Newly Authenticated Van Gogh Unveiled

Vincent van Gogh, Fundatie Museum, Le Blute-Fin Windmill, painting
Vincent van Gogh's "Le Blute-Fin Windmill" (1886)
[Credit: Fundatie Museum]
AMSTERDAM — The year was 1995 the last time a painting was formerly attributed to Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890). But experts conducting a study at the Van Gogh Museum recently concluded "beyond any doubt" that the 1886 painting Le Blute-Fin Windmill is an authentic work by the Dutch Post-Impressionist.

"The painting is a little a-typical for Van Gogh because of the many people appearing on it but also very typical because of the prominent role for the mill," said Ralph Keuning, director of the Fundatie Museum.

Dirk Hannema, the founder of the small Fundatie Museum in the Dutch city of Zwolle, bought the painting 35 years ago. Though experienced as an art collector, Hannema had a history of wrongly attributing other paintings to Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer so his theories on the possible van Gogh were quickly dismissed. After Hannema died in 1984 the painting disappeared into the museum's archives only to resurface in 2007.

Since the 1970 publication of the artist's catalogue raisonné, The Works of Vincent van Gogh, only five paintings have been added to his oeuvre of approximately 900 works.

Le Blute-Fin Windmill is on view at the Fundatie Museum through July 4.
[Source: NRC]



Is It Art or Indecent, and Who Should Decide?

Visual Expressions 2010, The Merc gallery, Temecula, Jeff Hebron
Opening night of Visual Expressions 2010 in the Gallery at the Merc. [Credit: Brandy Sebastian via Sissi Hale Studio]
TEMECULA, Calif. — Who should decide what is art and which imagery goes beyond "family-friendly" viewing. So goes the debate in the southeastern California city of Temecula after the removal of a nude portrait from a city gallery.

A woman's portrait by Temecula-based artist Jeff Hebron was pulled from an exhibit at a city-owned building called The Merc. The painting was set to hang in Visual Expressions 2010, a juried art show scheduled to run through March 31. The New York-based National Coalition Against Censorship caught word and sent a letter of criticism to City Manager Shawn Nelson, in part:
"It is not the role of a public official to shield the eyes of the public from work because he subjectively decides it is not 'family-friendly.' As a public gallery, the gallery at The Merc is governed by the free speech clause in the First Amendment, meaning that the selection of art in the gallery should be based on viewpoint-neutral criteria such as creative excellence, cultural significance and intellectual richness. The arbitrary, subjective, and vague determination of what might be 'appropriate' for the venue has led in this case to the impermissible imposition of an individual’s viewpoint on the whole community and is likely to be found in violation of First Amendment principles.

Simple nudity is not sufficient ground for excluding artwork from public exhibition. If it were, a vast amount of great art, including masterpieces like Michelangelo’s 'David', would be off limits."
Exhibit chairwoman Sissi Hale gave the following statement to the press:
"As the curator of Visual Expressions 2010, I take full responsibility for the selection of artwork curated into this show. Although this exhibit was a huge triumph for the arts in Temecula, it has come with controversy over issues of censorship. During the selection of the artwork I felt I was operating within the guidelines of the show's prospectus. I felt I never strayed from the non-explicit/family friendly guidelines and I believed the piece in question fell within those guidelines. I want to make clear that I am NOT the person who pulled the painting. I am the person who supported this piece and curated it in. I support art in all its forms and expressions and as an artist, curator and individual I despise censorship."
Temecula Community Services Director Herman Parker says he'll evaluate the NCAC's letter and decide if anything should be done.

Artist Hebron remarked, “I’ve been painting for 20 years. This is not a hobby for me. I work at this full time. I have never considered myself a controversial artist.”

The full text of the NCAC letter and painting image are posted here
[Update: This post previously contained an inaccurate statement that Sissi Hale was responsible for removing the artwork. It has since been corrected. —Ed.]



ARCOmadrid: 29th International Contemporary Art Fair Begins

ARCOmadrid_2010, contemporary art fair, Los Angeles
The 29th annual International Contemporary Art Fair ARCOmadrid is being held February 17-21, 2010.
MADRID — The 29th annual International Contemporary Art Fair ARCOmadrid_2010 will officially open to the public February 19-21. A two-day VIP preview began Wednesday, allowing major collectors, galleries and museums an early opportunity to acquire the artworks for sale.

