May 1, 2019

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription

In this issue:

Art can make science easier to remember
Precious works rescued from Notre Dame to be transferred to the Louvre
Signed, Anonymous
Ziggy's Art Bus gives homebound kids a chance to show their creative side
Overcoming Obstacles: Painter finds passion, purpose in art
Louvre bids to buy Rembrandt masterpiece from Rothschild collection in France
What will art look like in 20 years?
Crowd control: Louvre to enforce timed tickets in run-up to Leonardo da Vinci blockbuster
The closing of a beloved San Clemente art store leaves a hole in heart of the local arts community
A Study Says High Family Income Significantly Increases Likelihood of Becoming an Artist
How Far Would You Go to See the World’s Best Works of Art?
Frida Kahlo: The unapologetic artist





Art can make science easier to remember
Using art in science class helped students retain what they learned longer

Art and science may seem like polar opposites. One involves the creative flow of ideas, and the other cold, hard data — or so some people believe. In fact, the two have much in common. Both require a lot of creativity. People also use both to better understand the world around us. Now, a study finds, art also can help students remember better what they learned in science class.

Mariale Hardiman is an education specialist at Johns Hopkins University in Columbia, Md. Back when she was a school principal, she had noticed that students who used art in the classroom were more engaged. They might listen more intently. They might ask more questions. They might volunteer more ideas. What’s more, students seemed to remember more of what they had been taught when their lessons had involved art. But Hardiman knew the only way to test whether and how well art might really improve learning was to test it with an experiment. So she teamed up with other Johns Hopkins researchers and six local schools.

The researchers worked with teachers in 16 fifth-grade classrooms. The scientists took the traditional science lessons and created art-focused versions of them.

In a traditional science classroom, for instance, students might read aloud from a book. In the art-focused class, they might now sing or rap the information instead. Another example: Traditional science classes often use charts and graphs. The art classrooms instead had students create collages and other types of art. Everyone would get the same information —just learn it in different ways.

The team then randomly assigned each of the 350 students to either a traditional science classroom or an art-focused one. Students then learned science using that approach for the entire unit — about three weeks. When they switched to a new topic, they also changed to the other type of class. This way, each student had both an art-focused class and a standard one. Every unit was taught both ways, to different groups of students. This let the researchers see how students did in both types of classes.

Before and after each phase of the experiment, students took test. They took a third one 10 weeks later. This one measured how well they still remembered what they learned two months earlier. The research team also looked at how well each student performed on the state reading test. This let them compare how art and non-art classrooms affected students with different types of learning abilities.

Students who read at or above their grade level did just as well in both types of classes. Those who had lower reading scores gained much more of the science if it had been taught in an art-focused class.

In some cases, Hardiman says, kids actually performed better in the third test, months later, than in those taken earlier. And classroom teachers reported “that many students continued to sing the songs or raps that they learned after finishing the unit,” Hardiman notes. “The more we hear something, the more we retain it,” she says.

Students who started off in regular classes performed better after they moved into an art-focused class. But those who started in an art-focused class did well even when they switched back to a regular science class. Says Hardiman, these students appeared to use some of the art techniques after switching back to a traditional class. “Some continued to sketch or sing to help them retain information,” she notes. “This suggests that the arts may help students apply creative ways of learning on their own.”

Her team shared its results February 7 in Trends in Neuroscience and Education.

The study takes art as a method of science learning very seriously, says Jaime Martinez. He’s a science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) specialist at the New York Institute of Technology in New York City. He was not involved with the study. It’s understandable that the authors might interpret their new results as a useful approach for helping struggling readers, he says. But he also thinks there’s a broader benefit to using arts in the classroom. Researchers and teachers find that students in art-focused classes develop more creativity and learn to collaborate better skills, he notes.

Everyone benefits from the arts, Hardiman agrees. “All educators should learn how to use the arts as an instructional tool to promote learning.” Science News for Students


Precious works rescued from Notre Dame to be transferred to the Louvre
Crown of Thorns and St Louis tunic are among the artefacts to have been saved, while paintings inside the cathedral will be removed and restored

Some of the most valuable objects rescued as Notre Dame Cathedral burned in Paris on Monday evening are due to be transported to the Louvre Museum from the Hotel de Ville, where they were stored overnight, according to the French Culture Minister Franck Riester.

At risk of being seriously injured by falling drops of molten lead, firefighters created a human chain to carry precious Medieval artefacts including the Holy Crown of Thorns and the tunic of Saint Louis to safety last night.

“These treasures were saved thanks to a huge amount of courage by the firefighters of Paris working with the ministry of culture and city officials,” Riester said.

A spokeswoman for the Louvre told The Art Newspaper it is too early to give details about which works the museum will temporarily house, or whether it will be involved in restoration, but confirmed it “is working closely with all competent authorities to help safeguard artworks that may have been affected”.

She added: “The fire is a disaster for the world heritage of humanity, for our city, for all of us. The Musée du Louvre would like to express its solidarity with and compassion towards all teams involved.”

Speaking to French media today, Riester said the Holy Crown of Thorns, believed to have been placed on Jesus’s head during his crucifixion, and the 13th-century tunic of Saint Louis were transported to the Hotel de Ville on Monday night together with other works of art and religious relics.

The fate of other works, including large 17th-century pictures by Antoine Nicolas and Jean Jouvenet, hang in the balance. Riester said it was “too early to say” whether the paintings had survived. He added: “The fire did not reach them, but in such cases there is often water damage. We will know more as soon as we can get back inside and establish a diagnosis. We must remove the paintings as soon as possible, clean them, dehumidify them, put them in a suitable place for conservation and begin restoration.”

