Monthly Archives: September 2017

Primary School Utah Dismissed Master of Arts

Utah art teacher and artist Mateo Rudea is out of a job at the Lincoln Elementary School after parents objected to his showing sixth-grade students post cards of historical paintings, some of which included nudity.

The four nude works, by artists Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Amedeo Modigliani, Francois Boucher, and Agnolo Bronzino, were part of a set of postcards that depicted 100 art-historical works, reproduced by Phaidon and called the Art Box. It had been purchased as a teaching tool by the school some years ago, before Rueda was hired, and he was unaware that there was any nudity in the collection, which also features Leonardo da Vinci‘s Mona Lisa and other famous works by Paul Klee, Claude Manet, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Gauguin, J.M.W. Turner, and Vincent van Gogh.

“This is not material at all that I would use. I had no idea,” he told the Herald Journal of the December 4 incident. After students spotted the nudes, Rueda took back the cards in question and explained to the class that “‘when you grow up, you’re going to find yourselves going to museums or to places where unavoidably there’s going to be nudity.’”

François Boucher, Brown Odalisque (1745). Courtesy of the Louvre.
François Boucher, Brown Odalisque (1745). Courtesy of the Louvre.

Nevertheless, some parents complained of “classroom pornography” and, within days, Rueda was suspended and then asked to resign. He refused, and was promptly fired.

An anonymous complaint from a parent also brought the Cache County Sheriff’s Office to the scene. At the school, principal Jeni Buist was found destroying the pictures of nude works from the Art Box and other publications in the school library.

“She said she was putting the postcards and paintings in the shredder at the request of the school district so they wouldn’t be distributed again,” sheriff Chad Jensen told the Journal. “We got some of the pictures and showed them to the County Attorney’s Office, and they said these wouldn’t meet the definition of pornography. They declined to file charges.”

Agnolo Bronzino, Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time (c. 1545). Courtesy of the National Gallery, London.

Rueda’s firing made the news when a parent, Kamee Jensen, wrote a letter to the Journal arguing that he had been wrongfully terminated.

More parents have since spoken out in support of Rueda, as did Utah state Senator Jim Dabakis, a Democrat. “This is what happens when Porn Czars go amuck.… Remember, this is a real teacher with a real career and real mortgage payments,” he wrote on Facebook. “Have any of you moralists, who fired this art teacher, ever been in an art museum?”

Paris paid more than $ 103 million for the François Pinault House Building

The Pinault Collection reveals the cost of the French billionaire’s planned private museum as the Mayor of Paris comes under fire.

Hili Perlson, January 3, 2018

Francois Pinault attends the presentation of the project to install his art collection at the Paris Commercial Exchange on April 27, 2016. Photo Chesnot/Getty Images.
Did Paris overpay millions of euros for the building that will be the home of François Pinault’s planned museum in the French capital? Recent articles in the French media claim that the city shelled out an inflated amount for the historic Bourse de Commerce near the Centre Pompidou, when it was bought in 2016. Last week, the French satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné published a story claiming that the city of Paris had bought the site slated to become a museum housing François Pinault’s contemporary art collection for more than $103 million when it could have been acquired for one Franc (around 15 cents).

Pinault, the mega-collector and billionaire owner of Christie’s, subsequently signed a 50-year lease on the site, and is footing the bill for the renovation of the former stock exchange building. The Pinault Collection will also be responsible for all future running costs of the private museum.

As well as overpaying for the site, Canard accused the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo of “mismanagement,” claiming that the city should have enforced a clause which would have allowed it to buy the building for a few cents. How did the weekly come up with that? In 1949, the article explains, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICC) bought the building from the city for the symbolic amount of one Franc. Back then, “a special condition was added to the contract,” the weekly points out, which stipulates that the transaction can be annulled if the building is no longer used for its original purpose of “public services dependent on the Chamber of Commerce,” thus allowing the city to buy it back for the sale price from nearly 70 years ago.

The Pinault Collection tells artnet News that it was not involved with the building’s purchase. In a statement, it says:

The Pinault Collection was not party to the negotiations between Paris’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the City of Paris. That being said, the City of Paris has subsequently given in this regard clear and detailed public explanations in particular during its deliberations of 4, 5 and 6 July, 2016. The Pinault Collection became acquainted with those at their public release.

In light of the media frenzy that the Canard article has sparked, Paris’s City Hall rejected the publication’s claim, saying that Canard’s interpretation of the 1949 contract is wrong, reports AFP. The lease prohibited the Chamber of Commerce from selling the building to third parties, it stated, but in the case of a resale to the City of Paris, “the ICC was entitled to the value of the property.”

