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Temporary Installation at Canary Wharf

Now that the performance stage for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has been struck, where else to go to London to hear special music? Be sure to take in artist Luke Jerram’s Aeolus: a giant sculpture that acts as a wind harp, temporarily installed at Canary Wharf for the moment as it seeks a permanent home. The sound is different in relation to where you are to the work, and it is alternately beautiful and creepy! Visit the artist’s website here to give a look and a listen.

Lane Collection Donated to Boston MFA

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts announced this past weekend the astonishing news that it has received 6,000 photographs, 100 works on paper and 25 paintings — from a longtime friend and trustee, Saundra Lane, who helped build and maintain the collection started by her late husband, William Lane. The Lanes were renowned for the quality of their fabulous photography collection and among the first to earnestly collect American modernist works.

To give some perspective on the enormity of the news for the MFA, their photography collection in total jumps from 3,000 to 9,000 based on this donation alone! Notably, the entire photographic estate of Charles Sheeler is included here, comprised of 2,500 images; there are also another 2,500 photographs by Edward Weston, 500 by Ansel Adams, plus works by Imogen Cunningham and Brett Weston, rounding out the rest of the photographers represented. Other artists represented in the collection include Stuart Davis, John Marin, Hyman Bloom, Franz Kline, Georgia O’Keeffe and Arthur Dove. A stipulation of the gift is that the Lane Collection be generously shared with other institutions — so if you can’t make it to the MFA, we advise you to keep an eye on their travelling exhibition plans!

Diebenkorn at OCMA

Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series opened to rave reviews in late February this year at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California. Having debuted at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and headed for the Corcoran Gallery in Washington (June 30-September 23), it is the first comprehensive exhibition of these exquisitely veiled, richly worked paintings inspired by the Ocean Park landscape in Santa Monica where the artist maintained a studio for many years. OCMA Curator Sarah Bancroft has assembled a magical selection of these famous paintings — plus prints and drawings! Don’t even think of missing it (through May 27)! We toured the exhibit with Pulitzer Prize-wining art critic Sebastian Smee, of the Boston Globe, so look for his upcoming review. A definitive 250-page catalogue accompanies the exhibition and should be considered a must for every devotee.

Modernism Tour: Sunnylands Estate

If you’re in or near Palm Springs and in the mood for all things Modern, be sure to try for reservations to tour the Annenberg estate, Sunnylands, in Rancho Mirage. Also famous as “Camp David West,” the beautiful pink-roofed house was designed for Ambassador Annenberg and his wife Leonore by A. Quincy Jones, completed in 1966, and declared a historic site in 1990. A $60-million renovation was recently completed, including earthquake proofing and environmentally friendly power and water retrofitting. The house interiors — all 25,000 square feet — have been kept pristinely intact and exude their original elegance. The magnificent collection of Post-Impressionist pictures now resides at the Met, but photo-reproductions preserve the original atmosphere.

Public tours are now available (when there’s not a retreat for heavy-duty politicos in session), but tickets for a tour of the residence are extremely tough to snag: they’re issued on a first-come, first served basis on the 1st and 15th of each month, and sell out immediately. You can, however, always visit the beautiful new Frederick Fisher-designed visitor center (with newly landscaped gardens) during regular visiting hours, sans ticket.

Calendar Updates: Museum Openings

Museum opening updates to keep your calendar straight this year: Barnes Foundation opens May 19th of this year (they even have a countdown to opening day on their website). The Eli and Edyth Broad Museum MSU, originally slated to open in April of this year has been pushed back to the fall, while the Broad Museum in Los Angeles should open in 2013. The Aspen Art Museum’s new building should also open in 2013, if things go according to plan; and SFMOMA’s ongoing expansion to accommodate the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection can be followed online here, with groundbreaking scheduled for summer, 2013.

Newest Starchitect?

We’ve just learned that the latest addition to Mattel’s never-ending “Barbie” line is an architect version! Complete with hard hat, and carrying a case for her latest designs, the stylish doll arrives with a tiny model dream home for her presentations, and sports de rigeur fashionable black-framed glasses, wearing a dress decorated with a city skyline. Although Barbie has generated much controversy during her 50+ years of existence, we’ll give Mattel kudos here for encouraging kids to think beyond “superstar” or model as career choices.

For the grown-ups on your holiday list, may we recommend that ARTExpress is the perfect gift for the art and architecture enthusiasts in your life—it’s a gift that keeps giving all year long–and beyond. Give us your gift list, and we’ll do the rest! (Be sure to contact us by December 20th, if you need your gift to arrive by December 25th.)