ARCOmadrid_2010 will feature 221 galleries from 25 countries and 3,000 established and emerging artists. Organizers say the fair's core mission is to drive the art market forward.

For the first time this year, instead of spotlighting a special guest country, ARCOmadrid_2010 will focus on a city - Los Angeles. The fair will feature works from a select group of 17 galleries located in Los Angeles, a city known for being one of the world's art capitals and chosen for its vitality and multiculturalism.

"Los Angeles is holding a spot that has been previously reserved for entire nations this year because it's a very complete contemporary art hub," co-curator Christopher Miles told the LA Times. "It has everything covered: the creation, distribution and critical discussion of art. And people here are very eager to see what Los Angeles has to offer."

ARCOmadrid kicks off the 2010 calendar year of major international contemporary art fairs



Killer Canvases: Sir Anthony Hopkins Art Exhibit Opens

Sir Anthony Hopkins, paintingsThe first British exhibition of artwork by award-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins opens in London this week. [Credit: Times Online]>

LONDON — The actor best known for his role as Hannibal Lecter, Oscar-winner Sir Anthony Hopkins will show off his killer painting skills in a new exhibit opening this week at London's Gallery 27. The collection will feature 38 paper canvases, 7 acrylic pieces, and 5 limited addition prints for sale - all of which will be on view through February 20.

"This exhibition gives people the chance to see a different side of Sir Anthony in terms of his artistry and also his unique personality," said exhibition organizer Jonathan Poole. "His technique is to use a palette knife to make thick, swooping strokes with gobs of paint. His work is painterly, wild and vibrant and is generous with its motion and use of color," Poole explained.

Hopkins began painting in 2002 at the encouragement of his wife, Stella, who happened upon a collection of his old scripts with his unique drawings on them. Since then, Hopkins has produced a variety of artwork, including ink drawings and acrylic paintings. The actor has said that he paints every day out of his studio in Malibu.

"When I paint, I just paint freely without anxiety regarding outside opinions as criticisms," said Hopkins. "I do it for sheer pleasure. It's done wonders for my subconscious - I dream now in colors."

[Source: Telegraph]



Valentine's Day Sculpture Melts Hearts in Time Square

Ice Heart, sculpture, Times Square, Valentine's Day
The 10-foot-tall, 7,000-pound Ice Heart was installed Friday in Times Square - the heart of New York City - just in time for Valentine's Day weekend. [Credit: Moorhead & Moorhead]

NEW YORK — Visitors to Times Square are loving the 10-foot-tall, 7,000-pound heart-shaped sculpture installed in the center of the chaotic intersection of 46th and Broadway. The Ice Heart is constructed from masonry scaled blocks of ice which are calibrated to absorb and magnify the lights of Times Square, the illuminated heart of New York City.

Selected  from among four finalists by the Art Review Committee of the Times Square Alliance, Ice Heart was designed by architect brothers Robert and Granger Moorhead. It was installed Friday, just in time for Valentine's Day weekend. The architects say that Ice Heart is a celebration of the "temporary nature" of the work, since it will slowly transform as it melts away and eventually disappears completely.


Italian Court Orders Repatriation of the Getty Bronze

Victorious Youth, Getty Bronze, J. Paul Getty Museum
The 2,000-year-old Victorious Youth sculpture, commonly known as the Getty Bronze. [Credit: Getty]
ROME — "The court's order is flawed both procedurally and substantively," said the Getty after Thursday's ruling by an Italian judge ordering the museum to repatriate its Victorious Youth sculpture. 

The priceless bronze statue was bought by the J. Paul Getty Museum for nearly four million dollars at an auction in 1974. But Judge Lorena Mussoni of Pesaro ordered its confiscation in a 37-page judgment asserting the artifact belonged to Italy's cultural heritage and was thus not for sale.

Commonly referred to as the Getty Bronze, the sculpture is dated between 300 and 100 B.C. and is considered one of the greatest to survive from ancient Greece. The lifesize statue was found in the sea off the Adriatic coast of Italy in 1964; prosecutors allege that it was smuggled out of the country and that the Getty knew its provenance was illicit.

