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art

Beatrix Ruf Named Director of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

rufAmsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, currently home to exhibitions of the work of Marcel Wanders and Jeff Wall (and book your flights now for September when the Marlene Dumas retrospective will occupy a circuit of 15 rooms), has found a new director in Beatrix Ruf (pictured), the current director of the Kunsthalle Zürich. She succeeds Ann Goldstein, who was artistic director at the Stedelijk for the past four years, and will jointly lead the museum with managing director Karin van Gilst. Ruf will start her involvement with the museum immediately and take up her new role on a full-time basis in November.

As director of the Kunsthalle Zürich since 2001, Ruf initiated and oversaw the completion of an extensive reconstruction and expansion, commissioned numerous installations, and initiated projects such as the survey exhibitions of Yang Fudong and Ian Wallace, among others. In 2006, she was the curator of the successful third edition of the Tate Triennial in London. “I feel very honored, and am very moved, to be entrusted with the opportunity to be director of the Stedelijk Museum and to lead its extraordinary exhibition history and its collection into the future, together with the entire Stedelijk team,” said Ruff in a statement announcing her appointment. “Its courageous and outstanding contemporary—as well as art historical—exhibitions and world-class collection of modern and contemporary art and design were always a beacon and example in my own professional thinking and in numerous discussions with artists and colleagues. The Stedelijk Museum is a museum that shows us how to live in the present and how the future can be built on tradition.”

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Daniel Arsham Rocks (and Minerals)

arshamArtist Daniel Arsham has a knack for transforming familiar objects into fossils of the future: petrified payphones, eroded basketballs, a calcified McDonalds sign. His latest solo exhibition, “Kick the Tires and Light the Fires,” opens Saturday at OHWOW in Los Angeles—and then it’s onto Paris for a summertime show at Perrotin—but in the meantime, his Steel Eroded Hasselblad Camera (2014, pictured), a shimmering relic of steel fragments, shattered glass, and hydrostone, is now up for grabs in the MTV RE:DEFINE Auction on Paddle8.

MoMA Collaborates with Uniqlo on Pollock Tees, Warhol Totes, and More

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Cover yourself in Jackson Pollock‘s inky drips, schlep your stuff under the cover of Warholian camouflage, and wear the creative feats of Keith Haring on your feet—all for less than the price of admission to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The institution has teamed up with Japanese fast-fashion chain Uniqlo on a line of wearables printed with images from works in the MoMA collection, including details from two of Pollock’s 1950 works on paper that have been transposed to cotton t-shirts, a tote bag covered in a collage of Basquiat drawings, and a bandanna featuring Warhol’s tomato-red can of Campbell’s soup from 1962. The Uniqlo at MoMA collection, part of the retailer’s SPRZ NY (“Surprise New York”) project, is now available at at the MoMA Store as well as Uniqlo. Nothing is over $50.

De Stijl Got It: President Obama Visits Mondrian Works in The Hague

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Smile and say “neo-plasticism”! President Obama, Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel, Mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte with Mondrian’s Victory Boogie Woogie. (Photo courtesy Gemeentemuseum Den Haag)

As the HQ of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court (among other globe-spanning, peace-making organizations), The Hague is known more for tribunals and arbitration than as a hotbed of art and design, but the Dutch city—the third largest in the Netherlands—is quite the trove of masterpieces and exquisite museums, and boasts a city hall designed by Richard Meier (and don’t even get us started on Scheveningen!). Those visiting this week for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit got a taste of the North Sea city’s charms. President Obama found time between defcon-themed discussions to pop into the Art Deco-style home of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, which owns the largest collection of work by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, and took in the museum’s “Mondrian & De Stijl” exhibition. Joined by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel, and mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, Obama admired Mondrian’s final painting, Victory Boogie Woogie (1944), and, according to the museum, declared it “fabulous.”

Different Strokes: Lichtenstein Sculptures Bound for Parrish Art Museum

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It was during a break in a college art history course discussion of Saussurean signifiers that we got to chatting up the dashing head teaching fellow, then in lukewarm pursuit of his Ph.D. After some good-natured banter about the arbitrariness of the sign, we ventured into more rational territory: “So, what are you writing your thesis about?” The color swiftly drained from his face and he stared at the ground before mumbling words that were only later discernible as “the sculptures of Roy Lichtenstein.” Everything turned out for the best, and the TF in question is now an associate professor at a leading research university, but to this day we can’t pass one of the Pop artist’s fiberglass houses or aluminum brushstrokes without feeling slightly queasy.

If anything can undo that association it’s the Parrish Art Museum. Next week the museum’s stunning new(ish) Herzog & de Meuron-designed home in Water Mill, New York will get its first long-term, outdoor installation in Lichtenstein’s Tokyo Brushtroke I & II (1994), part of a series of sculptures constructed mainly in the 1990s. The soaring, two-piece sculpture, made of painted and fabricated aluminum, tops out at 33 feet, taller than the museum itself: a monolevel extruded barn-as-studio made both rugged and stealth by cloudy concrete walls and a white corrugated metal roof. A temporary loan from collectors Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, Tokyo Brushtroke I & II will sit (in a cement brace) near Montauk Highway, acting as a colorful signpost of sorts for the Parrish.

