Headlines: Bilbao, Terrus, Menil
1) Two Works Removed From Guggenheim NY Will be Shown in Spain
Two works that were removed from the Solomon R. Guggenheim’s controversial survey of Chinese art last year are set to be included in a show at the Guggenheim Bilbao. Huang Yong Ping’s Theater of the World, and Xu Bing’s A Case Study of Transference were among three works removed from the September 2017 retrospective Art and China After 1989: Theater of The World, following threats of violence from animal rights’ activists. According to reports, when the retrospective travels to Bilbao (in Spain) this month, both works will be shown in their full glory. Theater takes the form of a raised cage like structure that houses a variety of insects and reptiles, while Transference is a filmed performance showing two pigs mating, each stamped with gibberish characters in either Chinese or the Roman alphabet. Perhaps the most controversial work removed from the New York show, Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, will not be shown at Bilbao either, and has been replaced with another work by the duo.
2) French Museum Discovers Over 50 Percent of Its Collection Is Forged
A French museum made the distressing discovery this week that a huge chunk of its works are in fact, fakes. The Terrus Museum, located in Elne, France, is devoted to the work of Étienne Terrus, a local painter who lived in the latter half of the 19th century. Curators at the museum had spent the better part of two decades amassing the museum’s significant collection of paintings by Terrus. The museum has recently been closed for renovations -- the forgery issue was discovered just shortly before it was set to reopen. Local art historian Eric Forcada noticed signs of forgery in images of the paintings sent in an email, and after being invited to inspect the works in person, discovered that 82 of the 140 paintings in the collection were falsified.
3) New Drawing Museum to Open in Houston
The Menil Drawing Institute will open in Houston, Texas this November. The space, designed by Los Angeles architect Johnston Marklees, was conceived a decade ago as a place to showcase drawings by artists both living and dead, from across the globe. Costing $40 million dollars to design and build, the sleek structure is the first purpose-built museum dedicated entirely to drawing. Its first planned exhibition, when it opens on November 3rd, is reportedly a survey of drawings by Jasper Johns -- the Menil Foundation already owns one of the largest collections of Johns’ drawings in the world, and the new building will be a great opportunity to showcase the work.
4) Are "Blockbuster" Exhibitions Ruining Art?
Here’s an interesting thought piece on how “Instagrammable” art shows (like Yayoi Kusama’s ongoing Infinity Mirrors zeitgeist, or David Bowie Is, the survey of the late musician’s artwork, career, and aesthetic) could be ruining museums, and for that matter, art itself. While these massively popular shows certainly bring in crowds, Felix Salmon, writing for Slate, argues that what they also do is dilute the importance of the museum itself as a cultural institution -- viewers may be drawn in for these “blockbuster” exhibitions, but, as Salmon says, “see no reason to go there at any other time.” Comparing these massive, international art events to blockbuster movies like the spate of recent Marvel films, the article questions whether such exhibitions are in fact, ruining our collective ability to enjoy art.