Antarctic Pavilion looks to cruise ship tragedy
The next phase of the Antarctic Pavilion initiative—founded by Nadim Samman, a curator at TBA-21 in Vienna, and the Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev—takes a controversial turn at this year’s Venice Biennale (9 May-22 November). The latest stage, to be held at the Fondaco Marcello on the Grand Canal, will focus on the Costa Concordia tragedy of 2012 when 32 people died after the cruise ship ran aground off the Isola del Giglio. “For the Biennale, Ponomarev’s installation deploys the Costa Concordia disaster, specifically, the broken pact between Captain Schettino and his passengers, as a provocative lens through which to view the fragility of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty,” says a press statement. Under the 1950s agreement, 12 nations concurred that military activity should be suspended across the South Pole. “In Ponomarev’s sculptural intervention a scale model of the grounded Concordia, tilting like a tipped iceberg (or perhaps a shift in the polar axis itself), stands as an image of terrestrial re-orientation: a new worldview,” the organisers say (visitors to Venice can decide if the work is a meditation on responsibility and the “ties that bind us together”; some of Ponomarev's Concordia works, meanwhile, featured in the Marrakech Biennale last year).
Rare first millennium Bible comes to New York
Sixteen Romanesque Biblical manuscripts, known as “The Idda Collection” (around 980-1240), go on display (and offer) at the Les Enluminures gallery in New York (9 April-2 May). The manuscripts range in price from $180,000 to $6.5m, at the top of which is a tenth-century Latin Liesborn Gospel Book that is still in almost perfect condition. In 1945, it was described as “one of the most valuable manuscripts of the Gospels in private hands.” “If that was valid seventy years ago, it is even truer now,” says Christopher de Hamel, a senior specialist at the gallery. The manuscripts come from a European family who named their collection after Saint Idda, the only Swiss female saint.
The great art history cover up
From Matisse’s blue nudes to Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon, art history is littered with naked bodies, but many social media sites are still loathe to post images of nudity—even when it comes to art. So the US artist Pamela Joseph has come up with a solution to the media obsession with sanitising sexuality: pixelate the private parts or black out the rude bits on famous figures in art. Prudish viewers can now happily peruse Joseph’s “Censored” series, 2012-15, at Francis M. Nauman’s New York gallery, where sterilised versions of Goya’s Nude Maja or Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (No.3) are on show until 22 May.
Solved: Monet's Green Park puzzle
A Monet-related mystery has finally been solved. A scene of London by the artist was long entitled Green Park, London, although it was unclear exactly where Monet had set up his easel. The work is on loan to the National Gallery’s “Inventing Impressionism” exhibition in London (until 31 May), and the caption booklet now identifies the bulbous tower-like structure on the horizon as the old equestrian monument to the Duke of Wellington that stood on top of the arch at Hyde Park Corner. Monet painted the scene in 1870 or 1871, but a decade later, the monument was regarded as unattractive, and was removed and re-erected at Aldershot Garrison. The artist painted the scene from the middle of the park looking west, with the grand houses of Piccadilly in the centre of the horizon. He sold the work to the legendary Impressionist dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, and it went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1921.
Does Gwyneth have a soft spot for Basquiat?
Rumours swirled about Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow at Art Basel in Hong Kong last month: did the “Shakespeare in Love” star snap up a Basquiat at the fair? Paltrow was seen eyeing up works by the late superstar artist on the stand of the New York-based dealer Edward Tyler Nahem. “While Gwyneth was indeed in his booth, it is the gallery’s policy not to comment on sales,” says a spokesman. But we do know that Paltrow has a penchant for photography and once bought a work by the British artist Darren Almond at Frieze London.
Don Draper: the artefact
Mad Men begins its farewell season on 5 April, but a few star props have already found a prestigious permanent home. Don Draper’s trademark grey suit, fedora and bar cart will join Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Julia Child’s kitchen in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. In a ceremony on 27 March, the series’s creator, Matthew Weiner, also donated a copy of the script for the finale of season one, which includes a never-before-seen alternate ending. The Museum of the Moving Image in New York is also showing its admiration with an exhibition dedicated to the programme, complete with sets, costumes and personal correspondence ("Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men", until 14 June). The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, meanwhile, held a two-day screening of cast members’ favourite episodes (26-27 March). Who knew museum curators were so mad for Mad Men?
To infinity and beyond
The critically-acclaimed Björk retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is travelling to the moon, The Art Newspaper has learned. Although details are still pending, a source within the museum who asked to remain anonymous says that Klaus Biesenbach, the show’s curator, is looking for a deep, dark crater to host the exhibition when it closes at MoMA in June. “He is looking for something on the far side of the moon, ideally,” the source said. Biesenbach did not immediately respond to a request for comment.