Jeff Koons’s “Bouquet of Tulips” Will Be Planted in the Petit Palais Garden

Jeff Koons, “Bouquet of Tulips” (2016); Polychromed bronze, stainless steel, and aluminum; 38 ft 3 in x 27 ft 4 3/4 in x 32 ft 6 9/16 in. with base (© Jeff Koons. Courtesy Noirmontartproduction.)

PARIS — This week, as the global art world descends upon Paris for FIAC, dinner table tongues are wagging over the declaration that Jeff Koons’s monumental sculpture “Bouquet of Tulips” (2016) will find its home in the garden of the Petit Palais.

The announcement, made last Friday by Christophe Girard, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of culture, has reopened old wounds procured in the Parisian culture war. The already fabricated sculpture is a “gift to Paris” (Koons donated the sculpture’s concept, but wealthy market supports are paying for its fabrication and transport) at the request of Jane Hartley, the US ambassador at the time (2016), representing a bouquet of tulips held high in tribute to the victims of the 2015 and 2016 Paris terror attacks. “Bouquet of Tulips” has been sitting in Germany, where it was made and produced by Noirmontartproductions, the art fabrication house founded by Jérôme and Emmanuelle de Noirmont. After the long wait, it will now be placed (read: plopped down) in the garden of the Petit Palais near the Champs-Élysée.

Koons has approved this site after initially rejecting the Parc de la Villette, on the grounds that he wanted it to be in the center of Paris, near to where the 2015 terrorist attacks occurred (though the Petit Palais is not). In this case, the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, where the attacks began, would have been a very suitable location, despite my own aesthetic hesitations about “Bouquet of Tulips.” But do others approve?

I asked Fred Dewilde, a survivor of the terror attacks and creator of La morsure, his reflections on coping with the ISIL attack in Nice; and Mon Bataclan: Vivre encore (My Bataclan: Living Again), an intensely-drawn booklet on his experience at the 2015 Bataclan attack. He explained to me his opposition to the Koons project (in French, which I translated here):

Without even mentioning the physical and mental injuries that should be obvious to anyone, being a victim of a terrorist attack is not an easy thing mentally and socially. There are many difficulties in regaining a sense of normality after experiencing such an incredible horror. It is an additional emotional burden to have to juggle what images other project onto you.

In the case of Jeff Koons, if one likes or not the aesthetics of “Bouquet of Tulips,” that is not the question for me. The question is: why make a monument for the victims of terrorism without asking those that were victimized what they think? In the Koons case, no parents of the dead victims, nor direct living victims, were consulted.

So I believe that we all must fight against the presumed good intentions of Koons and his supporters as the happy sculpture appropriates our recovery and re-victimizes us.

Whether one is for or against the now scheduled placement of “Bouquet of Tulips” in the garden of the Petit Palais, again, for me is not the question. The question is: Has anyone consulted us victims on it? Has anyone asked us how we see things? No! Nobody has asked the victims or their families about “Bouquet of Tulips” or any of this!  And I must say that to enter into this cultural fight, after all we have gone through, is particularly painful. It makes us feel like pleasant puppets who “represent” the pain of France, when we are actually individuals in actual pain.

To that, I now must add my own semiotic and aesthetic objections.

Koons previously prided himself in his work’s polite innocence: its omission of significant content. In that respect, “Bouquet of Tulips” is very different, as it symbolizes a communicative intent (a political message) that can boil down to this: There are 11 slightly wilting tulips (that can be easily seen, in Koons’s case, as a symbol of the tulip mania financial bubble crash) in a bouquet, which usually contains 12. The missing flower symbolizes the killed people in the attacks (as in “missing man formation” military displays.)

To me, that means that the 11 wilting, fragile, visible tulips stand in for the survivors (who actually need to be strong on their own), and all living Parisians. Worse, they are being gripped by a powerful white hand, which represents the bequeathing United States. Thus, it is fair to say that “Bouquet of Tulips” symbolizes American White power, by depicting the holding hand (of The United States) as uniformly white, which of course, the USA is not.

Jeff Koons, “Bouquet of Tulips” (2016); Polychromed bronze, stainless steel, and aluminum; 38 ft 3 in x 27 ft 4 3/4 in x 32 ft 6 9/16 in. with base (© Jeff Koons. Courtesy Noirmontartproduction.)

