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Priceless Van Goghs or just plain art? Works sent to museum for authentication

Steve Meadows, an architect, actor, inventor and dabbler in art, poses in his Venice, California, home on February 14, 2017, with two paintings he shipped to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for an authentication review as possible works by the Dutch master artist. Joe JACKSON / AFP.

LOS ANGELES (AFP).- On a Tuesday morning last month, Steve Meadows, a 66-year-old architect, actor, inventor and dabbler in art, left his home in Venice, California, with a cargo boasting an extraordinary history. Trailed by documentary filmmakers and aided by a friend, he loaded two potentially precious paintings -- once at the center of an international art scandal -- into his SUV, and headed to a shipping warehouse near downtown Los Angeles. The still life artworks on paper and canvas were bound for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where long-awaited examinations may finally determine if the Dutch master painted them. Their authentication would startle the art world and likely generate astronomical valuations. The canvas, measuring 68 by 52 centimeters (26.8 by 20.5 inches), would be among the largest paintings by Vincent Van Gogh confirmed genuine in recent decades. "I'm feeling relief at getting them to the museum," Meadows said. "I just want the truth." ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Christie's pulls Iraq painting from Dubai auction over ownership row   Trump budget 'cripples' environment, arts, science, critics say   LIDL Works and Performances from the 60s by Jörg Immendorff on view at Michael Werner Gallery

Faeq Hassan (Iraqi, 1914-1992), Untitled (Salah Al-Din, presumably Battle of Hattin) detail. Estimate USD 400,000 - USD 500,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2017.

DUBAI (AFP).- Christie's said Thursday it was pulling a painting by Iraqi artist Faeq Hassan from an auction later this week in Dubai because of a "dispute over ownership". "As per Christie's protocol we would not offer works of art when there might be a dispute over title of ownership," Alexandra Kindermann, senior communications director at the auction house, said. "As a result the work Untitled (Salah Al-Din, presumably Battle of Hattin) by Faeq Hassan, painted in 1968, has been withdrawn from the upcoming auction on 18 March in Dubai," she said in a statement. The decision comes after Iraqi authorities said that the painting belongs to the Iraqi state and had been smuggled out of the country. "We believe that the painting is owned by the Iraqi state and has been smuggled out," of the country "and according to experts and artists it was on display at the officers' club of the defence ministry," Iraqi member of parliament ... More

Beatriz Calderon looks at work by artist Jacqueline Roch hanging in a gallery at the Bakehouse Art Complex on March 16, 2017 in Miami, Florida. The Bakehouse Art Complex uses some federal funding for the artists to have gallery and studio space to be creative. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP.

MIAMI (AFP).- US President Donald Trump's proposed 2018 budget would slash funding for science, health and environmental programs at home and abroad, sparking an outcry Thursday among experts who say the cuts would endanger the planet. The blueprint, which also includes sharp cuts in spending on the arts and foreign aid, has yet to undergo scrutiny in Congress and must be approved by lawmakers before it can take effect. But environmentalists swiftly lashed out at the plan, calling it "shocking," and "drastic," particularly for the way it trimmed science programs while boosting defense spending by $52 billion. A key target was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which would get $5.7 billion, a 31 percent cut compared with 2017 levels. Some 3,200 jobs at the agency would be eliminated, about one-fifth of its ... More

“LIDL-Akademie (LIDL-Academy)”, 1968 (2000). Paper, wood, stamped print, 5 x 8 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches, 13 x 22 x 14 cm.

NEW YORK, NY.- Michael Werner Gallery, New York, is presenting Jörg Immendorff: LIDL Works and Performances from the 60s. Featuring both paintings and objects, the exhibition provides viewers with an opportunity to see a rarely-exhibited body of early work by one of the most important artists to emerge during the post-war period in Germany. Jörg Immendorff (1945-2007) began his formal artistic training at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf during a time when that city was developing into an international center for contemporary art. In 1964 Immendorff was admitted into the class of Joseph Beuys, then the most important artist working in Germany and a figure of profound influence for an entire generation of German artists. Immendorff's relationship with Beuys marked the beginning of an intensely productive period for the young artist, who was deeply affected by the Beuysian notion that art can and should play a wider role in society. Immendorff init ... More

Ai Weiwei slams 'shameful' politicians ignoring refugees   Sotheby's Asia Week New York sales achieve $47.9 million thus far   A joint letter from Boston art museum directors

Chinese conceptual artist and political activist Ai Weiwei reacts during a press conference on his new exhibition at the National Gallery in Prague. Michal Cizek / AFP.