The condition of 14th-century carved reliefs by Pierre de Chelle, Jean Ravy and Jean Le Bouteiller remains unknown, while the stone statuary and gargoyles that adorn the cathedral are likely to have been affected. Earlier this month, 16 copper statues were airlifted and moved for renovation from the cathedral’s spire.

Another slither of hope came this morning with images posted on social media that appear to suggest that all three rose stained glass windows, including the immense window to the north with original 13th-century glasswork, have survived–although the extent of fire damage is unknown.

Christophe Girard, the deputy mayor of Paris in charge of culture, praised the collaboration between the city hall, ministry of culture and the Louvre in removing everything that could be saved. “It’s a tragedy not only for Paris, but for the whole world,” he said. The Art Newspaper


Signed, Anonymous
Journals in local coffee shops provide an outlet for uncredited creativity

Spread across buildings and around obscure corners of Salt Lake City, Banksy-style street art has slowly been making an appearance over the past 15 years. Today, local coffee shops across the valley have discovered a similar artistic evolution in overflowing journals.

Cultivating a new generation of anonymous artists, the cafés offer spaces comfortable enough to serve as a public studio of sorts for those desperate for a creative outlet. Armed with basic art supplies and coin for coffee, these mystery creators etch designs on paper, keeping their identity largely unknown, absent a signature or decipherable initials.

Paging through the stacks of assorted notebooks, you can find a variety of work, from children's doodles to skilled illustrations, where true magic exists. Scribbles in Sharpie, penciled portraits and political satire cartoons are occasionally interrupted by relationship rants and poetic laments, while others prefer to make collaborative creations. Even those at a loss for a proper writing implement have scratched their itch to create with black eyeliner pencil.

At The Coffee Shop in Riverton, creativity abounds. The shop goes through about five sizable journals a year, according to general manager Christian Coleman. Impressed with the talent of the unknown artists, employees even borrow the art on occasion to hang on their refrigerator, in addition to displaying the best drawings on the back wall. "It was kind of wild how it started years ago when customers just started bringing in empty journals and leaving them for people to fill up," Coleman says. "A lot of the art is really cool. It is insane how talented these kids are. ... Some even come in and draw all day."

While The Coffee Shop's clientele ranges from toddlers to seniors, the staff believes most of the artwork is done by teens or college students, and they are happy to be a sanctuary for those who need a creative outlet. Eventually, they plan to have a wall dedicated to these local artists as, according to Coleman, "it brings a cool atmosphere to the overall environment of the coffee shop."

Utah resident "GoldenLeaves1," just shy of 20, is one of the artists captivating visitors at The Coffee Shop with his sketches. Speaking via email, he said he rarely shares his work in public or on Instagram. "The thing about the coffee shop is that it encourages creativity with its welcoming atmosphere," GoldenLeaves1 said. "The people there are great and always positive."

While he has witnessed others sketching away at their tables, he prefers to keep himself—along with his artwork—anonymous, even though he dreams that art will be understood by more people. "Drawing has no rules and I like to keep my identity somewhat a secret, mainly because I draw just because I like to," he said. "All you need is some motivation, and with just a pen and paper, beauty can be created. It's freedom and imagination."

Across town just more than four years ago, staff at High Point Coffee in West Jordan took it upon themselves to put out empty notebooks for their artistic customers. Art covers the walls, and even the counter, with attention-grabbing drawings aplenty. "We are happy to offer a good culture for people to feel comfortable enough to express themselves," says Lindsay, a High Point barista.

However, there can be one downside to leaving the books unattended, as occasionally obscene remarks or pictures will find a place within the pages. "We have to go through them once in a while and pull out offensive work," Lindsay says. "There's always got to be that one person who ruins it for everyone."

Shielded by a cloak of invisibility, artists around town are finding these alternate spaces freeing enough to foster their burgeoning creativity, and they could be initiating a trend. As the up-and-coming artists of the new millennium, they are following Banksy's footsteps and allowing the art to speak for them while adding an air of intrigue.

Also, in an era of the everyday critic on social media, perhaps adding a face and "résumé" to the equation would change people's perception of their work. Much like the old adage of "judging a book by its cover," the artwork could face prejudices related to image, race, orientation or beliefs.

Regardless of the reasoning behind Utah's anonymous artistry, based on the compliments left in the margins of the notebooks—such as "gorgeous, amazingly creative, love this artwork!"—this form of guerilla art-fare is gaining a following by encouraging creativity, connections and community involvement, and serving as a brief escape for both artist and viewer. One commenter said it best: "Art is medicine for the soul." With the increased prevalence of mysterious art, we could all be soothed. Salt Lake City Weekly


Ziggy's Art Bus gives homebound kids a chance to show their creative side

Gina Zaffarano-Keller's dog, Ziggy, has a goofy personality and an innocent spirit. Those qualities, Zaffarano-Keller said, make Ziggy a good match for Twin Cities children dealing with significant health problems.

"Most people love dogs and dogs are, unilaterally I think, friend-makers," she said. "And so we felt that she was the right face for this bus because children love her."

The bus is aptly named Ziggy's Art Bus - a cheery activity center on wheels that invites children with mobility issues to come inside and spend an hour or more molding clay, painting pictures and being creative. The bus includes a wheelchair ramp, seating, shelves with jars of art supplies and space for tables that can be turned into easels.

Zaffarano-Keller, who works as a hairdresser, was certified as a hospice volunteer two years ago. While volunteering, she noticed that the families she was working with didn't have much opportunity to create art, something Zaffarano-Keller considers an equalizing experience.

