Greek museums are being pushed to their financial limits with the ongoing debt crisis. “Obey” artist Shepard Fairey was arrested at LAX. China has eased restrictions on Ai Weiwei. And Paris debates its first skyscraper in 40 years. Plus: the controversies surrounding Bill Cosby’s art collection in Washington, D.C., and plotting a future for some important Richard Neutra buildings in Orange County. It's your weekly roundup of what's making news in the worlds of arts and culture.
— Greek debt crisis puts its cultural institutions on the brink. If the banks run out of money, many museums will be unable to cover operating costs.
— The area around Michael Heizer’s massive "City" land art project in Nevada has been declared a national monument by President Obama.
— Cuba returns dissident artist Tania Bruguera's passport after holding it for more than six months.
— A rainbow flag painted on the Israeli separation barrier by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar leads to controversy.
— China relaxes the ban on Ai Weiwei. The artist just had four exhibitions open in Beijing.
— The city of El Paso removed a partially installed sculpture by artist Margarita Cabrera (who figured in LACMA’s 2008 "Phantom Sightings" exhibition), reportedly because the work, made in collaboration with local schoolchildren, contained gun fragments. The artist, however, says gun fragments were always part of the work. More here.
— The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art continues to stand by its exhibition of art from the collection of Bill and Camille Cosby — which, interestingly, was funded by the Cosbys themselves, raising all kinds of uncomfortable questions about conflict of interest.
— In the meantime, Cosby’s daughter, artist Erika Ranee, has curated what appears to be a compelling exhibition in Brooklyn.
— Writer Dushko Petrovich, founding editor of the art magazine Paper Monument, has developed a tabloid-style publication just for adjunct professors who commute long distances between gigs. "Adjunct Commuter Weekly" features interviews, audio book reviews and recipes.
— L.A. artist Micol Hebron is making art safe for the Internet with a male nipple template to cover up female ones banned from some social media sites. Warning: This link contains male nipples.
— As downtown Los Angeles booms, smaller arts spaces are being pushed out. Annie Buckley writes a tribute to HK Zamani’s experimental POST gallery.
— Artpace in San Antonio is screening Christian Marclay’s “Guitar Drag,” a work of video that shows an electric guitar being dragged behind a pickup truck. Christina Rees over at Glasstire has a stirring essay on the work’s violent roots.
— Before Chris Burden’s “Urban Light,” another California artist created a light post installation at the intersection of Vermont and Santa Monica.
— Strategies for building architect Norman Foster’s Apple headquarters: “According to our source, Apple employees would regularly use the iPhone in meetings with construction contractors as the perfect example of what they were trying to build.” So the new headquarters will have an easily cracked screen and a too-small keyboard?
— Paris approves its first tower in 40 years. As Kriston Capps over at Citylab points out, it’s a case that involves architects implying that a 42-story tower could somehow be invisible (a ploy that has been tried before).
— Architectural photographer Wayne Thom — a figure who, over the course of a long career, has recorded important late Modern buildings, from the CNA building in Westlake to downtown's Bonaventure Hotel — is looking for a home for his extensive archive. Get on this, Los Angeles. It'd be a shame if these photos ended up elsewhere.
— Speaking of architectural photography, the Getty has acquired a stash of important 19th century architecture photographs from a private collector in Santa Monica.
— At its heart, Costa Mesa's Orange Coast College has a suite of buildings by Richard Neutra. Now that the college is in the midst of renovations, the big question is what to do with them. An earlier plan had called for their destruction. Historians, and Neutra's son Dion, hope that the college will find a way to integrate them into their new campus design.
— Of cubicles and open plans: The evolution of office design.
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