September 17, 2004

Third Liverpool Biennial Opens

“[The] Liverpool Biennial gives an adrenaline boost to the bloodstream of the city, one dose every two years,” said Lewis Biggs, the event's chief executive. As David Ward writes in The Guardian, among the surprises at this year's edition of the festival, which opens tonight, are a video tour of the city's Adelphi hotel by a camera-toting horse, a bomb hanging over a central street, and giant flowers sprouting at Lime Street station. In homage to the city's most famous sons, the Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles has worked on twenty-seven Beatles songs to create “a parallel to the very real and continued ‘presence in absence’ of the Beatles in Liverpool.”

September 17, 2004

Speculation Surrounds Recently Auctioned Vermeer

Ever since a $30 million painting by Johannes Vermeer went on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art about a month ago, people have been speculating as to who owns it, Edward J. Sozanski writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The painting was lent to the museum anonymously after changing hands at a London auction early in July. Titled A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals, it was the first painting by the artist to be offered at auction since 1921, and it is one of only two known Vermeers in private hands.

September 17, 2004

Collaborative Show Connects Chinese and Taiwanese Artists

The Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art opened on Sunday in an abandoned Cold War bomb shelter on Taiwan's frontline island of Quemoy, Reuters reports. In its inaugural show, Chinese and Taiwanese artists, film directors, and composers are engaging in a cultural exchange that aims to promote peace in the Taiwan Strait. The exhibit comes as tensions smolder between the two nations.

September 16, 2004

Ridiculing Contemporary Art: Britain's New National Pastime?

Never before has contemporary art enjoyed such visibility and popularity in the UK, Alan Riding writes in the International Herald Tribune. At the same time, led by London's take-no-prisoners tabloids, mocking contemporary art has become something of a national sport. Is this the fault of the artists or of an irrepressible philistine streak in the British personality?

September 16, 2004

Harvard Neurobiologist Suggests Rembrandt Was Wall-Eyed

An analysis of thirty-six Rembrandt self-portraits suggests that the painter had a strabismus—a misalignment of one eye that caused it to point slightly outward, Reuters reports. This condition, popularly known as wall-eye, may have given Rembrandt an advantage in translating three-dimensional scenes into two-dimensional paintings, said Margaret Livingstone, a Harvard Medical School neurobiologist.

September 16, 2004

Walker Curator to Head Pinault Foundation

Walker Art Center Senior Curator Philippe Vergne has been appointed Director of the François Pinault Foundation for Contemporary Art, the new arts center scheduled to open in late 2007 on France’s Seguin Island in Paris. As Art Museum Network News reports, Vergne will remain at the Walker through April 2005 when the center opens its expanded facility designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Meanwhile, he will be involved in defining the cultural and programmatic missions of the François Pinault Museum, and will assume his new position in fall 2005.

September 16, 2004

Boston's New ICA Breaks Ground

When Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art broke ground yesterday morning on the city's Fan Pier, it wasn't just launching the start of construction on a new building, Geoff Edgers writes in the Boston Globe. It was taking an important step in the $62 million fund-raising campaign for the new ICA, set to open in 2006.
ICA officials say they've raised $34 million, or 55 percent of their goal. Now they're ready to take the campaign outside the ICA family of supporters and trustees.

September 15, 2004

Taking Stock of NYC's Art World

The New York art world has evolved into a sort of “Super Paradigm,” Jerry Saltz writes in the Village Voice. Bland on the outside, intricate within, it is extremely porous and permeable, taking advantage of any current and absorbing everything. The Super Paradigm may be pluralism gone wild, or a giant oil spill—sprawling but not evolving. There's no avant-garde within it because there's nothing to react against.

September 15, 2004

Met Names New President

For the first time, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has chosen a woman as president, Carol Vogel reports in the New York Times. Emily Kernan Rafferty, the Met's current senior vice president for external affairs, will succeed David E. McKinney when he retires in January and will report to Philippe de Montebello, the museum's director and chief executive. In overseeing the Met's vast national and international fund-raising operations for two decades, Rafferty earned a reputation for being one of the most effective fund-raisers in the art world