To figure out how she could help, she interviewed families, as well as hospice and palliative professionals. She realized she needed a way to bring her vision to families.

"What became really important to these families is the mobility aspect because so often ... it's day-to-day (whether) a family can get out of their house with their child. If the child is having a day where they're physically weak or they're not feeling well, the family's locked in," Zaffarano-Keller said.

"And so the mobility aspect became sort of the forefront."

In January of 2018, Zaffarano-Keller and a board of volunteers raised funds to allow her to purchase and remake the bus that would become Ziggy's Art Bus (

"You could literally watch the little seed grow as she connected the dots between all of these possibilities," said Michael Keller, Zaffarano's husband. "It's kind of fun to see it happen that close up."

With Keller often driving, the bus began making stops in January to visit children through the Ronald McDonald House. Zaffarano-Keller and other board members have also made private at-home visits.

Zaffarano-Keller is working on adding more accessible activities for children with physical disabilities. She calls the people who have supported the bus her "village." Some have helped because of their own connection to what Zaffarano-Keller is doing. For instance, the purchase and remodeling of the bus was helped along by a man whose son had gone through cancer treatment.

The experience that children have while creating art is what Zaffarano-Keller saw in a moment of inspiration when her husband made a painting for a friend's birthday, pouring his heart out on paper. Memory boxes that her children kept when they were young also inspire her. Now, the children she visits can decorate their own memory boxes and make other art pieces along with their families.

"(Children) haven't been taught out of that creative space and I think that that's the joy for me. I have never heard a child say, 'I don't know how to draw,' or 'I can't do art,' " Zaffarano-Keller said.

Art is prominent all over the bus. The outside features paintings of Ziggy frolicking outdoors with a paintbrush in her mouth and butterflies above her head, which Zaffarano-Keller calls angels. Another side features Ziggy staring up at a night sky full of stars.

"For us, that felt highly symbolic of those who've passed along. The stars are beautiful, and that's just another place," Zaffarano-Keller said.

She said she hopes to one day have a Ziggy's Art Bus in every major city. For now, she's focused on her first bus and providing families with a creative experience.

"I know people along the way have said, 'Do you feel like it's an escape for a child or a family?' and I don't use that word," Zaffarano-Keller said.

"Because, to me, there's no escaping what one's reality is. I look at it as a place for us to move into our heart space. And that's what art is."


Overcoming Obstacles: Painter finds passion, purpose in art

Throughout Mary VanLandingham’s life, art has always been present.

It’s been a constant, even during those moments when she has been discouraged.

“I’ve always loved art, even when I was a kid, always doing crafts,” she said. “It was just something that was kind of clear that it was something I was going to be interested in.”

Art wasn’t a serious career path for the 25-year-old until her college years.

She was unsure how to transform her passion into a career and admits she thought she didn’t have the skills to be a professional artist.

After changing majors a few times, and briefly leaving college to explore other options, VanLandingham graduated last spring with a bachelor of arts in fine arts.

“At the time, you kind of feel like a bit of a failure, but it’s all a part of the plan,” she said.

“I’d gotten to a point in my life when I just wanted to do what made me happy regardless of how it would end up professionally.”

It was that first semester after returning to college that she knew she made the right decision.

“I found where I was supposed to be,” she said.

College is where VanLandingham began oil painting. She creates her paintings from photographs that she takes herself.

Interiors and landscapes inspire the artist, who also likes to paint scenes she sees while on day trips to other places.

“I’ll get really excited about something that I saw, something that I’ve photographed and that will kind of keep me motivated,” she said.

“That’s what kind of gets me to the studio every day is photographing new things.”

VanLandingham said her creativity stems from an initial sight of something, stating she sees her paintings before she even takes the photographs.

Skills such as applying brush strokes and mixing colors comes naturally, the artist said.

While a Valdosta State University student, VanLandingham expanded her talent by interning with local painter Steven S. Walker.

Under his guidance, she learned about the business side of artistry – marketing, networking, submitting profiles and framing.

“All of these were so essential,” VanLandingham said. “I was doing these things for him, but at the same time, it was stuff that I needed to know how to do for myself.”

It was while interning for Walker that she had her work featured in the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts for the first time.

Some of her pieces were displayed at Turner in November 2017, and again, this past January for Turner’s DrawProject.

Most recently, VanLandingham was named the 32nd Annual Spring Into Art best in show winner with her oil painting “The Last Day.”

The painting is reminiscent of a southern Ireland town VanLandingham visited while abroad for the first time.

“It had the most beautiful little cafes and pubs and I took this picture that I used to reference for 'The Last Day,'" she said in a past interview, “and I just fell in love with the colors in front of it, and I had to paint it.”

Following her internship with Walker, she took advantage of an opportunity to visit Ireland as his assistant. Walker was leading a plein air workshop.

“I’m more of a studio artist, but it was still a wonderful experience,” VanLandingham said. “It got me out of my comfort zone.”

Alongside best in show in Spring Into Art, she recently won a judge’s choice award in a Key West, Fla., small works competition.

Other accolades include second place in a Thomasville contest.

“That was kind of like one of my first wins out of college, so that was kind of really exciting,” she said.

In January 2020, VanLandingham plans to host a solo show in one of Turner’s galleries with a Georgia-themed collection. She titled it “On My Mind.”

There are still times when she gets discouraged, but her support system sees her through these times. They are her parents, coworkers at the library and mentors.

VanLandingham would like to continue entering art shows and become a more full-time artist.

She advises aspiring artists to work hard on their craft, even if it’s for one hour per day.

“The thing is if you don’t put in the work, another artist will,” she said, “and that artist is going to get the successes. They’re going to be able to make the strides.”

