A quake’s deadly toll, George Takei’s rescue of Japanese internment artifacts from auction, parsing the plans for the new LACMA, more thoughts on the new Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim’s labor issues. Plus: Jeffrey Deitch goes to Coney Island, Jackson Pollock’s apple pie, and the brave new world of graffiti drones.
— A group of activists protesting labor conditions at the Guggenheim Museum’s rising Abu Dhabi outpost took over the museum’s New York galleries on Friday, May Day, forcing the institution to shut down. Mostafa Heddaya at Artinfo has the blow-by-blow while writer Ben Sutton got a great piece of video as the protesters rained down leaflets on the museum’s rotunda.
— Both Kenya and Costa Rica have pulled out of the Venice Biennale after controversies tied to their exhibition pavilions.
— With the riots in Baltimore, the word “thug” is being bandied about a lot. The Atlantic has a terrific essay on the origins of the word — which has its roots in 14th century India.
— The devastating quake in Nepal has left more than 7,000 dead. It has also irrevocably damaged countless pieces of historic architecture.
— Actor George Takei has helped L.A.’s Japanese American National Museum acquire a rare collection of internment camp artifacts that had recently been put up for sale in a controversial auction.
— In an op-ed in the L.A. Times, arts writer Tyler Green asks if the L.A. County Museum’s Zumthor plan is giving the art enough square footage.
— Plus, an essay from William Powhida, on how the art world is a system that favors privilege.
— Museum of Modern Art director Glenn Lowry talks to the Art Newspaper about the Bjorkatastrophe: “We just didn’t do the show we should have done. Fair enough. We just need to find a way to do those shows better.”
— Speaking of museum debacles: Jeffrey Deitch will be showing “Art in the Streets,” the graffiti show he originated at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art, in Coney Island.
— Curator Alma Ruiz, who recently left MOCA after 31 years, discusses her tenure at the museum with KCET-TV — including the difficult Deitch years.
— A few more analyses of the Whitney Museum’s new downtown Manhattan digs: New York Times chief critic Roberta Smith likes it very much, Walter Robinson examines the inaugural exhibition’s anti-utopian strains, Ben Davis uses it as a starting-off point for a discussion about the future of museums in the age of the blockbuster and Alexandra Lange looks at the architecture. Her advice: “Go upstairs and ignore the rest.”
— And since we’re on the subject of the Whitney: one of its pieces of wall text takes a quote from a 1993 review by my colleague Christopher Knight out of context. Not very scholarly.
— Also, Alexandra Lange has a terrific piece in Curbed about the Thomas Heatherwick-designed park-on-a-pier in Manhattan. A thorough look at how the 1% are creating their own play spaces — with the help of citizen tax dollars.
— Drones, they’re now being used for graffiti.
— For years, painter Joy Garnett has been photographing bits of detritus and posting the images online. Art21 gathers a selection of these, along with the artist’s thoughts on how she finds art in refuse.
— New Yorkers are moving to L.A. — and the New York Times is on it!
— Jackson Pollock, foodie.
— An interesting piece in L.A. Weekly about how women directors have been locked out of Hollywood.
— And last but not least, Mental Floss has a map of what could be the most popular fictional characters from each state. Marty McFly reps California. Personally, I think we’re more a Dude (as in “The Big Lebowski”) kind of state.
Find me on Twitter @cmonstah.