Presenting you with a selection of news from the art world that highlights something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
THE CENTRE POMPIDOU TURNS THE BIG 4-0
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Paris’ Centre Pompidou. Since its inauguration on January 31st, 1977, the Centre Pompidou has become a major player on both the French and international cultural scenes, holding one of the largest contemporary and modern art collections in the world and having presented a whopping 325 exhibitions.
While this Beaubourg hotspot holds a special place in the heart of Paris’ tourists and long-time residents, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers’ tubular architectural conception was a source of controversy back in the 1970s. The violent contrast between the building’s bold “exo-skeleton” and the surrounding houses made many locals nervous about the building’s presence in their neighborhood. Fortunately, the controversy has died out over the four past decades and Parisians have grown to love the cultural safe-haven.
Vintage photograph of the Centre Pompidou under construction.
Courtesy of architecture.com
To celebrate its big 4-0, the Centre Pompidou has organized a yearlong program of events both in and outside of Paris to encourage people to discover or rediscover the wealth and diversity of the center’s collections and the many different facets of today’s art. In the center’s “40th Anniversary” press release, Centre Pompidou president Serge Lasvignes states:
I would like the Centre Pompidou’s 40th anniversary to be a festival of artistic creation everywhere in France. I would like it to illustrate the vitality of cultural institutions that share the Centre Pompidou spirit, to celebrate the ties we have built with artists, museums, art centers, performance halls and festivals, and to develop and enrich a long history of shared projects that serve art and creation. I would like it to reach out to those who have loved the Centre Pompidou for forty years, as well as to new audiences.
Visit the Centre Pompidou’s website for detailed information about the center’s anniversary events.
“PANTSULA 4 LYF: POPULAR DANCE AND FASHION IN JOHANNESBURG” NOW ON VIEW AT UCLA’S FOWLER MUSEUM
January 29th, 2017 marked the opening of the UCLA Fowler Museum’s newest exhibition: Pantsula 4 LYF: Popular Dance and Fashion in Johannesburg. On view until May 7th, 2017, the show is entirely dedicated to photographer Chris Saunders’ exploration of pantsula, a popular youth dance movement in his native South Africa.
© Chris Saunders
Courtesy of UCLA Fowler Museum.
Pantsula’s energetic crews of men and women are best known for their 1950’s inspired outfits, which draw on the eclectic style of American jazz stars: sharp suits, polished shoes, fedoras, etc. Pantsula 4 LYF is the first-ever American exhibition to thoroughly explore this cultural subject, delving into pantsula’s early beginnings in Sophiatown, its dance components and its fashion staples. We definitely suggest you add this show to your “must-see exhibitions” list.
“Pantsula: Movement and Sound”
Courtesy of Fowler Museum on Vimeo.
ARTIST TRIES TO BORROW HER WORK FROM THE MOMA, DISCOVERS IT WAS THROWN AWAY
One artist recently learned the hard way that having your work at the MoMA does not necessarily mean it is there to stay. New York sculptor Pat Lasch is best known for making wood and paper-based pastries that play with the fluid limits between ordinary, everyday objects and those labeled as works of art. In 1979, the Museum of Modern Art commissioned Lash to make a 5-foot-2-inch-tall cake sculpture for the institution’s 50th anniversary.
An image provided by the artist of a 5-foot-2-inch-tall cake sculpture she created in 1979 as part of MoMA’s 50th anniversary.
Credit Pat Lasch.
Last fall, when Lasch contacted the museum to get information on how to borrow the piece for a retrospective of her work at the Palm Springs Art Museum, she was told that there was no record of the sculpture in the MoMA archives. Then, in late 2016, upon receiving a letter from MoMA’s head registrar, Lasch was shocked to discover that her supersized confection could not be found in any of the museum’s storage units and had probably been thrown away. As described in an article by the New York Times, Lasch was not too pleased about the fate of her cake, explaining that she “just presumed for the last 30-something years that the piece was safe and sound, because it’s the Modern”. While the unjustified disposal of Lasch’s sculpture was understandably a source of confusion and frustration for the artist, the good news for art lovers is that dumpster diving behind museums might just be the most affordable (and adventurous) way of acquiring new works.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO ELIMINATE THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS
Finally, some frightening news that left us feeling quite blue. As reported by The Hill, the Trump administration’s plans to cut government spending could lead to the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. The proposed plan bears a very similar resemblance to a blueprint elaborated by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank where two members of President Trump’s current transition team previously worked.
President Lyndon Johnson signs the legislation creating the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), 1965.
Courtesy of neh.gov
Founded in 1965, the NEA’s objectives have always been “supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education”. The agency has played a pivotal role in democratizing the arts and making arts education accessible to individuals from all backgrounds. However, the agency’s involvement in “controversial” projects, such as the making of Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ”, has made it the target of radical budget cuts by conservative leaders. Needless to say, the Trump administration’s plan is the most violent attack on the agency yet and could have a detrimental impact on American artists and cultural institutions.