Former culture minister Francesco Rutelli, who spearheaded Italy's efforts to recover the work, said Thursday's verdict was of "historic importance, ending the era of looting our archaeological heritage." The Getty said it would "vigorously defend" its ownership of the statue and adamantly denies any wrongdoing.

[Source: AFP]


Disney VoluntEARS Set World Record for Largest Canned Food Sculpture

Disney, Give a Day Get a Disney Day, canned goods sculpture, Guinness World Records, Celebrate Volunteers
The record-breaking Largest Canned Food Sculpture, constructed from 115,527 cans, was unveiled at EPCOT on Thursday. The sculpture will be disassembled and donated to food banks in Orlando, Miami and Atlanta. [Credit: Disney]
VIDEO: Watch time-lapse footage of Disney VoluntEARS constructing the Largest Canned Food Sculpture ever created.

ORLANDO — Mickey’s head shaped from cans of black olives, cans of sliced pineapple for Pluto’s eyes, containers of Atlantic salmon as a portion of Goofy’s face, cans of tuna for Donald’s hat, pupils made from pans of popcorn - in all, 44 tons of food were used to construct the Largest Canned Food Sculpture ever created.

Walt Disney World Resort unveiled the massive character sculpture on Thursday as part of its “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” program (launched January 1, 2010). Consisting of a total of 115,527 cans of everything from albacore tuna and apricot halves to stewed tomatoes and mixed vegetables, the structure was officially certified as the largest ever by Guinness World Records. The previous record for a can sculpture was 54,527 cans, set June 2009 in New Zealand.

Entitled “Celebrate Volunteers,” the gigantic can sculpture required a dedicated team of Disney VoluntEARS and project leaders, who spent more than 500 hours working over a four-day period.

The food will be donated to food banks in Orlando, Miami and Atlanta and is expected to provide 70,000 meals to the needy. “Each can makes a difference in someone’s life who cannot afford this food,” said Dave Krepcho, CEO of Second Harvest of Central Florida. “Much of this food goes to children in need, working moms trying to provide, senior citizens coping on fixed incomes and people whose disabilities keep them from working.”



Mr. Tambourine Man Gets an Art Show

Bob Dylan on Canvas, Halcyon Gallery, The Drawn Blank
"Sunflowers", an acrylic painting on canvas by legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan.
LONDON — A dozen original canvas paintings by the legendary musician Bob Dylan will go on public display Saturday. The exhibit is called Bob Dylan on Canvas and will be on view at London's Halcyon Gallery from February 13 through April 10.

"I just draw what's interesting to me, and then I paint it. Rows of houses, orchard acres, lines of tree trunks, could be anything. I can take a bowl of fruit and turn it into a life and death drama," said 68-year-old Dylan. "I'm not trying to make social comment or fulfill somebody's vision and I can find subject matter anywhere. I guess in some way that comes out of the folk world that I came up in."

The twelve paintings are the grand finale of The Drawn Blank Series and are based on drawings made while the singer/songwriter was on the road touring between 1989 and 1992. The works will be available for purchase at prices ranging from $137,000 to $727,000.


Using Statistical Analysis to Deconstruct Art

AUDIO: Listen as Dartmouth College Chairman Daniel Rockmore discusses his new mathematical tool for analyzing artwork, as heard on NPR's Morning Edition.
WASHINGTON — By integrating a passion for the arts with his background in mathematics, Dartmouth College department Chairman Daniel Rockmore has developed a computer program that deconstructs a work of art to determine whether a piece is consistent with a particular artist's style.

Rockmore began his research in 2001, when he met Nadine Orenstein, a curator of prints and drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was organizing an exhibition featuring Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder - including pieces both attributed to the artist and others proven not to be. Rockwell used statistical sampling to scan and analyze digital images of the Bruegel works, matching certain characteristics to the artist's technique.

The mathematical tool isn't necessarily meant to identify forgeries, says Rockwell. Rather, it offers a new scientific method of delving into how a piece was created, ultimately deepening our art viewing experience.