Koons is a remote neo-conceptual colleague of mine from the same downtown Manhattan era. After his 2008 solo exhibition at the Château de Versailles, where he was described as sullying sacred aspects of French heritage and identity, looms large as a major symptom of the hype, hubris, and money that have swamped the global art scene. Like “Large Vase of Flowers” (1991), “Bouquet of Tulips” (2016) is just a straining example of his signature brain-dead brand aesthetic of vacuous, hyper-commodified financial empowerment. It assumes the mainstream fundamental dynamic of public culture: the battle for your eyeballs in naked commercial terms. This is what makes his art the most recognizable and expensive in the world — work that, to me, is also the symbol of the flaccid degeneration of art made for the art market.

Moreover, Koons’s “Bouquet of Tulips” reinforces the view that America is rich and dumb and fun and happy and innocent, like Disneyland, without any camp ironic perspective. It also proves illusionary the Baudrillardian ideal of subversive conformity popular in the 1980s. With “Bouquet of Tulips,” there is nothing indicative of social relationships outside of passive pop consumption. It is just another example of accustomed American idiocy where unimpassioned, immediate platitudes of the corporate logo stand in for art.

There is nothing intricate or subtle to engage with here. As a consequence, it is not a sculpture that needs to be interacted with imaginatively. Based on the renderings, “Bouquet of Tulips” is never more effective than discursive; never more enigmatic than dogmatic. It is like the man himself, with his apparent and insistent smiling cheeriness, which recalls to me the Scientologized Howdy Doody who stood apart and watched when I threw a wild party in the late 1970s.

“Bouquet of Tulips” is an example of dreadful anti-elite elitism. It is maudlin, sentimental, gaudy, aggressively anti-intellectual, and shuns aesthetic complexity. Consequently, it is fodder for all that thwarts, represses, starves, withers, deadens, limits, and narrows the complex souls of Parisians.

In the discourse around (and by) Koons, a heroic fight against art-as-elite-class snobbery is often heard. After examining the rendering of “Bouquet of Tulips,” it is apparent to me that this is a shiny red herring used to justify the dumbing-down of art, bending art toward the low hanging fruit of reductive simplification. “Bouquet of Tulips” is not as “optimistic” as advertised; it offers no sense of moreness, nor eloquence, mystery, poetry, or delicacy. It only inscribes American elite power-wealth as innocent (which it is not). What is at stake with the American capitalist propaganda of Koons’s “Bouquet of Tulips” is the recognition of art as a means of seeing through Orwellian falseness, through the clichéd, through the indifferent, through the tendentiousness of Trumped-up, hyped-up, falsified life and death.

It limits and demeans us Parisians by pandering to us as passive recipients. Its 34-foot-high scale, designed to dominate, guarantees that. In fact, it is the enormous scale that represents best what is wrong with “Bouquet of Tulips” — that is hubris. With a more intimate, human-scaled sculpture, as with the wonderful Louise Bourgeois’s “The Welcoming Hands” (1996) (hand sculptures in the Jardin des Tuileries), I would have fewer objections.

Though the cost (around $4.3 million) is being paid for by rich private Koons supporters from America and France, this ugly whopper is destined to be designated as a Parisian historical monument. Thus, its protection and maintenance for perpetuity are assumed by the City of Paris and the French State. Conservation of public historical monuments is something these administrations have recently been failing to do, particularly in the cemetery Montparnasse with the great Constantin Brâncuși’s masterful sculpture “Le Baiser (The Kiss)” (1909) — an already classified national monument that has of late been boxed-up in a permeant-looking wooden enclosure, removing it from public view where it has topped the tomb of Tatiana Rachewskaïa since 1910.

So, just as we saw with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, American White power does what it always does. It powers through diverse and outspoken opposition to domination. But I wonder how these fake flowers will grow on Parisians after the truck and crane arrive to drop “Bouquet of Tulips” off. Apparently, we are expected to wilt under it. But will we?

The post Jeff Koons’s “Bouquet of Tulips” Will Be Planted in the Petit Palais Garden appeared first on Hyperallergic.

Original source: https://hyperallergic.com/466323/jeff-koonss-bouquet-of-tulips-will-be-planted-in-the-petit-palais-garden/

Explore Graduate Studies at Maine College of Art

MECA MFA
Left: MFA (Golaleh Yazdani, MFA ’18); Right, Top: MAT; Right, Bottom: Salt.

