Friday, January 28, 2011
Art, from the outside looking in
It’s nice to know that art can turn up in unexpected places—even in a big city like New York. An enterprising young man has coopted two glass kiosks in Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library, and set them up as miniature art galleries. Even though interested viewers can’t go inside because of climate controls, the brightly lighted little jewel boxes show off their contents to good effect. A photo is here. Together, the two installations comprise “Battle of the Brush: A Civil Re-enactment of Two Painterly States,” and provide a showcase for eight artists. The “battle” is between realist works in one kiosk and abstract works in the other. The conflict between the two may not be hot enough to melt the great piles of snow currently plaguing the city, but it’s a fun diversion from another battle—with ice and slush.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Fakes and forgeries—the bane of curators everywhere
A recent article in the New York Times told the fascinating story of one Mark Landis, a painter and gallery owner, who is also a talented forger of paintings. The twist to Landis’ story is that he apparently isn’t trying to benefit financially from pulling the wool over museum experts’ eyes. Rather, he seems to get his kicks from simply seeing his works placed on display as the real thing. Some museums have accepted his donations without suspicion; others have spent time and money on research to authenticate the works, only to find that they have been hoodwinked.
A current exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts, “Fakes, Forgeries, and Mysteries” chronicles the museum’s acquisition of 50 inauthentic or questionable objects, dating back to a supposedly Sumerian statuette, and including a granite head of an Egyptian king which turned out to be the work of a carver in Berlin, made in about 1920. Visitors to that exhibition will have the opportunity to give their own opinions on whether a certain painting is really by Van Gogh—or not.
Last year, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London held an exhibition featuring the investigation of fakes and forgeries by the Metropolitan Police, which has a special division devoted to this pursuit. One of their prize discoveries was Shaun Greenhalgh who, with the help of his aged parents, managed to sell forged works to a number of major museums. He was convicted and is serving time in prison for his exploits. But Mark Landis, the alleged forger who likes to donate his creations to museums, may not have committed any crime. Whether or not, he has apparently dropped out of sight—until next time!
Friday, January 07, 2011
A little birdie told me…
I just can’t resist passing on this bit of art trivia about a live parakeet who’s an essential (and required) component of a current art exhibit at the Whitney Museum in New York. Click here to read all about it. I especially love the lengths to which the museum administrators must go to in order to be sure they’re not sued for cruelty to animals: eight employees take turns coming in to keep the bird, called Peetie, company. What a relief!
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