[Source: NPR]


Prez Sarkozy's Father Exhibits Carla Bruni Paintings

Top ART News Headlines for Monday, February 8, 2010

Carla Bruni, Nicholas Sarkozy, Pal Sarkozy, painting
The centerpiece of Pal Sarkozy's exhibition will be a large canvas of his daughter-in-law Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. [Credit: Mail Online]
Pal Sarkozy Exhibits Paintings of His Daughter-in-Law | BUDAPEST — Eighty-two-year-old Pal Sarkozy has a famous son and daughter-in-law to thank for "enormously" boosting his painting career. The Hungarian aristocrat is the father of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Pal's paintings are currently on view in Budapest before being shown at Espace Pierre Cardin in April. A large canvas of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was a wedding present to the pair but will be the centerpiece of the show. Pal says Carla is an "adorable girl" who helped bring him closer to his son after years of estrangement. "There is a rose on the piano as a symbol of the openness of Nicolas to the political Left, but also an emblem of love," he said. [Source: Telegraph]

NoMA Victorious in Super Bowl Art Bet | NEW ORLEANS — In case you've been locked away in a closet for the past 24 hours - the New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday evening. Looks like Joseph Turner's The Fifth Plague of Egypt (1800) will be traveling to the New Orleans Museum of Art for a 3-month visit. [Background on the Super Bowl art bet here]

Kate Moss Fashions Herself a Painter | LONDON — Supermodel Kate Moss was recently spotted stocking up on art supplies after signing up for a private art course at her home in London. A source close to the waifish celebrity said: "Kate has always been a big collector of art and has several valuable works in her home. But she has been getting more into painting herself. She has a very hectic life and that is one of the few things that relaxes her." [Source: The Sun]

Missouri Museum Gifted 400 Artworks for 75 Years | KANSAS CITY — Dozens of patrons have donated 400 artworks to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in celebration of its 75th anniversary this year. Among the gifted pieces is an impressive Impressionist collection from Marion and Henry Bloch (founder of H&R Block Inc.), including works by Monet, Van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Pierre Bonnard and Camille Pissarro. The museum will feature 130 of the 400 artworks in a special exhibition February 13-April 4. [Source: ABC News]

Iran Formally Cuts Ties with British Museum | TEHRAN — "Since the Cyrus Cylinder has not been transferred to Iran, we will lodge a complaint against the British Museum to UNESCO and cut ties," head of Iran's cultural heritage and tourism organization, Hamid Baghai, confirmed Sunday. Baghai accused the museum of stalling in returning the Persian treasure to Iran, who formally severed relations after the final deadline of Sunday was not met. The British Museum expressed "great surprise" at the decision, saying it planned to return the artifact in late July. "The British Museum has acted throughout in good faith, and values highly its hitherto good relations with Iran. It is to be hoped that this matter can be resolved as soon as possible," said a museum official. [Source: AFP]


Rockwell Images to "Be Prepared" for Boy Scouts 100th Anniversary

Norman Rockwell, Boy Scouts of America, Joseph Castari
Beyond the Easel, self-portrait by Norman Rockwell with Boy Scouts for the 1969 Boy Scouts of America calendar. On February 8, 2010 the Boy Scouts of America will celebrate their 100th anniversary.
WASHINGTON, DC — American illustrator Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was sometimes referred to as “Mr. Scouting” for his long association with the Boy Scouts of America. It all began one day in the fall of 1912, when 18-year-old art student Rockwell walked into the offices of Boy's Life (the Boy Scouts' magazine) looking for work, thus beginning a 60-year relationship between them.

On February 8, 2010 the Boy Scouts of America will celebrate their 100th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, artist Joseph Csatari and his son Jeff have compiled Norman Rockwell’s Boy Scouts of America, a book including 50 of Rockwell’s oil paintings and 37 of Csatari’s illustrations.

Every year but two from 1925 through 1976, Norman Rockwell did a painting for the annual Boy Scout calendar published by Brown & Bigelow. For eight years, Csatari worked with his mentor Norman Rockwell before taking over as the official artist of the Boy Scouts of America (after Rockwell retired in 1976).

"Joe has taken the rich tradition started by Norman Rockwell and made it his own," said Bob Mazzuca, chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America. "Rockwell’s illustrations gave you a snapshot in time — you wanted to be part of the images he created. Csatari’s work (also) makes you feel like you are part of the picture."

