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Impressionism and contemporary art meet for festival in northern France

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir's In Summer (1868) will be on show at the Musée des Beaux-arts de Rouen © BPK, Berlin, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais, Jörg P. Anders

The Normandie Impressionniste festival celebrates its ten-year anniversary this year having twice been delayed. Launched as a triennial, it had to be postponed last year so as not to overlap with a gathering of sailing boats called Armada de Rouen, and it was postponed again this year, from its original opening date in April, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival, which organisers have now had to call “an event” due to restrictions on holding festivals, opens this weekend across 200 venues in northern France with exhibitions, concerts and performances.

Unlike previous editions, this years programme is not themed but its title A New Day, a New Colour is evocative. “Under this title, we give you Impressionism like you have never seen before”, says Philippe Piguet, the general curator of Normandie Impressionniste, who is also Claude Monets great-grandson by marriage. Carte blanche has been given to around 50 artists, such as Claire Tabouret and Fabrice Hyber, both showing work in Rouen, and Flora Moscovici showing in Maromme.

One of the highlights of the festival will be the very first exhibition devoted to the collection of Read More – Source

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US needs monuments celebrating African American history, not Confederate statues

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Villa Lewaro in Irvington, New York, in 1924, was the home of the self-made millionaire Madam C.J. Walker, one of the most successful African American entrepreneurs of all time Courtesy of ALelia Bundles/Madam Walker Family Archives

Pablo Picasso once said: “Art is the lie that enables us to realise the truth.”

In August 2017, white men wearing khaki pants and polo shirts marched in the dark of night in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting hateful, racist language in protest at the citys decision to remove its statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Holding torches as they circled a sculpture of Thomas Jefferson, they shouted: “You will not replace us! The South will rise again!” Their rally backfired, and the Confederate flag and statues were removed in many communities. Unfortunately, national conversations on the subject stalled.

That is why, in November 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a $25m campaign to reconstruct a true national identity that reflects Americas diversity. I am proud to lead this effort for the trust, which preserves cultural landscapes and historic buildings that show the richness of African American life, history and architecture. Through preservation practice, we aim to expose the world and our nation to the culture, ideals, politics, art and the hope of America. We tell overlooked stories embodied in these places: ones of African American resilience, activism and achievement that are fundamental to the nation itself.

With urgency and intention, the public should invest in and restore more assets that hold exceptional cultural value. The impressive architecture of Villa Lewaro in Irvington, New York, rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit of the self-made businesswoman Madam C.J. Walker, and the stately Italianate brownstone in New York that exudes the literary mastery of the poet Langston Hughes, deserve the same stewardship and admiration as Jeffersons Monticello or George Vanderbilts Biltmore Estate.

The simple, unadorned childhood homes of the civil rights lawyer Pauli Murray and the chanteuse Nina Simone in North Carolina, imbued with their legacies of political activism and indelible artistry, should be interpreted for the public to enjoy like Lincolns birthplace and Theodore Roosevelts Elkhorn Ranch. These places help the nation learn more about its role models, who exemplify higher education, self-confidence and leadership. Preserving this tapestry of our shared culture, pride and heritage is an act of racial justice and should be viewed as a civil right.

The birthplace of Nina Simone in Tryon, North Carolina Photo: Nancy Pierce/National Trust for Historic Preservation

Today, the Confederate statues debate rages once again. As we come to a reckoning with Americas Confederate past and see long-simmering racial and ethnic tensions return to a boil, this intensity pervades every aspect of our politics, culture, society and public spaces. Others are debating whether to rename public buildings and streets and remove public statues and Civil War flags.

White supremacy, like the lost cause its monuments represent, is a false narrative, a construct. Its permanent markers of pride and prejudice in public spaces are a false truth in physical form, as art has contributed to more than a century of historical inaccuracies about American history. The people of this nation, through their dissent and collective affirmation of these concerns, have grown impatient with policy that gives cover to ideas that oppose our democracys goals.

