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Rare silk Koran helps preserve Afghanistan's cultural heritage

In this photograph taken on April 19, 2018 Afghan master miniature artist Mohammad Tamim Sahibzada shows a handmade Koran made with silk fabric at the Turquoise Mountain Foundation in Mourad Khani, in the old city section of Kabul. One of the only Korans ever made from silk fabric has been completed in Afghanistan -- a feat its creators hope will help preserve the country's centuries-old tradition of calligraphy. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP.

by Allison Jackson

KABUL (AFP).- One of the only Korans ever made from silk fabric has been completed in Afghanistan -- a feat its creators hope will help preserve the country's centuries-old tradition of calligraphy. Each of the Islamic holy book's 610 pages was produced by hand in a painstaking process that took a team of 38 calligraphers and artists specialising in miniatures nearly two years to finish. Bound in goat leather and weighing 8.6 kilograms (19 pounds), the Koran was produced by Afghan artisans, many of them trained at British foundation Turquoise Mountain in Kabul. "Our intention was to ensure that calligraphy does not die out in this country -- writing is part of our culture," Khwaja Qamaruddin Chishti, a 66-year-old master calligrapher, told AFP in a cramped office inside Turquoise Mountain's labyrinthine mud-brick and wood-panelled complex. With the Koran considered a sacred text, calligraphy is highly venerated in Islam and Islamic art. ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Exhibition at Tate Liverpool highlights the expressive nature of the human body   Christie's announces Magnificent Jewels & The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller   Christie's Spring Season of American Art totals $141,650,875

Egon Schiele, Standing Male Figure (Self-Portrait), 1914. Gouache and graphite on paper, 460 x 305 mm. National Gallery, Prague. Photograph © National Gallery in Prague 2017.

LIVERPOOL.- Tate Liverpool presents an exhibition that highlights the expressive nature of the human body, seen through the eyes of two influential and innovative artists. Life in Motion combines the work of radical Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918) and American photographer Francesca Woodman (1958 – 1981), and investigates their incredible ability to capture and suggest movement to create dynamic, extraordinary compositions. Working at either end of the twentieth century, Woodman’s photographs help to refocus how we see the work of Schiele, highlighting how the latter’s practices and ideas continue to have a relevance to contemporary art. Renowned for their nude portraits and self-portraits, Schiele and Woodman lay bare their subjects’ raw emotional state and physical tensions in intimate and unapologetic work. Life in Motion: Egon Schiele/ Francesca Woodman sheds new light on the intensity ... More

A Burma Ruby and Diamond Ring of 4.59 Carats, by Tiffany & Co. Estimate: $400,000-600,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s New York announces the June 12 auction of Magnificent Jewels & The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller and the concurrent Jewels Online Auction from June 6-14. Among the top lots of the sale is a Cushion-Cut Diamond weighing 20.47 carats that is D color, Flawless clarity (estimate: $2,500,000-3,500,000), and a Magnificent Diamond Fringe Necklace set with large colorless pear shaped diamonds ranging from D to F color and Internally Flawless to VS2 clarity (estimate: $1,500,000-2,000,000). The auction includes a notable selection of diamonds, colored diamonds, and gemstones, along with important signed pieces by Bulgari, Cartier, David Webb, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co., Raymond Yard, and Van Cleef & Arpels. The sale will offer 189 lots, with estimates ranging from $3,000 to $3,500,000. The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller presents a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire significant signed jewels, ... More

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986), Hibiscus, oil on canvas. Painted in 1939. Price Realized: $4,812,500. © 2018 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s American Art sale on May 22 realized $32,843,500, with 82% sold by lot and 91% sold by value and the American Art Online Auction totaled $1,923,875, with 77% sold by lot and 100% sold by value. Together with the Art of the Americas, Evening Sale from The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, the spring season of American Art totals $141,650,875. The top lot of the May 22 sale was Georgia O’Keeffe’s seminal work, Hibiscus, painted in 1939 during her three-month Hawaiian sojourn at the behest of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which realized $4,812,500.Other notable lots include Milton Avery’s Red Nude which sold for $3,012,500, more than double its high estimate, Norman Rockwell’s Piano Tuner, which sold for $2,772,500, and Childe Hassam’s Conversation on the Avenue which brought in $2,412,500. The top ... More

American literary giant Philip Roth dead at 85   Sale celebrates the genius of Thomas Chippendale's designs & the perfection of his execution   Exhibition at Alfstad& Contemporary features a variety of work on paper, mixed media and painting by Laine Nixon

This file photo taken on March 02, 2011 shows US novelist Philip Roth during a ceremony at the White House in Washington DC, where he recieved the National Humanities Medal. Jim WATSON / AFP.

