Home Magazine News from the Art World and Art Market - April 2023

Explore all daily art news from the international art world. 

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David Michelangelo

The story of a headmistress, Hope Carrasquilla, who, after showing Michelangelo's David during an art history lesson in a sixth-grade class at a Florida school, was forced to resign after complaints from the pupils' parents. Commenting on the accident, Florence Mayor Nardella tweeted that 'trading art for pornography is simply ridiculous... art is civilisation and those who teach it deserve respect'. After which he personally invited the teacher to present her with an honour on behalf of the city. In the meantime, the state of Florida has distanced itself from the incident and Alex Lanfranconi, spokesman for the Department of Education, admitted in a statement to Florida's Voice that the masterpiece does indeed have 'historical and artistic value'.

War on eco-vandals in the Italian government's new DDL

The Italian government declares war on climate activists who deface and deteriorate monuments and other cultural sites. In the draft text of the new bill, which has Senator Lisei as its first signatory, imprisonment from six months to three years is envisaged for anyone who defaces or defaces public or religious buildings and buildings protected as cultural assets. The FdI bill would also impose a ban on approaching listed buildings at a distance of less than 10 metres for anyone who has been charged with one or more offences or has been convicted of vandalism or deliberate damage to cultural property, under penalty of a fine of between €500 and €1,000. The decision was taken after the latest demonstrative actions of some eco-activists who poured black liquid into the fountain of the Barcaccia in Piazza di Spagna in Rome and threw orange paint at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

The world of culture is divided over the increase in the price of admission to the Uffizi Gallery.

As of 1 March, the price of an individual admission ticket to the Uffizi Gallery increased from €20 to €25. The 25 per cent increase, which is limited to the peak season (1 March to 30 November), sparked a heated debate on the cost of access to national cultural institutions. In 2022, the Florentine museum recorded a record number of visitors: 4 million, i.e. more than double the previous year's figure, for revenue of almost €35 million.

Casa Balla reopens

By popular demand, the house of Giacomo Balla, the residence where the Futurist master lived and worked from 1929 until his death in 1958, was reopened on 6 April. Casa Balla had already been open from June 2021 until 31 December 2022 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the artist's birth, and was always sold out. Given the enormous success, the Ministry of Culture together with the Maxxi, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, decided to acquire the residence of the Futurist artist, which will thus become state property.

A Damien Hirst sculpture knocked down by a Rolls-Royce in Florida

Just a few months after a woman smashed a Jeff Koons 'Balloon Dog' at an art fair in Miami, the news reports of another accidental destruction, which happened in an even more sensational way in Palm Beach. It was about 6 p.m. when a woman lost control of her Rolls-Royce as it ploughed into the garden of a mansion owned by tycoon and art collector Steven Tananbaum. In her mad dash the car ran over a sculpture by Damien Hirst, before ending up silted up on the beach below. Sphinx, the title of the work, is a sculpture that had been part of the British artist's 'Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable' exhibition during the 2017 Venice Biennale, and is valued at around $3 million. The owner of the car, who was apparently not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was not seriously injured. The amount of damage to the sculpture, which is covered in coral, barnacles and shells, has not been disclosed. The Rolls-Royce, however, got away with only $2,000 in repairs.

FBI makes its app for identifying stolen art available to the public

Even private citizens and art institutions will now be able to track stolen art from their smartphones. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has in fact made its Nation Stolen Art File, used until now only by law enforcement agencies, available to everyone. The FBI's app comes almost a decade after the Italian iTPC Carabinieri, which provides access to a huge database of stolen art objects, complete with pictures and descriptions. The application was developed by the Carabinieri to support investigative activities against cultural heritage crimes.

Budget time for MIart 2023

The 27th edition of MIart, Milan's international modern and contemporary art fair, directed for the third year by Nicola Ricciardi, recently ended (16 April). In line with the title of this year's edition, Crescendo, the kermesse recorded a positive trend on the commercial front with a significant increase in collectors' attendance. The event thus confirmed itself as an important reality for the city, even though it was inevitably affected by the overlapping of Milan Design Week and the Salone del Mobile. The next edition of the Milan fair will be held from 12 to 14 April 2024.

Simone Leigh's travelling exhibition in the USA after success at the 59th Venice Biennale

She was the first black female artist to represent the United States at last year's Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition, where she was awarded the Golden Lion for her monumental sculpture Brick House. Now Simone Leigh is touring the US with a solo anthological exhibition. The exhibition offers the opportunity to admire the innovative production of the American artist developed over a period of almost 20 years. The exhibition features a selection of 11 works already exhibited in Venice, as well as other key works from her career, for a total of 29. Simone Leigh, this is the concise title of the exhibition, makes its debut at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (ICA) until 4 September 2023, continuing at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington from 10 November to 3 March 2024, and then in Los Angeles at the County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the California African American Museum (CAAM) from June 2024 to January 2025.

Cover Image:  David of Michelangelo via Wikimedia Commons 

Written by: Kooness

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