Much of the debate about Confederate statues is about whether to take them down and even destroy them. Removal does not mean these statues cannot serve a viable purpose elsewhere to tell the story of the Confederacy and how the cultural remnants of slavery stubbornly persist in our society almost two centuries after the Emancipation Proclamation. They can serve a powerful purpose in other spaces where context and thoughtful information describe their relationship to American history and their link to present-day issues.

Preserving the tapestry of our shared culture and heritage should be viewed as a civil right Read More – Source

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It’s the end of civilisation: Alexis Rockman on his new watercolour series created during lockdown

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Alexis Rockman, Liberty Island (2020)

The artist Alexis Rockman has been thinking a lot about historical plagues since he moved from New York to Connecticut due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. He sees connections not only between the current emergency and past health crises like the Bubonic Plague that swept across medieval Europe, but with ecological disasters caused by human exploitation, such as the introduction of invasive species. “It's interesting to contextualise what's happening in our lives, within the historical lens of the many times this has happened before,” Rockman says, “and there's such an interconnectedness to habitat, biodiversity crisis and habitat loss.”

Alexis Rockman, Hong Kong (2020)

While in lockdown, Rockman has been working on a new series of watercolours depicting animals in apocalyptic scenes, under the title The Things They Carried. The paintings include images of bats and rats, two suspected carriers of devastating diseases that were passed on to humans, as well as animals displaced from their natural habitats or transported by humans for food or companionship, such monkeys, chickens, a pig and a pangolin.

Alexis Rockman, Hawaii (2020)

The series came out of another he was working on for a forthcoming show about shipwrecks and the history of shipping that is due to open next summer at the Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York and travel to the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts. “It was one of those projects that I love doing, that's a long-term deep-dive into the history of archaeology, invasive species and all the stuff that goes along with that,” Rockman says. “And then the genre traditions are so fascinating too. There's a lot of great history paintings about shipwrecks. Theres also a lot of terrible ones that have a lot of value, if they're reconsidered in the right way.”

Alexis Rockman, Hagia Sophia (2020)

That research got Rockman thinking about animals that “have been sort of shipwrecked from their habitat by human trafficking and it's the same networks of capRead More – Source

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Russian art collector Andrei Filatov offers to buy Americas problematic statues

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Andrei Filatov

Andrei Filatov, a Russian businessman, chess enthusiast and art collector, has offered to buy monuments to former US president Theodore Roosevelt in New York and Alexander Baranov, a tsarist official, in Alaska, that have been targeted by protestors demanding the removal of racist and colonial symbols. According to a statement released on Wednesday by his London-based Art Russe foundation, inquiries have been sent to officials in New York City and Sitka, Alaska offering to preserve the monuments in memory of both mens efforts to advance Russian interests.

Activists in Alaska want the monument to Baranov, who ran Russias trading company there and ruled the region in the late 18th and early 19th century when it was a Russian colony, to be relocated to a less prominent location, saying he perpetrated the genocide of Indigenous communities. The statue had been commissioned by local philanthropists in the 1980s. And in New York, the American Museum of Natural History, with the support of the citys mayor Bill de Blasio, recently agreed to remove the statue which stands in front of the museum. Protesters have repeatedly vandalised the statue in recent years because of its composition, depicting an African man and an Indigenous man at the former presidents feet.

“First and foremost, this is about preservation of the memory of statesmen who influenced the history of Russia, the development of its economy and statehood,” Filatov said in the statement. He pointed to Baranovs early efforts to establish Russian trade ties with Read More – Source

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Spanish dealer claims to find long-lost Frida Kahlo painting

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Bernard Silberstein photographed the artist with La Mesa Herida in 1941, a year after she finished the work. © Edward B. Silberstein/Courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum/© 2018 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

A Spanish art dealer named Cristian López claims that he has located the “holy grail” of Frida Kahlos oeuvre, the long-lost painting La Mesa Herida (The Wounded Table) from 1940 that went missing 65 years ago. The painting is currently in a warehouse in London, according to López, and its anonymous owner is requesting around $45m for it. Meanwhile, experts question the painting's authenticity.

The art historian Helga Prignitz-Poda says that photographs of the original work show clear differences between the lost painting and the one López is offering for sale, which bears "greater similarities to later inaccurate replicas of the work, according to the Associated Press (AP), which first reported the story.