Most of Csatari's Boy Scout paintings hang in the National Scouting Museum in Irvington, Texas, alongside Rockwell’s 50 Scout paintings. In celebration of the 100th anniversary, one of Csatari’s paintings will be unveiled at a gala event Feb. 9 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Csatari says he owes it all to Rockwell, who insisted that his protégé call him Norman."He was laid back and he was just a very kind and gentle person," Csatari said. "You did not know you were with celebrity when you were with him."

In 1939 Rockwell was honored with the highest award given by the Boy Scouts of America, the Silver Buffalo, presented before an audience of 3,000 people at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.




Haiti Painting Donated to Auction for Earthquake Relief

Louis Aston Knight, landscape, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, an early 20th-century oil painting by American landscape artist Louis Aston Knight, will be auctioned on February 16 to raise funds for earthquake victims. [Credit: Bonhams via ArtDaily]

NEW YORK — Port-au-Prince, Haiti, an oil painting by landscape artist Louis Aston Knight (1873-1948), will be auctioned to raise funds for the devastated Caribbean capital. The work of art was donated by an anonymous collector and will be up for bid at Bonhams fine art auction house on February 16. 

Painter Louis Knight was born in Paris, where he studied under Robert-Fleury Lefebvre and his father, celebrated American artist Daniel Ridgway Knight. The early 20th-century artwork depicts a view of the now-devastated capital city of Port-au-Prince; the cathedral and National Palace are visible in the distance on the right. The Palace was destroyed in 1912 and rebuilt from 1915-1934, only to be destroyed once again in the recent disaster. 

“When the owner of this painting heard about the disaster in Haiti she asked us to sell it on behalf of a charity currently working to help the people of Haiti," said Giles Peppiatt, Director of Topographical Pictures at Bonhams. 

The money raised by the sale will go to AmeriCares, a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization currently working in Haiti. The painting is estimated to fetch $6,000-9,000 for earthquake relief.

[Source: BusinessWeek]


Newly Opened Tampa Museum of Art Lights Up the Riverfront

Tampa Museum of Art, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
The Tampa Museum of Art opened to the public for the first time on February 6, 2010. The 66,000-square-foot building designed by Stanley Saitowitz is located next to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park along the Hillsborough River. [Credit: James Ostrand via Daily Loaf]
TAMPA — The long-awaited Tampa Museum of Art, conceived in an effort to revitalize the city's downtown waterfront district, finally opened to the public on Saturday, February 6. Located along the Hillsborough River, the museum is adjacent to the newly opened Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, as well another property that will house the future Glazer Children's Museum.

"This is a new and very important public space for the city of Tampa and I truly believe it's going to be the focal point of cultural activity and family fun for generations to come," Mayor Pam Iorio announced at Saturday's ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The 66,000-square-foot structure cost $26.6 million and was designed by Stanley Saitowitz of San Francisco’s Natoma Architects. Saitowitz describes the building as, "a hyphen between the earth and sky,” a neutral space whose intention is not to compete with the art. 

The building, also known as the Cornelia Corbett Center, is distinguished by a two-layer aluminum curtain wall perforated with 900,000 three-inch circles on four-inch centers, that wraps the exterior and some of the interior. Other modern features include translucent ceilings, polished concrete floors, an exterior sculpture gallery and 12,000-square-feet of LED lights on the south facade.

The Florida museum is showcasing a traveling exhibit of artwork by French artist Henri Matisse through April 18.



In Seattle, Sculptor Sues Photog for "Side-Stepping" Copyright

Jack Mackie, sculpture, Dance Steps on Broadway, Seattle
Sculptor Jack Mackie's Dancers' Series: Steps (1982) can be found at eight locations along Broadway in Seattle. Each set covers approximately twelve square feet and shows steps for well-known dances like the tango, waltz, rumba and mambo. [Credit: Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs]
SEATTLE — The debate over a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by sculptor Jack Mackie against photographer Mike Hipple is heating up online

Mackie's Dance Steps on Broadway can be found at eight locations in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Hipple sold a picture of the public art steps to a stock photo agency for $60. Even though (at Hipple's request) the agency destroyed the photos after just a couple of days, Mackie says the sale of the photo infringed on his original copyright. He's decided to go forward with a $60,000 lawsuit against the photographer.

