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Roundup: Ace Gallery’s bankruptcy problems, Mark Ryden’s controversial ham canvas, Brazil artists protest

Los Angeles painter Mark Ryden, in 2002. A work by the artist is at the center of a controversy at a Virginia museum.
Los Angeles painter Mark Ryden, in 2002. A work by the artist is at the center of a controversy at a Virginia museum.
(Ken Hively)

Bankruptcy problems at L.A.’s Ace Gallery. Catholics protest L.A. painter’s canvas in Virginia. And New York museums are offering buyouts as the auction market chills out. Plus, Brazil’s artists take to the streets, Jerry Saltz looks at the late Morley Safer’s paintings, and a history of SoCal and its freeways. Here’s what’s happening in the worlds of art and design:

— The Ace Gallery bankruptcy case has gotten infinitely more intriguing as the forensic accountant who is managing the space filed a lengthy status report with the court that documented financial irregularities by proprietor Doug Chrismas after bankruptcy papers were filed. Jori Finkel has the whole enchilada over at the Art Newspaper.

— Los Angeles artist Mark Ryden’s painting of a girl slicing a ham inked with the words “Corpus Christi” has stirred up controversy in Virginia, where critics have said it mocks Catholic tradition — and are seeking to have the museum that is showing it defunded.

— The Brooklyn Museum is offering voluntary staff buyouts, making it the third New York museum (after the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art) to offer buyouts in recent weeks. Plus, the art auction business — not so hot. Looks like the art world is hitting some serious financial turbulence.

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— The Corcoran School of Arts and Design in Washington has laid off more than half of its faculty. This comes in the wake of the school’s absorption by George Washington University after the Corcoran Gallery, to which it was related, was dissolved.

The former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard — soon to house an art collection.
The former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard — soon to house an art collection.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )

— The Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard will house the Marciano Art Foundation, which is set to open in early 2017, according to a report in ARTnews. Philipp Kaiser, formerly of MOCA, will curate the first exhibition.

Japanese artist erects monument in Brazilian rain forest, timed to this summer’s Olympics — just as Brazilian artists around the country are protesting the dissolution of the Ministry of Culture by interim President Michel Temer. Nice timing, art world.

— British cultural figures — including Anish Kapoor, Martin Parr and Tracey Emin — are speaking up against the Brexit, the proposal to have Great Britain withdraw from the European Union.

Morley Safer points to one of his watercolors displayed at a New York restaurant in 1980.
Morley Safer points to one of his watercolors displayed at a New York restaurant in 1980.
(Richard Drew / AP )

— Morley Safer, the CBS newsman who just died, was contemptuous of contemporary art, even as he was a painter himself. Jerry Saltz has a look.

— “Art isn’t always about participation and popularity and relating everything back to us. Museums shouldn’t be, either.” Tom Rachman on the museum building boom.

— Whitney Museum founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s warren of unusual lower Manhattan studios will be open to the public thanks to a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This looks good.

— The Leonis Adobe Museum, L.A.’s City Cultural Monument No. 1, turned 50 this month.

— Saddiq Kahn, London’s new mayor, says he can get behind the proposed Garden Bridge — the highfalutin’ pedestrian crossing designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick — if it is more accessible to the public.

A woman tours the new Palestinian Museum for Arts and History during the opening ceremony last week.
A woman tours the new Palestinian Museum for Arts and History during the opening ceremony last week.
(Atef Safadi / EPA )

— The new Palestinian Museum in Ramallah, West Bank, exudes optimism, even if it stands empty, writes critic Oliver Wainwright. If they’re looking for shows, it seems to me like they could start with an exhibition of the photographs of Tanya Habjouqa, which chronicles the ways that Palestinians find moments of pleasure amid the occupation.

Washington’s notorious Watergate Hotel gets a makeover by Ron Arad that nods to its scandalous past — including broadcasts of the Nixon tapes in the powder rooms.

— The Expo Line opens — and Angelenos are still fixated on how it might affect cars. In his critical piece, Christopher Hawthorne looks at our city’s relationship to public transport. In related news: KPCC has a story about making buses cool. Buses would be super cool if they ran more frequently and had dedicated lanes.

— Plus, Nate Berg looks at the past and future of SoCal’s freeways in Boom: “Most of our palette is usually concrete.”

A man walks by a bar and a design space in Boyle Heights in February.
A man walks by a bar and a design space in Boyle Heights in February.
(Jenna Schoenefeld / Los Angeles Times )

— Boyle Heights gentrification is so of-the-moment, it has generated its own comedy web series executive produced by America Ferrera. Speaking of which: Neighborhoods in which photos of art are shared on social media may reflect higher property values.

— And because too much gentrification is never enough, Alana Semuels writes in the Atlantic about tax-subsidized affordable housing for whites: Namely, the low-income artist apartments, which overwhelmingly go to white residents. Some developers may be using it as a way to get around building affordable housing for the nonwhite poor.

The CIA has an art gallery.

— And last but not least: “Hotel California,” sung in French by an Australian Latin jazz/ska band. Making Monday happier.

MORE:

Why the Expo Line to Santa Monica marks a rare kind of progress in American cities

A joyous West Coast premiere for “The Boy From Oz”

George Lucas museum looks to San Francisco — but L.A. would welcome it, too

Find me on Twitter @cmonstah.


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