Arts

Tufts University Removes Sackler Name From Med School; Smithsonian Rebrands Its Sackler Gallery

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC (courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution) This week brought two wins for the drug policy advocates and pharma activists campaigning for the removal of the name of the Sackler family, owners of the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma, from the buildings of art and cultural institutions. Today, December 5, Tufts University in Boston announced that it removed the Sackler name from five of its facilities and programs, and yesterday, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC said it “rebranded” its Asian Arts galleries, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, as the National Museum of Asian Art. Tufts removed the Sackler name from its school of medicine but it will not return unspent donations it had received from the Sackler...

Parisian Strikes Bring City’s Art Scene to a Halt

The Louvre at night (via Hernán Piñera’s Flickrstream) Throughout France, demonstrators took to the streets today, December 5, in protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed retirement reforms. The announced changes would affect workers across several industries including healthcare, transportation, education, agriculture, and emergency services. Many of those who would be affected by the reforms have walked off their jobs to strike, bringing the country to a standstill. As with other sectors of French society, the protests have affected the country’s many museums and cultural institutions. According to the Art Newspaper, several museums in the country’s capital like the Grand Palais and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris are only keeping one of their exhibit...

The Unique Legacy of an American Indian Modernist

“Three Stages of Indian History” (top panel) by Mary Sully (all images courtesy of University of Washington Press) Author, Harvard professor, and historian Philip J. Deloria describes the era captured in the nearly lost art of his great aunt, Mary Sully, as a “critical moment — sometime in the 1920s, perhaps — when many American Indian people crafted new and different lives for themselves.” Deloria writes this characterization as part of an introduction to Becoming Mary Sully (University of Washington Press), a detailed survey of the extant works of the Dakota Sioux artist. The book underscores her unique position as an American Indian Modernist and examines the wider historical context of her surprising and original work, and the political, social, and aesthetic forces that sh...

A Tale of Two Pioneering Women Painters in Renaissance Italy

Lavinia Fontana, “Self-Portrait at the Spinet” (1577), oil on canvas, Rome, Accademia Nazionale di San Luca (all images courtesy of the Museo del Prado) MADRID — A young woman in a simple black frock works at her easel, pausing mid-stroke to stare intensely at the viewer. Another young woman, lavishly dressed, plays a keyboard, ignoring her sheet music to gaze at us confidently. The first woman was tutored by Michelangelo, praised by Vasari, copied by Rubens, and worked for 14 years at the most powerful court in Europe. The second woman was the first female artist to lead her own workshop; she broke boundaries of scale, content, and genre, and was the first woman to paint nudes. These self portraits represent two of the most famous and acclaimed artists of the Renaissance. So w...

More Than 70K Young Art Goers Have Signed Up For a Free Museum Membership

A gallery shot during AGO All Hours program, that opens the museum at various times to increase availability to all patrons. All images courtesy of AGO. Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto has formalized its commitment to young art lovers. The museum announced its decision to officially continue a pilot program introduced in May of this year that offers free membership to the museum to patrons aged 18 to 25. Prior to the pilot and for guests over 25, an annual museum membership costs $35 and a single visit $25. Budding art enthusiasts hoping to score a free membership can do so in exchange for personal information such as email and postal code. The AGO also offers complimentary admission to all Indigenous peoples. As reported by AGO to 660 News, more than 100,000 people have signed up ...

In 1977, an Artist Married Her Male Alter-Ego to Challenge Chauvinism

Bianca Menna/Tomaso Binga (photo courtesy of the artist) In June 1977, Italian artist Bianca Menna announced her marriage to her male alter-ego Tomaso Binga. The unlikely ceremony was to be held at the contemporary art gallery Campo D, in the center of Rome. Menna sent out traditional save-the-date cards and invitations, which read “Bianca Menna e Tomaso Binga Oggi Spose,” but in these, “Oggi spose,” the Italian expression for “Just married,” had an unusual feminine desinence rather than the grammatically correct masculine one. On the date set for the wedding, guests were puzzled to reach the gallery and find nothing but two photographs on a wall: a portrait of Menna wearing a wedding dress in front of a car — an image taken on the day of her “real” wedding with Italian scholar Filiberto M...

