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Louvre visitor numbers plunge due to Covid restrictions

Sophie Duberson, of the restoration department of the Louvre Museum cleans the Egyptian funerary stele Senusret, at the Louvre Museum in Paris, on January 8, 2021. The devastating impact on tourism and culture was once again underscored on January 8 with the Louvre in Paris, the world's biggest museum, announcing its visitor numbers had fallen by 70 percent last year. Martin BUREAU / AFP.

PARIS (AFP).- The Louvre, the world's biggest museum, suffered a drop in visitor numbers of over 70 percent last year as Covid restrictions kept art lovers away, it said on Friday. Receipts fell by more than 90 million euros ($110 million) compared with 2019. The Louvre, which closed for six months during French coronavirus lockdowns, saw visitor numbers plunge to 2.7 million in 2020, from 9.6 million in 2019 and 10.2 million in 2018, which was a record year. Visits by foreigners, notably from the United States, China, Japan and Brazil, who usually make up three quarters of total visits, all but dried up, especially during the usually busy summer months. The museum managed to limit the damage with its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition that attracted 1.1 million visitors and ended before the first French lockdown in the spring. The Louvre also used the downtime to boost its digital offering, with the number of online subscribers growing by over a million from 2019 to 9.3 million, and the louvr ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Almine Rech opens a solo exhibition of works by Genesis Tramaine   Lark Mason Associates extends bidding for rare Neopolitan Christmas Créche figures on   Michael Apted, versatile director known for 'Up' series, dies at 79

Genesis Tramaine, Annointed Son, 2020. Oil stick, oil pastel, holy spirit, 182.9 x 121.9 x 6.3 cm. 72 1/8 x 48 x 2 1/2 inches.

BRUSSELS.- Almine Rech is presenting Evidence of Grace by American visual artist Genesis Tramaine. This exhibition is the artist's first solo presentation in Brussels and the second with the gallery. The paintings featured in Evidence of Grace serve as Tramaine’s creative rumination on the many trials and tribulations that have come to define 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic, the resurgence of racial tensions in North America’s mainstream discourse, and the Black Lives Matter movement that has shifted our social consciousness. Searching for a way to make sense of what she found to be troubling in our society - injustice, discrimination, and a lack of care for each other - Tramaine began her quest for answers. As Tramaine often does when faced with a problem and seeks to process events occurring in the world around her, she looks inward and engages in deep prayer. Tramaine’s prayers provided ... More

Three Italian Neapolitan Polychrome Wood and Terracotta Noble Ladies, 19th century.

NEW BRAUNFELS, TX.- A single lot special seasonal auction of Neapolitan Christmas créche figures, dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries, offered by Lark Mason Associates, is still open for bidding through January 12th on The comprehensive collection offered includes a group of winged angels, the three magi, musicians, and many other figures and animals. The three magi are of particular interest, each boasting a “gem” studded metal crown with finely crafted clothing, all three bear matching metal swords with lion pommels. The annual tradition of setting up the Christmas Créche is still alive and well in many homes throughout the world. Says Lark Mason: “This auction offers an opportunity for those who celebrate this time-honored tradition to add to their collection or for new entrants to begin a fun and beautiful way to celebrate the Christmas season.” Naples, Italy is known for extravagant works o ... More

The director Michael Apted at his office in West Los Angeles, Dec. 18, 2012. Robert Yager/The New York Times.

by Neil Genzlinger

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Michael Apted, a versatile director whose films were as varied as the James Bond picture “The World Is Not Enough” and the biographical dramas “Gorillas in the Mist” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” and who made his most lasting mark with the “Up” documentary series, which followed the lives of a group of British people in seven-year intervals for more than a half century, died on Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 79. His agent in the United States, Roy Ashton, confirmed the death but did not specify a cause. Apted, who was British, was a researcher at Granada Television in England when he helped pick the 14 children, all of them 7, who became the subjects of “Seven Up!,” the initial documentary in the “Up” series, which was directed by Paul Almond and shown on British television in 1964. ... More

The National Gallery remains open online with wide-ranging digital programme   Nailya Alexander Gallery opens an exhibition inspired by the photography book 'A Pageant of Youth'   Carol Johnson, leading landscape architect, dies at 91

Artemisia curator’s tour © The National Gallery, London.

