FROM Jerry Saltz
The official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama are unveiled On Monday, Barack and Michelle Obama’s presidential portraits were unveiled from behind a large black sheet. Michelle mouthed “wow,” and Barack said, “That’s pretty sharp.” Los Angeles native Kehinde Wiley painted Obama, and Baltimore artist Amy Sherald painted Michelle. They are the first black artists to be selected for the job. Kehinde Wiley’s official portrait of Barack Obama. Amy Sherald’s official portrait of Michelle Obama.
Is the $450 million Da Vinci painting a fake? Last night, an unknown bidder paid the highest price ever recorded at an art auction for an apparent long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting. It’s called “Salvator Mundi,” or “Savior of the World,” and shows Jesus raising his right hand and holding a crystal orb. It went for $450 million. But some people are questioning the painting’s authenticity.
When Celebrities Paint John Mellencamp’s going to be in New York City tomorrow — not to perform songs from his new album, but to attend the opening of an art show . His art show. Mellencamp’s the latest in a long list of high-profile celebrities who have turned to the fine arts to express themselves - including Tony Bennett, Sylvester Stallone and Miley Cyrus. John Mellencamp, "A Roomful of Angels," 2013 from The Isolation of Mister Oil on canvas ACA Galleries, New York
Chris Burden Los Angeles conceptual artist Chris Burden died over the weekend in his Topanga home. He was 69. Burden is best known for his piece “Urban Light,” the collection of street lights in front of LACMA that look like the Parthenon. But he began his career as an outrageous performance artist. For his master’s thesis at UC Irvine, Burden shut himself into a two-by-three foot school locker for five days. In 1975, at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, he lay completely still for 45 hours under a sheet of glass and next to a ticking clock. But the piece that caused the biggest uproar at the time was titled “Shoot.” In it he had himself shot in the arm by a friend with a rifle. We look back at Burden’s life and work. You can revisit KCRW's interview with Chris Burden for Design and Architecture here .
How Medieval Paintings Got an Art Critic Banned from Facebook Social media companies have a hard time when it comes to provocative art. One teacher in France was so incensed when Facebook removed a post of a close-up nude painted by Courbet, he sued the company. A French court has agreed to hear his case. Meanwhile, art critic Jerry Saltz has a similarly complicated relationship with social media, where he highlights little-known artists and long-forgotten paintings with arch and irreverent captions. He was rewarded last week by getting banned from Facebook after too many complaints from fellow users. His offense? Too many medieval paintings.
George W. Bush, The Painter A major exhibition by an important new artist debuted in Dallas this month: his name is George W. Bush. The former president’s paintings are on display at the Bush Presidential Centre in Dallas, Texas. And art critic Jerry Saltz has mixed feelings about them. The New York Magazine writer joins us for a review.
Why is Trump so behind on filling staff jobs, establishing concrete policies? Yesterday Donald Trump signed a “decision memo” to revamp the air traffic control system. But there was little legislative detail in the plan. There’s not much to other splashy announcements from the White House, including tax cuts and the arms deal with Saudi Arabia. And hundreds of positions are unfilled in federal agencies.
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."