Art collector Charles Saatchi has a gift for Britain. It includes Tracy Emin’s messy bed, Grayson Perry’s explicit pottery and a room full of engine oil. The advertising tycoon, whose patronage made household names of artists like Emin and Damien Hirst, announced Thursday he is donating his London gallery and 200 works in its collection to the nation as a new public art museum. The gallery said the works, valued at more than 25 million pounds ($37 million), will be given to the government. The 70,000-square foot (6,500-square meter) Saatchi Gallery will be renamed the Museum of Contemporary Art, London.
The artworks being donated include Emin’s “My Bed” — the artist’s famous recreation of her boudoir, complete with empty liquor bottles, condoms and cigarette butts — and Richard Wilson’s “20:50,” an eye-dazzling room filled with oil. There are also works by Perry — best known for vases adorned with disturbing twists on classical scenes — and artists from around the world, including China’s Zhang Dali and India’s Jitish Kallat.
Emin said she was thrilled by Saatchi’s gift. “I wish more people had that kind of vision,” she said.
Saatchi, co-founder of the Saatchi & Saatchi ad agency, was the main patron of the Young British Artists movement of the 1990s, which made Hirst and Emin millionaires.
He captured the public imagination with his 1997 exhibition “Sensation,” which included Hirst’s shark pickled in formaldehyde and Emin’s tent appliqued with the names of “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995.”
The show’s impact lived up to its name. When it opened in New York in 1999, then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani was so offended by Chris Ofili’s portrait of the Virgin Mary adorned with elephant dung that he temporarily cut off funding to the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition’s success helped make Saatchi one of the art world’s most powerful figures.
“He was part of the perfect storm of British art’s success,” Perry said. Since then Saatchi — who is married to celebrity chef Nigella Lawson — has continued to collect, amassing a vast collection. The gallery said even after the donation, Saatchi would still own “many hundreds” of works.
“I think he has a scatter-gun approach but in his trawling he’s picked up some extraordinary stuff,” Perry said. “This is by no means an insignificant gift. It’s the cream of the crop.”
Saatchi’s current gallery opened in 2008 in London’s affluent Chelsea neighborhood and has mounted shows by emerging artists from India, China and the Middle East. Saatchi’s announcement is a boost to an arts community worried about looming cuts to government funding. Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government has said ministries will have to slash budgets by up to 25 percent to eliminate the country’s record deficit.
The aim is to keep the space free to the public, with operating funds coming from individual and corporate sponsorship along with revenue from its restaurant, bookshop and rentals for outside events held there. The gift would also include artworks that could be sold to acquire other art so that the museum could remain a showcase for the latest works.
Rebecca Wilson, associate director of the Saatchi Gallery, said as well as the 200-strong core collection, the gift includes other works that can be sold to buy new acquisitions to keep the collection changing and current. The British government has not yet accepted the gift, although discussions are in progress, said Ruth Cairns, a spokeswoman for the Saatchi Gallery, who added that she had no timetable for a final decision. Also unclear is when Mr. Saatchi plans to retire, which Ms. Cairns said had not yet been determined. A statement from the two-year-old gallery also said that Mr. Saatchi would receive no tax benefits from the gift.
She said Saatchi “wants to give London and the country something it wouldn’t have otherwise, which is a very agile collection that can respond quickly to developments in contemporary art from all over the world.”
The owner of the building that houses the gallery on London’s King’s Road, Cadogan Estate, said it hoped the new museum would remain in the same location “for the foreseeable future.” Wilson said the gallery’s staff and management team would stay in place, and Saatchi, who turned 67 last month, was not planning to retire anytime soon.
“He just wants to prepare things for the future and make sure the Saatchi Gallery retains its unique character,” she said.
Check out also an Interseting article about art donations, by Sarah Murray from the Financial Times, who wrote “Art smart: how to donate artworks”.
This year, the 42nd edition of Art Basel takes place in Basel, Switzerland, from June 15 through June 19, 2011. As the premier annual art show, Art Basel marks the summer reunion of the international artworld, hosted by the city of Basel, which has been a cultural capital for centuries.
