Art in Print

Texan couple make biggest foreign donation to the Musée d'Orsay since the Second World War

Texan couple who grew up dreaming of one day visiting France has made the largest foreign donation of paintings to the Musee d’Orsay since the Second World War.
Marlene and Spencer Hays, both aged 80, are to give 600 works, valued at £315 million, to the Paris museum – including pieces by Degas, Modigliani and Rodin.
The couple donated an initial 187 pieces, worth £155 million, during an official ceremony presided over by Francois Hollande at the Elysée presidential palace on Saturday evening.
The rest will be handed over on their death, on the proviso that it is kept together.
Via: The Telegraph


How to Clean a Dusty Picasso at MoMA: Use Your Spit

Anny Aviram has spent more than 40 years as a conservator at the Museum of Modern Art, often swabbing away dust and grime on priceless Picassos and other masterpieces.
One of the most effective tools she uses is her own saliva. (Don’t worry: This practice, centuries old, has scientific backing.) That revelation is one of several surprises in a new audio guide to the museum produced by the artist Nina Katchadourian that focuses on a tiny topic: dust. Wall texts encourage visitors to listen in at a dozen locations throughout the museum, including a tough-to-Swiffer ledge overhanging four stories of the museum’s atrium.
She created the audio tour, “Dust Gathering,” as part of the museum’s Artists Experiment program, which invites contemporary artists to work with MoMA educators on public programming.
Over two years, Ms. Katchadourian interviewed staff members across every department, ultimately realizing that they were united by their stance against this pervasive, invisible-until-it’s-not element.
The first stop is steps from the sculpture garden, just behind the desk where visitors pick up audio guides: a windy microclimate that is a magnet for more mites than anywhere else at MoMA. Ms. Katchadourian demonstrated how to use a cellphone flashlight to illuminate, through the white slats of an electrical closet, clusters of gray dust billowing like tumbleweeds. Later in the tour she interviews an allergist on the digestive habits of dust mites, which will appall some listeners but may appeal strongly to certain 10-year-olds. But the soul of the audio tour is Harvey Tulcensky, an art handler at MoMA for 42 years and an artist himself. “It’s not about the dusting per se; it’s about the dusting of something that means so much to me that I feel I am helping that thing,” he says with audible wonder. “Handling the art, without wanting or trying to sound naïve, is kind of magical.”
Via: The New York Times

Ai Weiwei Melds Art and Activism in Shows About Displacement

When Migrants were forced to evacuate the Idomeni refugee camp along the Greek-Macedonian border, the Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei came to gather what they left behind. Mr. Ai did not haul back to his Berlin studio only the filthy clothes, shoes and blankets that would otherwise have been bulldozed away. He washed them, He ironed creases into the pants, brushed lint off the sweaters, scraped mud out of the sneaker treads.
Now he is bringing 2,046 of these items to New York, where he lived in the 1980s before he became one of the most influential artist of his day and before he spent four years detained by the Chinese government and denied his passport. The show, Laundromat, opening at Deitch Projects’ Wooster Street space on Nov. 5, will present those cleaned castoff belongings, along with photographs of the refugee camps he visited (including some of Mr. Ai’s Instagram shots.) It will also include a short documentary about Idomeni, which ends on the image of a pink heart-shaped light, still blinking on the back of a little girl’s shoe, like a beacon of resilience and hope.
Via: The New York Times