LONDON.- As we return to digital ways to look at, use and respond to art, the National Gallery will remain open online, continuing to bring the nation’s gallery into the nation’s homes. Through our digital programme, we will be open 24/7, providing everyone with access to great art at anytime, anywhere in the world. While the Gallery doors remain closed, art continues to be a source of hope, inspiration and reassurance for many. Since March 2020, we have seen a 1,125% increase in visitors to the Stories page on our website which houses new digital content, online events, and an archive of recent features and films produced in-house. The average time spent on individual painting pages has increased by 71% and the average duration of individual sessions overall has increased by 30% from March 2020, in comparison to the same period the previous year. Since January 2020, the National Gallery has gained 408,451 followers acro ... More

Boris Ignatovich, Shower, 1935. Gelatin silver print.

NEW YORK, NY.- Nailya Alexander Gallery is presenting A Pageant of Youth, an exhibition inspired by the photography book of the same name, designed by Aleksandr Rodchenko (1891–1956) and Varvara Stepanova (1894–1958) for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The book emphasizes the importance of physical culture among Soviet youth and showcases one of the extravagant annual All-Union Sports Parades held on Red Square in Moscow, as well as other athletic activities fashionable in the 1930s. Athleticism and physical health were promoted by the newly formed Soviet state in order to serve one of its main objectives: the creation of an entirely novel and advanced type of human being called “The New Soviet Man” who would be selfless, educated, and physically strong, while constantly striving for self-improvement. Photography, like no other media, was especially instrumental in the formation of this idealized image and its dissemination ... More

Carol Johnson at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, which her firm designed, in Cambridge, Mass., 2020. The Cultural Landscape Foundation via The New York Times.

by Penelope Green

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Carol Johnson, who transformed derelict sites into striking civic parks as the founder of what would become one of the country’s largest landscape architecture firms owned by a woman, died on Dec. 11 at her home in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. She was 91. A niece, Virginia Johnson, said the cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Johnson was known for her large-scale public projects, which often involved environmental remediation. For the Mystic River State Reservation, a nature preserve in eastern Massachusetts, a commission she received in the 1970s, she transformed a toxic landfill into a public park. The John F. Kennedy Park along the Charles River in Cambridge, ... More

Indian sari pioneer Satya Paul dies at 78   From the music hall to ballet royalty: A British tale   Highest-graded copy of 1940's 'Batman' No. 1 sets world record one week before live auction

In this file photo taken on March 24, 2007 a model displays a creation by Indian designer Satya Paul during the Wills India Fashion Week in New Delhi. Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP.

MUMBAI (AFP).- Indian fashion designer Satya Paul, whose eponymous brand breathed life into the traditional sari, modernising the garment with funky prints, has died at 78, his family said. Born on February 2, 1942, he first made his mark in the world of fashion retail with the 1980 launch of L'Affaire, India's first sari boutique, before establishing his own label five years later. His pioneering designs blended Indian handloom techniques with a modern palette, producing saris adorned with polka dots, zebra prints and abstract motifs. He did not limit himself to saris however, expanding into accessories such as scarves and ties, and eventually creating a retail empire that spanned eight Indian cities and a thriving online business. Drawn to spiritual pursuits from an early age, Paul passed away at an ashram in the southern city of Coimbatore ... More

The Danish-born ballerina Adeline Genée, who was a founder of the Royal Academy of Dance, in “A Dream of Butterflies and Roses.” The history of the Royal Academy of Dance, outlined at an exhibition in London, is synonymous with the history of ballet in Britain. Hugh Cecil via The New York Times.

by Roslyn Sulcas

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- “It is absolute nonsense to say that the English temperament is not suited for dancing,” Edouard Espinosa, a London dance teacher, said in 1916. It was only a lack of skilled teaching, he added, that prevented the emergence of “perfect dancers.” Espinosa was speaking to a reporter from Lady’s Pictorial about a furor that he had caused in the dance world with this idea: Dance instructors, he insisted, should adhere to standards and be examined on their work. Four years later, in 1920, a teaching organization that would become the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) was founded by Espinosa and several others, including Danish-born Adeline ... More

Batman #1 (DC, 1940) CGC NM 9.4 White pages.