VanLandingham says “give it your all.” Valdosta Daily Times

Louvre bids to buy Rembrandt masterpiece from Rothschild collection in France
The state has deferred the painting's export licence giving the museum 30 months to find the funds

The Louvre is planning to buy Rembrandt van Rijn's The Standard Bearer (1636) after France's culture minister Franck Riester announced that is has been classed as a "national treasure". On Friday 19 April, Journal officiel, which publishes France's major legal changes and decisions, printed the decree deferring the painting's export licence and giving national museums first refusal on the work—so-called "pre-empting".

The Louvre now has 30 months to find the necessary funds—an undisclosed sum—to prevent the work from leaving the country. The flamboyant painting of a full-scale figure has been owned by the French branch of the Rothschild family for more than 180 years.

When Jacob James de Rothschild bought The Standard Bearer for £840 in 1840 at a Christie’s sale in London, it was perhaps the earliest purchase of a Rembrandt by a member of the banking family. The work was inherited by his son Edmond de Rothschild, who donated a collection of 40,000 prints and 3,000 drawings to the Louvre, including a selection of Rembrandt’s etchings and drawings, in 1935. The painting, which was previously in the collection of the English monarch King George IV, now belongs to the children of Élie de Rothschild, who died in 2007.

The Louvre's bid to buy the work comes three years after it jointly purchased, together with the Rijksmuseum, the two Rembrandt's portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit (both 1634) from Eric de Rothschild for €160m. The sale closed a bitter controversy sparked by the Louvre's initial recommendation to allow the works to be exported because it could not raise the purchase price. The funds ultimately came from France's central bank.

According to the book A Corpus of Rembrandt's Painting (1982-2014), The Standard Bearer is “very well preserved". It is described as “set down rapidly, with mostly broad strokes" of brown, gold and white hues, and was painted in the same year Rembrandt created his famous Danae, which now hangs in Moscow's State Hermitage Museum. The costume of the soldier in The Standard Bearer is partly modelled on those of early 16th-century mercenary soldiers called the Landsknecht. Rembrandt may have been inspired by engravings by artists such as Hendrick Goltzius that celebrated these fighters of the war for independence against Spain. The Art Newspaper


What will art look like in 20 years?
Devon Van Houten Maldonado asks artists and curators to imagine the changes and trends that will influence the art world in the next two decades.

The future may be uncertain, but some things are undeniable: climate change, shifting demographics, geopolitics. The only guarantee is that there will be changes, both wonderful and terrible. It’s worth considering how artists will respond to these changes, as well as what purpose art serves, now and in the future.

Reports suggest that by 2040 the impacts of human-caused climate change will be unescapable, making it the big issue at the centre of art and life in 20 years’ time. Artists in the future will wrestle with the possibilities of the post-human and post-Anthropocene – artificial intelligence, human colonies in outer space and potential doom.

The identity politics seen in art around the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements will grow as environmentalism, border politics and migration come even more sharply into focus. Art will become increasingly diverse and might not ‘look like art’ as we expect. In the future, once we’ve become weary of our lives being visible online for all to see and our privacy has been all but lost, anonymity may be more desirable than fame. Instead of thousands, or millions, of likes and followers, we will be starved for authenticity and connection. Art could, in turn, become more collective and experiential, rather than individual.

A more inclusive art world?

“I imagine art in 20 years will be much more fluid than it is today,” curator Jeffreen Hayes tells BBC Culture, “in the sense of boundaries being collapsed between media, between the kinds of art that is labelled art, in the traditional sense. I also see it being much more representative of our growing and shifting demographics, so more artists of colour, more female-identified works, and everything in between.”

Hayes’s exhibition AfriCOBRA: Nation Time was recently selected as an official collateral event of the 2019 Venice Biennale which opens in May, bringing the work of a previously little-known and uncelebrated group of black artists working on Chicago’s south side in the 1960s to an international audience.

“I’m hopeful that in 20 years, as art shifts and artists help to lead the way, that institutions begin to be, not just intentional, but more thoughtful about the different ways that art can be presented, and that would require a more inclusive, not just curatorial staff, but also leadership,” she says.

Senegalese artist and curator Modou Dieng tells BBC Culture “the future of art is black.” Today, African, African-American, Afro-European, and Afro-Latin art is trending globally, marked by an opening to African diaspora artists working with discourses beyond the black body and colonialism. Black abstraction, curating and performance are all centre stage. Growing up in a newly independent Senegal looking for an identity as a people, “we saw migration as the solution, not the problem,” says Dieng, whose works are included in the US Department of State’s permanent collection.

The change anticipated by Hayes and Dieng does not translate to the new emergence of black, Latino, LGBT, outsider, feminist and ‘other’ art, as these movements have long histories of their own. But it merely means that they will be further embraced by the markets and the institutions, which will themselves become more diverse and informed by histories outside the dominant, Eurocentric, Western canon.


Activism-art campaigns are indicative of shifting trends toward accountability, also revealing of entrenched power dynamics and dirty money in the art world. Decolonize This Place, an amorphous group of artists and activists describing themselves as an “action-oriented movement centring around Indigenous struggle, Black liberation, free Palestine, global wage workers and de-gentrification,” are currently undertaking protests inside New York’s Whitney Museum of Art against vice chairman Warren B Kanders, who owns a company that manufactures tear-gas used against oppressed people around the world.