Located in Portland, the Maine College of Art offers three graduate programs: MFA in Studio Art, Master of Arts in Teaching, and the Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies.

Masters of Fine Art in Studio Art: The MFA program offers an interdisciplinary approach that encourages students to think across traditional academic boundaries, expand their art practice, and challenge their intellectual curiosity. The two-year, trimester structure emphasizes the intersection of studio production, individual research, critical analysis and curatorial experimentation. Students choose between Low and Full Residency options. The supportive learning environment is for artists who want to define and pursue a sustainable and attainable vision for their art practice.

Masters of Art in Teaching: MECA’s 10-month MAT program prepares artists to translate their unique personal qualities into creative teaching practices. Candidates learn by doing as they work in a variety of settings including schools, museums, and community-based learning centers. MAT candidates are able to complete their student teaching anywhere in the world and are employed across the U.S. and internationally.

Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies: Since 1973, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies has taught students to become professional storytellers and documentarians. Students bring their passions, ideas, challenges, and projects to concentrate for 15-weeks on one track of study, Audio Storytelling or Visual Storytelling, and leave with a portfolio in a wide range of beautifully crafted stories.

For more information, visit meca.edu/graduate.

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Original source: https://hyperallergic.com/465966/graduate-studies-maine-college-art-meca-mfa-mta-salt/

Jewish Museum and NYPL Acquire Works By Maira Kalman, and Storm King Commissions Sarah Sze

Maira Kalman, “None of us is perfect“ from <em>The Elements of Style</em> (2004–2017), gouache on paper, 20 1/4 x 17 1/4 inches (image courtesy The Jewish Museum, New York and The New York Public Library)
Maira Kalman, “None of us is perfect“ from The Elements of Style (2004–2017), gouache on paper, 20 1/4 x 17 1/4 inches (image courtesy The Jewish Museum, New York and The New York Public Library)

The Jewish Museum and The New York Public Library (NYPL) have jointly acquired the complete series of 57 gouaches on paper created by Maira Kalman for the 2005 edition of The Elements of Style. Kalman’s book adapts the title of the reference book by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, pairing her illustrations with its grammatical rules. “Since I am Jewish and since I adore libraries,” Kalman said, “isn’t it thrilling that these two glorious institutions share the work? I make books. And I make art. The works are the intersection of these, mixed with a great dollop of curiosity. In a kind of Talmudic manner, I think E.B. White would be pleased. Doesn’t it all make complete wonderful sense?” [via email announcement]

Sarah Sze, rendering of "Fallen Sky" (2020) (© Sarah Sze, image courtesy Storm King Art Center)
Sarah Sze, rendering of “Fallen Sky” (2020) (© Sarah Sze, image courtesy Storm King Art Center)

Storm King Art Center has commissioned “Fallen Sky,” a site-specific sculpture by artist Sarah Sze. “Fallen Sky” is a “deliberately incomplete and increasingly delicate 36-foot-diameter spherical cavity, sheathed in mirrored stainless steel.” The work will be placed halfway down Museum Hill below the museum building in an area chosen by Sze, in consultation with Storm King’s curators. “Pressing into the earth, the concave sculpture reflects the concave sky, creating a sense of the landscape in reverse,” says Sze. “As visitors peer into the reflection, they are immersed in the sky from above and below, teetering between a sense that the sculpture has dropped from above and a sense that it is emerging from the earth. Framed by the landscape, the work erases the land and gives form to the air, allowing an intimate view of what is normally vast and immeasurable.” The work will be unveiled in the spring of 2020.

Yves Klein, “Monogold san titre (MG 44)” (1962), gold leaf on wood panel (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s The Midas Touch sale in London brought in a total of £3,039,500 (~$3,988,000) on October 17. The sale’s top lot, Yves Klein’s “Monogold Sans Titre (MG 44)” (1962) sold for £1,000,000 (~$1,312,000).

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia; written in the year 1781. somewhat corrected and enlarged in the winter of 1782, for the use of a foreigner of distinction, in answer to certain queries proposed by him [Paris: for the author by Philippe-Denis Pierres] (1782) (image courtesy Sotheby's)
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia; written in the year 1781. somewhat corrected and enlarged in the winter of 1782, for the use of a foreigner of distinction, in answer to certain queries proposed by him [Paris: for the author by Philippe-Denis Pierres] (1782) (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Gallison Hall: The James F. Scott Collection auction in New York brought in a total of $3,731,313 on October 15. The sale’s top lot, Thomas Jefferson’s notes of the state of Virginia, written in the year 1781, somewhat corrected and enlarged in the winter of 1782, for the use of a foreigner of distinction, in answer to certain queries proposed by him, sold for $300,000.