"Yes, anyone can make a photograph of my work. What they can not do is use my work for their profit without any contact with me...," Mackie told The Seattlest. "A critic can use a piece of a film being reviewed as fair use...If a movie maker used that same piece of film (without gaining a use agreement) in a movie they made (and claimed copyright to) is that fair use? No. It is copyright infringement," he explained.

Hipple says a "large majority" of Mackie's steps were "out of focus" in the photo. He believes his work is covered under the fair use provision of copyright law.

But according to Mackie, "This is not an inadvertent snapshot of a shoe on a sidewalk. This is a staged photograph. It's about three feet from the copyright notice. I find it unfortunate that he's brought this online - he can stop this whenever he wants."

More on this story, courtesy of KOMO News:


Auction Thriller: Michael Crichton's Private Art Collection at Christie's

Michael Crichton, Flag painting, Jasper Johns
An encaustic Stars and Stripes painting entitled Flag made between 1960-1966 by U.S. artist Jasper Johns. From the private collection of late American author Michael Crichton. [Credit: AP/Lefteris Pitarakis]
LONDON — American author Michael Crichton was well-known for his best-selling novels and popular television shows, but he was also a private and passionate art collector. Crichton, the man behind Jurassic Park and ER, died of cancer in November 2008 at the age of 66. He left behind an impressive art collection of 20th century masterworks worth an estimated $32 million. The lot will be up for auction at Christie's New York on May 11.

Crichton's collection includes works by Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Four of the pieces went on display at Christie's London on Friday and will be on view until February 12.

The star of the show is the iconic Flag of 1960-1966, one of a series of paintings by American Abstract Expressionist artist Jasper Johns. The piece once hung in Crichton's Beverly Hills bedroom and hasn't been seen publicly since he purchased it directly from the artist in 1974. Crichton was considered such an authority on Johns that the artist asked him to write the catalog for a 1977 retrospective. The last Johns flag painting sold at auction fetched $12.1 million in 1989.

"I never really cared whether a particular piece was major or minor, typical or atypical of the artist's work, or whether the artist was fully or thinly represented in my collection," Crichton wrote of his art collecting philosophy. "I just bought images that I enjoyed looking at."

[Source: AP]

That Sculpture That Can Never Really Be Yours

Caleb Larsen, sculpture, eBay, A Tool To Deceive And Slaughter
It looks like a simple black cube, but this sculpture by artist Caleb Larsen perpetually sells itself - every seven days. [Credit: Caleb Larsen]

TULUM, MEXICO – Artist Caleb Larsen doesn't need an art dealer. He's created the ultimate self-sufficient work of art - it literally sells itself. A Tool To Deceive And Slaughter looks like just a simple black cube. However,when plugged into the internet, it can put itself up for auction on eBay

According to the legal contract accompanying the sculpture:
A. Artist has created a work of art titled “A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter (2009)” (“the Artwork”) which consists of a black box that places itself for sale on the auction website “eBay” (the “Auction Venue”) every seven (7) days. The Artwork consists of the combination of the black box or cube, the electronics contained therein, and the concept that such a physical object “sells itself” every week.
B. Collector understands and agrees to the underlying concept and function of the Artwork and that the sale of the Artwork by Artist is dependent and conditioned upon Purchaser's agreement and adherence to the below terms. Such terms are fundamental and crucial to the on-going viability and artistic integrity of the Artwork.
Every ten minutes, the sculpture checks to see if it's for sale on the auction site. If not, it automatically re-lists itself for sale. But if someone has bought the cube, the current owner must send it to the new owner, who then has to connect it online and allow it to sell itself to a new person, thus continuing the cycle.

The contract continues:
1. Collector agrees that the Artwork will remain connected to a live Internet connection at all times, with disconnections allowed only for the transportation of the work from one venue to another.
2. Upon purchasing the Artwork, Collector may establish a new value for the Artwork. The new value may not exceed current market expectations for the Artwork based on the current value of work by the Artist. This value may be reassessed quarterly.
Most recently, the black box sold for $6,350 to a buyer in Mountain View, California. Larsen says he uses the sculpture as a way to point out how “the world is a ridiculous place.”

