Art Histories, February, 2014

Pollock-MichelangeloOn the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo, Florence hosts an “experimental” exhibition putting the classical forms of the Renaissance master side by side with the anti-forms of Jackson Pollock. The exhibition takes place both at Palazzo Vecchio and the Ex Tribunale of Florence. On view are drawings and paintings by the American artist alongside works by Michelangelo. Natalie Maria Roncone in Artes Magazine discusses Jackson Pollock’s Black Paintings & the Sculpture of Michelangelo: Exploring Interrelationships. Read the article, linked here.



Italian Culture Minister Massimo Bray announced in December that Giovanni Nistri, a Police General – and the former head of Italy’s art-theft unit – would be in charge of heading the country’s 105m euro campaign (funded in part by the European Union) to safeguard the archeological site of Pompeii, reports Emily Sharpe, in The Art Newspaper. The site was threatened by decertification from the World Heritage list, for “mis-management issues” by the United Nations. Read the article, linked here.



Lack of funds and a dysfunctional government have not stopped Italians from getting creative with their conservation efforts. Jillian Steinhauer in Hyperallergic reports that eights works of art were posted on a Facebook page by Italy’s government, and that the public was asked which of the eight should be slated for needed repairs. The initiative called “L’Arte Aiuta L’Arte” (art helps art)  is sponsored by the the country’s Beni Culturali department. Pictured at right the winner: Perugino’s “Madonna and Child.” Read the article, linked here.


And speaking of creative thinking: Standard & Poor, the credit agency who recently downgraded Italy because of its public debt was served papers by Italy’s Corte dei Conti, Italy’s state auditor, claiming damages to the tune of 234 billion euros, for failing to take into account Italy’s vast artistic – and cultural – patrimony. Quoted in the Financial Times, the credit agency has called the claim “frivolous and without merit,” the Corte dei Conti has stated that details would be revealed on February 19th. Read the article, linked here.


The auctioning of 85 works by the surrealist painter Miró by Christie’s was cancelled after much criticism from people who argued that the collection should not leave Portugal. An online petition to stop the sale gathered 9200 signatures. The works are valued at 35 million euros and were seized by the government when BNP bank, which owned the paintings, failed and was nationalized. Read the article, linked here.


Andrew Spacey has a long piece on Hub Pages, titled “Modern Sculpture – What Shape Is It In?” It’s an interesting historic overview of the field, in which the author wonders: “Modern Sculpture, what is it for?” Pictured is Dennis Oppenheim’s toilet on a metal branch sculpture. The reader is invited to take a poll at the end of the piece…”Public sculpture Is A Waste of Time and Money?” Choice 1: “Yes, objects are all around us all of the time. Why do we need to pay artists to create more?” Choice 2: “No. Sculpture enhances our lives by poviding beauty and making us think about where we as humans fit into the scheme of things. Click here to see the results (you don’t have to vote) At this writing three people have voted… and the results are pretty skewed to one side… Read the article, linked here.


The sculpture in the public square continues to shock. This one is of a realistic statue of a man in underwear apparently sleepwalking, and it’s set off a fair amount of controversy at the all-female Wellesley College, in Boston. The sculpture is part of an exhibition of the work of artist Tony Matelli, and was supposedly placed in the open, to connect the show with the campus and beyond. An online petition to have the statue removed has gathered some 100 signatures. Some students expressed dismay at the statue’s placement, while some on Facebook (Hi Elena!) appear amused. Aaccording to the College’s official response – quoted in the Boston Globe – the statue was meant “to evoke response…” and it appears to have succeeded. Read the article, linked here.

2 thoughts on “Art Histories, February, 2014

  1. Re Standard & Poor’s “frivolous and without merit,”
    Lawyer speak for, “Oh boy! We’re gonna make a ton of $$$ on this one.”

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