Chaumet, sapphire and diamond ring (1930s), claw-set with a cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 12.83 carats, to baguette diamond shoulders, size 48, signed Chaumet, French assay marks for platinum and partial maker's mark, gross weight approximately 5.84 grams (image courtesy Sotheby's)
Chaumet, sapphire and diamond ring (1930s), claw-set with a cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 12.83 carats, to baguette diamond shoulders, size 48, signed Chaumet, French assay marks for platinum and partial maker’s mark, gross weight approximately 5.84 grams (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Paris Jewels sale brought in a total of €4,504,438 (~$5,216,000) on October 11. The sale’s top lot, a signed Chaumet sapphire and diamond ring from the 1930s, sold for €627,000 (~$726,000).

El Anatsui, "Ghanaian Tagomizor" (2005), aluminum bottle caps and copper wire, 61 by 85 inches (image courtesy Sotheby's)
El Anatsui, “Ghanaian Tagomizor” (2005), aluminum bottle caps and copper wire, 61 by 85 inches (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary African Art sale in London brought in a total of £2,274,625 (~$2,987,000) on October 16. The sale’s top lot, El Anatsui’s “Ghanaian Tagomizor” (2005), sold for £670,000 (~$880,000).

Joseph Walsh, unique "Enignum X" dining table with engraved copper plaque (2013), olive ash, burr olive ash, white oil, 29 1/2 x 141 3/4 x 57 1/8 inches, produced by Joseph Walsh, County Cork, Ireland (image courtesy Sotheby's)
Joseph Walsh, unique “Enignum X” dining table with engraved copper plaque (2013), olive ash, burr olive ash, white oil, 29 1/2 x 141 3/4 x 57 1/8 inches, produced by Joseph Walsh, County Cork, Ireland (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Design sale in London brought in a total of £1,939,625 (~$2,547,000) on October 16. The sale’s top lot, Joseph Walsh’s unique “Enignum X” dining table (2013), sold for £316,000 (~$415,000).

A fine and large French ormolu-mounted kingwood and bois satiné three-piece bedroom suite in the manner of Charles Cressent, by Emmanuel Zwierner, Paris (late 19th century), comprising a bed, a commode, and a large vanity and mirror, the commode: 38 inches high, 62 ½ inches wide, 26 ½ inches deep, the bed: 66 ½ inches high, 77 ½ inches wide, 85 ½ inches deep, the vanity: 92 ½ inches high, 72 ¾ inches wide, 18 inches deep (image courtesy Christie's)
A fine and large French ormolu-mounted kingwood and bois satiné three-piece bedroom suite in the manner of Charles Cressent, by Emmanuel Zwierner, Paris (late 19th century), comprising a bed, a commode, and a large vanity and mirror, the commode: 38 inches high, 62 ½ inches wide, 26 ½ inches deep, the bed: 66 ½ inches high, 77 ½ inches wide, 85 ½ inches deep, the vanity: 92 ½ inches high, 72 ¾ inches wide, 18 inches deep (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s A Golden Age: An Important Collection of 19th Century Furniture & Decorative Art auction in New York brought in a total of $1,832,500 on October 16. The sale’s top lot, a fine and large French Ormolu-mounted kingwood and Bois satiné three-piece bedroom suite in the manner of Charles Cressent, by Emmanuel Zwierner, Paris, in the late 19th century, sold for $125,000.

Carlo Mollino, an important 'Tipo B' side chair (1950), from a production of six chairs designed for Casa Licitra Ponti, Milan, Resinflex, brass, tubular brass, 37 3/5 high x 15 wide x 21 inches deep (image courtesy Museo Casa Mollino, Turin)
Carlo Mollino, an important ‘Tipo B’ side chair (1950), from a production of six chairs designed for Casa Licitra Ponti, Milan, Resinflex, brass, tubular brass, 37 3/5 high x 15 wide x 21 inches deep (image courtesy Museo Casa Mollino, Turin)

Christie’s Thinking Italian Design sale in London brought in a total of £3,465,875 (~$4,551,000) on October 17. The sale’s top lot, Carlo Mollino’s important “Tipo B” side chair (1950), sold for £518,750 (~$681,000), a record price for this model as well as the designer.