More than 300 galleries from 35 countries on six continents will show works by over 2,500 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. A frequent site of discovery by those seeking emerging artists, Art Statements features 27 one-person stands from rising galleries worldwide. Furthermore, exhibitors will present more than 50 ambitious works in the Art Unlimited sector. Bringing the show into the city, the site-specific projects and performances in the Art Parcours sector will transform a variety of locations throughout the St. Alban neighbourhood.
Complimenting Art Basel’s extensive offerings, the city’s museums and institutions once again stage fascinating exhibitions, featuring the artists Constantin Brancusi, Richard Serra, Francis Alÿs, R.H. Quaytman, Konrad Witz and Henrik Olesen.
Founded by a group of local gallerists, the first Art Basel took place in 1970 and the event has long ranked as the most prestigious annual art show worldwide. The quality and diversity of the artworks exhibited regularly attracts more than 60,000 artists, collectors, gallerists, museum directors, curators, and art enthusiasts. Art 42 Basel showcases every form of artistic expression, including paintings, drawings, editions, sculptures, installations, photography, performances, and video art. Inexpensive works by emerging artists are on offer, alongside museum-quality masterpieces priced in the millions.
More than 300 of the world’s leading galleries exhibit at Art Basel, selected from more than 1,000 applicants by the Art Basel Committee, an international jury of renowned gallerists. These include 73 from the United States; 50 from Germany; 32 from Switzerland; 31 from Great Britain; 23 from France; 20 from Italy; 8 from Belgium; 7 each from Japan and Spain; 6 from Austria; 4 each from Brazil and Poland; 3 each from China, Denmark, India, Norway and the Netherlands; 2 each from Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Portugal, Sweden, South Africa and Turkey and 1 each from Argentina, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Lebanon, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea and Thailand.
Art Galleries and Art Edition sectors
Once again, the world’s leading galleries will be exhibiting at the show, for which more than 99 percent of last year’s exhibitors reapplied. This year’s strong roster of returning participants are enhanced by diverse new exhibitors. Appearing for the first time in Art Galleries are Art: Concept (Paris), Blondeau (Geneva), Bortolami (New York), Isabella Bortolozzi (Berlin), Cabinet (London), gb agency (Paris), Holland-Hibbert (London), Joanna Kamm (Berlin), Regina (Moscow), Sfeir-Semler (Beirut), Standard (Oslo), and Vintage (Budapest). After a brief hiatus, Moeller Fine Art (New York) and Szwajcer (Antwerp) rejoin Art Basel’s exhibitors in the Art Galleries sector. The multiples specialists in Art Edition are joined by Three Star Books (Paris).
Art Statements Sector
A frequent site of discovery by those seeking to discover emerging artists, Art Statements this year spotlights 27 single-artist projects from younger galleries worldwide. The projects on display are new and created specifically for presentation in Art Statements. Since 1999, the Baloise Group has awarded its annual Baloise Art Prize to two outstanding Art Statements projects. This year, the prize stands at CHF 30,000 for each artist, in addition to which Baloise Group will also acquire works by the prize-winning artists and donate them to the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the MUMOK Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien.
Art Feature Sector
After a highly-acclaimed debut last year, Art Feature focuses on precise curatorial shows. 20 gallery projects – featuring artistic dialogues, solo shows and exceptional art historical material – will be presented on both floors of Hall 2, alongside the Art Galleries sector. .
Art Unlimited Sector
Art Unlimited spotlights more than 50 ambitious works, many of them created especially for Art 42 Basel. With the accent on innovative and large-scale pieces, Art Unlimited offers everything from outsize sculptures and installations to video projections, wall paintings, and performances. The exhibition concept has once again been elaborated in collaboration with Geneva curator Simon Lamunière.
While the inauguration of this sector last year took place around Munsterplatz, this year Art Parcours will transform a variety of unique locations throughout the St. Alban neighbourhood. For the entire duration of the show, from 10 am to 10 pm, the second edition of Art Parcours offers visitors site-specific artworks and performances by internationally renowned artists and emerging talents. This array of high-caliber pieces – selected by Jens Hoffmann, Director of the CCA Wattis Institute in San Francisco – engages with today’s Basel and with its long history, weaving artistic interventions into the fabric of the city.
