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  • 09/06/13--15:04: Top 5 Bars in Marseille
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    Drinking in Europe's 2014 Cultural Capital offers plenty of sea, sun, and scene

    Coline Milliard
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    Courtesy of La Bar Caravelle (Marseille) via Facebook
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    Courtesy of La Bar Caravelle (Marseille) via Facebook
    Courtesy of La Bar Caravelle (Marseille) via Facebook
    Le Ventre de l’Architecte
    Scenes from the bar and the colorful exterior of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse

    Nestled in Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse, Le Ventre de l’Architecte is first and foremost one of Marseille’s top culinary destinations. The “creations” are by chef Alexandre Mazzia, the furniture by Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé: this is a Mecca for foodies and architecture and design enthusiasts. In the afternoon, the charming balcony is also a perfect place to sip a cold drink and take in a unique perspective on the city’s southern boroughs, which stretch lazily along the sea.

    280, Boulevard Michelet
    +33 4 91 16 78 23



    Cover image: Courtesy of La Bar Caravelle via Facebook

    Courtesy of Le Ventre de l’Architecte and Dom Dada via Flickr
    Scenes from the bar and the colorful exterior of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse
    Mama Shelter
    The Philippe Starck-designed bar at Mama Shelter

    One of Marseille’s latest additions, the bar at the cheeky Philippe Starck-designed Mama Shelter hotel brings a touch of quirky cosmopolitan style to a not-yet-glamorous Cours Julien neighborhood. Inside, the illuminated bar shines on a row of children’s inflatables, and flower pots decorate the stripy white and yellow walls. But the cocktails are what it’s all about here. They may not have the classiest names, but the vodka-based Mango Spicy, Porn Movie (splashed with champagne and raspberry puree), and Sexy Summer (tequila with passionfruit) will have you going all night.

    64, rue de la Loubière
    +33 4 84 35 20 20

    Courtesy of Mama Shelter Marseille
    The Philippe Starck-designed bar at Mama Shelter
    La Caravelle
    Prime spot for evening drinks in the Le Vieux Port

    On the first floor of the Hotel Bellevue, Quai du Port, La Caravelle is a real Marseille institution. Its sought-after balcony is a prime spot to enjoy the view of the city’s landmark, Notre Dame de la Garde, and the hundreds of sailing boats bobbing along in the Old Port underneath. In the dark wood interior of this former cabaret, a fine selection of whiskeys and local wines comes with generous tapas (free of charge). Simple but well-executed Marseille delicacies — such as the Daube Provençale (beef stew) and Pieds paquets (stuffed sheep’s offal) — complete the menu. 

    34, Quai du Port, Le Vieux Port
    +33 4 91 90 36 64

    Courtesy of La Caravelle (Hotel Bellevue) via Facebook
    Prime spot for evening drinks in the Le Vieux Port
    Le Rowing Club Rooftop
    Plenty of space to take in the harbor views at Le Rowing Club Rooftop

    To drink here is to be in the know. To reach the Rowing Club restaurant and bar, climb two flights of stairs, past the historical Rowing Club (still going strong), and then look for the astroturf. What awaits is one of the most stunning views of the Old Port, from the Fort St Jean to Rudy Ricciotti’s brand new MUCEM. Local rosé wine is well priced, and so are the tapas (locally known as “kemia”) with influences ranging from all corners on the Mediterranean.

    34, Bd Charles Livon
    +33 4 91 90 07 78


    Courtesy of Le Rowing Club
    Plenty of space to take in the harbor views at Le Rowing Club Rooftop
    La Part des Anges
    La Part des Anges wine bar in the Old Port

    Tucked away behind the Old Port, this cosy drinking den is a must for wine lovers. La Part des Anges’s extensive list — or rather blackboard — takes you on a tour de France, in which each region is fully represented and most wines are available by the glass (starting at a modest 2 euros). The sometimes-mercurial staff are very knowledgeable, and almost always ready to share their extensive knowledge. The owners have clearly worked just as hard on their cheese and charcuterie selection — and for nights at home, bottles are available to take away.

    33, rue Sainte
    +33 4 91 33 55 70



    Courtesy of La Part des Anges
    La Part des Anges wine bar in the Old Port
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    Anthology Film Archives Spotlights Cinema of Mexico

    The idea of an international cinema, something that exists outside the traditional structures of Hollywood, is fraught with problems. Yes, there is a world of cinema that resides on the festival circuit, free — some by choice, others not — of the financial “support” of multinational corporations. But the festival ecosystem provides its own structure, with certain filmmakers, even certain countries, receiving more support than others. There’s also the question of marketing. The artists associated with the Berlin School and the New Romanian Cinema, two recent examples, share aesthetic or thematic concerns and are easy to write about as distinct groups. In the recent cinema coming out of Mexico, highlighted in a fine program at New York’s Anthology Film Archives through September 12, there is no such unity, which makes it harder to consider as a whole. Its varied nature doesn’t suggest a lack of focus but a cinema that is bursting with energy.

