How crazy is the global arts funding situation these days? In Germany, a group of academics and critics has published a book titled Cultural Heart Attack that offers the modest proposal that the country axe a full half of its state-funded arts institutions to make culture more cost-efficient. This “theoretical proposal” has prompted some of the country’s leading artistic figures—from Rosemarie Trockel and Harun Farocki to Wim Wenders and Günter Grass—to decry the plan as “an unequalled attempt to discredit the publicly funded support of culture.” Meanwhile, in Italy, the tabloid-loving Neapolitan museum director Antonio Manfredi (who you might remember for co-organizing the woeful mafia art show with Vittorio Sgarbi at the last Venice Biennale) is threatening to burn three works of art every week unless the country ponies up more money for the arts. This comes at a time when the Italian government, struggling under $2.5 trillion in debt, has ousted the leadership of Rome’s Maxxi contemporary art museum because it has been unable to raise sufficient money for its operation. And remember: Italy was the model of enlightened arts funding that Alec Baldwin glowingly pointed to when calling for the United States to increase its federal support of culture. What does this all mean? Probably that we’re heading back to a pre-New Deal arts patronage landscape where cultural institutions will have to rely heavily on oligarchs to continue their operations.
– QUOTE OF THE DAY –
“”Everyone knew their names and they were the equivalent, you could say, of Damien Hirst today.” – Tate Britain curator Alison Smith on the pre-Raphaelite painters who make up her new show about the “Victorian avant-garde,” as she puts it, contending that the classical-art-obsessed “brotherhood” was the radical fringe of its era.
– MUST READ –
Horrifying Sarah Palin Public Art Lands in Chicago – A truly monstrous statue of the divisive Grizzly Mama’s head that doubles as an outdoor stove, created by artist J. Taylor Wallace, is now installed at the city’s Bridgeport Art Center. (LAT)
Rashid Johnson‘s Art Can’t Be Stopped – Julie Rodrigues Widholm, the curator of the artist’s much-talked-about MCA Chicago exhibition Message to Our Folks, says, “I’m really excited to see how his work creates dialogue in different contexts—there’s no limit really to what he can accomplish artistically.” (AP)
France’s Presidential Candidates Talk Art – Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Bayrou, and looney tune Marine Le Pen were asked by Le Figaro to weigh in on their tastes in art, because that’s the kind of country France is. (Gallerist NY)
The History of Political Art – Whoa, Parkett contributor G. Roger Denson has written a multipart, immense history of leftist political art from 1900 to today, which might take that long to read but looks very impressive. (HuffPo)
Palais de Tokyo’s Return Energizes the Paris Art Scene – Nicolai Hartvig takes a look at the mix of edgy and establishment fare on view at Europe’s largest art space, which is now 150,000 square feet bigger thanks to a freshly completed renovation and expansion. (Artinfo)
– ART MARKET –
Affordable Art Fair Opens Today – The ever-entertaining New York fair selling artworks priced between $100 and $10,000 is returning to 34th Street tonight and running through Sunday, so check it out. (Affordable Art Fair)
Brazil’s Art Scene Grows More Populist – So argues this roundup of São Paulo’s contemporary art galleries, which are undergoing an explosion of growth and sales due to the country’s thrumming economy. (NYT)
– IN & OUT –
Brooklyn Museum patron Elizabeth Sackler announced a new seven-figure gift to the museum during its gala last night, with the money going to endow the Sackler Center for Feminist Art “indefinitely.” (NYT)
The University of Iowa is creating a post-doctoral art colony for artists to study painting and printmaking in honor of American Gothic painter Grant Wood, who served on the school’s faculty. (AP)
John Golding, the art critic, painter, and author of Cubism: A History and an Analysis, 1907-1914 who curated the blockbuster 2002 Matisse Picasso show, has passed away at the age of 82. (NYT) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/arts/design/john-golding-critic-and-scholar-of-the-abstract-dies-at-82.html?ref=todayspaper