News from Around the Art World: July 2, 2018

Theaster Gates salutes the spaces where Ebony and Jet happened

“A Johnson Publishing Story,” an exhibition that opened in Chicago last week, memorializes the iconic tastes of the late John and Eunice Johnson, pioneers in African-American publishing, fashion and cosmetics. Chicago artist/developer Theaster Gates has installed select furnishings from the Johnson Publishing Co. offices in the Ebony/Jet building that opened in 1972.

Besides a stylish desk, credenza and sofa, there’s an IBM Selectric typewriter custom-clad in red alligator leather. Autographed copies of books by Richard Wright and Langston Hughes are on view too. Cards inform visitors: “These objects are sacred, please be respectful.”

By Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun Times

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This Artist’s Radical Designs Made America Fall in Love with Alfred Hitchcock and Quaker Oats

They called him the Pablo Picasso of commercial artists. For over 50 years, beginning in the late 1940s, Saul Bass crafted quietly brilliant images for Hollywood and Madison Avenue, many of which still feel strikingly contemporary decades later. Much like Picasso, he reinvented himself again and again throughout his long life, excelling at wildly different genres of visual art—you can’t talk about Bass without talking about posters, logos, feature films, documentary shorts, or title sequences.

By Jackson Arn, Artsy Editorial

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The site of the earliest known temple on earth continues to keep its secrets

One morning in May I stood in a dark room in southern Turkey, watching blue-skinned early humans domesticate wheat between bouts of interpretive dance. They were holograms, and they swayed across the walls to a doomy arrangement of bells, drums, and spectral voices: the soundtrack to the dawn of time. The display was a concession to drama in an otherwise austere complex of new museums – low, tan, elliptical structures tucked into a dip in the Harran plain – built to ease visits to Göbekli Tepe, a hilltop cluster of stone circles that is sometimes described as the earliest temple on earth. The museums take their shape from the limestone ruins a short walk up the rise, but for all the touch screens and soft-power gloss – this is the project of a large Turkish conglomerate – their raison d’être could hardly be more mysterious.

By Yasmine Seale, Apollo Magazine

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What colour is this dress? Guggenheim reveals Manet painting after three years of restoration

A freshly-cleaned fashion statement by Édouard Manet goes back on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York today (29 June) for the summer, after three years of research and restoration. The free and expressive brushstrokes and bright colours of Woman in Striped Dress (around 1877-80), a full-length portrait of an unidentified model—and of the dress itself—were hidden under two layers of discoloured varnish.

“Especially towards the end of his life, [Manet] was really quite modern in the way that he approached the canvas and he would describe things with very few touches,” says Lena Stringari, the deputy director and chief conservator of the Guggenheim Foundation, who led the project. “As this very thick and unsightly varnish came off, you could see how just with a few little touches he could make something sing.”

By Victoria Stapley-Brown, The Art Newspaper

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‘Art Is Almost Free’: Iran Opens Its First-Ever Art Fair—Just as the Value of the Country’s Currency Plummets

Imagine you are a gallerist preparing to attend an art fair. But almost overnight, the value of the works you plan to sell drops by half.

What is a bad dream for some dealers is a reality in Tehran, where 10 dealers gathered last week to participate in the country’s first art fair. Teer Art opened against the backdrop of protests in the Iranian capital as the country’s currency, the rial, hit a new low. Since the US withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal in May, the rial has lost more than 40 percent of its value. Against all odds, however, the mood on the fair’s opening day on June 24 was positive. There’s a first time for everything, and for this first edition of an art fair in Tehran, just opening on time is an achievement.

By Tahereh Sariban, Artnet News

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