Art Basel Conversations and Art Salon
Staged every morning (June 15 to June 19), Art Basel Conversations bring together prominent members of the international art scene. The Premiere of the Art Basel Conversations features a legendary artist. Further topics include: ‘Public/Private: How Will Museums Be Able to Collect,’ ‘Collector Focus: Patronage and Politics,’ ‘The Future of Artistic Practice: The Artist as Urbanist,’ and ‘What is Alternative – Alternative to What?’ Additionally, an extensive daily program of artist conversations, book signings, discussion forums, and other presentations will take place in the Art Salon forum every afternoon.
After a successful launch of our Smartphone App last year, this year’s Art 42 Basel app will offer visitors even more functions. Created not only for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touchs, but also Blackberrys and all the other smartphones, the Art Basel App will be ready for download at the end of May.
Museums in Basel
The exceptional lineup of shows this year during Art 42 Basel includes: ‘Francis Alÿs: Fabiola’ presented by Schaulager at the Haus zum Kirschgarten; ‘Konrad Witz – The Unique Exhibition’ at the Kunstmuseum Basel; ‘Constantin Brancusi and Richard Serra’ at the Fondation Beyeler; ‘Henrik Olesen’ at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst; ‘Car fetish: I drive therefore I am’ at the Tinguely Museum; ‘R.H. Quaytman: Spine, Chapter 20’ at the Kunsthalle Basel; and at the Vitra Design Museum, ‘Zoom: Italian Design and the Photography of Aldo and Marirosa Ballo.’
Art Dubai was presented Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai.
Welcoming a total of 81 galleries from 34 countries—with one-third of the participants based in the Middle East, one-third in Europe and one-third in the United States and Asia. This year’s Art Dubai, the first organised under the leadership of Fair Director Antonia Carver, is also the most diverse and forward-looking to date for the Middle East’s largest contemporary art event.
“Dubai has been a trading post and meeting point for South Asia, Iran, the Arab world and Africa for hundreds of years,” said Antonia Carver. “Over the past decade, Dubai has become the commercial art centre of the region and a city of ideas and entrepreneurship, providing homegrown support for artists, exhibitions and galleries. Through the fair and our platforms for dialogue, Art Dubai has been an integral part of this development and while rooted in the region, we are committed to looking to the future and continuing our role as a catalyst linking Asia and the Middle East with the rest of the world.”
Antonia Carver continued, “We aim for Art Dubai to be a fair of discovery – for the international collectors, curators, artists, gallerists and museum groups that attend the fair aiming to catch up on all that’s happening in the Middle East and South Asia, and for those based in the region to engage with the most dynamic of international galleries. At Art Dubai, these audiences will be able to discover the work of more than 500 artists, as presented in booths, installations, performances, dispatches, talks and screenings.”
Showcasing paintings, sculpture, photography, works on paper and video installations from a host of first-timers as well as returning galleries, the fifth edition of Art Dubai features exciting work from emerging artists and museum-quality masterworks. The fair features an ambitious range of galleries, with more than a dozen significant, curatorially focused galleries exhibiting in the Middle East for the first time; an increased number of single-artist gallery shows, allowing viewers to delve into an artist’s practice in depth; and the strongest showing of galleries from Turkey and South Asia to date.
This year also sees the debut of MARKER, a new platform for experimental art spaces from Asia and the Middle East showcasing projects by emerging artists. Curated by Nav Haq, this section includes five dynamic project spaces: Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (Alexandria, Egypt), GREY NOISE (Lahore, Pakistan), Liu Ding’s Store (Beijing, China), Makan (Amman, Jordan) and Ruangrupa (Jakarta, Indonesia). Each organisation will present new projects that have been conceived specifically for Art Dubai and that bridge the gap between the commercial and curatorial components of the art fair.
