Saturday, March 17, 2012

Art News

By Charles Kessler

First the good news:
Despite some doubts about the attribution, the J. Paul Getty Museum acquired what is almost certainly a major work by the 18th-century French painter Antoine Watteau.
Antoine Watteau, The Italian Comedians, c. 1720, oil on canvas, 50 ¾ x 36 ¾ inches (J. Paul Getty Museum, #2012.5)
The other good news is that the trend to put art resources online is continuing:
  • Thanks to the Andy Warhol Foundation, Bomb Magazine has placed online more than 1000 interviews from the last 30 years including interviews with Laurie Anderson, Eric Fischl, Sol Lewitt, Christian Marclay, Dan Graham, Richard Serra and Sonia Delauney.
  • The Ghent Altarpiece can be seen in super high definition at a new website: Closer to Van Eyck. 
Van Eyck, The Ghent Altarpiece, 1432 - Detail of Eve.
  • If you missed this year's Moving Image Art Fair or didn't want to spend the time standing up to watch all those videos, at Art Fag City you can see some of them online in the comfort of your home.
  • The Getty Research Institute has made access to its collection of two million photographs a lot easier.
  • Art in America is supposed to have its archive online, but as of now I only find an occasional article and photos of the covers of issues from the 1980's onward. Watch for more.
Now for the bad news:
As a reminder: The original Pennsylvania Station, NYC, razed in 1963.
The Barnes Foundation had the gall to move the seminal Henri Matisse mural, The Dance, 1932-33, from its site in Dr. Albert Barnes's home in Merion Pennsylvania to the Barnes Foundation's new site in downtown Philadelphia. As Tyler Green convincingly demonstrates, Matisse made the mural specifically for that setting and was particularly interested in how it interacted with the green landscape outside as well as how it gave support to the easel paintings inside (“[My] decoration should not oppress the room, but rather should give more air and space to the pictures to be seen there."). In a 1934 letter to Alexander Fromm, Matisse wrote of the mural: "Architectural painting depends absolutely on the place that has to receive it, and which it animates with a new life. Once it is placed there, it cannot be separated."

Matisse's The Dance in it's original site:
An undated photo shows the Barnes Foundation and its world-renowned art collection in Lower Merion, Pa."The Dance," a mural by Henri Matisse is at left.  (AP Photo/Barnes Foundation).
Matisse's The Dance in its new site:

Finally, there are two noteworthy articles about the East Village in the eighties:
a Village Voice interview with Philip Glass, and a scorching and fun article by former Village Voice art critic Gary Indiana, One Brief, Scuzzy Moment.

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