The oil on wood painting—in which Kahlo depicts her anguish following her separation from her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera—was first shown in Mexico City at the International Surrealism Exhibition in 1940. Kahlo donated the painting to the former Soviet Union in 1945, which was organising an unrealised room devoted to Mexican artists at the Museum of Western Art in Moscow. In a 2018 essay for the International Foundation for Art Research (Ifar) Journal, Prignitz-Poda and the independent curator Katarina Lopatkina found that Kahlo, a dedicated Communist, sent the work to Moscow as “a gift of friendship”, but documents show that Soviet officials considered it to be an example of “decadent bourgeois formalist art” and unsuitable for public display. When the project was dropped, the painting was placed in storage.

The work was last seen and photographed in Warsaw in 1955, where it had been loaned for an exhibition of works by Mexican artists at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, which later travelled through the Eastern Bloc and China. The photograph taken in the Warsaw exhibition, however, is the last record of the paintings whereabouts, and there is still no known indication of whether the work was returned to Moscow, nor if it was purchased or damaged.

Over the last six decades, scholars of Kahlos work have unsuccessfully attempted to track down the painting. But most remain steadfast that the painting López claims to be selling is not authentic.

Another art historian, Susana Pliego, who worked with Kahlos archive for years, also agrees that the painting is fake, and blames the “Fridamania” of the art market for the rampant counterfeiting of the artists work, as Kahlo had produced just around 200 paintings before her death in 1954.

Hans-Jérgen Gehrke, an art collector who operates a museum dedicated to Kahlos works in southwestern Germany, considers it “implausible, if not directly ridiculous,” thRead More – Source

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Tania Bruguera reportedly detained by Cuban authorities hours before anti-racism protest in Havana

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"They are taking me": Tania Bruguera's final message this morning before being detained

The artist and activist Tania Bruguera was taken into custody by Cuban authorities shortly after 6am this morning outside of her home in Havana, according to her Facebook page, seemingly to prevent her from taking part in a demonstration against police violence today. Several others were also detained at the same time, according to Laritza Diversent, the executive director of the human rights organisation Cubalex, including the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, the arts professor Anamely Ramos González and the underground rapper Maykel Osorbo.

“When an artist who uses her voice to call for justice and social change finds herself arbitrarily detained on her own doorstep, it is obvious that a serious injustice has occurred,” says Julie Trébault, the director of the Artists at Risk Connection at PEN America, in a statement issued today. “Brugueras arrest is just one more iteration in the Cuban governments efforts to exert a vice-like grip over the cultural sector. We call for Brugueras immediate freedom, as well as an end to the ongoing harassment and imprisonment of artists and activists across the country who merely exercise their fundamental right to freedom of expression.”

Bruguera has repeatedlybeenRead More – Source

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Fire destroys part of oldest university museum in Brazil following a failed safety inspection

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Museum officials survey the damage of a fire. Staff say that most of the collection is likely unsalvageable. Photo by Rogério do Pateo

Nearly three years after a preventable electrical fire gutted the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, another Brazilian government-funded museum that has suffered years of financial neglect has caught fire. The Museum of Natural History and Botanical Gardens of the University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Belo Horizonte caught fire on 15 June, damaging three storage rooms where a part of the museums 260,000-piece collection was held.

The museum, which was established in 1927, is one of the oldest existing university museums in Brazil, and holds an important collection of Brazilian folk art, archeological and ethnographic objects, bibliographic and archival documents, and rare specimens of plants and vegetal reserves. The full scope of the museums loss is not yet known, although staff say that most of the collection is likely unsalvageable. No one was injured in the blaze.

“Seeing these collections burned generates a feeling of frustration—and even guilt—that is difficult to rationalise. How can such a collection burn?” writes Mariana Cabral, the museums coordinator of prehistoric archaeology, in a letter published on the UFMG website on 29 June.