    Nicolás Pereda is one of the most well known, and interesting, of the new breed of Mexican filmmakers, and his latest film, as the title suggests, is something of a culmination of past efforts. “Greatest Hits” brings together Pereda with Gabino Rodriguez and Teresa Sanchez, regular collaborators, in a story that sees a husband/father return to a family after a long absence. But Pereda breaks up the narrative, leaving the audience with shards of a story, changing actors midway through, and repeating the same scene over and over in slightly different variations. The film is often very funny (at one moment, a character enters and waits for the soundtrack music to stop before delivering his lines) and the deadpan delivery, combined with Pereda’s insistence on reminding the viewer that what they’re watching is artifice, playfully chides our standard modes of watching film.

    Formally, Michel Lipkes’s “Malaventura” may share similar sensibilities — a penchant for long takes and static framing — with “Greatest Hits,” but its foundation couldn’t be more different. The slow-moving story of an old man, who over the course of a day roams the streets of Mexico City, owes a debt to the Italian neorealists, most notably Vittorio De Sica’s “Umberto D.” Its tone is more contemplative and less playful, and more concerned with traditional narrative, even if it’s stripped down to its barest essence.

    The series also includes Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s “Inori,” which takes place in Japan and won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival; Michel Franco’s “After Lucia,” which won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival; and Natalia Beristáin’s “She Doesn’t Want to Sleep Alone,” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, among others.

    But the best film of the series may be its most traditional. Eugenio Polgovsky’s “Mitote” is ostensibly a documentary about the Zócalo, the historic center of Mexico City where people from all walks of life come together. Just last week, thousands of teachers took to the square to strike, and people have been gathering there since the Aztec times. The Zócalo is at the fulcrum of local culture, where art, politics, and religion meet, and Polgovsky lets his camera roam the square, quietly capturing the atmosphere. We see everything from marching bands to antiwar protesters to neighborhood weirdos to religious ceremonies. The film is wide-ranging and diverse, and perfectly captures the spirit of Mexican cinema as it is right now.

    A scene from Michael Lipkes' "Malaventura"

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    LAS VEGAS — There may no longer be a major art museum in Las Vegas — the Las Vegas Art Museumshuttered in 2009— nor a joint outpost of the Guggenheim and Hermitage museums — which closed in 2008— but there is a museum-caliber art collection hidden in plain sight on the Vegas Strip. CityCenter, MGM Resorts’ sprawling five-complex campus, houses major works by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Henry Moore, Isa Genzken, Frank Stella, and more, as well as large-scale, site-specific commissions by the likes of Maya Lin, Nancy Rubins, Jenny Holzer, and a brand new James Turrell installation. The collection forms a component of MGM CEO and chairman James Murren’s vision for CityCenter as a more civic-minded hotel-casino-condo-mall megadevelopment.

    “What makes a city successful? What makes people want to live there?” Murren asked during a press luncheon in June. “We do not have an art museum. I thought that was a big quality of life gap.” The CityCenter Fine Art Collection, then, is his attempt to fill that gap. As the closure of the Las Vegas Art Museum attests, the city still lacks a sufficiently broad set of collectors and donors capable of supporting a major art institute.

    “There’s a very libertarian sensibility here, so public investment in art is a difficult proposition,” he said. “A lot of the philanthropy has been dedicated to necessity of life issues, and I think the art has suffered because of that.”

    But contemporary art also suffers amid the sensory assault of your conventional casino floor — here best illustrated by Dennis Hopper’s floor-to-ceiling painting of Bill Cosby — the chaos of your resort registration desk — as in Lin’s unfortunately easy-to-miss “Silver River” (2009) — and the sterile luxury of your high-rise hotel’s 23rd-floor sky lobby — where Jack Goldstein’s “Untitled (Volcano)” (1983) loses much of its explosive visual force.

    “Art was never part of the sensibility here, art was picked by designers to match the carpet,” Murren said, describing the conventional treatment of visual art on the Las Vegas Strip. At CityCenter, things are different: “The art has to be strategic, larger-format, provocative, in any number of ways.”

    That’s certainly the case with the most successful works on view. Coosje and Oldenburg’s “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” (1998-99) serves as a startling monument welcoming pedestrians to the complex, despite its awkward glass barrier — installed after a skateboarder rode part of the way up the sculpture, scratching it — a throwback to an earlier era at the gate to a futuristic complex.

    Tony Cragg’s trio of stainless steel columns — “Bolt” (2007), “Bent of Mind” (2008), and “Untitled (Tall Column)” (2008) — which visitors going to and from the CityCenter parking lot pass through, are less anachronistic but also of a sufficiently large scale to compete with the architecture of the place. Their melty, droopy, at times anthropomorphic curves are at once futuristic and prehistoric, like spacey pancake stacks or stalagmites of liquid metal, both appropriate associations for a city of all-you-can-eat buffets surrounded by one of the continent’s most elemental landscapes.

    The most remarkable may be Nancy Rubin’s accurately titled “Big Edge” (2009), a cantilevering assemblage of dozens of canoes, kayaks, and rowboats that juts 75 feet out over the main taxi, limo, and valet entrance to the complex. Like Lin’s subtler, 84-feet-long sculpture, Rubin’s work underlines its desert setting by evoking the distant rivers whose water Las Vegas relies on for drinking and electricity. Unlike Lin’s piece, Rubin’s is impossible to miss. Its craning form is a dramatic, strange, and seemingly precarious construction in a city of tightly controlled, thematically supercharged, and ultimately characterless environments. Faced with works like this, Murren’s vision begins to make sense.

