και τη «Τύχη» στο «Εργοστάσιο» το 1986. Είχε δώσει στα δύο καθαρόαιμα κινέζικα κουτάβια για ονόματα τις δύο αρχές που είχαν καθορίσει τη ζωή του και το έργο του.

Με τη Φήμη είχε εμμονή. Με τη Τύχη γινόταν υποχόνδριος.

Αυτήν ακριβώς την άγνωστη σε πολλούς πτυχή της δημιουργίας του Andy Warhol θα απολαύσουμε αυτή τη περίοδο στο Βυζαντινό Μουσείο όπου έως τις 10 Ιανουαρίου 2010 η έκθεση με τίτλο «Warhol/Icon-Η δημιουργία της εικόνας».

Αυτή η έκθεση θα μονοπωλήσει το ενδιαφέρον των φιλότεχνων μέσα σε ένα φόντο κατανυκτικό και βαρύ όπου στεγάζεται η σημαντικότερη συλλογή Βυζαντινής Αγιογραφίας στον κόσμο.

Θυμάμαι ακόμα και σήμερα τις «ουρές» των διάσημων στο καρνέ με τα ραντεβού του κλεισμένα δύο και τρείς μήνες πριν τη φωτογράφηση, αλλά και την ερμηνεία του Αλέξανδρου Ιόλα… για τους διάσημους.. «Κινούν τον πιο κοντινό σε αυτούς καθρέφτη, έτσι που να υποκαταστήσουν το είδωλο τους στο είδωλο του κόσμου» μου είχε πει καθώς και ο ίδιος είχε «ποζάρει» τρείς φορές αλλά και του είχε συστήσει αρκετές ελληνίδες φίλες του να τους «φτιάξει» την εικόνα.

Ε ί ν α ι κανείς ότι καταφέρνει να δουν οι ά λ λ ο ι ότι είναι.. Ο Andy Warhol εκεί ακριβώς εστίασε.

Η έκθεση συγκεντρώνει σημαντικές προσωπογραφίες από ολόκληρο το φάσμα της καλλιτεχνικής πορείας του Πάπα της Ποπ Αρτ , καταθέτοντας μια καίρια κριτική της σύγχρονης εμμονής με τη φήμη.

Στο Βυζαντινό Μουσείο η έκθεση προσωπογραφιών σύγχρονων διασημοτήτων διερευνά την έννοια της εικονικής αναπαράστασης .

Σε επιμέλεια του διακεκριμένου επιμελητή του Warhol, Paul Moorhouse , η έκθεση αυτή ανιχνεύει τη διαχρονική σημασία και αξία της αγιογραφίας, συνδέοντας θρησκευτικού χαρακτήρα ιστορικά προηγούμενα με τις σύγχρονες «αγιογραφίες» του Warhol .Απεικονίσεις δηλαδή διάσημων οποίοι φιλοτεχνήθηκαν σε μια εκκοσμικευμένη εποχή εμμονής με την δημοσιότητα.

Η ιδέα της λατρείας, κοινή στην ιστορική και τη σύγχρονη αντίληψη της αγιογραφίας, αποτελεί για την έκθεση αυτή τον βασικό συνδετικό ιστό. Και κατά τον επιμελητή … «το έργο του Warhol προσυπογράφει, ανατέμνει και χρησιμοποιεί, τις διαδικασίες εκείνες μέσω των οποίων η ταυτότητα ενός πραγματικού ατόμου επισκιάζεται σταδιακά από την ωραιοποιημένη εικονική αναπαράστασή του στα μέσα μαζικής ενημέρωσης.

Στην έκθεση θα δούμε έργα διάσημα όπως αυτά της Μεριλιν Μονρόε και της Τζάκι Κένεντι αλλά και του Μάο καθώς και αυτοπροσωπογραφίες του, όλα εξιδανικευμένες μορφές των οποίων η εικόνα υπερβαίνει την προσωπική τους ταυτότητα. Τι Θαύμα!!!