The artist-activists of the Decolonize This Place movement aren’t the first in history to be disruptive, usually to the dismay of institutions. During World War One a group of artists calling themselves the Dada started to stage disruptive, experimental interventions as a protest against the senseless violence of the war. The Dada was considered the most radical avant-garde movement in the early 20th Century, followed by the Fluxus artists in the 1960s, who similarly sought to employ shock and senselessness in order to change artistic and social perceptions. The legacy of these performative movements continues in works by artists like Paul McCarthy and Robert Mapplethorpe. "Shock functions as part of the movements' attempt to change society," writes Dorothée Brill in Shock and the Senseless in Dada and Fluxus. "This endeavour will be shown to as being linked to the artists' rejection of the idea that artistic production must make sense and be meaningful."

“I hope that art will continue to be a space for formal innovation, radical experimentation and lawlessness,” curator Chris Sharp tells BBC Culture, “in order to continue to evade the instrumentalisation of capitalism, politics and ideology, carving out a space for neither right nor wrong thinking, but rather thought which can be neither qualified nor quantified.” When we spoke, Sharp was in Milan for the art fair with his Mexico City gallery, Lulu, before traveling to Venice, where he is co-curating the New Zealand Pavilion for the May Biennale with Dr Zara Stanhope and artist Dane Mitchell.

Those who believe in ‘art for art’s sake’ might say that art as an unquantifiable force must remain outside social or ideological norms, or risk becoming something else. Some experts like Sharp argue that it’s a slippery slope when art starts leaning toward activism because that’s just not the point. (Though the curator also argues that it's impossible for art to be apolitical). It's a viewpoint committed to art as a force on its own, a process of radical experimentation that results in an artwork, one of many along a line of inquiry, not a means to illustrate an end or impregnate an object with meaning. No conclusions should be drawn about art, present or future because it is the force against universalism, which must be interrupted by artists, as if to tell the world “wake up!”

Painting is (not) dead

In two decades’ time, it will have been 200 years since Paul Delaroche exclaimed “painting is dead”, and there are reasonable arguments against how relevant the medium is as a tool of the avant-garde. Delaroche’s original idea has been repeated and recycled endlessly as new mediums have worked their way into and out of the spotlight, but painting isn’t likely to be going anywhere.

Painting sales are still the major driver of auction houses, art fairs and galleries, dominating all record-breaking art sales. Modern paintings made during the first half of the 20th Century continue to hold steady as the most desirable and most expensive artworks on the market. Nine of the 10 most expensive paintings ever sold were made between 1892 and 1955, the only exception being a newly discovered Leonardo da Vinci from between 1490 and 1519, which fetched an extraordinary $450.3m (£341m) at auction, making it the most expensive artwork ever sold. Every painting on the list was made by a white man, however, which doesn’t paint a very hopeful picture for equality.

In 20 years, the market might not be very different than it is today – dominated by modern painting – but perhaps works from the second half of the 20th Century, including more women and minority artists, will begin to accrue value: in 2017 a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1984), set a new record for the most expensive contemporary artwork sold at auction for $110.4m (£85.4m). Last year the market for contemporary African and African diaspora also set records, with Kerry James Marshall fetching an astounding $21.1m for his painting Past Times (1997), a new record for living African-American artist.


Maite Borjabad, curator of architecture and design at The Art Institute of Chicago, says that we should be “ready for things to happen that you cannot even anticipate.” In other words, we can’t expect to predict one future, but instead should prepare for many futures.

A museum is not just a place for things to exist, but it’s a platform for other voices to be heard. So according to Borjabad, the curator is a mediator. Through commissions, for example, the museum isn’t just a place to display art, but also an “incubator of ideas” for producing new work. “I think that the future is multiple and plural, it’s not a future,”

“Cultural institutions and collections are highly political and have perpetuated and consolidated a very dogmatic understanding of history,” she continues. “That’s why collections like the Art Institute are the perfect material to help us rewrite histories, plural, rather than just a history.”

In the year 2040, art might not look like art (unless it’s a painting), but it will look like everything else, reflecting zeitgeists as multitudinous and diverse as the artists themselves. There will be artist-activists leading political upheaval; there will be formal experimenters exploring new mediums and spaces (even in outer space), and there will be strong markets in Latin America, Asia and Africa. So in the world of culture at least, the West may find itself playing catch up. BBC


Crowd control: Louvre to enforce timed tickets in run-up to Leonardo da Vinci blockbuster
Reservations will mainly be online as French museum anticipates record visitor figures

The Musée du Louvre will make it mandatory for visitors to book timed tickets in advance for its autumn Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, in a bid to control the crowds.

“This will enable us to manage the flow of visitors and prevent them from queuing,” says Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre’s president-director. “It's about changing our visitors’ habits.” Reservations will be “mainly online” and obligatory for all visitors, including the 40% who enter the museum for free: under-18s, European Economic Area residents under 26 years old, job seekers, the disabled and journalists.

The decision came after the Louvre’s visitor numbers surpassed “the symbolic threshold” of 10 million last year. According to Martinez, “no [other] museum in the world has achieved this figure”, which equates to 25,000 to 50,000 a day. There are reasons to believe that the audience could grow further, he says, including the Paris Olympics in 2024 and “the fact that some nationalities, like the Indians, are certainly going to come to France in bigger numbers”. These forecasts convinced the museum to consider ways to improve “the quality of welcome for our visitors”.

The Louvre tested the mandatory booking policy during its blockbuster exhibitions of Vermeer in 2017 and Delacroix in 2018, both via the website and at the museum ticket desks. In January, it also introduced obligatory reservations to visit the permanent collection in the Richelieu wing for free on the first Saturday evening of each month.

One-third of visitors already buy timed tickets, sold at 30-minute intervals, online. “This allows people to avoid the peak period of 11am-3pm and I am sure [online booking] is the solution for the future,” Martinez says.