Daniel Buren, "Peinture aux formes variables" (1966), paint on cotton cloth with white and grey stripes, alternating and vertical, of 8.7 centimeters wide each, 74 ¾ x 74 3/8 inches (image courtesy Christie's)
Daniel Buren, “Peinture aux formes variables” (1966), paint on cotton cloth with white and grey stripes, alternating and vertical, of 8.7 centimeters wide each,
74 ¾ x 74 3/8 inches (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s Paris Avant-Garde sale in Paris brought in a total of €29,602,250 (~$34,056,000) on October 17. The sale’s top lot, Daniel Buren’s “Peinture aux formes variables [Painting with varying forms]” (1966), sold for €667,500 (~$768,000).

Ingo Maurer, "Porca Miseria! Chinese Love," first conceived 1994, this version executed 2017, produced by Ingo Maurer GmbH, Munich, Germany, from the production of 2, steel mesh, steel, glazed porcelain and hand painted porcelain figures, painted wood chopsticks 47 ¼ high x 32 inches diameter (image courtesy Christie's)
Ingo Maurer, “Porca Miseria! Chinese Love,” first conceived 1994, this version executed 2017, produced by Ingo Maurer GmbH, Munich, Germany, from the production of 2, steel mesh, steel, glazed porcelain and hand painted porcelain figures, painted wood chopsticks, 47 ¼ high x 32 inches diameter (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s Design sale in London brought in a total of £2,869,062 (~$3,765,000) on October 17. The sale’s top lots, Ingo Maurer’s “Porca Miseria! Chinese Love” (2017), first conceived in 1994, and René Lalique’s “Épines Formant Quatre Pieds [Thorns Forming Four Feet],” a rare vase designed in 1921, sold for $75,000 each.

The post Jewish Museum and NYPL Acquire Works By Maira Kalman, and Storm King Commissions Sarah Sze appeared first on Hyperallergic.

Original source: https://hyperallergic.com/465937/jewish-museum-nypl-maira-kalman-storm-king-sarah-sze/

Trump Brand Continues to Tarnish as New York Condo Removes President’s Name

The barren facade of the former “Trump Plaza” (all images by Zachary Small for Hyperallergic)

Today, workers began removed the enormous “TRUMP PLACE” signs that grace a 46-story tower on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The large gold letters brandish the building’s east and west-facing facades, a fact owners in the complex have loudly protested, in and outside of court. The removal, according to Gothamist, will cost the building an estimated $23,000, on top of what has been reported as over $200,000 in legal fees for the residents spent fighting the Trump Organization.

While the tower’s legal name will not be affected, the building will now be known as 200 Riverside Boulevard instead of Trump Place. According to the Washington Post, 69.3 percent of owners voted in favor of taking down Trump’s name. Following that, the board passed a resolution to remove the signs.

The ghostly image of “Trump Plaza” is still visible on the face of 200 Riverside Boulevard

This is the seventh building to remove Donald Trump’s name since 2016. The others included three other “Trump Place” buildings in the same complex in New York, plus hotels in Toronto, Panama, and the SoHo neighborhood of New York. According to the New York Times, the buildings in Toronto and SoHo paid the Trumps millions to remove the name. There remain 40 buildings around the world that use the Trump name, including two other Riverside Boulevard complexes on the Upper West Side.

While you might think the decision was purely an issue of personal politics, the Times offers another reason for the removal: “Trump apartments in 2017 sold for an average of $1,741 per square foot in Manhattan, or 6.6 percent less than the average Manhattan condominium, according to CityRealty, an online apartment broker. At Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, average prices per square foot declined from $3,000 in 2013 to about $2,000 last year.”

The Gothamist did suggest someone may want to buy the letters if they want to spell “Cat Plumper” or “Rectal Pump,” which all seem like reasonable uses.

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Original source: https://hyperallergic.com/466444/trump-brand-continues-to-tarnish-as-new-york-condo-removes-presidents-name/

Discover 500 Years of Printmaking at the Fine Art Print Fair

The world’s foremost art fair dedicated to prints and editions returns for the second year in the River Pavilion at the Javits Center with a gala preview on Wednesday, October 24. Just steps away from the High Line and Chelsea arts district, the Fine Art Print Fair runs from Thursday October 25 to Sunday October 28.

