$70 Million Down the Drain?

A painting by one of the most well-known and celebrated artist in history was recently destroyed before it was scheduled to go on auction.  Pablo Picasso’s 1943 piece, entitled Le Marin, was schedule to be put up for sale at Christie’s auction house in New York with a price tag of $70 million.  A spokesperson for the auction house announced that it will be pulled and undergo a restoration process before being put back on the market.  The perspective buyer, casino mogul Steve Wynn, will have to wait until the restoration process is complete.

Steve Wynn is the former chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, but he retired amidst sexual allegation claims against him.  Oddly enough, Wynn damaged another Picasso painting in 2013, right before it was to be sold.  That painting was worth $135 million.  It was ultimately purchased by billionaire, Steve Cohen, for $155 million.  I guess “damaged goods” aren’t bad after-all.

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Death Dealer vs. Superman: Who Wins?

Well, it isn’t exactly the duel that you think it is.  Recently, a comic auction was held in Chicago.  The auction included some of the most well-known characters in comic-book history such as Superman, Batman, and the Joker. However, an unlikely piece flew past the Man of Steel (pun intended).  “Death Dealer 6”, a fantasy painting by well known science fiction and fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta, sold for a mind-blowing $1.8 million, rounded up.  It was only expected to sell for $600,000.  In comparison, a 1938 comic of Superman went for $573,600, but was expected to sell at a price of $650,000.  In addition, a 1940 comic of Batman sold for a mere $227,050 (I say that facetiously).  I think that the Death Dealer piece is amazing.  While I’m not sure about the $1.8 million price tag, I can see why it (super)powered past the competition.

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Banksy & Basquiat???

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We all know the anonymous English based graffiti artist, political activist and film director, Banksy. Having stayed in the shadows and having never been revealed, he frequently makes his apearance through his artwork. Banksy’s satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humor with graffiti and stenciling for a unique and powerful display. However, a recent art piece has sparked the attention of the public for the upcoming “Beyond the Streets” festival. It combines Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Barbican Centre piece with the flare of Banksy’s coften controversial creativity. In the image you can see, law enforcement (often a prime statement in Banksy’s work) frisking Basquiat’s “Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump”. Some people may view this as disrespectful, stereotypical or bias because of the portrayal, but knowing Banksy’s work and his view of art and the world it is more of a statement against the unjust that is occurring in society today.

Again, this piece will be a feature in the Beyond the Streets exhibition of graffiti, street art and beyond, celebrating the soaring heights to which the world’s most recognizable modern art movement has risen. Purchase tickets by clicking here.

 

Small State With a Big Art. Museum Gets Big Financial Boost

When it comes to The First State, Delaware, many people will literally ask “Where is that?” Besides being the residence of former US Vice President, Joe Biden, the state has a great art scene. One of the most notable art museums is the Delaware Art Museum, established in 1912. The renowned art facility recently received a large donation from philanthropists Gerret and Tatiana Copeland, a pledge of $15 million, to help the museum get their finances back in order.

In 2005, the museum had gone through a major expansion and renovation project. It is actually a fairly large museum, but the expansion added more programs to draw in a larger audience. A variety of programs are offered there including family events, after-work art social gatherings, as well as art classes. The museum houses large and diverse artwork, some dating back to the 1800s, from historic artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of my personal favorites, and Howard Pyle. They also offer exhibitions from current artists and mediums as well. A few of the paintings dating back to the 1800s were amongst those that were sold in order to pay down the museum’s debt after renovation.

With the recent donation, and other donations recently pledged and received, hopefully the museum will gain its footing again. In 2017, they reported their highest attendance in more than a decade. In addition to adding more programs, they plan on expanding their art and exhibitions to include more woman and people of color as well.

If you ever find yourself in the area, the Delaware Art Museum is really worth a stop.

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What a Royal Casket Looks Like

The Queen of Denmark, Queen Margrethe II, is still alive, but she has a remarkable tomb waiting for her arrival. A Danish artist by the name of Bjorn Norgaard has designed a tomb on the queen’s behalf, and it is truly fit for royalty. Quite literally, it is a piece of art. The artist and creator of the tomb used resources from territories of Denmark only. The tomb itself is made entirely of glass and has Danish royal symbols on it with three pillars supporting it, made from Danish granite and marble. On top of it all, it even has pictures of the queen and her deceased husband etched in it.