Programming for the fair included Global Art Forum_5, a four-day series of discussions curated by a committee chaired by Shumon Basar, which explored how a changed world has changed audiences for contemporary art, how expectations have affected artists and their work, and how art and fashion collide. The result of a dynamic partnership between Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH), Ministry of Culture, Kingdom of Bahrain, this year’s forum is the most collaborative yet. Speakers included: Hans Ulrich Olbrist, Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes, and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery, London; Francesco Vezzoli, artist; Germano Celant, Director, Fondazione Prada; Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder, Barjeel Art Foundation; Wassan Al Khudhairi, Director, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art; and Vasif Kortun,Director of Research and Programs, SALT, Istanbul; Curator, UAE Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2011. Natascha Sadr Haghighian, this year’s Global Art Forum Artist-in- Residence, responds to the discussions through a bibliographic journey hosted on this website. 2011 also marks the launch of Forum Fellows, a programme that offers a group of young curators and artists from Abu Dhabi, Antakya, Dhaka, Karachi, Jerusalem and Tehran the opportunity to engage with all aspects of the fair.
In addition to the Global Art Forum, Art Dubai hosted a series of talks including On Collecting, focusing on arts patronage; Art Park Talks, which include performances, conversations and practical workshops; and THE BIG IDEA, a dynamic forum for UAE-based artists and designers, organised by Bidoun Projects.
Art Dubai Projects took an observational, almost anthropological approach to the gallery metropolis created by Art Dubai. The rich programme of new works and performances includes painters Ali Chitsaz and Mounira Al Sohl in collaboration with Bassam Ramlawi taking on the theme of ‘labour’ in a live mural; the commissioning of Oraib Toukan to create a new work within the grounds of the fair while Hrair Sarkissian has adapted an existing work that – in its new state – plays with the façade of Madinat Jumeirah; works created by Abbas Akhavan and Shaikha Al Mazrou during the Delfina Foundation’s eight-week residency programme in Bastakiya, with the support of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Tashkeel; performative tours of the fair by Malak Helmy and Abhishek Hazra; a bank of radio dispatches from artists’ studios curated by The Island (Victoria Brooks and Andrew Bonacina); and Art Park, a series of films, talks and projects curated by Bidoun Projects that features retrospectives of video artists Wael Shawky and Sherif El-Azma.
The largest and most diverse edition to date, Art Dubai experienced strong sales during its 2011 presentation from 16-19 March and attracted more than 20,000 guests, with a 30 percent increase in international visitors. Underscoring its role as a vital cultural meeting point connecting the Middle East and Asia with the rest of the world, Art Dubai 2011 was attended by curators, collectors, gallerists, artists, museum directors and more than 60 museum groups.
Of the 81 participating galleries, the majority experienced strong sales from the outset with major purchases from international and regional institutions in addition to established and first-time collectors from the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the United States. A number of participating galleries, including Chatterjee & Lal and Chemould Prescott Road (Mumbai), BISCHOFF/WEISS (London), Kalfayan Galleries (Athens /Thessaloniki), Sutton Gallery (Melbourne), Mah Art Gallery (Tehran), AB Gallery (Lucerne/Zurich), Grey Noise (Lahore), Gandhara-art (Hong Kong/Karachi), Pilar Corrias (London), Dirimart (Istanbul), Priska C. Juschka Fine Art (New York) and GALLERY ISABELLE VAN DEN EYNDE (Dubai) among others sold most of their available works at the fair.
“Spring 2011 marks a shift in the cultural life of the Gulf,” said Fair Director Antonia Carver, who is in her inaugural year leading Art Dubai. “Never before has there been such a level of international interest in the arts scenes of the MENASA or such a level of regional support for artists and their projects. Galleries at Art Dubai 2011 reported strong sales and the fair offered an unprecedented level of innovative artists’ projects and educational events, which we feel are part of what makes this fair unique.”
Exhibitors offered positive reports of their experience at the fair, including:
“Art Dubai has been really successful for us,” said Paola Weiss of BISCHOFF/WEISS (London). “I’ve noticed that there is now a solid Middle Eastern collector base, which has grown immensely over the past two years and now stands out to me. In general people seem more interested in collecting. Furthermore, arts patronage has really started to show.”
