Roundup: Masterpiece found, lots of L.A. urbanism, Chris Rock rocks

A proposed rendering for the Guggenheim Helsinki is shown. The open-call architecture competition has been criticized for keeping anonymous the names of the participating firms.
(Guggenheim Museum)

A children’s movie turns up a lost Hungarian painting, the questionable works in that Nazi-era art trove, the Guggenheim’s odd design competition for its museum in Helsinki, Finland, and a truly awesome Q&A with Chris Rock. Plus, oodles of L.A. urbanism — including gentrification, freeways and “Terminator.” Here’s the Roundup:

— Lets start with the news the art types are all tittering about: Globe-trotting curator Hans Ulrich Obrist has been profiled by the New Yorker. My summary by the numbers: He sleeps four to five hours a night, he has published more than 200 catalogues, he has spent 2,400 hours interviewing artists, he visited a show at the Kunsthaus in Zurich 41 times, he will only listen to a gallery rep describe a work of art for 20 seconds before looking at his phone, the word “Gesamtkunstwerk” is mentioned three times. Names dropped: Too many to count. A studio visit with the skeptical Ed Ruscha? Priceless.

— The perfect counterpoint to that profile? Andrew Berardini’s satirical “How to Survive International Art: Notes From the Poverty Jetset” in Momus. Bravo.

— The film “Stuart Little” has led a historian to uncover a long-lost Hungarian masterpiece.


— The collection left to a Swiss museum in Bern by Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a Nazi-era art dealer, is pretty stellar according to Artnet. Landscapes by Cezanne and Jan Brueghel the Elder, as well as watercolors by George Grosz and Paul Klee are part of the haul. It also contains hundreds of pieces of questionable provenance.

— There is an epically wonderful interview with Chris Rock in New York Magazine, which smartly touches on comedy, political correctness, race, national politics and the always-on Internet. Plus, Rock takes down the entertainment industry’s race problem in a searing essay for the Hollywood Reporter. And, my colleague Josh Rottenberg talks with Rock about forging his own path after years of being offered too many “fake ‘Beverly Hills Cop’” movies. Read them all!!!

— Critic A.O. Scott asks a panels of artists and cultural figures if the art of our era lives up to the challenges of our time.

— Sort of related: Artist and writer Molly Crabapple explains Ferguson, Mo., and police shootings in a wonderfully rendered nearly-four-minute stop-motion short.

— Artsy Chinatown broadcaster KCHUNG now has its extensive archive up online, which means you can go back and listen to shows all the way back to 2011. (Another Righteous Transfer)

— Plus, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History now contains objects from L.A. painter and muralist Judith Baca.

— “If design competitions are bad for designers, then this one was the worst there has ever been.” Citylab takes on the farce that is the design competition for the Guggenheim Helsinki, a crowd-sourced contest in which judgment is based on anonymous renderings.

— L.A. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne takes a look at how Korean immigrants have transformed and preserved some of L.A.’s most iconic architecture, and in the process, have created one of the city’s most thriving urban hubs. He then turns to the San Gabriel Valley and examines how the city of Arcadia is remaking itself as a magnet for Chinese money — and design.


— Meanwhile, in downtown ... the condo-ification of the Arts District is meeting resistance. My question: Can we stop referring to it as the Arts District and just call it the Expensive Coffee and Pricey Prosciutto di Parma District? ‘Cuz that’s what it is.

— Likewise, public radio’s “Marketplace” has set up a small bureau in Highland Park to track gentrification — and have been dubbed gentrifiers themselves in the process.

— It appears that Southern California will be removing a freeway … for the first time ever. The target: a portion of the Terminal Island Freeway in Long Beach. (@awalkerinLA)

— Plus, Streetsblog LA provides 10 good reasons on why our city needs to put an end to street-widening.


— And just because: the “Terminator” tour of L.A.

— Sorta related: Architizer has a post on how some designers are improving the aesthetics of the parking garage. A structure in Santa Monica figures on the list, but the one in Macedonia is a win.

“A money-chewing project plagued by problems.” That Santiago Calatrava transportation hub at the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan is estimated to cost almost $4 billion — twice its original estimate and roughly the GDP of Swaziland — a bonfire of ineffective management, political vanities and extravagant design. Like, wow.

— Miamians are at work on a rescue plan for an unlikely Modernist icon: the Miami Marine Stadium. Last year, I wrote about the history of the stadium, which is pretty darn colorful, involving references to Mies Van der Rohe, Jimmy Buffett, Richard Nixon and others.


— And because we’re on the subject of Miami, ARTnews tells us what to expect from this week’s South Florida art fairs with a series of out-of-context quotes from party invitations. Pure poetry.

Twitter: @cmonstah