PRAGUE (AFP).- Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei on Thursday slammed "shameful" politicians who ignore refugees as he launched a giant art installation centered on their fate at the National Gallery in Prague. Called "Law of the Journey", the show features a 70-metre-long (230-foot-long) inflatable boat with 258 oversize refugee figures. A tribute to the thousands who have drowned crossing the Mediterranean, the piece is Ai's biggest-ever installation. It will be on display until the end of the year. "My message is very clear: being a politician or a political group, you cannot be so short-sighted, you cannot have no vision, you cannot sacrifice human dignity and human rights for political gain," Ai told AFP. "I think this is very, very shameful behaviour," he added. The Czech Republic and the other post-Communist central European members have rejected EU plans to allow Muslim refugees on their territories thr ... More

An Exceptionally Rare and Large Fine Blue and White Reserve-Decorated ‘Peony’ Dish Xuande Mark and Period. Diameter 15 1/4 in., 38.6 cm. Estimate $1/1.5 million. Sold for $ 2,172,500. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Henry Howard-Sneyd, Chairman of Asian Art, Europe & the Americas, noted: “In a thriving market for Asian Art in New York, we saw a strong series of auctions across all categories comfortably exceed pre-sale expectations. Our offerings this week were particularly diverse, with great prices for works from an early 3rd century Gandharan Grey Schist Figure of a Seated Buddha from the Cleveland Museum of Art to a Ming Dynasty Anhua-Decorated Tianbai-Glazed Meiping, Bada Shanren’s album of classical Chinese paintings to Maqbool Fida Husain’s modern untitled painting of four women. The stage is truly set for our Hong Kong sales at the beginning of April.” Angela McAteer, Head of Chinese Works of Art in New York, commented: "This was a great way to start our Asian Art sales in New York. This auction of treasures from the Ming Dynasty is an indicator of the tremendous global appetite for ... More

Matthew Teitelbaum. Photo: Courtesy the Art Gallery of Ontario.

BOSTON, MASS.- As directors of Boston’s art museums, we serve as stewards of the public trust. So, we are alarmed at reports that the National Endowment for the Arts is under threat of being abolished, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Each of these entities champions art and culture in communities across America. In Boston, NEA and NEH funding has been instrumental at each of our museums, supporting our extensive programs of public access, teaching and scholarship, conservation, collection and exhibition. NEA and NEH grants supported the digitization and cataloging of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s singular collection; acquisition funds for works of art by American artists of color in The Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the forthcoming exhibition Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings at the Harvard Art Museums; the ... More

Hendrikje Crebolder joins the Board of Directors of the Rijksmuseum   German sculptor Alf Lechner dies at the age of 91   Art Basel and Google Arts & Culture to collaborate on virtual reality project for Hong Kong show

Hendrikje Crebolder. Photo: © Jan Kees Steenman.

AMSTERDAM.- Hendrikje Crebolder (1970 Sumve, Tanzania) will join the Board of Directors of the Rijksmuseum. As the Director of Development & Media she will work alongside General Director, Taco Dibbits and Director of Finance & Operations, Erik van Ginkel, and will be responsible for fundraising, communications and marketing. Hendrikje Crebolder has been the Head of Development at the Rijksmuseum since 2009. Taco Dibbits, General Director, said: Hendrikje Crebolder is a great asset to the management team. Bringing fundraising and audience development expertise to the Board is essential for the museum’s operations and responds to the challenges the Rijksmuseum faces. With her international experience and expertise as a fundraiser, Hendrikje has successfully attracted many supporters to the museum. Hendrikje Crebolder trained as a lawyer (Leiden, Cape Town and London). Since 1997 she had worked as a lawyer at Baker McKenzie in ... More

Alf Lechner was best known for his massive steel sculptures.