    Click the slideshow to see works from the CityCenter Fine Art Collection.

    The Las Vegas Casino Betting Big on Flashy Contemporary Art
    Claes Oldenburg and Cooseje van Bruggen, "Typewriter Eraser, Scale X," 1998-99

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    New Van Gogh Unleashed, Kapoor Spurns Anti-Muslim Politician, and More

    – Hot New Van Gogh Vetted in Amsterdam: The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has identified a large painting of a wooded landscape at sunset from 1888 as a work by Vincent van Gogh, the first new painting attributed to the revered artist since 1928. The painting, "Sunset at Montmajour," had been sitting in a collector's attic for years. "We always think we’ve seen everything and we know everything, and now we’re able to add a significant new work to his oeuvre," said Van Gogh Museum director Axel Rüger. "It is a work from the most important period of his life, when he created his substantial masterpieces, like ‘The Sunflowers,’ ‘The Yellow House’ and ‘The Bedroom.'" [BBCNYT]

    – Kapoor Takes on Indian Politician: Mumbai-born, London-based artist Anish Kapoor is calling on British MPs to block a visit to the U.K. by Narenda Modi, the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat — and a likely candidate for Prime Minister in next year's elections — who many accuse of being complicit in anti-Muslim riots that took place a decade ago in his Gujarat. "We don’t want this man," Kapoor said. "We should not give him a visa." [Independent]

    – Brooklyn Museum to Fete Laurie Simmons and Lena Dunham: The Brooklyn Museum has announced that it will honor conceptual artist Laurie Simmons and HBO hit-maker Lena Dunham at its annual Women in the Arts luncheon fundraiser this November. While previous honorees have included Yoko OnoKara WalkerKiki Smith, and the Guerilla Girls, this year marks the first time a mom-daughter duo will receive the Women in the Arts Award. Proceeds from the $250 to $1,000-a-plate event will go to the Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. [Press release]

    – Matthew Day Jackson’s Alternative SpaceMatthew Day Jackson has opened a tiny non-profit space, Bunker259, out of the ground floor of his home and studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. [TANARTINFO]

    – Goodman, Hetzler Find New European Homes: European galleries are on the move as Marian Goodman finds a new London space just off Piccadilly Circus and Max Hetzler opens two new West Berlin venues and plans a new Paris gallery. [FT, Press release]

    – Gerald Buck’s Massive, Unknown Art Trove: Recently deceased 73-year-old Newport Beach developer Gerald Buck secretly assembled a giant art collection that may be the largest privately owned collection of works by California artists, including Richard DiebenkornRobert IrwinHelen LundebergCarlos Almaraz, and Edward Kienholz. [LAT]

    – The 24-year-old art blogger and collector Taymour Grahne opened his namesake gallery in Tribeca this weekend, focusing on work by contemporary artists from the Middle East and North Africa. [DNAinfo]


    – Miami's Lowe Art Museum returned three carved basalt sculptures ranging from the 3rd to the 13th century that were stolen by Spanish dealer Leonardo Augustus Patterson to Mexico. [Artdaily]

    – The neo-realist painter and muralist Jack Beal died of kidney failure in upstate New York at age 82. [NYT]


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    Christie’s Out of the Ordinary Sale Tops £1.2million

    Interwoven Globe Exhibition Opens at the Met This Month

    Check our blog IN THE AIR for breaking news throughout the day.

    Van Gogh's "Sunset at Montmajour"

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    Name: Antonio Santin       

    Age: 34

    Occupation: Painter

    City/Neighborhood: East Williamsburg/Bushwick

    Current Exhibition: Paintings at Marc Straus, September 8 through September 29, 2013

    Why do you paint bodies under carpets or seemingly lifeless ones around the house?

    It’s an invitation to remind people that this is a painting. I like playing with this sublime and sinister combo. What’s inside, what’s underneath? I believe there are many layers of entertainment. It’s high-class entertainment.

    Are you hiding something?

    There’s some black humor involved. Painting is a completely different language, and you ruin it when you start talking about it. It’s like false poetry.

    Who are the women you paint?

    Normal girls. Sometimes I stop women in the street, but often I ask friends if they know of friends. I would never work with a model, it would be too cold. I like to work with people who like to work with me. It’s an uncomfortable and weird situation, so you have to have the right person — and work very fast. Usually I like to invite myself over to the girls’ houses and walk through their wardrobe to find something I like and what I want to see on her, in order to find some sort of composition.

    Who is the most valuable woman in your life and how does she feel about your work?

    My girlfriend. I think she likes them?

    How did you stumble upon this motif of carpets?

    I don’t really have the deepest knowledge of carpets, but it’s more like intuition. At one point, I saw some ripples in a carpet, and began to be interested in them. I thought there were too many figurative paintings in my production, and I was wondering if I got rid of the figure if I could still make something figurative without an obvious reference. Every carpet is a new world, a different approach. The form itself is very sculptural, and to find the perfect volume for the carpet is endless.  