The Louvre’s policy seems to be unique. Although online booking is becoming more popular, museums in the UK and the US have not yet made advance ticketing mandatory. Asked by The Art Newspaper, spokespeople for the National Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York say their institutions have no plans to follow the Louvre’s lead. The Art Newspaper


The closing of a beloved San Clemente art store leaves a hole in heart of the local arts community

It’s less than a week before the official closing of San Clemente Art Supply & Framing, the independent arts store Patti and Richard Herdell have run for 16 years, and Patti Herdell is taking stock of their gradually emptying space.

The table near the front door where kids could sit and do artwork while their parents shopped is gone. There are no more giant paper rolls in the paper room. They’ve started giving away their plastic display cases that are no longer filled with tubes of oil paint, pastels and watercolors.

What they aren’t missing (yet) is people. There’s a steady stream of customers checking out their final “Owners Retiring” sale. The adjacent room is packed with adults taking the very last scheduled painting class.

“We’re fine and the business is fine — it’s just ‘time,’ ” reads Patti Herdell’s hand-written closing announcement displayed outside the front door. She quotes the German idiom: “Everything has an end, except for the sausage, which has two.”

“I’m so sad,” customer Amy Hanna, a jewelry designer from Laguna Niguel, tells Herdell. “I’m happy for you, but so sad that you’re leaving. You brought something to the community that’s disappearing. I hate it.”

Herdell tells Hanna that she hates it too. That there have been times where she’s wept with customers in the store aisles. That she wishes she were 15 or 20 years younger.

The Herdells started the store when they were in their 50s. After their kids were grown and Richard Herdell had taken early retirement, they moved their family from Houston to San Clemente with a dream of starting a small business.

“I met my husband in a place in Houston called Sand Mountain Coffee House,” she says of the famed venue that was home to folk musicians in the ’60s and ’70s. “We were teenagers ... it was in a house, and it had the homiest vibe. Everyone who went in there felt like they were family, and we thought, ‘God, if we ever start a business, I would want it to feel like that.’ ”

Once they arrived in San Clemente, Patti was flipping through a local phone book and realized there were no art supply stores listed.

The cover of the phone book happened to feature a landscape painting by San Clemente artist, Rick Delanty. His contact information was inside, and she emailed him asking what he’d think of someone opening a family-owned art supply store in town. He sent her a 4-page email explaining why he thought that was a good idea and helped her pick out the store’s first supplies. The San Clemente Art Association was also an early supporter, advertising the new store on the back of its membership books.

Painter Thomas Elliott, the store’s longtime custom framer, explains that there had been art stores in San Clemente prior to San Clemente Art Supply opening in 2013, but it had been a while.

He had previously worked at both the Art Center of San Clemente, which was there in the ’80s, he says, and Frame House, which for decades provided framing and a gallery, but lacked art supplies.

“San Clemente Art Supply was a culmination of all of that,” says Elliot. “A revival of all of that.”

“We kind of fell into it, and everybody was like ‘Yes!” says Herdell. “The whole artist community came.”

“Everyone who knows about this place loves it,” says Hanna, who goes down a list of her artist friends from all over Orange County who came for the store’s specialty items that were hard to find elsewhere. They would make field trips to go to the store together.

“There’s not very many spaces like this anymore,” she tells Herdell. “It made you excited to buy your art supplies. It began a process where you go into your creative space and it makes you want to be more creative.”

“It’s like it had a heartbeat of its own,” says Herdell.

The Herdells plan to move to San Diego, but Patti Herdell doesn’t plan to relax for long. Inspired by her experience at the 2017 Women’s March in Washington D.C., she wants to become more of an activist while she still has the energy for it. So even though she knows it’s the right time to retire — and technically her husband’s second time retiring — she feels guilty.

“I feel like I’m taking something away from people, and that really is hard,” says Herdell. “But then I think, ‘Patty, you’re not the end-all of everything. Things happened before you got here, and they’ll happen after you’re gone.’

“I just hope somebody will take this vibe and realize this is a viable thing to do for the community. It’s someone else’s turn.”

San Clemente Art Supply & Framing’s last day is April 27. Los Angeles Times


A Study Says High Family Income Significantly Increases Likelihood of Becoming an Artist
After studying US census data since 1850, an economist says that with every $10,000 in total family income, a person is about 2% more likely to go into a creative occupation.

A new study using census data in the United States since 1850 shows that the creative fields are becoming increasingly — albeit slowly — more diverse. However, the study demonstrates in clear quantitative terms how family wealth is a key factor in the likelihood of uptaking and sustaining an artistic profession.

The research, titled “The Origins of Creativity: The Case of the Arts in the United States since 1850,” was published in February by Karol Jan Borowiecki, a professor of economics at the University of Southern Denmark. Borowiecki, who previously studied careers of famous composers and visual artists as an economic historian, used American census data collected between 1850-2010 to identify trends in social mobility and racial and gender inequality crossed with data on the geographical location and socio-economic background of people in creative fields (visual arts, literature, performing arts, and music). The findings are tested against parallel metrics in the census group of “non-creatives,” meaning people who are not professionally involved in the arts.

The US census data permits the identification of occupations that fall within the creative professions (i.e. artist, musician, author, actor) and provides detailed records on the socio-economic background of each individual, including the geographic location.

Women’s Visibility

With all the professional and societal hindrances in their way, the study interestingly observes that American women’s share in creative occupations —relative to men — has typically been higher than in non-creative fields. That trend starts around 1890 when women’s involvement in creative occupations increases and remains clearly higher than in other fields.

“These results challenge the conventional wisdom that the arts are predominantly a male domain,” Borowiecki told Hyperallergic in a phone interview.

