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    The Wave - Arizona, USA

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    Calling all women artists: the Brooklyn Museum wants to take your picture



    You just cannot contain the kind of energy generated by the enormously supportive gathering of 733 women artists in Los Angeles, who came together for a group portrait at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery this August. At least that was the thinking of Carmen Hermo, an assistant curator at the Brooklyn Museum, who gained the support of museum leadership, including the director Anne Pasternak, to realise a New York version of the event.Now Be Here #2 will take place the morning of Sunday, 23 October, in the museum’s Beaux-Arts Court. It will serve as the kick-off event in the museum’s A Year of Yes celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, featuring “ten exhibitions and tons of programming”, Hermo says. These include Beverly Buchanan—Ruins and Rituals, opening that weekend, and subsequent show on gender transformation in ancient Egypt and “black radical women” from 1965-85, the curator adds.
    The Los Angeles event, which drew many generations of artists, was organised by the conceptual artist Kim Schoenstadt. She was seeking, she said, a spirit of inclusiveness in response to “the way the art world can be all about making lists, who gets invited and who doesn’t, or who’s in the show and who’s not.” She issued the initial email invite to dozens of artists, asking them—“like an old-school chain letter”—to invite others.

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    New York culture festival celebrates Antigone, an ancient heroine as relevant as ever

    How does Antigone—an ancient Greek mythological heroine, best known as the protagonist of Sophocles’s eponymous fifth-century BC tragedy—continue to resonate with our social and political climate and our personal quests for justice, thousands of years later? She is “a teenager who stood up for what she believed was morally right against the will of the state”, says Amalia Cosmetatou, the executive and cultural director of the Onassis Cultural Center in New York, which has chosen the ancient heroine’s contemporary relevance as the theme of its second annual Onassis Festival of Arts and Ideas, Antigone Now. The four-day event, which runs from 13-16 October and includes visual and performing arts, workshops, film screenings and talks, “is about giving voice to modern-day Antigones”, Cosmetatou says. “The play was the perfect vehicle to ask people what they stand for.”A new performance piece, Past Tense, by the artist Carrie Mae Weems—who, in her socially engaged practice, could very well be described as a “modern-day Antigone”—will open the festival on the evening of Thursday, 13 October.

    Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Weems says that Rachel Chanoff, one of the curators of the festival’s performing arts programme, reached out to her because she knew that the artist’s performance Grace Notes: Reflections for Now, which examines violence against African Americans and democracy (2016), “is essentially the story of Antigone: the basic plot is a woman who really wants to bury her brother with some kind of dignity, with a large portion of the society saying, ‘Yes but they don’t deserve to be buried at all’”.

    Weems says she had not read Sophocles’s tragedy before writing Grace Notes and realised the connection later; she quotes Billie Holiday singing “the same old story but it’s new to me”. Past Tense—a re-telling of Antigone, set in the present, with song, text, projection and video—is an adaptation of Grace Notes, and features the same singers, Alicia Hall Moran, Imana Uzuri and Eisa Davis, and Weems speaking. “Unfortunately—I’m not really a performer,” she jokes, when asked if she is participating again. Weems plans to use excerpts from Sophocles’s Antigone in the performance, and says some of the questions the play raises are: “How do we respect our dead? What are the struggles for power, how do we accept or rebel against that power?”



    A tapestry of a Greek landscape by Alexandra Kehayoglou deals with environmental destruction (Image: Joseph Coscia, Jr. Image courtesy of the Onassis Cultural Center New York)


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    Doris Salcedo covers Bogotá square with stitched banners in memory of victims of civil war

    Following Colombia’s shock vote to reject a landmark peace deal with Farc rebels, the Colombian artist Doris Salcedo covered the main square in the capital of Bogotá with 7,000 metres of white fabric yesterday (11 October).



    Doris Salcedo's Sumando Ausencias

    The shroud-like installation, which volunteers stitched together from individual banners, bears the names of just 7% of the victims of the conflict, written in ash. An estimated 260,000 people have been killed over the past 60 years. “The names are poorly written, almost erased, because we are already forgetting these violent deaths,” Salcedo says.
    Sumando Ausencias, loosely translated as “adding absence”, was created in collaboration with the Museo de la Universidad Nacional Bogotá. The site-specific work will remain on show in the Plaza Bolivar for a short period of time only.

    After nearly four years of negotiations, Colombia’s decision on 2 October to reject the peace agreement by 50.2% to 49.8% has thrown the country into confusion. Many provinces that have been hardest hit by violence overwhelmingly backed the deal. Bogotá voted “yes” with 56%.

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    The one that got away: filmmaker tracks down the Warhol work that her family let go

    An art world novelty item that turned out to be a shrewd investment is the subject of a charming and clever documentary film that humanises the art market. Brillo Box (3 ¢ off), which premiered at the New York Film Festival (until 16 October) and is due to air on HBO in early 2017, tracks the trajectory of a pop art piece by Andy Warhol that was originally bought by the New York filmmaker Lisanne Skyler’s family for $1,000 in 1969. It passed to owners in London and Los Angeles, until it ended up at an auction in New York in 2010, where it made more than $3m.