Celebrate Los Angeles!

L.A. is taking its rightful place as the designated arts destination this year — and into the foreseeable future — with Pacific Standard Time, a celebration of the Los Angeles arts scene from 1945 through 1980, involving over 60 cultural institutions throughout the city and beyond. The party stretches all the way from Santa Barbara down to San Diego!

To see what’s happening, visit the official website: You can experience everything from the rise of printmaking in SoCal (Norton Simon Museum), to the amazing life history and work of the iconic Beatrice Wood (Santa Monica Museum).

In our next issue, ARTExpress will focus on Los Angeles and the SoCal scene, so as you visit and re-visit these fabulous exhibitions and events you’ll be up-to-the-minute on where best to dine, stay, shop, and more . . . Stay tuned!

Iconic Architects Take On . . . Whatever They Want!

Two projects — one in the planning stage, one recently completed — demonstrate that starchitects are not above taking on projects that might seem improbable to the casual fan of art and design, given their usual high-profile gigs.

The one Canada is excited about is, of all things, an ice-fishing warming hut! Now that you’ve seen Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao, and enjoyed a concert or two at his famed Disney Hall, it’s time to grab your fishing gear and set out for Winnipeg. After an open call for submissions was announced this month, Gehry threw his hat into the ring, and will now join four others in designing $10,000 shacks for Warming Huts v.2012: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice, organized by Manitoba’s Forks North Portage Partnership. Each team will consist of architects and/or landscape architects who will be paired with an artist. (Don’t forget your down parka!)

Another amazing new project sits quietly tucked in the French countryside, below Le Corbusier’s famous chapel at Ronchamp. It’s Renzo Piano’s new convent, created for the Poor Clare Sisters, and it was a long fought, controversial addition to the landscape. The beautiful result is respectful of both the environment and Le Corbusier’s national monument.

Harpa Concert Hall

In our last bulletin, we sent you to Edinburgh . . . how about a stop on the way to take in a concert in Reykjavik, Iceland?  The gorgeous, so-new-it’s-just-opened Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center is well worth the layover.

Serving as the new home base for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera, Harpa’s upcoming schedule also accommodates everything from a special Björk performance, to a q&a with filmmaker Kevin Smith.  Its award-winning design (World Architecture Community)  features a multi-faceted glass facade, which is not only stunningly beautiful, but also provides plenty of natural interior lighting by day; at night, a system of LED lights makes the whole thing positively glow.  Designed by Henning Larsen Architects (with renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and Artec), the building is drawing so many visitors — above and beyond the performing arts crowd — that reservations at upscale on-site restaurant Kolabrautin are already hard to come by.  And keep in mind that this is all just leading up to the gala opening which was unfolding, literally, as we were writing this — on August 20th!

Edinburgh: Happening Place!

The famed Edinburgh Festival is on, as of this writing (August 5) and runs through the next three weeks, offering some of the best opera, music, theatre, dance and visual arts on the planet.  Visit the festival’s website to check it out.

If your travel itinerary is a bit later than August, not to fear — there’s still plenty to see here, including the spectacularly renovated National Museum (47-million pounds worth of work, by the way).  The Victorian building, originally designed in the flamboyant style of the Crystal Palace, was given a thorough makeover by Scottish architect Gareth Hoskins, with acclaimed exhibition designer Ralph Appelbaum.  The stunning centerpiece is the Grand Gallery, four-stories high, with over 800 animal artifacts — suspended from wires and flying over visitors’ heads!  It’s dizzying fun hovering over a grounded, life-size cast of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and it’s Britain’s single largest museum installation, for now.

Three other hot tips for cool Edinburgh: First, catch new sculpture (plus drawings) by Tony Cragg at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, through November 6.  Also, as you’re out sight-seeing, be sure to look down — especially if you’re near Waverly Station and climbing the “Scotsman Steps” — they’ve been given an artistic makeover in time for the Festival.  Italian artist Martin Creed (commissioned by the Fruitmarket Gallery) has transformed the once dingy stairs with layers of gorgeous marble of varying tints.  Work No. 1059, as it’s called, is being singled out as one of the standout “exhibitions” in town.  Finally, be sure to visit Inverleith House, at the Royal Botanic Garden.  On view now: Robert Rauschenberg: Botanic Vaudeville, and, outdoors, find Thomas Houseago: The Beat of the Show (large scale outdoor sculpture).

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