According to the study, females are more likely to engage in a creative occupation than males. Being a woman increases the probability of having a creative occupation by 18% if isolated from other variables (including race, location, and family income.) The highest female presence is among musicians. Authors, visual artists, and actors follow in that order.

Racial Equality

The share of white Americans in creative fields has decreased from 98% to around 80% since 1850, according to the study. The findings also indicate that it took almost a full century (1850-1950) before the first non-whites appear among artists or authors in significant numbers. “The trend only started changing in the past 50 years,” Borowiecki says.

Musicians are found to be the most racially mixed group of creatives. The research adds a caveat explaining that the earliest two census editions do not include slaves; therefore, the picture provided for 1850 and 1860 is incomplete.

On average, Black and Asian groups are less likely to engage in creative work than whites. The study attributes that, among other factors, to family size, which negatively affects the likelihood of having an artistic occupation. “There are still less non-whites in the arts, especially in visual arts and literature, than in any other occupation,” says Borowiecki.

Generational Wealth

One of the novel contributions of the study is its ability to quantify the correlation between family income and the chances of starting an artistic career. Potential access to familial financial support is a major factor in the decision to become an artist, the study shows. Family income is measured as the total pre-tax money income earned by one’s family from all sources for the previous year, including non-labor income.

“Family income is very significant. People from wealthier families are much more likely to become artists,” says Borowiecki. According to the study, every $10,000 in total family income, a person is about 2% more likely to go into a creative occupation. A family income of $100,000 makes it twice as likely to become an artist compared to a family income of $50,000. If a person’s family income climbs to $1 million, then that person is nearly ten times more likely to choose a creative profession than someone who comes from a family income of $100,000.

The significance of family income contributes to understanding why large numbers of non-white individuals are left out of artistic professions, considering that the median income of Black and Hispanic families in the US is significantly lower than the income of white families.

The “Peer Effect”

Over the years, artists and other creatives from around the US have come to cluster in certain cities in the two coasts. New York City emerges as the consistently largest cluster of creatives in the country, followed by Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

“Peer effect is very significant,” says Borowiecki. “The proximity to other fellow artists or musicians is very important, and so is interacting with other creatives. It doesn’t have to be a big city, but it has to be a place with a ‘scene’.”

In cities where a famous creative is based (e.g., a famous visual artist,) the probability of having a famous artist in the same city from another creative field (e.g., a famous musician) is higher than in the case of average cities.

Furthermore, the presence of creative people, visual artists in particular, may be conducive to economic development and the presence of business startups.

“The advantages of having a wealthy cultural supply and a meaningful cultural heritage nowadays are vast and non-negligible, ranging from economic gains from tourism inflows to non-monetary gains arising from a common identity,“ the study says.

Cleary, artists do not benefit much from the economic boom they bring (with the exception of a thin demographic of superstar artists.) The study reiterates the common knowledge that practicing artists typically earn less than the average income in the country. Hyperallergic


How Far Would You Go to See the World’s Best Works of Art?
For this traveler, to the ends of the earth.

I’D BEEN SCOURING THE MUSEUM FOR Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, and wanted to ask someone where it was, but wasn’t really sure how to say it in French. It was 9 a.m. in Paris and I was still exhausted from my red-eye flight from Ethiopia. My brain wasn’t working.

You’ve seen photos of this painting. It’s been called the “Victorian Mona Lisa” and is one of the most famous pieces of American art not in America. Most people know the work by it by its nickname, Whistler’s Mother.

Anna McNeill Whistler never suspected that she would be immortalized by her son James when he painted her portrait in 1871. The French government bought it 20 years later, after he pawned it, and it’s been hanging in the Musée d’Orsay for decades.

I’d done my math and figured I’d use my six-hour morning layover in Paris to clear immigration, jump on the Metro and dash through the Orsay before catching my flight back to Houston. Could I make it? If nothing went wrong, yes. Seeing Whistler’s Mother was on my “painting bucket list” and I wasn’t going to miss her again.

I realized several years ago that I knew nothing about the works of art I’d seen on my adventures around the world. I felt like I was missing an entire level of travel as I visited places like the Louvre and recognized practically nothing other than the Mona Lisa. I enrolled in an art history course at a community college, and as I attended my weekly class my eyes were slowly opened. I started to understand the link between art, history, and religion. Van Gogh, da Vinci and Dali became real people to me as I learned about their lives, inspirations and contributions to art.

One semester was just enough to whet my appetite and help me decide to self-educate myself as I traveled. I created a list of about 50 of the most important pieces in the world and decided to start visiting them all. Wherever I visit, I first Google famous art in the area and make it a point to see the highlights local museums have to offer. I’ve visited Paris twice and ran out of time before I could make it to the Orsay Museum to see Whistler’s Mother. This morning that was all going to change.

Except I had walked through the entire museum and hadn’t been able to find Whistler’s Mother anywhere. Had I missed a room? An employee at the museum, who spoke perfect English, informed me that the painting had been shipped to Chicago. I was shocked. It was on tour? I didn’t think famous paintings like that were moved around! I had missed it by only a week. The rest of the museum was fantastic, but I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to check Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 off my list.

A few months passed and I scheduled a trip to see the Indianapolis 500. Rather than fly there directly, I opted to use Chicago as my hub and drive the three hours from there to see the race. This would give me a day to visit a few places in the Windy City that I’d missed on my previous adventures. The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the finest museums in the world, and I was excited about seeing the elusive painting I’d missed in Paris.