    Are those real carpets you are painting, and if so, where do you find them?

    I move around, I research. I start with a carpet but then I have to get the painting out of it. You have to let paintings paint. Some make war with me, others you want to make suffer and sweat.  I think people are obsessed with background, and it doesn’t really matter to me. The more people see an anecdote, the more people don’t see the painting.

    So you control the elements and let the narrative build from there. Do you see yourself as a middleman?

    Ha! A shaman or something. We have a very limited attention span, and we’re only able to digest 5% of everything that we see a day. The rest just rains inside of you. What is the image that creates this little monster inside? So, as a painter, you just channel influences.

    Do you have your own spiritual beliefs?

    It’s a mixture of spirituality but of no particularly religion. For me, it’s doesn’t matter so much though. As a figurative painter, it’s more a challenge about what to paint and how to make that painting come alive. But I suppose it’s about something that attracts you, that fights you inside.

    What influences you?

    I’m really attracted to beauty. Most of the girls that I’m working with are beautiful girls, but I don’t exploit their straight beauty because it’d be kitsch. It’s still there, in the background, but it’s confusing you.

    The work has lots of texture. How did you come about that?

    It was a technique I developed in the carpets, and I’m using them intently now. They were messier before. I’m experimenting a lot, because the technique has so much potential, it’s almost like weaving a basket or creating patterns. But not every painting uses the same technique. That’s the point—I start with photography but I don’t want to copy the photograph. I have an image I created but then you play around that image to get something else out of it.

    You started out as a sculptor. What prompted the shift to painting?

    Paintings are pretty new to my life. I moved to Berlin from Madrid in 2006, and I was having trouble with my sculpture. I wanted to see what I could do with painting. The challenge was so complex that I wanted to keep going. There are so many sculptural elements in my paintings, that I’m curious to see what happens when I go back to sculpture.

    Will you start sculpting again?

    At some point, yes! I’ll combine both, for sure.

    You’ve moved around a lot — Madrid, Berlin, New York. How did that come about?

    I moved to Berlin in 2004, for 8 years, and started my painting career there. In Madrid, where I’m from, I was doing the sculpture. In fact, I have a public sculpture there that’s famous for being vandalized. I spent one year in Athens to focus on the sculpture. That city is chaos. But I had a beautiful connected with the materials, like clay—they’re so strict over there. I’ve only been here for less than a year, and I like it. Berlin was so cold that I escaped its winters by coming to New York, ha.

    What is your studio like here and how is that affecting your work?

    I think my head is around the world, so the cities don’t have a huge impact on my work. My paintings are more like a time-lapse bomb, because I get inspiration from so many places. I arrived to New York one year ago but then I started painting works that I conceived from a trip to China a year and half earlier.

    Biggest hazard of the job?

    I have to be on the ladder all the time, and I was reaching to get a corner making these works–I fell off and couldn’t walk for a week. But I wasn’t seriously hurt. Just my feet.

    15 Questions for Photo-Realist Portrait Artist Antonio Santin
    Antonio Santin

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    "In a World" and "Her" Offer Different Takes on the Sexy Female Voice

    In Spike Jonze’s futuristic “Her,” Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a lonely writer, fresh out of a long-term relationship, who falls in love with the voice of his computer’s artificially intelligent new operating system.

    Introducing herself in the trailer (below), the OS (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) says: “Hi, I’m Samantha.” There’s an upward lilt on the “hi” and a first hint of husky seductiveness on the “-antha.” (Students of nomenclature will know immediately why Johansson’s disembodied character wasn’t given a name like Enid or Myrtle or Gertrude.)

    As the clip continues and Theodore and Samantha become a cyber couple, her speaking tone loses its initial perkiness. Johansson’s husky purr evolves into a preternaturally sexy whisper — “Can you feel me with you right now?” she coos, as if she’s sharing the same pillow.

    Their romance, based on this kind of mild audio porn, conveniently precludes struggle, mess, empathy, and a need for hygiene. What makes the film potentially interesting is the idea that Samantha develops needs, though if all it concludes is that technological mediation is alienating and that relationships require two human beings, it won’t have achieved much.

    Some audience members may find that, as with the susceptible Theodore, Samantha/Johansson’s voice puts a hook in them — but wishing it didn’t tug. It’s a voice that’s more womanly than the self-demeaning female tone that was recently deplored by the actress-writer-director Lake Bell when she was promoting her film “In a World…,” but it still has unsettling ramifications for both men and women.

    “I had been personally ruptured and unsettled by the trend, the vocal trend that I call ‘sexy baby vocal virus’ talking,” Bell said in an interview on National Public Radio’s “All Thing Considered.” “Not only is it pitch, so really high up, but it’s also a dialect, it’s like a speech pattern that includes uptalking and fry, so it’s this amalgamation of really unsavory sounds that many young women have adopted. It’s a pandemic, in my opinion.”