This year’s Fair will host 80 dealers, all members of the International Fine Print Dealers Association, exhibiting an extraordinary roster of artists committed to the expressive medium of printmaking.

Join the international gathering of museum directors and curators, major collectors and art advisors drawn to the quality and selectivity embodied by the Fair’s elite roster of leading dealers and editions publishers.

Fair Programs (reservations required!)

  • Artist Christiane Baumgartner in Conversation with Jennifer Farrell
    Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation Keynote Lecture
  • Collectors & Curators Breakfast
    Presentation to honor the annual Richard Hamilton Acquisition Prize, Jordan Schnitzer Award for Excellence in Printmaking, and the IFPDA Book Award.

Join the conversation and indulge in New York Print Week’s multiple fairs, events and exhibitions dedicated to the art of the print.

The Fine Art Print Fair is on view Thursday–Sunday, October 25–28, 2018 at the River Pavilion, Javits Center in New York. For information and tickets, visit printfair.com.

The post Discover 500 Years of Printmaking at the Fine Art Print Fair appeared first on Hyperallergic.

Original source: https://hyperallergic.com/466072/ifpda-fine-art-print-fair-newyork-october-25/

Dispatches from an Artist’s Junk Mail

The post Dispatches from an Artist’s Junk Mail appeared first on Hyperallergic.

Original source: https://hyperallergic.com/466509/dispatches-from-an-artists-junk-mail/

Drug Dealers Disguised 25 Pounds of Meth as Aztec Relics

Meth disguised as a 500-year-old Aztec calendar stone (courtesy DOJ)

On October 16, an alleged Orange County drug ring was busted by law enforcement. Nine individuals based in Garden Grove, California have been arrested, accused of sending three separate shipments of methamphetamine to Hawaii, all of which were intercepted by authorities. The first alleged shipment consisted of two pounds of meth, sent via FedEx from Santa Ana. The second, this time five pounds’ worth, was shipped in April from Cypress, hidden in coffee bags. And in July, 25 pounds were sent, this time cleverly (and convincingly) disguised as Aztec relics.

Assorted “decorations” confiscated by authorities (courtesy DOJ)

The various chunks of meth were part of a 90-pound package of miscellaneous Mexican souvenirs. Each piece had been intricately carved or molded and then painted to resemble items like masks, wall hangings, statues, and ancient calendars. It’s unclear whether they were supposed to pass as authentic Aztec antiquities or simple decorative replicas. Either way, a simple breakage reveals the deception.

Close-up of the broken meth statues (courtesy DOJ)

The members of the group have been indicted on charges which include possession and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. They each face a minimum five-year prison sentence, potentially decades. This is hardly the first intersection between drug smuggling and art, and won’t be the last. Previous notable cases include the UK prisoners who had drugs snuck to them in homemade paintings, and the Connecticut art broker who attempted to launder drug money through the sale of paintings by Amedeo Modigliani and Edgar Degas.

h/t LA Taco.

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Original source: https://hyperallergic.com/466492/drug-dealers-disguised-25-pounds-of-meth-as-aztec-relics/

Several Major New York Art Institutions Step Away from Saudi-Funded Initiatives

Athier, “Clasp and Come Apart” (2018), in Arab Street Artists’ Majlis at ArtX (Courtesy of the artist)

After the disappearance and suspected assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, major institutions have been under a harsh spotlight to reveal and address their financial ties to the Saudi government. Saudi Arabia, under the governance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), has established itself as a major player in the international arts and culture scene through enormous donations and generously-funded partnerships.

MBS founded the Misk Art Institute to promote Arab art worldwide, which was recently revealed as a substantial donor in the Arab Art and Education Initiative, a yearlong program which “aims to build greater understanding between the United States and the Arab world.” This week, the initiative launched its first round of programming in New York City with exhibitions and events at museums like the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim Museum.

Since the Arab Art and Education Initiative kicked off, new information surrounding the Jamal Khashoggi’s peculiar disappearance has dominated the media — reports speculate that he was murdered and dismembered with a bone saw at the hands of Saudi officials, though MBS maintains his innocence.

Initially, all of the initiative’s participating institutions maintained their decision to move forward as partners. But in the wake of extensive news reports, some have retreated from their initial judgments, particularly those whose events were directly financed by the Misk Institute.