The fire damaged three storage rooms where much of the museums 260,000-piece collection was held. Photo by Rogério do Pateo

The cause of the fire has not been determined and is being investigated by local and federal police, which have given museum staff clearance to also investigate part of the rubble. In initial assessments, the museum predicts that it has lost thousands of archaeological pieces, including ancient skeletons, which “not only affects scientific work but also the history of our ancestors”, Cabral says.

In a statement to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, the museum's director Mariana Lacerda says that the building's electrical wiring was redone in 2013 and the last inspection by the fire department was carried out in October 2018. A month prior, an independent museums task force had visited the site and pointed out irregularities, such as the absence of a fire inspection report and fire and panic safety protocols.

In a report published in 2015, the museum states that it did not pass an inspection by the fire department, and indicated some of its weaknesses, including ceilings that were at risk of collapsing. The report indicates that the museum did not have a plan for safeguarding its collection in case of a fire or other disaster.

Antonio Gilberto Costa, who served as director of the museum from 2013 to August 2019, told the Brazilian media outlet Estado de Minas Gerais that, when he resigned from his post, there was R$600,000 allocated for renovations and repairs but the funds were never used. He adds that a plan for safeguarding the museum in case of an emergency was written last year but was also not put into practice.

In his statement, Costa accuses the UFMG of “negligence” and says that he alerted the university of possible risks. He adds, “After many years we managed to get resources to improve the university. What country is this thaRead More – Source

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Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro appoints actor Mário Frias the new secretary of culture, sparking controversy

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Mário Frias and President Jair Bolsonaro. Marcos Corrêa / PR

Amid ongoing political turbulence in the Brazilian arts and culture sector, the government has announced that the actor Mário Frias has been appointed the new secretary of culture this week. He is the fifth person to hold the role in the last 17 months since president Jair Bolsonaro was elected and, like most of his predecessors, Frias has no political experience.

Best known for his role in a 1990s telenovela called Malhação (or Workout) on the television network Globo, the former actor often posts about his conservative political views and support for Bolsonaro on social media. Last month, he participated in an organised anti-fascist protest in São Paulo and said that demonstrators were taking part in “organised crimes” and should be considered terrorists. He has also expressed his views on the Covid-19 pandemic, defending Bolsonaros attempts against social isolation despite Brazil having the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths after the US.

In the caption of a photograph posted on Instagram of him and Bolsonaro at the Palácio da Alvorada, the presidential home and headquarters in Brasilia, Frias writes that he is “proud to be with president Bolsonaro on this daily battle for a more dignified Brazil”, and that he will “soon present practical solutions in order for culture to reach all Brazilians”, taking into account “all the difficulties that the pandemic imposes”.

This week, the magazine Folha de São Paulo published a profile of Frias partially nude in the 1990s, and captioned the image “the new man of the president”. The caption has come under fire for its homophobic innuendo, and for “stooping down to Bolsonaros level”, some have claimed on social media. The journalist Vera Magalhães wrote that “there are a million reasons and ways to criticise his appointment in government [but] this is not how we do a debate”.

Toda trabalhada no deboche, jornal Folha de São Paulo estampa foto de ensaio do extinto site Paparazzo de Mário Frias, novo Secretário de Cultura e comenta: "o novo homem do presidente". Vocês também soltam shades assim? https://t.co/6VOlUGfEmB pic.twitter.com/1FyGyHPcO9

— PAN (@forumpandlr) June 20, 2020

The controversial appointment is one of many ever since Bolsonaro dissolved the ministries of culture, sports and social development ten days into his presidency, merging them into a single department called the ministry of citizenship. The secretary of culture is in charge of commanding a budget of around R$366m in 2020—37% less than the R$578.3m allocated the previous year—and responsible for dealing with issues related to the creative economy like heritage preservation and the funding of museums and other cultural institutions. Frias plans to announce his proposals for the culturaRead More – Source

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Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro appoints actor Mário Frias the new secretary of culture, sparking controversy

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Mário Frias and President Jair Bolsonaro. Marcos Corrêa / PR

Amid ongoing political turbulence in the Brazilian arts and culture sector, the government has announced that the actor Mário Frias has been appointed the new secretary of culture this week. He is the fifth person to hold the role in the last 17 months since president Jair Bolsonaro was elected and, like most of his predecessors, Frias has no political experience.