    “I can’t have people around me that speak that way,” Bell added, “and mainly because I am a woman, and I grew up thinking a female voice and sound should sound sophisticated and sexy, à la Lauren Bacall or Anne Bancroft or Faye Dunaway, you know. Not a 12-year-old little girl that is submissive to the male species.”

    Bell’s use of the word “unsavory” was unerring. An exceptional indie comedy about a woman trying to break into the Hollywood voiceover business, “In a World…” champions strong female voices. The scene in which Bell’s Carol mocks the uncomprehending girl who asks where she can get a smoothie (see trailer below) demonstrates the contemporary female voice at its most passive and infantilized. Bell struck a chord — even inspiring a concerned blog called “5 Tips on How to Talk Like a Woman.”

    As the linguist and academic Mark Liberman explains on his Language Log blog (which excerpts Bell on NPR), “sexy baby vocal syndrome” is not a new phenomenon. The overtly sexy cartoon character Betty Boop, who made her debut in 1930 and was based on the singer Helen Kane, was an early offender in the talkies. This exploited star, trapped in her image, was as much a victim of her voice as her look. She remains the saddest example of a famous woman who refused to speak like a woman who expects respect. Pay heed, Lana Del Rey.

    “Her” will close the New York Film Festival on October 13. “In a World…” is still in theaters. Watch the trailers here:

    Lake Bell with Alexandra Holden and Fred Melamed in "In A World."

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    VIDEO: Long-lost Van Gogh Painting Found in Attic

    A painting that sat for six decades in a Norwegian industrialist's attic after he was told it was a fake Van Gogh was pronounced the real thing Monday, making it the first full-size canvas by the tortured Dutch artist to be discovered since 1928.

    Experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam authenticated the 1888 landscape "Sunset at Montmajour" with the help of Vincent Van Gogh's letters, chemical analysis of the pigments and X-rays of the canvas.

    Museum director Axel Rueger, at an unveiling ceremony, called the discovery a "once-in-a-lifetime experience."

    "This is a great painting from what many see as the high point of his artistic achievement, his period in Arles, in southern France," Rueger said. "In the same period, he painted works such as 'Sunflowers,' 'The Yellow House' and 'The Bedroom.'"

    Museum officials would not identify the owner who brought the artwork to them in 2011 to be authenticated. Van Goghpaintings are among the most valuable in the world, fetching tens of millions of dollars on the rare occasions one is sold at auction.

    The artwork will be on display at the museum beginning September 24.

    The roughly 37-by-29-inch "Sunset at Montmajour" depicts a dry landscape of twisting oak trees, bushes and sky, and was done during the period when Van Gogh was increasingly adopting the thick "impasto" brush strokes that became typical of his work in the final years of his short life.

    It can be dated to the exact day it was painted because he described it in a letter to his brother, Theo, and said he had painted it the previous day — July 4, 1888.

    "At sunset I was on a stony heath where very small, twisted oaks grow, in the background a ruin on the hill and wheat fields in the valley," Van Gogh wrote. "It was romantic. ... The sun was pouring its very yellow rays over the bushes and the ground, absolutely a shower of gold."

    But then Van Gogh confessed that the painting was "well below what I'd wished to do." Later he sent it to Theo to keep.

    Van Gogh struggled with bouts of mental distress throughout his life and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1890. He sold only one painting during his lifetime.

    According to a reconstruction published in The Burlington Magazine by three researchers, the painting was recorded as number 180 in Theo's collection and given the title "Sun Setting at Arles." It was sold to French art dealer Maurice Fabre in 1901.

    Fabre never recorded selling the work, and the painting disappeared from history until it reappeared in 1970 in the estate of Norwegian industrialist Christian Nicolai Mustad.

    The Mustad family said Mustad purchased it in 1908 as a young man in one of his first forays into art collecting, but was soon told by the French ambassador to Sweden that it was a fake. Embarrassed, Mustad banished it to the attic.

    After Mustad's death in 1970, the distinguished art dealer Daniel Wildenstein said he thought the painting was a fakeVan Gogh or possibly the work of a lesser-known German painter, and it was sold to a collector. The museum would not say who bought it or whether it had been resold since then.

    In 1991, the museum declined to authenticate the painting when whoever owned it at the time brought it to them.

    "That may be a painful admission, given that the same museum is now attributing it to Van Gogh, but it is understandable," since experts had no information about what the painting depicted, the Burlington Magazine article said.

    Teio Meedendorp, one of three experts who worked on the project, said his predecessors might also have been confused because the painting was done at a "transitional" moment in Van Gogh's style.

    "From then on, Van Gogh increasingly felt the need to paint with more and more impasto and more and more layers," he said.

    Among other reasons experts had their doubts: The painting was unsigned. Parts of the foreground were not "as well-observed as usual," the researchers said. And part of the right side of the painting used a different style of brush strokes.

    But when the museum took a fresh look at the work in 2011, its experts had the advantage of a new compendium of allVan Gogh's letters, and they were able to identify for the first time the exact location "Sunset" depicts: Montmajour hill, near Arles. The ruins of Montmajour abbey can be seen in the background.

    Van Gogh mentioned the painting in two other letters the same summer.

    The number 180 on the back of the canvas was an important clue, and new chemical analysis techniques showed the pigments were identical to others Van Gogh used on his palette at Arles.