The program initiated on October 13 with Syria, Then and Now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart at the Brooklyn Museum, an exhibition organized by their Islamic art curator Aysin Yoltar-Yildirim. Though the Misk Institute initially planned to fully finance the exhibition, after deliberation, the museum has announced its decision to self-fund the show.

Anne Pasternak, director of the Brooklyn Museum, said in a statement sent to Hyperallergic:

The Brooklyn Museum continues to believe strongly in the value of culture to create bridges and build a more connected, civic, and empathetic global community, and we are committed to our partnership of the Arab Art and Education Initiative. While we are proud of our collaboration to bring awareness to the historic and present-day struggles of refugees in Syria through the exhibition and educational activities around Syria, Then and Now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart, in light of recent events and in harmony with the international community’s concerns, the Museum will not be accepting Saudi funding for this exhibition.

Initially, the Institute was set to fund “Collecting and Exhibiting The Middle East,” a seminar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but in light of recent updates, the Met has also opted to self-fund the event, which a representative says cost under $20,000 in total.

Dan Weiss, the president and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said in a statement sent to Hyperallergic:

It is our pleasure to host this small invitation-only scholarly seminar on how encyclopedic museums collect and exhibit modern art from the Middle East. This in an important conversation and core to our work as a global institution at The Met, as it is for each of the participants. While this conversation and a subsequent public colloquium were to be supported by external funds, in light of recent developments we have decided that the Museum will itself fund this event.

Ahmed Mater, the Misk Institute’s director, was intended to speak at Columbia University on October 22. However, Professor Avinoam Shalem, Riggio Professor of the History of the Arts of Islam at Columbia, announced, “The lecture ‘Ahmed Mater: An Artist’s Lens on Mecca’ … as part of the series, Disrupting Unity and Discerning Ruptures, will not take place. We will seek to find another time in the near future that is more conducive to the academic dialogue on campus that is the purpose of the lecture.”

The Middle East Institute (MEI), one of the two organizations involved in coordinating the initiative, chose to withdraw its partnership following the Misk revelation. The second partner, Edge of Arabia, chose to maintain its leadership. Stephen Stapleton, Founding Director of Edge of Arabia and the chief coordinator of the Arab Art & Education Initiative, said of today’s announcements:

We are fully understanding and supportive of our partner organizations in the Arab Art & Education Initiative when it comes to decisions around funding and are delighted there continues to be a commitment from our partners to present open and free cross-cultural programming, as part of the initiative, here in New York City.

The post Several Major New York Art Institutions Step Away from Saudi-Funded Initiatives appeared first on Hyperallergic.

Original source: https://hyperallergic.com/466508/several-major-new-york-art-institutions-step-away-from-saudi-funded-initiatives/

Spooky X-Rays Reveal the Bone Structures of Oregon Zoo Residents

As a seasonally appropriate topic for Halloween, the Oregon Zoo is posting a few of their favorite animal X-rays taken during routine health exams. Included in the mix is a branch-dwelling chameleon, open-beaked toucan, and a bat that appears to be caught mid-flight. The scans are a normal part of the check-ups at the zoo, and are used by animal experts as a helpful diagnostic tool to minimize anesthesia and provide faster results. You can follow more of the zoo’s spooky posts on Twitter.

 

Original source: https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/10/spooky-x-rays-of-oregon-zoo-residents/

Video Game Designers Show the Carefully Orchestrated Movements That Bring Their Stop Motion Characters to Life

Vokabulantis is an episodic video game by author Morten Søndergaard, animator Johan Oettinger, and puppet animation studio Wired Fly. The team used stop motion to animate the two main characters—Kurt and Karla—which the player leads through a series of language-based puzzles. The intention of the interactive universe it to bring a tangibility to language, creating a space where users can interact with its form rather than merely read through static text on a screen.

The single player game is a mix between a point and click adventure and a puzzle-based platform, which allows the user to explore worlds while they complete brain teasers or tasks with the two main characters. The game was initially developed for PC, but may be adapted for console-based platforms or handheld devices down the line when it is released in 2019. You can follow updates regarding the release of the Kong Orange-produced game on Vokabulantis’s website, and take a look behind the making of the stop-motion game in the video below.

Vokabulantis's characters Kurt and Karla

Vokabulantis’s characters Kurt and Karla

Original source: https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/10/stop-motion-video-game-vokabulantis/