BAVARIA.- Alf Lechner, one of Germany’s most important contemporary sculptors, died suddenly at his home in Bavaria on February 25th, 2017. Lechner was 91 years old. Best known for his massive steel sculptures, Lechner connected steel, space, geometry, physics and architecture. The starting point for his work was geometric shapes such as the circle, square, rectangle or cuboid from which he produced provocatively shaped steel sculpture through welding, breaking, cutting and compressing. “If it doesn’t show resistance, I’m not interested,” Lechner used to say. A strong-willed, self-made-man and an intelligent provocateur, Lechner enjoyed the controversy that erupted around his art and accompanied him throughout his career. Lechner’s sculpture can found at the Nationalgalerie Berlin, the Alte Pinakothek Munich, the Städel Museum Frankfurt and the Kunstsammlung K21 Düsseldorf and the Lechner ... More

Boychild Portrait. Courtesy of Boychild.

HONG KONG.- Art Basel announced a new collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, which will be presented at the upcoming Art Basel show in Hong Kong this month. 'Virtual Frontiers: Artists experimenting with Tilt Brush' is a collaborative presentation of work by renowned international artists boychild, Cao Fei, Robin Rhode, Sun Xun and Yang Yongliang, created with Tilt Brush by Google – a 3D drawing and painting application. Art Basel's Hong Kong show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, takes place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 23 to March 25, 2017. As part of this collaboration, Art Basel helped select artists whose existing practice made them good candidates to experiment with Tilt Brush, who were then invited by Google Arts & Culture to attend multiday residencies in Beijing and Paris. For the duration of the show, fair visitors will be able to explore five new virtual reality works that were created by artists wh ... More

Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museum totals $262.8 million at Christie's   "1917: How One Year Changed the World" opens at the National Museum of American Jewish History   PAFA announces appointment of Brooke Davis Anderson as Museum Director

A Magnificent and Highly Important Bronze Ritual Wine Vessel, Fangzun, late Shang dynasty, 13th-11th century BC, realized USD$37,207,500 / HK$287,756,347. © Christie’s Images Limited 2017.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s dedicated Evening Sale of Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museum, realized a grand total of USD$262,839,500 / HK$2,032,755,075, which alone has surpassed the previous record for any Asian Art Week series in auction history. The exhibition, global tour, and auction generated huge international interest driven by Shang and Zhou dynasty ritual bronzes and classical Chinese paintings with exceptional provenance. The top lot for the sale was Chen Rong (13th Century) as Catalogued in Shiqu Baoji, Six Dragons, which realized USD$48,967,500 / HK$378,706,146. Exceptional prices were realized for the six handscrolls that were formerly part of the collection of the Qianlong Emperor (1711-1799), as evidenced by his collector’s seals and their inclusion in his official catalogue, the Shiqu Baoji, which ... More

German canteen brought back by World War I soldier William Shemin as a souvenir. Courtesy of Elsie Shemin-Roth.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The National Museum of AmericanImage Jewish History will debut the special exhibition 1917: How One Year Changed the World from March 17 through July 16, 2017. The exhibition looks back 100 years to explore how three key events of 1917—America’s entry into World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the issuing of the Balfour Declaration, in which Great Britain indicated support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine—brought about political, cultural, and social changes that dramatically reshaped the United States’ role in the world and provoked its most stringent immigration quotas to date. The exhibition examines this consequential year through the eyes of American Jews, who experienced these events both as Americans and as part of an international diaspora community. Following its run at NMAJH, 1917 will be on view in New York at the American Jewish Historical Society, ... More

Brooke Davis Anderson; Photo by Jay Potter.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) announced the appointment of Brooke Davis Anderson as the Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum. Anderson, who has more than 25 years of arts and cultural experience and most recently served as Executive Director of Prospect New Orleans, the international triennial of contemporary art, accepted the position after an extensive national search conducted by PAFA. She will begin her new role June 5. "Brooke Davis Anderson is an inspiring, energetic, and collaborative leader who will maintain our focus on presenting aspects of American art that have not been fully explored. She is committed to organizing a vibrant contemporary art program and giving greater recognition to artists from diverse backgrounds," said David R. Brigham, PAFA President and CEO. "Brooke will also continue to build PAFA's outreach to the arts community, including student and alumni artists, and underserved audience ... More

More News
Outstanding success for CURE³ at Bonhams
LONDON.- After three busy and highly successful days, the showcase exhibition to launch the new art project Cure3, closed at Bonhams London on 15th March. Considerable advance interest resulted in brisk early sales with 40% of the works finding eager buyers within the first 30 minutes of the opening, including works by Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry, Sir Peter Blake and Peter Doig. Whilst a small handful of art works are still available to purchase via the website, Cure³ has raised over a quarter of a million pounds, with all proceeds going directly towards vital research to find a cure for Parkinson’s. Cure³ was created to raise awareness and funds for the charity, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT), an organisation which only funds work which has the capacity to slow, stop or reverse the condition. Parkinson’s currently affects more than 10 million people worldwide but ... More