The perpetual auction can be followed at



"If I Could Do Anything, I Would..." Doodle 4 Google

Doodle 4 Google, Google logo
The 2010 Doodle 4 Google theme is: "If I Could Do Anything, I Would..."
Hey Kids! The third annual Doodle 4 Google competition has begun! K-12 students in the U.S. are invited to enter this national art competition for a chance to see their artwork featured on Google's homepage. This year's theme, "If I Could Do Anything, I Would...", encourages kids to think about what they might do if given the opportunity to change one thing about their life or the world.

One national winner will win a $15,000 scholarship toward the school of their choice as well as a $25,000 grant for their school toward the establishment/improvement of a computer lab, a trip to New York City for an event on May 26th, 2010, and a Wacom digital design tablet. Forty regional winners will also be chosen and their creations will be displayed at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The winning doodle will be featured on the homepage on May 27, 2010.

A group of "Expert Jurors" - well-known illustrators, cartoonists and animators from organizations like The Sesame Street Workshop, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, The Charles Shulz/Peanuts Museum and Pixar Animation Studios - will be helping select the forty finalist doodles as well as attending the awards ceremony to personally meet winners.

Teachers must register for their students by March 17 and entries are due by March 31.

For submission details, please visit the Doodle 4 Google competition website

Art of Steel: Jeff Koons to Create BMW Art Car

Jeff Koons, BMW Art Car
The concept of the BMW Art Car was introduced by Hervé Poulain, an auctioneer and ardent racing driver from France who was searching for a link between art and cars; he asked his friend renowned artist Alexander Calder to paint the first example in 1975.

VIDEO: Learn about the history of the BMW Art Car and watch as Pop artist Andy Warhol paints his 1979 model.
NEW YORK — Jeff Koons, the American artist known for his balloon sculptures of steel, has been chosen to create the 17th version of the BMW Art Car in the 35th anniversary year of the program. The announcement was made at the artist's New York City studio on Tuesday.

"I look forward to participate in a tradition set forth by such great artists as Calder, Lichtenstein, Stella, and Warhol," said Koons, whose design will be revealed later this year. The most recent Art Car was done by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson in 2007.

BMW board member, Frank-Peter Arndt said, "Our company and Jeff Koons are drawn to permanent innovation and cutting-edge technology. Since 1975, artists from throughout the world have turned BMW automobiles into art signifying a particular period through the Art Car program."

Jim O'Donnell, President of BMW North America added, "The entire BMW Group is looking forward to this celebration of contemporary art by Jeff Koons, one of the greatest artists of our time."

Many of the BMW Art Cars have been exhibited in renowned museums throughout the world including the Louvre, the Guggenheim and the Shanghai Art Museum. 

[Source: PR Newswire]



What Recession? Giacometti Sets All Time Auction Record

Alberto Giacometti, sculpture, Sotheby's auction house
Alberto Giacometti's bronze sculpture L'homme qui marche I set a new world record for fetching the highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction, selling for $104.3 million at Sotheby's on February 3. [Credit: AP/Anthony Devlin]

LONDON — After eight minutes of "fast and furious" bidding, a new world record was set at Sotheby's London on Wednesday. An anonymous phone buyer successfully outbid at least nine other potential collectors in the battle for a rare work of art by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti. When it was all over, the once hushed room burst into applause.

The six-foot-tall Giacometti bronze sculpture L'homme qui marche I ("Walking Man I")  sold for a record $104.3 million - the highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction (including the buyer's premium cost). The hammer price achieved was roughly four times the Sotheby's pre-sale estimates. Pablo Picasso's Garcon a la Pipe (Boy With a Pipe), which fetched $104.2 million in 2004, previously held the record.

The life-size Giacometti sculpture was conceived in 1960 and cast a year later. The piece was sold by Commerzbank AG, which inherited the work when it took over Dresdner Bank in 2009.

Other highlights from the Sotheby's sale were Gustav Klimt's Church in Cassone (Landscape with Cypresses), which sold for $43.2 million; Paul Cézanne's Pichet et fruits sur une table, which went for $18.9 million; and Henri Matisse's Femme couchée, which fetched $7 million.