    Also, an X-ray examination of the canvas showed it was of the same type Van Gogh used on other paintings from the period.

    Meedendorp said "Sunset" belongs "to a special group of experimental works that Van Gogh at times esteemed of lesser value than we tend to do nowadays."

    He said it's not impossible another unknown or lost Van Gogh could be found someday. The artist is believed to have completed more than 800 works. While he destroyed some when he wasn't satisfied with the results, the whereabouts of others that are mentioned in his letters or early catalogs of his work are unknown.

    The Van Gogh Museum houses 140 Van Gogh paintings and receives more than a million visitors a year.

    Van Gogh "Sunset at Montmajour"

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    A Google Glass Web Series About Art

    While Super Sad True Love Story” author Gary Shteyngart recently reported on his experience wearing Google Glass to MoMA PS1, and Diane von Furstenberg has used the device to capture her perspective on Fashion Week, art world Glass Explorer Samantha Katz is putting her own spin on the new technology: She has signed up to document the New York art world in a 30-day YouTube series called Gallery Glass.” Katz, who handles sponsorship and press for Arts in Bushwick and produces the yearly Bushwick Open Studios, plans to record 30 interviews and studio visits with a variety of New York creatives during the month of September.

    “A lot of people who have gained access to the device have launched projects, which was essentially what I wanted to do,” Katz told ARTINFO. “To my knowledge there are no art-related projects. A lot of people who have the device are using it for educational purposes or for exploration, but this is the first arts and culture project.”

    Katz has already posted nine videos in the series, including tours of the Williamsburg studio of artist Jen Dunlap, Lower East Side artist and curator Jason Voegele, and documentary filmmaker Jean Marie Offenbacher. The short videos are modeled on a journalistic reportage format with Katz kicking off each one with a short intro: “I’m Sam Katz here with Gallery Glass and we’re here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn …”

    The quality of the clips often isn’t fantastic, an issue Katz says is due to the developing technology. “The product is still in beta so there are no applications geared toward documentation yet,” she said. “I’m one of the first people using it for video and documentation purposes and the technology isn’t as advanced as I may have hoped. What’s interesting about this is it feels more like the actual experience.”

    That's not to say that there's nothing interesting here. Perhaps the most novel component of Gallery Glass comes when the glasses are used to capture the first-person perspective of the artists themselves. During her studio visit, Jen Dunlap answers interview questions while wearing the Glass and working on a drawing. We hear her talking about her creative process as it unfolds on video, basically from her point of view. In another video, Williamsburg-based artist James Moore gives Katz a ride on the back of his motorcycle, giving viewers a first-person tour of Brooklyn.

    Thomas Stevenson

    “My goal is to feature creatives who are completely varied,” she said. “I want to tackle every medium. Future episodes will feature the work of artist Rachel Beach, artist and technologist Thomas Stevenson, assistant curator of costume at the Museum at FIT Emma McClendon, director of REVERSE Art Space Andrea Wolf, director of Public Art at Fourth Arts Block Keith Schweitzer, Lehmann Maupin Gallery director Liz Dimmitt, and BAMart visual arts curator Holly Shen Chaves.

    “Gallery Glass highlights a range of subjects, aiming to make art more accessible and break barriers,” Katz explains. “There are apparent filters from the creative process to what is ultimately seen on gallery walls and online catalogs, breeding misconceptions like 'I am not affluent enough to collect,' 'I am not cool enough to create,' 'I am not versed enough on the subject to talk about the work.' I hope this series will challenge that.” In other words, while many people have fretted that Google Glass will provide a technological filter keeping people from relating to the world in front of them, she hopes that it can do just the opposite. 

    Samantha Katz

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  • 09/10/13--07:00: FIRST LOOK: Mira Moon Hotel
  • English

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    Saatchi Online Makes Big Push Into Web Art Market With... a Free eBook

    Saatchi Online, a platform launched by the famed London gallery in 2006, is getting into the advice business: It is offering would-be collectors a free downloadable e-book entitled “How to Collect Emerging Art in 7 Easy Steps,” penned by Rebecca Wilson, a director of the gallery and curator of the online platform. As one might expect from any endeavor connected with savvy collector Charles Saatchi, the brief, 24-page primer offers tips on how to collect work by relative unknowns. The specifics range from the helpful and insightful to the inane and obvious, with thinly veiled (if unintentionally humorous) plugs for the site’s featured artists.

    The text describes Saatchi Online as “a place for first-time buyers and serious collectors alike…[that] makes it easy for anyone to purchase art,” adding the following offer: we’ll deliver it directly from the artist to you, anywhere in the world.” In fact, the famed art site spun off as a separate enterprise back in 2010, funded by venture capital. It is now based in Los Angeles, not London, and has been offering sales for the past 18 months. That makes Saatchi Online just one of several large websites making a play in the art e-commerce realm, along with Artsy, Paddle8, and — the latest major contender to enter the game — retailing behemoth Amazon.