Photographer Nan Goldin Launches Addiction Advocacy Group OxyContin Billionaires and Prominent Arts Donors

Photographer Nan Goldin has founded a new group that seeks to hold members of the Sackler family—noted philanthropists who have made billions from the sale of OxyContin—accountable for their role in America’s opioid crisis.

In an editorial for Artforum, Goldin describes her own battle with OxyContin addiction, for which she entered rehab last January. Her new group P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) aims to pressure the family into using its deep pockets to fund addiction treatment and education.

In October, the New Yorker and Esquire both published in-depth articles about the Sacklers’ use of philanthropy to burnish their image and distance themselves from the highly addictive drug that made them rich.

Indeed, the Sackler name graces wings, courtyards, and galleries at more than a dozen museums around the world, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. To date, no institution in the US or UK has been willing to criticize the funders or the source of their wealth, according to a recent investigation by the Art Newspaper. (One branch of the family, the descendants of Arthur Sackler, did not benefit directly from the sale of Oxycontin.)

“To get their ear we will target their philanthropy,” Goldin writes. “They have washed their blood money through the halls of museums and universities around the world.”

American photographer Nan Goldin speaks to journalists at the “Poste Restante” exhibition of her work at the C/O Gallery in 2009 in Berlin. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A representative from Goldin’s studio did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the group’s membership or advocacy plans. No posts have been made to P.A.I.N.’s Instagram account (@sacklerpain). Its identically named Twitter account has one single posting: the hashtag #ShameOnSackler.

Goldin’s piece in Artforum is accompanied by a new original photograph juxtaposing one of her own pill bottles with a cleverly cropped image of a sign from the Royal College of Art in London that reads “Pain Sackler.”

Addiction has long been a force in Goldin’s life. Her deeply personal breakout work, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, is an unvarnished look at her drug- and sex-fueled social scene in New York’s East Village.

“After The Ballad was published in 1986, I spent two years in my room. Drugs became my full-time occupation,” she told the Guardian in 2014. “I wanted to get high from a really early age. I wanted to be a junkie.”

Heroin and cocaine were her drugs of choice before she went to rehab in 1988. She battled periodic relapses afterward, but her addition to OxyContin was different. It began several years ago after she was prescribed the drug for surgery. “Though I took it as directed, I got addicted overnight,” writes Goldin. “It was the cleanest drug I’d ever met.”

What Does Master Art Magazine Have a Rock Band 80s?

You never know what you’re going to find when record shopping in Poughkeepsie, New York. Flipping through the vinyl at Darkside Records recently, I stumbled across a 1983 LP by Detroit band Art in America. Yes, the very same name as the century-old art magazine.

The band’s music engages in some of the aesthetic of contemporaneous prog rock bands like Yes, but focuses on radio-ready, three-minute pop tunes. The cover of the self-titled LP, released on CBS/Epic-Pavillion Records, features a dreamy, lush green landscape superimposed with a number of floating blue orbs, with the band’s name inscribed in red in the sky. The image is the first record cover by the Greek-born, single-named artist Ioannis, who later designed covers for bands like Deep Purple, the Allman Brothers, and King Crimson.

Active in the Detroit music scene in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Art in America consisted of three siblings from Michigan—lead singer and guitarist Chris Ruetenik, drummer Dan Ruetenik, and harpist Shishonee Ruetenik—along with bassist Jim Kuha. To burnish their image, the Rueteniks eventually became the Flynns, a punchier stage name for the first American rock band to employ a concert-size Lyon & Healey pedal harp.

Courtesy Art in America.
Photo courtesy of Art in America.

But how did an art magazine come to be the namesake of a Detroit rock band?


It all started with Warren Westfall, a “bohemian” friend who had stacks of the magazine lying around, says Chris Ruetenik. “What is Art in America?” Westfall asked in a conversation with the band, he recalls. “It is its popular culture. It’s the synthesis of all the cultures that have contributed to it. The band is a result of that synthesis. Thus you are… Art in America!”

Rick Smith, the band’s manager in the ’80s and now principal of Michigan’s Wild Justice Music, says he cleared the use of the name with the magazine’s then editor-in-chief, Elizabeth C. Baker. “Let’s rock and roll,” Smith says she told him. Baker, reached by phone, didn’t recall the conversation and pointed out that such requests would normally go through the publishers. Neither Whitney Communications Corporation, which owned the magazine at the time, or Sony, which now owns Columbia, responded to emails.

“It’s news to me,” Baker said in a phone conversation. “I’m very glad to know about it. I was fascinated to see a harp in a rock band, and it’s a charmingly inventive video.”