"We are thrilled to have sold these great works...and that they have been recognized for the masterpieces that they are," said Melanie Clore, co-chairman of Impressionist and Modern Art at the auction house.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]

Google's Doodle Celebrates Rockwell's Birthday

Google doodle, Norman Rockwell
Today's Google logo celebrates Norman Rockwell's birthday.
Happy Birthday Norman Rockwell! The iconic illustrator is arguably the most popular and well-known American artist of all time. He produced an impressive 4,000 works of art in his lifetime, most notably Rosie the Riveter, the Four Freedoms Series  and The Problem We All Live With.

Google is celebrating the artist's 116th birthday with a doodle incorporating Rockwell's Little Spooners, an image of a boy and girl lost in puppy love and enchanted by the setting sun. The painting was one of Rockwell’s most popular and appeared on the front cover of the Saturday Evening Post on April 24, 1926. 

Norman Rockwell was born February 3, 1894 and died of emphysema on November 8, 1978.



Despite Arts Budget Cut, NEA Calls for a Logo Redesign

National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works, logo
The National Endowment for the Arts is seeking a new logo design for their newly defined "guiding mission" - Art Works.
WASHINGTON D.C. — Despite a newly proposed budget decrease, the National Endowment for the Arts says it will pay a hefty reward for a new logo design.

President Obama said Monday that the NEA will receive $161.3 million in his fiscal year 2011 budget, $6 million less than was first proposed. Obama also called for a $161.3 million budget last year, but Congress eventually increased it. According to the New York Times, NEA's CEO Robert L. Lynch said, “the proposal was dispiriting in light of the economic downturn, when 'support for the arts is at its lowest point in a decade.'”

Despite the less than thrilling budget news, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman announced Monday that the organization is calling upon the American public to redesign their logo - for a substantial monetary reward. Design submissions must represent the phrase Art Works, the NEA’s proclaimed “guiding mission.” The winning logo should also illustrate the three meanings of Art Works: the plays, paintings, dances, films and the other works of art that are the creation of artists; the effect of art on audiences and viewers, to transport, transform, inspire, and challenge us; and a reminder that arts workers are real workers with real jobs who are part of this country's real economy.

The artist whose design is chosen will receive a government grant of approximately $25,000. The selected logo may be used in print and online and may accompany the existing NEA logo or even replace it.

Proposals must be submitted to the NEA by 5pm EST on February 26. For submission guidelines please visit the NEA Grants website.

Cheesy Portrait: Conan O'Brien Immortalized in Cheetos [VIDEO]

COLORADO — Whether you're Team Coco or Team Leno, you've got to appreciate the very cheesy art of Colorado Springs artist Jason Baalman. He's known for his food art using media like ketchup and chocolate syrup. But most recently, Frito-Lay commissioned him to create a portrait of Conan O'Brien completely out of Cheetos.

“I think it’s cheating if you get out a paintbrush,” said Baalman, whose videos capturing his creative processes have gone viral.

The finished masterpiece was supposed to be revealed on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. At least, that was the plan before the whole NBC late-night fiasco.

The Conan portrait took three weeks to create, measures 5"x4" and was constructed from 2,000 individual Cheetos (50 bags) of three different flavors. And if you'd like to hang this finger-lickin' good art in your home, is running an exclusive giveaway until Thursday, February 4.

“Art — especially modern art — is hard to understand; it takes a lot of background." Baalman explained. "This is something that everyone can understand.”



In Memoriam: J.D. Salinger (1919-2010) Portrait Goes on Display

"An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's." —J.D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger, Robert Vickrey
1961 Portrait of J.D. Salinger (1919-2010) by Robert Vickrey, tempera on board. [Credit: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine. Art © Robert Vickrey/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.]
WASHINGTON D.C. — J.D. Salinger (1919-2010), the famous reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye, died Wednesday, Jan. 27 at the age of 91.

On Monday, in a gesture of remembrance, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery installed a portrait of the author in a first-floor gallery designated to recently deceased individuals represented in the museum’s collection.

The portrait of Salinger was painted by American Contemporary Realist Robert Vickery. The artist used the ancient medium of tempera to depict Salinger against a metaphorical "amber wave of grain."

Vickery's image of the author first appeared on a 1961 cover of Time magazine. Time later donated the portrait to the Smithsonian in 1978; it hasn’t been on display since 1979.

[Source: Smithsonian Institution] 


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