Once I arrived, I strolled past the Monets and Renoirs, wondering which room held my quest. After an hour of fruitless searching, I asked a curator. She smiled and informed me that I’d just missed it. It had been moved to Copenhagen or somewhere else I was sure I wouldn’t be visiting anytime soon. I suppose I should have checked with the museum before I arrived, but who knew that Whistler’s mom was such a traveler?

All good paintings eventually make their way to Paris, so I ate the bitter pill of disappointment and continued my travels. One day I stumbled across an article about the world’s most expensive painting, a da Vinci called Salvatore Mundi that was going to be displayed at the new Louvre in Abu Dhabi. The painting’s origins were a little controversial, but it was generating quite the buzz in the art world. I added it to my bucket list and the timing couldn’t have been better. I was going to be visiting Kurdistan, Iraq soon, and why not stop in Abu Dhabi on the way?

As my trip got closer, I checked the news and discovered that this painting had yet to be unveiled. There was something strange about a masterpiece that is purchased for $450 million and never shown. The rumor was that it was going to be displayed on the anniversary of when it had been painted, which was …. (wait for it)…the day of my arrival. I crossed my fingers.

The day finally came and I headed straight from Dubai to the museum. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a beautiful building full of treasures borrowed from its Parisian location and I couldn’t have been more excited about seeing this art-oasis in the desert. I strode to the counter already guessing that they were going to tell me what I already knew—the da Vinci was not being shown. After my Whistler’s Mother chase, I didn’t let the news phase me. Sometimes things aren’t where you expect them to be. That’s life. And art imitates life.

The museum was amazing regardless. There were lots of works I recognized, including Portrait of a Woman, another da Vinci that’s nicknamed the “Mona Lisa of Abu Dhabi.” I suppose a lot of famous portraits get compared to the Mona Lisa, but even more so if the same man painted both.

I didn’t expect to see a lot in the museum since it had just opened. I decided to just meander through the exhibits and not worry about crossing anything off my list. Lists can be great motivators, but can also keep us from being in the moment. Besides, sometimes when you’re just aware, you discover things you never expect to find.

That’s exactly what happened that day.

As I walked into the final room, there she was. Sitting in her rocking chair, perhaps resting from all the jet-setting she’d been doing throughout the year, Anna Whistler looked straight ahead, content in her new home. Much larger than I expected, I could barely grasp this happenstance. I had come looking for Jesus and I found Anna instead. No longer was it about checking her off my list. I had been to Europe and North America to find her and she’d turned up in the Middle East. I’ve chased a few women in my life, but finding Mrs. Whistler was my favorite lifetime art experience. I sat down and stared at her as other travelers came and went.

So what now?

Dogs Playing Poker? Challenge accepted. Houstonia


Frida Kahlo: The unapologetic artist

You probably know the face. But there's so much more to Frida Kahlo, perhaps the most-famous female artist in art history, than meets the eye. "I think Frida Kahlo is definitely one of those one-name artists," said Lisa Small, co-curator of a new Kahlo exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. "People say that – Frida – and you know who you're talking about."

Blurring the line between artist and art, the exhibit includes more than 300 pieces, including self-portraits, photographs, and personal items that suggest how Kahlo carefully crafted her image, like her trademark unibrow.

"Everybody loves to fixate on the unibrow," said Small. "The fact that she had an eyebrow pencil, you know, she was paying attention to them in some way; she might've even been making them more pronounced or bolder!"

Kahlo was born in Mexico City in 1907. She developed an eye for art as a child, aided by her father, a well-known photographer. "She was his assistant," said Small. "But most importantly, she learned how to pose for photos. That really intense gaze that you see coming out of all of these pictures that her father took of her is the same gaze that you see later, coming out of her own self-portraits."

She taught herself to paint at 18, as she recovered from a horrific bus accident that shattered her pelvis and spine. "She's laying in bed, sometimes painting paintings above her on a special easel," said Small.

"But I don't think many people think of her as a disabled artist," said correspondent Faith Salie.

"Yeah, exactly. She lived her life as a disabled person, and it became part of her identity and her creative process."

So much so that an entire room in the exhibit displays how she lived her life in pain, featuring the braces and plaster corsets she had to wear. The corsets themselves are works of art: "She painted them while she was wearing them," said Small. "The hammer and sickle of Communism is right over where her heart would be.

"And then, very poignantly, she's painted a curled-up fetus over her womb, which leads to these complicated and fascinating questions about Kahlo and never having children."

Kahlo also survived childhood polio, which left one leg shorter than the other. When she lost that leg to gangrene, her prosthetic became a work of art. The prosthetic leg featured a boot, onto which she sewed little bells, "which I think is so fascinating," said Small. "Because here is the leg that is no longer there, and every time that [prosthetic] leg moves, you're gonna hear it!"

To Kahlo the artist, no subject was off-limits, including her tumultuous marriage to Diego Rivera, the 20th century muralist. She paints the couple at their best, and at their worst. After she caught Rivera having an affair (with her sister, no less), she created the piece "Self-Portrait With Cropped Hair."

Small said, "Rivera loved her long hair. And so, her cutting it off is something of a power move. And the fact that she's holding the scissors with which she cut all of those hairs off, right at crotch level, also, I think, could be interpreted in a slightly symbolic way."

Kahlo spent four years in the U.S. following Rivera as he painted his massive murals. At the time, the artistic talent of "Mrs. Rivera" artistic talent was mostly ignored, and after she died in 1954, at age 47, it would take decades for the art world to truly recognize her work.

And we remember Frida Kahlo today, says Small, because she invites us to see ourselves. "Putting herself out there, playing around with her identity and how she presents herself to the world, it presses all of the buttons today. And that's what, I think, keeps her so remarkably relevant." CBS