Snuff Bottles and Moon Jars! Five Must-See Asia Week New York Exhibits

Writer Nancy Lazarus heads to the Far East without leaving Manhattan as she takes in the sixth annual Asia Week and offers up five highlights.

Kaneko Toru Blue Rust #1 2009
Kaneko Toru’s Blue Rust #1 (2009) is on view during Asia Week at Lesley Kehoe Galleries.

Spring marks the arrival of Asia Week New York. The nine-day event (March 14-22), a marathon of 47 gallery shows and 19 auction sales, along with museum exhibitions and special events, offers the opportunity to admire a wealth of ancient and modern treasures. We’ve picked five exhibits where the themes, settings, timeless works, contemporary pieces, or unique techniques reward close looking. They’re listed by location, starting in midtown.

Lesley Kehoe Galleries (Melbourne, Australia-based gallery specializing in Japanese art; has Asia Week gallery space in Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street, 5th floor)
The Transcendent Spirit, a special Asia Week exhibit, highlights works of seven Japanese artists. Owner Lesley Kehoe believes “there’s not another culture with the patience and self-discipline to master these complex techniques.” Mitsuo Shoji creates paintings, calligraphy, and objects. He’s inspired by Buddhist chanting and fascinated with fire, using traditional Japanese foils to fire canvases. Kaneko Toru and Kidera Yuko specialize in metalworks. Yoku hammers flat metal sheets to create spirited female forms of dance and song. Toru uses copper oxide and enameled metals to craft colorful tin-plated decorative vessels with exotic textures.

Ralph M. Chait Galleries (specializes in Chinese art; 730 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, Crown Building, 12th floor)
For Asia Week, the oldest U.S. firm dealing in Chinese art is focusing on porcelain, silver sculpture, root carvings, and a collection of 20 snuff bottles dating from the 18th-20th centuries. Though miniature in size, the bottles were quite eye-catching, especially given the variety of animal and botanical motifs, shapes, and design types. Some were inlaid, while others were carved, painted, or embellished. Among the gemstones were lapis, jasper, jade, rhodonite, and moss agate. A stopper in a matching or contrasting color sat atop each bottle.
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Olafur Eliasson Visits MIT

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If Cambridge seems a little brighter today, it’s because Olafur Eliasson is in town. The artist will be at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) through Friday to accept the 2014 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts. In addition to collecting a check for $100,000, taking part in public programs, and attending a gala (hosted by the likes of diplomats from Denmark, Iceland and Germany; Agnes Gund; and Anne Hawley, director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), Eliasson is taking part in a residency that focuses on his art and social business enterprise Little Sun, a portable, solar powered lamp that he calls “a work of art that works in life.” He’ll be on campus to discuss sustainable development, community engagement, design, product engineering, and social entrepreneurship in developing economies, and, in a lecture today at 5:00 p.m., “Holding hands with the sun.”
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The Treachery of Sneakers: Opening Ceremony Prints Magritte Paintings on Vans

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As part of their year-long exploration and celebration of all things Belgian, the surrealist gang at Opening Ceremony is plastering the reality-bending works of fresh-from-his-MoMA-restrospective artist René Magritte on instantly collectible goods. First up in this partnership with the Magritte Foundation: Vans. The five sneaker styles, priced at $135 each (a bargain for a Magritte!), include kicked-up canvas versions of Magritte’s Ladder of Fire (1939), The Blow to the Heart (1952), and, for lovers of his bowler-hatted men of mystery, The King’s Museum (1966). The sneakers are available for pre-order through Monday, March 17.

Tea Time with Geoff McFetridge

While Americans pound coffee and gobble sleeves of Milanos, those in more civilized—if less productive—nations know the restorative power of a pause that involves a fresh cup of tea. Bigelow Tea joined Los Angeles-based artist and designer Geoff McFetridge for tea time and captured the creative magic that can happen in the couple of minutes it takes to to steep a cup of tea. The contemplative short, directed by Bucky Fukumoto, is part of Bigelow’s “While You Were Steeping” series.

Quote of Note | John Richardson

1919“It helps to know that the pitchers in his still lifes are almost always the ones with the spout sticking up like a phallus. And the fruit dish: a few soft peaches are the breasts. When you crack the codes, you understand that they are pictures about his love of a woman, his desire, his anger, his disdain. And you understand why his pictures that only show a pitcher and fruit dish can be so sexy and also so unbelievably sad. And then he turned everything over again and suddenly he was the very fruit dish himself. This is one of the greatest challenges when writing about Picasso, because for much of what one writes about him, the exact opposite is also true. A person with such an extreme personality, with such extraordinary hypersensitivity, with so many contradictions—that kind of person usually ends up in the nuthouse.”

-Picasso biographer John Richardson, interviewed by Cornelius Tittel in 032c

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