“We’ve had a great experience here,” said Adrian Turner, Senior Director, Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York). “Everyone seems very warm and inviting and we’ve accomplished more than we’d hoped. We’re coming back.”
“I had a great experience here at Art Dubai and really met a lot of people who are very interested in our work,” said Sappho Ma, Gallery Director, Connoisseur Contemporary (Hong Kong). “And equally important—the fair was satisfying as a human experience; great people, great parties and a great spirit.”
“Despite showing an artist with a proven track record in the region, we were overwhelmed by response both in terms of critical reception and sales,” said Mortimer Chatterjee of Chatterjee & Lal (Mumbai).
This year also saw particularly strong attendance from the more than 400 exhibited artists representing 57 countries, including Diana Al-Hadid, Liu Ding, Shezad Dawood, Hrair Sarkissian, Raafat Ishak, Slavs and Tatars, Timo Nasseri, Oraib Toukan, Wafaa Bilal, Sebastian Lütgert, Farhad Moshiri, Charlie Koolhaas, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Kamrooz Aram, Nabil Nahas, Abhishek Hazra, Kader Attia, Walid Raad and Nadia Kaabi-Linke.
Coinciding with Sharjah Biennial 10, the fifth edition of Art Dubai was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Her Royal Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum hosted Ladies Day at Art Dubai.
The international art world turned out to Art Dubai 2011 in record numbers, including museum groups and representatives from Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Qatar), Qatar Museums Authority, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation (New York), MoMA (New York), Tate Modern (London), Hong Kong Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Sotheby’s Institute, Performa (New York), and Cartier Foundation (Paris).
Art Dubai Live, a new ongoing initiative, launched on 19 March at http://www.artdubailive.ae. All galleries’ booths are represented on the site with interviews filmed throughout the fair. Visitors to the site can also watch footage of the programmes that took place during this year’s physical fair, as well as those in the past.
The project comprised of seven tracks composed entirely of YouTube video footage that was sliced and diced over a 3-month period in Kutiman’s home studio.
Kutiman spent the next two years riding the well deserved success of Thru-You, performing live, and exhibiting his work in the likes of the Guggenheim.
Now Kutiman is back with a brand new track with a jazzier groove called ‘My Favorite Color’… Enjoy!
In this video, Vernissage takes us on a walk-through of the exhibition “Geroge Condo: Mental States” at The New Museum. With an introduction by the museum’s associate curator, Gary Carrion-Murayari, we get a look at a “conceptual survey” of the paintings and sculptures created by the artist over the past 30 years, including the his popular portraits of invented characters.
A new exhibition featuring 20 works by groundbreaking contemporary artist Nam June Paik (1923–2006) will be on view through October 2, 2011, in the East Building of the National Gallery of Art. In the Tower: Nam June Paik is the third in a series of shows installed in the Tower Gallery that centers on developments in art since midcentury. The Paik exhibition is presented in two galleries and includes closed-circuit video works, a variety of previously unseen works on paper, and a short film about the artist. The centerpiece of the show, One Candle, Candle Projection (1988/2000), receives its most ambitious installation ever, taking full advantage of the vaulting, self-contained space of the I.M. Pei-designed tower.
“Drawn from Paik’s estate as well as on an important recent addition to the Gallery’s own collection, this focus exhibition explores some of Paik’s most dynamic yet meditative work. We are thrilled to be able to present our first exhibition on the artist and grateful to his estate for its generous loans,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art.
Paik is a towering figure in contemporary art. Born in Korea, trained in Japan and Germany in aesthetics and music, Paik settled in New York in 1964 and quickly became a pioneer in the integration of art with technology and performance. He was the first artist to show abstract forms on a television, using a magnet to distort the image (in 1963), and among the first to use a portable video unit (in 1965). With these early works, Paik attacked the passivity that he felt television imposed on viewers. Through endless play with the medium, which Paik disassembled and recomposed (even making a literal “boob tube” for classical cellist Charlotte Moorman with TV Bra for Living Sculpture, 1969), he reclaimed the televised image as an expressive, democratic tool.
