News from Around the Art World: December 11, 2017


Supreme Court hears arguments in claim against Iranian antiquities

Can a collection of Persian antiquities held at a Chicago museum be used to pay damages to the American victims of a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem? That was the question argued at the US Supreme Court on 4 December, in a claim brought by Jenny Rubin and others against Iran. But the justices who questioned the lawyers involved in the case seemed skeptical about allowing the artefacts to be seized.

Rubin and the other plaintiffs, who were the victims of a 1997 suicide bombing in a pedestrian mall, won a $71m judgment in US court against Iran in 2003. To get paid, they are claiming the 30,000 ancient Persian clay tablets and artifacts in the Persepolis Collection at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, which have been on loan from Iran since 1937.

--Via Martha Lufkin, The Art Newspaper

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National Museum of Gospel Music planned for Bronzeville site

If planners get their way, Chicago will have the nation’s first major gospel music museum, on the site once occupied by Pilgrim Baptist Church, known as the birthplace of gospel.

The National Museum of Gospel Music will unveil its plans for the $37.2 million Bronzeville institution, targeting a 2020 opening, at a news conference Friday afternoon on the nearby campus of Illinois Institute of Technology.

--Via Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune

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Bob Meyer infuses color into his long history of theatrical artwork

Something unusually magical happens to the work of visual artists who also are preoccupied with the theater. Think of Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Jean Cocteau, Alexander Calder, Salvador Dali, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney and William Kentridge, to name a few, and don’t forget Leonardo da Vinci.

Bob Meyer, the Chicago-bred artist, actor, director and writer who now lives in a village outside Paris near Monet’s Giverney gardens (and has installed his studio in an actual cave across the street from his home), is another ideal example of this cross-pollination of image with story, character and dialogue. His haunting pencil drawings and prints became a prized feature of the Chicago theater scene in the 1980s and ’90s, when he founded the Gare St. Lazare Players, a company that has since established itself in France and been seen throughout Europe, and under whose banner Meyer has been responsible for 60 productions of self-penned work, as well as plays by Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Sam Shepard, Wallace Shawn, Dario Fo and many others.

--Via Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times

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Do Women Dealers Represent More Women Artists?

What would the world look like if more women were in charge?

An Artsy analysis comparing the artist rosters of the 199 female-run and male-run galleries showing at the 16th edition of Art Basel in Miami Beachprovides one clue. Dealers who are women are 28% more likely to show artists who are women. The gender breakdown of artists listed on the websites of the 126 male-run galleries showing at Art Basel in Miami Beach is 75% male artists to 25% female artists, a ratio of three to one.

--Via Anna Louie Sussman and Kim Hart, Artsy

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It's past time to save the Uptown Theatre

Even before it went dark nearly four decades ago, the Uptown Theatre was in decline—the North Side's own architectural Miss Havisham, outfitted in its decaying Jazz Age finery. Once a dazzling movie theater that represented the outer limits of extravagant Roaring '20s design, the 4,500-seat colossus by the 1970s had faded, playing host to Grateful Dead concerts and closed-circuit boxing matches. Then, in 1981, the doors shut—and since then, a generation of community activists has worked against the odds to see that those doors don't remain shut for good.

As Crain's contributor Mark Guarino reports in this week's issue, time is not on the preservationists' side. "If this isn't resolved soon, this building will continue to deteriorate," says Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago.

--Via Crain's Editorial Board, Crain's Chicago Business

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