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Iraq reopens Baghdad museum 12 years after a third of its collection was looted

A man looks at an artefact displayed during the official reopening of Iraq's national museum on February 28, 2015 in the capital Baghdad. The national museum reopened after 12 years of painstaking efforts during which close to a third of 15,000 stolen pieces were recovered. AFP PHOTO / SABAH ARAR.

By: Karim Abou Merhi

BAGHDAD (AFP).- Iraq's national museum officially reopened Saturday after 12 years of painstaking efforts during which close to a third of 15,000 pieces looted during the US-led invasion were recovered. The reopening was brought forward in what officials said was a response to the destruction of priceless artefacts by Islamic State group jihadists in the northern city of Mosul. "We have been preparing to reopen for the past couple of months, the museum should be open to everyone," Qais Hussein Rashid, the deputy tourism and antiquities minister, told AFP. "The events in Mosul led us to speed up our work and we wanted to open it today as a response to what the gangs of Daesh did," he said, using an Arabic acronym for the IS group. ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents exhibition of art books by modern master Henri Matisse   Complete retrospective of the work of Niki de Saint Phalle opens at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao   The Courtauld Gallery presents a ground-breaking exhibition of Francisco Goya's later works

Henri Matisse, Le lanceur de couteax (The Knife Thrower), plate XV of XX from Jazz, 1947 (detail). Pochoir (stencil) on Arches paper, 16 3/4” x 25 3/5”© 2015 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

CHARLOTTE, NC.- Widely regarded as one of the most important painters of the 20th century, Henri Matisse influenced a number of art movements, artists and schools of thought. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents the exhibition The Art Books of Henri Matisse February 27 through September 7, 2015. Drawn from the Bank of America Collection, The Art Books of Henri Matisse features 80 framed original illustrations with text from four of Matisse’s most significant artist books. “It’s important to provide our communities with access to engaging cultural experiences,” said Charles Bowman, North Carolina and Charlotte market president, Bank of America. “We are excited to share this exhibit from the ... More

Dolorès, 1966–95. Painted polyester on wire mesh, 550 cm high. Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Gift of the artist, 2000 © Niki Charitable Art Foudation, Santee, USA.

BILBAO.- The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Niki de Saint Phalle , a complete retrospective of the work of Niki de Saint Phalle (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, 1930 –San Diego, California, 2002), member of the Nouveaux Réalistes and known around the world for works like her powerful, exuberant Nanas , her impressive Shooting Paintings — Tirs — , and emblematic public artworks like the Tarot Garden in Tuscany. This exhibition, organized by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and La Réunion des Musées Nationaux–Grand Palais, Paris, with the participation of the Niki Charitable Art Foundation, is the first major retrospective of Niki de Saint Phalle's work ever held in Spain and takes a comprehensive and original look at the artist through over 200 works and archive documents, many of which ... More

Francisco Goya (1746- 1828), He can no longer at the age of 98, c. 1819-23, Brush, black and grey ink, 233 x 144 mm, J. Paul Getty Museum.

LONDON.- The Courtauld Gallery presents a ground-breaking exhibition which reunites for the first time all of the known drawings from one of Goya’s celebrated private albums. At the age of 50, the great Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco Goya (1746 – 1828) suffered a near fatal illness that left him deaf and profoundly changed his life and work. Alongside his public role as court painter to the Spanish crown, Goya began to create albums of drawings. In these albums the artist recorded his private ideas and thoughts through drawings that often explore human nature at its most vulnerable - our dreams, nightmares, superstitions and mortality. The albums were never intended to be seen beyond a small circle of friends. This gave Goya the freedom to create images which range from the humorous, to the macabre and the ... More

'Warhol by the Book' to open at the Williams College Museum of Art in Massachusetts   'Monumental Miniatures: Joan Mitchell's Drawings' opens at Museum Folkwang   Clark Art Institute's 'Machine Age Modernism' exhibition explores groundbreaking printmaking

Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol’s Index (Book), 1967 (pre-publication mock-up designer’s copy). Williams College Museum of Art, Gift of Richard F. Holmes, Class of 1946. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.- The first US exhibition to concentrate on Andy Warhol’s book work, Warhol by the Book opens at the Williams College Museum of Art March 7 and will be on view through August 16, 2015. Creating books was a vital part of Warhol’s career. From his student days in the 1940s to his death in 1987, Warhol experimented wildly with form and content, turning traditional notions of media and authorship on their heads. Nearly 500 objects covering more than 80 book titles including unique and unpublished materials come together from WCMA and The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The exhibition showcases a range of material from Warhol’s practice including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and artist’s books. It also includes projections of sixteen Screen Test ... More

Joan Mitchell, Untitled, about 1967 (detail).© Estate of Joan Mitchell.