DALLAS, TX.- The finest known issue of Batman No. 1 now holds the distinction of being the most expensive Dark Knight comic ever sold – a full week before it heads to auction. On Jan. 14, during the first session of its four-day Comics & Comic Art event, Dallas-based Heritage Auctions will sell a near-mint issue of the 1940 comic book, the sole copy ever to receive a 9.4 grade from the Certified Guaranty Company. Since the sale's launch on Dec. 23, vigorous bidding has pushed the comic's price tag to $1,530,000, including buyer's premium. The book will be sold during a live auction to be held on Heritage's website at noon Central Standard Time on Jan. 14. But already it will surpass the $1.5-million world record set for a Batman title in November, when Heritage Auctions sold a copy of 1939's Detective Comics 27 for $1.5 million, which, at the time, was the highest price ever realized for any Batman comic book. For a few weeks, Detective Comics No ... More

David Hasselhoff 40-year show business archive including Knight Rider car to be auctioned Jan. 23   Eugene Wright, longtime Brubeck Quartet bassist, dies at 97   Shakespeare, swing and Louis Armstrong. So what went wrong?

David Hasselhoff’s personal and fully functional Knight Rider K.I.T.T. car with distinctive illuminated dash and console. Car is located in UK. Hasselhoff will personally deliver the car to the winning bidder if the hammer price exceeds the reserve by 25%. Estimate $175,000-$300,000.

CALABASAS, CALIF.- Throughout his career as a multimedia superstar, David Hasselhoff has brought his charismatic personality to many roles now ingrained in pop-culture history. From his first major TV success on the 1970s daytime drama The Young and the Restless, Hasselhoff went on to earn worldwide acclaim as high-tech crimefighter Michael Knight on Knight Rider, followed by an 11-year run as hunky LA County lifeguard Mitch Buchanan on Baywatch. From there, Hasselhoff – or “the Hoff,” as he is known to his legion of fans – produced the TV series Baywatch Hawaii, appeared in major stage productions, and lit up such films as Dodgeball and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. He summoned his musical talent to record a studio album that went triple platinum in Europe and hit number one on the charts in several countries. Even after all those ... More

The quartet was one of the few racially mixed jazz groups during the fiery early years of the civil rights movement.

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Eugene Wright, a distinguished bass player who toured the world and recorded some 30 albums, including the landmark “Time Out,” in his decade with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, died Dec. 30 in the Valley Glen neighborhood of Los Angeles. He was 97. Caroline Howard, the executor of Wright’s estate, confirmed his death, at an assisted living facility. In 1958 Wright, a solidly swinging timekeeper best known for his work with the Count Basie Orchestra in the late 1940s, might not have seemed the ideal choice for the complex modern jazz compositions that formed the bulk of Brubeck’s repertoire. “It shouldn’t have worked, but Dave had an ESP about musicians and knew somehow Eugene would work,” Philip Clark, the author of “Dave Brubeck: A Life In Time” (2020), said in a phone interview. “Eugene was a light-fingered player who could swing heavily, but he had a spongy sound that gave albums like ‘Time Out’ and very intricate pieces like & ... More

Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of Young Vic, in Baltimore, April 25, 2013. Matt Roth/The New York Times.

by Elisabeth Vincentelli

NEW YORK, NY (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- “It’s almost like a kind of murder mystery,” Kwame Kwei-Armah said with obvious relish. “The play was butchered by the press, and somehow the body has disappeared.” The case the artistic director of London’s Young Vic Theater was referring to is a Broadway show called “Swingin’ the Dream.” Set in 1890 Louisiana, this “musical variation of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ ” as it was billed, ran on Broadway for just 13 performances at the end of 1939, then sunk without a trace. The script itself is lost, save for a few pages from the Pyramus and Thisbe section. So you have to wonder why prominent institutions — the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Young Vic in Britain and New York’s Theater for a New Audience — would team up to revisit a theatrical footnote for a long-term project, which kicks off Saturday with a livestream concert of popular ... More

