News from Around the Art World: February 5, 2018

Million-plus gifts support photography locally

Brothers David "Buzz" Ruttenberg and Roger "Biff" Ruttenberg have donated in excess of $4 million to the Art Institute of Chicago and $1 million to the Museum of Contemporary Photography. The gifts were made through the David C. & Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation, established by the Ruttenbergs' parents in 1983.

The donation to the Art Institute, the exact amount of which the museum declined to disclose, is the largest in the foundation's history. It endows the Ruttenberg associate curator of photography and the Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series. The curator, Michal Raz-Russo, cataloged David and Sarajean Ruttenberg's photography collection, which totaled nearly 10,000 works. Raz-Russo also curates the biennial Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series, launched in 2015, which gives emerging artists their first major museum show.

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By Lisa Bertagnoli, Crain's Business Chicago


Preservationists race to save historic Daniel Burnham-designed building facade

In an eleventh-hour bid to save a piece of Chicago architecture history from the wrecking ball, preservationists are scrambling to find someone willing and able to remove the facade of a Daniel Burnham-designed building — by Monday.

The advocacy group Preservation Chicago issued an SOS on Thursday for the building at 1217 W. Washington Blvd., designed in 1910 by Daniel Burnham, revered as one of the greatest architects and city planners Chicago has ever produced.

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By Patty Wetli, Sun-Times



Napoleonic Architecture Exhibit @ AIC May Only Spark Interest of Select Few

Now through April 9, the Art Institute of Chicago will display highlights from their Percier and Fontaine Collection, the personal library of Pierre François Léonard Fontaine, one of the architectes du gouvernement under Napoleon. The exhibition, entitled Architect of Empires: Highlights from the Library of Pierre Fontaine, is displayed in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries.

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By Arielle Ismail, Third Coast Review


4 Athletes Selected as Artists in Residence at the Olympics

A group of Olympic athletes is attending the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, but they won’t be competing for medals.

Instead, they will travel to Pyeongchang, South Korea, as Olympic artists in residence, the International Olympic Committee announced today.

The four artists, who have competed in a combined seven Olympic Games, include the Greek-American distance runner Alexi Pappas, the British javelin thrower Roald Bradstock, the Swiss fencer Jean-Blaise Evéquoz and the American biathlete Lanny Barnes.

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By Talya Minsberg, The New York Times


New Research Models How Artists Can Benefit from Holding Equity in Their Work

When a work is sold at auction, several people cash in: Depending on the terms of the contract, typically the seller rakes in the lion’s share, the auction house pockets some fees, and, if there’s a guarantor, she’ll receive a payment for assuming the risk of a no-sale. But with few exceptions, the artist who actually created the work remains wholly removed from the transaction, receiving nothing even if the auction price is significantly higher than what the artist originally sold it for.  

But what if the artist continued to hold an equity stake in the artwork after that first sale? In other words, what if they continued to own a slice of the artwork? As the work’s value rises, the value of that equity stake would rise as well, even if the tangible object was held by someone else.

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By Isaac Kaplan, Arsty Editorial


An Artist Wants to Build a U.F.O. Next to Edvard Munch’s Studio

OSLO — For the last 28 years of his life, the artist Edvard Munch lived in a villa in a hilly, forested area that was then on the outskirts of this city. He completed hundreds of paintings and drawings there, and the estate, Ekely, has become a pilgrimage site for fans of his art. Although Munch’s villa was demolished in 1960, and an artists’ colony now exists on the site, his enclosed winter studio remains, and visitors can walk among the nearby trees to discover the surroundings that inspired many of his later works.

Recently, however, plans by a Norwegian artist and an architectural firm to build an unusual home on a nearby hillock have set off a heated debate over the preservation of the “Scream” painter’s legacy. The proposed building, officially untitled but generally referred to as “A House to Die In,” is to be the home of Bjarne Melgaard, one of the country’s best known and divisive contemporary artists.

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By Thomas Rogers, The New York Times