News from Around the Art World: December 18, 2017

Best architecture of 2017: Apple Store, Unity Temple and the Biennial in a remarkable year

With a new architecture biennial, a big Frank Lloyd Wright anniversary and a series of small gems, it was a very good year for Chicago architecture. Here are the highlights:

A Chicago double for L.A. architects: The second version of the Chicago Architecture Biennial built on the legacy of the first biennial with a show, titled “Make New History,” that explored how a new generation of architects is looking backward to move forward. 

The curators of the exhibition, Los Angeles architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, shaped an elegant, albeit esoteric, framework that showcased work by more than 140 designers from over 20 countries. And they demonstrated how their “Make New History” approach can work in a modestly scaled but exemplary renovation of the common spaces inside the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

--Via Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune

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With $750,000 Grant, Minneapolis Institute of Art Starts Up Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts

The Minneapolis Institute of Art has received a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and will use the money toward starting what it is calling the Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts, or CEVA for short. Other so-called centers for empathy have been established by activist organizations and international affairs groups—among them People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Stanford University’s medical school, and the Center for Empathy in International Affairs, which has has worked with U.S. peace groups—yet no major art museum has created one before, making CEVA the first of its kind.

The launch of CEVA will include an initiative lasting nearly five years to convene philosophers, writers, artists, thought leaders, and others to research ways that the arts can make people more compassionate. This past October, the Minneapolis Institute began the initiative with a conference at the University of California, Berkeley. A second phase of research, in which the museum’s curators will investigate how better to connect with visitors, will follow.

--Via Alex Greenberger, Artnews

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Why the Getty Center’s Art Stayed Put as Fires Raged Nearby

Visitors come to the Getty Center in Los Angeles to see Vincent van Gogh’s irises and other great works. What they don’t see is the reason that these masterpieces could stay put while thousands in Southern California had to evacuate as multiple fires raged in recent days, one of which came within thousands of feet of the museum.

The Getty’s architect, Richard Meier, built fire resistance into the billion-dollar complex, said Ron Hartwig, vice president of communications for the J. Paul Getty Trust. These hills are fire prone, but because of features like the 1.2 million square feet of thick travertine stone covering the outside walls, the crushed rock on the roofs and even the plants chosen for the brush-cleared grounds, “The safest place for the artwork to be is right here in the Getty Center,” he said.

--Via John Schwartz and Guilbert Gates, The New York Times

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