ESSEN.- In its exhibition Joan Mitchell: The Sketchbook Drawings (27 February– 31 May 2015), Museum Folkwang, Germany presents some 60 drawings by Joan Mitchell, on public display for the first time ever. Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) was one of the greatest artists of the latter half of the 20th century. She was an important figure in American Abstract Expressionism and enjoyed close ties with artists of the New York School, such as Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock. In 1955 Mitchell started dividing her time between New York and Paris, before permanently settling in France in 1959. Mitchell was thus an important mediator between American gestural painting and contemporaneous artistic currents in Europe. She was best known for her large-scale oil paintings, whose subjects were freely inspired by landscape and nature. Parallel to her many world-famous paintings, Joan Mitchell created an extensive body of works ... More

Sybil Andrews (English, 1898–1992), Speedway, 1934. Color linocut on paper, 14 5/8 x 11 in. Daniel Cowin Collection © Glenbow, Calgary, 2014.

WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.- The Clark Art Institute considers the history and politics that inspired many artists working during and between World Wars I and II in the exhibition Machine Age Modernism: Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection. Inspired by such prewar movements as Futurism and Cubism, and using innovative techniques developed by artists associated with London’s Grosvenor School of Modern Art in the 1930s and 1940s, artists of the Machine Age defied aesthetic and technical conventions in order to convey the vitality of industrial society and changed printmaking in the process. Machine Age Modernism is on view in the Clark Center February 28–May 17, 2015. “The Clark is deeply grateful to Joyce Cowin for allowing us to present her late husband’s collection, and I am especially appreciative of her enthusiasm for the project,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “Daniel Cowin collected with an astute ... More

Exhibition of new paintings, drawings, and a film by Andrew Sendor opens at Sperone Westwater   Works crowd-sourced on Artstack to be auctioned at Christie's First Open/LDN   Details announced of Londonderry showing of Temple by Burning Man artist David Best

Andrew Sendor, Installation view: Cypress Society, Humdoulasky Flumzy Visits the Retrieval Room at Delicates, Performance, 2036; Aristod A. Sandoval, The Pluto Paradox, 2017, lenticular image mounted to black onyx and mixed media, dimensions variable, 2015. Oil on panel, 46 x 62 ½ in. Photo: Jeffrey Sturges. Courtesy the artist and Sperone Westwater, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sperone Westwater presents Andrew Sendor: “Delicates,” an exhibition of new paintings, drawings, and a film. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. “Delicates” reveals a sprawling network of multi-layered narratives that exist in anachronistic space. The exhibition takes its name from Delicates, an esoteric shop that, in Sendor’s mythology, plays host to an eccentric cast of characters involved in performances that evoke mysticism and the occult. Amongst these are the store’s proprietor Boris Flumzy and Miss Ecstasy (aka Seda Mercedes), one of his spiritual advisors. These characters, many of whom operate outside of societal norms, inhabit a world of the artist’s creation – moving between media and appearing ... More

Roman Liska, Untitled (Silver Dazzle Orange Mesh), 2012. Screenprint on reflective fabric, spray paint on mesh fabric, metal beaded chain, various eyelets on stretcher, 43½ x 31½ in. Estimate: £4,000-6,000.

LONDON.- Christie’s and ArtStack are pleased to announce that eight artworks selected from the first crowd-sourced auction initiative will be offered in the First Open/LDN auction on 26 March at Christie’s South Kensington. From 20 January - 2 February artists were given the opportunity to submit their work via for an online competition and the public were invited to vote for their favourite artworks by ‘stacking’. Almost 3,000 artists from over 100 countries submitted more than 11,000 works on this innovative social media platform. A high-profile panel of art world, fashion and media figures selected the eight works of art for the First Open/LDN auction after reviewing a shortlist of the most 'stacked' (voted for) works. The artists who created these artworks are appearing at auction for the first time. The panel that made the selection included: Bianca Chu, Head of First Open/LDN, Christie’s; ... More

Temple of Grace, by David Best, Burning Man 2014. Photo by Luke Szczepanski.