The mirror art of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian in Chrysler Museum of Art's new glass exhibition
NORFOLK, VA.- Discover the geometric wonder of the art of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. The Chrysler Museum of Art presents a selection of the acclaimed artist’s intricate mirror works and drawings in its Glass Projects Space (G. 118) from March 17 through July 30, 2017. Admission to Monir Sharoudy Farmanfarmaian: Infinite Possibility—Mirror Works and Drawings, 1974–2014 is free. Farmanfarmaian’s art reflects a life lived between two cultures, combining the patterns and geometry found in the traditional art of her native Iran with the modern abstraction of the New York City avant-garde. Born in Iran in 1924, Farmanfarmaian moved to New York in 1945 and studied at Cornell University and Parsons School of Design. She studied dance with Martha Graham and spent time with art scene notables Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Larry Rivers. She made ... More

The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography exhibits works by Giovanni Gastel
MOSCOW.- For more than forty years, Giovanni Gastel has created a world of fashion and photography all his own. His photographs have appeared on the covers and pages of top fashion magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, Donna, Mondo Uomo Glamour, Femme, Amica, Sette, and have been featured in museums and private collections all over the world. Gastel was born in Milan in 1955 and is descendant in a lineage of an ancient Italian family, the Viscontis. His uncle, the famous Italian film director, Luchino Visconti, first introduced the young artist to the world of art and cinema. Giovanni started to look for work as an actor, playing in performances and then looked to literature and poetry. He had intentions to dedicate his life to literature and did not give up his passion for such mediums even after he began pursuing photography full-time. Gastel's ... More

Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites President and CEO Tom King to retire; Successor named
INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites announced today that Tom King will retire as president and CEO effective April 30, 2017. The ISMHS’ board of directors has unanimously elected Cathy Ferree to assume the role of president and CEO of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites as of May 1, 2017. “When Governor Daniels asked me to come on board, I intended to stay for about a year,” said King. “But then I fell in love with the place. Now, seven years later, I’m so pleased with the progress we have made.” King was instrumental in bringing blockbuster exhibitions like Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition to the Indiana State Museum, and spearheaded the on-going INVision capital campaign, which is funding the core gallery renovations in progress at the ISM as well as projects at the ... More

FOS awarded the ARKEN Art Prize 2017
ISHØJ.- This year the ARKEN Art Prize of DKK 100,000 went to Thomas Poulsen alias FOS, while the two travel grants of DKK 50,000 each went to Nina Beier and Marie Kølbæk Iversen. The ARKEN Art Prize and Travel Grants are donated by Annie & Otto Detlefs’ Philanthropic Foundation. FOS is nationally and internationally acclaimed for his uncompromising works that explore the intersections between architecture, design, art and performance. The artwork itself may be a camping caravan, a soap factory, the furnishings of a fashion store, a concert programme or a floating bar. In works that combine functionality with popular appeal, FOS explores how our physical surroundings and social relations influence one another. His works take their point of departure in what he calls ‘social design’. The works all have in common that they reach out into society and everyday life. On ... More

Over 20 recent and historical works by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery
NEW YORK, NY.- Paul Kasmin Gallery presents Les Lalanne, featuring over 20 recent and historical works from the pioneering French sculptors, Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne. The exhibition is on view March 16 to April 22, 2017 at 293 Tenth Avenue. Since 1956 the husband and wife team, known as Les Lalanne, has forged a course singularly their own with an oeuvre that is inventive, poetic, and surreal. While each has a distinct practice, their sculptures often take on hybrid forms with novel functions inserting the natural world into intimate spaces. Prefacing their first joint exhibition in 1964, American sculptor James Metcalf declared the work of Les Lalanne “as individual and unique as every one of us”. One such sculpture is François-Xavier’s Hippopotame II (bar), 1976. Cast in bronze, the animal’s jaws and belly open to reveal hidden ... More

