Recent links of note:
Non, Merci! French Artists and Cultural Workers Reject Giant Jeff Koons Sculpture
Benjamin Sutton, Hyperallergic
In 2016, as a gesture of solidarity with Paris after the previous year’s terrorist attacks, the American artist Jeff Koons announced that he would offer a thirty-eight-foot-tall sculpture “gift” to the capital city. As Benjamin Sutton of Hyperallergic writes, however, Koons has “merely gifted the ‘idea’ for it”: the creation and installation of the gargantuan eyesore will be paid for by the Paris Foundation, an organization dedicated to public projects such as lighting the Arc de Triomphe and various other Parisian landmarks. Many have already commented that “Bouquet of Tulips,” which features his brand-name metal balloons in place of actual flowers, will serve not as a monument to the victims of terrorist violence, but to Koons himself. Further, the monument promises to completely upset the architectural and visual harmony of its proposed location (between the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Palais de Tokyo in the sixteenth arrondissement). French artists and academics have since made a coordinated push to block the installation, on grounds both practical and aesthetic. Bon chance.
The cavalier collector: how Charles I gained (and lost) some of the world’s best art
Michael Prodger, The New Statesman
Charles I, perhaps best remembered for his untimely death in 1649 at the hands of Oliver Cromwell and his anti-Royalist Parliamentarians, was also from an early age an eager and prodigious art collector. Indeed, his frequent shopping trips to the cultural centers of continental Europe brought works by the likes of Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Titian, and many more to Britain. Unfortunately, as Michael Prodger of The New Statesman writes on occasion of a new exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, the collection was summarily dispersed after Charles’s execution, and was only partly recollected during the Restoration of the monarchy. The Royal Academy’s “Charles I: King and Collector” will bring many of these items together for the first time since Charles I’s life.
The Horror, the Horror
Gary Saul Morson, The New York Review of Books
In the most recent issue of The New York Review of Books, Gary Saul Morson reviews the literary career of Isaac Babel, the Soviet Russian journalist, playwright, and short story writer who was executed in 1940 during Stalin’s Great Purge. Babel, a Russian Jew who ended up in a regiment of the extremely anti-Semitic and violent Cossacks, led a life full of contradictions, from which he drew much of his grim, but incisive and realist, semi-fictional writing. Morson’s review comes on the heels of his article in these pages, “Solzhenitsyn’s cathedrals,” which won a 2017 Sidney Award for best long-form journalism (awarded by David Brooks of The New York Times).
From the Editors
“A Brief History of Idol-Smashers, From Moses to de Blasio”
James Panero, The Wall Street Journal
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