Of Stickers, Brushes and Rubyliths: Shepard Fairey Marks 30 Years

A new exhibition surveys three giant decades in this iconic artist’s career The art of Shepard Fairey is metaphorical, characterized with torn bits, layers, rips and markings, festooned with ornamental patterns and icons, and slathered with old news clips. It is a topography of the times we live in, often enveloping a face calling out to you, telling you the truth in a most darkly charismatic way. While working on his latest mural in Miami at an elementary school just days before Art Basel opens, we got a chance to talk about the show, the evolution of his work and the beauty of Rubylith stencil cutting. For most people, their knowledge of Shepard Fairey goes something like “Oh yeah, he’s the artist that did those Obey stickers that are on my kid’s skateboard and all over the place and did...

Changing the Tune of Globalization

The cover of Fatima Butto’s New Kings of the World: Dispatches from Hollywood, Dizi, and K-Pop (courtesy of Columbia Global Reports) Iran was once held up as a model by modernization theorists. The Shah’s White Revolution promised a cultural counterpart to his economic modernizing program. Instead, it brought large scale urban migration, growing inequality, and a deepening sense of cultural alienation. Tehran’s upscale northern neighborhoods had boutiques selling Pierre Cardin, cinemas showing Hollywood films, restaurants serving French food, and dance clubs playing Abba, while the southern stretches of the city were crowded with impoverished slums. In 1962, Jalal Al-e Ahmad published his seminal book, Gharbzadegi [Westoxification] decrying cultural mimicry of the West that was erodi...

A Film Festival Illuminates the Experimental Edge of Appropriation Cinema

Kate Lain, “She Collage” (courtesy of Kate Lain and Los Angeles Filmforum) Los Angeles is a city in a constant state of reinvention, its hybrid identities formed by the melding and layering of different cultures and histories atop one another. It is appropriate, then, that it is the birthplace of the Festival of (In)Appropriation, a showcase of experimental films that employ appropriation, collage, archival and found footage, mashups, and remixes. Founded in 2009 by Jaimie Barron, Assistant Professor of Film Studies at the University of Alberta, the festival seeks to explore the question: “Where does experimental appropriation cinema fit in a larger art historical context?” festival co-curator Greg Cohen told Hyperallergic. “Appropriation art is a laboratory f...

Forensic Architecture Joins Journalists to Depict Syria’s Use of Chemical Weapons

The scene of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun. A crater in the center of the image was suspected to be that of a chemical bomb. (all images courtesy of Forensic Architecture) A chemical airstrike on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib, Syria on April 4, 2017, killed over 80 people and injured hundreds. The attack, which dropped a bomb filled with the deadly nerve agent Sarin onto civilians, went down in history as the deadliest chemical assault in the Syrian civil war since the Ghouta chemical attack in 2013. Harrowing images of dead children and writhing, asphyxiated victims prompted an immediate international outcry. The United Nations, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the United States government accused the Bashar Al Assad regime in Syria of carr...

Imagining Utopia, Just Over the Horizon

Installation view: Utopian Imagination, in the Ford Foundation Gallery (photo by Sebastian Bach) It is fitting that the initial trio of exhibitions that inaugurated the Ford Foundation’s gallery end where it began: on the theme of Utopian Imagination. The previous shows, first Perilous Bodies, and then Radical Love in turn, set the table by instilling a sense of crisis for the varied calamities that threaten human life and agency, and then suggesting that an untrammeled, overweeningly lush care for the self and the other might save us. Utopian Imagination picks up where they left off, still very much using curator Jaishri Abichandani’s considered strategy of weaving a conceptual skein out of the work of artists of color (with an emphasis on women artists) across a range of ethnicities, nat...

Hands Down, This 89-Year-Old Collector Has the Coolest Apartment in NYC

Inside the SoHo loft of collector and philanthropist Henry Buhl (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic) Henry Buhl, an 89-year-old collector, is a man with a very specific taste in art. His large art collection at his expansive, multi-million dollar SoHo loft in New York encompasses hundreds of artworks that have one unifying element: they all depict hands. Buhl’s hand-themed collection, which includes sculptures by Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, and Fernando Botero, is now for sale, and so is his 8,500 square-foot loft on Greene Street, which is on the market for $19 million. After a handshake, Buhl gave Hyperallergic a tour into his hand-filled loft. Next to the entrance is a luminous work by Alvin Booth, protruding scores of little white hands from a backlit rectangle on the w...