Glancing Blows: From Art Basel to Richter


If you care about art and not money, you’ll be inspired to know the UK Guardian today took a double-article look at Muslima, an online exhibition giving voice to experiences of Muslim women from around the world. “Hosted by the International Museum of Women, it features interviews with leading Muslims, showcases the work of renowned artists and documents the lives of ordinary Muslims,” the Guardian explains.

Paul Signac, Portrait of Félix Fenéon , 1890

You can read about the exhibit here and see images here.

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It also may concern you to learn that there are fewer than 10 full-time art critics in the entire United States. This according to Andrew Russeth, writing today in Gallerist NY. Relates Russeth:

This comes to us via Deborah Solomon on her recent WNYC appearance. (It seems that Chicago’s edition of Time Out laid off its art critic last month.) At least we can all celebrate that the majority of the survivors work in New York.

Money Matters

If you care more about the money side, you’ll lick your chops to learn that Gerhard Richter’s massive 3 metres by 3 metres painting of Milan’s Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) has sold for $37m USD, setting a new auction record for a living artist. Domplatz, Mailand (1968) was originally commissioned by electronics giant, Siemens. Art website observes that the work “is instantly recognizable as Richter, with its fuzzy black-and-white photo-painting technique.”

Also meditating on money and quality, The Los Angeles Times reports, “On May 24 at China’s Hong Kong Convention Center an outfit called Intelligence Squared will host a formal debate during the debut of the newest spinoff of the Art Basel franchise of international art fairs. The motion under consideration will be: “The Market Is the Best Judge of Art’s Quality.”

More on the subject here.

Meanwhile, Forbes, (Capitalist Tool), struts the fact that Big Money is rolling up the masterpieces:

Last week, Christie’s marquee post-War and contemporary art sale fetched a record $495 million, with more than nine works selling for over $10 million. Amid a stagnating global economy and high unemployment, the ultra-rich are raising the stakes on so-called alternative investments like art and real estate, prompting a prominent Christie’s executive to speak of “a new era in the market.”

Musing on Museums

Looking at the national museum scene:

In Ohio, the Cleveland Museum of Art is “embracing cutting-edge technology to try to lure new audiences to its collection of masterworks,” The Christian Science Monitor reveals:

The goal is to make the museum more welcoming, especially to young people who “mediate the world through the screen,” says David Franklin, director of the museum.

“The outcome is intergenerational,” he says. “But one of the inspirations was certainly trying to attract a younger demographic to the art museum, a demographic that might see the museum as off-putting or forbidding.”

Travel writer Barbara Weibel offers you a pretty thorough view of Chattanooga’s Hunter Museum of American Art in her snappy blog Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel. You can take the tour here.

If you’re living and visiting New York between now and Aug. 12, consider seeing “The Unseen in Tibetan Art” at the Rubin Museum on West 17th Street. The museum’s website explains:

The texts and images on the back of Tibetan art objects reveal clues to their meaning, function, and historical context. For the first time ever both sides of a select group of scroll paintings (thangkas), sculptures, and initiation cards will be explored in detail.

In closing, we can’t have musings about museums without considering artists’ muses themselves. Art website shows us “The 30 Most Famous Muses in Art” in its show-and-tell slide show, which you can view here.