    The original design for the soap scouring pad packaging was by James Harvey, an Abstract Expressionist painter who had a day job as a product designer. Appropriated in 1964 by Warhol, who emblazoned it with the discount label, the yellow box—a departure from the standard white—was sold in 1969 by Warhol’s dealer, Ivan Karp of OK Harris Gallery, to Martin and Rita Skyler, the filmmaker’s parents.“I used Brillo,” Rita Skyler says in the film, describing how the Brillo Box defined a zeitgeist for her. Martin Skyler, then a young lawyer, had Warhol sign it. The rare Warhol signature boosted its value—yet Skyler traded the box two years later for a drawing by the psychedelically inspired Peter Young.

    Charles Saatchi bought the box at Christie’s New York in 1988 for $35,000. After another sale at Christie’s during the art market slump of the early 1990s, Robert Shapazian of the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles acquired it in 1995 for $43,700. He exhibited it with other Warhol boxes in his living room until his death in 2010. A note that Shapazian left behind said: “art—the Warhol—had the power to help confirm to me that the past was over.” His estate sold it at Christie’s in November 2010 for more than $3m. The film does not name the buyer at that sale, but the work was auctioned again at Christie’s in May 2014 for $1.7m.



    The film-maker Lisanne Skyler as a baby, perched on the Brillo Box her family once owned

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    Fake ticket scheme uncovered at Versailles



    Five employees of the Chteau of Versailles, aged 21 to 34, were caught on Sunday, 9 October, selling fake entrance tickets to the former royal palace. They were charged with fraud and taken into police custody in the commune of Viroflay, Le Parisien reports. Two men and two women involved have admitted their roles in the scheme and were indicted on 11 October. Another man who has worked at the historic site seasonally for the past four years is suspected of being the leader and has been held in jail, but he has denied any responsibility.

    For several months, the team allegedly distributed two types of fake tickets: real tickets that were re-used and counterfeit tickets, allowing access to the park and the mini-train, the newspaper reports, based on a source close to the investigation. A teller would give these fake tickets to visitors who paid in cash. Their accomplices would then let the visitors through the entry checkpoint. The scheme was uncovered by other workers who noticed that these fake tickets were not being put through the machines at the entrance, and a member of management called the police. When he was arrested on Sunday, one of the suspects carried some 150 fake tickets on him, resold for around 10 each, Le Parisien reports. A ticket just to the main palace and temporary exhibitions usually costs 15, while a ticket to the entire historic site and gardens costs 25.

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    Gifts from Fiji make their way to Norwich



    This club by Tongan craftsmen based in Fiji (about 1875-76) is inlaid with 74 pieces of whale ivory and bone, and was a gift to governor Sir Arthur Gordon

    Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific, at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich (15 October-12 February 2017), is essentially about relationships. Gift-giving is central to Fijian culture, so UK museums house a treasure trove of Fijian objects. The lion’s share of these were assembled in the 19th century by British nationals living in the South Pacific archipelago, which became a British colony in 1874. Expats “went mad” for Fijian art and artefacts, says Karen Jacobs, who co-organised the exhibition. It presents 270 works, including barkcloth paintings, war clubs, highly prized whale-teeth jewellery and an 8m-long wooden canoe (drua) made especially for the show, which is the culmination of a three-year grant from the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

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    Mickalene Thomas: ‘A black woman’s existence on this planet is a revolutionary act’



    A video still from Do I Look Like a Lady? (2016)

    Mickalene Thomas: Do I Look Like a Lady?, a show of new and recent work by the New York-based artist that opens this month at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, is named after a two-channel video that meshes footage of African-American women performers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The exhibition also includes a new series of silk-screen portraits of the actresses Diahann Carroll and Pam Grier, among others, installed in a room styled like a 1970s domestic interior. We spoke to Thomas about how the works came about.The show is supported by the Sydney Irmas Exhibition Endowment.

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    Serota’s first resignation from the Tate, aged 24



    Nicholas Serota may have announced that he is moving on to Arts Council England, but this is not the first time that the outgoing director has resigned from the Tate. Back in 1971, Serota (then aged 24) was chairman of the Young Friends of the Tate, which found itself at loggerheads with the institution’s director and trustees. The Tate Gallery was shying away from cutting-edge art, so the rebellious Young Friends decided to set up their own exhibition space and began to convert a dilapidated building in a run-down area near Waterloo station—much to the annoyance of the Tate’s then director, Norman Reid, who feared that the public would assume that this was an official venture. Serota and his colleagues were ordered to stop the exhibitions and the Young Friends committee angrily resigned en masse.

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    Artist Kader Attia opens new art hub in Paris



    The Paris-born artist Kader Attia opens a new, three-storey exhibition and events space today (17 October) in Paris.* The space is a new kind of artistic “laboratory” for sharing ideas and showing works in the post-Brexit age, he says. The new venue, close to the Gare du Nord train station and co-founded with the restaurateur Zico Selloum, is called La Colonie.The space will host workshops, conferences, lectures and readings. “Far from a museum or institutional context, the artistic proposals are as much conceptual as they are formal, a-formal or performed,” says a project statement. Details of the exhibition programme are yet to be announced.

    La Colonie launches today “in tribute to those who died demonstrating for an independent Algeria in Paris on this day in 1961”, Attia says. Around 300 members of the Algerian community are thought to have died after a crackdown by the police.

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