    Wilson, who says that over 5,000 collectors have already downloaded the e-book, told ARTINFO that Saatchi Online is different from other art sales websites because it brokers connections between artists and collectors, so that people can buy directly from artists, straight from their studios. Saatchi Online takes 30 percent commission, and artists get 70 percent. Collectors pay for shipping, as is standard practice in the art world. Insurance is covered by Saatchi Online.

    In contrast, she says, other sites “are mirroring what already exists in the real world — they act as brokers between collectors with big budgets and blue chip galleries.” Wilson also leads an art advisory program, affording collectors the opportunity to work with a curator and get advice and proposals about works to buy. There is no charge for the service, but the collector must have a minimum budget of $2,500.

    As for that e-book, it starts out by giving a brief history of art collecting through the ages and assures buyers off the bat, “you don’t have to be a Rockefeller to buy art.” It offers examples of collectors on opposite ends of the spectrum: the Medici family (“huge patrons of the arts during the Renaissance”) on the one hand, and the low-key — albeit now-legendary — New York collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, a postal clerk and a librarian respectively, on the other. “This kind of passion — even obsession — is not unusual in the art world,” according to the book. “Charles Saatchi, whose mission to support emerging artists carries on today through Saatchi Online, has been visiting galleries, artists’ studios and out-of-the-way warehouses every week for the last 30 years and his curiosity in young, emerging artists has not dwindled.”

    Unlike most other sources offering tips about art collecting, the guide doesn’t shy away from the potential monetary rewards. The final chapter, “Art as an Investment,” advises the reader to “buy what you love,” but adds, “If the investment side of buying art is an area that you want to consider then buying works by emerging artists is probably the best place to start.” It goes on to plug several award-winning Saatchi Online artists as good bets.

    Noting that Saatchi was among the earliest buyers of work by now multi-million dollar artist Peter Doig, Wilson writes, “it's an exciting thought to imagine that the work you are buying could be by a future art star — even the next Peter Doig — and that you got their [sic] first.”

    Super Future Kid

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    Sarah Lucas Takes "Cheap" Shot at Emin, U.K. Art Gang Busted, and More

    Sarah Lucas Slams Tracey Emin: YBA artist Sarah Lucas, who opened up "The Shop" in East London with Tracey Emin in 1993, has come out with a pretty unfavorable review of Emin’s work, branding it as "cheap." This isn’t the first time Lucas has spoken out against her former friend — just last year she described Emin’s work as "second-rate." (In the past Lucas has also accused Emin of being in love with her.) "In the same way that I wouldn't wear high heels or lippie," Lucas explained, "the confessions and the puerile sex stuff — I just would never do that." [Telegraph]

    – Saatchi Art Sell-Off Continues: Following the news that Charles Saatchi was selling off several large-scale works last month, the collector has elected to sell of his collection of Middle Eastern contemporary art online with new online-only auctioneer, the Auction Room. The works for sale are drawn from a 2009 Saatchi Gallery exhibition called "Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East," and include pieces by Hayv Kahraman and Sohelia Sokhanvari. The collection, which is expected to draw more than £250,000, will be on view in two adjacent galleries in London’s Cork Street through the end of the online auction. [Telegraph]

    British Raids Collar 19 Art Thieves: An investigation by U.K. agents involving 26 police forces and the Serious Organized Crime Agency— and stemming from a series of six burglaries that took place over four months in 2012, resulting in the theft of a rhinoceros horn and Chinese artifacts from museums and auction houses — resulted in a series of early morning raids today in which 19 people were arrested. "The series of burglaries last year had a profound effect on museums and similar institutions and we are committed to bringing all those who were involved in the conspiracy to justice," said chief constable Mick Creedon of the Association of Chief Police Officers. "Many of the stolen Chinese artefacts are still outstanding and a substantial reward remains on offer for information which leads to the safe return of those priceless items." [BBC]

    Church of Vezzoli Comes to PS1: As part of his upcoming exhibition at MoMA PS1, artist Francesco Vezzoli will disassemble a decrepit, 1,500-square-foot church that he bought in southern Italy and rebuild it at the New York City institution, where it will be used to display his celebrity cameo-filled video art.  [WSJ]

    Berlin Wall Whitewashed for Gentrification Protest: Artists have begun plastering the 1.3 kilometer-long section of the Berlin Wall known as the East Side Gallery with white paper as a protest against the recent removal of a section of the wall by a developer building luxury housing. [TAN]

    Dutch Heist Ringleader Wants Trial Relocated: As the trial of six men accused of carrying out last year's heist at Kunsthal Rotterdam resumes today in Bucharest, suspected ringleader Radu Dogaru said that he would only return the five paintings still in his control if the trial were moved to the Netherlands. [Guardian, AFP]

    — A rising class of wealthy Nigerian art collectors are funding a revival in art forms steeped in traditional spirituality. [Business Day]

    – Artist Richard Wilson is planning a "ships’ opera" for London’s Thames Festival, in which a symphony of ships’ horns and whistles will ring out on the river. [Telegraph]

    – A Swiss journalist smashed a glass artwork by Luciano Fabro during a gallery party at Grace Uno gallery. He is being called the "Swiss Mr Bean." [Independent]


    Bushwick Art Maven Straps on Google Glass for Studio Visit Web Series

    The Las Vegas Casino Betting Big on Flashy Contemporary Art

    See Pictures From the Spectacular NYC Kickoff of "Station to Station"

    Vermeer Unmasked at Toronto Film Festival in “Tim’s Vermeer”

    Check our blog IN THE AIR for breaking news throughout the day.

