Art in Print

Saving an Afghan Symbol, With Afghans Only

The Darulaman Palace in Afghanistan symbolises the demolition and ruin of the country perfectly, after four decades of war. The once magnificent building can be seen on its hillock perch for miles around. The beautiful edifice has been damaged and hit by every weapon imaginable from all the wars the country was engaged in, with the exception of the Americans and their allies, because it was too pummelled to take shelter in.

The palace could be compared with Afghanistan itself, in the simple fact that it seemed to defy gravity despite 40 years of wrack and ruin and additionally didn’t quite collapse. Now the president Ashraf Ghani has initiated the restoration of the palace. As well as being his most popular initiatives, Ghani has insisted that Afghanistan does all the restoration by themselves! This includes funding and employing Afghan architects, engineers, workers and technical advisers. The palace may have reminded the public of what had happened to the country, but let’s hope that the restorations now symbolise a brighter future for Afghanistan.


Via: The New York Times International Edition



Why Damien Hirst’s new show is a wreck

The news of Damien Hirst staging an aggressive comeback has quickened the pulse for people who both like, and critique his work. His most ambitious exhibition to date is opening to the public tomorrow in Venice across two venues. The first is the Punto della Dogana, the old customs house which dominates the westernmost point of Dorsoduro, and the second, is at the Palazzo Grassi, the classical peach coloured palace which sits on the Grand Canal.

Hirst who has been planning this project for a decade has tried to keep any detail of the exhibition under lock down. Despite the fact a few clues were leaked, they only served to increase curiosity as opposed to actually revealing anything about the exhibition. After years of speculation, it is time for everything to be revealed about one of the most anticipated shows of the year!

The extravaganza takes its cue from a fantastical story. The gallery goers are informed that a vast wreck was discovered off the coast of east Africa in 2008. It was all that remained of a ship once owned by Cif Amotan II, a former slave. Travelling around the ancient world, he bought hundreds of fabulous artefacts, but the vessel foundered on its way. This collection lay unseen at the bottom of the Indian Ocean for two millennia before being discovered. Damien Hirst exhibition brings together the works rediscovered in this extraordinary find. However, a week ago, a heap of dung was dumped outside the exhibitions by a group of animal rights activists who were protesting against the use of creatures in his work. So is this the first review we have got of the much awaited exhibition?


Via: The Times Arts 2


Old master decries Christie’s job cuts

Christie’s announced last month that it was planning to close its South Kensington operation after more than 40 years and to move much of its sales of lower-value art and antiques online. It will continue to hold sales of premium art at its offices in King Street, St James’s.

The company’s latest plans, to close one of its London bases and slash 250 jobs, show that the accountants have finally won, according to a former Christie’s chairman. This idea sparked a very strong reaction from Anthony Coleridge, head of the auctioneer’s South Kensington branch from 1987 to 2001, who called it ashort-sighted move towards the company’s staff.


Via: The Times