Art in Print

Culture Minister praises Arts Council plans to protect London from funding cuts



Culture minister Matt Hancock today hailed a funding deal to protect London arts from feared swingeing cuts. Arts Council England unveiled budgets for 2018 to 2022 in which millions more will be spent in the regions. In total, £622 million a year has been earmarked across lottery and grant-in-aid for its three main funding streams, the National Portfolio, Grants for Arts and Culture, and strategic funds.
Arts Council England chief executive Darren Henley said: “We’ve planned a budget that lets us reach more people in new ways. "We’ll increase investment outside London without damaging the capital; fund more new, small and diverse organisations. "Museums, libraries and arts organisations will apply to us on a more level playing field.”
The National Portfolio will receive a budget of £409 million a year between 2018 and 2022. Its application portal will open on October 26. The Grants for Arts and Culture open access funding stream will see a £10 million a year budget rise to £87.5 million, to help the integration of museums and libraries. The strategic funds’ expenditure will stay broadly the same at £125 million a year, and the council will continue its aims to enhance diversity and increase the reach of arts and culture.
Via Evening Standard

Jeff Koons: London to stay centre of the art world


Jeff Koons says London will remain “a centre of the art world” despite political turmoil, as he brings his new collection to a new Mayfair gallery. According to The New Yorker, he is arguably the world’s most commercially successful living artist — with his Balloon Dog (Orange) selling for a record $58.4 million (£45 million) in 2013. His exhibition, featuring reworked paintings by Masters such as Titian and Tintoretto, opened at the Almine Rech Gallery.
Ms Rech, a Brussels-based dealer who lives in Paris and has an operation in New York, said “everything is uncertain” because of the Brexit vote but it was still a good time to open the new gallery in Grosvenor Hill to complement her original premises in Savile Row. She metioned, “London has a very rich institutional base, fantastic museums and galleries and is very international and dynamic. I don’t see any city in Europe that could take the place of London and all that it offers.”
The collection goes on show as the Frieze Art Fair returns to Regent’s Park this week with work from more than 1,000 artists. Ms Rech said, “Frieze is important not just for contemporary art but also the Masters. We get lots of new collectors as well as the ones we already know.”
Via Evening Standard

Artist turns China’s toxic smog into jewellery


A Dutch artist is selling to the Chinese a commodity they are desperate to get rid of — smog. Daan Roosegaarde uses a huge outdoor purifier to compress toxic air into rings, cufflinks and cubes which sell for up to £220. Blue skies at his launch in China were a testament to recent improvements in Beijing’s notoriously thick and lethal air, but Mr Roosegaarde should still be able to suck up plenty of his raw material on a tour of one of the world’s most polluted countries.
With support from the Chinese government, the designer, 37, is deploying a creative approach to highlight a deadly global issue. The World Health Organisation said last week that polluted air was a “public health emergency” killing more than six million people every year. After decades of accelerated development, China is finally taking action such as shutting steel mills and cement factories near Beijing to alleviate the capital’s dire smog situation. Despite the declined density of PM2.5 of the city(a key smog index), the average PM2.5 was still 63 micrograms per cubic metre, far above the WHO recommended maximum exposure of 25 micrograms over a 24-hour period.
Air around Mr Roosegaarde’s “smog-free tower”, also dubbed the world’s largest air purifier, will be 75 per cent cleaner than the rest of Beijing. The 23ft tower sucks in particulates and blasts out much cleaner air.
Via The Times

The Queen's House at Greenwich reopens after £3m restoration


Anne of Denmark’s beautiful white house in Greenwich, which reopens after a £3m restoration.
400 years ago the queen commissioned a brilliant young architect called Inigo Jones to build her the first purely classical house in England, a shockingly modern creation instead of the warren of red brick buildings of the Tudor. However, work stopped for several years after Inigo became ill in 1618, and she died the following year. Her house wasn’t completed until 1638, for another immigrant queen, the French Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I – and with his execution it would be stripped by the Commonwealth of many of its royal fittings, leaving only the beautiful shell of the most modern house in England.
The house, now part of the Royal Museums Greenwich complex, reopens with a dazzling art collection including many pictures that originally hung there returning on loan. The new hang also includes hundreds of paintings from the Greenwich collection, including works by Canaletto, Hogarth, Romney and Stubbs, and the magnificent Armada portrait of Elizabeth I, once owned by Sir Francis Drake, which the museum acquired this summer through a public appeal.
Pride of place, however, in the centre of the grandest room, the double-height Great Hall, has gone to a newly created work, the largest to date by the Turner prize winner Richard Wright, which looks as if a cloud of golden moths applied the 23-carat gold scrolls and flourishes has settled all over the ceiling and upper walls. It inspired by Inigo Jones designs for court masques and the beautiful metalwork of his spiral staircase in the house, directly on to the walls.
Christine Riding, a curator of the house said, “For many years, displays in this house have concentrated on its connection with the maritime museum. We wanted to do something that had nothing to do with the sea, but recreated some of the princely splendour originally associated with the house.”
Via Guardian

Picasso Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery is a must see

  Self-Portrait with Palette by Pablo Picasso, 1906; Philadelphia Museum of Art: A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1950 (detail)

Arguably Pablo Picasso remains the most controversial artist of all time, a man seen for much of his long career as intent on destroying the established categories of art. Yet it’s become apparent over recent decades how much of Picasso’s phenomenal energies were devoted not only to reinventing, but also paying homage to traditional genres – most notably the portrait. The first major exhibition on this vital area in 20 years, this show opens with a classic self-portrait from 1906, the artist’s youthful features and calculatedly naïve expression captured in simplified forms and muted colours.
Looking at his family, friends, wives and lovers, Picasso shifted his style according to his mood on the day, the artists whose ideas he was cannibalising at that moment and his reaction to the person he was painting. Yet this sense of prodigious invention and energy is only fleetingly apparent in the early stages of this exhibition. However, the impression of the first few rooms is of too many intriguing footnotes and not enough major plot-points.
Then the show ups its game, with two superb portraits of Picasso’s first wife, Olga Khokhlova, both rather cool and formal and heavily indebted to the great 19th century classical painter Ingres. They show how the artist’s apparently impulsive departures in style tended to coincide with wider developments in the world at large. Picasso’s development of whole new approaches to painting in response to particular individuals –particularly the many women in his life – is brilliantly demonstrated in the second half of the exhibition.
The serene, oval features of his much younger lover Marie-Therese Walter are captured best here in a strong wax crayon-on-canvas composition in which looping, almost doodling lines cohere into an impression of powerful sensuality, despite the eyes being wildly out of alignment. The troubled personality of Marie-Therese’s rival, the surrealist painter Dora Maar, is evoked using consciously surrealist techniques in paintings such as Woman in a Hat, in which the top and bottom parts of her face are squeezed in different directions to explicitly schizophrenic effect.
Given its claims as a major exhibition, and the sheer number of Picasso paintings in existence, this show could have used a few more outright masterpieces and a bit less quirky juvenilia. But there are marvellous things all the way through, more than enough to make this one of the year’s must-see shows. You leave astonished at Picasso’s near-miraculous ability to make lines, colours and brush marks do absolutely anything he wanted.
Via Telegraph