LONDONDERRY.- Temple is the vision of Burning Man artist David Best, produced by Artichoke and supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and a raft of partners, sponsors and individual donors. This extraordinary edifice will be visible across the city and will be open to the public and free to visit for one week from 14th-20th March. Temple will be burned to the ground in a special ceremony on the evening of Saturday 21st March. The temple burn will be ticketed. Tickets are available in advance from Friday 27th February from the Millennium Forum, in person, online or by phone. Temple is Best’s first major art project outside the US. It is a radical cross-community arts project that aims to demonstrate the transformative power of the arts. It will be built and raised by more than 100 individuals drawn from communities across the city, working together with Best and his American crew. Temple will acknowledge the strong tradition of bonfire burning in Northern Ireland, creating a powerful mom ... More

Exhibition at Lucy Bell Fine Art features images from 40 years of Rock portraits by Kevin Cummins   New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery presents 'Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes'   Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents recently acquired works by Steve McQueen

Kevin Cummins, Morrissey. ©Kevin Cummins.

EAST SUSSEX.- From his early work with his hometown bands such as Joy Division and The Smiths, to his later work with Rock legends such as Bowie and Jagger, Cummins has always been acutely aware of the mythological component of the images he created, “If I had simply produced the photos of Joy Division in the studio, it would not have had any meaning. What interested me was to show the environment in which they lived. I was probably more aware than the groups themselves of the myth that the pictures would convey.” The moment the post punk music scene exploded in Manchester with Joy Division and the birth of Factory Records, Kevin Cummins became as integral a factor as any, in creating the legend that was to become MADCHESTER -Kevin Cummins was sometimes more important than the bands. Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) As well as capturing the madness and majesty of performance, Kevin Cummins has always been able to access the vulnerability of the ... More

Hung and Tart (full cyan), 2014. Hand blown glass, 34 x 16 x 12 cm. Photo: Courtesy of the artists and The Third Line.

ABU DHABI.- New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery presents a major solo exhibition of the art collective Slavs and Tatars, titled Mirrors for Princes, on view February 28 through May 30, 2015. The exhibition is their most ambitious, immersive installation to date, with new work occupying the 7,000-square-foot exhibition space at NYUAD Art Gallery. The exhibition and accompanying book trace the current obsession with self-help to a medieval genre of political science, “mirrors for princes,” shared among Christian and Muslim lands, with Machiavelli’s The Prince being the most famous example. At NYUAD Art Gallery the artists look to these texts as an urgent precedent of generosity and critique, and as a case study of the balance between faith and state, issues that continue to resonate today across the Middle East, North America and Europe. In the exhibition, visitors traverse three environments, each ... More

Steve McQueen, Mees, After Evening Dip, New Year’s Day, 2002, 2005. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Acquired with the support of the Titus Fund of the Rembrandt Association, the Mondrian Fund and the BankGiroLottery.

AMSTERDAM.- As of February 27, 2015, the Stedelijk Museum will exhibit two recently acquired works by British artist and film director Steve McQueen. The works, titled Running Thunder (2007) and Mees, After Evening Dip, New Year’s Day, 2002 (2005) were acquired in 2014 and will be displayed in a museum for the first time. They will be shown along with the sculpture Broken Column (2014), on loan at the museum. Running Thunder is a silent film showing a motionless horse lying in a sunny meadow. Blades of grass shiver in the breeze. Nothing happens – and yet we are enthralled. Is the horse alive and sleeping? Is this scene one of tranquility, or one of unflinching disquiet? When finally a fly stops to rest on the eye of the animal and the horse doesn’t blink, we realize it has been dead for quite a while. ... More