More News
Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, towering figure in Urdu literature, dies at 85
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, a creative and critical voice in Urdu literature for more than a half-century, died Dec. 25 at his home in Allahabad, India. He was 85. The cause was complications of COVID-19, his daughter Mehr Afshan Farooqi said. (Faruqi changed the spelling of his surname in the 1980s.) Faruqi has been credited among scholars with the revival of Urdu literature, especially from the 18th and 19th centuries. His output over the years as a scholar, editor, publisher, critic, literary historian, translator and acclaimed writer of both poetry and novels was varied and prolific. His primary focus was on retrieving Indo-Islamic culture and literature from the effects of colonialism. The left-wing Progressive Writers’ Movement had been in vogue since the 1930s, when India was still under British rule. Literature ... More

This time, he stars in his own story
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- A year or so ago, Gabriel Byrne was putting the final touches on his memoir, “Walking With Ghosts,” a series of snapshots from his early life in Ireland and beyond, when he struck an errant key on his laptop. Poof! The screen went blank. “It was kind of devastating,” Byrne said in a video interview last month. “I went to the store where they have the geniuses” — that would be Apple, with its Genius Bar — “and I said, ‘I want your most genius Genius.’ And he said, ‘Unless you can get some kind of spy agency involved in this, it’s gone and we have no idea where it is.’” Luckily, Byrne found the book had more or less lodged itself into his unconscious, and he was able to resurrect it, writing in cafes, this time with an iPad and liberal use of the “save” function. Written as if its author were “an intruder in my own ... More

Women's Social and Political Union Medal awarded to Miss Nellie Godfrey to be offered at Dix Noonan Webb
LONDON.- The Women’s Social and Political Union Medal awarded to Miss Nellie Godfrey, who was arrested and imprisoned for throwing a missile at Winston Churchill’s car as he attended an election rally in Bolton in December 1909 will be offered by Dix Noonan Webb in their live / online auction of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 on their website It is expected to fetch £6,000-8,000, and the proceeds are being donated to the Fawcett Society. The silver medal is inscribed ‘Hunger Strike’, the reverse named ‘Nellie Godfrey’, the suspension bar dated ‘December 7th. 1909’ complete with integral top ‘For Valour’ brooch bar, enamelled in the colours of the W.S.P.U., and in its original case of issue, the inside silk interior lining of lid with gold blocked inscription, ‘Presented to Nellie Godfrey by the Women’s Social & Political Union ... More

Pamela Z manipulates voices in a virtual tour of Times Square
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Composer, vocalist and multimedia artist Pamela Z was supposed to have a good 2020. She started the year in Italy, as a recipient of the prestigious Rome Prize, working on a new performance piece that was to have its debut in June at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The piece, “Simultaneous,” was to capitalize on the strengths Z, 64, has developed over a long and celebrated career. It would deploy her classically trained voice, her subtle (and sometimes humorous) layers of projected images and her skills as a live manipulator of media — especially her theatrical use of gesture controllers, wireless devices that let her physical movements affect sound. “I consider my instrument really to be the combination of my voice and the electronics,” she said in a phone interview from her home in San ... More

Man City owner buys historic FA Cup trophy
LONDON (AFP).- Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour has bought the first piece of silverware won the club -- the Football Association Challenge Cup used from 1896 to 1910. The trophy, a forerunner of the FA Cup in use today, was won by the club in 1904, when they beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 in the final. "City are delighted to announce we are now the proud custodian of the 1896–1910 Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) following the recent purchase of the trophy at auction by club owner, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed," read a club statement. "A forerunner of the FA Cup in use today, the trophy is one of the most significant artefacts in world football and the oldest surviving piece of FA Cup silverware in England," it added. Sheikh Mansour, who reportedly paid more than £750,000 ($1 million) for the trophy, ... More