NEW YORK (AFP).- Prolific novelist Philip Roth, a dominant force in American literature throughout the latter half of the 20th century, has died at the age of 85. Roth's death on Tuesday, first reported by the New Yorker and The New York Times, was later confirmed by Roth's literary agent Andrew Wylie. He said the cause was congestive heart failure. Roth won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his acclaimed novel "American Pastoral." "I'm in a state of shock. I'm stunned and speechless. He was a truth teller," Roth's friend Judith Thurman, also a writer, said. A prolific essayist and critic, Roth was best known for mining the Jewish-American experience in his work. He first achieved fame for his 1969 novel "Portnoy's Complaint," about a horny teenager named Alexander Portnoy. His titanic stature on the post-World War II literary scene came from the universality of his message -- in his own words: "I don't write Jewish, I write ... More

Thomas Chippendale, A George III Indian rosewood, fustic, tulipwood and marquetry dressing bureau. Estimate: £300,000-500,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.

LONDON.- On 5 July, Christie’s landmark sale Thomas Chippendale 300 Years will celebrate the genius of Chippendale’s designs and the perfection of his execution, in the 300th anniversary year of his birth. Taking place during Christie’s Classic Week, the dedicated London auction will present 22 lots with estimates ranging from £5,000 to £5 million. A selection of works will be on public view at Christie’s London headquarters until 25 May, with the full pre-sale exhibition opening from 30 June to 5 July. Collectively, the sale encompasses some of the grandest pieces of 18th century furniture ever created, including Sir Rowland Winn’s Commode (estimate: £3-5million) and The Dundas Sofas (each sofa with an estimate of £2-3million). Remembered as ‘The Shakespeare of English Furniture makers’, Chippendale was the master of many mediums. This is highlighted by the breadth of works being offered, including his g ... More

Nixon's series, "Assent," consists of fifty abstract watercolors on paper, each torn into similarly sized strips, that were rearranged into four final assemblages.

SARASOTA, FLA.- Alfstad& Contemporary announces an exhibition of recent works by Laine Nixon. In this solo exhibition, her first in Sarasota, Nixon explores the mutable nature of art through work on paper, mixed media, and painting. The show's title, "Unfixed," refers to her working methods of creating, altering, covering up, or exposing various painting methods on a single surface. The exhibit opens May 24, 2018, and runs through June 29th. Nixon's series, "Assent," consists of fifty abstract watercolors on paper, each torn into similarly sized strips, that were rearranged into four final assemblages. Fragments from the original works join with remnants of others to form a harmonized union of line, form and color. The artist interrupts her vertical configurations of horizontal bands with the diagonal weaving of one final strip. Her delicacy of coloration asserts itself and the rhythm of her motifs is beautiful and engaging while ... More

Christie's announces highlights of the spring sale 'Interiors: New York Visions'   World auction records achieved for rare Escher prints at Bonhams   Williams College announces new art museum Director

Robert Couturier pictured in his studio. Photo: Tim Street-Porter.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie's announced the spring sale Interiors: New York Visions taking place on June 6, 2018 in New York. The auction encompasses collections from three celebrated style and design icons including The Estate of Kenneth Jay Lane, The Collection of Arnold Scaasi and Parker Ladd, and Robert Couturier: Elements of Style, presenting over 350 lots of decorative art and fine art from their collections. Additionally, over 30 signed pieces of jewellery are being offered from the Kenneth Jay Lane, Inc. Archives including a selection shown at the Rhode Island School of Design exhibition, Fabulous Fakes: Jewelry by Kenneth Jay Lane (2007-08). The full sale will be on view at Christie’s New York June 2-5. Jewellery designer Kenneth Jay Lane embodied glamour, elegance, and joie de vivre. A self-declared “fabulous fake” and unwavering proponent of fashion as fantasy, he presided over a moment in which the world’s ... More

Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972), Sky and Water I (Lucht en Water I) (B. 306), 1938 (detail), Price realized: $37,500. Photo: Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- The May 22 sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples at Bonhams achieved US$1,227,500 and the top lot of the sale was Andy Warhol’s Rebel Without a Cause, which realized $125,000. World auction records were achieved for Maurits Cornelis Escher’s Relativity and Sky and Water I, as well as Wayne Thiebaud’s Country City, 1988. Deborah Ripley, Director Prints & Multiples, New York, commented: “We saw strong bidding across the board and we are especially pleased with the exceptional results achieved for both rare prints by Maurits Cornelis Escher, which came from a private collection in the mid-west. The impeccable provenance and scarcity certainly captivated Escher collectors.” Relativity, as well as an earlier woodcut Sky and Water I, 1938 come from the collection of Robert and Wilcke Smith. Both commercial artists, they ... More

Franks is currently the senior deputy director and Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery. Photo: Jessica Smolinski, Yale University Art Gallery.

WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.- Williams College has announced the appointment of Pamela Franks as the Class of 1956 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art. Franks is currently the senior deputy director and Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) and previously worked at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. Franks, who will begin her appointment in mid-September, comes to WCMA with a passionate commitment to the role of the museum in higher education and the inspiration art can bring to all audiences. After earning her Ph.D. in the history of art from the University of Texas at Austin, Franks started her career as a postdoctoral curatorial fellow at YUAG and became its first curator of academic affairs in 2004. Throughout her 14-year ... More

The Brooklyn Museum presents 'Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu'   Irving Penn's Cuzco Children could bring $150K at Heritage Auctions' June 5 Photographs Auction   Art Fund reports record-breaking year

Cecilia Vicuña with Quipu Austral, 2012–13. Unspun dyed wool, collection of 49 Nord 6, Est—FRAC Lorraine, Metz. France. Installation view, courtesy of the artist and FRAC Lorraine. Photo: Eric Chenal.

BROOKLYN, NY.- The Brooklyn Museum is presenting Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu, a major immersive installation that combines enormous strands of knotted wool with video to honor an ancient Andean tradition. Cecilia Vicuña's monumental work - measuring more than 24 feet high-offers a contemporary activation and reimagining of quipus, complex record-keeping devices created by the ancient peoples of the Andes for millennia. The exhibition is presented by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist art and located in the Museum's Great Hall. In a career spanning five decades, the artist, poet, and filmmaker Cecilia Vicuña has transformed the rich cultural legacies of the Andean region, reimagining the historical within her contemporary practice. With feminism as a unifying theme she explores the shifting nature of language and memory; the resilience of native people ... More

Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009), Cuzco Children, Peru, December, 1948 (detail). Platinum-palladium, flush-mounted to aluminum, 1978, 19-1/2 x 20-1/4 inches. Estimate: $100,000 - $150,000.

DALLAS, TX.- A powerful image by American photographer Irving Penn could bring as much as $150,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Photographs Auction June 5 in New York. “This auction has an exceptional array of works by outstanding photographers,” Heritage Auctions Photographs Director Nigel Russell said. “The sale features masterworks from the Sato Collection by Penn, Avedon, Newton, Herb Ritts and others. Several of the lots are rare images from limited editions that rarely appear at auction, making them even more appealing to serious collectors.” Irving Penn Cuzco Children, Peru, December, 1948 (est. $100,000-150,000) is a platinum-palladium image, flush-mounted to aluminum. It is signed, titled, dated and editioned “40/60” with a “1428” notation in pencil with the Penn Condé Nast copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp, and stamped “In addition ... More

£5.5m given to 94 organisations for the purchase of 200 works of art and objects – 85% of grants going to organisations outside of London.

LONDON.- This week, Art Fund, the national charity for art, published its 2017/18 annual report. It showed Art Fund’s charitable programme helped more museums and galleries nationwide and inspired more people to see more art than ever before in its 115-year history. Highlights from the past year include: • £5.5m given to 94 organisations for the purchase of 200 works of art and objects – 85% of grants going to organisations outside of London • The £750,000 Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund was launched to enable smaller and local authority museums to borrow objects from national collections • Hepworth Wakefield won the £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017, with other finalist museums receiving £10,000 each • National Art Pass holders rose to 139,000, including 12,000 students taking up Art Fund’s £5 Student Art Pass. Art Fund chairman, Lord Smith of Finsbury, said: ‘As we ... More

More News
Early Auerbach masterpiece offered at Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale
LONDON.- Figure on a Bed II, an early masterpiece by the British painter Frank Auerbach, leads Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale in London on Wednesday 27 June. Offered at auction for the first time, it is estimated at £800,000-1,200,000. Auerbach (b 1931) is one of the elder statesmen of British figurative painting and, with his friend and fellow painter, Leon Kossoff a leading member of the London School. His work often explores the same subjects and models from different perspectives. He is known for painting with relentless intensity – using his fingers as well as brushes – and he returns repeatedly to the same work, scraping away the paint and remaking the image until he is satisfied. Figure on a Bed II, was painted in 1967, and is one of a series of pictures executed in the latter part of the 1960s. They all portray the professional ... More