Although the tomb is actual artistry, it will not be displayed in any museum anytime soon. While there are pictures online, an exhibition of the tomb will not be open to the general public until the queen is actually dead. However, a replica can be seen on display starting in June 2018, at the church that the queen’s body will be buried at, after her death.

Queen Tomb

Art of Ancient Egypt: Brooklyn Museum

The culture of Ancient Egypt has always impressed me. I love their culture because it is so unique and different in comparison to others. It is also apart of the birth of civilization and was a staple in the ways many other cultures are developed. Many museums create whole exhibits based on Egypt and its culture. Brooklyn Museum has for years had an outstanding collection of Ancient Egyptian art. Here is a peek at a new exhibit featured in the museum… take a look…

For more about the exhibit please visit Brooklyn Museum’s site Here.

The Art of Self-Pleasure

The Freud Museum in London recently unveiled their latest exhibition titled Solitary Pleasures. The exhibition has contributions from various Artists and explicitly paints the picture of self-pleasure, literally. The museum’s namesake, Sigmund Freud, was a Neurologist and founder of psychoanalytic therapy. Freud was never one to shy away from taboo subjects such as masturbation, once describing it as the first “primal” addiction and stating, “the only shame in masturbation is the shame of not doing it well.” He also has publications about the subject. Nevertheless, if you are in London between the dates of April 18, 2018 – May 13, 2018, you can stop by and see the exhibition.

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Lamassu Statue Unveiled in London

A remarkable statue of a lamassu has recently been unveiled in London.  The sculpture was created by American Artist, Michael Rakowitz, and it is titled “The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist”.  Lamassu’s are a part of Assyrian culture, and they are depicted as having a human’s head, the body of a bull or lion, and the wings of a bird.  They are considered deities in the culture. They are large in stature and were normally positioned at the entrance of palace doorways as guards and protection from evil spirits.  In 2015, Islamic militants seized a museum in the Middle East, and destroyed an original statue, amongst many other artifacts, that date back to the eighth century B.C.

The new statue is a direct replication of the destroyed one, but with a very modern twist.  It is comprised of 10,500 flattened date syrup cans.  Although the original sculpture could never be replaced, faith in humanity remains.  For, being commissioned for such a large task and openly and willingly welcoming it does show that there is unity against violence.

It is an amazing recreation.  You can also find lamassu’s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Lamassu statue

FBI Art Crime Team Recovers Painting Stolen 30 Years Ago

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A painting stolen 30 years ago was recovered this month.  The original piece of artwork titled Othello and Desdemona, by Marc Chagall, dates back to 1911.  It was stolen from an Upper East Side apartment in New York in 1988.  The owners of the artwork were philanthropists in the art world, as well as collectors, and also owned original artwork by Picasso.  While it was a robbery that included theft of jewelry and other items, it is unknown if this particular piece was singled out over the other works of art.  The finding was the result of a failed sell on the black-market that was subsequently reported to the FBI.  That is how the piece was discovered.  Apparently, there is an actual FBI Art Crime Team.  Nevertheless, the value of the painting is said to be $600,000.  It will be sold with the proceeds going to charity.

Eccentricity in Art: The Work of Takashi Murakami

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We all remember the cover to one of Kanye West’s most popular albums, Graduation. But, do you know who the creative mind was behind that compiled artwork within?  His name is Takashi Murakami.

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Fostering a palpable and inimitable style of creativity, Murakami in his younger years was a fan of anime and manga and attended the Tokyo University of the Arts to enhance his skills and fulfill his desire to become an Animator. However, he became a major in Nihonja (traditional Japanese painting) and earned a Ph.D. in the artform. Having been dissatisfied with the state of contemporary art in his country, he slowly developed his own form of art, developing signature figures and icons representing both his style and personality.

Murakami’s dissatisfaction also led him to build a new type of art market which he would take from Western influence and import to Japan, showcasing Japanese culture and history, but still remaining rooted to his origins. His focus therefore reverted to both elements from Japanese high art and low culture, respectively, with influences from anime and otaku cultures. Murakami would later coin the term “superflat” to describe the legacy of flat, 2-dimensional imagery from Japanese art history in manga and anime. It also describes a post-war class differentiation of high and low cultures by melding the two and creating something fresh and original.

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Murakami has also worked with several notable figures such as designer Marc Jacobs and has had a long-lasting collaboration with the fashion brand Louis Vuitton. He has also been active in producing sculptures, directing music, producing feature films, and displaying high class exhibits.

Some more examples of Murakami’s work are below.

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Check out more of Murakami’s work on his personal website by clicking Here.