1. Art Basel: Miami Edition — and All that Comes With It
Tis the season…for artists and dealers to descend upon Miami. However, the Miami rendition of one of the most major art fairs in the world will be only one of 20 fairs in Miami this week.
The illustrious, artistic crowd that Art Basel Miami attracts has itself attracted a crowd of fairs and events. The December 3rd-6th Art Basel will include 4,000 artists yet only 267 of the 1,599 vendors displaying in Miami this week. While the incredible range of exhibitors guarantees a more democratic accessibility to art for fair-goers, it also necessary includes an overwhelming amount of artwork to see. Luckily, to make the fair-going process a little more digestible, there are already some highly anticipated booths, satellite fairs — including Pulse and Nada — and emerging themes: fair goers should expect to see an increase in representation of female artists as well as Latin American artists, especially appropriate in Miami.
2. Climate Conference Inspires Art in Paris
The Conference of Parties (COP21) will take place December 7–8 in Paris to address environmental crises facing the global community. However, it is also inspiring a wave of impassioned, activist art.
Most notably, street artist Shepard Fairey has installed a new piece entitled Earth Crisis between the first and second floors of the Eiffel Tower. The massive, two-ton globe incorporates patterns meant to reflect the ecological crises that threaten Earth and will be on view until November 26. Similarly, recent restrictions on mass gatherings imposed following the attacks in Paris forced a scheduled environmental protest to transform into a sort of performance art piece: replacing demonstrators (including the likes of Pope Francis) with the shoes the thousands of shoes they would wear to the rally.
3. In Face of Terrorist Threats, Italy Strengthens Investments in Culture
Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has responded to an increase in terrorist threats against Italy by proposing to equally allocate an additional €2 billion between increasing security measures at cultural institutions and strengthening cultural programs.
While it has yet to be approved by the national parliament, Renzi’s plan would provide for greater access to cultural programs, including a €500 “bonus” for every 18-year old in Italy, to attend theater performances, concerts and museum exhibitions. Renzi explained that the attacks in Paris were violence committed against “the whole of humanity:” “What happened in Paris signaled a step-up in the cultural battle that we are living. They imagine terror, we answer with culture. They destroy statues, we love art. They destroy books, we are the country of libraries.”
4. Art Forger Claims Credit for da Vinci Work
This weekend, notorious British art forger, Shaun Greenhalgh, claimed that La Bella Principessa, thought to be a work by Leonardo da Vinci is, in fact, one of his own forged works.
The $150 million painting was first documented in 1998, when it was sold at auction for $21,800. At the time its attribution and provenance were strongly contested, however, in 2008, numerous da Vinci experts collectively concluded that the work, now in a private collection, was a da Vinci painting depicting the daughter of one of the painter’s patrons. However, Greenhalgh, who served a prison sentence for creating forgeries from 2007–2012, claimed responsibility for the work in an expert form his memoir that was published this past weekend in the UK’s Sunday Times: “I drew this picture in 1987 when I worked at the Co-op [supermarket]. The ‘sitter’ was based on a girl called Sally who worked on the checkouts.”
5. Plans for Now Modern Art Center Released
This past week, plans for a new Modern Art Center (MAC) in Lithuania were announced, to much architectural praise. The plans for a new space in Vilnius, Lithuania were designed and released by the US-based Studio Libeskind.
Scheduled to open in 2019 and designed to house a 4,000 piece collection, the Center is meant to serve as a sort of gateway between the new and antique aspects of the city. With its inclusion of a large, multi-floor window, the building invites a conflation of the exterior and interior environments, a combining of what is classic and what is new. Viktoras Butkus, the philanthropic co-founder of MAC, explained: “Libeskind’s work is expressive, innovative, and, most importantly, has the power to tell the story of the past while connecting to the future of the city.”