Αν δούμε την έκθεση στο πλαίσιο της ιστορικής σημασίας αγιογραφιών του Βυζαντινού και Χριστιανικού Μουσείου, οι σύγχρονες «αγιογραφίες» του Warhol αναδεικνύονται ως αποτέλεσμα μιας σύνθετης μεταμόρφωσης, κατά την οποία το πραγματικό δίνει τη θέση του σε μια πολύπλοκη αλλά υπέροχη αφαίρεση.

Το Μουσείο Κυκλαδικής Τέχνης με ένα διεθνές εικαστικό μπουκέτο ξεκινά την νέα εικαστική σαιζόν γενναία, δυναμικά και με το διεθνές κύρος που έχει αποκτήσει με το σπαθί του,στα λίγα αλλά ουσιαστικά χρόνια από την ίδρυσή του.

Το Μουσείο Κυκλαδικής Τέχνης και η Πρεσβεία του Βασιλείου των Κάτω Χωρών στην Ελλάδα παρουσιάζουν την έκθεση ‘Golden Age – Οι Καλύτερες Στιγμές της Ολλανδικής Γραφιστικής (1890-1990)’. Η έκθεση παρουσιάζει πάνω από 200 διακεκριμένα έργα από την ιστορία της Ολλανδικής Γραφιστικής από τον 19ο και 20ο αιώνα. Η παραγωγή της έκθεσης αποτελεί σύμπραξη της Premsela, της Ολλανδικής Πλατφόρμας για το Ντιζάιν και τη Μόδα και του De Beyerd, Μουσείου Γραφιστικής της Ολλανδίας.

Η έκθεση Golden Age παρουσιάζει για πρώτη φορά το εξαιρετικά ευρύ φάσμα ενός αιώνα γραφιστικής στην Ολλανδία, προβάλλοντας δείγματα γραφής όλων των σημαντικών στυλ της εποχής, όπως της Αρ Νουβώ, του κινήματος De Stijl, του Εξπρεσιονισμού, του Κονστρουκτιβισμού και του μεταπολεμικού Ρασιοναλισμού. Οι αφίσες και τα άλλα έργα που εκτίθενται φέρουν την υπογραφή κορυφαίων σχεδιαστών όπως οι Jan Toorop, Bart van der Leck, Piet Zwart, Paul Schuitema, Willem Sandberg, Jan Bons, Jan van Toorn, Wim Crouwel και άλλων.

Η μοναδική αυτή κληρονομιά του Ολλανδικού σχεδιασμού αποτελεί σημαντική πηγή έμπνευσης και για τη σημερινή νέα γενιά γραφιστών.

Ο τίτλος ‘Η Χρυσή Εποχή της Ολλανδικής Γραφιστικής’ επιχειρεί έναν παραλληλισμό με την άλλη Ολλανδική Χρυσή εποχή του Ρέμπραντ και του Βερμέερ. Κοινή και στις δύο εποχές είναι η σπουδαιότητα της προόδου και της ποιότητας, αλλά πάνω από όλα η έμφαση που δόθηκε στην ελευθερία και την ανοχή. Εμπνευσμένοι οι καλλιτέχνες, πιθανώς και καθοδηγούμενοι, από μια περίοδο προόδου αλλά συγχρόνως και καταστροφής, αναζητούν νέους τρόπους έντυπης επικοινωνίας.

Το Μουσείο Κυκλαδικής Τέχνης σε συνεργασία με το Ινστιτούτο της Δανίας στην Αθήνα και το Μουσείο Τέχνης Vejle, παρουσιάζει από τις 22 Σεπτεμβρίου έως τις 25 Οκτωβρίου 2009 έκθεση επιλεγμένων έργων του Δανού καλλιτέχνη των γραφικών τεχνών, Palle Nielsen (1920 – 2000). Στην έκθεση θα παρουσιαστούν γνωστά έργα του κορυφαίου Δανού καλλιτέχνη του 20ου αιώνα, φιλοτεχνημένα με διάφορες τεχνικές, όπως σχέδιο, υδατογραφία, ξυλογραφία και λινογραφία.