For Man Ray, photography was a kiss given by Time and Light. Sarane Alexandrian

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Annenberg Space for Photography announces new prize and exhibition
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Annenberg Space for Photography today announced the Wallis Annenberg Prize to coincide with its next exhibition Emerging, on view June 6 through September 20, 2015. Organized in partnership with Photo District News (PDN), the award-winning publication for professional photographers, this exhibition presents images by more than 90 Emerging photographers from around the world who bring fresh perspectives and creative techniques to professional photography. Emerging explores how a new generation of photographers examines a variety of topics, from the personal to the global: youth culture, family, the environment, economic uncertainty, conflict and civil unrest, and the nature of the photographic image. “Photography has always been one of my great passions – because it’s a living diary of the human condition, a way to capture the most elusive moments in our ... More

Romer Young Gallery opens second solo exhibition with San Francisco artist Joshua Pieper
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Romer Young Gallery presents its second solo exhibition with San Francisco artist Joshua Pieper. Dear Viewer, With Dry State, I wanted to give the proper introduction, so naturally I kidnapped the show’s poster in order to give it a second look. It might be what’s remembered most after all. In addition I’ve added a large sculpture in the middle of the space, which orients the viewer, a compass of sorts. Beyond that, there are a few esteemed guests waiting in pairs, and some music on a boom box for good measure. I have a particular taste in humor and it feeds my outlook. I grew up in Minnesota. Ask anyone. Cut the bullshit and look me in the eyes, then we can laugh together. I seek a level of understanding between the viewer and object that is basic in many ways, but one that’s 110% honest. What I’m trying to say is, complicated gestures only stretch metaphors for me. It’s ... More

Maloney fine Art opens exhibition of works by Malick Sidibé
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Maloney Fine Art presents Malick Sidibé: Studio Malick, Bamako, Mali, the photographer’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, in collaboration with Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Featuring vintage prints in original hand-painted glass frames, the exhibition celebrates more than forty years of Malick Sidibé’s photographs of the lives of young people in Mali since the country’s independence from France in 1960. Portraying couples, marriage ceremonies, social clubs, sport events, and infants, Sidibé uniquely conveys the pride, exuberance, and beauty of his subjects. Now renowned, his work provides an extraordinary record of momentous social and cultural change: "No African artist has done more to enhance photography’s stature in the region, contribute to its history, enrich its image archive or increase our awareness of the textures and transformations of African culture ... More

Daft Punk at last unmasked - in sculpture
NEW YORK, NY (AFP).- When sculptor Xavier Veilhan persuaded Daft Punk to come to his studio, the artist, in the words of one of the duo's songs, got lucky. The ever-masked electronic musicians took off their helmets. The result is a sculpture that shows Daft Punk standing casually and gazing into the distance, their faces now obstructed only by sunglasses. Bandmates Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are seen with hands slipped into their pockets in just-smaller-than-life figures made of wavy-toned birch plywood. The sculpture, part of an exhibition by Veilhan on music producers that opened Thursday night at the Galerie Perrotin in New York, marks the first time that Daft Punk have intentionally been depicted without their trademark helmets. "They proposed to make a sculpture that would be like the photographs of them that don't exist," Veilhan told AFP. "The ... More

Jasmina Danowski's most recent body of work on view at Heather Gaudio Fine Art
NEW CANAAN, CT.- Heather Gaudio Fine Art presents Jasmina Danowski: Taking in the Obscenery, being held February 21th through April 11th. This is the artist's first exhibition with the gallery and features her most recent body of work. Danowski translates personal situational experiences onto canvas and paper, creating vibrantly harmonious poetic abstractions that are filled with a richness of color and texture. Drawing from memories or associations with places or situations, she starts by dabbing the pigment onto a prepared surface, allowing the medium to respond to the marks she creates: at times a bevy of paint, at others an isolated gestural mark reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy. The colorful compositions then evolve from there, following the inner stories of what a painting conjures and what her mind responds to, very much akin to improvisational jazz. Although her imagery ... More

'Hayley Tompkins. Technicolor Hamburger' on view at the Drawing Room in Hamburg
HAMBURG.- The Glasgow-based artist perceives herself to be a painter. However, she creates her “paintings” from objects that painters would normally never consider basing their representations on. Instead of the conventional canvas, Tompkins uses a wide range of different everyday objects as image carriers, for example mobile phones, knives and chairs, sunglasses or small branches, which she transforms into something different using delicate brushstrokes. This works series, which Tompkins has named Objects, deals with the question of how adding paint can transform found basic commodities, giving them a new identity that goes beyond their previous functionality. “This transformation is, perhaps, the meaning of optical research in Tompkins’ practice, the uncovering and foregrounding of secondary characteristics in the material world”, according to Will Bradley (in ‘Up until now’, exhibition ... More