Best known for his video sculptures, installations, and broadcasts, the prolific Paik also created paintings and works on paper, musical and other performances, laser projections, functioning robots, and numerous publications over the course of five decades.
The exhibition is centered around Paik’s video sculpture One Candle, Candle Projection (1988/2000). Each morning a candle is lit and a video camera follows its progress, casting its flickering, magnified, processed image onto the walls in myriad projections. It is a central work in Paik’s oeuvre for its simultaneous embrace of media overload and Zen simplicity, participation and contemplation. By turns steady as a rock and flickering in the air currents stirred by visitors, the flame is stillness in motion, a paradox magnified by its reproduction on the walls.
Two other “closed-circuit” works share the same dramatically darkened main gallery: Standing Buddha with Outstretched Hand (2005), and Three Eggs (1975–1982). In the former, a bronze Buddha “watches” its own image. In the latter, a video camera fixed on an egg sends the image to a portable TV while an identical TV (minus its picture tube) presents an identical but real egg: the result is both a Platonic reflection on levels of reality and a closed-circuit image of time passing, or standing still.
The second gallery features works on paper by Paik that explore TV as image, object, and medium. The selection includes works borrowed from the estate as well as gifts to the Gallery from Robert Rauschenberg and Dorothy and Herbert Vogel. A short film about Paik narrated by video scholar John Hanhardt offers an overview of the artist’s career, while a brochure by Harry Cooper, curator of the exhibition, analyzes the works on display.
The exhibition also presents a new acquisition, Untitled (Red Hand) (1967), a gift of the Hakuta family (following the Gallery’s recent purchase of Paik’s last work, Ommah (2005), which is on view in the Concourse galleries). This important early work includes a light bulb that flashes through an antique Japanese scroll painting to illuminate a handprint made by the artist on the glass of the frame. It is a humorous meditation on authorship, scavenger hunting, technology, and tradition.
A Damien Hirst retrospective featuring his infamous shark is one of the highlights at Tate Modern in 2012.
The exhibition, which will include works by the British artist spanning two decades, will run from 5 April to 9 September at the London gallery.
The Museum of Liverpool will launch 100 years to the very day that its iconic neighbour the Royal Liver Building opened its doors.
The largest newly-built national museum in Britain for more than a century, the new Museum of Liverpool, will open to the public for the first time on Tuesday 19 July.
One of the world’s leading history museums and a stunning new addition to the city’s famous waterfront, the Museum of Liverpool is the first national museum anywhere in the world that is devoted to the history of a regional city.
Demonstrating Liverpool’s extraordinary contribution to the world, it will showcase popular culture and tackle the social, historical and contemporary issues of the city.
Professor Phil Redmond CBE, chairman of National Museums Liverpool said: “Liverpool’s waterfront is known the world over, and we are pleased that we will soon be welcoming visitors to what is undoubtedly a stunning addition to that World Heritage Site.
“Liverpool’s role in history is also known the world over, as is its iconic symbol, the Liver Bird. It is fitting then that the first purpose-built museum to examine a city’s role in world history, is opening its doors 100 years to the day that the Liver Building itself opened for business.”
Until now, people have found it difficult to grasp the sheer size of the birds that perch on top of what was once the tallest building in Britain. Now visitors to the new Museum in July will be able see for themselves the magnificence of an 18ft life-size Liver Bird, overlooking the Three Graces.
Both the Liver Building and Museum of Liverpool are considered cutting edge architectural designs in their own right. The Museum is the newest symbol of Liverpool’s confidence as a great 21st century city.
Housing more than 6,000 objects, many which have never been on public display before, visitors can unearth an array of stories spanning the Ice Age to the present day.
People will be able to see the stage where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met, witness the city’s growth into the world’s greatest port, see first hand the last remaining carriage from the famous Liverpool Overhead Railway, and immerse themselves in the city’s rich sporting and creative history.
David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool said: “The Museum of Liverpool is all about telling the stories of the city and its people. This includes the times of struggle such as the Toxteth riots, the triumphs of our musical exports including The Beatles, and the dramatic histories of our football teams.
