Art in Print

Art history A-level saved after high-profile campaign

Just weeks after it was announced that art history A-level was to be dropped – an act described by the historian Simon Schama as “a big dull axe wielded by cultural pygmies” – the government has said that the qualification will be saved after all.
An array of leading figures from the art world, including artists Anish Kapoor, Jeremy Deller and Cornelia Parker, as well as the Tate gallery’s director, Nicholas Serota, lined up to offer warm words welcoming Thursday’s reprieve. “[It is] a huge relief to hear this news,” said Kapoor. “Art and art history are the study of what inspires and guides the poetic in us. How could we imagine an education without them?”
“A good day for art and culture,” said Deller, who has said that the subject was his favourite A-level. “Art history is the study of power, politics, identity and humanity. It makes perfect sense to keep the exam.”
“As a working-class girl, receiving free school dinners, I studied art history,” said Parker. “It has hugely enriched my life and career, and hopefully those of countless students I passed the knowledge on to, during the 15 years I spent teaching at art school. Now more than ever, as we face Brexit, we have to fully understand what our cultural capital is and how we can best use it. We should be widening our cultural knowledge, not shrinking it.”
Via: The Guardian

Sir Hardy Amies show celebrates life and legacy of Queen's dressmaker

 An exhibition celebrating the origins of Sir Hardy Amies, revered supplier of tailoring to society and royalty, opens this week in the east London borough of Dagenham.
Photographs and letters, memorabilia and original designs including a pink hat and coat created for the Queen’s silver jubilee will feature in the exhibition, as well as a moth-eaten and battered object Amies kept his whole life – his old cap from Brentwood School. Amies returned to the school several times, to open a bazaar in the 1950s, to give a fundraising fashion show in 1957 and, in the 1960s, to redesign the girls’ uniform still being worn today.
The exhibition is being created in a building Amies would have known well, Valence House, a miraculous survivor in suburbia of a house dating part to the 1400s, now a local authority museum.
His mother was a dressmaker and he followed her into couture, but only opened his own Savile Row salon after the second world war, in which he served in British intelligence and the special operations executive. He was official dressmaker to the Queen from 1955 until he retired in 1989, and other projects included costumes for the science fiction film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. He was knighted in 1996.
Via: The Guardian

Greece’s new temple to high culture

Even the most starry-eyed philanthropist might balk at spending €600m to build a temple of high culture in a country grappling with its worst financial crisis in memory. Yet in 2006 when the Stavros Niarchos Foundation decided to build a new home for the Greek National Opera and the National Library, economic growth was accelerating and Greece looked set to become a beacon of prosperity in south-east Europe.
“Greece won the European football championship in 2004, it staged a successful Olympic Games, the economy was doing well,” says Andreas Dracopoulos, co-president of the New York-based foundation named for his late uncle, a Greek shipping billionaire. “We thought Greece had turned the corner. If anyone had suggested otherwise at that time we’d have said ‘are you crazy?’” he adds. In spite of the country’s financial collapse in 2010, followed by a succession of huge bailouts, construction of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre went ahead as planned.
The centre, a spectacular 30m-tall glass and concrete complex designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano, was completed this year. It houses the opera and library as part of an artificial hillside capped with an elegantly thin roof of high-tech cement.
From the upper floors, a 360-degree view includes both the ancient Acropolis in the capital’s historic centre and the blue sweep of the nearby Saronic Gulf. The complex is already in use for tours and art exhibitions ahead of its official opening next March.
Surrounding it is a 20-hectare park landscaped with native plants and Mediterranean trees, creating a new green space for sports and family activities in one of Europe’s most densely populated cities.
Since June, almost 400,000 visitors have attended free concerts, film screenings and sports activities in the park, from outdoor yoga classes to children’s sailing lessons in a rectangular lake. “We stress that it’s a triple project because the park is just as important in a different way as everything the library and the opera is about. If people just keep on coming they’ll make it a huge success,” Dracopoulos says.
Via: The FT

Sales highlights: Art Basel Miami Beach

Pre-election market jitters appeared to have calmed at the VIP preview of Art Basel Miami Beach on Wednesday, when dealers breathed a sigh of relief after making some substantial sales.
 “Spending money on art is not a priority, perhaps, in the present climate,” says Norwegian dealer Eivind Furnesvik of Standard (Oslo) gallery. “But the trick is to have a diverse portfolio.” He had sold a resin and fibre glass piece by Alex Hubbard, “Untitled” (2011), priced at $95,000.
“The market is less frantic than it was,” says New York-based dealer Sean Kelly. “Trump will probably be good for the commercial art world.” Almost all of the works on Kelly’s stand were sold at the preview, including Cuban collective Los Carpinteros’s video “Conga Irreversible” (2012), which was bought by Pérez Art Museum Miami for $60,000. A painting by Hugo McCloud, “Veiled Love” (2016), was also snapped up for $45,000.
“We’ve seen many US collectors, some Europeans and a bunch of South American buyers,” said New York dealer Jack Shainman. Showing Kerry James Marshall’s 2016 painting “Untitled (curtain girl)” at the fair was a canny move. With a critically acclaimed show currently running at the Met Breuer in New York, Marshall is in demand. “We sold the work for $600,000 to a US collector,” says Shainman. “The waiting list for his works is vast.”
Via: The FT 


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