Reports on the burning of Hélio Oiticica’s work have been somewhat exaggerated: The artist’s work is not a quite a near-total loss. Stories a couple of days ago cited that “90%” of the work made by Oiticica, a major figure of the Brazilian avante garde in the late 1960s and early 1970s, had been destroyed in a fire at the home of Oiticica’s brother César in Rio de Janeiro. Now César and others been able to look more closely at the damage, reporting that a number of works were spared and for others, restoration is possible. No word yet on how such devastation could occur — reportedly the storage spaces had humidity control, sprinklers, and fire alarms — but no doubt more is yet to come with this story. In related and bittersweet news, Oiticica’s CC5 Hendrixwar Cosmococa, acquired by the Walker in 2007, goes on view here on February 27, 2010.
The man who brought us (Chuck) Close: A recent story in the Akron Beacon Journal delves into the history of Linda, a Chuck Close portrait that’s considered a key piece in the collection of the Akron Art Museum. Turns out that Rosenkrantz’s husband, Christopher Finch, is not only a former associate curator at the Walker, but according to the Beacon Journal story, Finch is responsible for Close’s Big-Self Portait becoming a key piece in the Walker’s collection: “in 1968 [he] had persuaded the museum to buy a Close, which, as it happened, was the first Close to go into a public collection.”
Take the “Collector Challenge”: This nifty game at PBS.org tests your eye based around the collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel—the librarian and postal worker who became renowned for amassing a hugely important collection, mostly of conceptual and minimalist works. Now they’ve dispersed that collection to 50 museums in 50 states; the Vogels selected the Weisman Art Museum in Minnesota. To Have it About You: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection opens there this Friday.; you might also want to check out the documentary film Herb and Dorothy.
“It embraces you with a velvet chill”: So says the Guardian about How It Is, Miroslaw Balka’s new installation in the Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall, which is basically a gigantic, raised steel box that visitors can walk under—or inside (see video here). The latter choice means you get swallowed by darkness — unless giggling youths illuminate the interior with their cell-phone cameras. Is that the equivalent of ignorant theater-goers interrupting a performance when their cell phones ring?
Remembering visual arts curator Robert Murdoch: Back in 1965, he was the Walker’s first curatorial intern to serve in a program supported by the Ford Foundation, and he returned here from 1983 to 1985 as chief curator. In the ‘70s, as the first curator of contemporary art at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Murdock organized the first solo museum show for Richard Tuttle. Read more in the New York Times’ obituary, and in this Star Tribune piece. Annie Murdock, Robert’s daughter, wrote to us to note that his family has made arrangements for donations in his memory to be made to the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. “This is the first time that the foundation has done anything like this,” she said, “and we hope it will result in building a fund for Emerging Artists in Robert’s memory.”