Exhibition of three pioneering Bronx photographers captures social activism and change in the 20th century
BRONX, NY.- The Bronx Museum of the Arts presents the work of Jules Aarons, Morton Broffman, and Joe Conzo—three Bronx-born photographers who captured significant moments of societal and urban change in the borough and across the country during the 20th century. The exhibition features over 80 works, from depictions of daily life in the Bronx and Far Rockaways in the early 1950s, to images of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, to a searing look at Bronx community protests in the early 1980s. Together these works create an exchange across three distinct and intertwined moments—exploring the legacy of community activism and urban change, and launching a dialogue surrounding the challenges the Bronx and similar communities continue to face today. Three Photographers from the Bronx: Jules Aarons, Morton Broffman, and Joe Conzo is on view February 26 through June ... More

Solo exhibition of work by Chantelle Stephenson on view at 43 Inverness Street
LONDON.- 43 Inverness Street is presenting TANk, a solo exhibition of work by Chantelle Stephenson. The untitled art works in TANk are referred to by the artist as ‘painted objects’; they act as sculptures and contain a tactility that make them stand in their own space. They may appear minimal and delicate in their colour palette and materials used, but they contain an undercurrent of discipline and strength. Colour is stripped down to the essentials of black and white in order to reveal the depths, tones and textures that a single colour can contain. The careful composition of the tones and textures of black and white focuses the eye on the controlled movement of the artistic hand and the physicality of the materials that the paint rests on – linen, silk, wood, and steel. In the untitled works of her Tank Series (2012), the paintings on wood are hung above eye level allowing the viewer to feel ... More

Exhibition of works by Nick Mauss opens at 303 Gallery
NEW YORK, NY.- 303 Gallery presents its third solo exhibition with Nick Mauss. For this exhibition, Mauss creates a mirrored garden in the gallery, in which his singular relationship to the line of drawing moves across and through space and mediums. Mauss' work takes the mode of drawing, found at the interstices of various media, processes, and histories, and dilates, twists, folds, intensifies, and loosens those gaps to produce a different mode of making art. Here, the viewer is guided into the exhibition by a serpentine railing, and upon arriving in the gallery space, finds a room shimmering in reflections and refractions of lines and forms. Mauss has been working in his own form of verre eglomisé for the past year, as he was developing a series of "intervals" within the Florine Stettheimer retrospective at the Lenbachhaus in Munich. The mirrored glass paintings have a way of puncturing ... More

Solo exhibition by French artist Marie Jacotey on view at heike moras art
LONDON.- heike moras art is presenting Get over it! Move on! a solo exhibition by French artist Marie Jacotey. Continuing Jacotey's long-standing interest in relationships seen through the prism of comics, the exhibition is comprised of a series of new works on dust sheets and plaster tiles as well as an assembly of drawings. Marie Jacotey's explorations into young adult relationships share a formal and conceptual affinity with comic book art and offer a critique in how we view, perceive and store images in the post-internet age. Jacotey's drawings of the contradictory complications of life invite fictive extrapolations on a culture informed by soundbites, existential angst, and the inane dictum of the internet. Often leavened with a palpable erotic undercurrent, Jacotey's subjects hover between an innate sense of possibility vs. unexpected despair and offer a profound interplay between individual ... More

DAS NACKTE LEBEN - "Wie wenig Abstraktion verträgt die Kunst?" (2015)



On a day like today, Austrian painter and poet Oskar Kokoschka, was born
March 01, 1886. Oskar Kokoschka (1 March 1886 - 22 February 1980) was an Austrian artist, poet and playwright best known for his intense expressionistic portraits and landscapes. In this image: Ex-Chancellor Konrad Adenauer presents his latest portrait to the German Parliament (Bundestag) on May 17, 1966 in Bonn, Germany. From left are: the artist Oskar Kokoschka, Eugen Gerstenmaier, President of the Bundestag and Konrad Adenauer.

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