David Zwirner opens an exhibition of new paintings by American artist Suzan Frecon
HONG KONG.- David Zwirner is presenting new paintings by American artist Suzan Frecon at the gallery’s Hong Kong location, marking her first solo exhibition in Asia. For almost five decades, Frecon has created abstract oil paintings and works on paper that are at once reductive and expressive. Made over long stretches of time, her canvases embody the durational activity of painting itself and invite the viewer’s sustained attention: these, as the artist herself has noted, are “paintings that you experience.”1 The artist’s compositions are characterized by arcing and asymmetrically balanced forms and are defined by precise spatial and proportional relationships. Each surface is developed carefully and gradually, evolving from one canvas to the next in a process that combines preparation and intuition, order and chance. In Frecon’s paintings, composition ... More

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive exhibits works by Alicia McCarthy and Ruby Neri
BERKELEY, CA.- Two important voices associated with San Francisco’s “Mission School” movement receive a major joint exhibition at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive this spring. Alicia McCarthy and Ruby Neri—both San Francisco Art Institute graduates and Oakland natives whose artistic practices have intersected throughout the past three decades—are the latest artists to exhibit in BAMPFA’s MATRIX program, which in 2018 celebrates forty years of introducing Bay Area audiences to exceptional contemporary art. Alicia McCarthy and Ruby Neri / MATRIX 270 presents new work by the artists, including a collaborative work on paper commemorating the fortieth anniversary of MATRIX. Both nationally established artists who maintain strong ties to the Bay Area, McCarthy and Neri began their practices as SFAI undergraduates ... More

Sculptor Karen LaMonte's 'Embodied Beauty' exhibition set to open at the Hunter Museum of American Art
CHATTANOOGA, TN.- The Hunter Museum of American Art is set to host a solo exhibition of works by Karen LaMonte, exploring the tensions between body and spirit, perfect and imperfect beauty, permanence and temporality, east and west. Embodied Beauty: Sculptures of Karen LaMonte, brings together Nocturnes and Floating World, two series of life-sized evening gown and kimono sculptures in cast glass, clay, bronze, and iron. The show will be on view from Friday, May 25th through Sunday, September 2nd, with an opening reception and artist’s presentation on Thursday, May 24th at 6:00pm. Haunting, shadow-colored dress figures, the Nocturnes reflect LaMonte’s interests in classical Greek and Roman figures. Made from a unique glass formula created by the artist and designed using live models, the Nocturnes seem to drape and cling like actual fabric, while ... More

Gillray at his greatest: Early political cartoons expected to fetch thousands of dollars at auction
NEW YORK, NY.- Twelve hand-coloured etchings by James Gillray, arguably the greatest caricaturist of the 18th century and father of the political cartoon, are coming up for auction on June 7. They come from the period when Gillray was at the height of his powers, between 1793 and 1809, when post-Revolution France and the rise of Napoleon created a febrile atmosphere among politicians, the aristocracy and the public across the channel in England. Leading the selection at Swann Auction Galleries’ Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books auction is possibly Gillray’s most famous cartoon of all, The Plumb-Pudding in Danger, from 1805. Depicting the British Prime Minister William Pitt and Napoleon carving up the globe, in the form of a plum pudding, it shows how Gillray developed the concept of the caricature by exaggerating his characters’ physical ... More

Exceptional glass and copper creations by Midori Tsukada go on view at Ippodo Gallery
NEW YORK, NY.- Ippodo Gallery presents “Oceans Formed : Glass works by Midori Tsukada.” 20 will be on view from May 24 - June 21, a must-see presentation of exceptional glass and copper creations. After years of study in both glass and welded metalwork, Midori Tsukada (b. 1972) has mastered a skillful technique that reveals pale blues and greens through a naturally occuring copper oxidation process, with occasional hints of silver and gold. The colors evolve free-form on cool toned glass, as the hues and beads evoke the gentle mist of an ocean spray, or the dew from rainfall on a forest’s leaf. This effect is delicate and ephemeral on the translucent glass, capturing a fleeting feeling even as the permanence and deceptive durability of the materials endures. To Tsukada, that glass is a relatively new material in the field of ceramic expression brims ... More

MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst focuses on different aspects of contemporary forms of nomadic existence
FRANKFURT.- With the works of Cao Fei, Richard Mosse and Paulo Nazareth, the exhibition Extreme. Nomads focuses on different aspects of contemporary forms of nomadic existence and addresses the dissolution of boundaries in politics, economy, society, and culture. The artists from three continents are not only investigating the individual, social and political extremes that are a result of globalisation, but also their own artistic strategies prove to be expanding boundaries. In her works, Cao Fei (*1978 CN) processes the profound social changes that occurred in her homeland China as a result of rapid economic growth and globalisation. Inspired by the US-American zombie films, the artist presents her work "Haze and Fog". This is a fictional portrayal of a service-based society that is suffering from a loss of identity and transforms one of the newly built residential areas of Beijing into a hoard of restless zombies. Richard Mosse‘s (*1980 IE/US) works are a cross between artistic production a ... More

New site-responsive installations by Jodie Carey unveiled at the Foundling Museum
LONDON.- The Foundling Museum presents a new series of site-responsive installations by British artist Jodie Carey, commissioned by the Museum for display in the exhibition gallery and among the historic Collection. Carey’s response to the history of the Foundling Hospital has been to create a series of striking works that explore themes of love, loss and trace. Imbued with a sense of remembrance, these sculptures encourage visitors to reflect on the thousands of children who passed through the Foundling Hospital from the 1740s – 1950s, and the fragility of human life and relationships. Her recent work has explored themes of mortality and memory through combining monumental scale with vulnerable materials, using techniques that result in the act of creation remaining visible. Drawing inspiration from the eighteenth-century fabric tokens left ... More

Exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Howard Smith opens at Jane Lombard Gallery
NEW YORK, NY.- Jane Lombard Gallery is presenting Howard Smith: 1 + 1 + 1 … paintings and works on paper. This is the artist’s 21st solo exhibition, encompassing his substantial and vibrant body of work. By harnessing light, expression and pigments, he fuses the material and sublime. Smith states, “My aim is to make art that is alive and breathes, which is visceral and yet has a sense of the ineffable. I would like to convey a sense of the magical in which a painting succeeds in going beyond its basic physicality and enters another realm.” An abstract painter, Smith was a member of the Radical Painting movement in the 1980s, seeking to distill painting to its essence. True to the movement’s focus on intention and creation, he prioritizes the interaction between brushstroke and the canvas. The direction, velocity, and intensity of his brushstrokes ... More

Auction includes movie posters and memorabilia from Robert Osborne's personal collection
NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced Bonhams and TCM Present ... A Celebration of Robert Osborne, an auction of more than 400 posters and memorabilia from the estate of the beloved Turner Classic Movies host. The sale – which will take place June 13 at Bonhams New York – features Bette Davis’ personal Sarah Siddons award, rare one-sheet posters and other items from the host’s vast movie memorabilia collection. Highlights from the collection will be on preview at Bonhams New York on Madison Avenue on June 11 and a two-week online-only sale of additional lots from the estate will follow beginning on June 14. TCM will donate its proceeds from the sale to The Film Foundation while proceeds from the sale of the posters will benefit the Gingold Theatrical Group. Highlights from the collection include: • Bette ... More

Jim Campbell's Day for Night on Salesforce Tower launches
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- After years of anticipation, Jim Campbell’s Day for Night atop Boston Properties’ Salesforce Tower in downtown San Francisco was finally revealed. Situated at 1,000 feet above the heart of San Francisco, Day for Night is unprecedented in the realm of permanent public art, not only due to its height and the complexity of its engineering. 11,000 custom-designed, flexible armatures are mounted on perforated aluminum panels surrounding the exterior top six floors of the tower. Unlike a typical digital billboard with glaring LEDs projecting outward, the LEDs embedded at the tips of the armatures shine inward to reflect off the building, creating an atmospheric glow that correlates to San Francisco’s foggy climate. Even more unprecedented as a public art installation is its integration into the civic fabric and its ever-evolving nature. Day ... More

Eduardo Chillida: Sculptor

On a day like today, Russian painter Lyubov Popova died
May 25, 1924. Lyubov Sergeyevna Popova (April 24, 1889 - May 25, 1924) was a Russian avant-garde artist (Cubist, Suprematist and Constructivist), painter and designer. In this image: Air+Man+Space, 1912, Oil on canvas, 125 x 107 cm, The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

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