    Tracey Emin

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    After Some Spectacular Misfires, Cai Guo-Qiang Returns to Australia

    SHANGHAI — Cai Guo-Qiang doesn’t traffic in delicacy. His works include exploding carsgunpowder drawings, and flying, crashing wolves made of hay, gauze, resin and sheepskin, sourced from his home town of Quanzhou, Fujian province. From November 23, Cai will exhibit dramatic new works in an exhibition entitled “Falling Back to Earth”at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). At an event in Shanghai announcing the exhibition, the artist told BLOUIN ARTINFO about his new installations, past failures, and how close he came to dying for his art.

    You’re exhibiting works inspired by previous trips to Australia in the Queensland show. What brought you to Australia initially, and what most interested you about the place?

    In 1996, I took part in the second Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) organized by the Gallery, and proposed to make an explosion project on Brisbane River titled “Dragon or Rainbow Serpent: A Myth Glorified or Feared — Project for Extraterrestrials No. 26.” 

    The day before the happening was supposed to take place, as I was inserting a gunpowder fuse into waterproof plastic sleeves with the museum's technical staff at the fireworks company, their storage room behind us caught fire. All of a sudden there were red, blue, and green fireworks exploding all over in broad daylight. It was a beautiful yet terrifying sight. 

    We started running for our lives, but the heatwave from the explosion propelled us forward. The museum's technical director's blazer even caught on fire and was left with a big hole on the back. Then I realized the gunpowder fuse — a whole kilometer of it — that we had been working on also started burning. Before I could stop it, the fuse completely went to ashes. We then saw workers from the fireworks company escaping from the building that was on fire. They were in tears. 

    In my broken English, I asked, “Where is gunpowder?” If there was still lots of black powder inside the building, and if it caught on fire, it would be the end for all of us. One of the workers woke up from her state of shock, and pointed me to a silver freight container outside the building that had tons of gunpowder inside. We quickly used a forklift to move the container away from heat to avert a greater disaster. Needless to say, the explosion event was cancelled. The gallery issued a statement immediately to say the accident at the fireworks company was not caused by our work.

    I felt deeply indebted to the Queensland Art Gallery, and took part in the third APT in 1999. It would not have been wise to make another explosion event, but I felt the need to conquer Brisbane River. So I proposed Blue Dragon, where 99 small metal boats are linked together and filled with alcohol. The boats would then float along the river, and the alcohol, once ignited, would turn the boats into an elegant ribbon of blue flame. 

    Prior to the opening, I did tests with 20 or 30 boats, and all seemed well. On the night of the opening, the fire department worked with me and used a pilot boat to gently tug the 99 boats along the river. I told the boat to turn right or turn left, and the 99 boats swayed sinuously like a dragon, just as I intended. I became more and more excited and asked the pilot boat to make bigger turns. But then, the turn was too big, and the first boat flipped and sank slowly, followed by the second, third… until the 99th. The alcohol spilled over the river and it became a sea of blue flame. I was so sad I started crying, and my daughter asked me why. I said I had failed. She replied, “But this looks more beautiful!” 

    The river authority ordered me to retrieve the sunken boats the next day, otherwise they might have caused other boats to run aground.

    Every time I worked there, the project was never fully realized, and this was a problem for me. It left both the Queensland Art Gallery and I more determined to do something together.

    Australia doesn’t seem to have any serious problems and that is interesting to me. It is challenging for an artist.

    Many of your works, including the wolf work “Head On” and your exploding cars are like cinematic blockbusters — expensive, impactful and dramatic, rather than lyrical or ironic. Is your art primarily about spectacle? Does it need to be to reach a wide audience?

    It is a pity you don't see lyricism in my work. 

    Behind the spectacularity of works such as “Head On,” there is a sense of melancholy in the wolves’ ceaseless collective motion as they crash into an invisible barrier, get up, and repeat the same mistake over and over again. It is a critique of human or a society’s behavior, including that of Chinese people. In that way, the work is somewhat ironic. 

    I am a product of Chinese culture, which is a spectacular and dramatic culture.

    In present day society, there are similar propensities for large-scale things: from urban sprawl, to space exploration, to museum expansions. It is a sign of the times. These tendencies are everywhere. Though I am not saying that this is a good trend, my art is a reaction to our times.

    Which of the new works are you most excited to exhibit in Australia?

    I am looking forward to realizing the installation “Heritage” [pictured]. As it is a new work, it will be the first time this work in my mind's eye materializes into something my actual eyes can see.

    “Eucalyptus” [Cai’s response to the ancient trees at Lamington National Park] is also exciting because the work is only a beginning. I don't know what will be the end result, and it excites me.

    “Falling Back to Earth” opens at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) on November 23 and continues through 11 May 2014.

    Cai Guo-Qiang, "Heritage" (artist’s impression), 99 replica animals, 2013

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