Romain Mader wins Foam Paul Huf Award 2017
AMSTERDAM.- Romain Mader (1988, Switzerland) was chosen as the winner of the eleventh Foam Paul Huf Award 2017 today. This annual prize, given to a photography talent under 35 years, consists of €20.000 and an exhibition at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. Mader wins the prize for his series Ekaterina, a narrative in which he seeks a bride in the imaginary city of Ekaterina. The Foam Paul Huf Award continues to attract portfolios from all over the world. The jury chose Romain Mader from a pool of 100 nominated photographers, from 25 countries worldwide. The jury report states: “Romain Mader’s Ekatarina is notable for the humour and irony with which he addresses serious issues: solitude, love, exploitation and the female body. In this Chinese box of a project, each layer opens to reveal a new interpretive possibility. What is real here, and what is fiction? ... More

Dresden State Art Collections present the first survey exhibition of designer Robert Stadler
DRESDEN.- The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) present the first survey exhibition of designer Robert Stadler. Initiated by the director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Tulga Beyerle, the exhibition You May Also Like: Robert Stadler is curated by Alexis Vaillant and is being held at the Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Dresden from 18 March to 25 June 2017. Working at the intersection of design, the visual arts and critical practice, Robert Stadler uses design to question social issues and imagine new ways of conceiving objects. You May Also Like: Robert Stadler marks the first survey exhibition of his work. Seventy-one of his pieces are exhibited together. Following on from his interest in objects of all kinds, Stadler has further enriched the exhibition with a careful selection of historical and contemporary objects presented next to his own ... More

Roger Ballen's most recent and highly anticipated body of work on view at Hamiltons Gallery
LONDON.- Hamiltons presents Roger Ballen’s most recent and highly anticipated body of work The Theatre of Apparitions for the first time as a series. In true Ballenesque style, the series takes the reader on a journey into their subconscious. Ballen’s choice of title is to convey the theatrical mechanics in which mental forms of life – dreams, the imagination and memories – act out on stage for the psyche. “These are spirit drawings… they are the permanent record of a bubbling up of deeper, more primal psychological realms made manifest on a surface through the interaction between a particular individual and fluid, physical materials.” --Roger Ballen. Ballen was inspired by hand-drawn carvings he saw on blacked-out windows in an abandoned women’s prison, where a prisoner had drawn figures into the black paint leaving herself with nothing but the dim light and stark ... More

Galerie Lelong exhibits"Dazzle paintings," 3-D drawings, and photographs by Jane Hammond
NEW YORK, NY.- Galerie Lelong presents Search Light, a solo exhibition of “Dazzle paintings,” 3-D drawings, and photographs by Jane Hammond. With Search Light, Hammond extends her use of the photographic medium, utilizing it to probe into fictive and imaginative realms. In the large gallery, Hammond’s “Dazzle paintings” are juxtaposed with 3-D silver-leaf drawings from her Results of a Search series. The “Dazzle paintings” – titled for the materials used and the phenomena that ensue – present images derived from vernacular photographs. Hammond paints the images on a surface of mica sheets infused with metal leaf with a topography of reflective materials beneath. At the heart of Hammond’s “Dazzle paintings” lay notions of conditionality and interactivity. Each painting responds to the particularities of its lighting and environment. The paintings ... More

Six contemporary artists respond to a vast astrological medical archive
LONDON.- Ambika P3 and the Casebooks Project at the University of Cambridge present CASEBOOKS, a major exhibition investigating one of the largest surviving sets of medical records in history. Internationally renowned contemporary artists Jasmina Cibic, Federico Díaz, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Rémy Markowitsch, Lindsay Seers and Tunga present a diverse and radical range of responses to the manuscripts of seventeenth-century English astrologer-physicians Simon Forman and Richard Napier. The 64 leather-bound volumes contain thousands of consultations made over nearly forty years relating to general health, disease and other afflictions of mind and body, as well as questions about sex, romance and marriage, job prospects and political and economic matters. Inspired by ideas of alchemy, astrology, power, prophecy, knowledge and the materiality and ... More

Inner Land

On a day like today, American architect Louis Kahn died
March 17, 1974. Louis Isadore Kahn (born Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky) (February 20, 1901 - March 17, 1974) was an American architect, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. After working in various capacities for several firms in Philadelphia, he founded his own atelier in 1935. While continuing his private practice, he served as a design critic and professor of architecture at Yale School of Architecture from 1947 to 1957. In this image: Louis I. Kahn, architect, who has been elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the highest honor society of the arts in America. This photo is dated February 15, 1964.

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