“Every single event has helped shape this city’s personality. The Museum of Liverpool is here to tell the tale, and like the Liver Building, will be around for many years to come.”
The £72m project is continuing apace, and internal fit-out of the major galleries is taking shape to such an extent that the three-phased opening of the Museum has been reduced to just two, with the second phase opening later this year. Discussions regarding plans for the launch day are currently taking place, and will be announced nearer the date.
One of the world’s foremost collections of decorated Jewish marriage contracts (ketubbot) is held by The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Thirty of the finest are on display at The Jewish Museum in The Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts from The Jewish Theological Seminary Library from March 11 through June 26, 2011. From one of the earliest known decorated pieces (twelfth century) to recent creations, these exquisite marriage contracts provide a wealth of information on the artistic creativity, cultural interactions, and social history of the communities in which they were created. Ketubbot, which typically record the bridegroom’s obligations to his bride in case of death or divorce, have been integral to Jewish marriage for millennia. They were kept in the homes of married Jews living in the West under Christian governance or in the East under Muslim rule.
The ketubbah collection of The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, consisting of more than 600 works, is one of the world’s greatest, with superb examples of virtually every extant type. The largest number of ketubbot in the exhibition are from Italy, where the art of the decorated ketubbah found its most beautiful expression during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries under the influence of Renaissance and Baroque art. Magnificent marriage contracts from Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Persia, Syria, and Turkey, each absorbing the visual language of the surrounding culture, are also included. In addition, visitors can see examples from Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Ukraine, and the United States. The marriage contracts in this exhibition represent the great diversity and range of Jewish settlement throughout history. They offer a fascinating look at the lives of individual couples, varied marriage customs, and the spread of artistic styles through commerce and trade.
Included in the exhibition is a fragment of a rare twelfth century marriage contract from Egypt. A 1764 ketubbah, the earliest known decorated marriage contract from Baghdad, features elaborate designs on decorative paper from Augsburg, Germany, indicative of the commercial ties that bound far-flung Jewish communities together. An 1885 contract from Damascus includes vivid colors and lush floral imagery echoing the blessing bestowed on a couple as they stand under the bridal canopy: “Grant perfect joy to these loving companions, just as You made your creations joyful in the Garden of Eden.”
Also on view is a distinctive 1749 ketubbah from Venice featuring the twelve signs of the zodiac and an intricate love knot that has no beginning or end, a design element borrowed from Italian folk culture. In unusually romantic engagement articles, the bride and groom “agree to conduct their mutual life with love and affection, without hiding or concealing anything from each other; furthermore, they will control their possessions equally.“
Hand-decorated ketubbot began to go out of fashion in the late nineteenth century, but were revived in the 1960s with highly individualized texts and ornamentation, perhaps as part of the renewed interest in exploring Jewish identity. An example of this trend is papercut artist Archie Granot’s 1999 work, which shows his personal style and technique for Jewish ritual works, distinguished by multiple layers of cut paper.
The exhibition also includes a 1961 ketubbah from the collection of The Jewish Museum by artist Ben Shahn, created more as a work of art than a usable contract. Its design shows his fascination with Hebrew calligraphy, including a red stamp, containing all the letters in the Hebrew alphabet, that came to be Shahn’s personal emblem.
Before a wedding, the families of Jewish brides and grooms traditionally negotiate a marriage contract (ketubbah). This document sets forth the husband’s obligations to his wife and specifies the monies due her in the event of a divorce or his death. While other types of Jewish marriage contracts date back to the mid-fifth century BCE, the text of the ketubbah as we know it today was codified some time between the first and fifth centuries CE.
Kettubot were not merely legal documents but became splendid works of art. Beginning with the first simply decorated examples from medieval Egypt, they were frequently embellished with decorative borders and fine calligraphy. Over time the ornamentation became increasingly elaborate, and by the seventeenth century, they were richly decorated with figurative, floral, architectural, and geometric designs. Regional stylistic traditions developed, emanating from the two major centers of ketubbah ornamentation, Italy and the Middle East.
The Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts from The Jewish Theological Seminary Library was curated by Sharon Liberman Mintz, Curator of Jewish Art, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The exhibition coordinator is Susan L. Braunstein, Curator of Archaeology and Judaica, The Jewish Museum.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) announce that its exhibition of works by internationally renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz is now the most popular ticketed exhibition ever presented at the MCA. Just twelve weeks since its opening on 19 November 2010 and only half-way through its run, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 has attracted 95,118 visitors. During the summer period, attendances have peaked at nearly 2,300 people per day. The previous MCA record for a ticketed exhibition was set by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson whose works attracted 63,080 visitors in 2010. MCA also announced that the MCA is extending the exhibition by another month. It will now close on Tuesday 26 April 2011, providing more opportunity for Sydney-siders and interstate visitors to enjoy this moving and inspiring exhibition.
MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor was delighted to make this announcement in light of the visit to Sydney by Annie Leibovitz. The artist is this week attending a series of media events and a special reception to celebrate the exhibition.
“We are delighted but not at all surprised by the success of the Annie Leiboivitz exhibition. It has been popular from New York to London, Paris to Berlin and now in Sydney also. She is one of the most celebrated artists of our time and certainly the most influential photographer working today. We are thrilled to have her here with us in Sydney to see the exhibition and celebrate its success,” says Ms. Macgregor.
Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 brings together almost 200 images of famous public figures together with personal photographs of her family and close friends over a fifteen-year period. The images project a unified narrative of the artist’s private life against the backdrop of her public image. “I don’t have two lives,” Leibovitz says. “This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.”
Born in Westbury, Connecticut, Annie Leibovitz is the third of six children. She is a third-generation American whose great-grandparents were Russian Jews. Her father’s parents had emigrated from Romania. Her mother, Marilyn Leibovitz, was a modern dance instructor; her father, Sam Leibovitz, was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. The family moved frequently with her father’s duty assignments, and she took her first pictures when he was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. In high school, she became interested in various artistic endeavours, and began to write and play music. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied painting. For several years, she continued to develop her photography skills while working various jobs, including a stint on a kibbutz in Amir, Israel, for several months in 1969. Throughout her life on the Kibbutz, she learned to take Jewish concepts and apply them to her photographs.
Leibovitz had a close romantic relationship with noted writer and essayist Susan Sontag. They met in 1989, when both had already established notability in their careers. Leibovitz has suggested that Sontag mentored her and constructively criticized her work. After Sontag’s death in 2004, published an article about Leibovitz that made reference to her decade-plus relationship with Sontag, stating that “The two first met in the late ’80s, when Leibovitz photographed her for a book jacket. They never lived together, though they each had an apartment within view of the other’s. Neither Leibovitz nor Sontag had ever previously publicly disclosed whether the relationship was familial, a friendship, or sexual in nature. However, when Leibovitz was interviewed for her 2006 book A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005, she said the book told a number of stories, and that “with Susan, it was a love story.
A major retrospective of Leibovitz’s work was held at the Brooklyn Museum, Oct. 2006 – The retrospective was based on her book, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990–2005, and included many of her professional (celebrity) photographs as well as numerous personal photographs of her family, children, and partner Susan Sontag. This show, which was expanded to include three of the official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, then went on the road for seven stops. It was on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., from October 2007 to January 2008, and at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco from March 2008 to May 2008. In February 2009 the exhibition was moved to Berlin, Germany.
In 2007, the Walt Disney Company hired her to do a series of photographs with celebrities in various roles and scenes for Disney Parks “Year of a Million Dreams” campaign.
At the heart of the exhibition, Leibovitz’s personal photography documents scenes from her life, including the birth and childhood of her three daughters, and vacations, reunions, and rites of passage with her parents, her extended family and close friends. The exhibition also features Leibovitz’s portraits of well-known figures, including actors such as Jamie Foxx, Daniel Day-Lewis, Demi Moore, Scarlett Johansson, Al Pacino, Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt as well as artists and architects such as Richard Avedon, Brice Marden, Philip Johnson, Chuck Close and Cindy Sherman.