Ο Palle Nielsen, εμπνεύστηκε σε μεγάλο βαθμό από την κλασική αρχιτεκτονική της αρχαίας Ελλάδας και Ρώμης. Έχοντας μεγαλώσει στα δύσκολα χρόνια του μεσοπολέμου, είχε μέσα του ένα βαθιά ριζωμένο μίσος για τη βία και την αδικία, το οποίο είναι εμφανές στο έργο του. Συχνά σημειώνεται ότι στο έργο του Palle Nielsen αντανακλάται έντονα η ψυχροπολεμική ατμόσφαιρα της δεκαετίας του 1950.

Και πάλι στο ίδιο Μουσείο…απολαύστε τον Έρωτα. Τον φτερωτό θεό, γλυκύ, πικρό, λυσιμελή (που σού λύνει τα μέλη), (αντ-)αγωνιστή, αθλητή, δαμαστή, ημερήσιο και νυχτερινό, και με δεκάδες άλλες ιδιότητες και επίθετα, με τα οποία ασχολείται η ανθρωπότητα από την αυγή του πολιτισμού της έως σήμερα, αδυνατώντας να τον δαμάσει αλλά και να προχωρήσει δίχως αυτόν. Αυτός περίπου είναι ο ενθουσιασμός του Μουσείου αλλά και των φιλότεχνων επισκεπτών.

Συνολικά, θα παρουσιαστούν περίπου 280 λίθινα, πήλινα και μετάλλινα (χρυσά και χάλκινα) εκθέματα, όπως π.χ. γλυπτά, ανάγλυφα, αγγεία, ειδώλια, λυχνάρια, κοσμήματα – ορισμένα διάσημων γλυπτών και αγγειογράφων της αρχαιότητας – τα οποία προέρχονται από 45 αρχαιολογικά μουσεία της Ελλάδας, της Κύπρου, της Ιταλίας και της Γαλλίας, μεταξύ άλλων και του Λούβρου . Έως τον Απρίλιο 2010

Στο Μουσείο Μπενάκη Ο Σταύρος Μπαλτογιάννης με τίτλο «Σταύρος Μπαλτογιάννης Χωρίς Μοντέλο», είναι αφιερωμένη στο έργο του καλλιτέχνη μάλλον με σκοπό την αναψηλάφησή του.

Ένας καλλιτέχνης με ποικιλία θεμάτων και με κυριότερα τα γυναικεία μοντέλα. Δείτε την έκθεση για να παρατηρήσετε τον τρόπο που μπορεί ένας μεγάλος καλλιτέχνης με τα λιγότερα εκφραστικά μέσα να φθάνει στο μεγαλύτερο εικαστικό αποτέλεσμα. Στο κεντρικό κτήριο στην οδό Κουμπάρη, έως τις 25 Οκτωβρίου.

Τέλος έως τις 18 Οκτωβρίου στο κτήριο της οδού Πειραιώς μη παραλείψετε να δείτε την φωτογραφική έκθεση αφιερωμένη στον Δημήτρη Σούλα. Μια έκθεση η οποία αποτελείται από 90 στιγμιότυπα ενός προσωπικού έργου το οποίο σχολίαζε στιγμιοτυπικά και με καίριο τρόπο την κοινωνία της εποχής του. ¨έμφαση του… Μα βέβαια οι μετανάστες, οι απόκληροι των δρόμων, οι φοιτητές που διαδηλώνουν για την ειρήνη….


Μουσείο Μπενάκη

Κτήριο οδού Πειραιώς

Πειραιώς 138 & Ανδρονίκου

Τηλ 210 3453111

Μουσείο Μπενάκη

Κουμπάρη 1 Κολωνάκι

Τηλ. 210 367100

Μουσείο Κυκλαδικής Τέχνης

Νεοφύτου Δούκα 4