Award-winning documentarian brings her powerful photographs to San Francisco with gallery debut
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Margaret Cheatham Williams, an Emmy-nominated documentarian, introduces her narrative photography to San Francisco design enthusiasts this winter with the opening of her debut gallery. Moxie’s Daughter, A Photography Collection by Margaret Cheatham Williams, opened its doors on January 5 in the esteemed Sacramento Street shopping district. Williams has gained recognition for her distinct documentary style that combines storytelling with preservation, a craft honed during her nearly seven years as a journalist at The New York Times. Her work in film examines the intersection of health, family and personal identity, and her journalistic methodology lends a strong sense of place and sentiment. The imagery is rooted in memory, and Williams hopes to evoke a certain aura of romanticism ... More

Karen Carson's first solo show at Gavlak Los Angeles explores her expansive five-decade career
LOS ANGELES, CA.- GAVLAK Los Angeles is presenting Karen Carson: Middle Ground, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery running from January 9 through March 6, 2021. Centered around her current bas relief works and her early “zipper” series, both bodies of work deploy geometric configurations to explore the convergence of gender, nature and the material world. The exhibition’s title refers to the interplay between these two series; both operate as key historical markers that speak to Carson’s artistic importance for the past five decades, creating work with an expansive visual language that has engaged contemporary issues and political culture in myriad ways. "It's an immense pleasure to work with an artist who engages with materiality in such a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary way," said owner Sarah Gavlak. "The gallery's ... More

Lyles & King opens an exhibition of works by Mira Schor
NEW YORK, NY.- Lyles & King is presenting Tipping Point, Mira Schor’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. In a 2018 painting Mira Schor asks, What kind of art will we make under fascism? In a selection of paintings from January 2017 to December 2020, Tipping Point presents responses to this challenge by an artist whose work has always been steeped in the political, the historical, the personal, and the material. Tipping Point includes some of the many works Schor created while driven by political fury during the past four years, as well as more reflective, philosophical paintings done in 2020 before and during the pandemic. This includes her largest, most monumental works, all offering a trajectory through the multiple meanings of this inflection point in history. In a moment that seems transitional and sometimes apocalyptic, as ancient Cathedrals ... More

Grace Meils named Deputy Director for Advancement at Newfields
INDIANAPOLIS, IND.- After a 20-year career in developing and executing fundraising, sales and development strategies across the art industry, Grace Meils has been promoted to Deputy Director for Advancement at Newfields. Meils joined the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2014 as the Advancement Services Manager. Her focus quickly expanded to include oversight of the membership program, and has since grown to include donor events, annual giving and campaign strategy. While Meils has held positions at Newfields, member households have grown more than 80% and she has been a part of the philanthropy team that has helped raised significant amounts of money towards Newfields’ Master Plan priorities, including the Lilly Family Playhouse renovations, the new Beer Garden, the southwest Border Garden restoration and the Gallery ... More

Side hustles and handouts: A tough year ahead for U.K. theater workers
LONDON (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Last August, Tom Boucher was among the first in Britain’s theater industry to get back to work after theaters were closed for months because of the coronavirus. For six weeks, Boucher, 29, was a lighting technician for “Sleepless: A Musical Romance,” a show based on the popular 1993 movie “Sleepless in Seattle.” He felt so lucky to have a job again, he recalled in a telephone interview. Every day, until the run ended, Boucher went to the Troubadour Wembley Park Theater, where he was tested for the coronavirus before bathing the stage with warm tones to conjure the show’s romantic atmosphere. But that joy was short-lived, he said. Freelancers — both actors and backstage crew members like Boucher — are the lifeblood of Britain’s theaters, making up an estimated 70% of the country’s 290,000 ... More

The Highest Value Masters Week in Sotheby's History

On a day like today, art collector Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, was born
January 09, 1875. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (January 9, 1875 - April 18, 1942) was an American sculptor, art patron and collector, and founder in 1931 of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. She was a prominent social figure and hostess, who was born into the wealthy Vanderbilt family and married into the Whitney family.

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