“Eternity” (2019-2020), natural beeswax, wood, glass, Cor-ten steel, 230 x 100 x 100 centimeters. All images © Tomáš Libertíny, shared with permission

Tomáš Libertíny prefers to collaborate when recreating iconic busts and sculptures, although his chosen partners don’t join him in the studio. The Slovakia-born artist tasks tens of thousands of bees with forming the porous outer layers of classic artworks like the “Nefertiti Bust,” Michelangelo’s “Brutus,” and a large jug based on the “Nolan amphora” at The Met.

Encased in honeycomb, the resulting sculptures generate a dialogue between the newly produced organic material and art historical subject matter. Libertíny’s “Eternity,” for example, is based on a 3D model of the original portrait of Nefertiti and is “a testament to the strength and timelessness of the ‘mother nature’ as well as its ancient character as a powerful female reigning against the odds.” Similarly, the artist’s “Brutus” rests on … Read the rest

Not long after an insurrectionist mob of Trump supporters wreaked havoc in the United States Capitol Building, a group of curators and conservators was dispatched to survey the damage done to the cultural patrimony on display there. But before they could take stock of the situation—mere moments after the violent, largely mask-free rioters ended their siege—cleaners and maintenance workers retained by Capitol Hill were deployed to sweep, mop, and vacuum the broken glass, bodily fluids, and trash the vandals left in their wake. Given the white supremacist underpinnings of the attack, it is striking that those tasked with cleaning up the ravages were largely people of color. The photographs and television footage of those essential workers show them in sharp relief against iconic American architecture and artworks, evoking a larger heritage of racial inequality in particular sectors of the economy. This race-based labor hierarchy, manifest in art imagery throughout … Read the rest

By Andrew Hem

What brings you hope? That’s the central question behind a new group exhibition presented by Port City Creative Guild. Couriers of Hope boasts more than 120 original pieces from more than 90 artists—the list includes Rosanne Kang Jovanovski, Andrew Hem (previously), Sean Chao (previously), and Yoskay Yamamoto—all rendered on vintage envelopes. Prompted by the mail art movement of the 1960s, the exhibition features an eclectic array of watercolor, pencil, and mixed-media illustrations that transform the miniature canvases into the artists’ vision for the future, whether through relaxed otters, peaches, or vivid portraits. Many of the works prominently display original postmarks and stamps and serve as a reminder that communication doesn’t have to be digital.

Students from Long Beach Unified School District have the opportunity to acquire one of the envelopes by trading their own response to the artists’ same prompt, … Read the rest

After its longtime chief curator unexpectedly left last year, the Guggenheim Museum in New York has found a replacement in Naomi Beckwith, currently the senior curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Beckwith will start as the Guggenheim’s deputy director and chief curator in June.

Beckwith has been at the MCA Chicago since 2011. During that time, she organized a number of celebrated shows, including most notably a Howardena Pindell retrospective that opened in 2018 and later traveled to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond and Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum in Waltham, Massachusetts. She also worked on exhibitions devoted to Keren Cytter, Leslie Hewitt, William J. O’Brien, the Propeller Group, and Yinka Shonibare, among others.

Prior to the MCA, Beckwith was an associate curator at New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem, where she established herself as a talent to watch. Her curatorial credits there … Read the rest

All images courtesy of People’s Pottery Project, shared with permission

People’s Pottery Project (PPP) has a simple mission: “to empower formerly incarcerated women, trans, and nonbinary individuals and their communities through the arts.” The value of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit, though, reaches far beyond the ceramics studio where its members carefully sculpt and glaze dinnerware to sell from its warehouse.

At the heart of PPP is mutual aid, a form of community support and solidarity that rapidly expanded at the onset of the pandemic but that has a rich history in political movements. The initiative is multi-faceted—it currently employs three people full-time and two part-time, and formerly incarcerated folks can drop in to help in the production process and be paid for their contributions. Depending on COVID-19 guidance and the ability to meet in-person, PPP also hosts community classes. As restrictions lift in the coming months, the organization plans … Read the rest

Widespread recognition is arriving over a century late for Berthe Morisot, a true innovator who died at the height of her promise. She was a founding member of Impressionism, whose marquee names counted themselves as both admirers and friends. But, unlike her peers, whose more experimental inclinations were tempered by a need to please patrons, her canvases bear vivacious brushstrokes and unusual figuration which nearly leapfrogged Impressionism to abstraction. She featured prominently in every annual Impressionist exhibitions, except one that she missed because she was recovering after the birth of her daughter.

These shows were generally met with acclaim. Critic Paul Mantz wrote in his review of the third Impressionist exhibition in 1877 that “there is only one true Impressionist in the whole revolutionary group—and that is Mlle Berthe Morisot.” Yet Morisot’s gender also played a role in how she was perceived. Writers in her day used terms … Read the rest

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Like history in general, art history is subject to recurrent revisions and reappraisals. Whether it occurs within their lifetimes or posthumously, some artists earn a place in the art-historical record, only to be forgotten and written out of the same . . . until and unless they are eventually rediscovered. Art history, in other words, is a malleable discipline, but understanding developments in art depends on it—or at the very least is enhanced by it. Accordingly, we’ve assembled a list of 12 books, both mainstream and specialized, that span the saga of art from classical antiquity to the present. Whether you’re an artist or lover of art, you might want at least a few of them on your bookshelf.

1. Janson’s History of Art (9th edition) by Penelope J.E.

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Monday, January 11

Roberts Projects Now Represents Brenna Youngblood
Los Angeles’s Roberts Projects gallery now represents Brenna Youngblood, whose work in multiple mediums focuses on the relationship between life and art. Her work, which often takes the form of photo-based canvases and assemblages, pays homage to a host of art-historical sources, from Jasper Johns to Noah Purifoy, and alludes to Black history. Her first exhibition with the gallery will be held in March.

New School Receives $5.5 million Mellon Grant 
The New School in New York has received two grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation intended to “advance demographic and intellectual diversity and politically engaged art, scholarship and public engagement” at the institution. Totaling $5.5 million, the grants mark the largest Mellon Foundation gift to the New School. A portion of the sum will go to establishing the Mellon Initiative for Inclusive Faculty Excellence, a project that … Read the rest

Art Institutions around the world continue to feel the impact of the pandemic, which has forced museums to shutter for months on end, reduce visitor capacities, and take other measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Now, a report in the Art Newspaper reveals that the Louvre in Paris, which drew over 1 million visitors to its blockbuster Leonardo exhibition before lockdowns went into effect, experienced a 72 percent drop in attendance for 2020.

According to the Art Newspaper, the museum was open only 161 days out of its usual 311 days of business and lost €90 million (about $110.3 million) in revenue. With international travel curtailed, a lack of international visitors deeply impacted the Louvre’s attendance figures, as did a reduction in the number of visitors allowed to be in the museum on any given day. In total, the institution brought in about 2.7 million visitors last year, … Read the rest

A restituted Gothic painting of the Madonna and Child by 14th-century Italian painter Jacopo di Cione will head to auction in New York at the end of the month as part of a settlement agreement between the estate of its late owner and the heir to the work’s previous owner.

Sotheby’s will auction the di Cione painting, which comes from collection of Hester Diamond, the late New York art patron and interior designer who died last January, on January 29 as part of its Masters Week, in which the house offers a series of sales of Old Masters art and antiquities. The work is expected to fetch between $300,000–$500,000. The painting’s sale comes after a legal agreement was reached with the Diamond estate and heir of August Liebmann Mayer, a prominent German Jewish art historian and curator who was killed at Auschwitz in 1944.

A specialist in Spanish … Read the rest