Best known for his role in a 1990s telenovela called Malhação (or Workout) on the television network Globo, the former actor often posts about his conservative political views and support for Bolsonaro on social media. Last month, he participated in an organised anti-fascist protest in São Paulo and said that demonstrators were taking part in “organised crimes” and should be considered terrorists. He has also expressed his views on the Covid-19 pandemic, defending Bolsonaros attempts against social isolation despite Brazil having the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths after the US.

In the caption of a photograph posted on Instagram of him and Bolsonaro at the Palácio da Alvorada, the presidential home and headquarters in Brasilia, Frias writes that he is “proud to be with president Bolsonaro on this daily battle for a more dignified Brazil”, and that he will “soon present practical solutions in order for culture to reach all Brazilians”, taking into account “all the difficulties that the pandemic imposes”.

This week, the magazine Folha de São Paulo published a profile of Frias partially nude in the 1990s, and captioned the image “the new man of the president”. The caption has come under fire for its homophobic innuendo, and for “stooping down to Bolsonaros level”, some have claimed on social media. The journalist Vera Magalhães wrote that “there are a million reasons and ways to criticise his appointment in government [but] this is not how we do a debate”.

Toda trabalhada no deboche, jornal Folha de São Paulo estampa foto de ensaio do extinto site Paparazzo de Mário Frias, novo Secretário de Cultura e comenta: "o novo homem do presidente". Vocês também soltam shades assim? https://t.co/6VOlUGfEmB pic.twitter.com/1FyGyHPcO9

— PAN (@forumpandlr) June 20, 2020

The controversial appointment is one of many ever since Bolsonaro dissolved the ministries of culture, sports and social development ten days into his presidency, merging them into a single department called the ministry of citizenship. The secretary of culture is in charge of commanding a budget of around R$366m in 2020—37% less than the R$578.3m allocated the previous year—and responsible for dealing with issues related to the creative economy like heritage preservation and the funding of museums and other cultural institutions. Frias plans to announce his proposals for the culturaRead More – Source

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Milton Glaser, the man behind I ♥ NY logo, has died, aged 91

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Designer Milton Glaser in his office in New York in 2014 Photo: Christina Horsten/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Milton Glaser, the graphic designer who created the famous “I ♥ NY” logo, as well as a psychedelic poster for Bob Dylan inspired by a silhouette self-portrait by Marcel Duchamp and many other landmark pieces of visual design, died on his 91st birthday on Friday. His wife, Shirley Glaser, told The New York Times the cause was a stroke.

Glaser said he came up with the idea for the “I ♥ NY” logo in the back of a taxi, sketching it out on an envelope with a red crayon. The original drawing is now held in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Used since 1977 to promote tourism for the city, the pared-down graphic has since appeared on every conceivable piece of merchandise and became the official slogan of New York, as well as a fiercely held symbol of affection for its residents. After the 11 September terrorist attacks, Glaser released a new version of the logo stating “I ♥ NY More Than Ever”, with a black smudge on the heart, sold to raise funds for charities. “Im flabbergasted by what happened to this little, simple nothing of an idea,” Glaser told The Village Voice in 2011.

Milton Glaser, I (Heart) NY concept sketch (1976), now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Born in the Bronx to Hungarian Jewish immigrant parents, Glaser went to the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan, and then later the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. After graduating in 1951, he received a Fulbright scholarship and studied hard ground etching with the painter Giorgio Morandi at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. Returning to New York in 1954, he co-founded the design firm Push Pin Studios, which published the influential magazine The Push Pin Graphic, and became a guiding force of the visual aesthetic of that era. He also started New York magazine with the editor Clay Felker in 1968, and served as its president and design director until 1977.

Milton's Glaser's 1966 poster for Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits album was inspired by a self-portrait by Marcel Duchamp

After 20 years there, Glaser left Push Pin to start his own company and was given a solo show at MoMA in 1975. "By the early seventies, Milton Glaser had become the nearest thing to a cultuRead More – Source

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